It was the only word to describe her. Positively, gloriously radiant. She had been the whole weekend. For several days leading up to the weekend as well, in fact. He didn't know what had happened or what was going on but he never wanted it to stop.
It was Castle and Beckett's four year anniversary. Three as just a couple, and one as husband and wife. They'd invited everyone up to the Hamptons for a weekend extravaganza; his family plus Alexis' boyfriend, her dad, the crew from the precinct and their respective spouses. They were flying to Musha Cay for a private anniversary Monday morning, which was rapidly approaching, but the weekend had been about group celebration. Lord knows everyone around them deserved a Castle-sponsored weekend for all the grief they'd had to deal with and witness between the two over the years. Several of Castle's local friends had wandered in and out throughout the weekend and he'd been more pleased than he liked to admit that they got along with his precinct friends. They were two very different worlds coming together, but it worked. He wasn't sure if it was that that was making Kate glow like she was. Or was it the perfect weather? The ever-flowing cocktails? It couldn't be the sex because they hadn't had any. The house was literally packed and she hadn't wanted to risk it.
"But Kate… it's our anniversary. They all expect it to be happening! It's just what people do!"
"Well we've never done things normally, Castle," she'd patted him on the chest and leaned in. "When we celebrate, I want to be loud." She walked away with a little smirk.
Sexless as he was, he was happy. Because the way she looked at him, smiled, touched his arm… He knew the others had noticed it too. He'd seen the way Espo had looked at her, half quizzical, half admiring, at least until Lanie had smacked him. The same with Ryan and Jenny. His neighbours, who'd slowly gotten to know her over the years, had been outright ogling her. Everywhere she walked her presence seemed to inspire awe and joy, vibrant laughter and an odd, peaceful serenity. She wore only light colours, whites and pinks and oranges which caught the light and literally made her glow. Castle had never seen her so beautiful, and that was saying something. He followed her around with a love-sick, dopey grin, and he knew it. And didn't care.
Kate Beckett was his wife.
Not only had she put up with him for all those years, she'd eventually let him in. And though there had been plentiful, awful bumps along the way… here they were. Still together. And if he could be so bold as to speak for her… they were both happier than ever.
The past two days had been spent barbequing, lounging, swimming… He'd set up a badminton net on the grass and a volleyball net in the sand. A few of Alexis' friends had come up on Saturday and somehow convinced the parental crowd to join in on some rather inventive drinking games. It was perfect. For so long it had been just him, Alexis and his mother… Meeting Beckett hadn't brought just her into his life, it had brought a whole slew of people who he never could have guessed would become like brothers and sisters. The whole property was alive with the sounds of one big, happy family and he still couldn't comprehend it. Couldn't express how much he loved his life.
The writer glanced over at his wife, surrounded by a gaggle of admiring neighbours. She was telling a lively story and they were hanging on to her every word. He smiled. Who'd have thought that she'd be the perfect hostess, able to blend right into the riche of the Hampton's crowd. She didn't have the money they did (Well, technically she did now that she'd married him but that was still a sensitive topic) but she had the magnanimous personality, beauty, and grace to win over anyone. And with the dress she was wearing… she could have ended wars.
It was pure white, soft and flowing but fit to her body in all the right places. The sleeves only went down to her elbows, where they flared out. He would describe them as wings though he'd never tell her that. The skirt flowed loosely from the fitted bodice straight down to the ground. When she walked the material molded to her skin, the brief outline of her long legs making him hold his breath. On her feet were simple, gold sandals, like the ones she'd worn on their first trip there. She wore a simple, thin gold necklace that rested against her collarbones, not stealing any attention from the plunging neckline, clasped to not plunge too much with a small, gold knot. A gold bangle accentuated her slim wrist. Kevin and Jenny's daughter had, just a few hours ago, stumbled up to Kate and presented her with a large, yellow flower which she still wore tucked behind her right ear. She'd let her hair continue to grow the last few years so though it was curled, wavy in the most perfect way possible, it still tumbled past her breasts. Half of it rested against her back, half over her left shoulder. It trembled every time she laughed, catching the light and reflecting sunshine into her eyes. She looked like a Bohemian goddess, natural and relaxed and just…
She glanced over at him, sensing him through her crowd of admirers. Her green eyes hit his and his heart stopped. Castle would never understand how she thought he, of all people, could possibly be worthy of her. But the way she looked at him… God help him but he was selfish enough to keep her. She was… everything. She smiled softly at him and turned back to his neighbours, gently excusing herself before breaking through the wall of people to come to him. He held his breath as she walked, no, glided over to him. She was grace and elegance personified. God he was cheesy this weekend.
"Hey," she whispered, stopping in front of him.
"Hey," he breathed.
She bit her lip and glanced shyly down at the grass, deep green beneath her feet.
"Have I told you yet how beautiful you are today?"
She bit her lip harder and looked up at him through long lashes, her cheeks pink. "Only today?"
"Every day. All the days. All the seconds, minutes, hours…"
"Ok, ok Castle, I get it."
Her laugh was so infectious he couldn't help joining in.
"Have I told you how dashing you are?" She stepped into him, reaching out and grabbing a button between her fingers, playing with it.
Castle glanced down at himself. Tan sandals, khaki shorts and a short sleeved button down in the colour of blue she said brought out his eyes. He shrugged.
"Not my most rugged of outfits."
"But still handsome," she assured him, leaning in and kissing him softly. He could taste her smile, though she was gone a second later.
"I love you, Kate."
Her face stilled and became serious. "I love you, Rick. So, so much." She stroked his cheek, his ear, ruffled his hair. "More every day."
There was that dopey grin again, helplessly in love. Her grin came back, blossomed, and she grabbed him with both hands, kissing him tenderly, deeply, slowly. He was losing himself, drowning, he had to wrap his arms around her and hold her close, her body the only thing keeping him afloat. The guests had gotten used to their displays of affection. At first they'd cheered and whistled, especially the detectives, who were still mostly used to seeing them act strictly professional at work. As the days passed, though, they gave the couple their space.
Ok, maybe they weren't all over it.
Kate pulled back.
"Lanie, control your man!" she called over her shoulder, eyes staying locked with Castle's.
"I resent that!" Javier yelled back.
"Sorry girl. You know how they can get out of hand, sometimes."
Castle heard the sounds of a light scuffle, mixed laughter, a huff from Esposito but it was all background noise to the beating of his heart. Kate was still stroking his ear, gazing up at him like he was the only thing in the world.
"Love you," he said again.
"Hmmm," she sighed. She leaned forward and turned her head, resting it against his broad chest as she dropped her arms to wrap around his waist. He embraced her in turn.
"Something up?" he asked.
"Hmm?" her voice was muffled against him as she buried her face further into him. God he loved her when she nuzzled.
"You've just been so…"
"Yeah," he blew out a breath.
She laughed against him, her breath hot through the thin material of his shirt.
"Well there you go," she said. "I'm just… happy. You make me happy."
He squeezed her a little tighter. Those were not tears in his eyes. The sun was just bright. He breathed heavily and dropped a light kiss to the top of her head. He didn't know how long they just stood there, wrapped up in each other, but eventually he felt her sigh and pull back.
"Suppose we have to talk to other people, too," she said rather regretfully.
"Just wait till we get to Musha Cay," he winked.
"Just you wait." Her voice was throaty, deep. He swallowed heavily. She blinked and the sultry vixen disappeared, replaced with the laughing, joyous, exuberant Kate once more.
"I still can't believe you rented a private island for our Anniversary…"
"Oh, right, sorry, a whole string of private islands."
"You only have a first anniversary once, Beckett!"
"So you had to rent out an entire group if islands? I told you I didn't need anything fancy and this is so beyond anything that…"
"Didn't need, no, but you did want."
She made a face at him. "Castle… I looked it up, you know. I saw how much it rents for…"
"I told you not to worry about it. Copperfield owes me some favours."
"Are you sure he's not just pulling a trick on you?"
"Private islands, Kate. White sand beaches, pink sand beaches, water as far as the eye can see…"
"It's too much space for just us…"
"A secret jungle village and a private treasure hunt, Kate! Led by pirates!"
She tried really hard not to smile. She did…
"Hah!" he crowed. "See! You know we are going to kick ass at that! Show Copperfield how it's done."
"You think we're going to outsmart the world's foremost magician at his own, custom treasure hunt?"
Castle just grinned. "And did you look up Musha Force? It's like a freaking James Bond movie! Lasers and helicopters and code-breaking…"
"We've done most of that before, Castle."
"Not through our own network of private islands."
They'd argued it all before. Well, Beckett made the effort because it was expected of her. She was, in all honestly, ridiculously excited. It was like something out of a movie, something she'd have never even dared dream of as a child. The whole thing was surreal.
"Well what are we going to do for our ten year? 25? 50? Go to the moon?"
"Of course not," he scoffed. "By that time we'll be going to Jupiter!"
"Yeah well you better keep selling those books if you plan to afford space travel."
"Oh I have no worries."
She pulled back and looked at him suspiciously. "Castle…"
"Another movie. Well no, actually… A trilogy."
"Oh my god, Castle!" she squealed, covering her mouth in glee for a moment before lunging forward and kissing him soundly.
"Between the graphic novels, movies, at least another four books … Oh, and did I mention a full line of toys?"
"Yup. Merchandising is where the movies really make money. You are going to be forever immortalized as a wee, plastic badass."
"If they try to Barbie-size my measurements…"
"Oh don't worry my dear," he smacked her loudly on the lips. "I'll make sure they do."
She swatted him. He caught her hand and pulled her to him, unable to go too long without kissing her.
Her hand trailed down his chest, down, down... then she smirked, biting her lip as she stepped back, turned, and sauntered away. He followed the swing of her hips until someone clapped him on the shoulder.
"I've honestly never seen her like this," Jim said.
Castle turned to his father-in-law, not even caring that he'd been caught blatantly gawking.
"I hope she never stops," Castle responded.
Jim grasped his shoulder firmly. "I don't think she will."
Jim's confidence in him, in them, was almost overwhelming. Castle had always thought that if Kate never woke up and realized she could do better than him, at least Jim would have the sense to see it. Even on their wedding day he'd expected her father to whisk her away and slap some sense into her. But it hadn't happened. Jim had shaken his hand with tears in his eyes and said "I only hope I made Johanna half as happy as my little girl is right now."
Martha called out to Jim and he nodded goodbye to the host. Alone for the first time in days, Castle took the opportunity to survey the crowd again, be filled up with joy. He had a life people could only dream of. It had taken countless horrors to get there, but it was all worth it.
Kate's laughter pealed out over the din.
All worth it.
"I think you've had one too many cocktails there, Mrs. Castle," Rick laughed as she swayed in his arms.
"Nope," she shook her head against him. "I haven't had any."
"I swear!" she looked up at him with big eyes, round and green and innocent.
He narrowed his eyes at her and suddenly kissed her, plunging his tongue into her mouth.
They were finally alone, truly alone, standing in their bedroom with only the light of the moon streaming in through the window. It had been an exhausting weekend, but in the best possible way. There were only a few hours left to sleep before their flight but neither wanted to end the night just yet.
"Hmmm," he wondered out loud as he pulled back, several minutes later. "I think I might actually believe you…" There hadn't been a single trace of alcohol on her tongue, only the sweet, sweet taste of her.
"See!" she grinned. "Innocent as a lamb."
"Innocent?" He ran his hand down her back, over the roundness of her perfect backside. "Never that."
"Sometimes that," she argued, and he frowned. She usually embraced the "bad girl" banter whole-heartedly. Oh well. He'd take radiant, happy Kate any day. Any version of her he could get, he loved them all.
She stepped away from him, lips curved ever so slightly upwards as her fingers rose to the golden knot at her chest. She flicked something and it came away. He hadn't realized it wasn't an original part of the dress. The soft white edges parted, the sweeping neckline falling several inches past her breasts. The soft curve of them shone in the moonlight, the edges of her dress resting so teasingly, baring so much but hinting at so much more.
"Definitely not innocent," he murmured, stepping forward. His hands rested on the slim curve of her waist as they kissed. He expected her to wrap her arms around his neck and shoulders but she merely laid them on his chest. After several long, gentle moments she pushed him away. She watched him with a look he couldn't interpret, this soft, sideways smile as he stepped closer and trailed his hand up her side. He arrived at her breast and stopped, the heat of her skin seeping through the thin material. His mouth went dry as he saw her inhale deeply, her nipple pebbling from just the brush of his hand, her dress frustratingly opaque. His thumb skimmed over her and took the edge of her dress between his thumb and forefinger, slowly peeling it back.
"You're so beautiful," he murmured, brushing his thumb over her bare skin. She trembled. His left arm banded across her back and pulled her closer as he dipped his head and kissed her warm breast. His mouth trailed all over her, glancing touches until he opened his mouth and gently sucked her in. She gasped and clutched at his head, her fingers threading through his hair. He grinned against her and pulled back, memorizing the sight of her, wet from his tongue.
"Not innocent," he confirmed.
Another strange look drifted over her face. Her hand left his hair and found his, still lingering at her chest. She clasped their fingers together and pushed them down her body, coming to a stop at her stomach.
"Not innocent," she nodded. "But sometimes… pure?"
He cocked an eyebrow, confused. She glanced down to their joined hands and took in a deep breath, fresh air filling her lungs and pushing her stomach out against their fingers.
"Pure," she repeated.
He looked down, perplexed.
And finally it dawned on him.
Like the sun breaking through clouds he saw the light and everything made sense.
Her joy, unbridled and boundless. Those secret smiles. The flood of I Love You's.
"Kate?" Disbelief bubbled up his throat and choked him, moisture springing to his eyes as he was instantly and completely overwhelmed. He looked at his wife, her silhouette blurred and ethereal through his moonlit tears.
"I took the test on Wednesday." Her voice broke as suddenly the widest, most luminous smile he'd ever seen in his life took over her face. "And again on Thursday," she gasped as tears started to trickle down her cheeks.
"Oh my god," he groaned, detangling his hand from hers and bringing both of his to his face to scrub away the tears.
"This is good?" she asked sounding suddenly terrified and completely unsure.
"We didn't plan this, and I wasn't sure…"
Castle grabbed her face and kissed her.
Every ounce of love he'd ever felt for her tripled, quadrupled, spun wildly out of control because oh my god and they were going to be parents together.
Katherine Beckett was carrying his child.
He wanted to scream and jump and dance and fling himself out of a plane, announcing to the sky that a Castle baby was on the way so that maybe the sound would filter down to the Earth and everyone could hear.
Instead he kissed his wife like he'd never kissed her before. He stumbled forward, pushing her back until she hit the bed. He picked her up like she weighed nothing and laid her down, climbing on top of her without ever breaking hold of her mouth.
She let him make love to her for hours, slowly, softly, reverently. She was usually a vigorous participant, being his partner in every way while also relishing taking control… but not tonight. Not now. Oh, she contributed, but she let him lead her every step of the way, let him do what he needed to do.
Let him worship her.
He could never thank her for the gift she'd given him, never repay her. He could only try to show her how much it meant.
Later, as he held her in his arms, her back to his front, he stroked her stomach gently.
"Pure," he whispered.
Fic inspired by the avatar picture. I probably failed entirely at describing the perfection of it. For a larger version:
: / / copious management dot com / sites/ default/ files/ styles/ recent_cover/ public /artist_images/ smith/ Fashion_Beauty/BBS_SKatic_05 dot j p g
And seriously… look up Musha Cay. Place is nuts. The "Sandbar" lunch spot!? HELLO. I do think the place is out of even Castle's price range (Well, Kate wouldn't let him) but I can totally see him being buds with David Copperfield. We know how Castle loves Magic… Anyways, the place is PERFECT for Caskett.