five ways to Caskett and back
watershed, n. - an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas.
Swings are special to them.
On mornings, she gets up at four-thirty just to linger over them during her runs to work.
On afternoons when he's alone, he grabs a sandwich and his laptop and sits on the park bench opposite them to write, the words somehow coming easier amidst the squeals of children and chatter of babysitters in caps and sunglasses.
(he used to sit on the swings themselves, but that got him too many looks, so he backed off)
On weekends, they like to walk to the park and sit in them, after all the parents have taken their kids home for dinner and before the night has truly fallen.
They don't usually talk when they're at the swings. At least, not with words. He likes to watch her and she likes to tip her head back and sigh, the sun all burnished and bright against her skin and hair mussed from the wind.
("writer," she'd laughed, poking out her tongue at him the first time he'd said that. but then she'd sobered and leaned forward all lithe limbs and tousled hair and said "i love your words" and it's funny because those four little syllables had stolen all his own)
And on weekends, before they go, their hands tangle together and their legs kick out and they're swinging, shoulder to shoulder, him grinning and her rolling her eyes and the ring leaving divots in his palm all over again, but this time in a good way.
"Here are those papers you asked for, Agent Beckett."
Kate looks up from her computer screen and blinks at the girl standing before her. "Oh, thanks, Emma. Am I still on for that interview with Senator Crenshaw tomorrow?"
Emma flips open her planner and skims down the page. "Yep. I mean, yes ma'am. Two o'clock tomorrow. I've made reservations at the restaurant he requested, too."
Emma nods. "Oh, and you have that press conference at noon."
Kate sighs and rubs her eyes. "Bless you, Emma; I'd totally forgotten."
The girl reddens. "Just doing my job, ma'am. Would you like me to get you more coffee?"
Kate recoils from the outstretched hand. Seeing Emma's injured look, Beckett backpedals furiously. "Um, no, I'm fine. I'll, uh – I'll just get some with my lunch."
"Are you sure?" the intern asks, brow furrowed. "I'm on my way to the break room anyway. I don't mind."
"Really, Emma, I'm fine."
Kate watches her go, kicking herself for being so insensitive. Emma was just trying to help…
Still, Castle always brought her coffee. Not Emma. It's been three months, Kate. Get over him already.
But three months to recover from a year of her life?
Kate sighs and returns to the notes on her screen. She has two hours before her meeting with Ambassadors Ivanov and Volkovsky, and can't afford to be anything less than on top of her game. Coffee or not, she loves this job.
Kate turns at Espo's shout, the hairdresser hissing as she tries to salvage the tower of curls that is Kate's head.
"This better be good, Espo," Kate growls, "because I've just wasted two hours of my life, and I'm not about to do it again."
"Javi, I don't care if you're the best man, an usher, or the groom himself – you'd better not be looking in this mirror!" Lanie shouts from her position at Kate's feet.
"All right, all right," he says, hands raised in surrender. Kate tries to stifle a giggle and fails. The hairdresser throws her a look in the mirror, but Kate ignores her. "Um, Espo, you might wanna check your coattails."
Javi looks down. "Aw, s—" he starts, but Lanie pauses her basting long enough to snap her fingers at him.
"Unh-uh, Javier Esposito, you are in a house of God and you'll respect it!"
Espo growls and tugs his suit down. "Better?" he shouts, and Kate, forgetting that he can't see her, nods.
"Oh for goodness' sake!" the hairdresser cries, and that's that.
"Oops," Kate mutters, surveying the waterfall of hair around her shoulders.
"Ah, it's OK. Castle likes it better when you wear your hair down anyway," Espo says.
Kate yelps as the basting needle sticks her in the shin, but Lanie doesn't apologize because she's just looked at the clock, and suddenly Kate wishes she'd taken Martha's advice and eloped after all.
"Now why didn't you tell me we only had ten minutes left?" Lanie bellows after Espo's retreating form.
"Tried to!" he hollered back. "Coattails got in the way!"
Lanie growls and hoists herself to her feet, teetering a bit in her four-inch heels. "That man. I swear, if he doesn't get himself together I'm gonna take those coattails and stuff them up his snarky little—"
"Ah ah ah, Lanie. House of God, remember?"
"You shut up," her best friend grumbled, poking her bare shoulder. "And put your veil on. We've got a bride to hitch!"
He's writing on the walls now, and he can't help it.
It's just – he's covered every inch of paper in the house, right down to the gas receipts, and he can't bring himself to go out and get more.
(going out would mean carrying on with his life and God knows he's not ready to do that not without her)
So he's writing on the walls, trying to work out what he would say to her if she came back, gave him another chance, got down on her knees with him instead of running off full tilt in those heels of hers to DC.
He's mad at her, so mad at her, and he's written that out too
(on the scrap paper, the manila envelope, inside the dust cover of Heat Wave because he wanted so badly to go back to the good days, the easy days, the days when she didn't have to say yes because he just did)
but he's also broken.
And that's why he writes on the walls.
Blue ink, red ink, the Sharpie until it runs out and leaves pale gray smudges in place of his words. He writes about stupid things, like the soggy grass that ruined his best dress pants and how he didn't care because he only had eyes for her.
("but you can't say the same about me, can you?" he'd written in an especially dark hour when the liquor cabinet was empty and the deadbolt left open)
He also writes about important things, like the way he'd never wait to kiss her if she just said yes, and how he'd find new ways to show his love for her every single day of their life together. And then he writes about stupid things again, like the way he wants to learn to write "always" on the top of her morning latte because that's how they say
i love you.
I love you, he writes in red ink
(the ink of his veins)
and then, beside it
i love you.
Small "i." Little "i." Insignificant "i."
I love you. i love you. i Love you. i love You. I love You.
Over and over again he writes them, as if those three little words could slit him open and spill this deep and pulsating darkness that is his pain.
Eventually, he leaves his office to rummage in the closet for the leftover paint cans from when he and Alexis moved in (so long ago, he thinks as he pries the lid off the can and has to peel away the tacky layers of dried paint). Those gone, he finds a paintbrush and plunges it into the naked beige, heedless of the drips it leaves on the rug.
(he's been bleeding for three weeks; why should he bother to clean it now?)
For some reason, he paints backwards, and there's only enough to cover his embrace, her fists, and the part where he follows her to DC.
The proposal, however, still stares at him from the wall, dipping and marching with the mortar and bricks. For a while he sits there and stares at it, trying to figure out how he's going to cover it before Alexis comes home.
But then he decides not to, because she's going to read it anyway.
In his eyes.
She's been at work for three hours by the time he arrives at nine, and she accepts the coffee without comment. Castle joshes with the boys and gulps a little when Gates gives him one of her iron glares, just like always.
For an hour she's able to pretend like everything's normal, like she's going to his loft tonight to make dinner with him, that they'll and end up having to reheat because, well, let's face it, they get carried away… a lot.
But every now and then there will be a lull in the case talk and the phone will stop ringing and she'll catch him staring at her, and she knows.
She can't keep him guessing forever.