Kate grabs the basket and slips it over her arm.
The store is pretty much deserted, which suits her just fine as she meanders down the aisles. She's tired and she should be sleeping, curled up at home in bed, warm and comfortable. But here she is searching for random savoury snacks and feeling grumpy because she misses him.
She grumbles under her breath as she grabs a large bag of M&M's throwing it into the basket, annoyed with herself because she's not supposed to be missing him is she? This is her stupid plan.
She feels her phone vibrate in her pocket, sighing as she inspects it, almost hoping for a body drop. Almost...
But when she checks her watch and realises the time she's suddenly grinning into her phone. He's not predictable, god far from it the man is insane, crazy... but he is reliable and sweet and...she sighs sliding her thumb over the screen, too far away.
*Where are you? What are you doing?*
She rolls her eyes, no matter where he is, he's nosey.
*Grocery shopping I need food...*
She types the message fast and wanders towards the microwaveable meals. Her body is her temple and all that trash but she glares at the meals, the convenience and ease they offer...then she thinks back to the mountains of old Chinese and...
She steps away from the ready meals, narrowing her eyes. The man is a mind reader, or she has become predictable, no longer his mystery waiting to be solved. She smiles, scrunching her nose, curling over the phone protectively. She shakes her head and moves towards fresh fruit and vegetables, angling her camera just right so the rows upon rows of rainbow coloured nutrients sit prettily in the frame. Then she snaps a picture and sends it.
*Yes see? Real life vitamins and everything.*
Kate grumbles, because now she feels kind of obligated to actually buy and therefore cook something that resembles food.
It's not that she can't, that she doesn't have the ability it's more a sense of laziness. Yup, she's feeling lazy and tired and she sighs deeply again as she grabs the green peppers. She still misses him. She didn't even walk that far to get here, just crossed the road from her apartment, passing the place where Castle stopped to buy her flowers once before.
*Good! What are you making?*
Oh crap! Now there is a good question. She thinks through the recipes she knows of by heart and they mainly involve breakfast or pasta...and actually a hell of a lot of chocolate. She selects a few mushrooms and an onion.
*Just enough for one.*
She laughs and shakes her head because she's not completely pathetic, though she is sort of talking to herself like a crazy person alone in the middle of a grocery store. And obviously insane because she turns to Castle of all people to rescue her from herself induced state of madness.
*I don't know .. suggestions?*
She starts to wonder about omelettes, which means cheese and not a lot of cooking time. Eggs as well but first cheese and milk.
She laughs aloud as she reads it, covering her mouth with her fingers and shaking her head.
She turns down another aisle, her eyes glued to her phone.
*Mmhmmm I like spicy ;) *
*And apparently cheesy!*
She grins reaching for the milk.
*Wounded! Now put down the dairy.*
She laughs again, she would worry he is watching her except he is at his house in the Hamptons as per their agreement. The stupid agreement that was sort of her idea and she worries her lip with her teeth...she should have less stupid ideas in the future. Can you make a grocery store resolution? Screw it, she's making one.
Katherine Beckett you will stop getting in your own way!
Ugh! Now she's fully embracing the crazy? This is all his fault, he's corrupted her sense of normality her sense of appropriateness and...she grumbles and rapid fire texted him back.
She realises she's treading on dangerous ground the minute it goes through, she can almost hear him snicker and kinda loves it. She pictures his face, wondering if it's going to flounder in shock or take on that dark heated look of passion and lust that she really hasn't gotten to fully take advantage of.
Her phone vibrates again and she looks down.
*Only when asked nicely!*
The noise that leaves her mouth is somewhere between a squeak of shock and a bark of laughter, but that message is it, she's had enough, she really wants to hear his voice.
She hits speed dial and barely has to wait for the second ring when he answers.
"Hey." He's smiling, or laughing, maybe both and it does something to her stomach. She's all giddy right there next to the milk. Just from his silly, smiley happy voice.
"That's mean and evil." She states turning down another aisle heading for the chocolate, she can't have him she's getting her pleasure elsewhere.
"Oh?" He sounds genuinely confused and she smiles, pulling her lip between her teeth as she hums into the phone.
"You're gonna make me ask?" She queries, innocently, grinning the entire time and so very glad he can't see her.
He coughs, she can hear the thick inhale of air as he chokes down the phone.
She laughs, loudly her joyous bark of amusement travelling back to him and catching him by surprise. He stops coughing and pulls in another deep lungful of air, and then he sighs, heavily and she can hear it.
She stops laughing and they both fall silent, listening to the other breathe.
"Remind me why again." She pleads quietly.
"We decided..." He says softly, and she knows he's being kind, sweet in fact by letting it be a mutual decision between them. It wasn't initially. "To take some time apart to reflect and think about everything that happened this year..."
"Another summer apart." Kate whispers quietly, coming to a stop and leaning heavily on the shelf in front of her.
"Oh, Kate..." She can hear background noise, a steady thrum and creak. She wonders if he sat down, or if he's leaning on something, needing support like she is. "Three weeks down..." he starts.
"Nine to go..." she finishes "...I miss you."
"Is that why you're shopping at 3am?" He asks, and she can tell he's trying to distract her, distract them both enough that they can do this.
God, she has some seriously convoluted ideas. She starts moving again, back towards the chocolate...ahhh salvation.
"Yeah that and I couldn't sleep and I was hungry."
"And you had no food." He berates.
She huffs under her breath, he knows her too damn well...but he knows her, and she smiles. "I forgot to go out yesterday." She knows the minute it leaves her mouth that he's translating it to mean 'I got caught up on a case, ran myself ragged and ate sugar to keep me going.'
"Mmhmm and you thought garlic and cheese dip and pretzels was an appropriate 3am snack...that's kinda gross Kate." He's smiling again she can hear it in his voice.
"Hey it tastes so..." She stops dead "How did you know that's what I bought?"
He laughs, deep and rich and far too proud of himself. "Spidey senses."
She turns on the spot expecting him to be standing behind her, but it's stupid because she knows he won't be, but she does it anyway and her heart plummets in her chest when she confirms her own fears.
Of course he's not here, they made a deal.
"What are you looking for Kate?" He asks and the darkened edge of his voice is suffused with tease, hot lingering traces of...
God she just wants to grab hold of him and...
Kate spins in the other direction "Castle!" She barks "Are you in this store?" She won't let her heart get too full and above her again, she won't.
Just in case.
"What me?" He asks innocently "Noooo I'm miles away...by the beach." He's laughing again, and she moves, peering down the end of the aisle looking for him.
"Castle." She groans "That's not funny where the hell are you?" Screw it her hopes are up, waaaay up, in the clouds with the stars and the rainbows and rising too fast, too easy.
"I'm in the aisle..." He drawls, listening to her intake of breath, "that brought us together." He finishes softly.
She starts to walk, her feet tapping manically as she moves fast. One hand over her pathetically beating, completely over excited heart.
"Soooo many books... but I'm moving."
She stops dead. He's here and she wants him, needs him. She shoves away from the stacks of food moving rapidly until she finds the books, but the aisle is empty.
"Castle." she pleads quietly into the phone.
"Do you know the two things that remind me of you most are both flavours?"
She sucks in a heavy breath waiting for him.
He speaks softly, his voice almost a whisper as it curls into her ear like a caress. "Do you think that's the universes way of telling me to taste you?"
She honestly can't speak. He takes her breath away, her heart...his heart really because she no longer has control over it. It's pounding in her chest, as if it wants to break through her ribs and fly to him.
"Kate..." He hums interrupting her train of thought. " I picked up some cherries but now I want coffee.. meet you there?"
She gives up all pretence of walking, three weeks apart... she loves him and he knows and she's basically skipping around the corner, heading straight for the coffee.
She rounds the aisle, freezing on the spot when she sees him.
It's been three weeks, and he has a tan, this really warm caramel brown glow over his skin and he's smiling and she loves him.
She clicks off the phone, sliding it deeply into her pocket. Tilting her head to one side she starts to walk towards him slowly.
"How?" She asks, and she knows she's grinning like an idiot, but she really really doesn't care, because he's here and... oh god. She smiles wider than she has in weeks, maybe since that moment in the loft when she finally told him out loud for the first time that he meant the world to her. More than that, he was life, air, everything.
He was, is and alwayswill be her future.
"Ferrari." He states with a shrug, his smile wide and infectious, and beautiful. He looks good with a tan, she pulls her lip between her teeth, biting it and grinning at the same time.
He slips his own phone out of sight, moving to meet her. In pace with each other again.
"Why?" She asks, stupid question. She knows why but she wants to hear it, over and over and over again.
"Missed you." He breathes the words out on air that dances across her skin, and she closes her eyes, sinking into him. Her arms slide easily around his shoulders, her fingers tracing the glow of sun that lingers over his cheeks, the lightness to him such a contrast. It might have been hell to be apart but he needed it.
"Love you." She says rising onto her toes to kiss him breathing in deeply and she feels everything settle back to normal, the smell of him and coffee overwhelming her senses.