Thursday morning Kate was sitting at her desk, doing paperwork, when her cell phone rang. When she saw that the caller was none other than Martha Rodgers, the detective nearly panicked. "Martha, what's wrong? Is everything okay?"
"Everything is fine, kiddo. I was just calling to see if you were free for lunch."
"Yeah," Kate said, breathing easier. "Nothing but paperwork today and your son avoids that at all costs so he's not here to make sure I eat today. Where would you like to meet?"
A few hours later, Kate was hungry and tired of staring at paperwork so she welcomed the break to go and meet up with Martha. She soon arrived at the diner close by at the 12th.
"Kate, darling, I'm so glad you were able to make it."
"Me too," Kate grunted as Martha hugged her tightly. "I haven't seen much of you since the bank incident."
Martha motioned to an empty table and they took a seat. "You haven't been frequenting the loft more regularly in hopes of seeing me, my dear."
Kate blushed but neither confirmed or denied what the actress was implying. "So, how's the school coming along?" she asked with a smile as she changed the subject.
"The Martha Rodgers School of Acting is doing very well. But I do have a bit of a problem."
"What's up?" Kate asked.
"Do you have off this weekend and can you get off early tomorrow?"
"Yes and probably. Why?"
"I had a spa weekend planned and something has come up at the school and I can't go. They'll let me cancel but it's non-refundable. They will let someone else take my place though."
"Okay." Kate said, unsure how she fit into this.
"I would like you to go," Martha said then continued before Kate could stop her. "Alexis has plans already this weekend and I thought you might like it. I would just cancel it but Richard didn't pay for this, I did and I don't want the money to go to waste."
"I don't know when I would be able to pay you back," Kate said suddenly worried about the price.
"Nonsense. You deserve a break, especially dealing with Richard all the time."
"Are you sure?" Kate said as she took a sip of her diet soda.
"Of course. It's the least I can do for the woman in love with my son."
Kate nearly choked on her drink. "Martha, I um-"
"Now Kate. Don't even try to lie to me. You don't think I could have raised my son single handedly and not know when someone is lying, do you?"
Kate just sputtered for a moment before Martha continued.
"He loves you. I know that he's told you and I know that you know that."
"But I lied to him and told him I didn't remember."
"He knows you know too, my dear. He's just waiting for you to make the first move. He said you aren't ready and he's waiting amazingly well if you ask me. Richard has never waited so long for anything."
"Yeah, he doesn't strike me as a patient person."
"He isn't. Except in regards to you. Trust me Kate he's worth the risk."
"I know Martha," Kate said softly then paused as the waiter brought their lunches. "Wait. Is this an ultimatum?"
"Oh, goodness no! I wouldn't do that to you or my son. Besides they never worked for me, I wouldn't think they would work for you."
"They never worked for you?" Kate questioned with a raised eyebrow, hoping to change the subject.
"Never. How else do you think I ended up a single mom in the early 70's without any help from my family? My mom told me that I couldn't do it."
"I would say that you proved her wrong."
"Yes I did. Granted I was lucky and I had some good parts at the time and it went from there. So you can see why I don't think forcing the issue really works."
"I really am trying Martha," Kate said as she finished off her hamburger.
"I know dear," Martha said kindly with a pat of her hand on Kate's. "And I think I might just know what is holding you back. How about you just take this weekend and think things over, relax, and who knows, the solution may just come to you."
"I don't know."
"Even if it doesn't that's okay. I expect that you will have a lovely time regardless. I'll email you all the details of the spa. It's about three hours away and if you leave around noon, you should get there in time for your first treatment. Meals tips and everything is included and it's a full spa so you can pack pretty light."
"I was thinking about taking the bike out this weekend..."
"That would make for a lovely ride, my dear. The weather is unseasonably warm and things are beginning to bloom... it will be beautiful."
"I does sound wonderful."
"It's settled then. You're going to have a wonderful time, I just know it. I'll call them up later and make sure that it is all settled that you will be going instead."
"Thanks, Martha. I hope to do something as nice for you one day."
"Oh, you already have. You take care of Richard."
"No, I mean something nice just for you."
"You make sure he comes home to Alexis and me everyday, I couldn't ask for anything more."
The two women finished their meal, chatting non stop about anything and everything, other than the man that brought them together. Martha embraced Kate as they parted ways outside the diner and the brunette detective happily accepted and returned the hug.
Friday morning dawned beautiful and Kate knew that taking the bike out was a great idea. She packed a bare minimum into her saddlebags of her Harley, just a few changes of casual clothes and her makeup bag. She knew that the spa would provide all the toiletries so she didn't even bother to bring her favorite cherry shampoo. No heels, no badge or weapon, she didn't even wear her dad's watch. She was going to be Kate Beckett this weekend. Not Detective Beckett, the woman driven to put her mother's murderer behind bars. Not even Katie, the daughter of an alcoholic. She thought twice about leaving her mother's ring at home but put it on anyway. She knew that she had a lot of thinking to do and she tended to play with it on the chain when she did that.
Kate was soon packed and off to work. She sent Rick a short text as she made her way down to her bike. Traffic was surprisingly light so she managed to get to work a bit early. Kate knew that the guys were going to have a long day of paperwork while she was cutting out early so after she parked, she walked over the the donut place and picked up a dozen for her boys and a dozen for Karpowski's team. Her phone rang as she was crossing the street and she had to perform a balancing act while answering. "Beckett."
"I just got the strangest text."
"Having trouble with simple English, Castle? I thought you were a writer."
"Ha, Ha! The part that confuses me is that you are taking the weekend off? Kate Beckett, taking a weekend off?"
"I do that every now and then," she said as she leaned the boxes on a parked cruiser to get a better grip. "I actually have plans this weekend."
"Plans? What are you doing? Where are you going?"
"What is this, 20 questions?"
"Oooh, you wanna play a game with me?" he said suggestively.
"We play too many games already, Castle, and this one is finished. I have to get to work. I'll see you Monday."
"Oh come on. At least tell me where you are going?"
"Why so you can ignore all the work Gina has for you and crash my plans?"
"Um, no?" he said unsure, bringing a smile to Kate's face.
"Actually, I can't tell you anyway. I don't even have the directions yet myself. They are going to be emailed to me later this morning."
"Well, if you get bored or anything, you know my number."
"I think I will be enjoying myself too much to get bored."
"Enjoying yourself? Can't I come too?" he whined.
"No, Castle you can't. The elevator is here so I need to go. Goodbye," she said just before she clicked the end button. She figured that she would give him five minutes before he called back.
He lasted three. Or at least that was how long Kate was in the elevator before her phone suddenly started going crazy with missed calls and texts. Kate ignored the phone as it continued to ring as she was handing out donuts. By the time she sat down at her desk, there were two messages, four missed calls and eight texts. She rolled her eyes and thought for a moment before she responded with a text.
"If you are so terribly bored, come on in and you can help us do paperwork." Kate opened a file and began working on them and was in no way surprised when her phone fell silent.
Around eleven, her phone beeped for the first time in hours and but was actually from Martha instead. It was short and sweet, just a simple request for Kate to check her email. She smiled then actually laughed when she saw something from a DramaDiva. Kate quickly skimmed over the itinerary then printed it out. She stood up to get it ignoring the curious looks from the boys. She just had to send out a short reply, thanking Martha again and mentioning how much she loved her email address. Before Kate could shut down her computer, Martha sent another email. Kate laughed out loud when she read...'Alexis chose that when she helped me set up my MyFace account.'
Ryan and Esposito noticed Kate gathering her belongings and stowing her gun so they decided to try one last time to find out what she had planned for her free weekend. She brushed them off again, not totally comfortable with them knowing she was going to spend two days being pampered and treated like a princess. "See you guys Monday."
Her team watched her enter the elevator and started making wagers as soon as the doors closed. Ryan was the first to make a guess about his leaders secret plans. "I bet she's going somewhere with Castle."
"No way, Bro." Esposito smirked, "I overheard her on the phone with someone the other day and she was saying stuff like, 'We should meet up soon, reminisce and catch up.' I think she's meeting up with an old friend."
Kate straddled her bike at exactly 12:05, was on I-78west in under forty minutes and from there on it was a straight shot to her destination. Somewhere around 3 PM, Kate realized that she was getting close and decided to pull over for gas and a bathroom break. She filled up her hog, emptied her bladder and sent a text to Rick, knowing he would be text bombing her all weekend if she didn't put a stop to it.
-Near my destination, turning off my phone now to save battery.
-But what if I get bored and need to bounce some ideas off you?
-Do whatever you did before I came along.
-I can't. Alexis is gone too. :(
-Just think to yourself, WWKBD? Signing off now. See you Monday.
Kate smiled as she reached the exit she was suppose to take. Her nostrils flared as she inhaled deeply through her nose, her speed decreasing as she neared the Spa. She chuckled loudly as she parked and dismounted her bike, realizing that Martha had sent her to Heaven.
Kate entered the Greeting Hall and gave her name to the young lady behind the desk. "Yes, Miss Beckett, welcome to the Spa at the Hotel Hershey, also known as the Chocolate Spa. We were informed by Ms. Rodgers that you will be taking her place this weekend. My name is Kimberley and I will show you to your room but first I need to lead you to the Cuban Room for your first treatment."
"But what about my..."
"Don't worry about a thing, Miss Beckett, we will take care of everything."
The cop in her wanted to take over, wanted to ask more questions and wanted to make sure that her things would really be taken care of. She took a deep breath and surrendered to the promise that she'd made Martha to just relax and have a good time. "OK, lead on Kim."
The receptionist informed Kate as they made their way down the hall about all the treatments she had in store for her this weekend. Everything seemed to be centered around chocolate and Kate's mouth watered as she envisioned some of the 'tortures' that were awaiting her.
Kim showed the detective into a dimly lit room that smelled of coffee instead of the expected cocoa. One of the technicians met them immediately and ushered her to a table. The trio exchanged greetings and then Kate was informed to change and the first treatment of the day. She was a bit surprised to find out that it was actually a Cuban inspired body polish called the Java Body Scrub with sea salt and ground coffee. It was followed by a green coffee body wrap. While Kate was wrapped up and relaxing she thought back to what she and Martha had talked about the day before.
At first, Kate did think that Martha had been issuing an ultimatum but she realized now that it was just a friendly nudge. Kate did agree that Rick was worth the risk but she was still afraid. She wondered what Martha thought was the reason for her to be holding back though, especially since Kate wasn't really sure herself. She lay there lost in thought and was surprised when her time was up and the technician came back in to help her get unwrapped and then dressed in the lounge clothes that came included with the treatment.
"Miss Beckett, did you enjoy your body wrap?" Kim asked as she came to escort her to the next appointment.
"It was wonderful. I had no idea you had anything coffee scented here. I'm glad that my friend was able to arrange it on such short notice so I could get the coffee wrap. She knows that I love my coffee."
"She didn't change it. Everything that you are going to be doing is what was originally requested."
"Oh, okay. I didn't know she liked coffee that much," Kate said, dropping the subject. "So what is next?"
"We have a writing seminar that is very popular and you are signed up for the next session."
"I'm not a writer though."
"You don't have to be a writer, you will be with a group of others, just like you... talking about whatever you wish to discuss and then you are asked to write about something pivotal in your life."
"That doesn't sound so bad."
"You don't even have to sign your name to the paper, just write from the heart. It's very healing," Kim assured her. Noticing that Kate still looked a bit uncomfortable with the though, she continued. "There will be chocolate."
"Sign me up then!" Kate joked as she was lead to a room filled with comfortable chairs.
Kate made herself comfortable in the nice easy chair next to an end table with a large plate of chocolates. An older lady in the next seat grabbed a few clipboards with pad of paper and pens attached. She passed them around then followed that with that plate of chocolates. "Hello, everyone, my name is Lou and this is a course focused on forgiveness. If you feel comfortable enough to divulge your names, we will go down the line and give a little bit of info about ourselves. You don't have to share anything at all if you don't want to but you may be surprised by how cleansing it is to share things with strangers that you cannot share with people that actually know you."
"What about this writing thing, what are we supposed to write about?" asked one blond lady on the other side of the room.
"I want you to write about forgiveness, since that's what this class is about. It could be about seeking it, giving it, or receiving it, whichever you would like."
"And what exactly are we supposed to share?" another lady nervously asked.
"Only what you are comfortable with sharing. If all you want to say is your name and that you love chocolate, that's fine by me."
"Does anyone here not actually love chocolate?" another woman asked.
"I've never seen anyone who didn't like chocolate, other than one lady I knew in my knitting group a few years ago. But I consider that an oddity." Lou said with a smile before turning to Kate. "OK then, let's begin. Starting with you, my dear. Would you like to share anything with the group?"
"Well, my name is Kate and I do love chocolate." The room erupted in laughter and whether or not she was willing to give away more information, they would never know because the woman next to her jumped up and began reciting her life story.
It took about twenty minutes to complete the circle of sharing and then Louise informed the class to take the rest of the session to write their forgiveness stories. She reminded them that they are not to be signed and that they should feel free to write from the heart.
Kate wrote a few words and then wadded the paper into a ball. She chewed on the end of her pen and then grimaced when she thought about how many others may have done the same thing to that same writing utensil. After a few minutes of soul searching and talking herself into honestly completing the task, she began to write freely.
When she finally committed to putting pen to paper, it took her a while to stop, she was the last one finished. Everyone else was standing huddled near the exit when Kate handed her paper to Lou. "OK, class, it's time for dinner. Follow me."
The small group of six were led down a hallway that was lined with bulletin boards. Papers were tacked up on both the left and the right walls. Unsigned paper confessions just like the ones Kate and her fellow classmates had written. Kate suddenly was worried about her paper being posted but she thought about the fact that no one that she knew would ever see it, she decided there was no reason to worry about it. She found herself scanning the letters, reading some of the secrets people had shared. She came to an abrupt halt when she thought she recognized the handwriting on one letter. She looked at it more in depth and began to tear up.
My family recently went through a very traumatic experience and out of fear I blamed the person who least deserved it. I was on the phone with my boyfriend, telling him about what was going on and how scared I was. I told him that I wished my dad had never met this person... and she overheard me. When I said it, I honestly thought that we would all be safer and happier if she had never came into our lives, but when she brought my dad and Grams back to me alive... I knew I was wrong. True, my dad would probably be safer but there is no way that he would be happier without her. She loves my father as much as he loves her and she does everything in her power to keep him safe, just as he does for her. I want to apologize to her, to tell her how much she means to all of us but words seem inadequate when it comes describing my level of remorse or gratitude.
"When were these papers written?" Kate asked Lou.
"Some of them, I just posted about an hour ago and others are from the first class of the season. There's really no way of knowing when any one paper was written, or by whom. Why?"
Kate ran her fingers over the paper that tugged at her heartstrings and shook her head. "Just wondering."
After a small but very filling dinner, ending with some rich dark chocolate, the group dispersed and headed to their rooms for the evening. When Kate opened the door to her room, her jaw dropped as Castle blue eyes locked on hers. "Alexis?"
"Detective Beckett, what are you doing here?" she asked as she stood up.
"I, uh... Martha asked me to take her place," Kate tried to explain.
"Grams isn't coming?" the young woman asked in surprise.
"She told me that something came up and she asked me to take her place, but now I'm beginning to wonder."
"Gram tricked us!"
"She told me that you had plans and that's why she asked me to come."
"Well, she left me a voicemail about an hour ago telling me how excited she was and that this weekend was going to be monumental."
"I guess we have two choices, detective."
"Please, call me Kate. What are the choices?"
Alexis fiddled with her phone, refusing to look her father's partner in the eye. "Our choices are to stay here and let on like we had a great time or leave and upset Grams."
"Or, we could actually try to relax and have a good time." Kate offered.
"I don't see that happening."
"Why not? I mean, I know that I'm not your favorite person but do you really hate me that much?"
"I don't hate you. It's just-" Alexis pauses and begins to pace the floor. Both women hold their tongues for what seems like an hour but when Kate reaches a hand out to console Alexis, the fiery teenager glares at her. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Alexis, maybe we both need-"
"I need some air," Little Castle interrupted, "I'm going for a walk."
Kate plopped down on the bed and watched as Alexis walked out the door. As soon as the door closed, she fell back on the bed and rolled onto her stomach, muffling her screams of frustration into the comforter. Once she finally regained some composure, she pulled out her phone and powered it up. Five missed calls from Castle, ten texts from him, and two voice mails. "Great!" Kate growled as she opened up the text messages and began to think about the ways she could reply to his, 'What's up?' and 'Miss me yet?' texts. She didn't want to lie to him, didn't want to worry him, and sure didn't want him to come and play peacemaker. She listened to his voice messages and decided she had to tell him something or he would be hunting her down.
-You should be writing!
-My muse has left me :(
-I didn't leave you, I left the city.
-Where are you? What are you doing?
-I'm in my room, wanting to go to sleep.
-Call me tomorrow?
-Maybe. Goodnight, Castle.
-Until tomorrow, Kate.
Kate turned the ringer off and decided to just call it a night and go to bed and try to get some sleep instead of pacing the floor, waiting and hoping that Alexis would come back.
Alexis walked to the gardens, taking the long route, trying to clear her mind or make a decision on what to do. She finally gave up on her third lap and headed back towards the Spa's entrance. When she opened the main door, the wind rushed past her and disrupted the literal confessions hanging in the hallway. One fell to the floor and Alexis stooped to pick it up. While trying to fasten it back onto the wall, her eyes are drawn to the words and her eyes begin to water as she read the anonymous admission of guilt, complete with doodles and crossed out words.
Aside from my father, there is only one man that I have ever loved and been loved by, and I lied to him. I'm still lying to him and it's eating me up inside. Words are not my forte but they are his and he knows exactly how to say his feelings, he even told me once. He came right out and told me he loves me and I pretended like it never happened. At first I was too weak (fragile?), then I was too busy running (fighting?), and now I'm just too scared. Someone asked me, not too long ago, what I was more afraid of... The possibility that he will wait for me, or that he won't. At the time, I didn't (couldn't) answer but now I can honestly say that the thought of losing him scares me more than anything in the world.
I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him always having my back and being the perfect partner (as he not so modestly claims.) We have saved each others lives more times that I can count, granted he could tell you the exact number, he keeps score. That is another thing about him, he makes me laugh. Usually at him, sometimes at myself and many times, just at life in general. I have a hard job but he makes it bearable. I just wish that I knew how I could tell him about my lie. Some way other than just blurting it out. I am so afraid that I will lose him over this and I worry enough about losing him. I worry everyday about him not being properly trained to be with me. I worry that I will have to be the one to go tell his daughter and mother that he won't be coming back. Losing him would be bad enough, but losing him because of my job and having it be my fault (which it would be), and having to tell his family would be excruciating. His daughter already blames me for putting him in harms way and in a way that is true. I could put my foot down and have him forbidden to follow me around anymore but I just don't know if I can do that. He is my partner. I trust him. I need him.
I love him.
Alexis continued on to walk slowly down the hall towards her and Kate's room. Now that she'd read Kate's letter, she knew that she had to figure out some way to apologize. When she finally made her way back to their room, Kate had her travel bag over her shoulder and was heading for the door. "I'm sorry for everything, Alexis. I think it's best if I leave."
The young woman grabbed the older one by the arm as she reached for the door knob. "No, I'm the one that's sorry, det... I mean, Kate. I never should have said that the day of the bank robbery."
Kate dropped her bag and wrapped her arms around Alexis. They hug and softly sob apologies to one another as Kate guided them back to the edge of the closest bed. She loosened the grip she had on Alexis just enough to look her in the eyes. "Sweetie, I want you to know how important you, Martha, and your father are to me and that I will always do my best to keep all of you safe."
Alexis nodded her head in understanding and acceptance. "You love him."
"Should have known you'd ask something like that, you are your father's daughter."
"It wasn't a question, Kate. It was a statement," the redhead said with a smile. "I know it for a fact now."
"Alexis, your father and I... We... ah Hell, it's complicated."
"No, it's not," Alexis stubbornly insisted. "Just open your mouth and say the words."
After a short pause Kate whispered, "I love him."
"What was that, detective?" Alexis chuckled, cupping a hand at her ear in order to hear better.
"You're right, ok? Everyone is right. I'm in love with Richard Castle!" Kate exclaimed. "I love his feisty daughter and his meddling mother as well."
"Oh, Kate!" Alexis sighed as she crushed the detective in another hug. "Welcome to our pod."
"I'll ask her right after I thank her for setting this up."
Alexis smiled and hugged Kate again. "She knew we needed this."
Kate continued to hold Alexis much in the same way a mother would her child. Running her fingers through her long red hair and making soothing circles on her back and arm. "By the way, Alexis your phone chimed while you were out getting some air. It was probably your father because he was texting me just before your phone went off."
Alexis chuckled as she reached for her phone and saw that it was indeed her dad that had sent her a message and had tried to call her, more than once. "You could have answered it."
"He doesn't know where I am."
"How did you manage that?" Alexis asked surprised.
"Your grandmother only talked to me about it yesterday. He's been so busy with the stuff Gina has for him that he hasn't been at the precinct since Tuesday."
"No, what I want to know is how you managed to get him not to text you a couple of dozen times."
"Oh, he did. I told him I was taking off early today then having a relaxing weekend just before I got into the elevator this morning. By the time I was on my floor, my phone started going berserk with missed calls, messages, and texts from him. I sent him a text when I got close to here and told him I was turning off my phone. I checked it about an hour ago."
"Let me guess. A dozen calls, messages and texts?" Alexis said with a smile.
"Two messages, 5 calls, and 10 texts," Kate said as she pulled her phone out of her bag then smiled. "Three more texts."
"Wow, Dad's really bored at home alone isn't he?"
"It makes me wonder what kind of mischief he can get into," Kate joked.
"You have no idea," the young woman said.
"Yes I do! I've read his police record," Kate said causing them both to laugh.
"I wasn't even going to bring my phone but Dad insisted even though I told him that the spa doesn't allow them."
"They don't?" Kate asked surprised.
"No, they do. But that's just one of those little white lies that Dad doesn't need to know about," Alexis grinned.
"The little white lies I would tell my dad were much worse than that."
"Oh you can't stop there," Alexis joked.
"Um, let's just say that I never told my dad that my first dorm was co-ed."
Kate and Alexis talked and laughed for hours and eventually fell asleep. They are awaken by a heavenly aroma. "Mmm," Kate moaned. "Something smells divine."
Alexis raised her head from her pillow. "It's coffee and..." she sniffed the air several times trying to figure out what was on the breakfast menu. "Chocolate."
They both laughed as they climbed out of their beds. "We're surrounded by chocolate." Kate joked.
"We really will be later today, have you seen the list of things they offer here?"
"Actually, no. Martha said she was going to take care of everything.. Yesterday's coffee rub and wrap sure were nice though. I was surprised that Martha picked that over a chocolate wrap."
"She wouldn't have," Alexis said wondering why Kate would have thought otherwise.
"I mentioned to the lady helping me that it was nice that my friend was able to change the treatment to a coffee wrap since she knows I love coffee so much and they said that it had been scheduled as a coffee wrap the whole time."
"You know what that means?" Alexis asked then continued at Kate's questioning expression. "That proves that Gram intended for you to be here instead of her."
"We really need to thank her."
"Let's stop at the gift shop later tonight and pick her up some things. And I think I'll get something for Dad too. I have his credit card with me. You know what they say, 'Don't leave home without it.'"
They quickly got dressed in their lounge wear and went downstairs to get their breakfast. Once they were finished with their pancakes, Kim arrived to escort them back to the relaxation wing of the spa. She went over the long list of the treatments they had scheduled for the day and introduced them to a young lady named Kat that would be shadowing them throughout the day, answering their questions and filling them in on the history of Hershey.
Kim left them in the capable hands of Kat and the girl immediately started going on and on about chocolate this and chocolate that, how much she loves her job, and how much they were going to enjoy the treatments starting with edible chocolate facial.
"I have a friend that gave up chocolate for lent once." Alexis informed her companions. "She was a little temperamental during that time."
"I can't imagine going one day without chocolate, let alone forty." Kat laughed as she confessed to them, "I'd kill someone."
"Kate is a homicide Detective," Alexis alerted Kat, "You may not want to joke about murder."
"Oh, God! I'm sorry, I wouldn't actually kill anyone, it was a figure of speech."
Kate shook her head and waved a hand at the frightened attendant. "I feel exactly the same way. I keep a bowl of M&M's on my desk just to make it through the day without hurting someone."
"Like your partner," Alexis grinned.
Kat closed her eyes and moaned, "M&M's give my tastebuds orgasms. But don't tell anyone I said that, they are made by a competitor."
Kate and Alexis burst into laughter at Kat's remark and then promised to keep her little secret. Kat opened a door and ushered the ladies in ahead of her. She informed them that they would be receiving a whipped chocolate bath that would last approximately fifteen minutes and that she would meet up with them afterwards for a tour through Hershey's Gardens.
After the bath where they both felt like they were in a giant mug of hot chocolate, Kat came and escorted them to the gardens. The gardens were beautiful and Kat was a very informative and hilarious tour guide. The three women thoroughly enjoyed their peaceful walk and arrived back at the main hall and Kat lead them to their next destination, a fifty minute massage.
Kate fell asleep about thirty minutes into the massage. She was nudged awake by Alexis who was holding her phone out to her. "You may want to turn that on and check your messages. I just got off the phone with dad and he sounds awful."
"Yeah, lovesick and lonely."
"Aw," Kate sighed, "I'll check in just a minute. Let me get dressed first." Alexis stepped out Kate was soon dressed and headed out to meet Alexis as she turned on her phone and saw several missed texts and a voicemail. She opened up her voicemail, and wasn't surprised to see it was from her partner. He sounded worried when he said "Kate, are you okay? You said you would call me and you haven't. You aren't responding to my texts. I just want to make sure that you are okay. Call me, please. You promised." Kate smiled thinking about the fact that she did not promise to call, she had told him that she would try.
"He said that he's all worried because I promised to call him and I haven't," Kate said to Alexis with a smile. "I told him that I would try to call him at some point today but it's just now lunch time."
"You know, he's not all that patient," Alexis said with a grin.
"I guess I really better call him."
Alexis smiled and nodded her head. "I'll wait in the dining room."
Kate hit Rick's assigned speed dial number and had to bite down on her lip to keep from laughing when he answered before the first ring had ended. "KATE!"
"Missing me much, Kitten?" she asked with a smile.
"You promised to never call me that again."
"No, I didn't. Just like I never promised to call you today. I told you I would try. Besides, it's barely even noon, couldn't you wait until the end of the day before worrying?"
"No," he whined.
"So you miss me?"
"Maybe just a little."
"Just a little? Maybe I should stay longer..."
"Please tell me you're joking." Rick interrupted. "I barely survived this summer, and now that I have you..."
"You have me?" Kate again had to hold back her amusement and tried to sound unaffected by his slip.
Rick sighed but didn't take back what he said. "You know what I mean, Kate."
"Yeah," she admitted as she twirled a strand of hair around her finger. "I know what you mean."
"Kate, is there anything else you need?" a male voice asked from behind her..
"Who was that, Kate?"
"Sorry, Castle. I need to run. I'll talk to you later, lunch is ready."
Rick felt like he could crush his phone with his bare hands. Kate had kept him in the dark about this trip, she seemed to be screening his calls, and now there was some strange man calling her by her first name. "Why does this keep happening to me?"
Kate and Alexis had enjoyed a fabulous lunch and were now laid back, their faces completely covered in chocolate. "Good thing they feed you before this treatment." Kate joked "Otherwise we would be eating this stuff off before it even had time to set."
"Go ahead and lick your lips, it tastes good," the technician said.
"Really?" Alexis asked surprised.
"Oh, it's good," Kate said not waiting for confirmation.
"Mmmm," they both moaned as they repeatedly licked their chocolate covered lips. They enjoyed the rest of their facial and the story about Milton and Kitty Hershey that they were told as they let the chocolate harden.
Kat had arrived a little early to retrieve the two and escort them to the Story Museum and her laughter alerted everyone to her presence. Kate's cop instincts kicked in and she sat straight up, her eyes darting around the room until she located the smiling tour guide. "What's so funny?" she ask Kat.
"You two must not have had enough for lunch because you've both licked all the chocolate off your lips."
Alexis giggled when she looked over at Kate. "You look like a shocked raccoon."
"So do you!" The detective shot back at her.
"Let the technicians clean you both up so we can head on over to the Story Museum."
After the museum, Kat took them back to the nail salon and bid them a good night. Kate and Alexis were seated immediately and their hands and feet were placed into warm baths of chocolate as they listened to the many benefits of the cocoa bean. They learned that the Cocoa bean contains phenylethylamine, an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels, creating a happy feeling and that the nonfat parts of cocoa beans have antioxidant properties which benefit your circulatory health, increasing blood flow and reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers.
"Wow!" Kate exclaimed, "I never knew chocolate was so good for you."
The technician quickly informed her of the difference between chocolate and the actual bean and that dark chocolate was more beneficial than milk or white chocolates. He cleaned off their hands and handed them menus to look over while he turned to their feet.
"I have no clue what I want to order for dinner."
"Me either," Kate sighed, "but I'm looking forward to the chocolate martini that comes with our meal."
"Do I get one?"
The man at their feet looked up at the teenager and then to Kate. "It is included in your meal but since you are underage...'
"Oh, no! I wasn't meaning I wanted it." Alexis defended herself, "I was going to say that Kate could have mine as well. She deserves it and I'd like for her to have it."
"I think that will be permissible, Miss Castle."
They finally decide on what to eat after they get back to their room. They are pleased to find out that they don't have to go to the dining hall, their meals can be delivered to the room if that's what they want. And that is definitely what they want.
Alexis flopped down on her bed and exhaled loudly. "I feel so..."
"Boneless?" Kate laughed out loud.
Sunday morning, Kate and Alexis made their way to the relaxation wing for their final treatment, an herbal meadow sea scrub. They enjoyed the scrub and then having the lightly floral lotion slathered all over them. They decided that they liked the lotion so much, they both stopped off that the gift shop to buy some to take home. Of course, neither of them were able to leave the shop without buying quite a bit more things also.
Finally as they walked back to the reception area, each carrying a small travel bag and bag from the gift shop. "I had a really good time this weekend, Kate."
"Me too, Lex."
Alexis stopped suddenly when she realized exactly where they were. She reached for Kate's hand and pulled her a few feet back down the hall until they stood directly in front of her letter. "Do you know what this will do to him?"
"I know, Alexis, and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have lied..."
"Not the lie, I'm talking about your feelings for him," Alexis assured Kate. "He's going to be over the moon!"
"But I've been deceiving him, he still thinks I don't remember. That I never heard him."
"That part will hurt him," Alexis started. "But he loves you too much to not forgive you and once you've told him you feel the same, he's going to be so happy."
"Maybe I should start with 'I love you'."
Alexis chuckled, "I think it's always best to deliver the good news first."
Kate placed a kiss at Alexis' temple and turned her around to face her letter on the adjacent wall. "Now, as for your letter... I want you to know that I understand why you said what you did that day and I don't hold it against you. I also want you to know that I really do everything in my power to make sure he comes home to you."
"I know you do," Alexis beamed, "Now let me get you home to him."
"Yeah, let's go home."
"Excuse me, Miss Castle?" the concierge asked as the two women were signing out of their room.
"Yes?" Alexis smiled at the unknown staff member walking towards them.
"I was told to give you this package before you checked out."
Alexis reached for the box with a confused look on her face. She quickly opened it, pulling out a helmet and a card from Martha.
-I cancelled car service and bought you this. Thought you may want to ride back with
Kate. If you have too much luggage, just have the concierge send it home.
"You rode your Harley here?" Alexis ask as she showed the note to Kate.
"Yeah," Kate smiled as she pulled her keys from her pocket. "Want me to teach you how to drive it?"
"You would do that?"
"I'll show you all the technical aspects but you can't drive solo on any real roads since you don't have the license yet. And I don't want your dad to blow a gasket."
"He's said that I could get lessons at some point."
"Yep, that was one of his stipulations for me getting the scooter."
"I guess that's okay then."
Alexis wrapped her arms around the detective, her new helmet hitting her in the back. "Best weekend, ever!"
The duo walked out to the parking lot and Kate gave Alexis a quick tutorial about motorcycles. She explained the gears, how to engage and disengage the clutch without over revving or stalling, and how important it is to lean into curves. Once their helmets are tightly secured to their heads, they climbed on. Alexis paid close attention to everything Kate did as they pulled away from the spa and headed down the long driveway. They were nearly home when Kate drove past their exit and soon stopped at a cabin. They both got off the bike and removed their helmets.
"Where are we Kate?"
"My Dad's cabin. This is where I learned to drive my bike."
"Your dad taught you?" Alexis asked surprised.
"Yeah, he figured that if he taught me he could make sure that I knew the proper way to do things."
"So what should we do?" Alexis asked.
"First, we walk around the bike and take a look to make sure that nothing is obviously wrong. Check for flat or low tires, low or leaking fluids, and make sure your lights are in working order." Kate grinned as Alexis followed her around the bike and paid very close attention to everything she said and did. "And then you need to get comfortable on the bike."
Alexis put her helmet back on before she threw her leg over the Harley and put her hands on the grips of the handlebars. She smiled and made little vroom-vroom noises, making Kate burst out in laughter. "Put the kickstand up, Castle Jr. I'll help you hold the bike upright but I want you to get a feel of the weight of it before you start her up."
Kate refastened her helmet and slid in behind Alexis, supporting most of the bike's weight as she leaned it a little to the right and then to the left. Alexis grunted as she strained to keep them upright. "It's heavy, Kate."
"The only time you're gonna feel the weight of it like this is when you come to a stop and when you learn how to balance it, it's not hard to keep her upright."
"Ok, so now what?"
"Start her up."
Alexis went through the steps Kate had shown her earlier and the motorcycle roared to life. "Ok, now engage the clutch while still holding the brake and put her into first gear."
"Brake, clutch, first gear..." Alexis echoed the instructions and once again executed them to perfection.
"Now, keep both feet on the ground, ease off the brake, and slowly release the clutch until you feel the bike start to pull forward and then give a little gas."
"This is the scary part."
"I'm right here, nothing bad will happen."
Alexis took in a calming breath and released her grip on the handbrake but when she let out the clutch too fast, the bike lurched forward and stalled out. "I let it out too fast, didn't I?"
"Yeah, it's ok, try it again. This time listen to the motor. When you hear it slow down or change pitch, give just a little gas as you continue to let out on the clutch."
Never one to quit at anything, Alexis fired the bike back up and prepared for try number two and then three and four. Five tries later and they were finally rolling very slowly down the driveway. "I did it! I did it Kate!"
"Pick your feet up now and go a little faster then come to a stop at the mailbox and do it all again."
They never got past first gear but Alexis mastered taking off and stopping and they both had a ball.
"So Kate, do you think you will teach Dad how to drive the bike also?"
"I'm not sure your dad could handle it!"
A few hours later, Kate parked her Harley in the parking garage instead of just dropping Alexis off and heading to her own place. They removed their helmets and Alexis grabbed her gift shop purchases and electronics out of the saddlebags. The elevator ride up to the loft was silent as Kate mentally prepared herself for what she was about to do. The lift stopped, the doors opened and Alexis stepped out but Kate froze. "Don't chicken out now, Kate." Alexis prodded, "You can do this."
"You sound just like your father." Kate smirked as she took the young girls hand and they headed down the hall.
Rick was sitting at the kitchen counter when he heard the front door open. He got to his feet and rounded the corner just in time to see his daughter enter. "Alexis!" he yelled as he ran towards her and crushed her in a bear hug. "I've missed you, Pumpkin."
"Missed you too, Dad," the youngster huffed out as he father continued to squeeze and rock her from side to side. "I brought someone home with me."
Rick released his hold on her and looked back towards the door to see Kate standing there. "Beckett?"
"Oh we're back to Beckett, huh?" Kate joked, "Am I in trouble?"
Rick turns his attention back to his daughter, ushering her over to the couch. "Tell me all about your trip. Did you have fun?"
"Best trip ever Dad but I think Kate needs to speak to you before..."
Kate sensed that something is off and now may not be the best time for her confession so she interrupted Alexis. "No, that's ok. I'll just go."
Alexis jumped up from the couch and glared at the detective. "I need to put my things away, you two talk."
Rick stood slowly, watched Alexis run up the stairs and then he headed towards his office without so much as a glance at Kate. Alexis stopped when she reached the top landing and saw her dad entering his private domain. She cleared her throat to get Kates attention and then motioned with her hand for her to follow him.
Kate took a deep breath and then put one foot in front of the other until she was standing just inside the darkened office. She saw Rick sitting at his desk with his head in his hands. "Is something wrong, Rick?"
"Don't call me that."
"Wha... Why?" Kate stammered, "I thought you liked it when I called you by your first name. I mean, since we are getting a lot closer now and..."
"And what, Beckett?" Rick growled as he raked his hands over his face and pushed his hair back. "And you needed to go away suddenly for some secret vacation?"
"Rick, please let me explain."
"That's not necessary. I get it." He stood up and began pacing as his anger and hurt propel unfiltered words out his mouth. "I can't do this again. I won't be back to the precinct. You and loverboy can..."
"Whoa!" Kate shouted, "Hold it right there. What do you mean loverboy?"
"The man you snuck off to meet. The one I overheard you talking to yesterday."
Kate walked quickly over to his side and gripped both his arms firmly, forcing him to stop pacing and look at her. "You're jealous?"
"No," he mumbled as he tried to turn away from her. "I'm just confused and tired. Can you let go of me please?"
Kate relaxed her hold but just slightly. Her grip was now more like a caress as she softly spoke to the buttons on Rick's shirt, not ready to look into his eyes. "You have nothing to be jealous over, Rick. Your mother tricked Alexis and me into staying at the same spa this weekend and Chris, the guy you overheard on the phone, he's a masseuse. I'm not his type anyways, you may be, but not me."
"You mean he's gay?"
"Very much so. His boyfriend works at the spa too and he gave us our manicures and pedicures."
"Why would my mother trick you into a vacation?"
"She knew that Alexis and I needed to work some things out amongst ourselves and between the two of us."
"And it went well?"
"Not at first but by Friday night, we worked out the problems we had."
Rick took a step closer to Kate and tipped her chin up so he could look her in the eyes. "So, let me get this straight... My mother conned you into spending the weekend with my daughter so that you two would bond, you weren't being secretive to hide a new lover, and I was being an ass."
Kate smiled and nodded. "And I love you." After all the worrying about how to tell him, wanting to make sure she did it right and she just blurted it out like it was the easiest thing in the world to say.
The look on Rick's face was comical and Kate couldn't help but snicker as she began repeating her declaration over and over. Rick's lips sealed against hers midway through the third go around and he mumbled into her mouth. "Love you, Kate... so much."
Kate let her hands snake up Rick's arms and into his hair just as his went to her waist and pulled her closer. The chaste kisses became heated, temperatures began to rise, and hands started to roam. "Wait," Kate sighed, "there's something else I need to tell you."
"Tell me later," Rick whispered as he peppered her face with kisses. "I don't want to stop kissing you yet."
Kate moaned as Rick's lips traveled down her neck. She knew she needed to finish her confession before she lost the rest of her coherent thought. "Rick... I heard... um, God, your lips."
Rick smiled against her soft flesh as he continued to map out her neck with his lips. "You heard what?"
"When I was shot... You told me you love me."
The kisses stopped and Rick pulled back to look at Kate. She looked frightened but that just proved to him that she really did mean what she said. "You love me." Kate pulled her lips into her mouth and nodded even though it wasn't a question. "And I love you." She nodded again and opened her mouth to say something but Rick cut her off. "That's all that matters."
Kate let out a sigh of relief and wrapped her arms around the writer's neck. "I was hoping you'd say that."
Rick gave Kate a quick kiss on the lips and then nodded towards the door where Alexis stood. Kate held out a hand and beckoned the teenager to join their embrace. The three of them silently proclaimed their happiness and love for one another in a family hug. "There is one little problem here." Rick stated as he looked from Alexis to Kate. "You smell exactly like my daughter and it's a little awkward now considering what we were just doing and what we will be doing..."
"LA-LAH-LA-LA-LAHHH!" Alexis shouted as she shuts her eyes and covers her ears. "We get it, Dad."
Kate blushed and gave Rick a slap to the back of his head. "I'll give my lotion to Martha. Problem solved."
Alexis laughed nervously. "I thought you were going to say something about Kate teaching me to drive her Harley."
Rick snapped his attention back to his partner, giving her a look that he thought was intimidating. "You did what?"