Kate sighed in relief as she sank into the soft leather of the couch in her fiancé’s loft apartment. Catching herself staring at the ring that now adorned her left ring finger; she couldn’t help but marvel at how quickly her life had taken a turn for the better. It was only ten hours ago that she was worried about the future of her relationship, whether she and Rick were actually going to make it, and considering moving to DC for a job. Now she was engaged to the love of her life, pregnant, and staying in New York for good. As Rick pulled his phone from his pocket and dialled her father’s number, she leaned forward, picking up her book from where she had left it on the table in front of her, and began reading.
The writer smiled slightly as he heard his fiancée’s father’s voice on the other end of the line. “Jim. Hi, it’s Rick Castle”.
“Hi Rick. What can I do for you?” his almost-father-in-law asked from the other end of the line.
“I was wondering if you might be free tonight at around 7” Rick replied calmly.
“Hang on, let me check”.
There was a short pause before Jim responded. “Yeah, I am. Is something up?”
As much as Rick wanted to tell Kate’s father, he knew he had to keep their news a secret, at least until that night. “Kate and I talked things over a couple of minutes ago, and the two of us have a few announcements to make. We were wondering if you would join us at the loft for dinner tonight. My mother will be there, as will, hopefully, Alexis.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you then”.
Rick smiled. “Great, thank you so much. We’ll see you at 7”.
As he hung up, Kate paused in the middle of the book she was reading and glanced over at him. “Should I assume he’s going to be able to make it?” she queried.
Rick grinned, replying “He’ll be here.”
Kate nodded and went back to the book she was reading as her fiancé quickly tapped in another number, immensely grateful for the fact that Alexis still had a couple more days to go before she left for Costa Rica. “Dad?”
Rick’s smile widened as soon as he heard his teenage daughter’s voice. “Hi, pumpkin. Kate and I were just wondering if you were free tonight at around 7.”
Alexis considered the question. “I do have to finish getting ready for the trip to Costa Rica, but that can wait until tomorrow. What’s going on?”
“Kate and I have a couple of announcements to make. We’re probably going to meet the guys for lunch tomorrow to tell them, but we wanted your grandmother, her father, and you to be the first ones to find out”.
He could almost hear the surprise in his daughter’s voice. “Really?”
“Really. We’re having dinner at the loft tonight; we’ll be making the announcements there. See you there?”
When his daughter responded, there was a certain eagerness to her voice. “Yeah, dad. I’ll be there. I’m looking forward to it now”.
“Great. See you at 7.”
~At 7 that night~
There was a knock on the door, and Rick opened it, greeting the older man that stood on the other side. “Good to see you again, Jim”.
“You too, Rick”.
The writer stepped to the side, allowing the older man to enter. As he did so, Kate, who was standing in the kitchen talking to Martha, came walking over, embracing her father. “Good to see you again so soon, dad” she said quietly.
“Good to see you too, Katie. Now, are you going to tell me what all this is about or are you going to make me guess?”
“We want to wait until Alexis gets here to share our news, but, as Rick told you before, we talked things over. I think I made the right choice under the circumstances”.
“And that choice would be… what, exactly?”
Kate chuckled. “Sorry, Dad, but you’ll have to wait until Alexis is here to find that out. Why don’t you take a seat? Dinner should be ready soon”.
Following Jim’s arrival, it was only a couple of minutes longer before Alexis showed up. Rick embraced his daughter before moving into the kitchen to finish the dinner preparations, leaving Kate to talk with the younger Castle. “What’s going on, Kate?” Alexis queried.
Before answering, Kate turned and looked towards Rick, who had just taken the lasagne out of the oven. Feeling her eyes upon him, he looked up and in her direction, smiling reassuringly at her. She could see the pure, unbridled, joy and love shining in his sapphire eyes, and her heart beat faster as everything finally sank in. She was pregnant, they were engaged, and she had decided that the possibility of a life with him was far more important to her than the possibility of a career with the FBI. Far more important. At last, she managed to find the right words to give the reply she wanted to without giving too much away. “Good things, Alexis. Very good things indeed”.
The red-haired girl smiled and grinned at the detective. “I’m glad. You make my dad happier than he has been for years, Kate. Honestly, I don’t know what he’d do without you”.
Kate smiled softly. “I don’t know what I’d do without him either, Alexis. I’ve never felt about anyone else the way I do about him. I’m not proud of the fact that it took me so long to realize how I felt about him, but now I know, and I’m never going to let him forget how much I love him”.
“That’s all I needed to hear” Alexis said softly, before walking towards the table to join Jim and her grandmother.
Rick finished dishing the lasagne onto five plates before turning to Kate. “Could you help me serve these, please?”
His fiancée nodded. “Gladly”.
~A couple of minutes later~
Kate took another bite of her lasagne. “This is so good”.
Jim set his fork down beside his plate and took a sip of his cider. “Not that I’m complaining or anything, but on the phone earlier Rick mentioned that the two of you have news. So… what is it?”
Rick and Kate glanced at each other briefly before Kate spoke again. “Three things. Firstly… I’ve been offered a job with the Attorney General’s office in DC. I’d have access to government resources and technology, not to mention the security access. However… Rick and I have talked it over, and I’ve made the decision not to take the job (though I was already leaning towards that option anyway). My life, my family, my friends… I have everything I need right here in New York. This is where I belong, and leaving for a job that, in all likelihood, I’d probably hate, would be the second biggest mistake I’ve ever made”.
“The second biggest? What was the biggest mistake you’ve ever made, if you don’t mind me asking?” queried Alexis.
Rick squeezed Kate’s hand gently, and the detective smiled warmly at him before returning her eyes to the red-haired teenager. “Not telling Rick how I feel about him sooner” the detective replied.
Kate caught her father’s approving nod. “Anyway, the second thing… After I told Rick that I wasn’t going to take the job, he asked me to marry him. And… I said yes”.
She eased her hand free of her fiancé’s and held it up, revealing the engagement ring on her left ring finger. “And the third thing is… I’m pregnant”.
As their family congratulated them, Kate felt her fiancé’s arm slip around her waist and pull her close, and she went easily, nuzzling into his side. “You’re going to be a great mother, Kate. I know you will” he said softly.
She looked up into his brilliant sapphire eyes, placing a soft kiss to his cheek. “Thank you. And you’re going to be a great father. You already are with Alexis, it’s only natural that you’ll be great with any children we have as well” she replied.
Her fiancé smiled warmly at her. “Together, Kate, we can handle anything life throws at us. I know we can”.
“I love you”.
“I love you too, Kate… Move in with me?”
~The next day~
“So, bro, you said there was something the two of you wanted to share with us?”
Kate and Rick smiled at each other before Kate responded. “Remember the Dale Tanner case? After we wrapped the case up, Agent Stack told me about a job opening with the Attorney General’s office. I flew down to DC last week and interviewed for the position. Yesterday, I got a call saying that I got the job…”
Ryan glanced at Rick, surprised that he was taking this as well as he was. Esposito folded his arms and stared at Kate. “Congratulations. So, when do you leave?”
“I don’t. I said I got the job, I didn’t say I took it. You guys are here. My family is here. My life, my home, is here. My fiancé, who just so happens to be the love of my life, is here. I’m not going anywhere”.
Ryan raised an eyebrow. “Did you just say fiancé?”
Rick nodded. “She did indeed. After we closed that last case, we met and I asked her to marry me”.
Kate smiled, raising her hand to reveal the engagement ring on her left ring finger. “And, after telling him that I turned the job down, and that… I’m pregnant… I said yes. And last night, he asked me to move in with him”.
As their friends congratulated them, she felt his arm slip around her waist, and she subconsciously snuggled into his side, resting her head on his shoulders. "Thank you, Rick" she breathed.
He looked down at her questioningly. "For what?"
She took a second to consider what she was about to say. "For this. For our life together. For everything you are to me, for everything you have been and for everything you have done for me. Just... you changed my life, Rick, and I can never express how grateful I am for that. Thank you for waiting for me".
His arms immediately tightened around her, though not enough to be uncomfortable, and he pressed a kiss to her forehead, responding "You've changed my life too, Kate. In so many ways. You were worth waiting for".
And in that moment, Kate Beckett knew that she had never felt more content.