"Kate, no!"

Too late. He's too late.

She stares at him from her bent position, eyes wide with shock, filling with moisture.

"Castle?" she gasps. "What-"

He drops to a knee in front of her. "Kate..."

Her hand lifts to his cheek, and he returns the gesture, swiping the tears from her face with a broad thumb.

"How long?" she whispers.

"Christmas Eve," he answers quietly. "After I left."

She shakes her head. "But we weren't even..."

"I know."

"But you-"

He nods. "Yes."

"Even then? How did you-"

He drops his hand from her cheek, presses on her shoulder until she stumbles back to sit heavily in the chair. He nudges the desk drawer shut with his elbow. "I knew. Even then. But especially after that evening and morning. I knew."

One hand remains clenched at her side, but the other rises from its place at his cheek to feather through the short hair over his ear. "Rick..."

He closes his eyes, absorbs the moment, how her feelings manifest themselves through this small touch. When his eyes open again, she's studying him.

"Well?" she murmurs.

"I didn't mean for it to happen this way," he tells her earnestly. "I was going to-"

She shakes her head. "But now..."

"But now?" he echoes.

Her eyes drill into him, make his vision swim, make his heart pound harder. "I can't unsee it, Castle. I can't forget."

He lowers an eyebrow. "What were you looking for anyway?"

"Not that."


"Then," she says softly, her word shadowing his, an odd reversal in roles. "Then I guess you'd better just do it."

He shakes his head. "I had a plan."

The corner of her mouth rises. "Of course you did."

"I mean, I was going to-" he begins, but then halts, stops the flow of words. "But I guess it doesn't matter now."

She lets out a little puff of air. "Not really. No."

He frowns. "If you weren't so nosy..."

"You do not want to finish that sentence, Richard Castle," she growls. "Not if you want to-"

"Well, what do you want me to do, then?" he asks.

She slides her hand down to tug on his ear. "What do you think?"

He frowns again. "Just like that? But I wanted it to be-"

"Castle," she sighs, rubbing her thumb against his earlobe. "It already is."

"You don't even know what I was going to say."

She lifts an eyebrow. "I know you."

He can't refute that. She does. Better than anyone else. "So?"

"So ask."

He reaches for the hand clenched at her side, unfurls her fingers to get at the treasure they hold so tightly.

"Kate," he says slowly, his heart filling with the sparkle in her eyes that outshines any diamond ring, even the one she discovered by accident in his desk drawer. "Will you marry me?"

Back                         Home                              Castle Main Page

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!