He cuts two large slices of the cake then thinks better of it, grabbing the whole platter and balancing the bowl of whipped cream besides.

Oh. Milk. Yes, he likes milk with cake. Kate does too, he's fairly certain.

He- oh, he cannot balance all of this. Ok, think, Castle.

Glancing around the kitchen, his eyes light on the tray Alexis has sometimes used to bring him breakfast in bed when she wanted something. That'll do nicely.

He snags the tray and sets the cake, milk carton, two glasses and the bowl of whipped cream in the middle along with forks and small plates. He wishes he had flowers. Well, anything really to show Kate what this means to him - that two weeks have passed and she's still here, still wants him.

It's surreal.

No flowers though. Tomorrow. Tomorrow he'll buy her flowers. Hell, tomorrow he may buy her a whole florist's shop. Or a botanical garden. That'd be good too.

He vaguely registers the sound of movement from beyond his office door, and it kicks him into gear. Cake, milk, plates, forks, glasses, whipped cream. He's set.

The writer lifts the tray carefully, the rich scent of chocolate and coffee wafting up to him. No woman, save his mother and daughter, has baked for him. Nor cooked for him even.

One more thing that makes Kate extraordinary. And he intends to demonstrate the full spectrum of his gratitude.

When he steps through the doorway, he nearly drops the tray. But for her eyes darting toward the items in his hands, he wouldn't have even realized he was still holding the thing. He manages to catch it before it tumbles, holds it as steady as he can when faced with...that.

His eyes travel over the figure reclining in the middle of the bed, nestled against a pile of pillows, one hand behind her head and the other resting lightly against her stomach. Her legs lay crossed at the knee, dainty feet, slender calves, and most of her toned thighs visible to his perusal.

Something not quite sheer covers her from the tops of her thighs to just below her collar bones, embroidered eyelets sprinkled through the fabric hinting at the delectable expanse of skin beneath.

The writer in him scoffs at the cliché, but his brain can only manage the thought that she's a vision in purple. Heliotrope, his minds supplies. But no, that's not it. It's- he's not sure what color it is. He should ask her. All he knows is that it contrasts beautifully with the chocolate brown of his bedspread.

His eyes meet hers then, find her gaze on him, dark and inviting and more than a little amused.

"What color is that?" he blurts out, feels his face flushing as she raises an eyebrow, one corner of her mouth curling up.

"Why, Castle?" she asks, her voice low and raspy and good grief, he's not going to survive this. "You wanna buy a matching one for yourself?"

Her teasing jolts him out of his stupor and he lets out a laugh, loves her all the more for her wit. "Maybe I do. Think I could pull it off?"

Lips pressed together, she nods. "You've got the legs for it."

"Why Miss Beckett," he leers. "Have you been checking out my legs? My well-sculpted calves? My strong, ah, powerful thighs?"

She pulls her hand from her stomach, patting the space beside her. "Right now I'm more interested in what's above your legs."

His lungs suddenly devoid of air, he takes a lurching step forward, almost stumbles in his haste to reach her.

"In your hands, I mean," she says when he's halfway across the room. "I want to see how the cake turned out."

He pauses for a moment, shakes his head at her, at the spark of mischief in her eyes. But then his gazes lands on the creamy skin above the scalloped edges of whatever that lovely thing is that she's wearing and his feet move once more of their own volition.

"Don't drop the cake," she cautions as he hurries toward the bed, her voice still that rough alto that curls inside of him, sends flames licking up his spine. "Wouldn't want all my long, hard hours of work to go to waste."

He slows a little, sets the tray carefully on the bed next to her hip and perches himself on his knees beside it, his eyes trailing over the skin bared to him as well as that still concealed. Which, uh, isn't much. Here, up close, he can see just how sheer the fabric really is, can see just how thin a layer separates him from every inch of her.

Swallowing hard, he lifts a hesitant hand, halts its movements before he can actually touch her. His gaze drifts over the pale purple fabric, and she shifts under his examination, her fingers rising to smooth the slight wrinkles over her hips.

"Lilac," she murmurs, the single word soft as it hangs in the air, in the sudden, electric silence.

He meets her dark eyes. "Hmm?"

"The color," she clarifies. "You asked what color it is."

"It's beautiful," he breathes, his eyes fixed on hers. "You're beautiful, Kate."

A blush sneaks across her chest, a shy smile lifting her lips. "Sit with me?"

The teasing, tempting vixen of a woman has suddenly disappeared, a simple compliment from him replacing her with this softer version. He loves them both.

He settles back then, realizing she's made a place for him too, arranged fluffy pillows to cushion his back. He steals a glance at her, catches her watching him tenderly before she averts her eyes to the tray between them.

"You brought milk," she announces.

He nods. "I did."

"It's a rich cake," she says. "So that's good."

He nods again. Small talk. This is small talk. They've been together two weeks, have spent every night of that timespan in each other's arms. What's more, they've known each other - been partners through thick and thin - for far longer than that. There's no reason for this hesitancy, this self-consciousness. And yet here it is.

Here they sit, shoulder to shoulder on his bed, and she's glad he brought milk because the cake is rich.

Leaning forward quickly, he plates two slices of cake and pours two glasses of milk. He passes one of each to her, along with a fork, and then settles back against the pillows once more.

"To the sweet things in life," he says quietly, smiling as he turns toward her and holds out his glass.

She scrunches her nose, shakes her head. But she clinks her glass with his nonetheless, a gentleness in her eyes. "To the sweet things."

Their knuckles brush as they both set their glasses back on the tray, even that small touch sparking in his veins. Taking a deep breath, he pulls his hand back and picks up the fork resting on the edge of his plate.

The utensil slices smoothly through the thick cream, sinking into the depths of the cake, and he glances up, finds her eyes on him. She's waiting for him.

He looks down long enough to slide his fork under the piece he's cut and then he lifts it to his lips, his gaze drifting back to hers as he opens his mouth, slipping the confection inside.

She lists toward him slightly as his lips close around the cool stainless steel, the tip of her tongue breaking the seal of her lips as he pulls the fork free, dragging every last bit of frosting from the tines.

And then the flavor hits him and he groans. She startles back, but her face breaks into a smile, all flashing teeth and bright eyes. A smile that quickly turns coy, seductive - knowing - when he can't hold back another small sound of appreciation.

"Oh my..." he starts. "Kate."

She presses her lips together. He looks down at the plate, back up at her.

"You should seriously consider the idea of opening a bakery," he tells her.

"Castle-" she says on a laugh.

He shakes his head. "No. Scratch that. Actually I don't think I want you to make this for anyone else."

Her eyebrows rise and he realizes what he's said, how it sounds. "Oh, I didn't- I mean, you're-"

"Relax," she says softly, setting her glass and plate on the tray and reaching toward him with both hands. "I'm not planning on making it for anyone else anytime soon. If ever."

He stills as her left hand cups his cheek, holding him in place while her right thumb coasts along his bottom lip. "This cake is a lot of work. Takes a while to get it just right."

Letting out a soft 'oh' of understanding, he watches as she pulls her hand back, her frosting covered thumb slipping slowly between her lips.

Her eyes stay on his through the entire movement, and then she reaches down, scoops up her plate, and digs into her own piece of cake as if that wasn't one of the sexiest things he's ever seen her do while still clothed. Mostly clothed. Well, sort of clothed.

She eats with gusto. He loves that about her - that she's not shy about her enjoyment of food, not timid about how much she can pack in, though he's never certain where she hides it on her lithe frame.

But he knows she got plenty of exercise as a cop: training in the precinct gym, chasing down suspects. And he knows how much exercise she's gotten in the past two weeks since she resigned. Knows because he's gotten a fair bit of exercise himself.

She looks up just then, and he's certain she can read his mind - or at least the expression on his face - because her eyes narrow as she takes another bite.

"Don't like it?" she murmurs around the fork.

He shakes his head. Nods it. Shakes it again. Mother of- she's got him completely discombobulated and all she's doing is eating a piece of cake.

Eating a piece of cake while sitting on his bed.

Eating a piece of cake while sitting on his bed wearing something that certainly doesn't pass for a nightgown.

He glances at her plate and then at his. She's more than halfway through her piece while he's only just started.

Not that that's a problem. She could always have more.

Still, the way she's looking at him he thinks he'd better get going. He drops his eyes to his own plate, cuts a large chunk with the fork and shovels it into his mouth, barely even chewing before he tries to swallow.

Predictably, it's too much. A brief coughing fit finds her nudging his glass of milk into his hand, pulling the plate away from him.

He takes a long pull from the glass, the cool liquid washing down the rich cake, closes his eyes briefly as he recovers. When he opens them again, amusement and sympathy war in her gaze.

"Bit off more than you could chew?" she offers, and he splutters, coughing fit returning.

Oh, she's wicked.

She pats him on the back and then sets their plates and glasses back on the tray.

"Let's save the rest of this for later," she says, muscles rippling under her skin as she picks up the tray, leans over him to set it on the nightstand.

Her chest brushes his and she moves back to her place, and then he sees it on the bed between them.

She's left the bowl of whipped cream.

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