The ride to the Hamptons was long, way longer than usual. Normally she and her father played road trip games and blasted the same songs over and over again. The trip never seemed to last long and there was always a race to see who could unpack and change into a swimsuit the fastest. Some of her favorite childhood memories were in this house.
This time was entirely different. She had begged to be allowed to drive in a separate car. She had argued that they had a lot of stuff and it would be beneficial for everyone if there was room for more luggage. When she was denied she even tried to make up a fake engagement of some sort, a gathering at her friend Paige's house to kick off the summer. But again her father just said that he would go pick up Kate first and then they could all leave together.
That was the whole problem. Her. Alexis could not stand the thought of a car trip with Detective Beckett. She had ruined everything and Alexis couldn't stand it. But, she was given no choice.
Her grandmother had elected to drive up before everyone to "get the house ready" which Alexis knew probably had something to do with the measures being taken to ensure Detective Beckett's comfort. Ugh. And she had already made up an excuse to go late, so she was effectively stuck in the car alone with her father and the Detective.
They came to pick her up from the loft in the SUV her father had rented for the trip. They always took the Ferrari to the Hamptons, which was really just for fun and because her father rarely got the chance to drive it in the city, but they needed the extra room.
Her father had the biggest smile on his face as he hopped out of the front seat and offered her a cheerful greeting and inquired about her morning. She grumbled a response and helped him store the bags in the trunk. It was only half luggage. The other half was a folded up contraption Alexis was sure was a wheelchair and a few black bags she was sure contained supplies for medical care.
"All set," Her father exclaimed as he shut the hatchback and took a step back. "Ready to go?"
"Sure." She replied indifferently.
"You've got shotgun." He called as they both moved to their respective sides of the car. That fact surprised her. She thought that she would have been kicked to the back in favor of the Detective having a better vantage point or more room to stretch her legs.
Alexis opened the door and climbed into the front seat beside her father. He stuck the keys in and started the car before looking back to the woman behind Alexis' seat.
"You still okay?" The Detective must have nodded because her father paused a beat before adding. "You'll tell me as soon as you aren't?"
Alexis glanced in the rearview mirror, which was not pointed at the road but at the woman in question, and was shocked at the sight she was met with.
A smaller, frail looking version of the Detective she had once been so familiar with. Her hair was messily tied back in a bun on top of her head and her face had very little makeup on it. She was a far-cry from the normally impeccably dressed and put together Detective that she was used to seeing.
There was a pillow behind her back and a blanket covering her obviously thinner body. The SUV had bucket seating in the back so her chair was reclined back; not to the point of laying down, but enough where she could easily sit and talk or sleep if that is what she chose. At that moment though her face formed a tight smile. Alexis could easily tell that she was in pain and that even nodding was a struggle.
She felt a little pang of guilt about her clear dislike of the woman. She was clearly in pain and still fighting a daily battle with everything around her. She hadn't seen her since before she woke up and from her father's cheerful reports lately she had assumed that the woman was doing much better.
Then it hit her, this was better. The woman lying almost helplessly in the back seat was actually doing better than she had been a few short weeks ago.
Her father nodded and turned back around before pulling the car out and heading down the road. There was conversation between the father and daughter, but it was all generic and Castle kept his eyes half on the road and half on Kate feigning sleep in the backseat.
After half an hour Alexis got tired of the small talk and put her headphones in as her father checked his rearview mirror for the thousandth time. Once she was sure he had returned his eyes to the road, she chanced a glance in the mirror too.
When she saw the sleeping woman she couldn't help, but flash back to her last visit to the hospital.
Her father had yet to leave the hospital. She knew that he loved her, but she also knew that he needed a good night's sleep. It had only been four days, but still he couldn't, no they couldn't live like this.
She went to the hospital after school to drop off some much needed supplies to her father. She had been doing it pretty much every day to ensure he was at the very least clean. She even threw in some books and his ipad for his enjoyment.
Normally, she just dropped off the bag at the nurses' station and waited for one of them to bring her father out, but today was different. Today she asked to be allowed entrance into the room. Of course, they let her in with no problem, her father already had these women in the palm of his hand. Normally, Alexis was uncomfortable with the power Richard Castle had over people, but today she was actually thankful.
A kind middle aged woman, whose nametag read Denice, lead her down the hall and into room 447. Alexis murmured her thanks, took a deep breath, and pushed through the door.
She had yet to see her father's partner yet and she wasn't really sure what to expect. She had woken up the day before and she knew it wasn't pretty, but she needed to see it with her own eyes. She had been having nightmares for the past few days. Remembering the gunshot and the chaos that followed, sometimes even imagining it was her father who had been shot.
She put on a brave face for everyone and she was careful to not let anyone know, but she was scared. Her father had stayed with her in the waiting room for some of the time throughout the surgery, when he wasn't pacing or slumped in on himself. She had assured him that she was okay and that there was nothing for him to worry about. She didn't want to give him anything else to worry about.
As she walked into the room she was met with more people than expected. The detective was asleep on the bed with a few wires and IVs mixed in. Even in sleep she looked as if she was in pain and agony. Alexis quickly focused on anything else. Jim Beckett was standing near his daughter's bed and was clearly in a conversation with Dr. Parrish. Of course, her father was sitting in a chair on the other side of the bed with his partner's hand encased in his. He was the first one to notice her.
"Hey, Pumpkin!" His face immediately changing to happiness in an attempt to shield her from the obvious devastation he was feeling. He came over and encompassed her in a tight hug and the other two adults in the room turned to her.
He let her go, took the bag from her hand, and led her over to the farthest corner of the room.
"Thank you for this. I may actually come home a little later to take a proper shower, but this will still help." She just nodded her head in response.
"Listen, we have a meeting with Kate's doctor in a few minutes to lay out everything we need to know, but if you care to wait a while, we can go to dinner afterwards. I know I have been really distracted and we could use some time together. How does that sound?"
"That actually sounds perfect. But…" She was cut off by the sound of the door swinging open and the arrival of Kate's doctor.
The older man looked kind and gentle as he shook Dr. Parrish and Mr. Beckett's hands.
"Alright, well if you will all just step outside for a moment and let me check her out again and then we can go down to a conference room to chat." He said as he held the door open and they all filed out, her father taking the opportunity to also get a handshake from the man.
As the door shut behind them Alexis started her thought again in front of all three adults.
"Actually, if you all don't mind, I want to go the doctor's meeting." Her father was the first to react.
"Sweetheart, I don't think that is such a good idea. It is going to be a lot of medical talk and I don't think you really want to hear it. It won't take long, you can sit with Kate while you wait or in the waiting room, either one. Plus, I really don't think they would allow you to hear Kate's information."
"Dad, I am not a little kid. I want to know what's really going on, how bad it really is. I'm old enough to take this seriously. And plus they are letting you in the room, why am I any different."
"Alright you two, let's settle down before this gets out of hand." Lanie interjected before the disagreement turned into a full blown argument. "Castle, I understand your concern for her, I do. But she is right too. I think it might be good for little Castle to get some answers. This is a big part of her life too and she loves Kate as much as the rest of us. I am not trying to tell you how to be a parent, just consider our point of view."
Her father ran his hand over his face in exhaustion and she shot Dr. Parish a thankful look. She had witnessed the shot and watched as her father jumped in front of it without question. She cared for Kate and wanted to know what was really going on, not the sugar coated stuff her father had been feeding her.
"Alright, alright, you can come in; however, the moment it becomes too much no one will judge you for waiting outside. And Mr. Beckett has to give you permission to be in the room. He may not be okay with this…"
"Actually, Rick I think it's fine, a good thing even. Alexis needs the peace of mind just like the rest of us. I know Kate cares for her, she would want Alexis to hear it for herself if that's what she needs."
So it was settled, just as the doctor came out of Kate's room and gestured for them to follow him down the hall. They all filed into a small conference room and the door was shut as they all took a seat around the table.
"First things first, Mr. Beckett, since Ms. Beckett is under the influence of heavy drugs you are her power of attorney, I will need you to give consent for me to discuss your daughter's information in their presence." The doctor punctuated his statement by sliding a form in front of Mr. Beckett and the older man read over the document, filled in their names, and signed his name at the bottom.
"With that out of the way, I am confident in saying that Ms. Beckett is stable. The question is no longer if she wakes up, but what to do now that she has. I will be frank with you, this is not going to be a short or easy road, but I am hopeful that she will be able to eventually live a long and happy life.
"The bullet damaged her uterus and small intestines before damaging the anterior spinal cord. She was extremely lucky. Her small intestines were a fairly simple fix. We had to remove a small part of them so she will have to be on a strict diet until her body retrains it to work efficiently again. Unfortunately we had to perform a partial hysterectomy. I'm sure I don't have to tell you the consequences of this, but it was only a partial removal so she will be able to lead a normal life with the exception of having children. Her surgery went as well as can be expected and in a few months it will all be scars and memories. The real damage was done to her spinal cord.
"The bullet impacted the anterior of the lumbar region of her spinal cord and has caused her to lose movement and sensation in both of her legs. She is suffering from paraplegia. Luckily, she will be able to have full use of her bowels and bladder before she is released from the hospital, she was lucky in that respect."
He kept saying she was lucky, lucky to be alive, lucky that more damage did not occur, lucky this, lucky that; but Alexis didn't think she was lucky. The poor woman was lying in a hospital bed and would probably never be able to lead a normal life that seemed extremely unlucky to her.
"We do not yet know if the paralysis is complete or incomplete and we will be assessing that within the next few days. She may regain some feeling and use of her legs, but she will probably never have full use and strength. Unfortunately there is very little in the way of a cure for this diagnosis. However, she will need a lot of rehabilitation and physical therapy to try and preserve and regain strength if at all possible and to teach her how to do everyday tasks.
"The hope is that she will eventually be able to do a lot of things for herself, but she will need assistance for the foreseeable future."
The doctor paused and let all the information that they had just been given sink in. Alexis could not believe all that she was hearing. She felt sick. This could have been her father. He could be the one that was lying in the bed unable to move. He could have been shot. His partner had been shot and she almost died. She was never going to walk again and it was all too much. It was almost more than she could take. She made eye contact with Dr. Parrish and the doctor immediately understood her need to be out of the room.
Lanie stood from her chair and walked over to Alexis.
"Why don't we go get some coffee and let them finish up here, hmm?" She was so gentle and kind, normally Alexis would feel coddled and childish if she was talked to like that, but she needed it at that moment.
She rose and allowed herself to be led out of the room leaving her father and Mr. Beckett to ask questions and get more detailed information. She knew Dr. Parrish should be in there with them talking about the next steps for her best friend, but she was extremely grateful that they were out of the room.
Over the next few weeks she saw more of her father, which should have been a good thing. Instead he was angry, sad, and exhausted. He spent all day at the hospital and arrived home in the evenings. Sometimes he even snuck back out when he thought she was asleep.
He made an effort to be happy for her and to retain some normalcy, but she could always see his true emotions under his mask. Detective Beckett was killing him and literally sucking the life out of him. She overheard her father talking to her Grams about it. She was completely ignoring everyone and wasn't even trying to get better.
She was selfish, did she not see how much she was affecting everyone around her. It was clear that she didn't have feelings for her father. She was just stringing him along and taking advantage of him. He tried to take a bullet for her, he was ready to give his life for her and this is how she acts? Alexis was beyond mad.
She had liked Kate, she wanted her father and Kate to be together, thought they deserved each other, but she was wrong. She hated the detective for taking her father away. The man that she knew and loved had been stripped into a shell. She would never forgive her for this.
Coming out of her memory she realized that they were almost to the house. Alexis rolled her eyes at the prospect of having to spend the rest of her summer with her father and his partner. She didn't understand why her father continued to let Kate take advantage of him. She was clearly using him and she intended to get proof of that very fact.She couldn't let her father go through that much pain again. He had always looked out for her and now it was her turn to do the same.