Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 26

Her eyes open and it takes her a few moments to remember where she is, to sort out her memories from her dreams. The light coming in the window is pale, barely able to push back the darkness, forcing it into the far corners of the room in a last ditched battle between night and day.

A glance at her watch shows it's barely six o'clock. This time she remembers her back and is careful as she sits up. Her shoulder is better than yesterday and as she flexes her wrist and clenches and unclenches her hand she finds she's able to draw her arm across her chest with only some discomfort. Whatever gel it was Castle used on her seems to have helped ease the swelling and loosen up the stiffness.

She spends several minutes considering her options, and though she could quite happily take another day of pampering … especially by the writer, she's no longer so sure about baring her soul to him. Yes, she owes him and she will have to come up with some sort of repayment, but she needs time to work things out in her own head, everything has moved much too quickly over the past day and a half and she isn't used to not being in control of things; it frightens her.

She's going to have to be careful with her injuries, make sure she doesn't make matters worse, and she'll need to be extra cautious when it comes to doing her usual activities. She'll phone work today and let them know she won't be coming in. A day spent at home, quietly relaxing and not being interrogated by Castle will do more for her recuperation than anything else … well she almost convinces herself about that. But there is an overriding need to get away and to work things out in her own mind.

Kate can't believe how much she told him yesterday … was it only a day ago? … she really needs to get a filter in place before she sees him again … wait! Who said anything about seeing him again? He probably won't want to anyway after she walks out … on the other hand, he probably will if he still wants to 'research' her … yeah right Kate, way to go!

Kate's careful as she rolls out of bed, making sure not to pull any healing cuts before quietly heading to the bathroom. She'll wait till she gets home for a proper wash, maybe a careful bath, but for now, her teeth and a bit of a wash is going to be enough.

Once back in the room she strips the bed, assuming they'll want to wash the sheets, folds his clothes on top and quickly dresses in her own clothes. She keeps his t-shirt and realises it's going to be cold on the bike, before fishing the backpack from under the bed and checking the contents of the tubes. Satisfied, she takes a last look around and quietly heads downstairs. She has to grin as she makes sure her feet are placed at either end of the steps on her way down. It feels like ages since she last did this, and yet it only been about ten days.

She heads for the study, her climbing shoes squeaking ever so slightly on the parquet but otherwise making little sound. Pushing the door open she stops. She can hear snoring coming from the darkened bedroom next door and silently moves to the desk, looking at the items on it. His phone is sitting there so she picks it up, swipes her finger across and silently groans at the fact that he hasn't even got it password protected. She finds his number and writes it down on the notepad sitting on the desk. Carefully tearing the page out, she folds it and slips it into her pocket before setting the phone down and pulling the notepad round towards her. She scribbles a message on the sheet of paper, hesitates a moment before scrawling Kate underneath and leaving the notepad on top of the laptop. She finds her discarded leather jacket hanging on the back of a chair near the window, destined for the bin given the stains and the cuts, but she'll need it till she gets home.

A last glance around and she stops to stare at her likeness on the easel. She should really take it with her, make sure she leaves no traces behind, but with a sigh she turns and makes her way out of the loft. He'd probably just go and get another sketch done, and this time it would be even more accurate given the time they've spent together.

Reaching the lobby she finds Eduardo, the nigh-time doorman on duty still. She explains that she needs to get to work and her bike's in the garage downstairs but doesn't have the keys to get out. She doesn't know what, if anything he knows about her or the current situation, but apparently he's sufficiently informed not to be surprised by her attire and to accompany her down to open the door. She quickly flips the top on one of the saddle bags, swaps climbing shoes for boots and slings her leg over the bike. She feels a thrill run through her as the Softail rumbles to life and she runs it up the access ramp, waving a thank you to Eduardo as she passes him. Once out on the street she pulls up, takes a deep breath and looks around her before slipping her jacket and helmet on.

T-shirt and ripped jacket are definitely not suitable for riding a bike through New York in autumn, and by the time she makes it home she's frozen and beginning to regret leaving so early. Some of that marvellous coffee and some TLC on her back would not have gone amiss.

The flat is pokey and drab compared to his loft, and it's also cold considering she hasn't had any heat on since she left. Grabbing a blanket from the bedroom she wraps it around her shoulders before picking up her phone and calling Corrine to apologise for another day off. She runs a shallow bath, making sure the water barely reaches her waist and thus keeping her dressing dry. She's careful as she washes herself down and is soon feeling a bit warmer, especially once she's dressed in her own clothes again.

Blue jeans, purple top, a pair of three inch boots and she's ready to rumble. She empties the backpack onto the dining table sorting out the mess of ropes and climbing gear and coiling or wrapping each item carefully. Not only are they important for her occasional jobs, they are lifelines and need to be treated accordingly. The time they'd spent thrown haphazardly into the backpack could be her undoing, so each item needs to be checked and properly stored. Satisfied, she transfers them to the big sports bag which contains the rest of her equipment. The nitrogen and silicone canisters are almost empty and she needs to dispose of them carefully.

With the backpack now only containing a book, the two picture tubes and a couple of other items, she grabs her padded jacket from the back of a chair and heads back down to the street.

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