Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 3

Pulling open the door set into the bookshelves she peers into room and notes the desk standing immediately in front of her, the open laptop along with the wall bracket highlighting the picture of a staircase emitting the soft light which was filtering through the walls of books. To her right is a partly open door which allows a bit more light from the next room to shine through into the study. It is as she's turning to her left to look at the books on the shelves that she almost loses it. Only the fact that she's been doing this for so long stops her giving a cry of surprise; she only just manages to keep it down to a gasp.

The tall, elegantly suited figure standing against the shelves, arms crossed and holding a book in his hand smiling at her in such a charming way has her heart racing and the pulse in her neck going like a trip hammer. It's only her acquired night vision and the combination of stillness and reflected light that makes her realise he's not for real, that it is in fact a life-sized cut-out. But this is not the only reason her heart is pounding and her breath coming in short snatches, for only moments after realising she's looking at a cut-out figure, she's also recognised him … its Richard Frikin' Castle!

Oh … My … God! Either she's entered a fan's apartment or else she's invaded her favourite author's home! She's still so shocked by her discovery that she misses the sound from behind her, and its only when a shocked voice says ...

"And who the hell are you?" that she becomes aware that she's no longer alone. Spinning round she gets shocked into immobility for the second time that night. Standing only four feet away is another life-size Richard Castle, only this one is wearing a pair of boxers under an open fronted bath robe and is most definitely no cut-out!

Her brain seems to be frozen and although her eyes follow his hand as it sweeps towards the wall beside him, her body continues rooted to the spot. The sudden glare as his fingers find the light switch blinds her as her enlarged pupils cannot compensate quickly enough for the overload but it does bring her out of her stupor and throwing back her arm she desperately searches for and then finds the doorway back into the sitting room. Still barely able to see, she dives out through the door, feeling the tips of his groping fingers touch, hold and then lose their grip on her arm. She's dodging round the pillar, sprinting across towards the stairs and taking them two and three at a time, the heavy tread of her pursuer not far behind. She makes it to the hallway and is surprised when she reaches the third door to hear the running steps behind her come to a halt further down the hall. She doesn't wait to find out why, she simply slams the door behind her, gets to the window and slips out onto the ledge. A quick tug and the wooden wedge holding the bottom half of the window open is in her hand, the sash slamming downwards and adding a further temporary barrier to her pursuit.

She grabs her backpack off the ledge, takes a second to attach it to her harness before slipping first one and then the other foot into the straps of the ascenders. Resting her weight on the higher of the two straps she slides the lower ascender up till it hits the upper one before shifting her weight onto that strap. The topmost ascender is now free to be pushed up another couple of feet before the procedure is repeated again. It's a smooth and rapid ascent and she's almost reached the top of the rope, only a few inches below the parapet when she hears the window open below her and a thoroughly annoyed Richard Castle yelling out a "Hey!"

As soon as she's made it onto the top of the parapet, she's pulling the weighted rope up and releasing it from around the pier cap. She doesn't even bother rolling it up, there's no time, she just rams it into the backpack and runs along the parapet till she's reached the jump wire. Hooking on the harness she allows her feet to leave the ground and expertly and quickly pulls herself across the chasm that is Crosby Street and onto the corner building's terrace.

A hard tug on the end of the jump wire and she slips the knot around the fixture point she'd chosen, before an expert flick of her wrist releases the spring loaded and padded grappling hook from its tenure on the Castle's rooftop terrace. Even as the hook begins to swing down across the street with the risk of smashing into the wall below her, the self-coiling reel is speedily winding the jump wire in. With only a few feet left for the lightweight grappling hook to hit the wall below her, another flick of her wrist flips it upwards into the air before it falls back down into her waiting hand. Only just in time it would seem as the doorway to the terrace across the street bursts open and Richard Castle and another guy she assumes is the doorman rush out onto the terrace, torches waving all over the place.

She ducks down behind the wall and quickly gathers the remaining gear into the large sports bag she uses before moving across to the opposite side in a crouch that will keep her out of sight of those on the other terrace. She can already hear sirens in the distance, so she doesn't hesitate to slip over the wall and drop down onto the fire escape. Within minutes she's made it down onto the street and is soon astride her Harley Softail, irritation fighting with amusement on her face as she slips on her helmet and slams the visor shut.

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