Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 30

They enjoy the curry Martha has prepared for dinner and after clearing up, the three of them sit down to watch Slumdog Millionaire. As soon as it's over, Alexis kisses them both goodnight and heads up to bed whilst Martha waves a hand at Castle and grabs her coat before leaving the loft.

Castle goes into the study and sits down at his desk. He's soon working on the draft of the next chapter, fingers flying across the keyboards, black characters filling the screen as his mental images are converted to text. He's interrupted by the New Message tone on his phone. Picking it up, he swipes the screen and finds a message from an unknown number. Terrace it says. His eyebrows shoot up in surprise followed by a slow grin. He can think of only one 'stranger' who would send such a cryptic and place-orientated message.

He saves his work and quickly makes his way up to the doorway leading up out onto the terrace. It takes him too long to turn off the alarm and unlock the door before making his way out into the chilly night, his excitement making him fumble. Flicking the switch by the door, he looks around as several lights come on around the terrace. Shadows spring to life chasing each other across paving stones, up bushes and over parapets, the previously uniform greys and blacks taking on the vibrant browns, greens and greys of their highlighted pigments.

Looking around him, Castle can't see anyone. Walking forwards towards the seating area in the centre he spies something on the stone table. Approaching, he can make out a small bag placed almost in the centre. Picking it up he moves towards one of the lamps and realises he's holding a soft felt pouch of the type jeweller's use. Tipping the contents out into his palm he looks down at the four glittering items which he recognises as his mother's missing jewels.

He moves to the corner of the terrace and looks across to the nearby rooftops, shading his eyes and trying to make out if she's standing on one of them. The glare from the street lights below and those of the terrace make the details of the darkened rooftops opposite indistinguishable, so he just waves in the hope that she is still there and returns to the loft, hesitating a moment about relocking the door, but eventually deciding its best as he also resets the alarm.

He re-enters the study and sits down at his desk, contemplating the felt bag which he can now make out is a deep purple colour. Should he return the jewels to his mother just yet? If he does, he'll have to come up with a story of how he got them back and he'll also have to inform the insurance and police, otherwise if she does happen to get paparazzi'd wearing her supposedly missing pieces, he's going to be in deep shit.

If he goes with the sms and terrace, the police will be able to trace her number and he doesn't want to give them that just yet … if at all … to be honest. Maybe he can get a note done which he can say he found under his door … although that could put Charlie or Eduardo in a spot. He decides to hang on to them for a little while, until he can sort something out which won't come back to bite him in the ass.

Picking up the phone he adds her number to his contacts list and then sends a return message, Thanks very much, still hoping for that chat

Almost immediately he gets an answer, I'll contact you at the weekend, thanks for the coffees!

He grins at the message, next weekend is too far away as far as he's concerned but at least she hasn't refused to talk … yet. He sends back I guess your back must be better?

Much better, I owe you … then a few seconds later Again

I'm not counting them he sends back

Yeah, right!

He decides he'd prefer to talk, so he dials the number. As soon as she answers he says, "Just wanted to make sure you're ok. If you need anyone to change dressings, or apply some gel …" he allows the suggestiveness in his voice to peter out and grins as he imagines her scowl at the second part of his comment. "No, seriously, I just wanted to make sure you were ok, and I do mean the other part, seriously, if you need me to change those dressings. You know where I am"

"So, what, you just want to rub it in?" she can't help the twitch of her own lips as she hears the double meaning of her own words hit home and has to chuckle as she hears him laugh.

He hears the rumble of a Harley kicking into life through the phone and guesses she's made her way down to the street. She confirms it by saying, "Anyway Castle, I need to go"

"Ok, ride safe" is all he can come up with and almost hits himself at how stupid and mundane that sounds. But she doesn't laugh at him and just answers "Will do" before cutting the call.

He sits there for several moments staring at the phone and running over the 'conversation' he's just had. Eventually he sets the phone down on the desk and turns on the story board. He taps on the recently created folder called Kate and spreads the contents out over the screen.

At the top of the screen sits a photo of the police sketch he has on the easel, he wanted to take a picture of her whilst she was in the loft, but decided against risking it; it might have been enough for Kate to walk out if she'd caught him. Next to her picture is the scanned image of the sketch which had appeared in the press, he doesn't know why he'd put it there but initially he wanted all the information he had on her in one place.

Next to the picture is Kate's Story the Word document where he'd typed out all the information she'd given him about herself. It wasn't verbatim, but pretty close to what she'd said. He'd also inserted questions and thoughts that had popped into his head as he'd been writing the information down. These questions and comments related to items that he'd like her to expand on, questions for the Nikki Heat character … assuming he went with that name … and ideas he'd had about her Mom's case.

Alongside that is the subfolder containing the photographed sheets from the report Espo and Ryan had let him see, and the next three items are the map showing the robberies he assumes are or could be related to Kate, his own notes about these and the interviews he'd had with those fellow victims who had been willing to talk to him and a third document which contains ideas gleaned from all of these and which could come in handy for his book.

A final document is titled Diary and contains a daily account of his dealings with her, whether from afar such as when he watches her from Amorino's or when interacting with her such as during her stay at the loft. Opening it up, he adds the recent conversation to the end, smiling as he remembers the bantering tone.

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