"Ground rules?" he asks
She nods, and watches him for a moment. Then, reaching for her neck, she pulls out a chain and gently holds the object dangling from the end in her hand. Rick can make out a ring with a round, double cut emerald. "This is my Mom's ring … it isn't particularly valuable … not moneywise at any rate, but to me, it's the most precious thing I have ..." trailing off she looks up at him "… what I'm trying to say is that I would willingly lose any possession I have before losing this"
Seeing him nod in understanding, she slips the chain and ring back inside her top and continues. "I decided …"
"You'd only steal new and modern items, nothing that might hold deep sentimental values!" he interrupts her.
She looks up at him startled by his comment "Yes, ho … how did you know?"
"I'll explain later, carry on .."
She gives him a glare but he seems oblivious to it so she continues "I also decided I'd only take items that would probably be insured, easily replaced and from those who could afford to do both …"
"Like me" he grins
"Yeah, well that was my first mistake .. anyway …"
"How about another coffee and some cake?" he asks
She glares at him again, one minute the guy can't wait to hear everything she has to say, next minute he's interrupting her every few minutes! However the idea of cake and coffee sounds good, so she nods, stands up with him and they move to the kitchen counter.
The cake, when he takes it out of the tin looks incredibly appetizing and he cuts two thick slices which he places on plates and then covers in cream whilst the coffee machine gurgles away making more coffee.
"If you carry on feeding me like this Castle, I won't fit through any windows anyway" she says and then realises all the implications that phrase holds. Oh my god! Like he's going to think I mean he can …
But he's laughing and saying she's welcome to come be fed any time and his eyebrows are waggling in that suggestive way he has and she is not going to colour up or pretend she doesn't know where he's going with that and if she was still wearing her boots she'd be almost level with him and would glare him down, but right now she feels small and not uncomfortable and that cake looks delicious, so she goes with "In your dreams Castle!"
"Most of my dreams come true Kate, and whilst we're on the matter, I can live without knowing your surname, but don't you think it would be better if I knew it?"
"Why? Well … what if something happens to you ... say you have an accident or something, how am I supposed to find you? I can hardly go round a hospital or … or, wherever asking if anyone knows a Kate …"
She's dumbstruck by his words as they thunder round her brain, bouncing and echoing and sparking a hundred different thoughts which puff into smoke as the next takes hold. He'd go looking for her in a hospital, he'd care if she was hurt, who the hell does he think he is, she doesn't need him or anyone else, he seems so genuinely concerned, why would he care anyway, he'd want to find her …
He can see the panic in her eyes and lays a hand on hers where it's fisted on the counter next to the coffee cup. "Kate, forget it, it doesn't matter. You can tell me when you want to, I promise I won't push!"
His hand, his worried eyes, the soft, warm tone of his voice helps to anchor her, to bring the merry-go-round in her head to a stop, the final comment seeming to drop like a stone in a silent pond … when she wants to … not if she wants to … is he that confident about her? Well she's certainly poured her secrets out to him in a way she would never have believed … and most importantly, she doesn't feel threatened by his knowledge, worried, yes, though worried more about the ease with which he's able to draw her secrets from her than what he will actually do with them.
And he could so easily discover her name, just go to UMS and ask for it, any excuse like he's hit her bike or she's scratched his car and they'd give him her surname. In fact, she's surprised he hasn't already.
"You ok?" he asks.
She nods, looking up at him and seeing the concern on his face she gives him a wan smile, and shrugs apologetically, "Sorry, not used to sharing and that kind of spooked me"
"Ok, let's just finish our cake and talk about something else … like what books do you read?" and there's that playfulness again, the enquiring eyebrow and little boy look. She smacks him on the arm and lets out a relieved laugh, back onto safe ground.
She tells him she only bought Storm Fall out of curiosity, that she prefers James Patterson or Michael Connelly, but he's quick to catch her on that, if she's only read Storm Fall, and that must have been pretty recently, how can she judge that, surely she'd have to read several of his to make it an unbiased judgement, and it catches her out, so she has to admit to having read At Dusk We Die and A Skull at Springtime, and that has him snapping his fingers at her and accusing her of being a secret fan, that nobody read those unless they were.
She's in hot denial, claiming she came across them in a second-hand bookstall and picked them up to read for when she was bored at work. She's trying to keep a straight face and he's glaring at her out of slit eyes, trying to make her 'fess up and before she realises it the cake's finished, as is the coffee and they're back to the relaxed atmosphere of earlier on. She has to hand it to him, he can push her buttons! Mind you, she reckons she can push his just as easily.
They move back to the couch and settle down again, back in their original positions, and marshalling her thoughts, she takes up where they'd left off earlier.
"Anyway, first things first, I had to be able to get into places and busting down front doors or picking locks wasn't something I could do. I spent some time trying to work out how I'd get into my own place, and decided that through a window offered the best chance ... I mean, I wasn't exactly trained up in Mission Impossible gadgetry or anything like that. I picked up some books on glazing, window repairs and construction, the locksmith trade, security systems … it's surprising how much information is there in books and the Internet … just sitting there to be made use of!" shaking her head at the folly of mankind and not noticing his appreciative grin.
"I then found the sort of tools I might need … all legitimate … part of the glass trade, and made a list. On one of my runs to Chelsea I spotted a Mailroom place, rented a box under a false name …"
"Didn't they ask for id?"