They sit there in silence, the minutes counted off by flickering flames and the faint clicking of appliances in the background. Eventually Castle stirs, nods to himself and stretches his legs out, running his hands through his hair before turning to face her again.
"Ok, I said earlier I had a couple of things I wanted to show you and that I also had a proposition to make. I guess it's time to do that, but it's best if you join me in the study, its where I can show you what I've got so far"
He stands and holds out his hand to her, for a moment she hesitates then places her hand in his and allows him to pull her to her feet. Following him into the study she stops just inside the doorway and waits as he goes to his desk and turns on the laptop and the large touch-screen off to the side that he uses as a storyboard.
Once everything is powered up she sees three folders appear on the big screen, Death in Anger, Heat Wave and Kate are the names under each folder icon. She joins him by the screen, curiosity piqued and is about to ask him about the Kate folder when he starts talking as his hand moves towards the first folder, "Death in Anger was to be my next book … eight months scribbling down story lines, trying to get something decent written … a lot of stress, a lot of hours spent staring at the empty screen … a lot of re-writes and edits …" he taps the folder and it opens up to show thirty-three individual documents, mostly Word documents but also some scanned images of what appear to be notes written on a variety of papers; napkins, legal paper, even what looks like an opened up envelope covered in a close-written hand. "Eight months of nothing …" he shrugs, closes the folder and taps the next one.
The Heat Wave folder opens up to show only two documents, one titled Outline & Characters, the other duplicating the folder's name, "In ten days I've written a complete story outline and have a rough draft of twelve chapters …" he turns his head towards her, "… all inspired by you".
She snorts and asks "Do I get to read it?"
"I thought you weren't a fan?" he grins at her
She pokes her tongue out at him, "Well, if it's inspired by me, maybe I'll make an exception"
"Yeah right!" and he laughs as he closes the folder "It still need a lot of work, it's just a first draft" and then opens the folder marked Kate.
"Really?" she says as she sees the image of herself at the top left "Not enough having my picture over there, you also need it on the screen?" and though she's saying it sarcastically she's also a bit pleased about it, though she'll never admit it.
"Backup, just in case someone walks off with the original" and there's a challenging look on his face which makes her grin in spite of herself. He taps the subfolder containing the police report and moves the contents to one side, then opens up the map with the robbery markings he's made and slots it into the other half of the screen. He points to the police report "This was what I got from the police on the cases that fit your MO, this was where I located them and where I discarded these three …" indicating the three locations further north on the island.
"Why did you discard those three?" she asks
"Robbery with violence, I didn't think they were your style"
She nods and looks at the eleven marks on the map, comparing them quickly with the nine police reports on the left of the screen. Two of the marks she realises are Castle's own place and the hit on the building in the Bowery, both carried out after he'd got the report from the cops. She also looks at where he's marked his estimated points of origin and realises he'd only been a couple of streets away from the UMS office. The marked B&Es are about two thirds of those she's carried out, the other four B&Es not appearing either in the police reports or on the map. At least she still has a few secrets, though not many left.
"Ok, so … what exactly am I supposed to … to take from this …" she says, waving at the documents on the screen.
He takes a step back and leans against the desk, folding his arms and glancing between the screen and her face. She's standing staring at him, arms crossed in a slightly protective stance. Eventually he takes a deep breath and allows his eyes to rest on hers.
"I have two propositions to put to you … and I don't want you to take them the wrong way or to make a decision without careful consideration … ok?"
She stares at him and raises one hand, biting her thumbnail in a totally unconscious mannerism. He realises she's not aware of how childlike and defenceless it makes her look, and he has to pull his mind back to the matter in hand.
"Ok, as I've told you, Heat Wave is inspired by you and if my publishers and the public like it … and I'm pretty sure they will, it will be the first of a series … and I'm going to need to consult with you … quite frequently …" he adds in hope, "… on how you'd go about certain things". He pauses and sees she's getting pretty annoyed at his procrastinating, so he takes the plunge. "I'm proposing to pay you a monthly retainer for those consultancies … it would also be a sort of royalty … you know, for the usage of the information you supply me with for the book".
There's a pregnant silence and he begins to get a bit worried by the look she's giving him, so before his courage runs out he rushes into the second proposal "The other proposal is that you let me help you with your mother's case … maybe I can get information which you can't … and working together …. well, two sets of eyes might see more than one"
He comes to a stop and watches her. As he'd set out the second proposal, he's watched her posture become even more upright and stiff than before. Now she's just standing there, thumb no longer caught between her teeth but back to holding her elbow in a defensive crossed-arm posture.
She's unaware that she's stopped breathing. Her mind is in shock at both proposals, wondering what his angle is and why would he be interested and what does he mean by a retainer … and as to helping her with her mother's case … was he intending to use that for a book as well?
As if reading her mind he adds "Whatever we find out about your mother, it's strictly private, strictly for you to decide what you want to do with that information"