Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 39

She has to reluctantly admit, even if only to herself, that she likes the character, she's one ass-kicking cat-burglar, especially the way she takes down the security goon. It may only be a first draft and a good bit less than half the book written, but she can already get an idea of what Nikki Heat is going to be like. She leans forward to place the folder on the table and then asks him if she can use the bathroom.

"Sure, you can use mine …" he says, waving his arm towards the study "… or go upstairs and use Alexis'. Whilst you're there, how about I order some food in?"

She nods and getting up heads towards the study and through his bedroom to the bathroom. Flushing the toilet she goes to the sink and begins to wash her hands, looking at herself in the mirror. She can't get her mind off the scene where Rook walks in on Nikki Heat and what goes through his mind on seeing her. Is that what Castle really thinks of her?

She turns her head to one side then the other, watching her reflection in the mirror. She knows she's attractive, has always known that though she's never set much store by it. She could have continued her teenage modelling career and possibly turned it into her livelihood, though she would never have made it into the big time, she was sure of that. But it had never really been that interesting or fulfilling to her and the egos of the other models, photographers and parents had been enough to put her off continuing in that world.

Now, examining herself in Castle's mirror and thinking about everything that's happened over the last few weeks she realises that he obviously feels something for her, otherwise there is no way he would have done what he has. But is it enough? Is it just the playboy trying to make another notch on the bedpost? Unwittingly, her head swings round as if she could see the bed through the closed bathroom door.

She dabs some water on her face, feeling the cooling effect as it removes some of the heat from her cheeks. Shaking her head at her reflection she has to admit that she wouldn't mind spending more time with him … and he seems to be piling up the excuses for that … she has to grin, consultant? Yeah, right, like he's really only trying to pick her brains!

She uses the corner of his hand towel to dry herself and turning off the light walks into the bedroom. She stops to look around, last time she'd been here she had been too concerned over all manner of things to do more than give the room a cursory look. Now she stops and takes in all the details; the large photos of the elephant and the lion on either side of the bathroom doorway … she steps over and takes a closer look at the elephant picture, her own favourite animal. Then she turns and takes in the rest of the room, the closed door over on the other side of the bed which she assumes is a closet, the picture frames scattered over the flat surfaces, all of them of Castle and his daughter, his mother and his daughter or of Alexis on her own.

She's curious, picks them up, puts them back down and turns on the spot to look for other pictures, trying to find one of his girlfriend or partner or ex-wife … not a single picture of anyone other than the three people she'd met whilst convalescing here … didn't he have some special friend? Or did the 'not bringing his double entendres' home include photos? So what does her picture in the study mean?

She bites her lip, aware that deep down, under all her protective layers of armour, she's hoping that her picture in the study and his interest in her is more than simply research for his next book … and if it's not? She really needs to have a talk with Lanie … or get her head examined by a shrink.

With a sigh she makes her way out to the sitting room and flops back down on the couch, making sure to keep several inches of space between them.

"So, what would you like to watch whilst we wait for the food to arrive?" he asks. She shrugs, going for detached and cool whilst trying to ignore the gravitational pull his body seems to be exercising on her. They settle on The Dark Knight and sit back as the Warner Bros Pictures emblem fades to black.

The doorbell interrupts the scene just as the Joker walks in on the gang's meeting, his crazy laugh being interrupted by Castle hitting the pause button. Rick gets up and answers the door, taking the bag from the delivery guy and handing over the money and tip which he's previously prepared and placed in the ashtray by the door.

Kate joins him at the kitchen island and hums in appreciation as the smell hits her when he opens the bag and begins to remove the contents. "I hope you like Lebanese?" he asks.

She nods in assent, "I love it, what did you get?"

"I got some mezzes, a bit of Hummus, some Loubieh …" his hand disappears once again into the bag and pulls out another couple of parcels, looking at the labels he continued, "… and some Tabbouleh and Fatayer …" another dip into the bag produces "… and of course some Falafel and Kibbeh"

Kate has opened the parcels up as he's placed them on the counter and after he's pointed to one of the cupboards she's grabbed a couple of plates and a spoon and started to share out the food, the vivid colours and aromas making her mouth water.

"I'll leave the Kafta and Shish Taouks in the oven to keep warm" he adds, placing the cartons into the oven and setting it to a low heat as Kate carries both plates and cutlery over to the coffee table.

They settle down on the couch again, their feet up on the table, plates on their laps and Rick sets the film to play again, dropping the remote in the space between them. Kate's busy watching the film and chewing on a beef Kibbeh when she catches something out of the corner of her eye. Looking down she's just in time to see Castle trying to sneak one of her Fatayers off her plate. With a growl she slaps his hand away and gives him a glare. He grins back at her and with a shrug turns back to watch the film.

Now he's got her thinking and she's looking down at his plate from the corner of her eye, wondering if she can pinch one of his Falafels, seeing as he's eaten both his Kibbehs. From the corner of her eye she watches him and tries to work out the timing. He scoops up a forkful of Tabbouleh and just as he's about to put it into his mouth, she sneaks her hand across and makes a grab for the crusty chickpea ball. She's just got her fingers on it when his left hand comes across and clamps down on her wrist.

She's startled enough to almost knock her plate off her lap and is further shocked as still holding her wrist he raises her hand to his mouth and takes a bite out of the Falafel she's holding between her fingers. The intimacy of the action makes her drop the remaining bit of Falafel and luckily it lands back on his plate.

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