Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 40

He's looking at her and waggling his eyebrows and she can feel the colour in her cheeks, but decides to play it down, poking her tongue out at him and telling him to leave her food alone. She turns back to the TV, trying to ignore the almost burning sensation where he grabbed her wrist. He hadn't applied any pressure but she feels as if his fingers have branded her.

Rick is also trying to keep his mind on the film, he's already seen it twice and is quite happy to watch it again. But he can't help feeling a shortness of breath and a sense of trepidation at what he's just done. The look on her face as he'd taken the bite out of the Falafel held delicately between her fingers had the blood drumming in his ears and it was taking all his will power to keep from throwing the plates away and turning to kiss those lips which had parted in shock. In fact the image of those wide-open eyes and parted lips keeps superimposing itself on the screen before him and making the job of concentrating on the film even more difficult.

With both plates empty he unthinkingly drops his hand for the remote to pause the film. Suddenly he stops as he realises his groping hand is resting tight between their two thighs and she's giving him another glare. Sheepishly he points down with his free hand and mutters "Remote". She rolls away slightly and his fingers find the remote where it had slipped between the cushions. Pulling it up he shows it to her in the hope she won't kill him. He gets an eye roll from her and then she's settled back into her previous position and he's just thankful she hasn't moved away and put more space between them.

Standing up and holding his plate in one hand, he lifts hers from her lap with the other and carries them to the kitchen where he pulls the food from the oven. Sharing out the Kafta and Shishes between them, he carries them back to the couch, handing Kate her plate and settling down with his own. He pretends to ignore her stare as he finds he's sitting closer to her than before, thighs touching. Leaning forwards and picking the remote off the table, he expects her to move away as he settles back and hits the play button. Several minutes later they are still sitting there, shoulders, arms and legs touching, both staring in concentration at the screen, both ignoring the food on the plates, both aware of the heat from the other.

It's not in until the mayhem in the tunnel takes place as the Joker attacks the transports carrying Harvey Dent to Central Holding a few moments later that they both realise their food is getting cold and make a belated start on it.

Lieutenant Jim Gordon's "… a dark knight" fades out to black and the music and rolling credits take over the screen. Kate blinks her eyes a couple of times and slowly begins to take in her surroundings. The two plates are stacked on the coffee table off to her right, two empty wine glasses next to them. She seems to have sunk lower down on the couch, ankles crossed on the table, the TV screen framed between her own feet and Castle's which are off to her left. She's feeling nice and warm, the heat from the fire nothing compared to that coming off Castle's body where she's wedged up against him, his arm slung round her shoulders, hand gently rubbing circles on her upper arm. Just when did that happen? She feels her body stiffening on the realisation and her breath catches in her throat.

Rick's been comfortably aware of Kate slowly sinking into his side as the film progressed and she became involved in it. It had felt natural to simply slide his arm around her shoulder and her own hand, resting between their thighs had been perfectly relaxed throughout. The sudden tensing of her body makes him stop the unconscious rubbing of his hand along her upper arm. He sees the sudden movement of her hand away from where it's been resting against his thigh and watches as she lays it flat against her stomach, her other hand coming round to settle over it. He waits for her to pull away, ready to remove his arm from around her shoulders, waiting for her to say something. But she just sits there, facing forwards, neither making a move away nor looking at him.

Kate can feel the stillness in him, the held breath, and she realises it's her own surprise at finding herself almost wrapped in his arms that has brought about the change. She daren't look up at him, aware that he must be staring down at her and wondering how she's going to react. Her eyes drop to where her hands are crossed over her stomach, right hand clamped tightly over left. She forces herself to take a breath, then another, makes her hands relax, tries to ignore the butterflies which are trying to burst through her stomach. The third breath seems to be a bit easier, then the fourth, the fifth is almost back to normal and she can feel her shoulders loosening slightly as she tries to regain some semblance of normalcy.

Though he can tell she's still not relaxed, the fact that she hasn't pulled away, had hysterics or killed him allows him to breathe again and trying for casual he pulls his arm from around her shoulder and leans forward, stretching his arm over her legs and picking up the plates from the end of the table. "Coffee?" he asks in as casual a voice as he can manage.

She shakes her head, he doesn't see it, still not daring to look directly at her but he can feel the movement. She tries to say something, but has to clear her throat before giving it a second go. "No, thanks, I think I'd best be getting home"

He nods, wishing she didn't want to leave just yet but knowing he needs to give her space. "I'll just clear this up and then I'll drive you home"

"You don't need to do that … drive me home I mean" as she gets up and joins him in the kitchen, "I can get a cab"

He rinses the plates, jams everything into the dish washer as Kate puts the empty containers into the carrier bag. "No, I'll run you home, it's the least I can do"

She wants to argue the point but to be honest she wouldn't mind being driven home. It's been a strange day, partly relaxing, partly tense. It's been enjoyable being around him but unburdening her soul has also taxed her and as usual, she needs some time alone to get her mind round everything … not least of all, how she feels about the writer.

With the kitchen tidied up she heads for the door and slips her boots back on whilst he gets her coat out of the cupboard. He locks the door behind him and they take the lift down to the garage. He holds the car door open for her and she gets in, folding her coat over her lap. Only then does he hand her a small carrier bag before closing the door and going round to the driver's side.

She takes a look in the bag and has to grin as she sees half a dozen of the pastries they'd picked up during their walk nestled inside. She's going to have to be careful or she's going to put on weight!

They're almost at Greene Street when he asks her where she wants to be dropped off. For a moment she hesitates, then shrugging to herself tells him go round the corner to Mercer. There's a parking space between a van and one of the new model VW Beetles and she tells him to pull in.

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