She's just put the wine glasses out on the counter when there's the familiar buzz from downstairs, the three impatient rings that are Lanie's signature call. Even so, Kate checks and buzzes her up as soon as she hears the "C'mon girl, my butt's freezing down here!"
The rap on the door sounds a few minutes later and then she's opening the door and getting wrapped in Lanie's effusive hug. Its several moments before she can release herself, close the door and push her friend towards the couch.
"So girl, what's new? How come you ain't been round to visit?"
Both women are sitting on the floor facing each other, cushions scattered round and under them in their usual arrangement, one arm resting up on the couch behind them, holding their wineglasses whilst they use their free hands to pick at the food on the plates between them.
Kate shrugs, gives her friend a smile and says "Been a bit busy"
"Doin' what babe? 'Cos your back may be better, but you ain't been round to check up on any pieces lately, so whats goin' on?"
Kate looks at her friend, bites her lip and wonders just how much to tell her. It's not a case of her not trusting Lanie, far from it, it's a question of how much ribbing she's prepared to put up with. Lanie can sense the conflicting emotions her friend's trying to hide and like any good dealer, knows when she needs to push and when to sit back and let the client bite the hook. Right now she knows that whatever it is that Kate's holding back from her, she won't get to it by pushing, so she tamps down her impatience, takes a sip of wine and fixes her large almond eyes on Kate.
"I returned the jewels" she says, dropping her eyes and pretending to busy herself with dipping a nacho into the guacamole paste.
Lanie doesn't know what she was expecting, but certainly not that. She runs Kate's words through her mind once more and still can't make heads or tails of it "You … what?" she asks.
Kate looks up at her friend, expecting she knows not what, but finding only puzzlement. "I returned the jewels to Castle … the guy I took them from"
"I know who god dammed Castle is girl! Ever since he caught you, all you do is talk about him! What I wanna know is why you returned those pieces? I mean they weren't exactly worth a fortune!"
"You know why Lanie! He could have turned me in, instead he looked after me, helped me out, it's the least I could do!"
Lanie grins at her "Ok, girlfriend, keep your hair on! I get it … jus' wanted to see ya' squirm a bit. Still doesn't tell me why I ain't seen you all week"
Kate bites her lip and throws a fleeting glance up at Lanie from downcast eyes. There's no getting away from it, Lanie's staring at her with the same intent a vulture might eye its prey … she could crawl, but she isn't going to get away!
"Monday and Tuesday I was still working on getting my back healed, went to the gym for some workouts. Then on Wednesday I headed over to Castle's place and left the jewels on the roof, messaged him where they were. I still wasn't one hundred percent so it took a bit out of me, I just came home and had a bath, relaxed"
There's a pause and No One by Alicia Keys can be heard playing softly in the background. If Kate was hoping for a respite from Lanie she was mistaken as her friend comes out with "So that takes care of the first half of the week …?"
Kate shrugs almost to herself, then popping an olive into her mouth chews it and swallows. "Thursday I went to a book signing"
"Where? North Dakota?"
Kate grins "No, just round the corner, on Houston and Broadway"
"Let me guess, it was lover boy right"
"Lanie!" she protests, "He's not lover boy! At least …" then catches herself
"At least what, girl?" and now Lanie's curiosity is totally piqued, Kate can tell that from the way she's leaning forwards, invading her space … shit!
Kate goes for the deflection "Nothing, he was signing books and I wanted to get my last one signed, that's all!"
Lanie's now shooting her eyes around the room, then she's standing up and heading over to the bookcase where the copy of Storm Fall is lying across the top of his other books. Too late Kate realises what Lanie's up to and tries to stop her, but has no success. Her friend's picking out the book, sliding it open and searching for the evidence. She almost snorts when she reads his words, glancing up in shock at Kate and making a whistling shape with her mouth. Placing the book back carefully she returns to sit on the floor, mind churning at the implication of his written comment.
They sit in silence for several minutes, Kate occasionally taking a sip of wine and nibbling on a nacho chip, appetite forgotten as she watches the wheels churning in Lanie's mind. Whatever conclusion she comes to, she decides to keep it to herself for now and comes up with "So what else?"
Kate blushes, then decides she's already in deep shit with Lanie, so what the hell … "He asked me to lunch yesterday, at his place, to talk … about his next book …"
"To talk about his next book …" Lanie repeats slowly, then "Why the hell would he want to talk to you about his next book?"
By now Kate's wishing she'd never mentioned it, she's back to clamping her thumbnail between her teeth, a total giveaway where Lanie's concerned and eventually manages "He's basing his main character on me" the sentence coming out in a small voice.
"WHAT! HE'S BASING HER ON YOU!"
"Lanie! Hush! All the neighbours will hear!"
"My gosh girl! I don't care if the whole fricking city hears!" She squeals in excitement "You mean he's actually writing about you? … Wait! Are you sure that's a good idea?" words tumbling out of her mouth one after the other.
"He's not writing about me Lanie, just the character looks a bit like me … and, well, she's a cat-burglar taking the bad guys down …"
"Oh girl! No you don't, you gonna tell me every bit … wait! You sure he's on the level? I mean, is he really gonna write this or he just tryin' to get in your pants?"
"He's already written the first part … twelve chapters, showed them to me yesterday!" and she can't help letting some of her own excitement and awe seep into her voice.
"Girlfriend! You gonna start from the beginin' now … an' I wanna hear every juicy detail!"