Eventually her fingers are dry and she has to say something, the silence becoming awkward. With a sigh she drops the crumpled paper onto the table, wraps her hands around the cup taking comfort from the radiating heat and reluctantly turns her eyes up to look at him.
He's sitting just a couple of feet from her but he has both elbows propped on the table, head forward, eyes looking at her in concern and worry, much closer than she'd realised and it makes her catch her breath. She can see herself reflected in his irises, the surrounding blue matches his shirt to perfection, a lock of hair tumbling down across his forehead making her want to reach out and brush it back into place.
Kate shakes her head, trying to clear her mind and insure coherent thoughts instead of letting her mind wonder the moment he's up close and personal.
"What do you want from me Castle?" it's just a whisper thrown into the small space between them, almost lost amidst the surrounding background noise of talk and clanking cutlery and conversation and called-out orders and shuffling customers.
His hands leave his own coffee, push the plate with the partially eaten danish aside and move to settle on her own around the paper cup. She shivers slightly as she feels his fingers gently brush the back of her hands, his thumbs rubbing circles on the fleshy part where her thumbs join her palms. After a few moments it's incredibly soothing and she's able to raise her eyes from where she's been staring at their hands to meet his concerned look.
"What's happened?" he asks
And she can't help smiling and retaliating with "Now who's answering a question with another question?"
There's a quick smiling acknowledgement of her rebuke but he's still looking at her, worry in his eyes. "Something must have happened, I thought things were good the other night … today you're looking at me as if I've done something wrong. Whatever it is, I assure you it was unintentional"
Now he's making her feel guilty and she quickly shakes her head in denial, adding "No!" and then, more quietly "No, it's not you … it's me … I … I don't know where this is leading … and I'm not good with … emotions, with sharing … it kind of scares me …" and at the back of her mind she's thinking why don't I just tell him the truth, that I don't trust him not to hurt me down the line, but that is getting too close to her inner self and she's not ready to put that out there yet … maybe never … then he's talking and she's missed what he was saying.
"… not to push or ask too much from you, let's just take things a step at a time, I can't promise not to be a jerk sometimes …" he gives her an apologetic smile "… goes with the territory, but I promise I will never intentionally hurt you"
His thumbs are still gently rubbing circles near her thumbs and it's making concentrating difficult and she's suddenly aware of a number of people surreptitiously watching them, so she pulls her hands away, clasps them in her lap and lifts her eyes to look at him. She catches the fleeting look of disappointment in his eyes and notices his hands are still on the table surrounding the empty space where hers had been only moments before. She watches as he pulls them back to his side of the table, defeat in the slight slump of his shoulders.
"I can't talk here Castle, everyone is watching …" and she sees him look around, realising that despite they low-voiced conversation, their antics have drawn attention and not just from Bob who's watching the evolving situation with interest. He gives her a rather sheepish look and sits back.
"So, would you like to come round for dinner tonight? My family will be there but we can go into the office afterwards and talk?"
She shakes her head, "I can't tonight … and your family, what are they going to think …" she trails off.
"They'll think we're discussing the book, and they won't be judging you if that's your concern. Look, I really want to help you out with your Mom's case … as long as you're still happy with that … the rest we'll take a step at a time, ok? I don't want to push you into a corner Kate, but I'm here whenever you're ready to talk, so I'll try and be patient and let you call me when you're ready …"
She's grateful he's not pushing, though she has a feeling he won't be able to hold back long. She feels the vibration of her phone and unzips the side pocket of her leathers, pulls it out and checks the message.
"I've got a package to deliver Castle, I'll … I'll call you tonight ok?"
She stands up, picks up her undrunk coffee and glances down at him. He's sitting there, shoulders turned slightly, head tilted to look up at her, an expectant look on his face. She unconsciously bites her lip, tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and nods.
He watches her as she hurries out of the café and disappears from sight. With a sigh he turns back to look at the table, neither the unfinished coffee nor the pastry particularly appealing now that she's been and gone. There's still a thin ring of coffee where her cup had been, the scrunched up paper napkin discarded nearby. He feels a bit like that napkin and the thought brings a rueful smile to his lips. Standing up he heads to the till, pays his tab and heads out into the pale sunlight. He's halfway along the pavement heading to the corner of University and 10th when he hears the Harley rumble to life behind him.
Turning, he watches as she puts it in gear, trundles back a few feet, turns and heads out into the traffic, a lithe, black-clad figure heading away from him. He wonders if it's symbolic as he loses her in the traffic, before hunching his shoulders and heading towards the corner, eyes searching for an empty cab.
Back at the loft he slips out of his jacket, drops it over the back of a kitchen stool and heads into the study. His mind already busy with the developing relationship between Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook, there's a bit of frustration, a bit of anger there and he knows he needs to get them out, the authenticity of writing is best when the emotions are real, he knows that from experience.