Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 59

Chapter 59

They walk out into the study and Castle picks up the two wine glasses he'd earlier placed on the floor. Nodding to her bag, he tells her he'd brought it in earlier, omitting the fact that he's also peeked at her license. That information is to be kept strictly to himself for now.

Martha and Alexis walk out of the lift carrying two bags with their selection of food and just as Alexis is about to ring the buzzer, Martha stops her, telling her to get the keys from her jacket pocket, silently hoping that her son and his friend … if friend is the right term … have had time to get themselves sorted out by now … he might look cute with a bedhead but she didn't need to know what had been going on all afternoon ... and there was no way having a serious conversation gave him that look!

Pushing the door open they meet Rick and Kate walking out of the study and as Alexis regales them with her selection of dishes and Giang's recommendation to try the banh bo cake his mother had just made, Martha takes a good look at her son and his companion. There's something different to the last time she'd seen them together. Then there had been a sort of tension coming off the girl which had been both intriguing and worrying … especially knowing how her son tends to take things. Right now though, she looks fairly relaxed, following her son round as far as the kitchen counter and asking if there's anything she can do.

Martha looks for the results of I'll get things ready he'd promised before they left and can see that he's certainly not done anything in the kitchen … nor with his clothes from what she can make out.

Castle meanwhile, aware of the scrutiny he's getting from his mother thinks Busted! And makes sure his eyes don't meet hers … the last thing he needs right now is the knowing and pointed looks she's going to give him!

Kate is also aware of the scrutiny he's getting from Martha and hopes that by keeping busy helping Alexis unpack the food she'll blend into the background. Glancing up a moment she finds the older redhead's eyes firmly fixed on her and can't help colouring up, Martha's amused look doing nothing to help her regain her composure. She throws a glance from under her lashes towards Rick and almost laughs herself at the unconvincing look of innocence he's wearing.

With everything out on plates or in dishes and drinks served, Kate, Rick and Alexis are about to make their way to the couch when Martha suggests they sit at the dining table. Kate throws Rick a deer-in-the-headlights look and he's cursing under his breath, the TV was not going to work as a diversion tonight!

Alexis, unaware of the turmoil of emotions around her, turns and heads for the table, leaving the other two no option but to follow and join Martha, who's twitching lip and gleaming eyes warn Rick of impending doom.

Before her son can do anything to mitigate her imminent enjoyment, she tells Alexis to join her round the far side of the table and 'suggests' the other two should take the opposite chairs. As Kate sits down on the chair next to Rick she feels his hand land on her knee and give it an encouraging squeeze before he reaches out to pick up his wine and takes a big gulp.

"So," begins Martha, as the first bite has barely touched their lips, "Did you two enjoy yourselves this afternoon?" The wide eyes and innocent look might have fooled her public, but Rick knows her far too well to fall for it and Kate's guilt makes her automatically assume what the redhead is actually referring to. Martha almost chortles in delight as Kate chokes on her congee and Castle gives her a withering look. Alexis, aware that something is going on continues eating but watches all three adults with interest.

Rick tries to deflect, "We went through all the research Kate has done … which reminds me, I need your advice on security matters for a building I want to use in the book, maybe we can arrange a visit so you can look it over?" turning to the woman next to him who is still trying to get over her choking by knocking back half a glass of wine.

Matters take a turn for the worse as Martha's innocent voice asks "It wouldn't be a hotel by any chance?"

It takes several minutes of Rick gently slapping Kate's back with one hand before she can get her breathing back to more or less normal, whilst he uses his other to pat the table and his shirt with his napkin trying to dry the wine that Kate spluttered all over him.

Martha decides to give them a break but can't resist adding, as she watches her son wiping his neck, "Well, you really did need a shower"

The rest of the meal was relatively tame by comparison, Alexis still analysing what has been happening is fairly quiet, Martha turns her skill to general conversation, retells a number of amusing anecdotes and skilfully draws Kate out, making her disclose the fact that she had studied dancing and piano as a child and had had a brief carrier as a model for a teenage clothes catalogue.

Rick says little, only talking when asked something, carefully observing Kate relax and occasionally giving her an encouraging smile, whilst watching his mother like a hawk, ready to butt in at the first sign of Martha's Spanish Inquisition.

They clear the table when everyone has eaten their fill and Castle heads for the fridge, pulling out the ice-cream tubs and a stack of additives which has Kate staring in awe. Being a simple girl at heart, her choice of mint chocolate chip decorated with a single cherry on top looks drab next to Castle's decadent compilation which almost has her gagging. Alexis' concoction is slightly less bizarre that Rick's but its Martha who supports Kate against the other two, her own vanilla and chocolate sans decorations running a close second to Kate's in the 'Castle Derision Challenge'.

All four head over to the couch, ice-creams in hand and with Martha taking the armchair and Alexis sitting on the couch closest to her, Kate hesitates a bit until Castle plops himself down next to his daughter and pats the space beside him. Castle leans forward to grab the remote and runs through the available entertainment. They settle on 'Bringing Up Baby' an old 1938 screwball comedy with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, partly because some of them have either not seen it or can't remember seeing it, partly because the writer's brain has latched on to the similarities in the names of the star and the woman sitting next to him … whom he has to say is giving him a very odd look at his choice of film.

Kate sits back against the couch, amused at his choice of film but quite happy to just enjoy the company and general sense of wellbeing. She doesn't want to delve too deeply just yet into the whyfores and wherefores, aware that its partly due to the fantastic sex they've had earlier but there's a lot more to it than that ... and she needs time on her own to work through it all. There's also the fact that it's been a long time since she's enjoyed a family evening, her often brief relationships, like her girls' evenings with Lanie, can hardly be called family evenings, though admittedly, this crazy bunch of people might scar her for life!

She's brought out of her reverie as Castle's hand brushes her thigh, all too quickly bringing memories of earlier in the evening to the fore. She quickly ducks her head and takes a scoop of ice-cream, edging her leg away to try and get some space between them. Much to her chagrin, he spreads his legs slightly, bringing them back into contact and though she glares up at him from under her lashes and finds he's blatantly ignoring her, she can tell from the smile on his lips that he's well aware of what he's doing to her.

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