She pushes through the door, allowing it to swing closed behind her, keeping the warmth in and the cold out. She scans the room for a couple of seconds, checks that there are no cops or other undesirables before heading across to the counter. Penny sees her coming and gets her usual latte with two pumps sugar free vanilla and a slice of freshly baked apple pie. She smiles back at her, hands over the money, grabs a paper off the counter and heads to an empty corner table from where she can keep an eye on the window and door but still be relatively out of sight from the street.
Its two days since the fiasco at the Castle place, two days since she let her guard drop for all of a couple of seconds and nearly paid the price, two days since she'd unsuspectingly walked in on him in nothing more than a pair of boxers and dressing gown hanging open, showing … Ugh! She mentally slaps herself … focus, what if he's given her description to the cops? No one has ever seen her in her nocturnal visits, no one can associate her night-time activities with those of her daytime ones. But she'd allowed herself to get distracted, and now she could be picked up at any time by the cops.
With a sigh, she takes a sip of coffee and cuts into the beautifully made pie. She opens the paper and begins to leaf through it, picking out headlines and only if these are of interest does she bother reading the article. It's on page five that she almost jumps out of her skin Castle Capers Foiled! screamed the headline … but it's not the article that catches her attention, it's the sketch covering a quarter of the page that has her fully focused. She can't help it, the mirror on the wall to her left is in the perfect position for seated clients to check their appearance … right now she doesn't give a crap about her appearance per se … it's what the hell the picture in the paper and her face have in common!
She keeps glancing at the sketch and then comparing her own reflection. So, the hair is similar, though longer and curled outwards at the tips. The eyebrows are climbing halfway up the sketch's forehead; she can only get them that way by pulling faces. The lips are thinner, the chin and jawline more masculine than her own … shit … she could walk straight into a cop shop and not even get a second glance!
She settles back against the seat and glances around in the hope that no one has seen her doing a spot-the-difference in the mirror. The clientele as far as she can see is totally ignoring her. She lets out her pent-up breath, takes a sip of coffee and has another bite of pie. She then decides to read the article and by the time she's finished her brows are knit in puzzlement. The story is accurate and factual as far as it goes, yet the sketch is pretty off-target. Was the writer such a poor observer that he was unable to get a single feature of her face right, yet able to describe her clothing and even her method of climbing from the ledge to the terrace absolutely spot on?
Note to self; dispose of all clothing used two nights ago.
There is something strange going on here and she doesn't like strange … it unsettles her. Either the writer is incompetent, which she doesn't for a minute believe, or he is playing some deep game here which she is not at all happy about. Finishing her coffee and scooping up the last of the pie into her mouth, she pulls the page from the paper, folds it up and tucks it into her pocket before carrying her dish and cup back to the counter. She drops the paper on the pile, thanks Penny and heads out onto the street, walking down a block and turning two corners before climbing onto her Harley and heading home.
She pulls up in a side street near her building, automatically scanning the area before stepping off the bike. She slips the anti-theft fob into her pockets and still wearing her helmet heads into her building. Only once she's in the lift heading up to the apartment does she remove the helmet, running her fingers through her hair to fluff it out. Maybe she should start letting it grow long. She can't help glancing at herself in the mirror … maybe she just didn't have a memorable face … she bites her lip, jeez Kate, just forget it!
Pushing the door closed behind her, she leans a hand against the wall whilst she pulls off her boots, hangs her coat on the rack and with a sigh heads for her bedroom. First things first; she soon has the black turtleneck sweater, black leather jacket with soft elastic cuffs and waist band along with the military style black pants rolled up into a plastic bag. The climbing shoes are standard sports equipment and she only wears them on the job, so she decides to keep them. Anyway, if the sketch is all the cops have to go on, she feels pretty calm about it, all things considered.
She carries the bag to the door and leaves it there for later, turning the TV on she flicks through to one of the local news channel. About ten minutes later as she's studying the contents of a file, the item she was waiting for comes up. The information is even less detailed than the press report, much more speculation about whether it was a fan rather than a burglar. The same sketch she's seen earlier pops up on the screen. She finally lets herself relax, it isn't just the newspaper's mess-up, the sketch is the official police sketch … which still doesn't explain why Richard Castle has got her so wrong, but does mean she's got away this time!
She waits until dark before dressing in bike leathers, grabbing the bag with the clothes and heading down to the street. She travels a good twenty minutes towards Harlem before looking for what she needs. She sees her as she passed an alley; a teenage girl sitting on a stoop, hugging herself and obviously in need of whatever she's mainlining. Pulling up she pulls the leather jacket from the bag, whistles, and when the gaunt featured girl looks up, tosses her the jacket. The girl instinctively tries to catches it, though her coordination is off and she just sits there, mouth agape, staring at the motorcyclist.
Kate shrugs, puts her bike in gear and moves off. She hopes the girl can get out of her situation before she kills herself, but right now, whether she keeps the jacket for warmth or sells it for a dose of something is irrelevant, in a day or two that jacket will no longer be traceable back to her. She heads up to Washington heights before leaving the sweater on a park bench, someone will find it and think it's too good to leave there she reckons. Her final stop is in Upper Westside where she leaves the trousers by one of the shelters being used by some homeless people in an alleyway. Even as she's getting back on her bike she notices they've disappeared from where she'd left them.
With those possibly incriminating pieces of evidence suitably disposed of, Kate heads back to her apartment … she has a lot of thinking to do.