Standing there, staring down at the bewildered writer sprawled backwards on the bed, all the resentment and anger triggered by his late appearance on the scene dissolves and turning round she lets herself drop to sit on the end of the bed, clamping her hands between her knees and trying to hold back the tears of shame.
A decaffeinated Castle, firstly bewildered, now seriously worried, is trying to get his head round the situation. Pushing himself up till he's sitting next to her, he cautiously leans forward to get a look at Kate.
He can make out the tears trying to well up out of her eyes and her stiff posture along with the clenched hands clasped between her legs give him a pretty good idea that something cataclysmic must have happened, though for the life of him he can't think what it is.
Slowly, scared that any sudden move might set her off again, he slides his arm around her shoulder and quietly asks "What's happened?"
She bows her head, unclenches her hands and brushes away the impending tears then starts rubbing them up and down her thighs. She can't look at him and when he tries to turn her face towards him she pushes his hand away, shaking her head.
With a sigh, he drops to the floor before her, wincing slightly as his knees land on the boards. Placing his hands on hers he stops her agitated movements and eventually she raises her eyes enough to glance at him before letting them drop again.
"Have you strangled my mother?" he goes for the comic relief, one eyebrow arched and a look of hope on his face, aware of the thin line he's treading but needing to find out what's happened.
Her startled look as her face jerks up changes to a reluctant if barely held smile as she observes his expression. Then with a shaky sigh she drops her head again, "I lied to your daughter".
She misses the look of relief on his face as the rather prosaic explanation sinks in, his first reaction a release of pent up breath as he realises it's not him that screwed up. His second thought is that telling his daughter a lie isn't exactly a cosmic cataclysm, his next thought wiping the relief off his face as he wonders just what she's had to lie to Alexis about.
"Kate …" waiting until she looks up at him, "… tell me …"
Her hands are jerking slightly, trapped under his, but he thinks she's not really aware of that. Slowly, with several hiccups and a number of false starts, she tells him about her morning inquisition. Castle, desperately trying to keep a straight face as he hears of Alexis' prowess at interrogation and having a hard time not to laugh at Kate's description of the incident, somehow manages to keep from turning it into a circus, aware that this is not just about this morning's confrontation … it goes a lot deeper than that.
Eventually, feeling exhausted and emotionally drained, Kate raises her head and looks at him, doubts and questions and uncertainty swirling within the green and hazel of her eyes. Pushing himself up off his feet and dropping back onto the bed next to her, he pulls her towards him and kisses her temple.
"I'm sorry Kate, I should have thought all this through, I'm the writer … I guess I got so caught up in the whole thing I forgot to lay the foundations at home. Alexis is right in a way, I don't know when to back off … at least not till it's too late most of the time. All she knows about you is that you turn up covered in cuts and bruises, that your mother was murdered … and she automatically assumes I'm going to get myself in deep water. Without knowing the rest of the story it's easy to assume your Mom's murder and your injuries are related … which in a way they are …" he adds reflectively, "… but not in the way she's probably thinking".
Here he pauses and takes her hand which has been lying still on her lap whilst she listened to him. There's an ever so slight jerk but then she acquiesces, allowing herself to relax against him, aware that he's thinking his way through this maze for the two of them. "You're also the first person I've brought home since Gina … my ex … well second ex … and I should have had a talk to her about it, explained the situation … I guess I got so involved with everything I didn't stop to think what it might look like from outside".
"So … what are we going to do? What will you tell her?" she asks quietly, frightened at where this might lead them.
"I'll … we'll tell them … best to include my mother in this and then we don't get our lines crossed. If you think Alexis' technique was effective, you haven't been cross-examined by my mother … she's like Chinese water torture! We'll tell them the truth … as far as possible", feeling Kate stiffen at the first part of the phrase before relaxing again with the rider, "They already know about your Mom's murder though not the details, and I don't want to give them more than the bare outlines, Alexis overheard a little bit when you were telling me in the kitchen on Tuesday …" at which Kate quickly lifted her head from his shoulder to stare at him in shock, "but she didn't hang around long enough to hear it all".
"As to how we met … any ideas?" She shakes her head to his question and he can't help adding "How about you were pole dancing at a club I visited?" and is rewarded with a slight chuckle.
"Like that would really improve me in your daughter's eyes!"
"I don't know about my daughter's, but you'd certainly go up in my mother's esteem … anything to do with showbiz …" and is rewarded with a huff of laughter.
"Seriously Castle, please"
"Ok, it's got to be based on security, it's the reason I need you as a consultant and it's the best cover for us …"
"Except that you're mother knows I'm a messenger" she interrupts him.
There's a moment's silence as he thinks about it, his natural inclination to go with her being an FBI undercover operative or CIA mole quickly discarded ... but it stirs the germ of an idea and he throws it out before he himself can shoot it full of holes, "Ok, so you're an independent consultant for security firms and you're checking on a spate of robberies which you feel are related to one or more messenger services …"
"Castle! Christ! That is way too close to the mark!"
He nods, but starts throwing it around in his head, his writer's imagination finding it a solution to a number of problems, "Yes, but it'd be so neat! It covers everything"
Suddenly he becomes aware of the pregnant silence and the rigidity in Kate's body. Turning to look at her, he finds she's staring at him with both hurt and forlornness in her eyes.
"What …? Hey it's only an idea …"
She pulls away from him turning slightly and creating a space between them which suddenly feels colder than a winter chill.