Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 77

"You're going to have to help me out here Kate" he says as he turns to her, but she interrupts before he can continue.

"Maybe I should just leave Castle, I …."

He's not sure of the implications exactly, but there's a horrible finality to her tone which makes him fear she's not talking about just today …

"You can't! You're my inspiration, my muse …. that's it!"

"That's it?"

"Yes! … No! … I mean, you're a lot more than that Kate, a lot more! But it's the perfect reason for me to try to present you as my 'consultant' … if you leave, I may never write again … artists are known for their superstition, so who's going to question the fact that Richard Castle needs to have his muse nearby to avoid writer's block! And …. there's no need to lie … because its true Kate, I do need you nearby … and not just for my writing!"

He's back on the floor before her, gripping her hands in his, almost hurting her, fear and hope and … yes and despair in the blue eyes which stare up at her, make her pulse race and the blood thrum in her ears. And she's not sure why her lungs don't seem to be working, and fear still looms over her shoulder, … though it's been pushed back a pace and her forehead's resting against his, the tears running unheeded down her cheeks, shoulders shaking to silent sobs which she daren't even consider as relief, not yet, her mind's too confused, spiralling almost out of control, but his eyes, those cobalt pools are dragging her under, drawing her down and giving her hope, because he's being honest … god, he'd better be … and he's dragging her down into his lap, holding her close and almost crushing her between his arms, but she doesn't care, because this is what she so desperately needs, this and the constant murmuring of her name into her hair …

Martha's sitting back in the armchair closest to the piano, a copy of Entertainment Weekly open on her lap, a stack of press and weekend magazines on the table next to her, a suspicious glass of orange juice precariously balanced on the arm of the chair. Opposite her, legs stretched out along the length of the couch is Alexis, a number of fashion pages carefully removed from the weekend supply of press scattered on the coffee table, a spread held up before her as she chews her lips and takes in the collection of baubles and accessories before her.

The actress lifts her eyes and surreptitiously watches her granddaughter, frowns slightly at the chewed lip, turns her hearing if not her head to the rooms behind her … nothing. The girl had entered her room earlier in the morning and Martha had immediately known something was bothering the child. A recounting of her morning's encounter with Katherine had left Martha avid for more, the somewhat abbreviated account leaving too many interesting holes in the story, however, for once, she'd suppressed her natural inclination and after listening to the young redhead had suggested that rather than rush into the bedroom to apologise, they should settle in downstairs and await the appearance of her son and the messenger.

Admittedly she's curious; the questions her granddaughter had posed weren't far removed from her own, though in her opinion it's more a question of Richard using her than the other way round. Her conversations with Katherine had quickly led her to realise that the girl was a tightly-wound and insecure being, very much the hard outer shell protecting the soft inner core. She's intrigued by the unknown story behind their meeting and her son's obvious enthralment with the woman, but is uncertain about the relationship. She'd been astounded to see how quickly Richard had introduced her to full-blown family status … not since Gina has he brought anyone home, certainly never shown himself so obviously in a relationship … and Gina had been a known quantity, someone who had settled in with not too many a ripple and moved out with just as few.

Her thoughts are interrupted by the opening of the office door behind her and watching her granddaughter, she realises that things are going to get interesting as she sees the girl, looking somewhat embarrassed, slide her legs off the couch and sit up, eyes focused somewhere over Martha's left shoulder.

"Morning mother, Alexis" and he's bending over her shoulder to drop a kiss on her head and give her shoulder a squeeze. Then he's moving round towards his daughter, the messenger, hand in his, being dragged along behind … not quite like a superfluous piece of luggage, but certainly like one who wished they'd been left at the airport several continents away …

Released from her father's hug, Alexis is about to say something but he quietens her with a hand on her shoulder, "Its ok, honey, you don't need to say anything … at least not just yet. I should have done this before, so I'm just going to get us some coffee and then I want to talk to both of you … we want to talk to both of you" he quickly corrects himself and heads off towards the kitchen.

Martha's highly amused to see Katherine's hand suddenly clamp tightly to Richard's at the thought of getting left behind in the shark pool and watches them both as they make their way to the end of the room. Well, well, well … and she carefully closes the magazine, places it on the stack of press next to her elbow and taking her drink in both hands settles back for the entertainment. A quick check on her granddaughter shows curiosity's replaced worry and she has to hide a grin. The Rodgers family … she isn't prepared to think of them as the 'Castle' family, though she's used to responding to the name when necessary ... just can't resist a good story!

With the two adults returning from the kitchen, coffee cups in hand, Martha can't resist the temptation and with a slightly wicked smile turning up the corners of her lips, pats the seat next to her and says, "Kiddo, why don't you come over here and sit with your Grams so we can listen to what these two have to say"

She really doesn't want to put Katherine through the wringer, but watching her son wriggle a little is always a bit of fun … as long as it's in private and within the family. He indicates the couch to the woman and throws her a knowing look as he observes his daughter sitting down next to her. She doesn't miss the bobbing of his Adams apple and the grin on her face gets slightly wider.

Katherine sits on the edge of the couch, coffee cup held in both hands, eyes nervously jumping from her son to her granddaughter to her, before flickering downwards to stare at the streaming coffee. Martha notes Richard settling down close to her, his hand on her knee, the squeeze, offering comfort and support … interesting, this is going to be better than she'd been expecting, and rubbing a soothing hand on her granddaughter's back she takes a sip of her drink, momentarily wishing she'd added a bit more vodka to it.

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