Aftermath Chapter 6
First the first time in a long time, Castle felt great. The altercation with Gina left him invigorated, which, in turn, got his creative juices flowing. He couldn't figure out if it was the fact that he had put a stop to Gina's plans to revive their relationship, the fact that he had discovered her feelings of jealousy towards Beckett, or the fact that for the first time in a week he had let himself be filled up by his feelings for Beckett and reminded himself of thoughts of how wonderful she is. Whatever the reason, with Gina upstairs preparing for her meeting, he grabbed his laptop, parked himself on the same lounge chair where he had worked the day before and began typing. He heard Gina come downstairs and then head out the door without a word to him.
Two hours later, Gina still hadn't returned, and Castle had finished the chapter he had been working on the day before, as well as another shorter chapter, so he decided to break for lunch. He headed back in the house and saw his cell phone sitting on the kitchen counter next to his keys, which reminded him of his plan to try to reach Lanie again. He scrolled through his contacts list until he found her number and punched send. It rang several times before her voicemail picked up. He left what he hoped was a polite, casual, but interested-in-what-was-going-on message. He then made himself a thick ham sandwich and was in the middle of chewing a large bite, when his phone buzzed. It was Lanie.
"Huhwo?" Castle answered, trying to finish chewing while at the same time avoid choking.
"Castle?" Lanie asked. He could tell she was speakerphone.
"Yah. Sowwy, I'm eating wunch." He finally swallowed. Geez, that took forever. "I'm here. What's going on? How have you been?"
"'Bout the same. Bodies come in, I cut them open, bodies go out. It's really not that much different." While Lanie was being friendly, Castle sensed a tinge of … what was it? Anger? Worry? Concern?
"So, things haven't changed much, I guess?" Castle probed, subtly trying to get the answer to an entirely different question.
"Knock off the subtext, Castle. I know what you're getting at," Lanie answered in her classic direct tone.
"You do?" He queried. This was gonna be easier than he thought.
"Yes, I do. It's why I called in the first place. By the way, I'm sorry I didn't call answer your other call. We got slammed here at the morgue Memorial Day weekend."
"Well, let's get down to brass knuckles then. How's it going with the book?"
"Very well, actually. I've gotten about five chapters done and I'm almost at the end. It'll take maybe another week or two after that for rewriting, then I'll turn it over to Gina, er…my publisher."
"It sounds like you've made really good progress. Congrats,"
"Thanks." Castle shifted on his feel as an awkward silence fell over the phone.
"So I guess your publisher is really keeping on top of you, then?" Lanie said, being sure to put slight emphasis on "keeping on top of you."
Funny choice of words, Castle thought. Undoubtedly, Beckett had told the gang about his, hers, and Gina's brief conversation before he left. But he found it very interesting that she had included that little detail.
"Yes and no," Castle responded.
"What does that mean?" Lanie asked curiously.
"Let's just say she and I had a little talk this morning that clarified a lot of things." Castle couldn't help but let a grin cross his face, which, he was sure, Lanie could pick up on even through the phone.
"Yep. Once I finish the book, she is outta here."
"So she's not staying the entire summer?"
Castle was now beginning to wonder if someone else was listening to their conversation on her end, especially since he thought he heard the clop of a shoe echo ff the morgue's tile floor. No matter, he thought. If Lanie was interested in a game supposedly without subtext, then he'd play along.
"Only if it takes me the rest of the summer to finish, and given that I'm almost done, I seriously doubt that will happen."
"Ok. But you're still gonna stay there for the summer, right?"
"Yeah, I thought it'd be best. You know, recharge my batteries. Alexis and Mother will be gone too, so no real reason to head back to the city. Unless, you've got one for me."
"Unfortunately, nope. As much as I'd love to hear your dulcet tones around my table, I can't think of a single reason to make you interrupt your plans." Lanie said.
Castle's eyes flew open wide at Lanie's comment. Her emphasizing the word 'single' could not possibly an accident. Could it be that things between Beckett and Demming hadn't worked out? But she seemed to want to be with him. She was so happy that night in the conference room when she came in and opened up a beer to join everyone. She was flirty too. More flirty than she'd been towards him in a while. Then Castle's earlier thoughts about missing something related to Beckett's demeanor that night came back to him. Holy cow, I did miss something.
"You still there?" Lanie asked.
"Yeah, yeah. Sorry. I just had a brilliant idea that I'll have to find a way to incorporate into the book," Castle covered.
"Well, don't let me keep you then," Lanie said.
"Yeah, I should probably let you go get back to your table. Nice talking to you Lanie."
"Likewise, Castle. Good luck with the book and enjoy the rest of the summer." Now Lanie couldn't hide the smile in her voice.
"Thanks. You have a good summer too. And do me a favor?"
"What would that be?"
"Tell the guys that I'm thinking about them and I'll see them in September. And Beckett. Especially Beckett. Tell her that even though I've only been gone a week, I miss her rolling her eyes at me."
A grin now lit up Lanie's whole face. "My pleasure, Castle. Take care."
"You too." Castle smiled brightly as he headed back to finish his sandwich. Things were definitely looking up.
Meanwhile, back at the morgue in New York, Lanie also smiled widely as she ended the phone call.
"How did you learn to do that?" Beckett asked her friend incredulously.
"Please honey, there's nothing to it. With as big a family as I have, you get pretty darn good at both giving and picking up on subtext. Plus, I'm an ME. It's my job to notice things that aren't readily obvious."
"No, right. Of course. I just meant-"
"Don't worry about it. I know what you meant," Lanie said and playfully nudged her friend's arm before getting serious. "So, you feel better now hearing all that?"
"A little. Sorta," Beckett answered trying to diffuse the girly glee that was bubbling up in her system. But when Lanie gave her one of her patented "oh puh-lease" looks, she took the lid off. "Ok, yes. I feel much better," she said with her eyes dancing. Then a depressing thought crossed her mind. "You don't think he slept with her, do you?"
"It's hard to tell, Debbie Downer," Lanie teased. "And I'm sorry, but you're on your own getting the answer to that question. You're my girl, but I am not getting all up in that kinda business with you two."
"Alright, fair enough," Beckett relented. "I gotta get back anyway. Thanks for your help, Lanie."
"Anytime." As Beckett turned to head out the double door exit Lanie winked at her. Beckett had only take a couple steps out into the hallway when she went back for a final question.
"We're still gonna nail him when he comes back, right?"
"Absolutely," Lanie answered enthusiastically. Both women chuckled before heading back to work.
Hours later, Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito had just returned from walking through a crime scene, when Beckett noticed a special delivery courier envelope on her desk. She opened it up and found inside an envelope the size of a standard greeting card with just her first name scrawled on the front in familiar handwriting. Her heart began beating a little faster as she opened the smaller envelope. It was a "thinking of you" card. Beckett couldn't help but blush slightly as she read the message on the inside back cover:
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER.
SEE YOU WHEN THE SUMMER'S THROUGH.
HAVE A GOOD TIME BUT REMEMBER,
THERE IS DANGER IN THE SUMMER MOON ABOVE (NOT TO MENTION ON THE SUBWAY).
WILL I SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER OR LOSE YOU TO ANOTHER SCOTT DUNN?
Just a little note to let you know that I'm thinking of you. And that I don't want to lose you as a friend.
Be safe and have fun. Really...it's OK to do that once in a while. :-)
All the best for the summer,
He didn't know, but he had in part quoted one of her mom's favorite songs, See You In September, by The Happenings. The "friend" part bothered her a little, but for now, she decided it was enough.