Kate wasn't sure what to think about Rick's admission. She was the first woman he had brought to his special place.

With that admission from Rick, her heart soared because now she knew just how special he found her.

They have a delightful, light Italian dinner and with a glass of wine, or three. They passed the time mostly in silence as they ate until Rick finally breaks the stillness.

"So, what now?"

"I'm not sure," Kate responds, not exactly certain where to take this 'thing' they have now. She most assuredly wanted to find out what they still had between them, but couldn't get over her fear of exposure. She had no idea what would calm those fears.

"I guess we need to ask ourselves, 'What do we really want and what will it cost us'?" Kate continued. She still felt the almost over powering gravity between the two, but needed to be assured Rick felt the same. Was he enamored with the spirit of Emerald, or was he truly attracted to her. She knows what he said, but she had walls that were nearly unscalable. Could Rick persuade her he was really vested in her and not just the idea of Emerald? She was unconvinced at the moment. How could she ensure his feelings for her?

"Well, I'm not on call tomorrow, so do you think you would like to come over to my place and continue our evening? I'm really not very far from here, so it won't take long," Kate asked.

Rick couldn't believe what he was hearing, Kate wanted him to go to her apartment and spend some time alone.

How did he get so lucky?

"Nothing could make me happier than to spend more time with you. No pressure, take everything at your pace. Let me get the check and then we can leave."

Kate excused herself to take advantage of the facilities while Rick settled up with Mr. Giovanni. Kate returned while he was still talking to him and said, "Thank you for a great evening, Mr. Giovanni. I really enjoyed your restaurant. It is the best Italian meal I've had in a long time. I sure hope Rick invites me back." She looked coyly at Rick at her last statement.

Mr. Giovanni, laughed, "You don't have to wait for Rick, you come by anytime. Rick is such a scoundrel, he might forget."

Kate laughed along with him at Rick's expense. "He really is, isn't he?"

"Ok, OK, that's enough picking on the class clown. I don't have to listen to this," Rick replied, smiling all the time. He would be the brunt of any ribbing just to see Kate smile and listen to the tinkle of her bewitching laughter. He was more and more smitten with her each minute they spent together.

He was already a lost cause when it came to her.

Rick and Kate walked to her apartment shortly after leaving the restaurant. Since it was dark and not at all crowded, Kate felt comfortable holding his arm without anyone seeing as they walked. They carried on light conversation, talking really about nothing. Soon they arrived at her apartment and Kate let them in.

Rick immediately noticed just how much like her the apartment was. It was decorated with an eclectic collection of memorabilia, mostly from her earlier days. He did notice a closed set of shutters he thought peculiar since all the others were open.

As Kate went into the kitchen, he looked around her living room, especially at the bookcase. He immediately noticed she had what looked like a complete collection of his works. He was impressed and a little humbled she thought so much of his books. He then noticed she had many of Patterson's books also, which deflated him somewhat. He would have to rib her about that.

Kate returned to the living room with a couple of glasses of wine and offered one to Rick. He accepted and sat on one end of the couch. Kate sat on the couch also, not on the other end, but not right next to him either, just a comfortable distance for them to talk without overt sensuality.

Rick asked about the closed shutters and Kate's face immediately fell. She seemed nervous and somewhat withdrawn after his question.

"I have some private stuff behind the shutters and really don't want to talk about it just now. One of these days when I feel completely safe with you, I will share it, just not now."

If this nascent relationship went as well as she hoped it would, it would be soon, though. She was beginning to think she could trust Rick with anything and he would protect it and keep her safe. A really good feeling.

Rick let the line of thought drop, but made a mental reminder to ask about it at a later date. He hoped there would be a later date.

"By the way, is it related to why you disappeared two years ago in San Francisco? I hope you didn't leave because of something I did. I certainly didn't want to do or say anything that made you uncomfortable."

Kate remained silent, not offering any kind of a hint at what was behind the shutters or whether it was related to her mysterious absence.

"OK, like I said, nothing pushy. You just take your time getting comfortable with us again. I know how I feel, but you have to be just as at ease as I am. I will ask nothing of you that you are not yet ready to give. All your call."

Kate liked Rick and his gentle, quiet but continuous pressure to further their 'relationship'.

Kate thought about what Rick just said and decided to push herself just a little out of her comfort zone. She was not yet ready for a full-blown commitment to Rick, but wanted to rekindle the intensity and passion they had both experienced in San Francisco. So she scooted closer to Rick and put her hand on his thigh, looking up through her lashes.

God she is beautiful, Rick thought. How could he resist her at all, not give her anything she desired?

Kate rose and went to her iPod station and selected a play list from her collection. Rick immediately recognized the songs as her music from California and the clubs.

Kate held her hand out to Rick and asked for a dance. He went willingly into her arms, wrapping her in his embrace. For the first time in over two years, Kate felt the safety of true companionship. She was amazed at the comfort Rick's arms afforded her. She knew then the fire she felt in San Francisco was still there, maybe banked for awhile, but still smoldering.

She took his hand and led him back to the couch, snuggling into him as they sat down. Kate felt the warmth and affection of Rick's embrace and wriggled into his chest even more, laying her head on his shoulder. She felt more than just a small amount of emotion with him. Ok, to be honest, she felt more for Rick than anyone in her past.

How could he affect her so much with just a hug? She needed more to find out.

She once again rose from the couch and held her hand out to Rick. He nearly jumped from the couch, following her through her small but cozy apartment, straight to her bedroom. Maybe Kate was coming out to play like in San Francisco.

Kate backed into her bedroom, bringing Rick with her. Her hands were on the buttons of his shirt as they moved to the bed. Rick thought it only fair to return the favor so he found the hem of her pullover and tugged it over her head.

God, she was even more breathtaking than he remembered. In her two years, she had matured from a teenager, albeit a beautiful wanton teenager, to a woman. Her training as a police officer had redefined her muscular frame, toning her torso to a lean sinewy body of desire. She was magnificent.

Kate had Rick's shirt off and her hands were busy with the belt and button on his jeans. She easily handled that and then moved the zipper down one tooth at a time, smirking as she drove Rick crazy with her deliberate slowness.

Kate laughed out loud as Rick pushed her down on the bed and quickly stripped her of her skinny jeans. She now was dressed in only her matching emerald green underwear.

She was not Kate but Emerald again, the vision of a goddess. He slowly finished removing his jeans, leaving only his boxers.

As he slowly slid down beside her, she pulled him to her and hugged him lovingly. Rick reached up and unsnapped her bra, taking in the sight of her as he removed it. She had woven a web of lust and, dare he say it, love around him. He was trapped with no escape.

He didn't want to escape.

Kate slid his boxers off with her toes and pulled him to her. He embraced her and kissed her deeply, ravaging her mouth with his tongue. She groaned back into his mouth as he kissed her. She was rapidly becoming very aroused and wanted Rick now.

Rick laced his fingers into the hem of her panties and drew them down her long legs. It seemed like it took forever as he slid them off her long, long legs. They were finally totally nude and Rick rolled over on his side pulling her to him. They fit like two puzzle pieces made specifically just for that purpose. He knew this would be a night like in San Francisco, not one for door banging sex, but one for slow intimate exploration. She needed him to assure her of his intent, so that is exactly what he did.

Rick licked his way down her body to where Kate needed him so badly, pausing briefly to suckle on her hard, erect peaking nipples. She was already so wet for him, the inside of her quivering thighs glistened with her arousal. She was beginning to pant due to Rick's ministrations, heading over the cliff before he even got to the apex of her thighs.

No one had ever had this power over her. It was usually hers alone to wield, to use as her weapon to control and direct any situation or relationship.

Rick settled into her and moved the flat of his tongue over her. He lapped up her juices and moved to her tiny hooded nub. Licking and sucking it into his mouth.

"Oh my God, don't stop, just don't stop," she gasped, "I'm so close."

Rick slid two fingers into her heat easily since she was so wet and slick for him already. She shuddered and clenched tightly around his fingers as her release came fast and hard, wave after wave of pleasure washing over her. She gulped for oxygen as he continued his onslaught. Finally, after what seemed an eternity to her, he slowed and brought her back down to reality.

"That was amazing!" Rick exclaimed.

"You should have seen it from my side," she gasped. "I can hardly breathe. Rick, you are just so good at that."

Rick just smiled and made his way back up her taut, firm body, stopping along the way to once again pay special attention to her breasts and nipples. She was climbing the mountain again by the time Rick made it to her lips for a deep kiss, giving her a taste of her own arousal. He laved the spot just behind her ear and heard her groan. He logged this into his 'Kate file' and moved back down her neck, sucking on her pulse point at the base of her throat.

Kate sought him out, wrapping her long slim fingers around his shaft. She pulled him to her center and lifted her hips to draw him into her.

Rick didn't have to be prompted more than once. He slowly pushed his way in, giving her time to adjust to his girth as he went. She was so tight she felt like a hot silken fist holding him. Kate arched her back to encourage him even more, not wanting him to wait.

When Rick was finally all the way in, Kate squeezed him with her silky muscles, asking him to get moving. He pulled almost all the way out and then once again slowly thrust back in. Kate could feel him bottoming out deep within her; she had never felt that before, not even with him in California. She almost came again just with that sensation.

Rick pistoned in and out of Kate, being matched thrust for thrust by her. She had her legs wrapped tightly around his hips, driving him into her harder on each successive thrust.

She was close and could tell by Rick's erratic movements that he was also.

"Rick, I'm so close, please come with me."

That ended it for him; he buried himself as far as he could and erupted deep within her with the hardest orgasm he had ever had. His pulses kept going for hours it seemed, filling her to overflowing, his seed leaking out from around his arousal, coating her thighs. His explosion sent Kate over the cliff and she screamed his name over and again as she crashed around him, clenching him tightly in her scalding velvet heat.

He did things to her she never imagined were possible.

Finally, both came back to earth and rested comfortably in each other's arms, fully sated and at peace with all things. Kate and Rick drifted off to sleep blissfully, listening to the haunting strains of Bolero coming from the distant room and dreaming only of each other.

It was heaven.

They were sure of the future that was promised to them by the destiny in which they both now believed. Kate trusted Rick and he cherished her, both resting contentedly in the knowledge of a deep shared haven of love.

Rick had grown tired of his Derrick Storm series and was at a book launch for the last book of the series, Storm Fall. He was being asked what he would do now and he smiled, saying he had a few ideas; one in particular was at the forefront in his mind. However, he would not divulge or even hint at the idea.

Suddenly there was a commotion in the back of the room. A beautiful lady detective was resolutely walking his way and Alexis asked, "OK, what did you do now?"

"Not sure, at least not this time," he responded back to her.

"Mr. Castle, Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD, we need ask you a few questions about a murder that took place earlier tonight." Rick could detect the slightest hint of an upward curl at the corner of her lips.

Later that evening as they languished in the huge bathtub just off the bedroom with Kate lazily nestled into Rick's secure body in the candlelight, she softly whispered to him, smiling seductively as she purred, "You know, Mr. Castle, you might remember me not as Detective Kate Beckett but as Mrs. Katherine Castle for the last four years. And you know, if you're really lucky, I may let Emerald out to play tonight, but only if you're certain you can still remember her."

The melody of her captivating dance in California was playing soulfully on the stereo when he replied, pulling her even closer to his chest,

"Oh Yes, Emerald;

I Remember You."

. . .

A/N: Well that's it for this one. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me during this new journey Emerald and I have undertaken. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. Once again, thanks to all who have reviewed and made suggestions. And a very special thanks to purplangel for her excellent guidance throughout this entire adventure; a truly very special lady.