After all three of them had their fill of ice cream and the kitchen has been returned to its original state, Alexis decides to make herself scarce for a little while claiming she has a few phone calls to return.

"Go ahead Castle, I know you have something on your mind. If there is something you need to ask me...I'll answer it. I won't run from you...this anymore." She assures him, looking into those deep blue pools.

"Kate, is there anything else I need to know about... from yesterday...before you showed up at my door?" He asks unsure if he really wants to hear it.

"I already told you about the fight on the roof, me resigning and how I ended up here. There isn't anything else that happened. I'm sure as I have time to sit back and reflect on the events from yesterday there might be more things that occur to me. I promise, if I think of something else I will share it with you." She says reaching out to tangle their fingers with a question of her own on her lips. "Rick, would you really have walked away for good this time? Did you mean it when you said you were done after our fight in my apartment?"

"At the time, I meant every word. I couldn't watch you go down that path Kate. You died in my arms a year ago and if it would have come to that again...I don't think I would have survived it. I almost didn't make it through last summer...and I knew you were alive, Kate. I love you too much to watch you get killed chasing something that will never bring your mom back. I don't know if I could have stayed away from you indefinitely, especially if you were in trouble, but I was determined to try." Rick sighs as a few tears escape his now sparkling blue eyes.

"Castle, I am so sorry that it took me so long to finally see you. I'm so sorry for pushing you away when all you wanted was what was best for me. I know you just wanted me to be happy and safe. Most of all, I am sorry that it took me so long to realize how much you mean to me and actually share those feeling with you. I have had feelings for you for so long...probably since the beginning. It's always been you...no matter who I was with at the time...they were never you...they could never compare to you," Kate says almost in a whisper as she pulls herself closer to him needing his touch almost as much as she did the night before.

"Shhh...it's okay. We both made some bad relationship choices along the way...but it has led us to this. We're here now and I plan on making up for lost time. Every …chance... I ….get," he says placing a series of kisses to her lips and pulling her into his lap. "How would you feel about starting that John Woo double feature I promised? Or would you like to go straight to the 'making up for lost time' portion of the evening?" He smirks, wiggling his eyebrows.

"As much as I would like the second option you mentioned, I don't think your daughter would appreciate us ditching her. You did promise her she could join us for dinner and movies," she says patting his chest.

"Can we at least make-out on the couch until she comes back downstairs? You gotta gimme something here, Beckett," he grins at her like a lovestruck teenager.

"You mean last night and this morning wasn't enough for you Mr. Castle? I'm just trying to give you some time to recover your strength so I can do more "research" tonight to see if you earned that reward yet," she beams at him.

"You, Miss Beckett, are a tease! And a beautiful one at that. So... was that a 'no' on the making out? Cause I really would like to kiss you... a lot!" He smiles after placing a kiss to their joined hands.

"How about you go find me that over-sized t-shirt and those superhero pajama pants so I can be more comfortable while I snuggle up on the couch with you and a ridiculously large bowl of popcorn?" She asks with just a hint of promise in her voice.

"Can I help you change into my clothes?" He asks eagerly, already off the couch and halfway to his office.

"Do you think you can handle the temptation of me in your pants, Rick?" She laughs at her blatant use of innuendo.

"I really...really like the thought of you in my pants...but...I like the thought of you out of yours more. Especially, if I get to help you out of them," he chuckles as he hands over the sleeping attire. "Are you sure I can't help you with these?"

"I've been dressing myself for 32 years...I think I can handle it on my own," she huffs, rolling her eyes.

"Yeah, I know you can...but you really need to learn to let people help you. And I really wouldn't mind helping you with this...," he smirks already grabbing his pants and t-shirt from this morning. "Do you mind if I change in here or do you want me to go change in the bathroom?"

"Depends..."

"On?" He interrupts enthusiastically.

"Depends on if I get to return the favor of helping you get changed," she says as a hint of red creeps into her cheeks.

"Does that mean I get to help you out of these jeans for the second time in twenty-four hours?" Rick says reaching for the button on her pants.

"You did say I need to learn how to ask for help...this is me asking," she mumbles against his ear just before she bites down on his earlobe.

"This is me helping...especially when you ask me like that. I would be willing to do just about anything for you if you keep asking like that," he gasps as he unzips her jeans and tugs them down to her knees. "Kate...I...I don't think I can touch you like this and not have us end up in my bed," he groans into her neck.

"Then don't think, Rick...just help me get out of these clothes," she whispers breathlessly into his ear as she works on the buttons of his blue dress shirt. "I need these off..."

"Dad...Kate? Are you guys ready to watch the movies now?" Alexis yells from the top of the stairs.

"Ugh...can we ever catch a break?" Rick grumbles as he pulls away from the spot where Kate's neck meets her collarbone.

"Why don't you go find out what Alexis wants for dinner so we can get it ordered and start the first movie?" She asks trying to distract him and herself; if she is being honest, from what they would rather be doing in his bedroom. "I'll... just get dressed and be out in a second...uh, we will have to finish this... later."

"Coming Pumpkin!" He calls while fighting to get his body back in control. "I'm holding you to that Kate. We might have to make it a single movie and an "early to bed" kind of evening. I don't know how much longer I am going to be able to keep my hands to myself after...that..." He tosses over his shoulder as he makes his way toward the kitchen and his daughter.

Thank God, Alexis called out when she did...if we would have gotten anymore clothes off there would have been no stopping what would have happened. We didn't even shut the bedroom door. We were getting ready to go at each other like hormone-crazed teenagers. What that man does to me. Why did I wait four years to get here? I never thought it could be like this. I've never felt like this with anyone else...I've never been hopelessly in love with someone like I am with Castle. I never believed in true love or magic before I met him. "I better get dressed and get out there before Alexis starts drawing the wrong conclusions...not that she would be completely wrong in her assumptions," Kate mumbles aloud as she pulls the Green Lantern shirt over her head.

"Where's Kate? Did she leave?" Alexis questions with a little disappointment slipping into her tone.

"No, she just wanted to change into something a little more comfortable before we had dinner and a movie with you," he shrugs thinking back to what Alexis had interrupted.

"Oh, I just thought...when she wasn't out here...that she...," Alexis struggles to get her words out.

"I didn't run Alexis. I'm done running. I know where I belong now. I'm not changing my mind about this...about my relationship with your dad," Kate assures the somewhat embarrassed teen.

"So...what does everybody want for dinner? Pizza?...Chinese?" Rick blurts trying to get back to a lighter conversation.

"Let Alexis choose...she's the new high school graduate in the house," Kate suggests from her perch on the stool at the kitchen counter.

"Okay, Miss Valedictorian, what will it be?" Castle oozes with pride for his daughter.

"I could really go for Chinese. I ate way too much pizza last night at the party," she says patting her stomach like she's still stuffed.

"Chinese it is ladies! I'll call it in while Alexis gets the screen set up and you," he says pointing at Kate, "pick out the movies!"

"Any preferences on which one we watch first? Killer or Hard-Boiled?" She asks deferring to Alexis.

"You choose Kate, I haven't seen either one and Dad has watched them both a million times by now," Alexis answers putting the decision back on Kate. "Why John Woo anyway? I figured in light of recent events...you would choose a romantic comedy...something like...'The Proposal.'" She laughs as she reminds herself of the plot of that particular film.

"I invited Beckett over earlier this week for a John Woo double feature but our plans fell through," Rick says glancing over to meet Kate's eyes, " and by the time she showed up here last night it was too late to watch them."

"Yeah, I kinda screwed up and got sucked in too deep with a case," Kate explains to Alexis.

Rick nods at Kate in acknowledgment of her apology and explanation to Alexis for their choice in films.

"So you guys were supposed to be enjoying a 'date night' after my graduation last night? But, Dad you seemed so distraught yesterday before we left. I would have thought you would have been jumping for joy that Kate had agreed to come over. You've been hoping for that to happen for awhile...don't deny it...you don't get to be valedictorian by being oblivious or stupid." Alexis questions the new couple.

"Do you want me to take this one Castle?" Kate asks, knowing that she owes Alexis another explanation.

"Up to you Kate. She might understand it more if you tell the story. I tend to embellish things a bit," he says, knowing he set himself up for what is coming.

"A bit!" Kate & Alexis blurt out at the same time.

After they reign in their shared laughter, Kate takes a deep breath and prepares to tell Alexis the truth...all of it.

"Alexis, I...the case I got caught up in was my mother's. Just hear me out first...then you can ask me anything you want. We caught a murder earlier in the week where the victim had broken into Captain Montgomery's house before he was killed. The boys and I got a lead that the killer in our case was the same man who shot me in the chest last spring. Your dad came to me and explained that I needed to step away from the case before I got myself shot again or worse. I didn't want to hear what Castle was trying to tell me so I got angry and he told me he was done. He wasn't going to stick around and watch me die. Your dad was right...Esposito and I followed a lead on my sniper, without backup and I almost died. If Ryan wouldn't have went to Captain Gates and brought help, I would be dead right now. Ryan saved my life and probably Javier's too. Gates was very angry and demanded that Espo and I turn in our badges and guns. She suspended both of us...I told her to keep mine, I resigned. Wait...I'm not done." she holds her hand up to make Alexis wait to ask her question. "I packed my stuff up and went home, but I couldn't stay there. I didn't want to be at my apartment...there was someone that I needed to see. I eventually ended up here, soaking wet and crying. I finally figured out where I wanted to be...where I belong." Kate looks up and meets two sets of blue eyes that are now filled with tears much like her own. She motions to Alexis that she can ask her questions now.

"What made you realize you needed my dad?" She asks as she wipes a tear with the back of her hand.

"When I was hanging from the rooftop, all I could think about was Castle. I called out to him, I swore I could hear his voice. It was like some kind of sign. It was the first time I had faced a life and death situation in four years and your dad wasn't there. I realized then how much I needed...wanted him in my life. They say your life flashes before your eyes before you die...that's not really true. At least not for me. When I was shot..the only thing I could think about as I was fading out of consciousness was the words your father told me that day as I was bleeding out in his arms. Yesterday, when I was losing my grip on the rooftop, all I could think about was that I would never get my chance to tell your dad how much he meant to me and that I wanted him in my life," Kate sniffles as she swipes at the torrent of tears streaming down her face. She hadn't even realized that Castle had come up behind her and wrapped her in a warm hug. Trying to support her the only way he could.

"You resigned?" Alexis asks trying to wrap her head around this piece of information.

"Yes, I am no longer a cop. I quit. All I want is him." Kate smiles and leans in to kiss Rick's cheek.

"You gave up your career to be with my dad? Does Lanie know? Oh my God! She is going to flip!"

Alexis gushes as she wonders how the feisty medical examiner will take the news.

"I'm sure she knows what happened yesterday at the 12th, but...," Kate hesitates.

"Alexis, you are the only one who knows about the change in our relationship," his eyes conveying more than his words as he gestures between himself and Kate.

"So...you haven't told anybody about your...uh...change in status? Are you going to tell anyone?" the teenager asks not sure why they haven't shared their news.

With a nod from Rick, Kate explains what they plan on saying or not saying as far as their relationship goes, "Alexis, we would like to keep this..uh...thing between your dad and I to ourselves for a little while. You, Martha and my dad will be the only people that know about us right now. We will let everyone else in on "our little secret" when the time comes."

"Sweetie, I understand that you might want to share this with one of your friends, but we would appreciate you keeping it to yourself for the time being. I know you would never intend for the information to get out, but sometimes things get overheard by the wrong people and we are a little concerned that things about Kate and I could end up in the press or all over the precinct. We will tell Lanie, Javi and Kevin when we are ready. We want them to hear it from us not some random rumor or God forbid, the tabloids," Rick states in an all too serious tone.

"Does this mean that Kate can come to the Hamptons with us?" Alexis asks looking at her father.

Bzzzzzz...Bzzzzzz.

"Saved by the bell!" Rick exclaims jumping away from the conversation to get the door. "Food's here! Alexis, can you grab some plates and drinks? Take the stuff out to the coffee table so we can eat and watch the movies."

Kate is left staring at her two blue-eyed hosts with several thoughts running through her head? Did Alexis just ask me to join them in the Hamptons? Was Rick going to ask? When are they supposed to leave? I know they go for Memorial Day weekend, but was he planning on being gone all summer again? Does he want me to go? Does Alexis really want me to go with them or is she just assuming that Rick had asked me already and she is just being polite? If he asks, I am not saying no this time! I missed my chance two years ago and look how that worked out for me.

"Kate?"

"Kate, is there something wrong? Where did you go? You going to come and eat?" Rick asks, his voice now filled with concern.

"Oh, just thinking..." her voice trails off to a whisper that only Rick can hear.

With his hand on her shoulder and his lips to her ear, "Kate, I was going to ask you myself after Alexis went up to bed. I just wanted to see how the day went before I sprung the Hamptons invite on you. I know there are some difficult memories associated with the Hamptons and summer vacations for both of us. I just wanted to be alone with you when I asked. I guess I was trying to wait for the perfect time. Do you want to talk about this now since Alexis brought it up or would you prefer a private conversation later?"

"How about we start the first movie and join your daughter for that massive amount of Chinese food you ordered and skip the second movie so we can have a private conversation?" she says grabbing one of the bags of food from his hands and heading to the coffee table.

The cartons of food get passed amongst the three of them as they watch the first of what is supposed to be a double feature. Alexis is sitting to Castle's right with her feet flung haphazardly over the armrest and Kate is tucked up into his left side with her head on his shoulder. None of them are really all that interested in the what is happening on the screen in front of them. They all appear to be lost in their own maelstrom of thoughts.

Does Kate think that I would leave her here now that things have changed? Does she think I am still hiding things from her? Does she even want to go? Will it bring up bad memories from that summer I went away with Gina? I hope she says yes this time. We can make our own memories...good ones. Will I be able to finish "Frozen Heat" with such a gorgeous distraction looming in my every thought? Maybe my muse...don't tell her I called her that...will inspire me to write an even better ending to this installment. Will this be the end of Nikki and Rook? This is the last book of my four book deal and she's not a cop anymore. Could I still write them if she chooses a new career?

Do I want to go? Should I tell him about Demming and what I really wanted two summers ago? Could I really spend the whole summer up there with his family? Would I be intruding on him and Alexis' bonding time...their last summer before college? What will Martha say when...if I show up? Could I even stand to be away from him for a hour let alone days...weeks...the whole summer?

Why did I blurt that out about Kate going to the Hamptons with us? I'm guessing by her reaction, that Dad hasn't said anything to her about us going? Would she even want to go with us? Do I want her to go with us? Will it be awkward? Will Dad have any time for me is she comes? How long will he even want to stay if she comes? What will Gram think about them being a couple? I think I need to make an excuse and head upstairs. I think they need some time to discuss my slip up. I'm sure they would like the time alone even if they didn't have anything to discuss. "Aaaah, I think I am going to go to bed. I think that late night is catching up to me now. I'll see you guys in the morning. Night Daddy, Kate," she yawns for effect and kisses her dad's cheek and squeezes Kate's shoulder as she passes the back of the couch and makes for the stairs.

"Night Alexis," Kate mumbles from her spot on Rick's shoulder.

"See you in the morning Pumpkin," Rick says grinning up at her.

"Kate, you want to have that discussion now or wait until the movie's over?" Rick asks as he kisses the top of her head.

"Now's fine, I wasn't really watching the movie anyway," she breathes into his shoulder.

"Hey, I'm sorry Alexis just blurted it out like that. I really was going to ask you about it before we went to bed. You're still staying right?" He wonders if the thought of going away together so soon might send her running.

"I'm staying...I said no more running. It just caught me by surprise. I wasn't expecting an invitation to the Hamptons and especially not from your teenage daughter. I knew in the back of my head that you would be leaving soon. I mean...you've spent every summer that I have known you in the Hamptons. Why would this summer be any different? It's not like we had plans or anything...Hell we've only been together for just over twenty-four hours. Your plans with your family have probably been made for months. I guess when you asked me about Memorial Day and that swimsuit last night...I just...I just hoped we would have more time for us before you left. I didn't think you were going up there so early this year," she says with a shaky voice.

"Kate, I desperately want you to come with me...with us, but I didn't want to just assume you would go now that we're together. Alexis must have thought I had asked you already. She probably feels horrible about just blurting it out like that. I think that is why she made herself scarce so early. She could tell we needed to talk about it. Your face kind of had 'shell-shocked' written all over it as soon as it left her mouth. I hadn't intended to leave until closer to Memorial Day weekend but when we had our 'falling out' I moved up the timetable so I could distance myself from you...the memories...what we would never have. It just hurt too much to stick around. But then you showed up here last night and my whole life went from depressing debacle to pure elation! Do you want to spend some time with me...with my family? I know you would love it there...I know we would all love it if you came. Some time away from the city would probably be good for you...us. We could spend a lot of time, just the two of us getting used to being an... 'us'. You could read, sunbathe, swim, shop, have sex on the beach...whatever you want...well as long as the sex part is with me!" He added that last part just to make her smile...mission accomplished.

"Castle, first of all, when I said 'all I want is you', I meant it. Secondly, I do not want to intrude on your family vacation and your last summer with Alexis. Third, when did you plan on leaving?" She is pretty proud of herself for that first one...And sex on the beach with Castle...sounds good to me!

"Okay, one, I am glad to hear you say that. Two, you would not be an intruding on anything. Alexis is obviously okay with you being there or she wouldn't have asked. Three, we were planning on leaving tomorrow...sorry...short notice I know but..." he gets cut off before he gets a chance to make up an excuse.

"Short notice! How can I even say yes to this? I don't even have clothes here for tomorrow let alone enough clothes to take on vacation!" She grumbles at him as he reaches up to cover his ears.

His eyes light up with what he hopes will be the answer that will make her laugh if nothing else, "You don't really need clothes, Kate. Not many anyway! You look absolutely breathtaking in my shirts and I am kind of partial to 'Naked Kate'!" He giggles as he flinches, waiting for some kind of smack for that last comment.

"Well as much as I like wearing just your shirts, I don't think your daughter or your mother would approve and they certainly aren't going to be seeing 'Naked Kate' anytime soon either. And if you make one more comment like that...neither will you!" She grins as she pokes him in the ribs.

"Hey, we can always stop by your place and pack a bag on the way out of town. You can bring that swimsuit from LA or any other skimpy bathing suits you might have stashed away. I'm sure that I would thoroughly enjoy helping you take them off!" He grins, knowing he is pushing her buttons.

"Castle!"

"Okay, just think about it. We can get away from the city, spend some quality time alone, being a couple. You can work on your tan, read, swim and have time to just think about what you want to do now that you aren't a cop. The salty air is supposed to be good for clearing your mind. And we could do that other thing on the beach if you're interested..." He says pulling out all the stops to convince her to come.

"Castle"

"Katherine Beckett...I never! I'm talking about building sandcastles! Get your mind out of the gutter! You don't have to stay the whole summer if you don't want to. Just come with us tomorrow and see where it goes from there. You might really like it if you give it a chance." He knows that last statement was probably enough of a challenge to convince her to give it a shot. "When was the last time you actually took a real vacation anyway?" He asks out of pure curiosity. "...and a day here or a day there doesn't count as a vacation."

"It's been...God...I have no idea. I can't remember the last time." She says scratching her head.

"All the more reason to come and enjoy the sun, sand and surf. Come on, it will be fun...I promise." He says with eyes full of hope.

"Okay, Rick. I'll go but I can't promise how long I'll stay." She concedes, but recovers quickly to add a condition to her terms. "You have to promise me that when I say I'm ready to go home that I can go home with no arguments from you."

"Fine, but you aren't going to want to leave the Hamptons anytime soon. You are going to love it!" He says pleased with himself even though she didn't promise him the whole summer. He will just have to do a little work to convince her to stay.

"Do you mind if I go lay down? I think my body is trying to tell me that it has had enough for the day. Especially, since we are going to have an extended road trip tomorrow." She says as she stretches and rubs her lower back.

"Are you okay? Can I get you some more Tylenol...maybe a back rub or a heating pad...?" He asks a little worried about her lingering injuries.

"Tylenol, a glass of water and your hands rubbing my lower back sounds like the best medicine a girl could hope for," she mutters as she passes through the room headed to bed.

His breath catches in his throat as he catches site of her half-naked in his bed. She is sprawled out on her stomach with her bare back on display, apparently waiting for the back rub he promised. She must hear the sigh he releases when he takes in the bruising on her back and her state of undress. She wonders briefly which of the two things caught him off guard more.

"Thanks for the pain pills and water," she says as she reaches for the offered items.

"Anytime...ready for that back rub?" he asks a little unsure of himself...afraid he might hurt her.

"Yeah, just go easy on that spot just above my right hip. I must have landed harder than I thought," she winces as his hands press on her tender flesh.

After about a half an hour of kneading her bruised back, Kate has fallen into a peaceful sleep and Castle decides it's time to crawl in bed next to her with his hand splayed lightly across the area of her back that pains her the most.

"I love you Kate," he whispers into her ear as he drifts off to sleep.

XXXXX

Chapter written by theputz913