Richard Castle slouched in his big leather chair in the family room of his beach house. He thought ruefully about how mocking the term "family room" seemed when there wasn't one to fill it. Alexis was still at Princeton's summer program and his mother was off doing summer stock, each having the time of their lives. As much as Castle appreciated that his family was happy, it just seemed to exacerbate his own loneliness.

It was August and the summer just seemed to drag on. He went to the Hamptons to finish his book and for the most part he had. Every few days he received an e-mail for edits or revisions but the serious work was done. With some minor changes the book would be published on time making everyone happy, especially Gina. As he stared at the muted 50" plasma screen he almost smirked. That he ever believed that he and Gina could spend a summer together peacefully, if not happily was further proof of how delusional he had been. Yes, they had spent hours talking on the phone that night. He had expected to find his demanding ex-wife and current publisher on the other end of that line. Instead the conversation had been friendly. She was trying to help him out of his funk and get him writing. It had almost felt like when they first met. Gina was a smart and beautiful woman. Asking her to accompany him seemed like a welcomed distraction.

Unfortunately she was more than smart and beautiful. You could add on difficult, impatient, and self-absorbed. It took less than a weekend for them to start sniping at each other. He ended up promising her that with a little more quiet time he would have three new chapters in her hands by mid June. She was in a car on the way back to the city by the end of the week. It was enough incentive for him to actually write those chapters and continue along at that pace until the story was complete.

Now that the work was done, there was nothing left to distract him. Nothing to hold his focus. Castle thought about going back to the city but with Alexis and Martha still away it wasn't that appealing. What would he do there? Heck, what was he doing here? The new book would come out in about a month but he really didn't' deal with many of those details. He'd have some PR events and book signings. He'd do some interviews and photo shoots but really he just went where he was told and played the role of charming author. It didn't take much effort and even less thought.

He considered going back to the precinct and his heart flip-flopped. He wanted to go back. He missed the cases, the camaraderie. He missed feeling a part of a team. And as much as he fought against the thought he knew he missed her. But what was there to look forward to? It had been over two months. He chastised himself that he should be over this by now. Castle rarely had trouble moving on from a relationship. Sure, his divorces had hurt but he and Beckett certainly weren't married. They didn't even have that kind of relationship. Maybe that was the problem. If it had been an actual breakup at least he would have the memories of one to look back on. Instead all he had were what ifs and missed opportunities. The problem was he hadn't realized how much he wanted that kind of relationship with Kate Beckett until it was too late. Suddenly he knew that going back and seeing her happy with Demming would hurt just as much as it had back in May.

As he listened to the waves through the open French doors he stared blankly at the silent TV screen as the 11 o'clock news began. At first the words on the screen almost didn't register. When they did he quickly grabbed the remote to turn on the sound. "NYPD Police Officer Gunned Down" was what the caption screamed and the story suddenly had his unwavering attention.

He had missed the beginning of the story but caught up fairly quickly. "…the female detective was shot in the line of duty this evening during a routine investigation. The name of the officer is being withheld until her family has been notified but we are told she is currently in critical condition." Suddenly Castle could feel his heart pounding and couldn't catch his breath. He scrambled through the beach house desperately searching for his cell phone.


This is the first time I've written a story. It will probably only be two parts unless inspiration (which wouldn't let me sleep until I wrote this) strikes again and sends me more. The second part should update fairly quickly. As they say, reviews are like chocolates. Perhaps not necessary in life but they make it so much more enjoyable. Please press the little button and let me know what you think, good or bad. Thanks.