I can't believe what I am about to do. I think as me and the guys ride up to Castle's floor in the elevator. Can this really be happening? I would never have thought this case would lead us here when we started and Espo made the comment about this murder looking like something out of one of Rick's books. I really should have let the guys do this. I don't think I can even look at him. I am arresting Richard Castle, my... what? Boyfriend, significant other...my lover? How could he have done this? My head is telling me to stay with the facts, follow the evidence. Katie you gotta stick with your head here not your heart. If you let your heart lead on this one, it's gonna hurt. Who am I kidding? Of course this is gonna hurt. I'm in love with him, have been for longer than I want to admit. This is why I held myself back from reaching out for this "thing" with Castle. I knew I was gonna get hurt. I'm not allowed to be this happy, I'm still too broken to have this kind of happiness and love.
If Ryan looks at me like that one more time, I might just burst into tears. I need to get myself under control before we have to knock on his door. Come on Kate, you can do this! Put your feelings in a box and do your job. Have faith in him...in us! There has to be an explanation for all of this. Just get him down to the precinct and let him tell his side of the story. Hopefully, we will all be laughing about this "misunderstanding" in a couple of hours over a drink at the Old Haunt.
"You ready to do this Beckett?" Espo asks as we depart the elevator. A sense of dread has fallen over all of us. We actually have a warrant for Castle, our friend, our partner, my...
"What?" I ask as I am confronted with the sound of someone knocking on Castle's door.
"I asked if you were ready for this?" Javier inquires.
"No...do I really have a choice? Lets just do this." I say, hoping my cop persona can take over and get me through this nightmare.
In the end it is Espo who hands Castle the warrant to search is home and places him under arrest for murder. As Javier snaps the cuffs into place, my mind wonders back to the first time I brought Richard Castle in for murder. This time feels more ominous though...like these charges just might stick.
I'm finding it increasingly hard to breathe. I feel like I'm suffocating and my whole world is going to crash at my feet. It seems like just yesterday we were in the Hamptons for a romantic getaway, what I thought would be the first of many for us. Now it might be the only one in a line of dreams of what could have been.
For the first time in my career, I think I might actually hate doing my job. I don't want to question Castle. If Gates knew about my relationship...our relationship she would never let me work his case. It almost makes me wish we would have just told everybody about us and let the chips fall where they may. But then everyone would be giving me the same looks that I can see Ryan shooting my way. It's like he wants to comfort me in some way but he is far too loyal to let everyone in on my secret by actually trying to reassure me.
I need to know the truth about where he was the night of the murder and I know it wasn't with me...and why wasn't he with me on a Friday night? I know I was on call, but that hasn't stopped us from being together. We just arrive separately at crime scenes if a body drops and nobody is any the wiser as to what we have been up to in the privacy of my apartment.
With a deep breathe I make my way into interrogation to begin what I am sure will be the hardest interview I have ever had to do. Not only is it Castle sitting across from me that makes it hard, but he knows how I do this and he knows all my tells. He can read me like a book and this is one of those times when our connection ...bond...very intimate knowledge of each other is gonna bite me in the ass. Maybe I should let the guys take the lead? I wonder if Gates is behind the glass watching? If she is, she will know something is up if I pull back. I usually stare down my suspect...how the hell can I look into this man's eyes and not see all his love shining back at me? God this sucks!
"Mr. Castle, you know why you are here, do you have anything to say?" I ask trying to sound calm.
"Yes, you guys know me. You know I would never do this. Kate please," Castle pleads.
"Mr. Castle, why don't you just tell me where you were on Friday night so we can check your alibi and then go from there." I say, voice surprisingly confident.
"Beckett, I didn't do this!" Castle says glaring at me. "I just write this stuff, I don't actually kill people. After four years together, how could you even think I could do something as sadistic as that?" His voices reaches an unnatural pitch as he finishes his question.
"Where were you Friday night?" I ask again, regretting every minute of this situation. I try to let him know with my eyes that I hate this every bit as much as he does, but it's my job.
"I think I would like to call my lawyer." Castle blurts now resorting to the only defense he has at the moment. He must feel like there is no one else to turn to.
"Make the call." I say as I exit the room, needing the air and the brief respite for my shattering heart.
My head is telling me that there is too much evidence to deny the possibility but my damn heart keeps beating out a rhythm for Castle's innocence. It keeps telling me, you know Rick. He wouldn't have done this. There has to be a plausible explanation for his prints being there. He didn't seem to even recognize the victim. I know him and there were no tells when we were at the scene. I sure would love one of his wacky theories to explain away all this stuff and give him back to me. Is this gonna destroy us? Can we overcome this? Well stupid, it depends if he is a murderer or not, ya think?
"Can I have a pad of paper and a pen, detective?" He asks as I re-enter the room. I feel myself flinch at the use of my title instead of my given name.
"Sure, Castle, did you just get a story idea or something? How are you gonna write us... yourself out of this one?" I ask falling back on out banter before I even realize what I'm doing.
"No, no story ideas. Just trying to get my thoughts together while I wait for my attorney to show up." He say looking up to meet my eyes.
"Sure you don't just want to confess and make this quicker for all of us?" Esposito sneers.
"Espo!" Castle and I simultaneously growl at him. We're still in synch even through this. Who would have thought?
"Sorry Bro. I didn't mean that. This just sucks." Javier whispers across the table so the recording equipment doesn't pick up the conversation.
He might spend the rest of his life in jail because of me. How will I live with myself if I am the reason Castle ends up in jail? How will I ever be able to face Alexis, Martha or any of our friends? Should I resign from this case and tell Gates that I'm too close to this one? My training has me wanting to bring our victim's killer to justice. What do I do if Castle is guilty? The fingerprints and the video evidence is so convincing. If he goes on trial for this, his attorneys will be forced to "out" our relationship which will cast a shadow over the entire case. What kind of future is there for us when I have these doubts about the man I love with all my heart? None! If he is guilty then we have no future anyway. Why couldn't I have just invited him to join me and my dad for dinner? If he was with me, at least he would have a credible alibi. It might make our relationship public, but he wouldn't be my prime suspect right now. He would have been at dinner with Dad and I. And we would have probably ended the night snuggled up together in my bed.
What if he didn't do it? He might hate me even if he is proven innocent because I pursued this with him as my prime suspect. I need to get out of the precinct and get some air, but how can I leave? He needs me and I can't even show any support because I don't know what to believe about the man I love. He tore down my walls and made me believe in us. How will I repair the damage I have done to us if he isn't our guy? Will he be able to forgive me for this? I have done some awful things to him over the last four years, but this might even be worse than letting him walk away. This case is making me question everything I am and everything I have come to love about him. I know if I could get a minute alone with him, I know he could make me believe that this is all going to be okay, he is innocent and he will be able to wrap me in his arms again soon. Please let that be true! My heart can't take much more of this. I wish he would just give me something that the guys can check on that at least will start poking holes in this ...the evidence against Castle. I'm brought back to the present by a knock at the door.
"Mr. Castle, your lawyer has arrived. Do you need time to confer before we resume our interview?" I ask putting my cop mask back in place.
"If he thinks it's necessary. I've got my notes here that he can look at while you ask your questions." Castle says tapping the notepad to draw my attention to something he scribbled.
I take a moment to read what he has written and with a nod I head to the door and yell for Ryan to come to the door. I tell Ryan what Castle has written on the pad and send him off to find Alexis and check out the clue I have been given.
"Sorry for the delay, shall we get started again?" I apologize. "Mr. Castle, where were you on Friday night between the hours of 7pm and midnight?"
Rick's attorney nods and Castle proceeds to answer the question that I have posed to him now for the third time in the last couple hours. "I was at the loft until six and then I left home and caught a cab to meet my daughter, Alexis, for dinner at a small diner near Columbia. We were scheduled to meet there around 6:30 but I was late...traffic was a little heavy being a Friday night and all. I arrived at the diner closer to 6:45. We had a good dinner, and an even better dessert. We didn't finish until almost eight by the time the waiter cashed us out. I paid by credit card in case you would need to check. I tried to convince my newly independent daughter to join me for a movie or some other show we could find on short notice but she declined saying something about a freshman mixer on campus. She did however, agree to accompany me in a little window shopping before returning back to her dorm. After all, there are so many things a new college student needs and will take full advantage of their lonely parents in order to procure said things for themselves. She wanted to look for practical things like storage containers and groceries while my choices swung from jewelry to electronic gadgets."
"So Mr. Castle, what time would you say your shopping excursion ended with your daughter? Did you go anywhere else? Spend time with anyone else?" I asked with a tinge of curiosity...maybe even hurt in my voice.
"Alexis and I returned to her room with numerous packages that we promptly unloaded and put away. We spent a few minutes discussing her classes, how she was adjusting to being on her own and college in general, and then the topic turned to what I had been up to in the last few days since I had talked to her. I decided that a taxi might be too hard to track down at that hour so I placed a call to the car service that I use on occasion to pick me up. The driver showed up sometime between 9:45 and 10pm to pick me up." He adds knowing he is making the fact checking easier for me and the boys.
"Okay, Castle, that gets us to ten. You still have two hours to account for," Espo pushes giving me a chance to collect my thoughts.
"After leaving Columbia, I asked the driver to take me to the Old Haunt. I hadn't been in there in awhile and I was in need of a stiff drink to keep my mind off things and I was going to do some writing in my office in the basement." Before I can ask the question, he dives right back into his account of Friday night. "I didn't want to go home, because no one was there and I didn't feel like being alone. With Alexis at school and my mother's lifestyle, the loft has been too quiet at night. So I opted for a place with a little peace and quiet to write but also the comfort of knowing that there were plenty of people nearby if I wanted to socialize."
"Can anyone confirm your arrival at the Old Haunt?" Esposito asks. "Besides, the driver who dropped you off out front of the bar?"
"As a matter of fact, there is. About half of the off duty personnel from this precinct saw me walk in and Brian, the bartender. Brian commented on how he was surprised to see me on a Friday night as he made me a drink." He says with a glance down at his watch to note the time.
"The next time I even had any concept of time, was when I got a call from Detective Beckett about a body drop. That must have been around 2am or so judging by the fact that the Haunt was closed and Brian was locking up for the night. I had gotten caught up in writing my next book and had apparently fallen asleep judging by the puddle of drool on my sleeve and desk." He finishes and turns me for some kind of sign of how to proceed.
"Is there anyway to confirm that you were at the Old Haunt the whole time that you claimed to be in the basement writing?" I ask knowing full well that there is only one way out of his basement office.
"Brian would have seen me when I left as there is only one way out of my basement office." he answers with a nod and continues, "I had the tunnel exits sealed off after I bought the bar, in case you were wondering."
"Detectives Beckett and Esposito, I believe my client has provided a pretty specific time-line of his evening for the night in question. If you don't have anything further, we will be leaving." Castle's attorney has finally decided to participate in this interview now that it is effectively over.
"No, looks like we're done. Mr. Castle has given us quite a few things to verify before we can proceed with the case. Mr. Castle, will have to remain here while we check into his story." I grumble before exiting the room with Esposito to start running down his alibi.
After a little more than two hours have passed we re-enter the interrogation room to let Castle and his attorney know what we have discovered.
"As bizarre as this sounds, Mr. Castle. Your alibi has checked out and you are free to go. We need you to stick around for a few more minutes to pick up your personal belongings and sign a few forms." Ryan says in something akin to a sigh of relief.
"Come on Castle, I'll walk you over to booking where you can get your stuff back and sign that paperwork before you go home." I say turning to look at him and finally meeting those blue eyes.
"After you detective." He breathes, and I am finally able to relax.