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Castle sits, the silence of the loft pressing in on him.  His glass is cold against his palm as the ice cubes melt into the liquor.

He is alone.

Alexis is in Costa Rica.  His mother is doing summer stock in the mid-west.  And Kate...

He sips his drink and listens to the silence.

Beckett’s in Washington, in intensive training for her new job, and out of contact for the next six weeks.  They’re solid, but he can’t help thinking they are still, somehow, ambiguous.  She eagerly accepted his marriage proposal, but this new job with the feds has put a damper on both their love life and their plans for the future.  But they’re together, and they love each other, and sooner or later, they’ll be married.

These six weeks will fly, and then they’ll all be home again, on the same damn day, and he wonders if it’s a conspiracy to keep him and Kate physically apart for as long as possible.  He smirks ruefully, and admits he’s looking forward to having them all back again, because he’s surprisingly lonely when he isn’t surrounded by women.

But their return is still six weeks in the future, and right now...

He sips his drink, the clink of ice cubes loud in the silence.

He has nothing but time.

For the first time since Alexis was born, he’s truly free to do whatever he wants to do.  No mother, no daughter, no significant other.  Footloose and fancy free, which is always a ticket to trouble, not to mention adventure and maybe even a good book.

He takes another sip from his glass.

But what to do?  He could call all his old buddies from his pre-Beckett days, get together for one last, news-making, city-shaking party.  He knows he should take advantage of Kate’s absence, because let’s face it:  once they’re married, he’ll never be given this much freedom again.  The idea of partying is strangely unappealing, and not just because most of his old buddies have also married and are now on diaper duty.  No, he’s not in the mood for destroying any hotels right now, although he might feel differently later in the summer, and there’s always his bachelor party to look forward to.

He wants to leave New York, get away from the oppressive silence of the loft, but he feels too restless for the familiarity of the Hamptons.  He could go west, but then he’d be tempted to drop in on his mother and give her some well-deserved criticism, and even that small opportunity for revenge doesn’t interest him.

He could go south, but he has no self-control.  He’d end up in DC where he’d stay, moping around Beckett’s new place, pissing her off and making her feel guilty...if she was even still in the city, that is.  It didn’t matter where she was, because she’d still figure out he’d been moping around her place, and he wants to marry the woman someday, so he knows stepping foot in DC would be a very bad decision.

He could be disciplined for once, and keep going south, but then he probably wouldn’t stop until he hit Costa Rica, and while Alexis’ dismay and embarrassment would be amusing, he needs to let her heal from Paris in her own way.  Not to mention he isn’t sure even he could drive all the way to Costa Rica without getting into serious trouble.  If he has to call Beckett to rescue him, she’ll just kill him quickly.  If he’s lucky.

He could go east, but he has his own nightmares about Paris, and there’s a slight distrust now of the rest of Europe.  Besides, it’s no fun alone, and he wants to explore Europe with Kate.

So, he thinks, that leaves north.  Maybe he’ll go along the coast, through Maine and into Canada.  He’s never gone that way before, and Stephen King is always telling him that part of the country is beautiful.  He ponders the idea.  There are no relatives in that direction, as far as he knows, and he should manage to stay out of trouble long enough to have a relaxing vacation, meet some new people, and possibly get some ideas for a new book.  The more he thinks about it, the better the idea sounds.

He nods.  North it is.

He toasts his decision and heads into his study to write.

Master Post                 Part Two



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January 2015


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"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little --"


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