Summary: Wedding reception PWP. Castle and Beckett discuss their pick-up repertoires, along with some completely platonic roleplaying. Not.
Author's Notes: I have looked at Beckett's wedding outfit far past what is socially acceptable, and I can't tell if she's wearing hosiery or not. For the purpose of this fic, she is. Suspension of disbelief, blah blah, this is important for the "plot" of the story (and yes, I am using that word very loosely here).
Thank you to A for beta services and for unwittingly providing me with half the banter in this fic.
Give me more of a reason
To be with you
Be with you, oh
She checks her phone one more time, even though nothing less than a citywide emergency would get her called in at this point. Sighing in defeat, she takes another sip of the dirty martini and exhales sharply at the potency.
Apparently being the-- good friend? Unofficial partner? Last minute date?-- whatever of the owner has its benefits, because the bartenders aren't giving her the same stuff as the rest of the reception party guests. She's getting top shelf liquor tonight, and she's glad to have moved past the Long Island Iced Teas and onto this.
She wishes she'd taken her leave when Espo and Lanie did, but sharing a cab with them in make-up sex mode would likely have been more awkward than sitting in the dark corner of The Old Haunt's bar counter, having uneasy feelings about how tonight should end.
...or rather, how it could end.
"Can I buy you a drink?" the throaty voice against the shell of her ear startles her for a second, and she jumps slightly before she can control her reaction.
Damn him for distracting her so much mentally that she let him get this close without her cop instinct kicking in -- but she recovers enough to glare at him. "Seriously? That's the line you're going with?"
"What? It's a classic!" he argues, as he leans against the barstool to her right, his left hand resting comfortably against the back of her seat.
"Open bar, Castle," she points out, taking a sip of her martini as punctuation.
"Which I'm footing the bill for, making that line both funny, endearing and true."
She raises an eyebrow teasingly at him, "Do you want me to bring those pick-up artists for more questioning? You could take notes this time."
"I assure you my repertoire has rarely failed me," he teases back.
She maintains eye contact for so long, she's starting to feel warm. "Your repertoire? Pray tell, what other plays do you have? The 'Butter job' or do you go old school?"
"No 'Bolero' for me, Detective. You don't ask a magician to reveal his secrets," he points out as he signals to the bartender.
"I'm not asking for the behind-the-scenes, Castle, just a sneak preview of the performance," she lets the words settle, knowing full well the way the weight they might carry.
The beer arrives as he considers her words, and she's surprised he's not going for the heavier stuff. "Just a peek?" he asks after taking a swig from the bottle.
She stares at the droplets of moisture on his lips for just a fraction of a second too long as she nods. "If you were to pick up any woman here, what would you go with?" she explains further, even though she's painfully aware of the fact neither of them has acted available to anyone else all night.
He is every bit his mother's son as he theatrically runs his hand over his face until his expression is neutral. Then he glances at her with narrowed eyes, and releases his beer to hold his hand out to her, and before she knows it, they're shaking hands. "Hi, I'm Rick Castle," he offers.
Her heart skips a beat, but she rolls her eyes as she lets herself laugh softly. "Really? That's your best?" She places her left arm on the counter and rests her forehead on her hand, letting her locks shield her blush, because she's not about to admit that this would've worked on her six years ago.
"I didn't say it was my best," he points out.
She glances at him sideways and her lips scrunch up in amusement. "You drop your own name in hopes of what? Finding a fan?"
"It obviously separates the literary fans from the rest, but I don't bank it all on name-recognition. There's also touch," he explains, rubbing his thumb over the bridge of her hand, "...and you are not giving the 'big blues' enough credit."
She bites the inside of her cheek as he blinks comically at her. She tries to drop her hand, but he doesn't let go, and the end result is both their hands resting just above her right knee, the warmth against the nylon rushing upward. His ego is obviously back in peak form, and she adds "I've released a monster."
He makes that face at her, the one where he's trying not to make an innuendo and she mentally rehashes their conversation until she realizes what he's struggling with; and even though she rolls her eyes again, she still laughs. And it hits her that they're at his bar, as unofficial dates to a wedding, roleplaying pick-up strategies, and apparently sharing jokes about his... monster.
"What about your... repertoire?" he asks as Jenny's brother's band starts another song that's far too heavy on the guitar and drums, and not appropriate for a wedding reception at all.
She stares back at him with an incredulous look on her face, which she realizes might come off as rather self-centered, so she drops her eyes and shifts in her seat uncomfortably. Her discomfort grows as she realizes her movements have exposed the seam - along with just a hint of nude lace - of her stocking; their hands are still connected above her knee, and what bugs her the most is the lack of control she feels at that moment.
She tries switching tactics, answering his question by raising their joined hands so she can cross her left leg over the right one, exposing the other thigh-high even more. She enjoys the feeling of having the upper hand again, both metaphorically and literally, as she lowers their joined hands to her left knee, angling his fingers so they're fully resting on the nylon-clad skin.
He gulps audibly from his seat, and she feels accomplished, even if he'd probably argue her methods aren't entirely clean. "And if that doesn't work?"
She smiles at him, knowing things are definitely working from the way he's shifting in his designer suit. But she times her actions to the music, and leans her body towards him, balancing herself precariously on the edge of the barstool, knowing he'll catch her if she slips. "We should go some place more quiet," she shouts into his ear as the guitar solo starts.
"That..." he replies, pausing to reach for a beer with his left hand and she realizes they both seem to be going to great lengths to keep their hands touching. "... that would work," he completes his sentence after he drinks from the bottle and motions for another one.
There's a victorious tinge to the warmth spreading through her, even as he balances his damp cold beer bottle on the back of her barstool.
"We should, though," he adds.
She chews on her lower lip as she considers his proposal -- or rather, her own -- and shrugs. This music isn't her thing, and even if they're in a secluded corner of the bar, Ryan's relatives aren't as good at holding their liquor as one might believe, and she would hate to have one of them stumble into their area.
The fact her (their) co-workers are also mingling around doesn't bother her as much as it probably should, but it offers another excuse to nod in agreement to his suggestion.
He waits for Brian to bring him a new beer even though his current one isn't even half-empty. He grabs both bottles with one hand, and makes enough room between their barstools so she can slide down from her seat. She doesn't bother to pull the hem of her dress down until her feet are planted firmly on the ground.
Their joined hands separate and she frowns at the feeling of loss that seeps through her as she grabs her martini glass, and follows him downstairs to the office of The Old Haunt.
The office lights are dim, but it's still brighter than the lighting for the party upstairs. After setting the beer bottles down on the desk, he makes his way to the gramophone on a shelf. She leans against the office desk as she watches him put his iPad next to it and taps the screen a few times. Music fills the office, something familiar and she pauses in thought trying to remember the name of the song or artist, but she draws a blank. He just grins at her. "Repurposed speaker with Bluetooth, pretty cool, huh?"
She shakes her head as she smiles, knowing how much he enjoys his gadgets, and she's not sure when the consensus on that went from annoying to adorable in her mind.
He reaches into his pocket as he makes his way back to her, until he pulls out a scrap of fabric and throws it at her.
"You caught the garter?" she asks as she focuses her attention on the intricate stitching on the garment.
He shrugs. "Oh, hey! Now we have a set," he points out as he shrugs out of his jacket and throws it at the chair neither of them is using.
She glances up at him confused, because she and Lanie managed to hide out from the bouquet throw this time, but she realizes he means the other bouquet, all those years ago. "Well, what was left of that bouquet went up in flames with the rest of my apartment. And it obviously wasn't meant for me," she points out lightheartedly. "You're the expert on all things magical, what are the odds on those things being covered under mystical insurance?"
"I'd say this is one of those instances where your odds are as good as you want them to be," he adds, shuffling on his feet and avoiding eye contact.
It hangs there, between them, another open-ended promise, and she smiles. But she's not entirely sure what she should reply to that, so she steers the conversation ever so slightly. "You and Kyra... how did you meet?"
He tilts his head in recollection, a fond smile lighting up his features. "School library. I was doing a lot of research for my writing, and she worked there for a semester. Those days were fun. Before the internet completely obliterated any need to set foot into a school library "
"How sweet," she says, and she's fully sincere.
"Well, it's not like almost getting arrested at a book party," he replies, flashing her a teasing smile.
She tries not to smile, and fails. But she still has one card left to play. "That's not how we met," she reveals, watching his face.
"Wait, you thought I was talking about us? No, I was talking about all the other stunningly hot - but in a bossy kind of way - law enforcement agents who have enjoyed 'bringing me in for questioning,'" he adds, adding air quotes with his fingers.
She goes along with it, because lately she can't find good enough reasons not to. "I have seen your police file. I'm sure Sergeant Miles was irresistible after he arrested you... I could hardly contain myself at his retirement party."
"What Gary and I had was special, but alas, same-sex marriage was not allowed back then in the great state of New York," he sighs, and reaches past her to get his beer.
She doesn't point out he doesn't need to be brushing past her, and that the office is big enough for him to get his own spot leaning against the desk. "Pity," she adds.
"Well, at least we're making some progress," he adds, and she's not sure if he is talking about the state of New York or them, but as he takes a celebratory swig from his beer, she is banking on both.
She places her hands on the desk behind her and pushes until she can rest her bottom on it and slide backwards, creating a little bit of space between them. He's pointed out her fondness for doing this on several desks at the 12th - there's something inherently childish about misusing furniture that she loves; one of the few things she allows herself to do at the precinct that shows a bit of her personality under the badge.
"What did you mean, though?" he says as he rests his beer bottle a few inches from her knee. He rests his hip on the desk next to the beer, and the distance between them isn't anything overly intimate, but it still keeps her nerve endings on alert.
"We met at a bookstore signing," she admits, though she doesn't admit it wasn't just one signing. She's already inflating his ego enough tonight, she doesn't need to spend the next several hours wrangling it back under control. "It was a long, long time ago."
He frowns at her admission, his brain searching through memories but obviously coming up empty.
"Relax, Castle," she says as he begins looking uncomfortable. "It was a book signing. It's not like I was on your... ledger or anything."
He raises a teasing eyebrow at her even though he's obviously still flustered that he doesn't remember her. "I'm sure that would be quite memorable, but I can't believe you never told me. I have always known you were a huge fan, so this would be what we writers call 'in-character,' you see?" he adds with a smirk.
She shakes her laugh. "You did not know! I just... like having books signed," she lies, because she still likes having some secrets from him.
"Just books?" he wonders out loud.
She lets her eyes roll as a response.
"Does it bother you that I sign women's--" he gestures, and she knows he doesn't have any problem saying the word, but his eyes have landed and are fixed on her covered bosom and he seems to have briefly lost his grip on the English language.
She leans sideways until she can make eye contact to break his spell, and laughs. "Why do you ask?"
"I could... stop," he offers, putting the ball on her court again.
She bites the inside of her cheek again, his reply surprising her more than it should. "That's--" she starts saying, and pauses. She takes a deep breath and considers it for a second. There are three parts to her answer: the socially complex idea of male celebrities and half-clothed full-figured female fans, then there's Castle signing women's breasts, and lastly there's the fact she's known him long enough to tell his public persona apart from the man underneath it. "No, it doesn't really bother me, not where it matters."
He looks relieved at her reply. "It's really not as bad as it looks, you know."
"Is that right?" she lets the tone go back to their usual banter, and takes the toothpick out of her drink, popping the alcohol soaked olive into her mouth. "Don't tell me all of them start to look the same after a while."
"It's true," he adds. "Well, not all. But it's not exactly... intimate," he explains.
She finishes her martini as he works on peeling the label off his empty beer bottle.
"You mean having a celebrity write on your body with a sharpie? It sounds like the stuff fairytales are made of," she rolls her eyes. "And seriously, what is the point? It will wash off sooner or later."
He shrugs, and reaches for the NYPD mug filled with pens, finding a black marker. "You could let me demonstrate again," he offers, and for once his intentions seem pretty innocent as he bites the top and uncaps the marker, reaching for her arm.
"Wait!" she says before the pen touches her skin. "That's... I don't want to have to explain why I have your name written on my arm to anyone upstairs, and it's a long walk to the coat check area."
"You could put on my jacket," he offers, dropping the marker cap onto the desk.
She narrows her eyes at him, not wanting to admit how tempting the whole thing sounds. "No, not the arm," she declares with certainty.
"As much as I admire your dress, the neckline isn't very helpful in this... demonstration," he explains. His gaze is holding onto hers as he waits for her.
Her mind explores the sensible options first, and quickly enters a whole different realm as she stares deep into his eyes, giving them due credit for once. That magnetic pull that has existed all along feels magnified a hundredfold, and she runs her teeth over her lower lip as her brain tries to keep up with her emotions. Her breath catches in her throat as she moves the hem of her dress up, inching it slowly upwards until the lace is fully exposed, and the bare skin of her thigh begins.
The heel of one of her pumps clicks against the wooden panel of the desk, and his gaze drifts down, seeing the bare skin. He glances back at her, and she arches an eyebrow, raising the stakes. It's a dare, and she's waiting to see what his next play is, seeing if he'll break the connection before she does.
"That works," he quips before moving until he can press against the inside of one knee ever so slightly, and he brushes the bare flesh above the lace with his thumb.
She swallows the gasp that threatens to emerge at the touch. "A-- autograph, Castle," she reminds him, because every time she thinks she's pushed him far enough, he tends to turn the tables like this.
"Don't rush me," he returns, and he pushes her dress another fraction of an inch upwards; there's still a respectable amount of skin covered, but she feels more exposed than ever before.
She holds her breath until the felt tip of the marker touches her skin, and then he's swirling the pen carefully. Each letter makes her heart skip a beat and her temperature rise until she's regretting the high neckline of her dress. When he dots the i on his first name and crosses the t on his last name, she exhales with relief.
He places the cap back on the marker, and keeps his gaze on the pen, twirling it around nervously. She drops her own eyes to her thigh, where his signature is definitevely present, and she tries to carefully map out how to get out of this maze of emotions she's gotten them into.
He puts the marker down and reaches for the leftover beer, downing half the bottle in a matter of seconds.
"You didn't exactly make your point," she adds, and her raised heartbeat reminds her that he's done pretty much the opposite.
He sets the beer down, and she can see her own internal struggle reflected in his features. When he breaks, it's visible, and he reaches for her neck first, hand still damp from the bottle.
When their lips meet, it's not tentative or slow, but a furious dance. She stops giving a damn about anything else as she tastes the beer on his tongue, and underneath it all, the flavor that is him and him alone; recollections of a cold night a year ago flash briefly through her mind, but she's anything but cold right now as his other hand wraps around her waist and brings her body closer to the edge.
She realizes her own hands are gripping the wooden desk, and she releases the furniture. The skirt of her dress is too limiting and she can't wrap her legs around his hips in their current situation, so she goes for plan B. Her hand finds its way into his hair, holding his head in place as she surges upwards until she's standing again, her heels giving her the added height so she can better control the kiss.
His hand drops from her neck and then he's grasping her waist, his fingers toying with the detail on the side of the dress, above her hips.
She bites his lip, sucking it into her mouth the same way he did to her during their previous kiss; the sensory memory of it has sneaked into her mind too many times over the past year to count. When she releases the suction she had on it, she soothes it by running her tongue along the entirety of his lip, and then she's allowing him to return the favor.
As the kiss breaks for the first time, he rests his forehead against hers, and she's panting against him, trying to catch her breath and failing. Her chest rises and falls within the constraints of her dress, and she wants to be out of it, but she doesn't want to pull away from him long enough to make it happen.
"You seem to always be the exception to the rule, Kate Beckett," he whispers.
Her hazy mind doesn't capture the meaning of his words at first until he runs his hand downwards, brushing past her hip and reaching the hem of the dress, which had slipped up again as she slid off the desk. She remembers the writing on the inside of her thigh, and the events that have led them here, and she understands exactly what he's saying to her.
"Are you okay with this?" he asks, pulling back until their eyes meet, and she nods, still not feeling very confident in her vocal abilities.
He slides one leg between hers, as far as the constrictive dress will allow, and she pulls his lips to hers again. Her chest is heaving, pressing fully against his chest with every gasp for air, and she is sure it has more to do with the lack of motion than anything, but it actually lends credence to those romance novels she and Maddie had made fun of in high school.
His left hand releases her waist, and she misses the warmth of the touch until she feels his palm against her inner thigh, where he'd marked her skin earlier. His lips pause against hers briefly, and she moans her consent into his mouth. He pulls his leg back to make room for his hand; the angle is off a bit, but he makes it work as his fingers brush against her folds and she shudders at the touch.
"Fuck," he gasps in surprise, and she realizes he wasn't expecting to find skin right away.
She doesn't trust her ability to explain unfashionable underwear lines to him at the moment, so she just presses back until her ass can rest more fully against the desk edge again; the change in angle causing his finger to find the moisture that has pooled at her entrance throughout their exchange. Her hand makes its way to his left arm, squeezing the muscles while she tries to guide his hand as well as she can under the current conditions.
He doesn't need a lot of guidance as it is, his thumb expertly locates the bundle of nerves at the top, and rubs it, first in circles and then up and down, switching back and forth until she's bearing most of her weight down onto his hand, and then he's sliding one long digit inside her. The pressure inside her skyrockets; she can't even keep up with the kisses as her face registers the start of the build-up to her climax, and her hand tightens her grip on his arm.
A second digit enters her, his large fingers pause at her entrance, allowing her to relax as much as possible before sliding deeper inside her. He's still working with limited access, but he does what he can and presses both fingertips against her g-spot as his thumb presses softly against her clit, alternating his touch until she's seeing stars and contracting around his fingers.
Her head rests against his shoulder as she recovers, her make-up marking the crisp white shirt, and she's sure both their outfits will be ruined before the night is over.
When he extracts his hand from between her legs, she tries to shift her lower body, and the heat of his hard-on pressed against the top of her thigh and into her hip registers for the first time. The pressure inside her begins to rise again as she moves her hands to the buttons on his pants.
"Wait," he says before she releases the first button. "Before we go any further, I just wanted to know whether what just happened would count towards your... number or not. Technically speaking."
Even though there is moisture across her skin that is making her feel chilly in the basement office, his reference fills her with renewed warmth as she smiles and shakes her head at him, letting the button on his pants pop as a response.
"What? It might be relevant. Especially if one of us ever holds public office," he babbles, adding "You, probably you, in office and under oath--" his incoherent sentence stops short as she reaches inside and wraps her hand around him. "Shutting up now," he concedes.
"Good," she replies as she pulls him into another kiss.
She's grateful for the fact he re-upholstered and restored the office couch. It's not nearly big enough for the both of them, but she is draped above him and they fit for now, her left thigh smearing the autograph onto the skin of his hip until the signature is nearly unrecognizable.
"Heat Signature would make a fantastic title for a Nikki Heat novel," he drowsily points out and she laughs - because no, it wouldn't - but she's too elated to burst his bubble at the moment. She just hopes the idea will fade by morning, much like the ink on their skin.
He moves his hand to her knee, and trailing up until it's resting on the top of her thighs, and his other arm holds her body above him. She relaxes fully against him, feeling herself dozing off and knowing their muscles will protest in the morning, but she is too content to move.
The fourth book is thankfully not titled Heat Signature, but the dedication inside reads:
"To KB, for being the exception to the rule."
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