It takes Beckett all of thirty seconds after she buys the tickets to Forbidden Planet to realize that Castle wasn’t being completely honest when he said he hadn’t seen it before. If the fact that he's already practically bouncing with excitement by the time they get to the concession stand doesn't clue her in, his referring to the bored teenager who hands him his popcorn and SnoCaps as "Dr. Morbius" most certainly does.
He spends the majority of the movie whispering lines under his breath and tapping her excitedly on the arm during all of his favorite parts. Of which there are at least fifty.
At first, Beckett tries to act annoyed, rolling her eyes and shushing him, but she gives up the pretense after about five minutes; it's hard to act put out when Castle's so damn happy.
By the time they leave the theater, Castle's in fine form, keeping up a steady stream of chatter, a one-sided conversation that consists of him recounting his favorite scenes and doing impressions of all the characters.
“Nice climate you have here,” Castle says, bumping his shoulder against hers. He's doing his best Leslie Nielsen-as-Commander-Adams impression and it's surprisingly spot-on. "High oxygen content."
Beckett rolls her eyes and forces herself to keep a straight face, trying not to encourage him. He’s spent the last five minutes reciting his favorite lines and it's about a thousand times more charming than she'd ever admit, especially considering how easily he rooked her into taking him to the movies.
"So," he says, once they get out to the street. There's a full moon tonight and between that and the lights from the city, it's almost absurdly bright outside. "Want to grab a beer and talk about the secrets of the Krell?"
Beckett laughs before she can stop herself and Castle grins at her. She still can't believe he managed to trick her into believing he'd never seen Forbidden Planet and then talked her into buying him popcorn and candy. She's going to have to get him back for this, she knows. She's just not sure if going out for a beer with him is the way to do it.
“Come on,” he says, clearly sensing weakness. He reaches out his hand and Beckett almost takes it, stopping herself at the last minute, and putting her hand in the pocket of her coat instead. It's cold, late March wind blowing heavy through the streets, and she can just smell the hint of Castle's cologne, spicy and clean.
“Sorry, Castle,” she says, shaking her head and making her hand into a loose fist in her pocket. His hand’s still held out, just kind of hovering there in the empty space next to Beckett’s hip. Even though it’s impossible, she could swear that she can feel the heat of his skin through her jacket. “I’ve got to be at the station at seven tomorrow morning.”
“Come on,” he says again, leaning in and tapping her gently on the hip, barely grazing her with his knuckles. “Live a little, Beckett.”
She sighs and he grins at her, obviously sensing that she's going to give in. "I promise I'll keep the Nielsen impressions to a minimum," he tells her seriously, and then holds up three fingers in a little salute. "Scout's honor."
He really is ridiculous sometimes. “Okay,” she says. She can’t believe how easily she’s giving up. “One drink.”
His face lights up and she holds up a finger, stopping him before he manages to talk her into something else. “One drink and then I go home.”
“Okay, then. One drink,” he says, still smiling that smile, the one that makes his eyes crinkle at the corners in this way that’s obnoxiously endearing. “Let’s make it a good one.”
They’re only a few blocks from The Old Haunt, so that’s where they end up going, the two of them walking side-by-side, their arms brushing up against each other the whole way.
On the walk over, Castle only makes two jokes about knowing the owner, which is a kind of restraint Beckett almost wouldn’t have believed him capable of if she hadn't witnessed it herself.
“I can’t believe you lied to me,” she says, once the two of them are settled in a booth in the back corner, a couple of beers on the table in front of them. Castle ordered for them both and whatever he picked looks dark and bitter, which suits her just fine.
“I can’t believe you believed me when I said I’d never seen Forbidden Planet,” he says, shaking his head a little. “I swear, Beckett. It’s like you don’t know me at all.”
Beckett rolls her eyes smiles at him. He grins back and the two of them just sit there like that for a couple of seconds, both of them just grinning at each other. Finally, she picks up her beer, looking away.
“So,” Castle says, clearing his throat and drawing a finger down his glass, the condensation pooling on the table. “Josh back from Haiti yet?”
“I wouldn’t know,” she says carefully. After the bombing case was over, Josh stuck around for a week, taking care of her until she couldn’t deal with it anymore. She told him to get back to his life, go where he needed to go, that she'd be fine without him for a few weeks. He’d been in Haiti less than a month when they broke up. Beckett’s never been good at being the supportive girlfriend and it just seemed easier to end it when he was thousands of miles away.
“Oh,” is all Castle says. He looks over at the bar and picks up his glass, taking a long drink. When he sets the glass back down, he's still not looking at her. Finally: “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” she says curtly, staring down at the table. The wood is scratched and pitted, probably from years and years of people sitting here just like this, drinking and avoiding the things they should be talking about.
"You know," he says after a few seconds, leaning in, getting right into her personal space. Beckett takes a breath and steels herself for whatever comforting thing he's going to say. "Rumor has it that Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea sitting right here at this very booth."
She laughs, feelings almost absurdly relieved. "That," she says, shaking her head and taking another drink, "is a complete lie."
"What? No it's not!" He sounds so outraged that she can't helped but laugh again.
"Yes, it is." Her glass is empty and she spins it around once on the table, smearing a ring of water on the wood. "Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea in Cuba. Not at the back table of a dirty Manhattan bar."
"This bar isn't dirty!" he gasps in mock offense. "And, anyway, how do you know where Hemingway wrote it? I didn't know you were such a fan."
"Come on, Castle," she says, smirking a little and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Everyone knows that."
"Yeah, well," he says, running his hand reverentially over the table top and sounding terribly dignified. "I'm sure someone wrote something back here. And it was most likely amazing."
Before she even has the chance to roll her eyes, the waitress shows up with another round of beers. Beckett's pretty sure that Castle didn't order any more drinks, but she guesses that's one of the perks of owning a bar.
It’s almost midnight and she’s completely exhausted, but Castle keeps telling her all these stories about the literary history of the bar (half of which are probably about as true as the Hemingway thing, she knows) and Alexis and Martha and his mostly-normal life and she figures staying out a little late tonight won’t be the end of the world.
By the time they leave, Beckett’s more than a little drunk. That “one drink” ended up turning into five or six or eight or…something. To be honest, she can’t really remember, but her head feels fuzzy and light and Castle keeps smiling at her in this way that makes her really glad the night ended up going the way it has.
Castle ends up walking her home, telling her that he wants to make sure she gets there safely. Which is completely insane because she’s a homicide detective, not a defenseless co-ed. She’d probably be offended at his attempts at chivalry if she were’t half-drunk.
But she is half-drunk and Castle didn’t make her pay for any of the drinks, so. She lets him walk her home and open the door to her building for her and she doesn’t once tell him that she doesn’t need him there.
When they get to her door there’s an awkward moment where she doesn’t quite know what to say. It’s after midnight and inviting him in would just be, well. It wouldn't something that she should do, that much she knows. “Good night, Castle,” she says instead, and then, for some absurd reason, she reaches out to shake his hand.
He looks down at her hand and grins, this look on his face like he’s trying not to laugh. Which, honestly, she wouldn’t blame him if he did. What the hell is wrong with her?
For a second, they just stand there like that and Beckett tries to think of a graceful way to get out of this and not seem like the most awkward person on the planet. She's pretty sure there isn't one.
“Shut up,” she finally says, rolling her eyes, but he takes her hand before she can move it, squeezing it gently.
“Good night, Katherine,” he says, completely straight-faced, but sounding more than a little like he’s going to crack up at any second. His hand is warm around her hers, strong and a little rough.
And then, before she can quite stop herself, she leans in and kisses him, right on the corner of the mouth. After just a second, his hand comes up and he brushes a strand of hair behind her ear and then she turns a little, so that they’re kissing more seriously, his lips soft and warm under hers. He tastes like popcorn and beer and the stubble on his cheek scrapes against her skin and he opens his mouth under hers. Beckett runs her tongue across his lower lip and he slides his free hand under her jacket, ghosting his fingers across her stomach before he settles his hand on her hip.
He moves forward a step, pressing his body against hers, backing them up so that Beckett's back is flush against the door. His hands are hot against her skin and his body is solid and strong against her chest and she kisses him harder, running one hand up to cup the back of his head.
Somewhere down the hall, a door slams shut and Beckett jerks back, breathing heavy and feeling a little giddy. When she looks up at Castle, he’s just staring at her, looking stunned and not at all like he’s laughing at her anymore.
Castle opens his mouth, but no sound comes out. There’s a pink spot on his cheek from where her lip-gloss rubbed off on him and he brushes his finger across his lips, still looking a little dazed. She can’t help but smile at that, realizing that she’s actually made Richard Castle speechless.
They’re still holding hands and Beckett takes a breath before she pulls her hand gently from his. Castle takes a step back, just enough so that they're not pressed together. He still hasn’t said anything, which is a miracle in and of itself.
Beckett fishes her keys out of her pocket trying to ignore the warm, jittery feeling that’s spreading throughout her body. Her skin feels like it's tingling everywhere Castle was touching her.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Castle,” she says, once she feels like she can talk again. Her voice sounds totally normal, even though her heart feels like it’s about to beat right out of her chest.
He blinks at her. His eyes are dark and his mouth is still open a little and he shakes his head like he's trying to clear it. "Tomorrow, Beckett," he says, voice low. In six hours, he’s going to show up at the station with a cup of coffee for her and she wonders if they’ll both pretend like this never happened. She hopes not.
As she closes the door, he smiles at her, the corners of his eyes crinkling a little, and Beckett grins back, feeling warm and happy and like tomorrow morning can't come soon enough.