12th Precinct Castle Valentine's Day FanFic Competition: Not-So-Happy Valentine's Day

Another story for our fanfic competition. Here you can find all the stories for the 12th Precinct Castle Halloween FanFic Competition. And here you can find the rules.
You can also find the stories at www.fanfiction.net for a possible easier read (blogspot doesn`t agree with word format most of the time).

Story: Not-So-Happy Valentine's Day 
Rating:  K
Words: 1100

Kate Beckett Rodgers stood in the middle of the living room in the loft staring at the door that her husband of only three months, Special Agent Richard Rodgers had just recently stormed out through and slammed shut. She was completely stunned and hurt, not knowing what had set him off.
She had risen two hours early and decorated the loft for their first Valentine's Day as a married couple. The three years before she was shot, when she had still been a police detective, there had never been time and she hadn't been in the right place herself. After her recovery from the shooting which had cost her her job, and the soul searching she had done afterward she had been too busy writing Heat Wave.
She had purchased the decorations and the bowls full of heart shaped candy quietly over the past two weeks while Rick was at work at the New York City Field Office. When she was done, the living room had looked like cupid exploded in it. She waited for him to get up holding a gift box from Victoria's Secret containing the sexy sheer lingerie she had ordered to wear just for him when he got home that night. She had meant to surprise him by doing something spontaneous and fun.
When he came out of their bedroom, he was shocked. She could tell right away, by the haunted look in his eyes before he turned and stalked back into the bedroom that something was terribly wrong. He wouldn't look at her, barely said two words in her direction after he got out of the shower and dressed for work. The hurt, haunted look in his eyes when he slammed the door shut on his way out nearly tore her heart in two.

"Martha, he was so upset, and he wouldn't talk or even look at me, please...tell me what I did wrong." Kate sobbed into Martha Rodgers' phone, unable to contain herself any longer.
"Oh...dear one...you really didn't know, did you?" Martha replied
"Know what?" Kate replied quietly.
"Valentines Day was Rick and Alexis' special day." Martha explained, "After Meredith left, Alexis' birthday always left her feeling sad and disappointed when her mother forgot or didn't call or come to visit like she promised, and Richard generally got dragged away to parties on his. So they always set aside February fourteenth just for them. She would make a card and a present for him, and the two of them would decorate the loft, just like you did here. They would spend the whole day watching movies, eating ice cream and playing video games, whatever she wanted. Especially the two years she was...sick."
Kate shuddered, because she suspected what was coming next.
"The Valentine's Day after she...passed, he had been drinking the night before and he forgot himself. He woke up at the crack of dawn and decorated the whole loft like he always had...and then it hit him that she was gone." Martha stopped for a moment and Kate could hear sniffling on the other end of the line before she continued.
"Gina called me three days later and asked me to look in on him, the lights were all on in the loft but he hadn't answered the door, or the phone, or his cell, and she had tried repeatedly. When I got there the whole place looked like a war zone, smelled like a brewery and I found him passed out on his bedroom floor clutching her picture. When I woke him to get him back in bed, he told me all about it, and we haven't marked Valentine's Day since."
Kate eyes widened in shock as she took in the loft with new eyes, the stunned, blindsided expression on his face suddenly made perfect sense for the first time. She recalled an opaque pink plastic box that she had seen on the top shelf of his walk in closet the day she had moved her meager possessions from the guest room upstairs to the bedroom they now occupied together as husband and wife. When she had asked him about it he gave her a sad look and told her they were just "family heirlooms."
After she finished her call to Martha and hung up, Kate took down the decorations and put them in a box, then opened the walk-in closet and took down the pink plastic box, confirming her worst fears, inside were homemade cards and decorations each made by the tiny hands of Rick's little girl, one each for every year since she was two. She closed the box back up, returned it carefully to its shelf and curled up on the floor of the closet to cry.
She knew of course that he had days of the year that overwhelmed him, just like she had, many of which, like Christmas and January ninth, they shared in common and worked through quietly together. It just never occurred to her that Valentine's Day would be such a painful day for him and she felt positively awful for springing the festive nature of this day on him without any warning. It all seemed so silly to her now.

Two hours later she found herself driving through midtown traffic. She had gone to the FBI field office only to find that he had called in a personal day after leaving the loft. She tried calling him twice but his cell went straight to voice mail, something he rarely did, though she now knew he tended to do that when he was upset and was trying to work through it. Though considering the discussion she had had with Martha on the phone, she had a feeling where he might be.

Kate brushed her fingers along her mother's headstone for a moment, though she was here for a different reason, she could never walk past this spot without at least acknowledging her own reason to grieve. But this time the flowers in her hand were not for her mother.
As she walked a little farther down the path to the little knoll where Alexis' small, white stone lay, and found Rick standing there, just as she expected, a Valentine's Day arrangement in his hand. He turned and looked at her before extending his hand to her, a look of quiet forgiveness in his eyes as she took his arm and together they placed their bouquets in front of her stone. Rick kissed his fingers and touched the raised letters of her name before he spoke.
"Happy Valentines Day, Pumpkin."

Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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