(2018-09-03) Pretty pink princess PC
Katherine comes into The Boardwalk and helps Ethan out with a bunch of stuff.

The Labor Day crowd has mostly gone home by now, but the Rockies are playing and the after-dinner usuals still come in, even on a holiday, so the bar's doing a decent trade this evening - not hopping, with only three stools and two tables taken, but it's not like tumbleweeds are blowing through the joint. The bartender is the usual guy, leaning on an elbow and watching the game in between filling drinks, and the one waitress is pretending to sweep the floor while she talks to a college-aged patron. The only one that really sticks out is the guy at the back table under the dart-board, his chair tipped back, and a bunch of paperwork on the table in front of him - purchase orders, receipts, stuff like that. His harried look deepens for a second, he tangles his fingers in the front of his hair, releases them, and winds up staring bleakly through the open door. On the TV, the announcer talks about the Rockies' relief pitcher in that erudite way that baseball announcers have.

Katherine steps in, her eyes taking in the setting, a resigned look on her face. She feigns some cheer as she approaches the bartender, waving in his direction as she slips into a seat. "This might be a longshot, but I had to get out of my house. Do you have any wine here? If not, just slide me a beer. Any kind really." She laughs nervously, unshouldering her bag and hanging it from the back of her seat. She gives a brief glances to the television and then shakes her head, looking around the bar until her eyes fall on the man with the paperwork. She raises both of her eyebrows as she swivels to address him, "You know, that is the worst way to get all of that stuff taken care of." She points helpfully toward the paperwork, making an attempt not to laugh, the look on his face making her shoot a sympathetic look in his direction instead.

The bartender laughs at the question and reaches below the bar, pulling out a previously opened bottle of something red and showing it doubtfully to the woman, suggesting, "We got wine, but yeah. Beer." He plunks the dusty bottle down, amusing himself while he sizes up the woman, ultimately opting to server her something on tap. This while Ethan wads up a paper with one hand, crunching it into a ball in his fist. "I'm starting to get that impression," he answers glumly, sinking even lower in his chair (if that's possible) and watching the transaction at the bar. To the bartender: "Shouldn't you card her or something?"

To which the bartender barks out another laugh, of course, and continues to not ask to see Katherine's ID.

Katherine turns when the bottle is pulled above the bar and shown to her. She looks appalled and holds a hand up to her mouth, solemnly hooting 'Taps' through her hand. "You've killed that wine. You probably don't even feel bad about it." She quips, snorting out a laugh as she watches him get her a beer. She shakes her head, laughing softly as she turns to regard Ethan. She digs out her ID, putting it on the bar as she slips to her feet, walking toward the table. "I do most of my accounting on Quickbooks, but in a pinch you can just do it on something simpler." She folds her arms over her chest and tilts her head slightly. "Got a laptop? If not, I have an old one that my sister didn't take to college with her. Twenty bucks and it's yours, I'll even show you how to enter all that shit in quickly, without the headache."

Holding out a hand she aims a brilliant smile at Ethan. "Katherine Stone, I own a Bed and Breakfast up in Oak Ridge, so I'm not blowing smoke up your ass, I know the headaches that come with small business." She tosses her hair over her shoulder and glances back at the bar, frowning. "Can I get my drink and join you? Maybe I can help?" She gestures toward the receipts, orders and other paperwork.

The bartender is too busy rolling his eyes to look at the ID, but he pretends before pushing it back next to Katherin's beer. Then he joins the low chorus of "oh come on" when something happens on the game, which has Ethan glancing briefly at the television - but it never really snares his attention. She asks about a laptop, he looks around the immediate (laptop-free) vicinity and shrugs an apologetic shrug, a silent 'sorry, nope' that shifts into a dubious squint up at her. "Did you just come in here and offer to sell me a laptop? 'Cause - no offense - but that kinda sounds shady, Katherine Stone." He does slide some of his crap off one side of the table, though, freeing up the other half of it.

With a wave of the wadded-up paper, he adds, "Pretty sure this is a lost cause, but sure. Have a seat. Misery," he smiles broadly, blissfully, "loves company."

Katherine smirks and turns to walk back to the bar, picking up her bag, ID and her beer before she heads back to the table, slipping into a seat. "Listen, when I started the Bed and Breakfast, I would have cried ugly tears if someone would have thrown me a bone." She shrugs a shoulder and drops the bag on the floor, taking a drink from her glass. There is a brief grimace and a shudder before she sets it down. "So I'm throwing some wild karma out into the world and hoping that perhaps I'll win the lottery one day because I was generous to you today." She crosses her legs and pulls the paperwork in her direction. She begins to squint at and separate the paperwork into two piles. "So yeah, the laptop is pink and has the word Princess in some weird sparkle stencil on it's top. I'll never use it, and my sister pretends it was never hers because it's.." She makes a face, wide-eyed, dramatic but still with a smile on her face. "..tacky." She lets out a peal of laughter and after a few moments of silence speaks up again. "Yeah, Quickbooks would work well for you. You put in your invoices, and your payouts…" She points to the bar. "Payroll, and that kind of shit, and you get a bottom line. It might take you a half hour, hour at the most." She glances up at Ethan then, grinning. "Misery solved."

Ethan's interest clearly piques at the talk of a bed and breakfast, but the moment passes when Katherine continues. He quickly wipes the smirk off his face at the reaction to the beer, clearing his throat and shifting in the way people do when they hope no one saw that. Serious face, business face; "A'ight. You show me how to use it, and I'll take the pink princess PC," pause for effect after that tongue-twister, "off your hands. Twenty bucks." He pitches the wad of paper toward a small bin near the door, misses (but close!), and sticks his now empty hand out across the table for shaking. "Ethan. Grant. Who sucks at computers, so you may live to regret this, Miss Stone."

Katherine props her chin in her palm, tapping her fingers on the table. "I'll show you how to use it, and I'll even toss out a bet. If you're not managing to do it on your own after three lessons, I'll bring dinner to the fourth lesson." She gazes at her glass again, and puts on a stubborn face, picking it up and taking a deeper drink. She swallows visibly and sets the glass down, exhaling softly. "Nice to meet you Mister Grant. You own the bar, or are you just managing it?" She asks, gazing back at him with raised brows. "I'll reset the computer when I go home tonight, make sure the little minx didn't have a private diary on it anywhere, and bring it by tomorrow morning." She sits back, arm over the back of the chair as she regards Ethan. "I rarely have regrets, everything leads to something eventually. Don't you think so?"

"You drive a hard bargain," says Ethan in a light tone that disagrees with the grave comment, possibly just 'cause watching Katherine not enjoy the beer is still funny. To him. But, so as to be a good proprietor or whatever, he offers in a low tone, "Do you want me to get you something that's not disgusting?" That's a sidebar issue, though, and he answers the question about his interest in the bar with a weighing motion of his hands and an uncertain squinch of his features, moving on in the conversation before there's really time to get into the details there. "Sure, everything leads to something eventually. Just that some of those things can be pretty regrettable. In my experience, anyway. Still, if optimism's your schtick, go for it."

"Well that depends really, if I was a horrible cook I could be just dooming you to a very uncomfortable experience." Katherine says, her hand on the beer glass when he quietly offers her a different drink. She gives the beer a manky eye, before she smiles back toward Ethan, shaking her head. "No, I honestly don't drink very often. Anything you'd get for me would provoke an odd reaction." She gestures toward the beer and adds. "It's not that bad, just reminds me of that smell when I'm baking bread, which I will admit that is not my favorite." She takes another drink from her glass and blinks a few times as she swallows. "You're not wrong, but optimism keeps the nightmares at bay." She taps a finger on the glass and goes quiet for a few moments, her eyes on a receipt. "A friend of mine told me today that I should offer things from local businesses.." She begins, inching the glass a little bit away from her. "..coupons, maybe samples or the like. You wouldn't want to get in on that, would you?"

Ethan mumbles, just audibly, "Don't hear about a lotta successful B-and-Bs with bad cooks," and twitches his brows dubiously, an expression he repeats along with a cocked head a second afterward. "I'm dying to ask why you came into a bar, in that case?" Lacking a drink of his own, and apparently having given up on the receipts except to leave them there for Katherine to peruse at her leisure, he winds up sinking back into his chair again, lacing his fingers and resting his elbows on the arms of the chair. "What, like - get hammered at the Boardroom and go down to Kate's B-and-B to sleep it off, mention this ad and save ten percent?"

"I'm not a bad cook." Katherine says, leaning back into her chair, getting comfortable. "My friends have been pestering me to get out of the house. I've become a hermit." She raises her eyebrows and points to Ethan, lips pursed. "No funny comments. There are sometimes some interesting people in a bar, and I do like wine sometimes." She shrugs and starts to go through the receipts again, once they're in some semblance of order, she sets them aside. "Something like that. I mean, there are lots and lots of possibilities." She takes a breath and pulls her beer closer to her, finishing off the liquid and setting the glass aside. "Does one get used to that taste eventually?" She asks plaintively, turning to look at Ethan.

"Lemme get my feet under me a little," he turns a look to the receipts Katherine is sorting at that exact moment, "and I'll see about joining the brigade of local businessmen, deal?" There's a flash of sympathy in Ethan's smile-and-nod at the idea of hermitage, no funny comment, and he's quiet to let her finish off that beer. "After the fourth or fifth one, you pretty much just stop tasting them altogether. Hey, can you get us a shirley temple and some ice water?" To the waitress. Not Katherine. "Unless you really want another mouthful of that swill?"

Katherine nods at Ethan, and she gently pushes the paperwork in his direction. "I have no idea what kind of thing I'd even do. One of the detectives I met earlier was telling me I should offer lunch." She makes a face at him and laughs out loud at his words, until she sees the serious look on his face, and her laugh falters. "Oh, you were serious." She responds, wincing and glancing aside. He puts an order in and she leans in, voice low, to ask a question. "What is a shirley temple, hmm?"

Offer lunch? "At a bed and breakfast?" He shrugs. "Okay." And then Ethan busies himself with putting paperclips on the receipts that Katherine was kind enough to sort for him, diligently refusing to allow his eyes to linger on them any longer than strictly necessary. The low question has him lean far across the table in return, cupping a hand around his mouth like it's a serious state secret they're about to discuss here. "Ginger ale and grenadine - ahm, cherry syrup," on the assumption that Katherine's never heard of grenadine. "Completely innocuous, promise."

Katherine looks amused, rolling her eyes as she murmurs. "I thought the same thing, but if she's willing to pay and bring people who are willing as well. Why not? I'm going to be empty, or nearly so, until tourist season kicks off." She listens to his response about the drink and quirks a brow, nodding seriously. "I like ginger ale. I like cherries.." She clears her throat and glances at Ethan, her cheeks coloring with embarrassment. "Unless the drinks are both for you and I'm attempting to appropriate something that I'm not meant to." She fidgets a bit, pulling at the hem of her tank top. "There really isn't anything that is completely innocuous."

"Whatever gets people through the door, I guess." Ethan's attention diverts, briefly, when someone comes through the door at that moment, sitting heavily down at the bar and opening his wallet with all the air of a full-on regular. His laugh is thus a tad distracted to answer, "As funny as it'd be to order two drinks for me and none for you - no, you read the situation right. Here." He collects the aforementioned Shirley Temple off the waitress's tray, trading it for the empty beer glass, then takes up the water (for himself). "No? What could be more innocuous than ginger ale, grenadine, and - god bless the man - a maraschino cherry?" Because the bartender even dropped one on top of the syrupy concoction for Katherine.

"Water?" Katherine jokes, taking a drink of the Shirley Temple before she tilts the glass slightly in Ethan's direction. "Mmm, that isn't bad." She takes another drink and nods approvingly. "I like it." She glances toward the bar, and gives the regular a curious once over before she turns back to Ethan. "I'm still new at things, as much as I can balance a ledger, I still …" She takes another drink and then sets her glass down. "I've only been doing this B&B thing for a year, and I fuck up plenty while I try to get it right." She plucks the cherry from the glass and puts it in her mouth, closing her eyes as she chews. "New favorite drink."

Ethan holds his glass possessively close, as if Katherine might be thinking about grabbing it to secure something even more innocuous, sipping from it with a secretive flair: mine. "I had a feeling," is all he says about her approval of the drink, though he does give up coveting his water glass to lift it for a clinky-toast. "To new favorite drinks. And to explaining how you make it all the way to being a grown-up without figuring out what you're gonna order at a bar? Escaped from a convent or…?"

Katherine did have a few thoughts about swiping the water, until she tried her new favorite drink. Now she's quite content, and it shows in how she relaxes in her chair. She lifts her glass to clink it with his, chuckling softly. "So this is some girly drink that lots of girly folk like a lot?" She asks, setting down the drink and nudging it away from her so she can take her time drinking it. His question makes her groan, and she rubs her hand over her eyes before she gazes at him, sighing. "Okay, so.." She takes a deep breath, and wrinkles her nose. "..first of all, do I look like some escaped nun? Really?" She dips her chin and raises both eyebrows, giving him a skeptical look. "Secondly, no, I had a lot of older siblings, and between them and my parents they kept a close eye on me. I had my first drink only when I went away from college. It wasn't beer, it was some syrupy sweet …something that I still have nightmares about. You vomit up that much peach stuff.." She gives a delicate shudder and then leans on the table. "So this is literally the second time I've been in a bar. It's not horrible in here, congrats."

Ethan supplies simply, "It's non-alcoholic." He has the good grace not to look painfully amused afterward, only slightly entertained, an expression he maintains when he shrugs helplessly in the face of Katherine's 'really?' question. "Ahhh, so you're just a bar-scene neophyte, I get it. Setting aside the fact that you don't really have any basis for comparison about whether or not it's horrible in here," quick grin, "thanks. I guess we'll see if it's not-horrible enough to be in the the black after I get my new pink computer." And, when the thought occurs to him all of the sudden, he adds urgently, "Some nutty older brother isn't gonna turn up and curb stomp me over this deal, right? I really can't afford to get my ass beat right now. No insurance."

Katherine beams toward Ethan, nodding twice. "It's good, and I don't come to bars to get drunk anyway." She makes a face and sighs, shaking her head. "I'm kind of a life neophyte. I don't think I'm going to make the bar my…thing, unless people won't make fun of me for not drinking alcohol." She raises a brow, smirking in his direction. "I've heard of another bar in town, never been in it, it's a bit of a hangout for the scary types." She eyes Ethan as he poses his urgent question, amusement warring with something else for a few moments before she nods, reaching for her glass. "No, I'm the oldest now, and I only curb stomp people who try to lead my teenage sisters astray." After she takes a drink and narrows her eyes at Ethan. "Be careful, okay, I've heard some people get fighty when they're drinking."

"Johnny Slim's," he supplies readily. "We're not so much after the same clientele, so I think we'll probably coexist just fine." If Ethan reads anything into Katherine's comment - the oldest now - it shows no further than a brief hike of one brow, but he pries no further. Just lets the conversation drift to easier subjects by asking, "Why? That ginger ale gettin' your dander all riled up? You feelin' some fisticuffs a-brewing, Miss Stone?" He puts down his own glass, lifting a pair of fists to guard his chin, one raised higher to thumb-swipe his nose in classic boxer fashion.

"Yes, Johnny Slim's." Katherine agrees, breathing out soft laughter at his words about the bar. "Yes, see…. no matter how much I want to get out and not be a hermit, I couldn't go in there. Someone would spot me as the white sheep immediately." She glances at her glass and then back to Ethan. "Better be careful, I have a bag that I hit in my basement sometimes. I probably can throw a punch if I were trying to save my life." She snorts out a laugh as he poses, holding up both of her fists all wrong. "Worst comes to worst, I have a mean right foot and an uncanny ability to kick someone square in the balls." She shakes her head, drops her pose and rolls her eyes. "If you keep calling me Miss Stone, I'm going to start calling you Mister Grant, in a very pretentious and snooty voice."

Ethan makes a great show of shifting and crossing his legs when she goes right for the ball-kick-talk, lowering his fists and scooching in his seat so his sensitive bits are more protected beneath the table. "I'll just take your word for that," he accepts readily, lowering his fists. One hand drapes not-so-inconspicuously across his middle, ready to jump into protective action at a moment's notice, and the second draws aimless pictures in the water pooled at the base of his glass. "Conservation of energy - Katherine has more syllables than Miss Stone does. Kate? Katy? I'm guessing Katy."

"Oh please, I don't kick nice people who serve me good drinks." Katherine aims a wounded look at Ethan, her bottom lip poked out in a pout. "You'd have to run over my dog or hit on my youngest sister to earn that kind of treatment." She gets a playful look on her face, grinning. "I don't have a dog, and my youngest sister doesn't seem your type." She leans in to gaze at the picture, chuckling softly before she sits back again. "You'd guess wrong, family called me Kate." She gestures toward Ethan. "You're welcome to call me Kate as well, that way I won't feel like I'm nearing fifty." She shakes her head and mutters softly. "Miss Stone."

The picture is nothing, just swirly doodles that spread out some of the water on the tabletop, not helped by the fact that Ethan's not even bothering to look at what he's doing. Meanwhile, "Really? I'm surprised. I had you pegged for a Katy or a Kitty or maybe a Kat." Ethan makes a little 'huh' sound, corrected in his assumption. "Regardless. Kate. You wanna exchange numbers for this computer deal, or just come by tomorrow around two? I don't believe in conducting business before noon. It's against my religion."

Katherine pulls a piece of paper from her bag and jots down some digits, sliding it across the table at Ethan. "Gosh, by two I'll have already done four loads of laundry, made breakfast and lunch and probably cut the grass." She picks up her glass, finishing her drink before she sets the glass down. "What do I owe you for that?" She asks, pointing to the glass as she gets to her feet. She rips off another piece of paper and sets it down in front of Ethan. "Your number please, Mister Grant." She says, a smile on her face as she pushes her unruly hair behind an ear.

"Hell, if you're that ambitious, my mom's grass is looking downright disreputable. I'll throw a fiver in, you can come over and mow it down." He's joking. Probably. It's hard to be sure, since Ethan is now rummaging around amid the receipts that Katherine sorted, searching for the pen he'd supposedly been using while doing whatever passed for work before she came in. The number he writes down is for the bar, though - after tapping the pen on the scrap a couple times - he adds a line beneath with his actual (out-of-town area code) phone number and an arrow
###-###-#### —> Mr. Grant
after 12pm only
Also, his handwriting is ridiculously tidy.

"I don't want to do my own mowing, hell if I'm doing anyone elses." Katherine murmurs, picking up the paper and folding it, placing it in her bag. "I like the addendum." She tosses out as she slings the strap of her bag across her chest. "I'll see you at some point tomorrow, you'll get your first lesson in Quickbook, and maybe a sandwich if I'm feeling up to it." She pulls a five dollar bill out of her bag and puts it on the table. "Nice meeting you, Ethan, you have a good night." She waves as she walks toward the door.

Ethan totally forgot to mention how much she owed, didn't he? He's going to be an amazing businessman. Anyway, she takes his number and - on her way out - Ethan's eyes pass over the bartender's, and there's some exchange of mirth there, but it's wordless. "See you tomorrow, Kate," he tosses out, then finally unfolds himself from behind the table, presumably to do something that pretends to be work.

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