(2018-10-08) It's 2018, Boys and Girls can be Friends!
An evening gathering at the Coffee Shop turns into some craziness.
Players:
heather..kyrie..katherine..luke..ethan..

When you leave the house in the morning, you might not realize the danger your day will bring. That is the case for Katherine Stone. She is unaware, standing in the coffeehouse line, waiting for her usual caramel mocha with whipped cream. Her foot taps, she's even humming. She pulls her phone from the pocket in her skirt, opening it up to send a quick text as her brown eyes scan the rest of the shop. Pretty empty for this time of day, mostly people getting their coffee fix and moving on. Not this woman. She's getting her coffee, and a few pastries, and finding a nice empty table to stretch out at.

*

"Seriously? They want how much? They do know that show wasn't even funny when it aired, never mind fifty years later." Heather is on her phone as she flings open the cafe door and almost barrels over an old man who isn't quick enough to dodge. "Sorry" she remembers to say to him before she is back to the phone conversation. "What else do we get in the deal?" Joining the line for coffee, she too is quickly tapping her foot - though more from impatience than any musical inspiration. "Hmm…that might work. All series?" Eyes wander and fall upon a familiar face at a table. Heather's eyes go a little wider. A wry smile forms on her lips. "I have to go. Call you back soon." She yells out her order over the line before making her way over to her old…friend. "Katherine Stone. Wow. You look…" Her eyes wander over the other woman as she tries to hold a smile. "Good." It sounds more like a question than a statement. "I mean, we all put on a few pounds at our age…" A glance at the pastries. "But you pull it off. Mind if I sit?" She's sitting anyway.

*

She hears Heather before she sees her, her eyes closing as she girds her loins for what she knows is coming. Before she's seen she sneaks a look at Heather, eyes narrowing briefly before she puts a brilliant smile on her lips. "I'm two pounds heavier than I was in high school, Heather. Actually I was.." She sits before Kate can get out a word edgewise and she sits back against her chair, giving the other woman a slow once over. "You look all right yourself. I guess." She glances toward the barista, and if she had telepathy she'd tell him to spike whatever Heather shouted out. Alas, she's not a mutant. "How's your parents, business…whatever else people chit chat about when they sit in places like this." Despite the crack about her gaining weight, Kate picks up her pastry and takes a bite, letting out a hum of pleasure. "You should get one of these, they're amazing."

*

"I'd love to" Heather sighs about the pastry. "But I have to look good for the camera. You go crazy though. Must be nice not to have to care" she smiles sweetly. "The parents are fine, thanks for asking. Sorry to hear about yours." Though Heather may have been out of town when it happened, perhaps she likes to check up on Katherine's life every now and then. The internet is a wonderful thing. But enough about Katherine. "And business is booming. I own KCC1 now" she says proudly. "So, you know, trying to make life better for everyone by informing the town and keeping the corrupt at bay. It's important for a healthy democracy. What about you?" That last question may have a hint of 'top that' in it.

*

"Yeah, I don't have to care. I don't put on weight like some people used to." Kate eyes Heather as she speaks, a smug smirk curving her lips. "Glad to hear your parents are okay, though I'm still wondering how such polite people could have had a child like you." She takes another bite of her pastry and raises both eyebrows as Heather drops the news about the station. "You bought a television station? Why?" She takes a drink of her mocha, pursing her lips. "I run my own B&B, been renovating the garage so I can fit another person in there. Tourist season is pretty busy. Taking care of my little sister and enjoying the last few weeks of warmth before winter settles in." She tries to look unconcerned about the oneupmanship that they usually do, but she can't quite banish the frown on her lips. "So you're sticking around now?"

*

A dramatic wince and frown from Heather at the comment about being an impolite child. "That's below the belt, Katty" she smiles, "And here I was hoping that we'd be mature and adult after all these years. Oh well." Her coffee is delivered and she offers a smile of thanks before blowing over the hot liquid, nodding along to the talk of the B&B. "You were always good at fitting another person in" she smiles in agreement before looking a little curious. "Didn't you have two baby sisters? Little angels from what I remembered…or have they taken after you? And, yes, I'm sticking around for now. Get the channel back on its feet. See what good I can do. Catch up with old friends." A sip of her undrugged coffee.

*

"Sometimes I have to aim below the belt, you're constantly slugging me there." Kate responds, daintily licking her fingers clean of pastry goop. "In your absence I've managed to mature, start my own business and picks up my life and soldier on. People forgot our little games and rivalry." She aims a lofty look at Heather. "Don't you mean, I was always good at taking are of people. Making them feel at home. You know, despite the fact that you and I can't get along to save our lives. I've never been truly evil to you." She smiles, tilting her head slightly to the side. "..yet." She takes a drink of her mocha and makes the sign of the cross, touching each shoulder, her forehead and then her heart. "You're staying in Calaveras? For good? I don't know if I can live through round two of the shit we used to get up to." She narrows her eyes and then a sly smile tilts the corner of her lip. "We could call a truce now.." She dangles that in front of Heather, looking like she might hold out her hand to ratify the suggestion.

*

"Never truly evil? Never?" Heather looks surprised at this (and the genuflection) - it must be a question of persepective. "You don't remember the time you…never mind." She tries a warm smile for the other woman, though it seems more profesional than heartfelt. "Awww…it wasn't that bad, was it. Whatever doesn't kill you…let's you get revenge. But you're right, for once, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since we tried to drown each other in it. I really have more important things to do than snipe at you, and, as hard as it is for me to say, when we worked together…we were fucking awesome." Another sip of her coffee before she purses her lips in thought. "I could live with a truce." Her hand also looks like it could reach out for Katherine but it's so hard to make the first move. Katherine is probably wearing a hand buzzer!

*

Kate exhales out a sigh, closing her eyes for a moment as she gathers the shreds of emotion and shoves it in her brain closet. "Heather, we both did some heinous shit to each other." Her eyes open, focusing on Heather as she struggles to keep the smile on her face. "The point is, I think we can move past it. We're both adults, reasonable people.." She looks a bit wary about the reasonable part, but she soldiers on. ".. and we do work well together. It's better than trying to …you know.." She takes a drink from her mocha, spies Heather looking at her slightly outstretched hand and holds it up, spreading her fingers out. "See? Adult. Willing to work with one of the biggest pains in my ass I ever knew." She aims a quirked brow and a challenging grin at Heather. "How about it, Miss Television Owner. Let's be adults for a while."

*

Heather bite on her lower lip for a moment before her hand takes Katherine's. "Here's to less ass pain" she smirks, shaking the hand, even if it feels completely alien to be touching a bitter rival in such a way. "Television /Station/ Owner" she corrects. "I think everyone owns a television." The hand withdraws with a deep breath. "So, Ms Adult, no Mr Adult in your life?" She can do polite chit-chat too! And she will even try to keep any jabs at bay…or at least to a minimum. That would be adult, right?

*

Kate settles back on her chair, and while they might have called a truce, there isn't any less wariness in her gaze as she smiles at Heather. "I don't know, I can think of a few people in the mountains who still think they're shit. Julian for one. Remember him?" She rolls her eyes and smirks. "He's back in town, still calls me by that ridiculous nickname." She picks up her cup and shrugs, nodding at Heather. "I got a Mr. Adult, but it's pretty new still. I'm warning you now, Heather, if you try to steal him or tell him horrible stories about my youth…especially if they're stretching the truth? I'll slug you." She says it with a smile, taking a drink of her mocha before she quirks a brow at Heather. "How are you not married yet, you used to play House all the time. I would have thought you'd find someone to beat into the perfect man ages ago."

*

"Please" Heather grins at Katherine, "You were the one who knew how to use her fists, not me. I am much more subtle." Her smile fades a little as she considers what she should tell the other woman. Even if there is a truce, you don't give them ammo. No…she has to be adult. "I'm divorced" she admits. "It was brief. Tempestuous. One of those where you get married because you can, not because you should. All in the past." A shrug at that before a dramatic gasp. "As if I would tell Mr Adult anything of the kind." She curls a finger in her hair as she nonchalantly asks, "Would he be my type?" A teasing wiggle of her eyebrows, "Just kidding. You go for it, girl. Julian? The Star Wars nerd? He still thinks he's hot shit even though his name is 'Skywalker'? Didn't we use to call him 'Sky Dorker'?"

*

Kate tilts her head, trying to look innocent as Heather brings up her ability to use fisticuffs. "Yah well my hitting days are over. I'm not looking to get arrested. So don't make me hit you." She snorts out a soft laugh, shaking her head. The laughter dies when Heather admits the divorce, her brow furrowing. "Sorry Heather. Sounds like a shitty situation, but you look like you're doing okay. If he was shitty or bad for you, I"m sure you'll mention it eventually and we can make him sorry." She clears her throw, bursting out into laughter when Heather asks if Mr Adult is her type. "No, I don't think Ethan is your type. You're one of those people who like to tell the world what you think about *everything* and he's the type that nobody knows what is going on in his head. I like it, I like him. We'll see how it goes." She leans in a bit, a teasing look on her face. "He's not a Star Wars nerd anymore, he grew up and filled out. Dork no more. If he wasn't like one of my brothers, I'd probably chase after him, but it would be toooo weird."

*

Kate tilts her head, trying to look innocent as Heather brings up her ability to use fisticuffs. "Yah well my hitting days are over. I'm not looking to get arrested. So don't make me hit you." She snorts out a soft laugh, shaking her head. The laughter dies when Heather admits the divorce, her brow furrowing. "Sorry Heather. Sounds like a shitty situation, but you look like you're doing okay. If he was shitty or bad for you, I"m sure you'll mention it eventually and we can make him sorry." She clears her throw, bursting out into laughter when Heather asks if Mr Adult is her type. "No, I don't think Ethan is your type. You're one of those people who like to tell the world what you think about *everything* and he's the type that nobody knows what is going on in his head. I like it, I like him. We'll see how it goes." She leans in a bit, a teasing look on her face. "He's not a Star Wars nerd anymore, he grew up and filled out. Dork no more. If he wasn't like one of my brothers, I'd probably chase after him, but it would be toooo weird."

*

Into the coffee shop swings Luke, a white doctor's coat (discolored a bit with brown fur) slung over the rest of his standard wear of a t-shirt and blue jeans. He doesn't seem to be in any particular rush, though he beelines it for the counter, exchanging a few dollar bills for a rather large cup of coffee. Only then does he swing his attention around the shop and notice Katherine, a grin lighting up his face. "Hey Katherine!" he calls out as he heads on over to their table, a curious glance cast to her companion, though he doesn't seem to immediately recognize Heather. "You mind some company? Unless I'd be interrupting, then I can definitely go someplace else," he chuckles, basically asking the question to either of them, so he isn't rude.

*

"Ethan?" That name is getting filed away. "Did he go to school with us? A man of mystery, huh? I hope he tells you what he thinks of you every now and then. And it's good stuff too." A smirk about her ex-spouse. "I wouldn't worry about them. Last I heard, not that I'm interested, they had shacked up with some bimbo and spent the settlement money on a new pair of tits for her. Nice to think that all that we were to each other has been reduced to a pair of fake breasts." A look of surprise about Julian's maturity. "Really?" Her eyes narrow. "Wait, didn't you say he still thought he was all that and a bag of chips? And you'd still go after him?" A shake of her head. "Katherine, you really need to make better choices in men" she sighs, almost sympathetically. And then, speaking of men, one shows up. "I'm fine with you sitting with us" she shrugs. "You can be our international peace keeper."

*

Kate shakes her head at Heather, swirling her coffee in her cup as she clenches her jaw, the muscle there twitching for a moment. "He was a few years ahead of us, thankfully, so he wouldn't be aware of the insanity that you and I used to indulge in." She looks a little surprised at the kind words, but she recovers and offers a gracious smile at Heather. "If it's any consolation, they'll look really weird in a few years and she'll probably have to get them replaced or removed." She takes a drink of her mocha and lets out a huffy sigh. "He's a ranger now, and I said he's like my brother, so no…I wouldn't go after him, that would be weird and ..weird." She snarls in Heather's direction when Luke approaches the table, but she manages to sit up and smile toward him. "You're welcome to sit with us, and don't listen to her. We don't need a peace keeper, we're adults now."

*

Luke's brows spike at Heather's talk of peace keeping, and he exchanges a glance between the two women as he takes a slow sip of his coffee. "Um. Oookay," he replies after Kate's chimed in, just a hint of hesitation in the drawl of his voice. But he does go and settle on the empty chair, setting his coffee on the table. "I'm Luke," he introduces himself to Heather, "I don't think we've met. I run the vet clinic down the street." Then there's another glance to Katherine, his brows still subtly raised. "What are you guys talking about? Pretty sure I heard Ethan's name tossed around a few times. But I definitely could be hearing things."

*

"Heather" the blonde greets Luke with in return, even offering her hand. "You're a doctor? Nice. I work in television." A glance to Katherine, even a little smile, before continuing to speak to Luke. "We were just talking about old times and new times, and how we're all adults now. It feels…strange. Good…but strange. You know this Ethan person too?" A wry smile for Katherine. "Is it bad to hope that someone's saline bag pops? At least it's not silicon. She won't get sick. Just flat chested."

*

Kate leans in to softly speak to Heather. "You should let him find you a cat. He just brought me a pretty Calico named Blue. She's the most adorable thing I think I ever saw." The trio are sitting at a table, sipping coffee and chatting quietly among themselves. "Yes, I'm very glad we're adults and the old times are over." She says, focusing a hard look on Heather as she says it. Kind of a no shenanigans type look before she smiles. "He owns a bar downtown, Heather. It's called the Boardroom." She glances down at her cleavage and then shudders. "I don't think it's bad to hope for it, but I hope I never have to see something like that, gross."

*

"Well. Animal doctor. But yes," Luke replies to Heather with a grin. "What sort of television to you work in? Like the news or something?" It's a curious question, before he bobs his head into a nod. "Ethan's my best friend. Well. Mostly. Known each other since high school." There's a look back to Kate, a wry smirk twisting his lips. "Did you guys not get along in high school or something?" he deduces from the conversation.

*

"Oh we got along like a house on fire" Heather smirks to Luke. "Mass destruction. People dying. Financial ruin. Is that right, Katherine? We've known each for a long, long, long time. I can't remember a time when we didn't know each other…and fought. But…now we're adults and everything will be fine. A cat?" She purses her lips in thought. "Not sure I have the time for that. Ethan owns a bar? I'll have to pop in. See if he's worth you" she winks at her frenemy. "I do the news" Heather nods to Luke, "But I also run the station. Own it even. Trying to get some local programming together too."

*

The bells above the entrance chime as Kyrie stumbles in from the street. Her hair is piled atop her head in a messy bun and most of her features are covered by large sunglasses. She's toting an oversized bag on her shoulder that places her look somewhere between L.A. scene kid and homeless vagabond. A phone is held before her as she distractedly types, mumbling something under her breath that the FCC would certainly object to before tossing the phone in her bag and placing her order. As the barista waits impatiently, smacking her gum, Kyrie reaches deep into the depth of her tote, fumbling around looking for something annoyingly elusive.

*

Katherine has a look on her face as Heather speaks, it's a look like she opened a gallon of spoiled milk and took a drink. She doesn't naysay anything that Heather has said though, just looks embarrassed as she shifts in her seat. "Oh come on, Heather." She finally speaks up, rolling her eyes toward the woman sitting on her left. "Everyone has time for a cat, they practically take care of themselves and take over your house. Heck, if your studio isn't a death trap, you could probably take it into the office with you." She groans and drops her head in her hand when Heather mentions that she's going to pop in on Ethan. That's going to go over great. When the opportunity comes for her to change the subject, she jumps on it. "You should do something on animals." She pipes up, pointing in Luke's direction.

*

"Well then. It sounds like you guys were dramatic," Luke replies, only halfway joking. He does point a thumb in Katherine's direction when she talks about cat ownership. "She's right. Cats are fairly independent creatures, so it's not that big of a deal. But I get it, not having time. If you're looking for some local advertising, by the by, I'd love to chat with you about getting a commercial going for the vet clinic," he notes to Heather. There's a glance up when he hears the bell ring over the door, a smile brightening up his features when he spies Kyrie. "Hey Hey L.A.!" he calls out to her. "Finally peel yourself away from the radio station?"

*

"I live at the studios. Apartment loft" Heather explains, "So it would have no choice to come to work. And it's only a death trap for careers." She ponders a moment before shaking her head. "Nah, I'd still have to feed it and stuff. Probably best not until I get settled. However, Katherine just had a great idea. This adult thing seems to be working." She looks at Luke with a little madness in her eyes. "How would you like to do a weekly show about pets? No better advertising than that. Do you have any other talents? I don't suppose you sing or anything?" Her attention turns to the new arrival. "Radio?" A fellow media worker? And she can't help but notice Luke's reaction to Kyrie. She turns to look at Katherine, and with the aid of eyebrow contortions and eyeball rolling, asks 'Are they a thing?'.

*

Ruffling through her bag for an uncomfortably long time, Kyrie finally pulls out her clutch and hands a card over to the cashier. "Hey yourself, Doolittle!" she calls back from the counter, "Did you know there are, like, seven words the FCC absolutely loses their nuts over?" Kyrie is about to list them off at full volume but a rare moment of insight touches her as she sees a few blanched faces. Instead, she approaches the table and offers a small wave to the two women sitting with Luke, "Hi. I, um, hope I'm not interrupting anything?"

*

"Dramatic is one way of putting it." Kate mutters, and she watches as they discuss advertising for the clinic and settles back in her chair. Her job is done. She glances at Heather and sees the eyebrow contortions and snorts out a soft laugh, shaking her head back and forth. She aims a smile at Kyrie and shifts a bit to make room. "You're not interrupting anything, so sit down, tell us what the seven words are. This is Heather." She points helpfully towards Heather, because that's how introductions are made. "She owns a television station. She's mildly annoying and she can't even take care of a cat." Okay so the truce doesn't cover tiny insults, right?

*

"Uh, other talents?" Luke chews on the corner of his bottom lip as he looks uncertainly in Heather's direction. "Well. I sing a little, and play guitar. But it's really just a hobby moreso than a .. you know. Thing. That I do. On television." There's a bit of blinking as he clears his throat. "I mean, can't I just put cute adoptable animals up on the television and show them off?" He looks up to Kyrie as she comes on over, and he nudges an empty chair at their table with his foot to push it out for her. "I think I saw that George Carlin skit," he mentions to Kyrie with a low chuckle. "Come sit. Like Kate said, you're not interrupting anything."

*

"You sing as well?" Ideas are percolating in Heather's mind. "'The Singing Vet'. I like it." She takes out her phone to start taking some notes and checking schedules. "Hmmm. Might be a good show for Hump Day evening. Get people loving life again with lots of cute animals. Sure you can show off the animals, but there will be other stuff we can do too. Get a camera crew to follow you around for a couple of days, get some footage of you saving animals. Maybe a little tragedy every now and then. We shall talk, Luke. Oh yes, we shall talk." Those devious eyes fall on Katherine next. "And I have some ideas for you too." Thankfully, for Katherine, Kyrie is here to take Heather's attention. "Yeah, the FCC are bastards sometimes. They use it as censorship if they can. A few minutes ago I was the Antichrist, so I'll take mildly annoying." Nope, the truce doesn't cover tiny insults. You can't change a leopard's spots overnight.

*

Kyrie smiles with gratitude at Katherine's invitation and drops into a seat, shrugging off her tote which hits the floor with a thud and clatter. "Who the fuck is George Carlin?" she asks as she settles in, "Because if he's the asshole who came up with these rules, we're not going to be friends." She pulls off her glasses and explains, "So, like Steve, he's always telling me that I have to be natural on the air-just be myself. But… there are also all these rules about what we can say and so we don't sound like real people. It's so phony. And," she lifts a finger to warn Luke, "I know I sound like Holden Caulfield right now so don't point it out. I mean, maybe that little shit had a point." She takes a deep breath as if to toss of her agitation, "Anyhow…sorry, I'm not usually like this. It's been a day." She inclines her head as some words start to connecting, "Wait, so, like are you in T.V. or something?" she asks Heather, "News anchor?"

*

Kate aims a sympathetic look at Luke. "Just say the word, pal. I'll find a leash to yank her back a little bit. Unless she's singing your tune." Then Heather mentions her and she looks disgusted for a moment, frowning in Heather's direction. "I hope it's a good idea. Like, maybe doing something on local business people. In return, I might ..nudge tourists toward your station as a way to learn more about the city they're staying in." She says in a smug tone, crossing her arms over her chest. "This truce thing is going to be more difficult than I thought." She mutters, more to herself than the table at large. She gets to her feet and tosses her cup toward the garbage, luckily it's completely empty, because she does miss. "Fix me another mocha!" She calls out, taking the pastry in her hand with her to the counter so she can much while she waits for more sweet sweet coffee. She approaches the table again , taking a seat and aims a look at Kyrie as she talks about her day, a grin twitching her lips.

*

There's growing concern in Luke's blue eyes as Heather keeps talking, a wide-eyed look thrown in Kate's direction as she offers help. "Uhh. I don't know about the camera crew, that sounds really extensive," he admits. "But you know, maybe we can work something out. Or something. It's really important to get the cats and dogs adopted, I've got a lot of them.." he trails off, casting a glance back to Kyrie and narrowing a look at her. ".. Did you just ask who the fuck George Carlin is?" He breathes out a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose as he shakes his head back and forth. "You have so much to learn," he sighs dramatically, though the further comments from Kyrie brings a small frown to his lips. "I'm sorry," he says genuinely. "You'll figure it out. The radio wouldn't be the same without you."

*

Heather shares Luke's horror at Kyrie's ignorance of comedians…even if they were from before she was born. "I do the weekend news" she nods to Kyrie, "But I also own the station. Hey, I don't suppose you'd be interested in being a VJ on Saturday night, Sunday morning?" Is she going to offer everyone she meets a job? "You can be yourself as much as you like" she adds as an enticement before frowning at Katherine. "Do you really want me to tell Luke about the time you were found in a leash? And nothing else." She's probably teasing. Probably. "But that was exactly what I had in mind. You know everyone…really well. What better person to do a chat show about what is going on in town? Touristy stuff included." Luke's turn now. "What better way to get all those animals adopted than having a handsome vet singing their praises and showing what good work he does. You won't even notice the camera crew. Promise."

*

Kyrie dances away from her own troubles and waves a hand in the air to dispel any concern as latches on to the news about Heather, "I knew it! You have that news anchor look about you-put together, smart, and you seem to have this way looking at people that makes me feel like I can't get away with lying to you," she nods her head, clearly pleased with herself and her assessment of the TV personality. "Be careful what you promise," she continues, "My addiction to fame and the adoration of the public is not to be underestimated. You can't hold down this kind of star power! People know my name!" She poses at the table in parody of her own assertion. From the counter, the barista calls out, "Carrie? Large coffee for Carrie!" Kyrie just shakes her head and says, "Anyhow, maybe. But, really, get Doolittle on TV with all his furry friends and a gossip show with Kate? I'd totally watch that. I mean, who needs another Mork and Mindy rerun?" She stands to go retrieve her drink, "But…I really need to hear this leash story. In detail."

*

Kate rolls her eyes as Heather offers Kyrie a job, taking a nice long drink of her mocha so she doesn't say something about offering everyone a job. When she mentions Katherine and leashes, the dark haired woman goes still and her shoulders twitch. She aims a hard look at Heather, eyes narrowing. "Sure Heather, tell him anything you want. You are well aware that I have plenty of things you might not want people to remember." She raises her eyebrows, her gaze almost challenging. She turns toward Luke and smirks, gesturing with the cup in her hand. "I think that showing off pets that could be adopted will work better than anyone might think. Though…can you sing?" She blink blinks at Kyrie, laughing out loud. "Gossip show? Well..I mean…" Her eyes go wide and she shakes her head enough to mess up her hair. "You don't need to hear any leash story, especially when she's *lying*"

*

"I don't know.." Luke says to Heather, though he hesitantly adds, "But we can talk about it. Later. Not right now. I'd need to think about it. Putting a camera crew in the clinic could be sensational, you know? It'd freak out the patients." There's a frown as he thinks on that, fishing out his phone to text something under the table and then stick it back into his pocket. There's a side-eye to Kyrie, before he bursts into a laugh at the wrong name that the barista calls out. "At least she was close. You should totally ask to speak to her manager," he flashes a broad grin to the woman, before he looks back to Kate and shrugs his shoulders. "I mean. Yeah. I do sing. Just.. not in public, unless you count karaokee, and well. You can ask Abby how well that went the last time," he snorts another laugh. "And there's absolutely no shame in leashes, Kate. Let your freak flag fly."

*

"Adults, Katherine. We're adults now" Heather smiles sweetly to the other woman. "They all know I was teasing. That's what adults do, tease each other in friendly, mature ways. Let's make this truce last a bit longer than ten minutes." A curious look for Luke. "Umm…there are plenty of vet shows out there where camera crews prowl around. We can work it out. Maybe over dinner?" An amused snort for Kryie the Famous. "If you're popular, that only works out better for me. If this, Steve did you say? If this Steve doesn't realise your true magnitude, then maybe it is about time you moved somewhere that did? I won't even mind you doing both jobs. Have a think about it.

*

Kyrie does not call for a manager or even criticize the barista, she gathers her drink, leaves a tip, and comes back to the table, self-esteem relatively intact as she picks up the thread of the conversation, "Steve is the morning DJ over at Croc. He's been on the air longer than I've been alive. He likes to joke that my mom was probably listening to him on the radio when I was conceived so he's kind of my radio dad. " She smirks at her own recollection and says, "Croc kind of gave me a chance when no one else wanted to touch me, but maybe we can work some kind of a cross-promotion out. The business guys would love that. But, on more important matters," she says with a mischievous smirk, "If Luke doesn't want to sing in public, just follow him around with the cameras. He probably sings in the shower or something. Put that on TV. The ratings will be epic," she teases and then says to Katherine, "Yeah, you'd be great at a local gossip show. You must hear everything at the B&B. You could do it as a blind items segment - leave out any names or identifying details. Get people guessing."

*

Kate looks like she's two seconds away from slugging Heather, especially when Luke says that she should let her freak flag fly. "Luke!" She turns a wide gaze on him. "Et tu?" She groans and sits back in her seat, cup in hand, defeated. "Yes, we're adults now." She repeats quietly, shaking her head from side to side almost like she's pantomiming. "You two should just give in now, because once she gets like this?" She points at Heather, rolling her eyes. "She doesn't give up, she's like a dog with a bone. You can bury it, but she'll keep digging it up and chewing on it. Have an objection? She'll override it or find a way around it. It's great when you're working on a group science project."

Kate tilts her head to gaze at Kyrie. "I mean, you've only been here for a little bit, do you think I could work for her without making at least a few token attempts at throttling her?" She glances at Heather as if she might be considering it now, a frown forming on her lips.

*

"Oh, jeeze," Luke groans inwardly when Kyrie suggests the cameras follow him /in the shower/, and he might be a little red. But only a little! It was probably the heat from his coffee, which he damn near chugs at this point, the mostly empty cup set on the tabletop. "I'm just saying, Kate, we've all got our things. You shouldn't be ashamed!" he says to his friend with a wide grin, looking down at his phone as it buzzes. Whatever he reads makes him sigh, and he looks back to Heather after reading it. "Fine," he says with an air of finality, "I'll discuss it with you. Maybe I could sing a theme song for the show or something." It was as simple as that. Maybe the text was incentive? He glances back to Kyrie afterward and mumbles at her. "I'll have you know, my singing in the shower voice is going to legit make me famous someday. It's almost as good as my singing in the kitchen voice."

*

Ethan's a man on a mission. He ducks in through the front door, bothering with only the barest sweep of a look around the coffee shop on his way to the register. Sure, he recognizes almost all these people, but his errand is such that he deals with that first. He flags down a cashier, who retrieves a box from behind the counter marked Lost & Found, and they spend some time pawing through its contents together - with the occasional look toward all those familiar faces, including a doubtful squint at what he can overhear of their conversation (specifically re: Luke singing).

*

"A theme song? That would be perfect" Heather grins at Luke. "We could even get Kyrie to play it on her show. You might have a number one single, Doc." A quirk of an eyebrow at Kyrie. "Oh? And how are you so sure it would be a ratings winner? Had a preview?" A shrug for her fellow adult in Katherine. "If it's a tasty bone, why give it up?" A roll of her eyes at the science project memory. "Didn't we get an A? If we'd gone with your idea about the volcano, do you think we would have got an A? Everyone was doing volcanoes. Animal reproduction was always going to get the attention. Sex sells. And we incorporated some of your volcano mechanics into the model. I thought we were all happy with the shooting di… Never mind. It's in the past. And you wouldn't work /for/ me, Katherine, you'd work /with/ me. As mature adults. Come on, it could be exactly what we need to put the past behind us." Spotting Ethan's entry, and having no idea who he is, Heather smiles slyly. "Well, hello. Anyone know who that is?"

*

Kyrie grins at Kate and assures her, "See, that's perfect. Creative tension. Lennon and McCartney? Jagger and Richards? Every member of the Eagles? Axl and everyone in the world? All of the bickering is where you get the best ideas. It's like a yin and yang kind of thing. If everyone gets along, you just get stuck believing your own hype. It's the people who call you on your bullshit that you should really listen." She then adds, "Unless, you know, someone wants to flatter me, in which case please go on and on?" She then inclines her head at Heather's ratings question and says, "Nope, no previews of the Vet's Vet yet. Should I though? I mean, this is small town. Someone has to have a review right? A little critical perspective? Inquiring minds want to know." If she is making Luke uncomfortable, she is enjoying every minute of it.

*

Kate only aims a narrowed eye gaze at Luke, deciding that it's easier to not argue this particular point. The look will suffice. She glances between him and Heather as she goes in for a strike, and he deftly parries, the turnabout and then victory. It's about the time she spots Ethan and she gulps in some air, waving vaguely in his direction, hoping that Heather doesn't spot him. It's about the time she starts to harp about the science project and her ire gets raised, making her sit up. "Listen, we had an innovative idea about a cross section of a volcano, and nobody else was doing that. We'd have got an A with my idea too." She snorts out a laugh. "Oh I get a piece of the business then? Sounds amazing, when do I start?" She deadpans, glancing with Heather toward Ethan. "That's Ethan." She mumbles, dropping her face into her palm. "Kill me now." Seems like half the table is uncomfortable at the very least.

*

Luke actually does flash a guilty, apologetic look in Kate's direction, albeit a brief one before he's rolling his eyes at Kyrie and Heather both. "Jeeze," he mumbles, about to say something else when - "ETHAN!" Yes, it's terrible, but he looks to Ethan as though the savior himself has come through the door. Potentially because he knows it will get the conversation off of him. "Ethan, come. Join us, it's great here. At this table. With these ladies," he tries not to sound overly sarcastic. "I'm going to be on TV, apparently. Oh, maybe Heather here can get you your own show. Like Cheers, except better."

*

"…cool, if you find it, just put it aside for me?" Ethan helps put stuff back in the box, and gets most of it done before his name gets called IN ALL CAPS, and his spine straightens. "Jesus, Luke, you don't think maybe your inside voice would be more appropriate?" His mission failed, so he does drift over, but something about that invitation has him failing to pull out a chair straightaway, instead looking at the assembly with skepticism painted all over his face. "Yeeeeeeeah, I'mma take a pass on that, but thanks. How ya been?" Is for Kyrie, followed by a nice-to-meet-you smile for Heather and a peer at the face-palming Kate. "Anybody got matches?"

*

"/That's/ Ethan?" Heather muses, her eyes taking him all in. Appraising him. Making little mental notes. And then that sweet smile is back for Katherine. "Haven't you done well." It even sounds like a genuine compliment before she gestures towards Kyrie. "Kyrie is right. But now we turn our tension into something creative rather than destructive. Of course, now we'll argue over which of us is ying and which of us is yang" she smirks. "No, you don't get a piece of the business. I was trying to be mature and adult about us working together. How about we iron out the details over drinks? Drinks stronger than coffee." That will go well. "No interest in starring in a sitcom at a bar, Ethan?" she asks him lightly while returning his greeting. "How about something more 'reality'? Gosh, who knew there were so many opportunities here? I don't smoke, sorry."

*

Kyrie's grin adopts a skewed angle as Luke gets off the hook, but her smile softens at Ethan's question, "It's been an interesting few days, Nic. I'm a drama magnet." She reaches down and scrounges through her tote as she comments, "Matches? Are you going all mountain man on us, Nic? Shopping for flannel and carving your own furniture?" She apparently finds what she was seeking and pulls out an engraved silver lighter and tosses it over to Ethan. It looks a bit fancier than the rock star burnout turned D.J. would typically carry. She then looks over at the table and says, "Even if nothing comes of it, doesn't hurt to try something new. Film some test footage. Look at yourself on camera. You might be surprised. Could be fun. Never rule out fun until you've tried it."

*

Kate sits back in her chair and rolls her eyes at Heather, choosing not to rise to whatever bait is dangled in her direction. "I'll think about it, Heather. I don't think I'm meant to be on television. I've got a busy life at the B&B." She takes a drink of her mocha, nodding at Kyrie. "I don't always have a lot of time for fun, we'll see if it works out. Even if it doesn't, I wouldn't mind you playing music on television, if it's half as good as your show on the radio, I'd tune in."

*

"I thought the voice I decided to use was incredibly appropriate in the moment," Luke quips back to Ethan, exchanging a glance between him and Heather before he gives his head a slow shake. "Your television channel's set to be a very strange, ecclectic mix of shows, Heather," he comments before his attention focuses on Kyrie, a quiet chuckle escaping him. "That's some good life advice right there, L.A. I like it."

*

Ethan basket-catches Kyrie's lighter against his chest, noting, "Not going mountain-man just yet. I lost mine, and unless you're giving me this to keep?" He looks it over, then decides that's probably not the case and tosses it right back to Kyrie. "You can't smoke in coffee shops. Hence. Matches. Thanks, though, you're almost a lifesaver." He either misses or ignores the Heather/Katherine by-play and just answers the question actually directed at him: "Heather, is it? Not so much with the being on TV, but you can use the bar as a location as long as I get to veto anything before it airs. Free advertising. Kate - matches? No? Luke, help a guy out. Gimme your lighter." He cocks his chin toward the door, a mute 'or just come with me' in the gesture.

*

Heather is a little confused. Why hasn't Ethan gone over and at least given Katherine a hug? They don't have to snog, but if they're a couple, shouldn't there be some…communication? "Editorial control? Hmm, I'll think about it, Ethan." She pulls out a pile of business cards from her jacket and starts handing them around, whether people want them or not. "We'll talk soon, Kyrie. Luke. Keep the business for later." Though, the one she gives Katherine, she also scribbles her personal number on the back. They're mature, adult friends now. "I'd like to catch up soon. Not just about work" she smiles to her lifelong nemesis. "I think you'd be great on camera." Heather even restrains herself from a comment about the extra pounds the brunette is carrying since she last saw her. "If the B&B is busy, I can even come to you. Saves me paying for a set that would look like your lounge room anyway. 'Wake Up Calaveras' with your hostess with the mostess, Katherine Stone." A beat. "We can work on that."

*

Kyrie catches the returned lighter with two hands. She pauses to look it over, a finger tracing a well-practiced path across the pattern as she drifts briefly into her own thoughts for a moment before snapping back, "Yeah, no, not quite ready to let it go. It's not mine anyhow." She stuffs the lighter back into her bag and says with a brighter voice, "Probably for the best, Nic. You'd be forever in my debt if I saved your life and I'd totally abuse that." She then returns to Kate's and Luke's comments, "That's awfully nice. Both of you. But, maybe? We'll have to see what Heather and the Croc can cook up. I'm not sure how much…well, we can talk later." She takes the card and taps its edge on the table, "Wake Up Calaveras? Star to star, Kate, you should totally push for a title that uses your name or something. Makes it a lot harder for them to fire you."

*

Kate pulls matches from her purse, handing them to Ethan as she gets to her feet. "Heather, I'm glad you're back in town, I suppose. Come by the house if you really want to discuss business." She winces as she gazes at Kyrie, looking between her and Heather for a second before she clears her throat. "Television, me? I think you've both lost it." She manages a weak chuckle before she picks up her purse, cup and takes the card from Heather. "I uhm.." She points toward the door, opens her mouth to make an excuse to leave, but nothing comes to mind. "I..I have..a thing." She raises her eyebrows, lets out a breath and waves vaguely as she makes her way to the door. "I'll see ya'll later." Slipping out, she glances both ways before she crosses the street, walking toward Oak Ridge.

*

"I've only got the lighter, soooo.." Luke trails, catching Ethan's gaze and slowly tracing it to the door. Then there's a glance back to the table, Heather's card taken with only some reluctance. "I'll call you, Heather," he says before he raises up from the table, a frown touching his lips when Kate suddenly has a 'thing' and vanishes. "Kyrie, we'll have to go grab a drink here soon?" he quirks a brow, before he motions to Ethan. "Come on, I'll go out with you so you don't have to feign any longer."

*

"Oh, if it's not even yours, give it back. I'll steal a stolen lighter any day." But then Ethan gets handed matches, which brings forth a pleased beam, and he's already taking a cigarette out of the pack when it becomes obvious that Katherine's about to cut-and-run. "Wait up, I'll walk - or not." He tap-tap-taps the filter end of the cigarette on the matchbook, eyeing that hasty departure for a second, then looks back to the table with a quickly summoned and socially correct smile. "Thanks, man," to Luke. "Nice to meet you? Sorta?" He shrugs at Heather and lets that be the way he sums up the encounter, then puts the cigarette in his mouth and heads toward the door before the staff can be all 'NO SMOKING' at him.

*

Heather seems genuinely disappointed that Katherine is leaving. "And I guess it was sort of nice seeing you again" she replies to the jab. And then Luke and Ethan are leaving too. "Nice to meet you both. We'll talk soon, Luke." She may call him first. Heather sips at her coffee, frowning when it turns out to be cold now. "You have the hots for Luke, Kyrie?" No point in subtlety.

*

Was there relief in Luke's expression at the thought of escaping? Yes, yes there was. He was already reaching into his back pocket to tug out a lighter - but, notably, no pack of cigarettes - giving a wave of his fingers to both Kyrie and Heather before he beelines it for the door. He was almost out when he heard Heather's not-so-subtle question in Kyrie's direction, and the vet calls over his shoulder: "Men and women can be friends now, Heather. It's 2018!" before out the door he goes.

*

Ethan half-shoves Luke out the door in front of him when the guy stalls. "Dude, just go," under his breath. Then, cheerily, "Bye~~" With a wave back at Kyrie and Heather still at the table.

*

Kyrie laughs at Heather's question, "Wow. No pulling punches, eh? To be honest, it's kind of complicated. He's a good looking guy and lord knows I could use a night of distraction. I won't even get into how long it's been. But… he's been an amazing friend. He's a great guy. Almost too good to be true, which means I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Veteran. Saves animals. Never gets handsy. Funny as hell. Puts up with my baggage. I mean, what the fuck? He's gotta have a fridge full of dead bodies in his basement or something, right?" She leans back in her chair and takes a sip of almost forgotten coffee, "You thinking of asking hm out or something?"

*

"Nah" Heather replies with a shake of her head at the last question. "Let's keep it all business for now. And I'd hate to be around when that other shoe drops…and hits me on the head. I'm probably too busy for dating anyway. Television stations don't run themselves. Look at me, I'm already trying to hire everyone I've met. I have a lot of work to do. Maybe you shouldn't just keep waiting. Someone else might scoop him up while you are." A sly grin forms. "Let's not get into a 'how long has it been' competition. I think I saw cobwebs the other day."

*

Kyrie laughs at the image, "Truth. But, really, I'm not worrying about it. I was actually going to encourage you to ask him out. I think Luke would do well with someone kind of stable. Really, I'm a fucking mess. You seem to have your shit together." She quickly brushes some miscreant locks from her face, "Owning a whole station? I can't even imagine that kind of responsibility. If it wasn't for autopay, which my gramps helped me set up by the way, I couldn't even pay my bills. I just can't imagine how you keep it all going. What makes you so dedicated to the station? Is it your childhood dream or something?"

*

"One of the things you learn about television, Kyrie, is not assume what you see is true" Heather smirks. "I am not stable. Chaos is what gets me through the day. Chaos means you're always thinking, always moving. Thankfully, when I make split second decisions, they usually work out. Not always…but usually." A pause. "Sixty percent success is 'usually', right? Television wasn't really a childhood dream. Journalism of some kind was. I drifted away from newspapers once I was in college. And a long path got me here. What about you? Always wanted to be on the radio?"

*

"Never," Kyrie says with blunt honesty and says, "I was going to be a rock star. As soon as I discovered rock music, I was singing in bands. The day after I graduated high school, I took a bus out to L.A. and thought I was going to own that town." The angle of her smile shifts to a patented lop-sided grin as she remembers, "And, it was kind of awesome while it lasted. Got a band. Made an album. Partied like it was 1999. And, well, insert clich? here. Mistakes were made. Things got fucked up. I became toxic." The young woman runs a finger along the edge of the table before continuing, "Gramps convinced me to stay here, get away from the bad influences, get clean. Get my life together. KROQ was just kind of nice surprise. I like it a lot more than I thought I would."

*

"You were famous? Sorry, I don't recognise you. Which doesn't mean you weren't famous, just that I didn't have to do a report on you" Heather smiles. "You're a local? I probably should have done a report on you. I was working in Denver for the last few years though. Just came home a couple of weeks back. As you can see, Katherine was pleased to see me" she smirks. "Glad you found something you enjoy doing. Ever think about being a rock star again? You write music?"

*

"Not quite local. My mom and gramps grew up here, but my mom moved to the 'Springs tight after I was born, so this whole town is new to me," Kyrie explains, "And don't feel bad. I was famous for like 14 minutes. Not even a one hit wonder, really. We really were more famous on TMZ than anything that should count." She shrugs, "I don't perform much anymore. I still keep a notebook of lyrics, but that's just a bad habit and everyone knows I'm not good at quitting those." She offers a self-deprecating smile and notably changes the topic, "Well, welcome home, I guess. Calaveras is kind of crazy small and everyone seems to know everyone. It's kind of like a family. I was wondering if you and Kit-Kat were sisters or something with the way you got along."

*

"Sisters? Do we look like we hate each other that much?" Heather laughs. "We've just known each other for a long time. And we've been rivals for almost as long. Probably since she blew out all my candles at /my/ birthday party. I think we were six. Hey, if music is your life, don't give it up. If you still need to play, then play. Just don't do all the shit that comes with it. It's never too late." A tilt of her head. "If you take this VJing job, how about you sign out with one of your own songs every week? Doesn't have to be a new song but it lets people hear your voice. Your soul."

*

"It's complicated," Kyrie says one of her favorite deflections somewhat sheepishly this time, "But, I guess we'll see. There's just a lot to unpack there. No promises," She then paints on smile and says, "You know, you seem nice and I love how straight you are. You probably kick ass as a producer and editor. We'll work something out, and even if it ends up not being an on-air role, it would be great helping you get the local talent some exposure. I feel like there's so many layers to this town just waiting for someone to start tugging on the strings and lifting up all the old carpets."

*

"Tug hard enough, we might even find the dead bodies" Heather replies with a mischievious smile; she was an investigative journalist before this…and probably still is at heart. "Life is too short to not be direct" she shrugs. "Sure, we'll work something out, but don't be afraid to take opportunities when you can. You've learned from your mistake. Don't throw the baby out with the fetid bathwater." A shake of her head at herself. "Christ, I should do an Agony Aunt program" she snorts in self-deprecation before resuming her advice session. "And that includes waiting on the Doc." She pushes away her mug of cold coffee. "Like another drink? Can we get something stronger here?"

*

"Nothing stronger here," Kyrie observes, "But Ethan's place, The Boardroom, is where a lot of locals go to hang out for casual drinks. You can hit up Johnny Slim's if you're looking for a rough crowd. And, of course, there's the club up by the Uni if you want to get your dance on. However," she says collecting her coffee, "Can I take a rain check? I need to hit up the station for show prep. One of the joys of being the night DJ is having to duck out for work right as the party is getting started." She shrugs, "Alas, the burdens of being a local celebrity. If you want to talk shop or just hang sometime, feel free to hit me up. And next time, I get to hear all about Denver. I have to live vicariously somehow."

*

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