(2018-10-28) Post Traumatic Stress Relief
After the latest horrors of the Halloween Carnival, Katherine offers a safe respite for some survivors.

Katherine is looking fresh faced, happy and chipper despite the time of day. There is a nice fire laid into the fireplace, warming up the ground floor of the B&B. Two large crock pots are simmering with something that smells savory. She stands at the kitchen counter, chopping veggies quickly with a large knife, pausing only to brush hair out of her face.

Edgar had to think hard about coming here tonight. The urge to self-destruct was strong, but instead, he shuffles into the Bed and Breakfast, fresh from a shower, with a bandage around one hand and one cheek pink from a first degree burn. His normal hoodie is gone, retired, and instead he's wearing a denim jacket over a black Nirvana t-shirt. "Kate?" he calls, and he makes his way toward the kitchen, leaning in the doorway to peek inside. "Hey."

Someone in authority decided that the survivors of the carnival fire should get something to help calm them. That something - a meal at the house of the best cook in Calaveras. Maybe it was Katherine once she heard the news. Most people have gone home to hug their loved ones, a needle, or a bottle, but Willow is here. She's seen Katherine on television like everyone else. Still clad in the same clothes that survived the fire, skin marked with ash, eyes bloodshot, Willow followed Edgar in and offers the celebrity a wave from the door. "Hello, Miss Stone. Nice to meet you. So nice of you to do this for us."

Kate smiles at Edgar when he appears, waving him in. The smile fades when she sees the bandages and the pink cheek. "Have a seat Edgar, coffee?" Then Willow is spotted, and her mouth makes a little 'o'. "What..happened to you two?" She moves to pull out chairs before she walks over to the counter to bring drinks. "I have coffee, juice, soda and water. What will you both need?" She glances over her shoulder again, brows furrowed. "It's nice to meet you too, hon.." She doesn't have a name, hon will do. "Do you want a change of clothes, I can direct you to a quick shower. We have three bathrooms. No lines." She makes a little joke, why not.

Edgar smiles weakly, and he comes to sit down. "I'd love some coffee," he says. He looks down at himself and adds, "I was kind of on fire earlier. I was at the Fun House." He looks at Willow and nods to her. "So was she." He offers Willow a small smile, though he's still a little stricken himself from the whole affair, going mostly on autopilot.

"Willow Banks" the teenager smiles, "Though hon is fine. I guess I could do with a shower, if that's okay, but I don't want to get your clothes mucked up." A nod to confirm Edgar's story. "Yeah, there was fire, but most everyone got out" she grins happily. "I'll just grab that shower. And I'll clean it up if I leave dirt everywhere. Promise."

Katherine sets a mug of coffee in front of Edgar. "Nonsense, Willow. I have plenty of clothes. I'll get you something and you can get cleaned up. No worrying about it." She walks with the teen to the second floor, giving her a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. "If you get dirt anywhere, leave it be, come back down for some stew. Got it?" She winks at Willow and eventually she'll make her way back into the kitchen, turning her gaze on Edgar. "So why don't you tell me what happened. I'll dish up some stew."

Edgar wraps his hands around the coffee cup to warm them, and he murmurs a quiet, "Thanks," to Kate. He watches her as she talks to Willow, and he smiles a little. "You really like taking care of people, don't you?" The smile fades a little as he says, "It started raining, so a bunch of us took refuge in the fun house. The lights went off and the doors closed on us. We were trapped. It was pretty disorienting. There was a dead body by the doors, people started panicking. There was a fire to the back of the fun house. Some big guy panicked and beat the doors down, which caused a backdraft I got caught up in. I could've gotten burned a lot worse, but someone put me out with an extinguisher and I bolted for the door. I don't know who the dead guy was or what happened after that. I left."

Kate brings Ethan a deep bowl of stew with a spoon, sitting next to him with her own cup of coffee as he tells his story. She listens, not interrupting, a frown on her face. "That's really scary, I would have been there tonight if I wasn't having a ..weekend off, with the .." She flounders for a term that best suits Ethan, fails and just shakes her head. "I do like to take care of people, and it sounds like you need a little T.L.C right now. Eat your stew." She takes a drink from her coffee before she thinks of something. "Did they close the carnival? You would think that after the second problem, they would have to shut it down now."

"I don't know," Edgar admits. "When I left, everything was still in chaos. I saw Cal there, and he's the only person I knew, but he was with his family. They were clinging to each other, and there wasn't really any place for me in that, and I realized: I've got no one here. No people." He looks up at Katherine. "No one to worry about, no one to worry about me if I hadn't come out of there. Sometimes I think I made a mistake moving here. My family's 1800 miles away, and they don't even know where I am. What am I doing here?"

Willow trots down the staircase after her shower. All clean…but wearing clothes that make her look like a little girl trying out her mother's outfit. The legs of the jeans rolled up a few times. The t-shirt reaching down well past her hips. "Thanks for the clothes and the shower, Miss Stone" she smiles warmly before taking a deep breath. "Mmm…that smells delicious. I knew it would." She makes her way over to the table and takes a seat, unaware of Edgar's opening up for now. "I gave the shower a little rinse out."

Katherine gets to her feet, moving to fetch a bowl of stew for Willow. "I told you to leave it, but I'm not going to fuss at you. Eat your stew." She sets it in front of Willow, pouring some apple juice to go with it. She watches Edgar as she does this, and after she puts away the juice and secures the top of the crock pot, she retakes her seat. "You know, Edgar. You might not have people here, yet." She takes a drink from her coffee. "But you will. It wasn't a mistake to try to move on from life, a mistake would be to stop living it." She reaches out to pat his hand, a slight smile on her lips. "You had a plan when you moved out here, didn't you?"

Edgar looks up at Willow and offers her a kind smile. The smile doesn't quite reach his eyes, but he's trying. It's just that it's been a messed up night for him, and he's not all there. He bows his head when Kate pats his hand, and he nods as he says, "Yeah. I was going to start over and stay out of trouble." He's quiet a moment, then adds, "If I was back in New York, after something like this, I would be using. Tonight, I came here instead."

Willow thanks Katherine for the food, sampling it, and finding it most pleasing. "Yummy. This is delicious." She starts to consume at an alarming rate, not used to such nice food and eager to eat it before someone steals it. Eyes glance between the other two, taking in the conversation. The thought of using causing ther smile to disappear for a moment. "Hey…Edgar is it? Don't talk like that. Life is its own drug. You went through shit tonight, we all did, but we're alive. And that is way better than the alternative." A sip of her juice before she gets up to give Edgar a hug from behind "Stay strong. Stay happy. Nothing can upset you unless you want it to."

"Well anytime you need to come here, to keep it together. Feel welcome." Katherine takes a drink of her coffee, resting her cheek on her palm. "I'm not usually up this late, but I'm happy enough to wake up to help a friend." She listens to Willow and grins at Edgar. "See? From the mouth of babes." She takes another drink of her coffee, getting to her feet to refresh her cup. "Some strong woman said that nobody can control your emotions unless you let them. I always thought that was pretty clever, and I always wished I was better at keeping my emotions in check."

Edgar lays a hand over Willow's arms in an attempt to return the hug. "Thank you," he tells her. "I'm being realistic, though. That's why I left New York. I was starting to backslide again. Too many triggers to fall back into those old patterns. I've been clean for months, though, and I'm trying to stay that way." He takes a drink of his coffee and lets out a pent up breath. "It wasn't even the fire that got to me tonight but realizing how I am totally on my own here. I know it's temporary, and Kate, you already take such good care fo me. You're a lifesaver."

"No one is alone. We're all human beings who all live together on this crazy world. We don't need to be driven apart" Willow explains before adding, "Don't worry, I won't talk about how we are all part of the Universe. I'm not a hippy. I just know the value of being alive and it is what we make of it." A quick peck to the crown of Edgar's head before she is looking over at Katherine. "Oh! Let me make you a coffee. I like to think I'm pretty good at it." She won't take no for an answer as she dashes over. "Both of you. Any coffee you like, I'll do it." A quick sip of her juice before she gets to work.

"I'm not a lifesaver, but I do make pretty good stew." Katherine watches Willow with some bemusement, walking back to the table to retake her seat. "I just take a little cream in mine, thanks Willow." She quirks a brow at Edgar, winking before she turns her attention back to the teenager. "So what do you do, Willow, because if you're not careful I'm going to poach you." Saying that makes her realize something and she pats herself down, a frown forming on her face. "That bastard kept my phone." Despite the words, the frown eases and she chuckles softly. "Oh well."

Edgar says wryly, "Don't underestimate the lifesaving ability of a good stew." Willow gets another smile from him. "I'm Edgar, by the way. Most people call me Ed. I saw you there. Did you have anyone to call? If I'd been thinking, I would've stayed and looked for people who didn't have anyone, but I was burned and covered in extinguisher foam." He grimaces. That's a smell that'll linger.

"'If you think your partner is cheating, and worry is making you sick, you should give Grey a call, and we'll supply a dick'" Willow recites before explaining better, "I work at Grey Investigations, with Vic. I'm the office gopher kind of thing. General admin. Not a dick yet, though I hope to be one day. Like Vic. She is totally the biggest dick in town." A quirk of a brow at Katherine's outburst. "Who has your phone?" She looks over to Edgar. "I called my parents, it's all cool. I don't live at home though. I have this little hole in the wall down in the Heights. Literally, a hole in the wall. I think everyone managed to do what they needed to do, Edgar. Now you need to do what you need to do."

Katherine blinks at the talk of dick, not understanding the meaning at first. When she gets it, she giggles a little bit, aiming a smile at Willow. "Ah uh.. I was out with .." Again the title thing stumps her and she goes quiet for a brief moment. ".. my boyfriend." She grimaces and shakes her head. "It was supposed to be a relaxing evening, so no phones and checking up on things." She shifts her gaze to Edgar. "Yes, listen to her. You two are going to stay here tonight, by the way. I've got room, and there is no sense of going out in the cold once you get warmed up by the stew."

Edgar's brow shoot up. "That works for a PI Agency and a dating app," he says. He tucks in to his stew, and there he finds his appetite. After a few bites, he says, "I have no idea what I need to do. Meet people, I guess. I've hung out with Calvin a bit, but I can't lean on him all the time. He's got people to think about." He smiles at Katherine. "Boyfriend? Good for you. I guess I could stay. I fed the cat before I left."

"Boyfriend? Nice" Willow grins as she hands out the coffees. "I Hope you like them. Not as good as your stew but I doubt anything is. Oh, is that Mitch Buchanan? The one on the show with you?" Her eyes narrow. "So your boyfriend got to keep all the phones? Did he check up on…wait…didn't you just call him a 'bastard'?" Willow resumes her seat and her eating. "We're doing a job for Calvin, but I can't talk about it. Vic is heading up to Denver to deal with it, but I can't talk about it. Stay here? Oh…okay. Thank you. You're very nice, Miss Stone."

"He's something. Titles seem weird." Katherine takes the coffee with a smile, tutting at Willow. "Now, none of that. I'm sure your coffee is wonderful." She takes a sip, then another and lets out a breath. "It is good." She blinks a few times, glancing from Edgar to Willow. "Mitch isn't my boyfriend. It's um, Ethan Grant, he works downtown." She crosses her legs, watching Willow for a moment. "You don't have to talk about it, sweetheart, and I can be very nice. I just don't want the pair of you trudging out in this weather." She sets the coffee down and brushes her hair behind her ear. "Are you going to Denver with your boss?"

Edgar tells Willow, "I understand, you can't talk about it. I hope it all works out well for him. He's been a good friend to me." He eats more stew. The thin fellow could stand to put on a few pounds. "Ethan. That's a nice name. I'm sure this Mitch guy is perfectly fine, too, but I dated a Mitch. It didn't go well. I swore off Mitches."

"Oh, I'm not going to Denver" Willow shakes her head, smiling as she does so. "That would be expensive. And Vic is the only one who needs to go. It'll give me a chance to clean up the office. Would you believe she doesn't even have a 'Hang In There' poster? The one with the cat hanging off a tree. So cute." She's pleased that the coffee passes the test as she continues to eat. "You can't blame all Mitches because of one Mitch. That's a bit unfair. You could end up blaming all men because of one man. Then you'd really be lonely."

"This Mitch isn't so bad either when he's not lost in his ego." Katherine takes a drink of her coffee, considering Willow for a few moments. "Hopefully when Vic comes bck from Denver she won't take one look at those posters and toss you out a door." She glances between Edgar's bowl and the man. "More stew or are you okay for now? There isn't any filming tomorrow, so I won't start serving breakfast until about ten-ish. French toast tomorrow."

"Actually, I think I could eat a little more," Ed says, and he sounds a little surprised by that. He offers his bowl across. "Tell you what," he says to Willow, "if some nice Mitch comes in and sweeps me off my feet, I'll at least hear him out. And I have done that before. Sworn off men entirely because of one. I've sworn off them so hard before I've moved clear across the country to get away from them. My life goals right now are to keep writing and become a weird loner who talks to his cat."

“Hmm, I don't think there is anywhere you can go, Edgar, that doesn't have men around. Maybe Amazonia? But I don't think that is real" Willow offers. "So I think you're just going to have to deal with them. You'll find the perfect one. It'll happen. It always does." A reassuring smile for the man before she giggles at Katherine. "She won't throw me out. Have you seen her bookkeeping? She doesn't even know where the book is. I can negotiate the posters with her, but she really needs to make that place more homey." She thinks about this for a moment. "Though I guess it does resemble my home…another hole in the wall. This stew is soooo good. You import your breakfast from France? No wonder you have to start breakfast late."

Katherine gets to her feet, moving to the crock pot, ladling some stew into the bowl. She sneaks a look back at the pair when Willow offers Mitch advice to Edgar. She moves to set the bowl back down in front and grins at Edgar. "There you go." She retakes her seat and quirks a brow at Willow. "No, you've never had French toast? It's going to be a treat then. I won't tell you what it is, you'll just have to try it with some honey or syrup and some crunch bacon and oatmeal. Fill you up, warm you up, and then you'll be double ready for tomorrow."

Edgar tells Willow, "Oh, I don't want to get away from all men, just men in New York." He pauses, realizing that still doesn't sound good, so he tries to explain from a different angle. "The people I knew there weren't good for me. We had history, but it was bad history. You can't keep doing the same things with the same people and expect your life to be different. That's why I'm here. New people, new home, new habits." He eats more stew, sneaking bites in amidst his conversing. "And I'm not looking for the perfect anything. I'm just trying to get my bearings." He flashes Katherine a grin when she mentions not explaining what French toast is. "It's good," he says. "You'll love it."

"I look forward to the French toast then" Willow smiles excitedly. "It's not a lot of people serve in the Heights. No one actually. And you need all of that to go with it? Wow, quite the meal. I don't think you even need the toast. I might put on weight." She nods to Edgar's explanations about men. "Even then, it was only bad people in New York you needed to get away from. Not everyone. There are good people there." She looks to the other two. "Aren't there? Regardless, welcome to Calaveras, Edgar. I'll keep an eye out for nice guys."

"Putting on weight isn't a bad thing." Katherine glances down at her hips, considers and then adds. "Most times." She finishes her coffee and chuckles about the man talk. "There are plenty of bad men here, and good ones. I was pretty sure that I'd be single forever, and wasn't too unhappy about that, until Ethan came along. Now I think I'm just insane." She looks thoughtful for a few moments and gets up to shut off and put away the stew for later. "If neither of you brought clothes with you, I'm sure we can find you some. Despite what my therapist told me to do, I didn't throw away everything after the accident. I've got lots of clothes and little …things around from my parents, brothers and sisters. I'm sure we can find something that will suit both of you."

"Yeah, there are good people in New York," Ed says. "I wish them the very best." He holds up a hand, then and says, "Don't feel the need to set me up with anyone. I'm working on myself right now. But thank you for the welcome. Setting tonight aside, and the party at KCC1, things have been great. The people have been so nice." He nods toward Katherine. "See? Super nice." Then he tells her, "You don't have to go through that much trouble. I can toss these on in the morning and change when I get home." He grins at Katherine. "I'm happy for you, by the way. I hope this guy treats you right."

"Accident?" Willow wonders if she should go further down this route but decides not to for now. Time to change subjects. "I can't seem to put on weight. Eternally scrawny. No curves to speak of. Not the kind of body that gets to be a centerfold…or attract the interest of boys. But that's okay. We make the best of what we have, right? And if the guys in this town can't see how hot I am, that's their problem" she giggles before a pout towards Edgar. "Okay, I won't set you up…but I will get phone numbers. And pictures. Why wouldn't he treat Katherine right? She's awesome.'

"Give it time, Willow. Your body will do what it need to do when it's ready." Katherine grins back at Edgar, rolling her eyes. "Ethan is special, and he treats me nice. We're just pretty private." She finishes spooning the stew into bowls, pushing the lids on and opening the fridge. "Accident, yeah. Two years ago, my parents and some of my siblings were hit by a drunk driver. So now, it's just me and two of my sisters left." She hip-checks the fridge door and it swings shut. "You should come down to the Boardroom with me some night, Edgar. You can meet Ethan and see his bar. It's.." She screws up her face trying to find a word to describe it. "…quaint? I don't drink very often, so I just hang out and watch baseball. The bartender makes me Shirley Temple's."

"Besides, there's guys who like skinny chicks," Edgar says. "Don't settle for anyone who doesn't think you're gorgeous." He regards Katherine solemnly. And he gives her a small nod at the mention of the accident. He doesn't pry, but there's sympathy there. "His bar is downtown, you said?" he says. "I live downtown. I'll keep an eye out for it. I totally get wanting to be private. It's just that if he ever hurts you, I'd be grumpy." It's not a threat, honest!

"I'm eighteen, Katherine, my body has done what it's going to do" Willow giggles. "Nothing wrong with being private, as long as it means you're happy. Too many people are private because there are beatings and stuff. Don't just think that will go away." Thus comes the wisdom of a teenager. "Wow, sorry to hear about the accident. Oh! Oh my gosh. How stupid am I? Don't answer that. VIc is doing some…" She winks repeatedly at Katherine and taps the side of her nose. "Don't worry, we'll get to the bottom of it" she promises. "I wouldn't be able to get in the bar." Which is probably why she wasn't invited. A grin for Edgar. "Aww…ain't you the sweetest. Thank you for your kind…and astute…words."

"Trust me, if my body was done doing what it was going to do at eighteen…" Katherine glances down at herself and then smirks. "You'll still go through some changes, just let it happen. Being skinny isn't a bad thing. Not really." She aims a bemused look at the table, shaking her head. "We're private because, well, I'm kind of shy and he isn't the sharing type." She leans against the counter, smiling toward Willow. "I am considering hiring Vic, I'd like to know who did it." She chuckles and turns to finish cleaning up after herself. "Maybe next time we all go to Legends of Old, you can come with us Willow. Putt Putt or something like that, you know? There is a lot to do around here, it's been a while since I got down to some laser tag."

"I get wanting to be private," Edgar says. "I was never public about any of my relationships. It's inviting too much scrutiny, and when you're already in the public eye, you give up enough privacy as it is." He polishes off his stew, then moves back to his coffee. He smiles at Willow. "I'm just saying. Don't settle for any less than someone who sees your beauty."

"You're famous, Edgar?" Willow asks, which probably sounds very rude but by her tone, and smile, it is obvious it is a genuine question. "Hey, I'm fine with how I am, honest. All my limbs work. Organs are a go. I can see…when there isn't a whole bunch of smoke in the way. Hear, etcetera. There are lots of people who would be considered worse off than me. I'm cool with myself. Honest." She nods to Katherine. "Vic's already made some notes. You talked to her about it, right? Not that I can discuss it. Legends of Old? I'd love that…if I can afford it."

"I don't think it's the same for us Edgar. I'm just a little lady on local television." Katherine is finished cleaning and she dries her hands on her shorts. "I'm going to head to bed, you two stay up and talk a bit more, hmm?" She looks thoughtful, and pulls out two keys, handing one to Edgar and then one to Willow. "Edgar, you're in the chocolate room. Willow, you take the upper loft. If you need anything, just knock on the purple door at the end of the hall and I'll get it for you." She winks at Willow as she moves to walk out of the kitchen. "If I invited you somewhere, it would be my treat. Legends of Old is amazing, so much to do there."

Edgar makes a so-so waggle of his hand and tells Willow, "I'm a sci-fi writer. I write under the name Knox Stevens." Who is pretty well known among sci-fi nerds. "You're still known," he tells Katherine. He takes the key, then gets to his feet so he can give Katherine a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks again, doll. You're the best." Then he reclaims his seat. "I'm going to have to figure out what this Legends of Old is," he says.

Willow also stands to take the key and give Katherine a hug. "You're so sweet, thank you for this" she smiles, obviously touched. So touched, she is even wiping away a tear as she sits again. "Legends of Old is like our local amusement park. I've never been inside but I've been at the car park." A little blush before she adds, "I used to steal cars. Hey, I know Knox Stevens. Get the heck out of here. Wow, I was eating stew with a famous author /and/ a famous TV star. And all I had to do was almost get burned to death."

"I stole a car once," Edgar says. "I was fourteen and had no idea how to drive." He smiles a little at the memory. Then he waves off the recognition and says, "Eh, I'm known, I guess. Not hugely, but enough I like to keep my private life out of the public eye." He takes a drink of his coffee, then levels a look at Willow and asks, "So a literal hole in the wall? What's your situation?"

"I learned pretty quick how to drive" Willow giggles, "Especially if there are cops around. I've changed my life. I don't do that kind of stuff anymore. Are you working on a book here?" She still has her juice to sip on. "Only recently employed. Never really finished high school…just stopped going. Parents are in town, but I don't stay with them. What I have upstairs is pretty close to everything I own. But, hey, I'm alive and healthy. What else is important?"

Edgar nods as he listens. He relaxes when Willow says she's changed her life. "You need to stay safe," he says. "Even in a town like this, there are murders. Bad things happen to anyone living on the street, but especially young women. Do you have some way of defending yourself? Pepper spray? A shiv? If you don't have four walls and a door that locks, you need a way of taking care of yourself."

"Oh, I know what this town is like" Willow assures him, still keeping her tone bright and breezy. "My best friend was murdered by gangers a couple of years ago. That's when I knew I needed to change. I can defend myself" she shrugs, "But I also don't want to think the worst about people, you know? If I expect to be attacked, then I'll never let a person prove themselves. That's pretty sucky."

"There's a time and place," Edgar says. "Sure, you want to believe the best of people, but listen to your gut. When I was your age, I assumed most people were awful. I recognize that that's why I wasn't ready to change, so good for you, figuring that part out young. Just be careful. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. And to answer your question, yeah, I'm working on a book."

"I'll be fine, I promise" Willow smiles warmly. "I don't want to die and I'll make sure that doesn't happen." She drains the last of her drink. "What is your book about? Someone escaping from a horrible mega-city and finding peace in a technological backward society? And then the horrible mega-city people come along to dry and drag him back into hell."

Edgar laughs and says, "No, but that might come up someday. It's about a space station around a dwarf star in a dying universe, and the way society has evolved in an environment where there really is nothing to look forward to but the winding down of the clock." He finishes his coffee, then admits, "I was going through something when I started it." He gets to his feet and stretches, then. "And I should try to get some shut-eye. The adrenaline is wearing off and I'm crashing."

Willow listens intently to what the story is about, intrigued and excited…at least until he stands to go to bed. "Oh…sure…of course. I guess it's been quite a long day" she smiles, taking his coffee to wash out the cup. "Sleep well." He gets a hug too. "I'm glad you're still alive."

Edgar returns the hug. "Thank you," he says. "Honestly, you have no idea how good it is to hear someone say that." He takes up his key and says, "I'm glad you're alive, too. Everyone should live long enough to experience French toast." He grins, gives her a jaunty salute, and heads out of the kitchen.

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