(2018-11-04) Shock Factor
After the apps mess up at Java Junction, Kate and some followers go to the B&B for dinner.

Stone Bed and Breakfast - Kitchen

This space looks like it might have been recently updated. The countertops have been made of white quartz, and the backsplash is a bluish-purple tile. A large gas stove and double ovens sit off of an impressive island, where there is plenty of storage space for utensils and pots and pans. A few stools sit on one side of the island, and to the left there is a large dining table with cushion-topped wooden chairs.

Xavier is very interested in attending the open council meeting, clearly. He asks for the details as they walk back to the inn. It may even have seemed as if he missed Katherine's change in demeanor entirely. At least, until they're back in the kitchen and he's had a chance to get the snow out of his hair. Only then does he ask, "Is there a problem with my profession, Ms. Stone?"

"Not a problem, because I'll be honest, I don't entirely understand what it is you do." Katherine turns a wide-eyed look at Xavier, embarrassed to be caught. "If it is development, and growth? Then yes, I might have a small problem. I enjoy my city like it is, small.. quaint.. where I know most of the people here. When it grows, becomes like Denver, you get lost." She shrugs, turning to pull things from the oven, checking them over as she prepares to plate things. "I grew up here all my life, so I'm a bit attached to the place."

"Sometimes change is good. Every city could use growth and improvement." Spoken like a true city council member. "This is a great city. The size is the charm and I think with the mountains bordering us where they do we'll never get so much larger, but we could attract certain businesses, tourists and then money that way." Becca tries to sound reassuring. "What exactly do you do, Mr. Westin?"

Xavier takes a seat, after he takes off his overcoat and drapes it over the back of his chair. It's Sunday evening, he's presumably been traveling all day, and he's still in a three piece suit. Worse, it looks entirely unwrinkled. "I'm President of the Westin Institute, a privately traded real estate development firm. And a licensed architect. So, yes, development and growth." He smiles at them both. "With the potential relocation of TechEase to this area, our projections suggest now is a good time to invest and develop to help Calaveras take advantage of the economic opportunities. Without losing the essential charm of the city as it stands, of course."

Katherine pulls an apron on, and pulls a knife from a drawer, carving into the turkey as she speaks. "Suppose it's going to happen one way or another, it would be a true shame to lose what makes our little town special." She shrugs, plating food with practiced ease. "Are you going to be relocating here, Mister Westin? Or just here until business is complete?" She aims a brief smile at Becca, before turning her attention back on Xavier.

Likewise, Becca removes her coat and hangs it up before walking over in a familiar way to the table. She slides into a chair and wipes some of the snow flakes from her eyelashes with a glove. Pocketing the glove, she gives a smile to the others. "So with TechEase showing interest in Calaveras, they are attracting other companies. I can't argue with that, I also think Calaveras is an incredible investment." A smile in return to Kate at the question, it was a good one.

"We're headquartered in Chicago, Ms. Stone, but if we choose to develop a project here, it will likely take two or three years to see fully to completion." Xavier chuckles. "Not that I will take up one of your very fine rooms for that long, of course." A flicker of curiosity, then. "What is your maximum and typical capacity, if I may ask?" There's a nod to Becca. "Precisely. I doubt we'll be the only firm to start showing interest. I was planning to send a stakeholder portfolio to the Mayor's office and the Council in the next couple of weeks, highlighting our expertise - so I won't bore you with it now. But I agree with your assessment."

"There are six bedrooms in the house, before the accident I had six siblings." Katherine points toward the back yard. "There is a mother in law suite in the garage that was just renovated, so I guess I could fit seven people here, and have before, during a recent flood." She glances between Becca and Xavier, watching them talk about stakeholders and other things. "Well I hope you'll take a few months to enjoy the ..quiet life here, before you decide on changes. Maybe we'll win you over to the small town charm as well."

"Thank you for that. Not that I think it will be boring or anything, I'd just rather catch it with the remainder of the council and the mayor and go from there." Becca closes her eyes and inhales, "The food smells sooo good." Her stomach makes an audible growl of anticipation and she gives a sheepish smile. "I'm always doing something. I'm afraid eating always gets forgotten until too late." She's all settled in now, but there's a sympathetic look towards Kate, even if she says nothing about her family or the accident, there to listen if Kate wants to talk.

"Seven rooms, then. Meals and laundry service included." Xavier's eyes unfocus a moment as he does math in his head. He frowns, taps thoughtfully on the table and studies the kitchen like he's dissecting it with his eyes. In the end though, his question has nothing to do with the business. Instead, he asks, "The accident? And, of course, I'm certain I will enjoy my time here. And that whatever changes I bring will improve the lives of everyone in this fine city." A glance towards Becca. "Oh, it's stultifying, I assure you. The lawyers insist. But once you've had a chance to look it over, I'm happy to talk about it in more interesting detail."

Katherine turns to peek at Xavier, a slight grin on her lips. " My parents and most of my siblings were on their way out for ice cream, the car was destroyed by a drunk driver leaving Johnny Slim's." She says it like it happened to someone else, her voice stilted and dead. "It's been a little over two years, I opened this up as a B&B so I could continue to take care of my two younger sisters. Else they'd have been taken away from me." She carries two plates over to the table, setting them in front of Xavier and Becca. "What do you two want to drink?"

"Oh I'm sure, Mr. Westin, but I definitely don't do business away from the office if at all possible. That's my play time and never the twain shall meet. Or something like that." Becca gives him a tilted, lopsided grin but it turns more serious as the food is delivered. Or maybe that was the change in topic. "Katherine has done amazing with those girls and one day they will understand the sacrifices she has made." One day. The question from Kate has her lifting her to-go cup. "I still have hot chocolate, but I likely won't need anything. I'll be too busy eating."

Oh, look. Xavier is human after all. Or, at least, he can do a good imitation of it. He looks shocked, then guilty and sympathetic. "Ah…I am so sorry. My deepest condolences, for you and your family. I can't imagine…" he clears his throat, one hand reaching up to adjust his tie. "Water would be fine." He looks blankly down at the plate, and then remembers his manners. "This looks delicious. Thank you, Ms. Stone." He looks to Becca, regaining his composure and with it, an edge of amusement. "So noted. I'll be certain to pester you only during business hours, then. Unless I can come up with something…playful."

Katherine gets water, ice and sets them down next to Xavier's elbow. "Thank you for your sympathy." She raises her brows as him when he mentions playful to Becca, smothering a chuckle as she moves to get her own plate. "Please, call me Kate or Katherine, Ms. Stone is pretty formal." She sets her plate down and opens her fridge, pulling out a bottle of white. "I hope it tastes as good as it looks, dig in you two." She pours a glass of wine, and opens the oven to check on the pies in there.

Willow has let herself in, bounding into the dining room with her usual enthusiasm. "Ms Stone. I've dropped by to…oh…you have company. Hi!" A wave to those seated around the table. The teenager is in sneakers and overalls, a large satchel bag over one shoulder, and dyed dark red hair. All of which have been spattered by teal paint…at least the paint looks dry. "I'm Willow" she grins. "I'm a dick assistant. I help lubricate the way." Her dark eyebrows rise. "Do any of you need a dick? I know the best and biggest dick in town."

Becca watches the interaction when he turns human and offers his sympathies with approval. A smile flashing in her eyes towards him before she directs her gaze back to the food in front of her, the cup tucked safely on the table. It's the napkin next, it goes to her lap and the fork is lifted to cut into the turkey. "Yes, thank you, Kate. I know for Christmas mom and dad will have me out at the ranch for their old fashioned Christmas. Come to think about it, Thanksgiving too, I guess." Looking up from beneath her lashes, she casts a smile to Xavier, "Challenge accepted," she teases. It's with a bite of turkey in her mouth that the teenager bounds in and offers her question. And it's the turkey she chokes on when she hears it, coughing a little. Not really bad, just a minor wtf.

Xavier adds water to ice to create delicious, delicious ice water. He only takes a sip before tucking into the turkey and fixings, though. "This is fantastic," he offers, in a pause between bites. "And only if you will call me Xavier." He sits back as Willow bounds into the room, and just stares as she speaks. After a moment, voice very dry, he says, "This kitchen always seems home to the most interesting conversations." A look towards Katherine. "Is it always like this, or am I simply exceptionally blessed?"

Katherine smiles over at Willow, getting to her feet and gesturing for the teenager to sit down. "Come on in, I haven't touched this yet and you can have dinner with us." She plucks her wine up and moves to make herself another plate. "You and your talk of dicks, goodness girl." She gazes at Becca, chuckling softly. "Don't die at my house eating turkey, Becca. I will never live it down." Her cheeks flush and she smiles at Xavier. "I cook like this on a daily basis, I send food to friends…do things here and there for people." She shrugs and brings a new plate over to the table, taking a seat.

"Awww…really?" Willow seems genuinely touched by the invitation to dinner, blushing brightly as she swings off her bag and takes the offered seat. "Gosh, doesn't this look all yummy. Smells wonderful too." There is some concern for Becca. "Are you okay? You should chew your food a little better. Only swallow if it is smaller than your little fingernail. Sound advice that." She smiles to Katherine. "I'm proud of my boss. Oh, she's going to give up the booze too. Starting tomorrow. And I'm going to help her! Going to put a Sobriety Chart on the wall and she'll get a little gold star for each day she doesn't drink. And, if she gets a whole week in a row, we'll have a party to celebrate. Probably not with drinking though. She wouldn't get another star then."

It only takes a moment for Becca to recover and she sips her drink to make sure. While she does have watery eyes a little, she blinks that away with a wry look. "Katherine is the best cook around." A half smile is given towards Willow. "I'm fine, just wasn't expecting the talk of dicks at the dinner table is all. I mean whatever you want and all that." Just trying to wave off the moment. A skeptical look comes with the story of gold stars and stopping drinking, and she gives a slow nod accompanied by a "Uh…" deliberate pause, "Huh.." With that, she goes back to the food and starts shoveling it in with gusto.

Xavier's tapping on the table again. Just one finger, tap tap tap, as Katherine explains, the frown reappearing at the edges of his mouth. "I see." He falls silent, concentrating on…well, on shamelessly eavesdropping on Willow's elaborations, and on savoring the food.

Willow furrows her brow at Becca, trying to comprehend he words. It is a slow process. "Oh!" She blushes brightly. "Not those kind of dicks. Oh my gosh, I wouldn't talk about those dicks at the table. Though, aren't there spotted dicks somewhere? I was talking about my boss, Vic the dick. She's a private investigator but that is, like, sooooo many syllables, and everyone knows them as dicks. I mean, if there was an emergency and someone was doing something untoward but not for long, by the time you yelled out 'get the private investigator', they'd be finished. But if you yelled 'get the dick', they'd arrive in time." She taps the side of her head with her fork. "Upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing." It has left a bit of turkey in her hair but she seems oblivious. "What do you two do? Are you, like, married?"

The process of Willow takes a moment for Becca to follow as well, but she does manage, even leaving the hair and turkey thing alone for the moment. It's the question that begs the more immediate response. "I'm not married. Or even dating, come to think of it." An amused laugh as she pauses in eating. "I've been too busy with all of my hobbies lately to even consider any hubbies." A light shrug and she lets Xavier answer for himself as she continues eating.

Xavier's distracted from whatever's got him frowning by Willow's…Willowness. He actually stops eating and sits back, the better to listen to her explanation. There's an air of reluctant fascination about him. At least until the end, when he blinks. "Ah, no. Flattering though the suggestion might be, I'm merely a guest at Ms. Stone's fine establishment. Xavier," he adds, extending a hand to the teenager. "And I suspect, if you asked, that your…Vic would very much prefer you refer to her as an investigator, and not a dick. At least to the general public."

Katherine almost chokes on her wine when Willow asks her question, glancing back at Xavier and Becca briefly to see their reaction. She piles food on her plate and walks back to the table, taking a seat herself. "Vic is not going to like life sober, so I hope you're ready for some vitriol being thrown your way." She says this to Willow before she glances at Becca, winking. "Becca, you're coming out with me next week. I want you to meet my.." Her brow furrows and she sighs. "..boyfriend. I still think that term is very high school." She gestures to Xavier and smiles at Willow. "He just got here today, he's still calling me Ms. Stone, I'm hoping he gets comfortable quickly."

"You're not married? But you're so pretty" Willow pouts at Becca. "Hobbies are fun though. I can't blame you for that." To the table she adds, "Vic doesn't mind being called a dick. I bought her this plaque for her desk. I got it from 'Tourist Treasures'. You know, where you can do your own wanted posters and things. Like the paper cowboy who was wanted for rustling. Oh my gosh, I love that joke. Anyway, they have these plaques you can get and I got Vic a 'Vic is the best dick' one and she loved it. I was going to get her a 'Vic is the biggest dick' one but then I'd have the false advertising people on us about how was she the biggest - income? Cases solved? Height? But 'best' is more subjective and I think we can get away with that one." A confused look for Katherine. "She is going to get even meaner?" How is that possible? Willow shrugs it off though. "It's okay, I can handle it. Welcome to Calaveras, Xavier." She is happy to shake his hand. "You have a boyfriend, Katherine? That is so awesome."

"Katherine!" Becca gapes. "Are you going steady?" A wink follows the question along with a wide grin, "I would love to meet your boyfriend," she says more seriously. "Most definitely. I'm so happy for you." A genuine look of fondness falls onto the lady as Becca beams at her. "Next week it is, you name the time and place and I'll be there." An indulgent smile is given to the teenager, "Thank you, that's sweet of you to say. You can call me Becca if you like? Have you lived here in town long?"

After the handshake, Xavier moves to stand up. The plate is very nearly empty, despite his finicky manners. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Councilwoman, Miss Willow. I hope that you have a good evening. And Ms. Stone, the dinner was delightful. I clearly made the right decision in lodging." He smiles, and gathers up his coat, before excusing himself to his room.

"Going steady, yes? I think? We're not living together or anything." Katherine furrows her brow, laughing softly as she nods at Becca. "Good, we'll go down to the Boardroom and get him to make us a hot toddy or something." She nods up at Xavier, a smile on her face. "Rest well, Mister Westin." She watches him walk out, eyes narrowed. "I'm going to call him that until he starts calling me Kate." She nods firmly, gazing at Willow. "I guess it is, it's still weird, and it's been a few months now."

Willow happily waves to the departing Xavier. Her astute dick skills figuring out that he is heading to a room in this very house. Is he Katherine's boyfriend! She will ponder this… "Oh, are you a counselor?" she asks Becca brightly. "That must be hard for your patients for you to be busy with your hobbies instead of with them. But I guess it is a pretty tough job." She will join in the beaming, happy smiles for Katherine's new love. "I can't get into the Boardroom" she points out…just in case she was invited." Wait, Katherine's been dating someone for months but Xavier is only new in town…hmm…must have been a long distance relationship beforehand. It's rare they work but this one has.

"I just work for the city council. The City of Calaveras, not a counselor or anything." Clarifying in between bites of her food. Xavier is bidden a goodnight with a smile and perhaps a linger of her gaze a moment before Becca gives it back to the women at the table. "I'm really happy for you, Kate. You said The Boardroom? Does he own the place or something? I've not been there, but then again I don't bar hop too often. Mostly the Last Chance." The food is eaten and unlike Xavier, she will remain for the pie.

"Yes, his name is Ethan Grant." Katherine murmurs to Becca before she shoots a grin over at Willow, tutting softly. "You shouldn't be in the Boardroom for another few years yet. Don't let me catch you trying." She sits back, setting her fork and spoon near her plate. "It's a nice little sports bar, not too pretentious. He was supposed to come back here tonight, but..he probably fell asleep."

Xavier has two names? Wait…maybe it is a different guy. Willow smiles sweetly at Katherine's admonishment. "Don't worry, I've seen what alcohol can do. I won't go in the Boardroom. Not even to watch sport. Wow, I didn't know it was that big inside. What sport do they play in there? He fell asleep? How old is he?" Willow nods to Becca. "What do you do at the council? And what's the last chance? Sounds a bit…final. Why would you go somewhere you weren't allowed to leave?" Willow will definitely indulge in pie, pushing her empty plate away. She has quite the appetite.

"I think he was there that day at the Tech Ease thing? Or maybe not. I was too busy flirting with that CEO guy that was there." Becca has the grace, at least, to look a little sheepish at the confession. As the questions come from Willow, Becca laughs a little. "Mostly, I'm involved in votes and decisions for the roads and bridges and all. But not just me. Transportation is one of the groups I'm with. The Last Chance is Johnny Slims Last Chance Saloon. It's a bar also."

"Yes, I believe that he was." Katherine agrees with Becca, her cheeks red. She gazes at Willow, chuckling softly. "It's a sports bar, they watch it there honey, they don't play it." She takes a drink of her wine and brushes her hair off of her face. "He is in his 30's and he's got a lot going on, sometimes sleep is ..necessary?"

Willow pouts a little at talk of all these places she can't go, but pouts never last long…and they're more cute than sad. "His 30s? Wow. No wonder he needs to sleep a lot. You must be wearing him out." There's a little wiggle of her eyebrows which she thinks is teasing but looks more like two worms having fits. "I've heard about these Tech Ease people. I wouldn't trust them. All their stuff is made in China." To Becca she adds, "Oh…so you did the bridge that is falling down?"

"I was one of many, but I didn't oppose the rebuilding of it. I was for it. Turns out, it's going to have to be redone anyway. Makes them all look like fools." Becca huffs a little. "Me too, actually." A glower before she shrugs. "What sort of pie did you make? You have apple or pumpkin?" Turkey dinner pretty much demanded something fall. "Pecan? Sweet potato?" A sip of her hot chocolate before she ponders Kate's boyfriend. "If he did fall asleep, we could, you know, get out of here and you could go surprise him?"

"Nope, it's snowing outside still. I'm not walking down the hill again." Katherine pulls out an apple pie, carrying it over to the table. "We're gonna have pie, and I'm going to sleep shortly after." She takes a seat, leaning in to cut the pie and dole it out to Willow and Becca. "I pester him too much to begin with or I feel like I do." She glances at her phone before looking at Willow. "My phone has been fucked up ever since I put their app on it."

"Never put things on your phone unless there are lots of reviews" Willow says with all her wisdom. "There's no need to be first. No need to even be best. You only need a phone that works, and the more crap you put on it, the less likely it is. And then you'll need to buy a new one and start all over again." Her own phone is so cheap and old, Willow couldn't download that app even if she wanted to. "Oooh…apple pie. Smells delicious." No point offering to go with Becca to a bar. "I'm sure you'll fix the bridge" she assures Becca with a smile. "Not you personally. The people you hire who do that kind of thing, but you'll be the one doing all the planning and stuff. Like, maybe we need more supports to stop it falling down, and they'll be all like, 'that's a great idea, Becca, here's a bonus', and you'll be all like, 'oh no, I only did it for the people of Calaveras, please donate my bonus to the people who had to rescue other people when the bridge collapsed'. There are a lot of people involved. Do you have any cream, Katherine?"

"Mmm, that looks perfect." Becca waits while the pie is served and gives a hopeful grin. "Have any 'ala mode' to go along with it?" Echoing Willow almost. "Oh yeah definitely. The bridges we drive over are all built by the lowest bidder. Doesn't that make you feel safe?" Even without ice cream, she uses her fork to cut the tip of her pie and eat the bite, making a sound of happiness. "Soooo good."

Katherine grins and gets the ice cream, scooping some onto both plates. She gets out the cool whip and repeats, now everything is creamy as can be. "Willow, you must be one of the most ..inquisitive teenagers I've ever met." She sits down, picking up her fork. "One of these days you'll be a Council woman, or perhaps your own private detective."

"I don't have a car" Willow shrugs to Becca's bridge concerns. She didn't say she couldn't drive, usually a stolen vehicle in her younger days, but she doesn't have a car. "Questions is how you learn things" she smiles to Katherine. "Actually, that's not technically true. Answers is how you learn things. But you need a question in there first. I didn't really go to a lot of school so I have to find out another way." She beams proudly. "Do you think I could be a dick? For reals?"

There's a moment where Becca studies Willow then she breaks away the look to smile at Katherine. "Thank you, this is perfect." And she goes about devouring the pie with obvious enjoyment. "So good. I may take you up on the offer of taking a piece home with me." Her look turns to Willow again, "Why can't you go back to school now then?"

"I think you could be a dick, for reals." Katherine giggles softly as she speaks the words, folding her hands in her lap. "If you'd like, Willow, we can see about getting you set up to take your GED. I'll even help you study." She tilts her head jerking her chin toward the computer on the desk. "You could do it here."

"I'm way too old to go back to school" Willow giggles at the ridiculousness of the idea before tucking into pie and ice cream. "Besides" she continues, chewing as she does so, "I have a full time job now. I wouldn't have the time to go to school as well. I mean, you're both totally nice for thinking that, but I need to move on and support myself, you know? And doesn't school cost money? I can't afford that. I'll just concentrate on becoming a dick."

"School is always.. always worth it. There are scholarships you could apply for, but the GED would have to come first. It's not so expensive. Even the city offices offers classes and tests every few months. Maybe twice a year." Becca finishes her pie and ice cream in no time at all, even licking off the fork for good measure. "This has been so good, Kate. I may pay for a room since it's snowing out and I don't want to walk back to my car at Java Junction. Do you have one available for tonight?"

"No paying woman. You stay for free." Katherine says to Becca, nodding to Willow as Becca speaks. "Listen to Becca, she knows what she's talking about. Making time for school is never a bad idea hon. I'm sure Vic would agree if you asked her as well." She quirks a brow and gets up to start cleaning up.

"I'll think about it" Willow shrugs about school, pushing off another empty plate - how does she stay stick thin? "I dropped by to talk with Katherine about her case but since she's going to bed, I better get out of here. Nice to meet you, Becca. I'm sure you'll find a boyfriend. Ask Xander. Thanks for all the food, Katherine. Umm…do you have any leftovers I can take to Vic? She's going to have a rough day tomorrow."

Looking a bit bemused at the way the twists and turns of the conversation go with Willow, Becca manages not to outright laugh. "If I ever get a hankering for a boyfriend, I'll make sure to ask Xavier." Gently correcting from Xander. A smile to Katherine, "Oh I'd pay. It'll be worth it not to be sleeping alone in a house for a night. And to have a lovely breakfast in the morning."

"No paying." Katherine says again to Becca, chuckling softly. "I don't make my friends pay." She moves to get together some leftovers for Willow. "If you want to stay as well Willow, speak up. It's not great outside." She glances back at the girl, eyebrows raised. "I can give you a ride to work tomorrow, and we can talk on the way there about my case."

Willow considers the offer to stay as she listens to the howling wind and can see the snow falling outside. "Vic will need me there when she wakes up. Make sure she doesn't have a liquid breakfast. I'll be fine" she smiles, always one to take the positive route. "And you have your show in the morning. You don't want Calaveras waking up to Mitch Buchanan only" she giggles. An impressed look for Becca. "See, you already have two boyfriends to choose from. What are the odds their names would both start with 'X'."

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