(2018-11-07) The Sex Talk
Julian and Kate talk about sex, babies and marriage at 30

Katherine is just getting in from somewhere, and the scent coming from the oven is strong. The timer is just about to wind down, and as she hangs up her winter coat it starts to ding. She opens the top oven, sniffs and leans in to gaze at the lasagna. "Done. Excellent." She slips on some oven mitts and pulls the pan from the oven, setting it on a cozy. That's what someone would find, walking in right now. Kate, her cheeks obviously red from the cold outside, still wearing her beanie hat, wrangling lasagna from the oven.

It seems like Katherine isn't the only one returning to the B&B. "You know, Kitty," Julian begins as he quietly steps inside the kitchen, having made it this far without making so much as a sound. He's currently leaning against the frame in the doorway, arms folded across his chest. His demeanor looks particularly tense - the kind of stiffness that someone as familiar with his mannerisms as Katherine would pick up on instantly. It's the look he gets when he's had a really, really rough day. Regardless of the current amused smile on his face as he continues his thought.
"-you kinda look like Ralphie all done up like that. It's kinda cute." The ranger, still decked out in his full uniform, though it's mussed up and dirty, even torn and burned in several places. As if someone tried to blow him up or something. Literally.

Katherine smiles as she move to turn toward Julian, and then she catches sight of him. "Jesus Christ, Julian what happened to you!" She pulls the beanie off her head, staring at Julian. She sees the dirt, the burns and she starts forward, patting at him as if she's looking for an injury. She squints up at him, frowning. "You need a shower, some food, and probably a shot or something. There are some clothes upstairs, old stuff of my dad's. You want a shower?"

Julian's expression crinkles into that typical 'annoyed sibling' look and he halfly swats at the girl as she approaches him. "You should see the other guy." He remarks, taking a deep breath as he pushes passed the concerned girl and unsteadily (though he's doing a very good job of attempting to hide as much) flops down on his usual barstool at the island, instead of the table. He sits there for a moment, though he made his entrance with that typical sense of humor of his, it seems as though the act of finally settling down has allowed reality to sink in. He just sits there for a moment, hands subsconsciously clenched and that distant look in his eyes very much alike to the look he had when he first returned home from the war just to bury his mother.

Katherine turns to gaze at Julian when he settles down on the stool. She won't argue or push at him, instead she moves over to the stove, cutting a piece of lasagna and putting it on a plate. She slides a fork on it and walks back over to him, putting the plate in front of him. She carefully puts a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure the other guy looks worse, Jules, but I don't care about him. I care about you." She keeps two eyes on him, waiting to see if he is going to eat or thaw out of that look he's taken on.

Julian reflexively flinches under the touch, but composes himself quickly and clears his throat, craning his neck and looking up at Katherine, presenting her with a forced smile. "I'm okay, Kitty." He looks down at the plate of lasgna, absently taking up the fork and picking it at but not taking a bite. "We were attacked up at the north station this morning. Kris and I. That agent, uh, Olivia, was there too. Bunch of kids from that cult were shooting at us. I killed one or two of them." Of course, Katherine would know of Julian's prior struggles during the war where the insurgents were using children and disabled people as suicide bombers that he was forced to kill before they could do any harm to his team. He doesn't talk about it much, but one night when they were both up all night, he proceeded to lay it all out for her.

Katherine returns the forced smile with one of her own. "I'm glad you're safe, Julian. Those kids..I wish they knew better. I wish ..I'm sorry it had to go down that way." She leans in, wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him gently. She doesn't talk, she doesn't expect him to talk, she'll just hold him for a little bit until he starts eating at the very least.

Ultimately, Julian does give in and takes a bite out of the lasagna. His body begins to shake but it's not tears that is causing the motion, is a slow building chuckle. "They blew up the station and my pot of stew I had been slow cooking since the night before. Pissed me off." He leans back against Katherine's embrace, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, as if he were expelling more than just air. "So how was your day?" That familiar sense of humor returns and he cranes his neck to look up at the brunette.

Katherine moves around to sit on the other stool, crossing her legs. "You, cooking? It's been a while, but from what I remember you don't absolutely suck at it." She sighs and shrugs, a smirk forming on her lips. "It's been a strange day, Jules. I have a new tenant, he's a good looking rich guy who challenges me on a daily basis. First it was my budgeting, and today it was …are you happy being on television?" She swings her legs back and forth, eyebrows raised. "Then tonight, I made plans to have sex in a week? Like I said, weird day." She gazes at Julian, her stoic look dissolving as she starts to laugh.

Julian blinks. Blinks again. "Wait, what?" The last part in particularly has the over-protective man straightening in his seat, the exhaustion quickly dissipating from his eyes as he peers at Katherine with renewed interest. "Okay, so, not that, you know, it's any of my business. I mean, I've been saying for awhile that maybe you should just…" He trails off, that boyish grin of his faltering as he studies Katherine, deciding to make the smart call and cut himself off. "I can see that." He finally concedes, just shaking his head and matching her laughter.

Katherine props her chin on her palm as she watches Julian try to walk through her statement and say something that doesn't mortally insult her. It is amusing, because she can see that he wants to say something, but knows saying something might get him in trouble. "Maybe I should just… what?" She raises both eyebrows and huffs out a sigh. "I mean, I've had a boyfriend for..almost a month now. I'm not sure how long the cool kids wait or shit, but…" She wrinkles her nose and gazes at Julian. "I'm so fucking awkward, Jules. I've made this poor man wait for more than a month. I'd dump me at this point." She pushes her fingers into her hair and groans. "You should meet the rich guy though." Her voice is muffled. "He's part of a development firm, here to do business."

Julian just shakes his head, his entire body shaking with his soft laughter. "Really, Kitty? A -month-? I'd dump you too!" He clearly opts not to finish his last thought, though knowing him like she does, it's pretty easy to tell from the sparkle of mischief in his eyes where he was going with that. "You know, though. I get it." He finally composes himself and waves a hand dismissively. "You're not just, you know, making decisions for you. It's fro the girls too. And they have to like the guy, you know? You're a package deal. Whoever is with you isn't just getting you."

Katherine groans and she peeks up at Julian, looking more than a little embarrassed. "It's not even so much about that. Sarah is off on her own, she's of age. Lynn is the one I have to worry about and she's determined to have a fucking baby!" She knows what her next statement is going to invite, and she sighs deeply as she prepares for it. Winces even. "I told her, if she's determined to have this baby, she has to get her own place. Apply for aid, and raise it." She makes herself look at Julian, brow furrowed.

It takes Julian a moment for the last part of Katherine's words to really sink in, involving the rich guy. His expression switches gears and that eyebrow goes up, a skeptical look crossing his face. Being very heavily invested in the natural habitats of wildlife and vegetation, the word "development' doesn't elicit a pleasant reaction from the man. "So what's this guy trying to 'develop'?" He emphasizes that last word with air quotes. He follows that up with a shake of his head. "Well, that ship has sailed, Kitty. The baby is coming whether we like it or not. But chasing her away… is that really the right thing to do? I think now is the time to hold on tighter. You know? Make sure she knows you support her no matter what. That everything is going to be okay." He shrugs, taking another bite of the lasagna as he rolls the words over in his own mind to, making sure he's actually making sense.

Katherine tilts her head, gazing at Julian. "I asked him the same thing, he seems to want to…keep the charm of the city so that's one thing. He's throwing a charity shindig to help people who got flooded and the like get back on their feet." She listens to Julian, and tension coils in her shoulders as he breath gets choppy. Her brow furrows and she swallows visibly. "Julian. I've tried to help her. She resists me at every turn, sneaks out, and she wants me to take care of her baby." She clutches her throat as she wheezes now, grimacing. "I can't…raise her baby. She's sixteen, she can't raise a child either.." She is struggling now, a sheen of sweat making her pale face look shiny.

Julian, in typical stubborness, puts his fork down and crosses his arms across his chest, eyebrow up, skepticism clear. "That's just what guys like that do. Throw their money around, get people to trust them. They let him in and BOOM. You're screwed." Harumph. "I don't like him already." He mutters under his breath as he returns to finishing up the lasagna, shaking his head in disgust. As the topic shifts gears and they focus more on family, Julian just shrugs his shoulders. "There's really no easy answer, you know? Sometimes, love is holding on tighter when they buck the hardest against you." He holds his hands up, palms out, trying to relax Katherine. "Just… chill, Kitty. I know you -hate- when I say that. But for real, the last thing you need to be doing is getting all upset. It makes me uncomfortable." And with that, he sneaks out a smile, tentatively at first as he gauges Katherine's response, trying to coax a similar look from her. "How's the saying go? It takes a village? Things will change when the baby is born. I think once she sees a living being that she created, it'll change her."

"You should meet him." Is the breathy response Kate manages to get out before she closes her eyes. "Julian. I love my sisters. I love my family, but I have tried like hell to get back to what my life was before the accident." She opens her eyes, staring as he breathing slows to more acceptable levels. "Now ..something I thought I had to do for four years, I'm going to have to do for another twenty?" She splays a hand across her collarbone, her voice low and intense. "From the time I was able to walk, I've had someone else to take care of. Someone always needs something, and I'm always there with my hands out trying to provide it?" She clenches her jaw, trying to calm herself still. "When do I get to be selfish and think of myself before someone else?" She opens her eyes, looking at Julian. "When? My needs always come second or third, and it's not fair. It's not..fucking.. fair."

Julian lets the subject of the man alone and just watches Katherine as she goes through all the pent up frustrations. It's difficult to voice a lot of that stuff because people can be harsh when someone is at their most vulnerable. Judgemental. But not Julian, he simply scarfs down the rest of his food and listens. When it's all over, he takes a moment to consider everything while carefully choosing his words.
"Maybe your problem is that you're trying to fight the reality of the accident. It happened. Pretending it didn't isn't going to accomplish anything. It defines you. Me too, you know. I'm family. We're family. Right?" He asks, leaning forward now, already knowing the answer as he studies the woman. "You need to embrace it and stop fighting it. You're missing the obvious thing here, Kitty Leigh. It's right in the middle of your face and you can't see it." He lets that sit for a moment with dramatic pause, letting it marinate before he continues.
"You're really fucking good at helping people. Hell, it's your business model. You've always been the mama bear, even when we were all teenagers getting wasted. Who was always taking care of everyone else when we were all wasted? You were. Who made Madison feel better when her parents got divorced? You did. I mean, I can go on all day with the people whose lives you have touched. Things that might seem to small for you to remember, but I bet those people have never forgotten."

Katherine slumps, her eyes on the surface of the counter where they're seated. "I fight the reality of the accident every day, Julian. I turn, expecting my mother to walk through the door. Groceries in her arms telling me how everything is going to be fine." She shrugs, swallowing as she lets out a long breath. "I never wanted to have kids. I never wanted to be a mother. I lived my entire life with six siblings. I wanted peace, quiet and the chance to do things for myself." She shifts her gaze to Julian, and she frowns. "They were going to put Sarah and Lynn in foster care if I didn't step up. I knew what my parents would have wanted. I put two feet on the ground and embraced it. It was only a few years."

She gets to her feet, moving to start cleaning up, grabbing Tupperware to put the lasagna in. "Lynn isn't my child. She's my sister. I'm happy enough to be an aunt, Julian but I figured she'd be in her twenties with her own place and responsibilities." She glances briefly over her shoulder and quirks a brow. "Instead, she's sixteen and expecting to hand off the responsibility to me. Continue to go to school, and continue to treat me like shit." She turns then, propping her hands on her hips. "If I treated you like shit, and expected you to do for me, you'd tell me to fuck right off. Family or not."

She turns back to her work, scooping noodles and sauce from the pan. "Just because I'm good at helping people doesn't mean that I should give up my life to do for others. Especially when those people wouldn't do the same for me. No matter how nice I am? It still fucking sucks." She shakes her head, sighing. "I have to put my foot down eventually, Julian. If I let Lynn get her way with this? It's just going to open up a door for her to continue to treat me like I caused all of this to happen, and expect that I will always bail her out of trouble."

"Well, then you better make sure he wraps it up when you finally stop torturing your boyfriend." Julian responds, grinning ruefully as he shoots his psuedo sister a wink. Of course he realizes she's trying to be serious, so he keeps his chuckle relatively short. "If it was anyone else? Sure. But family is family, Kitty. That's the pricetag that comes with it. Unconditional love in exchange for the inability to say fuck off. So if you treated me like shit, sure, I'd be irritated. Besides, we've had our fair share of fights, particularly back when we attempted the whole dating thing. But the difference is, when it comes to family, we forgive each other. You know?"
Naturally, the reminder of their teenage years elicits a nostalgic chuckle from Julian. "Look, if you want to cut her loose, that's your call, Kitty. But sometimes, it's in those moments where we need to hold on tighter. If I had any family left, that's what I'd do."

"I'd hold her tighter if she made any attempt to treat me like a person. She talks to you and Heather with more respect than she ever gives me." Katherine sighs, leaning against the counter. "Julian, I've been having panic attacks. I've been falling apart quietly over here. Every time this comes up, I .. I can't do it." She turns to lean against the counter, her eyes on her fidgeting fingers. "I can't do it. I love Lynn, even though she treats me like shit, but I can't raise her kid." She winces when she's reminded of their past. "Jules, you don't treat me like shit, and I'd run to the moon and back for you, but there has to be limits. I can't just open my arms and take everything on. I'm not as strong as I look."

Julian leans back and nods his head, "Yeah, you are. Sometimes you just lose sight of how tough you are. Besides, you don't know what's going to happen yet. You know why she treats you like shit and not me? Because it's safe. I can tell her to fuck off if she pisses me off. But she knows you won't. So she doesn't press those boundaries with me like she would you. You're -safe-. And that safety allows her an outlet for all the anger and pain she's got pent up inside. It's what kids do. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can move on." Julian reaches across the island and scoops up one of Katherine's hands, giving it a comforting squeeze. "Kitty, you need to relax. Get -laid-. Do something. You're putting more on yourself than anyone else is. The baby ain't here yet. Lynn could very well surprise you. Right now, you're just kind of stressing yourself out for no reason." He waves his hand toward the exit, "Besides, you should be more worried about the death cult running around with suicide vests and automatic weapons."

"Get laid.." Katherine repeats, her eyes crossing as she lets out a groan. "I'm going to do bad, and he's going to dump me. Wait..no..he's nice. He's just going to suffer with me until someone prettier comes along." She gazes down at their hands, nodding. "No stress. Death cult.." She quirks a brow at Julian. "I haven't had any death cult people checking in, so I think I'm safe for now."

"Yeah well, if he dumps you, fuck 'im." Julian returns, waving his free hand dismissively then settling it overtop of his other. "Now you're just moping. Mopey-bear." He grins, giving the hand he has trapped beneath both of his and friendly pat. "Tell you what. If by the time we're both thirty and neither one of us is married, I'll marry you. Problem solved. As for Lynn, well, why don't we just give that some time. I know you want to say you've given her enough of that, but that's what being family is all about. You keep giving and giving. It's just the nature of the beast. She might surprise you though. I still haven't given up on her. You shouldn't either. You and I both know that girl wouldn't last two days out in the real world on her own."

Katherine stares up at Julian, inhaling a long breath through her nose before she lets it out of her mouth. "Every time you and I have tried to get together, we've gone at each other like honey badgers. One of us would be dead within six months." She nods about Lynn, not really want to discuss it anymore. "We'll see what happens, Julian. I hope I am surprised."

The description has Julian genuinely laughing and he nods his head, "You right about that, Kitty Leigh." He releases her hand then and sits back, composing himself slowly as his smile softens and he nods. "I have a feeling we'll both be surprised. Now, any chance I can take you up on that shower?" There's a playful suggestiveness to his tone as he climbs down from the stool, clearly the man is still teasing her about the relationship thing. "For -me-, that is." This is followed by an impish smile from the grown man, which serves to bring back those boyish features he had when they were kids. That sometimes infuriating immaturity and impulsiveness from the otherwise dependable and loyal man.

"Yeah, go to my room. The bathroom is clean, and in the closet are some old clothes in a box. Feel free to find something that fits." Katherine gives Julian a shot to the arm with her fist, probably barely disturbing him. "You haven't seen me in the rude for at least ten years Julian, I'd hate to give you a heart attack in the shower of all things. Get out of here."

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