(2018-11-30) Reaching Out
Discussions on corporate intrigue and death games.

Ice cream is pretty great, especially when you can't sleep. Kate is seated at the dining room table, feet tucked up, ice cream cradled close as she slowly spoons it into her mouth. It's snowing outside and she watches the white stuff drift down to the ground while she enjoys the quiet around her.

Julian had briefly texted Katherine earlier that he intended to swing by later on in the day (with a special guest in tow) and true to his word, the pair show up on time. Which, in retrospect, is kind of an odd thing considering Julian's inability to be anywhere on time in the last few weeks. He shakes off the film of snow that had settles on his shoulders, following it up with the removal of his jacket - and subsequently taking Nina's - to hang them up by the fireplace before heading for the kitchen with the familiarity of someone who has been taking this route for quite a long time. "Knock knock." Julian announces their presence, tapping on the wood of the doorway before fully entering the kitchen.

Maybe she's not such a special guest, but Nina is a guest regardless. After shedding her coat to Julian's care, Nina is revealed to be dressed in a white cashemere sweater, a black leather skirt over dark tights, and stylish black boots. Staying true to her model behavior while staying at the B&B, Nina remains by Julian's side and unobtrusive, smiling politely towards Katherine once she spots the proprietress. "Miss Katherine."

Katherine unfolds herself from her chair, setting her ice cream aside. "Hey, you two." She says, a smile appearing on her lips. "Welcome, come on in, sit down." She gestures to the stove. "Coffee, tea? Or anything else?" She closes the top of the ice cream, moving to put it back in the freezer. "I can't believe it's snowing again, it's actually getting me excited for the holidays." She brushes her hair back and pours a mug of coffee. "I'm even considering putting out lights."

Julian, naturally, makes himself at home, making a beeline for the fridge and immediately rummaging through it. He looks up from the light of the fridge, "Want anything?" There's a vibe of attentiveness there - something Julian is definitely not known for but at least right now, in present company, it's easy to pick up on. Katherine's observation about snow draws Julian's eyes to the window as the snow falls in little white stars passed it. "Yeah, it's going to be increasingly more of a pain in the ass going up and down the mountain. The jeep's four wheel drive has been finicky ever since I got it fixed after the attack."

"No, thank you, I am fine." Nina shakes her head to Julian, and while he goes off to raid the fridge, she just moves to take a seat at the dining table opposite Katherine. The ice cream pail is visually inspected while she continues to smile so serenely, and her hands fold on top of the table. "I haven't had a proper white Christmas in many years, so I am quite looking forward to this one." Her gaze lifts to meet Kate's. "It's good to see you having some private time to yourself. The last few times I saw you, you were always busy taking care of your guests."

Katherine plops a chocolate square into her coffee, watching Julian raid the fridge for a moment. She smiles toward Nina and walks back to the table, settling back down into her chair. "Christmas used to be a big deal around here, last two years I let it slide, but I think I might be up for it this time." She raises her cup to take a sip, aiming an amused look at Nina. "It's been a bit daunting, but now that a few rooms have come open, and I don't have to sleep on the couch, it's better."

Julian peeks up from the door of the fridge, "Sleep on the couch? Just make some of those weird looking guys sleep in the great room. It's totally warm." There's an ah-ha moment as he apparently finds what he's looking for and pulls it out of the fridge. Cold turkey. Without even bothering to heat it up, he proceeds to chomp away at it while rummaging through the counters for a coffee mug. "When was the last pot put on, Kitty?"

Nina doesn't move from her chair, only turning her head in Julian's direction. "That's not a very nice thing to say, Julian." She scolds mildly, the serene smile on her lips never faltering. "Just because some of the guests here prefer suits and ties, it doesn't make them weird-looking. You know most of the people I work with dress that way?" She turns back to Katherine, and leans forward to stage-whisper to the other woman. "I should try to trick him into wearing a suit some time."

"I don't -make- my guests do anything, Julian. Hell, I don't -make- you do anything either." Katherine shoots a look at Julian, eyes narrowing dangerously for a moment. "Coffee is fresh, ten minutes old." She turns to smile at Nina, waving a hand back at the man eating turkey. "If you made him be polite, he'd explode. It would be tragic." She leans in, brushing her hair back as she returns. "You should, if I remember correctly he doesn't look horrible in one."

Still somewhat distracted with rummaging, Julian catches most of the conversation going on at the table. He does turn, catching Nina's attention and shooting her a playful smile. Once he has his coffee and food in tow, he returns to the table and takes a seat next to Nina - another odd thing for him. The stool, -Julian's- stool, at the island is left unattended. "What're you two whispering about over here?" He asks rhetorically, apparently not feeling at all awkward about eating when no one else is.

Nina bobs her head sagely at Katherine, turning her head again as Julian comes over and sits down next to her. "About how to dress you. And you exploding. I think it's better if you didn't know the details." Nina does seem to enjoy her mysteries. But then she adopts a somewhat more serious expression, unclasping her hands to place one on Julian's knee. "You said you needed to give Miss Katherine a hand with something?"

"If it's about Sarah, I think I've reconciled myself to that situation." Katherine says, the corners of her lips twitching into a grin. "Julian..if I knew someone was in danger, but I couldn't say anything about it, and I couldn't call the police. What would it take to get someone to..possibly keep a loose eye on them?" She brushes her hair back, drinking from her mug. "Hypothetically?" She sets the coffee on the table, hands moving to pull knitting from the basket to keep her mind and fingers occupied.

The shift in Julian's demeanor is almost palpable as he leans back in his chair. Eating has stopped, with the half finished turkey leg left on the plate. The coffee, however, is constantly fed to his lips. "First, we'll gave back to that Sarah thing." He begins, carefully choosing his words as he maintains a cool, composed posture. "Are the girls okay?"

Nina remains silent and merely listens, clearly recognizing that she is an outsider to the familial connection between Julian and Katherine. As always, the Chinese girl's expression is nigh unreadable.

"I think Anthony and I have an understanding, he's going to be polite, nothing more." Katherine's shoulder twitches in a brief shrug, her eyes on her mug. "The girls are fine, as much as I can tell. Lynn doesn't talk to me, and now Sarah is doing something similar. She still hasn't told me what she's doing about school or ..anything really." She leans back in her chair, letting her needles clack gently against each other. "No, the person I'm speaking of was in a vehicle accident the other night, and I'm in a delicate situation where I know something is wrong, but I can't talk about it." She frowns across the table at Julian, her eyes shifting guiltily to Nina after.

Blink. Julian quirks an eyebrow and eyes Katherine questioningly. "Who's Anthony?" Leaning forward and growing more animated, Julian points upstairs, presumably to wherever Sarah's room is. "I really think…" But the rest of Katherine's admission brings him pause, and ultimately, he lets the Sarah thing go and focuses on the final problem. He briefly glances at Nina, gauging her reaction to all this - which is generally a step toward futility considering the Chinese girl is about as easy to read as a two thousand year old dead language. "Well, you can talk to me - to /us/ about it." Julian states firmly, eyebrows arched. "If you or the girls are in any trouble, er, I mean, outside of the usual, you should definitely tell us."

It is one of Nina's virtues — being unreadable. But even as she listens, and Julian poses a question, she spares a quick glance at Katherine as if seeking permission to interject, then speaks up. "Anthony Malone. He is a guest staying here. I met him briefly… he is one of those you call 'weird-looking'." One hand reaches up to lightly touch herself on the throat, indicating a tie.

"Tony, the mobster that Sarah was trying to be kittenish at." Katherine points at Nina, nodding before she glances up to the ceiling and then back to Julian, letting her needles go silent in her lap. "First of all, the family is safe. I'm safe. Someone I care about isn't safe though, and when people aren't safe and I want to help, I generally go to a few people I can trust about that." She says this slowly, her eyes on Julian, willing him to get it. She gazes over at Nina and then gestures to Julian. "I trust Julian, and now by extension, you. Hopefully that doesn't climb over a boundary." She is clearly teasing there, but she clears her throat and glances back at Julian.

The gesture Nina makes to her throat and the mention of Sarah's flirting causes Julian's expression to go through that evolution of epiphany. "Oh, that guy. I couldn't understand a word he was saying." The expected response from the more traditional style of male, Julian Walker. The tease is left glancing off the ranger's shoulder as he leans in further, his posture tightening up. "Kitty, you can use my cabin if you need to. Get away, or hideout, whatever you wanna call it. Especially this time of year, there isn't much of anyone besides myself and, maybe, Kris, who can navigate their way up the mountain." He glances at Nina again, "I can make other arrangements…"

"I am sure we can make it work." Nina nods slightly to Julian, giving him a brief look of amusement, before turning her attention to Katherine. With a smile, she shakes her head, silently conceding that no, that does not in fact climb over a boundary. "I normally avoid prying, but…" She sideglances at Julian for a second. "…do you mind if I ask you to elaborate? What do you mean, someone isn't safe?"

Katherine leans forward to pick up her coffee, taking a drink. She sighs when she sets the mug down, frowning. "Okay, I don't need the cabin, but.." She glances at the ceiling before she lowers her voice, leaning against the table. "You absolutely cannot repeat what I'm about to tell you, because apparently you get included in the danger if you show you know about it." She hesitates, already knowing that she's probably going to get yelled at. "Someone is trying to kill the developer who's living here." She fidgets with the yarn on her lap, before adding. "The one that I'm seeing." She doesn't look up as she continues to speak. "I don't know who it is, but the other night, she ran him off the road and he's pretty lucky to be alive. He wouldn't let me call the police." She does look at Julian then, nose wrinkled. "He's banged up pretty good, his shoulder was dislocated."

Julian quietly matches Nina's look with a wink, then reflects her own movement as the two of them turn their attention to Katherine for explanation. There's a brief hint of pride in the man as he straightens in his chair at the mention of 'danger'. Marine Force Recon, Scout Sniper. It's Julian the Jedi Walker we're talking about here. He's shaking his head before he even starts talking. "Death cultists. Suicide bombers. Corporate espionage. Really? This is all a bit crazy for a small town. It seems like everything is just suddenly taking a hard nose dive in the last few weeks." Julian considers everything Katherine has shared so far, still quietly shaking his head. "So let me understand this. The guy you're seeing is some sort of suit and people are out to get him? Kitty, you sure know how to pick 'em." He takes a deep breath and exhales slowly. "It sounds like a stay at the cabin is exactly what he needs. Do you have any nurse friends? I can take a look at it if you want, but if he's got any internal damage, he's going to need a lot more than what I can do."

Nina listens attentively to Katherine's revelation, but she has her unreadable mystery face up solid. For a financial analyst, Nina is taking the news of a murder attempt rather calmly. Julian's words are also absorbed in silence, while one of her hands lifts to rest lightly on the side of her face, thoughtfully.

Katherine makes a face when she's told she knows how to pick them. "Listen, I get a pass on Ethan. I can't help it he doesn't do 'feelings'." She gets to her feet and moves back to refresh her coffee. "Julian, if I take him up and hide him in your cabin it shows whoever is after him that I know what's going on, and more importantly, that you do as well." She puts another square of coffee in the cup and stirs it briefly. "I called the Vet to come look at him, no questions asked, and he seems to be fine. I almost puked popping his shoulder back into place, not something I want to do again.." She walks back over to the table and sits again. "I'm thinking of asking him to find a place to rent in town, because I honestly think that if this person is crazy enough to try to drive someone off the road, what is to stop them from coming here?" She tucks herself into the chair and gazes at Nina, surprised at the calm expression. "I don't want him to die though, and I can't shoot or beat anyone up. The only power I have is that I know people who can." She sets the coffee down and shrugs. "I don't want you to get hurt either, which is why I wasn't sure if I should tell you about this or not."

Julian looks at Nina, his expression, for once, unreadable as he studies her. "Kitty," He begins, turning now and reaching out to place his hand over Katherine's. "This all sounds like it's pretty far above my pay grade. I can go kick someone's ass for you…but the things you're describing? That sounds like a lot of trouble that you can't afford to get yourself caught up in - not with the girls. And I…" He resists the urge to look over at Nina, but he's never had much of a poker face. "Well, I don't think either of us is equipped for this sort of thing. I'm friends with a few feds, I can put in a word and see what we can do…"

Nina remains silent throughout the exchange between Julian and Katherine, but when the ranger declares that they may not be able to help with this bizarre situation, Nina finally speaks up. "I hope you don't mind if I ask, but how is this person dealing with it? Does he seem…" She pauses as she searches for the right word. "…/concerned/ with his safety? Or is he planning to hide, or flee the city?"

Katherine shakes her head at Julian, taking a drink from her mug. She tries to look blank about the whole thing, but she's clearly worried. "No feds. No police. I'll figure something out." She glances at Nina and sighs, cradling her coffee in both of her hands. "He's very concerned, and from what I can ascertain, this isn't the first time /something/ like this has happened. Apparently corporate cutthroat games are popular among the bored and rich." She takes a drink. "Where can he hide though, that doesn't suddenly drag someone else in on this…game." The last word is spoken with distaste, her eyes narrowing.

Julian is clearly starting to appear a little frustrated. "Kitty." He begins, attempting to take a deep, long breath and exhale slowly, keeping himself as calm as possible. "You're not a spy or some shit. You're not going to figure something out because this shit is crazy and for someone so concerned about dragging people into things - he didn't seem that concerned about bringing you into it. Hell, I'm working days at a time just trying to deal with the shit we got going on already. You know, they blew up a ranger station up at the San Juan. You need help. I don't know what I can do except check in with friends that actually have experience in this sort of thing."

Nina nods vaguely at Katherine's words. She casts another look at Julian, before speaking to the both of them. "There are generally two kinds of people who will not go to the police after an assassination attempt: someone who would rather not have the authorities looking into their criminal affairs, or someone who stands to lose face and prestige in their social circles." Beat. "I assume, Miss Katherine, your friend is the latter. But please understand that neither of those types are content to sit back and wait for another attempt on their lives. If he is involved in these high-stakes games, he is probably already making plans to deal with the assassin on his own terms." A meaningful glance is aimed now at Katherine. "I am sure this is not what you want to hear, but the best thing to do is to keep your distance… until he can deal with the situation."

"Damnit Julian, I said no cops, no feds." Katherine snaps, clearly having reached the end of her rope. "Just forget that I asked, and ..there isn't anything I can do, really." She gets up, taking her cup to the sink. "Do what you need to do, Julian. I'll worry about things here." She glances at Nina, the simmering anger abating enough for her to look embarrassed. "This isn't anything new with us." She mumbles, pulling the pot of coffee off the warmer, dumping it out. "I'll take what you both said into consideration, and for everyone's safety - this conversation didn't happen." Her gaze settles on Nina then, thoughtful.

The ranger throws his hands up in frustration, "Seriously, Kitty? What do you want me to do? Call Gunny up and go start putting bullets in people until someone talks? You know that shit doesn't fly here in the States." He goes quiet for a moment, looking more animated and troubled than he probably ever has in quite a long time. "I'm not that man anymore." He climbs out of his chair, his hand briefly grazing over the back of Nina's shoulders as he moves to set his plate and mug over on the island. "You need to back the fuck away from that shit, Kitty. If not for yourself, then for the girls. And keep me in the loop."

"I will not speak of this to anyone else, of course." Nina nods firmly to Katherine, but pauses to look up at the touch of Julian's hand on her shoulder. Unhurriedly she rises to her feet, and moves to join the ranger, lightly placing her hand on his arm. "Julian, it doesn't help the situation to be upset. This is an unusual situation for Miss Katherine, and she is looking for support. She didn't say you should be shooting anyone. Please, stay calm."

Katherine blinks calmly at Julian when he gets frustrated, taking the dishes placed on the bar and placing them in the sink. "Julian, I put my sisters above myself constantly, I don't know why you think that would change now." She shrugs and turns to let the water out of the sink. "You don't need to worry about me, alright?" She turns to give Nina a polite smile, waving away her words gently. "Don't worry about it Nina, he's said worse and has been angrier. I'm used to it by now." She begins to shut off lights, gesturing for the pair to go in front of her. "Now, you two will have to excuse me, there is a warm bed with my name on it."

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