(2019-01-13) Screen Test
Lots of people. Lots of opinions. Lights. Camera. Go.
Players:
sam..katherine..layla..warren..claire..

The tedious process of getting into this particular television studio really isn't all that tedious. They had a bomb scare around Halloween, so there are some questions, a general search of a person (just to make sure there are no explosive vests) and then a badge is issued. A guard would lead Sam through the studio, he might see several sets for different shows, like the news. Double doors lead into what is an exact replica of the Stone Bed and Breakfast great room, complete with moving parts to shift it to the side so that another set up can be completed. The second set up here is nearly finished, a soda fountain shop feel with a glassy table top and four tall stools. Kate is standing near the second set, chatting animatedly with a tall man who nods at something she says before picking up a notebook and heading off.

*

Aside from wearing all the layers against the weather, Sam is free of explosive devices. He doesn't really seem to mind the process, having gone through about one thousand airports in the last year - you eventually become numb to routine security checks. His head turns from side to side while he's escorted through the station, taking in the little bits that he can see while not falling behind the steady pace of the guard. He actually laughs - really just to himself - when he sees the replica set of Kate's great room, grinning and shaking his head. It's just startling to see a little piece of her house dropped into the studio.

He turns his attention to the set that Kate is standing near and makes his way in her direction after the guard drops him off and returns to his usual post.

*

Kate hears someone approach and she turns, aiming a smile at Sam. "Hey, afternoon." She takes a deep breath and props her hands on her hips. "Welcome to ..chaos, right now." She turns back to gaze at the set, critical eyes roving over the table and stools, the walls and decor vaguely reminiscent of Maude's. "What do you think of this?" She asks, gesturing to the second set. "I wanted a soda fountain feel. I wanted it to look retro, but I think it might be too retro. It's all so red, but I'm not sure if that's the color I should have gone with." Her shoulders twitch and she shifts on her feet, her brows drawing together briefly.

*

"Hey Kate." Sam says, lips tugging at a grin at her introduction to the studio. He listens to her explanation and critique of the current setup, narrowing his eyes and looking at everything that's currently in place. "I'm going to admit I don't have much of an eye for this kind of thing. Nor does my brain do a very good job translating what I'm seeing here to what it will look like on camera when the focus is mostly on the people and the set gets relegated to background noise." His thumb comes up and rubs at his jaw while he paces this direction and that. "I like red. But, if you think it's too much you could always accent more things to tone it down a bit. But, the soda shoppe feel is pretty bold by nature, yeah?"

*

"Yeah. I figure that after a time, some of the background pieces could be replaced by things sent to us..like.." Kate gestures to the great room set, pointing to a small painted porcelain bowl. "One of the women at the care home, she sent us that, and we just put it in the set — even if there isn't one at my house." She shrugs and moves to the stools, taking a seat on one and crossing her legs. "Red is my least favorite color, but it's a trigger color in a way, and it won't allow any of us to blend in with it when we start filming. We'll all be told not to wear red, and the women that I'm going to be working with the most favor more neutral colors so it was ..based off of that? I was going to go with yellow, but I think we'd be kind of washed out with it." She folds her hands putting them on the table, checking to see how comfortable it is. "Did you rest well last night?" She looks curious about that, maybe a little worried.

*

Sam nods while he listens to the thought process that went into it all, by the crease in his expression it's clear that he's trying to take it all in. He makes his way to one of the other stools and slips onto it, wiggling around for a few seconds to get comfortable. "A feel like I don't appreciate all the effort that goes into set design nearly enough. I watch things on TV and after the fact I likely wouldn't be able to tell you the colour of the room. But, I guess it's not really meant to be noticed, but to set the right mood and make the people show up." He turns his attention away from continued inspection of the set to look back to Kate's face, nodding to her question - "Yeah. I slept Ok. Shouldn't I have? The bed in that room is quite comfortable." He vaguely wonders if Kate had put a pea under his mattress.

*

"I didn't realize all the nuances when I first started working with Heather. I just thought she was insane. She hired me, and I had no experience in this field at all. She had to walk me through the first few shows, step by agonizing step." Kate gathers her hair, pinning it up absently as she continues to talk. "I didn't realize that she was teaching me things as we sailed along on our little journey, so when it came time to actually push this forward, I could do things like set design and not royally fuck it up." She rolls her eyes and leans against the table, her chin resting on her palm. "There was a brief kerfluffle, and I was hoping that nobody got woken up during it. That's all." She sits up straight again and chuckles. "So, do you want to hear a sample question that might get us started in conversation?"

*

"That must have been a crazy time. Welcome to the world of television, you're a morning show host now!" Sam laughs, honestly not able to imagine. Television isn't known for being very forgiving. His expression tightens to one of concern at the mention of a kerfuffle and he shakes his head again. "No. I didn't hear anything. I'm not always great at getting to sleep, but once I get there I pass out pretty well. And I don't find sound carries all that much in your place. It's pretty big. But, I hope everything's is alright?"

He readjusts himself on the stool, pulling one one ankle up onto his knee to get more comfortable and resting his hands down on the table. He nods. "I'd be up for a sample question. Hopefully I pass."

*

"It was insane. I was not camera ready. I look back at the first few episodes and I just look terrified with a smile on." Katherine pulls a piece of paper from a folder on the table, letting her finger trail down to find a question that will be interesting. Her eyes flick to Sam when he speaks and she shrugs, a slight smile on her face. "It's not completely, but there is hope. I ..won't be able to go on a date with you though, and I apologize for asking and then well…" She gestures between the man on the stool and herself. "..this. Apparently I prompted a very unexpected reaction when I was honest about it." Her eyebrows raise briefly, as if she might be making an understatement of sorts. She finds a question, and her demeanor shifts, making eye contact with Sam while she speaks, a made-for-tv smile on her lips. "If you were in a serious relationship and you learned that your partner cheated on you one drunken night, could you forgive her?" She quirks a brow, leaning her elbow on the table so she can cradle her chin in her palm.

*

Sam watches Kate carefully while she explains, no doubt hearing as much in body language as she says in the words. As she'd admitted before, her face is pretty expressive about how she's feeling. He nods in understanding to her words, holding up a hand to try to stem her apology. "You don't need to apologize at all. It was actually nice to know that we were both on the same page - but I'm very happy to be on the page we're currently on. And, if it makes it any better, I wouldn't have been able to go either. My situation has cleared up in that regard too." Another smile - "I'd still love to get dinner and just talk sometime. As friends. No kissy parts." This is lightly said, but the offer is sincere.

He matches Kate's eye contact when she shifts gears and delivers her question. He didn't really have any idea what was going to be coming, and he doesn't rush into an answer, taking a moment to consider it. "Yes, of course. I don't think I'd have any hesitation at all if she came to me and we talked about it happening. Things happen and being honest about them is important. I'd be more upset if it happened and I ended up finding out from some other source." He looks like he might say more, but given it's supposed to be a conversation he halts himself from going into too much of a monologue.

*

The relief is almost palatable when Sam speaks, and the smile that Kate offers is genuine and she laughs softly. "Thank you Sam. This page is very nice, and..well.." She brushes her bangs away from her eyes, smirking slightly. "..it's odd to not know how someone feels and then to suddenly have it .." She shakes her head, still a bit overwhelmed with the previous night and the fallout. "Dinner does sound good, because otherwise I'll never get to go, nobody seems to want to go to that restaurant, and it's nice!"

Her eyes get sharp as she listens to the answer he provides, a tilted smile tugging at one corner of her lips. "Honesty is very important, I am a huge proponent of it. Making mistakes is kind of how life happens, and if you try to hide it, you're trying to hide parts of yourself from someone else." She shrugs and gestures for him to continue speaking, adding. "If your partner continued to drink and party irresponsibly after something like that happened, would you feel the need to speak to them about it?" She rests her hand on her collarbone. "If I were in that situation, and he had a drunken indiscretion and then continued to drink, I'd feel like he didn't take what happened seriously. It would be a problem then."

*

"People are so very complicated." Sam says, entirely focused on the hypothetical conversation now. He leans forward a bit, elbows planted on the table. "How do you figure out the 'why' of it happening? I think I"d want to understand why my partner continued to go out and put themselves in a situation that they knew could harm our serious relationship. Are they unhappy with what we have? Are they unhappy with something else? Are they looking specifically to push me away? I don't much believe in controlling what my partner does, but it feels like the drinking and partying and sex on the side would be more the symptom than the problem."

*

Kate tilts her head slightly to the side, eyebrows still raised. "I mean, that might be the understatement of the year, Sam. It's also worth noting that trying to discern what someone is thinking in that regard is tough, because they might be somewhere else completely." She holds up a finger and points it at Sam. "So if you were trying to understand, and it made things more complicated?" She shrugs at that and laughs softly.

Katherine and Sam are sitting on one of the two sets in this studio, and it looks like a soda shoppe of sorts. They are seated on tall stools at a glass topped table, the primary color of the furniture and most of the decorations being red. "Looks like it would bring a lot of questions though, and none of them are bad questions, you at least would try to find out since the issue came at you honestly. Some people aren't like that." She glances down at the paper and puts a check mark next to something. "That's the kind of discussion we want to have, something that gets a little complicated and prompts more questions.

*

"I think it will work well. The format, the discussions. I know from my point of view it's about not waffling too much when answering questions like those. I can really get myself tied in knots when it comes to hypothetical situations because things are always so much more twisted in reality. Not to mention in a case like that you get emotion tied up into it. If it's a serious relationship where I'm in love with the person, deeply care about them and I see them participating in behaviours that I think are destructive and pushing me away? Well, I want to sit here and tell you open communication is important, but it's so much harder when you're hurting." Sam replies to Kate, nodding along and clearly still thinking on the question she asked - it was just a sample, but these sort of things stick.

*

The security person (or whatever that person's job really is) gets chatted at like they're old friends when Claire and Warren arrive on the set, something about forty dollars and a parking ticket. "I still think you ought to go ahead and fight it. At the end of the day, it wasn't your car." And that's where Claire leaves the conversation, sending the NPC off to NPCland and, with Warren in tow, sort of hovers on the edges of this spiffy new set, looking around with obvious interest. And a cheerful, "Hi!" to Sam and Katherine, the former giving her a moment's pause.

Warren was apparently here to provide moral support and look pretty, so damn if he wasn't going to try to do both of those things well! His clothes are clean and his boots are polished, and he chats merrily along with the security person and Claire about this parking ticket until they wind up on set. "Hey," he offers to Sam and Katherine both, a hand lifting in greeting, before he looks around himself. "So this is a television set, huh?" It was stating the obvious, but no one told him that he had to look pretty and be smart at the same time.

*

"Right? Open communication, and then suddenly you're sharing that hurt, and possibly hurting the other person. It becomes a cycle, and nobody likes those kind of cycles." Kate shrugs at Sam, slipping to her feet to walk over to the counter on the set. She picks up a tequila bottle and shakes it, empty. Drats. "We're going to be drinking too, but light cocktails, should open up conversation more." She slants a look at Sam, an amused smirk playing on her lips.

She turns when Claire and Warren arrive, offering them a wave before she gestures to the stools on the second set. "Have a seat on one of the stools, we have coffee around here somewhere, I think. I mean, I've smelled it. So let me know if you want any." There are four red stools around a glass-topped table, the 'wall' of the set decorated like Maude's. "I just asked Sam one of the test questions that we're looking at for the show." She retakes her seat on the stool, leaning against the table. "Want a question Claire?"

*

"Drinking too?" Sam laughs at this, shaking his head a bit. "That's certain to make things interesting. If I'm here you'll have to water mine down pretty well." He figures that won't be too much of a problem. Sam turns to see Claire and Warren arrive and raises a hand to wave toward both of them. "Good afternoon!" He offers before reaching into his pocket to dig out his phone and squint down at a message that just came in. Since Kate has turned her attention on Claire for the next question he taps a reply to the text.

*

Claire makes no-thank-you noises about the coffee on her way over to claim one of those stools, evidently expecting that pretty Warren will occupy the fourth one, since she leads him over by the hand as far as the bar-thingie. "It sounds like we came in at an intriguing turn of the conversation," with a brow-lift between the two already on the scene. "I'm surprised to see you here." She means Sam. "But please don't change directions on our account. What were you talking about?" Which might mean she wants a question? She addresses that more specifically; "Uhm, sure! Just. You know. Keep it clean. You'll upset Warren's delicate sensibilities otherwise." She pretends to cover his ears for that part.

*

"Coffee?" Warren perks at the mention, but he's being pulled along to a stool instead and thus he goes dutifully, with a mournful glance in the direction of wherever the coffee may be. "I thought this was like a girl talk thing," he says with hiked brows in Sam's direction, but he takes the stool anyway, settling in comfortably. At the mention of having his delicate sensibilities offended, he nods gravely with wide and innocent eyes, and even bends his head so that Claire doesn't have to reach too far up to cover his ears. "It's true, I get super offended when the questions are dirty. You have to keep everything clean! Especially the counters. You never know when somebody wants to have sex on them, and crumbs feel super gritty."

*

"It's never just been a girl talk thing, men have been mentioned to everyone who was spoken to about the concept. I think. It should have been." Kate shrugs and gets off her stool to find the coffee, pouring two cups. "Men won't be on very often though, sporadic, because …why not?" She aims a look at Warren, glances at the countertop, and then back to Warren and Claire. "I'm just not going to say anything about that, because there are cameras everywhere, and nobody wants to give Heather a show. Not that kind."

She steps back to the table, setting the two cups down, tossing creamer and sugar packets on the table. She doesn't sit again yet, she glances down at the paper and then to Claire. "So Claire, tell me, what makes for a better relationship? Passion or dedication?" She takes a sip of her coffee and then fishes some chocolate from her pocket, unwrapping them to drop them in her cup. The four are on one of the two sets in this area. One being a large living room, and the one that they're seated at is akin to a soda shoppe, complete with a counter, stools and one singular glass-topped table that they're sitting at.

*

Sam offers up a little something like a shrug toward Claire at her surprise at him being there - but Kate does the explaining so he doesn't really add anything else on the topic. "I'll promise to behave. At least most of the time." He says, before his lips split into a grin at Warren's comment, dipping his head to stifle the laughter. More than anything, he just wasn't expecting it. His amusement continues on into Kate's response, shaking his head. "Please, no."

He tucks the cell phone he'd been typing on back into the pocket of his jeans and gets a grip on himself when Kate slips back into asking more serious questions. Dark eyes shift between Claire and Kate and finally to Warren. Future show adaptation: Ask the same questions to both members of a couple and compare afterwards. Time to talk to Heather.

*

Although she was warned to bring her own coffee she doesn't bring it. Layla either left it, or finished it, before making her way from the Java Junction to the studio. It's not a swift arrival, but she was told that it wouldn't be truly calm for another hour, so she doesn't come in like she was running late. When she's received her badge and shown to the studio she offers anyone that notices her a smile, but otherwise she lingers in the back out of the way.

*

Claire's expression does some acrobatics, from lip-folded entertainment (when she happens to kick Warren in his shiny-clean boots under the bar, eyes passing across his while he's on about crumbs), to her mouth opened and a breath taken like she's about to say something re: 'girl talk.' But she puts whatever that comment was back into the bag of unsaid things, folding her hands on the crumb-free - and, one hopes, sex-free - counter in front of her. "Wow, you just jump right into the meat of things, don't you," with a surprised little laugh at Katherine.

Taking a moment to order her thoughts, shaking her head, Claire answers slowly, "I don't think passion and dedication are mutually exclusive. You can be passionate about someone - or something?" Pause. Frown. "Whatever it is you want, whatever drives you, commit to it. Wholeheatedly. Unreservedly." She brings her palms together flatly, looking around to see if anyone's following her poorly-worded logic here. "Dedicate yourself to your passion, I guess?"

She drinks some of Warren's coffee after saying she didn't want any, and ends this spammy pose.

*

Warren looks right damn pleased with himself until someone has the audacity to try and scruff up his shiny boots with her own, and then that smug satisfaction is quickly replaced with the look of wide-eyed angelic innocence. He reaches up, shines his imaginary halo, and then casually brushes imaginary crumbs off the counter before he folds his forearms onto it. "Well, if Sam's behaving, then I promise too, too," he smirks over to his fellow brother-in-arms, and then cants his head curiously to the question passed from Katherine to Claire. It's not his place to answer, so he doesn't - but there's a lot of head bobbing and a sweet little smile flashed to Claire when she replies.

He doesn't even manage to scowl when she sips at his coffee. So long as she doesn't try to put any sugar in it.

*

"The whole point to this show isn't to behave, it's to be real. So if you have something to add.." Kate says to Warren, gesturing for him to continue, taking another brief sip from her coffee cup. She's on the move again, walking over to quietly greet Layla and look into the camera that has been set up, her eyes taking in the scene through the lens and feed for a few moments. Something clearly is bothering her about the set, but she'll address that when she's alone. She gestures to the table, offering the stranger a smile after her murmured greetings. "You're more than welcome to come over and take a seat with us. I'll be contacting Nolan to talk to him about your spot in the morning, we'll have to figure out what day will work, and see what kind of schedule Heather has set up for us." She rolls her eyes and moves back to the table. "Trust Heather to resume filming the day I leave for Paris, and on my birthday. If I didn't know any better, I'd think it was a set up." She puts another checkmark on the paper with the questions and drinks some more coffee.

Layla senses: Katherine leans in and offers a brief smile. "Welcome, and I apologize for the frenetic activity here, but I look forward to discussing business with you once things quiet down."

*

"I have no problem being real." Sam remarks after listening to Claire's comments and nodding along with them. "I agree that ideally you get a good mix of passion and dedication. If Kate was forcing us to make a real binary choice though? I think I'd have to lean in on dedication. Passion is amazing and makes for crazy highs and brutal lows - but long term I think relationships really require dedication and will ultimately be better if that's the focus. Do you know what you'd choose if you really had to lean one direction or the other?" He asks, sweeping his eyes to include everyone in the question.

When Kate gets up he follows where she walks and his expression visibly brightens when he spots Layla. He's somewhat rooted to his place, but he'll make eye contact whenever her can manage it.

*

At the invitation to the table there is a very quiet laugh, but Layla nods, "If you insist." She moves away from where she had been lingering in the back, sliding the jacket off to drape over her arm as she moves towards one of the empty seats around the table. To those gathered already she offers a bit of a wider smile, but she keeps any verbal greeting quiet out of respect for whatever she was just invited into. The jacket is carefully draped over her lap, and then her hands settle down on it.

However, she was paying attention to the question that was asked, and there is a flicker of amusement at Sam's response, "You can create passion, even in a passionless relationship, as long as you take the time and care. Dedication is a lot harder to find in these days of swipe right or left. The instant gratification of it all has eroded the sense of loyalty as a whole in our culture."

*

After 'the whole point of the show isn't to behave': "But you just finished telling him - " Claire clips it, zips it, rubs the end of her crinkled nose for a second with her index finger, watching Katherine walk around the set with her eyes. She puts the coffee cup back in front of Warren as if resolutely, SHE'S NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE ANY MORE, and occupies her hand by holding his. Attending Sam's counter-point, she shakes her head and sticks to her metaphorical guns, even with Layla chiming in. "Why would you, though? If you're not passionate about something, perhaps it's not the right thing for you. Passion… inspires dedication. If you want something, find a way to get it. Just make sure you read up on what constitutes stalking in your local jurisdiction." She beams triumphantly. Also, "Hi, Layla." Since she didn't get the chance to say that earlier.

*

Warren's brows stay lifted at Katherine's response. "Uh, well I thought this was a screen test for the show. I dunno if my opinion really matters since I'm not apart of the shindig?" his shoulders lift into a quick shrug as he laces his fingers with Claire's own, tipping himself to the edge of the stool so that he can lean comfortably against her without pushing her out of her own seat. "But I gotta agree with Claire, the two aren't mutually exclusive. You shouldn't have to choose one or the other, you should be in a relationship where you can have both. If you don't have passion, you're not gonna stay dedicated for long. And who wants to be dedicated if there's no fire?" But the blonde beside him does get a squint on the whole stalking thing, before the grin cracks. He's got no comment, just amusement in his expression. But also, "Hi Layla! How's business?"

*

"I did say that there are camera's here, if someone wants to have sex on the set after that..well.." Kate shrugs, an amused look settling on her face. "..they're informed now, and they can't complain when Heather brings it up, likely right here at this table." Because she knows that Heather is that type. She nods at Warren. "It is a screen test for the show. Depending on what Nolan is doing with his idea, you might be on camera soon?" She listens to the conversation from where she's leaned, her arms loosely folded over her chest and her coffee nearby. She doesn't interject again until Claire brings up stalking, and then she laughs. "Jesus, I hope teenagers don't tune in to this show, because obvious reasons aside, it's stuff like that which will prompt phone calls from people. I want to be a fly on the wall when Heather gets them." She pushes away from the table and taps her fingers against her denim clad legs. "Do you all think I should show the people on an episode the questions that might be asked, or best to hit them with them as a surprise during taping? It's supposed to be off the cuff, but I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable."

*

"I really won't argue that passion is important. That's what so often brings us together in the first place and I wouldn't want to lose that. So, part of dedication is really keeping that passion alive and burning." Sam raises a hand to gesture toward Layla and Claire, as they'd both said that already. "Relationships can be hard though, and I think you want to find someone who is willing to dedicate themselves to much more than just that aspect." He catches Layla's eyes for a brief moment and smiles joining the others in saying - "Hi, Layla." - before his attention is turned back to Katherine's question. "I think you should keep it a surprise, unless you have concerns about the topic being triggering. If you're intending to talk about assault, you would want to give some warning. If it's questions like these ones? I think letting people think too long might ruin it."

*

"There is a difference between being passionate, and having passion. One is a drive for an action, or a profession, a skill….The other is the strength of your emotion, and that is something that is transient." Layla offers to those at the table, leaning forward, weight shifting towards the edge of her stool, but she keeps her hands still in her lap. "Because of that, you can be passionate about a relationship, without passion. Passion is simply an emotion, one that you can work towards." Then she glances towards Warren, smiling faintly, "And a person does not require passion to be dedidicated. Simply the desire to be."

Then she shrugs, her hands spreading lightly with a smile before her hands return to her lap, "Hi everyone." That smile widens just a fraction when Sam catches her eye, then she turns towards Katherine, "I think it depends on if you want honest answers, or answers well thought out in advance, as Sam says."

*

"Is it, though?" Transient, she means, head tipped at Layla. Claire notes, "The fire," Warren's word, "might blow a different direction, but that doesn't mean it's any less hot. Maybe you don't need that person right here, right now." She side-eyes Warren, but - despite it having come up a bunch - does not just climb on top of him in the middle of the studio with the cameras rolling and all. "But you have to still have that same… want of them. We seem to have married passion and lust, and I'm not sure they're the same things." But she shrugs; 'cause, for reals, she's twenty-three and passionate about kitten memes, guys.

As for Kate's question, Claire laughs and notes to Sam, "I swear, I'm not just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. But I have to beg to differ. It's generally good form to give people an idea what you want to discuss before you interview them. Especially people with a public persona to protect. Most of them will have a smart enough agent to prevent them from talking to you at all without a list of topics ahead of time. And you'll almost certainly get more insightful replies if your subjects have some time to prepare. I suppose if it's just you and your friends…" She trails off, enough dialogue from her.

*

"Hmm, see, I think we're playing around with semantics here. Maybe we should've defined what Kate meant when she said passion, but in my opinion? That is the desire to do something," Warren says that to Layla, since it's her comment that got him on the topic. "Or yanno, somebody," he adds in a quippy tone, with a sly smirk to Claire, tipping his head so that he can wag his brows at her at all the side-eyeing. "And passion changes, yanno? It evolves with the relationship, and that's what inspires the dedication to keep on going. But I do agree with Sam on one thing. A relationship can't just be about how passionate you are, or how dedicated you are. There's a whole lot more to it."

After, he rolls his shoulders into a shrug, swiping his coffee to take a big swallow. For the benefit of Kate's question: "I dunno, I'd be a lot more comfortable in front of the camera if I had at least a general idea of what was going to be talked about.

*

Kate is making mental notes as people speak, not offering her own opinion because it's not important in the scheme of things, at least not right now. She pulls her phone from her pocket as it buzzes and she lets out a wry chuckle before she pushes away from where she's leaned. "You've all provided me with a lot to think about, and I thank you for that." She shifts her eyes between the four seated at the table and a smile appears on her face. "I've got some business to attend to with Layla though, so I'm going to have to excuse myself with her to talk about that. If you folks would like to remain and continue to chatter with each other on the set, that's fine." She glances toward the door and then back. "If you get loud and out of hand though, security will probably shush you." She taps out something on her phone and puts it back into her pocket. "I'll pass this tape off to Nolan and Heather, and someone will probably be in contact with you soon, Warren. Claire and Sam, I'll let you know when we'll be taping the episodes that you two will be on, and we'll work around your schedules to make sure everything is comfortable for you."

There is a pause before she adds. "I'll be in Paris for the next four days, I should be reachable in an emergency, so..unless there is one? I'll see some of you later in the week." She turns to smile at Layla. "Want to step upstairs with me?"

*

"The great thing about questions like this, Warren, is that they don't get defined very well. We all imagine different things when someone talks about passion. I don't equate it only to lust at all, but I think that's one piece that should be in most relationships. And, yes, I wonder if the lines blur between passion and dedication when you look at them through the lens of a long term relationship with someone." Sam adds on that continuing topic. He nods along with what the other three suggest with regards to whether the questions should be known ahead of time, but doesn't push on any of those points. He gave his thoughts, but not really a right answer there. Finally he listens to Kate's summary, nodding and smiling at the mention of Paris. "Have a very good time in Paris if I don't see you again before that. Though, I likely will." He's staying at the house, after all. He turns to Layla before she can escape with Kate - "I'll catch up to you when you're done?"

*

"Certainly, although…" Layla starts, then tilts her head towards Sam, "I believe that we were going to try for coffee or something today, so if you don't mind, and he doesn't mind, I don't mind, if he comes upstairs as well." The jacket that she had over her lap is picked up, and draped over her arm as she offers Claire and Warren a smile, "It was nice to see the both of you again."

*

In case anyone wasn't aware? Claire thinks Warren is the best thing since sliced bread, and - while he's all waxing about semantics and relationships - her face totally gives that away so much. But then it seems the conversation is over, and she blinks at Katherine with a little, "Oh. Well. Yes. I hope you have a lovely trip," she agrees cheerfully. "I guess we're done here?" She looks between everyone for a second, then climbs down from her stool, brows creased over a little frown that she eases into a sunny smile. "Sam, I'm always happy to run into you. And outside the coffee shop, even, it's a rare sighting of a Sam Ryce in the wild." And to Layla, "You, too! I hope whatever it is," that's dragging them away, "turns out well. Thank you, Kate, for the invitation." She will just take her pretty cowboy and his shiny boots somewhere that there aren't any pesky cameras (that don't belong to them, anyway).

*

The feeling is evidently mutual for Warren, who totes thinks Claire's the best thing since sliced bread and the ABC-singing dog that aired on the local news station. He leans to kiss her on the cheek, before Kate closes the little Q&A. "Oh, is that.. is this it?" he blinks a couple of times, squinting over to Claire. "I thought there'd be a lot more questions." But he shrugs, and slides out of his stool, moving to help Claire with her coat. "Have fun on you trip, Kate!" he says cheerfully, before he flashes a big smile to Layla and Sam. "It was nice to see you both. I'm sure I'll see ya around." Then away he goes!

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