(2019-01-24) Naked Voices - Episode 1
Sam, August and Katherine sit down to discuss various subjects.
Players:
august..heather..katherine..sam..

The set is finished, and the backdrop of the set looks like a soda shop mixed with a bar. A long counter runs along the back wall, various different vintage signs and menus framed above the different types of liquor set up under the shining lights. In the forefront is a tall red table, the top glass, and sitting around the table are three tall legged comfortable chairs. A shot glass and a taller glass with a drink sit at the three places, with a menu slotted in the napkin holder in the middle.

"Welcome to the first episode of Naked Voices. The show where there is no filter, no shame and no holding back." Kate sweeps her bangs away from her eyes, flashing a smile at the camera. She's wearing a black leather pencil skirt that stops just below the knees, a midriff bearing white silk shirt with batwing sleeves and a pair of strappy black leather stilettos. She crosses her legs before she continues to speak. "I'm Katherine Stone, and with me today I have.." She gestures to August and the camera shifts, bringing the tattooed woman in view.

*

August, who was looking off-camera at something in the eaves of the stage, chin resting on her hand, elbow on the table, straw in her mouth, flicks a look at Katherine. And then her silver eyes turn toward the camera. The cold black eye of the camera. She spits out her straw and sits up, arms dropping to cross loosely on the table. "August Lexington, but you can call me Auggie when you flame me later on the Twitters. If you want me to actually see it, you'll have to bring it to my twitter handle. Which I will have after we air this. And I'm sure it'll appear on the screen." She points up, then to the side, then down. "Somewheres." The heavily tattooed woman is wearing a skimpy little tank top, full exposure on her throat, chest, shoulder, and arm tattoos, all black and grey finery. Her jeans are tight and distressed, knees ripped out. On her feet are a pair of 5 inch platform stilettos, black with a peep toe and a red sole. Louboutins paired with thrift store clothes. Why not.

*

The camera shifts toward Sam, focusing in on him as Kate gestures for him to introduce himself, she gives him a thumbs up, not seen by the camera as her eyes twinkle merrily.

*

"Sam Ryce." Sam says when the camera swings toward him, the smile he gives is one well practiced from thousands of selfies taken with fans and dozens of interviews on camera over the years. He almost has it to the point where it looks natural. "I'm looking forward to getting far more mentions than August on Twitter by the time we're done this. Not that it's a competition. But, it's clearly a competition." Sam wears close fitting blue jeans that hug around his legs and a simple black leather belt around his waist with a silver buckle. Tucked into his jeans is a simple white dress shirt, the collar open and an extra button left unclasped, finished with a light grey sports jacket, the material having a bit of a sheen to it.

*

Once introductions are made, the camera moves back to Katherine and she's laughing softly, her head shaking for a moment. "Today is gonna be a good day. Don't at me on twitter, because unlike these two? I never check the fucking thing." She gestures to the shot in front of all of them. "Our shot of the day is called an Absolut Legspreader. One ounce of Absolut and an ounce of Midori. August, we got you some healthy green juice in there, so you don't feel left out." Her eyes twinkle as she picks up the shot. "To good friends and probably a good deal of mischief." She taps the table with her shot then brings it to her lips, draining it. She shudders delicately and places the shot on the table, smacking her lips. "I can dig that." She shifts a bit so she's facing the other people at the table. "Honestly? I just liked the name of the shot."

*

"Oh, game on, Ryce," August says. She slides her phone out of her back pocket. "Hang on, I'm signing up for Twitter now." What she means is she's downloading the app. She puts her phone down while the wifi struggles to keep up. She grimaces slightly at the mention of green juice, but picks up her shot glass, lifts it at the toast, then kicks her head back to shoot it in one go. The camera angle gives viewers a good clean shot of her throat tattoos, and the prominent death's head moths there. When she puts her glass down, her whole body cringes and she pulls an absolutely horrid face that is sure to be made into a meme shortly. "Oh, god. What's in this." She reaches for the napkin holder, probably about to do something horrible like wipe her tongue, but seems to at some point remember there are cameras, and reaches instead for a nearby glass of water. Witness her glug half of it.

*

Sam takes his own shot and gives it a brief sniff before putting it to his lips and tipping it back without further hesitation. He puckers his lips a moment once it's down and then nods. "It's alright." He agrees, gesturing with the empty shot glass toward Kate. "Honestly, most shots have better names than actual flavour. This one seems like it might be prophetic." He crosses his legs at the ankles and leans back a little, feeling a bit more comfortable as the shot settles and the first couple minutes are passed. He watches August take her shot and winces with some degree of sympathy. "That one is perhaps meant to discourage leg spreading?" He offers.

*

August surreptitiously grabs some napkins and does indeed wipe her tongue when it seems the cameras are turned elsewhere. Ha ha. Except wide angle lenses, you know.

*

"Kale and something else. The bartender was going for you making a face, I think." Katherine shakes her head slightly and takes a sip of her other drink, something orange with orange and lemon slices in it. "So let's get right into it, boys and girls. Our topic of the day is first date sex. Everyone has an opinion on it. Some good, some bad, some just don't give a shit one way or another." She leans back in her seat, her crossed legs kicking out occasionally, making contact with Sam's leg gently. "Myself? I'm not a fan, but I worry too much about how someone views me. So that kind of keeps me from acting in the moment." She slides a look over to August, and attempts to keep her laughter smothered. "So in the perfect world where you don't worry about that kind of stuff. What do you two think of first date sex?"

*

"Who says you have to wait for the first date at all?" Is Sam's immediate reply. No filter there. He laughs and shakes his head - "But, I'm mostly serious. If you have two consenting adults who want to have sex, they should have sex. I don't really get this idea that it's somehow important that you have three dates or five dates or check a bunch of boxes. Everyone should wait until they're comfortable, of course, but if everyone is comfortable on day one? Get it done."

*

Kate leans in toward August, the camera catching her as she murmurs to the pale woman in a low murmur. "Sam is down with first day sex." Yes, she remembers that from last night.

*

"You Kale'd me?" August's betrayal is evident in her voice. All the sneaky vitamins and bitter greenery. She snorts then looks to Sam. "Yeah, like anything could stop me." Looks like Aug doesn't need the liquor to make jokes at her own expense. She crosses her legs under the table, hooking a heel into the foot bar of her stool. "I don't really date, so I'm with Sam. I mean the last time a guy asked me on a date, a guy I wasn't already sleeping with, I mean, he stood me up. Which was super fun for me, let me tell you—" She snorts at Kate's stage whisper. "Girl, you weren't even that drunk last night, were you?"

*

"Hey, I think this show needs a no inside joke rule. They won't get it either." Sam says, gesturing toward the cameras and the audience out in TV Land. "Though, I may still be down with it."

*

"Shut up." Katherine responds, trying hard not to laugh. "Drunk enough. I am not great at whiskey, and nobody should ever let me drink it. Whiskey in. Inhibitions gone. I lost my favorite bra that way. When I went to retrieve it off the light fixture the next day it was gone. How mysterious." She settles back into her chair, sighing. "I can't wrap my head around it though, the trouble with me is that I pin too many feelings on sex. I can't just see it as a release, it's a connection, and people who make those quick connections and just walk away baffle me." She turns her dark eyes on Sam, sticking out her tongue. "Hey, first day sex isn't an inside joke, it's apparently a movement. So, what I'm hearing is that we've moved out of the fifties and sex is a lot more relaxed now. One of these days I'm gonna catch up." She rolls her eyes and smirks. "Or I won't, either way…" She trails off and takes a sip of her drink.

*

A new show is being shot so, of course, Heather is watching. First from up in the director's booth to check on the positioning of the cameras, and then, to the director's relief, she leaves to watch from the floor. Standing by one of the cameras, arms folded, she is watching with an intensity that suggests she's still in tehcnical/professional mode rather than artistic. Heather leans over to whisper to a cameraman before now trying to listen to what is being said on the set.

*

"I still would rather have sex with someone I have a connection with. I don't see it as absent of of any emotion. Even if it only is a single time thing, it still matters. For me, at least." Sam glances toward August, not really sure what she thinks of the matter. "But, I don't think sex needs some ritual built around it to build up to it. You're attracted to someone? They're attracted to you? Make it happen. Maybe make it happen a bunch of times. That may make feelings. Or not." He shrugs. "And I'm also not saying everyone should be fucking ten minutes after they meet. The everyone being on board is important. I'm not saying first day sex should be an expectation."

*

"Kate drinky swapped date with day when we were talking about the potential day's topics last night over a sheet of cake," Aug explains to Sam. Then she adds, "You can connect regularly without having squishy feels. I have a few friends around the country who are call-when-you're-in-town sex friends. It's like going out to dinner or whatever, except naked and you save some cash. Everybody wins."

*

"Fun and economical. I'm not sure how this isn't what everyone is doing." Sam agrees.

*

"Right, then you go out to have tapas and drinks at a locally run restaurant after." Aug says. "Support small business." This is said to the camera.

*

"Call when you're in town sex friends?" Kate looks mystified by that, but a little curious. "Okay, so..that brings up another question, and this one is kind of personal for me. So bear with me." She picks up her drink, letting it dangle from her slender fingers as she speaks. "Have you ever been in a relationship where it was unspoken that having sex with other people wasn't a big no? If you were honest about it?" She holds up a hand, taking a sip before she continues. "When I got back from Paris, my significant other asked if I had sex while I was in Paris. I was taken aback, because I never thought it was a possibility nor do I do that while I'm in a relationship." She turns to eye August, nodding her agreement. "Yeah, support small businesses, we need the love."

*

August drops an elbow lightly to the table and rubs her fingertips over her matte-black painted lips. Her gaze is on Katherine.

*

"I've never been in a - can I call it an open relationship? I think that's pretty much what you're asking. Sex with other people is OK so long as everyone gives the thumbs up." Sam takes up his own glass of water and takes a careful sip before setting it back down. "I support the idea. It follows the same line of thinking. Sex is fun. I wouldn't tell my spouse she couldn't go bowling without me." Yup. Bowling is pretty much the same thing as sex, right? He swings his eyes toward August. "You're likely going to have a whole lot of names sliding into your DMs once you get that Twitter account going for 'when in town sex friends'."

*

Shouldn't there be four people? That's a thought Heather has before narrowing in on the conversation. "It's not the thumb being up that's the issue" she whispers to herself in reply to Sam's comment. She does have a headset on so the director probably heard that. "Get a close-up on Kate, she might be about to blush."

*

Katherine glances from the shot glass to August, eyebrows raised before she turns to listen to Sam. Her head shaking slightly. "If a relationship is open, why are you in a relationship? You can maintain a connection with someone and casually sleep around if you're being honest." She does blush and sighs. "I'm old fashioned. Fuck me."

*

Heather is back on her headset. "How many fucks have we had so far? I think we're allowed to give three fucks in the hour for broadcast. How many fucks have we given already?" A pause. "Online we can fuck to our heart's content."

*

August shifts a look to Sam. She smiles slightly behind her fingers. Maybe this is her playing the long game to get the most mentions. Danger, danger. "I was in a casual thing until late December when one of my sex friends wanted to be exclusive, and it took me a while to catch on. So you have to be open, clear, and absolutely up front. It also helps if you're sober when you discuss it. Pro tip." And then she goes on to say, "If you really want to try on girl-girl, Katie, all you have to do is ask nice." She grins.

*

"I didn't even think it was a thing to be discussed. If someone tells you that you can't date when you're in a relationship with them, it's not a huge leap to assume you can't just go around spreading your legs." Kate shrugs, her cheeks still pink. She sets her glass down and shifts, uncrossing and recrossing her legs. "C'mon now August, you keep flirting with me and the next time we won't just end up cuddling. Girl." She uses her fingers to tuck a stray lock of hair back in place. "So with everything, communication is key. Honesty too."

*

Heather stares at the conversation. Not because it's shocking, more because she had been offering sex to Kate for decades - albeit well hidden by bitchiness and cruelty. And August is already at first base after a couple of months. That hurts…in a 'whatever' way.

*

"Well, two things." Sam says, his attention focused on Kate and the cameras are quite forgotten. "It's not just being in a relationship and then having sex with all the people. I'm saying it should be reasonable to have the conversation with your partner about it. I'm sure some people keep it very open, I'd likely lean toward less in the way of flood gates. And - " But he doesn't really go into whatever the second thing is, derailed by August's comment, laughing. "Here I am missing the subtext of all of this. I'm sure you could have a thing with August on the side and still be in a dedicated relationship with your boyfriend, Kate."

*

Katherine takes a few moments to imagine how her ornery boyfriend might react to her going to bed with August. The thought obviously is amusing because she goes from smirk to half bent in her chair, her shoulders shaking with quiet mirth. The laughter is enough that she can't form words right now.

*

August laughs softly, giving Kate a look before she glances over at Sam. One can almost see her mentally taking notes. "This is why I generally avoid serious commitment. You can be completely honest and someone may still be hurt. All you can do to avoid that is be completely honest and check in regularly. Relationships require tending. If you don't have it in you do maintain more than one to the best of your ability, that's okay. I'm talking casual sex, not polyamory, which is a whole other show. Sometimes, though, you need things your partner can't or isn't equipped to give you, and that's when you have the talk and decide if you can both handle it. It's a moving…" She goes silent for a moment, then glances over at Sam, aaaand there's a smirk. She reaches over to take Kate's hand. "Target." She clears her throat. "Sam." Silence falls. "Ok." There's more coming, she's just taking a minute.

*

"I think you managed to reaching into my head and pull out all of my thoughts and state them in a clear and succinct way that I couldn't really begin to do." Sam says to August's comments on relationships. He might have elaborated more, but focuses in on whatever August is directing toward him.

*

Kate manages to take a deep breath without making too much noise in her microphone, letting out a soft laugh as she gets her breath back. "She has a way of doing that. Often." She turns to the camera, the slight smirk back. "This is why she's here on set with me, folks. This woman has a way with words." Her hand is taken and she shifts her look back to August, and when she says Sam's name, Kate's eyes get a little wide, her lips pressed together to keep her from laughing again. Someone laughs when she's nervous.

*

"I'm practicing sobriety." Aug says, picking up the shot glass that formerly held that kale abomination shot. "So if a tech dude could bring me some mango or apple juice, or something other than this, that would great." And then she looks from Kate to Sam. "I came to town for a six week contract at the local tattoo shop. I started seeing some people, so you do, to keep warm in a snowy ass mountain town. I'm a tropical person." She doesn't specify the gender of her bevvy of suitors. "One was an old friend of mine. My old friend asked me to be exclusive, and so we made a deal. The other was a very lovely man whom I didn't see again until he started dating Katherine. Which made for a really interesting dinner at the B&B one night." She looks to Katherine. "I'm afraid that bedding other men line of questioning may be my fault." Yes, the bedding has emphasis. Aug is doing her best to keep the f-bombs on the inside.

*

"It's a small town." Sam remarks with a smile at the explanation that August gives, eyes shifting between her and Kate. "And that may impact this entire conversation as well. I've spent most of my adult life in New York. It's a different kind of vibe when you're totally anonymous in the city. If I was in a relationship and my partner had someone on the side the chances are extremely small that I'd ever accidentally be at the brunch table with them." Of course, that's not the exact situation August described, but it seems relevant none the less.

*

The show bartender, who is a scruffy, good looking man comes over with a tall glass of August's favorite mango juice. It's in a glass because branding. He sets some shrimp toast on a platter in the middle of the table and moves off with a brief wave to the camera. Cheeky.

Kate squeezes August's hand, rolling her eyes before she sighs. "Well, I yelled at him about it, felt really bad afterward, but I think I had a point. It's not fair for him to react to me because of something you did." She doesn't look pissed off anymore though. "Yeah, I can say that lately, the ..atmosphere at the B&B has been to my liking. Never boring, which makes me happy." She aims a look at Sam. "So if it was a secret, that would be okay?"

*

"I spent a lot of my early twenties in Brooklyn. So I hear you. It's a bit of culture shock rolling into Calaveras from Brooklyn by way of Jacksonville." Aug nods, then looks to Kate. "Sure, and I'm not sure it was in reference to me, but we both said we wouldn't be exclusive. If you hadn't actually had that conversation yet, he may have been checking in. Just without any, you know, tact."

*

"A secret? How do you mean? I'm only OK with the situation if it's clearly communicated and discussed. So, no, I wouldn't be OK with it if it was a secret." He watches Kate to make sure he understood her question correctly.

*

There goes a barman who may not be asked back judging by the glare Heather gives him. Everything seems to be in order here so Heather will leave the directing to the director and wait for the raw footage later. She removes her headset to hang on a camera before slipping off into the dark. Though she may watch from her apartment window high in the studio wall.

*

"It was more a reference of the big city and not bumping into another's secret side piece." Kate shakes her head at Sam, chuckling softly. "I mean, look at society right now? Social media and memes show that having a side person is more normal than most people might think." She rests her elbow on the chair, propping her chin against her knuckles. "Alright, let's move on, get off of the sex subject, because that can only go so far in this context. We'll obviously come back to sex later. We're bad people." She gives the card on the table in front of her a brief look. "Let's talk about gender roles. Do we think they exist for a good reason, or.. are outdated and unnecessary." She aims a smile at August, her eyebrows raised slightly. "I picked this question because I have a feeling that you're going to be real damn amusing with it."

*

"Oh, the sex questions were easy. This is going to get the hate brigade in my Twitter mentions, though." Sam says with a laugh, shaking his head. "They're outdated and unnecessary, to use the words in the question. Even the word outdated implies that at some point they made sense and I'm not really sure that's the case. They were imposed in such a way that made them look reasonable, but did they ever have to be there?" He shifts his attention toward August, no doubt having more to say, but not wanting to go too deep until all the cards are on the table.

*

"Sex questions are always easy, but when you start getting into politics, religion or if a woman needs to stay home barefoot in the kitchen, someone is gonna get pissy." Kate takes a drink from her glass, her stiletto clad foot still swinging back and forth.

*

August joins Kate in looking at Sam. She takes the opportunity to sip her water, and nods. "I spent roughly ages twenty-two to twenty-four without an apartment of my own in Brooklyn. It's a different place. You can crash with friends and casual lovers for literally years without it being a big thing. Nobody cares. Everybody's doing what they need to do to make rent and stay in New York." She pauses, leans back in her chair, and belatedly glances off camera. "Cute barman." She only sees him from the back. She goes for a piece of shrimp toast.

Hm? Oh, gender roles. She sips her mango juice. Yes, Jesus. So good. "Agree with Sam again. Gender roles are unnecessary social constructs, people. You do you." She looks at the camera. "I mean, I have more tattoos than most men I know. Who's gonna roll up on me and say it's not ladylike? I have a double barrel answer for that one."

*

Katherine laughs softly, holding up a finger. "I honestly believe that the generation that had defined gender roles are quickly dying off, and that's morbid, but in about twenty years it's gonna be something that isn't even argued or mentioned." She glances from Sam to August, smirking at the double barrel remark, rolling her eyes. "Violence violence violence. I guess the people who buy into that stuff still or want to, August is right. You do you, because life should be about your own happiness." She glances at the bartender and tilts her head slightly. "He didn't screw up the shots." She reaches out for a piece of shrimp toast, breaking it in half.

*

August puts her shrimp toast in her mouth and demonstrates her salute by pulling her hands up from the table like six shooters, flipping her hands up with a middle finger on the left of the napkin holder, then a middle finger on the right. She gives them a little waggle then puts her guns away. And goes back to sipping her juice. Lest anyone think she meant a shotgun before.

*

"Whenever this comes up I get my inbox filled with WHAT IF THEY LIKE IT. So. Don't do that. If you happen to identify as a woman, and you happen to enjoying being in the kitchen - " Sam turns a meaningful look toward Kate - "that's fantastic. But, this idea that it should be the default needs to die in a fire. And it's something that actually takes some work. Society bakes the bias in really early. It's something I think long and hard about when I'm writing a character. Did I make the nurse in my story a woman because of gender roles that are still prominent? Yeah. So I try to go out of my way to change that up. At least to make the readers think about it as much as I did."

*

Katherine says, "Gaylord Focker. I think I need a movie night soon."

*

"The coolest thing about you doing you is you can do what you want. I'm both barefoot and pregnant in Katie's kitchen a couple times a day, but I never cook, because the whole building would burn down." August takes a bite of her toast and then, "Oh fuck me." She points at the camera with her shrimp toast. "My mama doesn't know yet, so you keep that to yourself."

*

"I figured we'd get more discussion out of that question, but we can move on. I think we're all in agreement." Kate reacts to that meaningful look from Sam with a laugh, settling a hand over her heart. "I do enjoy being in the kitchen, but if someone told me I couldn't work and I had to do that, then I would rebel just to rebel. No matter how much I enjoy it. When it comes to some things, I can be incredibly contrary just to be contrary." She snorts at August's words, shaking her head as she gazes at the camera. "You guys can't keep secrets, can you?" The bartender approaches, dropping off fresh drinks to everyone. More mango juice for August, iced chai tea for Kate, and a cup of coffee for Sam.

"So this next question looks a little fun — If your significant other's ex was coming into town, and wanted your SO to have dinner with them alone, what are your thoughts?"

*

"But, that's really the crux of it, right? Who are any of us to draw a box around anyone else. Be that on the basis of gender or sexuality or - whatever - eye colour. Everyone should rebel against that kind of behaviour. It has been too much the norm for too long. I really hope you're right that the generation that's enforcing that is dying off and it becomes a thing to scowl at during history class." Sam sighs, reaching out and taking a piece of the toast himself while he listens to the next question. "So, I rank trust really high in relationships. If I'm with someone, I trust them. If they say they want to have dinner with an ex to catch up, I'm going to trust them to do that. If they say it's just for dinner and chat, I'm going to trust that's what's going on." He glances toward the camera. "Announcing to all the world that I can be easily taken advantage of."

*

"I'm the same way, sort of. When you've had a relationship with someone, no matter how short or what kind it was, sometimes a friendship remains." Kate eases back into her chair, frowning. "People want to catch up sometimes, but I'd be a little wary of insistence that it be alone. Seems slightly shady?" She flicks her fingers, taking a bite of her toast. "Would it be different if it was a fuckbuddy, and there wasn't a relationship in the past? Like, someone your ex used to have sex with wants to connect for dinner.." She trails off, eyebrows slightly lofted.

*

"I admit that I might feel a bit weird about the alone part. I'm not sure I'd care much either way - I don't need to come have dinner with someone I don't know and likely won't ever see again. But, if they were insisting that I couldn't be there? I still fall back on my first answer, I'd trust my partner to have dinner with an ex or a fuck buddy. I don't really care what the relationship was. But, I might ask why they specifically needed me to be away. I think that's a fair question." Sam takes a sip of his water and adds - "In the broader sense I wouldn't be happy with someone who was uncomfortable about me seeing any of my friends. I've seen that happen. It's not good."

*

"Not a lot of cynicism in you, is there Sam?" Kate watches his face carefully for a few moments, reaching for her drink to sip at it. "I still agree with you, trust is important. It isn't until trust is wrecked that I generally have a problem with anything. Once it's wrecked, getting it back is a lot of work."

*

"Taking someone you care for at their word isn't a weakness. It's the greatest power you can give them, and it takes some balls." Aug looks at Sam. "Don't ever give that up for somebody else's fucked up world view." So much for keeping the f-bombs inside. Auggie finishes off her first juice. "As for the ex question personally, you know, my baby can go to dinner with who he wants. I only care where he spends the night, because this mountain town is cold. If he asked me to go with, I'd go. But I've met a few of his girlfriends, and they're always worth looking at over a candle-lit table."

*

"I've got plenty of cynicism to go around, just not so much when it comes to relationships. I guess I haven't been burnt badly enough in that area yet?" Sam suggests, grinning briefly.

*

August is still pondering the ex question. "I wonder if he has any ex-boyfriends…"

*

Kate glances over at August, an eyebrow raised slightly. "If who has any ex-boyfriends? Also, I'm glad that there is a lack of cynicism when it comes to relationships. I still have some even though I've been burnt when it comes to them." She twirls the loose lock of hair around her finger, her lips pursed. "I get the feeling that relationship grenades will explode no matter what you do. Everyone has a past."

*

"Tony," Aug says to Kate. "I don't think he does, but there's a party I'd attend."

*

Sam doesn't know the individual being discussed, or whether he has any boyfriends. So, he puts his attention into another piece of shrimp toast for a few seconds while he listen. He does add a comment to Kate's remarks - "I know relationships aren't all rainbows and kitten memes. I've actually been out of the dating scene for quite awhile. Until very recently, at least. That might contribute to my idealistic view. Still. I've been encouraged in my return to dating."

*

August raises her glass. "Here's to a happy return to the world of dating. May your path be clear of psychotic behavior and loaded with orgasms." She raises her glass a little higher rather than tapping glasses and takes a sip.

*

The mention of dating and Sam makes Kate chuckle softly, before she folds the card in front of her behind another. "I had a three year hiatus from relationships before last year, and it's kind of clumsy when you get back into things. You make all the classic mistakes all over again." She clinks her glass with August and smirks. "Dating in Calaveras is probably more boring than any other city, we're all such homebodies." She taps the card she revealed, swallowing visibly. "All right, lets rapid fire some shit. Who wants to go first?"

*

August looks at Sam.

*

"I'll drink to that." Sam says, raising his own glass toward August and then taking a sip. He shifts in his place a bit and looks toward August and then back to Kate. "Looks like it's me. Let's do it."

*

"To those who are just tuning in, we're going to put 60 seconds on the clock and I'm going to fire questions at Sam." Kate shifts her look at Sam, flashing him a smile. "Keep it short and sweet, sweetheart. Don't think it through, first thing that comes to mind."

*

"Timer ready?" Kate asks someone off camera, when she gets a nod she picks up the card and grins over at Sam.

*

Katherine says, "How important is it for you to make physical contact when showing affection for someone?"

*

Sam rubs his hands together while he waits for the first question - and shit, that's harder than any of the full questions. "Ok. I have so much to say. But, I'm not allowed to dither on this one. I'm going to say a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10." He says it, but he doesn't seem entirely happy about having to give such a brief answer.

*

Kate looks amused by the look on his face, the second question fired out. "If you inadvertently found a phone number in a partner's pocket, which would you do?"

*

August smiles at Sam, elbows no the table once more. She props her chin with two closed fists, watching like this. Her brows pop up slightly on the second question.

*

"Not much. I'd make sure it got back to her so she didn't lose it. Do people still put phone numbers on pieces of paper these days?" Sam wonders.

*

August's smirk is immediate and she says, without hesitation, "Yes."

*

Kate seems to be in her element, firing off the questions with smooth elocution, her smirk ever present. "Is it a requirement that you communicate with your significant other daily, in some way? Phone, seeing them, email?"

*

"A requirement? No." Sam says easily enough. The last two questions had been a bit easier, he was a bit worried after the first one.

*

Kate raises her gaze from the card, smiling at Sam. "Would you need to sleep with someone before you considered marrying them?"

*

August flicks a glance at Kate, but says nothing.

*

"Yes. Absolutely." Sam replies again without any hesitation.

*

"Last question." Kate says, the buzzer sounds, but she reads it anyway. "Have you ever Googled someone before a first date?"

*

Sam's brow furrows and then finally he shakes his head. "I've Googled people I've dated. Pretty sure I've never done it before the first, though." He wipes a hand across his brow now that the buzzer has gone. "I'm glad the entire show isn't like that. Rapid fire is intense."

*

"You looked a little frustrated there at the beginning, you so had more to say about the affection question." Kate laughs softly, propping her chin on her knuckles. "Did you..want to elaborate more on that?"

*

August shifts in her seat slightly, arms going to the table where they remain loosely crossed. She then reaches over for another piece of shrimp toast. She seems content to make her way through that while everyone's talking, though one of her feet has started bouncing under the table.

*

"Oh, the physical touch when showing affection? I just wanted to frame my answer a bit so I didn't sound like I was cold. I think physical touch can be extremely powerful between people and I try to be really mindful of that. Whether that's with friends or lovers. I've always found it's more about the right time and place for it. So, in a sense it's 10 out of 10 important, but I ranked it lower because I like to think it isn't necessary to convey affection."

*

"I'm a touch whore. If I'm emotional, and I'm isolated while I'm emotional, I'll just spiral right out of control." Katherine gazes down at her questions, and then shoots a look at August. "Ready to jump into the hot seat, darling?"

*

"Well put. I'm the other side. I do think it's necessary, but I grew up in a huge family, and my sense of personal space is very small." August gestures with the last bite of her toast. "Nothing takes my anxiety down a notch like a well placed—" She stops there, then nods to Kate, grinning. "Sure." A well placed what? Fill in the blank, viewers.

*

"Knowing your audience is important, I suppose. I try not be careful with touch until I'm certain it's a positive for that person." Sam adds, nodding to the comments from the two others. Then he sits back for August's questions.

*

"Alright, we ready with the timer?" Kate again glances off to the side, and when she receives a thumbs up, she turns to August. "Who is more annoying, the person who talks too much or the person who doesn't talk enough?"

*

"Person who doesn't talk enough," Aug says, without a pause. Like she had that one ready to go.

*

"Everyone here is clearly off the hook." Sam quips.

*

Katherine says, "Imagine that, through some misfortune, your significant other loses the ability to have sex again. Do you stay with them?"

*

August smirks at Sam as she answers the next one. "Oh damn it." There's a bit of a waffle pause. "Fuck. Yes."

*

Kate laughs out loud, sighing before she goes for the next question. "When you fall in love with someone, do you go ahead and tell them, or do you wait for them to say they love you first?"

*

August gives Kate a look. What the fuuuuuck. She throws her hands up. "They say it 102 times and I Han Solo them back." She crosses her arms now.

*

Kate swallows her laugh, gives August a very innocent look. Wide eyes, raised eyebrows, and moves on. "If you found out the person you're dating cannot achieve orgasm without being slapped hard across the face, would you be willing to satisfy them in this way?"

*

Once again, no pause. "Yes. Often." August smiles then. Maybe that question is helping her get over the previous two. A little bit.

*

"Easy one for the last one." Kate murmurs, gazing at August with a slight smile on her face. "How do you generally feel about people who tend to hug others whom they've just met?"

*

Sam is laughing, but he has his hand over his mouth to try not to make too much of a scene.

*

August mms on that last one and tips her head, probably rapidly thinking back through the last few times that happened. "S'fine as long as their hands don't drop below the belt of over the bra. Violators will suffer consequences."

*

"Curious about the consequences." Sam says, still laughing and reaching for his water.

*

Kate sits back in her seat, taking a drink from her glass. "Yeah, inappropriate touching when you just meet someone is an easy way to get either a kick to the balls, or a punch to the face."

*

"In that instance, they deserve to be thrown through a close window and body-dumped in a canyon." August says, as she picks up her juice for a sip. "For example. Purely hypothetical." She looks over at Sam. "Which one are you laughing at, sir?" Her brows tick up. But that lingering amusement remains.

*

Kate knows she's in trouble later, but for now she turns to look at Sam, sliding the cards toward August. Even the host has to take her turn in the hot seat. "Yeah, fess up, Sam."

*

"Mostly the light in your eyes when she asked about someone needing slapped to reach orgasm." Sam admits, perhaps finding it funnier than it actually was. But, right on the heels of the love question?

*

"I do what I must for my lover's satisfaction," August murmurs, ever the selfless girlfriend. One might get the idea that she'll take any port in a storm when it comes to the opportunity to slap Malone. "That inability to have sex thing. Man. Rough. Still, you can control a computer with your eyes, you can operate a remote toy. So there's still hope." She glances up, "You ready, Katie?"

*

Kate aims a wary look at August, clearing her throat as she recrosses her legs. "Yeah, I'm ready. Try not to eviscerate me, August. I have to be alive for my date tonight."

*

"Would you for any reason read your significant other's email or pose as him online without his knowledge?" August starts off with what she considers an easy one, it seems. She glances up from the card. She assumes the timer's going.

*

"No. The only way I would read anything like that is if it were offered." Kate answers, folding her hands on her lap.

*

August reads from the card, "If you were in a serious relationship and you learned that your partner cheated on you one drunken night, could you forgive him?"

*

"I could forgive them, I would never forget. Trust would suffer - so it's probably best to just leave them in the dust at that point." Kate shrugs, aiming a grin at August, still looking comfortable in her chair.

*

Sam gives a low whistle at that response.

*

"What is more important in a relationship: passion or dedication?" August takes a bit longer in asking that one as she is trying to control her expression after Sam's low whistle. She glances over at him, then back to Kate.

*

"I can't agree on one or the other. I need both. I can tell when someone isn't dedicated, and it's just an interlude moving to an ending." Kate flashes a smile, her fingers fidgeting slightly. "Not that there is wrong with a relationship that has a defined ending if both people agree to it."

*

"That seems like cheating." Sam says to weak answer. "Commit!"

*

Katherine says, "Passion then. I wanna feel it."

*

August says, "Same."

*

"I'll go on the record with dedication." Sam adds.

*

"For this one, you just fill in the blank." August says, reaching up to tuck a strand of grey hair behind her ear. She looks over to Kate, then reads: "I'm really good at…"

*

Kate makes a face, staring at August with a slight smile playing at her lips. "I know I could go the boring route, but screw it. No filter right?" She lowers her lashes, picking up her drink. "Blow jobs." She takes a drink, raising her glass with a smile.

*

August clearly didn't expect that answer, because she's in the middle of taking a sip when Kate finally does. She snorts a little then reaches up to wipe off her chin. Mango juice spillage.

*

Sam laughs too, also not expecting Kate to go down that road. But, if you're good, you're good. Say it proud.

*

Kate taps her lips with a finger tip, the innocent look back on her face before those lips curl into a smile. "Oral fixation. Most people don't expect .." She trails off, glancing away as she laughs softly to herself.

*

The cameramen are certainly smiling.

*

Kate turns to her other hosts, her expression back under control. "Any final thoughts to add, loves, before we sign off and let our audience get back to late night programming?" She sets down her drink and sits up a bit straighter, head tilted slightly.

*

"I have sympathy for the state your inbox is going to be in tomorrow, Kate." Sam says, shaking his head and sipping at his water. "You could have really won the Twitter game if you were playing." He sits up at the closing words and shakes his head. "Nothing more to add. Has been a great time."

*

August has to go fishing down her top with a napkin as mango juice drips into her bra. She quietly mops herself up and clears her throat softly. "Um." She leans over a little Sam-wards. "Sam, it's been a pleasure to get to know you better. Tomorrow we see who is crying and who is twitter @ queen. I accept tithe in strawberry bourbon waffle cupcakes." She grins and then tips the other way to say to Kate, who is on the other side of her, "Always a good time, Katie." She glances over toward the cameras, "Stay warm, Calaveras."

*

"Tune in next session when we bring in Claire Reed. You don't know her? Want to? You have to come see us again." Kate blows a kiss at the camera, waiting for the cameraman to signal that they've cut. She turns to the pair seated with her, eyebrows raised. "Well.. what do you two think?" She pauses and then gazes at Sam, clearly thinking about the email she sent him.

*

Sam's expression is bright, his smile easy. "That was a lot of fun. I have no fucking idea what it's going to look like when it's actually watched. But, being here and hashing through the questions was a lot of fun. I'd do that without any television show attached." He nods his head - "That's to say, I'd be happy to be here again if that's what you want. Just say the word."

*

Auggie finishes cleaning up her mango problem, then has a sip of nice clear water. She glances between the two. "Those questions were rough a couple times, but I'm really glad I didn't get Sam's. I think." She reaches up to sweep her long hair over her shoulder, fingers combing through it. "I guess I'll know when and if Mama manages to somehow find a clip on the internet before I get home to tell her the news." Aug still isn't showing, so it's not like anybody would know she was pregnant to look at her. "All y'all talk about it so much around the kitchen, I keep forgettin' not everybody knows." Could the tall woman have some anxiety over the reveal? Maybe a tiny bit. She nods then. "It was fun, though. Sam, I'm glad you came on. And nice to know we share so many similar views."

*

"It's what I want, I thought you'd make a great straight man, in terms of opinion and humor, but it turns out you can give August and I a run for our money. Makes it more fun." Katherine leans forward, sticking her hand out at Sam. "If you want the gig, I'll get the contracts together. I think it would be lovely to have you aboard." She quirks an eyebrow at August, obviously wanting her opinion on it. "Claire next session, Vyv after that. I'm expecting some fireworks with Vyv. That makes it fun."

*

August doesn't hesitate to nod. "I agree, I like the chemistry. I think we should do it." She looks to Kate, then laughs. "I look forward to meetin' the mythical Vyv. You think he'll bring some treats?" She shakes her head. "You know Claire and her boyfriend stalked me to Maude's to meet me. That girl." She doesn't mention all the fun she had at their expense, propositioning them for a $600 couples rate for unspoken services rendered.

*

"It was a pretty unique way to get to know you a bit better, August. I'd considered just communicating with you via cupcake for the next few weeks to see how that went - but I think this was better." Sam says with a laugh, "Hopefully one of these days we'll get to sit down and banter without cameras rolling." He nods and leans forward toward Kate, taking her hand and giving it a firm shake. "Sounds perfect. And I think it will be a very different vibe with Claire. Which is good. Keep the show unpredictable each week."

*

"There might still be a few old fashioned communiques coming your way, Sam." August murmurs. "Don't you worry about that."

*

Katherine nods at both of them. "I'm interested to see how adding her to the group fleshes out. We'll see, won't we? I'm glad you're gonna adventure with us, Sam." She quirks both brows at August, smoothing her hands over her leather skirt. "Stalked you huh?" She picks up her phone, adds a note to ask Vyv about pastries. "I'll make sure Vyv brings something yummy, besides his well dressed self."

*

"Oh.." Kate adds, glancing up with a smile. "If either of you comes across someone you think would make a good guest. Reach out to them, let me know, so I can sit down with them as well. I've already lined up a few people, but I'd love to line up more."

*

"Yeah, somehow they found out I was going to lunch there on break and there they were." August slides off of her stool, foot still bouncing under the table. She does unhook her stiletto first, so as not to break anything. "I'll be back, y'all. Gotta tinkle." Pregnant Floridians. And off she goes. She makes good time on those heels.

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