Joseph's expression upon finding himself in a place very much like that which he'd feared -- though on a far less threatening scale -- was initially akin to a startled hare's. But he quickly schooled his face of all trepidation and smiled and nodded respectfully to the men and woman gathered there as he was ushered to a table in the corner.
When Miss Howard pulled back her own chair and sat without ceremony, Joe hesitated, his hand resting on the back of the chair opposite. He knew without a doubt that he had entered a battlefield of sorts, with lines drawn at the door.
"I like to think of myself as terminally curious, Miss Howard." He managed when he finally took his seat at her command. "Assuming that I passed your test, might I order some tea before we begin? I'm still recovering from having my heart leap directly into my throat at the threshold."