Didn’t stay up to finish it last night, but I might tonight. Although ‘finished’ is a nebulous term. I have the framework of the book. It’ll do.
“Good morning, Betty. How did you sleep?”
The Banshee looked up from her coffee and newspaper. “Quite well, Mr. Vargas. What do you need to ask me about?” Her voice was amused.
“Oh, good. I’ve been up most of the night, myself. May I sit?”
“…Yes, please do.” Now she sounded just a tiny bit puzzled. “Since we’re apparently still avoiding the subject, have you had breakfast?”
“No, actually, and that sounds like an great idea. They do old-style flapjacks here, if you haven’t tried them yet.” A waitress had all but materialized by our side. “In fact, Senorita, I’ll have that, a side order of sausage, and just bring a pot of coffee.”
“I suppose I’ll have the flapjacks, too,” the Banshee said. “Ah, please. No sausage, though. Whatever your fried potato dish is, instead.”
“Oh, and put it on my room bill,” I told her, and gave her the room number. “Thank you!”
Now the Banshee looked very confused. “You’re buying me breakfast? I assure you, I can afford to pay my own way.”
“Of course you can, Betty. It just occurs to me that, so far, every time we meet events keeps happening one particular way.” The waitress had returned with the coffee, bless her soul: I waited until she had left again to start talking. “We talk, and I keep waiting for the room to explode, and eventually the conversation’s over and I’m somehow still in the same shape as I was before.” I inhaled half a cup in one sheerly blissful swallow. “I’m guessing it’s kind of a drag to be on the other end of that.”
The Banshee looked at me — and poured herself her own cup. “Well, yes. A little. I can’t say I don’t deserve it, but…”
“Right. But. You’re sitting there, trying to be virtuous, and what are you getting out of it? The only guy in the world who you might actually talk to is counting the moments until he can get the hell out of your way. It’d drive a saint nuts.” I smiled at her. “So I’m working on that.”