“It won't be the first coin I’ve made on account o' the rain.” She gestured toward the umbrella stand in the corner but he hesitated in the doorway, confused. She could see all of Runea's miles on him. It hurt him to have more distance behind him than ahead, the same way it hurt every Tekk that came through her door. 

She went to fetch the kettle. He peeled off his shoes. 

“You come all this way to hear what you wanna hear," she said and waved at the table in a way that meant, might as well.

The vanity was pointed right at him. He looked away from the man in expensive prison garb. The incense smoke was lazy and her cigarette smelled like his first day in the city had. He felt almost hopeful sitting down.

"Running from all the same things..." Her fingers traced his palm. Her eyes weren't even open. "You want to know what to quit or what to begin?" 

Something more than that, perhaps? He closed his eyes too and tried to picture the child from Begetta. He thought of apologies and the kind of honesty money could buy. "Tell me something I don't want to hear," he suggested.

She paused with his palm cupped in hers and eyed him sideways in the vanity. The cigarette was still pinched in the corner of her mouth and she nodded very slowly. "Walk out that door," she said, and closed his palm. "Dish out a no that ain't been handed down to ya."

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