I nodded for Kels to go ahead and pour. He raised his eyebrows at me, but he did it.
I moved Betty to the sofa Kels keeps by the front door.
"Come, let's sit down."
I sat beside her.
"Now tell me about William and you. Tell me."
"About William and me? I don't know what you mean. He's my brother…"
"About William, then. What worries you about him?"
"Look, I know how important this is to you. I admit the pipeline's wrong…"
"You think that's what this is about? The pipeline? That's not what this is about."
"What William's trying to do, Betty, is prove himself. He's trying to be this tycoon—this person he isn't—in order to earn his right to be here."
"You think so?"
"He's has lost touch with himself. He needs—he desperately needs—to get away, to…"
And right at that moment, in the middle of a sentence, when I needed every bit of concentration to reel her in, Kels opened the window.
That damn dolphin was still calling to me.
I tried to ignore it, to concentrate on Betty. I pulled my thoughts together. What was I saying?
"…he needs…William needs…"
I couldn't think what William needed. All I could think about was that grinding dolphin call, the endless "chirp, chirp, chirp."
"…William needs to take a break," I said. "…to find himself again," I said. "to… to…"
"…to get back in touch…" I said, "to…"
The chirping stopped. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Betty looked worried.
"Are you all right?"
"What was I saying?"
"About William," she prompted. "Needing to take a break."
"To get back in touch." I found the thread. "Yes. Exactly. And we're going to give him that chance. Tonight."
She wasn't convinced.
"Come on, Betty. You know how he's been lately. He thinks he knows what's best for everyone."
I dropped my voice to a whisper.
"He plots behind people's backs, has secret conversations…"
I glanced around the room, then leaned closer.
"Don't mention this conversation to him. It's for his own good. A few more hours, it'll be over. He'll thank us."
Betty sighed."I just can't do it. I'm sorry, but I promised him."
She stood up, flashed a smile at Kels, and left.
Behind the bar, Kels grinned at me like he'd had a thousand dollar hour.
"What?" I demanded.
"I'd forgotten about this part. You're just in time."
He pointed to the television.
It was still The Bishop's Wife.
Dudley moved a woman toward a sofa.
"Come, let us sit down."
He sat beside her.
"Now tell me about Adam and you, tell me."
Kels raised his eyebrows, but I just shrugged.
I didn't know what the hell he was grinning about.