"You aren't much of a morning person, are you?"
"And what gave that away? The constant presence of caffeinated beverages between my hands? My raccoon eyes?"
"No, it's not the drinks. It isn't the dark circles either, though you may want to consider covering those up. Frankly, Burns, they scare people."
I laughed, tried to come up with a witty reply. Just then, my phone sounded off.
"Is that your Whelp calling?"
"He isn't my Whelp. But yes."
"Well why don't you answer? Poor Whelp. He did take you out, after all."
"Oh, and that means I'm obligated to give him my attention at any moment he demands?"
"Don't you like the Whelp?"
"It isn't a matter of liking or not liking. Anyone can act likable for some amount of time."
"Well what is it a matter of, then?"
"He's just - he's too...charming."
"My word, you are peculiar, aren't you? What woman ignores a man's call on account of him being too charming?"
"This one, apparently. And you can't call him a man when you've already labeled him The Whelp. That's just sloppy."
"Well how is it that someone can possess, as you say, too much charm? Enlighten me, Burns."
"I don't trust charming people. I never have."
"You don't trust them?"
"And what makes charm such a villain to you?"
"Any person with a particular talent for charm has a particular talent for manipulation. There is no way to know whether they're in earnest, about anything. To know whether they're simply being charming for the sake of pleasing you, or to sway you into a position advantageous for them. So, as I say, you can't trust them."
"Do you find me charming?"
"Not at all."
His reaction was sudden, letting out a short breath and then shooting me an expression that seemed puzzled, astonished and pleased all at the same time. But it only lasted a moment; he regained his composure so quickly, anyone else may have missed it.
"Well, what an unusual opinion of something I thought was universally accepted as a positive attribute. I'd be curious to know who it was that placed this superstition over charm so firmly in your young mind. But then, I guess I can count on you to have outlandish ideas on most subjects."
"Outlandish? Do you think I'm an elf?"
"Sure. That would suit you. Almost as if you only just joined modern society after a life in another world."
"Well. I'll take that as a compliment."
"As you would! It's like I said. I can count on you."
"Me and my raccoon eyes."
He glanced at me, smiled. "I hope you don't find my humor offensive. I only mentioned that because I've observed something about you --"
"--You mean besides my lack of enthusiasm for mornings?"
"Yes, besides that. I simply refer to the way you seem to come alive at night."