"You learned the letter of the lesson, but not the spirit. You are still stupid." Balthazar replied flatly.
"So you are eager to remind me each chance you get, Balthazar. And what, pray tell, is your lesson this time? What glorious thing did I miss from your flawless teachings?" Desmond's tone dripped with sarcasm, but Balthazar, as usual, did not seem to let it phase him.
"I did not teach you that it was wrong to sleep with those women because I feared you getting caught, or because I think it is wrong to love someone. It is because of the heart. It is a fragile thing, easily crushed. Do you think that girl is going to dream of bedding you this night? She is off to imagine you taking her away from here, to give her a life in some villa of her own somewhere, where she will start a family with you. To you, this simply strokes your ego, but to her, the idea of it is everything. The game that you play with idly is her everything. I would think, after what Mari did to you, that you would be more sensitive."
"I told you before, she has long since passed. It is crude to speak ill of the dead, Balthazar."
"The dead are best served by the living learning from them." Balthazar replied, as he walked out, leaving Desmond to his thoughts.
The next day, Desmond had stopped his little flirtatious game with the girl. Balthazar had been right, for more reasons than Desmond thought that even Balthazar knew. He wondered if the old Dhampir had ever offered his heart to anyone to have it toyed with. And while Beth did not think that she was toying with it by staying his friend, she was, in a way. He stayed there for a moment, wishing that she would tell him that she understood, that she give him that moment of reprieve. That she knew why he was going. But there was only silence there that hung between the two of them for that long moment. There would be no easy release for him as he had hoped.
And then came those two words. A crimson tear fell across his cheek without him realizing that his eyes were filled with tears even. He blinked the others away with his thick dark eyelashes, but that one fell free. And he did not bother to catch it, or hide it from her this time. Instead he slowly rose up, and took a slow breath before he put a foot forward and took a step away from her. And then another step, and another. He knew that any moment she could stop him, and he knew that a part of him wanted her to. The part of him that was weak, that hated this sensation of ripping his own heart out with each step away from her that he took. It was agonizing... but necessary as well.
Now all she had to do was to let him keep walking.