“Remind me the next time I offer advice,” Seth said as he joined his elders, “that there is no one as blind, foolish and dense as a person living on past dreams.”
“Says the wise young man of twenty-something going on two-hundred,” Leif replied with a chuckle.
“Two-hundred and one, thank you,” Seth retorted.
Leif glanced at his brother then back at Seth again. “Should I suspect that tact is not one of your strong points?”
“Well, yeah. I tend to call them as I see them and your brother’s being an idiot.”
Trevor cocked an eyebrow in amusement. “So says the boy that fell into Khalid’s grasp and became a vampyre because he found him ‘alluring’. Yes, I overheard what you were telling Kemp. I can multi-task when necessary.”
“Yeah, I fucked up, I’ll admit it. But at least I am admitting it.”
“Kemp didn’t ‘fuck up’ as you put it,” Rikard said softly. “He fell in love with my Child and that love was returned. We should all be so lucky as to have that happen at least once in our lifetime.”
“Some of us have, and then blown it off,” Trevor remarked pensively.
“That’s not what I’m saying,” Seth retorted. “Kemp has got to open himself up to the idea that it’s possible to love again. He cannot lock his heart away out of fear of the consequences.”
“If you lost someone you loved, would you move on and try again?” Kemp asked quietly.
“Yes,” Seth replied just as quietly. “I did, and I have. I haven’t found the right one—yet—but I’m not going to give up hope. Maybe you can survive on past memories, I can’t.” Seth paused for a moment. “Tell me Kemp, if you had died instead of him, would you want him to spend the rest of his life alone and lonely, living on dreams of what might have been?”
Kemp frowned deeply and then slowly shook his head. “I’d want him to be happy, and if someone else came into his life that could do that for him then yes, that would be good.”
“Exactly; so give yourself what you would have given Owen if the situation were reversed. The chance to find that someone you can give your heart to, freely and totally just as you gave it to him.”
“You’re a romantic, Seth,” Leif said with a smile.
“I am,” Seth admitted. “A hopeless one despite everything I’ve seen in my life. I suppose I got that from my real father, even though I didn’t see much of him.”
“I’m the bastard son of Philip Freneau,” Seth replied almost defiantly. “He married before I was old enough to understand that I wasn’t going to be a part of his life—me or my mother. But I devoured everything he wrote, especially his poetry.”
Rikard nodded. “A neoclassical, romantic poet. I can see why you have that streak in you.”
Leif interrupted to point out that the sun was rising soon, which meant either he and Seth left now for their sleeping places or took advantage of Rikard’s offered hospitality.
“I actually don’t have anywhere to go,” Seth told them. “I doubt I’d be welcome back at Hakim’s residence under the circumstances, even if I wanted to go there.”
“That hadn’t occurred to me, young man. You’re more than welcome to stay here until you find a safe place of your own.” When Seth accepted his invitation, Rikard stood, indicating that it was time for everyone to go their separate ways. Leif opted to let Trevor drive him back to his hotel rather than impose on the older vampyre.
As they headed to the door Kemp stopped by Seth’s side for a moment. “I’ll think about what you said,” he told him.
Seth smiled. “I know it’s hard, believe me I do. But don’t give up on love. We all need it in our lives—even you.”
Kemp had no reply for that so he just nodded as he went to join Trevor and his brother.