“Unfortunately, I rarely managed to have her wholly to myself, as she usually had someone with her. As Deoch had mentioned, she was not the sort who spent a lot of time alone.
Still I kept coming. Why? Because whenever she saw me some light would go on inside her, making her glow for a moment. She would jump to her feet, run to me, and catch hold of my arm. Then, smiling, bring me back to her table and introduce me to her newest man.
I came to know most of them. None were good enough for her, so I held them in contempt and hated them. They in turn hated and feared me.
But we were pleasant to each other. Always pleasant. It was a game of sorts. He would invite me to sit, and I would buy him a drink. The three of us would talk, and his eyes would slowly grow dark as he watched her smile toward me. His mouth would narrow as he listened to the laughter that leapt from her as I joked, spun stories, sang…
They would always react the same way, trying to prove ownership of her in small ways. Holding her hand, a kiss, a too-casual touch along her shoulder.
They clung to her with desperate determination. Some of them merely resented my presence, saw me as a rival. But others had a frightened knowledge buried deep behind their eyes from the beginning. They knew she was leaving, and they didn’t know why. So they clutched at her like shipwrecked sailors, clinging to the rocks despite the fact that they are being battered to death against them. I almost felt sorry for them. Almost.”