I wasn’t having a good day. Everything was going wrong. The piano had arrived maybe a week ago and I’d been playing pretty much nonstop since it’d arrived, but I couldn’t even form a bar of music without slipping up. Fate seemed to be constantly on my mind, and not even Line’s affections were making me feel any better. All I could think about was how he and Brody had betrayed me and made a fool out of me. I waited until Line was busy and wouldn’t notice my absence for a while before sneaking out of the house.
The smell of alcohol and humans lingered in the air outside of the bar, thickening as I walked in. It was a familiar smell, one I’d known most of my life, and it was like I’d come home in a way. I’d only meant to have a couple of drinks, but you know how it is – you open a box of chocolates and end up eating the whole goddamn thing.
I’m not sure what time I left the place, but it was dark out. I needed to watch my feet as I walked so that I could make sure I didn’t trip over anything. Like that pebble that tried to trip me up on the way up the street. It was a close one.
“Lazarus?” I heard a familiar voice nearby. I looked up to see where it had come from, swaying a little as the movement fucked with my head. I think it was Theo. He marched over to me. It was definitely Theo. Oh god. I looked back down at my feet. Even in this state, I knew not to even try meeting his eyes. I wasn’t in the mood to risk it. I was still feeling kind of shitty, to be honest.
"Dare I ask what you're doing?" his tone was unnecessarily aggressive and loud.
"Being drunk,” I laughed quietly to myself, not entirely sure why I was laughing. Maybe it was nerves.
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" he scowled.
“I dunno. Maybe ‘cause I like being drunk?” I just about managed to spit the words out.
"I'm not surprised Fate left you."
"You're pathetic,” he snapped.
"You're pathetic,” I grumbled in a weak attempt at a retaliation.
"Really? Last time I checked I wasn't the one who managed to lose two lovers and had to worm his way into a pack.”
“Two?” I was confused. Did he mean Brody? Because Brody wasn’t a lover. He was a good fuck. He was... I don’t even know. Something. Once. I didn’t want to go there.
"Fate and your precious Gabriel," he said.
I frowned. How did he even know about Gabriel? "Gabriel was my lover when I was a human. I dun think two in three hundred years is that bad"
"Well hopefully it'll be three soon." I wasn’t too sure what he was talking about anymore to be honest. I thought he was just talking shit now. "If Line knows what's good for him, he'll be rid of you before he gets too attached. And then I can have you out of my pack and out of our lives,” he glared at me.
"Why d'you hate me so much?” I whined.
"I don't like you. You're a threat, even if you are a drunk," he told me, like that was some kind of reason.
"A threat?" I laughed. I didn’t see how I was a threat. What was there for me to threaten and what would I gain from... doing whatever it was I was supposedly doing?
"Like I said to the others, you seem to be doing a fine job of sleeping your way through the ranks."
"Fuck you," I spat at him, ignoring his glaring as I turned away and tried to stumble off home. I say tried because Theo grabbed a fistful of the back of my shirt and stopped me from going anywhere. I pulled in an attempt to get away, but he didn’t yield.
"And just where do you think you're going?"
“Le’ go o’ me,” I slurred.
“No,” he said. I was suddenly very aware of how much bigger than me he was as he pulled me backwards steadily, no matter how much I struggled. "I'm thinking I should teach you a lesson. Does that sound like a good idea?" I shook my head, making the street spin in a blur of orange and dark grey. “It does?”
“No,” I whimpered, catching a whiff of my own fear.
"And you think we should go to the forest? That's a great idea,” he said, starting to drag me off. I started struggling against him again, but it didn’t seem to make the slightest bit of difference. By the time we reached the forest, I’m fairly sure I was a crying wreck of drunken fear. He threw me to the floor, kicking me a few times. I could feel the bruises already forming. I tried to grab at his ankle to make him fall, but my grip wasn’t strong enough and he kicked me off like nothing. He hauled me up by my shirt, landing a solid punch across my face as I fought back as much as I could.
I could hear the stream nearby. I could feel panic rising in me; he bought me here to kill me. I was going to die here and I wasn’t sober enough to do a thing about it. The sound of the water was getting closer and closer and suddenly my head was pushed into its cold embrace. He pulled me up before I drowned, yelling at me about how much he hated me and that he didn’t want me in his pack. I wasn’t really listening. He repeated this a few times, pushing me back under the one time I managed to reach back far enough to hit him. No matter how much I struggled, I couldn’t make him stop. He shoved my face in the water a few more times before throwing me back down on the ground.
I started trying to get to my feet, half ready to beat the crap out of him. Needless to say I was too drunk to get very far with that. Theo spat at me before I even sat up, marching away from me. I wiped the water out of my eyes, hoping that the world was going to stop spinning soon.
Somehow, I found my way out of the forest. I followed my feet home, hoping I’d be able to just crawl into bed without waking Line up. Just my luck, he was only half asleep on the sofa. He woke up, looking horrified at the state I was in.
“What happened to you?” he asked, getting up.
“Nothing,” I lied.
"You're soaked." I wanted to make a sarcastic remark but I bit it back. He brought me some dry clothes and I thanked him quietly, getting changed into them. The bruises on my body must’ve been visible, because Line was frowning like there was no tomorrow. I went to the kitchen and poured myself a drink. It was snatched from me as I bought it up to my lips. Line ignored my protests, not giving in when I demanded he give it back.
"Lazarus, what happened?"
"I went for a walk and got mugged. Give me my drink." I didn’t care that I was lying, nor that he probably didn’t believe me. I wasn’t going to tell him that Theo had done it. Theo was his family and I’d already taken one member of that family away from him.
“No.” I gritted my teeth, pouring myself another drink. He took that one before I could even pick it up. I managed to get a little bit by trying to drink straight from the bottle, but that too was confiscated. I looked through the cupboards, looking for a different bottle, but there weren’t any. Where did they all go? “Lazarus,” he sighed a little.
"What really happened?" he questioned.
"I went for a walk and got mugged, I told you." He didn’t believe me and unfortunately for me, I was sober enough to realise it. Either way, I wasn’t going to tell him any different any time soon.
"How come you reek of booze?" he looked at the floor, for some reason.
"I may have stopped at a bar on my walk," I said casually. I didn’t understand why that was a big deal.
"For how long?"
"I wasn't counting." I watched him; he was staring holes in the floor.
"That's the third time this week," he told me. I shrugged.
"So?" I asked.
"I know I said I'm a patient man, but this is pushing it."
"This," he said, gesturing at the drinks he’d taken away from me.
"What about it?" He just let out this sigh and put the drink down. I genuinely had no idea what was upsetting him, but I didn’t hope to get an answer out of him any time soon, given that he announced he was going to bed. I listened to his footsteps heading up the stairs, waiting until he was in bed before tipping back the contents of both the glasses and picking up the bottle. I got the feeling I’d be sleeping on the sofa whether I sat there drinking all night or not.