Lazarus jerked awake on his bed, twitching slightly as he rose out of the sense he was falling. It was such an old dream, hundreds of years old, but there was no one to wake him from it with a kiss or comforting words. He looked around his empty room and sighed heavily. Another drink. Another attempt to hide himself from his own life. He looked at the clock as he walked to the kitchen. He had been asleep all of ten minutes.
He rubbed his weary eyes with a balled up fist and stretched, before grabbing a glass and filling it with vodka. He didn’t even bother with coke. He lifted the glass of clear spirits to his lips taking a breath before he threw the liquid into the back of his throat. In the space of a breath there were rapid knocks on his door. He hesitated, the glass pressed to his lower lip gently. There were another three raps at the door and he glanced again at the clock. Who the hell was knocking on the door at this time if the morning? He slammed the glass down on the counter, the vodka sloshing around and leaping onto the cheap counter.
He stalked to the door and ripped it open, gazing out into the corridor with shock. The person standing just on the other side of the threshold looked equally surprised. Lazarus shifted his weight awkwardly from one foot to the other, holding onto the door, ready to slam it in her face if he needed to.
The woman took in his appearance, the unkempt blonde hair that fell around his face and in his eyes, the rough week’s worth of stubble, the soft jaw line, his pale blue eyes. He looked rough; not exactly what you would call happy. In fact, she could smell the vodka on his breath from earlier.
‘Umm... hi.’ She said, forcing a smile to her plump red lips. He could only stand there and dumbly appreciate her perfect features. She was stunning, her green eyes piercing and her hourglass figure accented beautifully by the bodice she wore beneath her long black coat. ‘I... I’m your new neighbour.’ She continued, trying to ignore his stare. ‘Just thought I would say hi.’ Lazarus nodded.
‘Hi. I’m Lazarus.’ He replied, finally breaking his gaze with a shaky smile. She looked a little uncomfortable at his intent gaze.
‘Melissa.’ She paused, a silence growing as neither of them knew what to say. ‘Was that you playing that music earlier?’ she asked.
‘Beethoven first. On the stereo. And then the actual piano. I could hear it before.’ Melissa explained.
‘Oh. Yes. I love the piano.’ He smiled warmly. ‘Would you like me to play you some more?’ He laughed shyly, suddenly finding himself eager to play to someone again, rather than his too-big TV and leather sofa, or the occasional moth.
‘It’s getting a bit too... early for that, I think.’ She chuckled awkwardly and half turned to leave.
‘Maybe some other time?’ Lazarus asked, disappointment all too evident in his voice, despite knowing he would be inviting... someone like her into his home, his private bubble.
‘Maybe.’ She replied and left.