Keeping loneliness at bay.

Melissa blushed and entered the werewolf’s apartment. It was strange, Lazarus was a werewolf, a species she was not especially comfortable being around, yet she was quite comfortable to take a seat on his sofa and look around the apartment again. He was a relative stranger, and she hadn’t exactly felt completely safe around him, but it didn’t seem to matter...

Lazarus let her look around the room while he opened the window and took his place, slouching on the piano stool, facing her. He hoped she wouldn’t lecture him about smoking as well as drinking.

‘Smoker?’ she questioned. He rolled his eyes and nodded. She wrinkled her nose and muttered under her breath: ‘Great. Dog, alcohol and smoke.’ Lazarus looked up at her sharply, stung.

‘I’m sorry.’ Her blush hadn’t faded. ‘So why... did you invite me in?’ Lazarus noticed her blush and began to speak ‘How can you blush if...’ He cut off, suddenly regretting speaking. The question would have been insensitive, and he had already offended her. She simply laughed.

‘I was human once, you know.’ Her plump red lips split into a beautiful smile, ‘We vampires still have some human attributes!’ Lazarus stared, confused.

‘But blushing needs a heartbeat...’ at this, Melissa looked down, gazing at the carpet.

‘I... I manipulate my heartbeat,’ she paused, ashamed of it, ‘using the blood of humans, so that I can look more human myself.’ Lazarus didn’t know what to say, so he remained silent, hoping she would speak again soon. She sighed quietly and looked up at him. ‘Why did you invite me in?’

'I told you already. I drink to keep the loneliness at bay. Of course I forget it doesn't work, when I’m in a bad mood already, and I end up in a worse mood, because I’m drunk and still lonely. Not to mention the hangovers. It's much easier to have a neighbour that can cope with what I am.' Lazarus told her flatly, emotionlessly.

‘Oh... but... I’m a blood sucking monster. Doesn’t that bother you?’ Melissa looked to him for some kind of response. He was quiet for a moment, anger flickering across his face.

‘Of course it does, but I stink of dog to you, I'm an alcoholic and my life is ruled by the moon - every time it’s full, I become a mindless wolf thing and unless I can be contained or get far enough away, I rip whatever is around me to shreds. Doesn’t that bother    you?’ his pale eyes burnt with self hatred.

‘It doesn’t bother me at all.’ She kept her eyes on him, but he looked away. ‘I have... I have fought with worse beasts.’ She paused, deciding the subject needed changing. ‘You’re only an alcoholic because you are alone... surely that can change?’ she stopped abruptly wondering why she had said that.  She got up and faced the door, ‘It’s neither my business, nor my place. I’m sorry.’ Lazarus didn’t move, but his eyes followed her to the door before he could speak – the words twisted in his throat and refused to be said

‘Please, stay.’ A note of a plea entered his voice when he was able to spit the words out and Melissa turned slowly, her hand delicately placed on the door handle. Her shock of brown curls bounced as she looked at him and spoke.

‘What good would come from that?’ she queried, her tone sceptical.

‘I wouldn’t be... Never mind. Forget it.’ He exhaled gustily and got up to go to the kitchen, a sullen, wolf-like lope entering his stride as he disappeared out of sight.

‘If you don’t want to be alone then I will stay, but I’m not very good company.’ She attempted to smile, but when he returned with an open beer in hand, the smile faded, exasperation taking its place.

‘Neither am I, and you’ve already discovered I’m a terrible host.’ He sat down on the sofa, and set the beer on the floor beside him. ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to drink myself stupid. I just like the taste – there’s not enough alcohol in them to do any damage.’ He laughed and she tried again to smile. She walked slowly back over to the sofa and sat down, leaving a comfortable space between them.

‘So how are you feeling? Better? Being knocked down like that must have hurt.’ She asked as he changed positions, turning to the side to face her, bringing his knees up to his chest. His arms wrapped around his legs, hugging them tightly. She noticed that though he was slim, his muscles – the ones on his arms at least – were toned and firm.

‘I’m okay. I heal quickly. It kinda surprised the medic when she didn’t need to clean me up too much.’ He chuckled softly to himself and Melissa managed to smile properly, letting out a giggle. ‘Would you like me to put your mind at rest?’ she asked. ‘I can show you the one at the museum wasn’t me.’ Lazarus gave her a fleeting look of curiosity, the interest lighting his eyes. He realised how much he had missed having someone to talk to, even if they were a vampire.     

The End

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