She nodded, walking slowly toward Lazarus. "Sorry if my hands are cold." She smiled, placing a hand on his cheek. She sent an image through his mind, trying to be as gentle as she could. It was an image of her and her sire.

"I am not drinking from her! She has a family and..." Melissa objected, her sire looked at her. "You will drink or you will die. Humans are our prey. Our food. You drink from them, you bleed them dry, they are worthless." His voice was sharp and disapproving.

Melissa looked to him, shaking her head. She watched in horror as her sire ran up to the woman, knocking her over. He then offered her up, apologised and then...Bit her. She screamed as her tore into her neck. Soon the woman lay on the floor, a doctor trying to resuscitate her. "Sorry, shes lost too much blood." He muttered to her family. The woman's daughter hugged her father's legs and cried.

The image faded and changed, it was about fifty years later but they looked no different.

"No! I will never be like you! I will never kill like you do!" Melissa screamed. Her sire put a hand on her shoulder. "Congratulations. You have just condemned yourself to death." He growled. "Go. You won't be my Childe anymore. I will not be a Sire to such a failure."  He disappeared into the shadows around her.

Melissa dropped to her knees. "No, I won't make families motherless, childless, fatherless! I shall only drink what I need from those whose life has failed them." She cried to herself, tears falling down her cheeks she curled into a ball and cried into the night.

Melissa took a hand from his face. "He was right. I am a failure." She murmured, placing both hands on her lap she knelt on the floor in front of his piano stool.

"You're not a failure! It makes you stronger than the rest of them - like the one that killed James..." He muttered looking down at her.

She sighed, "it makes me weak. I couldn't even knock you down if I wanted to." She looked at her hands, to her they were stained red. She was a monster in her eyes.

"You can still feed properly and not kill someone surely." He queried.

"Of course I can! But what difference does that make?" 

"Well It means you can still be physically strong and not kill...?" He asked.

Melissa rolled her eyes. "But I'm not physically strong! I'm one of the weakest vampires I, and probably you know!" She growled.

"Maybe you just don't ... eat ... enough?" He suggested.

Melissa shook her head, her brown curls nimbly moving with her face. "It could be anything. But listen to me. Babbling on about myself. I told you I wasn't good company!" She looked down at the carpet, picking at the fibres.

"I've talked about myself more than you have." He muttered embarrassed.

Melissa got up, dusting herself off. "Not true. I even affected your mind without your permission! I'm sorry. You know what?" She paused, "this happens every time. I should just move towns again." She sighed, flaring out her dress again from where it had begun to get flat.

"Affected my mind? There's no reason to move town! You only just got here!" He bit his lower lip a little, before continuing. "This is the most sane I have felt since..." He paused, the name paining his memory. "since Gabriel.

"Oh! I'm sorry. I'm sure I could be nothing like him! I doubt it was me keeping you sane..." She trailed, she was useless, she couldn't even stop him drinking!

"Don't be sorry. You don't have to be. in fact the only reason I've ever talked to anyone was to order something, or to complain about a miscalculation on my electricity bill... for the last three hundred years... Any contact with someone that won't freak out over what I am is gonna keep me sane. Look, I didn't even touch that beer. It's still on the floor." He spoke with ease and confidence. The last few words surprised her, it was as if he knew what she was thinking.

Melissa paused she looked down at the beer then back at Lazarus. "And what will happen when I leave?" She asked, raising a perfectly curved eyebrow.

"What do you mean 'when'? And I don't know, probably go back to being drunk 99% of the time." He shrugged.

"Well, I can't stay here forever. The other Vampire will come and hunt me and try to kill me to claim territory." She stopped, shuddering at the thought of fighting another Vampire. "I'm not the strongest fighter so I should either flee or be killed."

Lazarus smiled grimly. "I'll get them. I might not have been amazing friends with James, but no one kills on my turf and gets away with it." He shot a pointed glance at Melissa.

"Don't. I don't want you to get into trouble over this...wait, your turf? Does that mean I'm trespassing?" She took half a step back, half expecting Lazarus to hit her.

"I won't get into trouble. I'm quite good at this, when I'm sober. And yes, I've managed to get away with living around this town for... getting on for sixty something years. No one cares. You could stay here a lot longer and no one would notice." He paused, hoping Melissa would agree to stay longer. "You're not trespassing. I give those that look like they're going to cause more trouble than they're worth a three day notice to move on before I start hunting." He smiled gently. "You're not causing any trouble."

Melissa smiled back. Then, without any warning just fell into him, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Thank you." She whispered into his ear.

He wrapped his arms around her comfortingly. "Thank you for what?" He asked, slightly bemused.

"For everything so far? For not killing me, for allowing me to stay..." She smiled, resting her head on his shoulder, looking off into the distance and out the window. She could just hear his gentle pulse in her ear.

"I've hardly done anything for not killing you and 'allowing you to stay', I can't say if I would have been sober enough to tell if you caused trouble at first."

Melissa let out a slight giggle. "Thank you anyway."


The End

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