It was still dark when Lazarus awoke, his head pounding, his mouth and throat horribly dry and he was alone. Melissa had gone. He sighed and turned over onto his back, blinking and rubbing the sleep dust out of his eyes.
‘The sleeping beauty is awake, then.’ Melissa’s voice floated through his door only a moment before her face appeared in the doorway. ‘I went to get changed; I hope I didn’t wake you.’ Lazarus grunted and shook his head as best he could lying down. The pillow rustled quietly beneath his head as he moved and Melissa smiled, her bright red lips curving upwards in the dark, shimmering in some unseen light source. She wandered over to the bed, swaying ever so lightly. Lazarus tried to keep his eyes off her lithe body, but he couldn’t. Why are men and women so attractive? He closed his eyes, blocking out the unfamiliar feelings.
‘You were quiet last night,’ Melissa told him as she sat on the edge of the bed with him.
‘Every night you call for Gabriel, but you didn’t last night.’ She elaborated. Lazarus kept his eyes closed, trying to stop himself from flushing, but the shame was evident on his face.
‘How embarrassing,’ he muttered, ‘calling out for someone in my sleep like a child for their mother after a nightmare.’ He opened his eyes and watched Melissa’s reaction. Her smile had faded.
'It's not embarrassing. But it was good you were at peace.' She reached out a hand and brushed the back of her slender fingers on his rough cheek. He reached up and pulled her hand away, grimacing. ‘I need to shave. I need to have a shower and sort myself out.’ Melissa dropped her hand, silently smarting that he had pushed her away. Inhaling, she pushed the negativity away and let him get up. He grabbed the cleanest clothes he could find and left the vampire sitting on his bed. He hadn’t meant to be so cold, but her touch had aroused some emotion in him that instantly had him inwardly begging for Gabriel.
As he stood under the hot water, vulnerable and naked, he cursed himself. Why am I so weak? He looked up at the shower head and let the jets of water pound his face. Eventually he got out, scrubbing himself dry and dressing himself in his baggy, semi-clean clothes. Wiping the steam from the mirror, Lazarus picked up an old can of shaving foam and swore violently when it sputtered and dribbled a thimbleful of white goo. He frowned at himself in the mirror and was tempted to punch it for a moment.
‘I need to go shopping more often.’ He mumbled to himself. Abandoning the notion of neatening himself up, he left the bathroom with a scowl etched on his face, as though he had spent his time in the cramped little room carving the glowering expression into his face.
He thumped around the apartment, his temper rising as he made a list of all the things he had run out of about a week ago. Melissa wandered into the living room and sat quietly on the piano stool where he had left it by the window. She looked up at the sky and through the smog, town fumes and light pollution she saw the moon, very nearly full. She wasn’t sure which of the two was worse – watching the moon swell, or watching Lazarus in such a temper. He was looking for his wallet now, and he was not succeeding.
‘It’s in the kitchen, Lazarus,’ she told him as he began to pull the cushions off the sofa. He looked up, surprised. He hadn’t noticed her there.
‘Thanks.’ He said gruffly, rising and moving into the kitchen. He sighed and came to a stop, his hand resting on the brown leather wallet. ‘I’m going to Tesco. I’ll be back in a bit.’ At this Melissa stood up.
‘I don’t think I should let you go on your own, Lazarus.’ She told him, hoping that he didn’t take her words badly. He turned his stormy face to hers and she winced a little at the anger and hurt she saw in his eyes.
‘Don’t trust me, huh?’ he sniffed and turned away, glaring at the crumpled paper bag sitting on the counter tauntingly. ‘I don’t blame you.’ The pain laced his voice as he spoke and he dropped his gaze to his hands. He realised he was trembling; he couldn’t remember the last time he ate. Note to self, diet of vodka doesn’t work.