Lazarus pushed through into his living room, wearily noticing the early morning light creeping across the carpet. He pointed Melissa in the direction of the pizzas in the fridge and asked her to put any old one in.
‘All of it?’ she asked doubtfully as he wandered off to his bedroom.
‘Please. I’m starving.’ He called, pulling his uniform shirt off. Dubiously, Melissa unwrapped the pizza and heated the oven. Lazarus swore loudly, making Melissa look up in alarm.
‘What’s up?’ she asked, abandoning the pizza to the mercy of the temperamental oven.
‘I ran out of clean clothes. I ripped my last outfit earlier and now all the rest are dirty. I need to go clothes shopping again. Every month. Every bloody month.’ Melissa watched as he tore into a pile of clothed by the side of his bed.
‘Put them in the washing machine then,’ she said bluntly, momentarily doubting his intelligence. He nodded, more to himself than to Melissa, throwing an armful of clothes on the floor.
‘Later.’ He looked up at her and realised she was blushing, looking away from his half naked form standing in the middle of the room. ‘Sorry.’ He muttered, hastily picking a shirt up off the floor. He had been alone doing whatever he wanted for far too long.
‘It’s fine.’ She said, watching his trembling fingers struggle to button the shirt up. ‘You’re shaking,’ she whispered, reaching for his hand. He shivered and nodded, finishing with the buttons.
‘I’m ok, I just need to eat.’ He told her, trying to make his tone comforting, but Melissa was not impressed by this.
‘Why don’t you eat more?’ she asked, her tone reproaching.
‘It doesn’t occur to me until I’m sober enough to think.’ He blushed, ashamed of himself. Melissa let out a frustrated sigh and shook her head.
‘Do you have any more alcohol in here?’ she asked suspiciously, her green eyes flashing dangerously. He shook his head.
‘No.’ He told her. He hoped that the lie would convince her and that she would just drop it, but he didn’t really believe that she actually would. Unfortunately she saw straight through him.
‘You’re lying,’ she accused, studying his face, ‘you don’t need to lie to me, Lazarus.’ She sighed and looked away, hiding the pain his lie caused. He exhaled slowly, hooking a finger under her chin gently, tilting her head so she looked up at him.
‘Sorry,’ he grimaced. ‘I just... sorry.’ He didn’t know what to say – he had no excuse for lying, other than to try not to worry her, but the lie had only made it worse. He felt the guilt twisting at his guts as she closed her eyes against him. She opened them again and sighed, taking his hand away. He let it drop to his side and wished he hadn’t seen what she was going to say in her eyes before she said the words.
‘You know what? Never mind. Go ahead and drink, but just remember that it won’t make anything better.’ The words assaulted him and he felt the wrench in his chest beating at his heart. Unable to speak, he turned and left her standing in his room by the pile of dirty clothes. She dropped her head and sighed again, quickly following after him.
She watched as he bent over the oven and cursed as he pulled it out with his bare hands. He pulled it out of the oven onto a plate and cut it up into sixths, passing Melissa on his way to the sofa. He flopped into the cushions and sat with the plate on his lap, but he didn’t touch them, staring at the blank TV screen.
‘I’m sorry, okay?’ she said from the doorway of the kitchen. She looked out of the window and tugged at her bottom lip with her sharp teeth. ‘What are we going to do later? When you turn again.’
‘It’s fine. And you’ll hide somewhere, if you’re sensible, long before the moon appears. I’ll just go to the woods, like normal. They’re a few miles out of town. Don’t come looking for me, just stay out of that vampire’s way.’ He looked up at her, his cold eyes hard with self hatred. ‘I’ll be back by about nine in the morning.’ She turned to speak but found she couldn't.
‘Okay.’ She agreed. Her stomach lurched at his cold stare. ‘I think I better go, I'm not a morning person.’ She smiled weakly, staring out the window, watching the sun rising. Its light was as pale as Lazarus’ eyes but it wouldn’t last.
‘Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.’ He turned back to the TV, glancing down at the pizza on his lap going cold. He had lost his appetite. Melissa left, shutting the door quietly behind her. He looked at the pizza again and his lips turned downward and feeling suddenly sick, he threw the plate across the room, curling up on the sofa, staring blankly at the wall next to the TV.