Lazarus watched with sad eyes as she ran away from him. He listened as she slammed a door behind her somewhere above him. Shaking his head, he followed, pushing his hair out of his eyes as he squinted in the bright of the ground floor after the gloom of the basement. He followed the sounds of her sobs as he walked, finding her in the study where she had slept. The room was darkened by the covered window, but he could see her clearly.
‘Melissa, why are you being so ridiculous?’ he asked, his voice betraying his growing impatience.
‘Because it’s true! I’m sorry, okay? You are a werewolf, and I am a vampire. Our races have been fighting so long, we just can’t coincide with each other.’ She glared up at him through the dim space between them. He was shocked by her words – she hadn’t mentioned the conflict between their races before, neither of them had. It had never interfered before. Realising this he growled.
‘That didn’t stop you before! You’ve helped me, you’ve saved me, I’ve hurt and killed for you, and this had never been a problem, til now. Stop making weak excuses, make your mind up! Do you want me or not?’ Lazarus’ face set in a hard scowl as his anger began to take over.
‘I want you,’ her voice showed Lazarus her love, desire, her passion for him, ‘but... I don’t deserve you.’ She frowned. Lazarus wished there was a wall right in front of him to hit. He was rooted to the spot, unable to turn and punch the one next to him.
‘What are you on about now?’ he tried to conceal his lingering fury, but failed. Melissa closed her eyes against his piercing eyes for a moment. Her eyes remained closed as she spoke:
‘You are... you are so kind, loving, protective... handsome. And these heavily outweigh the bad sides. I am nothing in comparison,’ her voice dropped to a low whisper as she finished the sentence, her lips twitching into a small smile. She could not face his hurt rage, so she kept her eyes shut. He sighed and shifted his weight onto one foot, leaning into the door frame, letting the old building support him.
‘And you believe you are none of these things, too?’ he questioned, only frustration lacing his tone, now. ‘Open your eyes Melissa. Look at me,’ his voice took that commanding tenor and reluctantly, she peeked out from under her lashes.
‘What?’ she quivered, unsure.
‘Do you really think you’re not kind, loving, protective and beautiful? Confusing and stubborn, yes, but you’re also stronger than me. I’m the alcoholic wreck, remember? You weren’t. If that doesn’t make us at the very least equal, then you surpass me on every level.’ He softened his voice, attempting to calm her down, but he wasn’t sure if it was working. She shook her head.
‘I would disagree, but I’m tired of arguing with you.’ She sighed. Lazarus rolled his eyes and let his head fall back so he was staring at the ceiling. He was trying to think of the right thing to say, but the words wouldn’t come. He righted his head again and gazed at Melissa absently, only half there. He was trying not to add to the bad memories that this house already held.
‘Please let’s not add to the despair this place already has? Can we not just get on without feeling the need to disagree on everything?’ He took a step towards her and dropped to a crouch, so he was at the same level as she was on the floor.
‘Yes. If anything, we should lighten this area. It deserves it.’ Melissa nodded slightly. Lazarus smiled inwardly, relieved slightly.
‘Lighten?’ he queried.
‘Spread some joy... or something. I’m sure this is a poor representation of how Gabriel lived.’ She smiled and reached out a hand, touching Lazarus’ cheek gently. A muscle in his jaw jumped at the mention of Gabriel and he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He stood up.
‘Not tonight. Last night of the cycle in a few hours...’ he turned away, biting back the cry that fought behind his teeth. He pushed his hand through his hair, grabbing the strands in a tight fist. ‘Damn Gabriel! I just want to forget!’ he said, unable to hold the words back.
‘You can’t. You can move on, but never forget. I understand that.’ She smiled, though he couldn’t see. She rose from where she had been sat, moving behind him and kissing him softly on the cheek. He moved his face away.
‘No. I want to forget. I want to forget the look on his face when he saw what I had become, how he laughed hysterically, not even trying to move or get away from me. The... the sound of his screams as I hurt him. I need to forget!’ He clapped his hands to his temples, squeezing as if it would force the memories away, bending out of Melissa’s reach. She grasped both of his hands gently in her own and leant her head on his back.
‘Lazarus... I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?’ she asked as she lowered her hands from his face, placing them on his shoulders, lifting her head. She turned him around to face her and waited for him to open his eyes. He dropped his hands to his side, but his jaw remained clenched shut.
‘I don’t know... I don’t know,’ he muttered, his body becoming limp in her grip. Lethargy pulled at him and he began to feel sick. Her hands on his shoulders seemed to grow colder as his body became more distant. ‘I don’t feel so good.’ He moaned softly. His eyelids fluttered open and vaguely he registered Melissa’s frown of concern as she steadied him.
‘Your temperature is rocketing,’ she muttered, though he didn’t really hear. She swore and told him to lie down, settling his head on some books as a makeshift pillow. He just had to get ill before his transformation, didn't he?