A glass of sweet white wine sat atop the sleek black piano, Jacques and Lazarus both watching it as the hotel bar was filled with peaceful music. It shimmered in the light, teasing Lazarus as both his hands were kept occupied by his performance; Jacques keeping an eye on it to ensure he never had an empty glass.
Occasionally, he glanced out at the audience, flashing Melissa a warm smile. She was sat at the front, close to him, watching his serene smile. She didn't have a drink - not that she would have needed one anyway. His music was more intoxicating than alcohol and much more satisfying. He seemed either to be making the music up on the spot, or rediscovering compositions he had half forgotten. It was in fact, a mix of both. He was recalling old ideas and piecing them together with seamless improvisation. It kept the job more interesting, at least.
Usually he would go without the wine that Jacques was plying him with, but tonight, the alpha was sat at the bar, watching intently, his dark eyes boring into him. He was with a woman he vaguely recognized from the town, one arm loosely around her waist, the other resting along the edge of the bar, his fingers curled around a beer bottle. He could only assume she was his mate and avoided looking at her for too long.
He stopped for his break, standing and taking his glass of wine to Melissa's table as a battered old CD player filled in for him.
"Beautiful as always, sweet," Melissa complimented him as he took his seat opposite her. She smiled, taking one of his hands in hers as she spoke. He took a long sip of his wine and returned the smile.
"Thank you," he murmured, doing his best to ignore the alpha in the background.
She squeezed his hand softly, "you noticed them too?"
"How could I not?" he mumbled, "he's been staring at me the whole bloody time."
"You're the star of the show; of course he'll be looking at you. I've been looking at you." His smile turned slightly embarrassed.
"It's hardly a show. I'm supposed to be background noise, not a reason to come here," he muttered, looking down at his wine for a moment before taking another mouthful, "and you know I don't mind you looking at me," he leaned across the table and kissed her softly. But he's just intimidating, he finished in his head. He glanced up again. The woman with the alpha looked extremely bored, but he didn't. His eyes were closed now, and he was treating the bar stool as though it were a recliner.
She smiled and kissed him back, "why don't you ask him what he's looking at?"
"And challenge him? No," he shook his head, "we're lucky to have been offered a place in the pack at all, I'm not about to go off offending him." He looked up once more, taking in the woman's appearance now he had a chance to look for longer than a split second. He took in her lithe figure, with curves to rival Melissa's, and smiled a little. He didn't find her attractive at all. How could anyone enjoy being with someone who was so dangerously close to being orange, after all?
"No, no, I didn't mean that. I meant, ask him how he is, but..." she shrugged, "as uncomfortable as it is I don't mind, I like to hear you play... perhaps I may play my own melodies tomorrow. I haven't tried as a human in a long time."
"Mmm," he looked back at Melissa, appreciating her superior beauty. "I think I may visit the music shop in the city tomorrow. As much as I love the piano, variety is always appreciated," he smiled, "I've remembered why I find the violin so difficult; it's too small. I was much better at the viola."
"I find piano difficult," she held up her hands, "my hands are too small. The chords can be hard," she muttered. "But I didn't get any time to try anything else." He smiled.
"Well, you know you're welcome to practice on the one at home."
"I know, I don't have any sheet music to practice from and I think your compositions are way too hard."
"Well if you come with me, you can buy some sheet music tomorrow, while I'm choosing a viola," he murmured, draining his glass. Jacques appeared quickly, refilling the glass, reminding him he had only five minutes of his break left. "Merci," Lazarus muttered as the waiter straightened and walked away.
"I wouldn't know what to choose, I had a teacher to do everything for me," she muttered, "I know you hate rich kids that rely on servants but... it's not like I had a choice."
"Follow your instinct," he shrugged, apparently ignoring her last comment, "or try it out on one of the pianos on display." She noticed his ignorance and sighed.
"I've been following my instincts a lot lately, sometimes it's not always for the best," she laughed weakly.
"It's only sheet music," he smiled, "I'll write something for you instead if you really want."
His smile widened ever so slightly, "You know I'm happy to write more. I've yet to finish my other piece."
"Your other piece?"
"That one that had something missing from it. I think I know what it needed... you'll find out in a minute," he laughed, standing up, lifting his wine from the table, taking a sip as Jacques urged him to take his place back at the piano. He ignored the waiter, however, as she looked at him questioningly and nodded, allowing him to go.
He bent and kissed her on the cheek lovingly before striding back to the piano. Setting his glass back on the piano top he waited until the music from the CD had faded away and - out of habit - until the attention of the people in the bar was back on him.
He placed his fingers on the keys and pressed them down with gentle confidence as the music took over, guiding him. It was a piece of emotion; it was born from emotion, it travelled through a whole spectrum of emotion, some of which he hadn't realized he needed for it until earlier, as Melissa clung to him, crying tears that he had caused. It was a piece of love, lust, anger, longing, jealousy, happiness and recently discovered guilt and resolved fears.
He glanced over at Melissa with a half smile as he slid faultlessly into their song; the rest of the bar, the alpha and his mate melting away into nothingness. After all, nothing but Melissa mattered to him.