The next day was spent practicing. She wanted everything to be perfect, but she knew they would still hate her by the end of the night. She took a few hours before the date to curl her hair, to pick out a long flowing purple dress and to make sure she was looking okay, despite Lazarus’ constant flattery.

But now she stood on the dimly lit stage, everyone’s eyes on her as she stood, gazing out at them, "what would you like me to play, Lazarus?"

"Anything you want," he shrugged, "you lead, I’ll follow."

"You won't know anything I play."

"I'm capable of improvising."

She nodded, though, as she stood upon the stage her heart raced. She couldn't improvise, nor could she see the notes of an already composed piece. She panicked, and she let her violin fall to her side. "I can't do this," she whispered. 

"You can," Lazarus murmured.

She took a deep breath, but as she re-opened her eyes to see a thousand looking at her she shook her head, "no, I really can't."

"You can," he repeated, his voice urging her comfortingly.

She closed her eyes and pulled the bow across the strings, making it squeak in protest as her hands shook. "No..."

"Stand closer to me," he told her, "I'll play our song. Join in when you're ready, yeah?"

"No, I can't," she breathed with a slight gasp as she walked closer to him, laying her violin on top of his piano. "This is your forte," she whispered, sprinting down the few stairs off the stage.  He closed his eyes, bringing the piece to a coda, before apologising and following her. "I just can't do it," she shook her head, her hands nervously trembling.

He took her hands in his and smiled, kissing her softly, "I know, it's hard. Just close your eyes and play like we're at home."

"I can't Lazarus, everything is just... gone."

"Take a few moments to get it all back. Breathe deep, try to relax," he murmured, moving his arms around her.

She breathed deeply, her hands on her chest, "but I'll just stand up there and forget it all again."

"No you won't. Stand close to me, and pretend we're alone."

She looked at him nervously, but swallowed and nodded. "Okay." He kissed her forehead and smiled.

She stood upon the stage with him, her bow and violin back in her hands and she brought it to her neck. With a deep breath, she closed her eyes and tuned everything out, sitting slightly on the edge of Lazarus' stool as she managed to bring out a soft, high note on her strings. As he began to play, he smiled, but she couldn’t see.

She took an emotion, in this case love and allowed the sweet melody to play; mixing it with the fast paced lust she had played before. But she could taste Lazarus on her lips, his hands caressing her curves and she let out a slight shudder as she changed back to love, making the melody sweeter and softer as she felt his arms come to a halt round her waist and his lips softly crushed hers.

He continued to play as she stopped, allowing him to improvise on his own for a while before continuing beneath him in a softer melody, her heart-rate still beating briskly as she could still hear people around her. Then she stopped with a long, high note before placing her violin down again. A film of sweat appearing on her brow as she zoned in and the noise came back.  

He finished his piece neatly a moment later and smiled, looking around as people started to clap and she smiled weakly too before she rose, departing once more without a single look to the audience. A few people began to call after her, demanding her back as Lazarus followed her again, "I'm flustered, sweet. I'm boiling," she whispered, answering his unasked question.

He kissed her on the cheek and smiled, "see, you were great. They want you back."

But she still remained stubborn, "I don't see why," she replied, wiping the sweat from her forehead.

"Fool," he muttered, shaking his head with a half smile, but she wasn’t smiling.

"Of course, well, there are a handful of people that want me back. I shan't go against the majority."

He tilted his head, "we're in a bar. You swayed modern idiots with your music. I think it's a fair achievement."

She shrugged, "I see nothing here," she muttered, her heart not slowing as she only proved to become hotter.

He rolled his eyes, "stubborn, you said. Stubborn doesn't cover it."

"I'm sure, I'm worse," she staggered, her breathing still fragmented slightly as her fear continued to set in.

"C'mon," he smiled, "let's have a glass of wine and go home, yeah?"

"Yeah," she nodded.

He took her hand, walking with her over to the bar. Taking a seat on a bar stool, he ordered his drink and glanced at Melissa.

"One wine and one glass of ice," she ordered and then when it came she sipped the wine and pressed the cool glass to her forehead, instantly freezing away her nervousness as her fever subsided.

He sipped at his wine quietly, looking at it thoughtfully. When the ice began to melt she placed it on the bar before taking a few more sips of the glistening golden nectar before her. "I'm going to grab my violin," she smiled, walking back up to the stage, she felt rather better after cooling off and having a glass of wine. Someone at one of the tables looked up and whooped, "play some more!"

She shook her locks softly, "I'm sorry," she apologised in a mousey voice, bowing slightly.

"Why not? You're great!" He hollered again.

She pushed a smile onto her lips and pulled her index finger in front of her face, indicating that she would play, just once more. But as she played, the note screeched. She swallowed and sighed, shaking her head again before departing from the stage again.

As she returned to the bar, Lazarus put his arm around her, "it just takes practice."

"I don't care, I made a fool of myself and I'm never coming back," she huffed.

"Don't be ridiculous."

"I'm not! I shook, I turned red, I got flustered and I squeaked! I can't come back."

"Of course you can," he smiled comfortingly, but she didn’t buy it.

"No, Lazarus. I can't, this whole night was just one big mistake,” she persisted.

He sighed and squeezed her gently, standing. "Okay. I'm sorry I made you come."

“You didn’t make me come, I knew this would happen, I was made to live in the shadows and I should stay there,” she smiled, taking his hand. He returned the grip and they walked out of the hotel where the cool breeze hit her with an embrace that brought her back to her undead days and she sort of missed the chill feeling. She pulled away slowly, "I'm sorry, I'm not in the mood, sweet."

He nodded, "let's go home."

"I'll meet you there."

"...okay," he muttered uncertainly

"See you later, Lazarus."


The End

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