He kissed her again and wished with every particle of his being that he could change things. If he could have his way, Connor would never have come into their lives and they would be curled up on his sofa watching TV, or playing music. Not stuck in a cold apartment with a strange vampire that he couldn’t figure out. James bothered him more than he let the vampires know. Though Melissa had protested against his belief that James was in every way better than Lazarus, he still couldn’t see why Melissa still chose him. I’m being stupid. She chose me, right? Why question why she didn’t choose someone else when instead, I could be happy with the knowledge that she thinks I’m enough for her?
‘Better to have a muddled answer than no answer at all. Isn’t it?’ He asked softly, his eyes searching hers.
‘Well, I don't think it will be of much use to you.’ Afraid of what he might find with his penetrating gaze, she moved her eyes away, her gaze sliding down to the floor. Lazarus exhaled gustily and then shrugged nonchalantly. He couldn’t show her that her refusal to tell him what was on her mind was not only irritating, but hurting him. I’m too damn emotional. How do other guys manage to be so detached all the time?
‘Well if you’re not gonna tell me, I can’t force you. I want some smokes. Where’s my wallet these days?’ he sniffed and moved away, searching through the things Melissa had clung to for the last three weeks.
‘Lazarus, surely you do not need such things?’ Melissa moved towards him and placed a cool hand on his shoulder, turning him around. Her lips collided with his firmly, but there was no emotion in the kiss. Lazarus pulled away and stared at her for a moment, his face flushing.
‘Don’t do that. Don’t humiliate me like this.’ His lips pulled down into an unhappy scowl. She recoiled a little, her hair swinging around her face as her expression fell.
‘What?’ she asked.
‘You can’t just save me from the hunters like that, when I already have doubts about that James guy you’re wandering around with, tell me you love me and then do this! You tell me there’s something on your mind, but won’t let me know what it is. You tell me you had a bad dream about losing me and how everything fell apart, but then you scold me like a child for wanting a smoke, kissing me with no emotion! You’re giving me mixed signals, Melissa, and I’m not in any state to be able to deal with it!’ He was almost shouting by the end and he broke off suddenly, turning back to his things, seeing his wallet under a shirt. He grabbed both, shoving the wallet in his pocket and hastily pulling on the shirt. As he strode over to the door, Melissa grabbed his hand and held him back.
‘No. Don’t go. I’ll tell you, okay? Just please, don’t go.’ Lazarus turned around and though he didn’t pull his hand away from hers, his expression was one of tormented frustration.
‘I’m not doing this to force you to tell me, Melissa, I just want some smokes. Okay? Is that so hard to believe?’
‘No. I just don't want you to go, why do you need a cigarette anyway? You haven't needed one in weeks, months even.’ She protested, not letting go of his hand.
‘There’s a difference between “need” and “want”, Melissa.’ He said impatiently.
‘Why do you want one, then?’ she persisted. Lazarus did his best to not let his irritation show.
‘I’m more interested in the walk that’s required to get them. Though the nicotine is always nice.’
‘Then may I go with you? I suppose I could tell you as we walk.’ He shrugged and pulled the door open.
‘If you want’ he let her out and closed the door behind him quietly.
‘No, I think I need to. I will try to make it as simple as possible, it’s... vampire stuff’ she sighed a little as they set off.
‘Okay,’ he muttered, letting go of her hand as he walked down the corridor, shoving both his hands in his pockets as if to keep them warm.
‘Have you ever heard of something called “the shadow”?’ she asked as they made their way out into the chill night air. He shook his head, his lank hair slapping his face.
‘No, not really.’ He muttered.
‘It's unique to certain vampires. They only have to face the shadow when their emotions run high. Mine appeared when I was saying whether I loved you or not.’ She told him, attempting, as promised, to keep it simple.
‘And what’s it do?’ Lazarus grunted, turning a corner, looking around the unfamiliar streets for an off-licence.
‘When the emotions are proved to the shadow it is said that it will unlock a power, relative to that of the reason it is there. However...’ She stopped. ‘If not, the person could be consumed by the shadow. Becoming nothing, essentially... dying.’ She looked up at Lazarus, still walking too quickly, his body tense.
'Proved to the shadow?’ he echoed, not understanding.
‘Yes. In this case, it is to love and be loved in return. Although, every time I even feel love it tugs at my heart, twisting it. I don't know what I have to do.’
‘I love you. You know that.’ Lazarus stopped walking, turning to Melissa, his eyes trying to show her his sincerity.
‘No. I'm not so sure,’ she disagreed flatly. Lazarus was stung.
'How am I supposed to prove it to you, then?' He asked, a hint of pleading entering his voice. ‘I've already killed for you...' he put a hand on her upper arm, but she pulled away.
‘Then you left me. Just as quick.’ She snapped angrily.
'I already said that I thought it was for the best. I didn't want to go; I believed your life would just be easier without me in it. Give me a break; I was dying from the cold!’
‘Right. Sorry.’ She said indifferently and paused, ‘The cold forced you to think it would be best to leave me?’ she arched an eyebrow at him.
'It was a lot like being drunk. You do a lot of stupid things when you're drunk and think they're the best thing to do.’ He protested weakly.
‘I've been cold for centuries; does that mean my vision is clouded too?’
'I don't know,’ his shoulders slumped and he began to walk again.
‘Lazarus. I don't need you to kill for me. Just, trust me, be with me, never leave me! And don't promise me that you won't leave me because you broke that before!’ She growled, following him.
'Jesus, Melissa. How am I supposed to agree that I'll be with you and never leave you, if I'm not allowed to promise it?' he spun, stopping again.
‘I don't want you to just agree! I want you to do it!’ She cried.
'You're lucky I'm even alive!' he yelled.
‘Then maybe you shouldn't be!’ She sobbed, raising her hand to slap him. Her hand met his face with a loud crack and Lazarus stared at her for a second. His eyes hardened and he shook his head.
‘Maybe you’re right. I’ll just enjoy my last pack of smokes and then I’ll hand myself back over to the hunters. Sound like a good plan?’