Bag in hand, Melissa on his back and the sun tearing into the sky once again, Lazarus moved as quickly as he could without jolting Melissa’s sleeping form. He had no idea where they could go now. The woods were disorienting and he found himself going in a circle at one point. Cursing himself loudly as he dodged into the shade, he looked around. He wondered if the lodge house at Gabriel’s place was in use, or habitable. Never thought there would be an advantage to having a rich ex boyfriend. He began to head back to his old town. This could be the worst idea I’ve ever had.
The sun tried to reach through the trees, trying to catch them. He avoided the sun as much as he could, but he couldn’t help thinking that Melissa was probably getting little burns on her despite his best efforts. Eventually the burnt out shell of the manor house came into view. It looked deserted, but he wasn’t tempted by its charred innocence. He didn’t believe for one minute that the place wasn’t being watched. Keeping to the dark woodland that clustered around the house, he pushed onwards as quietly as possible to the lodge house. Nature had taken the little house long ago, growing in and around it. The first floor was nearly completely destroyed, the roof gone, the floorboards mouldering away. But at the very least, he could rest Melissa here on the ground floor.
Gently, he lowered her to the leafy ground, looking up at the little building, wondering if it was even safe enough to enter. He walked up to the door and pushed it gently. It creaked, but didn’t open. He shoved it, stumbling as it gave way. Taking a quick look around the inside, he decided that this was as good as it was going to get and far better than being out in the sun. He hurried back outside and picked Melissa back up, moving her inside. She didn’t stir, and Lazarus ended up watching her, concerned.
As the sun began to disappear beneath the horizon, Melissa’s eyes opened slowly, her eyes unfocussed. Lazarus reached forward, gripping her hand tightly.
‘Good evening,’ she smiled, her eyes focusing on Lazarus.
‘Evening,’ he smiled back at her, transfixed by her green orbs. Relief flooded through him at her smile. She let go of his hand, pushing herself up, doing her best to stand.
‘Ow,’ she muttered as she wobbled, trying to straighten her back. Lazarus stood beside her his hands ready to hold her up if she needed it. She took a step forward, tottering a little for a bit, before getting the hang of standing and walking around again.
‘Thank you.’ She smiled, walking back to Lazarus.
‘Any time.’ He smiled, kissing her. ‘I’m glad you’re better,’
‘Me too.’ She smiled, kissing him back. ‘I'm sorry I couldn't heal quicker.’ Lazarus raised an eyebrow at this.
‘How could you have recovered from something like that any quicker?’ he hadn’t been expecting an answer, but Melissa had one for him regardless:
‘If I drank stronger blood and more often,’ she sighed.
‘Um... right.’ Lazarus rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly and shrugged. ‘I’m gonna go get some pain killers for the transformation, okay?’
‘Oh, I'm sorry. That was awkward for you.’ She paused, his last sentence ringing in her head. ‘Wait, are you forgetting you're a wanted man?’ she looked at him shocked as he picked up his wallet. He turned to her and put the hood of his jacket up.
‘Think I look like I did when I went missing?’ he watched as she tried to make up her mind.
‘No. But, at least let me go with you.’ She said finally. He shrugged, stuffing his wallet in his pocket.
‘C’mon then,’ he said, reaching out his hand for her to take. She smiled and took his hand happily, letting him lead her out of the woods. Her smile dropped as she recognised the streets before them.
‘Lazarus...’ her tone was edged with a dangerous note. He glanced at her.
‘You've brought us back to the same town we came from. Where we first met?’
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘yes I have. We’re staying in the lodge house that used to be at the gates of Gabriel’s manor. No one knows it’s there anymore.’
‘Are you sure that’s wise?’ she asked doubtfully. He shook his head.
‘Nope. But it was daylight, I couldn’t get you in the sun, and I had to find somewhere before tonight.’ He said with a shrug. ‘Desperate times and all that,’ they turned a corner, not noticing at first the police car parked at the bottom of the road.
‘I trust you,’ she bowed her head before looking up into his eyes. He paused, a strange expression on his face.
‘Melissa, I’m not about to try and dominate you when we’re like this. We’re not a pack when we’re in this form, so don’t – oh bollocks,’ he cut off, noticing the police car at the end of the road.
‘You think your amazing disguise will work?’ She retorted, but instantly shut up.
‘Huh, thought you trusted me?’ he smiled and kissed her.
‘I do. Doesn't mean I can't be scared,’ she replied quietly as he took her hand again, leading her, half dragging her down the street. Right towards the police car. He took the side closest to the car so that when he looked at Melissa, his face was obscured.
‘I hope you know what you’re doing,’ she sighed, kissing his cheek quickly. He simply smiled and made idle chatter as they passed the car, making sure that he looked natural as he looked at Melissa. They were just an ordinary couple on the way to the shop. They rounded the corner and crossed the next road without incident.
‘See?’ he smiled. ‘We’ll try another route back though, I don’t wanna do that again.’ He laughed, the tension on his voice evident. She agreed, noticing his pulse had rocketed as they walked past the car. In the shop, he picked up more food, some vodka, pain killers and cigarettes. ‘Simple pleasures,’ he muttered as she scowled at him, ‘simple pleasures.’ The cashier certainly recognised Melissa, but he glared at Lazarus clasping her hand. As they left the shop, Melissa pulled him to the right, rather than going back the way they had come. He lit a cigarette as they walked, trying to keep the smoke from blowing back in Melissa’s face. A poster caught his eye and he came to a stop, looking at it intently. The poster had his face on it, a mug shot from when he was first pulled in.
“Lazarus Thorn. Wanted for the murder of Connor Hope and escaping detention” it read. Melissa looked from the poster to him and back again. “Blond hair, blue eyes, 5 ft. 10 in.” Underneath his description were reward details and a warning not to approach the criminal. His eyes hardened and he ripped the poster down, crumpling it with one hand, throwing it aside. He pulled Melissa on wordlessly, worry tugging at him. Definitely a bad idea coming back here, he thought bitterly, doing his best not to let the concern show. Melissa kept her mouth shut, following dumbly.
The woodland was in sight when a police officer walked right into their path. Unable to change directions without looking suspicious, Lazarus and Melissa were forced to continue in a straight line towards the officer. He looked up at Lazarus and frowned as if remembering something.
‘Lazarus Thorn!’ the man barked.
‘Bollocks,’ Lazarus muttered.