Eventually their embrace had to break. There was a sharp rapping on the door and Lazarus sighed, letting go of Melissa.
‘We’re just coming.’ He called. He opened the door and the police officer was taken aback to see Lazarus smiling back at him, clean, shaven and returned to his old handsome self. Mostly. The short sleeved shirt he had on showed the scars on his wrists and now the beard had gone, there were little marks on his face where silver had touched his face. ‘Problem?’ Lazarus asked as the police man gawped at him.
‘No, no,’ the officer shook his head and walked off, expecting them to follow. Lazarus locked his door behind them and they set off after the man.
‘So I’m allowed to go free after I’ve told you everything I know?’ Lazarus asked as the Sergeant readied his paper to take notes.
‘Yep. We’ll say you were falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned or something. Clean your slate for you. If we get these so called hunters, then it’s worth it.’ the man looked up at Lazarus expectantly.
‘Right...’ Lazarus related all he knew, Melissa gripping his hand ready for when he began to run out of things to say. When he faltered, she began to show him her memories of the place, and he did his best to relate them to the man. It was his record being cleared after all, not hers.
‘And that’s about it,’ Lazarus finished, looking at the Sergeant’s pad of paper. The man looked up at Lazarus and half smiled. ‘Was it enough?’
‘It’s more than we knew before. We’ll find out if it was enough some time soon. Anyway, you ought to go. I’ll wipe your record tonight and prepare a public apology later. You’ll be escorted back home. PC Bennett will keep watch on your door for a couple of nights til you’re apologised to.’ He grimaced, ‘I can’t believe I’m letting a murderer back into society,’ he shook his head and Lazarus closed his eyes for a moment, reining in his temper. Melissa kissed Lazarus’ cheek quickly with a smile and stood.
‘Thank you, sir. I do believe it will never happen again,’ Lazarus tried to smile, but the Sergeant called for the officer that had escorted them to the station.
‘You’re to escort them back to the apartment, and keep watch for a couple of days.’ The Sergeant said. The officer’s face dropped, but he pulled his expression back quickly. He led them out of the building wordlessly and drove to the apartment block in silence. Lazarus watched the flashing concrete and lights pass them by outside, his eyes glazed over. He had the nagging sensation that this was not the end of it. James was still around. James... that bastard. He still didn’t understand why James had helped them escape, though. He blinked as Melissa talked to him.
‘Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said,’ he muttered.
‘We’re here.’ She said, staring at him with a strange expression on her face. ‘You ok?’ he nodded and got out the car. The three of them were quiet as they walked back to Lazarus’ apartment. He let them into the little apartment and he looked awkwardly at PC Bennett.
‘You should probably go,’ Lazarus said with a hint of warning in his voice.
‘Got orders to stay haven’t I? Gotta stay.’ Bennett said uncertainly. ‘Why should I go?’ Lazarus’ eyes were hard, still slightly glazed and his expression was deadly serious.
‘I have a feeling I will be receiving a visit from an unfriendly party. I don’t want you to get hurt.’ Lazarus said, leaning on his door frame.
‘That’s exactly why I’m here, Mr. Thorn.’ Bennett frowned as Lazarus shook his head.’
‘This unfriendly party will kill you if he sees you around here. And I will be blamed for it. I’ve only just got out of the last conviction. I can’t do that to Melissa. Please, go.’ The police man faltered. ‘Even if you go sit outside in your car down the road or something, you can’t be seen here.’
‘Lazarus?’ Melissa called from inside the apartment. He turned and went to his bedroom where she was sitting on the end of the bed waiting for him, leaving the front door open. ‘What are you talking to him about?’ she whispered.
‘Trying to persuade him to go, I have a feeling James will be wanting to “talk”.’ He grimaced.
‘I have a feeling if he does you’re not going to listen.’ Melissa sighed.
‘He won't be talking Melissa; I meant it in the loosest sense possible. Anyways, can you help me get the police guy away from here? James won't let him live if he's seen around here, and I don't want to go down for a murder I didn't even commit.' He gave her a worried look and she reluctantly slid off the bed.
‘Sure.’ She walked to the open front door and smiled up at Bennett batting her eyelashes at him. Lazarus put his hands on her shoulders, standing behind her. He watched Bennett as she talked. ‘Officer?’ she said sweetly.
‘You’re gonna want me to go aren’t you?’ he pulled a face.
‘We just want you to be safe, and I don’t want to lose Lazarus again,’ she smiled and beckoned him closer. As he approached, she reached up and kissed him on the cheek lightly, ‘please?’ she added as she pulled away. Lazarus tightened his grip on her shoulders a little and she reached a hand up to his, interlacing their fingers comfortingly. Bennett nodded dumbly and walked off grumbling something about getting fired. They turned back into the apartment, shutting the door on the outside world, sealing themselves into their own temporarily peaceful little world.
‘Ah, my piano.’ Lazarus smiled as he turned to it. He walked over to it and ran a hand over the keys, brushing some of the dust off. He sat on the stool and beamed up at Melissa. ‘Care to play?’ Melissa returned his smile and picked up her violin. They lost themselves together in the melodies, each of them watching the clock as it ticked past midnight.