‘What's wrong?' Lazarus asked, concerned as he followed her into the apartment.
‘They're dead.' Melissa replied morosely.
‘They've been there a long time.' He said with a slight shrug.
‘So have we.' She smiled, her mind clicked and a mischievous grin spread across her face.
‘Yeah... What's that grin for?' Lazarus asked, watching as she filled the glass full of clean water and bit her wrist, allowing a few drops of blood to fall into the liquid.
‘Something that can cause death can also bring life.' She muttered, smiling as the wilted flowers stood back up, the dead brown flowers opening again, gaining the petals they had lost and regaining their soft pearl white look and she smiled, picking one out from the bunch she gave it to Lazarus. ‘Thank you.' She smiled holding the rose out in her hand.
‘Impressive,' he laughed, taking it from her. ‘I'd ask if you want to dance,' he said, putting the stem of the rose between his teeth with a playful smile. ‘But they took my stereo.' he grumbled, taking the rose from his mouth again.
She laughed. ‘This may sound cliché but I never learnt to dance. I hated going to the balls.'
‘Gabriel made me learn. I had to fit in. I've probably forgotten it all anyway.' he chuckled.She held out her arms, like she had seen the dancers do before, the beginnings to a song playing in her head.
‘What song?' He asked, taking her in his arms, smiling at their unorthodox clothing. Or lack of, in his case.
‘I cannot remember the name, only the tune. I'm s-- Oh right, it's banned.'
‘Doesn't matter about the name, I won't remember it from a name. I meant share it with me in my mind,' his smile only widened. She shared it with him, the song getting louder as she lost herself in the tune. The violins played along with the pianos, the cellos and the flutes. They all sung in harmony and she lost herself as she had done so many times before.
He smiled recognising it as something he had heard many times in the old ball rooms. Clumsily, he stepped in time to it, eventually remembering the dance. Once he had recalled it, he showed Melissa what her part in the dance was. She nodded, following him clumsily at first, but picking up grace as she practiced the steps with him.
‘Still a quick learner,' he grinned.
She smiled. ‘Thank you.' She took a deep breath, knowing of something to make him happy. At least, she hoped it would. She imagined the brightly lit gold and cream ballroom, a room filled only with a playing band, no dancers apart from her and Lazarus. The candles slowly flickered on the walls and the rich gold adornments glinted in their light. She wore a long red gown and her hair fell gracefully down her back. Lazarus wore a suit; their eyes sparkling as they met each other's. In reality they were still in his apartment; it was just a small trick she had picked up.
He beamed, looking around the room. Taking in what she had conjured up for him, he turned back to her and kissed her deeply. She smiled kissing him back; white roses suddenly appeared in some of the vases around the room and in the button holes of the minstrels. ‘I'm glad you like it.'
‘It's very convincing for someone who claims she hated ballrooms.'
‘Oh I do, when they're full.' She bit her lip as her small lie had been found out. ‘This is actually our family's ballroom.' She smiled.
‘But you don't hate this?' He asked, biting on his lower lip a little, not wanting her to be doing this just for him.
‘No. I love this. I hated it when I sat in the ballroom, and constantly be asked to dance. By people I never would dance with, not that I could. But if I could, I still wouldn't have.' She smiled, ‘But I like this.'
He kissed her again. ‘Good.' His eyes glimmered happily as he began to move again, steering her in the dance as the band behind them played just for them.
‘I don't know why I didn't learn sooner.' She smiled as he took her spinning around the bright room. ‘It's wonderful.'
‘It's boring dancing with the wrong person.' He murmured, remembering the times when he had been made to dance with the wrong people.
‘I wouldn't know. But I'm sure I broke a few hearts in my denial.' She sighed.
‘Possibly, but I'm pretty sure that they asked you knowing you would say no.' He smiled as they twisted around the room together. ‘I'm glad you said yes to me, though.'
‘Why would I deny you a dance?' She grinned. ‘I would never dream of saying no.'
‘I don't know. Perhaps you might have if I'd asked you when we were human.'
‘Were you the same as you are now when you were human?' He shook his head and she looked at him shocked, stopping their movements. ‘No? What were you like then?'
‘I didn't have four hundred years of alcoholism and debauchery under my belt.' He shrugged, restarting the dance. ‘I was innocent.'
‘Well, if you like, I could show you what I was like and then you can decide for yourself if you would have been taken by me.'
‘Go for it,' he said. Melissa again stopped, pulling him from the ballroom floor. ‘Look over there, look to the painting there.' She pointed to the corner where an apparition of her appeared. She was wearing an emerald green and cream dress, her brunette curls were tied up with pearls and green ribbon and she sat with her head lost in a book. Whilst her mother looked upon her in disapproval many men looked at her in awe. The dance floor was filled with dancers and a thin line of chat lay below the loud music. ‘There.' She sighed, embarrassed.
He watched the image of her in the past, and he smiled as she turned the men away. ‘No, you'd have treated me like the others.'
‘Oh I'm not so sure.' She smiled, venturing closer to herself just as another man propositioned her. ‘Please may I have this dance, Miss Rose?' He asked his hand outstretched and his head bowed. She looked up; shaking her head firmly and Melissa mimed the words as her ghost spoke them. ‘No, I am terribly sorry. May I ask why you would like this dance?' The apparition looked very stern and Melissa laughed. ‘You are very striking.' He replied to which the ghost smiled. ‘Then my sister may like a dance, I however am busy.' She smiled warmly and went back to her book. Melissa turned to Lazarus. ‘I was so mean.'
‘You might not be so sure, but as a human, I was certainly no better than any of those men. Not to mention my background before I even came within a mile of a place like this.'
‘Neither was Albert, but he captured my heart in a flicker. Look.' She smiled as Albert entered the hall, his long blonde hair tied back by a navy ribbon that matched his suit. He instantly walked over to her, a white rose in his hand and asked for the dance just as the others had done. To which he got the same reply, but his answer was; ‘I am a poor boy and a dance with you would make this life seem so much grander.' Melissa grinned as she saw her past self as she threw down the book and take his hand, but they never got to dance. The previous man began to have a fight with Albert and Melissa stopped the ghosts, making the room fade back to the empty ballroom.
‘Maybe not, but silence is golden.' She laughed. ‘But we will never know and dwelling on it will not make anything better.' She beamed, ‘although I was still as pale then as I am now.' She laughed.
‘Hmm. You should have lived closer to London.' He grinned.
‘Maybe, I did visit on a very many occasions. I loved to go watch the plays.'
‘It's so strange to think that we might have seen each other before, and not known it. I mean, if you liked plays in London, it's quite likely we did see each other; I worked in a lot of theatres.' Lazarus mused, quietly trying to remember if he had ever seen her before.
‘Quite possibly, forgive me if I don't remember you, I have seen so many faces it all becomes a blur.'
He smiled. ‘No, it's fine. I can't remember you either. I've seen too many faces, and I have drank half of Russia dry in the last four hundred years for my memory to work all that well.'
She sighed, allowing the ghostly room to fade, leaving them in their normal clothes in Lazarus' apartment. ‘Which you never find answers at the bottom of a bottle Mr. Thorn!' She laughed, shaking her head in jest her hand placed firmly on her hips.
‘I was never looking for answers, Miss Rose.' He replied with a faint smile. She shuddered, dropping her hands from her hips.
‘I have no relation to my father. Rose is a ridiculous name for a ridiculous family.'
‘Ah, my sincerest apologies,' he smiled, brushing her hair back.
‘No. Its fine, I won't have to bear it for long anyway.'
‘Perhaps I should refer to you as Mrs. Thorn, then.'
‘If you so wish.'
‘I do wish. Mrs. Thorn.' He grinned.
She laughed. ‘Then, so be it.'
‘I always used to hate my last name, until you agreed to bear it. It seemed a lot better then.' he said with a chuckle.
‘Great...' she mumbled, ‘I find it better than Rose, or Rose-Thorn.' She giggled.
‘Hmm. Hidden by every rose there is the inevitable bed of thorns, how fitting.' He murmured thoughtfully
She sighed. ‘You are not, as your name may depict, a thorn or any nuisance of any kind, you're being pessimistic again!'
‘I wasn't. I was thinking about the family difference. For every one of your family, there was one bed shared by a whole family.' He laughed at his own random mental leap.
She laughed, ‘And now I share a bed with you, how the tables have turned.'
‘Yeah, but you don't have to share it with the rest of my family.'
‘No and I never will. You're as close as it gets.'
‘Yeah, thank God for that.'
She giggled. ‘If I did have to I would have murdered my sisters by now. But, you are a very wonderful person to share a bed with... when you're not having nightmares.'
He laughed loudly at that. ‘Yeah, try sleeping with a kid going through puberty, growing in all sorts of awkward angles. No wonder my father hated me.'
She giggled. ‘Then I'm lucky I didn't have a little brother?'
‘Oh well, you grew up to be quite fine!' She grinned, knowing he would probably make a melancholy remark about alcohol again.
‘I had good dog training?' he suggested, knowing what she would think about the words that had immediately jumped to mind.
She laughed. ‘Well you are rather obedient, for me anyhow. But that's because you always get treats more often than not.' She giggled.
‘Yeah well you were the one that tamed me.' His eyes smiled warmly.
‘I did no such thing.' She retorted.
‘The wolf has never been quiet before.' He said calmly. ‘You didn't "domesticate" me like the hunter apparently plans to. It was quite different,' he smiled reassuringly.
‘As long as your wolf doesn't plan to take me as his mate,' she said, laughing dryly.
‘You're forgetting that we're the same thing in one body, Melissa,' he chuckled.
‘Oh great,' she murmured.
‘I like to think I'm more human than wolf, though.' he muttered
‘Yeah but still, I don't want to be a wolf mate...' She groaned. He contemplated for a moment, remembering how the wolf had reacted to her when he had woken up from the first hunter dream.
‘Hmm... Maybe you're not. We do seem to have a few differences when it comes to you,' he said, the memory flashing into her mind too.
‘Good, although. I would hate for the wolf to find another werewolf to be his mate. That would tear you so.' She thought for a moment. ‘Although, I suppose I will worry about it another day. I'm feeling tired what with all my powers that I've been using.' He nodded. The idea of the wolf finding another mate had never crossed his mind before. He pushed the thought away before it could settle in his mind.
‘I'm really sorry about that,' he sighed, ‘I just hope the hunter wore himself out after that dream, too, so you can get some rest.'
She nodded. ‘I think he made it clear that "he was coming," as for the powers never mind. I'll get them back.'
‘Yeah, but like he said, we're all predictable. He might have realised you would protect me and spend all your energy.' He bit his lip. ‘What if he's waiting for you to weaken?'
‘Then he's already missed his chance. I'm getting stronger from now on.'
‘But who's to say... ugh, never mind. I'm being pessimistic now.'
‘If he comes back in your head I will be able to deal with it better seeing as it won't have been the first time. The first time really takes it out of you.' She groaned, slowly taking off her clothes as she spoke. He nodded wordlessly and swapped his jeans for his jogging trousers. She lay down on the bed gazing up at the ceiling. ‘But for tonight I just hope we can both get some rest.'
He joined her and sighed, ‘yeah, me too.' She curled up against him like she had in the elevator, except laid down, her arms wrapped around him, her head on his chest and her legs tucked close to her in a tight ball. ‘Good night, angel.'
‘Good night Melissa.' He replied, wrapping his arms around her comfortably, a slight shiver coming to him as they lay without the duvet, but Melissa soon warmed up next to him and they both slept with smiles plastered on their faces.