The second time Luke is face-to-face with Laurent Dominick, it’s on a bridge. There’s probably some symbolism in that, but he can’t be assed to figure it out. The bridge is like one of those old ones, smallish, over a stream, and made of stone; something you’d find in a park. Which is exactly where they are. It’s not a bad park, although currently sparse due to the cloudy sky, cold temperature, and more maintained parks elsewhere in the city. All the better for them, though practically anything is an upgrade from the dingy bar he had met him in.

If he wasn’t aware of Laurent’s condition, he’d still be wondering why he had been in the bar in the first place. He had a natural sense of purity to him, with charmingly mussed brown hair and a pleasing curve to his jawline, and wore neat collared shirts. The man probably could have been a decent model. Either way, not the type to frequent Luke’s personal haunts. Currently the two of them are quietly smoking and enjoying the view of the stream below. Luke had brought out the pack, offered one to be polite for once in his life, and surprisingly enough, Laurent had accepted.

Neither of them has spoken since, something which Luke appreciates. Despite their meeting being a back-and-forth of interrogation about each other’s lives and figuring out the Hey, How Are You, I’m Undead and Also Get it Up for Corpses routine, he’s glad that right now he can just enjoy the silence. It stays that way for a while, and Luke just soaks it in. However, even he knows that it can’t go on forever, and while he’s trying to figure out something to say that’s not laughably benign or shockingly blunt, Laurent beats him to the punch.

“No-one ever knew,” he says, before taking a drag of the, hah, coffin nail that Luke handed him. “They would’ve been horrified if they did. I think on some level I was too, of the way bodies drew me in with their cold skin and still bodies.” His eyes come up to meet Luke’s, the green color slightly subdued by a milky film over them. Luke hadn’t noticed any in his eyes the last time he saw him. Decomposition, maybe, he thinks. “I never thought I’d end up one.”

Luke just exhales, his own cigarette in his left hand. He’d bet real money that Laurent hadn’t ever smoked before, too “good” for it. But now, it wasn’t as if he had anything holding him back – nobody to disappoint, and no lungs to ruin. He snorts, before replying, “Everyone ends up one. They just don’t usually get up and walk around after.”

To this, Laurent laughs. It’s an odd reaction to have, Luke thinks. People didn’t find him funny. They either hated him or feared him, or some mixture of both. He’d never tried to be a funny man, either. And he certainly didn’t expect to be found funny by undead necrophiliac former golden-boy valedictorians. But, then again, he didn’t expect to know any undead necrophiliac former golden-boy valedictorians, either. He stubs the cigarette out, and finishes his train of thought with, “I’m still fucking coming to terms with this walking corpse act, too. Though, your natural scent is really hammering it in.”

Laurent just smiles, with an easy tug of the lips, shine in his eye, and Luke can see how no-one ever found out, ever pierced past his pristine image to find what crawled under his skin. He can imagine it, how the neighbors would have cooed over his achievements, the shelf of awards on the wall, the slightly smitten glances sent his way, the fantasies that wormed their way through his still-beating heart and kept him up at night. And Laurent, Laurent keeps smiling and replies, “Oh dear, Lukas. Did no-one ever teach you not to speak ill of the dead?”