Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Dream Descends

Part 10 of 16

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After the scarring experience that was Brest, Christine had been quick to condemn all harbour towns as vile, filthy places. She had been dreading spending the evening in Plymouth, the seaside town in England that they were docking in.

She could see as she stepped off the steamer and onto the newly bricked streets that she had been gravely mistaken.

Even in the shadows of dusk, it was obvious that the city was considerably cleaner than Brest. The sidewalks were swept, and the few people roaming the streets that evening were not at all similar to the thugs that inhabited Brest. She could see evidence of construction not too far down the road, explaining why everything looked freshly painted and modern. Plymouth seemed to be undergoing a complete renovation. And, Christine observed with relief, the smell of fish was far less prominent than the city she had just left.

England, she had to admit, was far better than the French gave it credit for. If only she could speak the language. Erik had supplied her with a translating dictionary during the trip across the English Channel, and she had surprised him with her progress in the language. She decided not to mention that she and her father had spent just over a year in England when she was younger, wanting to impress him. She only had a child’s vocabulary, but it was enough to get by.

“Erik? What’s going on? Why is there no hansom?” She inquired in her mother tongue.

“Be patient, Christine,” he replied enigmatically, with a faint lopsided grin. “We’re out of France, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

She blushed a little, realizing she had taken to glancing over her shoulder frequently, watching for some suspicious-looking man to charge at Erik with a pistol in hand. She had not quite accepted the new freedom that came with a new country, having been dwelling too much on the things she would miss about France. The full significance of her actions had still not quite hit her.

A pair of hands on her shoulders interrupted her thoughts. She turned into Erik’s embrace instinctively, the top of her head barely brushing his chin. “Tired?” He asked, his lips against her forehead.

“Thoroughly exhausted,” she replied, giving off a sighing laugh.

“Tomorrow shall be our last day of travel, and then you may sleep to your heart’s content.”

“Where are we going?”

“I own a small manor, in the countryside. It has been out of use for many years now, but it should suit you after it has been cleaned up…” He released her, tilting her chin up so she looked him in the eye. “I offer it to you, as your new home.”

“Our new home,” she corrected him, smiling. When he did not return the look, she faltered a little. “Erik…?”

His brow creased. “I do not want you to make decisions that you would later regret, Christine. I will look after all the finances, the help—everything you need. You no longer need my protection.”

“You can’t be serious,” she blurted out, pulling her hands out of his. “You really cannot think that all I need from you is protection, Erik! Not after—” Her voice failed as she choked on her anger.

“Christine,” Erik said sharply, reminding her suddenly that he had once been her tutor. “You have only been days divorced, and already you want to vault yourself into another relationship. Don’t think this isn’t what I want—” He kissed her penetratingly to prove himself, then continued, “—but I will not take advantage of you so unsettled and distressed.”

“I would not mind,” she informed him wryly, her irritation dissipating rapidly.

He gave her an amused look. “I don’t doubt it.”

* * *

Christine had never been a deep sleeper—the slightest giggle from one of the corps girls would awake her when she resided in the Opera house. Now that she had much more to fear than a mistake during rehearsals, her slumber was even less thorough, and her dreams more vivid.

A knock on the door would have regularly sent her leaping from the mattress.

Tonight, however, the comforting affects of Erik’s presence next to her had slowed her wits. She rose her head blearily from the pillow, not quite sure if she had heard correctly. She squinted into the darkness, trying to make out any shape. Her hand stretched out to the space next to her—it was empty.

“Erik?” She whispered frantically, sitting up, stiff as a board. The only response was a hurried ‘hush’, and a slight rustling near the door. She sealed her lips obediently, though her heart was racing and her head was commanding her to scream.

Then the door swung open, and Erik’s silhouette was outlined in the light of the hotel hallway. She heard him curse faintly, then step aside and pull a much smaller figure into the room. The door shut, and Christine was once again lost in shadow.

“If you would light the lamp, Christine,” Erik’s voice said gruffly. She pulled the covers up to her chin and reached across the bed to do so.

Erik stood near the door, his hair disheveled and his upper half bare. His mask and a scowl were firmly in place. Held in one hand, by the collar of his shirt, was a boy who looked to be around nine or ten. The boy consisted of a mop of black curls and bright blue eyes, regarding Christine with innocent curiosity. His clothes were worn and dirty, and Christine realized he must live on the streets.

“Introduce yourself,” Erik ordered the boy, shoving him forward. The boy trotted over to where Christine lay obediently, wiping his hand on his trouser leg. He then offered it to her, with an unabashed smile.

“Seth Emerson, madermoselle.”

Christine shook the filthy palm with a soft chuckle at his attempted French, smiling in return. The boy’s vivacious nature was highly contagious, albeit she didn’t know anything about him but his name. “Christine—” she paused, glancing at Erik, “de la Rue.”

He said something in English, eyeing her slyly. He spoke too quickly and used slang that she didn’t understand, so she turned to Erik for a translation. His forbidding glower was explanation enough.

“Who is he?”

“He lives in a shelter with his mother, and I discovered him roaming the alleyways many years ago…” Erik smirked, “…in search of adventure, as he put it. I employ him as my—valet, shall we say—when I am in England.”

Christine stared at the unkempt boy, trying—and failing—to picture him helping Erik into one of his sartorially faultless suits. “But why is he here in the middle of the night?”

“Because he is a foolish little boy, who is intent on destroying what is left of my sanity.” With a wordless snarl, Erik hoisted the lad, who had been listening to them speak with interest, up by his collar yet again, and carried him back to the door. Seth muttered something Christine didn’t hear that made Erik’s lips twitch, and the scowl lifted a little.

Seth did not struggle; rather, he looked as though he was having the time of his life. Erik deposited him outside in the hall, and murmured in English, “Outside the hotel, tomorrow morning—early as six o’clock, if possible. I want to leave the harbour.”

“Aye, sir.” With a mock salute, Seth disappeared, and Erik shut the door with what Christine could’ve sworn was a relieved sigh. She had expected him to be horrible with children, but he had handled Seth quite well—as well as one could handle a little boy who burst in on you in the middle of the night. If Christine was not mistaken, Erik was almost fond of the child.

She put out the lamp as Erik slipped back into bed, smiling when she felt a hand slide over her middle. She moved onto her other side and tried to kiss him on the cheek, but her lips touched cold leather. “Darling, your mask…”

When he did not move, she tried again. “Really, Erik, I prefer you without it.”

“No, it isn’t that,” he murmured. “You called me…”

She blushed, and waited for him to tease her for it, then realized he couldn’t see her face. “I’m sorry—‘darling’ doesn’t quite suit you, does it?”

“It merely surprised me,” he said softly. Then, in a more mocking tone, “I do not mind it.”

Some time later she realized he had avoided removing the mask in the end.

* * *

I shall avoid any method of traveling for the rest of my life, Christine vowed silently, shifting her sore nether limbs in her seat, as the English countryside moved in swift, jerking motion before her eyes. The sky was overcast, the sun a blaring white light reflecting off the clouds. Christine squinted as she gazed out onto the rolling hills, seeming to go on endlessly. Patches of trees were scattered across the immaculate green, their leaves trembling in the slight wind.

Spots of gray in the distance represented the odd rock formations Erik had told her inhabited Dartmoor; it gave the otherwise ordinary panorama an eerie veil. The shapes of the massive stones seemed unnatural. They refused to correspond with the landscape—rather like blood on white sheets, Christine thought, then shuddered at her own grotesqueness.

Erik’s residence was just outside Dartmoor, in reality. It was the area famous for the rock formations, but they stretched beyond it quite a ways. Fortunately, its treacherous marshes did not.

In any case, Christine reflected, the peculiar scenery suited Erik much more than the pristine, honeyed France. She noticed that he seemed more at ease here—though it was in all probability because there was no longer a risk of being found by the Commune.

She had heard many stories about the horrors of Dartmoor: people losing their way, drowning in the swamps, disappearing…But now that she could see it for herself, she thought it strangely beautiful. Again, Rather like Erik.

Leaning back in her seat, Christine smiled faintly as she heard a gleeful laugh from the front of the carriage. Erik had allowed Seth to sit in the driver’s seat with him half way through the trip, saving Christine from the boy’s constant questions and chatter. It appeared that he was enjoying himself; Christine prayed fervently that Erik had not allowed him to take the reins.

They had been traveling for an hour or so when the horses were pulled to a stop, and the carriage door opened. Christine took Erik’s gloved hand and stepped out. What she saw took her breath away.

She suspected he had designed the property himself. The clean manila bricks contrasted brightly against the wispy jade-coloured vines of the willows that shrouded the house from direct view. A towering marble fountain was positioned in the center of a cul-de-sac that circled in front of the entrance, void of water. The angelic figures that decorated it peered at her, unmoving. She peered back. The place seemed like something out of a fairytale, an abandoned castle awaiting its princess.

She squeezed Erik’s hand, struggling for words.

“Is it satisfactory, then?” He asked with practiced stoicalness.

Satisfactory? Erik, it’s…” She opened and closed her mouth several times. “It’s wonderful! How could you stay in France when you have such a home here?”

“I have never spent an evening here,” he told her, raising his eyebrows. “It was a design—This is more one of my compositions than a house.”

“It is certainly as beautiful,” she murmured.

“It is too womanly, for me,” Seth stated pompously. Christine had forgotten he was there, and she looked down at the little form in both annoyance and amusement. Erik appeared unfazed.

The inside of the house was as charming as the exterior, which was no surprise to Christine. Every commodity and necessity she could think of was supplied in top quality. She felt she had underestimated Erik still; his fortune was far vaster than she had imagined. She felt horribly spoiled, but wouldn’t dare refuse him when he had done so much for her.

She was introduced to the housekeeper, Mrs. Attwater, who was the opposite Christine’s mental image of what an old English woman should be. Edith Attwater would be a threatening figure if she had not had the rosy cheeks and motherly smile that graced her bold features. She towered over Christine, her stocky limbs seizing the girl in an exuberant embrace. Her orange hair was streaked with gray, and her brown eyes glittered youthfully. She greeted Seth with enthusiasm, which he returned, so Christine assumed Seth had stayed here before.

“I’m afraid the house is rather a mess, if only I had known of your coming…” She gave Erik an indignant look. He regarded her unsurely, and Christine contemplated that perhaps Erik did not quite know how to handle old women—especially specimen of such healthy size.

She had to think very hard to understand the woman’s speedy, heavily accented English, even though she had studied quite a bit during the journey. Stumbling over a thank you, she let Erik fill the woman in on the situation. From Edith’s gasps and worried glances in her direction, Christine guessed that he was leaving nothing out. He obviously trusted the woman, even though they did not seem to be entirely that close.

Edith (as she insisted Christine call her) showed her to her rooms, a set of chambers overlooking the grounds and forest beyond the house. The bedroom itself was exquisitely decorated, all lush greens and soft cream colours. The en-suite gleamed with newness. Christine openly admired it all, awed at Erik’s taste.

“Dinner is at six, just so you know. I’ll send your suitcases along, dear, if that’s all you’ll be needing.”

“Yes, thank you.”

* * *

The dining room was awash in warm candlelight, its high ceilings encompassed in shadow. Erik and Seth were already seated when Christine entered, dressed in a violet gown Erik had given her. She smiled at him as she sat down, and one corner of his mouth turned up in response.

Seth, face and hands freshly scrubbed, watched her impatiently.

“May we eat now?” He asked, fork in hand.

“Of course,” Erik replied, signaling for the food to be brought in. “Your mother will worry if there is no word of you for so long.”

“Is Seth not staying?”

Erik glanced at her. “I mentioned yesterday I would not be living in the house with you. I would not want to invade your privacy; besides, I must get back to Plymouth, to tell his mother where he will be for the next short while.”

Christine stiffened. Her face had fallen immediately, but she swiftly composed herself. “I see,” she said stonily, eyes on her plate. She had not forgotten what Erik had said, but she had hoped she had convinced him not to. She didn’t know what to do with herself, in such a large house, with only Seth for company. She hadn’t thought about it.

…In fact, she hadn’t thought about her future at all. Was she going to spend the rest of her days cowering in Erik’s manor, with nothing to do but sew and mope around the grounds? When would she be allowed to go out in public, make friends like any normal person?

The duration of supper was a strained affair. Even Seth’s innocent blue eyes interpreted the peculiar coldness in Christine’s manner towards Erik. There was little conversation. They finished the meal in complete silence.

Then, Christine stood abruptly. “I think I shall retire,” she said curtly. “Thank you for a lovely dinner.” She nodded to Seth, and to Edith at the doorway to the kitchen, then marched out of the room without looking at Erik.

Unfortunately, she had not memorized the location of her room. Quite lost, she decided to sit down in the library she had found and read to calm her nerves. She grimaced when she realized what she had chosen: Roderick and Rosalba, a gothic romance.

Easing into a chair, her eyes scanned the pages without actually reading; her mind was in too much turmoil to concentrate.

It did not take much time for Erik to find her. After ten minutes or so, the door opened and he stepped inside. Christine put down her book, but did not stand. She stared at him, expressionless.

“You did not have to be so brusque during dinner, Christine,” he said reproachfully.

“Don’t speak to me as though I am still your student,” she snapped, eyes flashing. Erik was easily riled, and she felt the acute need to shout at someone.

“Stop acting like a child, then,” he retorted, eyes narrowing. “Forgive me if I have offended you in some way—I hardly think allowing you privacy is an offence.”

“There is a difference between privacy and isolation! I did not ask for you to leave, Erik—one would think you did not want to stay.”

“You are not isolated; feel free to go to town as often as you like. You have plenty of company in the house as it is.” He had taken several steps toward her, and she got to her feet defensively.

“Oh yes,” she spat, “Spending my days with a child like Seth should be particularly enjoyable.”

“He acts more mature than you, perhaps you could learn something from him.” Erik’s words came through gritted teeth.

“…And, go to town as often as I like? Hardly knowing the language, without a guide—be realistic, Erik. Mon dieu, if I had known you were planning to callously abandon me I would never have agreed to coming here in the first place!

“Giving up an entire household to you, free of charge, could hardly be considered callous abandonment, Madame!”

“Is it I, then, Erik? Have my maddening requests driven you to this?

“You are, by far, the most grueling—”

What would you have me do? Wait around for you to visit me, revolving my entire life around your schedule, what you feel like doing?”

He took her by the shoulders in a bruising grip, and a spark of fear went off in her gut, but she glared at him defiantly. “Ungrateful, stubborn, conceited—”

Lying wretch!” Christine exclaimed shrilly, striking him across the face. His mask fell from his face and skidded across the wood floor.

He released her instantly, his eyes blazing with white-hot fury. The deformed side of his face was twisted even more dramatically as he glowered at her.

Her countenance was wiped clean in shock and terror, not at his face, but the barely contained rage she could see plainly, stiffening his limbs, radiating in deafening waves.

He, of course, misinterpreted it. “Goodbye, Christine,” he said hoarsely. In one fluid motion, he retrieved his mask and stepped out the door, slamming it behind him.

“Wait!” Christine cried, her hand, about to reach out, flinching back at the noise. “Erik—” She emitted something between a sob and a scream, and buried her face in her hands. Her knees buckled, and she sunk to the floor, leaning against the divan for support. “God, God, God…” She repeated fervently, squeezing the upholstery so hard her knuckles turned white.

What had she done?

Now you will be fortunate if he ever returns at all, she thought savagely.

Each minute seemed hours long as she sat there, her mind in a bleak state of vegetation, as the light in the windows faded to black and the candlewicks sunk low in their wax.


She raised her tearstained face tiredly at the sound of her name.

“Dear me, what are you doing down there?” Edith ambled over and helped her to her feet with a sympathetic cluck. “No use moping, young lady,” she said matter-of-factly, brushing off Christine’s skirts. “Tears won’t help your case with M. de la Rue.”

“Did you hear…?” Christine asked meekly.

“When lovers quarrel, the world hears.” She placed Christine’s hand on her arm and led her briskly out of the room towards the stairs, and, Christine assumed, headed for her room.

The brunette blanched. “Lovers—Mrs. Attwater—Edith, Erik and I are certainly…we are not…”

“I may be old, dear,” Edith stated, her tone amused, “But I am not senile.”

Christine slumped, surrendering, against the woman’s solid form. “I only wish I knew how you manage to handle him so well.”

Edith chuckled. “I see him as a rather stubborn child, at my age. I have had much experience with stubborn children, Christine. Arguing is a healthy activity for a couple, especially with Erik’s temper. I would not worry too much about him, he’ll come around.” Her wise, comforting words allowed Christine to relax a little, and by the time she reached her chambers, she was quite ready to sleep.

“Thank you, very much, Edith,” she murmured, only just stopping herself from rubbing her eyes.

“Do you require assistance?” The woman asked, watching as Christine began unpinning her hair.

“I’ll manage,” she replied with a small smile.

“Goodnight then, my dear.”

“Just a moment—I was wondering…”


Christine paused thoughtfully. “How…how much do you know, Edith—about Erik—about his past?”

Edith raised her eyebrows enigmatically. “I think you’d be surprised, my dear.” With a nod, she stepped out, and the door shut silently behind her.

Christine, feeling significantly that there was something she did not know about Erik and Edith, set about preparing herself for bed. Out her window, she could see the long stretch of treetops, turned a silvery green in the moonlight, murky as it peeked through the clouds.

With a quiet sigh, she slipped beneath the covers, and waded into a stream of fitful slumber.

* * *

With a grimace, Erik tossed the small bottle he was holding onto the road. At the first hesitant taste of the sweet, burning liquid within it he had been repulsed—his period of using intoxication as an escape had passed years ago. Getting drunk now wouldn’t do him any good; in fact, it would most likely contribute to a serious injury, as he was on horseback.

He absently patted the animal below him, who was panting with effort as he urged it on. Its sleek auburn coat gleamed in the light of the moon, the same moon that lit his way. There was, as he had expected and as always, no one else traveling at that time of night. It must be nearing twelve o’clock, for he had left Plymouth just after the eleventh hour and had been riding for quite a while.

He imagined he looked quite a spectacle: black cape billowing out behind him as he leaned forward in full gallop, his mask set in a permanent glare and matching the exposed side of his countenance. His breath became mist before him, along with the breath of the horse, curling around their heads like ghostly collars.

He didn’t quite know what initially had driven him to return to the house—or rather, there were too many things for him to make sense of. He wanted to apologize, he wanted to say tell Christine he would leave, he needed…he needed to simply see that she was all right. He could barely remember what their argument had originally been about; the only image in his mind was the look of terrified alarm on Christine’s face when he mask fell from his face.

He needed to know that all the trust and devotion he had built up in the past week hadn’t been for nothing—he needed to hear from her lips that she hadn’t lied, that his face did not frighten her…He had to hear that she loved him, even if it was the last thing she told him before she ordered him to remove himself from her life.

There was no one else but Christine who could reach him—not a soul on the earth. He could leave, if he only knew he had one person who was not afraid to enter his shadows and fight his demons, simply to find him. He could go on if he knew that.

No one but her, heard as the outcast hears…

The windows were dark when he halted in front of the entrance, which comforted him. He had always been more at ease when he could not be seen.

He knew which room she was in; he had constructed it solely for her—the whole house, had been his ideal residence for their family, that he had designed while still underneath the Opera house, when he had believed they would one day marry. He dared not tell her, but was immensely pleased when she had been so taken with it.

He crept down the hall, completely silent, his chest rising and falling erratically. He did not know what to say, but he trusted the words would come to him when he saw her.

But his hand froze on the door handle.

He could not bring himself to intrude on her, not when she was sleeping; not in such a state of unprotected innocence, meant for no eyes but God’s.

He stepped back, his head pivoting away to look out the tall window that stretched to the very top of the high-ceilinged, imposing hallway. Fog was rolling in, in the distance, spreading across the gardens he had outlined to model Eden itself.

“No one would listen
No one but her
Heard as the outcast hears…”

* * *

His voice, calming and ethereal, meandered into her dreams. She thought at first it was only her mind’s hopeful imagination, but then a heart-splitting sob shook her from her sleep. Her eyes fluttered open, and she sat up slowly.

Shamed into solitude,
Shunned by the multitude,
I learned to listen,
In my dark, my heart heard music…”

She nearly fell to the floor in her rush to extract herself from her sheets, and she stumbled to the door, pressing her ear against the smooth oak.

I long to teach the world,
Rise up and reach the world,
No one would listen,
I alone could hear the music…”

The sound was so near; he must be just outside her rooms. She laid a tentative hand on the doorknob, but did not open it.

Then, at last, a voice in the gloom,
Seemed to cry, I hear you,
I hear your fears,
Your torment and your tears…”

She struggled against the tears in her eyes, as her mind overflowed in relief. He had returned. And he did not hate her; he could not hate her. His voice…she had forgotten the beauty of his songs, the utter perfection of his speech, the way his words delved deep inside of her. The entrancing quality had only increased, and she found herself filled with a desperate longing to be held.

She saw my loneliness,
Shared in my emptiness,
No one would listen,
No one but her,
Heard as the outcast hears.”

Unable to take any more, she flung the door wide open. He whirled around and stared at her, her eyes glittering with unshed tears; her nightdress spread unevenly across delicate limbs that quivered violently, her robe forgotten behind her. Her chest heaved.

His own eyes widened, and he raised a hand half way to her cheek, questioningly.

No one would listen,
No one but her,
Heard as the outcast hears…”

With a cry, she vaulted herself into his arms, and seized him in a violent kiss. Erik returned the kiss, flooded with relief as all the tension in his body dissipated. “I’m sorry,” he blurted out when she pulled away. “Christine, I—”

“No, forgive me,” she interrupted him breathlessly, “I could never hate you, I could never mean such things…” She stopped and kissed him again; short, sweet grazes of contact, over and over—until Erik took hold of her hips and lifted her into the air, forcing her lips to come harder against his.

Christine murmured wordlessly, her arms snaking around his neck. He scooped her legs up and carried her back into her room.

“Christine,” he panted, suddenly breathless. “Christine, I cannot ever leave you, I cannot—” His voice broke and he seized her in a kiss again, his tongue tangling with hers as her fingers curled in his hair.

He deposited her next to the bed, slowly separating their lips, moving back only slightly so he could look into her eyes. They were brimming with love and unsteady excitement. At a loss for words, he traced the angles of her jawbone with gentle hands, then down her neck to rest on her shoulders.

“Erik,” she whispered, gently pushing his arms down. “Don’t stop me.” Her voice turned to a whimper. “Please, don’t stop me…”

He inhaled sharply as she pushed off his coat, and then reached, quivering, for the buttons of his vest. Before she could undo the first, he took both her hands in his. She looked up at him, confused.

“You can’t,” he forced out, not hearing his own words.

“Why…?” She half cried, half gasped, her knees nearly falling away.

“I am not…Christine, you do not know, not yet, of my…Not until you know who it is that you love.”

“I know perfectly well whom I love,” she said, a note of reproach in her voice. “It is you that hates yourself, not I. You are a man, Erik, no matter how hard that is for you to believe; a man susceptible to other men, and it is God’s own fault that he put you through what he did, not yours.” She embraced him, laying her head against his heaving chest. “You are human,” she murmured, “redeemed, and forgiven…and loved…”

She tilted her head up invitingly, and this time he did not deny her what she sought. His mouth ravaged hers, leaving nothing untouched or undiscovered. She had taken advantage of his distraction to remove his cravat, waistcoat, and was starting on his shirt when he stopped her again.

“No,” he growled. “You are mine to take, Christine Daaé.” He hissed her maiden name with uncontained ferocity. Two words had taken them four years back, and Christine could feel memories of all that had happened since, slipping away. She was once again a virgin untainted, thrilled and afraid of what lay ahead, scraped away to the raw surface of her soul.

Erik captured her eyes with his, and she stood completely still, mesmerized, as he stripped off his shirt. He took up both her hands and guided them down the ridges and dips of his chest, outlining every muscle with her trembling fingers, needing her to know him. Against his bare skin, her touch was still not close enough.

Her breath came in short gasps as he stepped closer, forcing her to retreat. She fell back into a sitting position on the bed. He kneeled over her, taking possession of her lips in an enticing kiss as his hands explore every curve and crevice of her body. She shivered and moaned beneath him, writhing as his hands slid tantalizingly over her breasts, covered in only her thin nightdress, then moved on to cup the roundness of her hips.

Erik’s head was reeling with disbelief. Everything was a clash of dark and light, Christine the only thing clear in the twisting mesh. After a lifetime of waiting, he had finally reached what he had direly wished for all along; it was even more divine than he had thought it would be. She was willingly his, in every aspect. She was giving him her future, forgetting the past for his love, and in her eyes the ecstasy of the present was his doing alone.

He positioned her arms so they stretched above her head, nipping her bottom lip before sliding down to her calves. He gradually pulled the hem of her nightgown higher and higher, his lips and tongue dancing on the skin of her legs as he went. When he reached the tender flesh of her inner thigh, she arched up with a glottal moan. “Please, Erik, please…”

With a low laugh, he dragged the dress up until it revealed everything below her breasts, their soft swell still covered in white lace.

She gasped at the contact of the cold night air; a gasp that quickly turned to another moan as he planted damp kisses from the base of her stomach up her abdomen. Her skin seemed like velvet sugar, making Erik lightheaded, as he left nothing untouched.

He slipped his hands underneath the nightgown, massaging each unrevealed breast with deft tenderness. With a feral cry, Christine pulled his head up to kiss him. He could taste salt from tears on her lips, and, somewhere in his mind, he realized it was not only she that was crying.

With a final tug, the nightgown was tossed to the side, and she was completely naked before him. The tears intensified at her beauty, and he leaned down to sample the flesh of her neck.

Her fingernails scraped his arms and his back, and then reached for the laces of his trousers. With an agile twist, he took her wrists and held them again above her head. She squirmed in protest, but he would not give in until he thought he was finished.

She was reduced to sobs as his lips skated up her cheek and returned to her mouth, sealing the ritual with a heart-stopping kiss. He broke off with a gasp as her leg rose up between his, and they stared at each other as his attraction was made painfully obvious.

She had gotten him off his guard, and managed to free her hands. With strength neither of them had known she possessed, she all but tore the last garment from his lower limbs. “Now,” she hissed, and in a flash of movement, peeled off the mask. When he saw neither fear nor disgust in her eyes, he could have laughed for joy. She placed a forceful kiss on his ravaged cheek, and then said again, “God, Erik, now!

He plunged into her, stopping as her body when rigid, then molded around him. He leaned forward to hold her lips as she called out, pushing against him. His first thrust left her breathless, and then she rose to meet him, wrapping her legs around his waist to press him closer. Their cries grew more and more desperate as the thrusts sped up, growing in power as they neared the climax. They had both lost control of their bodies, letting instinct take over and reveling in the overwhelming sensations their senses were being treated to.

Then, with a shudder, Christine collapsed, and Erik soon followed. Their spent bodies lay next to one another, shaking in simultaneous pleasure. Then, two pairs of sweating palms reached out and grasped each other, fingers entwining.

Christine half crawled, half was pulled up by Erik to the head of the bed frame. They had not bothered to go under the covers, and Christine did not realize how cold the night was until she joined him beneath them.

He embraced her protectively, giving her a tired kiss. “…Cannot ever leave you,” he murmured, “Lord, I love you, Christine.”

“Hold me,” she whispered, her eyelids drooping

“Forever,” he replied readily, kissing her temple.

Neither of them could recall sleeping so peacefully in all their lives.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Dream Descends

Part 10 of 16

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