Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 14 of 38

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"Magda, where is the Baron?" Roman walked into the kitchens to find his wife slicing vegetables for that evening's dinner.

She shrugged. "I'm not sure, Roman."

"Why are you smiling like that?" He looked at his normally reticent wife, confused at why the woman couldn't seem to get the almost ridiculous grin off of her face.

"Nothing, Roman." Her smile grew.

With a quick movement, Roman had her in his arms, her back to his chest, his face playfully nestled in her neck. "Liar."

She let out a laugh, cherishing the feel of his arms around her. They had worked so hard to have this freedom and this life, to be married to someone they loved, to be rid of years of a cold nomadic existence. "Stop that! Roman!" She only laughed more as he squeezed her tighter.

"You shan't be going anywhere my darling until I figure out exactly what it is that you know and I don't." After about a minute of mock struggling with her husband, she turned and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. He smiled and her heart sighed. He had been burdened these past few days, and she had been desperate to know why. Roman had remained silent however, and had declined to share with her the contents of the black book that he had held the night of his return. His only explanation was that it was something of great personal matter to the Baron, and it wasn't his business to decide who should see it or not.

"If you must know," she answered, "I cleaned up the chapel for Christine. The poor dear has had no way in which to mourn her husband's passing." Magda shrugged her slender shoulders. "On my way back to the kitchens I saw the Baron, and I...might... have suggested that he would greatly benefit from some personal the chapel."

Roman froze. "We have a chapel?"

"Indeed, we have a chapel."

"And he's in there with..."

"Christine, yes."

His mouth dropped open. Had Magda actually gone out of her way to..."But you don't trust the Baron within a mile of Christine."

"Yes, I'm aware of that."

"And you still..."


"Why?" Roman's question was genuine.

Magda sighed. "The afternoon before you returned, I accused the Baron of being in love with Christine." Roman almost fainted. "He tore the mask from his face, desperately trying to show me that she could never really love him." Magda smiled once more. "Only a man desperately in love would violate his only means of comfort and protection."

Roman shook his head. "That makes no sense."

Magda tapped him lightly on the chest. "To a man? Of course it doesn't. To a woman? He wasn't trying to prove to me that he didn't love her...he was trying to prove it to himself. Men who aren't in love don't waste the effort trying to prove it."

His brow rose. "Have you become a philosopher on me, Magda?"

She wrapped her arms about his beloved waist and rested her head on his chest. Everything that she had lost was nothing compared to what she had gained in marrying him.

"It's not philosophy, Roman...just common sense."

He kissed the top of her head, marveling at how his sweet little wife had found the courage to not only stand up to their Master, but to challenge him. It was with no small amount of surprise that Roman realized that he possessed a deep affection for the man that he served. Six months ago, he would have feared greatly for his Magda's life...but not now. Not anymore. Somewhere along the way, Roman had seen beneath the cold exterior of the man that he now knew to be the infamous opera ghost. It wasn't very often, but sometimes he had been able to catch the man's wit, see moments of his elegance...and everything else, he had heard from Meg Giry. The Master had given up the only thing that he had ever loved...for the sake of love itself.

Roman knew then, that he would have to tell him. Not about Christine's, that would be up to her. The encounter with Meg Giry, however, would have to be revealed. The Baron's very life could be in danger...he at least owed him the truth of what he now knew...of what he had carelessly revealed.

"Magda," he whispered against the top of her head, his curiosity running high. 'What did he look like...under his mask?"

She gave him a kiss once more, before turning from him and going back to her work.

"Like a man."

Christine went rigid at the sound of his voice, the heat of his body within inches of her own. She closed her eyes, not daring to look at him. She heard the rustled of his clothes as he fell to his knees beside her

Still, she did not open her eyes.

"Christine," he whispered.

She shut her eyes tighter.

"Christine," he whispered again, this time with his lips at her ear. She opened her eyes, surprised to find them brimming with tears. Turning her face toward his, she found that his own eyes were dark, heavy with emotion, and so, so beautiful in the dim light that lit the room.

Erik, took a breath, knowing that his next question, no matter how badly he wished it away, needed to be asked...for his sake as well as hers.

"Christine...what happened the night that the Commune took you?"

With that, Christine collapsed into his arms, sobbing violently. She felt as if she had waited an eternity for him to ask that question, and, in asking it, to admit that he cared for her. For too long she had kept the burden of what had happened that night locked within her heart, waiting for the one person in the world who could truly comfort her to try and soothe it.

Erik caught her in his arms, surprised at her sudden outburst. She buried her face in his chest and he almost found himself weeping at the sensation of her tears upon his flesh. Christine's body, still very weak, shuddered violently against the force of her sobbing, and he wrapped her arms around her, his lips pressed gently to the top of her head. He rocked her in his embrace, stroking her back gently, allowing her to vent her anguish. The minutes dragged on, catching Erik between the pleasure of holding her and the despair of hearing her pain. A part of him feared greatly what she would tell him, but he had denied her this comfort far too long.

They had been quietly holding each other for some time before she finally spoke.

"It started off like any other evening..." And it had. She told him of how Raoul had been sitting with her in their library, reading...nothing extraordinary at all. Around nine o'clock a large clanging noise had come from the home's entranceway. Before she knew it, she had been dragged out of her own home by the hair, thrown into a carriage hell bent for an unknown destination. Thank God Raoul had been with her, or she would have passed out from fright...

She told him of being taken into the cellars, of being beaten by numerous men before being ushered into a smaller room where Raoul had been held. He had obviously been beaten as well. His right eye had been swollen shut, a deep, ugly purple coloring the skin. Dried blood had been caked in his hair, but Christine had never known its source. His entire upper body had been covered in blood and bruises. It only took a single gunshot to destroy her life, and Christine almost threw up as she related the nature of Raoul's death.

"Raoul! You didn't deserve that, Raoul! You deserved so much more than any of it!" Christine curled into a fetal position, her lips twisting brokenly around her late husband's name. "He should have died an old man, surround by his heirs, his life celebrated. Now he lies rotting in a dark, cold tomb," she spat out bitterly.

Erik closed his eyes, expecting the violent waves of jealously to assault him at any moment...but they never came. A part of him hated the Viscount for how much Christine mourned him, for how much she had obviously cared for him...but no jealousy came.

It was another long time before she continued her story, telling how Raoul's dying word had been her name. She had then been informed that they wanted the codes to the bank accounts held in her trust. She had been beaten again, and thrown into a dark room, apparently part of a makeshift prison...

...the prison had been the remains of Erik's home. She hadn't even recognized it; it had been so badly ravaged.

He had winced when she told him that.

With her knowledge, the escape had been easy, but she hadn't escaped to much. Telling Erik of the whorehouse had been painful.

"And then she fell upon me, slicing my cheek with a blade. She would have done worse had Roman not been there."

A deep silence filled the chapel as Erik sat there, Christine in his arms, contemplating all that she had told him. He didn't know whether he felt the urge to gut the people that had done this to her, or to hold her forever. Never in his life had he told someone that he was humbled by them...that he was proud of them. Yet, in that moment, all that he could think of was how she was the most remarkable woman that he had ever known.

When he finally spoke, his voice was weak. "I will not pretend that I felt any great affection for the Viscount, Christine...but believe me, I am...I am sorry that he died. I would have wished you a long life of happiness with him before even a moment of this pain seized you.

Christine looked up into his eyes, her heart breaking as she realized that he meant every word. The light in the chapel had dimmed considerably, and she noticed that many of the candles had burned down completely. The sky beyond the windows was dark. How long had they been there?

When had her fingers become entwined with his?

She watched fascinated as he brought them to his lips, kissing every one slowly and deliberately. Erik looked up, and their eyes locked. For a dangerous moment, Christine allowed herself to become lost in the icy blue depths, allowed herself to imagine all of the emotion that they possessed, all that they promised.

"It's late, Christine. Are you hungry?"

She shook her head 'no,' her gaze still locked on his. "Please, Erik, just take me to bed?"

Erik almost groaned at the sound of her voice. Take her to bed? If that had been her true meaning they wouldn't even have made it to a bed. The air in the chapel had become thick, the candles dim, their uneven breathing the only sound. It was a recipe for seduction.

It was a recipe for disaster.

He nodded swiftly, using all of his will power to unclench the knot that had begun to form in the pit of his stomach. When he picked her up and swung her into his arms, Christine did not object. He doubted whether she could walk very well on her own anyway. She curled a hand around his neck and allowed herself to lie limply in his arms. There wasn't a time in her memory when she had felt safer.

Reaching her bedroom, Erik lowered her gently to her feet, allowing his hands to float over her body. The room was dark, lit only by a few candles, and impossibly warm. He needed to leave before he did something that he regretted.

"I'll send for Magda to help you undress."

Christine sighed. "Is that really necessary, Erik? It's only a few lacings. I'm quite certain that it wouldn't be too hard for even you to figure out.

Erik swallowed hard. What was the little minx doing?

Christine's heart skipped a beat. What in the hell was she doing?

For a moment, nothing happened. "Forgive me, Erik," came her shy voice. "I didn't mean to-" Her quick intake of breath incinerated the last of her apology as she felt his fingers start to unlace the back of her dress. She closed her eyes and held her breath, shivering at the slow progression of his hands.

Fire roared through Erik's body as he pulled the laces from the back of her dress. He thanked God that she wore a chemise beneath her dress, otherwise he wasn't sure whether either of them would have gotten sleep that night. Relief flooded him as he finished the task. Bringing her a nightgown, he slipped it over her head, committing the gentle rise and fall of her chest to memory. He doubted that even God was allowed to dress an angel.

Climbing into the bed, Christine closed her eyes as Erik once more rubbed the soothing salve over her scar. There was no need for the laudanum once her fever had broken. She shut her eyes as his fingers moved slowly over her face, painfully gentle. When he turned to go, she caught him by the sleeve.


Her eyes were wide and clear, burning with longing. Erik felt his own longing explode, the demons of his pent-up desire screaming for release.

"Christine," he choked out. "If I stay...if I lie beside you...I...Christine."

She nodded, the understanding in her eyes almost undoing him. She knew exactly how much he wanted to stay...exactly why he couldn't stay...and she did not fear him for it.

"Erik," she began. "What I said before...I wasn't simply being dramatic. Twice in my life..."

He stopped her with a raised hand before she went too far.

"There will be many other nights to slay our demons, Christine."

With that, he left her to sleep.

Erik hadn't eaten, but he didn't care. Food had long ago become a secondary need. His hours in the chapel with Christine had drained more out of him than he cared to admit. Pulling the shirt from his body, he fell into his massive bed, the sheets a welcome softness against his bare skin.

When he finally slipped into the oblivion of dreams, his flesh was still bare, but Christine was beneath him, arching up and crying out, their passion illuminated by the candles and white marble all about them.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 14 of 38

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