Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 16 of 38

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Christine winced as the muscles in her lower legs once more screamed in pain. It had been almost two weeks since she had emerged from her fever, and her body still bore the stigma of the seriousness of her illness. She could only walk for short periods of time, and would quickly tire and have to sit down. Several times during the first week she had fallen, and it was by nothing more than luck that she hadn't seriously injured herself.

Magda patted Christine's arm before tightening her grip around the girl's shoulders. This morning had dawned sunny and fair, and she had resolved to help Christine get some exercise. The two of them had been walking around the patio outside for about twenty minutes now, Christine slowly putting one foot in front of the other, Magda acting as a support.

Watching them from the safety of his library window, Erik cringed as Christine's steps faltered. For the past two weeks she had been healing-though much too slowly for his own taste. A quiet peace had settled between the two of them, neither speaking of her apparent declaration of love, or of his obvious devotion to her. His mind drifted to the night that she had told him of the Commune. Stay, she had asked. She had asked him to stay. He wasn't so foolish as to believe it a desperate sexual plea. Christine had been lonely, she had been hurt and empty, and had wanted arms to hold her; she had wanted comfort. He cursed himself for not being able to give it to her. He should have been stronger, he should have stayed with her, allowing her to fall asleep knowing that she was safe. Instead he had been scared away, terrified that his intense desire for her would override his judgment and his control.

Gently, he ran his fingertips over the glass, his mind once again becoming lost in the never-ending question of whether to love or forget her. A rare smile played upon his lips as he watched her, the sunlight dappling patterns on her face, the small breeze lightly picking up the ends of her hair. God was she beautiful, this perfect creature of the sun that hid a soul of the night. Outside she was loveliness and innocence, but within she was passion and fire, a woman unafraid to walk through hell...

Erik shut his eyes, but the images still came. He wanted her...wanted her love, wanted her acceptance. He wanted her touch, he wanted her smiling at him...he wanted everything that he had forced himself to hate.

A knock came upon the door.

"Come in."

The reply was soft. Erik's attention was still focused solely on the young woman in the gardens.

Roman entered the room slowly, his face ashen. "Baron, I must speak with you."

Erik turned, instantly disheartened by the look on his valet's face. Roman's normally calm visage was marred with worry and anxiety. Premature lines creased his young brow, and his eyes were wide with angst. He gestured for him to sit, but Roman shook his head.

"I'd rather stand, thank you, Sir." For a moment he hesitated, shaken by the concern on the Master's face. He knew that something was wrong.

With a breath, he steadied his nerves and continued. "I have put this off for far too long, and it shames me, because it could potentially put you and Christine at great risk."

Erik's blood froze, but he only nodded, allowing Roman to continue.

"I suppose that, that..." fear once again filled him. How would his master react? Roman's anxiety was heightened by the fact that he had let his fear delay this conversation for far too long. "I suppose, Sir, that the best way to tell you this, is to ask a question." He watched as the Baron again slowly nodded. "Please Sir, I have to ask..." He looked directly into his Master's eyes. "How could you have ever let her go after Don Juan Triumphant?"

Erik felt as if he had been kicked in the stomach. The air in his lungs rushed out, but nothing replaced it. His head was spinning and his heart was pounding. He walked over to the chaise and sat, burying his head in his hands. How had Roman found out? God, after all that he had done to make sure that his past was far behind him...

Roman's stomach rolled as he watched the Baron. Keep going, he told himself. If his wife could face this man with a steady gaze, then surely he could as well. "I know about the opera. I know everything. The mirror..."

Erik's blood stopped moving.

"The stage hand..."

His heart stopped pounding.

"The chandelier..."

Bile rose in his throat.

"The Viscount de Chagny..."

His sanity reeled.

"And that you loved her, Sir. That you loved her more than you loved anything else. You let her go and, quite frankly..." Erik looked up at Roman. "Frankly, Sir, I wouldn't have been able to do that."

For a moment, Erik simply stared at him, his breath coming in short gasps. " could you possibly know this?"

Roman walked toward him. "In Paris. It was an act of pure, insane coincidence. A young girl told me of the Opera Ghost...and of Christine." Erik's eyes widened. "It wasn't hard to connect you and her to the Phantom and the Viscountess."

"You know about know about, about me." Erik's voice was thin and raspy.

Roman nodded slowly. "And so does the girl. If I live a thousand lifetimes I shall not be able to beg for your forgiveness long enough." His words became frantic and jumbled. "I was just so, so overcome, and the poor child, Mademoiselle Giry was grief stricken over what she thought was her friend's death...It wasn't my plan to tell her..."

"Stop." Erik instantly stood, cutting Roman off. "The girl who told you...Giry? Marguerite Giry?

Roman almo"st jumped back. "Yes...yes how did you-"

"Tell me, how is her mother?" He was smiling now, both at Roman's obvious confusion and the way that for once, Fate seemed to be on his side.

"She is ill, I...Sir, you know Mademoiselle Giry?"

Erik put on a hand on his valet's shoulder. He often forgot how young Roman was, not much older than Christine. "I knew everyone in that opera house...even if they did not know me." His look softened. "Trust me, Roman, we have nothing to fear from Marguerite Giry...and I'm sorry to hear of her mother's condition."

Roman stood dumbfounded. Was this some odd twist of fate? Some chance of destiny? "Still, Sir...I apologize. You have been nothing but kind to Magda and I."

Erik turned once more toward the window. Christine was no longer there-Magda must have brought her inside for luncheon. "You know all of this Roman, everything that I have done...everything that I should have done...and you do not fear me?"

Roman's answer was swift and clear. "I would destroy the world for Magda. Do you fear me?"

Something in Erik's chest started pounding...something more than his heart. It was a strange rush of emotion, a foreign, unfamiliar sensation. Could it be gratitude? "About Magda, Roman..."

He held up his hand in understanding. "Do not worry, Sir. I am the only one on this estate besides you and Christine who knows of your past...dealings, with one another. I presumed that you would prefer me to keep it that way."

With a slight nod, Roman turned to leave, his heart and conscience lightened. The only burden that remained was that he would eventually have to confess to Christine the knowledge of her diary...sooner rather than later.


He turned back at the sound of his master's voice.

"Roman, I ...thank you, Roman. I dare're the first man who has ever given me a reason for gratitude."

Christine idly stirred her tea. It had long since gone cold, but restlessness curled it's ever aggravating claws around her person. In truth, it was excessively lovely to lounge on the overstuffed chaise in her bedroom, a delightful lunch spread on the table beside her, but the boredom soon washed away all of its appeal. If only her damn legs would stop wobbling every time she attempted to walk. A local doctor had said that it would be at least three weeks before the muscles in her calves and thighs were strong enough to support her...she had been advised to eat as much as possible.

She looked at the unfinished chicken on her plate with disdain. What did doctors know anyway?

"You really should eat."

Christine looked up, her breath catching as she saw Erik at her bedroom door. He wore black trousers as always, but nothing over the clean white shirt that covered his torso. The mask, which seemed like such a natural part of him, shone beautifully as the darkening sun of the late afternoon reflected on it, and his black hair hung lazily over his face. She realized that in that one moment he looked younger than she had ever seen him. The shadow that seemed to permanently dangle under his left eye had lightened. His shoulders had always stood straight, but there seemed to be an ease to them that she had never noticed before. He looked comfortable in his large frame, filling the six foot plus height with grace. Erik's lips seemed fuller, and Christine noticed that they weren't set in their usual grim line He exuded power, but with it came an unexpected does of familiarity. It was easy to imagine what he must have looked like at twenty.

When she smiled at him, it was filled with genuine delight at his presence. "Being confined to a bedroom hardly does anything for my appetite."

He walked over towards her, taking a seat with her on the chaise. The length of his thigh brushed up against her's and Christine found herself painfully swallowing the longing that had gathered in her throat.

Lazily, he raised an eyebrow at her. "Well, you wouldn't be so confined if you would eat enough to get some strength."

She rolled her eyes, a gesture that Erik couldn't help but find absolutely endearing. "Really, Erik, your logic makes my head hurt sometimes."

"Well, that's only because it's so ingenious."

Christine laughed out loud, and he couldn't ever remember hearing anything so beautiful. She smiled at him, and in that one moment, all of the pain that he had ever felt because of her slipped away. She was smiling at him...for him...with him. Without thinking, he took her hand and pressed a kiss into her open palm, allowing his lips to linger over the soft skin that he found there.

Christine watched with rapt attention, unaware that her entire body had started to tremble with a force that she could not name. "Erik..." Her voice was barely more than a whisper. "Erik...why don't you play your music anymore?"

He settled his eyes on her face, leaning in slowly to press a light kiss to her scar. "Because, Christine," he murmured against her skin, "you were my music." Without even thinking, she realized that her hand had curled gently around his neck, holding him to her.

"Erik," she said, a single tear forming at the corner of her eye. "I haven't sung a note since the night that...since...since that night. voice, my spirit... it's still in that cellar. It never left"

He looked at her, his heart threatening to bleed through his chest. He should hate this woman...he knew that he should, God, he wanted to hate her. His life would be so much simpler if he could only bring himself to remember all of the pain and sorrow that had passed between them.


She brought his much larger hand to her own lips, allowing her tears to run onto his flesh. " I've missed you, Erik." Tentatively, Christine ran her fingers up his arm. 'Sometimes I can't even believe that you are real." He closed his eyes as her fingers drifted lightly over his neck, settling on the pulse that beat steadily at the base of his throat. She leaned forward, replacing her fingers with her lips.

Erik stilled, his body going numb as he fought to control himself. He couldn't decide which would undo him more, the sensation of her tears running beneath his shirt and onto his chest, or her mouth upon his flesh.


"God," she cried. "I can feel it. Your heart beat tastes like heaven."

Reason fled. Erik tangled his hands in her hair and crushed her to him, his lips assaulting her own with the desire that she had just incited. Christine moaned into his mouth, returning the kiss, her own hands winding about his neck. With a degree of control that he did not know he possessed, Erik pulled away just enough to take her bottom lip between his own, nipping gently at the tender flesh. Christine pressed herself to him, her body on fire from the sensation of his chest rising and falling against her own. For a moment, they stopped, their eyes locking, the unspoken question that hung between them quickly answered.

He kissed her again, this time allowing the slow slide of his tongue to part her lips. He groaned, swearing that he could live a thousand years and never taste anything so sweet. This was so right. The other women, the mere bodies that he had used to try and convince himself that love meant nothing to him, had always seemed cold. There had always been a distance. There had always been an element of disappointment, an element of longing. He had always wanted more...he knew now that it was because he had always wanted Christine.

Reluctantly, he abandoned her lips and allowed his mouth to travel along the curve of her jaw. She cried out when he tasted her neck, easing her back onto the chaise, his own body coming to rest over hers.

Christine couldn't decide whether this was pleasure or pain, whether she was exorcising her demons or only guaranteeing new ones. In these few moments, all of her anguish, all of the sorrow that had clouded her soul had vanished. There was only now...there was only Erik.

He felt her legs on either side of his own, and realized that he had settled his body quite comfortably between her thighs. This was insanity, absolute foolishness...

...but God, it was beautiful.

His fingers gripped her hips, pulling her to him, allowing her to feel exactly what she was doing to him with her soft cries and frantic kisses. Christine gasped as she felt him against her, both relieved and disappointed by the layers of clothes that separated them. He rocked against her slowly, and her mind instantly decided. She wished her clothing an eternity in hell...

"Erik...Erik." Her body arched as he once again claimed her lips, his fingers moving tenderly against the delicate skin of her neck.

"Angel," he breathed reverently on her swollen mouth, once against moving his body against hers. Christine cried out, allowing her hands to roam inside of his shirt, stroking the heated skin beneath her fingertips. She allowed them to linger, wondering how she could have ever thought his touch cold. It had been, the night of their first kiss. He had felt like death beneath her lips, and the sensation had both terrified and thrilled her. A part of her had wanted to kiss him until all of his pain was gone, until he was warm again

"Christine...are you ...sure-"

"Please, life has been like a prison for so long. Cold and dark and uncertain... You were the only one who ever made the darkness so beautiful..."

From beyond the door, a voice interrupted her. "Christine!"

Magda's voice seemed to echo throughout the room. Erik was up in an instant, straightening his shirt as Christine tried in vain to arrange her disheveled hair. Thank God they had been only lying on the chaise.

Erik's head felt like it was about to explode. Damn it to hell!

"Come in, Magda," she called, her voice throaty and strained.

Magda entered cheerfully, her step faltering for only a moment when she saw Erik sitting beside Christine. He dared not stand...the woman would know exactly what she had walked in on.

"I just came to tell you, Christine, that Roman was looking for you. He wishes to speak to you about something and wished for me to come in and make sure that you were...decent."

Christine smiled politely.

"Of course Magda, tell Roman to come in."

Magda smiled, looking down at her Master. "Your dinner is ready, Sir. It's waiting for you in your library."

Erik nodded, standing to leave, thankful that Magda had focused her attention on Christine. Frustration seemed to ooze from him as he stalked away from the room. God help anyone who crossed his path. He needed a bottle of

Christine watched him leave, her heart still pounding as Magda showed her husband in. Roman appeared nervous as Magda left the two of them and Christine gestured for him to take a seat.

"Christine," he began. "There is something I must confess."


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 16 of 38

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