Past the point of no return

BY : spikesbint
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 31287
Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera movie(s), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 10

Confessions


Christine concentrated on the fading footfalls of the doctor as if her life depended upon it. The room was deathly silent. Raoul turned her face to look at him.

“Is it true?” he asked.

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak yet. Christine had had a suspicion that it was so, but had tried to push it to the back of her mind, when her monthly courses had not shown.

“Oh Christine how wonderful, we are to have a child. My darling, darling wife,” he put his arms around her and held her close.

Christine was as limp in his arms as a marionette, words still failed to come to her. She knew she should express some form of delight at the news of her impending child, but she could not. Moreover, to her greatest shame, she did not know for sure her child’s maker. Wishing it to be Erik’s did not make it so. Tears slid down her face and Raoul wiped them away, mistaking their reason.

“Hush, you are overcome. I hear it is quite common for ladies in your condition to weep at times such as these,” he smiled gently at her before passing her his pocket-handkerchief.

Christine wiped at her eyes, taking the moments behind the snowy whiteness of the fine linen to compose herself. Knowing she could hide no longer, she placed the scrap of material on her bedside table and smiled at her husband through her tears.

“I had suspected that there might be something, but was unsure until the doctor confirmed it. I did not want to raise your hopes,”

Raoul kissed her and tucked her up in the bed. His hands were gentle and worshipful. She closed her eyes to stop the biting remark that hovered at her lips, knowing she was nothing more than an ungrateful wretch. However, all she wished for at that moment was to see Erik and tell him of her news. How he would receive that news was another matter entirely.

“Little Lotte, you are tired,” he acknowledged.

“Yes I am rather,” she sighed as she snuggled into the warmth of the covers. Feeling guilty for her earlier impatience, she held out a hand to him. “Stay until I am asleep?”

“Of course and I don’t want to be abed too late tonight. I have to report to the regiment first thing in the morning,” he sighed regretfully.

Christine sat up in bed at his words. “You cannot leave me now I am to have a child,”

Raoul laughed at her softly. “That you are, but not for several more months. Do you think there will not be other fathers there risking themselves to safeguard their children’s futures?”

“What if you are killed?” she asked fearfully.

“That will not happen,” he replied.

Christine turned over in the bed and faced the wall, the anger evident in every line of her body. “I find I wish to be alone after all,”

She heard as well as felt him rise from the bed, listening as the door closed behind her. It was not in her nature to be cruel. But she had been exactly that to the man who most deserved her compassion for the coming days ahead. She hoped that he would return later so that she could beg his forgiveness for her churlish behaviour.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It seemed that once more the fates were stacked against her. She awoke to the brilliant sunshine that flooded the room. The side of the bed where her husband should have been was empty. She felt the pillow, but it was cold. Christine arose from the bed, it was then that she noticed the letter propped up against her mirror. At first, she thought Erik had been daring enough to risk another letter, but on closer inspection, it bore the De Chagny crest. She opened the unsealed letter and read her husband’s parting words, angry with herself for oversleeping and angry with him for not waking her.

Darling Christine,

You looked so peaceful, forgive me for not waking you. I hope to be gone for no more than a few weeks. Say a prayer for me as I go into battle with your face in my mind and heart. I will return, never fear. I have much to live for, a dear wife and an heir. I count the hours and the days until I will be in your arms again.

Your loving husband,

Raoul.


Christine crushed the sheet of paper to her chest and caught her own reflection in the mirror. She noted the bright spots of colour as they were highlighted in the pallor of her face. The walls of her gilded cage were beginning to close in on her and she needed to be free. The sunlight and fresh air called to her as strongly as her desire for Erik at that moment. She needed to see him, to tell him of her child. She rang the bell and shortly a flushed and out of breath, Charlotte knocked on the door and entered the room.

“Good afternoon Madame,” Charlotte greeted her.

“When did my husband leave?” asked Christine.

“Oh it was some time ago. At first light,”

Christine sighed, the disappointment evident in her face as she sat at her dressing table while Charlotte worked on her hair.

“Thank you. Do you know where Meg is?”

“She is visiting in her mother’s apartments Madame,”

Christine stood motionless as Charlotte laced her corset, although not as tight as was her usual habit. She smiled wryly to herself; the news of her pregnancy must have swept through the staff quarters like wildfire.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Feeling much brighter than earlier, she made her way to Madame Giry’s residence and knocked on the door. She was in an agony of waiting as Meg opened it moments later. Her friend had a guilty hue to her cheeks as she looked away, opening the door wider for Christine to enter.

Madame Giry sat in a high backed chair that had seen better days. She slowly got up from her sitting position as Christine entered the room.

“Bonjour Madame, I trust you slept well?” asked Madame Giry.

“Thank you yes. My only regret is that I missed my husband’s departure,”

Meg looked at Christine awkwardly. “I was there to see him off,”

Christine noticed her friend’s discomfiture and wondered at it.

“If you are hungry then I am sure cook will be happy to make something for you,” Madame Giry distracted her from her troubled thoughts for a moment.

“No do not trouble yourself. I see you have a fresh pot of coffee. Could I have a little of that and a slice of one of your delicious looking cakes?” asked Christine.

Madame Giry smiled at her indulgently. “You always did have a sweet tooth as a child. Not that one could tell by looking at you. And now you are to have a child of your own,” she sighed, as she poured a cup of coffee for Christine and handed it to her.

Christine bit hungrily into the cake and sipped her coffee before putting both of them down.

“I know I was the topic of conversation before I entered. Please do not try to deny it. I am not angry with you. It is very understandable in the circumstances. I came here for…advice,”

“Of what nature?”

“My child…I am not sure who the father is,” Christine finished on a rush, glad that her fears were finally out in the open.

“Christine, it is a wise man that knows his own child, but I do have some experience in these matters. When was your last course?” asked Madame Giry.

Christine was more than a little shocked at the directness of her substitute mother’s enquiry.

“A little over two months ago. It was a couple of weeks after I began to lie with Erik that they ceased. I did not have relations with Raoul for some time after that. Oh Madame Giry, I am wretched for not knowing. The idea that it is Erik’s child fills me with joy and dread all at the same time. But can I in all conscience go on in life deceiving my husband of such a great sin?”

“You would not be the first,” said Madame Giry wryly.

“But Raoul…he is a good man. He deserves to know the truth,” added Meg.

“No he cannot, he would cast Christine off and she would be a social outcast. Think of the scandal to his family name and yourself. No he can never know,” said Madame Giry firmly.

“What if the child is born with its father’s…” Christine stopped unable to finish the sentence.

“Defect?” asked Madame Giry, as she bluntly voiced the words that Christine could not.

“Yes,” she breathed.

“Would you love the infant if it were so?” asked Madame Giry.

“The child would be his, a part of him no matter what. I would not let him or her fall to the same dark fate as Erik was allowed. How heartless a creature his mother must have been to abandon him to such a life…he told me of his childhood,” said Christine sadly. She looked at Meg. “Do you think you would take a walk with me? I need to see him.”

Meg nodded and rose from her seat. “A walk would do me some good I suppose.”

“Thank you.”

Christine finished off the remainder of her cake and drained the coffee cup, feeling all the better for having eaten. The two young women looped arms and set off towards the copse of trees in the distance. They had been walking for some time before Meg broke the pensive silence that had settled over them both.

“Christine, what do you think your husband would do if he knew where Erik was?” asked Meg.

Christine stopped and turned to her friend, her face deadly serious. “He would demand satisfaction and then he would kill him,”

Meg could not help the little gasp escape her lips. Neither could dwell on the matter for a moment longer as they neared the trees and came to the end of their journey together.

“So this is where we part company,” said Meg.

“Do you mind? I am sorry, but you must understand that Erik is not used to conversing with strangers. I know I am selfish, but we have so little time alone…”

Meg smiled at her. “You do not have to explain. Will an hour be long enough? The grounds here are pretty and extensive enough for exploration,”

Christine pressed a kiss on Meg’s cheek and walked off into the shade of the trees. Meg sighed and continued on her way.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Christine turned the handle and entered the summerhouse. It was quiet and dark inside. It saddened her to think that he had exchanged one darkened prison for another. He deserved the pleasure of walking in the sun, which was the God given right of all men. She noted the remains of a meal on the table and a half finished bottle of burgundy that stood beside the plate. She tiptoed slowly to his room, knocking softly on the door. She did not want to give him cause for alarm, for it was not her usual hour to visit.

“Erik,” she called out.

Her mouth went dry at the sight, which met her eyes on the bed. He was fast asleep on his side. His brown hair was sleep tousled and covered his brow. From her angle he looked like a sleeping Adonis, such was the perfection of his naked form. It was only when he turned in his sleep to reveal his marred face that the illusion was shattered. He slowly opened his eyes as he became aware that he was no longer alone. He looked up at her and smiled, not sure, if he were dreaming. He closed his eyes only to open them again, elated to find her still standing there framing the doorway.

“Christine? Is it night already?” he asked.

“No, it is still daylight,” she smiled at him, before walking over to the bed and lying down next to him.

He drew her into his arms and held her to him.

“You are well today?” he enquired.

“Better thank you,” She was a little surprised at his tender concern for her wellbeing, but something had happened in her room last night between them. He had finally broken down the barriers he had constructed around his heart when he had been faced with the idea of losing her. She took a breath and continued, “The doctor had something to tell me though. It is something which may well concern you and I,” she breathed, her heart accelerating at the thought of what she was about to say.

“You are not sickening for something?”

“No, I am neither sick nor well, but in future when we make love you will need to be more gentle with me,” she smiled at him.

He leaned over to kiss her on the lips before drawing away. “You are not making sense and I am in no mood for riddles,” he sighed.

“I am to have a child,” She looked at him and he looked away, but not before, she had seen a flash of pain in his eyes.

Erik got up from the bed to retrieve his robe; still unspeaking he pulled it on. He walked over to the mirror and studied his reflection before slamming a fist against it, causing it to crack. A shard fell from it to the floor and he hissed in pain.

“You have cut yourself,” she cried in alarm, rushing to his side to take his hand and inspect the damage.

She pulled a lace handkerchief from her reticule and wrapped it around his hand, watching as the crimson blood stained the whiteness of the fabric.

“Forgive me, Christine for I want nothing more than to be your child’s father. When I first came here, I was filled with anger and vengeance for you and your husband. Getting you with child was just one of the ways to make him pay, but not now. Your news fills me with such happiness that I am afraid to be pleased at what you have told me. I have learnt in life that what happiness I have embraced has always been taken from me in the next breath,”

Christine knew that he was alluding to her, but chose to ignore it, instead trying to reassure him in the only way she could.

“This is real, I am real and our child will love you,” she told him.

He turned away from the compassion he saw in her eyes. “But look at me. What if it shares my fortune?” He asked, touching his face. He could not know how closely his words had mirrored her earlier ones. “Maybe if you are fortunate you will meet with an accident and lose the babe. How can you want the child of such a monster?”

Christine took them both by surprise as her hand shot out and she slapped him across the face.

“Don’t you ever say that again! I love this child…and I love its father,” she ended on a sob.

Erik, stared at her, immobilised by her emotional declaration. His breathing was unsteady as he raked his hands through his hair. Hardly daring to hope that she meant what she had just said and feeling that he would die if she didn’t. He had waited so long to hear any words of love from her, that he was afraid that he had imagined them. She had come here this day, had given him the world, and had taken it away all at the same time. For in his heart he knew she was still not free to be his. He may or may not have sown the seed that grew inside her, but by law, their child belonged to De Chagny.

“Christine?” he questioned.

“I hope you are happy now that you have all of me. I love you Erik, I think I always have,” she sighed.

He walked over to her side and wrapped his arms around her. “Forgive my earlier temper. It was directed more at me than you. I could not bear the idea of a child of mine having to go through life as I do,”

Christine pulled away from him. “How do you feel about it, really?”

One of his hands slid down to rest against the slight curve of her stomach. “I pray to the God that has deserted me that it is my child you carry. But if it is not, I would love it because it is part of you,” he told her, his eyes never leaving her face.

Her hand rested on his. “Thank you,” she said softly.

He lowered his head to kiss her. “No, it is I that should be grateful for all you have given me,” he replied before catching her lips with his own.

“We don’t have much time, Meg will be returning for me within the hour,” Christine sighed, regretfully.

“One day time will not be an issue. I promise you that,” he replied.

Erik smiled at her as he slowly and reverently removed her clothes until she lay naked before him. He slipped off his robe and covered her body with his own, placing gentle kisses all over her heated flesh. As his hands stroked the tips of her breasts, she shuddered at the added sensitivity of them due to her condition. Erik noted her reaction and replaced the fingers with his lips.

Christine arched up off the bed as he continued his ministrations of her body. His kisses trailed down the length of her until she felt his kiss on her stomach and the feel of his hand as it rested there. She looked down at him, surprised by a suspicious wetness that rimmed his eyes. She smiled at him and stroked his hair, gasping as his lips moved lower. She opened herself up to his questing tongue, her hips lifting from the bed as moments later she came.

Erik crawled back up the bed and kissed her deeply before he took a hold of himself and united their bodies once more. The wonder that each felt at their joining had not lessened over the course of the last few weeks. The fact that she carried his child in her womb only increased that invisible bond that existed between them. She had wanted gentleness, but as he began to move inside her she urged him on as she wrapped a leg around his back and lifted her hips to meet his thrusts in kind. Their mutual cries of release rang out in the bedroom, punctuating the silence.

In the aftermath of their passion, they lay back in the bed together, still joined, in both body and spirit. He looked her deep in the eyes and lowered his head to kiss her sweat-dampened forehead.

“I love you,” he growled at her, possessively.

She smiled up at him and returned his kiss. “I love you too,”

She was unprepared for the look of complete happiness that spread across his face as he finally accepted the gift they had been granted.

“I am to be a father,” he said softly.

TBC


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