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.

A/N A really big thanks to everyone for the wonderful reviews. Sorry if the next chapter took a while, my PC crashed and I had to re-write an almost complete chapter grrr.

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Chapter 16
Biding his time


Erik pulled her onto the bed with him. His tongue circled her lips slowly, teasing her before he plunged into the warm depths of her mouth. She quickly divested herself of her undergarments while Erik unbuttoned himself. Their coupling was swift, having both been tantalised to the point of endurance in the hallway moments earlier. He gripped her hips tightly as she sank down onto him. For a moment neither of them moved, exalting in the sensations between them. Erik lifted his hips and Christine gasped as he repeated the movement. They rocked together in passionate silence, their bodies in perfect unison, each never taking their eyes from the other’s faces.

As their need built, their movements became more desperate as the pace of their lovemaking quickened. Their fingers laced together as they took each other to the edge of sanity. Erik propped himself on his elbows never once slowing down. He captured her lips in a kiss as they both cried out their release. He rested his head against her breasts until his breathing slowed. She wrapped her arms around him and tenderly kissed his hair, smiling as he lifted his head to look at her, bathed in the silvery moonlight.

“The more I taste you, the more I want you. You are like a drug to my senses,” he growled at her.

“It is the same for me...but you must not come to the house again,”

“Why? Because you almost let me take you against your husband’s bedroom door?” Erik asked.

Christine flushed at the truth of his words. If sense had not crept in at the last moment and she had not taken him to one of the many bedrooms, she knew she would have let him do exactly that.

“Because it is not safe for you. The servants would shoot first and ask questions later if they caught you. Even you are not impervious to bullets Erik. I would have my child know its father,”

“Ah, but all wagers are off on that account for you could carry the legitimate De Chagny heir my love. Maybe we should stay here a while longer, until the child’s author is known,”

Christine lay in his arms and rested her head against his chest. “Thank you for understanding,”

Erik sighed. “What do you intend to do if the child is his?”

Christine swallowed back her tears. “Give the babe to him, and leave with you,”

Erik pulled back to stare at her in shock. “Abandon your child?” He knew the pain of maternal abandonment, maybe not in body, but his mother had abandoned him in others ways. Strangely it struck at his heart to imagine a motherless fate for her infant.

Christine sat up, the tears falling down her face. “Don’t you see? It’s the only way. It would kill me, but I would do it for you and us,”

Erik swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and turned his back on her. If the child was indeed De Chagny’s then the Vicomte had won. He would never ask such a price of her. However, he knew that if they took the Vicomte’s heir with them they would always be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives. She knew it too. If the child were her husband’s, he would leave this place and never return. Erik got up from the bed and straightened his clothing. He turned and held out a hand to Christine, she took it as he helped her from the bed.

“Come, we had best get you back to your husband before he misses you. I will not come to the house again unless you ask it of me,” he promised.

They walked from the bedroom hand in hand and into the dimly lit hallway. Erik saw her to her husband’s bedroom door and held both her hands in his as they stood before it, raising each one to his lips before releasing her.

“As always, until we next meet my love,” he whispered in her ear, before striding off.

By the time she turned around he was gone as if an apparition in her mind. Only the languid ache of her body bore witness to his ever having been there. She turned back to open the door to her bedroom when she noticed the red rose, lying forgotten on the floor. She slowly knelt to pick it up. It must have fallen from Erik's cloak when they had been making love earlier. The memories brought a soft blush to her cheeks at the remembrance of it. She held the rose behind her back and opened the door to the bedroom.

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

A few moments earlier...

Raoul had stared at the rose for several pain filled moments before he could move. He closed his eyes and opened them, hoping it would be gone when he looked again. However, still it lay there almost mocking him with its presence. He knew not how long he stood there looking at the proof of his wife's infidelity. Time had long since ceased to have meaning for him.

He heard the sound of muted voices and quickly closed the bedroom door to make his way back to his bed. The pain increased with each step as he neared his goal. The fear of being discovered spurred him on. He almost sobbed with relief as he sat down on the bed and lay back against the cool sheets. After that, he knew nothing as he passed out. For him it was a blessed relief from the pain of his heart, which far outweighed the pain of his body.

When Christine entered the room, she sensed something was wrong, from the dark spots of blood that stained the creamy carpet by the bedside, to the still white form on the bed. She rushed over to his side and tried to rouse him. He was pale and unresponsive. In her panic she rang the bell. Madame Giry appeared several moments later dressed in her nightgown and shawl.

“What is it?” she enquired.

“I left the room for a moment to get something to eat, when I returned I found this,” Christine pointed to the blood. “I cannot wake him,”

Madame Giry put down the lamp she held and went over to the bed, feeling his neck for a pulse. “I think he may have tried to leave the bed and re-opened his wound. Let me see to him, it might be better if you slept in another room for tonight Madame,”

“I wish to stay,” said Christine, watching as Madame Giry bathed and re-dressed his wounds.

“As you wish,”

Christine flushed uncomfortably as she noticed that Madame Giry was staring at her hands. She looked down to see she was still holding her rose.

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

Raoul awoke to find Christine lying by his side. He smiled for a moment at the perfect picture of innocence she presented, before the memories of the previous night came flooding back to him. He watched her as she slept. Her dark lashes fanning her cheeks and a faint smile curved her lips as if she were enjoying a happy dream. His eyes moved lower to the arm that draped across the swell of her belly, protectively. How could such womanly virtue shield such a black heart, he wondered.

There were so many questions he needed answers to, but for now he would bide his time. How deep did her deception go? Were she and Erik lovers or was he still just her tutor? The most painful thing that he hardly dare entertain, was it even his child she bore? He was going mad for not knowing, but he would bite his tongue and play the happy cuckolded husband for now, until he knew what he was up against. The important thing was that he not betray himself to her.

Christine opened her eyes to see a pair of blue ones watching her. She saw a shadow cross his face for a moment, so fleeting that she was sure she must have imagined it.

She held out a hand to him and he kissed it. “Raoul,” she sighed. “Did you try to get out of bed last night?”

“No, I am embarrassed to say that fell out of the bed would be nearer to the truth. Where did you disappear to last night?”

“I went down to the kitchens for but a moment. I am so sorry that I was not here when you awoke,”

Raoul’s heart hardened at the tell tale blush that highlighted her cheeks. He reached out a hand to brush away a curl and tuck it behind her ear.

“I missed you so much when I was away. I thought that I might die and never see your sweet face again. Obviously God has spared me for a reason mignon. Who do I have to thank for my life?”

“Someone from your regiment brought you back two nights ago,”

“Who?” he pressed.

“Etienne Ravenaux,” Said Christine, it was the first name popped into her head. He was someone Raoul had mentioned in passing and would be unlikely to visit.

“Ah, good old Etienne, what a shame I cannot thank him,” said Raoul. Good old Etienne indeed, he thought, his heart breaking anew. The comrade in arms had fallen the night before he had, blown up by enemy cannon fire.

“I love you Christine,” he smiled

She placed a hand over his. “I love you too Raoul,” It was not a lie for she did, in her own way, but not in the way she knew a wife should, to her shame.

Was it just his overactive imagination that the words sounded false to his ears. Nevertheless, he would not be her judge jury or executioner until he knew for sure. He could finally understand the madness that had driven Othello to snuff out Desdemona’s life than bear the thought of her with another. However, Desdemona had been innocent of her crimes, his wife, he was not so sure of. He had seen first hand the passion that existed between Christine and her tutor. The desire had hung heavy on the air that night on the stage, so much that it had made him weep.

“Would you read to me?” he asked.

She was surprised by his request, but rose from the bed and sat in the chair. He turned his head to look at her as she went through the pages of the book. As her voice filled the room he closed his eyes, yes things would continue as normal and he prayed to God he was wrong.

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

The days and weeks that followed settled into a comfortable pattern. Raoul grew in health and strength, fully able to sit up in bed with little or no pain. When Christine was absent he would use the dressing table chair as support while he practised walking up and down the length of the room, something that he kept secret from her and Madame Giry. Some nights Christine would be there at his side, sleeping. Other nights she was notably absent and always ready with a quick excuse for those absences when he enquired.

It had been one night, and on one of those convenient absences that he had searched their room. Locking the bedroom door behind him, he had gone to her bureau and had opened it with ease. He knew she always kept it locked and carried the key about her person. He had other means of opening it. A catch that had been fashioned by one of his devious ancestors for maybe such a reason as his, the burden of a faithless wife. It went against every shred of honour that he possessed to do what he was about to, but he was going mad from not knowing the real truth.

He took a branch of candles from the side and pulled up a chair and slowly sifted through her personal correspondences and papers. His hands froze on an envelope tucked away in one of the recesses. The black edging of the stationary was all too familiar to him. He slowly opened it and took out the sheet of paper. He could burn this now and be none the wiser of what it might contain, but he had to know, his tortured mind screamed at him. He unfolded the letter and began to read.

Forgive me

Yours eternally

E


Well that wasn’t too damning was it? He asked himself. But what had she to forgive? was the question that ate at him. He saw her prayer book wedged at the back of the desk. He took it and opened it to a well-used page. A dried red rose marked its pages. Raoul snapped it shut and carefully put everything back as he had found it. He snuffed out the candles and returned to the bed to await her return to his side...if she even bothered to come home that night.

What did she do in her time away from him? Images tortured his mind of her lying in twisted sheets writhing in ecstasy while that monster pawed at her body. He must have used some drug or other to seduce her. Madame Giry had said he was a practised magician. He could not imagine the woman he loved capitulating to such a man willingly.

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

She was now at least eight and a half months gone in her pregnancy and she looked beautiful to Raoul, even though his heart railed against the emotion. Sometimes when the child kicked, he would place his hands on her belly to feel it move within her. Then he would hide his hands beneath the sheets as they curled into impotent fists, holding in his rage and despair.

He was recovered enough in strength for what he finally intended to do that very night. Unable to wait no longer, he would follow her to see where she went. As the day faded and twilight fell, he dressed himself and put his nightshirt on over his clothing. He got back into bed, pulling the covers high over him and feigning sleep. Christine came into the room, followed by Madam Giry. The latter bore a tray laden with his supper. He pretended to wake and sat up.

“Hello, are you hungry?” Christine asked him, removing the silver covers from the plates.

She sat next to him and took the knife and fork and cut up his dinner for him. Raoul took the fork from her, every mouthful that passed his lips tasted as appetising at sawdust as he regarded her beneath lowered eyelids. Christine reached out a hand to stroke his face, smiling sweetly at him.

“Will you be alright on your own for an hour or two Raoul? I have few things to take care of to do with the household. Meg can come and keep you company if you like?”

“Thank you, but no, I think I will have an early night,”

Christine wiped at his lips with a napkin and walked over to the bedside table and took the bottle of laudanum from it. She poured some onto a spoon. Raoul opened his mouth and took the medicine and lay back down on the bed and closed his eyes.

Christine placed a swift kiss on his lips and exited the room with Madame Giry. After she had gone he sat back up in the bed and took his water glass and spat the sedative into it. He got up from the bed and took a black hat and cape from his wardrobe and exited through the balcony doors and melted into the shadows to wait.

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

Time seemed to drag for him. He must have been there for all of two hours. Raoul was almost at the point of giving up and deciding to return to his room. His movements arrested, when he saw the glow of a lantern making its way slowly across the park. He sucked in a breath and begun to follow the light at a slower pace. He hissed as he trod on a twig and it echoed as loud as gunfire. She turned. and he threw himself to the ground and stayed there until she was satisfied it was nothing and carried on her way.

His confusion built as he saw her disappear into the copse of trees, until he saw the old abandoned summer house he had not visited since he had been a boy. He hid behind a tree as she stopped at the house and knocked several times in a well practised rhythm, before entering. The door was flung open by the Phantom. It was the final nail to the coffin as Raoul watched him take his wife in his arms and kiss her passionately. Christine returned his kisses with equal ardour, Raoul closed his eyes against the sight, unable to bear it any longer, but still unable to flee. The door closed and he ventured closer to the house, looking in through the gaps in the shutters. He watched as they walked through into the next room.

He followed them, peering into the windows of what was the bedroom. It was dimly lit, but he could still make out their shapes as they continued to kiss and slowly undress. He continued to watch as the phantom laid his wife down on the bed and kissed his way down her body He stopped to press kisses against the flesh of her inner thighs before lowering his head between her legs. Christine’s cry of pure pleasure broke through Raoul’s shocked senses. He stuffed a fist into his mouth to stop himself from crying out in pain as he turned his eyes away from the sight of the lovers.

Raoul made his way back to his bedroom in defeat, stumbling several times in his blind rush to get to the sanctuary of his bedroom. In his rage he kicked over a table and hit out at the mantle piece sending the china figurines smashing to the floor. They shattered into thousands of tiny pieces, not caring, he collapsed on the bed as he wept bitterly.

TBC


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