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 Evil cliffhanger warning ahead. Want to know what makes me happy and write faster? "hint hint" knowing that people are enjoying my story lol. Thanks to those that do review and tell me they like it :)

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Chapter 19
Eventide


When Raoul had returned from his lawyer the day before, by some miracle Christine had managed to draw on all of her capabilities as an actress to pretend that all was well. In fact, Raoul had been the perfect attentive husband, almost so, that at times it was hard to believe that he knew.

He was not quite as clever at hiding it as he seemed to think. For sometimes when she looked at him and caught him in an unguarded moment, she saw anger and hurt in his eyes, which he would quickly mask when he became aware that she was watching him. In a way, a terrible burden had been lifted from her even though Raoul had not yet confronted her.

The only comfort she took was that although Raoul knew of her infidelities, he had no knowledge of Erik’s whereabouts. She was sure if he did, that he would have taken some course of action by now. Erik had seemed strangely preoccupied and a little detached for the last couple of days. The reason she could not understand for she knew he had no fear of her husband.

The only reason that came to mind was that he was anxious over the impending birth of the child. He had smiled at her and held her, but there had been some underlying emotion in his eyes, if asked to put a name to it, she would have called it wretchedness.

A odd feeling of portent hung over her that she could not shake off. It had settled in the region of her heart and would not leave her, and was not unlike the feelings she had experienced when she had thought of Raoul before his wrongly reported death. Christine sighed as she looked out of her window and at the beauty of the night. The air was crisp and the stars blinked in the darkness of the sky.

She shivered a little and wrapped the shawl more tightly around her shoulders as she crept from the house and walked out onto the gravel lined pathway and round to the back of the house to Madame Giry’s apartments. Erik would no longer allow her to make the journey to the house in her advanced condition, as much as she missed their time together in the summerhouse, she could see the practicality of his reasoning.

Raoul had retired to bed some hours previous, made sleepy by an excess of wine at the dinner table. She had not scolded him, recognising that he needed the anaesthesia for his pain, which the alcohol provided.

Erik was already waiting outside, he walked towards her and held out his arm and she took it as he led her to Madame Giry’s door. She stopped and looked at him before entering.

“Erik,”

“Yes,”

“If there were anything wrong you would tell me, wouldn’t you?” she asked.

Not for all the world, he thought to himself at he looked at her. “I would,” he replied, hating that he had to lie to her.

Erik held her gaze, and stroked the softness of her cheek and she leaned into his caress, smiling up at him with absolute trust shining in her eyes. Oh God did this girl even realise that she was all of life to him?

It was on the tip of his tongue to confess all to her, in the face of such blind trust, but the words stuck in his throat. He had only promised Christine; those long months ago, that he would not seek the confrontation. On that, he had kept his promise. It had been the Vicomte himself who had demanded it, not he and she remained blissfully unaware of his meeting with her husband the other day and he intended it to remain so.

He sighed inwardly. What was about to occur between himself and Raoul was a debt of honour that the Vicomte wanted payment for and in blood. He would not have her worry so close to the birth of the child. He had already set his affairs in order and had left a letter to be found in the event of his death. All the possessions he had accrued over the years were to be bequeathed to Christine and their child.

If this was to be their last night on this earth together, he did not want to spend it thinking of what might have been. He refused to burden her with what was to come on the morn. If he killed Raoul, they would have to leave here anyway, although it was still common practise among the upper class, duelling its self had long been declared illegal and he had no wish to make a date with Madame Guillotine.

He lowered his head to kiss her lips, deepening the kiss and filling it with such passion and longing that she pulled away from him and gasped, touching a hand to her lips as if he had burnt them with the ferocity of the emotions he had tried to convey. She wondered at it, as she looked deep into his eyes.

“Do you know how much I love you?” he asked.

“I think I just felt it,” she replied, licking her lips.

“Does the depth of my emotions frighten you?”

“No, for it only mirrors my own,”

Erik smiled at her. “But it makes you sad too,”

“Yes,” she nodded. “Not sad for loving you, but sad because someone will be the loser in all this…I truly care for Raoul, I do. I hope that one day he can forgive what I have done to him,”

“Let us not think on this a moment longer, instead you and I will play a game. I want us to pretend that this is our last night on earth and tomorrow the world ends. Do you think you can do that?” he asked.

She frowned at him “That is a strange kind of game, but if it makes you happy?”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “It would, for tonight let us imagine that we are in the kingdom of our story and nothing can touch us,”

“Not even that evil Machiavellian Vicomte you once mentioned?” she teased.

“Especially not him,” said Erik firmly.

He led her into Madame Giry’s residence and closed the door behind them. Madame Giry waited for them in the sitting room; she rose from her chair when she saw them.

“Bonjour,” she looked at Erik.

He nodded his reply to her greeting. She sat back down in her chair and an uncomfortable silence of several minutes duration hung in the room, only broken by the ticking of the mantle clock. Sighing deeply, Mme Giry put aside her mending and got up.

“I will leave you both alone now as I have to make the rounds of the house before I retire,”

“Thank you,” Christine added, turning her attention back to Erik.

He took her hand, led her to one of the sofas, and gently pulled her onto his lap. He lay back and she followed him, resting her cheek against the solid wall of his chest, drawing comfort from the warmth of his body. She nuzzled at the exposed flesh at the collar of his partially unbuttoned white shirt. She smiled as she licked at his collarbone with the tip of her tongue and felt him harden beneath her. She deliberately shifted her weight a little and pressed herself closer to him.

Erik sighed and lifted her from his lap, setting her down in the space beside him.

“You are too much of a temptation,” he smiled.

“Don’t you want me?” she asked him, a slight pout to her lips.

“Did it feel like I didn’t want you? I always want you Christine,” he replied.

“No, but…you said we were to pretend like it was our last night together and I was,”

“How so?”

“Well, all I know is if it were my last night, I would want to spend it in your arms holding you and touching you…being one with you,” she breathed.

Erik groaned as she licked her lips deliberately.

“Do you think it will harm you or the baby?” he asked.

“Well, we were fine just three nights ago, weren’t we? But if you are truly concerned, there are other things we can do,” she said, as her hand disappeared beneath the snowy white cloth of his shirt.

Christine’s hand caressed the warm skin of his chest, before removing it and letting it travel slowly down his body, until it rested on the waistband of his trousers. She could already feel his erection pressing for release from its confines. Erik drew in a breath as he watched her hand disappear beneath the material and she wrapped her fingers around him. His breath hitched as her hand began to move.

He leaned in and kissed her again, pressing warm kisses against her throat, as his hands went around to the back of her gown, and unfastened it, he slipped it off her shoulders to expose the rounded globe of one of her breasts. He cupped it in his hand, enjoying the new fullness of it, brought on by her condition. She shivered as he ran the tip of his thumb across the nipple causing it to harden.

Christine let out a low moan; she broke their kiss and looked up at him, before arching her neck to give him better access. She sighed with pleasure as his lips travelled lower to encase one of the sensitive buds in his mouth, Christine’s hands thrust into his hair, holding on to him, as he turned his attention to the other one.

“I want you to make love to me, I need you inside me. To touch you is not enough,” she begged. “It cannot bring harm to the baby,”

“If you are sure?”

She nodded and took his hand and led him to the rug by the fire. He lay down on the hearthrug, taking her with him. He looked at her intently, her beauty in the soft glow of the fire causing him to pause for a moment, before he kissed her again.

“I am sure,” she replied as he helped her undress before removing his own clothing. “We need not worry about Madame Giry, she will not return for some time yet,”

She rested her legs either side of his hips, looking as tempting to him as Eve must have to Adam, her body rounded and inviting to his touch. He reached out a hand to stroke her cheek, running his fingertips across her throat and collarbone before moving lower. She could feel his need for her, digging into the inner flesh of her thigh.

She took him in her hand, lifted herself up, and sank down onto him little by little, and she started to rock slowly. He gripped her hips, thrusting into her gently, and his touch infinitely tender. For some reason, it brought tears to her eyes, that this man, who was capable of such violence, could wring such emotion from her with his body and have the touch of an angel.

He took one of his hands from her waist and laced his fingers through hers, as they speeded up their pace. Her free hand travelled to his cheek, as she ran a fingertip along his parted lips. His tongue flicked at her fingers before drawing them into his mouth as he sucked on each one in turn. He shifted position and propped himself up on his elbows as he watched her take pleasure from his body. Finally taking over he brought them both to completion, as they cried out their release.

Christine smiled at him with a sated languor that spread through her bones. They kissed, not wanting to part from each other. They lay like that, still joined, for several moments, both staring into the flickering flames of the fire. Each lost in their own thoughts.

Erik was the first to move, not desiring to be caught in such a compromising position by Madame Giry, as he lifted her from him.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“I feel wonderful,” she reassured him as she began to gather up her clothing.

“I think you have me wrapped around your little finger, in fact I know you do. All you have to do is touch me and what remains of my sanity flees,” he sighed indulgently.

He led her back over to the sofa and they sat down together. He took her in his arms, neither of them speaking, just holding each other and both enjoying the silence. She smiled as he stroked her hair, after the passing of some time; she began to feel a little sleepy from his ministrations.

“Sing me a song?” she asked.

“What would I sing?” he replied, a little surprised by her request.

“Something soft,”

“I wrote a lullaby for our child, I was keeping it, but if you would like to hear it now?”

Her eyes misted as she took his hand and kissed it.

“That would be perfect,”

She lay back against his chest, as he began to sing, the vibration from his voice flowing through her and bringing her peace.

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

Erik opened his eyes and stared at the off-white ceiling that was in his bedchamber, he closed his eyes and saw Christine’s face behind his lids as he recalled her in his mind.

All too soon, their wonderful night had ended and Erik had returned to his home with the knowledge that it might well be the last time he would ever see her beloved face. Their parting had been strangely emotional, and she had shed tears and clung to him.

He wondered at it and if he had in some way betrayed himself. He had seen fear in her eyes as she had bestowed a final kiss on him, holding his hand until the last moment as he had disappeared into the night. He had wished her goodbye, something that he had promised never to do, but she had been too emotional at the time to notice it.

As he stirred from his bed, he could see the pale light of dawn as it heralded the birth of a new day. Erik sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed with a heavy heart. If he could wish this day to hell, then he would. Not because he was afraid, he would lose, but because he was afraid, that he would lose everything.

He walked over to the washstand, splashed the cool water on his face, and wiped away the excess with a towel. Methodically he took a crisp white shirt from his wardrobe and buttoned it up with shaking fingers. He stopped mid task and made fists of his hands to steady them. He combed and powdered his hair before donning his wig and white mask. While he continued dressing, he checked the clock on the mantle.

He pulled on his black coat and sat for a moment to gather his thoughts and focus on the task ahead. The Vicomte had challenged him to kill him outright and at that moment, it seemed the only way left to buy freedom for Christine and him. Strangely, since Jean’s death he had lost all taste for violence in any form except the absolute necessary.


However, today was a day of necessity and one that had finally dawned. Erik left his bedchamber and walked into the living area and took his sword and scabbard from where it rested by the chair. He strapped it around his waist, while pondering whether he should pray to the God that had deserted him so long ago, but decided against the final act of hypocrisy as he pulled on his leather gloves and exited the house.

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

Christine awoke to the movement in her bed; she turned around, surprised to see Raoul awake and starting to dress. She smiled at him sleepily.

“Where are you going so early?” she asked him.

“I have pressing business Madame,”

She winced at the formality of his address, not wishing to press him further, but curious nonetheless.

“What can be so urgent at this time of day? It is but six,”

“Do not fret, it is something that I have to take care of, and that I should have taken care if a long time ago...put a dog out of its misery,” he finished under his breath as he strode from the room.

Christine frowned as she lay back down and tried to get comfortable, but was unable. There had been a nagging ache in her lower back for most of the night and it showed no signs of leaving her now. Sighing in defeat, she rang the bell for Charlotte to attend her and waited for her arrival.

The girl appeared five minutes later and seemed in an agitated state.

“What is wrong Charlotte?” asked Christine.

“Nothing Madame,” she replied as she helped Christine from the bed and led her over to the dressing table.

“You lie,” she blurted out. “Tell me what is going on this instant!” demanded Christine, taking a breath as she realised she was almost shouting. “Forgive me Charlotte,” Christine looked at the girl and saw she was close to tears.

“I was not supposed to say, but you are my mistress I cannot keep it from you any longer…they have gone to fight a duel,”

Christine paled and gripped the girl’s arms. “Who!”

“The phantom and your husband. Oh, Madame I have known about him for months…the phantom, but did not betray you I promise,”

The memory of her and Erik’s parting last night came back to her, as she remembered the nature of it. A hand flew to her mouth he had wished her goodbye. “Where is this duel to take place?” asked Christine, hardly registering the girl’s words.

“My older brother Jacques is attending as a second for your lover, er I mean the phantom. He said it was going to be held at the clearing near where your phantom resides,”

“Why did you not make mention of knowing about Erik and I, before?” asked Christine.

“Because it is not unusual for people of you and your husband’s station to take a lover,” blushed Charlotte.

“Run and to the stables and get tell the stable boy to prepare the carriage and there is not a moment to lose Charlotte, for two men’s lives are at stake here. Wake Madame Giry and Meg too,”

“Oui Madame,”

Christine quickly dressed in the first garment she could find, ringing her hands in anguish as she awaited the return of her maid. She stopped mid stride as she felt a twinge in her side and sucked in a breath until it passed. Charlotte re-appeared moments later with Meg and Madame Giry in tow.

“Christine,” said Meg rushing to her friend’s side and taking her hands in hers.

“We must leave at once, before it is too…l-late,” her voice broke over the last words.

The women left the room and for the first time in its existence, she cursed the advanced state of her pregnancy from stopping her running to where they were. The minutes dragged as she got into the carriage and the horses set off at a gallop.

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

“Dear Vicomte, I cannot express how thrilled I am that you managed to keep out appointment,” said Erik nonchalantly as he eyed his adversary.

“I am sorry I cannot return the sentiment. I am sure you understand,” replied Raoul haughtily.

Erik chuckled. “If you had been tumbling my wife, I suppose I would be in an ill humour myself,” he taunted.

Raoul stiffened, aware of the two servants and the family physician Dr Vallaurio that attended him. He turned and nodded to one of them and they walked forward holding an ornate ebony box. The man opened it and Erik saw the two duelling pistols nestled in the antique red velvet.

“These pistols have been in my family for two generations, much cleaner than a sword fight wouldn’t you agree?” asked Raoul.

“If you insist,” shrugged Erik. He was more than a little disconcerted at the Vicomte’s choice of weapon, Christine had told him on several occasions of her husband’s prowess with firearms.

“I do, I am the party with cause and therefore it is my right,”

Dr Vallaurio shook his head in disgust. “Matter of honour indeed! It is nothing but common butchery I tell you,” he grumbled as he watched the proceedings. “I prepared the pistols myself and have found no fault in them,” He took the box from the servant and proffered it to Erik first.

Erik contemplated the contents of the box momentarily before choosing a weapon, and waited while Raoul took the remaining firearm. He gave the Vicomte one last look as they turned and stood back to back.

“You are to both walk forwards ten paces, and do not take aim until instructed,”

As Erik took those ten paces towards his destiny, the only thing he could see was Christine, her rich brown eyes, her rounded body and the feel of her soft kisses. It sustained him in the longest walk of his life. Nine…ten, he turned to face the Vicomte.

“Take aim,” called out the doctor.

“Christine,” Erik whispered under his breath as he levelled his pistol at Raoul and the Vicomte did the same.

All involved were too taken up in the moment to hear the approaching carriage come to a stop a few feet away. Christine had seen them, from the window as they had taken their paces, she had almost cried out in frustrated anguish and pain.

“Fire!”

“No!” screamed Christine as she scrambled from the carriage, to the report of pistol fire.

TBC


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