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.

Forgiveness for sin
Chapter 8


He tied the ribbon on her cloak and smoothed the riotous tumble of curls that had long since escaped from their pins. Erik looked down at her tenderly and sighed. The intensity of his gaze drew her. They stared at each other in silence for several moments, their looks between them conveying more than their words ever could.

“You are so beautiful,”

“So are you,” she smiled back, no hint of guile or mockery in her voice. He looked away and she touched his cheek. “You don’t believe me?”

Erik tore away the mask from his face and looked back at her. “How can you look at this deformation and say it is handsome?”

“It never was about your outward appearance. You were my angel of music and beautiful to me before I had ever seen you,”

“But beauty is something that the outside world demands, something which I have coveted almost to the point of madness. It is what keeps me a prisoner, alone, and in the dark,”

She took his hand in hers. “Not alone anymore,” Christine placed a kiss on his open palm, before closing his fingers over it.

“The times that I am with you are sometimes the loneliest moments of all…knowing that you are only mine for a little while,”

“It is the way it has to be,”

“Because you chose him,” he replied bitterly.

“Don’t you think I live with that knowledge everyday?” she cried.

His hands cupped her face roughly. “Damn you and your inconstant heart,”

She looked at him with unflinching compassion, welcoming the pain of his harsh fingers as they bit into her skin. Erik struggled with his emotions as they coursed through him. So long had he lived with scorn and contempt that her tenderness was almost his undoing. Her tears were something that he had always hated to see, even more so when he was their cause.

He took a breath, “There is something I have to tell you,”

“What is it?” she asked.

“Tonight…we were followed,”

“What? Who?” She asked in panic.

“Madame Giry’s daughter. Let us just say she bore witness to our union,”

“Oh, no,” The fear clutched at her heart and shameful colour tinged her cheeks.

“Your friend Meg…it seems that curiosity has killed the cat,” he replied.

Christine looked at him “You would not hurt her?”

He pulled back as if she had slapped him, wounded by her assumption. “I would never harm anything of Madame Giry’s. If it were not for her I would have been strung up by a mob,”

“I must return home and speak to her at once,” replied Christine, her mind already on other things.

“I thought you would say that. Come I will return you to your Vicomte,” His face twisted as he uttered the last word bitterly.

Erik took her hand, picked up the candlestick, and led her from the theatre, leaving it shrouded once more in darkness.

With both of them mounted on the horse, he set off at a steady pace. The hooves of the horse struck the pavement like the peals of a bell ringing out her doom. Would Meg tell her husband? She knew she was being selfish, but wasn’t that exactly what she had been ever since her return? She lay back into Erik’s arms drawing warmth and comfort from his strong form. As they neared the end of their journey, she sighed softly, turning her head to look up at him.

Even now, with the fear of discovery coursing through her, she could not help but feel desolate at their parting. Although she had promised him that the night belonged to them, they were both realistic to know that circumstances and other people would not always make it possible for them to meet.

“Do you return home tomorrow?” he asked.

“Yes, at first light. We are told that if we do not soon leave we will be caught up in the conflict,”

“I will be with you, watching over you on your journey home,”

She looked up at him. “You always are with me, in my mind, in my heart. Be careful Erik,”

Erik pulled on the reins as they neared the square. “Your concern is moving, but I am able to take care of myself,”

“Fine! May you meet a whole regiment of soldiers in ill humour,” she snapped.

She felt his warm breath on her neck as he lowered his head to kiss it. She closed her eyes as his lips blazed a trail along her skin.

“Forgive me, Christine,”

At that moment, she could have forgiven him anything, as she responded to the sensations his lips were arousing in her. She knew him to be dangerous, but she also knew he would rather perish than harm her. It was partly the danger that stirred her as she lay in his arms and his bed. He had taken her to places she could have only dreamt of before now. The night he had dragged her down to his home had only been his desire to know the happiness of her love. If Raoul had not followed her, Erik would have made her his that very night. Then maybe they both would have been spared the future they had before them, of lies and betrayal. However, what kind of half-life could they have lived in the darkness?

“It is I who need forgiveness. I could not bear to see you hurt,”

“I know. I would be a dead man even now, if you had not stayed your husband’s hand during our fight in the cemetery. Maybe that would be better for all of us,”

“Please don’t say that. I cannot imagine a world that does not have you in it. I lost one man whom I loved…my father. Do not leave me with another to grieve for all my life. We are playing with fire each time we meet. If there were a next time that your paths should cross, I feel no amount of tears on my part would prevent him if he knew of us,”

“I look forward to it. Raoul De Chagny does not frighten me,” he replied confidently.

“To say you embrace it is to wish for death. Promise me you won’t seek a confrontation,” she asked urgently.

Erik looked down at her. His heart softened a little at the distress in her face and voice.

He nodded almost imperceptibly. “I have no fear of death. What horrors can it hold which I have not already experienced? But I promise,” It did not mean he would not embrace the fight when it eventually came to his door. Christine was a woman in body and mind, but still a child, innocence of the harsher realities of this life.

“There is something you should know…I have invited Meg to stay at my home for a few weeks. That is if she still wishes to after all that has occurred,”

Erik gave her a hard look, his hands tightening around her waist. “You wouldn’t have invited her in an attempt to avoid me would you?”

“Of course not…I will still come to you, but you may understand that it will be more complicated with her knowing of us,”

Erik felt black anger envelope his heart. He slipped off the back of his horse before helping Christine from it. She looked up at him, seeing the anger glitter in his eyes.

“What have I done now?” she asked.

Erik shook his head before looking back at her. “Tonight when your friend found us, I gave her a performance she would not forget. When I was with you, inside you. I heard her and I looked her straight in the eyes. She is in no doubt who your moonlight lover is,” He smiled down at her haughtily.

“Why must you do that?” she asked.

“Do what my love?” he replied.

“Ruin what we have. Lower it to its sin?”

“Ah, but it is sin, wicked, delicious and sensuous in its making. That is why you love it so much and crave it more each time we touch. Tell me that I am not in your thoughts and mind. That every touch your husband bestows on you brings you to thoughts of us. Tell me Christine have you lain with him since your return?”

Christine looked at him then looked away. “No, but I must. He will suspect and I don’t wish to cause him pain,”

“That is already unavoidable my sweet. Now be gone before you are missed,” he kissed her hardly upon the lips. Erik watched her progress as she made her way to her friend’s home, before turning and riding back to the opera populaire in readiness for his own journey.

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

Christine crept into the house, unsure that she would be alone or met by a welcoming committee. She breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the house was sheathed in total darkness. She replaced her cloak in the closet. Venturing into the lounge to warm her hands by the dying fire, which glowed in the grate.

“Home so soon?” asked a voice.

Christine spun around in shock at the unexpected sound. Meg was sitting in an armchair, cradling a glass of wine.

“Oh Meg,”

“Christine what are you doing? You would throw away the love of the man resting in the other room for a known murderer. Are you mad?”

Christine ran to her friend’s side and got on her knees to look up at her in despair. “I know what he is, but I need him Meg. Can you not understand? He fires my blood and until I am by his side I am only half alive,”

Meg looked down at her. “I only see the wantonness of a child who cares not whom is hurt in her play,”

“Please Meg I need to tell someone. I feel I shall burst with what is running around inside of me,”

“I will listen with as an impartial mind as possible,” sighed Meg

Christine began to pour out the events of the last few days. Skimming over the more intimate moments of her time spent with Erik as she finished her tale. The animation in her face illuminated it as if lit from the inside. It was not unnoticed by her wary listener and she frowned at Meg’s angry expression.

“You love Raoul,” Christine uttered with a flash of insight. “The very day you saw him at the opera populaire you commented on how handsome you thought him. I just didn’t see it until now,”

Meg got up from her chair and paced the room restlessly.

“Don’t be so foolish. It would be folly indeed to love a man that does not even know you exist,” said Meg evasively. “I have not the good fortune that you have…of being loved and adored every man that meets you,”

“You do not know Erik as I do. He was my teacher, the voice in the night that soothed me when I ached with grief for my father. You see only the monster. I see the man,”

“Christine have a care. I suspect that your angel will soon grow weary of sharing you with another and then God help us all,”

“Meg I am sorry that you had to find out that way, but you are wrong. What I need to know is…”

“Will I tell,” Meg finished for her. “I will keep your secret, but I will not cover for anything else. Does mother know?”

Christine nodded. “Nothing ever did get past your mama. I don’t suppose it has now,” she sighed.

“The hour is late. It must be three of the clock at least and we have a journey ahead of us,” smiled Meg as she put down her half finished glass of wine.

Christine rose to her feet. “You will still come?” she asked excitedly.

“Of course,” Meg replied as the two women embraced.

Christine and Meg parted moments later to go to their separate beds. She to her husband and Meg to the bed she had to share with Madeline during her friend’s stay at her meagre lodgings.

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

The early morning sun rose in the sky, bringing hope and warmth with the dawn of the new day. The carriage rolled up outside Meg’s lodgings. Its grandeur looking out of place in this modest street. After Meg had said goodbye to her friend they set off for the De Chagny estate. Christine peered out of the window for any sign of Erik. She sighed in disappointment and relief that he were absent. Maybe he had decided against risking the journey in the daylight.

Raoul placed a kiss on her cheek and pulled her close to him. “Not long until we are home once more my love,”

She smiled up at him as she felt icy fingers contract at her heart. Why did the word home suddenly no longer bring her the comfort it used to? She glanced across at Meg, her friend’s expression unreadable.

Most of the journey was taken in comfortable silence. Meg soon fell asleep from the gentle rocking of the carriage. Raoul focused his attention on his wife. He pulled her closer to him and lowered his head to catch her lips in his before moving away to look at her, his desire evident in his gaze.

His need lit no spark in her nor caused a rush of blood in her veins that she felt when Erik looked at her in that way. His caresses were nothing beyond pleasant and she hated herself for it. She closed her eyes, dreamed of another’s touch, and returned Raoul’s kisses ardently to his surprise. He pulled back to study her face, noting the excited blush to her cheeks.

“You have been missing me too,”

She nodded and averted her eyes. She knew her duty as a wife would soon be called upon. It was something that she would have to deal with when the time came. It hurt far more to think she would be betraying Erik with the one person whom she was legally joined. Her attention was averted as a black clad rider overtook the carriage and continued along the road.

Raoul frowned. “I think we may have been followed. I remember such a rider flanking us on our way into the city,”

“You were asleep for most the journey. It must be your mind playing tricks with you,” she smiled at him, causing him to forget his concerns with the sweetness of her expression.

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

Erik raced past the carriage, glancing at the occupants inside. Meg was fast asleep, but what he saw inside cut into him deeply. It was not the first time he had been witness to their kisses. He remembered their spoken vows on the roof of the opera house in the softly falling snow, as if it were yesterday. His hands gripped the reins tighter as he spurred his horse on, no longer able to bear the happy tableau before his eyes.

His mind wandered back to the past…the few weeks he had spent hiding among the scum of Paris after the opera house had burned. He had been lost without Christine, knowing her to be away on her wedding tour. He had briefly turned to drink to help him through those days, which had been the darkest he had ever known.

His former life as a sideshow freak had been preferable to the gut wrenching agony he had suffered in her absence. Therefore, he had buried himself away in the lowest streets of the city. Renting an abode not fit for the rats to sleep in. It had only been the image of her sweet face, which had kept him sane in all that time as well as the memory of her voice in his head.

It had been one night, when he had been unable to stay away any longer that he had ventured out of the city to find himself at the borders of the De Chagny estate. The hour had been late and he had ridden up to the great house to find it shut up for the duration of the family’s continuing absence. It had been on the ride back up the long driveway that he had had to ride into the trees for cover as a carriage had approached.

As he had watched, concealed by the night and their branches, he had seen Madame Giry’s outline inside. Highlighted by the carriage lamps that burned. His horse had wandered into the wood and he had gone in search of it, finally finding the animal grazing at a grassy patch near the shell of a long forgotten house. Erik had ventured inside the old building and had looked it over, when the idea of inhabiting it came to him. It was isolated with little chance of discovery. It was obvious that no one had been here in a very long time. He had spent so many years watching over Christine, and the idea of doing so again had given him a little joy in his hellish existence.

So here, he was on the road to the De Chagny estate riding for all his life to his home on a stolen corner of his lover’s husband’s land. He had just ridden into the cover of the trees, when he heard the distant rumble of their carriage as it entered the grounds and begun its journey down the long driveway. Erik turned away and led his horse to the small outhouse behind his home before entering his house and closing the door. He walked into the living room, inspecting it for signs of intrusion.

Satisfying himself that all was well, he felt the tiredness seep into his bones as he shrugged off his cloak and left his mask on the chair. He walked into his bedroom and fell onto the bed in exhaustion, the sweet image of Christine’s face in his mind as he allowed sleep to claim him.

When he awoke, it was to night. His long years below the opera house had given him an aptitude to find his way around in the dark that rivalled any feline. He got up from the bed and walked into the living room to light a fire to ward off the night chills. As he turned away from it, it was then that a pair of arms encircled him.

“I thought you were going to sleep the night away,” she sighed.

He smiled. Erik had been aware of her presence the moment he had entered the room, but he had decided to let her play her little games with him.

“Christine,” he answered her, before taking her in his arms and kissing her deeply.

She broke the kiss and looked at him, the soft glow of the fire giving his face a less harsh appearance.

“We don’t have long. I managed to slip away for a few moments before dinner. My husband is taking a bath and will be occupied for the next hour. There will not be another opportunity for us to meet this night,”

“And Meg?” he asked.

“She is with her mother,”

“We had better not keep the Vicomte waiting for his bride then,”

She heard the twist in his voice, as he said it. She could not blame him for his resentment or the way Erik’s hand strayed roughly under her skirts as he had led her over to the stool of his piano. He sat on the cushioned seat as she stood before him, watching her look of ecstasy as his able fingers crept beneath the hemline of her undergarments.

“So ready for me,” he stated as he made contact with her impassioned flesh, dipping his fingers inside. He smiled at the little gasp that left her lips, his mastery over her body urging him on.

He pulled down her underclothes and threw them away, before unbuttoning his pants. He took her hand and guided it to his aching member, revelling in her hesitant touch. Christine responded to his moans of pleasure that she wrought from him, as he threw his head back to rest against the piano.

“Do it,” he gasped. “Put me inside you,”

Her eyes widened at his request. He grasped at one of her thighs, bringing it to rest on the space on one of the sides of the stool. She gripped the edge of the piano behind him as he helped to lift her up until she was straddling him either side of the seat. She could feel his hardness as it rested against her naked thigh. All it would take is one little movement on her part. Her hand travelled beneath the cover of her skirts, her eyes never leaving his face as she took a hold of him before impaling herself on his body. Erik buried his face in her breasts as she began to move, spurred on by her eagerness to have him sheathed deep inside her.

Their movements became more impassioned and desperate as Christine moved faster, in reply to his thrusts. They were close to the edge. Their passion heightened by the knowledge that time was short. Both of them grabbing whatever time fate threw their way and embracing it. Erik let out a strangled cry against her throat as he came inside her. She followed him moments later as he kissed her, urging her on to completion.

They pulled apart, in a tangle of dampened limbs. He kissed her again and lifted her from him to put her on the floor on shaky legs. He held on to her, to stop her from falling. He returned his crumpled clothing to some semblance of order as he helped her to put back her undergarments.

He stood back and looked at her. “There, you look like a woman who has thoroughly been…”

She winced. “Don’t say it, Erik. Please don’t spoil things,” she pleaded.

He smoothed a strand of damp hair from her cheek. “You think I don’t know why you came here at this hour?” At her silence he continued. “You came here because you need to feel better about what you are to do tonight. It breaks my heart to know that you will be going from my arms to his Christine, but I thank you for giving yourself to me in self-punishment of your weak heart and I bid you goodnight,”

Christine felt the tears well up in her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. Instead, she looked at him, before she held her head up and walked towards the door, pausing before opening it.

“I wish you had never returned,”

He strode towards her closing the distance between them. “You lie so beautifully my dear. It was not me who ruined tonight it was you, for I was only going to say that you looked like a woman whom has been thoroughly loved. Now good day to you, I find I grow weary of your company,” he replied curtly before closing the door on her.

TBC


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