Tremulous and Tender

BY : NataliaV
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 7330
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.

Part: 2/?
Summary, Disclaimer, etc. in first chapter.

To say Erik had been shocked when he'd woke to see Christine's tear-filled eyes staring down at him, would have been an understatement. He was horrified and angry and deliriously happy all at once.

He was thankful he'd been so tired earlier that he'd not taken his mask off. If she had seen his face...

Her words, however, burned him worse than any pain he’d endured in his life. "Angel of Music, you deceived me."

Tears coursed down her cheeks and he longed to wipe them away. He stayed where he was, though, taking in her scantily clothed form. She wore a thin nightgown that was soaked through.

Well, that answered how she got there. How she found the switch on the mirror and managed to get past all his traps was beyond him.

He walked to his wardrobe and pulled out his thickest cloak and a shirt. He put the shirt on quickly before going back and holding out the cloak.

She stared at it and him disdainfully. He wasn't surprised. He had deceived her. And he was used to such reactions from people. He had hoped she would be different... but alas...

"I will not let you catch your death of cold." He said, kneeling before her and carefully, as not to touch her, draped the cloak around her shoulders.

At the sound of his voice, she began sobbing. She buried her face in her hands, shaking her head. His voice, no doubt erased to any linger stands of hope that he wasn't the man who'd called himself her angel.

"How could you?" He heard her cry.

Erik ran a hand through his hair. It was her tears that brought him to this place to begin with. If she had not been so beautiful, crying in that chapel all those years ago, he might not have spoken to her. But she was... crying for her father and the Angel of Music he’d promised her. How could he deny her? And now how could he possibly explain?

He'd fallen in love with her then. Not the consuming, burning love he felt for her now... a much purer, innocent love that drove him to become her Angel of Music. That love which made him do all sorts of insane things he'd never dare do but for the sake of her.

That damned bedroom was a prime example. The beautiful, expensively decorated room which he'd built once she'd begun her journey into womanhood and he began longing for her in less than noble ways. He'd hoped to reveal himself one day. He wasn't sure he was altogether ready now, though.

Damn her inquisitiveness.

"I could apologize, but I'd hardly mean it and I daresay you wouldn't believe me."

She shook her head again, pulling the cloak tight around her. She rubbed the material over her reddened eyes before looking at him.

"Why did you do it? What sort of sick amusement did you get out of it?"

"None, my dear. I merely wanted to help you. Forgive me if I felt you wouldn't want the help of a man who lived underneath the opera house."

"You could see into my dressing room. I'd changed in there..." She sobbed. "You violated my privacy."

"I never..." He turned away. That was a lie. He had watched her undress. Too many times... too many torturous times. "I never watched you undress, Christine." He finished his lie. It's not as though she would ever learn the truth.

"You swear?"

Erik shut his eyes. Lie or be honest and earn more of her scorn. He weighed the options and chose. "Yes. I swear."

He turned when he heard her sigh in relief. She slowly picked herself up off the ground.

Ayesha hissed angrily at Christine. He forced himself not to laugh at it. Damned cat hated everyone but him.

"What’s wrong with your cat?" Christine asked after she wiggled her fingers in front of Ayesha brown face and the cat tried to bite them.

"She's... temperamental." He shrugged.

"She? What's her name?"

"Ayesha."

"Ayesha." She repeated, then crouched, cooing it to the cat. Ayesha surprised him by sauntering over and butting her face against Christine's hand. Christine squealed and rubbed Ayesha's head gently before lifting her into her arms and cradling her. "A pretty name for a pretty cat." She kissed the Siamese's head lightly. Erik envied Ayesha in that moment. "And what of her owner? What is his name?"

"Erik."

"Simply Erik?"

"Yes."

"Well, Erik, I'm wet and cold. Would you be so kind as to perhaps light a fire?"

"Of course," He led her out of the room and into the library. He lit a fire and motioned for her to sit in the high-backed chair he favored. She surprised him by choosing to sit directly in front of the fireplace… on the floor.

She sat down, his cloak billowing around her. She let go of Ayesha to hold her hands closer to the fire.

“I will have to remember to not do that again.” She gave a half-hearted laugh.

“What possessed you?”

“I had to know.” She turned back to face him. Her eyes grew round suddenly. “You’re… you’re the Opera Ghost!”

Erik grinned. “Yes, I am.”

“You’re not going to kill me, are you?”

“What?” He laughed. She thought he wanted to kill her? “I would sooner cut off my arms than harm you.”

“Oh.” She seemed relived to hear this. “Does anyone know you’re not a ghost?”

“Madame Giry does.”

“Really?” Despite the tone of her voice, she honestly didn’t seem that surprised. “That does make sense. She almost always delivers your notes. Are you friends with her?”

“I do not give the notes to her. They are merely put across her path. As for being friends, I have not spoken to her in many years.”

“Well, how did she find out?”

“She brought me here when I was a child.” He said shortly, looking away from her, hoping she would stop her current line of questioning. Memories from that time were not ones he liked to think of. When he faced her again, she was staring up at him with concern in her eyes.

“Erik, how long have you lived down here?”

“Somewhere near thirty years.”

Her eyes widened. She stood and walked over to him. “But, why?”

“Why not?” He shrugged. He looked down at her… daring her to bring up his mask. He could tell that’s what she was thinking about.

He’d expected her to ask about it; not try to grab it. When her hand shot up, he was surprised. He didn’t react until her fingers were tugging at the edges of it. He quickly grabbed her hand, halting her actions and held her wrist tightly, albeit gently. It wouldn’t do to hurt his delicate little flower.

“I suggest, my dear, if you wish me to continue in the cordial manner I have been, you will refrain from trying to remove my mask.” He couldn’t help the hint of anger from ebbing into his voice and immediately wished he had a better hold of his emotions when he saw fear creep over her features.

“S-s-sorry.” She pulled away from him and sat in front of the fire again.

Erik sighed; readjusting his mask to make sure it wouldn’t slip accidentally after it’d been tampered with. “Christine.”

“Yes?” She feigned interest in the dancing flames so she wouldn’t have to look up at him.

“I can row you back if you’d like.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“Or…” She looked up then. He felt it would be a mistake, asking her to stay, but he wasn’t ready for her to leave now that she was there. “You could stay here.”

“Where would I sleep?” She asked warily, obviously remembering his coffin.

“I shall show you.” He held his hand out to her. He was surprised when she showed no hesitation in slipping her hand into his and allowing him to pull her to her feet. Erik shut his eyes for a moment, relishing the feel of her warm, little hand in his.

He led her out of the library and past his bedroom. He opened the door to her bedroom.

She clutched his hand tightly and moved so close to him, her body was pressed against his as he led her into the darkened room. She refused to loosen her hold on him when he tried to move from her. He looked down at her with some concern. He could see perfectly in the dark, but she could not.

She confessed her fear of the dark to him long ago. And he still heard the other chorus-girls mock her for her wish to have a candle remain lit in the dorms at night.

She smiled sheepishly and let go of his hand. He quickly made work of lighting all the candles in the room. He would give her no reason to fear being down there with him.

As the room slowly awoke by flickering lights, he heard her gasp in delight. “This is the most magnificent room I’ve ever seen!”

Erik smiled at her reaction. It was magnificent. He only had the best of materials and furniture brought in. Only the best for her…

“You are more than welcome to stay here anytime you wish.”

“Thank you.” She ran her fingers over the intricately carved swan bed.

He nervously motioned to the wardrobe. “There are clothes in there. They should fit.”

“Erik, did you…” She frowned as she opened the wardrobe to see many dresses. Some costumes, others the latest in French couture. It was so glaringly obviously they were her size. She was quite petite. “Did you bring this stuff down here just for me?”

There was no point in lying. “Yes.”

“You were going to tell me the truth then?”

“Well…”

Christine graced him with the most beautiful smile in that moment. “I should like to stay tonight. Will you take me back in the morning, after our lesson? We will still have our lesson tomorrow morning, won’t we?”

“If that’s what you wish.” He made a slight bow and moved to the door.

“Wait.” She shrugged off his cloak and handed it to him.

He looked away quickly. Her nightgown was dry, but it was still a terribly thin thing. “Goodnight, Christine.”

“Goodnight, Erik.”

Review Responses:

Okay, first… wow. I honestly didn’t expect such a positive response... so… wow… thanks. My ego and I are very happy! :)

kiss_me
I’m glad you’re loving it! I’ll try to keep updating fast and frequently. Hope you enjoyed Erik and Christine’s interaction. No begging unfortunately… but there may come a point (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)… hehehe…

Angel Marie
Thanks! I have no idea where or how I learned to write like I do… it just sort of happens! Lol. My beta is a lovely gal who’s horribly anal… I think over the years I’ve come to learn what she’s going to critique or want to change, so I just do it before hand. Saves us both time!

Kristine
The coffin thing was hard to write without giggling… especially since Gerry was in “Dracula 2000”! Lol! I almost did have him naked, but poor virginal Christine would’ve died blushing, no?

Yumi
I tend to be very insane when I don’t have a beta. It took me about three hours before posting the first chapter to go over it and make sure everything was okay! That’d be awesome if you’re willing to beta. I’ll send you chapter three sometime today!


You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story