Tonight though she taunted him. Her movements while she changed out of her costume and released her hair from its pins were slow and deliberate, seductive. It was almost as if she was aware of him watching her hoping to catch a glimpse of the flesh he coveted as desperately as any drug. At least the drug he could get his hands on. In some ways his desperation to touch her was worse than his dependence on substances.
A hand moved to rest against the mirror when she turned to face him innocently yet expectantly. She looked trusting and hopeful, she was waiting for him. Well, she waited for her Angel not him, there was a difference.
Dressed only in her chemise, her feet unprotected against the cold dressing room floor she walked to their mirror. With his keen eyesight and the way she stood in relation to the room's lamp he could see the outline of her lithe form through the chemise. He would gladly take one of his torture chambers over this version of torment any day. To be so close and yet so very far away was a torment he could live without.
And he would not be able to give into the temptation and actually touch her, have her as his own. Oh but he wanted her anyway. The knowledge he could not have her probably made his want for her worse. Erik wanted her like he had wanted nothing else in his life. He would give up the power he had obtained, the money he had earned if it meant having her as his, by his side, with him every step of the way until God saw fit to stop punishing him and cease his existence from this world.
He let out a soft but audible groan of frustration as she began to rearrange her hair. She was doing something feminine he realized, arranging it in different styles to see which she found most flattering. He stepped away then, into the hallway's shadows, afraid she might have heard the sound and look for him. She could not have seen through the mirror, but instinct made him retreat.
Her fingertips were so agile, so pleasing to look at. Unlike his that resembled those of a skeleton and were cold to the touch. Hers, he imagined, were warm from the blood pumping through her veins. Erik had blood, too, but he had always wondered if his was somehow different than humans. It looked the same, he had toyed with his own and the blood of others enough to know that his looked and tasted no different. So what was it then that made his flesh cold to the touch? Surely, his Christine wanted, no needed, and deserved to be surrounded and enveloped by warmth not the cold, reptilian like feel of his touch.
He entered her mind, having been there so often that it was easy for him to come and go without her knowing he had been in the inner sanctum of her mind. She did as he bid without hesitation. Her hands ran through her hair, fanned it so it looked lion-like and wild. He loved it and hated it at the same time, this was self-induced torture. Those chocolate colored tresses were bound to be soft and silky, to flow through his fingertips with ease. He debated the wiseness in carrying on. Was this rape? He was unsure, but did not believe so since he was not touching her.
He watched from behind the mirror, moving closer to his side of the glass. She touched her face in a sensual caress, fingertips grazing her parted lips in a suggestive overture even Erik could not claim ignorance of. Dear God, what was she doing? He had not prompted her to do that! If there was a God He should be striking Erik down here and now. But truly, his intent was merely to watch her play with her hair nothing more. Yet, he could not stop himself from watching with stunned and morbid curiosity. Her actions caused untamed arousal to course through his body.
So this was what desires of the flesh meant. He had always thought he was above such base animalistic needs but apparently he was not. His desire to possess her exceeded the boundaries of her flesh and that which would come from lovemaking. He wanted all of Christine Daae, her heart, soul, body, and mind given to him freely.
As if of their own accord, without his prompting, her hands moved to the side of her face. She touched her face and then as if she had not tortured him enough her hands slid seductively to her neck and throat. Her lips parted invitingly and her eyes drifted closed in a slow fluttering of thick, dark lashes. Erik felt his own body respond to the show she was putting on solely for him. He was confident she knew he was there, her Angel. She wanted him to see her, wanted him to want her, as if there was any doubt he did. He just wished he could express to her how much he wanted her.
She caressed her neck from the nape to her throat, her fingertips caressing her delicate creamy flesh. She slid her hands lower across her chest so that she could touch either shoulder. She caressed the length of each arm, her fingertips running along her skin as if she were stroking the keys of a piano rather than her smooth skin. Torture. This was torture, but it was so enjoyable that he could not move from his vantage point.
She tilted her head back and he could see from the rapid beating of her pulse at her delicate neck that her breathing had accelerated as his had. Her efforts had the same effect on both of them, this brought him comfort. Her hands caressed the length of her arms again, up to her shoulders and then uncrossing as she touched her collarbone.
He stood watching with rapt attention every movement her hands and fingertips made; they were so delicate and petite yet sure of themselves. He wondered if without his mental influence she would be doing anything this risqué. He doubted it, but then remembered she had dropped her hands from her hair of her own accord. He had merely coached her into touching her hair, sprawling it out for him in a sensuously disheveled style.
The moment of guilt he felt was pushed aside when he saw her hands drop from her collarbone and upper chest to her breasts. Oh dear Lord he had to be doing something incredibly sinful but he could not stop himself. Her hands cupped her small but shapely breasts and caressed them with the palms of her hands. Erik was stuck in place, a voyeur to this wonderful exhibition given privately for him.
Her head came forward and her eyes opened and she called to him as her fingertips caressed the sensitive area around each peak and each peak themselves. Even with the chemise on he could see the effect her touch had on her body. She looked directly into the mirror and said his name, there was no mistaking that. Angel and Erik sounded nothing alike. He was stunned, held in place unsure of what to do. She was calling to him. Should he stay where he was or go to her? Did she want him to help in her exploration? As if he had anything to offer her, any experience to base anything off of.
Her hands skimmed lower, leaving the swell of her breasts much to his disappointment. Some men might have preferred a woman with a more ample bosom. She was tiny and her breasts fit well with the build God had bestowed upon her. Her abdomen was taught and firm, no signs of excess on her at all. Years of dance and exercise had left her legs firm as well. Her hands traveled lower along her belly and then to her sides, hips, and the tops of her muscular thighs, up along her waist and sides to her breasts once more only to begin the sensuous and treacherous path all over again.
"Erik," she whispered. This is what he got for playing his music for her. He knew it was dangerous, but he had no idea it was this dangerous. Yes, this had begun with him controlling her thoughts, but it had gone much further than that. He most certainly was not prompting her to call for him. How did she know his name? How? It was impossible.
He stood awe struck, anyone who had known him up until this point would have believed Erik incapable of such a thing. He felt his blood coursing warm through his body in places he had thought up until now were useless to him. His own hand matched hers, mirrored hers, drifting along his torso as hers drifted along hers. His skin would not be as soft to the touch as hers; his skin was pale from whatever ailment he suffered from where hers was the delicate cream color of a lady.
When her hands returned to her face, his followed suit and touched as if the mask was not there. Could she look upon him without seeing the mask? He doubted it, no one could. Everyone he had ever met had inevitably given into the desire to know what lay beneath it. Surely this singer would be no different. But here for a moment as his hand trailed along his somewhat unblemished cheek he felt a semblance of hope he had never experienced before.
He had not expected this, had not planned for it and was not prepared. He sensed that despite his assistance she was a willing participant in this seductress game she was playing. Forgotten just then was the fact she had called out his given name despite the fact she could not know it. Left only was the fact that he desired her, and it seemed she desired him in return.
With a seemingly effortless wave of his hand, the mirror began its path along the track to reveal him standing in the hallway before her. Dressed in black, his arms held out from his sides underneath his cape he realized that he looked like an apparition.
He could tell his presence surprised her, but she was not as startled or frightened as she should have been. "You taunt me, Christine."
"Nonsense," she said her voice humble.
"Then come to me and end this torment."
Christine looked at him, a curious frown on her lips but she stepped to him. Her feet paused briefly at the threshold from dressing room to where he stood and she took his offered hand.
He glanced at her, the picture of innocence complete with a slight trembling of her arm as she took his hand. "Do you even have any idea what you were doing?"
"I needed you. I was hoping you would come."
"Me? Or your Angel?"
"You. I have dreamt of you."
"I have. You have sung to me." She reached hesitantly with her free hand to touch the mask on his face. She stroked it, a light brush of her fingertips. "I have seen this."
He tried to detect pity or fear in her voice, her gesture but could not find it there. She touched the mask as if it were as much a part of him as was his nose. She touched it as if she simply accepted it was there. He was speechless, unsure of what to say.
She smiled slightly, clearly shy but did not lower her hand from his face. "I wanted you to come, hoped you would. I knew you were back there."
Her hand fell to her side gracefully and she lowered her head slightly. "Yes."
"But why? I mean what did you hope to accomplish."
"I do not know," she said softly. "I just had to see you, to know you were real."
"I am very real, Christine."
"I know that now, Erik." Her voice took an almost demure tone as she said his name which set Erik's heart to pounding once again.
The mirror closed once she stepped into the hallway, into his world. He was vaguely aware of her state of dress but his surprise at having her before him without the mirror between them was enough to render him incapable of thinking about such things. His hand closed over hers and he led her away from the portal, further into the darkness, into his world.
"Where are we going?"
"To my home."
"Erik." He could hear the fear and hesitation in her voice even with that single word being spoken.
"I am scared of the dark," she said simply. Erik waited knowing there was more she had to say. "I have heard tell of rats and other things here in the basements."
He squeezed her hand in an effort to reassure her. "Would you like me to carry you?"
"Would you," she sounded hopeful. Erik could see her clearly, but she did not know that. "I hate to ask."
"You do not," he said with a light laugh surprised at the ease with which he laughed. He wanted to laugh around her. "I have to put the lantern down then, Christine. You have to trust me, you will be unable to see but I see just fine."
"All right," she said timidly. Erik breathed deep knowing just how much trust she was placing in him just then. He saw her move closer to him but was still startled at the feeling of her body against his. Her hands clutched his upper arms tightly as she looked over her shoulder.
Erik took her into his arms, adjusting his arms to carry her with ease. She was not heavy, but he had to adjust to her size and the placement of his hands in relation to her body, particularly without the standard layers separating his hands from touching her.
He felt her breathing slow and realized how much it took for her to trust him so implicitly here in the dark passageways where rats and other vermin ran free. His thumb near her head stroked over her hair. It was as soft as he had imagined and this was just his thumb. He could just imagine what it would feel like if his whole hand were touching it.
She asked no questions as he threw switches and accessed passageways. This surprised him as she struck him as being curious, the type who would want to know how things worked. Perhaps she did not wish to insult him or throw off his concentration. She would not realize he could walk this path from her dressing room to his lair with his eyes closed.
Once inside his lair he set her down, an arm remaining around her tiny waist to keep her against him for a moment longer. He released her to turn up the lamp only to find her looking up at him. Her blue eyes were wide and beautiful and very curious.
"What," he couldn't help but ask.
His brow furrowed though she could not see it with the mask on. "For what?"
"For carrying me. For bringing me here and not sending me home."
"Why would I send you home?"
"I was afraid you would, that you would scold me for my behavior, you always seem to want me to act so properly. I thought you might be offended."
"Yes, for what I did in my dressing room."
He scoffed. She had no idea apparently how not offended he was. "Offended is hardly the word to describe what I felt, Christine. I find it difficult to believe you behaved in such a manner though because of me. For me."
"I am not like other men, Christine," he said his voice laced with bitterness and fear. Fear that she would leave him or he would have to leave and be alone once more.
"No, you do not know. You cannot know."
"Why do you treat me like a child, Erik? Why can I be woman enough to behave as I did upstairs but not woman enough to know what I know?"
He bowed his head in resignation and apology. "I am sorry, Christine. I did not mean to insult you, but you cannot possibly know."
"I know why you wear this," she said placing her hand to his mask. His eyes widened and he must have frightened her because for a moment he saw fear in her eyes.
"I told you I have dreamt of you. I have known for a while you were man not angel, though your voice surely is an instrument of God if I have ever heard one."
"No," he demanded. He could not allow her to believe he served her God. He had strayed from that path and served the side of darkness for too long now to be an instrument of any good.
Her hand slid from his mask to his shoulder where it remained. She stood on the tips of her toes and kissed him. Erik held his breath and did not respond right away. He was certain that she would draw away, but she did not.
His arms encircled her waist, so tiny and perfect even without benefit of the corset she had to wear as part of her daily attire. He had gone too long, an entire lifetime, without a kiss to control himself or be slow. He drew her against him hard and fast, letting her feel just how unoffended he was by the display in her dressing room. Despite having to concentrate while he carried her to his lair and not wanting to believe this beautiful young woman could possibly want anything intimate from him he was as aroused as he had been watching her.
She gasped as he drew her against him, but his own lips parted as if anticipating her sound capturing it and inhaling it. His tongue grazed her lower lip, causing her to gasp once more. He felt her grip his shoulder tightly, but she did not push him away. He had no idea what he was doing, acting purely on instinct and what felt not necessarily right but good. She apparently did not know this, because he could tell even in this she trusted him. His heart took flight, beating rapidly at that realization. She trusted him.
He had planned on giving her a tour of his home, but thoughts beyond kissing her quickly fled his mind. He gasped when he felt her hand move to the back of his head, the hand that until now had remained by her side. He heard her laugh lightly and he drew away, breaking the kiss surprised at how out of breath he felt. He was visibly shaking as an affect of the kiss they had just shared and she stood there laughing.
"What is so funny?"
"Nothing. It was just funny to hear you make a sound I made."
"Why do you find it funny?"
"Don't be upset with me, Erik."
"I am not upset."
"Yes, you are, I can tell. I am not insulting you. I have never been kissed before, so it was logical that I should be surprised by all that transpires between us. That is all I meant, you acted as surprised as I am."
"I am, Christine, I," he paused unsure about admitting his inexperience to her. "I certainly have not done such things with any frequency." He saw something in her eyes, anticipation perhaps and he continued. "I have never done them."
"You are the first and the only. There is only you for me, Christine. There can be no one else."
"I know that, Erik, I do."
"And yet you see this boy, Raoul."
"He is but a friend."
Her hand at his shoulder moved, her fingertips slid over his shoulder to the side of his neck. His breath caught as the tip of her index finger grazed his earlobe. She snaked her hand around his neck, drawing herself to him once again with the movement. And then her lips were on his once again. She had not answered his question, but without words she was offering him an answer. She would not be kissing him if le Vicomte was anything but the friend she claimed him to be.
This fueled the fires within his heart and body, as if they needed to be stoked more than they were. He burned for her. If this was hell rather than her God's heaven, he would gladly live here if he would be provided with this.
The thought of God and the one he served brought with it a fear that she was but a mirage, a temptation, as his master had sent temptations to the son of her God, too, surely He could send one to Erik to test his will and his dedication. If he turned back he was not sure who that proved he served, a man could only take so much. Her God could be toying with him for posing as an angel for so long, giving him a taste, a sample of his beloved Christine only to rip it away unconsummated beyond a kiss.
He fought for control over himself and by doing that fought for control over his soul for the first time in years. He wanted this, needed this, deserved this. Over fifty years of living without any hands-on knowledge of the joys of the flesh he deserved at least one experience. He was a man who wanted to know how everything worked. He had until now believed he would never have knowledge of what occurred between a man and a woman.
His hands at her waist had been cautiously still, careful not to caress or drift beyond the small of her back for fear she would come to her senses and bid him stop. He was unsure whether stopping would be an option once this kissing had led to other things. He did vow, however, never to influence her mind as he had earlier in her dressing room. He did not believe this was an effect of his prompting her to touch her hair, this was beyond anything he could have possibly dreamt of her doing to him.
He chanced her rejection and moved his hands along the length of her back to feel the heat of her skin underneath the thin chemise she wore. Something base and primal took over as his hands slid lower to her bottom, caressing her, cupping her, and drawing her against him in an urgent movement. He had experienced arousal before and the climax that came with it, but it had always been while he was doing things that had nothing to do with sex - playing his music or the act of murder. These things up until now had been his only form of release, the only things he could do to achieve that peak most other men took for granted being able to achieve in the warmth of a woman.
He expected her to draw back at his unexpected action. Had she been wearing the layers society called upon her to cover herself up with she might not have been able to feel his arousal so blatantly pressed against her. She did not have those layers on at this moment yet she did not draw back. Instead, the hand that had been at the back of his head slid forward to his covered cheek and worked at removing the mask.
"What are you doing," he asked as he drew away. No, no, no, this could not be happening. Why did she have to bring the mask and his face into this now? Was it too much to ask for her to merely accept him as he was, mask and all? Apparently so, but yet there was something in those blue eyes when he looked into them that curbed his anger and the physical reaction that it usually caused when someone dared prompt him to remove his mask.
"It would be so much easier without it, don't you think?"
"I suppose so, yes, but Christine you mustn't. You don't understand, you haven't seen me, and I don't want to frighten you."
Her hand still at the mask, her thumb slid underneath one of its edges. He did not have the power to stop her from removing it. If she were going to run away screaming, frightened of him, now was the time to find out. These past few minutes did quite a bit to lessen his physical arousal, though the desire and emotional arousal were still strong.
"I cannot promise that I will not react, Erik, for I have seen you only in dreams, but you could never frighten me."
"You say that now," he whispered as she slid the mask from his face. He watched closely, wanting to see for himself the revulsion, fear, hatred, pity, and realization that he was a monster settle. What would she do when she realized she had kissed a creature like him of her own free will?
Not one of those emotions crossed her face or her eyes and Erik was for once in his life not just speechless but utterly surprised by something another human being did. His eyes fell closed as she lifted her free hand to touch his horribly deformed cheek. A sharp intake of breath followed as her thumb grazed what should have been his nose.
"I'm sorry," he whispered softly as tears began to fall. Ironic that he had tear ducts considering the state his eyes were in.
"For what," she asked her voice as hushed as his.
"For my appearance. You deserve far better than this, Christine. I will understand should you choose to go and not see this through." He opened his eyes sensing she was staring at him. "What," he queried, his voice catching on the one word question.
"I'm not going anywhere, Erik. I told you the truth," she said, setting the mask down on a nearby table. "I merely wanted it out of the way."
The physical evidence of his arousal returned quickly as a wave of relief at her words flowed through him. "You are serious?"
"Yes," she said softly. He opened his mouth to question her, but she stopped his words with another kiss. This one was dizzying, more so than the two they had just shared only moments ago. She was accepting him, entirely, completely, and she was giving him more than she would ever know. Then again, maybe she did know.
Once more he thought on her God and wondered if perhaps she were the angel, called upon by God to show him that not everyone would look upon him with fear and revulsion. She was so good, pure, innocent, and, until tonight, untainted. She was not totally contaminated yet, but no longer was she the innocent she had been moments ago.
He returned the kiss hungrily, the renewed desire created a passion he had not felt before. Neither his music nor his killing could bring about such an uncontrollable need in him. It was a foreign feeling to him. If his actions frightened her she gave no outward sign of it. Instead her hand rested against his deformed cheek with her fingertips twining through his thin wisps of hair.
His hands moved over the chemise, his left hand clutched into a fist gathering a portion of the chemise into it. His right hand skimmed up the front of her chemise. He felt her taut belly and the swell of the underside of her breast while the crisp cotton of her chemise gave in between the fingers of his left hand as it fisted and unfisted. That bit of fabric in his fist was keeping him grounded, reminded him that he had to retain control of himself no matter what she might do.
The tops of his fingers stroked the underside of a breast tentatively, frightened that she would pull away from him and come to her senses. He would not blame her, so he tried to keep some semblance of being a gentleman about himself. But his mind, heart, and hands were not working well together this night. He wanted so much more than the teasing, taunting, fleeting feel of her flesh.
He broke the kiss abruptly with a loud groan and gathered her against him as he took in the scent of her hair. "We should either move to your room where it's more comfortable or stop this altogether before it goes too far."
"Erik," she said softly. So softly that Erik was afraid to look at her for fear that he would see condemnation in her eyes. His hand still clutched to that piece of her chemise and though he knew he should release it he hung onto it as if it alone was keeping him sane.
"Yes, Christine," he murmured against the top of her head.
"Look at me."
He drew away slightly and looked at her. "I am looking at you, Christine. I always see you."
"Do you see a woman who looks like she wants you to stop?"
He shook his head swallowing hard, afraid there was some sort of trickery to her question. "No," he said finally.
"Then take me where you wish to take me, but don't speak of stopping. Not tonight."
"But Christine," he started to say but was silenced by her kissing him yet again. This was becoming a habit, one he was not of the mind to break her of. She was as light as a feather in Erik's opinion so it took almost no effort at all to lift her into his arms. Their mouths parted for the briefest of moments as she shifted in his arms but rejoined almost as if they had wills of their own. The last thing Erik grabbed before carrying her into the guest bedroom was his mask. He could not risk it not being close should she change her mind about wanting it off.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com