There were nights when I half expected to find the room at the end of this endless walk empty, her various possession hidden away in some travel trunk as she made off for parts unknown with her young man. A part of me would forever fear waking to the undeniable knowledge that for all her tenderness, and quiet concern, she did not love me. Could not love me, for who could be asked to love a man such as me?
She did not tremble at my touch, her hands lingered lightly against mine when we set and spoke over breakfast, she still set easily before my chair, her slender frame curled against me as if my loathsome touch does not disturb her. Sometimes I wondered if she had any idea how much pleasure I took in her mere presence, in the brush of her silken tresses against my hands as she leaned into me, listening to my voice with rapt attention.
I wanted her, I wanted her from the first moment I saw her, it burned that desire, it grew into something living breathing almost an entity all by itself, a strong powerful force that nearly cost us both everything. I wanted her and had no idea how to win her from him, had no idea how to seduce her to my side without the Angel of Music, and yet it was that very lie that had allowed him entrance to our world. If I had simply gone to her, as Erik, as a man and offered my guidance, she might well have been wary, but she would never have felt betrayed. Betrayal was hardly the way to begin a relationship. I should have known, and yet I believed somehow we would be safe. Perhaps I merely deceived myself into believing we would be safe, she would forever sing for her Angel of Music and I would ever be the guide and guardian she needed me to be.
How naive I had been not to realize that my own nature, my own desire to possess her completely would be our down fall. I thought I had it all figured out, all played out in my mind, I never expected her to actually choose me. I never expected to find myself dragging an unconscious viscount and one of my own friends to the surface and returning to my lair to find her angry, but resolute in her choice.
She had been livid in those first few weeks. Each moment we spent together threatened to boil over into a seething row, or silence equally as uncomfortable. Somewhere between returning to the Opera and the changes I had slowly begun to make in my world she seemed to soften, as if a great ice had melted around her tender heart, and she could stand no more for me to feel unloved by my wife.
My marriage was a farce, my wife a woman with whom I had never shared the most intimate acts of love. After that first kiss, I dared not seek more of her lips, I feared her reaction, I feared my own. Now though, I sensed a restlessness in her I could not name, wildness burned in her blue gaze, a wildness that set my own heart apace. I knew only that it called from me an answering hunger that I stamped down ruthlessly, not knowing what to do with this endless need, I feared the moment when I could not hide from her any longer. I wondered what she would do with this husband who desired his wife?
The room was empty when I reached it, but I heard the roar of the crowd tonight, she would have no choice but be delayed, they would not have it any other way. She would be tired tonight, her soul is in desperate need of repair, and I can not wait to take her in my arms, to allow her to take strength from me. These moments spent waiting for her seemed to drag on into small eternities, when even though I knew she would walk through that door at any moment I started to wonder if she would come to me or if this would be the night she found her comfort in another's arms.
The door opened and as always the sight of her takes the breath from my body, how I adore this sweet songstress. A warm smile curled her lips as she glanced toward the mirror and I am struck with the certainty that she knows very well I am here waiting behind the pane of glass. She dropped the roses on the dressing table without much interest and picked up the single red rose that I had placed there earlier and drew it against her cheek as she moved toward the mirror. Even though I could see how exhausted she was, her gaze held that wild blue look that set me aflame, and tonight I wondered what it meant anew?
"Erik?"She whispered my name as a prayer, barely given sound, her hands reached toward the glass. I shifted the mirror open before her fingers touched cold glass, and they fell on my left shoulder as I stepped toward her, intent on gathering her into my arms. She came to me eagerly, nuzzling her head into my chest, and curling her arms tightly around me.
After a moment, she lifted her head and gazed at me, the warmth in her eyes catching my breath. Her delicate fingers curled into the lapels of my coat, and she drew me inexorably closer. Her lips closed over mine in a wild rush of warmth and heat. She moved her mouth against mine in a desperate manner that reminded me of our first and only kiss. Suddenly it was all righted in my mind. I could not help but respond ravenously to her adore, my arms curling around her, my hands moving where they willed on her slender form.
I loved her and I realized as her mouth moved heatedly over mine, teaching me, tutoring me with her lips, with tiny sounds of pleasure that sent my blood racing even faster, that she loved me as well.
Erik and Christine and their companions belong firstly to Gaston Leroux, who breathed life into them, and in later years to AL Webber, and numerous others.