|The Scarlet Lily
Author: braceface freak PM
Now living in London, Erik meets a young woman and discovers that sometimes what you need can become more than you'd ever dreamed of….Erik/OCRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Erik - Chapters: 45 - Words: 103,150 - Reviews: 85 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 10-01-11 - Published: 05-02-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6958994
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Scarlet Lily
Disclaimer: Phantom of the Opera and all it's constituent characters and places do not belong to me. Minnie, Florence, Marvin and Lily however do.
This is Erik is a hybrid, mainly between Kay and ALW's stage version, with maybe a little Leroux thrown in for luck. He has a FULL mask! ENJOY!
The man stalked down the soiled street, carefully avoiding the mysterious black puddles that littered the ground and dodging the hulking bodies that were spilling out from the shadowed doorways reeking of sweat, smoke and whiskey. Smog hung around in the air, thick and choking while the soot made the hems of his trousers dirty, he quickened his pace. One of the men collided with him, and fell into the gutter, but he was long gone before the man had regained enough of his faculties to hurl abuse at his retreating back, yet alone stand and stumble his way back to his equally incapacitated friends.
Taking a sharp left the man turned into a dark alley, turning the collar of his coat up around his chin and keeping to the deepest shadows he could find, head down at all times.
A woman stepped out of the gloom just before him; her cheeks were smeared with dirt, her hair hung lank down her back, and her ragged skirt fell to just below her knees as if she hadn't purchased new clothes since she was about twelve…she looked only fifteen.
"Can I do somethin' for ya good sir?" she quizzed, shuffling closer to his body, until he could smell her tobacco scented breath and taste the stale air that followed her. Her tongue poked out from between her grey lips, showing a few yellowed teeth set in bloodied gums, he recoiled instantly.
"No thank you mademoiselle," he forced out a stern smile, stepped around her little frame and walked on.
But that did not seem to detract her attention; if anything his refusal made her advances more intense, as if she had taken it as a challenge.
Her hand settled on his shoulder, marking the dark wool with the dirt engrained in her skin, he turned and found himself staring into her terrible face, a teasing smile colouring her features.
"I'm sure there's somethin' I can do your grace…." Hips were thrust against his, her hands wandering to his collar, "…if ya know wat I mean."
A wink accompanied her words and a shiver ran down his spine. He should have never listened to Frank: this was an awful idea, just as he'd insisted.
What on earth had possessed him to agree in the first place?
The female's hands dropped an inch lower on his waist and he shuddered, this time not from disgust.
Ahhhhh, he thought, that was why.
Steeling himself against her utterly vulgar advances, he prised her fingers from his lapels and gave her the coldest stare he could muster.
"I said no mademoiselle."
Again he left….again she followed.
He sighed, he had not wanted things to go this far but he had somewhere to get to and he would be damned if this woman stopped him. Her hands found his shoulder again, applying the slightest pressure and….in a flash he had turned on her, her filthy wrist grasped tightly in his long, skeletal fingers. She struggled against him, gasping in pain at his iron grip and shouting abuse when he did not release her.
"Quiet!" he ordered, she became suddenly still, her eyes fixed on his face, "You are not going to follow me anymore, are you mademoiselle?"
The woman shook her head dumbly, stumbling back as he flung her arm towards her and then vanishing back into the shadows of the alleyway.
The man continued on his way, undisturbed.
He came to a tall, grimy faced building, standing straight between two others that seemed to be standing only due to its support. A rough piece of iron stuck out just above the large, double doors, the sign it once held long gone, and each window was covered with thick fabric curtains, hiding the multitude of sins such a place saw on a daily basis. He pulled a piece of paper from his waistcoat pocket, studying the words on it with severe intensity and then looked back to the building. He wasn't quite certain what he had been expecting, but it most definitely had not been this. Part of him simply wished to turn his back on the whole idea and leave as quickly as he possibly could, but at the very thought his body protested violently; sighing, he folded the paper and returned it to its place…this was the correct address, and he was sure Frank wouldn't have recommended it if it didn't have its merits, he knew better than that.
And so, with a deep breath and a brush of hands over his face, he pushed on the peeling, red door and entered the formidable London underworld.
The lobby he found himself in was unpleasant to say the least: something was burning in the corner of the room, filling the space with a sickly scent that initially made him retch, and the gas lamps gave such feeble light the few people moving around him appeared as nothing more than blurred figures. The anonymity made him feel safer.
For a while he stood, quietly observing the peeling, floral wallpaper and bare wooden floors; someone brushed past him and he glanced up, but the smoky air had engulfed them before he caught a glimpse of who it was.
"Can I help you sir?" he started slightly, looking to the source of the voice which he discovered was a small, plump woman on his left, he made no reply, "Do you require our services?"
His eyes scanned her up and down, noting her clean face and tidy dress; she seemed a million miles away from the coarse filth he had encountered on the streets, it was hard to believe they worked in the same business. She smiled broadly at him, and he automatically tensed, his mind whirling at the thought of what he was about to agree to.
This whole thing was insane! He did not belong here. Why had he listened to Frank at all?
"N…No…I think….." a familiar tightness within him stopped him in his tracks, the female gave him an understanding look, and nodded. He sighed, "I mean….yes….yes…uhhhhh…"
Already she was beginning to walk away, inclining her head for him to follow.
"Come with me sir, I'm sure we have plenty of girls to match your taste."
"I want one who won't…" he spoke quickly, "…Who won't ask about…." He pulled down the collar of his coat and removed his hat in one fluid motion. Raising her head the woman stared momentarily, then tore her eyes away and nodded.
"Of course sir, we are at your service. I think we have just the girl. Please, come with me."
The two stalked down a narrow corridor for what felt like miles, carefully avoiding the eyes of anyone else they met on the journey. Eventually she drew to a halt outside a closed door with peeling paint.
"Her name is Lillian," she told him gently as he wriggled his toes in his shoes uncomfortably, "I think you'll like her. Go in when you're ready, she's free." A hand was stretched out towards his, palm upturned and open, it retracted only when a folded piece of paper had been placed there. She nodded again and then left without a word. Smoothing down his jacket he counted to ten silently, shouting down that little voice in his head whilst knowing he was going to regret this later, knocked and entered.
Inside was dark; the window through which a chill draught filtered looked onto another brick wall letting in the tiniest slither of grey, London daylight, warily he crossed the threshold and shut the door behind him.
What are they playing at? he thought, noticing the silence of the room, there is no one here.
"You can turn the lights up if you wish sir."
He jumped two feet, back hitting the wall. He cursed rubbing his elbow…that just proved that he wasn't meant to be here, he had never been so scatty in his life!
But what really startled him was the timbre of the voice that reached his ears. The only similarity between the woman outside and the woman on the street had been their strong accent, and he had expected no less from the one he was to…..yet this was no throaty, East-London drawl, it rose and fell almost melodically, each vowel well pronounced and each constant sharp and clear. It was a pleasant surprise.
By now his eyes had adjusted sufficiently to the light, or rather the lack of it, and without fumbling he turned to the gas lamp on the wall.
Slowly the room was illuminated, and he turned in the direction of the voice, his stomach cramping painfully as he came face to face with her.
Standing near the bed was a petite figure, no more than 5'2", her skin was so pale it appeared to glow white in the yellow lamp light even under the grime, and her thick hair fell below her shoulders in a cascade of vivid red waves…. if he ignored the hollow dips below her cheekbones, her large, sunken eyes and too full lips, she could be considered quite attractive. He shook his head, it didn't matter if she was pretty…he was here for one thing, and one thing only.
The woman curtsied poorly, bowing her head to him.
"My name's Lillian sir, and I'm at your service."
Slowly she approached, her arms stretching out before her as he got closer until she made contact with his chest, it made him flinch and she smiled reassuringly in response.
"You're new at this?" she asked gently, her hand beginning to trail up to his shoulder along the line of his coat's lapel.
He watched her movements nervously, his tongue felt thick in his mouth as he spoke,
"Can we just get this over with?"
Lillian stopped, her face lifting up to look at his and she smiled again, though his time it did not reach her eyes.
Leaning forward she cautiously pressed her lips to the corner of his mouth, before moving her mouth fully over his. She was clothed in only a thin slip so he could feel every inch of her hot skin under his unsteady fingers. Her hands moved up to his face, brushing the cool, hard edge of his mask, and every muscle in his body tensed. She must have noticed his reaction as she swiftly drew back, taking his hand and leading him towards the bed at the end of the room. He studied her sharp face to detract his attention from the tightness he felt throughout his body, noting the soft movement of her lips as she muttered what sounded like numbers under her breath. He frowned, changing his focus onto her unmoving eyes and watching her careful movements.
Muscles relaxing, he let a breath of air dribble out through his thin lips.
That was why he had been bought here.
Not because it had been thought he would like the look of Lillian, but because Lillian could not see the monstrosity of a face he had made his life's work to keep hidden.
Still deep in thought he sat beside her on the bed, and closed his eyes as she ran a hand up his thigh.
He moaned, holding himself straight and taunt, fearing a swift loss of control if he let his concentration slip. It had been far too long since he had allowed himself this release, and whether or not he scolded himself for his weakness later, at this precise moment he was going to enjoy it.
Half an hour later, body no longer aching but mind reeling in self-disgust he finished fastening the final button on his shirt, and pulled on his waistcoat, keeping his back to the woman who was wrapping the sheets modestly around her naked body….as if he hadn't just seen it all anyway.
She was humming gently to herself and running her fingers through her mused hair.
"You never told me your name."
"No," he replied shortly, "I didn't…..Can you pass me my tie?"
Briefly he turned to her as she fumbled for the garment, then remembering he made his own way over, plucking the scrap of fabric up from its crumpled position on the floor.
"Don't worry, I have it."
Flashing him a bright smile, she rested back against the headboard again and sighed,
"What do you do?"
"It's of no concern to you," he snapped, shrugging on his jacket and quickly following it with his coat, "Thank you for your…." He stopped, unable to continue for a second, the words tasting vulgar on his tongue, "…your services," he finally spat out. Heading back to her, he took her wrist and slipped a few coins into the palm of her hand.
"Thank you sir," she chorused with a smile, "I'll see you again soon."
He felt sick as he left the room, muttering as he did so,
"No you won't…never."
He raced down the corridors, hoping to leave without being spotted by anyone else, and shaking his head all the while. He was quick and silent, keeping as close to the walls as possible and drawing to a complete stop when anyone came too close, years of hiding in the dark had taught him ways to move without being noticed.
But when he entered the lobby, he was once again vulnerable and in under a second her Madam was upon him.
"Was everything to your liking sir? Did Lillian please you?"
"Yes thank you Madame," he hurried, turning towards the door in hope she would notice his desire to leave. She nodded, gave another of her grating, fake smiles and disappeared into the clouds of smoke as quickly as she had appeared.
In a second he was back on the street, breathing in the stinking London air and feeling free once more.
An hour later he arrived back at his secluded Greenwich home, handing his coat over to his manservant with a stern look.
"A good evening sir?"
The man looked to him, and made a disapproving grumble in the back of his throat,
"A one off appointment, that's all Cooper," he shook his head and glanced down at his pocket watch impatiently.
It was late now and he had important things to finish, it seemed sleep would elude him again tonight,
"I'm going upstairs….." he strode past, stepping up onto the first step, paused and turned back, "…ask Mary to run a bath for me will you?"
"Of course sir."
But his employer was already gone.
Soooooooo...I totally and absolutely adore this phandom, and anything even tenuously related. So please let me know what you think, and whether I've totally destroyed it (I sincerely hope not.)
I hope you enjoyed it anyway. And thank you for taking the time to read.