This is the sequel to Raoul and Parisa's story, 'Forbidden Pleasures.'
The book cover from an E/C manip. made by Elavielevenstar
Chapter one: I remember
Christine peered around the corner to find herself facing several different tunnels. She cleared her throat. "I know you're here Erik. Where are you?" No response. "Will you come out like a man or must I chase you out like a cowardly dog?"
"I'm right behind you."
Christine's hair on her neck crawled, but she didn't jump at the closeness of his deep voice. She turned around and studied him for a moment. He'd replaced his mask, hiding his deformity from her. "Take that mask off and stop hiding behind it." She demanded. "I know what your face looks like all ready."
Erik removed his mask. She could tell by the way he was standing, that he clearly uncomfortable. "I didn't….recognize you Christine."
"And why should you?" She said. "It's been ten long years."
Erik nodded. "A very long time. But…you recognized me."
She shrugged. "If you're trying to goad me into making a comment about your face, you won't succeed. I want your word that you will leave Parisa and Raoul alone."
"How can you ask that of me?" He demanded. "He hurt you!"
"They're in love!" She snapped. "Are you so blind to realize that? He worships the ground she walks on! And you? Ha! Your lust for power and revenge make you want her. You don't want her. You want control and you want her to break. It's not going to happen. Even if you did kill them, they'd still win because they'd wind up together in the end."
Erik rolled his eyes. "Love is such a feeble emotion."
"Then I suggest you don't drool over my portrait with lusty eyes then!" Erik's eyes widened at her bold words. "I have no need to label something I all ready know." She said. "I know you were deeply interested in Raoul's portrait of me."
"Well, what man wouldn't be interested in a beautiful woman?"
"One who's had too many?" She smiled watching Erik squirm. "Honestly, thirty-three courtesan's?"
"I had several executed for unfaithfulness." He said. "Some were murdered and others executed themselves instead of remaining with me."
"No wonder." She said. "No one knows who's going to go next. How did Parisa escape your wrath for a full year?"
"She was very…compliant." He said. "If I told her to stand on one foot all day she'd do it."
"Did you make her do that?" She added quickly. "And don't lie to me because I know where she lives and I'll find out!"
"No and while we're charmingly finding out each other's past. What about you?" He demanded. "This isn't the Christine I remember. You changed your last name."
"Naturally. Christine Walker doesn't sound like an opera singer does it?"
"But what happened to you?" He demanded. "True, it was only one night, but I seem to recall that you were a very sweet girl."
"Indeed I was, very sweet. However, everything changed that night. I lost a lot that night." Christine crossed her arms. "I lost my father and I stupidly lost my virginity to you as well that night."
Erik stiffened. "You didn't object that night."
"I was sixteen!" She spat. "I didn't know anything about those feelings!"
"Neither did I!"
"You certainly knew what you were doing!" She said. "And how old were you? Eighteen?"
"Fine!" He roared. "Blame it all on me!"
"I blame it on both of us!" She snapped at him, leveling a glare of her own against his. "I blame you for kissing me and putting me in that position. I blame myself for not being stronger to resist!" She straightened her shoulders. "You'll find me very changed Erik. I'm not that weak girl you left behind those ten years ago."
Erik nodded. "You're not the same girl. The Christine I knew is dead and a new Christine has inhabited her body."
She stiffened and lowered her arms. "As has the Erik I knew. Don't bother looking for the old Christine and I won't bother looking for the old Erik."
She turned and walked away to hear Erik say. "I never forgot you."
She paused and turned to face him. "Neither did I."
"Christine," Erik walked up to her. "could we try again? We both got off on the wrong foot here."
"Regaining one's balance is difficult, especially when one's strayed so far off the path like you have." She shook her head. "No Erik, I don't think so."
She turned. "Christine." Erik reached out and grabbed her arm.
Christine stiffened as she felt his cold hand on her bare arm. Shivers and tingles ran down her arm and against her will she let out a faint gasp. She turned and looked down at Erik's hand on hers. She noted he was breathing a little on the heavy side as well.
She cleared her throat. "Some things don't change I see."
Erik studied her face closely. "No…they don't." He stepped a little closer. "I never stopped thinking about you."
She nodded. "I'd think about you occasionally too."
"I'd sooner turn my back on spring than forget you."
Christine read and heard the desire in his voice and pulled away. "But things are changed. I'm not that easy Erik. You've had over thirty women without even asking them. This time….you're going to be told no. And I am telling you….no. I don't want anything to do with you."
She walked away and she heard him walking after her. "Can't we even be friends?"
She tossed her head. "I really don't see the point in that."
He grabbed her arm. "Christine."
She pulled free and snapped. "Don't you touch me again!"
"Is my touch that repulsive?"
"More than you can ever know." She turned around and faced him. "I don't know the extent of the life you've led, but I know, I can see that it was not a good life. Besides, you aren't planning in staying in Paris."
"I may consider it."
"That would depend on you Erik. Don't let me influence you, because I will not put myself in that position again."
"We were children!"
"We were in-between's. We weren't children and we weren't adults! We knew the difference between right and wrong." She pulled free. "We know the difference between right and wrong now. I am not going to give into you."
"I'm not going to let you go."
She tossed her head. "You can't hold me. no one…not even Raoul, has been able to hold me."
She walked away without a second glance. For now, he didn't follow her, but she could sense that she hadn't seen the last of Erik she'd ever seen before.