I do not own any of the characters from The Phantom of the Opera, although I do rather enjoy borrowing them from time to time.
A/N Welcome! This story will have much more angst in the E/C relationship than in my first story. We will also have a jealous trouble making ex-mistress Cara, and a heartbroken Raoul.
Here is the next chapter. Enjoy!
Author - ToryD
Beta - Potosynthesis
Erik Desmond stood back from the rest of the well-dressed mourners on the cold November overcast morning. His clear green gaze focused unwavering on the beautiful young woman seated in front of the mahogany coffin holding her father's body. To look upon her one would see a woman of uncompromising strength and courage. But to him, who had made it his obsession to know every minute detail concerning the young woman, he knew that she was in such immense pain that his cold heart clinched sharply for her. As he watched her unflinching control, he knew that he had made the right decision. A decision that he had made the moment he had first set eyes on her, only seven short months ago. A decision that was destined to change his world forever.
Christine sat beside her stepmother who could have won an Academy Award for her performance as the grieving widow. To most of the New York high society in attendance, Arlene Daae was a loving and doting wife and stepmother. But to those who knew the true story, Arlene was a greedy, cold and unfeeling woman, whose only aim in life, was to feed her obsession of money.
Christine could feel his eyes on her from the opposite side of the cemetery where he stood alone as seemed to be his preference. Willing herself to concentrate on Reverend Anderson's words, she grasped her sweet Raoul's hand, trying to ignore the half-masked man's magnetic pull. She had only been acquainted with Erik Desmond for the last several months, but in those months, he had pursued her with relentless intent. She had tried to ignore his advances and concentrate on her safe and comfortable relationship with Raoul. Raoul Cagney was her childhood sweetheart, the man she knew that she could count on with whatever life threw her way, the man that she would one day marry. Yet the strange feelings that the mysterious Erik Desmond inspired in her, made her question the commitment that she had made to Raoul. Shaking her head in an effort to clear the unwelcome Mr. Desmond from her thoughts, she again focused on the man whose life had been cut short from a massive heart attack just a few days ago.
Closing her eyes against the tears that were threatening to fall, she took in a deep breath to push away the forbidden emotion. She was her father's daughter; "Show the world strength at all times Christine," he would say to her when she would be so undisciplined to show her emotions. While she had great love and affection for her father, he was not the easiest man to love. Christine's mother had died during a difficult childbirth, thus leaving a grieving husband with an infant daughter for whom he blamed the loss of his beloved wife. Charles Daae turned the care of his only child over to highly paid nannies and servants, taking little interest in her childhood. When she was of age he shipped her off to the best boarding schools in Europe, thus allowing him and his new wife Arlene the life they preferred, alone and uncluttered by the intrusion of an unwanted child.
Christine had accepted that her father was a hard man and would never be the kind of father she wished for. But it still broke her heart that he had died all alone, without anyone by his side.
"Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Reverend Anderson's voice broke into her wayward thoughts as he was finishing the service. Arlene stood and dabbed her perfectly made up face with a lace handkerchief as she walked over to the coffin and laid a perfect single red rose upon its surface.
Christine rose and followed her stepmother to place her white rose upon her father's coffin. She felt a swell of emotion engulf her as she looked upon the coffin that housed her father. "Goodbye Father." She whispered as she turned to take the arm of Raoul who was stood waiting with a concerned look upon his handsome face.
Erik felt his blood boil at the sight of Christine with the Cagney boy. Turning away from the sight, he walked towards his waiting car. As he drew near, Nadir, his long time personal assistant and friend opened the door to allow him entrance. Once they were both seated inside the luxurious limousine, Erik ordered his driver to take them to the Manhattan office, which housed the U.S. headquarters to his electronics empire.
"Is everything in order for tomorrows meeting?" Erik questioned Nadir with an irritated tone, which earned him a frown from his friend.
Nadir knew Erik was immovable in his present mood. "Yes, the attorneys have already drawn up the papers for her to sign. The bank has the fifty million ready for transfer into the Daae corporate accounts at your request." He said with a sigh. Thinking that he might try to reason one last time with his boss, he turned to look Erik directly in the eye. "Erik, have you thought about the consequences to your plan?"
Erik looked up sharply from the messages that Nadir had handed him upon his entrance into the car. "Yes Nadir, I have thought of every possibility when it comes to Christine." He said with an unshakable confidence.
"Erik, if you follow through with this, you may never win her heart. Is that a risk you are willing to take?" Nadir questioned him with caution in his voice.
Erik allowed himself a humorless laugh. "It is not her heart that I am after my friend." He paused as he thought about his unquenchable attraction to Christine. "No, for what I am paying, I want more than just her heart, I want to possess her body and soul." He said as he looked out the darkened window to the majestic skyline of New York City. "After tomorrow, she will be mine. And in time she will come to accept her fate, as I have accepted mine."
Nadir shook his head in disapproval, he had never seen Erik so driven to achieve anything as he had with this unwavering pursuit to obtain the beautiful Ms. Daae.
Erik's cell phone rang to announce an incoming call, pulling the small phone from his black Armani custom-made suit, he groaned as he noted from the caller Id that his soon to be ex-mistress Cara was calling. Pushing the button to activate the phone he spoke into the phone in an annoyed tone. "Cara, I'm busy, what do you want?"
Nadir hid a grin at the predicament that his boss was deservedly in.
Erik scowled into the phone. "No! I do not have time for you tonight." Erik paused as he listened to the complaining voice on the other end of the phone. Inhaling a calming breath, he tried to hang onto his temper as he once again declined Cara's invitation into her bed. "No Cara. I have to go. I will call you later." He said as he abruptly ended the call. "Damn it!" Erik cursed as he replaced the phone in his jacket pocket as he thought of his demanding mistress. "Nadir get Cara something from Tiffany's, I believe she prefers diamonds."
Nadir shook his head at his boss's extravagance in his choice of goodbye gifts for his mistresses. "Any limit?" Nadir asked with a smug expression on his face.
Erik bristled at the amused tone in Nadir's voice. "Try to keep it under a quarter mil." He said as he looked away from his snickering assistant.
Christine sat next to Marie Giry, her father's housekeeper for over twenty-two years and the only mother than Christine had known. Arlene sat in the chair directly across from Charles' attorney Robert Townsend.
"Shouldn't we get started?" Arlene inquired softly, anxious to know what her take was for the day.
Robert cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortable in his chair. "I am afraid that we are still awaiting the arrival of one more person Mrs. Daae."
Arlene frowned at the attorney's comment. "What do you mean one more person? Christine and I are both here, who else could there be?"
Just as Arlene voiced her question, the phone on the desk beeped announcing Robert's secretary, picking up the phone Robert listened for a few moments and said, "Show him in Sylvia."
All four pairs of eyes turned towards the double cherry doors, as they swung open to reveal a striking man with half of his face hidden behind a black leather mask.
Christine felt her heart begin to race at the sight of Erik Desmond entering the room. She looked away quickly to try to regain some control over her raging emotions.
Erik's eyes sought out Christine as he entered the room. As he looked into her eyes, he saw shock and then something else that he couldn't define as she abruptly turned away from his inquiring stare.
Robert walked around his desk an approached the tall elegant man. Holding out his hand, he introduced himself to the infamous Erik Desmond. "Mr. Desmond, I am Robert Townsend, Mr. Daae's executor."
Erik shook the proffered hand of Mr. Townsend absently as his thoughts remained focused on the beautiful woman who was avoiding looking at him.
Robert indicated a seat next to Arlene as he resumed his seat behind his desk. "Shall we get started?" He said as he picked up the folder, which housed Charles Daae's last will and testament. "I Charles Daae being of sound mind hereby declare this as my final will and testament. I hereby bequeath all of my estate and holdings to Mr. Erik Desmond."
Christine sat in shocked silence as Mr. Townsend read the two short sentences that detailed the wished of her late father.
Erik kept his keen eyes focused on Christine as she absorbed the news of her father's will.
Arlene jumped up from her seat and grabbed the document from Robert's hand, reading it for herself. "This is an outrage!" She yelled as she threw the offending will at Robert's innocent head. "I am going to contest this! I was Charles' wife! The money was to be mine!" She said as her face took on the ugliest shade of red. Grabbing up her purse she turned her poisoned tongue on Erik. "You will not get away with this; I will see you in court!" And with her last threat, hanging in the air she stormed out of the office slamming the door as she went.
Marie took Christine's cold hand into hers, "Christine," she called softly. "Dear, are you all right?"
Christine looked at Marie with a confused look upon her face. Nodding her head, she tried to get a handle on what had just occurred. Erik Desmond? Why would Father leave everything to Mr. Desmond? Her mind wandered as she sat in silence.
Erik turned from the sight of the confused Christine to once again focus on Mr. Townsend. "Mr. Townsend, if you will excuse Ms. Daae and me for a few moments. We have some business to discuss." He said in an authoritative tone.
Christine looked up sharply at Erik's comments. Business? What business? Her mind was spinning at what the strange man could be talking about.
Robert arose from his chair to leave his office.
Erik moved to stand in front of Christine and Mrs. Giry. Holding out his hand, he introduced himself to the older woman at Christine's side. "I'm Erik Desmond." He said in a polite manner.
Marie took his hand and returned the introduction. "Hello Mr. Desmond, I am Mrs. Giry, Mr. Daae's housekeeper."
Erik smiled a charming smile as he shook her hand. "Mrs. Giry, could I trouble you to perhaps leave Ms. Daae and me alone for a few minutes?"
Marie looked to Christine for her approval.
Christine turned and smiled at the concern in Marie's eyes. "It's ok Marie. Mr. Desmond and I will only be a short while." She said in a soft tone that played directly to Erik's cold heart.
Once Marie had closed the door Erik felt the pounding of his heart begin to accelerate. Taking a seat next to Christine, he willed himself to remain in control of his raging emotions. Turning to look into her confused eyes he once again felt the instant stirring of overpowering desire that she brought about in him every time he looked upon her beauty. "Christine, may I call you Christine?" He questioned formally.
"Yes, of course." She said abet a little shyly.
Erik smiled at her acceptance. "I am sure you must be somewhat confused by your Father's will." He said in a gentle voice.
"Yes it was a bit unexpected." She said with a slight smile.
"Yes, well allow me to explain what brought about the decision of your Father." Erik paused as he thought of the best way to tell Christine of all that had occurred in the last two months. Taking a deep breath, he began to relate how he had come to meet with her father. "I am not sure if you are aware but your Father's company has recently come on to some pretty hard times." He watched her carefully for her reaction.
Christine not being welcome in her Father's life let alone his business was surprised to here Erik's information. "No, I was not aware of that."
"Yes, well…I was looking for an investment opportunity at the time and your Father and I came to an agreement of sorts." He said as he continued to stare at her intently.
Christine felt her blood racing through her veins at his nearness. Her mind was spinning at the effect this man had on her. Chastising herself for not concentrating on what he was saying, she once again tried to focus on the information he was so carefully relaying.
"We came to an arrangment. I would invest thirty million dollars to bail the company out of bankruptcy, which I have already done. In return I would become the owner of the company." He paused as he watched her digest the information he had just imparted. "I will invest an additional fifty million to keep the company from going under and displacing all of its eight thousand employees as long as you will concede to your Fathers accepted terms." Erik said as he felt a sense of urgency racing through him.
Christine thought of all of the employees that her Father's company employed. "Of course I will do what ever my father agreed to." She said in a quiet voice.
Erik felt triumph fill his soul at the ease of her acceptance. "Good, Christine. Because what your Father agreed to was that you would become my wife and be the mother of my children."
A/N Please review and let me know what you think. Thanks!