Chapter Twelve

The start awake wasn't so bad after being told in advance, but it was still intensely irritating. Erik groaned softly as Angela's voice rang down the stairs; he had to admit that she certainly could yell. He figured that it came from having two children.

"Wake up!" she shouted, "or else I'll come down and get you up myself!"

Erik muttered an obscenity into his pillow and rolled over. He had no intentions of getting out of bed, it was warm and he was still tired. If she truly wanted to come down to wake him up then so be it, he had become quite proficient at ignoring things that annoyed him, especially people shouting and carrying on.

He had almost drifted back to sleep when he heard footsteps on the stairs. With a quiet groan he screwed his eyes tightly shut, preparing himself for the impending shout to get up. When it didn't come he relaxed slightly, wondering if she had decided to just leave him well enough alone. That wasn't the case though, as he learned when he felt her hand collide roughly with his shoulder. With cat-like reflexes he sat up, swinging his arm around with the intention to hit his assailer. He managed to stop himself just before his arm collided with Angela's chest, allowing the limb to drop limply back to the bed.

"Well," Angela said, her voice quavering somewhat, "I can see you are awake now."

"I apologise," Erik muttered, running a hand through his hair, "I didn't mean to frighten you."

"I wouldn't say that you frightened me," Angela said calmly, "startled perhaps. I am not used to being attacked when I wake people up."

"I am not used to being awoken in such a forceful manner," Erik yawned, "could you hand me that shirt?"

Angela followed the direction of his finger and plucked the shirt from the chair behind her, tossing it to Erik. He stood up and shrugged it on, adjusting the chain around his neck before doing up the buttons. He then picked up a dark green waistcoat and started putting it on, pausing when he noticed that Angela was still in the room, watching him as he dressed.

"Is there something I can help you with?" he asked.

"I am just making sure that you do not go back to bed," she said, "and you may want to tuck in your shirt before doing up your waistcoat."

Erik frowned and tucked in his shirt, "Happy now?"

"I'll be happy when you come to mass," she answered.

"Indeed," Erik grumbled, shrugging on a jacket, "and must you watch me dress? It is somewhat unnerving."

"Well then, I am sorry that I make you uncomfortable. Now come upstairs, I need to make sure my children are ready."

Erik rolled his eyes as he followed her up the stairs to where the rest of the family was already waiting. They were all dressed in what Erik assumed were their best clothes, and Amelia smiled at him shyly.

"You're coming?" she asked cheerfully.

"I am considering the idea of walking with you to the church," Erik answered.

"Would you?" Amelia asked, "please do, it's such a lovely morning."

Eduardo gave a small snort of laughter, "A lovely morning?"

"Oh be quiet!" Amelia snapped, then turned back to Erik, "so will you walk with us?"

Erik sighed quietly, "Yes, I will walk with you."

The walk to mass was nice, if not a bit noisy. Amelia had certainly been right about it being a pleasant morning, the sun was shining brightly and there were only a few fluffy, white clouds in the sky.

"Why do you always wear those clothes?" Eduardo asked, walking backwards in front of Erik.

"Because it would be considered uncivilized to walk around naked," Erik replied smoothly.

Eduardo laughed, "I mean why do you wear such stuffy French clothes? And they're all black, like you're going to a funeral or something."

"I wear these clothes because they are what I like. I am French, after all. And I like to wear black."

"I guess it suits you," Eduardo said thoughtfully, "hey, why don't you wanna come to mass?"

"I don't believe in God," Erik answered simply.

"How can you not believe in God?" Amelia gasped.

"I have never had any reason to believe that one exists. You may continue to believe in whatever you want to, I will not try to change your mind. I, however, simply have never encountered anything that would lead me to believe that there is a God."

There was not much to do while the family was in mass. For a short while Erik entertained a pair of young boys with a few simple magic tricks. It wasn't long before the boys were called away by their parents, though. Erik couldn't really blame them, a man dressed entirely in black who wore a mask wasn't exactly the sort of person one would want their children around.

"You didn't go back to the house?" Angela asked when they came out of mass to find him waiting in the square.

"What would have been the point?" Erik asked, "I have nothing to do there, and it was a lovely morning."

"I just didn't expect you to wait around," she said.

"You think so…little of me then?" Erik asked.

"Something the matter?" Giovanni asked, following Erik's gaze.

"No, I just thought I saw something," he murmured, frowning slightly.

"Saw what?" Eduardo asked.

"Nothing at all. Shall we go?"

Angela nodded and they started their walk back to the house. They were nearly half way their when Erik muttered for them to keep going and darted off down a side street. Angela shook her head at his strange behaviour and kept walking. He met them back at the house, arriving mere second before they did.

"Did you have a nice trip?" Angela asked.

"Why yes," Erik answered sarcastically, "it was wonderful, I shall tell you about it later. And I promise not to spare you any of the details."

"How kind of you," Amelia laughed.

Once inside Erik quickly made his way down to the cellar, deciding to get some work done instead of joining the family for their midday meal. It wasn't until Angela entered his room that he realised how long he had spent at his desk.

"Will you be joining us for supper?" she asked.

"I would appreciate it if you would knock next time you enter," Erik answered brusquely.

"I will keep that in mind," she said, "now answer my question. And please, answer specifically. I don't want any of you 'I will consider it' business."

Erik gave a small laugh, "How long would I have?"

"About ten minutes," she answered.

"You didn't come all the way down here just to ask me if I was coming up for supper. You have never cared before now. So, what is it you actually want?"

"You are quite brash, did you know that?"

"I have been called similar names before."

"I wanted to ask you about something about this morning," she sighed.

"And what would that be?" he asked, his voice becoming guarded.

"You wear a ring around your neck, on a chain…I was just curious as to why you do so. Perhaps you could answer me that?"

Erik sighed and pulled the ring out from under his shirt, twirling it around for a moment in the dim light, "This little thing? Of all the events of this morning, you want to know about this trinket…you were looking that closely?"

Angela frowned, "It caught my attention because most men do not wear jewellery."

Erik pursed his lips slightly, "You have obviously never met gypsies…as for this ring? It was a gift from someone I care very deeply for."

"And where is she now?" Angela asked.

"Engaged," he said, giving a small laugh, "to be married to a vicomte, none the less."

Angela nodded her head slowly, "Well then, I hope she is happy."

"As do I," Erik agreed, "and I think I'll come to supper. I'm a bit hungry, and tired of this work anyways."

"Well then, I'll go set another spot at the table," Angela said, "five minutes."

Erik nodded his head, "Very well then. I will be there in five minutes."

A/N: Here's another chapter. I'd say I was sorry that it took so long to get up, but I'm really not. There's been a lot of stuff going on here with sick family members and the like, so that's why I didn't get it up sooner. Everything seems to be going better now though, so hopefully another chapter will be up sooner, but no promises. I will, however, apologise for any spelling/grammer mistakes, as I didn't really edit it all that thoroughly. If you're still sticking with me, thanks, and please leave a review.