The fact that Erik actually growled sent her trembling, and not because she was cold. She knew what she had said. Had fully meant everything that it implied, but she was beginning to realize with increasing anticipation just what that was going to mean for the both of them.
Because he still had not moved, but was standing there looking like a tiger about to devour its meal, she provoked the beast more. She increased her stance, her legs widening. It was far more of an invitation than Erik needed and after a very brief battle of right and wrong, he crossed the room in three strides and dropped to his knees in front of her, his mouth closing over her breast.
His touch wasn't harmful, but neither was it gentle. It was demanding as with one hand, he played with her other breast and the other lifted her dripping skirts. Christine sagged against the door, the sound of the outside storm completely lost in the racing of blood and pounding of lungs.
When Erik was done with one breast, he moved to the other, sucking the nipple through the material, holding the erect bud in his teeth as he teased it with his tongue, sending Christine to the sky.
"Christine, do you have any idea what you've done?" he growled as he pulled her skirts up to her waist. He stood up, planting himself between her legs. "Can you feel what you've done to me?"
There wasn't a way Christine couldn't have felt exactly what she had done. She could feel his desire straining against his trousers as he pressed himself against her. It was an incredibly empowering feeling.
Christine rolled her hips and moaned. Erik nearly jumped from his skin. "Damn it, woman. You'll be the undoing of me," he whispered against her neck, as he ran his tongue over her collarbone, nipping at her exposed shoulder. His hands caressed the creamy smoothness of her thighs.
Christine shoved the soaking jacket from Erik's shoulders and managed to get his waistcoat unbuttoned before Erik's hands found her center and she cried out, shuddering at just that first touch. She could feel Erik smiling against her skin as he pulled her undergarments down.
Deftly, he reached to the back of her dress and roughly yanked down the zipper. The fabric peeled away from her and he discarded it, tossing it somewhere else. Anywhere else but on her.
Her chemise might as well have been a second skin for all it did to conceal her. Her undergarments soon joined her dress and she was left in just her thigh high stockings and chemise.
While Erik went back to playing with her breasts, Christine tried to concentrate enough to remove more of Erik's clothing. With some regret, he had to stop what he was doing to her and help remove most of his clothing, leaving only his very uncomfortable trousers on.
He picked Christine up, who instinctively wrapped her legs around his waist. The action caused such a reaction in Erik he had to pin Christine against the wall and hold her there for several moments before he felt safe enough to move.
Christine unashamedly rubbing herself against him as he took them both to the other room where the fire was glowing strong and bright.
She couldn't help but remember some of the things Meg had told her. Things that before hadn't made much sense, but now fit perfectly. She ran her tongue over the shell of his ear, nibbling on his earlobe.
He came very close to dropping her on the ground. Thankfully he had spread blankets and pillows on the floor in front of the fireplace. Not with the intention of making love to her, but so that she could sleep next to the fire. He had fully intended on sleeping on the other side of the room, if not in another room entirely, because he wasn't sure he would be able to honor her innocence. He certainly hadn't expected this. It was more than he could have ever hoped for in a million dreams. Not even his fantasies were like this.
As he lowered her to the ground, he couldn't keep from kissing her. He wanted to kiss every part of her. And he set out on a mission to do just that. He pulled her chemise from her and was struck by the incredible beauty of her body. Completely exposed to him as he pulled the stocking from her dancer's legs.
The light of the flames seemed to lick at her skin as he bent to taste the sweet indents just below her hip bone. He wouldn't have stopped himself if he could from exploring more of her. His moves were slow and sensuous. Odd how before they were desperate for each other and now he wanted to take his time to love her right. Her hands bunched in the blankets as she bit back a scream as his kisses found the core of her. Electricity sparked through her and she was sure she would catch fire at any moment.
"Erik!" She called, because she had to say something. She had to stop him for a moment. Her pleasure was so intense it was bordering on pain. With every fiber of her being she wanted him to continue, but at the same time knew that she couldn't take it if he didn't.
He lifted his head, smiled devilishly, kissed the inside of her thighs and trailed kisses back up the length of her to her neck. "Yes, my love?"
"My turn," she said simply, placing a hand on his chest and forcing him back until he was laying down. Her hands trembled as she undid the button on his trousers. Erik's eyes burned into her as he gave himself up to her. She had done this for him, it was only fair that he did the same.
When she slid the zipper down, Erik gasped at the feeling. It wasn't helping that Christine was staring at him. Erik almost pitied the poor girl, but she had brought this on herself. He certainly didn't pity her enough to stop her!
With timid hands she touched him. With wonder she caressed him. And with a sorceress joy she took him over.
Erik grabbed her hands after only a few gloriously short minutes. "Christine, you're going to kill me with those things," he said, bringing each hand to his lips to kiss them.
"Did I do something wrong?" she asked, concerned.
Erik smiled. "Just the opposite, my dear. You are far too perfect."
In one swift move, Erik rolled Christine onto her back, pinning her beneath him.
"Christine," Erik whispered, almost brokenly. "I love you."
Christine cupped Erik's strong jaw in her hand. Their eyes locked with a different sort of intensity. It was the kind of look that you give only one person. The look that allows the eyes to become windows to the very soul of your being. Where it was impossible to tell a lie.
"I love you too," she finally admitted for the first time. It Erik's turn to let tears fill his eyes. Never before had any woman ever told him those words and they struck him with the power of an anvil. With those little words, this tiny woman had managed to undo the terrifying Phantom of the Opera. He was clay in her hands.
"Erik," Christine stopped to take a deep breath. "I want all of you."
Erik was slightly confused. "Christine, you have all of me."
Christine's hand touched the perfect white of his mask, sadness in her eyes. "Not all of you."
"Christine, please. Ask me for anything. Ask me for the world. But don't ask me for the one thing I cannot give you."
He sounded so scared. So vulnerable.
"This moment is too perfect, Christine. I don't want to ruin it."
Christine's eyes were filled with compassion and love. "Erik, my beloved Erik, I trust you with my life. I trust you with my body and soul. Please, I need this. I need to know all of you."
Erik closed his eyes, seeing his world collapse in his mind. He wasn't just terrified of her reaction, but of what his reaction would be. He was more terrified than she could ever know of what he might do. He couldn't let her go. Not now.
Christine could almost see the battle going on in his mind. She knew she could do this because it didn't matter to her. If he were the most ugly being in the world, she could still love him. She would still love him.
Her hand found the edges of the mask, tracing it gently before slowly and carefully peeling away his last defense.
She tried desperately to make no sound, but it truly was the most horrible sight she had ever seen. She hid her face in her arm. It was Erik that made the sound. It was the sound of a dying tormented animal. The the comparison was completely opposite. For that moment, he suddenly thought he understood how the Christ must have felt when God turned his face away from his son as he died on the cross. Seeing Christine forced to turn away in revulsion was the worst torture he had ever known.
Christine closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She felt Erik start to pull away and grasped his arms. "Wait. Please, just wait."
Erik forced back a terrible comment and became as still as a statue. With unsure hands, Christine brought her hands to his face. They stayed like that for a long moment before Christine found the courage to open her eyes.
He was watching her very closely. There was not a movement of muscle that missed his glare. Many expressions passed over her face as she adjusted to his face. Disgust, horror, pity and ultimately ... love? Surely his eyes were deceiving him. No one could look on his face with love. His own mother hated his face. How could this girl see past it?
She smiled and kissed the marred flesh over and over again, as though she were trying to heal him from the inside out.
"I do not fear you, Erik. I did not fear you when I was a small child and cannot fear you now. Yes, your face is a sight. But it is a sight that I want to see for the rest of my life, because it belongs to you, and you are my life. I still love you, Erik."
That was all it took for Erik to completely lose it. Tears streamed and he cried as he had never cried before. Christine held him for a long time, letting a lifetime of hell pour out of his soul.
When he had cried himself out, they made tender and beautiful love and fell asleep in each other's arms. The passion of earlier returned after some much needed rest and they made heated and impassioned loved several more times during the night before collapsing completely and sleeping nearly all through the day.
When Christine woke many hours later, sore in places she didn't know it was possible to be sore in and feeling thoroughly loved, she opened her eyes to see Erik leaning over her, running a red rose all over her naked body.
"Christine, you are the most beautiful creation in the universe."
Christine doubted how she could look beautiful with her hair tousled and completely unclothed, but with the way Erik was looking at her, she couldn't help but believe every word he spoke.
Apparently he had been up for a while, because he had breakfast waiting for her and her trousers back on. He kissed her swollen lips and helped her to sit up.
There was a glow about him. He looked genuinely happy. As though a different man awoke than the one that she had gone to sleep next to.
"Christine, there's something I must ask you."
Christine looked at him carefully, but nodded her head with a smile when she saw how happy he was.
He knelt before her and took both of her hands in his own. "Christine, you know there is absolutely nothing I wouldn't do for you. You have been my inspiration and my muse and ultimately my reason for living. I cannot imagine my life without you, and quite frankly, I don't want to have to try to."
Christine watched as Erik reached into the pocket of his trousers and produced a small velvet box.
"Christine Amelia Daae, will you do my the highest honor of being my wife?"
Christine's wide eyes were locked on the ring he held. Just like Erik, it was the most elegant and beautiful thing a man could create.
She was too happy to cry. She hadn't thought it was possible to be more happy than last night, but this was an elation as she had never known. "Yes! Yes, I will gladly be your wife."
Erik slipped the ring onto her finger, tossed the box aside and nearly tackled her back to the ground, smothering her in showers of kisses that rapidly grew more and more heated.
"Erik?" Christine gasped as Erik worked wonders with her body.
"Yes, my bride?"
"Get those damn trousers off..."
A/N: Well, I hoped you all enjoyed that. I certainly enjoyed writing it. By the way, I feel the need to admit that Christine's middle name I totally took liberties on. I have yet to discover what her middle name actually is ... so I ... uh ... used my own name. GUILTY! I just really wanted to imagine the phantom proposing to me ... and it kinda works. So there you go. Let me know what you think, and if you want to talk, feel free to write me, I'm always up for talking with fellow "phans". Hope to hear from you all soon!