A/N: Hello my beauties! Here is the next chapter, I hope you all enjoy! Please R&R and tell me your thoughts! PS: I don't own the song Josephine sings below and I will add info of the name and who sings it at the end of the chapter.
Chapter Sixty Two
Once I turned down the corridor I followed the maid a little more before I melted into the shadows. If I were to go any further; I'd pass other workers, and I didn't want to take the chance and raise a suspicious eyebrow. I stood in the shadows gloating; I had a smile from ear to ear. I felt so exhilarated. I allowed myself this satisfaction before I left the comfort of the darkness. The look on Monte's face was priceless; he was indeed taken by surprise by the man that hold's Josephine's heart. I took the secret passages towards the Prima donna's room. Unfortunately the route I must take will lead me three doors down from where Josephine is resting. Finally at the end of the passage way, I pressed my ear against the wall to hear any movement from the other side; thankfully, I heard none. Still I opened the hidden door with caution, closing it silently behind me, and making my way to Josephine.
I gently turned the knob to the Prima donna's room, for I did not want to frighten her by barging in. Stepping inside, I saw that Josephine was sound asleep. With a soft sigh I closed the door behind me and went further into the room.
Looking down at the dozen red roses in my hand, I decided to leave them on top of the small table near the bed where her medicine lay. That way, it would be the first she saw when she woke from her nap. I noticed that the wild flowers Monte' had brought for Josephine were in a vase on the bedside table, where I was going to put the roses I bought. A spiteful smile curved my lips, taking the flowers from the vase I discarded the flowers in the trash ben that's beside the small table; replacing them with my red roses. My gloved fingers lingered on a green leaf, Josephine's last words whispering in my mind...
"The horror doesn't lie upon your face... its in your soul, Erik."
My throat tightened and I swallowed the emotion, burying it for now. My eyes fell upon Josephine. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I removed my glove; letting my fingertips glide down the length of her jaw. I was tempted to reach down and catch her lips with mine, but I didn't dare. Instead I pressed a kiss to her warm forehead and left through the two way mirror.
Tying down the gondola, I could smell something I hadn't in years. I furrowed my brow; Nadir was here. Following the smell, I was led to the library where I found Nadir lounging before the hearth. He sat in the armchair that Josephine usually sat in when she came to visit; beside him on the small table sat a medium size hooka. I crossed my arms under my cloak; my library was going to smell like spearmint tobacco. I glared.
"Has anyone ever told you that you look like a brooding crow with your arms hidden under your cloak like that, Erik?" Nadir murmured, blowing smoke from his mouth.
"Only once." I growled, stepping into the library.
Nadir smiled with his eyes as he puffed on the opening of the hooka hose. "Is that so?"
I nodded, "Oui, and I killed him for it."
Smoke swirled out of Nadir's mouth as he chuckled at my false confession.
Nadir shook his head, still chuckling to himself. "Liar. Where were you coming from?"
"After watching over Josephine, I walked the grounds of my opera house."
Still brooding, I stood before him. "I never gave you permission to smoke tobacco in my home, Nadir."
"No, you didn't. I brought this as a gift for you."
I raised an eyebrow. "You bring me a hooka, only to use it yourself?"
Nadir exhaled, making circles in the air with the smoke. "That's right, I knew you'd be back soon so I decided to pack the bowl and heat the coals."
Rolling my eyes, I finally sat before the hearth. Nadir then passed me the hose so I may have my turn. I took the hose, admiring the carving on the nozzle where you place your lips. I ran my fingers over the design; the details were spectacular. A lot of patience had gone into carving it. I then observed the base vase where the water was held, it too was beautiful; the glass was a dark emerald green with gold flowers.
"Are you only going to stare at it, Erik?"
I shot a look at Nadir narrowing my eyes, and inhaled the tobacco from the hose. I exhaled watching the smoke dissolve, the smell and the sight of the hooka brought back memories of a time of torture and violence. All by my hands, for amusement.
"I remember the last time we had spearmint tobacco, Erik. Do you?"
"I do, in your homeland."
Nadir exhaled, "That's right. Reza was overjoyed with the trinket you made for him..." Nadir became silent after mentioning Reza, his diseased son.
I remember all too well, I thought to myself. In those days I rarely smoked tobacco; only on occasion with Nadir. I scrubbed a hand over my exposed face, I was addicted to opium at the time... I needed the quick relief from the pain I felt inside, it made me feel warm, content. I had the feeling of security and well-being while on it... Nadir offered the hose to me and I declined, the reasons for using opium were all too familiar. Was Josephine my opium? It made perfect sense to me. She relieved the demons I battled with inside. When she was in my arms, my insides were full of warmth to the point where I feared my heart would explode with my love for her... A smile slowly curved my lips, Josephine was my opium. The irony. I had to see her, right now. Looking up at the mantle, the time was fifteen minutes after 3 'o' clock. Anne would already be with Josephine in her room; therefore I needed a distraction.
"Nadir, I need your help with something..."
My plan is in order, I thought as I walked down the dark tunnel leading to the two way mirror. Midway down, I could see Anne through the mirror. She wasn't sitting in her usual chair next to Josephine; instead she sat across the room. She looked to be sewing. As I approached the mirror I noticed that every now and then Anne's eyes would rise, then settle back on the sewing in her hands. Anne was speaking now, her words were too softly spoken for me to hear, but the hoarse humming that came from inside the room I heard perfectly. Josephine. She was humming a tune I was very familiar with, and even though Josephine's voice was weak from being ill, she hit every note. Finally before the mirror I saw Josephine. She was propped up in bed with pillows. Her hair was combed neatly and was draped over one shoulder. She stared blankly at the ceiling as she began to sing...
"O, let me, O, let me weep, let me weep,
Let me forever ever weep.."
Sad empty eyes lowered from the ceiling and settled on her hands that were on her lap.
"O, let me weep, my eyes no more,
No, no more shall welcome sleep."
I closed my eyes, leaning my head against the cold glass. Josephine was singing one of the many angst aria's I had written when Christine left with Raoul after Ill Muto. This one however, I wrote using my violin. I could hear the heart-wrenching strings of the violin, every note was created to feel the longing, the sorrow, the loss...
"I'll hide me, I'll hide me from the sight of day,
And sigh, sigh my soul away.
O, let me, O, let me weep, let me weep,
Let me forever, ever weep."
Josephine then reached up and tangled her fingers in the tear shaped pearl pendant I gave to her, her eyes fell upon the two way mirror. She was obviously singing about I. She then whispered the last of the song to herself.
"He's gone, he's gone, his loss deplore,
And I shall never, never see him more."
My heart tightened.
"That was a beautifully sad aria, ma petite." Anne whispered.
"I know," murmured Josephine; she was only half paying attention. She was still staring blankly into space.
"Where did you learn it from?"
Drat! I held my breath, I only hoped Anne didn't know enough to recognize my work.
Josephine blinked a few times, "I had found it in some old music scores, I thought it was beautiful. So I memorized it."
I raised an eye brow, well, that was the truth. I allow Josephine to look through my work, I had no idea she was looking through those scores. I remember walking up to her in the grotto, she quickly hid it from my view. Hoping I didn't catch it, but I did.
"What else did you go through...?" I whispered.
Before Anne could comment, there was a knock at the door. Anne rose from her seat to answer the door, when she opened it, she found Nadir on the other side.
"Monsieur Khan." Anne greeted.
"Good afternoon, I was hoping to see how Josephine is fairing today."
"Oh, please, do come in."
"Hello, Nadir." Josephine smiled.
"Josephine, how are you?"
"I'm feeling better, I no long have a fever and my cough is beginning to go away."
"Yes, the medicine you gave her help greatly."
"Although it taste terrible." Josephine scoffed.
I crossed my arms under my cloak, I was getting impatient. He was suppose to just ask Anne out for tea, not to make himself comfortable and have a conversation!
"Hurry up, you old fool." I growled under my breath.
10 minutes later. All three of them were laughing and I was very close to strangling the man once I was alone with him. I had both hands before me; leaning on the outer frame of the mirror, agitated.
Finally Nadir stood, pulled out his pocket watch and said, "My, look at the time. Anne, would you mind ever so much as to accompany me for a cup of tea?"
"A cup of tea does sound nice, I wouldn't mind at all. Josephine, will you be fine with out me?"
"Oh, of course. I think I'll take another nap."
"All right my dear, I will see you in a little while."
"No rush, Marriane."
"Good bye, Josephine."
"Au revoir, Nadir."
The door was close and all was silent, I waited ten minutes before I opened the mirror and went in. Standing over Josephine, she lay on her side with her back to me. I felt like a mute fool, how was I to act? What was I to say? I swallowed hard, my throat suddenly became so dry. I opened my mouth only nothing came out, bloody hell! Perhaps this was a bad idea. I cursed under my breath and turned on my heel to leave like the coward I was.
"Erik.." Whispered Josephine.
I stopped mid step, my back was to Josephine. Maybe she didn't see me, perhaps she's dreaming. I only hoped. Next I heard rustled sheets and a squeaking mattress shift behind me, bloody hell!
I exhaled, not realizing I was holding my breath and turned around. Josephine was sitting up right, her hair was a mass of wavy curls around her face and shoulders; and her night gown buttons were undone at her throat. Exposing her skin, her collar bone... I looked away ashamed.
"I thought I smelled your cologne, I was hoping you'd come to me..."
I nodded, not knowing what to say.
"Thank you for the roses, they're beautiful."
"Your welcome," I said hoarsely.
"Marraine found Edward's flowers in the trash ben." Josephine said lightly with an amused tone in her voice.
I raised an innocent eye brow, "Now, how did those get there?"
Josephine smiled looking away, "Perhaps we have a ghost amongst us in the opera house."
"Oh, I'm sure we do."
An awkward silents fell upon us, well, perhaps it was awkward for me. Josephine looked quite content there on her bed.
"Je vous ai manque, Erik."
"I've missed you too," I murmured.
Josephine's resolve broke, she dropped her head into her hands and began to weep silently. I was beside her in an instant, I held her tight while her body shook with tears.
"Shhh, don't cry my love, je suis là," I whispered into Josephine's hair, "I am here..."
"I'm sorry, i-it's just, I'm s-so emotional right now!" Josephine cried, clinging onto the lapel of my coat.
I held Josephine, whispering words of comfort. I stoked her long hair; burring my face into her hair, she smelled deliciously intoxicating. Moving her long locks to one side of her shoulder, I caressed the back of her neck and shoulder; skin made of silk. That's what she has, I had-no-need to kiss Josephine. I reached down and placed a kiss just below her right ear, I inhaled her sent; locking it away in my memory so I may never forget it. Josephine became still in my arms, perhaps I shouldn't have-
"More," whispered Josephine.
I swallow hard and do as I was told. I kissed her nick, her jaw, her cheek, her temple and lastly her forehead. Pulling away, I placed both hands on the sides of Josephine's face. I searched her eyes and found nothing but acceptance for who and what I am.
"Do you forgive me?" I whispered.
A calmness settled over me, I pressed my forehead against Josephine and sighed.
"Erik?" Josephine whispered.
"Do you trust me?"
I blinked, raising my head, looking her in the eye. I don't understand what she was asking, I did however when Josephine reached up placing her hand just underneath my mask. I involuntarily flinched away catching her wrist in my hand.
"Josephine, no." I said weakly.
"Erik, please, you must trust me. I won't run away from you, I never have; I am still here despite everything that happen... You don't have to be afraid any more."
Under Josephine's gaze I felt powerless, this women, this beautiful creature of pity has a hold over me that I can't escape. I felt as though she were towering over me. I closed my eyes feeling the sting of tears burn, I inhaled deeply holding my breath as I placed Josephine's hand over my mask. The moment my mask was gone I waited for the screaming to come, only it never did; although I dare not open my eyes. Gentle fingers traced and caress my marred skin, Josephine traced my uneven hair line, my cheek bone, down the bridge of my nose. My breath caught in my throat when I felt her lips pressed against my temple, where my mask use to rub and tear at my skin. Hot tears fell from my eyes, as Josephine went on to kiss my forehead, my cheek, my nose. She then pulled me into her arms, I wept like a lost child, I felt so foolish crying so, but for the life of me I couldn't stop.
Finally, the tears subsided. My mask lay in my hand, it's empty eye stared blankly at me; almost mockingly. It was like a dark shadow that I could never be rid of, could never be normal with or with out it.
"May I?" Josephine murmured.
Meeting Josephine's eye, she took the mask from my hand and gently placed it upon my face. I pressed a hand over it to secure its hold. Sighing, I ran my hand through my hair; I felt exhausted. My eyes burn and my heard was pounding. Ugh, I could really use a drink. I thought to myself. Perhaps two...
"Erik, look at me."
I met Josephine gaze.
"I love you."
"I love you, too."
"Will you do something for me, Erik?"
She didn't have to say another word, my lips captured hers. I need to hold her, to feel her warmth against me, I've missed her so very much. Discarding the idea of a drink, instead I drink in Josephine's kiss. Her lips alone left my head swirling. The thick blanket that was between us caused a barrier. With out breaking our kiss, I pulled it off and away from Josephine. Hearing a squeak of surprise from her, I knelt in front of Josephine on the small bed; deepening our kiss. A soft moan escaped from Josephine's throat and it drove me insane with need!
Each kiss sent white hot heat down my chest and settled at the pit of my stomach. Something dark inside me lifted his head and roared, wanting his mate. With out thinking I pressed Josephine down against the mattress, ignoring her gentle murmurs that we should stop. I nipped at Josephine neck which silents her; losing myself in the warmth and curves of her neck. I took hold of the -hour glass -of Josephine's waist and followed down to the length of her hip, and outer thigh; where her night gown was resting above her knee. Before I could feel the soft skin of her leg, suddenly the door burst open and I felt hands pushing against the wall of my chest. I was surprisingly pushed up and off of Josephine and onto the floor!
"Oomph!" I groaned, hitting the hard floor.
"Oh!" Josephine gasped sitting up from her bed.
"Oh! Oh! I'm so sorry!" Olivia ranted. "Forgive me!"
"Erik, I'm sorry! She startled me, I it was Marriane!" Josephine exclaimed pulling the blanket over her body.
I sat up on the floor and glared at the petite ballerina, I never wanted to hurt a women more than I wanted to now. Olivia had one hand covering her eyes while the other hand held a basket of parcels.
"I didn't see anything! I promise!"
I gritted my teeth and growled as I stood up from the floor. I rotated my neck, bloody hell, I silently cursed. Now I have a splitting head ache and a sore backside.
Olivia peeked through her fingers, "Is everyone decent?
AN: Oh, Olive, such great timing! What do you think? Please R&R! If any of you are curious about the song, Josephine sings its sung by Nancy Argenta. If you copy and past this (O, let me forever weep Nancy Argenta Henry Purcell) into Youtube, it'll be the first video. I for one think it's such a beautiful song and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well.