A/N: So sorry for such the delay in posting. I headed back to school and realized that I am involved in too many things. Who knew being the president of a Chemistry Society and working in a lab and doing school work could be so much work? Everyone, well okay then. I hope to get a few more updates online soon. The reviews really do help the update speed.
So this chapter has been written for a while, hope you like it! Please R/R.
Erik placed me gently onto a settee in the living room before disappearing from my site. There was no sound apart from the water dripping off my drenched clothes. I blushed furiously as I realized my dress was nearly transparent. I could clearly see my corset through the soaked fabric. I folded my arms across my chest to try to preserve whatever modesty I had left.
"Erik foes not have any clothes for a woman." He said as he reentered and handed me a towel, "He never thought he would ever see a woman here."
There was something tragic in the way he said that and for a moment I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. That was until he grasped me ankle, and then all I could feel for him was the urge to kick him in the head. From the minute his fingers touched my ankle it throbbed in pain. Radiating to my toes and up my leg. I unconsciously jerked my foot from his grasp.
"You must be still while Erik examines your ankle." He said, holding it firmly.
I am sure he was gentle but it felt like he had my entire foot in a steel vice. I clenched my fists so tightly my fingers turned white. There was a sickening pop and then my ankle just felt numb. Erik then began wrapping a bandage around a splint, securing my ankle in place.
"Just dislocated." Erik said as he finished bandaging.
"What was the pop?" I said, trying not to move.
"I had to relocate one of the bones. It should be fine, as long as you stay off it for a few days."
I nodded dumbly hardly believing the events that had transpired. I wrapped myself in the towel trying to dry off and keep warm. It wasn't much help and I was still shivering.
Erik sighed. He looked at me intently before saying, "You need to get out of those wet clothes and warm up."
"Warm would be good." Was all I managed to say.
Erik wrapped a throw blanket around my shoulders before leaving the room again. When he returned a few minutes later he had a small bundle of clothes.
"Erik is sorry he has nothing better." He said handing me what appeared to be a man's shirt and pants. "Come Erik will help you to your bedroom."
Between not being able to stand, my hands shaking from cold and my dress sticking to my body it was nearly impossible getting undressed. Finally after nearly twenty minutes of struggling my final piece of clothing hit the floor with a satisfying 'splat'. I wrapped myself in the towel again to ensure I was dry before pulling on the dry clothes.
I was wrapped up in the covers of the bed when there was a knock on the bedroom door.
"Yes,?" I said not wanting to leave the warm of the bed.
"Are you decent?" Came Erik's voice from the opposite side of the door.
"As decent as I can be in mens clothing."
The door opened slowly and Erik stepped in. He had changed into fresh clothes as well. Though the only reason I could tell was because his pants and jacket were not longer wet and were freshly pressed. He had wooden crutches under his arm, which he placed on the foot of the bed.
"I have started a fire," he said. "You can warm up there if you wish."
"I practically jumped out of bed at the idea of a fire and with the crutches and Erik's help in minutes I was wrapped in a blanket and in front of the fire. The heat of the fire warmed my entire being and within minutes I was able to discard the blanket. I basked in the heat of the flames, letting it warm me through.
"Erik still wishes to ask you a few questions." Erik said, gazing intently into the fire.
I moved my eyes from the crackling fire to Erik's mask. I didn't say anything, but let him continue.
His eyes didn't leave the flames. He seemed to be fighting some inner battle until he sighed and asked, "How did you come to stay with gypsies?"
I thought for a moment, my eyes travelled back to the fire. That was the one question I didn't want to answer. I hadn't thought about any of that since I arrived in Paris and if I were honest with myself, recalling it still hurt. I didn't want to lie so I finally decided on a half truth.
"I was trying to reach Paris and had no money or job. Then I just happened upon them one day and it, at the time, appeared to be a perfect fit." I said, my eyes never leaving the fire.
"I see." Was Erik's response. I could tell he wished to ask more but I was thankful he didn't.
I sat without saying anything. I could feel tears welling in my chest. How had I managed to screw my life up so badly? I always pictured curling up by the fire with a loving husband. Now it seemed like this was the closest I would ever get. Me by the fire sitting in silence with a masked man who essentially kidnapped me after tormenting me at work. Sure he had mended my ankle but if he had just left me alone my ankle wouldn't need mending. I was shifting my gaze to examining my ankle when something caught my eye.
"Is that a chess board?" I said turning to look at Erik.
He examined me oddly as if that was the last thing he expected me to say.
"Yes,." He stated.
"Do you play?" I asked.
"Yes,." He replied
"Would you like to play?" I reworded, apparently Erik wasn't as great a conversationalist as I first thought.
"I wouldn't have guessed a gypsy seamstress had the intelligence to play chess." Erik said.
"My face flushed. "You are aware you could have just said no, you didn't have to insult me." I said, not hiding my offense.
Erik regarded me for a moment before rising and walking away. Moments later he place the chess board before me and said, "Black or White?"
I should have smacked him over the head with the board but instead said "White," as demurely as possible.
Erik didn't speak through the game, and whenever I asked a question or made a comment it was always met with a 'yes', 'no', 'hmm', 'it's not important' or the ever so frustrating 'indeed'. After several failed attempts at conversation I resigned to playing in silence.
"Check." I said, moving my knight. "You know chess has always fascinated me. You would assume the king would have the power but he is actually the least useful piece on the board. It is the Queen who had the true power."
Erik looked at me for a moment, before moving his piece. "Is power having freedom to move where you choose or knowing you will play a part in the end game?"
"In this case both," I said moving my Queen, "Checkmate."
Erik froze in disbelief, he scanned the board checking for an error. He visibly tightened and tried to remain as stoic as possible as he began resetting the pieces.
"Again?" He said, barely restraining his frustration.
"Why not?" I said, living how angry he looked as I played with his captured king.
To what I am sure was Erik's disbelief and horror. I beat him again in the next two games. The fourth ended in a stalemate.
"What time is it?" I yawned.
"Hmmm?" He murmured not looking up from the chess board. "Four."
"Four? As in four in the morning?"
"Yes,." Erik said still eyeing the board.
"I'm going to bed." I said grabbing my crutches.
"No, we must play another game." Erik said, his eyes still on the chess board.
"Erik!" I sighed, exasperated, "If I stay up any longer I'll pass out on the chess board!"
"Hmm. Fine." He said waving his hand, still not looking at me. "You know where your bedroom is."
I rolled my eyes and grabbed my crutched. As I worked my way to my room I could hear Erik muttering about the last game. I flopped awkwardly onto the bed and placed my crutched on the floor beside me. It seemed weird to stay here in someone else's house but at the moment I was too tired to care.
A/N: So what do you think? Does she have mad chess skills or was it just beginners luck? Whatever the reason it doesn't seem like Erik likes being beaten very much.