Chapter 15

Apologies

Erik came back to work the next morning expecting all hell to break loose when he did; still he went to his student. He looked down at the red calla lilies in his hand and the box holding the new dress he brought. It was velvet and perfect for her with black silken lace and sequins all down the front. Despite numerous reports from her friends and acquaintances around the city that she did not take well to receiving gifts he felt that this dress was hers the moment he saw it in the window of the boutique. Everything about the dress was like her, spitfire red but elegant much like her.

"Well here goes nothing…"

He gulped as he was allowed silently into the house by her father, who despite his severe nature looked like he was ready to murder him. Not that Erik could blame him and he found himself thankful for the first time that Amelia had such a temper as to keep him from being fired. Still he didn't want to say a word to the man for fear the man would cut him off at once. So he went down the hall where he heard a soft mezzo voice humming along to an old English folk song, one he had heard her humming when they first met as she had descended the stairs.

He didn't bother to knock on the door knowing she would not allow him entrance if he did. He simply opened the door and walked in, noticing her in that white lacy day dress and he noticed the bandages on her hands and found himself wanting to throw himself on his knees and kill himself in front of her by way of apology. Instead he sighed and walked up and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. No longer caring that she was his student and unable to fight the bond he knew was there.

Amelia turned around and glared into his face pulling away from him and striking him so hard his mask went sideways. How dare this bastard touch her after what he had done! But then she remembered that her hand was injured and winced as it stung. Her tutor sighed and kissed her injured hand, tears pooling in his eyes. This surprised her but she was still mad so she tried to ignore her, Erik cursed the angel in his mind for making him feel like this. He did not like feeling remorse and what was worse he hated it when he was forced to be subservient to anyone let alone to his student.

"Amelia I have come to apologize—"

"For what Monsieur, there are so many things to choose from! For damaging my hands or hitting me! Better yet being a bastard in general!" she interrupted.

"All of those things, I…"

Amelia looked him up and down, "What is that?"

"What this it's my suit. Now will you please stop interrupting me?"

"It's pink!" She giggled, "You look like such a fop!"

He looked down at the rosy monkey-suit he was wearing feeling like a fool, truth-be-told he hated this thing but it was what she would have liked. Erik had asked her friends around town and they had told him that the best way to make her feel better was to make her laugh. He had asked them how and they had told him that her favorite form of amusement was to tease people so he tried to find something mock-worthy. He was then forced to buy this outfit and come to her house looking like some kind of circus freak just to make her laugh.

Erik sighed feeling his face grow hot with a blush; she started to laugh even more. He liked the sound of it; it was a welcome change from her constant bitching and moaning over every little thing. Still being called a fop was humiliating and so he tried to calm the blush that the word brought on but seeing him in that embarrassed state made her bust up. He turned around at that not liking the way his heart thudded at the twinkle in her eyes. He didn't want to think that her eyes were beautiful, or anything else.

"Yes well I figured that wearing this humiliating thing would help you accept my apology better."

"You look ridiculous." She laughed.

"Well…" Erik tried to think of a suitable comeback and finding none said the first thing that came to his mind, "you laugh like a hyena."

Amelia's eyebrows shot up, was he playing the dozens with her? She saw him smile as if to say, 'what no smart remark for me my dear?' And then the most peculiar thing happened… He burst out laughing, his whole body shaking with it. It was soft and warm, like warm pudding at Christmas time. Amelia actually found herself thinking that he was adorable with the blush and his efforts to say sorry. Sarcastic banter was something she never expected from her severe piano teacher. Amelia found she liked this side of him better than the rigid, by-the-book man she had met recently. He laughed with her finding it easy to laugh with her than anything; he had ever done in his life.

He handed her the flowers and she smiled at him, placing them in a large crystal vase on her vanity. Erik liked her smile and he wanted all of a sudden had the urge to kiss her again, he shook it off and presented her with the large box which she at first refused but he pressed it on her until she gave in. Erik watched her hands as she removed the lid and smiled at the gasp when her fingers traced the velvet with her fingers. Erik smiled as he watched her, her hand moving down the sparkly surface in awe as he looked at her to judge her reaction.

She had never owned a dress this this, it seemed to have been made for her. Amelia owned many lovely gowns as a lady of society should but never one of velvet and silk that shimmered. Her gowns were made of taffeta and of fine cotton but even when her father had possessed a fortune there was never enough to buy silk. Ken was always spending it on parties for his associates hoping to clench this deal or that deal.

"I can't accept this Mister Barnezet…" she said.

"Yes you can Amelia I'm certainly not going to wear it." He said, causing her to giggle.

"How much did it cost? At least let me pay you back."

"No Amelia, it's a gift." He said.

"Mister Barnezet I do not like getting gifts. I have to give you your money back."

He shook his head, "I said no," he then got a gleam in his eyes that she didn't quite trust, "But I would consider you paying me back in a different way…"

"Oh, how is that?" she asked.

"I think you know…"

He did not know what he was doing it seemed automatic as though someone was coaching him on exactly what to say. Amelia's eyes winded at the way his voice dropped to that low seductive octave when he had kissed her the first time. Erik walked slowly up to her and caught her shoulder in his hand and she felt that same warmth on him that made her want to shiver. He smiled at her, slow and easy and leaned down brushing his lips to her head and then to her nose and her cheeks and then finally to her lips. She relaxed as a serious sense of déjà vu came over her and she wrapped her arms around his neck.

Erik wrapped his arms around her and lifted her to the chair at the vanity where he settled her on his lap and she tangled her fingers in his hair. He made a sound low in his throat when her hand traveled down to his neck. Erik held her close, the angel cheering in the back of his mind but he no longer cared if she meddled in his affairs. Amelia pulled away from him and looked into his face, her mind fuzzy from the kiss and his mind racing with turbulent emotions. He leaned in and caught her cheek, kissing her more tenderly this time but then realizing what he was doing pulled away.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Nothing… this is not proper…"

"Oh hell with propriety… we've been improper since the day you kissed me in the music room." She kissed him again.

Erik broke away from her and looked into her eyes, removing her from his lap. He had to leave her before it went too far but it killed him to let go. He kissed her hands and left in a hurry, leaving her stunned and standing in the middle of her room with her hand on her lips. Erik ran home, ignoring Nadir's worried questions and going straight into his bedroom and flopping down on the bed. His face dripping in a hot sweat as feelings of desire stronger than anything he had ever felt pulsing through him. He closed his eyes trying to sleep but when he did he dreamed of his student and for the first time he didn't feel alone and improper…he felt peaceful.