A/N: Okay, it's been a crazy year at college so most of my stories had to be reluctantly put on hold. But hopefully this will start to take priority.

Chapter 9


Christine was drunk, well, perhaps not drunk but she was rather tipsy. She was most definitely not herself. The music swarmed around everyone. The fiddles were quick and light, the drums were rhythmic and heavy, and the tin flutes intertwined with the rest of the music like a piece of thread in a rather exotic rug. Christine had never heard Irish music before. She had decided early on that she liked it.

Looking across the room a big bright smile broke across her face. Liam had shown up an hour ago and him and Meg had been inseparable since. He was sure a handsome young man, perhaps even more attractive then the Vicomte. Christine was happy for her friend the girl deserved to have someone sporting after her. Meg was so pretty and nice; it would be perfect if he asked her to go out to dinner with him sometime.

Realizing she was in the middle of a dance Christine tucked those thoughts away for a moment and focused on her footing. She was far too tipsy to be thinking, and dancing at the same time. She spun and turned and danced with the rest of the McBride's servants and family. Obviously they did not mind if their servants had a good time with them.

She spun once again as the repetitive song had indicated she should and the smile melted off her face when her eyes met with those of her ex-mentor. She kept her eyes locked with his as she continued the dance. Her head jerking from left to right in a futile attempt to keep track of him. His stare no longer engulfed in angry flames seemed smooth and even, he simply seemed curious as to if she would be able to finish this dance or not.

Christine knew that now was the time, the dance was almost over and she would have to pull Erik aside and tell him everything. She tried to think of how to begin while still trying to focus on the dance steps and had to give a very humiliating apology to Mr. McBride for stepping on his foot. He, however, seemed far more drunk then she and hardly even noticed but with a small laugh.

Finally after more minutes then Christine could count the song ended and she knew her time had come. As the group dispersed and the band started playing another slightly slower song Christina rounded on Meg keeping an eye on Erik. She pulled Meg gently from Liam and said, "I am about to go talk with him… if I am not back in twenty minutes come find us…. And bring Liam." Meg nodded and took her hand, "Good luck."

Christina gave a small smile and then looked across the large patio to Erik who was once again leaning against a post, hands across his chest. He watched her as she gracefully moved towards him, around the table, across the dance floor. Slowly she walked, with even steps, any tipsiness that had been in her system was either gone or momentarily forgotten as their eyes remained tied together. His sliding as she moved around objects and people and hers stuck straight on his with a purpose.

When she reached him she was less then a foot away, neither said anything, she simply took his hand and led him away. They moved silently down the steps and out into the large never-ending grass. Then down a slope and into the vineyard itself, tall grape vines surrounding them, they were practically invisible.

After a good few minutes Christina stopped and bravely turned to face the man of her nightmares.

"Mysterious little girl, you have dragged me so far off. You have something to tell me?" Erik's voice poured, the last time she had heard that tone she had been under his trance and he had been her angle of music. Part of her wished they were still in the Paris Opera house, still playing their little game.

But now it was time to grow up and tell Erik the truth, to tell him that she had failed him in so many more ways then just leaving him for Raul.

Christina took a deep breath and fought back tears, "Erik…" her voice wavered, "Erik I need to… to tell you something." She tried to start.

Erik was going to speak, however, Christine grew bold once again and put her fingers to his lips, "Hear me now or I may never be able to tell you the truth."

Erik did not move, he was silent, still, and if Christine didn't know him better she would said he was dead.

"When I committed my act of betrayal, when I left with Raoul so long ago, oh Erik… the things I must tell you but the strength to do so is growing faint." Christine tried to compose herself and then started again.

"I was with child Erik." Was the next thing to come out of her mouth and she spun to look at him, his eyes were wider then normal, he was surprised but not beyond shocked.

"What I did to you was horrible Erik… but what I couldn't stop was even worse. You came to me the night before my wedding, and I gave myself to you. You took me and gave to me all the love you had and you left me with child. I was so happy Erik… I thought this was the one thing I could do you for you that would repay all you had done for me. Raise your child, and then when he was old enough bring him to you. You would know true happiness then beyond anything I could give you. I would give the child everything, music, love, the best schools and anything he would ever want. I was sure it was a boy, I could feel it."

Christina turned away from Erik and hugged herself, "But Erik, my greatest tribute to you, my gift and my way to keep you with me at all times… I lost it. He came to early and I couldn't stop it. All desires after that stopped. I didn't sing, I didn't eat nor sleep. I sat all day staring out the window praying to God that he would give me back my child. Our child. When my last shred of attachment to you was lost my spirit and soul went out of me. Like a candle. I left Raul in hopes that I would be able to heal, because he knows nothing that a man should know. Not how to comfort me, nor how to listen nor does he understand why I was so destroyed. Erik…. my angle I am so sorry! I am so sorry I lost him!"

Christine looked at his dark face, hardly able to tell his expression, she waited shaking, tears streaming her face. She thought he would never speak when suddenly his hand came up to her cheek. Warm and solid he wiped away her tears and took her up in his arms.

"My sweet Christine, the trials you have suffered at my hands are not something that any woman should have to bare. I have hurt you as much as you may have hurt me, but beyond harsh words or mean looks no woman should have to lose her child, no matter what man it is from."

Christina released herself then, lost in her own relief she sobbed into his chest, the harsh and cruel line of spite between them gone for the moment. The truth of her destruction having been revealed, Erik now knew why she had been torturing herself, why she could not look him in the eye.

"Please forgive me. I couldn't stop the child from coming and I couldn't save him when he did."

"Christine, sweet sweet Christine. I do not hate you nor would I ever hold a grudge over something so painfully cruel. I just wish you had told me."

Christine said nothing as her tears started to recede and now she knew her next step to figuring out her future was on the horizon. She looked up into that masked face, the face that had so often been covered in rage and possessiveness. Would it be so bad to be possessed by someone who could truly understand her? Could she deal with his anger, his mood swings or his mentoring again? The only way she would ever know would be to surrender to him, and she would start by giving him what he always seemed to crave the most from her. She stood on her toes in order to reach his mouth.

Her lips hovered over his, he made no attempt to meet her, and she could tell he wasn't surprised but he did want to make sure that this life was truly what she wanted. Once she agreed to be his again she would never escape. Would she want to?

Finally Erik murmured softly, "Do not kiss me unless you are willing to come back to me. Because if you kiss me and then decide to run again I will come after you and I will catch you and I will keep you." It wasn't just a warning it was a threat. She knew him well enough to know that. It was a dark and sinister promise and Christine took a weary breath as she leaned the last inch and met his lips.

Her fear swelled inside her, was she making a deal with the devil? Would her soul be condemned for what she was about to do? She didn't know, but she missed the music and she missed singing. And he was the only way she would ever feel the music return.

Christine was pulled from her thoughts as Erik suddenly attacked. His fingers dug into her dress, his mouth latched on to hers sucking and biting and kissing. His body pressed her tiny one into the thick vines and trapped her as he hungrily started to untie the back of her dress.

As his lips left hers and started to engulf her neck she felt a sharp pain, he was marking her throat. Sucking with all his might. She gasped in shock and fear as his fingers gave up on the back of the dress and simply reached down to hike her dress up. He managed to grab her thighs and press between them.

"Erik!" Christine cried out as she felt his manhood roughly throbbing through the thick layers of fabric between them. The man froze, he was breathing heavy into her neck, eyes closed waiting to see what Christine had to say, hoping it wasn't stop.

"Erik… I don't know if I can do this… I can't…."

"You are no longer married in my eyes and you've given yourself to me now… you've made your choice and I intend to love your properly. Oh Christine it's been so long. Longer then I can willingly remember since I've been able to show you the extent of my pain and suffering over you."

Christine looked into his eyes, he held her there pressed against the rough vines refusing to release her from his grip. If he thought he was scaring her he acted like he didn't care. Christine felt her arms raise and her fingers gently stroked the soft curves of his mask.

Erik said nothing as she slowly removed his mask leaving the dark brunette wig he wore in place. What she saw was not something that was new to her. She had seen this deformed face before, between reality and her dreams perhaps more then any other person in the known world.

She stared at his sunken eye, the section of his face where there was no skin but bones from his skull. His eye yellow and vain infested. The skin that could be compared to that of yellow parchment stretched across his face like leather and pulled his muscles tight.

She was no longer scared of this face and touched it gently hoping to calm Erik in his testosterone filled frenzy. He closed his eyes and savored the fact that someone was once again touching the part of his face that was usually so isolated and hidden.

"Say you love me." Erik whispered as he pulled her closer and held her tightly. Christine swallowed and wondered what would happen if she refused to say it. She turned her head to whisper in his ear and gently said, "I love you."

Erik hugged her even tighter and took in a heavy shaky breath, she felt him press his lips to her neck and kiss her and then whispered back, "When you mean it, my soul will be complete."

Upon gently setting her down he looked down into her face and gently stroked her cheek. "Your lessons will begin in the morning. You know how I teach so you better come prepared." Christine nodded and waited as Erik slowly fixed her battered dress and retied the back as best he could.

"You won't expect anything of you Christine except to do exactly as I say and don't deny me what I ask. If I tell you to sing an impossible aria you do it. No protest."

Once again Christine nodded, "You shall be the star of my new opera house… and no one will ever take the lead away from you." He bent and kissed her shoulder as he stood behind her.

The young woman stared off into space not sure if the choice she had just made was the right one. But even though there had been no paper she felt like she had just signed her body and her soul over to him… in blood.

A/N: Sorry it's been so long since I updated but I've been busy. So I hope you all enjoyed this if anyone is still reading this piece!