I have been in a debate whether or not to post this story for over a year, worrying it was too much. But here you go. A special thank you to the readers who talked me into posting. They insisted that it wouldn't be right not to share. Here is my disclaimer on it. This is a more sexual story; if things like that offend you, please do not read it.

Sometimes when I have an idea for a story, I come up with a few different ways that the story could go. Even though this is its own story, it is related to the ideas in my story "A Heartbeat". If you will recall, in that story, Erik tries to introduce Christine desire through his music, but when she becomes afraid of it, he stops. This one is sort of the opposite, and where as "A Heartbeat" ends with sad realization, this one ends with hope.

SUMMARY: Erik's music inspires Christine's awakening to desire.

"A Lesson in Desire"

Christine was restless. Being alone in Erik's underground house had that effect on her, making her edgy and anxious without reason. What did she even have to be afraid of? Erik was far more terrifying and dangerous than most of what she could consider fears, and he wasn't even present for her near panic. He'd likely call her ridiculous, and she'd likely agree.

It was uncommon for her to be staying the night in his home, though he offered continuously, especially when their lessons lasted past dark. Agreeing to remain this night had been unexpected by them both. He had offered as he always did, and for no real reason, she had accepted. Part of her argued that she was just loath to return to her lonely apartment on such a bitter, cold night, but the other hardly believed that. Strangely enough, she was growing more accustomed to Erik's company, lingering sometimes even after her lesson had ended as they spoke of mundane things. More and more, their rapport was reverting to the days when he had been a bodiless angel. For far too long, it had been ripped apart once deceptions had been revealed, and finally, it was mending its severed places. Of course, she still bore reservations, often reminding pleasant emotions that he was still a murderer and the opera ghost as well, but the more time they spent together, the more the present was becoming the only thing to matter to her.

Having bathed in her glorious bath chamber, a luxury she relished when compared with the joint bathroom of her apartment building, she wandered into Erik's music room on bare feet, her hair still damp and drying in formed curls against the back of her silk nightdress. She wore no wrap, too amused to delight in the expensive material against her skin, but as she reminded herself, she was alone, so propriety hardly mattered. Due to her impromptu stay, Erik had insisted on running to the market with the argument that he had little, if any, food in the kitchen after previous days lost to one of his composing sprees, which usually entailed skipped meals and obsessive piano playing. He did his shopping after dark, having some sort of special deal with the market vendor that kept him off of city streets and out of the daylight crowds. And so he had left her with the promise of a quick return, and strangely enough, she found herself missing his company.

Her eyes wandered shelves lined with books, considering choosing one to read, but with every creak of the house drawing her notice, she assumed reading might be an impossibility. What else to do then? …One thought came to mind, but better judgment threatened an argument. It was…immoral; …it had to be. And yet….

With hands that shook, Christine lifted a particular manuscript from a stack set atop the piano, glancing around as if expecting to be found out. Only a vacant room met her observance, yet still she examined dim corners incessantly as she took a seat on the piano's bench and flipped through the manuscript, seeking a specific page.

This was not a betrayal. Erik's opera was a masterpiece, unfinished but exceptional. He had played much of it for her already, seeking her opinion as though it was the most important he could have. So her present disconcerting actions did not include invading his privacy. No, her guilt was of a far more embarrassing vein. One part of the opera in particular, a passionate duet, was the page she eagerly opened to, leaning back on the bench with hands still shaking. The piece was…erotic, feverishly so. He had played it for her, and she had nearly fallen weak with sensations she had never known before, ones she called desire though she had no proof or assurance and certainly nothing to compare them with to be sure. It was within the music itself, in chords and structures, so raw and blatantly put forward, as if he wanted her to know of its fiery presence. And then to consider the provocatively suggestive lyrics…. Her knees already shook with the memory. It amazed her that a man she well knew to have been denied any sort of physical pleasures could state them so passionately and deliberately sensual.

Eyes surveying the handwritten notes, she fitted her small fingers over the keys of the piano. She was not nearly the virtuoso Erik was, but she knew she could manage to play the piece albeit at a slower tempo, hoping she wouldn't be concentrating too hard to miss the waves of sensation it would bring. She had no logical explanation for why she was compelled to do this, other than a desperation for an understanding of something that seemed so utterly uncontrollable that it was frightening. She wanted to know that if she succumbed to it, what then? …What would happen? How high could sensation build within her, and then what lay at the end? It was a necessity as much as a curiosity, …or so she told her shame-filled mind.

A pink tinge flushed her cheeks, but with that final resolve in place, she began to play. Within the first few chords, she felt a tingle race through her veins, ignited and eager to blaze. It settled in the pit of her belly with a coiling heat, making her gasp in spite of herself. This is desire, she told her trembling, terrified body. It was so new to her, so unexpectedly powerful that it threatened to steal every bit of herself, and a part of her wanted it to! With each note she played, she felt a reverberating touch, as if the tones themselves were caressing her skin, wrapping her up in lust and need until she shuddered. Dear God, she was eager to give in completely!

The door made the smallest creak as Erik entered his home, but it was lost to the serenade he was receiving of his own composition. Setting his bought items aside, he followed the music with his own desperation, curious to what Christine was doing and why. He was unaccustomed to hearing his music played, usually creating its tones himself and was surprised by the magnitude of sexual desire it emitted through chords and melody, unsure anyone but he himself would understand its presence.

And then peering into the music room, he saw Christine and nearly went numb. From the doorway where he stood in a shadow, he could only see her profile, denied the full view he wanted, but he saw it, the desire, clear as day written across her flawless features. Her skin was flushed, her breathing obviously hurried, her fingers fumbling a few notes of chords as they shook. There was no denying what she was feeling. Her eyes closed an instant with the smallest muffled gasp that her lip caught between teeth to contain, and she squirmed, seeking something he understood but knew she didn't. It amused him to no end and yet at the same time, made his own desire erupt to a dizzying height. Had he ever seen anything so provocative as the woman of his dreams becoming aroused on his music, composed just for her and of her as it was? His body had been hardening upon the first notes that had met his ear; now it throbbed.

Christine felt as if she could not breathe, spirals of fervency spinning in her head. Whatever the music was driving her to, she knew without a doubt that she wanted it, yearned for it. It astounded her that music could have such an effect, but, she reminded herself, this was Erik's music and that was explanation enough. Her hips arched of their own accord in a strangely instinctual rhythm, another gasped cry caught by her lips as her body throbbed in its most intimate places, aching so intensely. This had to be wrong, had to be a sin, …and yet she couldn't find the strength to care.

As the desire grew within her, her fingers stumbled again, her concentration dwindling, and she finally had to cease playing entirely, her arms coming to wrap around her body in an unfulfilling embrace. Burning, yes, she felt like she was burning alive and was unable to squelch the fire out.

From the doorway's shadows, Erik was still silently watching her, surprised she did not feel his penetrating stare or hear his harsh breaths, his own hands fisting at his sides to keep some semblance of control over both himself and his eager body. Knowing she was aroused was consuming every rational consideration he had left. His eyes devoured her silk-clad form, those lovely bare arms clutching herself as she sought her own control. But no, he didn't want her senses to return just yet. No, first, he was eager to indulge her a little longer.

Willing his legs to carry him, he strode into the room with her, immediately drawing her widening stare. "I don't mean to interrupt," he hoarsely bid.

Christine scampered to her feet and backed away from the piano guiltily, shaking from head to toe as she stammered, "I…I…. Erik, I didn't mean to…."

"Sshh," he breathed, holding a finger to his lips as he went to take her abandoned seat on the piano bench. Languidly, letting his eyes run over her, he hoarsely demanded, "What is it that you desire, Christine?"

Shaking her head, she was still edging backwards toward the door and escape. "Nothing, …nothing, Erik…."

"You can lie to me if you like, but I saw you." His fingers were idly striking a few random chords. "You want my hands upon you."

She was still shaking her head, adamantly begging, "No, …no, Erik, please don't touch me."

"I don't intend to." Shrugging nonchalantly, he suddenly began to play the piece she had been attempting, perfect in every pitch and chord with its correct tempo and phrasing, and he smiled haughtily to himself to see her immediate, uncontrollable shudder. "Come," he commanded and watched her comply almost hypnotically, returning into the room to stand in the bow of the piano facing him.

Christine's knees were shaking beneath her weight, her fists clenching and unclenching at her sides, wanting to refuse him but a slave to the music and its temptation. "Erik," she whispered apprehensively and stared at that masked face through hazy eyes.

"Do you trust me, Christine?" he suddenly asked, his expression set and resolved.

Eyes never leaving his, she tentatively nodded, her curls bouncing with the motion.

"Then answer me honestly," he commanded, never ceasing the music and shivering himself at the way it enveloped them both in its alluring spell. "You're burning, aren't you?" At another tentatively nodded reply, he shuddered down the length of his spine and continued, "The music inspires your desire, but you are too innocent to know what to do with it…. Is that right, Christine?"

Her eyes closed, her cheeks flaming, but she nodded reluctantly, wanting only to stay in control, but the music was too incessant and overwhelming her with every single ambrosial note.

"My sweet, little angel," he breathed hoarsely. "Aching for more…. If I touched you, would you melt? Would you cry out my name and throb for me?…" Erik watched her reaction, her eyes still screwed shut, but her chest was heaving in breaths of air and suffocating in soft gasps. "I said I wouldn't touch you, …but…." In the softest of whispers, he breathed, "Even the devil burns…."

He pondered to himself as he kept playing his sensual melody, his eyes only ever on her; he wasn't entirely certain that her compliance wasn't being coerced completely by the music. If he stopped playing, would embarrassment and shame take over then, and the need to steal away from him and desire as a whole without the very answers she had been seeking? With a slow languidness, a wry grin curved the corners of his lips, inspired by an idea that was even more intriguing to consider.

"Christine," he bid in the angel's voice he knew she couldn't deny. "Imagine that my hands are on your body, combing through your curls, caressing your face. Can you feel me, petite?"

Never daring to open her eyes, she gave a hesitant nod and squirmed on her feet with the swell of longing that raced her veins. "I…I can feel you, Erik."

He smiled his pleasure and continued, "My hands are running over your chest, sliding within your nightdress to find your breasts." He relished her audible gasp with merely his chosen words as his own body gave a resonant, responding throb. "Can you feel it?"

"Yes," she whimpered desperately, her brow suddenly furrowing with lines.

A burst of concern shattered his bubble of need, practically popping it out of existence with its sharp reality, and he quickly demanded, "Are you afraid?" She could only nod a reply, a single unuttered word away from tears, and he desperately gushed, "Oh, Christine, you need not be afraid of me, petite. I only want to love you. I would never hurt you. You do know that, don't you?" When she nodded again, her features slightly more relaxed under her continued apprehension, he grinned and caressed her with his fervent gaze as his fingers ached to. "Trust me, Christine."

"I do," she whispered back, only then opening her eyes to meet his, and even through the spell of the music, he saw that she spoke true. "I trust you, Erik."

He was humbled by the light in her blue gaze, sure he had done nothing to deserve its brilliance, and yet he still felt compelled to ask before he dared to move onward, "Will you do as I say?"

"Yes, Erik," she whispered, holding his mismatched stare. She could have refused freely and ended this encounter, …but she didn't want to….

Pausing long enough to let himself burn, he hoarsely commanded, "Imagine your hands are mine, Christine. Use your hands, but feel my touch on your skin." Her gaze still held his with such an innocence in her blue depths as she awaited his instruction that he ached all the more. "I am running my hands across your chest," he repeated the image, and as she stared into his eyes, she lifted one trembling hand and slowly brought it across the expanse of bare skin above the neckline of her gown. "Your skin is so soft," he breathed as if he had indeed touched her himself, and he watched her shiver.

His hands…. Oddly enough, she could imagine it perfectly and did not know disgust or shy away. No. She was arching up to her own caress eager for more, impatient for him to continue as that intoxicating melody played in her head and stole sense out of her grasp.

"Are those my hands, Christine?" he demanded, and only with her small nod did he order, "Touch your breasts." His tone was a husky semblance of his angel's timbre, but it didn't matter; he did not need it to make her acquiesce. No, she was far beyond refusing. As his body throbbed his need, he watched her lift her hands to comply.

Christine was shaking so hard, quivering uncontrollably beneath every gasped breath; she left the silk nightgown as a barrier between hands and skin, and yet even through its material, she felt the hardened peaks of her nipples and whimpered softly as her fingers grazed them.

"Yes, Christine," Erik whispered desperately. "They are so round and full in my hands; I've never felt anything like them. And your nipples are so hard, yearning for me to take them into my mouth…. Is that what you want?"

"Yes," she breathed, muttering urgently. "Yes, Erik." Her hands were pinching her own nipples, rolling them between shaking fingers, and he groaned low in his chest to discern their outline straining against the silk of her nightgown.

"Leave one hand there and let the other drift down your stomach," he commanded huskily, watching her immediately comply without lingering hesitation. "Lower now, to your thigh. Yes, now gather up the material of your nightdress and slide your hand beneath. I want you to find that place that is burning so intensely right now." As she diligently performed the task, he let ravenous eyes devour her and watched as her small hand disappeared beneath the silk. "Now…touch yourself, Christine."

They were both shuddering at merely the words, the desire plainly on display across that masked face for her to witness and such a mirror image of her own. Her fingertips grazed the length of herself tentatively before daring to enter, and she gave a choked cry that was more like music to his ears than what his hands were still undauntedly playing.

"Are you wet, Christine?" he demanded hoarsely, urgent to hear her answer.

"Yes," she gasped out and listened to his unbridled groan of approval.

"So wet," he avidly agreed in another moan. "God, Christine, it's dripping from my fingers." As he watched her intently, his eyes darting from her hands on her body to her desperate face, he repeated, "Those are my hands, Christine, my hands making you so wet, my fingers stroking you."

Christine was violently quivering, holding his eye even as she shook her head. "Erik, I can't…. It…this is too much…." She was suddenly terrified by her body's consumption and by the undeniable intensity building within her, unsure what it meant.

"Don't stop touching yourself," he ordered harshly. "I would never stop touching you now even if you begged, and those are my hands on your body at this moment, aren't they? Trust me, Christine," he repeated, an unbreakable vow in his penetrating stare. "Don't you dare stop…. Make small circles with your fingertips; let the desire guide you. Don't be afraid of it."

A hesitant nod, and she felt her body pulsating its need under such manipulating touches, one hand still at her breast, the other obeying Erik's commands. She could hardly endure the power of the sensations any longer, sure she would lose every bit of herself within their hold. The lingering fraction of fear within her wondered why she had not run when she had the chance because now…now she might very well die beneath sensation's urgent suffocation.

Erik knew her release was coming, watching it build in her eyes, and he urgently demanded as if his own ability to continue existing depended on it, "Tell me you want me, Christine. Say my name. Beg me for it."

"Please, Erik," she gasped, resisting the urge to shut her eyes and forcing herself to hold his vehement stare. "I want you…. Please…."

"Keep going," he insisted. "You're almost there. You're going to know such pleasure, Christine, such pleasure. Don't stop…. Don't stop…."

A sharp cry escaped her as the ecstasy came in a wave so powerful that her muscles spasmed down every limb, made so much more intense with the furious melody pouring unceasingly from the piano. Erik very nearly found release with her without any stimulation but the vision of her; his control barely held in place. But no, …he couldn't now. He simply wanted to memorize every detail of hers and enjoy this untaken pleasure.

As she recovered her senses, trembling all over to the depth of bone, he gently brought the music to a close, and as he had suspected, almost immediately, she yanked her hands away from herself, curling protectively into her body.

"Christine," Erik softly attempted as he rose from the piano bench, but the hoarse edge lingering on his tone kept away any persuasions he could have applied to calm her, insisting what he was still aching to possess for him. "Petite."

She had lowered her eyes, refusing to look at him as the shame made her blush scarlet.

With unthreatening footsteps, Erik came to halt only inches from her and tried again, "Petite. Look at me." When she would not obey, he gently slid his fingers beneath her chin and tilted her face upwards, forcing her compliance. "There is no need for your embarrassment. I was touching you, remember?" When still she would not speak, her eyes showing her unending misery, he revealed his own seemingly shameful secret, "When I wrote that piece, I did that same thing, my own hands on my body, only in my head, I was imagining that they were yours."

"Mine?" she whispered almost inaudibly.

He nodded with the tinge of a smile. "All over my body." A soft groan escaped him. "My God, Christine, that was the most erotic thing I've ever seen." He could hardly believe how intensely she was still shaking, even though her attention was riveted to him. Leaning near so that his breath brushed her ear with every word, he told her, "Later, when I am doing exactly that and my hands are stroking my body to fevered heights, that image of you will be the only thing I will be thinking of. I could explode simply remembering it now."

Christine shuddered so hard that she felt it from the crown of her head to her toes, wanting to duck her head again, but resolutely making herself hold his fiery eyes. One long breath, he kept her wide stare captive in his and then with a languid caress from his gaze alone and a confident grin, he left her there, feeling her watch as he walked away.

As soon as he was gone, she slid down to the carpet under unsupportive legs, and yet despite her still-fierce blush, she had the undeniable urge to succumb to his power and the music again and again. As frightening as it was, the pleasure was addictive, and simply the sound of his voice in her ear and the consideration of his words made her burn all over for a next time…. A next time….