Characters & history isn't mine, but the content is! ©2011!

Chapter 6: The Echo of The Final Chord

Before taking me to a summer home far away in the countryside, he had us officially married by in a tiny, unassuming church. Neither of us were willing to wait for an elaborate marriage (and how long until Raoul would seek overt revenge?), but Erik was adamant about barring Raoul from stealing me away again. He had come to value the solidarity that comes from legal and spiritual binding of public marriage. I didn't tell him, but I, too, felt a satisfying finality as the ordained priest declared us, and God, three chords bound as One until death.

His summer home was elegant and white from the moonlight, but I would only notice that in hindsight. I could not even wait for us to alight from the carriage, only for the driver (a friend of Erik's) to leave. As soon as he left, I threw myself upon Erik and we landed in the soft oriental grass. Buttercups gleaming faintly in the night whispered against his face, upon his wounded cheek. I was envious of them, and pushed them from him with my lips. His cloak splayed out around him, and the heat from his body curled up around me and drew me closer to him. "My dear," Erik rasped, "you would find the field a rather uncomfortable place, I think."

"Don Juan would have me stop?" I teased, and kissed his throat. He shifted beneath me, biting his lip, and I saw his hands clutch handfuls of grass. My body began to burn as I kissed the Phantom of the Opera and heard the sounds of approval. I licked his neck and reveled in the salty taste.

"You've grown bolder," he observed.

"Only for you, only for you," I murmured as I made short work of the ties of his cloak and his shirt. He was still in costume for Don Juan – although the "costume" would not have been out of place here in Spain. His marble-white skin was pearly and surprisingly cool upon first touch, like porcelain figurines in summer. But, his skin warmed after my fingers had claimed that initial caress. I lavished my attention upon the hollow at the base of his throat, and one of his hands stroked the back of my head comfortingly. It was strangely arousing, like a crying child sucking their thumb in a rainstorm: at once comforting and cold. "Sing for me," I said.

"Is that a request or a command?" he asked, his voice rougher now.

"A plea from your servant," was my response, and my lips begun to tickle from the vibrations of his throat. "You sang wonderfully tonight," I told him as he continued to sing the song he had titled "Music of the Night." He must have realized how much I favored that melody. "I can scarce remember a time you've rendered the audience more captivated."

"Two out of two? Well, the odds are still in my favor," he said, stopping the song for one moment, then resuming. His left leg drew up to rest his foot flat against the ground, holding me more securely on him. I began to squirm against him, and the song cut off abruptly as his head jerked back against the ground. His intake of breath was long and carefully deep. His response emboldened me, and I accentuated my movements for his pleasure. "Oh, Christine…"

Hearing my name said in such a manner prompted me to move upwards and claim his mouth with my own. The grass swayed in tickling touches against my neck and I shivered as his arms rose up and locked me into place on his chest. His mouth was hot and eager; he enjoyed me fully, taking time to memorize me until the instigator was the recipient. I moaned to him, and he rolled over to pin me against the ground. His weight felt lovely and right against me; my breath was forced from my lungs, and he gave me his. His hands traced up the sides of my belly, and even through the admittedly thin corset I wore, my skin shuddered in delight.

Then, though, he stopped. He rolled over and sat up, showing me the dirt on his palms. "I would not soil your body," he said with a grin. He stood and offered me his hand. He looked like Hades, so I of course gave him my hand. He pulled me up quickly and led me into the house. The master bedroom was darkened, and Erik lit only a solitary candle near the bedside.

He twined an arm around my waist, gentle now, and I twined mine around his shoulders. In the semi-dark, I closed my eyes and let sense and sounds guide me. His lips were dancing down the side of my throat as I leaned my head against his shoulder, and I lapped at the skin of his neck closest to me. He slowly danced with me, pushing me back and further back until I felt a round edge at my knees. I broke the kiss to look up at him, and he raised a challenging eyebrow at me. He gave a gentle push forwards with his hips, and we fell over onto the bed. The water heaved up and down, and I shrieked and clutched my Angel tighter.

"You brought the waterbed with you?" I demanded.

"Well, I remembered how much you liked it," he shrugged. Then, he crouched above me and turned me over onto my stomach. Instantly, my senses heightened even more.

"What are you doing?" I demanded shakily. I felt him drawing nearer and arched into the bed, making the edges rise beneath his hands.

He didn't answer. He brushed aside my hair from the back of my neck and breathed over it, making me cry out his name. The hot breath poured over the sides of my neck, and I thrashed beneath him. "Patience, mon ange." His teeth found the knot at the back of my corset and began unlacing it, one hook at a time.

The material loosened around me, and my hips rolled into the waterbed. "Erik, O Erik!" I pleaded.

"Arch up." I did so, and my back rubbed against his stomach. He sat up and reached beneath me to throw the corset to the other side of the room, and with one deft swipe of his hand, had ripped the material of my dress down the back. I whirled around instinctively to hide my naked back from his hungry gaze and instead found myself flat on my back with his hair shielding my face from any other object in the room. His blue eyes, glinting as brilliantly as ice from the sides because of the straining of the candle light, fixed upon mine. The scar on the side of his face made him look as ferocious as I knew he was inside, and my heart fluttered faster. "Raise your arms," he commanded, and I obeyed. He likewise ripped the seams of the sleeves away from me so that all I had was a thin sheet of clothing covering my torso.

"Will you destroy every article of clothing I have?" I gasped on a laugh.

"Only when you have made me wait in hunger for you. Oh, Christine, you have no idea how long I've waited for you, how long I've wanted and needed you…"

"I'm sorry I've delayed this day."

He released my eyes from his gaze and began to trace my bare collarbones. "You have a fine bone structure," he told me. "Like bird's wings…" His lips traced each ridge, nibbling upon my white skin. I ground my hips against him, and he chuckled against me.

"Erik," I asked, "why did you let yourself be captured?"

He froze. "I do not wish for you to weep on your wedding night."

"I will likely weep from the joy which you will give me. Come, darling, tell me."

He sighed and rose from the bed. "Very well." A dressing gown was tossed at me so I could sit up and see him. I put it around my shoulders and tied it shut, then shimmied off the costume in its entirety.

Erik was standing before the mirror, mixing the chemicals I had in the bag. "This could take a while. You don't mind if I fix this while we speak, do you?" he asked over his shoulder. I shook my head; I saw that he needed something to do with his hands, some excuse he could have to delay speech.

"I…When the week had finished and you did not return home, I feared that something dreadful had happened. I hunted over the world for you, but you were not to be found. That took three months…

"I will not describe to you how my heart rose and fell each time I entered and left a country without you. I finally came into contact with the Vicomte's half-brother in Germany and, having no great affection for him, he told me that he had taken you to Spain to forget about me. I left immediately and began scouring the cities for news of you. About that time, posters were put up for the production of Don Juan. I conceived Raoul's intentions, and began to follow him."

I came behind him and wrapped my arms about his narrow body. He glanced at me in the mirror and gave me a small half-smile. He was silent for a few moments. He had beautiful hips, I realized. Just the slightest curve to them. He was made for aristocracy and delicacy, though he had rage like a jaguar.

My hands splayed over his flat stomach, my fingers crisscrossing over his hipbones. He sighed and continued to work. I waited patiently for him, gently exploring his upper body through the white shirt. "I heard," he finally said, "from the Vicomte himself that you were already married to him. I had no doubt that he was boasting to his friends – else the name on the posters would be changed. But, I wondered perhaps whether you had been engaged and were so near to marriage that…After all, we had never consummated our union, and I …thought that perhaps you had remembered, after all, and hated me."

"That could never happen," I murmured.

"You have said twice that you did."

"Twice I lied, and I apologize."

He shrugged beneath my hands. "I have done worse to you. Forgiven." He put the chemical concoction into a glass beaker and arranged it over the candle flame. "Now, we wait." He sat back onto the edge of the bed and pulled me onto his lap. His hand pulled my head to his neck and stroked my shoulder softly. "Anyway. I became determined to see you…The Vicomte was so surprised to see me in Spain that he refused me admittance before even thinking about my request…I confess, I held a knife to the throat of one of his friends. He does have an inflated sense of righteousness, and I knew that he would do anything to appear the Knight before his friends.

"But on the way to the house, I was ambushed. Christine, I was not equipped to take on many men larger than me. What is a dagger against bayonets? Without proper weaponry, I deal in stealth and trickery; I was outnumbered and outweighed. Even quickness and lightness of foot would not have helped me."

"I admire that about you," I whispered. "Your true danger is not flaunted in the streets."

I felt him smile. "You would think that, wouldn't you? Well, mon ange, they stabbed me with my own steel in order to subdue me. I was afraid that removing the dagger and struggling would force the point into some organ and that I would die before I saw you. The rest, you know."

"But – why did you want to see me?" I asked in confusion. "Why not wait to seek me out when I left the house?"

He gripped me tighter. "If I was sentenced to live without you, I wanted to die by your hand – or, as close as I could get to it. Dying in the same house, by one who had – or would – know you intimately… It was as close as I could get." His chest shook in that dry, silent laughter. "That, and I knew it would drive Raoul mad when I would not play the part of a villain and respond to his cruelty."

I held his shoulders. "How close we both came to tragic ends."

He agreed with a low hum. "You and I are too loosely reined by emotion. We must work to balance one another." The concoction above the candle began to bubble, and Erik whisked it off; it cooled immediately into a white cream. I joined him, kneeling on the floor. "Christine, may I ask a favor of you?" he asked.


"This cream must be applied directly to the wounds, and I fear that I will exasperate some of them if I cannot see what I do. Is there any way you could?..."

" 'Some?' Erik, he did more to you than – than your face?"

He bit his lip, his face smoothly indifferent, and tears sprung to my eyes. "My dear teacher," I groaned and flung myself to his chest. "I will protect you, I will!"

At this, he looked very amused, as if a white fluffy kitten had promised to protect the lion. But, to his credit, he did not laugh and merely let his appreciation dominate his expression. "Will you be all right doing this for me? Or shall I find a friend on the morrow to do this?"

"Absolutely not," I replied firmly. "Remove your shirt." He gave me a hot look, and I smiled abashedly. "Well, it would have had to come off, anyway," I muttered.

He laughed shortly and raised the shirt over his head. He threw it to me; it hit my face as he said, "Cover your hands with this. It will irritate non-wounded skin." As the candle threw shadows on him, I gasped, falling back onto my seat and clasping my hands over my mouth. Angry red welts, worse than before, covered almost every inch of his chest. I wondered how I could have missed it while he was stalking me on the stage.

The blue eyes became shuttered. "Never mind, Christine. It's obvious that you can't handle-"

"Stop, Erik," I told him. "I'm fine. I – Oh, Erik!" I wobbled forwards and began carefully to kiss every scar as if my kisses alone would heal them. He bit his fist to keep from crying, and I removed that from his mouth and kissed the teeth marks as well. Before I lost any more of my composure, I dipped the shirt in the white salve and spread it over his chest.

"Do it thinly at first," he requested. "Just in case there is not enough…" I covered his chest, neck, back, arms, and the side of his face with four layers. He flinched each time my cloth-covered fingers touched a groove a little too deeply, and I tried my best to remember what was the proper distance. He told me that we then needed to wait for fifteen minutes, and for the duration, we just gazed at each other. Yes, he looked as though he had been caught in the middle of a cream-pie fight, but I did not laugh. The candlelight was glittering in his hair, and his eyes were like liquefied summer sky. I felt languid and peaceful in his gaze, just like I had as a child. Except, now there was a new intimacy, for we had known each other emotionally.

At the finish, he lifted the shirt and made as if to wipe the residue away. "Let me," I begged. He wordlessly handed it over, and I gently rubbed the edge against his forearm. I stared wordlessly. "They – they're disappearing!"

He smiled. "That was the goal, my love. With each dose, they'll fade a little more."

"But – how –"

"The body replenishes its skin just as the snake sheds its scales. All the human body needs is the…proper motivation, and a few encouragements from the chemicals of the earth, to make new what was dead." He laughed bitterly. "Would that I had discovered these motivations and encouragements before I had frightened you. Perhaps none of these tragedies would have happened."

"Then the demons within you would not have been expelled." He nodded as if to concede my point.

Each inch of skin delighted me more and more, for each inch erased a little of Raoul's cruelty from him. I reached the scar on his face, and before I wiped it off with the now-greasy shirt, I told him, "I want you to know that I would have loved you just as much with this as much as without. Do not ever think I love you most because of the beauty of your face. It only enhances the spirit within. I would love you just as much if you looked like – like–" I cast around for something silly that would make him smile, "- a piece of cheese."

There; that made him laugh. His eyes crinkled at the corners, and one side of his mouth pulled up in a strangely boyish grin. "Thank you, Christine. I'll remember."

With careful precision, I daubed the cream away from his face and thanked God for the potential for the renewed beauty of his visage. We both stood, and I turned him to face the mirror. Could there ever be more right an image?

I reached up and kissed him, and, without breaking the kiss, he pounced on me and threw me onto the bed. "Enough of this gravity. Where was I when you so rudely interrupted my quest?" he asked, his eyes dancing with mischief. I giggled at the sudden move, but then gasped as his merriment turned to enthusiasm for my shoulder. "Ah. I remember."

He slowly slipped down the dressing robe, marking each centimeter of my body with his mouth. He discovered with the intentness of a musician learning new music each spot on my body that made me gasp and beg for more.

My breasts delighted him. I had always been a small girl, and had longed for a body such as Meg's, which never lacked for fullness. But Erik loved all of me. He seemed entranced with the luminosity of the candlelight off skin that had never seen the light of day, and his fingertips traced invisible patterns on my belly.

His mouth burned me, and I grasped his still-slick arms, squirming. A cry tore from my throat when his hand, long, white, and suited for piano and organ, found that most secret of places. His eyes found mine and I lay gasping, a fine sheen of sweat on my alabaster body. "Do you know," he said conversationally, "that in some of the pagan countries, women are worshipped like goddesses for such a beautiful sight as you make before me?"

"It is you who should be adored with entire operas on the subject, and not I," I groaned, twisting against his hand, "for making me feel this way."

"I would prefer the eloquence of your lips," he told me, and punctuated his words with another twist of his hand. I rose up and met his mouth, sighing and writhing among the pillows. They were silk and glossily firm. He brought me to the point of ecstasy time and time again, my teeth clenching as he fulfilled every promise of his music. He sang to me, crooning in my ear wonderful things that he would do and observe about me, and I cried his name until my throat was hoarse. But he refused to let me myself be fulfilled; each small release was tantamount to the release of a note climbing a crescendo. My eyes were as black as his had turned for him.

I was begging him to let that crescendo reach its peak; I could not stay still, though his right arm pinned my hips down across the bed. The water was purring beneath me as I thrashed. "Please, Erik! Oh, Erik – Erik – please!"

"Are you ready for me?" he breathed in my pink ear. My answer filled the room with a feminine sound that no man could misinterpret. He smiled at me and divested himself of the last of his garments, then lowering himself to me. Our skin was touching, fire and ice, at almost every point, and I was weeping for joy.

My arms wrapped around his neck and my leg around his hips. My breasts were flattened against his weight, and I was filled with a sense of utter rightness, of love for the man who would shortly be one with me. On the edge of the precipice, I now understood more fully than ever Erik's inspiration for my favorite songs. I could hear music all around me, within me, within every line and curve of our entwined bodies.

"Christine…" he called to me. "Christine…"

"Yes, Erik," I told him, aware that I had just given him permission to the greatest gift that a woman could give a man whom she loved. I had let him open the gateway, and I lay in anticipation for him. He parted my thighs, slowly pressing forward. I told my body to release itself, to grant him access. A shiver raced from that point to my head, and I went limp.

I could feel the first penetration, and my eyes opened wide. I gripped his forearms. "Erik!" I called, the urgency my body felt coming through in my voice.

He stopped immediately, misunderstanding the urgency and breathlessness of my voice. I was immediately struck with the heady sensation of teetering on a cliff. In just a few moments, I would no longer be a virgin. I was giving up my almost-holy status. Teetering on the edge of the unknown – a black and white hazy place grounded only by the feeling of him within me.

This was something forbidden to me until now, and the lingering thrill of tangling with danger was making my body shake even now. "Christine, speak to me," Erik commanded.

My heart was racing, my old hesitancy of the unknown seizing me in that moment. I could not see, could not hear. I could only feel. "Erik, I'm scared," I confessed. Instinctively, I wrapped my legs around his waist, and my breath hitched at my body's sudden awareness of how easy it would be for him to slide that precious distance.

A flicker of annoyance, fueled by impatience, passed through his eyes, and I strangely immediately felt calmer. He was in control, even if I was not. He shifted his weight to one side, and his rough, long fingers began to stroke over my right hip. His slightly tanned fingers were a beautiful contrast to the white curve. The nervous dancing feeling in my belly did not diminish, but changed to a different sort of dancing. I gulped, and my eyes did not miss how he followed with interest the movement of my breasts. His fingers tightened for a moment, a reassuring squeeze.

"Mon ange, tu m'aime, c'est vrai?" You love me, don't you ?

His slow, soothing French made me lick my lips. "Avec tout mon coeur." With all my heart.

"Alors, le problème est quoi ? " Thus – the problem ?

His self-confidence set me afire, and my fear turned once more to a clinging desire, embodied by the sound a kitten might make when searching for its mother. "Will you…will you hold me for a moment?"

He smirked. "Mon ange, it would be easier if you…released me. Any sudden movements might…"

My arms tightened around him, and my legs flexed, inadvertently drawing him a little deeper. "No."

He drew in a deep breath. "…Like that." Carefully, very carefully, he lifted my upper torso to meet his. His lips caressed my neck, and I could feel a throbbing pulse between my legs.

"What will it be like?" I wondered aloud.

"We could find out," he suggested with a roll of his eyes.

Caught in the midst of a tempest of emotions, this sign of disapproval from my respected teacher made my eyes fill with tears. I wanted to please him, I really did. "I'm sorry," I whispered.

"Shh," he soothed. "Here." His mouth met mine tightly, grinding into mine and twisting. He lifted his face enough to speak, murmuring, "Our hips." I understood the analogy he was drawing, and moaned. He gripped my face within his hands and with his tongue, parted my lips. His tongue slipped inside my mouth, exploring it. It found my tongue and began to caress it with the same strokes that his hand did upon my hip. The duel sensation made me squirm, and his mouth abruptly rose. His eyes, dark as the midnight sky, burned me. "Do not do that again, or this demonstration will cease."

"I shall try not to." The kiss began again, but this time, his tongue began thrusting against mine. I kept still as long as I could, but the combination of sensations overwhelmed me. His naked body against mine, my half-entered state, his fingers on my hip, his mouth rotating against mine, his tongue invading –

My hips rolled, and he hissed. "I am beyond my endurance. I hope for your sake…" I gripped his face to mine again, and as he kissed me, he slid forward into me.

My head jerked back and I shouted; his eyes instantly darted to mine as he sank to meet me fully. His pupils were dilated, his eyes narrowed in pleasure. He held himself steady on his elbows, our torsos still intimately pressed together. "Chris-tine," he panted. "Tell me to stop. Command me, else I shall not."

"Just – wait a moment," I pleaded. My fingers traced across his neck and face; he shuddered, and I could feel the movement within me, and I involuntarily clenched around him. To his credit, he barely moved at all in response to that, but it still hurt. I saw the shaking of his muscles and felt my dwindling pain. "All right," I breathed. "Move."

He shut his eyes and surrendered to the desires of his body, moving slowly and rhythmically. I burned with each stroke, and my legs twined around his hips and my arms around his neck in an effort to get closer. "Faster," I pleaded, not quite knowing what I would feel, but feeling it getting closer.

He complied. My mind was hazy, yet crystal clear with his presence. I was aware that I was screaming his name, over and over again, and yet he continued to move. I tried to meet him, thrust for thrust, but he was stronger than I, and soon all I could do was meet every third and wait for pleasurable torture to cease. There was no way to escape, and I shook in the cage of his arms. Sweat covered us, and the bed became hot and damp.

"Erik – mon ange – sweet one –" I panted. My nails scored across the newly healed skin of his back, putting my own brand upon him. The greatest wave of pleasure yet overcame me, and I was submerged for an eternity, floating among the stars and gripped so tightly within the vice of his arms that I could not breathe.

"Christine – I –" his hips gave a great surge into me, and I arched my back and clenched – heat spread within me, burning –

I returned to earth before he did, but by degrees, so I slowly became aware of the corded muscles in his neck as he continued to quake. I traced them, and he gasped in helpless rapture. His arms finally gave way, sending his full weight upon me; the waterbed heaved around us. I did not release him with my legs, and held him tightly to my breast as it slowly rocked back to stillness. "Erik," I murmured…

He was sobbing, crying without shame on me, kissing the skin above my heart. "Christine, I love you, O, Christine, thank you, Christine…"

"Shh, my love, I know…" I stroked his hair tenderly, kissing the top of his head, his sweaty forehead.

"All my life…I thought, but I never knew…I thought I would never have this – and all my fantasies have paled to this bliss – Christine, I never knew…" We remained there for more than an hour, still intimately joined and basking in our love.

I traced my fingers idly down the scratches I made upon his spine, and he ground his hips into me again. My lips curved into a smile. "Again?" I whispered.

He looked up at me, his eyes soft and gentle. "Have you the energy?"

"If you do." I watched him caress the threads of his hair splayed across my breast, the dark twining over the white, and I sighed happily.

He surveyed the waterbed ruefully. "I think it had best be somewhere else. The coverings have mostly landed on the floor, thanks to your movements, and your back would be burned by the material holding the water within it."

"My movements? Who was it that tore the sheet away from my hands when you wanted me to hold onto you instead of it?"

He was unrepentant, smirking at me. "I prefer your clutches. But this does not solve the…problem, and I am most loathe to remake the bed at the moment if it will only be ruined again."

"The bathing room?"

He stared at me for a moment, then, his smirk turned into a slow smile. "You've been speaking with Meg."

His tub and shower – modeled after the Greeks' – was an excellent size for such an activity. I had surprised him when we had entered the hot water by kissing my way down his body. "Christine?" he asked uncertainly.

My hands shed their virgin status in favor of exploring a far more interesting part of my husband. The water beat down upon my head, lengthening my curls and letting them float in sleek puddles on the surface. Erik had always said I was curious: he was right. Erik let his head fall back against the wall of the tub as he felt my mouth upon him. He groaned, but otherwise lay quietly, relaxing to my ministrations. At one point, I felt the hot shower droplets stop over my head, sheltered by a hand. The limb landed upon my head, requesting my attention without asking me to cease. Without saying a word, he suggested how to best please him.

He found me a bright student.

After a while, I nudged the drain a little out of the way with my foot so that the tub would not overflow. The water droplets were warm, creating a gentle interlude of sound. Trickles of water ran over my cheeks and into my mouth, a warm sweetness that could not compare to the savage heat of his body. The room grew hot and moist, and I thought that were it not for the unmistakable subtle jerking of his hips, he might have fallen asleep, so peaceful was the environment. I glanced at him once; his eyes had fallen shut, tightly clenched, and his smooth chest was heaving in enjoyment. Mon ange…my teacher, my Erik, my husband.

He tasted bittersweet, most like unsweetened chocolate. There was that hint of sweetness, that made me crave for more in the elusive quest to find it and be satisfied. I finally lifted my head from him and wiped my mouth. The substance was pearlescent, like looking at the moon from underneath water.

There was another idea I must implement some day.

I crept over to him, water glistening from every surface of my body, and stroked his wet hair with my fingers. His eyes were half-lidded with the afterglow of his body's triumph. "You are wearying me, mon ange."

"Ah, but a way to be made weary."

He dipped his head in acknowledgement. He lifted me onto his stomach, my legs straddling him. He surveyed me. I shivered despite the heat of the water as his gaze passed from my clinging hair, to my breasts, my flat belly, and to my most secret of places. His hands languidly stroked the distances from my waist to my knees. I forced myself to take deep breaths in the humid air. "Did Meg teach you anything else?" he asked faintly, but his eyes showed that he was nevertheless interested in the answer.

I broke from my enjoyment to slap his hands away and look indignantly at him. "I'll have you know that I taught her as much as she did me!"

"Oh?" Now his expression changed subtly – a twist of the mouth, the position of the eyebrows – from sated relaxation to a challenging threat. I wondered if he could feel my body tense. If he could interpret it correctly, he would know it was not from fear. "How have you come into possession of this knowledge?"

I understood what he thought, and smiled to dispel his jealousy. I placed his large, callused hands back upon my hips, causing the fingers to stroke over the bones as water cascaded over the fingers. His face remained frozen, though he did not let go. "It was not from any man," was my reply. "It was rather from my fellow dancers – information pooled from various resources, as it were. They did not have brilliant teachers, and chose to live their lives in different occupations by night."

His body visibly relaxed beneath me, a depression of the chest and slackness of the jaw. "Understood. I'm glad. If it had been a 'patron' who did not have your best interests at heart…" My teacher looked up at me, a wry smile on his mouth. "How is it you twist my heart so easily with your innocent words, hmm?"

I shrugged – his eyes followed the movement – and leaned down for a moment to twist a lock of my hair with his. I gazed at the mingling colors (mine was slightly lighter) then let go of the twist. The water slid over his cheek, and I drank from it briefly before righting myself. "You let me, I suppose."

"And, what would you do to right this unbalance of control?"

I knew the proper response to provide the equalization, and I shivered. "To let you do whatever you wanted to me," I whispered.

He smiled as might a feral cat. He gently pushed me from him and rose. Streams of water poured from his body, and I stared with unabashed wonder. Something within me clenched, and a spiraling tremor traveled my core. My femininity called out to his obvious masculinity to complete it. Erik took no notice as he stepped from the tub, removed a washcloth from a nearby shelf, and returned. He sat cross-legged behind me. "Luckily for you," he murmured, "I would not abuse your concession."

He folded the cloth and ran it over my shoulder. I let my head fall back onto him. The cloth, gaining warm liquid with each moment, slid lower and lower. It circled a breast, and I closed my eyes and sighed against his neck. When he had cleansed my body, he trailed his fingers over me, not exploring, but marveling at the body so different than his. "I hear in my mind," he told me, "a violin so sweet it would make you weep. Regrettably, its voice sings too high for me to replicate it with my own."

"I inspire this music within you?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Christine, look at yourself." His hand lifted the gentle curves of my breast. "Look at the way the droplets leap in tiny explosions once they touch it. Feel the softness, more downy than a robin's feather lining." Although he was trying to make me understand the elements of the solo in his head, his touch was inspiring more physical reactions in me. The pale skin he was admiring became flushed, and the dust-pink circle on the tip became pointed. I could feel his cheek move as he smiled against me, and his palm covered my breast completely. "Feel the magnificence of who you are, what you were fashioned to do," he breathed against my ear, and I couldn't help but groan.

"On second thought," he said after a pause to consider the sound, "perhaps I will take advantage of my power over you." He lifted the heavy, sodden tresses of my hair from my neck. His other hand came to mimic the first, then rose to my shoulders. "Christine, have you…learned to unlock the wonders of your body by yourself?"

I knew to what he was referring, and all I could do was manage a helpless nod. In desperation to prove I was not completely helpless, I gathered my voice in my throat and mumbled, "The dancers are not shy about satisfying themselves when their patrons do not, some of your music left me more than destitute." I knew his eyes were darkening as he considered what I had been doing while he was singing. His stomach tightened with his indrawn breath.

His mouth found the still-tender spot beneath my ear. "Show me."

In a daze, my hands found their places. I closed my eyes and let myself fall into the routine I knew my body craved. But as I did so, Erik's hands began to move over my upper body, sometimes kneading my shoulders in deep presses that made me moan, sometimes so lightly trailing over my chest that my body was wracked in premature shudders. My own fingers moved faster, and I arched into Erik, my wet body against his and my head tossing back and forth on his shoulder.

My breath came faster, little hitched gasps that seemed magnified in the humid air. Precise marking of time blurred with the subjective incline of pleasure. I knew it took longer for my body to reach its completion than the male, but half-crazed with induced lust, I did not care to rush and therefore diminish my own pleasure. My mouth was open, letting the sweet drops of water trickle down my throat. I became light-headed. "Yes, Christine," he said softly. "Make music of yourself, play yourself as I would my instrument."

He had not spoken thus far, and at the sound of the rumbling voice at my back, I began almost to sob with desire. I felt the burn in my lower body recede for those precious seconds, then –

I bloomed.

I made no sound, the cry caught in the back of my throat, but he felt my body lock and arch against him, the water rocking against his waist. As the grip of bliss released me the tiniest bit, I began to cry. "Erik, O Erik –"

The fingers of his right hand pressed deeply into my shoulders and upper back as I continued to writhe. His left hand knocked mine out of the way and he pleasured me himself as I shook. I screamed for him then, my body in spasms. Twisting, I gasped, "Kiss me, Erik –"

His mouth descended hotly upon mine. Though he withheld nothing, he listened to my body – and indeed played it! – until he knew the exact point when the current descent had finished and the next began to rise. My head cleared slowly, and my thrusts against his hand became slower and slower, though because of his refusal to cease, I could not stop completely. Embarrassment filtered through the haze in my mind. What had I just done? My most intimate pastimes at night had just been shamelessly revealed, and my total abandon witnessed. I was like a cat in heat, crying for someone to fill her. I looked up at him timidly.

"My dear," his voice was hoarse, "you are more beautiful than the finest violin. How could any music compare to the lovely vision with which you have blessed me?" Embarrassment turned to warm pride, and I now responded to his hand with the confidence of a woman and not a girl.

I felt him stir behind me and his eyes glittered. "With me, this time?"

As an answer, I pushed him upon his back against the side of the tub, climbing on him as before. His elbows braced against the bottom of the tub; our fingers interlaced, and he impaled me upon him. I took a sharp intake of breath and threw my head back. The water trickled over my eyelids as he moved upwards within me. Then – oh, Stars, I heard him humming beneath his breath. He knew that singing to me was my key, now, and –

I screamed in delight, and I felt him join me in paradise with a quiet groan. "You have no idea," he said through grit teeth, "how lovely you look, mon ange." He reached up behind him and increased the force of the spray; the water beat down upon every surface it could touch.

We stumbled back into the bedroom just as the first rays of the sunshine peaked through the velvet curtains of the room. Erik blearily motioned for me to shut the crack, and I did so. I fell beside him on the bed and curled into his damp side. My leg curled over his side, and my arm pulled his forehead to mine. "I love you so much, mon ange. My Erik…"

His mouth met mine in a lazy kiss. His lips brushing against my shoulder, he whispered, "I cannot imagine life without you."

"You will never have to." I fell asleep with the ghost of his music in my ears, his arms around me, and our bodies satisfied. We had passed the Point of No Return, and indeed, we never wished to return.

Wow...all done.

Be honest: who here had at least a few moments of their mouths watering and/or squirming in their chair? Erik = ...*scorch the sheets, steam the windows.*

Ahem. Getting control of myself like the mature authoress I am.


At least, when people can see me.

Please Review!