Chapter XVI

He hadn't heard any sound from her throughout the night. He expected that she would bang on the door, scream at him to release her, he had in a strange way hoped for this. Then it would give him a reason to go into the room and look at her again, but she did nothing.

It scared him.

Is it possible to break someone's spirit? For if I have then I am not just a despicable beast but the cruelest of them all. – He though when he prepared her meal slowly. It took him all he had to not go into the bedroom in the night and plead for her forgiveness. The only thing that stopped him was recalling the way he had seen the insolent boy stepping forward towards her as if he meant to kiss her. And then the way she had simply stayed frozen in place, waiting for it.

Erik grabbed a tray and the bowl of soup; he approached her room quietly, hoping to hear even her breathing if possible. But when he stopped in front of the door he heard nothing. Quietly, firmly, he knocked on the wooden door, waiting impatiently for her to answer him. It made his chest tighten to think that she was upset with him, almost as much as it annoyed him. She has no right to be angry with me. I saw how the boy advanced upon her, I saw the lust in his eyes, naively she dismisses it as nothing but a friendship… but I know better, I see her beauty as other men do for even this monster is built like a man, I understand their responses at her appearance as I have had them myself.

"Christine," He knocked again, she once again did not reply. He sighed heavily and pulled out the key to the door and forced it into the lock.

Upon opening the door he was surprised to find her not at the bed but before her mirror. She didn't acknowledge him as he stood there, stunned at her splendor.

Christine wore a beautiful ivory colored gown. Her hair was swept into a bun at the crown of her head with a few stray locks sweeping past her face. The gown itself was modest, not extravagant, but it was how it fit her that made Erik stare awkwardly as she continued to fix her hair. He noticed that the dress, which he at first had never really observed, had small imprints of flowers running vertically from top to bottom. The dress itself pinched right below her bosom and then swept gracefully to the floor. She looked exquisite.

"Christine, I have brought you breakfast." He said after a few moments of staring at her. She did not acknowledge him and then grabbed a pair of earrings and resumed to put them on. He stared at her silently, waiting. Is she ignoring me? He started to wonder as he clutched the tray tighter. He couldn't bear it.

"Christine," he spoke tightly now and took short hesitant steps in her direction. Her eyes were completely focused on whatever it was that she was doing. He noticed that she had also put on a bit of perfume. He glared at her now, "where do you plan on going dressed like that?" Her eyes roamed the dresser as if he hadn't spoken at all.

That when he noticed her hand. A strange sense of looming horror clouded his thoughts as he observed her fingers. Where is her ring? "Christine," he noticed her shiver and slowly she raised her eyes up to his in the mirror, they looked tired, and the blue depths seemed to be sharper by the pinkness that surrounded them. She had clearly not gotten any sleep, "where is your ring?"

She didn't say anything and simply stared at him as if he hadn't spoken. A flame burst in his ribs at the sight.

Marching forward he set the tray down a little too harshly, causing the soup to spill slightly. Christine jumped up and away from him as he opened one of the jewelry boxes on her dresser. He slammed necklaces and other rings down, furiously searching with his amber eyes until he came to the black opal with the gold band. Turning around he reached for her, ignoring as she tried to tug her hand away silently. Easily he forced the ring upon her hand, dousing the fire that had been at his chest.

"You are going nowhere," he said solemnly as the embers died down in his chest, but the fire still crackled in his eyes, daring her to test him, "do not cry." He said in a strangely tight voice when he noticed her lips tremble, "Christine you are never to remove that ring. I cannot bear the sight of it."

She nodded at him quietly. When she stepped around him he noticed that she still was not acknowledging the bowl of soup, instead she had gone back to fixing her hair. "I am not hungry," she stated firmly, reading his eyes easily and then sighing, she was content with the way she looked.

"How can you not be hungry when you have not eaten for so many hours?"

"By not being hungry." She stated, "I will be eating later with Raoul, I will be back-

"Did you hear nothing I said to you yesterday?" Erik asked her sharply, she whirled around in a flurry of rage suddenly.

"Did you hear nothing I said to you?" She hissed at him angrily, "I am not your prisoner. My tears have been plenty because of you monsieur-

"Monsieur?-

"And I do not intend on being treated like the child I was yesterday. Now if you would please remove yourself from my room-

"No I will not remove myself from your room." He said, stepping forward until once again he was towering over her petite frame, but now she did not shrink away. He defiant eyes burned right through him.

"Will you lock me in here like a bird in a cage again Erik? Are those your intentions?"

"You are testing my very thin patience," he warned her, pointing his finger down as he steadily took a few steps away from her. He did not want to grab her again, but the way she shook with rage in front of him made him want to snatch her by the wrists and shake her until she was docile, "I grow weary of your immature little games."

"Little games?" Christine choked out, she could feel the energy of rage building up again, she took a deep breath to calm herself, she must not act like the child he thought her to be, "I am a grown woman. I am not playing games with you Erik. I am simply trying to have a life."

"Music is your life, do you not understand?" he answered.

"You are not my father."

The words escaped him before he could stop them. Even as they escaped he felt that vague sense of dread, and when they had exploded out into the air he watched her body seize up. "Of course I'm not your father, he's dead!" Even his own heart stopped when he watched her reaction. It was simply a small widening of her eyes, and then a clenching of her hands. His throat felt dry, "Christine-

"Leave." She said stiffly and turned to the mirror. Her body was tense and her steps forced and jerky. Silently Erik left the room.

The rest of the day Christine sat before her mirror, simply staring at nothing and fixing her hair and then her dress, then her jewelry and everything else. Erik's words were a reminder of one simple fact; she had no one but Erik and possibly Nadir. She was certain that Nadir would take her in if anything happened but still he would feel forced to contact Erik. It was like an unspoken deal between the two of them. Everything came back to Erik. But do I mind this? Certainly I love Erik… he has been a tutor and a guardian… but he is so overwhelming sometimes.

Quietly Christine approached her door, she was certain Erik would make an attempt at an apology. She would accept, she did not like fighting with him, and in truth it was too late to go out and pretend to have intentions to have supper with Raoul. This was simply one argument that she would be forced to move on from.

When she exited her bedroom and made her way to the kitchen she heard the door of Erik's room clicking. She paid it no mind and resumed to make herself something to eat, her hair continued to get in her face and she fastidiously pushed it back. She had spent all day getting ready for something that never happened, and now her hair would not stop mocking her about it.

She heard his footsteps soundly approaching her; she knew he was stepping louder than he really needed to, probably as a warning to her. When the footsteps stopped behind her she quietly turned.

Erik stood there, he appeared a bit sheepish and tense, his jaw was locked hard and his eyes fierce as they drank her in. "I must apologize," he said almost forcefully, "for my behavior earlier. Forgive me, I never meant to be so cruel." She opened her mouth but stopped when he silently held up a hand, "I beg you to listen to me, to my reasons for not wanting you in the company of Raoul."

She sighed heavily and nodded, folding her arms and staring at him coolly.

He stepped forward quietly and hesitantly, trembling, took her hands in his own, instantly she sighed, how can I ever remain angry with him when he fills me with peace? "Raoul de Chagny's family is one of wealth and propriety. They do not understand the things you've been through, and they mock those they feel to be below them. Their son, Raoul de Chagny, is a stranger in their midst." He caught Christine's confused gaze, "he is not like them, he does not care for propriety or money as evidenced by his infatuation with you," she sighed calmly when Erik stroked her knuckles, "but Christine that does not mean that he is not… a man. With needs, and urges, and desires." His eyes turned up to her, she stared with confusion.

"Erik what do you mean?"

"Christine…" her name escaped him almost in a pained manner, "he is in love with you." She shook her head, denying it stubbornly, "Yes, Christine, he is."

"B-but Raoul is to be married to Carlotta-

"Do you think marriage can hold back passion?" Erik's eyes burned at her and she shuddered under his suddenly overwhelming stare, "Nothing can hold back a man's passion Christine."

"But," she blushed, "how do you know he has never said anything-

"Your innocence is admirable," the masked man stated with a small step towards her and touched her face, Christine smiled up at him. He shivered when she did that, so beautiful, so beautiful, so beautiful, "I know. Just trust me, I know. A man who is infatuated will go to incredible lengths for the woman he is in love with, and he has dared to do this on one too many occasions. He knows nothing about you but he believes he knows enough."

Her eyes began to water then. She believed him. Things made sense when he explained it to her so simply, when he hadn't angered her in the first place. She had witnessed it, Raoul had called her his love, and at first she thought it to be a simple term of affection but… Erik was right, like always. "I'm so sorry for my behavior, Ange." Her expression made him quiver, "I never saw it that way, and I never understood what you had been trying to tell me, you never explained…" she stressed up at him, "I-

"Hush now," he murmured gently and stroked away a stray tear, her skin set him on fire, his touch made her quake, "I will never allow him to harm you Christine, even in your naivety you must trust my judgment. You're all I have and I will protect you from whatever tries to harm you."

Christine frowned through her tears, her pained expression made his throat tighten uncomfortably. "You say I'm all you have? But I offer you everything and you won't take it. You won't take it! Because you don't trust me. And I'm trying...I'm trying so hard. Why do you hide from me?"

Silence reigned for a moment as he stared down at her trembling frame. He swallowed the tension at his throat and removed his hands from her face, withdrawing once again but this time it was Christine who caught him around the wrist and tugged him to her. He glared down at her.

"Why?" She said softer, noticing how his gaze had hardened along with his mouth. "Have I done something to make you think that I would harm you Erik?"

He ceased her by the wrist suddenly and pressed her flush up against him, she gasped at the proximity as his face came too closely to her own. My God… his eyes are so beautiful!

"You have all the power to destroy me, do you not understand that?" His voice was low again, she shivered under his gaze, she could feel his hard chest against her breast and she was suddenly very aware of the way her chest rose and felt against his and how powerful legs pressed against the material of her dress and her own legs. They resembled ballroom dancers, she reflected, with me on the balls of my feet and Erik with an arm around my frame.

"I would never hurt you." She croaked gently. His hold on her wrist lessened, she gently let her hand float to his shoulder.

Fool, I am a fool. She is too close; her warmth is too close…

Erik bit back a grunt at the stiffening sensation against his thigh. I am pathetic, I cannot even hold her without this happening to me.

She was going to question what that was if he kept her pressed against him. But he couldn't release her, even as she stared up at him with what he imagined was apprehension.

"Erik, please remove the mask." Her voice was so quiet he could hardly hear it, and his own breathing was becoming ragged, too close, this was not appropriate. "Please…" her curiosity was making him harden. Her fingers were crawling up his neck, their heat made him tense all over. His veins were heating up inside of his scarred body and he realized finally how much he wished to kiss her.

No, no, no!

Abruptly Erik captured her hand and pulled it down to her side. Christine's expression was one of confusion and then defeat. "Not tonight." He said with finality. His voice sounded empty and cold even to his own ears. And his lips had gone dry. He stepped back away from her, needing to gain distance, and then he strode from the room quickly, fleeing her before he did something to her mouth that he would regret.

When he reached his room he locked the door firmly, he hated himself. He absolutely hated himself for what he was about to do. With anguish he let his hands travel to the front of his pants where he was throbbing. His hands were timid on himself, he knew what to do. He had done this before. But never with the thought of Christine. Even as he freed himself with ragged breaths he struggled to keep her body out of his mind, and when he fisted his hands at the base of his stiffening erection he gave up.

I'm so sorry Christine; he apologized as he shut his eyes and leaned against the doorway.

Timidly he imagined her pressed against him the way she was earlier, her breasts firmly crushed to him. He imagined that she wanted him, that her nipples would stiffen at his direction and that she would moan when he swept his thumbs against them and palmed them greedily. He imagined her pressing her lower body to him urgently, pleading with him to give himself to her because she wanted him. His breath became ragged as he stroked faster with a more tenacious grip.

"Oh Christine…" he whimpered as the image of her began to become more wanton. He imagined that she would press her lips to his neck as he played the piano, Christine would slide her hand down the front of his chest until she reached the top of his pants. He groaned at the vivid image of her kissing his masked cheek and then timidly reaching into his pants.

"Damn," he groaned harshly as his body seized and the most amazing thing he would ever be able to have overwhelmed him. His knees buckled and he clutched the wall and himself as his body expelled the fluid of his ministrations. It was the closest he would ever get to Christine, so he allowed himself to relish in the fading mental image of her lovingly kissing his neck as he finished off with a low moan.

He wallowed in his misery only after the high had died down.


Aw? Ew? Poor Erik? Poor Christine?

That's up to you to decide. But anyway, a huge thank you to GhibliGirl91 who was the one who submitted the line: "You say I'm all you have? But I offer you everything and you won't take it. You won't take it! Because you don't trust me. And I'm trying...I'm trying so hard."

:) I thought it fit well, and the other lines were SOO good but I figured that since I have a habit of having something major happen at chapters that are multiples of 5 (10...15...20) I need to let things die down as I finally figured out how I want chapter 20 to play out, I think you all know what I'm talking about - Erik's unmasking! :) I know exactly how it needs to happen now and so I needed a line like that one and someone sent it to YAY!

THANK YOU GHIBLIGIRL91!

Review? :)

What did you think, was I not vulgar enough in that final scene? I know that some people had the word cock in there but... I thought to save it for a rainy day, hahaha!

So tell me what you think? :)