Chapter 16 -What Is Needed
Disclaimer: If I owned Phantom of the Opera, I wouldn't be having such a bad writers block!
Chapter Sixteen - What is Needed
I was in complete darkness. There was nothing around me but a never ending open space. I took a step forward and I never felt the step, but I heard it. Even in the open space the step reverberated all around me. Then it appeared. It was a giant flame that burned in the distance just ahead of me. I took another step forward and the sound seemed to fall all around me as I took it. I then found myself running. Even as the sound crashed around me I kept up my constant movement. The flame became bigger and bigger the closer I came, but as I got too close I couldn't stop myself. It seemed to be sucking me into it. I heard it laughing. It wouldn't stop and I was screaming. I could feel the heat closing in around me until I reached the base of the wall of fire. By that time I felt the flame.
Suddenly, it was all gone. The flame had left and I found myself laying in a cold sweat. I was on the bed. The flame wasn't there. I was in the dark. But was I alone?
"Erik?" I gasped.
"I'm right here darling,"
He was close enough for me to feel his breath on my face. He really was there. I wasn't alone after all.
I nudged my head up under his chin again and felt his arms pull me closer. He was warm and I didn't mind in the least being so close.
"What's wrong with my little darling?" he asked softly above my head.
"I had a bad dream,"
"It was dark and then I saw the fire and I ran to it and it sucked me in. It was horrible, Erik."
I pushed my head closer into his neck wanting more reassurance of him being there with me.
"Easy now dear, any closer and I won't be able to breathe."
I pulled back suddenly.
"I'm sorry, I-I didn't mean to…"
"I didn't say you had to slide back that far little one. Come here,"
I smiled as he pulled me back to him, this time resting my head on his shoulder under his head.
"There now, that's better isn't it?"
"Go to sleep now. It is too early for you to wake."
"I don't want to go back…"
"Sh, sh, sleep now, sleep."
The second time I woke up that morning the lamp had been replaced. Turning around in the bed I noticed Erik's absence and was readying myself to call out to him when I noticed the open door. I was glad he had not locked me in there all by myself. A strong scent of breakfast hung in the air. Bacon… It smelled like heaven to me. I had not eaten in over a day and even the thought of food made me weak. Just as I was about to call out to Erik I saw him walking down the hall to my room with a tray of food.
I sat up in bed and smiled at his notion of sweetness.
"Awake I see," he said setting the tray down on my lap, "I thought you might be hungry this morning."
I nodded and began downing the meal. It was as good as it smelled and was gone within minutes.
"Very hungry I see,"
I let out a small embarrassed laugh. He took my tray and set it on a nearby night table.
"If you wish to change we may start your lessons once more."
I smiled again and nodded. It seemed as if nothing had changed. It was as if yesterday had never even happened. He nodded also and began to turn around to leave the room with my tray.
Everything seemed back to normal. Normalcy allowed days to pass easily as they once did. The same routines fell into place and I beat my mind to forget everything I saw that one long night.
The lessons those days went as usual. My voice was improving by the hour and it showed. I never in my life thought that my voice could have ever become so strong. After losing out on part after part I was convinced I would just have to wait till my voice fully matured, but also by that time, I was also sure it would be too late. But now, everything was working out beautifully under Erik's instruction. By the end of the lesson I was found sitting next to Erik on the piano bench with my head resting on his shoulder as he played. It became a sort of entertainment for me to watch as Erik's hands danced up and down the keyboard.
Eventually the music had to stop and when it did I don't believe I was the only one disappointed with its departure.
"I believe it is time for you to have you lunch." He said a little out of breath.
I agreed even though I would not have minded listening a little bit longer to him playing. Standing up and beginning to leave I turned around to face a man still sitting on a piano bench as he watched my every movement.
Many questions plagued my mind at many different times, but at the present moment I was truly wrapped up in one particular curiosity. I asked it not only to perform, but to see if the world I had become so accustomed to was truly real. If anything, the answer I desired from the question would certainly clarify everything if completely carried through.
"Erik," I asked shyly.
"Yes my Christine?"
"I – I was wondering if you would ever allow me to sing on the stage again?"
He stood also and closed in the space between us. His steps were carefully placed as if they were made by that of a cat. Saying nothing my eyes watched closely as his steps pasted me. But he was not leaving. He was merely stepping behind me. I felt no real need to turn around; it was odd, but I could almost sense what he was going to do.
Stepping behind me he took possession of my crossed arms by wrapping his completely over them. It scared me sometimes at how much larger he was next to me. In being so close to him I was easily able to rest my head to his chest. He was taller than me by at least a foot and a half. I couldn't reach up any higher. His head rested upon mine and I could have sworn that he had caught a long whiff of my hair intentionally. I felt his head inch closer to my ear.
"You want to sing on the stage again my little bird?" he seemed to rasp in left ear. I could feel the heat on my skin in that cold place that I found myself in and I wanted more of it.
"Yes Erik," I said breathlessly as my head found its self closer to his breathing.
"You want it badly, don't you? The stage is part of you Christine, you cannot escape it once you discover it. Performing is your passion in life. To live without it is not living but dying slowly. You want the world and through the stage you can own it in the palm of your hand."
The lights had dimmed in my room. I had not noticed for my eyes were shutting with the thought of what was told to me. He spoke reverently about what I craved more than anything as if he knew exactly how I felt. I wanted the stage again. I desired it with every fiber of my being. It was a part of me and I needed it in order to live. I wanted it badly and was willing to do anything to gain what was once mine back.
"Yes, yes I do want it badly," I whispered to him.
"And so it is when I think of you. Christine, don't you understand? You are now a part of my life. You're something I cannot escape. I can't help but love you, don't you see? Without you I would die, without you I have nothing, but with you I have the world. Christine I love you. I need you…"
He took my lips passionately as he seemed to pour out his soul. For once I met him in his love. I understood exactly how he felt. As I reached for the stage, so he reached for me and was willing to do anything to gain his goal. To obtain the stage, I had to surrender to him and at the time, I was finding it surprisingly easy.
In finding my reaction to be something positive and promising, he deepened the kiss in ways I had never experienced before. I remember as a child seeing such things being disgusting, but after the experience I was having, I could never think the same way again. I could feel his tongue penetrate my mouth as he engaged my tongue in the same interaction. With pain growing in my neck from his persistence I turned to face him reaching my arms to stretch around his neck. In that action he went even deeper and I could do nothing but comply with his needs at the time. My knees were becoming weak and I suddenly felt my feet lift and leave the floor completely. Being lifted from the floor was like being lifted to heaven. I was at eye level with him now as he held me close to his body. Once I felt as if I would never be able to breathe again, he drew back lowering me to the floor.
Opening my eyes I realized that the entire room had become pitch black. At the same time, I was all right with it. I needed to reassurance; I knew he was there with me. I could feel him; how his arms entrapped me to his body; how his fiery breath hit my face; how his ragged breathing mixed with mine and was the only thing heard in the room. I knew he was there. I did not need reassurance. An arm moved from my lower back. It moved up my entire back leaving hot tingling skin in its trail. A lone finger traced the outline of my lips as he caught his breath leaving mine to be the only thing heard in the room.
"If only little Christine would love her Erik back. Then she could see the stage she loves again."
"What?" I stepped back quickly in my shock. It was almost blackmail. I wasn't able to be far away long. The arm on my back tightened on what it held and I my head literally hit his chest. The hand that once so preciously traced my lips now held my head close to his chest. I could hear the man's heart beat and somehow out of that I was able to remember that he was human just as I was.
"Christine wants the stage, she wants it badly. Erik wants Christine, he wants Christine badly. If Christine would only love Erik, then he would have everything he could ever want and because he would have everything he could ever want, he would give Christine what she really wants. He would give Christine everything she's ever desired…"
"But why Erik?"
"Christine you must understand how I feel? I will do anything to get what I want and so will you. We belong together Christine."
"But why must it be this way?"
"Because it is the only way… it is the only way."
Letting me loose from his chest I felt his lips on mine again. He was slower now and only stayed connected for mere seconds compared to our last embrace. Staying inched from my face he said, "Now, shall we have lunch my dear?"