Chapter 30 - Hand In Hand
Disclaimer: If I were Gaston Leroux and owned Phantom of the Opera, the story would have been done by now!
Chapter Thirty – Hand in Hand
By our first (or second) anniversary we were out of the hospital, as in all three of us where, including Erik. It just so happened that on the scheduled day of my release he decided to take the stairs up to my room. Not many people ever take the stairs unless in an emergency and so the back stairwell that Erik took happened to be darker and not as well kept. It had been raining hard three days prior to my release and there turned out to be a rather large leak over the stairs that ran from the top of the first steps and dripped down to a large puddle at the bottom of the staircase. Erik had been in a hurry to reach me, as well as being in a happy mood. Being as tall as he is, he often takes two steps at a time. On that particular day he tried jumping four steps at a time… When he finally came up to see me he was being followed by two flustered nurses while he continued to yell at the entire hospital for not being safe. His forehead was oozing with blood and I could hardly hear the nurses near him trying to get him to go to the ER to get stitches next to his booming voice. He did not have to stay long there, but he made sure to get as much money out of the place as he could before he left. I later found out that the five thousand dollar check that I received in the mail two weeks later was not from a charitable institution. Erik said he did not need the money, he just thought it would be a nice homecoming gift. I could only roll my eyes.
Within that period of our own physical healing, the baby was growing stronger every day. While the baby was not in perfect condition, he no longer needed to be in an incubator anymore and could be moved to another location (which eventually turned into Erik's first house). Little Taylor Pierre Monet finally left the hospital weighing a total of six pounds and two ounces. Since I was able to leave somewhat sooner than Taylor, Erik made sure to pick me up from home every day so that we could visit him.
Both of us had to admit that our Taylor had a certain spunk that we had never seen for a baby that young. Now, granted, both of us had never really been around many babies, but we could not help but think our boy was special somehow. While still in the incubator, Taylor was said to move a lot more than children could at his development. Of course his sleeping schedule was off as most young baby's are, but he was always twitting his fingers. Once Erik pointed at him through the glass of the window of the room before we entered and said, "Look darling, he will be a magnificent pianist! Just look at how his fingers move."
I often found it funny how Erik had such big dreams for our boy. It was as if everything that we had talked about back at our house was going to come true. Erik had all but started writing down week by week plans for the baby once he came to Erik's home. Once walking in to sit by the incubator, Taylor's restlessness would soften. He would look up at me first with his big green eyes and stop all his fidgeting. Then he would look up at Erik, but then had to look back at me. Since Erik was so tall, Taylor did not always like to look at him and would instead look at me.
Once I even put out a finger to touch the glass box that held my son. Taylor looked at me strangely at first, and then he also extended his little hand to touch the glass. It was a beautiful moment for me. I was not allowed to hold my own baby yet. The doctors said it was too dangerous for his fragile bones and so I was left to be with him through a little glass wall. I do not know how he knew it was me, but I could not help but think that he did. A nurse walked by and gasped when she saw us. Quickly, I retracted my finger thinking she would rebuke me. Instead she said, "I have never seen that baby so calm! He's always got something to move as if he had something to do! You must have super powers to keep a baby that calm, ma'am." Looking up at Erik I smiled, he gazed back as if he already knew what she said to be true.
I eventually told him about my dream and Granny Mose. He only nodded slowly to everything he heard. Maybe he believed me, but just did not want to acknowledge everything coming down to fate. Despite the fact that I could now see his face, reading his expressions many times confused me. He liked to think that he had control over everything, at least that is what he told me, but I somehow had a feeling that after all that happened, he was beginning to have a greater belief in something more than just himself.
"That was the last I ever saw of her. Sometimes I wonder whether she is still around, but now that we have found each other, I do not know if she feels the need."
He stopped walking to look down at me and smile. I looked back up to him and nuzzled my head into his shoulder. A rich sounding chuckle was heard above me as we started to pace through our Sunday afternoon walk in the park once again. Erik found it fitting that since we were now living above ground, that we should have weekly walks in the park just as "he" promised so long ago.
"Christine," this had once again become another pet name he had for me, "I have been meaning to speak to you about something more serious while we are on the topic. Maybe we should sit down." He motioned to a near-by bench that sat next to the sidewalk under a new blooming tree that was just one of the many trees to surround us that day.
"What is it, Erik?" I was taken aback by his serious tone as we sat down.
"I think I may know what sacrifice your great-grandmother was speaking of." The wind blew a bit making things a little chilly. Erik took off his nice suede jacket to put around my shoulders, "I did not want to tell this until we were sure of Taylor surviving. I did not want you becoming too upset all at one time."
"Erik you know?" I asked with the tears nearly reaching my eyes. How could he have kept this from me for so long?
"Yes my love," he straightened the jacket that swallowed me then took my hands and cupped them with his own. "Taylor will be our only legitimate child. Once he was birthed, the doctor informed me that during surgery too many necessary reproductive parts of your body had been cut in order to save Taylor. As of now, reconstructive surgery is non-existent for you." I saw the winkles in his forehead reappear, "I am so sorry, my love."
I looked away from him to try to contemplate everything he just said. There was a thick forest in front of me that blocked me from being able to see anything but the path, but my years as an adult suddenly became very clear.
"I sacrificed any future children we could have had to save one who was already born. Erik, did I make the right choice? How could we ever know?"
"Of course you made the right choice!" he said taking my head in his hands to look me directly in the eyes, "Taylor is going to be a beautiful boy. There is no doubt that he will be great and I love him so much already. I would not want it any other way nor would I ever want you to ever suffer through labor pains again. You are cut up enough already." Sighing he took my shoulders and led them to lean upon his wide torso. His arms began to wrap around me tightly to keep me warm. I began to notice that he had begun to put on more muscle weight. His physical features began to stray from the original Erik I knew. "I love you no matter what my darling and if we ever want more children we can always adopt them, but for now, once child is perfect enough."
He held me to his chest as I cried. I had always dreamed of more than one child, but I never thought of any reason why I could not have as many as I wanted. Of course I loved Taylor there was no doubt in that, but I thought I would be the sacrifice, not my unborn children. Still, there was another thing that haunted my mind.
"Erik," I said to his shoulder.
"Yes, my love?"
I took a deep breath so quickly I nearly hiccupped.
"Can we still… you know?"
I felt his chest vibrate as he laughed a little to himself.
"What?" I asked taken off guard by his laughing at such a tense moment and turning around to face him. Sex with my husband would be important to me! Why would he laugh at that? How could he possibly think otherwise?
"You," he said kissing my lips quickly, but passionately, "are you still going to tell me that after knowing me for so long that you are still too innocent to say 'sex?'"
I blushed a little at his accusation.
"Well, there could be people around…" I mumbled.
Standing up and leaving me on the bench he looked around dramatically.
"I do not see a soul other than you, my dear. Who is to care if I am to say sex as loud as I please?" Laughing louder he turned away from me and towards the path we had been walking on. "Sex!" he shouted.
Just at that moment a woman and a baby carriage turned up the path and over the little hill Erik had just yelled at. She stopped for a moment, squinted her eyes, and turned to go back where she had come. My eyes widened in embarrassment as I dragged Erik down by his arm's sleeve to sit by me again. I was ready to scold him when he grabbed my head and led me to his lips for a full kiss. At first I tried to turn away, but he kept hold of me and stayed me so I could not block him. His arm wrapped around the back of my neck to lock me into his strong, warm embrace. Eventually, I felt his warm tongue slowly creep out of his mouth and into mine. Everything seemed like it used to seem with the two of us. It was getting dark outside, just as it had back at our old house. With my eyes closed I could no longer see my love and all of a sudden everything felt so right, which was a feeling that I had missed for such a long time. I relaxed and kissed him back without care of who could see. It seemed so long since we were able to kiss so passionately. We never could in the hospital because no one would understand. I began to want him badly all in a few minutes and by the way he kept kissing me I was sure that feelings had become mutual. For the first time in a long while, we were actually alone.
Pulling away to catch his breath he rested his forehead on mine letting our noses touch which made us both smile.
"It feels so good to kiss you in daylight, Christine."
Before I could answer, he leaned in to kiss me again. I threw my arms around his neck bringing us closer as he held on to my back. All of this reminded me of my original question that had to be asked before this went any farther and I forget everything but the present moment.
"Erik," I said pushing him away with what strength I had.
"What my darling?" he whispered leaning in again.
I had to turn away in response.
"Erik this is serious. I need to know whether we can have sex or not. Is it safe?"
He looked at me eerily with lust in his gold eyes that seemed to have faded to a greener coloring since I first saw him in the hospital. Another trick he was not willing to share with me I was sure. At first I thought he was going to try to kiss me again which was not answer to my question which made me begin to lean my head back as much as I could through the lock he had on my back. Just before I could scold him he leaned his head into my left cheek and rasped in my ear, "Do you really think I would be tempting you like this if I knew it would hurt you?" I felt a hot kiss to my ear lobe before he continued, "nothing will come out of our love making except pleasure, Christine."
I felt his lips to my neck as they began to make their way down. I wanted him so badly at that moment, but I knew that having intimate relations in a public park where women and their baby's went strolling on a Sunday evening was not a good idea.
"Where can we go?" I asked feeling his hands begin to massage the back of my upper neck making me feel relax and very vulnerable to anything he had coming next..
"Call your mom and tell her you are having dinner with me," he whispered into my ear again before kissing it.
"Is it too soon to – "
My sentence could not be finished due to his invasion into my mouth with his tongue. The heat rose between us and I could feel his need to press forward below me.
"It is not. Call her." He said kissing me again.
At his answer I could not help but laugh making his pull away in confusion.
"Why are you laughing?" he asked confused.
"You cannot expect me to call her with your tongue down my throat, Erik!" I giggled.
"I can always try." He smirked.
"Erik!" I slapped his arm playfully. He looked at the place where I had touched him then smiled evilly back towards me.
"My dear wants to play hard I see." He whispered beginning to advance towards me again.
I leaned an arm back to steady myself to the bench as he came closer. Before I could get any closer to it, his arm snaked around my back and brought me to his chest so quickly that it knocked the breath out of me. For a long moment we looked deeply into each other's eyes knowing and yearning to go father but knowing that at the present moment we could not.
Slowly, I saw him raise his hand and through my peripheral vision I saw him holding my cell phone. I turned to it confused at how he got it from me.
"Erik, how did you get that? I had it in my back pocket…"
My expression turned smug as he looked at me with as much innocents he could muster for the time when I knew that what he was thinking was anything but pure. I let out a quick laugh and grabbed at the phone. He pulled it away from me nearly making me fall on him. A chuckle escaped his lips as he stood up and began to run down the path leaving me only to chase after him.
We ran like a newlywed couple down the long path through the blossoming forest. Since he was so much taller than me it was much easier for him to get much farther than me. To play with me he would slow down at times just enough for me to get a few feet behind him. Then he would begin to sprint to keep a few yards distance between us. After this kept happening a few more times, when he began to intentionally slow down again I made a bold move and tried to jump on his back. He saw my attempt and turned around quickly to catch me in a giant hug. Next thing I knew he had picked me up and was spinning me around in the air as if I were weightless. Before I could get dizzy, he kneeled over to look me in the eyes so I would not have to look up to him.
Keeping me close he said, "Now darling, we cannot have you doing things like that again. Do you not agree that you have been in the hospital long enough?"
"But Erik I had nothing to worry about, did I?"
"What do you mean?" he smirked.
"I knew you were going to catch me Erik. I should not have that to worry about!" I teased as I turned around to his hands to grab my phone back from him. My pace quickened for a little as I ran forward with my prize. Of course it did not take long for him to catch up to me and grab me in a tight hug from behind. Laughter broke out between us for a little while longer.
"Now dearest," he said above me, "as much as I would love for our little game to continue, there are other things that I would also love to do."
After the phone call was made we were running together, hand in hand, back to his car. He told me that we were going to go back to his house for the first time.
"And I am going to carry you over the threshold like any good husband would!" he laughed temporarily letting go of my hand to let me in his black BMW.