Mending an Angel

Chapter 19-Masquerade!

Chapter 19: Masquerade!

“Beatrice! I am becoming impatient with you! How long does it take to get dressed?!” Erik wondered as he paced on the opposite side of the dressing screen that she was dressing behind. He was already in his costume for the ball and Ruban and Esperanza were to pick them up any minute. What in Lord’s name was taking her so long?!

“I am nearly finished, darling,” she replied calmly, making him sigh.

Part of him was impatient to get to the ball, but most of him wanted her to hurry so that he could see how gorgeous she looked. Seeing the dress on the dummy had proved that the outfit was beautiful, but as he imagined Beatrice wearing it, he could see that the entire ensemble would be the talk of Madrid for at least a month.

He finally stopped pacing and his foot started tapping impatiently. He couldn’t help but wonder if she was purposely taking longer than usual because she wanted to tease him. It would be like Beatrice to know how he felt for her and then take advantage of that at every opportunity presented. Then again, he had done that on several occasions to her. Yes, he deserved it if that was the case now.

Something else was bothering him at the moment as well. When they had been in the parlor and he was unlacing her dress, she had been afraid. She hadn’t been afraid of him, he knew that, but in her eyes he had seen fear of herself and uncertainty. What had happened, he wondered, to cause her to fear that way? Would she tell him if he asked? Did he want to know? Had someone hurt her? That thought made his fists clench. No one would hurt Beatrice and get away with it. He knew he shouldn’t have felt that way, but he did, and there was nothing he could do about---

“Oh, God,” he breathed when Beatrice came out from behind the screen.

Her head was held high, her hands were clasped in front of her and she had a small smile on her lips. The gown was a stunning contrast to her snow white skin and it shaped her perfectly: defining her curve and flaring at her hips. The neck line was off the shoulder and it seemed as though her chest was going to spill out over the top, which Erik had to admit, he would not have minded. The tiara sat perfectly in her hair, and she had found a small bandit mask to wear over her eyes which Erik thought she could have done without because it hid her adorable freckles.

For the longest moment, Erik couldn’t move, and simply stared at her as if she was a dream and if he blinked she would be gone. Beatrice cleared her throat, softly, jolting him back to reality. He shook away his trance and held out his arm with a small smile. She nodded and slid her hand through his, loving the chill that ran down her spine as she did.

There was a comfortable silence between them as they made their way to the front door. Neither one of them needed to say anything because they knew the other thought they looked fabulous. Beatrice could not help but glance at Erik several times, wanting to take in every detail of him. She especially liked the way the shirt and jacket exposed some of his bronzed chest, and wished she could just reach out and touch it for a moment, but knew that it would not be lady-like, and who knew what Erik would do?

As they reached the exit, they saw Ruban and Esperanza climbing out of their carriage into the dark night that was only illuminated by the soft moonlight. Esperanza embraced Beatrice fiercely then held the woman at arms length to see how she looked.

“You look gorgeous, Beatrice!” the Spanish beauty gasped. Even in the moonlight, Erik could see her blush, and he gently took her hand in his to assure her that he thought the same.

“And you look absolutely stunning, Esperanza,” the red-head replied. Esperanza smiled and curtsied then spun around, showing off every bit of her pirate-wench gown. She grinned at Beatrice through a golden yellow mask with white lace around its edges that matched the dress perfectly.

“She talked you into it, did she?” Erik smirked at Ruban who was in his very authentic pirate costume with a dark blue mask over his eyes and a look of slight agitation on his face.

“Yes, she did,” he nodded.

“You look positively handsome, Ruban,” Beatrice smiled, reassuringly, understanding that no one could say no to his wife. Ruban nodded his thanks and gestured to the carriage.

“Shall we?” he entreated and the four piled into the carriage.


Masquerade
Every face a different shade
Masquerade
Look around there’s another mask behind you

Erik twirled Beatrice across the floor as she laughed and ran back to him. The ball had been going for hours, and Erik had been doing nothing but be attentive to Beatrice and thinking about how he should tell her how he truly felt. He loved her, and he knew he had to tell her. He would not do what he did to Christine. He couldn’t. Besides, this was different! Beatrice cared for him too, even if she hadn’t admitted it fully yet, and he was sure of it, after all, it had come from her own mouth.

“Erik?”

He shot a look at Beatrice as they still danced and he held her in his arms.

“What is it, mon cheri?” he smiled in a murmur.

“I am having a marvelous time,” she admitted with a wide smile.

“As am I, dearest,” he whispered and pulled her close to him. She rested her head on his chest and his cheek rested itself on the top of her head and murmured, “I would not be if I were with anyone else.”

“I am sure that is not true, Erik,” she chuckled. “If you had been with someone else, I think you would have a fine time.”

“No,” he replied flatly, and he knew exactly where this could lead. His confession. “No, I believe that I would be miserable without you, Beatrice.”

She lifted her head and looked up at him with a frown of confusion across her brow as she wondered, “What do you mean?”

“I mean that---” Erik was cut off when he bumped into someone behind him. He turned to apologize to the person, but she was the quicker.

“I am so sorry, mons---!” The woman stopped mid-sentence when she looked up at Erik and his sea-green eyes locked with her chocolate browns. She was dressed as a blue fairy princess, with matching wings and a mask that covered her eyes. He would know that face, those eyes, and that voice anywhere.

“Christine?” he breathed in disbelief.

“Erik…” she breathed back in realization. Beatrice watched in horror as she, too, realized that it was Christine. What was she doing here?! There was nothing but silence between the three and Beatrice felt a sudden urge to get Erik away from her. There was no doubt in her mind that this would only make things worse.

She was about to pull at Erik’s arm and lead him away when Christine fled the opposite direction. Without a word, or a moment’s hesitation, Erik ran after her, and Beatrice ran after him. Christine weaved in and out of dancing couples with Erik gaining on her and Beatrice following behind.

So many questions were running through Erik’s mind. Why was she here? Why had she fled? Why was he running after her? Where was Raoul? This last question put him on guard and though he kept a close eye on Christine, he was also searching for the viscount. If she was here, then he could not have been far away either.

Christine ran into the garden outside the hacienda and Erik was about to grip her wrist when he heard a shriek of fright call his name behind him.

“Erik!” Beatrice cried, and he stopped dead, spinning around to see where she was. His fists clenched at the sight before him. Raoul held her with one arm around her waist and held a sword at Erik in the other hand, a triumphant grin on his smug face. Erik should have known he would go after Beatrice to keep him from Christine.

“We meet again,” Raoul smirked, coolly. “It seems now the tables have turned.”

“Let her go, Chagny!” Erik growled, taking a step toward him.

With a flick of his wrist Raoul held the blade to Beatrice’s throat, making Erik stop his advance. He looked at Beatrice to see her reaction to all of this, but she was only glaring in seething hatred at her captor.

“Raoul!” Christine gasped behind Erik, but he did not turn to see her, wide-eyed in disbelief at the scene, he was intent on Beatrice. “What do you think you are doing?!”

“This monster has plagued us for the last time!” Raoul spat, staring Erik down. “I will not let him harm you anymore, Christine.”

“You call him the monster, yet you are the one holding a blade to the throat of a lady!” Beatrice hissed at him, causing Raoul to look down in surprise at her words and he lowered the sword away from her neck. “I am glad to see that your chivalry has returned!”

Erik couldn’t help but smile slightly at Beatrice taking little bites out of Raoul the way she was. She was doing more than he could do at the moment.

“And to think I once found you attractive,” Raoul shot back in a harsh whisper. He was trying to get her back for her comments, but she wasn’t going to have it.

“Forgive me when I say that the feeling was never mutual!” she retorted with a disgusted look. He growled and shoved her back at Erik. She stumbled into his arms and he quickly caught her and stood her up, pulling her close to him.

“Are you alright?” he hoped in a whisper.

“I’m fine,” she whispered back, snuggling a bit closer to him.

“You have haunted us for the last time!” Raoul growled. “Say good-bye to your wench and prepare to die!”

“Raoul! No!” Christine shouted in horror and Beatrice shot a terrified look at Erik. He shoved Beatrice in Christine’s direction as Raoul charged toward him and she stumbled into the other woman.

“Erik!” Beatrice screamed and tried to run toward them to break up the fight, but Christine held her back.

“Beatrice! Do not be a fool!” Christine struggled. “You will be hurt!”

“I do not care!” Beatrice cried as tears formed in her eyes. “Let me go!”

“Beatrice! Think logically!”

Beatrice stopped and spun around to stare Christine down, her anger boiling the tears in her eyes as she hissed, “Alright. Thinking logically, I would have to blame you for this situation we find ourselves in!”

A sword clanged behind her but she paid no attention as she allowed her emotions to take over her will again.

“If it had not been for you Erik would have been happy! Tell me, Christine, did you kiss him out of curiosity, to save Raoul’s life, or because you truly loved Erik?!”

Christine stared at Beatrice in total disbelief as they heard Raoul growl in anger and lunge at Erik and she breathed, “Beatrice…You love him.”

“That has nothing to do with my question!” Beatrice spat. “Which is it?!”

They jumped when they heard a shout of agonizing pain. Beatrice whirled around, praying it had been Raoul and not her masked man. She cried out in dismay when she saw Erik on the ground holding his right shoulder, the hand that coddled it soaked with blood.

“No…” Christine breathed.

Beatrice went pale when she saw Raoul lift his sword in the air.

“Now, you will be out of our lives forever,” Raoul said through clenched teeth.

“Erik!” Beatrice screamed as she ran toward him. She threw herself onto Erik, being as careful as she could not to hurt him any more.

“Move out of the way so I can rid us of him!” Raoul demanded and Beatrice glared over her shoulder at him with a look that could have sent daggers to his heart.

“If you touch him I will kill you with my own two hands!” she growled, making him look at her in disbelief and take an involuntary step back at the venom in her voice.

“Raoul,” Christine called and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and he looked at her with wide eyes. “We should go.”

“Christine, have you gone mad?!” Raoul wondered breathlessly.

“I did not want this to happen, Raoul. You know that,” she replied. “Do not make this any worse.”

Raoul glanced back at Erik and Beatrice on the ground then back at Christine. He couldn’t say no to her. He nodded and sheathed his sword then looked at Erik.

“The next time we meet, nothing will stop me from killing you,” he hissed at him, and Erik and Beatrice looked at him again as he walked away, throwing his arm around Christine’s shoulders and leading her away. Christine looked back at the two before re-entering the house but once they were gone, Erik groaned in pain and Beatrice snapped her attention back to him.

“Oh, Erik,” she breathed.

“I am fine, cheri,” he strained. “It is merely a flesh wound.”

“Do not jest, Erik!” Beatrice began sobbing. “You are severely injured!”

Erik’s brow furrowed and he lifted his left hand to stroke the tears from her cheeks that began to fall.

“Do not cry, little one,” he murmured. “I will be fine.”

“Erik, what can I do to help you?” she sobbed. “Please, tell me.”

“For the moment, you can stop crying, mon ange,” he smiled.

“Damn you, Erik!” she sobbed hitting her fist to the ground next to him. “Why did you have to run after her?!”

Erik sighed and let his head rest on the ground beneath him.

“I have been asking myself that since I went after her,” he admitted, causing Beatrice to stare at him in disbelief. She hadn’t expected him to say that.

“Oh, my God!”

Erik and Beatrice looked up to see Ruban and Esperanza standing not too far away from them. Beatrice stood up and ran toward them.

“Erik is hurt,” she gasped and yanked Ruban by the hand toward Erik. “Please! Ruban, you must help! He will bleed to death if we do not get him to a doctor!”

“No!” Erik strained from his place, trying to sit up. “Not a doctor!”

Beatrice knelt down next to Erik and helped him sit up.

“Erik, you need a doctor,” she insisted gently.

“No doctors!” Erik growled. “Just take me home!”

“We will take you to your hacienda in our carriage,” Ruban said, pulling Erik to his feet carefully.

“But he needs---”

“No doctors!” Erik growled again with the little strength he had.

“No doctors, Erik,” Ruban assured him giving Beatrice a look that told her to drop the subject. Esperanza took Beatrice’s hands as Ruban walked Erik across the garden.

“We’ll go out the back way,” Esperanza said, pulling Beatrice along. “We would not want anyone to panic, would we?” Beatrice gave a slight smile at the other woman as she asked, “Beatrice, what happened?”

The red-head looked at Esperanza with wide eyes. She couldn’t tell her. As much as she wanted to, she couldn’t tell her. It would take all night!

“I wish I could tell you, Esperanza,” she said as honestly as she could. “I do not know what exactly happened, myself. I lost Erik for a moment and when I came out here to look for him, I found him like this.”

Esperanza looked at Beatrice in evaluation. She was hiding something, but what, she couldn’t be sure. The four of them reached the carriage and Ruban sat Erik down inside then let Beatrice climb in.

“You know where they live,” he told the servant driving the carriage. “Take them as quickly, and as carefully as possible.”

“We wish we could go with you,” Esperanza said as she closed the door.

“You have your guests,” Beatrice nodded. “Thank you for your help so far.”

“Go!” Ruban shouted at the servant, and Erik and Beatrice were off.

Beatrice closed the curtains on either side of the carriage and pulled her skirt up to show her petticoats.

“I do not understand why you will not see a doctor,” she muttered, wrestling with her skirts.

“Doctors ask too many questions,” Erik replied, as if that answered everything.

“That is their job, Erik,” Beatrice retorted, finding one of her skirts. “If they are to treat a patient, they must know what happened to them, their ailments, and everything else they ask about.”

There was a ripping sound and Erik shot a wide eyed look at Beatrice, demanding, “What the hell are you doing?!”

“We need to stop the bleeding in your shoulder before you bleed to death,” Beatrice replied, placing a strip of her petticoats on his shoulder. “Erik, I cannot believe how stubborn you are!”

“Well, get used to it,” Erik shot back. “I will not change no matter how much you try!”

“You say that, but if you remember correctly, you have changed a bit since meeting me,” she smiled, blotting at his wound.

“No, I have not,” he argued.

“Maybe you are right,” Beatrice smiled, knowing she was right.


Later...

Erik winced in pain as Beatrice tried to clean the stab wound in his shoulder as gently as possible. When they had arrived at the hacienda, Beatrice had gotten him to the master bedroom then out of his jacket and shirt then into the bed. Now she sat dabbing a wet cloth on his shoulder to seep up the blood that seemed to never end.

“We need to get this wound stitched up,” Beatrice said softly. “A doctor can---”

“No doctors, Beatrice,” Erik interrupted sternly. “I told you that I do not know how many times already.”

“I know Erik, but---”

“Do you know how to sew?” Erik wondered.

“Yes, but---”

You can sew the wound.”

“Would you allow me to finish a sentence for once?!” Beatrice shouted making Erik shoot a wide eyed look of surprise at her. “A doctor would do all of this properly! He could clean the wound and sew it and make sure it does not become infected and---!”

“Beatrice.”

“What?!”

“You are still wearing your mask.”

Beatrice lifted her hand to her face and ripped her mask off then pulled the tiara out of her hair then shouted, “There! Now I have taken off my mask and my tiara. Now will you go see a doctor?!”

“No.”

“Erik! You are the most stubborn man in the history of…men! What must I do to get you to see a doctor?! Do you wish for me to yell at you?! Must I beg you?!”

“Beatrice.”

“Now what?!”

“Stop talking.”

“Why?!”

Erik used his uninjured arm to pull her by the wrist toward him. Her lips landed on his and she squeaked in surprise with her eyes wide in shock. Her eyes fluttered shut as she savored the feeling of his lips on hers. He ran his tongue along the seam of her lips and she slightly opened her mouth. But when she felt his tongue start to slowly slip into her mouth she gasped and her eyes shot open as she pushed away from him.

“No!” she yelled, shaking her head violently and backing away from the bed. “You will not seduce me into dropping this subject! You must see a doctor!”

“Beatrice,” he called, calmly. “Calm down.”

“How can you be so calm while I am yelling at you?!”

“You have no idea how jealous I was when I saw Raoul’s arm around you,” Erik replied taking Beatrice aback at the random comment. “I admit this freely if it is the only way for you to sit next to me and take care of my shoulder. That is all I want. No doctor can do that for me the way you can.”

“But Erik---”

“I will interrupt you one last time to tell you that I am injured and cannot handle the stress of an argument right now.”

Beatrice stared at him for a moment then sighed and walked toward him, sitting next to him and starting to clean his wound again and saying, “This is not over. You are still very stubborn.”

“This is far from over, cheri,” he smiled, laying his head back on the pillow. They were silent for a moment before Beatrice spoke again, glancing at him once.

“Were you truly jealous at seeing me near Raoul?” she couldn’t help but wonder.

“I am surprised I did not turn green,” Erik chuckled slightly, making Beatrice smile, but something else was nagging at her mind.

“Erik?”

“Yes?”

“Why did you go after Christine when she fled?”

Erik didn’t say anything for a moment, nor did he make a move. As Beatrice stared at him, waiting for an answer, she saw in his eyes that he was trying very hard to figure out the answer to her question. She remembered asking him in the garden, and he had not known the answer, but now he had more time to think about it and answer properly.

“I wanted to know why,” he suddenly breathed and Beatrice looked at him in surprise. “I wanted to know why she was there. Why she was running from me. I wanted to simply talk to her, even though I knew that would not work…”

He let himself trail off, not really knowing where he was going with this. Beatrice looked at him in sorrow, but resumed cleaning his wound.

“Erik?” she called timidly, and he looked at her. “I want you to promise me that if you ever see her again, you will not pursue her.”

Erik stared at her in disbelief. Was she jealous? She might have had a right to be, but she shouldn’t have been anyway. Then again, Erik never did tell her he loved her.

“May I ask what has prompted this request?” he wondered and she glanced at him quickly.

“If Christine is around, then Raoul is not far behind,” she replied coolly. “I do not want this to happen again.” She felt tears start to well up in her eyes as she whispered, “And I cannot bear to see you killed.”

She sniffled, trying not to cry but not being able to keep herself from doing so at the thought of Erik dying. She jumped slightly when Erik touched her hand on his chest and their eyes met.

“I thank you for your concern, mon cheri,” he murmured. “I swear I will not pursue her. No matter how much I may wish it, I will do no such thing out of my fear of losing you.”

He lifted her hand to his mouth and pressed a soft, lingering kiss on the back of her hand. He was trying, and she could see it. She would never give up hope that he could make room in his heart to love another. Not only love another, but love her as she loved him.

What makes you think he will love you?” Beatrice’s subconscious taunted her. “You are nothing but a scrawny girl with a fantasy of love. He could never truly love you.

“Beatrice?” Erik called, snapping her out of her thoughts.

“Yes, Erik?” she smiled.

“Would you sing for me?”

Beatrice stared at Erik in total sock. Why would he want to hear her sing? Apparently he was disoriented and confused. He thought she was Christine, surely!

“I have heard you humming to Ramses,” Erik explained, as if he was reading her mind. “I wish to hear your true voice.”

“My true voice?” Beatrice frowned in confusion.

“When you sing, that is your true voice,” Erik explained. “It expresses what you truly feel.”

Beatrice smiled sweetly at Erik. He was so predictable. Leave it to him to relate everything to music and singing, and it was something she adored about him.

“What would you like me to sing?” she said, resuming her cleaning his wound.

“Whatever you wish,” he murmured, laying his head back on the pillow. Their eyes met and Beatrice felt her breath catch slightly then cleared her throat.

“I will sing for you,” she smiled. “But you must do something for me.”

Erik frowned not liking the way there seemed to be a mischievous sparkle in her eye.

“What?” he asked cautiously. Beatrice simply smiled and leaned toward him. He didn’t move as her hand slid to his mask and she slowly pulled it off.

“I do not want there to be any barriers between us,” she whispered. “You know I do not fear your face, or find it repulsive.”

“I know,” Erik breathed. “It is simply a habit.”

“A habit that will be broken soon, as long as we are together,” she retorted. Beatrice dipped the cloth she was cleaning his wound with in the bowl filled with water on the nightstand.

“Now that you have taken off my mask, will you sing for me?” Erik wondered. Beatrice giggled and nodded as he requested, “Sing something…soothing.”

“Your wish is my command, Sir,” she smirked. She took a few deep breaths and thought hard about a song to calm Erik’s troubled mind.

Laying alone with the history that made you cold and uncertain inside
Careful now, deep breath, the water’s still rising
But your silver lining’s in sight

Erik glanced at her a moment and Beatrice simply smiled as she wet his wound again.

When you feel like you’re breaking down

And your body’s just giving in

And you can’t go on broken like this any longer

Erik sighed and closed his eyes to savor the sound of Beatrice’s voice. It was as beautiful as he thought it would sound.

Close your eyes
Don’t you cry
Let the sorrow within you subside
Don’t despair
Have no fear
Give your weight to me when you have this lullaby

Erik’s hand rose and placed itself on the one that was tending his wound. Beatrice looked at him and felt relieved when she saw how relaxed he was and the smile that was creeping to his face.

You say all seems so wrong with the life that you’re living
You’re searching for some reason why
You’re so scared to trust, you’re feeling unworthy
Aching for comfort tonight

Beatrice placed her hand on his and moved closer to him so that he could hear her a bit better.

When your heart’s too sore to beat
And you fear it might never heal
And you feel not even beggars want you
I do

Erik sighed again and turned his face toward her to hear her better, and Beatrice couldn’t help but smile at him.

Close your eyes
Don’t you cry
Let the sorrow within you subside
Don’t despair
Have no fear
Give your weight to me when you hear this lullaby

She lifted her hand and stroked some hair from his face then rested the hand on his hairline, unable to believe how peaceful he looked in that moment.

Close your eyes
Don’t you cry
Let the sorrow within you subside
Don’t despair
Have no fear
Give your weight to me when you hear this lullaby
Don’t you cry
Let the darkness within you feel light
Don’t despair
Have no fear
You’ll find comfort in me like a child with this lullaby

Beatrice smiled at the peaceful, now sleeping man before her. She had always wondered why lovers stared at each other when the other was sleeping, and now she understood why. Staring at Erik peacefully sleeping made her feel peaceful. As if she could stay in that moment forever. But snapping herself back to reality, she realized that some things had to be done.

First, she had to write to Madame Giry and Meg telling them what she and Erik were up to. She also had some questions for Antoinette that she would not let rest until she got answers.

Then, there was finding out why Raoul and Christine had been at the ball. She knew exactly who to ask about that. It was Ruban’s party, and she was sure he had compiled the guest list personally. He seemed like the kind of man who see to everything like that himself.

Beatrice was jolted from her thoughts when Erik stirred slightly and she glanced at his wound, realizing it needed to be sewn up. She didn’t want to wake him, but it had to be done. She straightened and reluctantly pulled her hands away from Erik then pulled open the drawer of the nightstand. There sat a needle and thread, ready for use.

I wish I had some way to keep him from feeling the pain,” she thought with a sigh, pulling out the things she needed. “He is not going to wake up happy.”


Erik’s eyes shot open when he felt something prick him on his shoulder and he growled in pain. He looked to where Beatrice was sitting but she looked occupied with his arm and didn’t look at him.

“What the hell---?!” His question was cut short when he felt another prick on the other side of his wound and he growled again.

“I am sewing up your wound,” Beatrice replied, not looking at him.

“Is there nothing to dull the pain?!” Erik asked through clenched teeth.

You were the one who did not want to see a doctor,” she retorted. “And since I am no doctor, I would not know what to give you to dull the pain.”

“Cognac! Gin! Scotch!” Erik listed in pain.

“To dull the pain, or your senses?” Beatrice smirked.

“Both!” Erik shot back but Beatrice only sighed and placed her fingers on his lips.

“Stop talking,” she demanded gently. “And stop moving. You will only make it harder for me to do this.”

She pulled her hand away and turned back to her work, leaving Erik to stare at her in surprise. He had no idea how much it had affected him when her fingers touched his lips. When her fingers had been there it took everything in him to fight the urge to gently grasp them in his mouth and nibble at them. He had to tell her that he loved her soon, or it would consume him inside and out and he would surely go mad from it.

“What shall I tell Madame Giry and Meg when I write to them?” Beatrice asked Erik, still stitching up is wound.

Erik winced as he was jolted back to reality and replied, “What?”

“Is there anything you would like me to tell them?” Beatrice rephrased.

“Such as?” Erik wondered.

“How you are fairing,” Beatrice replied, knotting the thread after the last stitch.

“What would it matter?” Erik asked sarcastically. “They do not care about how I am fairing.”

“That is not true,” Beatrice replied, calmly, but inside she was slapping him for thinking such a thing. “I am sure that Madame Giry is worried about your well-being.”

“Tell her nothing of Christine and Raoul being here,” he said quickly and Beatrice frowned in confusion at him. “She does not need to know about it.”

“I thought that would be a must,” Beatrice replied. “The whole ordeal is certainly important news!”

“No, Beatrice!” Erik growled, taking Beatrice aback at his tone. “Do not tell her!” Beatrice stared at Erik with wide eyes as he turned his head away from her and mumbled, “It is late. I will be fine now. You should get some rest.”

Beatrice stood and ran behind the dressing screen, not wanting him to see the tears that were starting to form in her eyes. He had never yelled at her for something as trivial as this before. Surely Madame Giry would want to know if they had run into Raoul or Christine, and what had happened? It didn’t make sense to Beatrice that Erik would want to keep such things from Antoinette, unless there was more to it than that.

More secrets! Beatrice was becoming so tired of secrets! Whether it was keeping them or finding out about them, it was wearing her out. She used to be the type of girl who loved keeping secrets or hearing about them, but now they were getting on her nerves. It was so tiresome to keep her secrets, and Erik’s secrets, and she was sure she would die from exhaustion.

Beatrice sighed and began to change out of her gown and into her nightgown. She had just slipped the dress off when she heard groaning from the other side of the screen. She peeked around the screen to see Erik sitting up on the edge of the bed.

“Erik!” she gasped, running out from behind the screen. “What do you think you are doing?!”

“I was going to change,” Erik groaned trying to ignore the fact the Beatrice was only wearing her undergarments.

She sighed and shook her head in exasperation and smiled, “You silly man! Let me help you.”

“I can do this myself,” Erik retorted, not liking her tone.

“Is that why you were groaning in pain?” Beatrice laughed slightly. “I may be a woman, but I am useful.”

Erik glanced at her then looked at his right arm hanging limply on the bed and grumbled, “Very well. You may help.”

Beatrice smiled, but did not rub his vulnerable state in his face. She knew he hated the fact that he couldn’t really do anything at the moment without help. She pulled his shirt off of him, being careful not to make him move his arm, and threw it on the bed.

“I am sorry,” he whispered, and she looked at him in surprise.

“For what?” she frowned in confusion.

“I did not mean to growl at you the way did,” he whispered so softly she nearly couldn’t hear him. “I made an agreement with Antoinette that I would not go after Christine. That I would try to forget her.” Erik wrapped his good arm around her waist and pulled her close. “Promise you will not tell her. Swear it.”

Beatrice ran her hand through his hair as she looked down at him, his eyes silently pleading with her and she smiled warmly, replying, “I swear, dearest.”

“Thank you, mon ange,” he sighed in relief, snuggling the side of his head to her stomach. “She would never forgive me.”

“I doubt that,” Beatrice smiled, playing with a bit of his hair. “But I will keep it secret, nonetheless.”

Erik lifted his head and his eyes locked with hers. He ran his hand up her back and pulled her face closer to his, her eyes closing as she gave a slight smile and wrapped her arms around his neck.

He wanted nothing more than to wrap both his arms around her and smother her mouth with hot, passionate kisses, but for now, he would have to settle with what his body, and Beatrice, would let him get away with.

She giggled when she gave him an Eskimo kiss and his arm wrapped around her waist again. Before she knew what she was doing, at impulse, she straddled Erik’s legs by placing her knees on the bed on either side of him, taking him aback at the action. She brushed her lips against his, tauntingly, and smiled wider when she felt Erik pull her closer.

“Rather frisky tonight?” Erik wondered, still trying to understand why she was, indeed, being so forward.

“You are at my mercy now,” she smiled, hinting at the fact that he couldn’t do much with his arm. “You are always teasing me. Now, it is my turn to tease you.”

“You little vixen!” Erik growled, more attracted to her than he ever had been before. “You would seek revenge on me when I am this vulnerable?!”

“What better time to do so?” Beatrice murmured. “Every other time you would have one up on me, and now you do not.”

“You are wicked,” Erik whispered, harshly.

“I see that it is working,” Beatrice smirked. “But I am not as cold you are.”

She pressed her lips to his gently making Erik pull her closer still. She loved the way she could lose herself just by letting him kiss her, and she hoped he felt the same. Her hands slid down to his bare chest, and she was careful not to touch his wound as she ran her hands over his body. Erik groaned and couldn’t keep himself from gathering her lower lip into his teeth and gently biting it. She moaned in approval and when she started to pull away slowly, Erik held onto her lip gently, not wanting the kiss to end.

“Enjoy that?” Erik wondered with a smirk and Beatrice licked her lips with a smile.

“Need you ask?” she retorted.

“We should go to sleep,” Erik smiled and Beatrice nodded. “You should get changed.”

She frowned then blushed when she realized she was in her undergarments. She stood up and darted behind the dressing screen to change into her nightgown. Erik smiled and struggled to lie back in the bed then lifted his uninjured arm to cradle the back of his head in it, a satisfied smile on his face.

I will tell her eventually,” he told himself. “And that will be a day she will never forget.”

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