Chapter 20-Letters and a Question
Chapter 20: Letters and a Question
I am so sorry I have taken so long to write! Things have been a bit hectic, what with finding a place to live and all. Erik and I have made friends with a wonderful couple here.
Ruban and Esperanza have been married for three years, and Ruban is the patron of an opera house here, much to Erik’s delight. These people are so wonderful! They have given us one of their villas here in Madrid that they hardly use anymore, and that is where we are now. Esperanza reminds me of you, Meg. She is always so cheerful and lively!
Tell me, has Madame Emerson come to call on me for my piano lessons? If she has, tell her I am in Spain with a friend who is keeping up my tutoring. I would not want her to think my talent is suffering because I am away. Yes, Erik is tutoring me in playing the piano. He purchased one, and we have our lessons every day. He says I am getting quite good at it. Better than the first time he heard me.
Honestly, Meg, I do not see why you are so frightened of Erik! He has been so attentive and kind to me. He buys me things and makes sure I am well at all times. He cares for me, and I for him. As a matter of fact, I love him. He and I have spent so much time together that we have grown attached, and I have fallen in love with him!
Erik can be so loving when we pretend to be husband and wife in public, but after some turn of events which he has begged me not to reveal, I fear that perhaps he might start to drift from me. I cannot bear losing him. I know we are not truly married, but my heart clenches at the thought of losing him to a certain person---
Beatrice jumped and looked up from the letter she had been writing to see Erik standing in the doorway to the study. It had been at least a week since he had been stabbed by Raoul and his wound had healed wonderfully, only leaving a scar as a memory of the turn of unfortunate events.
“Yes, Erik?” she smiled.
“What are you doing?” he wondered walking toward her as she sat still.
“I am writing to Meg and Madame Giry,” she replied, pulling the paper off of the desk and placing it in her lap to keep him from catching even a glimpse of what she had written.
“May I read it when you are through?” he smirked, seeing her action.
“No,” she replied flatly. “But do not worry, darling. I have not written anything that will reveal your true self to them.”
She smirked back at him and he leaned forward on the desk.
“Well, as long as you do not smudge my good name,” he replied sarcastically. “I suppose I do not have to monitor your conversations with the two of them. I only ask one thing.”
“And what, pray tell, would that be?” Beatrice wondered, not knowing if she really wanted to know.
Erik walked around the desk and Beatrice quickly placed the unfinished letter in a drawer making Erik’s smirk widen. He took one of her hands and guided her to stand up as he looked deeply into her eyes.
“I want you to kiss me,” he whispered.
She smiled and Erik wrapped his arms around her waist as their lips met. She wrapped her arms around his neck and ran her fingers through his hair to deepen the kiss as much as possible. They pulled each other closer and a chill ran up her spine as he deepened the kiss as much as possible before he slowly broke it and looked her face over.
“Thank you, cheri,” he whispered. “I always enjoy capturing your lips at every opportunity.”
“As I can see,” Beatrice smirked. “You do it so well.”
Erik grinned and hugged her before letting her go and walking toward the door saying, “I shall leave you to your writing.”
He closed the door behind him and Beatrice sighed, sitting back in the chair then quickly pulled the letter she was writing out and read it over.
I know we are not truly married, but my heart clenches at the thought of losing him to a certain person.
Oh, yes. As I am writing this letter, I now know I am in love with Erik. I have known for some time, and I will tell him soon. I just do not know how to tell him.
Tell me, Meg, are you well? I miss seeing you every day. And, tell me, have you spoken to Christine lately?
She blew over the ink from the pen to dry it before she placed the letter in its envelope then sealed it with wax, and stamped a seal onto it. She set the letter aside to prepare to send it later then prepared a piece of paper for another letter.
Dear Madame Giry,
I am sorry I have taken so long to write. Things have been rather busy with Erik and I trying to find a place to live, which we have. I am sure Meg will tell you everything that I have told her about Erik and I. There are some things I must ask you about. As you know, I do not like to drag things out, so I will simply ask you and be done with it.
Captain Krystal Robyn told me that you were her care-taker as you were mine and Erik’s. She also told me that you did not want any of us to know of each other. My question is, why? Why would you keep all of us from knowing how wonderful and interesting we all are? I know you do not do anything without a reason, and I would be content with at least knowing it is a good reason.
When I spoke to Krystal she advised me to ask you these questions because she obviously did not have the answers. I also sense that there was something that she was holding back from me, but if she could not tell me, I will not ask you what it could be. Please, do not be upset with Krystal about this. I talked her into telling me how she knew of Erik and I, and believe me, it was very hard to get the information from her!
Tell me, are you well? I miss you and Meg dearly, and I hope that one of us can visit the other soon. I please, write back to me soon, and tell Meg to do the same.
P.S. Erik has helped me be rid of my fear of storms! I do believe I would never be able to sleep through them now without Erik’s help!
Beatrice read the letter over quickly and nodded in approval then prepared it for postage. As she sealed the letter, she thought of what Madame Giry might say in response to all of this. She may not respond at all, and if that were to happen, Beatrice would quickly write another letter saying she understood her lack of response to mean that her request for answers was rejected. However, Beatrice prayed that it wouldn’t happen that way.
She quickly prepared the two letters and ran from the study to look for Diego, letters in hand. She found him in the kitchen with one of the maids, Isabella, and smiled when she noticed that he was being rather flirtatious.
“Diego?” she called, gently. The man servant looked up at Beatrice with frightened dark brown eyes and stood at attention next to Isabella.
“Yes, Señora?” he nodded as Beatrice walked toward him.
“I want you to mail these letters when you have the opportunity to do so, please,” Beatrice smiled, handing him the letters.
“Yes, Señora,” he nodded, stuffing the letters into the inside pocket of his jacket. “I shall do so right away.”
He moved to walk past Beatrice but she gripped his upper-arm, stopping him in his tracks and as their eyes met she murmured, “You misunderstand me, Diego. I said, ‘When you have the opportunity,’ not at this very minute.”
Diego frowned in confusion at her, and she simply glanced toward Isabella who stood at the sink washing the dishes. Their eyes met again and Diego nodded in understanding as Beatrice smiled warmly at him.
“Of course, Señora,” he nodded again, smirking as he walked back toward Isabella. “I am so sorry for the misunderstanding.”
“Never mind,” Beatrice smirked back. “Just be sure not to forget.”
“I promise, Señora,” Diego replied as he leaned on the counter next to Isabella, and Beatrice noticed the maid stiffen slightly. Beatrice smiled with a nod and walked back into the hall.
She had known for some time that Diego and Isabella had been having secret rendezvous’ any chance they could get away from their duties, and she encouraged the relationship, even if this was her first time contributing to it.
Yes, it seemed that everyone had someone, and she was glad to say she had Erik. Even if their marriage was pretend, their feelings for each other weren’t, and Beatrice was extremely glad for that. It meant that she would not be alone while Erik was there.
“I must talk to Ruban!” she reminded herself. She ran toward the stables and had another servant saddle Ramses for her. Erik had been teaching her to ride at every opportunity that was presented and she had become proficient enough to ride, at least, to the Castillo’s home which wasn’t that far away. Once Ramses was saddled she hurriedly grabbed a cloak hanging by the exit of the house and mounted her steed.
“If Señor LaRouche asks you, tell him I am with the Castillos,” she told the servant who nodded his understanding and led Ramses from the stable. Beatrice kicked his side and he took off in a gallop, something Beatrice loved to do that Erik was always against.
“Beatrice! Are you mad?!” Esperanza laughed as she caught Beatrice riding toward the hacienda. “Erik will have your head for this! You are not only riding like a man, but you had Ramses in a gallop!”
“I do not care,” Beatrice smiled, dismounting, and Esperanza ordered one of her servants to stable the horse. The two women embraced and Beatrice looked the Spanish beauty in the eye. “Where is your husband?”
“Are you alright?” Esperanza frowned, suddenly concerned.
“I am fine,” Beatrice smiled warmly. “I simply wish to ask him a question about…men.”
Esperanza’s frown deepened in confusion but she nodded and led Beatrice by the hand into the house.
“I believe he is in his study,” Esperanza said, and led the red-head that way. When they reached the room, they found Ruban reading something that sat on his desk and concentrating very hard on it.
“Mi querido?” Esperanza called, timidly. Ruban looked up from what he was doing and smiled at the women.
“Si, mi amor?” he replied, standing and walking around the desk toward the girls.
“Beatrice has come to talk to you,” Esperanza replied and ducked from the room quickly, sensing her presence was not needed. “I’ll just be in the parlor.”
She shut the door behind her and Beatrice turned to Ruban and quickly said, “I will be brief. I am sure Erik will not be pleased with my coming here without telling him. May I ask you something?”
“Ask me anything you wish, mi amigo,” Ruban smiled, sitting on the edge of his desk. Beatrice nodded and stepped closer to him so that she would not be heard by anyone that was possibly listening at the door.
“Do you remember the night of the masquerade ball?” she began in a near whisper.
“I do,” he nodded. “Which reminds me, has Erik recovered?”
“Yes, he is well now,” Beatrice nodded. “I seem to recall seeing Raoul de Chagny and Christine Daaé there as well.”
“Oh, yes, I invited them,” Ruban replied. “I did not think to introduce them to yourself and Erik, forgive me.”
“No, it is quite alright. I was only wondering, and please do not take this offensively, why exactly did you invite them?”
Ruban frowned at the question, but thought nothing of it and answered anyway.
“Christine Daaé had agreed to sing Faust at my opera house later this month. Raoul de Chagny is her patron and fiancé, and he too was invited.”
Beatrice nodded and seemed to look like she was in deep thought.
“May I ask how you know of them?” he wondered.
Beatrice looked at him in terror and Ruban suddenly had a feeling he was never going to find out.
“Is this something you cannot tell me?” he wondered again and Beatrice nodded then looked away in shame.
“I am so sorry, Ruban,” she whispered and he merely lifted her chin to meet his gaze.
“Do not apologize,” he smiled warmly. “I will not press you on the matter, but I will ask if this has helped you in any way.”
Beatrice managed to smile and nod slightly as she said, “Thank you, Ruban, for understanding.”
“You are too welcome, mi amigo,” he smiled back.
“I will give Erik your greetings,” she said and hugged him fiercely. “Thank you!”
Before Ruban knew what was going on, Beatrice darted from the room and ran into the parlor where she found Esperanza sitting on the sofa.
“Are you quite finished with my husband?” the Spanish beauty smirked, and Beatrice laughed as she went to her.
“Yes, quite finished,” the red-head replied. “Now I must go, mon ami. My husband is going to burst into flames of rage when he finds that I am gone from the house without him knowing!”
The two embraced then Esperanza told one of the servants to bring Ramses from the stables so that Beatrice could ride back home.