Chapter 21-A Past Revealed
Chapter 21: A Past Revealed
Beatrice ran into hers and Erik’s bedroom hurriedly. She tried looking for Erik everywhere else in this house but he was nowhere to be found, and when she asked Diego where he had last seen the masked man he said he had been heading towards the bedroom, and that he did not look at all pleased. That could only mean that he had been told where she had gone and he was furious with her.
Beatrice stopped dead in her tracks when she entered the bedroom and saw Erik standing at the window across the room, his back facing the door. He stood tall, and she could tell by the way he was holding himself that he was not happy. She quickly clasped her hands in front of her and cast her eyes down, showing submission, even if he wasn’t looking. When he finally turned around there was a deep scowl on his face as he looked her over.
“I had to hear from a servant that you had gone to the Castillos,” he began, but she didn’t move or speak, even to apologize. “Tell me, what was so important that you had to gallop to the Castillos hacienda without telling me?”
“I had to ask Ruban something,” Beatrice mumbled. “I am sorry, Erik. I should have told you---”
“Yes, you should have told me!” Erik growled, making Beatrice take a step back, but she kept her eyes cast down. “And what were you thinking, riding like a man?! You know a lady should ride side-saddle!”
Beatrice didn’t look at him. She knew she should have told him that she was going to Ruban and Esperanza’s and he wouldn’t have gotten upset, as long as he knew where she was going. She also knew that he couldn’t have liked getting her location from a servant.
“I am sorry,” she shuddered, trying not to cry, but not being able to keep in her tears she repeated, “I should have told you.”
Erik sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He hated reprimanding her, but she had to understand that unless she told him where she was going and what she was doing, he couldn’t protect her. He still felt guilty about not being there when Daniel had attacked her, and that in itself was taunting enough to his mind and conscience. He now felt extremely guilty because he had made her cry, and he wasn’t too sure what to do. Should he go to her and hold her? Should he leave the room and let her sob? He wanted to do the earlier, but he really wasn’t sure.
“Beatrice,” he said a bit firmly. “Stop crying.”
“I am sorry,” she shuddered again.
“Erik---” Her apology was cut off when he walked toward her and she stayed still, not really knowing if she wanted to know what he was going to do.
“Mon ange, tell me what you are up to from now on, and I will not be upset with you,” he murmured, pulling her toward him. He lifted her chin up with his fingers and looked into her watery eyes. “I only wish to keep you safe.”
“I am so---”
She was cut off again when he pulled her close to him and began kissing her neck. She gasped in surprise at his actions and at the fact that his mood had changed so quickly. He was becoming more and more of a mystery to her, and she loved the fact that he was a puzzle waiting to be solved. Beatrice allowed herself to melt into the moment, wrapping her arms around his neck and closing her eyes to savor the feeling of his lips caressing her skin.
“Erik?” she breathed and he made a noise in response. “You are no longer upset with me?”
“You are too beautiful to allow myself to stay upset with you,” he replied between kisses. He worshipped her skin with a few more kisses and smiled on her neck when he inhaled her unique scent then murmured between kisses, “Did you send your letters?”
“I had Diego send them,” she sighed in contentment. “That is, he will send them after he is finished flirting with Isabella.”
“He is a dog,” Erik growled, nibbling on Beatrice’s earlobe, making her giggle.
“Look who is calling who a dog,” she smiled and he pulled away to study her face.
“You call your husband a dog?” he smirked.
“Only when he is devouring me like I am some sort of treat!” she retorted.
“You think I am devouring you?” he wondered, his visible eyebrow rising. “I will show you how I would devour you.”
He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bed. She gasped when he laid her down and began kissing her neck again then attacked her mouth. She squeaked and gasped in surprise then moaned in approval and couldn’t help herself from wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer. He broke the kiss and began trailing kisses down her neck again.
“Tell me, Beatrice,” he said against her skin. “What did you talk to Esperanza about?”
“A-Actually I had to ask Ruban something,” she replied, as Erik still kissed her neck and now ran his hands to her waist.
“And what did you ask Ruban about?”
“Why Christine and Raoul were at the ball.”
Erik froze and looked at Beatrice with disbelief in his wide, sea-green eyes.
“I asked him why they were there,” she repeated. “I know I should have asked you first but---”
“Why?” he interrupted, and Beatrice frowned at him in confusion.
“Why were they there?”
Beatrice studied his face intently. He wanted to know why, but truth be told, she was afraid to tell him. However, she didn’t want to lie to him. Perhaps she could tell him a half truth?
“She-She is performing at Ruban’s opera house…soon,” she replied as honestly as she could. She felt her heart clench when she saw how his eyes lit up at the news and she shifted to sit up. Erik frowned in confusion and sat up next to her.
“Are you alright?” he hoped, placing a hand on her shoulder gently.
“I am fine,” she replied, smiling slightly, but Erik looked at her skeptically.
“You do not lie very well, mon ange,” he whispered in her ear and began leaving tender kisses on her neck again but she shrugged him off, making him frown at her. “Beatrice?”
“I am fine, Erik,” she said firmly and stood to walk from the room but Erik wouldn’t have it. He stood up and gripped her wrist, pulling her back toward him. “No, Erik! Leave me alone!”
“No!” Erik growled his temper flaring up because she was being difficult. “Something is bothering you! Tell me what is wrong!”
“It is nothing!” she insisted, beginning to sob. “I want to go back to talk to Esperanza!”
“Damn it, Beatrice! Stop lying to me! Just tell me---!”
A smack resounded through the room, and Erik felt a sting on his left cheek along with his heart dropping to his stomach at the realization that Beatrice had slapped him. Why? Why would she do that? Was she aware of what she had done?
Erik looked at Beatrice who was seething. He had never seen her this mad with him before. He would have given anything to know what was going through her mind as her golden eyes stared him down.
“Let me go,” she demanded through gritted teeth.
Erik’s hand released her wrist and she turned to walk out of the room. Erik stood in the middle of the room in shock. Why had she done it? Why had she slapped him? Oh, this was not over. He wouldn’t allow it to be over.
Erik clenched his fists and stormed out of the room after Beatrice. He had a feeling that she had headed to the parlor. She had gone there when they had fallen in the tub accidentally, and if his instincts were correct---
Erik stopped and made a double take into the music room. There she sat, at the piano. She was playing a soft tune. She didn’t seem to notice he was there and he was about to walk toward her and give her what for, but stopped when he heard the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.
Close your eyes
Don’t you cry
Let the darkness within you feel light
Have no fear
You’ll find comfort in me like a child...
Erik frowned when she trailed off. She was doing well, why would she stop? He suddenly heard sobbing noises and immediately felt guilt sweep over him. He had made her cry…again! Why couldn’t he do anything right?!
“Lord, why?!” Beatrice sobbed, holding her head in her hands. “Why would you lead me to a man who is still in love with someone else?!”
So that’s what this was about. Christine. He had to admit that he had been happy when Beatrice had told him that Christine was performing here in Spain, but didn’t Beatrice know---?
“You have not told her you love her yet!” his mind screamed at him. “If she does not know your feelings for her, how can she understand? She is not a mind reader!”
Erik took a deep breath and began his approach toward Beatrice. She heard his footsteps and looked up at him with tear soaked cheeks and watery eyes. He knew it was terrible of him to think it, but even crying she looked so adorable.
“Please, Erik,” she breathed. “Do not do this.”
“Do what?” he wondered, sitting next to her on the bench.
“Do not drag this out any further,” she begged. “I do not want to slap you again.”
Erik sighed and took her hands in his, much to her surprise.
“You have nothing to worry about,” he began simply and she looked at him in confusion as he began playing with her fingers.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean, you need not worry of my feelings for Christine,” he explained and she looked at him in complete disbelief. “My feelings for her have lessened, of late, and have turned to someone far more…attainable.”
He glanced at her to see her reaction and Beatrice merely stared at him, still in disbelief.
“You mean to say that you have feelings…for me?” she breathed and Erik lifted both her hands to his mouth and kissed her knuckles gently.
“In so many words,” he smirked against her skin. “Yes.”
Without another word, Erik pulled her fully into his arms and held her.
“Why did you not say that you love her?” he asked himself. He was kept from answering himself when he felt Beatrice’s arms slip around him and her face burrow into his chest.
“I have feelings for you, as well,” she confessed. “I cannot stand to lose you to her.”
“You will not, cheri,” he breathed pulling her closer and burying his face in her hair. “I have told you this.”
“I know,” she shuddered. “I know. I just do not want---”
Erik frowned in concern when she stopped short of finishing her sentence, and brought her chin up to meet his gaze.
“You do not want what?” he wondered.
“I do not want to be alone again,” she breathed and sniffled.
“I will never leave you alone,” Erik murmured sincerely. “I did it once, and it will not happen again. I will protect you.”
“That was not your fault, Erik,” Beatrice breathed, knowing that Erik was talking about her being attacked by Daniel on Krystal Robyn’s ship. “I should not have opened the door.”
Erik gripped her arms and held her out to look her in the eye to tell her sternly, “Do not think for one second that what happened was your fault.”
“But it was not your fault either!” Beatrice replied. “Just like the last time--”
She stopped short again and Erik stared at her in disbelief.
“Last time?” he breathed.
Beatrice started shaking her head violently and stood to run out of the room, but Erik wouldn’t have it. He stood with her and when she turned her back to him, he pulled her into his arms from behind and she struggled to get away.
“No! Let me go!” she sobbed.
“Beatrice,” he whispered in her ear. “Tell me what happened, please.”
Beatrice stopped and took a deep breath. He knew that whatever it was she was hiding, it would be hard, and it wouldn’t help her if he was to yell and demand that she tell him.
“Let us go to the parlor, and you can tell me everything,” he suggested, gently.
“No,” Beatrice shuddered. “We can stay here.”
She turned in his arms and threw her arms around his neck. He could do nothing but hold her close as she began sobbing into his chest again. He wanted to hear her story, but he wouldn’t rush her. It seemed so painful for her and he hoped that the situation with Daniel was as bad as it had gotten in her life.
“Please, God, whatever this is, let it have a happy ending,” he prayed. Beatrice looked up at him, as if looking for strength through him, and when he looked down at her, she found it.
“It was years ago,” she began, breathlessly. “I was thirteen and had been living with Madame Giry for about four years. One night, as with many nights before, I had gone out to the market for groceries and I was walking back home when…it happened. I was taking a short-cut because it was extremely late, and I had spent more time in the market than I had intended.
“I was walking down the lane when I thought I had heard something behind me and turned just for a moment, but no one was there. When I turned back to walk on, I felt myself being pulled from behind and in my shock I dropped the bag of things on the ground. I remember screaming and then a hand covered my mouth…”
She trailed off and Erik felt his heart clench when her eyes glazed over and her face grew a bit pale.
“The tomatoes…” she breathed and Erik frowned in confusion. “They had splattered all over the street. It was the last thing I saw before he dragged me into the alley. I tried again to scream, but his hand muffled my cry and his other hand started pulling up my skirts.”
She began sobbing slightly again and Erik pulled her close to him, resting his cheek on her head.
“He smelt of alcohol and he was hurting me with every movement. I tried to kick him off of me, but he was so much stronger than I. He pushed me onto the ground and his mouth started taking unwanted liberties, but try as I might, he would not get off of me! Everything else turned into a blur. All I remember is pain and tears streaming down my face as he…he…”
“Shh,” Erik interrupted, pulling her closer still. “That is enough, mon ange. I understand.”
“Please, Erik, do not leave me!” she cried, letting herself break down entirely.
“I told you I will not,” he replied soothingly. “Why would I do such a thing?”
“I am damaged!”
Erik pushed her out to arms length, taking Beatrice aback and ceasing her crying.
“If you ever say anything like that again, I will leave you,” he growled. He couldn’t let her think that way about herself, he wouldn’t allow it. Beatrice stared at him in total disbelief and horror. “Am I understood?”
“Am I understood, Beatrice?” he repeated, softening his tone.
“Y-Yes,” she shuddered. “I understand.”
“You are the second LaRouche to pay a visit here, Erik,” Ruban laughed as he led the masked man to his study. It was a bit late for visits, but Ruban could see that something was troubling his friend.
“I am sorry for the late visit,” Erik said, not removing his cloak or even sitting when Ruban permitted him. “I came to ask you what you told Beatrice.”
Ruban looked at the masked man with a frown of confusion as he sat at his desk and wondered, “Should you not ask her what I told her?”
“Whenever I tried asking her something else always seemed to come up,” Erik replied simply. “She only told me what she asked you and part of what you had said.”
“What part?” Ruban asked.
“Why Christine Daaé and Raoul de Chagny were at the ball, but nothing more.”
“Then she told you Christine Daaé is performing in two week’s time?”
Erik’s eyes widened when he heard this but he managed to reply, “She told me Christine was performing, but she told me no specific date.”
“Nor had I told her anything of that account,” Ruban replied. “But I have received a letter from Señorita Daaé that she will perform in my opera house in two weeks. She is looking forward to it.”
“I see,” Erik nodded, and looked like he was lost in his thoughts.
“If you wish, I can arrange for the four of us to see her perform. Beatrice, yourself and Esperanza and I can sit in my private box.”
Erik looked at Ruban in horror making him frown.
“N-No!” Erik shook his head, backing away slightly. “No, I couldn’t ask you such a thing. You have done so much for us already!”
“Nonsense!” Ruban smiled and pulled a piece of paper from under a paper weight and a pen from a drawer. “I will merely have one of my servants run this note to the valet and---”
Ruban jumped when Erik slammed one of his hands on the surface of the table over the paper the noble had attempted to write on. Ruban looked up into Erik’s eyes and shrunk back a bit when he saw the fire burning in them. What had he done?
“Thank you, but no,” Erik protested again through clenched teeth. “I cannot ask you to do such a thing.”
The masked man shoved off of the table and stalked toward the door.
“And if Beatrice requests it?” Ruban wondered, cautiously.
Erik stopped at the door and opened it, but before leaving he answered the other man’s question.
“She will not.”
Erik lay in bed on his back Beatrice snuggled up against him and his arms around her as he stared up at the ceiling, unable to sleep. He knew he had done the right thing in telling Ruban that he did not want to see Christine perform, but deep in his heart he knew he still wanted to. He wanted to hear her sing at least one last time. See her one last time as her happy self, and not haunted by him as The Phantom of the Opera or her Angel of Music.
He had fought the urge to jump at the offer Ruban had given him for Beatrice’s sake. It was bad enough that she thought so badly of herself and that he was still in love with Christine, he couldn’t take her to Christine’s performance with the thought of seeing her again. It would only make Beatrice sure that he still loved her. It would crush her, and he couldn’t do that to her.
Erik looked down at the sleeping red-head in his arms and marveled at her a moment. The porcelain skin sprinkled with the adorable freckles on her nose and cheeks, and the pouting, moist, rosy lips that were slightly parted and beckoning him to kiss them. One of his hands was running its fingers through her silky soft curls of fiery red hair, and had been since they had settled in to go to sleep. Her slender arms were wrapped around him, and one slim hand rested on his chest. She looked for the entire world like the most beautiful angel, and he was captivated by her.
Beatrice stirred and he smiled when she pressed her face against his neck. He pulled his mask off and placed it on the nightstand next to the bed then shifted so that he could be face to face with Beatrice. She snuggled into the pillow and Erik pulled his arms back around her, staring at her peaceful face.
“I love you, Beatrice,” he whispered, not really wanting her to hear but needing to say it. He couldn’t help but chuckle quietly when he saw her smile, as if she had heard him and had thought of a way to use it against him already.
“Erik…” she breathed, stirring slightly again.
Erik felt pride sweep over him at that moment, and couldn’t help himself from pulling her closer. She spoke his name in her sleep so innocently, and it teased him to no end that he found it seductive.
“You are taunting me, little one,” he whispered with a smirk.
Beatrice simply groaned and stirred.
“Erik…” she moaned.
Erik felt like he was going to burst from that one sound. Now she was moaning?! Did she know what she was doing to him?! Apparently not because she snuggled even closer to him until he felt every lovely inch of her against him. It was becoming too much for him, especially when her hands began making a slow journey downward across his chest. Erik gripped her hands gently but she didn’t wake up and he slowly inched backwards, but wasn’t paying attention to where he was on the bed, and fell right off the edge with a grunt. Beatrice finally woke up with a start and when she didn’t find Erik lying next to her, she panicked and frantically looked around.
“Erik!” she cried and jumped slightly when his hand came up and rested on the mattress. He pushed himself to his feet and Beatrice couldn’t help the snicker that erupted from her throat. She threw her hands over her mouth when Erik shot a wide-eyed gaze at her but it only made her burst into laughter.
“I am sure you find my clumsiness absolutely hilarious, but could you be a dear and not laugh at me, please?” he said flatly.
Beatrice slowly stopped laughing and held her arms toward him, beckoning him to come to her. He crawled back into the bed and pulled her into his embrace as they laid back.
“I am sorry, dear,” Beatrice smiled, pressing her face into his chest. “You can be so amusing sometimes.”
“As can you, cheri,” Erik smirked, getting an idea to make her blush. As they looked into each other’s eyes, one of Erik’s hands ran down her back and cupped her rear. Beatrice gasped and Erik grinned as her skin tinged to a deep crimson.
“Erik!” she gasped when he pulled her closer. “Do you know what you are doing?!”
“I am making you blush,” he smiled triumphantly then began leaving hot tender kisses on her neck and shoulder.
“Your skin is feverish,” he growled against her skin.
“Because you are devouring me again,” Beatrice breathed, trying to be comical in this very awkward moment for her.
“Can you blame me, cheri?” Erik smiled against her neck. “You are delicious.”
She was interrupted when she felt Erik’s fingers touch her lips to silence her, and she froze as he gazed into her eyes.
“I know, mon ange,” he whispered, moving his hand away. He left a tender kiss on her lips and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. “Sleep, little one.”
“I will ‘devour’ you in my dreams.”