Chapter 4-A Carriage Ride
Chapter 4: A Carriage Ride
Erik stared across the carriage at Beatrice sitting in front of him, staring out the window. They were on their way to the docks to board a ship and leave for Spain, and before they had nearly made their quiet, secret escape out of Madame Giry’s home, Meg had caught them and made a scene when Beatrice confessed their plan. The girls had cried, and hugged good-bye and Beatrice told Meg to give a message to Madame Emerson telling the teacher she was leaving on an indefinite holiday.
Now they sat in the carriage in silence, Beatrice with dry tears on her cheeks and Erik with his blood boiling in anger. They had been so close to their get-away before that little blonde ballet brat had showed up. The thing that had his temper flaring, however, was the fact that Beatrice had actually told the girl where they were going, why they were leaving and that they didn’t know how long they would be. Meg didn’t need to know that!
“Why did you confess to Meg what we were doing?” Erik finally asked, unable to conjure up a good enough excuse for her on his own. Beatrice looked at him in surprise.
“I beg your pardon?” she asked, sincerely not having heard him.
“Why did you have to tell Meg what we were doing?” Erik repeated, even more irritated.
“Because she is my friend!” Beatrice shot back, sitting up straight. “I plan on writing to her when we settle into a house as well. Does that bother you?!”
“Yes!” Erik growled sincerely. “She may tell the police where I am!”
“I doubt it! If she did that she would be turning me in as well, and she would not be able to stand the guilt of turning in an innocent person!”
“You know, you are not exactly innocent when harboring a fugitive,” Erik smirked.
“Are you saying I should call for the police right now?” Beatrice smirked back. “I could turn you in and have a clean conscience with them. Is that what you want?”
Erik opened his mouth to say something, but then registering her words sat back in his seat.
“No,” he mumbled looking out the window. He had put his foot in his mouth and said something before thinking, and she had caught him. However, he couldn’t help the small smirk that came to his lips. This girl had fire, and he hoped he could see more of that during their time spent together.
“Alright then,” Beatrice nodded, and resumed her staring out the window. “It is a beautiful night tonight.”
Erik looked at her in surprise at her sudden calm.
“The moon is full.” She looked at Erik with a smile. “Do you know what people say about the full moon, Erik?”
“No, mon ami,” he smiled, leaning his head to the side, resting it on the door of the carriage. “What do they say?”
“Many things!” Beatrice grinned then quickly stood and sat next to him on his side of the carriage. “They say there is a man on the moon.”
“Impossible,” Erik laughed.
“It’s true! They say you can see his whole face in the full moon! Look…” She leaned over him to look out the window, and he stiffened at her being so close, as she pointed at the full moon.
“There is his nose and his smile, and his eyes,” she continued, still staring at the moon, but Erik was staring at her. The moonlight coming in from the window illuminated her face, gently caressing her features in the soft light. She almost looked like…an angel.
“Yes,” Erik breathed. “I see.”
She looked up at him, and their noses grazed each other’s, and even in the low light Erik could see her face flush crimson and the stain spread all the way down her neck and chest. She quickly stood to sit back on her side of the carriage, but one of the wheels hit a rock, jostling it a bit fiercely and knocking Beatrice forward. She cried out in surprise and landed on Erik’s chest, with his arms wrapping around her in reflex to keep her from falling.
“Thank---” She stopped when she looked back up at him, and their eyes locked. The blush on her face deepened and her heart raced when she realized how close they were, close enough that they could see their breath mingling in the cold air as they breathed heavily.
“Are you alright?” Erik asked, not knowing what else to say.
“Y-Yes,” Beatrice finally stuttered. “Just…a bit…dizzy.”
Her eyes closed a little, and he pulled her closer to support her as he sat her next to him. She felt her heart pounding in her chest, and her hands began to sweat while her mouth became dry and her head was spinning.
“Just sleep, mon ami,” Erik whispered in her ear, sending a chill running through her that she couldn’t contain. She shivered and Erik became concerned again.
“Are you cold, Beatrice?” he asked, and he quickly removed his cape and laid it gently on top of her.
“I…” she breathed, trying to speak. “I am fine, Erik. Thank you.”
He smiled, and she returned the gesture. He sat back and stared out the window in silence before she spoke again.
“Yes?” he asked, not looking away from the scenery outside.
“How will we pass ourselves off when we get to the dock?” She had been thinking about this for a while, and waited for the perfect moment to ask. What better time than when they needed to change the subject? Erik smiled mischievously, and formed a quick joke in his head. He had liked how she had blushed, and he wanted to see that color cover her features again.
“We could say we are husband and wife,” he replied flatly, not looking away from the window. He felt Beatrice jerk into a sitting position and turned to see her staring at him in his favorite color for her covering her face, neck and chest, a look of horror in her eyes.
“Hu-Husband, and w-wife?” she repeated in a slightly high voice.
“Yes,” Erik confirmed, coolly then slid closer to her. “Can you not see me as your husband?”
Beatrice’s face changed to another color of red, and she tried to look away from him, but he gently pulled her chin to make her look at him.
“If not your husband, perhaps your lover?”
She whimpered, and Erik felt pride sweep over him. He felt himself becoming thrilled with being so close to her, and he could only imagine what Beatrice was feeling right then, but the exhilaration he was giving himself by playing this trick on her was a good feeling for him, and he didn’t want to stop.
“W-Why don’t we just say we are b-brother and sister?” Beatrice wondered, trying not to fall for Erik’s charming attitude.
“Because, I think it would be much more interesting to play the part of lovers than relatives, don’t you?” Erik wondered quite honestly. He was very surprised at how far he was taking this, but he had to see how far he would get before she realized he was teasing, and he hoped she wouldn’t realize it too soon.
He ran the tips of his fingers along her jaw below her chin, and she closed her eyes, tilting her head back slightly. She placed her hands on his chest to push him back, but he placed his hands on hers gently.
“If you do not like the idea, we can say we are brother and sister if you wish,” he murmured. “But I doubt you and I make convincing siblings.”
He studied her face as she kept her eyes closed then bit her lower lip and frowned in thought, making Erik smile. He couldn’t believe how adorable he thought that was, and he wanted to see more of that while they were together.
“I-If you think it’s a good idea,” she finally said in a small voice. “W-We can say we are…” She swallowed loudly. “…married.”
She slowly opened her eyes to see Erik staring at her in disbelief, but he said nothing. “Erik?”
He shook off his shock, and smiled at her.
“Very well,” he murmured. “Since you agree, we are married. I am sorry, my dear, I did not have time to buy a ring for you.”
Beatrice couldn’t help but giggle. Maybe this role-playing wouldn’t be so bad. They only had to act married in public, not while it was just the two of them. How bad would it be? Erik closed in on her again, and she found herself panicking and scooting away from him slightly.
“Erik?” her voice cracked. “What are you doing?”
“Well, if we are to make others perceive that we are married, should we not act as though we are?”
“Not while we are alone,” Beatrice whispered.
“Why not?” Erik wondered in earnest. “We could get into character to prepare to be in front of others.”
Unfortunately, it made sense and Beatrice knew that if he touched her again, even a slight graze of her hand touching his she would surely faint. She had been attracted to him from the start, and every time he was near her he made butterflies in her stomach. This man was too much for her, and she knew it.
“Al-Alright,” she stuttered and he grinned, closing in on her again. He was truly enjoying this game too much, and he didn’t care. She placed her fingertips on his lips, and he stopped with a frown of confusion.
“I have some terms I wish to discuss first, Don Juan,” she said sarcastically.
“Terms?!” he nearly whined.
“Yes, terms,” Beatrice nodded. “I have some rules that you must follow if we are to be ‘husband and wife’.”