It had been a couple of months since the NewYear and since he had unwittingly began slowly giving into his desires for Olivia. More than that it appeared the two had begun to spend more time together, and not just during the nights when he was meant to be helping her get ready for her audition that she had been working so hard for.
"You do remember everything that we have been going over and doing?" Came the soft words of the man as he now stood off to the side near the curtain, blue gaze trained on the woman. The main house was almost filled to the point of overflowing. His words weren't meant to be as callused as they sounded and the woman would know that as they had been spending the time together. It was just merely who he was.
Slowly did the man move closer to her. "You'll be amazing. You are always...never have I said so until now because I wanted it to mean something and I knew if I didn't say you would work to prove it."
"It seems difficult for you to believe that I would want to. Well, it makes sense. Still, I thought we got past all that after the start of the lessons. It should be clear by now- we are each others weaknesses. All our best defenses just go poof..." Olivia gave a soft smile at that. That kiss, that had been amazing. There was that gnawing feeling for more of that. "Good, I don't mean to go to bed anytime soon."
That had sounded dirty she realized after a minute. She gave a small laugh at that. "I didn't mean that how it sounded, honestly." Taking his arm, she followed after wherever he lead carefully. Eventually it got cold and her feet hurt too much.
"Let's go back up, it's getting cold and kind of miserable down here. Maybe a movie or a show...and not on the feet," she said looking to her feet. Dancers feet were poor miserable things.
Cecil wrapped his coat around her body and escorted her out. No one seemed to care about the kissing, nor the fact that they were leaving together. It was in the air of how they would sleep tonight, even if all they did was watch a movie and cuddle and he'd feel like a million bucks.
The studio was small, it being a studio, there wasn't real walls so he used Japanese style dividers between his bedroom and the living room. The main lived part was the desk with the books, computer and desk, a little love seat and couch for the living room.
"Here it is, home. I'm not here often so I figured, why waste the money on a bedroom. There isn't much company here, either, friends or girls," Cecil chuckled. "Want to order anything or see what I have?"
A movie was in order now. Yes, he moved to the kitchen to get water.
Blue-grey eyes went to the man and she gave a raised brow. A slight smirk came to her lips and she shrugged. "Maybe, or maybe not." Bea knew he had been teasing her and so she couldn't help but to tease back. Of course she was not one to court trouble, maybe a few times but it was not often at all. Now Olivia on the other hand, she was the one who would definitely be the one courting trouble. Bea was almost sure that anyone could or would guess that much. That they would know just how different the two women were in their tastes.
Almost when she heard his words could she not believe what she had said. But it had been too late to take anything back. Besides the idea and with him was so very tempting. "I'd like that. All of it. Movie and breakfast and whatever may come." The woman said with a smile.
Slowly she nodded when he had asked about a jacket. "Afraid so...I seem to have forgotten to bring one."
Harsh, bitter, cold, unfeeling and so many other words of the sort could be used and were used when referring to Erik. The man wasn't known for his warmth and kindness and didn't quite get on well with people. Given his past and what had been, the man didn't trust others and had chosen to close himself in and set himself apart from himanity. It was part of his curse. And so he had not had any "fun" or even tried to find anyone to love. He had simply given up and merely threw himself into his work and his music. It was his best and easiest escape and for a time had been enough.
"Yes...if you are sure about that.. Then one day I will tell you." Honestly he was shocked at her response and how she had actually said she would want to get to know him more.
After their kiss and when her hand had come to rest on his cheek, the man who had once been known as the Phantom had stiffened. He had expected her to hate him and to possibly slap him. But when those things did not come, his posture relaxed and his crystal gaze locked with the gaze of Olivia and he nodded slowly.
"I would very much enjoy your company for a little longer. I've not enjoyed someone's company so much in so long." Erik admitted and held his arm to her. He planned to show her more of the underground or to do anything else that she would want to do.
"Don't tell me there is a waiting list or a string of heart broken men. That's really not as romantic as it sounds," Cecil gave a gentle tease. He knew what it wasn't truly the case, she didn't court trouble. Now her roommate did court trouble. That was obvious just by watching her for five minutes.
Looking towards her the idea of movie and breakfast sounded remarkable. The last part was unexpected. What relationships he had been in a little slower considering he hadn't really been into them. Unexpectedly he gave a small laugh. "Forward, aren't we? I'm always welcome to what may come. Movie, possibly more, and breakfast. I can arrange all that. Do you need a jacket?"
He was still going to be a gentleman about all this. The idea was tempting.
There were quite a few words that could describe her. Most of them were not so nice. She was irresponsible to a point, rude, and her track record with men wasn't the best. It wasn't as if she married several times for gain. For the last year she had been good though. No men, no fun times in the sack, just work and music. It was frustrating but she barely had time for any of that anyway.
"I can see that," Olivia smiled. She gave a small pause, thinking on what he could mean. "Of course I would love to get to know you better."
That kiss had been amazing. It was a first in many ways. First teacher, and an older male. That being said it still felt right and parting the kiss actually made her want more. Keeping his gaze she gave a smile to him reaching up to stroke his cheek. "Would you mind some company for a little while longer?"
The man was layered. There was no denying that one bit. On the surface he hated most and so many things. Hardly did he trust or let others in. Those he managed to let in, Cecil for example happened to be lucky. And he was definitely hard working, something he had always known and prized himself on. It had also been pretty much all he had known as to the people in the day and age that they now lived, the man had once more had no real life. If he were honest he hardly did now but was VERY SLOWLY seeming to let some of that peel away and to once more get back into his work and to even, though grudgingly help students who showed some talent and promise to learn. And finally, he was finding himself to be very shocked. People had never been good to him and he never trusted him. That the young woman with him he was with had slowly gotten past his carefully construcred barriers was beyond him. That he was able to show her some of who he truly was scared him in some sense. But it also made him have a glimmer of hope that not all was lost.
"When it comes to the phantom...Just there is a connection there. And I understand what he went through.. Perhaps one day I will tell you more..if you truly want to know." Erik whispered, just so she knew that he had indeed heard her.
The kiss that he had given Olivia had not been at all planned and had come as a shock to even him. But when he had done it, the man had found her lips were soft and sweet..a feeling he had only known at one time in his life before. But even those lips, those kisses had not been as soft and alluring as the one he now shared with the young woman in the moonlight. It was so new a feeling and dared he even let himself think so, magical.
Slowly did he pull back from the kiss, his clear blue eyes locked with Olivia's. The man gave a faint bow of his head, unsure how to act or even what to say. It was all so new to him. Part of him wanted to run and to withdraw, but the other, the other part to him wanted to kiss her again. And wanted even more than that single shared kiss. What was happening? How could she have gotten past his reserve as she had?
"Well when it comes to me you're in luck. I'm the kind of girl that likes those things and likes to learn. Intelligence in a man is quite sexy and enduring. So I would definitely say it is something that you got me kissing you back, since I don't just fall for anyone." Bea said with a soft, almost chime like laugh of her own as she gave the man's hand a squeeze and gave him a cheeky little wink.
God she was being silly and she knew it too. But with Cecil she couldn't help it. The man was just so different and helped her to show sides to her that she usually dared not. Odd but nice was how she felt about it.
"Actually a nice night, er morning off would be nice. Maybe even movies and breakfast? Ooor we could always have a little fun?" Okay maybe she was still a little tipsy, but she meant her offer if he knew what was implied. However, the call was ultimately his.
The man was a complex swirl of mysteries, emotions and depths. On the first level he seemed an intense man who disliked most things. There was probably a level that was true, it didn't bother her though. Despite her younger years she felt much the same. The next part was a man that worked hard and was dedicated and passionate. It really was admirable and she found herself drawing on that more than expected. This level was new though. The emotion on his face and tone when speaking about this phantom of long ago.
That was just damn strange if she was honest. Somehow it touched her though, feeling trusted to see this in his clear eyes. "I didn't know you knew so much about that history of this place or the phantom," Olivia commented. "There's a story to that, isn't there? Well I'm here to listen."
The kiss was completely surprising, however. She hadn't expected that. It was soft and tender and almost innocent like. Olivia didn't even think twice before kissing back, melting into it.
"I can still show a girl a good time, though. Actually that good time consists of museums and useless facts but we've already done that and you still kissed me back so that's gotta be something, right?" Cecil laughed. Bea was right though, he was dense when it came back to that. There was still the fact about his family and Erik, he wasn't even sure how to begin about that and how to tell her. It seemed insane, but a man coming as what his ancestor had said- that was proof.
"I'm glad that you do like me though. I've always liked you," he admitted with a small goofy grin. Where could they go? He wasn't exactly sure. That was when he thought he would give her a small crash course in his families odd customs. That could scare her off though.
"We could just go to my apartment and relax. I don't have any big ideas and a nice night....er...morning off seems good."
The second kiss seemed to awaken more within her. Seemed a little bit longer and to hold more meaning than their first had. To some extent, it made her dizzy with her delight and just the fire it had seemed to light. Of course the redhead kept her mouth shut as she didn't want to seem to corny herself.
Her eyes went to meet his as his finger stroked her cheek and he had laughed at her statement. Slowly her head tilted as she wondered just what his thoughts would be.
"For a bright man, you can be a little dense on how people can feel.. But the denseness is adorably enduring. Yes...there had been Theo and I had a small interest, but there was no way he could or would ever compare to what you made me feel...I just didn't say because I had been afraid and thought you might not feel the same..." Bea admitted with a soft red rising in her cheeks, though her eyes had never strayed.
"Actually, getting out of here and being with you sounds really nice. The best. Anywhere you want to go, I haven't anywhere in mind.." She whispered and returned his kiss. "Happy New Year, Cecil."
A faint smirk came to the man's lips when she told him of having heard about him but having been more intrigued by the slave owner in the French Quarter. In truth he had been out there and seen the place, and even though he was a cold man, a small part of his heart felt for the slaves. And for a couple of moments he let his mind linger on the French Quarter before Olivia's words drew him back into reality and blue gaze met hers.
"She's been telling you what Cecil has been telling her? Well since you do believe him to be real..I suppose I can tell you that you are right.." Those were the words he did speak and then once more fell to silence as his hand was still in hers.
He had not even remembered that they had been holding hands, which struck him odd because he was usually so careful of being touched or anything intimate. But with her, there was a draw and one he was personally a little scared of. Slowly he was getting attatched to her.
"It..yes it was a different and cruel time. One where people feared magicks and the devils. A time that logic was overidden with fear of the unknown.." The words and even emotion just slipped. Emotion that he had tried so hard to keep locked away.
As she kissed his cheek, a faint red did come to them and he turned to where he was facing her fully. What was he doing? Before he clearly thought it through, the man gently kissed her. "Happy New Year...Olivia.."
That second kiss seemed to last longer than the first one, it still gave a giddy sensation this time around. Giving a soft smile he stroked her cheek with one finger. Laughing softly at her statement he thought on that knowing that any answer he would come up with would sound silly. Still he knew he would have to say something no matter how silly it was.
"Well, I wasn't...well, I don't know...I didn't know you felt the same and I hesitated and then there was Theo. Now, however, I'd like to ask you on a very romantic date," Cecil gave a sweet smile. "Let's blow this popsicle stand. Where would you like to go?"
He wanted to take her anywhere, hold her hand, do all that corny stuff. The idea of doing more with her was exhilarating.
"Happy New Year, Bea," he kissed her softly.
"The phantom has what most of us will never have. Immortality. I heard that story the first week I was here. Granted, it wasn't as exciting as the slave owner in the French Quarter. Story states that she mutilated and killed five or so slaves in her attic. I worked one block from there," Olivia recounted, completely forgotten that she hadn't let go of his hand during this. "This will spoil the question but I know he was real. Bea told me all about it, and she learned it from Cecil."
Somewhere during this time she thought of just how nice this was and how his hand felt. It was becoming painfully aware of her growing attraction to him.
Thinking on the question seriously, her expression turned to pondering. "It seems so odd. Now we see deformation and have understanding but then it was seen some mark of the devil. That poor guy."
Looking to her watch she saw it was almost midnight, she gave a smile. "Happy New Year," she leaned up to kiss cheek.
Icy gaze stayed upon the other male before the pair as he seemed for the moment to forget that Olivia were there as well. For that brief moment, it seemed as if Erik were sent spiraling back in time to when something of this nature had happened before. But it was when his arm had been gently gripped did the man come back to the present and give the very faintest of shakes of his head. He really did have to remember that the past was simply that and even if it were just a visit within his own mind and memories he did run the risk of being trapped there once more, of diluding any form of progress that had been made in helping him.
As he had been bade, the man led the way. Of course he didn't think of the ypung woman's attire until they had found their way into the undergrounds and her shoes were in her hands and she was holding the hems of her skirt to make sure the dress would not be ruined. Quite an amusing sight to say the least as the man would have thought the woman to perhaps want to turn back once she remembered that her clothing was not at all suitable for the task that they had chosen to undertake.
All the while, his hand kept ahold of hers to make sure she did not end up losing her balance or end up tripping. He of course knew the ins and outs with his eyes closed and would have no problems, but to be polite he kept their pace slow and steady, only stopping when Olivia did to cast icy blue eyes out over the lake.
"Some believe him to merely be a legend or an old tale. Usually he's forgotten about because his tale is hardly one to be told anymore. So there is no telling if the 'Phantom' was real or not. Though because you mentioned it and seem so intrigued by this place, I must ask if you think he is just a mere legend or at some time in history could have been a person?" It was hard to speak of the man he had once been in such a manner but he was not to give anything away. To boot, Erik wanted to know what her answer and true thoughts on the "ghost of his past" happened to be as he had not come across many would have even remembered or known.
Surprise was possibly how she felt, or was it more of relief? The young woman did find herself a little tipsy but she was still completely aware of what she was doing and what she was thinking. And to be perfectly honest, Cecil was downright adorable in how pleased he seemed that it appeared that they had felt the same way for the other but also been seemingly afraid to say something. To her it was a sweet and refreshing type of innocen that she had not seen in so long.
"How would I have been able to turn you down? There is something so special and different about you.. You make me feel and think in ways no other ever had." Bea found herself whispering against his lips as he had returned her kiss.
It was their first true kiss and it she hoped wouldn't be the last. As silly as it may have seemed, the young woman almost didn't want for the night to end. But she did find herself wanting to be alone with the man. Somewhere that didn't include being surrounded by a bunch of people. Of course no one seemed to notice them, which she was more than fine with but she thought perhaps another scene might be even better. "Want to ditch being here..or stay for a while longer?" She asked as her eyes slowly came up to lock with his.
"Of course she does," Olivia responded dryly before giving a shake on her head. It was easier to snap at Emery and call him a devil worshipper. Somehow Erik being there calmed her, or the attempt to act differently this time around. "It's true, this was made just a minute ago. Anyway, good to see you again. Sabine's daughter should be in some room somewhere with a stranger."
Taking Erik's arm she gave a small wave, not without noticing the tension between the males. It made her think it was about her for a second. "Lead away," she smiled, not even thinking about her clothes.
She really should have, she ended up carrying her shoes and tying the end of the dress to keep it from getting too dirty. Finally when the lake came into view she kept a hold of his hand, before it had been for balance. "Wow, this is real. I wonder if that means if the phantom was real, too. That is amazing."
There was no slap or slipping away, instead she had kissed back and spoke of feelings. Cecil couldn't help but grin like an idiot at all of it. She felt the same! It was like winning at lesst for the minute. "We both seemed to be ignoring what we both felt for each other. What a relief, I thought you'd turn me down and it'd get all awkward."
At that request he looked to her curiously before kissing back cupping her cheek carefully. This really had to be a dream come true. Perhaps his friend was also having equally good luck.
No one seemed to notice them as they were having their first but hopefully many kisses.
She was almost shocked at her own words and what she had told the man, but it had been the truth and he had asked. His reaction to what she had told him was not at all what she would have expected though. But honestly, what had the woman expected? With Cecil, everything was so different and seemed to have a new meaning. And this appeared no different.
"I..I guess I didn't know how to say it before. Think you've gotten that I can hold conversation but not so great at telling someone how I feel." The young woman managed to say just before she felt his lips gently press to hers. The kiss was awkward but only because of the angling. Otherwise, it was one of the softest and the sweetest she had had. So different from all the rest, but in the best possible way.
Almost did she whine when the man had pulled back but she was able to bite it back. A shy smile came to her lips as there was still the soft blush in her cheeks. "Really? Well what other impulses have been there?" Bea found herself asking. Maybe it was the drinks that they had had or she was finally coming out of the cage she tried to contain herself in. Whatever the reason though, the woman without much thought got on her toes and gently pulled Cecil into another kiss.
"You know she's been a help in some of the business at the bar. So of course I would know her. But I am still curious to know what kind of plans you could have made and in such a hurry." Emery said, eyes going between Olivia and Erik.
Never had he thought of the woman as a mistake. The two had been reckless and it had been a good time. Did he regret it? No though there were some thing he would admit that he had done and was not proud of.
"Nothing to do with me? Thought you are trying to avoid me since I happen to know the 'SheDevil' that your father married. Have to admit Olivia that these plans seem to have perfect timing."
"I would imagine most tend to do that. It is pick and choose what happens to be best to heed and what is to ignore. Though this is one thing that was good to come from it." The man mused.
His eyes then went to the other man. Oh how he would have loved to fight him. Emery seemed the type to think he was right about everything and clearly seemed a thorn in Olivia's side. But he had promised Cecil to behave and he really did want tl keep to the plans that they had made.
"I promise that this was something I had asked just before you had come.. But if you will excuse us." Erik said, quietly with a chill to his voice as he held an arm out to Olivia.
Cecil wasn't sure what stopped working first, his brain or his mouth. Both seemed to be in a tie at this point. There wasn't anything between Lawrence and Bea, she hadn't invited him because she liked him instead. That should not have made him as giddy as it did at his age but it dead. Suddenly instead of a stunned, near vacant expression into a wide grin.
"You don't know how glad I am to hear you say that," Cecil gave a small laugh before leaning down giving an awkward kiss. It felt amazing, but the angle was awkward, still it was amazing.
Blinking at his sudden action he looked to her with a nervous chuckle. "Uh, I'm sorry that was an impulse...that I have had for a few months. Yeah..."
"I've never personally done it, my exes sister told me that when I met her. Odd thing is she's like a sister that passes on information that I really don't care to know. But it seems like really good advice to try and follow," Olivia gave a laugh, though it was wry. Thinking of her past mistakes and how they seemed to repeat, it was tiring.
One of those mistakes were looking at her in the face. A year before she had all over him because of the break up and transition. Now she was in a spot when she looked to Emery and she saw only the past mistakes.
"Of course you'd know Cruela de Vile...and after calling me awful things to my face would do this. Wow, that's just wow," she gave a small sound before giving a thin smile. "Thanks Emery, but I just made plans a few minutes ago and I'd really like to do them. There's always the big welcome new years party at the bar. Trust me, this has nothing to do with you."
Erik considered them friends, that made her happy. She had do something with Erik, and it honestly sounded much better.
His words had her slowly look up at the man. Interesting to say the least, but they had also been on her mind as well. Why hadn't she invited the male whom she had been out with? Of course she liked him and he was a kind man, but he happened to lack something Cecil had. And for that reason she hadn't been able to click with Lawrence as easily.
"Actually...I had been thinking about that myself..I just didn't know the answer until now. You see...he's nice and all but doesn't have the same kind of charms that you do..and try as I might I just can't click with him easily....So I guess I'm trying to say, it's nice having the night with you and not having to worry about trying to impress someone and be someone I'm not." Had she gone too far in her words? Would he hate her for them? God she didn't know but in any case it was too late to take it back and she had been answering his questions honestly.
"If..If I have said something I shouldn't have I'm sorry.." The young woman said, cheeks becoming a dark pink and heart once more a flutter in her chest.
The ball was now in Cecil's court and dare she say it she was a little anxious.
"Some cannot look at life that way or have a hard time seeing it so. But I think you have put it into perspective wonderfully and how one makes life what it is and can 'play their cards' in ways that can either better it or worsen it." And it was true. Until she had spoken those words, Erik had never thought to look at life in that way. But also given his time and how people had always been, he had never seen need. He had been hated and in turn hated people.
"Because, Olivia..you may teach one to play but not to feel." And the man left it at that. He had been about to make a comment about the smile and compliment, but then icy blue orbs fell on the man who had come up to them.
"Ah, a pleasure to meet any friends of Olivia's. And yes..we are friends even with me being her teacher." He was answering Olivia's hidden question and the look upon the man's face. This was causing him to struggle as he was starting to flashback. But he remained semi confident and 'cool'.
"I was invited by your stepmother. She said it would be an evetful evening and I would get the chance to see you. Who could pass that up?" Emery said with a faint smile and then turned his gaze to the man whom Olvia had introduced. Instead of making a scene he simply nodded.
"Had I interrupted anything? Perhaps I might interest you in a dance or drink? That is if your teacher would not mind sharing your company?"
"Everyone had a bad card in their life, it's a matter of how you play it. That's what I have been told at least. Now let's see how exactly you are supposed to play it. Thank you though," Olivia gave a small chuckle, though it was lost to her on how to do that. There was something odd about him being this kind to her but it seemed to cement them becoming closer. "That's because you hate teaching dancing and love music, but for some mysterious reason won't teach others. I've been wondering why but I'm not going to pry."
There was a story to this older male, and a big one too. She was dying to know what it was but wouldn't pry as she stated. "Oh, a smile and a compliment, that's a nice change."
Seeing Emery was a surprise, and he seemed upset. Olivia hadn't given any reason for them to think otherwise. "Emery, this is my teacher and dare I say, my friend, Erik. What brings you to this boring event?"
At least she hoped that they could be friends at that point. Erik somehow became an important person in her life. Giving a smile to Erik, she looked to Emery, clearly lost on the situation.
The dancing was not terrible, there was only some toe stepping. Sure, a woman was leading him but he was a hopeless dancer being lead by a beautiful woman. It only occurred to him that Lawrence was not here with her. Why wouldn't she invite him since they had gone out a handful of times to his knowledge.
"Bea, this is more personal but I gotta ask. Why didn't you invite Laurie?" He asked hoping that she wouldn't hate him for asking. Giving a small nervous chuckle he slowed just to look at her. "I'm probably horrible for saying this but I'm glad you didn't. This means that I get you to myself this evening."
Was that too much? He was not exactly sure what would count as too much at this point. Maybe if he said he liked her a lot and with the right signal kiss her. "Uh, I hope that isn't exactly too much."
This woman did things to him. Not in a bad way, but made him feel and think in ways he had never thought he would again. In some sense it was like she seemed a breath of fresh air and nee life to the man who had once been known as "The Phantom". But he had to push those thoughts to the side for the night as he had promised Cecil he would try to behave for the night and to try and actually get along with Olivia on a "normal" level that would not end with him getting under the young woman's skin. For the moment it did seem to be working and he could see he was grateful to not be getting things wrong yet and was being semi sociable, well with her which was what his aim was.
"I would assume it takes a lot to deal with a father who has had so many wives and who all seem like this woman. It's a wonder that you've not gone completely mad if this has been repeating for so long. I truly am sorry to hear that you have been put through that.." Of course he didn't really know what he could say, but the words which he spoke he did mean.
A light smile once more graced Erik's lips when her next words had been spoken. "Hardly am I patient. You see how I run our class.. But with you I saw and do see something there and I wanted to see that flourish. So I did not see a means to walk away.. And does it now?" Different this young woman was, but that was the allure that she happened to habe for him.
Emery had been invited to the dance and even had hoped he would be seeing Olivia there. The only reason the man had decided to drop in was because he had heard that she would be there. So far though, the man had yet to come across her which to him was a bit of a disappointment.
When he was making his way out to leave was when he was scanning those who seemed to just be taking the time and enjoying the night outside. And that was when his eyes caught sight of Olivia, but she seemed with someone. How strange as she hadn't mentioned seeing someone.
With a shrug the man made his way over. "Wondered if I would be seeing you around tonight. And who is your friend?" Clearly he was not too fond of seeing Erik with Olivia.
A soft smile once more traced the young woman's lips as she heard the man's laugh. Always it seemed to make her feel better. Though she couldn't have helped taking Erik's words to heart, but she didn't or couldn't explain why to anyone. Well she could but it was the stubborness to her that didn't quite like to let others in.
Slowly she sipped at her drink and looked up at Cecil and gave a thoughtful look. "Perhpas a good tip when it comes to that man.. And I've heard him.play...clearly he is more passionate for music than dance. And Cecil, thank you." Bea said as she did lean over and give the man's cheek a gentle kiss before she stepped back, a soft red playing in her cheeks.
As he led her to where the others around them were waltzing a small smile played on her lips. It was actually a dance she was fairly confident in. "It's not a problem...no one really does know who leads these and it's just a night to have fun." She whispered as she took one of his hands in hers and gently placed the other on her waist, beginning to lead him in a dance.
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