Midnight on the Place des Vosges
Written July 17, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: Late/Anxiety/Continue.
It was always late when Erik arrived at the Place des Vosges townhouse. He traveled under cover of darkness from the Opera Garnier, in the 9eme arrondissement, to the square that straddled the 3eme and 4eme. Hansom cabs were always available outside the opera house and Zareh, who served as Claire’s concierge in the evenings, would take him back in the morning.
Claire did not know how long she could continue their nocturnal existence. She’d been in a state of nearly constant anxiety since Erik whisked her away to this townhouse; what if her cousin Francois found her? Worse, what if the gendarmerie found both of them? Erik’s reputation preceded him, even among those inclined to scoff at the idea of the Opera Ghost.
Claire stared at the ceiling in the darkened room; Erik slept next to her, his breathing even and relaxed. One long, elegant hand caressed her cheek, the musician’s dexterous fingers curved gently along the contour of her jaw. The damaged, twisted side of Erik’s face was pressed into the pillow; to look at him in repose this way, one would see only a handsome, virile man. A dangerous man, Claire reminded herself. A man who had killed for her without a single thought.
And yet, there was something else in him: an undercurrent of pain and anguish that Claire understood far too well. She’d known it when she lost first Papa and then Philippe; if he had lived, she thought, I would be married to him by now.
Instead, she was the mistress – there was no denying her position – of a notorious man whom many believed was no more than the stuff of legend and superstition.
And, heaven help her, she was in love with him.