Christine jumped to her feet as Meg entered the room and closed the door softly behind her. “What happened? How did it go?” Christine asked, the anxiety written clearly on her face. Her voice was soft, she was afraid if she spoke too loudly he would hear her.
“It’s alright, Christine.” Meg assured her, taking her hands and bringing them to her lips. “He is leaving tomorrow morning for Italy.”
”Did he know it was you?” Christine asked, looking at their hands.
”No.” Meg shook her head. “He saw me come to the room afterwards, but he doesn’t know you’re here.” She assured her.
Christine closed the distance between them and kissed Meg. She wrapped her arms around her neck. “We’re okay? We’re really okay?”
”Yes.” Meg nodded, touching Christine’s cheek lightly. “We can stay here as long as you’d like.” She kissed Christine’s forehead.
”I choose forever.” Christine murmured. “Perhaps not in this inn, but in this town.” She leaned into Meg’s touch. “In your arms.” She said in a voice so soft Meg almost thought she’d imagined it.
”I love you.” Meg said softly.
”I love you too.” Christine responded. She leaned up again and pressed her lips against Meg’s, gentle and persistent. Meg had never kissed anyone before Christine. She was glad Christine was her first kiss. And her second. And third. Hopefully Christine would be the only person she’d ever kiss like this.
Meg’s hand slid down from Christine’s cheek. It trailed along her neck and sides before finally finding its place on her hip. It felt like her hand belonged on her hip, like every moment led to that hand being on that hip.. Christine swept her tongue over Meg’s lower lip and Meg let out a soft gasp, allowing Christine better access to her mouth.
”It’s still a bit odd to me.” Christine mused between kisses. “You not wearing trousers.” She clarified, moving her attention down to Meg’s neck.
Meg let out a breathy laugh, letting her head fall back. “I’ll wear whatever you’d like me to. I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep you here.” She said, a grin so big it was threatening to split her face. “I love you so much, Christine.” She didn’t know when the words had become so easy. Holding them back had been like holding her breath, but now she could finally breathe deeply and freely.
”I love you too.” Christine leaned back up to kiss Meg again. Christine couldn’t remember a time where she had been happier, more relieved, freer than she felt at that moment. “And I’m so happy.” She touched Meg’s cheek.
”I’m overjoyed.” Meg agreed. They just stood in that embrace for a moment. Each was a bit afraid to let go of the other, that if they did they’d be lost. Each nervous, but excited about what was coming next. But more than all, they were happy and free. Meg kissed Christine again.
Meg’s eyes opened as sunlight streamed through their windows. She looked over at her best friend, the love of her life, Christine. She brushed a curl from her sleeping face and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Meg slipped out of bed and pulled the curtains shut so Christine could sleep a little longer.
She walked through the cottage they had begun to call home. It was better than nice or good, it was perfect. Meg walked to the kitchen and put a loaf of bread she had begun making last night in the stove. She had begun to sit down when there was a knock at the door. She hurriedly tied her dressing gown and went to the door. A smile crossed her face. “Good morning, Charlie.”
Charlie was a little orphan boy, not older than nine, that delivered mail and news to those around town. He was one of Meg’s favorite people to see. “Good morning madamoiselle.” He pronounced the word like mam’selle. He nodded, holding out a letter to her.
”Thank you, Charlie.” Meg nodded. “I’m baking bread. If you can wait for a few minutes, I’ll send you on your way with a warm slice of bread and some cheese.
Charlie paused for a second, nodding. “Yes please. That’d be very nice.” He took his cap into his hands as he stepped into the building.
Meg looked at her mother’s handwriting on the letter and let out a sigh. She looked over her shoulder at the boy. “Charlie, will you be a dear and go get some water from the well out back?” She asked. “Next time I bake sweets I’ll make sure you get extras.” She smiled sweetly.
”You don’t have to do that ma’am.” He smiled. “But I do appreciate it.” He rushed out of the house, leaving Meg with a fond smile on her face.
Meg slipped her finger under the edge of the envelope, opening it. She pulled out the paper, unfolding it, and taking a deep breath. She read over it.
”Dear Meg, I hope you and Christine are well. You are welcome to return to the opera house. Raoul is gone to Italy, searching for Christine. Erik is gone too. Christine will be safe here again. You both will be safe at home. Meg, my dearest, I beg you, please come home.”
Meg grabbed a piece of paper and began the response to her mother, when Charlie returned from the well with a pitcher of water. She put her pen down. “Thank you, Charlie.” She smiled, mussing up his hair. “The bread will be done any moment now.”
Meg pulled the bread out of the stove a few minutes later, cutting a couple of slices off and putting them on a plate. “Let me get you some cheese to go with it.” She smiled, slicing off some cheese and putting it alongside the bread. “Here you go. I’m going to go wake up Christine.”
She walked over to their bed and sat on the edge. She brushed hair away from her face and leaned down to kiss her gently. “Christine.” She said softly, her hand moving to cup her face. She ran her thumb over her cheek. “Good morning, sweetheart.” She said as Christine’s eyes fluttered open.
“Good morning, love.” Christine touched her cheek.
”Charlie’s eating breakfast in the other room.” Meg said softly, leaning in and kissing her gently. “I made fresh bread.”
“Thank you darling.” Christine smiled, rising from the bed and donning her dressing gown. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
Meg went back to the kitchen and fixed plates for herself and Christine. Christine came out a moment later, dressed for the day. “Good morning Charlie.” She smiled, kissing his head. “How are you this morning?” She asked, accepting a plate from Meg.
As they talked, Meg pulled her letter back out. “Maman, I’ve told you before. Christine does not want to go back. I don’t want to go back either. We are so happy here. Although you are welcome to come visit us anytime.” She smiled, looking at Christine and Charlie with fondness. This was everything she had ever wanted. She was so happy.