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From Light Into Darkness
Chapter One (Part Two)
By: DarkenAngel


	"Christine." he breathed as I took a seat beside him. He reached for my hand
and placed a kiss on it. I smiled at his daring yet charming manners, even to
one such as me. he said, "You are even more beautiful than the first time I laid
eyes upon you last night. I am truly gazing upon an angel."

	"You are the angel, Count McClear." I said in return, blushing as I said it,
embarrassed to tell him this, for he must have been told the same by ladies much
finer and wealthier than I.

	"But, you are as well, dove, and there is no sense denying it." He replied, his
face coming closer to mine.

	"If I am an angel, I am one who has fallen from grace." I said.

	"Then we are two angels, lost upon a sea of darkness, each in search of the
cleansing light." Alexander whispered, the same soft smile on his lips.

	"Such words you speak." I breathed, amazed at his charm and wit.

	Alexander straightened back up from where he had leaned toward me and cleared
his throat. I gazed up at him in question. "Is something wrong, Alexander?" I
asked.

	"Non. I just thought of something, that is all." He answered, seeming
preoccupied.

	"You finally see the social gap between us, it is truly revealing itself to
you, is it not?" I asked, disappointed for surely this was the reason he had
broken the magic the moment had possessed.

He took my hands in his. "It is not class. I assure you of this. I was merely
contemplating the future . . . our future."

	"There can be no future for us, surely. You know this. I have no title, no
wealth, no dowry even should you want my hand. I am not a noblewoman." I said,
surprised that these seemingly logical words were coming from me.

	"Yes, there is a future for us. Not now, but soon. I merely must work it out
somehow. You will be accepted in my class for one day I will take you into Paris
dressed as the wealthiest noblewoman ever to enter that city of dreams. I am not
lying. I speak the truth. This is a vow I make to you now that you will not die
in this station of life. You will not die a peasant." Alexander said, his face
coming close to mine yet another time.

	I felt the magic returning. He kissed my lips softly, then pulled away, drawing
me into his arms, holding me close against him. I felt strength in him as I lay
against his chest, the soft velvet against my cheek. He undid my braid so that
my hair tumbled down my back. "Let me see you this way for as long as
possible."he whispered in my ear, his breath lightly against my neck.

	"I will." I answered. He stroked my hair and held me. We stayed that way for
some time and I began to feel the cold seep into my skin, realizing that I had
left my shawl in its place by the door in my hurry to meet him. I tried to
refrain from shivering only to fail. He felt my shudder and released me.
"Forgive me, I should have known that you were cold." He reached behind him and
drew his cape around my shoulders, fastening it securely under my chin with its
golden clasp.

	"Merci." I whispered and he kissed me again. When he pulled away, I sighed. He
laughed softly.

	" My poor inexperienced angel. Christine, one day when I leave this place you
will be at my side, though I am not sure when that day will be." he said.

	"I will wait." I said, leaning against him again. He pulled the cape closer
around me. I relished the luxurious texture of the cloth. I grew drowsy, and
trying as hard as I could not to close my eyes, I fell asleep in his arms
listening to his tales of the balls I would attend and the fine lady that I
would be and how proud he would be to walk into a crowded ballroom with me on
his arm.

	I awoke the next morning in my bedroom. I wondered how I had gotten there, then
remembered shockingly the event that occurred the night before and realized that
he must have carried me back home. I got up. My parents had yet to awaken. I saw
that I was still wearing Alexander's cape. I quickly took it off and hid it
under my blanket beneath the small bed I slept in. I resolved that I would
apologize for my rudeness the next time we met and hurried to help Mother, who I
heard stirring in the kitchen and ready myself the best I could for the church
service that was held in a small building down the road from where we lived.

	The next night I met Alexander in the place that had become more secret than it
had ever been before I had met him. We talked, he promising things I had only
dreamed of, and I almost crying from happiness. When he saw the tears glistening
in my eyes, he asked me if anything was wrong. I assured him there was nothing
the matter, that it was just his words touching me to my very soul. He kissed me
then, telling me that I should not cry, that this had been my destiny, that the
angels themselves had pleaded with God to let me live a better life.

	I was left breathless. Surely this proved he was himself an angel who had come
to save me from my tragic surroundings. I left him at the edge of the woods that
night early, in order to rest more than I had been previously, for I could see
the look of worry in my mother's face as a result of my paler skin and the dark
shadows that had appeared underneath my eyes.

	Our nightly meetings took place every night for the passing of one month before
the event occurred that truly began to change my fate. Alexander and I had met
in our spot as usual, greeting each other with a kiss. We sat down together and
I began to talk, telling him of what I had done that day, of the young deer I
had happened upon while out in the field.

	I stopped my rambling when I saw that Alexander wore a very serious expression
on his face, his eyes staring into mine with intensity I had never before
noticed. "What is the matter?" I asked.

	"I have something very important to ask you this night, my dear Christine. It
has been some time since we first met. I would have asked you this question
sooner but I decided that it would be better to wait awhile, to see how you felt
about me after you got to know me. I thought that now would be appropriate. I
want you to come to live with me in Paris." Before I could say anything, he went
on. "I know that you most likely do not trust me completely, but I love you and
I want to take you away from here, to give you the life you deserve."

	"I would trust you with my life." I stated firmly. "I will go with you." He
took my hands in his and watched the expressions cross my face. I am certain he
saw the brief looks of fear, longing, and delight that altered my features.

	"Are you positive? This is a very important decision. I want you to know that I
will be a perfect gentleman. I will never take advantage of you and I will
always treat you with respect." he told me.

	"You do not need to persuade me, mon amour, I will go with you." I answered,
bringing a hand to his pale cheek. He moved it to his lips and lightly brushed a
kiss against my fingertips, relief in his face that I had accepted his offer.
	"My brave little angel. Is there a need for me to bring a carriage tomorrow
night for your belongings?" he asked.

	"There is no need for a carriage. I have no belongings of any sentimental value
except this." I answered, my eyes downcast as I fingered the cape he had brought
me home in while I slept that night. I was ashamed at having to offer this
information freely, though he most likely knew, having carried me to my home and
placed me in my bed.

	Even though we had only been there a very short time, perhaps an hour at the
most, Alexander insisted on walking me home so I could rest before the next
night. I protested that I was not tired, that I wanted to stay with him a while
longer, but he made me obey him, persuading me to obey his will. I gave in and
we began walking.

	He stopped at the edge of the woods and kissed me before releasing his grasp on
my arms. I began to walk toward the house when I saw the door open and the form
of my mother appear outside holding a candle. "Alexander." I whispered softly.
He turned and returned to me. My mother quickly approached.

	"Christine, what are you doing sneaking off at night?" she asked me before
catching sight of Alexander. Then she said, "You are meeting this nobleman
secretly! Are you a courtesan now? Is this how you seek to change the
circumstances that you were born into?" she asked me softly, fierce anger in her
voice and in her eyes.

	"I am no courtesan. I would never become one. I love this man. His name is
Alexander McClear." I said. He put an arm around me protectively.
	He said, "I am going to take your daughter from this place and give her a life
of wealth and happiness. I will marry her. I would appreciate it if I could do
so with your blessing, Madame, but if she wishes so, I will still take her away
without it."

	My mother smiled softly. "You have my blessing, my lord. I am grateful that you
would take this one away before she is forever forced to live this life. She was
not meant for this life. Her beauty shows that much. I used to dream as she
does, hoping that a nobleman would find me and take me away but alas, my prayers
were never answered as Christine's have been. I will gladly let her go to live
the life she deserves, but let it be tonight before her father finds out. He
would never consent to this." she told Alexander. She reached up and kissed his
cheek, then hugged me, tears of both sadness and happiness glistening in her
eyes. "Adieu, my daughter. Dieu vous garde and may your days be bright and your
nights full of dreams that you seem to have the power to bring into reality."
Then she turned and quickly walked away, before I could say anything else,
before I could say goodbye. I gazed after her until Alexander gently turned me
to the road beside my house and we started to walk. "My horse is not far from
here." he said.

	When we reached the stallion, whose coat seemed a reflection of the night sky,
Alexander helped me up and then mounted behind me. He held me encircled in his
arms as he picked up the reins and directed the horse's head toward Paris. We
stopped right before dawn at a hotel. Alexander paid for a room and led me to
it. The hotel was obviously a place where the wealthy stayed, by the drapes and
paintings. I walked into the room.

	"There is only one bed." I commented, my heart beating faster.

	"It is for you. If I sleep, it will be in that chair. Do not protest,
Christine." he said, placing a finger on my lips.

	I crawled beneath the covers and looked up at Alexander. He leaned over me and
placed a light kiss on my cheek and said, "Sleep, mon amour. Sleep."

	I fell asleep almost directly after he said the words, comfortable and warm in
the softest bed I had ever lay on, aware of him blowing out the candles that had
lighted the room.

	"Awaken, my love." I heard Alexander's voice whisper as I drifted back into
consciousness. I felt his fingers caressing my hair, his breath softly touching
my cheek.

	My eyes fluttered open and gazed into eyes so very much like my own,
candlelight reflected in them. I was alarmed for a moment to find that he was
beside me on the bed, leaning over me, the soft smile I had come to know well on
his perfectly shaped lips. "Alexander, I had the most wonderful dream." I
whispered, remembering visions of the two of us walking in the moonlight,
watching the stars and of him whispering the most romantic verses in my ear.
	"Did you sleep well?" he asked me, not stirring from his place.

	"It was the best rest I have ever had. The bed is the softest I have ever slept
on." I answered, stretching as best I could with him leaning over me. I looked
at him thoughtfully and then said, "You don't look well. Are you all right?" I
gazed into his eyes in concern. His skin was too pale. It reminded me of the
dead.

	"I am all right, love. I will return in a little while. I have a few errands to
run in Paris before I return for you." he said, brushing my lips with a kiss
quickly before getting up.

	"I will eagerly await your return." I told him.

	"And I to see your angelic face once more." He answered and left quickly,
pausing in the doorway signaling to someone. A young maid entered, dragging a
tub and a huge box. She quickly spoke an introduction and began pouring heated
rose water into the tub. I watched in amazement.

	She indicated that I should get undressed and after a moment hesitation, I did
as she requested, slipping into the water. The servant then proceeded to wash my
hair and to put up a screen so I could bathe in privacy. When I was through, I
climbed out and dried my body and hair with the soft towel she had left in a
chair nearby. I wrapped it around myself and stepped out from behind the screen.

	She brought me a silk robe. I put it on, delighting in the luxurious feel of
it. It was black and smelled faintly of roses. The girl told me to sit and she
proceeded to comb my drying hair. When it shone and glistened as I had always
dreamed it would, she began to style it with amazing skill. When she was
finished, I had a mass of curls hanging on my right shoulder and the rest was
piled up and fastened with pearl studded combs.

	I praised her for her skill, treating her as my equal, not as one of lower
class, for I remembered that only the night before I had belonged to that class.
She blushed at my compliments. She applied a small amount of rouge to my cheeks
and colored my lips as well, in a dark red.

	I was gazing at my worn dress, wondering if I should wash it in some of the
rose water, when she walked over to the box yet another time and began to remove
a dress, corset, and petticoats. I nearly fainted from surprise. It was the most
beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.

	The dress was of sapphire blue, decorated by pearls on the hem and along the
Victorian lace at the low-cut bodice. The petticoats were trimmed with the same
color of blue as the dress. She brought it over to me and helped me dress. When
I was completely dressed, except for slippers, which the girl had explained to
me that there was none included in the package, I gazed into the looking glass,
seeing a girl I had never before laid eyes upon. This girl was of ivory and
ebony, with lips as red as blood. I wondered what Alexander would think of me.

	I turned my attention from my appearance when a soft knock reached my ears. The
servant hurried over and opened the door. Alexander walked in, carrying in one
hand a pair of slippers, covered in deep blue silk. He knelt at my feet. I
shivered as his hand touched my ankle and lingered there as he looked up at me.
He lifted my foot and placed the slipper on it, it being of a perfect fit. "For
a princess." he said. I blushed.

	It must have had quite a startling effect on my features, for once I did, he
could do nothing but stare for a moment. "Thank you, Alexander. You truly are an
angel bringing me these things I have only dreamed of in fantasies I always
wished would come true."

	"These things are your birthrights, your destiny, what you deserve." he
answered simply, straightening and taking my hand, leading me down the hall and
down the stairs. He escorted me to a carriage that was awaiting outside. I
noticed as we passed under the stars, that his color was much better. I was
relieved that he was not ill.

	Alexander spoke to the driver and then climbed in beside me, laying his hand
over mine. I looked at him and noticed that even in the near darkness, I could
see his eyes shining like the jewels whose color he borrowed. He kissed me
lightly, then again. He suddenly moved away after a few moments, just when the
intensity had been growing. He turned so I could only see his back. He seemed to
be fighting something emotionally, but I could not tell what. I feared that
perhaps I had misinterpreted the color in his cheeks and that perhaps he was
ill.

	A moment later he collapsed back against the seat, breathing deeply. I leaned
over him startled and shocked. "What is the matter?" I asked. I placed a hand to
his cheek. His skin was so cold.

Alexander tried feebly to smile. "When we reach my home in Paris, there is
something that I need to tell you, something you probably will not believe."

	"Nothing you could say could possibly be that outrageous." I told him.

	"We shall see." He commented and put and arm around me.

	I asked, "What happened just now?"

	"I was protecting you." He responded.

	"From what?" I asked.

	"From myself." Was the simple reply.

	"Do not, for you could never hurt me, could you?" I asked, voicing a question
that had crossed my mind more than once.

	"No, I could never harm you. To put it simply, I was protecting you from my
passion." He said wearily.

	"I do not wish to be protected." I said.

	"We shall see, Christine, we shall see." Was the reply, once more. I relaxed
against him, staring out the window at the stars, wondering what he had to tell
me.

Next Chapter


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