Loepa as Aidan Forrester:
Toby as the Fairy Prince:
*All names are subject to -and likely will- change*
While Claude is at work, a passerby hears him say something, worded incorrectly, though obviously more well-spoken than his peers. The man approaches him, and corrects him, with Claude being both vexed and embarassed. He snaps back saying he is not some imbecile just because of his work (which is...?). The man says he knows this, otherwise he wouldn't have bothered correcting him.
as Claude's lunchbreak is nearing, he is about to head off (to wash his hands at Elias's. Elias later jokes that he never comes to wash his hands anymore). The man asks him how long he has (which is 20 min), and then asks Claude to come talk to him. They discuss Claude's life and how it turned this way. Finally he offers him a job (something perhaps about corresponding to the royal court?).
other pimps, whores, addicts
other military men
Title: My Lady’s Heart Aflame
Author: Fraulein Fishtoes
Pairing(s): Carlotta/Christine, Carlotta/Christine/Raoul; cameo by Georges Bizet ;)
Disclaimer: slash, ménage a trois; movie cannon-ish.
Summary: Years after the incident at the Opera Populaire, Carlotta lives a humble existence back in her home country, successfully escaping the past. The past, however, has caught up in the most unexpected, and hedonistic, turn of events…
A/N: I’ve always loved Carlotta, and I like the thought of humanizing her, you know…more than just the temperamental prima donna. Plus, I always thought she’d make a kick-ass lesbian.
A/N+: I know my writing can be a bit…well, purplish, and for that I apologize. If you find anything to be glaringly inaccurate in terms of history, just tell me. Better to be safe than sorry. (Same goes for spelling or grammar, though I’d like to think Word took care of that)
“…It’s going to be called Carmen,” the swarthy, bearded man went on, simultaneously wolfing down a dripping cut of steak. “She is a gypsy. She is passionate; she lives for the physical act of love.” He set down his fork momentarily to try and emphasize the word “passionate” with his hands.
Carlotta was not “half-listening.” Nor was she “fading out.” She was trying her best to direct 110% of her attention to the young composer who sat on the other side of the clothed restaurant dinner table. But her mind swam as if being carried off by a river, and she found that despite the favored subject of conversation, Monsieur Bizet’s words were quickly fleeing upstream. “But,” she replied, attempting to ground herself, “you say this is a…a gypsy woman, who loves to love…” She mimicked his hand movements. “This is risky, no?”
He smiled as if she had said the exact words he was looking for. “Yes! And what better an attribute to prepare all of Europe for the return of its supreme diva!” He saw her eyes widen and continued. “Just think… the world of Opera has been soggy with heavy-handed Requiem masses, and Art House fodder… then Bam! Opera has life again! It is hot, and intense! And there you are…all fire, and fervor…”
Carlotta didn’t notice her teeth clenching until the pain shot through her jaw. “Georges…” she began, her voice shaky as she rose from her seat, “It’s late. I’m tired. I must go home now.” Ignoring the confused face of her companion, she brushed the breadcrumbs from where they settled on the folds of deep green fabric, and left the restaurant.
Still he followed as she tried to camouflage herself among Rome’s bustling nightlife. “Carlotta,” he called, recognizing her in the crowd. “Please, come back! I came to Rome only to see you! Please, my fiammetta!”
She stopped short, much to the annoyance to those walking behind her, and turned to face him. “Don’t call me that! Stop talking to me like I’m this…” She thought for a moment. Vocabulary was never her strong point.
“Icon?” He answered, meekly, meeting up to her. But he didn’t let her answer. “But you are an icon! I’ve seen you in Paris, Carlotta! Your voice is like…”
It was her turn to interrupt. “My voice! If you like my voice so much, then come down to the galleries! That ‘Art House fodder’ is what’s keeping a roof over my head!” Her fists began to clench, as they often did when she was irate. “I live in a little flat with my sister, her husband, and their five kids! Five kids, Georges! Dio! I left Paris with no husband, nowhere to go, and I don’t think it’s any secret as to why! So excuse me if I’m in no rush to make my big comeback!” She started walking again, but turned around one more time. “Some diva, right? Go home, Georges.”
Belinda, as red as her sister, though not as tall or as lean, emerged from the kitchen, infant in tow. “Carlotta,” she beckoned, not a second after she entered the flat.
“Sí, sí, I know,” the former diva replied in an exasperated tone. “Marcello said he would pay me tomorrow, I promise…”
“Actually,” Belinda chuckled, having forgotten about the rent until Carlotta brought it up, “Here. You’ve got a letter –from Paris.”
She hastily grabbed the envelope from her sister’s tired hand, and rushed to her modest room without a word, once she saw the name printed on the envelope’s corner. “DeChagny,” she repeated to herself, locking the door behind her. The fine, eggshell paper opened to an unexpectedly lengthy letter, in elaborate penmanship. It read:
Though I am likely to be the last person from which you expected to hear (and more likely the last you wish to), I do hope you take the time to read this letter.
In fear for our safety, Raoul and I rushed off that night without any sort of follow up. At that time, it was made up in our minds to never contact those involved in the incident. In fact, even now, it is a bit of an uneasy subject for us, and the recovery has been long and difficult for us both.
Still, it is only fair that after such a disappearance, I at least owe it to you all to see how you were doing –you all were, after all, the closest I had to a family for a very long time.
That said, I should apologize for the amount of bad blood that existed between us. Without delving into it, let me say that it was never my intent to upstage you or replace you in any way. In fact, I’ve always admired the power of both your voice and presence, especially seeing how painfully shy I was then! I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the strife I’ve caused you.
So, how are you? I’ve heard you are still singing – how is that going? I am very sorry, as well, to hear about Sr. Piangi, as well, and I hope you are coping well.
Needless to say, Raoul and I were married, and we now have a son, Yves. He will be two next month. The three of us share a manor, just south of the city. The privacy is most wonderful.
You are the last of everyone I’ve made up my mind to contact –finding you was no easy task! So, again, I hope you find this letter, and that it finds you well.
I look forward to your response and hope that we can become friends,
Ps) Our address is noted on the envelope –please take advantage! We love to have visitors, and would take great pleasure in having you as one!
Carlotta slowly lowered the letter. She was flabbergasted. Even during her darkest hour, during her worst performance, she always had the comfort of finding a scapegoat in Christine. If it weren’t for Christine, she’d still be headlining Gounod’s latest. She’d still have Paris. She’d still have Ubaldo.
But now here was this letter, so kind; genuinely kind, without any sense of superficiality or condescension. The comfort of hating her was gone, but in its place was a feeling of profundity; a sense of optimism.
She entered the kitchen where Belinda was cleaning the remains of supper, and stood before her plainly. “Sí?” The domestic sister asked, waiting for her to say something.
Tomorrow, I’m going to get the money from Marcello, and then I’m canceling my next performance.” She paused. “I need to take a small vacation.”
-Late the following afternoon-
As the train pulled into the station, Carlotta would have been able to tell where she was blindfolded. Paris had its own smell, and its own feel. It was a living, breathing summation of its inhabitants, borne of the dried tracks of footprints, and tainted with oil paint, dried lavender, and flaky crust. The train took off with a gust of wind. She hailed a carriage to the address on the paper, which she held in her hand with an exceedingly firm grip.
The door was answered while Christine was in the bedroom preparing herself for their traditional Saturday night out, after leaving little Yves with Mama DeChagny. “Madame,” Michelle, their portly and rosy-cheeked maid summoned, huffing up the large marble stairs in the foyer. “Madame, a…a Mademoiselle Giudicelli is here to see you…”
The Countess grinned, delighted. “And I was afraid she wouldn’t even reply,” she laughed to herself. Seconds later, she emerged from her room, and met the two women in the spacious study at the top of the stairway.
Upon seeing Christine, Carlotta suddenly became very self-conscious. Even in one of her finer dresses, she still looked drab and dull in comparison to Christine’s opalescent blue and silver. Her chocolate curls were loosely piled high on top of her head, exposing her creamy neck and collar.
The older of the two stepped forward, and began to excuse herself. “I’m sorry…I really should have written you first…”
Christine smiled, and put small hand on Carlotta’s shoulder. With her other, she put her finger on her lips, and then pointed to the Vicomte sleeping motionlessly on the settee. “He used to be such a light sleeper,” she whispered, in a voice that, even when she was not singing, was melodic. “Now, I can’t seem to wake him for the life of me. I guess fatherhood does that.” She turned her attention to the woman before her. “You look wonderful.” She linked with her, arm in arm, and led her to the master bedroom. She took a seat on the king-sized bed, and motioned for Carlotta to do so as well. “Tell me everything. How was the ride here?”
Carlotta sat and almost fell back on the mattress, which had a consistency she likened to whipped potatoes. “It was fine…” Nervous, she began to trail off. “It was fine…are…are you sure you’re ok with me being here? It looks like you were ready to go out.”
“Oh, not at all,” she shrugged. “We were going to see ‘The Master Builder’ at the Red House. We’ve seen it twice already, and it’s not one of my favorites, honestly. We can have dinner here.”
The two spoke for what felt like hours, but by the time they approached the inevitable topic of the Opera Populaire, the sun had only set. A sadness over took Carlotta as she spoke now. “I must admit… for years, I’ve hated you, Christine.” The words made the young Countess uncomfortable, but she held her tongue to let her guest speak. “It seemed so easy to blame you for everything. I just convinced myself that you were responsible for everything that happened…and I’m sorry.” The threat of tears began to heat up her face, and embarrassed, she looked away. “I never let people see me so…vulnerable, I guess is the word. I feel a fool.” She began to rapidly wipe away the tears that were barely visible, and thought of how the Carlotta from three years ago would have right slapped her in the face for such a disgraceful display.
Inching closer to her, she continued. “Carlotta, I’ve spent so much of my life either sad or in fear. Being here…being with Raoul…I feel free. There is so much happiness to be had, that I can’t even imagine spending my life holding a grudge.” Christine gently pulled her chin back towards her. “I forgive you. Don’t let it bother you any more.”
Carlotta gradually became aware of the physical distance between them ebbing. The Countess was so close, she could smell the light, fragrant scent of lily on her, and see her own reflection in her silver earrings. There was a look in the young woman’s dark eyes that she could not place. It was intense, and almost predatory, but warm and not detrimental in any way.
The bedroom door then, creaked open, and a sleepy, tousled Raoul wobbled in. He was rubbing his eyes, and so did not see Carlotta right away. “Signora Giudicelli…” he said with a start that was outweighed by the thick sleep still in his voice. He made a small, and clumsy, bow in her direction.
“Carlotta is staying for dinner. Tell Francois tomorrow that we’re sorry we could not attend the performance tonight.”
He shrugged and nodded, leaving Carlotta to wonder if this was a result of his drowsiness, or if he was honestly so easy going. Christine, got up, kissed Raoul hello (or good evening), and stood behind Carlotta.
“Carlotta is very stressed,” she said to him, gently, and placed both of her hands on the redhead’s shoulders. “I think she needs the star treatment for a night.” Carlotta thought she understood when she felt her hands began massaging, but she missed the cunning look the couple shot each other at the comment.
Her delicate hands were nimbler than they appeared. Her fingers worked on her shoulders and crawled up the back of her neck and behind her ears. She inadvertently let out a moan, and felt embarrassed upon doing so. Christine only laughed, and took the pins out from her simple chignon, allowing the auburn waves cascade down her back. She soon felt a warm breath on the back of her neck, yet was taken by complete surprise when she saw the sweet face lower down to hers’. In confusion, Carlotta attempted to pull back, but the young woman’s mouth enveloped her own before she could get very far.
Stunned frozen, it took her a second or two to break free, and looked at her and Raoul in horror. “What…what is…?” But Raoul only chuckled gleefully, and looked at Christine with a strange twinkle in his eye.
She pulled up the puzzled woman’s face, and said in a husky tone unlike she’d ever heard in her, “I said you need the star treatment, and I’m going to give it to you.”
She was about to resume what she started, but Carlotta spoke. “But…Raoul…”
“Oh, don’t worry. He likes to watch.” She went back in for the kill. Carlotta understood by the word “likes” that this was probably not the first time they had done this. The confusion and discomfort persisted, but she couldn’t convince herself to break away.
Christine's hands started to wander further downwards, until they came upon a pair of soft, round breasts. Her mouth, which too, had wandered down, now let go as she got up from her spot behind the bed. Carlotta let out a small wimper, and for a moment wondered if she had done anything wrong, until she saw her climb onto the bed to face her. Without a word, she began unlacing her guest's corset, and brought forward her hands so that she could in turn undo hers'.
Finally free of the stuffy layers, the two felt twenty pounds lighter, as Christine gently pushed Carlotta onto her back. She climbed on top of her to finish what she started with her hands.
Christine, Carlotta noticed, was nothing short of stunning naked. Though still willowy like in childhood, there was a maturity in the new fullness of her hips that was no doubt a result of motherhood. Her skin was porcelain, and mader her wild curls and dark doe eyes look that much darker. She was like a rare China doll with a pulse.
Meanwhile Raoul, from where he stood, now had a full view of her creamy heart shaped ass, bent upwards like a stroked kitten. Seeing this, he unbuttoned his own fabric distraction, and stroked himself at the activity before him.
The Countess knew this, hearing the ragged breath coming from behind her, she shifted over slightly, and intentionally slowed and elaborated the downward movemnet of her tongue for him to enjoy.
Meanwhile Carlotta, whose eyes never left Christine's movements, was experiencing a rapid increase in pulse as she trailed further downward. She was met with a mischievious smile as she was about to set her lips on the achingly ripe mound beneath her... and then she stopped.
"Wait," said Raoul, still against the door, with a hoarseness which long replaced the sleepiness from before. "I want to see this up close." Neither of them doubted it, as the arousal which showed though his trousers told the truth. He kneeled on the bed beside them, and placed Carlotta's hand underneath her knee and motioned for her to pull it upward, so that he could see everthing that was going on. He continued to stroke, as a hungry Christine dipped her tongue in and lapped at the enlarged bead at the opening of her pink lips.
Carlotta felt the sticky heat of sweat running into loose red hair, and was afraid to watch too closely the deft tongue and lips that worked furiously at her, lest she come right there and then. But she gave in, and the combination Raoul's captivated ogling, and the seemingly sweet face that indulged in her womanhood sent her over the edge. With a sharp cry, she bucked into Christine's face, and lie limp against the soaked coverlet.
She lay there in almost a state of euphoria, until Raoul commented, "She's amazing, isn't she? Such a heavenly face, but a tongue that could send her straight to hell."
Christine blushed, then noticed, "Raoul, you haven't finished yet." It was true. Lost in the heat of the two girls' moment, he forgot to please himself. She gave Carlotta yet another mischevious glance, and looked over at Raoul. "Maybe Carlotta can help you."
She felt somewhat silly for asking at this point, but did anyway. "Are you sure?"
"Oh, you must," the brunette answered, effervescently. "He has a wonderful dick."
Raoul laughed at her frankness, and looked straight at Carlotta. "I'd be honored, Signora," she smiled, kissing her hand, which was no doubt an acknowledgment to the day they met, years earlier. At her assent, he kicked off his trousers, removed his shirt, and pulled her in for a long kiss. His lips were soft and gentle, and he smelled wonderfully of fine leather and his own arousal. His cerise, erect penis, she noted, was not towering by any means, but of good size and was easily compensated in width.
She was surpised to feel Raoul pull her on top of him, encouraging her to straddle him. "Don't be nervous," he said, jokingly. She gave one last uncertain look to Christine, who smiled favoringly, and lowered herself onto him.
Due to Christine's aforementioned generosity, Raoul slipped fairly easily into her, though the three years worth of tightness made itself known. He pushed slowly at first, allowing her to readjust herself to the feeling of penetration. His eyes snapped shut, and he grimaced at the intense pleasure.
When he opened them, however, the woman he saw above him was his wife! She straddled Raoul, in front of Carlotta, with her back pressed against, so that she could spoon her. Christine guided her nervous new friend's hand down her torso, and placed it the the hot, damp nook between her white thighs.
Carlotta, new to any woman's body but her own, started cautiously by moving her fingers in a circular motion over her clit. Christine cooed in response, and bent her head back slightly. "Do you like that?" she asked.
"Yes...but..." she whispered throatily, in between the Vicomte's quickening thrusts, "I want...to do what...you did to me."
Raoul, who had been looking on adoringly, heard this, and had an idea. "Why don't we try this?" He slipped out of Carlotta, got up and knelt behind her. "Lie down, Christine," he said gently. Catching on, she lay down, and drew up her knees, giving her complete access to what she had asked for.
Now bent over her, Carlotta ardently stared at the welcoming form beneath her, while Raoul entered her from behind. Not sure as to what exactly to do, she played it instinctively, using what she knew worked her own body. The continuing thrusts coming from behind her hindered her control a bit, but she managed to establish a steady rhythm with her tongue, taking in the smell and taste of sex that she was immersed in.
Christine's groans, now becoming more high pitched were coupled with the thrusts which now became more jerky and erratic. She came first, with a wail, flooding Carlotta's mouth with her taste. Raoul followed soon after, with a sharp intake of air and a hiss.
Carlotta, meanwhile, so consumed in the pleasure of her new friend, was not exactly sure when she finished in respect to them. She knew however, that she felt tired, and even more so, she felt good. She collapsed next to Christine, who was running her small fingers through the exhausted Vicomte's brown hair.
An hour later, Carlotta lay leaned against Christine, dozing on and off. To Christine's right, lay Raoul, fast asleep again, and curled against her. "He must work very hard," the red commented.
"He does," she said. "He's done so much for me. I've never been so happy." She suddenly felt arrogant saying those words to someone she knew was unhappy herself. "I hope you find that happiness one day, too. I hope someday someone loves you the way he loves me."
Carlotta, appreciative, replied, "It's not finding happiness that I have a hard time with. It's knowing when to let go of the past and grab it."
Christine knew what that was like all too well, but was curious as to what her friend was referring to. " What do you mean...?Obviously you haven't told me everything."
"I got an offer from Georges Bizet to be the star in his new opera..." She muffled the last few words, hoping that they wouldn't be heard.
"A new opera?" Christine turned over, almost waking her husband. "When did this happen?"
"Last night. He begged me, and I told him...in not so many words...that I'm not ready for a comeback." She tried to shrug it off. "I mean...he hasn't even finished writing it...it might not even happen."
Carlotta turned to see that she was looking at her quite seriously. "Son't say that! That's a wonderful opportunity, you can't just shrug it off like that!" Hearing her tone, she quieted down a bit. "Carlotta, sometimes you can't just wait until you're ready. Sometimes you have to *make* yourself ready. I can't tell you what to do, but I know what it's like to fear the past. And I know that you can't let it stop you from making a future."
"I know, Christine," she said, and meant it.
They both suddenly became aware of the time. "If it's as late as I think it is," Christine giggled, "Than I think Michelle has already retired. Are you up to going out?"
-Paris, 1875, the new "Opera Comique"-
Carmen greeted her premiere audience with seam-bursting vibrato and an almost palpable lust. "If I love you, take care," she sang, to her many followers.
The and Vicomte and Countess, having bought a pair of tickets for every Saturday night that month, turned to each other and grinned knowingly.