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Unrequited Love…Blame Assumptions

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“Please tell me you aren’t actually going to try to win that?” Raoul asked, partly in dismay. “It’ll take up too much room! Look at it!”

“I want it.” Christine stated firmly with a determined frown. She put the required money down for the amount of darts she needed to win the grand prize of the giant plush purple dolphin that was strung up above the booth.

Raoul sighed. He knew that going to the city carnival was a bad idea. They don’t get one often, maybe once year, twice if they’re lucky. Christine had found out about it through a coworker and had come home that night begging Raoul to go with her.

He didn’t mind carnivals, they were cool for a thrill and temporary excitement, but they were expensive! And Christine loved the games at them, and Raoul means loved them.

“I’m not going give you any money if you can’t get it by yourself.” Raoul declared, crossing his arms to wait for Christine to either run out of money or get the damn dolphin.

“Ah, your boyfriend isn’t all that supportive.” The lady working the booth teased.

Christine made a show of rolling her eyes to make sure Raoul saw her. “Don’t I know it.”

Raoul stuck his tongue out towards her but she had already turned to focus on her game. He was a supportive boyfriend! But not the times she wants to get something ridiculous as that stupid dolphin!

Raoul watched Christine try, and badly fail at hitting the wall of balloons with the darts she was given. She loves carnival games, that didn’t mean she was good at them.

All around him people were walking, the noise was loud and filled with laughter, talking, and sounds of rides moving. There was a kiddy roller coaster a little ways over. Raoul heard the squeals of the kids on the ride and the sound made him grin.

Christine was on her third round of darts now and she has hit one balloon. The lady at the booth was giving her encouragement, but Raoul recognized that glint of greed anywhere.

Suddenly, Raoul heard a shout from the side and turned to see what had happened.

What he got was something crashing on top of his head.

He staggered from the impact and fell on his butt on the grassy ground. Stars filled his vision and the world in front of him was spinning. Distantly he heard Christine’s frantic voice call his name but he couldn’t speak.

Raoul felt a large pair of hands grab him and forced him to sit with his head between his knees. Along with Christine’s concerned voice, he heard a soft but pleasantly deep voice instructing him to breath.

He noticed that he had been listening to the voice without knowing it.

The stars went away first and the dizziness eventually disappeared as well.

“Sir, are you alright?” the male voice asked.

Blinking a couple times to make sure his vision was normal again, Raoul slowly lifted his head.

His eyes met with the most amazing eyes he has ever seen. Yellow eyes that shone like melted gold.

Beautiful, he thought.

The golden eyes widened and Raoul realized that he had said that out loud.

Opps.

Raoul heard Christine’s relieved laughter and shifted his eyes until his spotted her. She was kneeling next to him, leaning forward on her hands to keep balance and was shaking her head.

“He’s fine. If he can flirt, he’s okay.” She remarked with a chuckle.

Raoul straighten out his legs with a huff. “Thank you so much for the concern.”

That got him a punch in his shoulder from her.

“I was extremely concerned I’ll have you know.” Christine protested. “I turned around after hearing a sound, only to see you on the ground. Don’t do that again!”

Raoul rubbed his the back of his head. His hand brushed over the tender spot and flinched.

“I didn’t do it on purpose.” He countered, placing his hand back down. “What hit me?”

“Ah, I believe I can answer that. If you would wait here, I will bring you the culprit.”

Raoul turned towards the pleasant voice but was only met with a pair of legs as the man stood up. The man walked away, and Raoul cocked his head to admire the view. Wide strong shoulders, long slim legs…nice.

Christine pinched him and he yelped. He glared at her as he rubbed the spot but she raised her eyebrow at him.

“Better watch yourself, you might start drooling.”

“So?” he mumbled. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had a male lover, I can look if I want.”

“Pfft, yeah okay. You certainly took him by surprise by calling him beautiful.” She snickered.

Raoul felt his cheeks warm up and he stood up to start brushing himself off. “I-I was still a little out of it. First thing I saw were his eyes and I thought I had only thought it, not said they were beautiful out loud.”

“Oh? You were just talking about his eyes?” Christine probed with a grin as she stood up.

“Yes…” Raoul answered with a frown. “Why?”

Christine shrugged but didn’t have time to answer.

“Here you go. The culprit.” The voice from earlier spoke behind him.

Raoul turned and something was held in front of his face.

It was a kid’s shoe.

“What the—”

“Yes, well, I told Meg here that she should not come here without shoes with straps, but she did not listen. Then she decided that she wanted to get on the roller coaster the moment I had my back turned.” The shoe was taken away and Raoul saw the man for the first time.

The man in front of him was fit and probably in his late twenties or early thirties. He was a couple inches taller than him, his black hair was slinked back, and he wore dress clothes that had no place in a carnival.

His face though…it wasn’t like anything Raoul had seen except for good makeup jobs in movies. Scarred was the only way Raoul could describe it politely, and man was it scarred. Raoul guessed, that was what Christine meant by her questions earlier.

But those eyes. Golden orbs that glowed under the carnivals lamps and lights as if they were cat eyes.

Breathtaking.

“Sorry.” A young girl’s voice brought Raoul out of his staring.

Blinking, Raoul noticed that the man was holding up a little girl in his arms. The girl, Meg, was perhaps eight or nine and had long blond hair that was pinned up and wore a flower pattern shorts and a t-shirt with a music note on it. She was probably the man’s daughter, hmmm…bummer. Why did the hot ones always have to be married?

“Do not apologize to me.” The man stated firmly. He placed the shoe in his hand back on Meg’s feet. “You know who to say sorry to.”

Meg pouted and Raoul couldn’t help but grin at her display.

“I’m sorry.” She apologized, meeting his eyes before turning away again.

“For?” the man probed, poking Meg’s side gently.

Meg sighed way too dramatically for a kid and Raoul almost laughed.

“I’m sorry my shoe fell off and hit your head. It was my fault, because I didn’t listen.”

The man nodded grimly, but Raoul spotted the twitch of his lips. “Good, now you know to listen better.”

He turned to him turning sheepish. “We are sorry that this happened. Is there any way for us to make it up to you?”

Oh, Raoul could think of a lot of things he wouldn’t mind having the older man do.

But he’ll settle for something small.

“How long have you been here? Were you meeting up with any one or is it the two of you?” he asked first, breaking the ice onto what he wanted to ask.

“Ah, we got here a little while ago and, no, we are not meeting up with anyone.” The man answered, with a confused frown. “Why?”

Raoul grinned.

“Spend the time with us.” He offered, nodding his head back to include Christine behind him.

The man raised an eyebrow. “You two are not on a date or something?”

“We like meeting new people.” Christine declared behind him, finally joining the conversation.

Victory, she thinks he’s hot too, Raoul thought smugly.

“Yeah, we can go on dates whenever.” He added. “The two of you hanging out with us will be more than enough to make it up to us.”

The man stared at them for a few moments, not even blinking but then turned his head to address Meg.

“What do you think?”

Meg shrugged, tugging gently at loose strands of hair on the back of his neck. “I see something I want with the darts. Win it for me?”

The man laughed and shook his head fondly. He turned to them with a smile.

Damn, add smile to the list.

“That’s her way of saying yes.”

Raoul grinned, pleased.

“I’m Raoul, by the way. Raoul de Chagny.”

“Christine Daae.” Christine added, now standing beside him.

The man nodded. “You may call me Erik.”

***

Erik won Christine the dolphin. That damn dolphin is now coming back with them and Raoul couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Apparently, Erik was good at carnival games. No, forget good, more like god-like. He won something from every game he played. Meg would point out something she wanted, luckily it wasn’t always the big prize, and Erik would step up and quickly win it for her.

Christine had zeroed in on this and asked Erik to help her get the dolphin. Raoul had also learned that Erik was a real gentleman and agreed to help her.

Christine was now strolling through the carnival next to Raoul with a big proud smirk on her face, holding the plushie in her arms.

“Are you sure you are fine carrying that?” Erik asked, tone concerned.

She sent him a wink and clutched the dolphin tighter. “I’m fine! Great actually! I can now enjoy tormenting Raoul every chance I get with it!”

Both of Erik’s eyebrows shot up. “Sounds like quite the mischievous plan, Miss Daae. What, may I asked, caused such measures to be taken against him?”

“He didn’t want me to have it and expressed doubt that I could get it.” Christine replied firmly.

“Technically, the only reason you have that now is because of him.” Raoul cut in. “My doubt is well founded and you know that you would’ve run out of money way before you got close to winning it.”

He got a face full of plushie for that remark.

As the night went by, the group rode some rides, well Raoul, Christine, and Meg did and Erik would watch them from below, and played a lot of games. The carnival slowly began to empty out of people.

“Let’s do one more ride.” Raoul suggested.

“What do you recommend?” Erik asked, now carrying a sleepy Meg in his arms, one hand holding a bag of prizes he won for her.

“The Ferris wheel? It shouldn’t bother Meg too much.” Raoul stated, pointing at the spinning wheel down the row they were in.

“I’m not asleep.” Meg mumbled, her voice muffled since her face was in Erik’s shoulder.

“Of course you’re not.” Christine soothed.

Raoul knew that she was already half in love her the girl. Christine always had a soft spot for kids.

“Come on. They’re going to close soon.” Raoul pushed, motioning his hands in a shooing motion to get them to walk faster.

Christine purposely slowed down her stride and he grabbed her shoulders and began pushing her, making her laugh.

Erik watched them with an amused spark in his eye.

Luckily, they made it in the nick of time to get on the last cycle for the ride. Each wagon was a four seater allowing all of them to fit in comfortably, though Christine had to leave the dolphin on the ground with the staff, not that Raoul minded. Heck, if he was lucky, she would forget about it long enough after the ride that they leave without it.

Raoul sat with Christine on one side and Erik sat with Meg resting in his lap on the other side. The ride began to move and Raoul watch Christine turned to glance outside to take in the view. Her grin pleased and her eyes content. He saw Erik whisper something to Meg, who stirred and opened her eyes. Erik pointed to the view and Meg turned her head to see. Her eyes lit up and Erik grinned gently at the reaction.

Raoul was super disappointed that the man wasn’t available. Then again, kids don’t always mean married. Maybe he was divorced or the mom wasn’t around. He kind of felt guilty for such thoughts, but minds can take weird turns pretty rapidly.

The ride eventually came to an end, and they all shuffled off.

Sadly, Christine remember to get her dolphin back. Damn.

They walked through the carnival with the rest of the people who stayed until closing, heading towards the exit.

“I want cotton candy.” Meg murmured in Erik’s neck.

Erik chuckled softly. “You’re half-asleep already. I refuse to do anything that will wake you up this close to your bedtime. Your mother would have my head.”

Ah, so the mom is involved and by the tone of Erik’s voice, they are not divorced.

He shouldn’t feel as saddened by the news as he was. He had just met the man for god’s sake!

Raoul saw, in the corner of his eye, Christine bite her lip. She was disappointed too. This sucks.

“Think we could meet again sometime?” Raoul asked, not sure if his tone came out as light as he hoped it would.

Erik glanced at them with widen eyes. Surprised, huh, interesting.

They paused outside the entrance and Erik didn’t say anything for a while.

“I…do not see why not.” He spoke the words slowly in a way that caused Raoul to struggle to keep himself from shivering and not for a bad reason. “But why would you want to?”

“What? You didn’t have fun with us?” Raoul accused playfully then shrugged. “You seem like a cool guy and we wouldn’t mind seeing Meg again either.”

Erik looked behind Raoul, probably to see if Christine agreed. She must have because he sighed.

“I cannot guarantee anything.”

“Doesn’t matter!” Raoul mentally cheered.

“Here.” Christine held out a torn piece of paper towards Erik. “These are our numbers, feel free to send us a message when you can.”

He took the paper and placed it in his pocket.

The awkwardness he was now presenting was adorable in Raoul’s opinion.

“I better get going.” Erik stated, starting to back away.

Raoul gave him a two finger wave and Christine sent him off with a “Bye!” having one of the dolphins fins wave.

Erik nodded to them and turned around to walk away.

Raoul and Christine went to their car. It took a few minutes to stuff that damn plushie in the backseat, but Christine refused to let it be put in the trunk. Eventually, they were able to climb inside.

“I have one question.” Raoul stated as he put the car in drive. “How the hell did you write down our phone numbers with that stupid dolphin in your arms?”

Christine sent him a mischievous grin. “I had that ready to give to him by the time he agreed to come with us.”

Raoul barked out a laugh with a shake of his head and drove them away.