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something so pleasant about that place.

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Hoarse, brash screams of dawning a new horrible mutilation echoed Satine’s mind as her dark, bird wing lashes fluttered open in a jolt. The cries of her mind woke her up, the cries of her being thrashed by the wretched man dressed in the most luxurious silk clothes who tortured her every waking hour. Bruised was what Satine was.

Sobbing on the run down mattress next to her writer, Satine couldn’t bare her thoughts. She couldn’t leave him. Small red marks on Satine’s arms and cheek could be sneakily gazed upon when the diamond wasn’t looking, prompting one to question her cuts and gashes.

Satine couldn’t tell Christian. These cuts were fresh, the bruises from last night’s evening of “elegance” with her “dearest” André. He had found his dwelling, he had found where Christian resided and wouldn’t dare let him off the hook for ruining his fun with Satine; for no one steals The Duke of Monroth’s things, especially not a lovesick writer.

André told Satine of his findings and threatened to kill the naive writer, and when Satine protested that she would never let such a monster do a thing like that, André had shouted and eventually got what he wanted. He received his obedient, broken diamond at his heels in return for the writer’s life.

Now, the diamond had gotten out of bed, knowing that Christian would soon stir and she’d have to tell him everything; but she couldn’t! Oh, how horrifying it’d be... he would be in such danger. She was stronger than this, Satine thought. She knew she was. Satine would never let such a dastardly man destroy her clandestine affair; destroy the only pure boy left in Montmartre. It was a vow she made to her composer on the night of the silver horizon that peaked just beyond the pearl clouds, crickets chirping and humming just outside the window. The “come what may’s” she murmured were a promise to protect and sacrifice everything she had until the end of time to make Christian feel safe.

Heavy breaths followed by tears rapidly spilling from her chestnut eyes that now found solace on her paling cheeks. Now Satine was sobbing, quiet sniffles and whimpers. She placed her hand on the doorknob to leave in the guise of the night. That’s when his eyes fluttered open. Satine could still see the whimsy and nativity in Christian’s pupils despite the darkness of their room. He was handsome in all aspects, Satine thought, from his bare, lean arms that she could glance at and run her fingers down. His chest and abdomen were perfectly sculpted as if a Renaissance painter chiseled away his imperfections. The creases in his eyes when he smiles, the contortions of his eyebrows when he laughs at one of Toulouse’s jokes. She couldn’t let this side of Christian fade away because of her business with André.

“Satine...?” Christian called out into the dark, fumbling to flick on a light.

“Just a bad dream, ma couer. Nothing to worry about,” she murmured in response.

The writer rubbed his eyes and the light did not turn on, the two just stayed in the dark as Christian got up and treaded towards Satine. He wrapped his arms gently around her waist and left warm kisses against the courtesan’s neck. He didn’t say a word as he calmed her down, he just hummed and let his sweet fingers and lips do the work.

“S-Satine,” he whispered, “your night terrors are nothing I cannot handle. You mustn’t depart from me with the impression that I am weak, and can’t take care of you,” Christian’s husky voice was soothing as it broke at the last syllable. Anyone could tell he was aching at his lover’s defenseless in the night.

“I’ll never leave you, Christian. If it makes you feel better I’ll stay in your arms. Always and forever, until the end of time,” Satine shivered as Christian slowly guided her back to their mattress and cupped her cheek—the bruised cheek.

Flinching, Satine turned away.

Christian saw it; he saw the injury and Satine couldn’t bare to look him in the eye as he was taken aback.

“Who did this to you?” The boy inquired, glaring at her bruise.

“I... I-“

“He did this, Satine! He did this and you didn’t dare tell me?! When I see him, I swear—“ Christian was cut off by his diamond, burying her face in his chest.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. Don’t go after him, please,” her voice was raw and demanding. Pleading.

“What can he do to me?! I’ll inform Zidler and-“ Christian protested. He intertwined his fingers with hers and kept them like that no matter how tense the air was in the midst of an argument, Christian wasn’t mad at Satine. He couldn’t be mad at her when none of this was her fault.

“He owns me, Christian. He is in possession of us all.”

“No! No one owns you, Satine. Tonight let’s run away, let’s go now. I’ll bring Nini, Santiago and Toulouse... we can get the others out of there, too. They won’t have to live on the streets, they can make a living in the countryside and-“

“Life doesn’t work like that, Christian... it just doesn’t.”

“Why do you insist on being so pessimistic, Satine?! Why do you never let me aide you and help you?! Is it because you love him? Is it—“ He could feel the flames swell in his chest. He was taking his festering anger out on the one woman he promised not to harm, Christian looked at Satine solemnly and shook his head. A silent apology.

“No, no... I- I mustn’t tell you why, I can’t... I don’t love anyone but you, my darling.” 

“Please, Satine, tell me.” Christian pleaded, almost into the misty air— he knew Satine wouldn’t tell him but he had to give it a shot.

“I’m dying, Christian. I’m dying.” Satine gave in. She no longer felt any of these remaining walls that barricaded her away from Christian; each brick gave away to the real Satine, the consumption infected Satine.

That’s when it ended. Satine felt him slip away from her then and there, but he didn’t go away. He stayed there, upon the foot of the mattress and took Satine on his arms and let her sit on his lap. He started singing into the night. Saccharine words soared into the sky and made Satine’s heart melt. They could be lovers just for one day.