Continuing Tales

Binary

A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 16 of 64

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Binary

Christine couldnít dial Megís number fast enough. Meg normally kept late hours; for this, Christine would have waked her up anyway.

"Hi, Miss Chris! I thought you were normally online with your man right about now..." Meg drew out the word Ďmaní until it was three syllables long.

"Hey Meg. Thatís actually why Iím calling. I mean, heís why Iím calling."

"Damn. And here I thought you just wanted to talk to your old friend. Itís ok, girl. I know what itís like to be smitten. So, tell me about wonderful Erik." Meg sat down in her favorite overstuffed recliner and put her feet up. The moment the chair unfolded, her little Jack Russell terrier jumped up into her lap and made itself at home.

"Itís two things, really. The first thing, the little thing, is that I know his last name..."

"GOOGLE!" Meg shrieked. A split second later, Christine could hear her apologizing to the dog, "Aw, come back, Chino. Mommyís got a snacky for you. yummy, yummy snacky treats. Good girl! Now, Christine, as I was saying. Go now and Google him."

"Will you give me yummy, yummy snacky treats if I do?" Christine snorted laughter. Brash, aggressive Meg was an absolute push-over when it came to her little dog.

"Absolutely."

"The other thing..." Christine sat down at her computer and opened Firefox, accessing Google a second later. "...is that something happened to him today. When I logged on, he was waiting for me. He seemed really upset, said he wasnít ok, and begged me to play something for him. But no matter what I said, he wouldnít talk about it with me."

"Normally, Iíd say thatís weird. But then, he is a musician. I canít count the number of times youíve told me you didnít want to talk and then shut yourself up in a room with Nine Inch Nails or some such. "

"Itís not that itís weird...How would you spell Valliere? I know he spells his first name with a k at the end. Valliere...hmmm. Itís not that itís weird; itís that it made me worried for him. He sounded completely torn up."

"I donít know. I only took a little French in high school. Iíd bet on two Ls... Well, if it worries you that much, just make him tell you."

"Meg. Please. You heard him talking. How do you make a man like that do anything he doesnít want to do? Ok...nothing under V-A-L-L-I-E-R." Christine groaned in frustration. In English, she was a spelling whiz.

"Try adding an E to the end. The French love to add Es to the ends of their words. And I donít know. Use your feminine wiles. Seriously, hun, it could be important."

"Oh my god, Meg."

"What?"

"I found him. I found Erik."

"You donít sound happy about it."

"June twenty-fourth, nineteen ninety-four. Erik Valliere, charged with misdemeanor simple assault. Guilty." Christine could barely make herself say the words. She searched for a mug shot, but there was none. "Meg, heís been to jail!"

"You havenít told him where you live...have you?" Megís voice had lost its chatty tones. Christineís amour was a convicted criminal!

"No. No I havenít. Of course not. Iím not stupid. But, what does Ďsimple assaultí mean? He assaulted someone simply?"

"Donít be dense. It means he didnít use a weapon. It basically means he got in a fistfight. It means heís violent. You donít want to get mixed up with a man like that." Meg could just see Christine in a battered womenís shelter with a back eye. And then Meg would have to kill the man responsible. No way. "You need to stop talking to him, stop emailing him, stop whatever it is you two are doing, because this is..."

"I probably will. But Meg, I have to know the story first." Christine braced herself for the tirade she knew would come.

"And naturally heíll just tell you the truth? I donít think so, girl. Just donít talk to him anymore." Megís voice was filled with dire warnings. "Letís just make a general rule against men with criminal records. I think thatís a good..."

"No. I understand what youíre saying, and it would sound like good advice, except that...I just have to know. I promise Iíll keep you up to date on anything I find out. Ok?"

"You know itís not ok."

"I know, Meg. Iím off tomorrow. Iíll be at work the day after. You can inspect me yourself and see that no one has eaten me." Christineís weak attempt at humor fell utterly flat.

"Be careful."

"I will."

"Goodnight, Christine."

"Goodnight, Meg."

Before she went to bed, Christine sent an offline message to Erik.

minorchord: I do not work tomorrow. I will be near the computer, practicing starting at noon. As

soon as you get this message, please respond. It is important.

Binary

A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 16 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>