Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 36 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Erik woke nearly three hours later. At first, he merely lay in bed, enjoying the rare feeling of having gotten enough sleep. Then he noticed that he was a little chilly. Then he noticed that his blanket was gone. Then he remembered that Christine had fallen asleep in his E-Z Boy last night, and had to be at work today by eight o'clock. A quick glance at his bedside alarm clock told him that it was nearly nine; if she had not awakened on her own, she would already be an hour late for work. He jumped out of bed and dashed into the other room, half-hoping she would still be there.

The chair was empty, the blanket hurriedly folded and draped over its back. He grinned, thinking about how she'd spent the night snuggled under his comforter. He scanned the room and saw that she'd left her scrunchy on the counter. The Migration of Stuff, he thought. Soon we'll be living together? It didn't jibe. He'd lived alone for so long...but her smile in the morning, her arms around him in the afternoon, her kiss at night, her music day in and day out - it sounded like heaven to him. And if she lived with me, she wouldn't have to work. She could concentrate wholly on her music.

"It will never happen," he muttered to himself, sitting down to get some work done. As usual, before he checked his email for the latest articles, he scanned the local newspaper's website. Everything was pretty much standard: this person was killed, that child won a spelling bee, this politician was found to be corrupt. the Entertainment section an article caught his eye and then sent him running for the phone.

Mystery Musicians Amaze Parkgoers

By Ellen Coolidge, Staff Reporter

If you were at Interlaken Park yesterday after one in the afternoon, you might have heard the voice of an angel followed by a world-class string duet performance.

Two unidentified artists, one masked, held a crowd exceeding four hundred people captivated for an hour with renditions of "Perfect" by Doria Roberts, Adagio for Strings by Barber, Duet for Violin and Cello by Schulhoff, and a beautiful piece with which this reporter is sadly unacquainted. The performers accepted no payment and left shortly after concluding their performance

. Park officials deny hiring or inviting any musicians to perform. Local symphony orchestras also claimed no knowledge that any of their musicians might be involved. After hearing a recording of the performance, the Seattle Symphony music director expressed an interest in meeting the musicians, saying, "It would be my honor to make the acquaintance of such brilliant virtuosos." He asks that the artists involved contact the newspaper at 555-5555 for contact information.

----- - -----

Christine listened with annoyance as her phone range from the kitchen for the fourth time. The world seemed to be conspiring against her sanity today. The bus from Erik's apartment had come slightly late, a creepy guy took the seat across from hers and smiled at her all the way to her stop, her uniform was still wrinkled from the day before, she'd gotten sweaty on her jog to work, and Meg was acting like the cat that ate the canary. Now her phone would not stop ringing. When it began to ring for the fifth time, Meg gave her a little shove.

"Go answer it, Miss Chris. Maybe you won the lottery."

Christine picked it up and looked at the unfamiliar number. It was probably a solicitor.

"Hello?" she fairly snarled the greeting.

"Christine, have you seen the newspaper this morning?" Erik's wonderful voice boomed through the headset.

"No. Why?" Christine sighed. "Erik, do you know I'm at work right now?"

"Never mind that," he snapped impatiently. "Check the newspaper. Read the Entertainment section." He was trying to keep his voice even and calm.


"And call me at this number when you're done."

"Umm...ok. Bye."

"Call me."

Erik hung up on a very confused Christine. She returned to the counter, where Meg was still watching her with a sly half-smile on her face.

"Meg, do we have our copy of this morning's newspaper still? Or did one of the zombies shamble off with it..."

"Heehee! You're a funny person, Christine, you know that?" Meg reached under the counter and pulled out the morning paper still wrapped neatly in its plastic sheath. "I saved it today."

"Why? What is going on? Will someone please just tell me what is going on? You're grinning at me like that all morning, then Erik goes ballistic on my cell phone and no one will tell me what the hell is going...Oh. Oh my..." While Christine was ranting, Meg unwrapped the paper, grabbed the Entertainment section and shoved it under her nose. "Mystery Musicians? No wonder Erik was so freaked out."

"So it is the two of you. Oh, I just knew it was. Do you see these adjective? 'Voice of an angel' - is that him? Or you? 'World-class'. 'Brilliant virtuosos'. I saw all that and I just knew it had to be you..."

"This is..." Christine looked up at Meg in a panic. "We're in the newspaper! How will I ever get Erik out there again?"

"Maybe that's something you should talk to him about." Meg raised an eyebrow. "You sound as though this is a bad thing. This could be huge for you, Christine. You've been seen! You live in a city with thousands of wanna-be musicians clamoring for attention, and you get it without even trying. I mean, just look at this. The Seattle Symphony music directed would be 'honored to make your acquaintance.' Aren't you the one who said you'd never audition there because the man was such a snob? And now he's left his contact information at the newspaper and is probably waiting breathlessly in his office for your call."

Christine rubbed the bridge of her nose and leaned heavily against the counter. "When is our break?"

On her break, Christine picked up her phone and called Erik, grateful for the caller ID function.


"I saw it, Erik."

"Did you know anything about that?" his tone was suspicious.

"No. I really didn't. Not until you called me."

"Christine...are you going to call the newspaper?"

Christine paused. Until he asked, she had not even considered calling to get the music director's contact information. Now, she was beginning to wonder if she should. "No. I hadn't thought of that either. This is really a shock. I'm still trying to believe that we're in the newspaper."

"You should call him, Christine."

"Why me?"

There was only silence from the other end of the line.

"Then no. I won't call him." The silence continued. "My break is almost over. I...I might have some things to talk to you about this afternoon."

"What would you like for dinner?" Erik drew a slow breath and continued, "A celebration dinner..."

Christine suddenly felt the weight of anxiety fall away from her shoulders. A celebration dinner meant he wasn't taking this too badly. Maybe the things she had to talk to him about wouldn't be entirely ill-received.

"Surprise me. You're good at that. My break really is over. I have to go. Love you..."

"I love you, too, Christine." Erik always pronounced those words as though they were diamonds in his mouth.

Christine returned to the counter, pleased to see one lone customer sitting in one of the far corner booths, drinking a huge latte and reading a book entitled, "Byron's Greatest Works." Meg was leaning on the counter, smirking to herself. Smirking...Christine though, Meg doesn't smirk

"Megan Giry, what do you know about this? How did this reporter know where to find us and what time?"

"Me? I don't know anything about it." Meg's shocked expression screamed her innocence.

"Are you sure?" Christine did not believe the show for a moment.

"Positive. How would I know anything about this?"

"Ok. As long as it wasn't you who called the newspaper to tip off their arts and entertainment reporter to our presence in the park. Of course you wouldn't do anything like that." Christine paused and gave Meg a significant look. "even though you've been trying to make me audition for years, and even though you are the only one who knew about our date."

"Christine, Really, I..." Meg looked markedly nervous now.

"Save it, Meg. You can't lie to me any more than I can lie to you." Christine watched Meg's face fall with some satisfaction. "But never mind. We're almost out of Super-mugs."

In truth, Christine was glad Meg had called the newspaper. If this continued, Erik would eventually get the recognition he deserved. All she would have to do is make sure Meg continued to know about their dates in the park, and make sure Erik continued to go out with her to perform. Christine was not naturally a schemer. She was generally a straightforward, honest person. However, as Meg's schemes came to light, Christine began to develop a little plan of her own.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 36 of 64

<< Previous     Home     Next >>