Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 45 of 64

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Many of Christine's belongings were superfluous and soon found their way onto a Goodwill truck. Erik already had a computer, dishes, cookware, a microwave, and a bed. Neither of them had any intentions of rearranging the music room - other than to make space for Christine's cello, flute, and waist-high collection of scores. They simply squeezed her dresser next to his and packed the remainder of her wardrobe into his closet. After she'd weeded out all the clothes that no longer fit, this was not much of a challenge.

There were some intense discussions regarding the apartment's decorating scheme. Christine had many things she wanted to add to make the place feel a little more "livable." Unfortunately for Erik, she would change something, smile her cherubic smile and then say, "But it's much nicer now, don't you think?" He could say little against the power of that smile. Besides, some of the little touches she added really did make the place more comfortable; fresh flowers, art prints, and a few throw pillows were just fine. After winning these concessions, she was willing to surrender to his black curtains and matching ebony furniture.

They settled into life together as comfortably as if they'd never lived apart. It was natural to wake up together, natural to share meals and conversation, and better than natural to practice music together day in and day out. Christine insisted on paying her part of the bills; even so, she was able to cut back her hours at work and concentrate on her music more.

Two weeks after she moved in, she received a call from Lawrence Conservatory. Dr. Corringer was very apologetic, but "I'm sorry Christine. The Board has decided that they cannot accept your original work as your performance piece. Though we all agree the composition and execution are of superb caliber, they ask me to remind you that interpretation is an essential piece of the grading rubric. It's hardly fair to other students to allow you to 'interpret' your own work."

"No, it's not. I understand, Dr Corringer." Christine tried not to sound crestfallen, but her heart was in her shoes.

"But Christine, you are listed as a special guest. I don't think anyone would be averse to an encore performance. I'd encourage you to come prepared to play your work. It truly is performance worthy. Who is your accompanist?" The Board had debated for nearly an hour on who the unknown violinist might be. Many world famous names were raised and rejected in turn.

A long pause followed the question. "He's my boyfriend."

"Ah. Well. He is an amazing musician in his own right. We look forward to meeting him." Dr. Corringer waited for a response. When there was none, he continued. "Do you have an alternate piece?"

"Yes, sir. I'll play Bach's Gigue in D minor. Do you think that will be acceptable?"

"I believe it will. We will be honored to have such an accomplished musician playing for us. Until then, Miss Daae."

"Have a good afternoon, Dr. Corringer."

She hung up and stared at her phone for a few minutes.

"What was that, Christine?" Erik was sitting nearby, working. "Did I hear you say 'boyfriend'?"

"They say I can't play my piece for the graded performance, because it wouldn't be fair to the other students - we get graded on interpretation." She sighed and rubbed her temples. "And yes, they wanted to know who my accompanist on the tape was. I didn't give them your name."

"You won't have an accompanist at the school. And not letting you play your piece... That's ridiculous! The piece is..."

Christine ignored that he'd declined to accompany her at the Conservatory. "It's fair, Erik. I would have an unfair advantage interpreting my own work. Dr. Corringer encouraged me to be ready to perform my composition as an encore."

Erik tried to smooth his ruffled feathers. If Christine wasn't upset over this, then neither would he be. "So. You chose the Gigue?"

"It's a beautiful piece. With only about a month to go, I don't want to pick anything I don't already know."


"And with only about a month to go, we have to make travel arrangements. Christine de"cided now was as good a time as any to discuss that inevitability. "Wisconsin is a long, long way from here. How do you want to get there?"

"A plane, I suppose. Rental car the rest of the way." He wrinkled his brow in consternation. "You're worried about traveling with me?"

"I'm worried about you traveling, period. I don't think they'll let a masked man on a plane - not with the way security is these days."

"I can't go with out it."

"No. You can't." Christine felt anger at that injustice well inside her, but brutally pushed it down. Now was not the time. "We could rent a car. I have a little money put aside..."

"We don't have to worry about money." Erik waved a hand dismissively.
"How long a drive is it?"

"Very. It will take about three days."

"We'll just have a road trip then."

Christine smiled gratefully.Six days in a car sounded like torture. Six days in a car with Erik, however, sounded wonderful.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 45 of 64

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