Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 8 of 64

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That told her nothing. She’d already asked herself that question repeatedly. She did not have the answer. Obviously, he was trying to tell her that there was something wrong with his appearance, but everyone had issues with how they look. She’d almost not met him tonight for that same reason.

"I’m not trying to make you talk about it anymore, and I know you are probably thinking I’m awfully pushy, but if you’re overweight or think you aren’t attractive or something - you should know that with the way you play, it probably wouldn’t matter. I mean, look at John Popper"

"Christine..." His voice was tight as he tried to remind himself that she had the best of intentions. Still, her name slid hissingly from his lips in a low, warning tone.

"Seriously, Erik. It’s not like you’re a circus freak or something."

The hell, you say, he thought acidly . Had this been anyone else, he would have turned off Voicechat and disappeared from her forever. But this girl had gotten into his soul somehow, with her trust and her passion and her talent. This was so new, so annoyingly difficult. For the first time in his life, he was trying to keep a friend. How did one go about that?

"Christine?" He’d remembered something from their first conversation. "Would you like to learn to sing?"

The obvious attempt at redirection was frustrating, but she let herself be led away from the subject. He wouldn’t talk now, but someday... "I already told you I can’t afford lessons."

"I wouldn’t charge you. I’d give you lessons for free." It was working! She was distracted.

" can you give me lessons over a microphone?"

"I’m sure we’ll work it out. Let’s try it and see how it works. Now, stand up, so I can see you better. You shouldn’t have much problem with the breathing, because you play the flute. If you play the flute as well as you play the cello -and, honestly, of the two of us, you should be the performer - you already know how to breathe and how to control your breath. Sing for me. Anything you like."

Christine stood, trying to think of a song she knew well enough to sing off-the-cuff without lyrics or sheet music. "Really, you should sing first. Erik, I can’t sing at all. I really..."

"Hush. Let me be the judge. Sing."

Not normally one to take orders, Christine bristled. Erik could see the crease in her brow and the angry frown that crossed her face. It made him smile. It showed him that she was not naturally pliant, but he could see in her eyes that she would do this because it was AngelofMusic who asked.

Christine began to sing Nick Drake’s "Cello Song". It was a beautiful little ballad that did not require a broad range or exceptional vocal skill. It was also one of her favorite songs, which helped her to sing it believably. She couldn’t have known the effect it would have on her lonely listener.

The girl’s voice was entirely untaught and raw. She knew how to breathe, but she wouldn’t open her mouth to let the voice out. She seemed afraid to produce sound. What little sound she did produce, however, showed immense potential. Her voice had a sweetness and tone that many an opera singer would envy. It needed work, true, but with a very little effort he could release an Angel’s voice.

"Strange face, with your eyes / So pale and sincere. / Underneath you know well / You have nothing to fear. / For the dreams that came to you when so young / Told of a life / Where spring is sprung."

Through the first stanza, he could focus on the technicalities and critique her weak spots. As the song progressed, though, he began to actually hear the lyrics. Erik knew this song - how could one love stringed instruments and not know Nick Drake - but to have her choose it, and sing it directly to him...

"You would seem so frail / In the cold of the night / When the armies of emotion / Go out to fight.
But while the earth sinks to its grave / You sail to the sky / On the crest of a wave."

The few girls Erik had tried to know between his years in the hospital and the moment when he decided to isolate himself from the world had either been afraid or openly contemptuous of him. He’d grown cold, encasing his romantic hopes in layer after layer of ice. This unpretentious ballad, sung in her modest, whispery voice as she gazed into the camera lens, was melting that ice faster than he could absorb the melt.

"So forget this cruel world / Where I belong / I'll just sit and wait / And sing my song. / And if one day you should see me in the crowd / Lend a hand and lift me / To your place in a cloud."

She finished the song, and there was silence.

and silence.

and more silence.

"Was that ok? Do you still think I can learn to sing?" As it always did, his silence made her nervous. She decided that she’d wait it out this time. After a few minutes, her patience was rewarded.

"It was fine. You...need to open your mouth more. There are issues... with enunciation...and other technical things..." She almost asked if he was ok. He suddenly sounded old and tired; it seemed he was trying to catch his breath. "but you have a beautiful singing voice Christine. If only you weren’t afraid to make the sound."

"But..." she began to protest, he interrupted.

"I have to go now. I have deadlines to meet. Will you be on tomorrow?"

"Yes, but..."

"I’ll talk to you then."


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A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 8 of 64

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