Continuing Tales

Love Will Still Remain

A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Sparks

Part 17 of 24

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My dearest Christine,

It is now nearly halfway through January, and unless the post is unusually slow in reaching you, when you receive this you shall have two more weeks in Paris before setting sail once more, and so in five weeks from writing this I shall have you again. I shall see you, and touch you, and at last have you for my own.

I have little enough to tell you of life here at present; the Christmas season is over, and what snow we had is now melted and turned to slush in the rain. All is grey and miserable, although Phantasma does its best to remain bright and colourful.

I have found a house for us. It is outside the city, in a nearby town; perhaps an hour by carriage, so it is a manageable journey for me to do regularly, to continue to oversee Phantasma. It will be shorter by motor car, and I am more and more inclined to purchase one. There is a school nearby, and Madame Giry assures me it is well spoken of (or there are schools in New York, but it would be a longer journey for Gustave). It is spacious but secluded – two sides of the property are bordered by woods, and there is a reasonable length of driveway between the house and the road.

In truth it almost seems too spacious for the three of us, but I commissioned Madame Giry to find me suitable properties to view, and this was the best. There will be a music room, where I hope all three of us will play and sing together, and a room for your use, as well as the normal sitting room, dining room, etc. There are four bedrooms upstairs, as well as a small maid's room in the attic. As I said, almost too large for us, but the space for the music room, as well as the relative distance from the nearest neighbours, persuaded me that this was to be our home.

For the most part it will be unfurnished and undecorated when you arrive. I promised you that all decisions would be shared, and while it is only a house, I want it to be our home, and although I knew your tastes intimately ten years ago, I am sure they have changed at least somewhat. The people who lived in the house have left a great deal of their furniture, however (they plan to move west to San Francisco, they have told me) and so we will be comfortable while we choose our own.

Gustave's last letter surprised me. Not by its content, he talked of your visit to the Opera Populaire with great happiness, and said you had even been down to the lake. But he called me Father, for the first time. I had hoped that he would eventually be comfortable enough to do so, but I expected much more time to pass. More than four months and some weeks, at any rate.

It surprised me so much I couldn't read the letter at first. Oh Christine, he called me his father. Does he accept me as such? Has he truly grown to care for me?

How far we have come from that day in my workroom when I realised he was my son, and the sight of me sent him fleeing in terror. I thought then he would never be able to accept me, that he could never love me even if he was given the opportunity to know me.

And yet he calls me Father.

Soon enough I will be the father I have never had opportunity to be before. I shall do my best, Christine, and you must help me. And for you…for you I shall be, I hope, a good husband. I will not cheapen the past ten years by comparisons, but I will make you happy, Christine. I promise you that, if I can promise nothing else.

I have taken the liberty of speaking with the priest who conducted the burial service. He is willing to marry us, but wishes to speak with you before the ceremony. I told him when you are due to return, and also that you would call on him within a fortnight. I hope you will not think me presumptuous; but Christine, I have waited so long to have you as my own, my wife, that I feel I cannot wait much longer.

Five more weeks, and I shall at last have you back. I long to see you, to hear your voice, to kiss you. Time has passed so slowly since you left at the end of August, but it is crawling now, each day seems a week and each hour a lifetime. I try to compose, to play or sketch, to design some new creation for Phantasma, but nothing can occupy me for long. My thoughts return to you again and again. Each piece of music becomes something for you to sing, each design becomes something for our home.

My Christine, this will hopefully be the last letter I write to you for some time, and all that remains now is for me to remind you once again that I love you, so dearly.

I am, as always, your Erik.

Dear Gustave,

I am glad you were able to explore the Opera Populaire with your mother. It was our home for so many years, and it is of course where your mother began her career. She wrote to me of your visit, but did not tell me that you and Monsieur Reyer persuaded her to sing. I remember when she first sang that aria. She was sixteen, and nobody in the company believed she could possibly do it (except Madame Giry, who knew I had been teaching her). She stunned them all, and her first night was a triumph.

I am not surprised you persuaded your mother to take you down to the lake, but then I know your curiosity by now. It must have been very cold there; there is a fireplace, but if I wanted warmth I had to keep it constantly blazing. I hope neither of you came to harm, and that you didn't get too lost. The tunnels are extensive, and form a vast labyrinth. You might easily have been lost for hours.

As I said in my last letter, I am sorry not to have shared the holiday with you. I purchased a gift for you, and would have sent it to you but it would only have been another thing to bring when you return. Perhaps we can have a small celebration of our own when you and your mother come to live here at last.

I have written to your mother to tell her I have purchased a house for us, but I thought you would like me to describe the room that will be yours. It is light and airy, set on one corner of the house so you will have windows on two walls. A good-sized cupboard is set against one corner, and the previous owners left a bed in the other corner, and a desk under one of the windows. There is space for a bookcase and a chest of drawers as well. It seems rather plain and bare at present, but I'm sure you will soon make it your own.

There will not be time for me to write again before you are here, and I hope you are as eager for our reunion as I am. I have so much that I want to show you and teach you, and I have so much still to learn about you, my son.

I look forward to hearing your compositions. Take care of your mother for me for these last few weeks, and I shall meet you at the dock when you arrive back in New York.

Your loving father,


Dear Father,

Aunt Heléne took me to two different galleries today, and we had lunch at the Café Anglais as a treat. She said she might not see me again for a long time, so she wants to spoil me as much as possible. Mother doesn't mind, because she says she's terribly busy and it's easier for her if I'm out of the way. I try to help but I'm not very good at it, and so much of it is very boring.

Most of my things are packed away now. I have some books still, and my manuscript book. It isn't quite full and some of the music isn't very good, but Mother said you would help me, and teach me more about music, and so I'll get much better. I know I must go to school and learn all the normal things as well, but you will teach me music, won't you?

Father, may I have a puppy for my birthday? I've never been allowed one before but it would be so nice. Mother won't say yes, she says I must ask you. I know my birthday isn't until the end of April, but I wanted to ask.

Mother says there won't be time to write another letter before we leave, or at least that if we did, you'd see us before the letter reached you. I am glad we're coming back to be with you. Mother says it isn't wrong that I know we're going to be happy, because Father would have wanted us to be happy.

I love you, Father.


My Erik,

These weeks seem long and dreary now. In the country, I am sure, the snow is still beautifully pristine, but here in Paris it has turned icy, the streets are treacherous to walk on, and all the joyous Christmas and New Year celebrations seem far in the past now we are in the third week of January.

The house is almost bare now, which only adds to the gloom. Most of our things are packed carefully into trunks. We have kept out the things we shall need for the next few weeks, but it is not enough to keep the house from seeming empty. And yet my heart sings with the knowledge that in under three weeks' time we shall board the ship, and come at last to be with you.

Heléne has come to stay with us for our last days here. She, at least, has tried to understand why we are leaving France, although of course I have not explained everything to her. I'm sure she suspects something but she does not ask me any questions. And she has been most helpful with packing, even managing to persuade Gustave to pack properly and not simply fling all his belongings into a trunk. He is careful with his books and papers, but not so much with anything else!

His lessons have finished now; his tutor left at Christmas. I saw little point in continuing lessons for a mere month after the holiday, and Gustave is so excitable now that I doubt he would have managed to learn much anyway. Heléne takes him out most days, for walks or to one museum or gallery or another. It distracts him enough, I think, although he is eager to see you again.

As am I, of course. Sometimes I feel I can hardly contain it, that it must be clear to everyone how much I have missed you, how much I want to be with you once more. A little over three weeks now, my love, and I shall be with you again. Will you believe me if I tell you I long to see you? You have always been filled with such self-loathing, and I did nothing to aid that when I was younger, but I will try to make you understand that I love you, wholly and completely, and your face as a part of you.

And then we shall be married. Your ring remains hidden in my jewellery box, but when we board the ship I shall wear it. Nobody there will know us, nobody will care, and I want to return to you as your fiancée and not as Raoul's widow.

I haven't let myself think about that too much, at least during the daytime. To finally be your wife, to erase the mistakes I make and set our lives at last onto the course they should have taken. And yet I can't regret the past ten years, Erik. They have changed us both, and I think for the better. I hope I am wiser now, and you have learned to live with people a little more. There are things I do regret, but I find I have let them go as I have let my grief go.

Oh Erik, I love you so dearly, and I will try to make you sure of it now, as you have never been before. I know you still distrust this happiness, but it is real, and we will have so many years together.

As ever, this letter goes with all of my love, and I remain, always, your Christine.

Love Will Still Remain

A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Sparks

Part 17 of 24

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