Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 17 of 39

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It had been a quiet morning, that was for sure, and Tony was keeping himself busy tidying the desks at the front of the building. He was young and small, pleased to have a job but nervous about everything all the same. As he wiped the surface of the front desk and then began to polish it, he smiled at himself in the new gleam.

He was aware that some of the office snobs were staring at him, as they always did, but he didn't care. It didn't bother him that they thought he was beneath them and it didn't bother him that he didn't earn as much money as they did. He was just glad to be working, doing whatever, so that he could eventually ask Georgina to marry him.

Tony had always been of a more than normal nervous disposition but he was learning to control it, over time. His job was simple. All he had to do was keep the lobby looking clean, take out the trash and polish the desks. While he was doing this he should keep his ears and eyes open and report anything unusual directly to Mr Schwarz without delay.

What the snobs didn't know was that he was the only person in the whole building with the privilege of being able to go up to the boss man any time he wanted. Well, almost anytime, anyway. He was kind of the spy. Had a certain ring to it.

On that particular morning there was a sharp breeze drifting around and blowing leaves and litter into the building whenever someone came in through the front door. He didn't complain though, it wasn't autumn or winter anymore and so there weren't too many leaves on the floor. The litter was a different matter, but he could deal with that.

As he bent over to pick up another piece of cast aside newspaper his eyes found feet, and then ankle, and then dress, shoulders, neck and finally, the face of perhaps the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. She was tall and slim, shoulders so white and soft they looked like rose petals, she had dark eyes and loose curly hair the colour of polished wood.

He stood to greet her but when he opened his mouth she simply stepped past him and made her way to the front desk. When he caught up to her he asked, 'Can I help you?'

She turned back to him and said, 'I'm looking for Mr Schwarz,' she said, and he noticed that her voice was accented, similar to the boss. He wondered if she was German too.

'Do you have an appointment?' he asked, knowing that she didn't. He knew that Schwarz rarely made appointments with anyone, he usually let Jack deal with most people and important clients never came in through the lobby anyway.

'No,' she said. Tony was relieved that she didn't lie at least he could avoid that awkwardness.

'Maybe you should make an appointment and come back another time,' he suggested.

She raised her eyebrows at him. 'I don't think so,'

'He doesn't see anyone without an appointment,'

'He will see me,' she said, sternly but not angrily.

She went to move past him but he stepped in her path and said, 'I can't let you do that, miss,'

She nodded her head and as she turned to him, dropped her shawl on the floor. Tony stuttered a little but then bent down to pick it up, which, in hindsight, was a mistake, because by the time he had stood up she was standing in the lift telling Geoff to take her to the correct floor.

Geoff hated Tony and so, seeing that Tony needed to stop her, Geoff simply clicked the lift doors shut and began to operate the machinery upwards. Tony watched as the machine pulled away and then he bolted up the stairs.

This was a disaster!

Erik signed another form with his fake surname and then added it to the pile of papers in the shallow box to his left. The desk he used was absolutely huge, too big really, but the shine and polish on it was so exquisite he kept it. Even though he spent very little time in the office anyway. He lifted another sheet to read but found that his heart was not in it and so placed it back down again.

He rose and paced to the window, looking down at New York and the thousands of people therein, wondering if any of them could possibly feel the way he did at that moment. He had spent years rebuilding his life, creating a business that was not only viable but lucrative. Obviously, he had fallen back on what he knew. Entertainment was his game, even if it had not always been to everyone's taste.

He ached to write music again, to play and to sing but he knew that it was too soon for his kind of music and perhaps always would be. The Opera would open its doors in four days and he would see Carmen, for perhaps the thousandth time, but this time he would see Christine.

Involuntarily his eyes closed and he sighed.

Over the years he had kept a watchful eye on her progress but some years ago the news stories stopped and she, without reason, disappeared from the opera scene. Shortly after, she arrived in America, and to his disbelief, New York.

Letting her go had been, perhaps, the most difficult thing he had ever done in his life and in his life he had done some extraordinarily difficult things. When she arrived in America, in the very same town as he, he knew that it was fate. The gods, should they actually exist, were playing with him.

Erik was no fool. He knew that he still loved her and that he could not forget her. He never could. For the first two years after her arrival in America he had restrained himself, continued to build his reputation and his business, ignoring as best he could her presence in the very same town that he now lived.

Despite his best efforts to forget, to let it go, a plot formulated in his mind and though he tried to shake it, and he did try, it would not leave him.

And so he set the ball rolling, as it were.

Knowing of Philippe's little problems as well as he did, it was all just a little bit too easy. So easy, in fact, that it almost took the sport out of it.

Still, perhaps this was where the sport truly began.

For months, then, Erik stayed away. He let Jack deal with the de Chagny's… with Christine, until eventually he could take no more. The night of the ball, an occasion created to draw her close to him, Jack drugged Raoul's drink and removed him from the equation, to be dealt with at a later date. Jack did his job well and then finally, carefully, engineered the meeting between Erik and Christine outside on the balcony.

When she had first stepped outside he had been breathless, her beauty and elegance unchanged and yet she had a confidence, a poise, that he had never seen in her before. It was new, it was fresh and it was wonderful.

For what seemed an eternity Erik hid in the shadows while Jack chatted to her but, finally, blissfully, they were alone.

He had stood for a moment, drinking her in as she stared into the vastness of the night, but finally she felt him, as she always did. He did not expect her anger to be quite so vehement but she was indeed different, if then still the same. When they were close she still smelt and looked like the Christine he had always loved but now she had a fire to her.

She was irresistible.

He left, before she could say something that they would both regret, but as he did he knew that nothing had changed between them. Not really.

He stood at the window and let the sun touch his face. It was so rare for him to allow daylight in that he just let himself feel it for a moment. He had always loved the darkness but there was something about the sun, just recently, that he found somewhat comforting.

He was just starting to feel more relaxed when his peace was abruptly shattered as the door to his office burst open, smacking against the wall behind it with a loud thud.

He turned quickly, slipping his dagger into his palm ready to fight, but found only Christine standing in his doorway. This was a whole different type of fight, he thought to himself, and hid the knife back in his sleeve.

He made no move towards her nor she to him, but as he was about to speak his mole burst in, sweating and stammering.

'I'm sorry, sir,' Tony stuttered. 'I… she just… '

The boy looked terrified and the sight of him so panicked and dishevelled amused Erik somewhat. 'Its fine, Tony, leave us,' he said, with a wave of his hand, dismissing the young employee.

The boy didn't need to be told twice and he darted from the door nearly as quickly as he had arrived, leaving Erik and Christine alone in the office.

Over nine years apart and then twice in one week he found himself completely alone with her.

They stood, for a long time, staring at each other. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes bright, she was stunning.

'So soon,' Erik said, breaking the silence.

Christine reached behind her and closed the door. 'We need to talk,'

'Please,' Erik said, indicating to the chair. Christine's eyes narrowed with suspicion but she took the offer anyway.

'We will fulfil our contract,' she said suddenly, without looking up at him.

'And does Raoul agree with your decision?' he asked, knowing very well that le Vicomte knew nothing of his presence in New York.

'When have you ever cared about what Raoul thinks?' she asked bitterly.

'Ever since he started thinking that you belonged to him,' Erik replied.

Anger burned behind Christine's eyes and he could see her trying to control it, he knew the feeling well and recognised the signs. Clenched fists, taut lips…

'You will fulfil your contract,' he prompted.

'And then we will leave,' she told him.

He paused, 'We'll see,'

'You can't keep me here,' she said angrily.

'I'm not keeping you here,' he informed her calmly.

'But you are Erik,' she said. 'We are tied into a contract with you…'

'The contract is hardly watertight, Christine,' Erik said. 'You can get out and only lose the money you have already paid in,'

Her eyes fixed on his and she stood abruptly.

'You want to stay,' he said. 'Or you would be gone by now,'

'It isn't for you,'

'When did I say that it was?' he asked innocently. Her words, of course, stung him as they always did but as far as he was concerned, he was simply happy that she was there.

She shook her head, her body tense with rage. 'I cannot believe I am allowing you to manipulate me again,'

Erik said nothing.

'You have brought me here under false pretences, you have used my love of music to control me,' she said. 'You have used Philippe and Raoul… you have no thought for anyone besides yourself,' she turned and quickly moved towards the door.

'I think of you,' Erik said honestly. Christine stopped. 'You know I do,'

She glanced over her shoulder, 'You should have left things as they were, Erik,'

'How could I?' he asked, his heart threatening to beat out of his chest.

She turned to face him. 'How long have you known that I was here?'

'Since you arrived,' he answered.

She laughed. 'This was a plan two years in the making?'


Her eyes softened. 'Then why now?'

'I could bear it no more,' he replied. 'Knowing that you were so close and yet not being near you…'

'This has to stop, Erik,' she said firmly.

Silence fell between them, the distance there now seemed somehow insurmountable, and though she stood merely footsteps away from him he feared that they could not possibly be any further apart. Christine's anger had dissipated and what remained was a hurt and disappointed woman, one that he had loved for over a decade and could not give up, no matter how he tried.

'What will you do at the end?' she asked him, shattering the taut air.

He didn't say anything because he did not know what to say.

'When my contract is over and I leave with Raoul,' she said, not accepting of his silence. 'What will you do then?'

What would he do? The usual temptation remained; to be rid of le Vicomte and take Christine, whether she agreed or not.

'Will you hurt us?' she asked, her eyes fixed on him.

'I would never hurt you,'

She stared at him for a long moment before saying, quietly, 'I know,'

'Perhaps I will be satisfied with hearing you sing again,' he said and then, despite his better judgement asked, 'Why did you ever stop?'

'I…' she swallowed. 'I sang for years after you left,'

'But you did stop,'

She nodded. 'Because we were moving here,'

He blinked at the lie. 'You stopped before that,'

Christine sighed and turned around, with her back to him and her hand on the door handle she said, 'Please, let this go,'

Although he wanted to reach out and grab her hand, pull her to him and make her stay, he resisted and simply watched her walk away.

It never did get any easier.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 17 of 39

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