Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 26 of 39

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Meg Giry arrived with her usual flourish and Christine could not remember having ever been so pleased to see anyone before in her entire life. She met them at the port with Benoit and admitted to herself that Meg had chosen a husband who was perfect for her. He was slightly taller, broad and had handsome features, with soft sandy hair and clear blue eyes. Christine thought that he looked honest and hoped that he always made Meg as happy as she looked at that moment.

She smiled when she saw them approaching and when they were close enough Meg dropped her umbrella to the floor and flung her dainty arms around Christine. They stood there, holding each other like that, for a long time and despite the bustling and passersby, neither of them felt compelled to end the embrace.

'I've missed you,' Meg whispered into her hair. 'It's been too long,'

Finally, Christine pulled back and held her long time friend at arm's length so that she could take her in. 'You look wonderful, Meg,'

Her friend blushed pink, but she had never been easily embarrassed and turned to her new husband. 'Fredrick,' she said to him, holding her hand out and waiting for him to take it. He did so with a smile and stood at her side. 'This is Christine… my very best friend,'

Fredrick took her hand in his and kissed it softly. 'I'm so pleased to finally meet you,'

Christine smiled, 'And I you,'

Meg turned to Benoit and held her arms out. Her son leapt into them and Meg kissed his cheeks and his hair, culminating in a long tickle of his ribs that only ended when he managed to squirm from her grasp. 'You're so tall!'

Benoit rolled his eyes. 'I am not tall,'

Meg giggled. 'Taller than when we last met, little one,'

He blushed.

They all walked from the dock and to the awaiting carriage, climbing in one by one. Meg sat with her back to the driver and her hand enclosed in her husband's grasp. As they rode along Meg told her about their wedding and their short honeymoon to Italy. She told her about keeping Giry as her stage name, because people knew her by it, but actually her new surname was Berger. The conversation was free flowing and warm, as if they had barely spent a day apart and Christine was pleased for her friend's happiness.

It was only when they pulled up at the house that Meg said to her, 'I can only stay for a few days,'

Christine placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and guided her into the family room. Benoit had rushed off to show Fredrick the room he and his new wife would be staying in. Despite her asking him to be there, Raoul was nowhere to be seen, and so she sat Meg down and gripped her hands.

'Is mother really ill?' Meg asked and there was an almost childlike hope in her eyes that Christine only wished that she could preserve.

Christine swallowed the lump that had formed round and hard in her throat and said, 'She is, I'm sorry,'

'Perhaps I should have insisted on more time off from the ballet,' Meg said distantly.

'You risk losing your post if you do that…' Christine reassured her.

'But she's my mother…'

'And she would not wish you to lose your job over this,' Christine said, grasping her friend's cool hand. 'You know that,'

Meg nodded and, for a moment, Christine thought that she might cry but instead, she sucked in a deep breath and forced a brave smile. 'I don't know what to do,'

'I'll be here for you,' Christine told her. 'If you need me,'

Meg hugged her quickly. 'When shall we go and see her… is she still managing to work?'

Christine nodded. 'But only two days per week,'

'I'm surprised the theatre owner isn't upset with her,' Meg said. 'Illness such as this usually means losing your income,'

Momentarily Christine felt as though her heart had stopped beating, 'Well, she's very valued,' she eventually said and at least she could console herself with the fact that it was not a lie.

To her surprise Meg actually looked sceptical but Christine was relieved when Meg said, 'Perhaps there is more to it, perhaps they are in love?'

Christine smiled, 'I don't know about that,'

'Have you met him?'

'Well, he's very busy,' Christine managed to say through what felt like cracks in her throat. The words were strained and she chastised herself inwardly for her emotions.

Meg was frowning at her but before she had chance to question her friend, Fredrick and Benoit walked back in. 'What a lovely house,' Fredrick said and the compliment was, in that moment, the most welcome thing she thought she had ever heard.

'Thank you,' she responded, flashing him a smile. 'Is your room to your liking?'

'Oh yes,' Fredrick replied. 'Benoit has been showing me around,'

Her son puffed out his chest and Meg grinned at him. It was amazing how easily children could make even the saddest of people smile. Fredrick moved over to her and placed his hand gently on her shoulder. She covered his fingers with her own and sighed, 'I think we should waste no more time,'

He nodded.

She turned to Christine, 'We're going to go and see mother, do you think she will be home?'

Christine nodded, 'She knows you're here today, I'm sure she is waiting to see you,'

Christine offered to escort them there as she lived so close to the theatre and so they all set off just over thirty minutes later. The ride over to Antoinette's modest home was done mostly in an uncomfortable silence. Old friends they certainly were but this situation was one they had never found themselves in together before and neither seemed to know quite what to say or do.

She knew from experience that no words of comfort were ever enough. She knew how it felt to lose your parents, she knew how it felt to want them to stay so badly that your heart physically hurt. Meg had never really known her father, she had been so young when he has passed on. Her mother had been all she had known, her guide and her friend, and now she must face the prospect of her not being there anymore.

Christine sighed inwardly.

When the carriage clunked up outside the apartments Christine reached out and squeezed her friend's hand gently. Meg looked up and smiled.

'Send my love, won't you?' Christine said.

Meg simply nodded, grasped her husband's hand and stepped out the carriage. Christine followed to the edge of the path but then turned and walked in the other direction, towards the theatre. As she rounded the next corner she found that she was not completely alone.

'Good afternoon,' Erik said as she looked up and their eyes met.

'How is it that you somehow always manage to be where I am?'

His eyes twinkled in the sunlight, a sight she had rarely been treated to in Paris, 'Fate,'

She managed to smile at him.

'I was visiting Antoinette,' he said.

'How is she?' she asked, although she was fairly sure that she did not really want to know the answer.

'She is having a bad day,'

'I've just dropped Meg there…'

'I saw,'

Silence fell between them and aside from the occasional shout from a house, the street was quiet. Christine let her eyes linger on his for a moment, the sharpness and brightness of them a stark contrast to the darkness of his features, of his soul.

'Meg can't stay for long,' Christine said, inexplicably.

He stared at her, no words, but she could hear his breathing, low and deep, to everyone else he was silent but she could hear him clearly. She could always hear him.

'I mean…'

'I know,' he said.


'I know,'

Why was she telling him this? She swallowed, 'I wish I could do something,'

'Such as?' he asked.

She shrugged, helpless.

'Unfortunately, there is nothing any of us can do,'

'You always sound so reasonable,'

He eyed her with amusement. 'That isn't something I hear often,'

She managed to smile at him. It was true that over the years his temper had been basically beyond control and that when his emotions brimmed they inevitably overflowed, but to say he was without reason would be a lie. The man had excellent reason, perfect logic. It was his application that was sometimes the problem.

Christine was about to say more when she noticed that his eyes had averted to something over her shoulder and it was only then that she felt the approach of someone behind her. When she turned she was greeted by soft blue eyes and long blonde hair.

'Samantha,' Erik nodded. 'This is Christine… Christine, Samantha,'

The other woman, Samantha, cast a suspicious eye across Christine before saying, completely without warmth, 'How do you do?'

Christine forced a smile, 'Pleased to meet you, Samantha,'

Erik said, 'Samantha works for me,'

Christine almost laughed but somehow managed to refrain. 'I'm sure she does,'

Erik's eyebrow twitched slightly but he said nothing.

'I was just leaving,' Christine said, her eyes meeting Erik's. 'Lovely to see you, Monsieur Schwarz,'

She was not really sure quite what she expected or what it was that she was feeling. Her body was strangely numb and yet her mind was buzzing and flashing from thought to thought. Uncomfortable as she was, she felt remarkably alive but she had no idea what it was that had stirred inside her at that moment.

She turned and walked away. Erik did not call her back nor did he follow her, and that was fine with Christine.

All except for the fact that she wasn't quite sure if it was.

'Your timing is impeccable,' Erik said, his tone cool. Samantha smiled one of her best smiles at him as she hooked her arm through his. He did not really respond but allowed the gesture and as they began to walk, he felt Samantha's eyes on his face.

'Is that the one you have been keeping your eye on?' she asked.

Erik glanced sideways at her. 'How is it going?' he said, without answering the question.

She shrugged in such a way that it was alarmingly sexual. Samantha was sultry, she did it naturally and he knew that she did not put any extra effort into it on his behalf. These things did little to move him though, love was not about the way you moved your shoulders or the way you pinned your hair, it was something entirely different.

In his mind, when he thought about love and all that it seemed to promise, he always saw Christine.

'It isn't really going anywhere,' she replied.

He left the silence hanging there, knowing that she could not resist the urge to fill it.

'Raoul does not respond to me,'

Erik said nothing.

'Can you believe that?' she asked.

He turned his eyes to her, 'Yes,'

'If you were so sure that this would be the outcome why did you set me the task to begin with?' she asked.

This time he smiled at her. 'Curiosity,'

She huffed and it made her look like a child.

'Some men are capable of overcoming your powers, Samantha,' he said simply as they approached the front of the office building.

She scowled but said nothing. He was sometimes amazed by her arrogance but at other times she could be very sweet. An entirely different person.

'So what am I to do now?' she asked him as he pushed the door open.

'Continue and wait for more instructions,'

She rolled her eyes and placed her hand on his forearm, 'Do you always have to be so cryptic?'

'Do you always have to be so tactile?' he retorted with a sharp glance down to her fingers. She slowly removed her hand from his arm.

'You're so irritable,' she said.

He swallowed a sigh. He had plans for Samantha and therefore, wanted to keep her happy. He never quite understood women who felt that they should flaunt themselves at all wealthy men, but then again, he didn't really understand the wealthy men who fell for their questionable charms either.

He bid Samantha farewell a little more tersely than he had originally planned but felt no guilt as he climbed the secret passages that led to his office.

Despite Samantha's interruption, his mind was focused on Christine as he feared it might always be.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 26 of 39

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