Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 3 of 39

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'You need to sleep this off,' Raoul growled, absolute fury coursing through his veins. He had truly had enough and was not sure how much more he could take of his brothers reckless antics.

Blood shot eyes peered up at him from under an oily fringe. 'I have something to tell you,'

Raoul took a breath, calmed himself. He was not a man prone to losing his temper and was certainly not going to become one now. Despite the trials and tribulations, he prided himself on being a gentleman and that was exactly what he planned to continue to be. Philippe did test his resolve, though, far more than was normal.

Or welcome, for that matter.

He steeled himself… What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, he thought.

'You need to sleep,' he repeated, with less anger, as if saying it a second time would prompt any form of recognition from his older brother.

Philippe simply slumped back heavily into the seat. 'We can talk,' he persisted but it came out in a god awful slur that sounded more like 'weesh can tall'.

'Later,' Raoul insisted, palm up, the gesture of peace.

'Coffee?' Philippe asked, green eyes pleading and clearly now unable to form complete sentences.

Raoul just shook his head.

He loved his older brother, had always looked up to him, but this was just too much. Seeing him this way was not only infuriating but utterly heartbreaking. His once hero reduced to nothing more than a two bit drunk. The memories of them as boys, fooling around, making fun of one another… his brother standing up to would be bullies like some hero.

He could see no hero sitting in front of him now. He was struggling to see any man at all, under the filth and stench of booze.

'Sleep,' Raoul persevered none the less, as strode to the cupboard, grabbing some blankets and throwing them at Philippe. They landed on him, covering his face. Philippe made absolutely no attempt to catch them and, furthermore, made no attempt to move them now they were resting on his head.

If it had been anyone else at any other time, Raoul suspected that he might even have found the whole thing quite amusing.

He walked over and knocked the blankets into Philippe's lap.

He was smiling, 'Can't I…'

'Philippe, please,' Raoul despaired. 'My family are here and I don't want Benoit to see you looking like this.'

Philippe looked down at his own body, taking it in. 'What's wrong with me?' he asked when he glanced back up and Raoul could see from the look in his brother's eyes that Philippe genuinely could not see anything amiss.

Their father would have been deeply ashamed and their mother heartbroken. Perhaps it was not such a bad thing that they were gone, at least they did not have to see him this way, their pride and joy.

Raoul was tempted to point out the obvious to him but instead, chose against fighting, as he so often did and said, 'You need to sleep, when you wake up after some rest… well… we can talk,'

Philippe's eyes lolled in his head slightly and then, with some effort, refocused. 'I love you,' he said.

Raoul nodded. Under normal circumstances Philippe maintained what he thought was a healthy control of his emotions, never one to admit when he was hurt or angry, or to tell his siblings that he cared, he simply remained aloof. However, when he had been drinking he became affectionate.

Philippe bent forward to untie his shoes but could not keep his balance and so, with a sigh, Raoul knelt down and carefully undid his brother's shoes before slipping them off and setting them aside.

'Your jacket,' Raoul said as he stood back up. Philippe struggled but managed to remove it and hand it to Raoul.

Although he was tempted to take it out into the yard and burn it, he thought better of the idea and hung it over the back of one of the hard backed chairs. Philippe's eyes drooped, only slightly, and Raoul gently lifted his brother's feet onto the couch.

The protests were gone now and Philippe rested his head on the cushion and allowed Raoul to tuck the blanket around him. 'Try to sleep,' he said.

'You were always a good boy,' Philippe said and he tugged the blanket up to his chin.

Raoul was about to respond before he saw that his brother's eyes were tightly closed and his breathing had evened into the gentle rhythm of sleep. For a moment he thought about doing what he always did when Philippe nodded off on him, and that was to simply leave, but this time something stopped him. Instead of walking out he pulled up one of the spare chairs and sat opposite his brother.

Slowly he realised that this was the only time he ever saw Philippe looking at peace and he decided that the moment was so rare, that he would sit… if only for a little while.

Mrs Kelly was the type of woman that many young children found completely intimidating. She knew this about herself, with her broad shoulders and wide hips, stern, hard set face and icy eyes, she looked quite the formidable character. Occasionally, she could use this to her advantage with her pupils and when the time called for it she did not hold it back. She was not blessed with the good looks of a lot of women or with their demur natures but God had given her a brain.

She had never met a child who did not shrink away from her when she entered a room or crawl into themselves when her booming voice shouted. It was not something to make someone proud, but she had made more than her fair share of children cry. This was at least the case until she had met Benoit De Changy.

She watched him now, as he worked away at his study book, behaving as he usually did. Never had she known a child so fearless and yet so polite with it. In her experience, and this was a vast well of knowledge, young boys who were fearless were also arrogant and rude. Benoit was neither of these things and yet he had every right to be. He was young and privileged, dark hair and blue eyes would no doubt serve him well in the future and aside from this he was probably the most intelligent boy she had ever taught.

Rarely did she have to repeat herself or order to him to read something again more carefully. His English was excellent, better than hers at times she thought, and he absorbed the lessons almost more quickly than she could actually give them. Every week they were moving to a new topic and Mrs Kelly worried that soon she would run out of history to teach him.

He glanced up from his book, blue eyes twinkling under the morning sun. He looked capable of mischief, she had no doubt, and yet he chose to conduct himself like a little gentleman. She knew grown men who were less astute and courteous than this young boy and it was always a pleasure to some to work.

'I'm finished,' he said, holding the book open and looking pleased.

'Already?' she asked, although she wasn't really surprised.

He nodded and handed her the book across the table. When she took it from his she said, 'Why don't you read the next chapter of the text and I will go through your work?'

Something crossed his eyes but was gone so quickly she wondered if she had imagined it. 'Very well,' he said politely and lifted the text.

She watched him for a moment longer, wondering how it was that some parents could barely control their children and others, like the De Chagnys, barely had to try at all. She lifted her pencil and began reading his work, making ticks where she was happy with what he had written.

'When I have finished marking this,' she said, without looking up from the book. 'We can call it a day, I think. It's beautiful out and you have worked very hard,'

'Thank you,' he said and although he did not look up, she knew that he was smiling. She could hear it in his voice.

She had never had any children of her own because her marriage to Mr Kelly had been cut so tragically short. Now, looking at Benoit, she wondered what their children would have looked like. She wondered whether they would have been a mixture of boys and girls or just one or the other. How well behaved would her own children be, how kind and polite, how hard working… she swallowed away her sadness and placed a last tick at the bottom of the page.

She cleared her throat, 'Well done, Benoit,'

The boy looked up and gave her the briefest of smiles, 'Thank you,'

'Do you have any other lessons today?' she asked, as she handed the book back to him across the table.

'Music,' he replied. 'This afternoon,'

'I'm sorry, I didn't realise you played an instrument,' she said and then added, out of simple curiosity, 'Which do you learn?'

He frowned at her as if he didn't quite understand the question. 'What do you mean?' he asked.

'Which instrument do you play?'

'Oh, I play more than one,' he said and at least then she understood his confusion. 'Don't all children?'

She smiled, 'No, Benoit, usually children of your age are only capable of learning one instrument at a time,'

Again his brow furrowed. 'I play the piano, mostly, but I do love to play the violin,'

She was about to speak when he added, 'I enjoy the cello too, although I don't have as much fun as with the piano,'

Amazed she simply smiled. 'I'm sure your parents are very proud of you, Benoit,' she said as she packed her booked into the satchel she carried.

Benoit began passing her pencils and paper, helping her stack things neatly so that she could easily slip them into her bag. He was the only one of her pupils that did this.

'My mother loves music,' he said, as he handed her the last pile of papers. She tucked it into the bag and clipped the buckle.

She hooked the strap of the satchel over her shoulder, 'It's very good to have a hobby,'

'It isn't a hobby,' he said sternly. 'She was the greatest singer in the whole of Paris,'

This made Mrs Kelly chuckle slightly. All boys loved their mothers and it was only really at times like these that she remembered that Benoit was only just short of nine years old. His enthusiasm when he spoke of her was heart warming but all children had the tendency to embellish. She did not know much about music and would never claim to, but she was pretty sure that Mrs De Changy was not the greatest singer in the whole of Paris.

'I'm sure she is very grateful to you for saying that,' she said as she opened the door. Benoit followed and when she turned to face him that look of confusion was back on his face. She was about to comment when Mrs De Changy entered the hallway, looking as graceful as ever.

'Done so soon,' she said as her hand found her son's hair and ruffled it messy.

'Yes,' Mrs Kelly said. 'I hope you don't mind, but he has done so well today I thought it would be a treat for him to finish early,'

Benoit looked up at his mother and grinned, 'Beach?'

She rolled her eyes. 'Yes, go on, get yourself ready,'

With that he turned on his heel and was gone in a flash.

'He likes the beach, then?' she said, turning to Mrs De Changy.

She smiled, 'You could say that,'


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 3 of 39

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