Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 32 of 39

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When Christine and Benoit had arrived home that evening, Raoul had been too relieved to raise the subject of leaving again that night. The following morning he had risen early, earlier than his wife or his son, and quietly washed, dressed, eaten a small breakfast and then left the house.

There were two reasons he felt that he needed to see his brother; that he just wanted to because he was the only friend that Raoul had in New York and that he needed to tell him that the money they had invested was effectively lost. He had found Philippe at his townhouse, sober and wide awake, staring out of the first floor window.

When Raoul had knocked at the door, his brother had waved a hand, gesturing for him to come in but, to Raoul's surprise, had not met him at the steps. After a moments wait Raoul had surrendered and gone upstairs to him.

When he entered the room Philippe swivelled in his seat and smiled at him.

'Good morning,' he said once Raoul sat down next to him.

Raoul frowned, confused, 'What is going on?' he asked, curiosity and, perhaps, concern getting the better of him.

Philippe had turned to him. 'What do you mean?'

'You're just... sitting there, staring out of the window,' Raoul told him and then, just in case his brother hadn't noticed, pointed out, 'It's rather early,'

'I could say the same thing to you,'

Raoul had chosen not to respond to this.

'The view is lovely here and I am thinking,' Philippe explained, although Raoul thought it was hardly an explanation for the vacant look in his eyes. 'I like to look out of the window when I think,'

'Dare I ask what you're thinking?' Raoul had ventured.

Philippe flashed a grin and said, 'I am not totally without my faculties,'

Again, Raoul decided that his best course of action was to say nothing lest he offend his brother, particularly with his mood being as dark as it was. He couldn't get the image of Christine flinching away from his touch out of his mind and he had dreamt all night that the phantom was watching him as he slept.

Unpleasant images plagued him constantly and though he tried to shake them they maintained a firm grip on his sanity. He wondered how much longer he could go on with the thoughts swirling in his troubled mind, it had been only one night and already he felt exhausted.

'So,' Philippe said, finally standing and breaking into Raoul's thoughts. 'Why are you here at this ungodly hour?'

Raoul checked his pocket watch, 'It is nearly nine,'

Philippe had laughed, 'Bloody hell, I thought it was closer to eleven,'

If the comment was intended to make Raoul laugh, it certainly worked and he shook his head as he too stood to follow Philippe downstairs.

'Why are you here?' Philippe asked as they took seats in the living room, suddenly the air around them had become very serious.

'Christine and I are thinking of leaving,' Raoul had told him.

Philippe's eyebrows arched, 'When?'

'As soon as I can get us onto a comfortable boat and out of here,'

'This is very sudden,'

Raoul didn't really know what to say. He wasn't sure if he should tell Philippe about the phantom or not, or even if Philippe would take him seriously if he did. In the end, he chose to keep it to himself. He figured that Philippe was in no danger from him and so he had said, 'I am not comfortable here,'

'And the contract with the theatre?' Philippe asked. It was a reasonable question, given that they had invested heavily in the Opera House's conception and with Christine backing out they would lose their investment.

'I'm afraid we must break it,'

Philippe had stared at him for what seemed an eternity before saying, 'Can I help?'

It was strange because, although the words came out and they sounded genuine, something in Philippe's eyes was saying something different. Raoul could not pinpoint it, he did not know what exactly he was seeing, but he felt as though his brother already knew that there was nothing he could do to help.


'When are you going to enquire about passage?' Philippe asked.

Raoul had sighed. 'Tomorrow,'

And although that was what he had intended, it was not exactly what he did. That conversation with Philippe had happened two days ago and although Raoul had thought it an easy decision, when push finally came to shove, he actually did not know what to do. On three separate occasions he had gone to the port and on each occasion had turned around and left before seeking out tickets.

He wanted to leave, that was not the problem, no, the issue was that he knew how desperately Christine wanted to sing. Try as he might, he could never give Christine quite the right amount of support to continue her music. He tried, he cheered, he escorted her to rehearsals and he watched the shows but for her, that was not quite enough. He did not understand music the way she did, the way she could, and although it had never really come between them it had always hung there.

When she was pregnant and Benoit was born she had stopped singing for nearly two years. After this she was given the lead in a new opera in Paris and her return was greeted with excitement and anticipation from all of Paris... and yet when she sang, she did not sound quite the same.

Yes, she found the correct notes, she found the right tunes, she was pitch perfect but there was always something missing. Raoul often wondered, still did, if it was his lack of total support and understanding that was the problem.

Only a year and a half after she started singing again she stopped. Raoul, of course, had asked her why but her answer had been simple; she did not enjoy it anymore.

He was starting to realise what this meant.

Now in America she sang again but it was not just singing. He almost wished that it was, he almost wished now that it was the same as before, with her voice perfect but her enjoyment gone. It wasn't though, and now he knew why. When she sang, no, it wasn't just singing anymore... it was soaring, flying, rising above them all, above the whole world, the universe.

He sighed as he approached the clerk, decision made.

'Excuse me,' he said. The young brown haired man peered up at him over the top of the papers.

'Yes?' he asked.


'I was wondering if you might be able to tell me when the next available boat from here to Portsmouth, England is?' he asked, struggling slightly with the English but getting it just about right.

The man glanced down at some papers, rifled through them and said. 'Two days is the next one with free rooms...'

'There will be three of us,' Raoul told him. 'Me... of course... my wife and my son,'

The man stared down at his paper and nodded, 'We can accommodate you,'

Raoul watched the man begin to write some information down and then, when he glanced up, Raoul asked, 'What is the price?'

'You all want first class?'

Raoul nodded, wondering quite how they would afford it, even with Christine's savings.

'You want a parlour suite?'

Knowing the likely extortionate cost Raoul shook his head.

'Sure... so a first class berth then,' the man said, making more notes. He looked up and said, 'Hundred dollars per person,'

'Including my son?'

The man shook his head. 'No cost,'

'Can I take my tickets now?' Raoul asked, eager to get away. Somehow he felt grubby. He had not spoken to Christine properly since that night and he was feeling not only guilty, but equally, he was afraid. When he searched his mind he could not decide quite what he was afraid of. They had been in New York for almost three years, they had been part of the theatre for around nine months and the phantom had left nothing even akin to a threat.

Still, the uneasiness was settled well and truly in his turning stomach and he could not rest. Tickets in hand he found a cab back to the house and went inside to wait for Christine to return.

It was growing dark and as Jack entered the old building he got the weird feeling that there was actually no one there at all. He had been sent to oversee the closing of a deal that Erik had been trying to agree for a while. It was rare for Jack to be sent on these sort of tasks but on the odd occasion Erik would like to vary things. Jack thought this was probably to keep him on his toes but you never really did know with Erik Schwarz.

The door clunked shut behind him and there was horrible echo in the dark room. He stopped inside and looked around him, allowing his eyes to adjust until he saw the flicker of a light under the door opposite him. Steadily he walked forward and pushed the door open with his fingertips before cautiously proceeding inside. At first glance it didn't seem that there was anyone there but on a second glance around Jack spotted a woman's scarf over the back of a chair.

He took a seat and waited.

The room was warm and light, it smelled of women's perfume and he couldn't help but close his eyes and take it in. He spent so little time around women these days and had long ago stopped considering Christine a women, he was even allowing himself to start viewing her as, dare he think it, a friend.

The sound of soft footsteps brought him back to reality and his eyes flew open. When they focused he felt his heart stop dead in his chest and all of the air he reserved for breathing leave his lungs.

Standing in the doorway was Samantha; beautiful as ever. If he was surprised then he would have to say, by the look on her face, that she was utterly stunned. She had frozen on the spot, one hand on the door handle the other hanging by her side. Her eyes were wide and her lips parted slightly; Jack could just make out the movement of her chest as she breathed.

'Samantha,' he said, but the sound was strange. It did not sound like his voice at all, more that of a mouse than of a man.

She blinked her eyes. 'Jack,'

He felt his throat tighten so that breathing was near impossible. 'What are you... why are you here?'

'I was about to ask you the same thing,' she said, her voice just as evocative as he had always found it.

'I'm working,' Jack said, trying to take discreet yet deep breaths.

With those words Samantha's shoulder slumped slightly, and her posture changed completely. She no longer looked shocked or, for that matter, confident. She looked deflated.

'For Erik,' Samantha said to him. It was not a question.

He nodded and tried, unsuccessfully, to force a smile. 'You must be the closer,'

She, too, nodded her head. 'You would think I might have guessed,'


'That you worked for him,'

'I never mentioned him by name,' Jack said but wasn't really sure why. It wasn't the conversation that Jack would have expected to have with Samantha nor was it the conversation that he wanted. Far from it, in fact.

She huffed and closed the door behind her, stepping into the room. 'No, you didn't, but he controlled you, it seems obvious now,'

Jack opened his mouth to deny the accusation but thought better of it. After all, how could he? He had loved Samantha since they were children and even now the sight of her made him tremble. They had not spoken for years and though Jack's employment by Erik had been a catalyst to the end of the relationship, it certainly had not been the only problem.

Childhood had not been easy for Jack but he had found an escape in the dangerous world of crime. Samantha loved him all the same and, if nothing else, she knew that he would always protect her and always love her, even if he had sometimes had a peculiar way of showing it. Samantha's parents had died when she was fairly young and Jack had taken it upon himself to be her stand in guardian, someone she could turn to and someone who could love her as unconditionally as they had.

What Jack didn't realise was that unconditional was a desperately hard thing to achieve, and though he had basically succeeded in giving it to her, she had not been able to return it. If Jack was forced to speak of it, he would say that the two of them had, had a mostly happy relationship but his work had been irregular and money was often tight.

This alone would cause arguments and then, angry, he would go out, fight, cause trouble... just simply do things that society could not accept. That she could not accept. Slowly, Samantha became discontented and, to his everlasting shame, Jack barely even noticed. He had been so wrapped up in his own world, in his own issues, that he could not see the restlessness she found herself smothered by.

When the day came that Erik offered him employment he jumped at the chance, it was well paid and he would finally be able to provide a life for them both. He knew from the start the sort of things that the job might entail and yet his ignorance and the need for money had driven him forward. It was not a greedy need, at least that he could say with confidence, it was a need born of love and hunger.

Samantha, however, was not happy and in hindsight he knew that he should have recognised the symptoms earlier. He didn't, though, and so his work continued. He would be out all night sometimes and at other odd hours, sometimes when she had needed him the most. The money and work was good, Jack never complained and neither did he notice the growing distance between himself and Samantha.

When it ended, it ended badly. Samantha was threatened by a brute that Jack had had dealings with years before and although Jack stepped in, the damage was already done. She had not been physically harmed but the memories, the fear, the gap between them and his reluctance to change had ultimately been the end.

She had screamed at him, her fists flying at his chest in panic and rage, and then she simply left.

He had not heard much about her for a couple of years after that but then she re-emerged in a new house, the one he had sat outside so solemnly those months ago, and what seemed a new life. Knowing that he was not welcome anywhere she was, he had never approached her, never dared even be on the same street sometimes. He was not afraid of her, only afraid of the effect she had on him, the effect of her ill feeling.

'I needed a job,' was all Jack could say.

Jack expected anger but instead she nodded, 'I know,'

He blinked.

'I doubt there is a client, you know?' Samantha said to him.

Jack had been thinking along similar lines himself. 'Erik's not so subtly way of telling us he knows all,'

Samantha smiled and it warmed Jack all the way through, 'Maybe he wanted us to talk?'

'Maybe both,'

She nodded.

'Are we going to?' Jack asked.

She glanced at him.


She nodded again, 'But not tonight,'

Jack felt dejected but said, 'Maybe on Friday? I could buy you dinner?'

She stared at him and for a long moment Jack had the dreadful instinct that she was about to say no, but then she smiled at him, 'It wouldn't hurt us to be friends again, would it?'

Jack smiled back and though...No, it definitely would not.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 32 of 39

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