Whether the Phantom really did stay with me that night, I never found out. However, I had slept well for the first in quite some time and my dreams had been filled with music, instead of shadows. But, waking up the next morning, I found myself completely alone in the dormitories. As was to be expected.. Perhaps it had all been a dream. I sighed, well then at least it had been a nicer one than I had had for weeks.
Before I could give the matter any more thoughts, the door opened and a blond head peaked through the opening. 'Ah you're finally awake!'
I tried to smile, but only managed to pull up one corner of my mouth. I'm sure I must have looked miserable, as she frowned deeply at the sight of me.
'Maman asked me to check up on you. Here, I brought you some broth, can you sit up?'
'I'm afraid not,' I said in a whisper. Apparently my health had only worsened. I suddenly recalled something I had heard. Or was it something I dreamed? I couldn't really tell anymore, as my mind was foggy and full of holes and black spaces. Yet, I could remember this vividly, could still hear his voice in my mind. She'll probably die soon anyway.. I shuddered. Could such a thing really happen?
'Angèlique? Angèlique, are you still with me?'
I opened my eyes again, bewildered, and stared at her face. 'Yes, sorry..'
'It's quite alright,' Meg said and carefully pulled me into a sitting position. 'Alright, now open your mouth a bit, so I can feed you the broth.'
I hated to be so dependent of people, to have them take care of me. However, I didn't have much choice because, as it was, I would probably die soon indeed if I didn't get help.
As the first spoon of broth hit my empty stomach, I could feel myself becoming sick immediately. My body tensed up and for a moment, I was convinced it would come right out again. It didn't, though, and when the sickness had lessened, it felt good to have something warm inside of me.
'Alright, I will leave you again now, it's best for you to get some rest.'
Meg nodded and stood from my bedside. 'I'll check up on you later today.' And with that, she turned on her heel and left for the door. As I watched her, I suddenly remembered the first time I'd seen her. She truly was the most graceful girl I'd ever seen. Well, perhaps she found her equal in her mother. Yes, a little blonde angel she most certainly was.
I closed my eyes. Though having been quite short, the visit had exhausted me greatly and I longed to drift off in dreams once more. Dreams of melodies, of words of sweetness, love and solitude. Dreams of a voice that had bewitched my body and soul.
pagebreak ~'Angèlique? Are you awake?'
'Ah, good. I came to bring you dinner. Meg wanted to do it herself, but then madame Giry called for her, because she needed some help with…-'
From thereon I didn't even trouble myself anymore with the effort of trying to follow what was going on. I slowly opened my eyes and let out a soft grunt when I found that my head was hurting terribly.
'Are you alright?'
'Yes,' I creaked, my throat being dry from the lack of water. 'I'm quite alright.' It was only now that I recognized the girl beside my bed. The red curly hair, the lily skin. How could I have missed it?
She helped me sit up once more and then caringly tucked me in. 'Perfect!Now let's see what is for dinner tonight. Hmmm, well I hope you like tomato soup. It was all there was left when I came in the kitchen. I must admit I was rather late, but that was because I first had to work myself out of that blasted costume. If only I'd known the show would be canceled, I wouldn't have taken the effort of squeezing myself into it in the first place. Honestly, if…-'
'What?' I asked, almost spewing out the spoon full of tomato soup she had just fed me.
'Haven't you heard? Oh of course you haven't, silly me, how could you have. Madame has explicitly told us not to go to the dormitories, as to not to disturb you. Anyways, what was I saying again? Oh yes, I remember, the show. Well, honestly nobody really knows what happened. Clémence… the Dampierre girl, you know, she just stormed off in the middle of practice and she left the Opera. It was total chaos, because there is no understudy and apparently she refuses to come back.'
Adrienne shrugged. 'I don't know for sure. Some say it has something to do with the Phantom, but I don't know what to believe. Perhaps it has, but well.. we all know Clémence. For all we know she simply broke a nail.'
I simply nodded. Somehow, I wasn't so convinced as I would have been a few weeks ago anymore. Theories starring the infamous Phantom weren't that impossible and unlikely anymore now I had, in fact, seen and spoken to him multiple times.
'Are you alright? Have I exhausted you too much? I am really sorry, I will leave you to get some rest. Here, I'll leave this here, in case you get hungry.' Placing the bowl carefully on my night stand, she jumped up and, after one last caring gaze, left the room.
I let my head fall back into the soft pillow. What could have made the prima donna take a leave? Could it really have been the Opera Ghost? Or were it perhaps more earthly matters? I sighed. Whatever it had been, it had come in quite handy, as I wouldn't miss any shows this way and therefore perhaps wouldn't be replaced as lead dancer.
Thinking about him still caused me trouble, I noticed. I couldn't tell what was real and what not anymore if he was involved. Dreams, reality, the border between them was blurred and I couldn't trust my own mind anymore. I shuddered. For all I knew, the recollections I had of the Phantom were mere figments of my imagination.
I know what I've seen, another part of my brain argued. But as far as I was aware, I was the only one who had actually seen him. What evidence of him did I have? The rose! My eyes fluttered open again and I gazed at my nightstand. It should be in the upper drawer.
With great effort, I managed to tilt my head a little and stared at the wooden piece of furniture. It was only about twelve inch away from me. I sighed. It was only twelve inch away from me and yet there was no way I could reach for it without any help. Oh how dreadful the situation was! For a moment or so, I closed my eyes. Being awake, pondering and musing, it all asked more of me than it normally would – more than I could miss. Fog was taking over my mind again and before I knew it, I was lost in a dream again, with music filling in my ears, my heart and my soul.