En position, a Phantom of the Opera narrative

Chapter 44

'Hold still,' he said through clenched teeth as he examined my hand.

When I fell, he had caught me before any real harm could be done. However, in the process of trying to save myself, I had gotten my right hand full of splinters. Without saying a word he had pulled me along with him towards the library, where he'd sat me down in one of the armchairs. And that is where we were at now, still in silence, apart from the short order he had just given me. I dared not to defy him and therefore just let it be.

After he had removed all splinters from my hand – a hellish sensation on its own – he presented a small bottle and a handkerchief from somewhere inside his robe and wetted the white cloth. The liquid had a strong smell that burnt the insides of my nose. Alcohol, I realised. Probably to disinfect the wound.

I flinched as he pressed the handkerchief against the open wounds, giving off the sensation as if one was rubbing salt into them.

'I said, hold still,' the Phantom spoke brusquely and pulled my hand back onto his lap. He picked up the cloth again and all-but-gently started cleansing the grazes again.

'That hurts,' I cried out, suppressing the urge to pull away as he moved to disinfect my hand once more. I knew they were only some scratches, but couldn't just ignore the throbbing pain of the wounds. Also, his silent, judgemental demeanor made me angry, for it wasn't my fault I had gotten injured in the first place. At that moment however, I knew I shouldn't have complained.

He put down the cloth and looked at me with blazing eyes. 'If you would hold still as I told you to, it wouldn't hurt as much.'

'If you wouldn't be so rough with me, I would hold still,' I countered, pulled my arm out of his grasp and stood from my chair in defiance. I had had it with his terrible manners. God awful man thought he held some sort of authority over me.

'I wouldn't be, if you hadn't been running around places you shouldn't be.'

'Nothing would have gone wrong if you hadn't frightened me.'

'Well, you shouldn't be in those corridors, they're dangerous.' He said, also standing and taking a stance opposite of me. He was throwing daggers at me with his eyes and took a minacious step forward. Fear blossomed in my chest, but for once I didn't let myself be run over.

'Well you should learn to control your temper!'

The Phantom opened his mouth, closed it again and repeated the action at least three more times. I looked as his face turned from anger, to realisation and then an emotion I couldn't quite place. It looked like guilt, but I couldn't be quite sure.

In that moment my own anger subsided as well and made place for a feeling of contentment and I laid my unwounded hand on his arm. 'Thank you.'

'For what?'

'Saving me. I suppose I would have been far worse off had you not been there to catch me.'

'You're welcome.' He then looked down at my other hand and sighed 'Will you now please let me disinfect that before we'll have to amputate it?'

pagebreak ~'Angèlique, wake up!'

Sleepily, I pulled up the blankets to cover my face. I wasn't quite ready to leave bed just yet. Just a few more minutes.. I rolled over to my side, nestling myself comfortably in my own warm, private, heaven.

'Angèlique, come on, I don't want to be late!' In that moment, the covers were pulled off of me and I lay cold and exposed. And shivering. Life could be so cruel. I tried pulling the covers back, but couldn't find them and then reluctantly opened my eyes. On my left side stood Meg, an aggravated look on her face and my blankets in her hands. She tapped her foot on the floor impatiently. 'Today, please.'

'Right, right, I'm on it,' I mumbled and pulled myself out of bed. Sitting up, I smoothed my hair out with my hand and looked around the dormitories in a disorientated way. Something seemed off, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Deciding however that it wouldn't be good to keep Meg waiting any longer, I quickly went to my wardrobe and pulled on a pastel coloured dress with some matching slippers. It didn't matter what I'd wear anyway, since I would change in my ballet costume right after breakfast.

When we arrived at the dining hall, we quickly spotted the others – what with Adrienne's red hair – and joined them at their table. After saying our "Bonjour's" I got both me and Meg some toast, marmalade and some freshly squeezed jus d'orange. Taking a bite from my toast, I finally began to feel somewhat alive again. Yet, I still couldn't shake off the feeling that I was missing something..

'Dear heavens Angèlique, what happened to your hand?'

I furrowed my brows and looked at the blonde girl confused, then down at my hand. Both the skin of the flat of my hand as the rest of it was red and was torn in several places, giving it an overall scary look. Then it clicked in my mind and I had to make sure I wouldn't choke on the piece of toast I was consuming. 'Oh this, nothing. I mean, it's stupid, really.' I laughed uncomfortably, trying to come up with a plausible lie as I was talking. 'You see, yesterday evening, I couldn't sleep and then I had to pee real badly. So I got up and along the way to the bathroom, I tripped and fell and blocked my fall with my hand.' I cringed on the inside because of how bad it sounded, but knew there was nothing I could do about it anymore.

For a moment, silence dawned on our table and I was afraid someone would call me out on my lie. But then Adrienne –praise Adrienne! – burst out in laughter. 'Oh dear, you are so clumsy! It is truly a miracle that you have never tripped on stage and fallen into the orchestra pit.'

'Indeed, although I dare say I do not want to stand next to you anymore. You know, just in case,' Marie-Claire joined her.

I faked a hurt face, but internally let out my breathe. Looking down at my hand again, I frowned again. Images of last night came floating back to the surface. Some of which I'd rather not thought about, some which caused me to smile. But there was one thing that bothered me; the last thing I could remember was the Phantom talking to me about… well, frankly I couldn't even quite remember what it was he'd been talking about. It had been early in the morning and drowsiness had crept up on me as we sat in the comfortable, plush armchairs in front of the fireplace. So how had I gotten from there to waking up in my bed in the dormitories? I had to be honest with myself, there was only one solution that didn't involve magic or mysterious amnesia and that was that the Phantom must have carried me back. However, the fact that it was the only logical solution didn't mean it was one that I was ready to embrace just yet. I mean, although we were on relatively good terms at the moment, the fact that someone had carried me made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. Not just for the invasion of my privacy, but also because it made me dependent of someone. Dependent of a man, no less. The thought alone made me cringe on the inside.

Fortunately, I didn't get much time to dwell on it, for as soon as we'd finished our breakfast we were off to ballet practice. Dancing always seemed to raise my spirits, no matter the situation. The week end had been extremely out of the normal and I was glad to finally strap my pointe shoes on again and do the thing I loved so much.

After having stretched and warmed up, I took my position next to Meg and revelled in the first notes coming from the orchestra pit. A shudder of delight went down my spine and I couldn't help but smile as I pulled my body in the first position. Oh how much I had needed this.

~

So for everyone who has ever watched the Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast"; yes, I kind of "borrowed" the argument that Belle and Adam had. I did change the content of their arguments, but the structure of that conversation stayed pretty much the same. I don't know why, but I've always liked that part of the movie.

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