En position, a Phantom of the Opera narrative

Chapter 46

The Phantom's point of view

Sitting at his organ, the Opera Ghost placed his fingers on the familiar keys and for a moment simply relished in the feel of them. Playing an instrument gave one power, it put you in control. The organ was like clay in his hands and he could do whatever he wanted, whatever he could think of with it.

As it was, however, that wasn't so much. His usual talent to create compositions that could make angels cry, had abandoned him. Ever since his own angel had left him, he had not been able to put a single melody down on paper.

Now all he was playing was that silly melody the ballerina – Angèlique, it still felt strange for him to refer to her by her first name – had taught him. It was simple, simple enough to teach a four year old, yet he couldn't help but play it over and over, as if it would somehow reveal its mysteries to him if only he kept playing. He had memorized the lyrics and now each time mentally sang them along.

It was quite ironic really that he had taken a liking to this particular song, he thought to himself bitterly. A story of a beautiful girl, who falls in love with a beast. Then they kiss and true love breaks the curse. It was only too obvious. He was the beast. Christine had been the beautiful girl. But true love's kiss didn't take away his deformities and in the end she ran away with the antagonist. Happy endings only come in children's stories and second chances don't happen to the cursed and the unloved. He sighed and turned away from the organ.

His eye fell onto his music box, that stood on the side table next to the organ. Or well… the girl's music box. His own music box had been taken away by the mob after the.. incident. He had become accustomed to this one as well, though, even had taken a liking to it.

Perhaps you like it so much because it gives you false hope of things ever getting better, one of the treacherous voices argued. Perhaps you like it so much, because you still want to believe that one day a woman will see past your monstrousness.

He shook his head 'That had nothing to do with it!'

Hasn't it, the voice countered. Then why haven't you ended it when you should have? Why have allowed this girl to come close to you then, if not for that?

He gritted his teeth. 'She'll never be Christine.'

But second best will do, won't it? After all, Christine isn't coming back. She only had to look at that pathetic excuse of a face of yours and she ran. And rightly so. Who could ever look upon you with anything but fear and loathing when even your own mother could not. So what do you plan to do when this girl will run, for you know she will. Will you hunt her down, will you strap her lover to your grate as you did the Vicomte?

'Be silent, you know nothing!' In his anger, he reached for the closest object he could get his hands on – the music box – and planned to fling it against the opposite wall. However, in mid swing he realized what he was about to do and, after a deep breath, lowered his arm and placed the innocent object back onto the table. He couldn't do it. Not while he knew how much it meant to her.

He lowered himself onto the armchair by the fire and, defeated, pinched his nose bridge with his thumb and index finger. He would not let the past repeat itself.

Angélique's point of view

That Sunday at lunch, it was quieter than I could ever remember it being. Even when there were twice as many people – given the fact that normally everyone went to town or visit relatives – the silence that wrapped around us was unbearable.

Marie-Claire had been a friend to everyone. She had been stubborn, loud and a bit exuberant at times, but I couldn't think of any reason why anyone would dislike her. Therefore it felt almost wrong to sit at our normal place in the dining hall, to talk with the same people, about the same things but then.. well, there was an empty spot. Adrienne didn't have anyone to gossip with, or to discuss the latest fashion with. We all just there.

The morning had been filled with a lot of laughter, smiles, well-wishings and, at last, adieus. After the front door had fallen back into its lock, all mirth had vanished. Instead, we were left with an empty, painful feeling that seemed to distance us from each other. So after the last traces of our friend seemed to have dissolved into thin air, we slowly retreated to the dining hall and placed ourselves silently on the wooden benches. Nobody spoke a word, nobody dared as much as pick up their forks, in case it would somehow produce unwanted sounds. On our table, we had preserved Marie-Claire's usual spot, out of habit but most of all because it was a habit we weren't yet ready to break. Saying goodbye was hard, but having to realize she really wasn't coming back was even harder.

'Well.. at least we'll see her again next Sunday at the wedding,' Anne said, sounding more like she was trying to raise her own spirits than actually trying to start conversation. If that had been her goal though, it wasn't much of a success.

Looking up, I suddenly came to the conclusion we missed one person – or well, two if you counted Marie-Claire. 'Where's Meg?'

Suddenly, it was as if everyone snapped out of a daze and looked around for the first time. Forks were put down after twenty minutes of aimlessly holding it, eyes started blinking again and for the first time after Marie had left, it felt like the walls between us had dropped.

'I don't know really, I thought she was with us in the foyer,' Anne admitted.

'She was, I am sure, I saw her hugging Marie,' Adrienne said, confidently nodding her head.

'But then why isn't she here?'

Silence ensued and for a moment I thought we had lost Meg. Again. But then, unexpected, a soft, wavering voice came with the answer. 'She's with madame Giry. I saw them retreat together after we said farewell this morning.'

I had to try my hardest not to gape at the girl in my surprise of hearing her speak, but then pulled myself together and even managed to put on a polite smile. 'Thank you… Veronique.' Stealing a quick glance of the faces of the others, I could see they, too, were surprised to hear a response come from the usually so silent dancer. I, for one, was happy to hear Meg was spending some time with her mother. She had needed it. And, as far as I could judge, madame Giry had needed it, too. Perhaps they now finally got the chance to talk about the things that had driven them apart and were able to mend their relationship. If only they could get to see each other's side of things, I'm sure things would work out.

pagebreak ~

As I was about to get ready for bed that evening, I found a small note sitting on my side table. Curious, I took it and opened it to reveal only one small sentence. 'Meet me at the ballet studio.' I smiled. Having had an emotionally tiresome day, I was glad to find something to raise my spirits.

Quickly slipping back into a pair of shoes, I swiftly made my way to the door, making sure not to draw any attention. When I was in the hallway, I breathed a sigh of relief and then let my feet find the familiar path to the ballet studio. I was careful to avoid any busy hallways and even managed to dodge a group of ballet rats by hiding behind a decorative curtain. It was in this fashion that I finally arrived at the studio, feeling much more like a spy than a ballerina. Gazing left and right, I crossed the hallway and slipped through the crack between the door and the door post.

Closing the door, I leaned against it for a few moments, regaining my breath and my posture. It was only when I opened my eyes that I encountered a strange sight. On the floor, in front of the mirror sat another girl, about my height, with chocolate brown hair that hung in a loose braid on her back. She seemed familiar, yet I only recognized her when she turned her head to me.

'Not who you expected?' Anne guessed, then gestured for me to sit beside her.

Slowly, I walked up to her and sat down. I didn't say anything, yet I guess the question burning on my lips was clear to her, for she continued.

'I asked you to come here because there is something I need to ask you. Actually, it's not so much ask, as I know it to be true, but I must hear you say it, must hear you confirm it.' She looked down at her hands, which were folded in her lap, and I could literally see her mustering up all the courage she could find. 'Is it true that you are in some way involved with the Opera Ghost?'

I looked at her, shocked and… well, mainly just shocked. For a moment my mind seemed to go blank and all I could do was stare at her as if she had somehow grown two heads. Seconds ticked by in which I only sat there and in which she looked at me, expectantly. I wanted to run, wake up from the nightmare that now seemed to be reality. What would she do if I told her it was true? Would she hate me from being a friend to one who had caused so much misery to the inhabitants of the Opera? Would she turn him in to the police?

'Angèlique, please, answer me.'

I swallowed the lump in my throat, then returned my gaze to her expecting eyes. 'Yes.. it's true.'

A moment passed by before she made any sign of even having heard my answer, but then she nodded. 'Very well. Then my suspicions have been correct. I will not pass judgment on your choice to befriend him, nor will I ask you about the nature of your relationship with him, but I hope you know what you are doing.' She rose to her feet, then offered me her hand and pulled me up as well. 'Let us return to the dormitories, before we attract unwanted attention to ourselves.'

She was already at the door before I had fully registered what was going on, and called out to her. 'So, what will happen now?'

'I will not tell on you, if that's what you meant. We're friends, after all. But if someone asks, I will not lie for you either.'

I nodded, knowing full well that was all that I could ask of her. 'Thank you.'

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