En position, a Phantom of the Opera narrative

Chapter 57

Erik's point of view

Erik could hardly remember a time he had been this nervous. No, never mind that; he could not remember a time he had been nervous at all. Although there had been countless of times in his life when he should have been feeling jittery and high-strung – times he knew in hindsight he should have felt at least a bit uncertain about his course of action – it was an emotion he was unfamiliar with. He had read about it, though, and so it took him little effort to check off the symptoms. Shaky, sweating hands, an unwillingness to get the job at hand over with and a strange urge to run back to his lair. Yes, he was definitely nervous. Ridiculous, the voice inside his head chimed, you know you are, right?

'Oh, be silent, you,' he mumbled, not even really registering the insult fully. He knew he was being ridiculous; he had faced a lot scarier things than a teenage girl in his time. The gypsies, the assassins the shah had sent after him. Right now he would rather face them all at once than go into the vacant ballet studio. Honestly, what was he supposed to say to her? "I am sorry I kidnapped your best friend and set the Opera on fire, I hope you don't mind me spending time with your new best friend."

Erik sighed, there was no escaping this. He had promised Angèlique to do this for her. Besides, the young blonde was already on her way here, so it really was too late to blow the entire plan off. He stayed behind the hidden wall until the blonde entered the studio, then grabbed himself together and entered the room.

He had expected her to at least startle by his sudden appearance, but she did not so much as flinch. Fine then, he thought, at least I won't have to tie her down to get her to listen to me. 'Mademoiselle Giry, I am glad to see you have come.'

The young Giry snorted. 'I wish I could say the say, Phantom. If you came her to threaten me into keeping my mouth shut to the police, don't worry about that. I might want you dead, but I won't betray a friend's trust like that.' She crossed her delicate arms across her chest and stared upon him with a gaze of defiance. This clearly would be more difficult than he had hoped..

'Although it's good to hear you won't inform anyone of my existence, this is not why I asked you to meet me.' He sighed, trying to find the right words. 'I came here in behalf of Angèlique.'

She laughed humorlessly. 'So then you are here to threaten me into mending our friendship?'

Although he wanted nothing more than to snap at her, knock some sense into her little head, he stayed calm. If he raged at her now, all chances of making amends would be lost. 'I came here with no intention to threaten you into doing anything, mademoiselle. I merely came here with the hope you would perhaps listen to a man with a lot of regrets for the past, and perhaps a few hopes for his future.'

Meg nodded tightly, but didn't say anything.

'I know there is nothing I can say or do to make up for my past misdeeds. I have hurt mademoiselle Daaé and her husband dearly and I can only hope that one day they will find it in themselves to forgive me, although they have every reason not to. But what's more important now, mademoiselle Giry, is that I've hurt you, too. You lost a friend, a sister and there isn't any word the causer of this pain could say to heal your wounds.'

'This is not about me, Phantom, this is about Angèlique.'

'But you are angry with her because of what I did to you and your friends. That doesn't seem quite fair.'

'Well then, that really isn't my fault, is it?' She snapped. 'You brought my anger upon you, yourself. You can't expect me to suddenly forgive you, just because you come here with pretty words and beautiful promises. You can't undo the past and what you did to me, what you did to all of us at the Opera.'

Erik sighed. 'I don't want your forgiveness, mademoiselle, for I know I don't deserve it. You are right, I can't undo the past and I know I stand before you with nothing to prove my earnestness. But I can only beg you forgive Angèlique, when all she did was be a friend to someone who was in dire need of one. She did nothing to deserve your scorn and so I ask that if you must be angry, you will be angry with me.'

'So you ask me to forget the fact that she lets her soul be poisoned by you?'

'I ask you to be her friend, even though I will also be one to her.'

'I don't trust you.'

He shook his head 'I don't ask you to. Angèlique trusts me, that's all I need. Just have faith in her.'

She narrowed her eyes at him, then stuck up her chin. 'Cross the line once, Phantom, and I will lead the police right to you.'

Erik smiled sadly. 'I have no doubt you would.'

Meg Giry was a lot more like her mother than she would ever care to know and therefore, he kept that thought to himself.

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