Looking through the Mirror

Mystery Girl

For a week, Christopher would come to the dressing room whenever he had the chance to take his lesson with Erika. She would correct his pitch, breathing, and other techniques, but she believed that his voice was pretty much perfect. Every time he sang, she tried desperately not to melt to the floor. He was still under the impression that she was his Angel of Music and she might keep this image for as long as she needed to. Once he becomes the next opera star, she planned to say that he has met his potential and she'll move on to the next growing musician, but she'll cross that bridge when she gets there. She was just happy that she finally had the chance to talk to someone, even if it was under these circumstances.

One day, Erika was watching the afternoon rehearsals in her usual top box. Today, Piangi was even worse than usual. He tried desperately to show off his "amazing" voice, but even Reyer told him to find the right pitch. After his song was over, the dancers walked on stage, but something was missing. Where was Christopher? All she saw were the female dancers without a leader. She thought about it and did remember him sounding sickly at their last session together and she told him to get rest. He must have taken her advice, or so she thought.

"Who are you and what are you doing here," a nasally voice asked. Erika quickly turned around and was surprised at who she saw. It was Christopher! Why was he here? She noticed that he was in normal clothing instead of his costume and his hair was slightly disheveled, as if he just got up from bed. Regardless who it was, she was spotted.

He was staring at her, but for different reasons than she thought. Her sleek raven hair helped her porcelain skin glow from the lights that the chandler gave off. Her eyes sparked like the most precious sapphires. And finally, that black mask that matched her dress only added to her mystery. He needed to know who this woman was, but before he could, she quickly headed out of the box. He caught her before she could leave and asked, "Tell me who you are. I promise I won't hurt you." Even though she believed his words, she couldn't take the chance.

She stomped on his foot and he let her go, wincing in pain. She ran as fast as she could down the hallway, trying to lose him, but he seemed to know where she was going. "Wait," he kept yelling to her, but as much as she wanted to, she couldn't stop. She managed to avoid any other people and ran backstage to her dressing room. When she finally got there, she closed and locked the door and caught her breath. It was a long time since she had to run that fast and she didn't want to do it again. In a short time, he knocked on the door while also trying to open it. While out of breath, he said through the door, "Come out please. I didn't mean to frighten you. I just want to know who you are. You're just so bea-,"

"What on earth is going on here?!" He looked toward the voice and saw a disgruntled Madame Giry walking towards him.

"Oh, Madame Giry, could you please open the door to this dressing room? There's a woman in there, but I don't think she's a dancer or a chorus girl. She was sitting in the top boxes and I happened to see here, but before I could figure out who she was, she ran," he explained.

Madame Giry's eyes widened. "Christopher, you need rest, especially since you're sick. Running around to chase this 'girl' isn't good for you."

"I will after I see this woman. Please open the door," he begged.

She gave him an annoyed sigh and said, "All right." She took out a ring of keys out of her pocket and found the gold key. She unlocked the door and he rushed in, but was shocked to see that she had vanished.

Erika was watching through the mirror and saw him look all over for his mystery woman, but with no luck. She was still breathing hard after all the running, but her heart was pounding faster with every second he was in the room. "I told you that no one was here. You're just seeing things," Madame Giry said, trying to get him out of the room.

"I guess so," he said in defeat and headed out the door. Did he really just imagine that mystery woman? No, how could he? He never saw a woman like her and he could still feel his aching foot that was stomped on earlier.

Madame Giry closed the door quietly behind him, making sure he wouldn't come back. After a few moments of silence, she said, "I told you to be more careful, didn’t I, Erika?"

She slid the mirror door and entered the room. "I'm sorry, but I've been up there for years and no one has ever found me until today. All of the performers usually are either on stage or backstage and the cleaning crew stays at the orchestra level."

"I know, darling, but now he's going to be on the lookout for you," she said with a motherly tone.

"I'll hide better, I promise," she said as she headed back through the mirror, but was stopped.

"I know you're teaching him the lead part in this room. I can hear him sing through the door."

"Is it a bad thing? It's not going to harm anyone," she said innocently.

"It might when he realizes who you are. The Angel of Music is close to his heart and he might be hurt to learn that his angel is a fake,"

"I don't intend to reveal myself. I just want him to reach his full potential. After that, I'll just say his Angel of Music is moving on to another growing musician."

Madame Giry sighed. "I just hope you know what you're getting yourself into," she said as she left. Erika left the room through the mirror. Out of all the people, why did it have to be Christopher that spotted her?

Later that day, Christopher arrived to the dressing room for his lesson a bit earlier than usual. He wanted to check the room one more time to see how that woman vanished. She locked herself in the room and had no other way to escape, but somehow, she vanished without a trace. Erika arrived to the mirror and was surprised to see him there snooping around. He won't give up on her, will he? "Is something the matter," she asked, out of the blue.

He jumped in surprise, but regained his composure. "I'm fine, it's just . . . I saw the most beautiful woman I've ever seen today,"

Erika's eyes lit up. She knew he was talking about their earlier encounter, but she couldn't believe that he called her beautiful. Not only that, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. No one ever called her that, not even herself. She always called herself the Devil's child and a hideous monster, so hearing those words made her heart skip a beat. "Really? Who was this woman?"

"I don't know her name or even who she is, but from what I saw, she was an angel! She had these blue eyes that sparked like sapphires, a slim black dress that fit her image perfectly, but most of all; she had a black mask that had me dying to know more about her. Do you know her by any chance?" His voice sounded as if he was in love with her without even knowing who she was. It made her cheeks blush with both embarrassment and excitement.

"I know everyone in the Palais Garnier, but she's a mystery to me as well," Erika said, trying to hide her excitement.

After a moment of silence, he led to a conclusion. "Is she the Phantom of the Opera?"

She was silent for a moment. He was right, but she didn't know how to answer. "That's what people call her. Do you believe the stories they tell you about her?"

"Which ones? I've heard so many. I've heard her as a vengeful spirit and a disfigured creature living in the catacombs. I would have believed those stories if I didn't see her myself. She's too beautiful to be a monster and too life-like to be a ghost. She reminds me of a lost girl who is trying to be part of society, but something is holding her back."

He was right on point. All he was missing was her deformity. "I agree with you. Something is holding her back. Maybe you'll meet her again soon."

"I hope so, but how can I find a girl who doesn't want to be found?"

"Maybe with some luck," she said.

"Perhaps you can guide her to another meeting. I want to see her again," he said with hope in his voice. She smiled knowing that she made someone happy, even though she knew that they can never meet again.

"I don't know about that. As much as I want to, she has a hard heart to move. She won't agree so easily."

"At least try. People say that she has replaced performers during productions when people are missing, so she has to be a musician."

"I'll try. Now, on with our lesson," she said, trying to change the subject. The rest of the lesson was awkward for her since he wanted to meet her, but under unusual circumstances. She wanted to make minimal contact with him, but he will always want more.

The night before the opening of Hannibal, Christopher was in the dressing room singing the lead role while Erika played her violin to keep tempo. Everything was usual: him singing like an angel, her telling him to focus his breathing or tempo, her trying not to melt from his amazing voice. Around the end of the lesson, he blurted out in the middle of a song, "When can I see you, my Angel?"

She sharply stopped playing and asked with confusion, "What do you mean?"

"I've been coming to see you everyday now and I think it's only fair that you let me see what you look like. Father said you were a beautiful angel when he saw you on his deathbed and I'm dying to see that beauty! Do you not trust me?"

"No, I do, it's just . . . it's not a good time."

"Then when is? When I'm on my deathbed? I can't wait that long," he said with sadness in his voice.

She looked at him through the mirror and she saw that he looked like a child who just lost his favorite teddy bear. She felt his sadness and took a deep breath, "I'll make you a deal. I'll reveal myself to you only if you get the lead role in a production. I've trained you for that, at least."

His sad face began to smile. "All right. It's better than nothing and now I have a chance to see you!"

"But only if you get the lead role. You deserve it!"

The next day, rehearsals were intense. Reyer was on everybody's case about pitch and tempo. Even Carlotta tried to take his advice, which was a rare moment. The dancers made sure their techniques were perfect and the actors remembered their lines and movements. Erika was lurking around the shadows above the stage, watching the stage crew try to set the scenery without a hitch. Everything was going great until Piangi sang his aria. No emotion in a love song was the worst crime in music! He is suppose to sing about wanting to be with his loved one at home while he is out fighting a war, but instead, it sounded scripted and unmoving. She needed to end this torture in her ears.

Without you, I fall to my knees
I always dream you safe at home
Far away from the slavery of Roma

"No! It's Rome, not Roma," Reyer corrected.

"I am from Italy! It is Roma," Piangi yelled with Italian anger. How dare they disrespect his homeland!

"Well, here, it is Rome. From 'without you'," Reyer said as he moved his baton to restart the music.

Without you, I fall to my knees,
I always dream you safe at home
Far away from the slavery of Rome
I want to hold you in my arms again
I need to know you're still with me
Gently beside me
Soon I will be home

Suddenly, a backdrop fell with a mighty force, scaring everyone, especially Piangi. The scenery nearly fell on his head and if it did, it would have killed him for sure. The chorus girls and dancers screamed at the top of their lungs. Christopher just stared as the whole fiasco happened. "What the hell is going on around here?!" Piangi asked frantically.

"Joseph Buquet, what's going on up there?" Andre yelled at the stage manager above to the stage manager.

"Messieurs, don't blame me! I wasn't at my post!" he said, fearing of getting fired.

"Then who is at fault," Firmin yelled.

"Perhaps, it was the Phantom!" Joseph said with a mockingly haunting tone, scaring the girls down below. He pulled up the scenery with a fast pace while the managers tried to make sense of what just happened. Piangi, on the other hand, was furious.

"Are you not going to fire the bastard for almost killing me," he yelled to the managers with anger building every second.

"It was only an accident. There's no need to fire anyone," Firmin said as calmly as he could.

"But he almost killed me! You're going to let him get away with it?!"

"It wasn't his fault," Andre answered.

"Well, I see how it is. If you value a stagehand more than your own star, then I guess I'll be leaving. I quit!" Piangi said as he left the stage and out the door.

"Wait, Piangi! You can't quit. You've got a big debut tonight," the managers said while chasing him.

"I already did!"

The managers gave up the chase and cursed under their breath. "What are we going to do? We have a full house tonight and I don't want to give everyone a refund just because our star decided to quit," Firmin said with nervousness.

"Does anyone know his part well enough to perform tonight?" Andre asked the crowd, but they all shook their heads. He was just cast the role not too long ago and there was no understudy yet.

"Christopher Daaé can sing the part, messieurs," Madame Giry said. He looked at her with surprised eyes and she gave him a wink.

"A dancer can sing? Ha, I highly doubt it," Andre said skeptically.

"I've heard him sing before and I can tell you that he can sing angelically."

"Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt. If he fails, I don't know what we'll do," Firmin said. "Come here, boy." Christopher walked downstage as instructed and was very nervous. He only sang for his Angel of Music, but now he had to perform in front of everyone.

"We will start with the aria. I'll give you two measures before you start," Reyer said as he lifted his baton to signal the orchestra to get ready. As the music played, he quickly remembered the lyrics and then he sang.

How long must I wait to see you again
How long must I endure the pain
I know you are many miles away from me
But I know that my love for you will never cease
I see you every time I go to sleep
I see your face before every fight
Without you, I fall to my knees
I always dream you safe at home
Far away from the slavery of Rome
I want to hold you in my arms again
I need to know you're still with me
Gently beside me
Soon I will be home

When he was done, the whole cast cheered for they never heard such amazing talent from anyone. Even Carlotta was impressed, but she had to act unimpressed since she loved Piangi. "We were wrong. You do have an amazing voice!" Andre said. "Who is your mentor so that I might thank the man personally for the gift of your talent?"

"I-I can't tell you, monsieur. I made a promise with my teacher that I can't reveal her identity," he said timidly.

"Ah, smart man. If everyone knew about his protégé, everyone would want a piece of that success," Andre said, ignoring the fact he said “her identity”.

"Actually, my teacher is a woman."

"Really? Well, she must have amazing talent to teach you,” Firmin said in excitement. “I've made up my mind; tonight, you are going to sing Piangi's part until he comes back. We need to do a last minute dress rehearsal so he knows his scenes. Costumes might be difficult, but the costumes people can figure it out, even if they have to buy new ones. From the beginning people!"

Throughout the day, Christopher learned all his entrances and exits, his songs he had to sing, his movements on stage, and so many other things. He was not used to the spotlight, so being the center of attention made him worry, but he had to do whatever it took to please everyone, including his Angel of Music. There weren't any breaks for him, so he didn't have any time to meet with her and tell her the good news, but she knew already. She was ecstatic to learn that one of her antics finally paid off with both getting rid of Piangi and getting Christopher the lead.

Down in her home, she went through her closet, hoping to find the perfect dress for this occasion. She had many different types of dresses that she made herself, thanks to her good memory when she saw the seamstresses make costumes for the shows. She was going to where the first dress she could find, but today was special. She didn't know why, but she wanted to dress to impress him. She knew he wouldn't see her, but she still wanted to look nice for him. Other than Madame Giry, he was the only person that she made the effort to contact with. She felt something in her heart for him, but it wasn't love. She didn't know what to label it, so for now, she viewed it as pride for her student.

Some time before the show, she arrived to her Box 5, but was surprised to see someone there inside. The woman had blonde hair and was wearing a very expensive dress, suggesting that she came from a rich family. She was patiently waiting for the show to start when she heard a voice say, "Pardon me, but you're in my box."

The woman looked around with her emerald eyes, but she couldn't see anyone. "Is someone here," the woman asked. She had a sweet voice that anyone could love, but it didn't persuade Erika.

"You're in my box, mademoiselle. I'm afraid you have to move."

"Well, mysterious voice, I paid good money to see the show from here and I'm not leaving," the woman said rather rudely.

"I've had this box reserved for years. It's mine and I want you out," she said forcefully as she opened the door of the box from the other side, making sure she wasn't seen. The woman looked at the door confused.

"What the hell is going on around here?" She walked outside, hoping to find the prankster doing this, but couldn't find anyone. She walked down the hallway a bit, hoping to see someone, but she was unlucky. She turned back in defeat, but saw that the door was closed. She tried to open it, but the door was locked. "What the hell?" She slammed the door and said, "Open the door! I will go to front desk to get you out and you'll get a piece of my mind!"

Inside, Erika ignored the threat and sat in her seat. She did not like anyone sitting in her seat, except for her. She'll have a word with the managers through a note, but that will happen later. She sat back in confidence, knowing that the woman will not get in here to ruin her fun as long as she had the key in her pocket.

"What do you mean you can't get her out," the woman said in anger to the managers.

"I'm afraid we don't have a key to Box 5 with us," Andre frantically said to the powerful woman.

"Why not? Shouldn't all managers have the key to everything with them?"

"The person in your box must have stolen the key from us."

"Don't all your boxes have the same lock?"

"Not that one. You see, there is a crazy woman that believes that Box 5 is hers. The previous manager let her take the box and she changed the lock so it was unique from the rest, but she gave the key to him. Now that we're here, she stole the key from us," Firmin said.

"Well, you better do something about it! As a Viscountess, I demand you at least give me a refund or find me a better seat before the bloody show starts!"

"We'll let you sit with us in Box 7 as an apology for the inconvenience and once the show is over; we'll have a scolding for that woman."

"I guess that will be good enough for now, but this better not happen to me again, you hear?"

"We understand," the managers said.

The lights in the theater dimmed and the curtain lifted. The music started playing, revealing an epic opera about the heroic Hannibal on his journey through the Punic War. Then, Christopher appeared on stage for his aria and all was silent. Most of the audience expected Piangi, but they were willing to hear this newcomer. Erika waited anxiously as he started to sing.

How long must I wait to see you again
How long must I endure the pain
I know you are many miles away from me
But I know that my love for you will never cease
I see you every time I go to sleep
I see your face before every fight
Without you, I fall to my knees
I always dream you safe at home
Far away from the slavery of Rome
I want to hold you in my arms again
I need to know you're still with me
Gently beside me
Soon I will be home

She was in love with that voice. He was perfect and she was glad that she spent this much time and effort on him learning the lead part. He sang it with ease and emotion!

No matter how many bodies I have to slay
You will be the angel that guides my way
My darling, my love, my everything
I want to hear your voice sing
I wish this war ends in victory
And I can come home to see thee
Until then, I must wait here
Hoping one day I will be near
I want to hold you in my arms again
I need to know you're still with me
Gently beside me
Soon I will be home

She was in so much joy and the crowd was too. When he finished his aria, the whole crowd gave him a standing ovation. Erika did too with much more enthusiasm than the audience. When the show ended, the cast gave a bow, but as Christopher appeared on stage for the last time, they all gave him another standing ovation. Even Carlotta didn't get one and she didn't do a too bad of a job. The audience threw flowers toward the cast, but he didn't seem to catch any, except for a single rose with a black ribbon on it. He caught it with ease and noticed where it came from: Box 5.

He ran to the dressing room, trying to avoid the paparazzi and cast members congratulating him. As much as he liked the new attention, there was someone he had to talk to immediately. He finally got in and closed the door, but was startled when he heard a voice say, "You did very well tonight."

He quickly turned around and saw Madame Giry. "Madame, you startled me! Why are you here?"

"I'm here to give you this," she said as she handed him the gold key to the room. "This is your dressing room now."

"A-Are you serious?" Christopher said with a smile.

"Yes I am. You earned it and I'm sure you made your Angel of Music proud tonight."

"You knew the whole time?"

"That door isn't sound proof, Christopher. Anybody could have heard you, but I'm the only one who actually listened," she said teasingly. Christopher blushed with embarrassment.

"Thank you, Madame Giry. Without you, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to perform tonight."

"Don't thank me. Thank your Angel. She allowed you to become the performer you are now," she said as she left the room, purposely leaving him alone to talk to Erika.

He was about to speak, but he heard a knock on the door. "Hello, Christopher Daaé? Are you here," a sweet voice asked through the door.

"Yes, who is it?"

"It's me, Rachel. Rachel de Chagny."

He quickly opened the door and saw his childhood friend. She had gorgeous blonde hair, lovely emerald eyes, and wore an elegant dress expressing her wealth. "Rachel! I can't believe it's you," he said as he gave her a hug, "How are you?"

"I'm doing great, now that I've seen you. You were amazing out there! I could hardly recognize you with all the makeup and costumes, but when you sang, I instantly knew it was you. Your voice has improved dramatically since I last heard you!"

"I'm glad you noticed. I finally met my Angel of Music and she has helped me become who I am today!"

"Oh, your . . . Angel of Music?" she said hesitantly. She found it hard to believe that he still believed in that figment of fiction. She remembered his father talking about the Angel in their childhood, but she thought he would grow out of it. Apparently, he hasn't.

"Yes and she has taught me so much that I can't thank her enough for it!"

She sighed, but gave him a smile. "Well, why don't we go out to celebrate your new success?"

"Oh, but I must speak with my Angel-,"

"I'm sure she won't mind if I steal you away for some celebratory drinks. I'll get my carriage ready in ten minutes. You should change into something more comfortable and wait here until I come back," she said as she quickly left the room, not letting him deny her.

He closed the door and stood there in the silence, but then he heard, "Are you going to go with her?"

"She's an old friend, but I want to celebrate with you. After all, you're the one that led me to my success."

"It wasn't me, it was you. I can only open the door for you. You were the one who went through it. You finally got the lead role and you aced it. I'm very proud of you!"

"Speaking of getting the lead, I think you owe me something,"


"We had a deal, remember? If I got the lead role, you would show me what you look like," he said with glee. She totally forgot about their deal, thinking that it would take him a long time for him to get the role, but he got it the very next day. "Please don't tell me that you're not going to hold your end of the deal."

"No, I'll show you. It's just . . . I'm a little nervous."

"Why? You're an angel!"

"I never revealed myself to anyone before their deathbed. This is new for me."

"Don't worry. Nothing bad will happen. I just want to see you. Please," he begged. In a few moments, he heard the mirror door slide and out came Erika. He was happy. It was her; his mystery woman. She had her hair all nice and done for him and she wore a beautiful red dress, but her mask was still the same. "That was you," he asked with glee. She nodded. "I finally found you!" He gave her a hug, which made her uncomfortable. Other than Madame Giry, she was never hugged by anyone before, not to mention a man. He hugged her for an awfully long time before he released.

"Well, you found me. So, you wanted to celebrate with me?" Erika said, still surprised by the fact that he wanted to be with her.

"Yes! Shall we go to dinner or something like that," he asked, still amazed by the fact he found his girl.

"Actually, I know a place we can go that's secret. Come follow me," she said as she grabbed his hand and directed him through the mirror.

"Where are we going?"

"We're going to my home, where we can celebrate in peace."

"Christopher, I got the carriage. Are you ready?" Rachel said through the door, but received no response. "Christopher!" She walked inside, hoping not to accidentally see something inappropriate, but saw he was nowhere to be seen. "Where did he go? I told him I would be back. Maybe he's gone off without me," she said to herself. She looked at the mirror and fixed her hair. "Or maybe, he just doesn't love me like he used to. I didn't give him a kiss, so he wouldn't know that I still loved him."

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