|A Time for Second Chances
Author: J.R. Nels PM
"Eight years can change a person, Erik. I'm not the eighteen year old girl you fell in love with." "Eight years can't change one thing, Christine Daae. It can't change the love I have for you." A story of sorrow, love, and redemtion E/C. ALW and LerouxRated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Erik & Christine - Chapters: 10 - Words: 9,692 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 30 - Updated: 07-06-12 - Published: 12-26-10 - id: 6594402
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yay! Another update. It's summer, I actually have time to write. Thanks for the reviews! Enjoy!
"Hey, Madeline! I have one order of a croissant with jam on the side." I walked in the kitchen and put on a new pot of coffee for the customers. We had a full house this morning. Madeline and I walked around the restaurant, refilling cups, taking orders, and the like. Suddenly, a familiar face caught my eye.
"Sorelli!" I rushed over to the table where the prima ballerina sat. "It's been years! How are you?"
She looked confused. "I apologize mademoiselle, but do I know you?"
"It's Christine Daae… remember me? I trained as a ballerina at the Opera Populaire… Meg and I and the others used to hide in your dressing room when we were fleeing the 'Opera Ghost'" I chuckled, remembering how easily us ballet girls became frightened at Joseph Buquet's ghost stories.
"Ah Christine… Uh, how are you my dear?" Her eyes darted around the room nervously, looking like a trapped animal.
"I'm alright, and yourself?"
"Well, thank you for asking." Sweat beads shone on her brow. What on earth possessed her to act in such a manor?
I realized with a sinking heart that she was grasping her crucifix feverishly, as if to ward off ghosts and bad spirits.
"Anyway madame, I'll leave you be. Good to see you." I fought back tears as I walked back to the counter. Meg was my only friend left from my days at the populaire that didn't think that my being was shrouded with spirits and trickery, because of the events those ten years ago. But I wiped my eyes and continued working, letting it all roll off my back.
When my shift was over, I poured some apple cider to bring out to Laycee, but when I looked through the crowded restaurant, she was no where to be seen. The only evidence of her was her paper and pencil. I gasped, almost dropping the cider.
"Laycee? Laycee, where are you?" I shouted. Everyone stopped and stared at me as I began to grow hysterical. "Mon Dieu, help me! Someone, please, where is my daughter?" Suddenly I felt a warm, plump arm wrap around my waist.
"Christine dearie, what's the matter?" Mrs. Jacobs, the owner, looked up at me with concern in her deep grey eyes.
"Oh thank goodness, Mrs. Jacobs it's Laycee. She's gone… she's not here! She never leaves the restaurant. Where could she be?"
The older woman's eyes grew wide with worry. She had become a grandmother figure to Laycee these past years, and she loved both of us dearly. She stood up on one of the café chairs. "Everyone," She raised her kindly voice above the murmurings. "I'm sorry to bother you all, but it seems as though someone has gotten lost. Has anyone seen a very small girl with curly blonde hair and amber eyes?" The customers all mumbled amongst themselves. Finally, one teenage girl spoke up.
"Well I'm not positive, but I saw a little girl that looks like that… she left the restaurant with a few older children." I didn't hesitate. I ran out, Mrs. Jacobs in tow, and looked around. I saw a group of boys, ranging from Laycee's age to probably twelve, laughing about something. The largest, who appeared to be the leader, spotted me and began running. My heart sunk. What had they done?
I ran to the ally where they came from. A small lump lay in the middle. "Oh God…" was all that managed to escape through my constricted throat. I heard Mrs. Jacobs let out a cry as we both ran to my broken daughter's mangled body. I pulled her limp frame to my chest and stumbled back into the restaurant, tears falling into her blonde curls.
Everyone was deathly silent as I laid her on the counter. Finally one good Samaritan came up and offered to get a doctor. All I could manage was a nod as I looked at the light of my life fading slowly on the cold counter.
Mrs. Jacobs wasted no time in assessing Laycee's injuries. Bruises covered her tiny body. Her eyes were swollen shut and her lip was bleeding. But worst of all, her legs bent in unnatural directions and looked as though a carriage wheel had ran over them several times. Cold shock overtook my entire being.
"Mrs. Jacobs, how could someone do this to her? She's naught but an innocent child!" I collapsed to the floor, curling inward as my heart was torn out of my chest. "I can't bear to lose her Mrs. Jacobs. Not like I lost Raoul and my father. I'll die." I sobbed.
"Shhhhh, dearie. It'll be alright." She helped me up and embraced me, allowing me to cry into her shoulder.
At long-last, the doctor came. By now the other customers had quietly left. "Bonjour, madame."
I didn't respond as he began to clean her up and put some kind of balm on her injuries. Once that was over, he assessed her legs, which moved with a liquidity that was utterly sickening. He mumbled something incomprehensible and frowned.
"Ms. Daae, your daughter will live, but…" he ran a hand through his sparse hair. "I don't think she'll ever walk again. I'm so sorry." I kept an even face as I paid him and bundled my baby up for the walk home. I slowly began walking, but everything seemed hazy. If it weren't for Mrs. Jacobs quietly following behind me, I probably would have stumbled into the street with Laycee in my arms. The woman caught me without a word and took Laycee from my arms just before I collapsed onto the wet cobblestones, crying in anguish. My little Laycee… just this morning she was dancing around our flat, amber eyes sparkling and blonde curls bouncing about. Now she lay there… so still… so pale… just clinging to life.
When we arrived, Mrs. Jacobs quickly and gently cleaned Laycee up and tucked her into bed, while I just sat there in horror. After a while, she sat beside me and put a cup of steaming tea in my hands. I tried to snap out my daze and smile at her, but it just turned into tears.
"Hush now, dearie." She pulled me to her and began stroking my hair like a mother would. "You have to be strong for her, Christine. She needs you now more then ever."
I nodded and whipped my tears. "You're right. I'm being selfish. Thank you, Mrs. Jacobs. For everything."
She waved her hand dismissively. "Nonsense, child. I'll come everyday and check on you two. Goodnight, love." And with that, she planted a kiss on my head and left.
I sighed and walked to Laycee's room. How was I going to explain when she woke that she'd never use her legs again? A child didn't understand these things, even if they were as wise as my daughter. Gently, I laid down beside her and cradled her against me, just as my papa did when I would get nightmares. I always got nightmares as a child, just as I did now.
" Papa, I'm frightened. Please hold me."
"It's alright, bird. It was only a dream. I'm here now."
Papa was always so strong. How I wish I could depend on his strength still. Oh papa, how I wish you were somehow here again. But now I had to be the rock for my little daughter. I softly began singing a song Erik always sung to me.
"Who knows when love begins, who knows what makes it start.
One day it's simply there alive inside your heart
It slips into your thoughts, it infiltrates your soul
It takes you by surprise and seizes full control…
Love never dies, love never falters
Once it has spoken, love is yours
Love never fails, love never alters
Hearts may get broken Love endures."
The haunting melody was enough to make Laycee breathe steadier and assure me she was in a deep sleep. I got up and stumbled out onto our small balcony, surprised to see it was a new moon. I could only hope Erik, wherever he was, looked to the same place in the starlit-heavens I did. "Oh Erik, I miss you so." I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders tighter.
Call me crazy, but I could swear I felt his warm presence wrap around me in that darkest moment.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the longer chapter! Disclaimer: (again) I do not own Christine, Erik, Meg, Buquet, or Sorelli. They are all creations of the brilliant Monsieur Leroux. I also don't own ALW's song "Love Never Dies" from the Phantom sequel of the same name. Please review!