|The Wilted Rose
Author: Phanatic01 PM
One night Christine Daaé turns to prayer to make some good to happen in her life. But she is not alone for a masked man, a masked man who knew her late Father as his music teacher, was also present. He offers her singing lessons and she immediantly accepts thinking that he is her answered prayer from heaven. But is he what he seems to be? ALW/Leroux/Kopit influences.R&R. ON HIATUS.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Erik & Christine - Chapters: 33 - Words: 66,602 - Reviews: 82 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 11-18-12 - Published: 08-30-12 - id: 8480629
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Christine Daaé was praying in the Sainte-Chapelle on one especially cold winter night. Who knew what Christine was praying about? She herself didn't exactly know. She was scared and alone in the world and all she wanted was someone there beside her, to comfort her. But there was no one; she had no living relatives.
Before her luck had been turned around by a kind man who had heard her singing for money in the streets, she had wondered around Paris like a lost cause. The only thoughts that had passed through her mind were 'my poor Mother and Father,' or 'where is the next meal coming from?'
Thankfully all that was behind her, she now had a life and a promising career as an opera singer at the Palais Garnier. Although with her beauty and her kindness, she was immediately un-liked amongst her co-workers. The Prima Donna named La Carlotta, a sadistic and spiteful woman, gave a natural loathing towards Christine. Maybe because Carlotta knew that she was getting older and she knew that she was coming to the end of her reign or maybe because she was jealous of Christine's looks and talent. Nevertheless, after only being with the company a couple of days, Carlotta had already turned everyone against Christine.
It had been six months since she had joined the Opera and she had already had her ups and downs. Her ups being that she got the chance to sing in the chorus of a few performances lately and that people have been getting more interested in her voice and potential. Her downs being that no one had spoken to her, not once.
Christine prayed for some good to happen. She had prayed for this to happen every night since this business began. She was alone in the chapel and that was the way she liked it. She needed solitude from the rest of the world. She closed her eyes tight and prayed whilst gripping her prayer beads a little too tightly. Her private thoughts and prayers began to seep out of her mouth becoming a mumble. She was so frustrated with the way she had been treated and she longed for someone to understand what she had been through. A tear or two ran down her face as she cowed her head forward in deep prayer. A few of her long dark curls fell forward also. She placed her beads in her pocket as she finished her final prayer of the night.
She opened her eyes and let the tears flood out. Her only companions were the lifeless figures depicted in the stain glass windows around her. She could hardly see them though due to the light. She could see enough with the moonlight beaming in through the windows and the hundreds of brightly lit candles around her. This place, in fact any place, was different in the darkness. It was more mysterious and peaceful. Christine wept onto the stone floor and made her cries louder so that maybe someone in heaven would hear her; her Father perhaps.
Christine jolted up and looked around her. She could see no one within the given light. She frantically stood up and grabbed a hold of the nearest candle. She held it trembling next to her face. She wiped her tears with her free hand and then tried to steady the other.
The voice was not someone she knew; however she knew hardly anyone due to her being disliked. She did not know this voice, yet she wasn't completely afraid of it. It was man's voice and it had a rich tone to it, much like her Father's. Christine helplessly made an assumption in her mind that it was her Father speaking to her from beyond the grave, but she shook that idea right out of her mind just as she heard how silly it sounded.
"I am sorry to frighten you like this, Mademoiselle. But on an extra note, I do not think you wish to have the flame that close to your face."
Christine turned a couple of times on the spot and then peered at the flame beside her. She did as the voice had said and removed it away from her face but kept it in front of her so she could see. "Who is there? Who are you, Monsieur?"
A noise echoed a little bit through the hall. A laugh. "Just a stranger and an admirer."
Christine began to panic slightly and her breathing increased. She started to cautiously move around. She was panicking because this stranger could she her and yet she could not see him. She also did not like the way he had said 'admirer'.
"Where are you? Show yourself, Monsieur." She demanded.
"Do not fret, Christine, I am an admirer of your work and-"
"What?" Christine froze to the spot. "What did you call me?"
"Christine, is your name, is it not?"
She laughed trying to comfort herself. "How is it that you have come to know my name, Monsieur?"
"I have seen you perform at the opera."
Christine huffed a sigh of relief and realised how paranoid she was. She laughed to herself and said between halted sobs and sniffles, "Oh. Oh, of course you have." She sat down on the floor again and placed the candle down. "But I must say that you have caught me at a disadvantage, Monsieur."
"How so, Christine?"
Christine spoke softly towards the stranger as if he were already an acquaintance. "For one thing, Monsieur, you know my name but I do not know yours. Also I would appreciate it if you were not to call me by my forename, we are not formally known to each other after all." She paused, waiting for his compliance. Once she heard it she began again. "Monsieur, forgive me if I come across rude, but I really thought I was the only one in the chapel. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts." Another pause. "And that is why I will have to ask you to please leave me be, Monsieur."
She had to wait a few moments for a reply. "Forgive me, please Chris - er - Mademoiselle. I would not have intruded if it were not for my eagerness to meet you."
Christine stared into the burn of the candle. "How did you find me, Monsieur?" She tilted her head to the side.
"Oh, I mean, Monsieur, how did you know that I was in here? This cannot be a chance meeting."
She had to wait another few moments before a reply. "I did not know that you would be here. I was already in here when you entered, but let me say sorry again if I startled you, Mademoiselle."
"Hmm." She mumbled to herself silently and then she starred directly into a spot of darkness as if she knew where this figure stood. "Your name, Monsieur?"
"My name is ... not important, Mademoiselle. Part of the reason for my eagerness to meet you is that I was a close friend of your Father, may he rest in peace, and he had told me of the little girl he had. A little girl who had the voice of an angel." He paused. "But I see that his little angel is all grown up now." Christine gave a half-hearted smile as the voice continued. "Oh do forgive me if I have upset you or brought back any unwanted memories in any way, Mademoiselle."
"It is fine." Christine stood up again, puzzled by the natural lack of formality that this bizarre conversation held. "I do not mean any disrespect but I do not like talking to just a nameless voice, Monsieur. Could you please come into the light?"
"I do not think that is a good idea, besides it would eliminate the illusion of the secret admirer, Mademoiselle."
"Please? I would appreciate it, I would feel more at ease, Monsieur."
The voice sighed and said sharply with a hint of bitterness, "Very well."
He stepped out of the darkness slowly and Christine immediately looked over every inch of him that came into the light. First his feet and then his legs and then the rest of his body, in an orderly fashion. She had noticed that he was dressed very formally in black; a little too formal for the likes of a chapel. He had on a tailored suit which fitted to his shape. And then came his face, although it actually didn't. Christine gave a short intake of breath in surprise and then composed herself fast after she realised what she did.
He wore a mask.
It was a brilliant shade of white and it strangely enough covered all of his face; except for his mouth and chin. Yet from what Christine saw, he couldn't have been older than thirty-five. Under this circumstance, or even any circumstance, this all seemed rather odd. Christine stepped forward to greet him; never taking her eyes off his mask. She couldn't help but think about how she didn't see him when she came in. Because of the hundreds of candles there were only a few dark corners, all of which she presumed to be empty.
He held up a hand to stop her in her tracks. The voice seemed to sigh, a sad sigh. "I am sorry we had to meet this way, Mademoiselle."
"The mask." Christine breathed.
"Yes, I know it seems intimidating but it is part of wanting to keep my identity hidden, Mademoiselle."
"I do not see any point in doing that, Monsieur. If you do not mind me saying; your, or any other identity in that matter, does not need to be hidden."
"From the rest of the world it does."
He raised the same hand again to silence her. "Do not ask questions that you do not wish to know the answers to, Mademoiselle. You will understand soon, once your ready you will understand it. And then you will finally see the world as I see it. You will see my version of this pitiful world. Once you become a success," he raised a finger which slightly taunted Christine, "then you will know of what I speak of."
"Your world, Monsieur?"
He raised his hands and looked up. "My world of music, Mademoiselle, and all its wonders."
Christine's breathing started to get unbalanced. This incredible stranger was making quite an impression on her. She stared at him and took a couple of steps forward. "Music, Monsieur?"
He kept his hands raised while lowering his head with a smirk on his face. "Yes. You will learn the secrets that music hides. You will understand when you are ready." He lowered his hands and took a step closer to Christine.
Christine frowned. "Ready for what?"
"Why, for your debut oh course!"
Christine tried to contain a very happy yet confused smile from spreading all across her face. "What do you mean, Monsieur? Who would want to hear me? No one at the Opera I know, even like me let alone wish to hear me sing. I am far better off just staying in the background and leaving the stage to people who are worthier."
"You speak kind words though your tone is bitter, Mademoiselle."
"Oh course it is bitter." She snapped. She then forgot her place as she blurted out really quite fast, "No one will talk to me, Monsieur and you are the most company I have had in a long time. In fact you are the only person I have uttered a word to off the stage in..." She trailed off as she realised she had been speaking out of line to an almost complete stranger. "Monsieur, I am sorry. I am sorry that you have to listen to me like this. I am not like this. It is because of what I just said. I am not ... I am just not used to company. I do not-"
"You do not know how to react with another human being."
Christine couldn't believe that he understood her. And to make matters more unbelievable; he was a stranger to her.
"And do not worry, dear child, about concealing your identity with me."
"I am not, if one is talking about concealing one's identity then that would be you, Monsieur, not I."
The voice laughed once again. "Oh do not worry yourself about my revealing myself to you, Mademoiselle." His humor left him. "I do not feel comfortable with many people, particularly strangers." He sighed but then continued as if he had not said a word off subject. "You have a great talent. A talent that needs to be shared with the world."
"Only the world does not want me, it wants La Carlotta."
The voice sighed again this time sounding exasperated. "Oh you mean that woman? The one who prances around the stage like a mongrel on show and possesses the voice of a dying cat?"
Christine sniggered. "Yes. Yes I do, Monsieur."
The stranger raised one eyebrow under his mask and said while laughing along with her. "Do I amuse you, Mademoiselle?"
Christine looked into his face and replied. "Yes."
The stranger grinned. "Hmm." He looked down and looked back up and in that flash his expression had completely changed. "La Carlotta's time will come to pass. Soon, I imagine. And then you, you will be the new star."
She laughed at the very thought. "Ha! A star, Monsieur?" She then became very serious. "It is my dream, but La Carlotta is right about one thing; I do not have the voice. I could never-"
"Never say never, my dear." He paused only for a second before continuing. "May I say that you have an exquisite voice?"
Christine smiled to herself. A compliment, at long last. "Why, thank you Monsieur. And may I say that you are the first person to say such a thing to me."
"I do not believe that for a moment."
She looked down and sighed. She wrapped her arms around herself as the coldness from outside had started to make its way into the building.
"I can teach you."
"Monsieur?" Christine raised her head and her breath caught. "You will ... you will what?"
"I will teach you." He repeated. "I am a musician and I was taught by the very best when I was a student."
"Father." She breathed.
"He was a brilliant man. And now I will teach you and you will have a voice likenened to an angel's."
Christine was overjoyed and couldn't help the tears of happiness that were welling up in her brown glistening eyes to be let loose. "Oh, but I have no way to pay you the amount needed, Monsieur!"
"Do not worry about money. I will teach you for free."
"For ... free? Oh! Thank you, Monsieur!"
This masked man was watching her intensely. He had not know of her beauty and innocence before this meeting. He saw potential in her, great potential, she just needed the encouragement. He then saw the tears that she was shedding and hesitantly edged forward until he was standing right in front of her.
What he didn't expect happened next. She thanked him once more and then she threw her arms around him. As she did this he gasped very softly but the became rigid. He did not try to embrace her back though, he didn't know exactly how to react to this.
Once Christine had pulled away she watched him with bated breath, and he did the same. There was a connection between them, almost immediately they both knew it. Something had passed between their eyes, a kind of understanding. The stranger, although his gloved hand was shaking, slowly raised a hand and wiped her tears away.
They both smiled, only for a moment though as he then said. "We start tomorrow."
He turned to leave but Christine stopped him. "Wait! Where shall I meet you for lessons?"
"Do not worry about that. I will find you at the Opera house. Oh, and I would appreciate it if you do not tell anyone about this meeting or our lessons to be."
She nodded; beguiled with his kindness. He then turned to leave and Christine watched as her answer from heaven disappeared into the darkness.