A Mlle. Meg Production
(A/N: I am Andrew Lloyd Webber, living in disguise as an illustration major in an art college. Well…maybe not. Erik and Raoul belong to Gaston Leroux, though I wish I owned them. Charlotte de Chagny belongs to me. This was written on Halloween night, after too many renditions of the 'Masquerade' number. Take it or leave it, but I had fun writing it.)
She doesn't look like Christine. Not really.
I watched as she slipped on the feathered mask that completed her phoenix costume, completely covering half her face and most of her blond hair. Her face was beautiful, of course-how could a daughter of Christine Daae be anything but beautiful? But she does not resemble her mother.
It's difficult not to resent her for the parent that she does resemble, both in looks and personality. She has her father's determined blue eyes, and the same ease of manner and free smile. But I have heard her sing in this Spanish theatre, and I can hear her mother's influence. The little Chagny girl sings with her whole heart. And that is the only reason that I am here at all tonight, at this Halloween masquerade.
And the only reason that I bother to watch Charlotte de Chagny now.
She made her way into the throng of dancers, swept up almost immediately by the nearest gentleman. The dance floor was a maelstrom of color, playing against the vibrant decorations of the Moorish architecture.
Christine is long gone now. I found myself wishing for a moment that she were here, so that she could see what I had seen earlier that evening. I am sure that nothing would have made Christine prouder than to have seen her daughter's first triumphant performance.
I would love Christine forever. That would never, could never change. And my love did not end when I learned of her death. It grew stronger still, and spread to her children. I was their guardian angel now, for all intents and purposes. No one and nothing would harm them while there was still breath in my body.
Charlotte is laughing now, at something her dance partner has said.
Her father sent her two dozen red roses. I saw them in her dressing room prior to the performance. A note was attached, and in Raoul de Chagny's scrawl, read:
To my Little Lotte-your mother sings with you tonight.
And so she did. Christine herself was the true Angel of Music tonight, and she had visited her daughter.
I stepped out from my place behind the large column. I had come as my former 'Opera Ghost' alter ego. Those who had seen me earlier simply dismissed me as a well-dressed gentleman in a strange half-mask. It did not take me long to cover the distance between myself and the dance floor.
Charlotte had finally disengaged herself from her dance partner, and I saw my chance.
"Mademoiselle?" I said, stepping up to her and offering a bow. "May I have this dance?"
She smiled. "Of course, monsieur." She slipped her small gloved hand into mine.
The music itself seemed to carry us, as we moved in a slow waltz.
"You dance very well, monsieur," Charlotte said, her penetrating eyes boring into mine. For a moment, I felt as though she could see through my mask.
"You flatter me, Little Lotte," I replied.
Her eyes widened behind her mask, as I twirled her back to me.
"Only my father and brothers call me that," she replied, laughing. "I didn't think anyone else knew the story."
"Oh…I am from that region," I responded vaguely.
"I always envied the Lotte in the story," Charlotte remarked. "But my mother told me once that the Angel of Music lives inside every singer. Is that true, monsieur?"
She sounded very much like a young child when she spoke. I could not help but smile.
"I would not dare to doubt her, particularly after your performance tonight, Mademoiselle."
"Thank you," she replied, looking very pleased. "I'm a bit afraid after tonight, though."
"Really, my dear? Of what?"
"Becoming a prima donna-have you met some of those women?"
"I have known many prima donnas in my time, child.
And I do not believe that you are in danger of becoming one in the sense that
you mean. But do not fear success. As long as you maintain passion for your
art, you are in no danger."
Good Lord, was I really speaking like this to another human being? Especially one with the last name of Chagny.
"I believe you," Charlotte replied, as the dance ended. "I don't know why, exactly-but I do."
I smiled. "Then my work is done for the evening." I paused, then plunged recklessly ahead. At my age, one is justified in being reckless every now and then.
"Permit me, Mademoiselle?" She nodded, and I kissed her hand.
"If I might ask something else of you, my dear?"
"What is it, monsieur?"
I hesitated. "Might I give you a kiss on the cheek?"
She laughed. "Yes, of course, monsieur."
I leaned forward, and pressed my lips to the exposed fair skin below her mask.
It lasted for only a second, if that. She would probably not have consented, had she seen my face. But perhaps there was more of Christine in her than I had thought. In Charlotte, I saw Christine's kindness and warmth. In Charlotte, her mother's talent lived on.
"Monsieur, shall I give you one in return?" she asked.
"What-oh no, mademoiselle-"
She paid me no heed. I should have expected that from Raoul's daughter. She kissed me lightly on my hairline-the only area of remotely exposed skin on my face.
The action left me in a state of happiness and confusion. Only twice in my lifetime had a woman kissed me. A mother, and then her daughter.
Little Lotte, the Angel of Music is here tonight. And he has given you his blessing.
"I must bid you good evening, Mademoiselle."
"Oh no, you must not go now!" she cried.
"Forgive me," I replied. "But I believe that I must. Remember all that I have told you tonight."
"I will, monsieur."
"I promise, monsieur."
"Then once more, good evening."
She had time only to blink, and I had disappeared. She would not see me again, though I would always be watching her.
Christine, guard your children from heaven-and I will guard all three of them on earth.
It has begun once more, the music of the night.