Chapter 3 Consequences
She wandered the streets making her way back to the Vicomte's estate in a haze, trying to both prepare herself for what she had to do today and mourn the love and life that for one brief shining moment she thought she would have.
"Christine? Are you alright? Where's Meg?" Raoul's voice startled her. She hadn't realized she had reached her destination.
Raoul stared at her expectantly while she struggled to find an answer that would explain the circumstances.
She stumbled over her words, "Madame Giry's father passed away unexpectedly. They had to leave immediately to take care of all the arrangements."
"Odd, I didn't know Madame Giry's father was still with us. Anyway, you'd better get ready. We're due at the church in an hour's time.
The day passed in a blur, a miserable blur. Christine relied on all of her years on the stage to plaster a smile on her face, to accept graciously all the well wishes. Raoul enjoyed the party and the attention immensely, imbibing copious amounts of alcohol as the night drew on. By the time the last guest departed he could barely stand.
Even so he led Christine to what was now their shared bedroom and husband and wife. Christine excused herself to the washroom. How was she to make it through the night? She couldn't stand the thought of making love to Raoul when just last night she was in the arms of the man who held her heart. She took off the elaborate wedding dress and slipped into a nightgown steeling herself for the role she had to play. When she could stall no longer, she opened the door and found Raoul half undressed, unconscious on the bed. She pulled the blanket over him and crawled under the blanket on the opposite side of the bed, as far from Raoul as possible to dream of her Angel.
In the six weeks since their wedding Raoul had hardly even kissed his new bride. All of his time was spent with his new business partner working out their investment. He shut himself in his office for hours and never came to bed until well after dark when Christine was fast asleep.
Christine felt relieved to be free of the expectations she assumed Raoul would have but she had never been lonelier. Even when the house was bustling with servants and parties, she was alone. Even her music had abandoned her. What joy was there in singing when the one who made her song take flight had left her alone and desolate.
As the days and weeks passed her body started changing. She became more suspicious and sure that Erik had left her with child. She and Raoul had still not consummated their marriage. What would happen when Raoul discovered her deception? Would Erik come back to her if he knew they had a child? She wondered if she would through some miracle be able to find him after Raoul inevitably divorced her.
At breakfast a week later Christine resolved to tell Raoul the news the midwife confirmed and let the cards fall where they may.
Across the table Raoul sat reading the morning paper.
Christine pushed the food around her plate and nervously cleared her throat.
"Raoul?" His attention stayed rooted in the paper. "Raoul, there's something I need to tell you."
Raoul's eyes stayed firmly in the newspaper, but he made a noncommittal noise in his throat that Christine took to mean that he was at least aware she was talking.
Raoul's eyes glanced up at her. He stayed quiet for a long moment, carefully considering the woman in front of him. "Good, very good. At least we didn't have to try more than once for an heir. I'm sure the staff can attend to whatever you need." He folded the paper in front of him. "Do tell me if there's anything you require of me but for now," he consulted his pocket watch, "I have a meeting with Lavigne."
He pressed a kiss to Christine's forehead and swept out of the room.
Christine sat in stunned silence trying to work out what had just happened. An heir? His heir? They hadn't even come close to consummating their marriage how could he believe it was his child? Had he thought in his drunken stupor that they had been intimate on their wedding night? He must have. While his assumption eased her concerns about caring and providing for her child, her heart still longed for the fantasy of Erik coming back for her and their child. But that was impossible and now she would have to raise the Phantom of the Opera's child as the next heir in the de Chagny line.
Christine's abdomen had swelled so large she was having trouble getting around. The child would come any day now. Christine tried to shake the ghost from her mind and focus on the reality before her but try as she might she often found herself daydreaming about this child, imagining what they would be like; wondering if they would have Erik's musical prowess or his angelic voice. Occasionally she wondered if the child would look like Erik. She worried that the child might be disfigured like Erik, but knew she would love them just the same. They would be beautiful.
Christine waddled into the dining room, gratefully taking the teacup Chef handed her. As she turned to sit down her eyes caught sight of a headline on Raoul's paper. Unidentified masked man found dead behind Paris opera house.
Her heart froze. She couldn't breathe. It was him. She just knew it. Her Angel was gone. The teacup slipped from her fingers and shattered on the floor. She gripped the back of the chair. The world swirled around her.
"Darling? Are you alright?" Raoul's voice distorted in her ears.
A pain unlike any other ripped through her abdomen, she cried out and squeezed the chair tighter. Raoul put down his newspaper and wrapped comforting hand around her shoulders. Christine flinched but he didn't notice with all of her shaking. His hands were not the hands she wanted. His comfort was not what she craved. And now those hands that she wanted to hold her most desperately never again would. Another wave of pain washed over her. An involuntary scream escaped her lips. She was going to die of a broken heart.
"Monsieur," Chef said excitedly, "she is having the baby!"
Christine allowed herself to be half carried into the room they had prepared for the birth of the child. She shut her eyes against the pain and saw the words printed in her head.
Masked man dead behind opera house.
Her heart contracted in her chest. It couldn't keep beating with the knowledge that he was gone. Tears streamed down her cheeks. The midwife tried to coach her, but Christine couldn't respond.
A bundle of blankets was pressed into her arms. Christine stared down at the tiny perfectly formed figure. Through her tears the eyes of her Angel were somehow, impossibly staring back at her.
He had found her. Even in death her Angel of Music had found her, reached out to her through his son, their son. Christine sobbed harder. She would live on for their son.
"He is beautiful. What will you name him?" the midwife asked.
"Gustave. After my father." He was the first to lead her to the Angel of Music and now he was brought back to her again.