Disclaimer: Please, if you honestly believe I own anyone except perhaps the servants and the children, well ...were your eyes and ears open during any musical or book ? Hey if I make any mistakes, let me know, alright? Half of the time when I'm writing I'm sleep deprived. ;)
Christine sat her young daughter down in front of the piano. After the butterfly's flight back into the outside, Christine had to keep Celeste on focus, to keep herself on focus. Maybe it was that she didn't want to face how jarring it had been to see herself in an insect.
It will be the same, my dear, when the young one wants a bird, you know. It will take all you have to keep yourself from opening the cage and letting it free. Christine sighed and looked down into a pair of expectant eyes.
"Now then, my darling, we're going to sit here and get familiar with the keys. High time you learned music." She smoothed her hands on her dress, waiting for the courage. The courage to hear notes again and not think of Erik.
Celeste looked back and forth between her mother and the piano, which seemed so huge compared to her small body. Breathlessly, she tugged at her mother's dress sleeve. "Scared, Mama. I'm scared of the piano."
Christine chuckled. "I do believe I'm quite scared myself, but I believe we have the solution to that, dear heart. Stay here. "
She walked in to the hallway, calling all of the servants together. It made her uneasy, but she was mistress of this house, even if she abhorred the thought of being of higher status of anyone. Truth be told, Raoul and herself never really treated them as such. They were their friends, even if they spent most of the time cleaning and taking care of their small family. The servants didn't know what to think.
She cleared her throat. "My daughter and I are in the music room and are fixing to make quite the racket. I apologize in advance, if it causes you distress. It will only be for a few moments." She dismissed them and looked toward a daughter who was hiding in the doorway.
"Celeste de Chagny...what ever did your mama tell you to do? " She scolded, trying her best to sound stern. So much like her at her age. Curiosity always got the better of her.
Celeste blushed, running back to the piano and sitting down. She knew she had been caught.
Christine hid her laughter by putting a hand over her mouth. "Celeste, are you still frightened of my piano?" She called out as she stood in the door way, watching the child try to look as if she felt sorry for spying on her mother's conversation with the staff.
Celeste nodded, and Christine knew what she had to do. She only wished she had cotton for her ears when this all commenced. It would be dreadful! "Well, that's alright. We'll just pretend you're Mozart or, Beethoven. They had to learn the piano just as you are now-very young little boys. Compose something for me, dearest. Just touch the keys and play whatever comes to mind. That's it," she applauded when her daughter went to pretending she was serious, banging on the keys, "don't be scared of that piano anymore."
Christine began to waltz by herself around the room, as her daughter's laughter floated up and around her. Celeste had very few glimpses of her mother's happiness in her young life, and that filled Christine with a drive to make her have so many more glimpses.
Christine, herself, only had one glimmering memory, a young lady putting on her jewelry in front of her mirror. But so many glimpses of her father's happiness.
And then a hand caught hers as she waltzed about, and she smiled up at her husband's face. He was home early. He did so love living near the sea so that he might see to the building of ships and to staffing them. She was caught in her husband's questioning eyes, their very cobalt hue .
"Christine, what are my two ladies doing? A husband expects a quiet break from the stresses of the day, not to come home to utter chaos." He winked at her, stopping the dance to cover his ears. She knew well his joking tone-if it had not been in jest she might have argued with him over it.
She kissed him on the cheek. "A wife expects a husband to understand that she loves her children dearly and is trying to teach them a love of music. For if they followed in husband's footsteps, they'd be outright heathens." She put her arms around him and listened to the laugh that billowed up from him. Laughter, how good it felt that it always resided in their home, that it made her forget her sadness. His love made her forget her sadness.
Running her fingers through Raoul's honey colored hair, she kissed his smiling lips, welcoming him home. It did not matter that the music had stopped. Christine was so very determined that Celeste know that her parents loved each other dearly. That meant seeing the occasional kiss, or embrace. So that she might know how to be when she had a beau of her very own. Though the idea of any man striking a fancy for her child filled her with a sense of dread.
She could hear the young one tapping her foot nearby, an impatient small little boot. "Mama! You've said your hellos long enough. Papa can't see me compose if you're kissing him! "She complained, scowling at her mother.
Christine curtsied. "A thousand pardons, my dear mademoiselle. Raoul, I present to you Celeste, the finest composer the world has ever had the grace to know."
She winced at her choice of words, though she tried to hide it. For Erik truly had been the greatest composer she had ever known. It was best that Raoul did not notice her self disgust. He instead nodded, playing along in the act, and sat with his daughter to hear her ever changing piece of art.
Christine stood next to them, watching the careful interaction. Raoul, trying to smooth his daughter's curls, putting a kiss on top of her head. Young Celeste moving out of the way, her hands flying up and down, banging upon the keys, all the while thinking she was playing real music. So serious.
Then, Raoul looked at her. That gaze told her scores of what he knew and what he would not say. He had to have known what it was like for her to finally break the barriers of music itself. She gave him the best of her, the part now that demanded that she would not cry. She could imagine her father's joy at seeing his grandchild take to music, and she could imagine another's joy that his teaching's might live on.
Suddenly, all the tears came rushing forth, and she turned her face away so that Celeste might not see them. She had promised her daughter one glimpse of happiness, and she couldn't grant that!
"You're composition is so beautiful, my pet. Keep on playing for me."Raoul commanded, as he rushed to her side.
"Christine, "he whispered, "I know how hard this must be for you. But you can't let her see that. She doesn't know, and we'll not tell her. Why won't you tell me what is in your heart before the darkness eats away at the woman I so cherish? "he ran his fingers down her cheek, drying the tears.
Christine buried her head in his jacket, sighing for a moment. There is a time to live, a time to love, and a time to die. She had wrote that every day for years after she knew that Erik had died. It had been the most consoling part of the bible, to her. She had to believe that Erik had gone to heaven, no matter what his crimes. It wasn't in her capacity to believe any different.
Taking a few cleansing breaths, she composed her self and rested in his arms. For a second, it had felt just like that evening on the rooftop of the opera. Let me be your light.. he had said while making her fears and sadness go away. The girl who had experienced such a trying ordeal, was a woman now, she told herself. She'd just have to push herself to let it all go. For Celeste's sake.
"Mama, why are you crying? "The inquisitive voice asked. Christine had hoped very much that her daughter hadn't noticed.
She looked at her daughter , putting on her best smile. "I'm so very proud of you precious, you've conquered your fear. That means more to me than you know. "
Celeste looked back at her, as if she didn't entirely believe her. But as luck would have it, a knock came quietly upon the music room's door.
Her nanny stood in the doorway, beckoning the child closer to her. Time for her daughter's supper and then to bed. Christine promised she would be in to sing her young daughter to sleep, and she tried to keep herself from explaining so much else.
"I'll be alright, Raoul. It was only everything at once, I should think. " She looked back at him, as he sighed and walked with her into the parlor.
"I want to believe you, Christine. I love you. But I wish you'd let me really know you. " He seemed to show his hurt not only in his voice, but in his posture, too.
Christine did not say another word, for she picked up her cross stitch piece and sat in front of the fire, while Raoul read the paper outloud. It was enough that they loved each other, devotedly. She'd have to find the courage within herself to let the girl from so long ago finally speak what she'd so carefully hidden. Her grief over one man's death, one she could have so easily have hated.
The other man in her life a part of her had greatly loved.
A/N: Well, that's it for this time folks. Read and review if you want to!