(and now for the totally cheesy ending)
Erik smiled at his reflection as he dressed for the evening Ball, it had been a while since he had worn this mask. Christine had completely forbidden him from hiding his face ever since they had arrived in London four months ago. But, she had made an exception for tonight. Tonight, she had told him, she wanted him to look exactly as he had the first time they had met nearly a year ago. He hadn't been sure why she had requested this but she had been quick to explain that he had looked rather dashing that night and although she hadn't liked to admit it at the time, she had been attracted to him like she could never dream she could be attracted to anyone.
Without his mask, he had seen many different reactions to his face in London. Most mothers had just clung onto children while telling them not to stare at or approach the strange man. Most men had looked at him inquisitively, no doubt wondering how he had obtained such deformity and most of the women either gasped or just avoided looking at him at all. But this hadn't bothered him in the least, because he had his beautiful Christine, smiling up at him adoringly through it all.
The theatre company at the Belvedere Opera House had a much similar reaction to him at first. Many of the ballerinas had looked on at him in fear and had avoided his company at all costs. However, if any of them had in any way ever expressed their repulsion at his looks, they would soon regret it for Madame Giry would have them working all the harder, paying for their snide remarks with sweat. This had amused Erik greatly as he wasn't bothered in the least that they talked about him, he had Christine and that was all that had mattered to him.
After two months of living with many people's dislike and fear of him, things had changed dramatically for Erik. He had found an old disused piano in the basement of the Opera House and had begun to compose again. Sometimes, after he had kissed Christine goodnight and she had gone to her dormitory, he would sneak down to the basement and spend hours upon hours composing, playing and singing. It was rather dusty down there and a little damp but still, it was an improvement from the dark and dingy lair he had been accustomed to before. Now he was free, and he knew that after a long night of composing, he could venture out, into the Opera House itself.
One night, as he had been playing, the manager of the Belvedere, Mr Charles Caldecott had heard him and had showered him with praises and pleas to compose an opera to be performed by the company. At first he had been dubious, he hadn't done this since Don Juan and was worried that it might evoke painful memories for him. Still, he had promised he would try, with amazing results. He had composed an opera dedicated to Christine and every song rang out the power of his love and emotion for her. It had been a magnificent success and suddenly everyone had treated him completely different. Instead of whispers of disapproval and sniggers, he was suddenly greeted with admiration and many blushing ballerinas who were obviously feeling shy to be in the company of such a genius. Since then, Mr Caldecott had insisted that Erik work side by side with him in the running and organisation of the company and had asked him to continue to compose.
Christine had been so proud of him.
As Erik put on his cape and took in his reflection one last time, his heart suddenly ached to be near Christine. They had been apart for barely an hour and yet now, he was yearning for her. Since they had arrived in London, they had taken up separate dormitories, being an unmarried couple, it had seemed the only proper thing to do and he had not wanted to dishonour Christine, far from it. In their two nights in his lair, they had shared a bed but nothing further than kissing and embracing had occurred. But how he missed her lying by his side. Those two nights had felt like heaven and he had spent hours just watching her sleep, watching her breathe in and out. She really was perfect.
Closing his door behind him, he walked straight into Madame Giry who laughed as they collided
"Why is he back?"
"Who?" Erik was puzzled
"The Phantom" Madame Giry rolled her eyes "Why is he back? What happened to the Erik we all know and love?"
"Ah" Erik smiled as he understood "Christine wanted me to dress exactly as I did the night we met. Just for tonight's ball"
"I won't ask why" Madame Giry smirked suggestively
"Madame Giry!" Erik grinned "I can assure you that nothing of that nature has passed between Miss Daae and myself"
"I never said a word!" Madame Giry protested jokingly
"You didn't have to" Erik laughed and playfully pushed her
"It is so good to see you happy at last Erik!" she embraced him "Really it is, you deserve it!"
The two old friends laughed as they embraced.
"Thank you" Erik stepped back and spoke seriously "For everything. For rescuing me and for looking after me. For not turning your back on me when anyone else would have"
"It was my pleasure" Madame Giry nodded "You are quite a man Erik! I hope Christine is aware of how lucky she is"
"I'm not sure about her being lucky but I know for sure that I am extremely lucky" Erik grinned broadly "I intend on making it my mission to make her happy for the rest of my life"
"Erik, she is happy" Madame Giry patted him on the shoulder and resumed her journey down the corridor.
"Anyone can see how happy she is" Madame Giry spoke over her shoulder "I will see you later at the ball"
Erik continued to walk down the small corridors until he reached Christine's dormitory. After lightly tapping on her door, he stepped back as Christine opened the door and gave him a great big smile.
"Angel!" she sighed dreamily "You look………just as I remember you that night"
Erik gazed at Christine in wonder. She was truly beautiful and as he had requested, she had wore her hair down so it cascaded down her back like a glorious waterfall. Her dress was a sea of white satin laced with gold detail on the bodice.
Seductively Erik looked deep into her eyes, took her hand and kissed it.
"There is just one thing I cannot understand" he frowned
"What is that?" Christine pulled him close and kissed him on the cheek
"Why you want me to look like this. Surely, the night we met I was a figure of fear to you" Erik embraced her tightly "Why would you want to be reminded of that?"
"Oh Erik, were you blind?" Christine laughed "I look back on that night fondly for it was the night when I stopped being a young girl and suddenly realised that I was a woman. It was a complete awakening for me, sexually and musically. Could you not see how enraptured I was with you that night?"
"You were in fear of me!" Erik pointed out
"In some ways yes, of course I was" Christine wrapped her arms around him "Naturally, to see you beckoning me from my dressing room mirror was extremely overwhelming but when you sang to me and gazed into my eyes, I felt as if you were reading every intimate detail of my soul and as much as it chilled me, I also felt extremely attracted to you"
"So you don't regret anything?" Erik had to ask
"I regret some things" Christine turned away and sighed "Hurting Raoul was something I never meant to do but…..I had to. Being without you would have killed me Erik"
"Well you never ever have to worry about that" Erik lifted Christine's petite body off the floor and swung her around to face him.
Christine couldn't help the smile that spread across her face as Erik kissed her deeply on the lips.
"Christine!" Erik spoke gruffly as he put her down "If we don't leave this room now, I shall lose the control I have fought so hard to maintain over these last few months"
"Me too!" Christine smiled as she noticed her reflection in the mirror. Her lipstick had been smudged all over her face and if she walked into the ballroom now, everyone would know exactly what they had just been doing. Strangely, that thought appealed to her as she swiftly dabbed at her lips with some tissue and re-applied her lipstick.
"Erik, I think you will need some tissue too" Christine smirked as she saw Erik's lipstick smudged lips.
As Christine wiped his mouth, they laughed and Erik caught her in a loving embrace.
"Christine, I love you"
"I love you too Erik" Christine giggled for joy as they held each other "But as you say, we must go now before we lose control completely"
As ever, the Grand Ballroom was full of dancing revellers making the most of the food, the endless supply of drink and of course the music and as Erik and Christine entered the room, swarms of people came to greet them, congratulating Erik on his latest composition and Christine on her latest performance. They were the toast of the company.
"Ah, the golden couple of London!" the Opera House manager Mr Caldecott strolled up to them and greeted them warmly, kissing Christine's cheek and shaking Erik's hand.
"What an enigmatic look!" he looked upon the mask in curiosity "But if this is to hide your defor….I mean your face then there is really no need. Everyone in the company has great respect for you and your obvious talent so why hide?"
"Its for sentimental reasons" Erik put his arm around Christine "It holds some memories for us…….good and bad"
"And you Miss Daae look exquisite as ever" Mr Caldecott smiled broadly "You are quite the talk of London for your unique and enchanting performances"
"Thank you" Christine blushed, uncomfortable at such admiration "But really, it is Erik who is to thank for making my voice the way it is"
"It looks to be a splendid night Mr Caldecott" Erik looked around at all the magnificently dressed dancers around him and couldn't help but be astounded at the mass of dresses and finery that were gliding around the room.
"Enough of that Mr Caldecott nonsense" Mr Caldecott gestured away with his hand "You must call me Charles, especially in the circumstances"
"Circumstances?" Erik frowned
"For months now you have been composing, creating scenery, directing how some scenes are to be performed but taking no credit for any of it" Charles paced in front of them "Your talent is obscured from view….you are like some sort of…. Opera ghost"
As Christine and Erik both started laughing at this, Charles frowned, oblivious to the reason for their laughter. Shaking his head at their silliness, he resumed his pacing
"As I was saying, you work so hard and it is about time you reaped what you sow"
"You think I should go into farming?" Erik was in a playful mood and couldn't help but laugh
"Erik, please, I am making you an offer" Charles silenced the laughter with his tone "Erik, I want you to become my partner. To help me run this opera house, just as you have been doing for the last few months. Nothing will change except that you will finally get the recognition you so rightly deserve, and reap the benefits of your hard work"
Erik was dumbfounded
"I don't know what to say"
"Don't be foolish, say yes of course" Charles laughed
Erik glanced at Christine for her opinion and could see her smiling and nodding at him.
"Well then yes!" Erik shook Charles' outstretched hand "I accept, thank you, thank you so very much"
"Nonsense, it is what is rightfully yours" Charles patted Erik on the back "You are a very talented man, now go, go and enjoy your success, both of you"
Doing just that, Erik swept Christine into the throng of dancing couples and held her close as their bodies swayed to the music.
"Can you believe that?" Christine whispered into his ear excitedly "A partner!"
"Things just seem way too blissful to be true" Erik nuzzled his face in her hair "But I must believe it for here I am, here you are and here we are! Together!"
Oblivious to the rest of the dancers around them, they stopped and held each other tightly as they kissed.
"Christine!" Meg came bounding over, nearly tripping over her dress
"Meg!" Christine smiled "You look wonderful!"
"Yes" Erik kissed Meg lightly on the cheek "But be careful running around like that in that dress"
"I'm just excited" Meg swished her dress around herself and giggled
To Erik, Meg always seemed excited for one thing or another. She was a constant bubble of excitement just dying to burst.
"Well I will go and get us a drink and leave you two girls to gossip" Erik smiled at the girls and strode off to the bar area.
"You won't believe what has just happened" Christine gripped Meg's shoulders in excitement
"Oh my god, he's proposed!" Meg grabbed her hand "Let me see the ring"
"No not that" Christine pulled her hand away and sighed, secretly wishing that had been the case
"Ooops!" Meg giggled "Sorry, do I detect a trace of disappointment?"
"Don't be silly" Christine took a deep breath and smiled "Mr Caldecott has just asked Erik to run the opera house with him, officially as his partner!"
"About time too" Meg huffed "After all, Erik does all the work while Mr Caldecott just stands there criticising everything"
"Oh Meg, you are just angry because he shouted at you for not concentrating on your movements." Christine laughed "You spend too much time concentrating on the handsome new stagehand"
Playfully, Meg smacked Christine on the arm
"I was just taking a friendly interest" Meg blushed
The girls' happy banter carried on for a while and Christine felt so happy she could burst. When she thought of how miserable she had been and how elated she was feeling now, she could hardly believe that it had all happened in the space of one year.
Erik returned with three glasses of champagne, and handed one to Christine and Meg. Smiling graciously he noticed the girls had stopped speaking.
"Do you want me to disappear for a bit longer? I feel I am intruding on something"
"No need for that" Meg's face beamed as she spotted her handsome stagehand enter the ballroom "I think I will go and speak to him, get to know him, after all he is new, he will need someone to introduce him to everyone"
"And who better for the job?" Erik laughed, noticing Meg's obvious fascination in the young man
"Good luck Meg!" Christine giggled as she watched her friend saunter over to the nervous looking man.
"I think it is probably the stagehand that needs the luck" Erik laughed as he followed Christine's gaze "The poor thing doesn't stand a chance of resisting now!"
"Aw look at him blushing" Christine slowly turned to look up at Erik
"Well, I can't lie, I am relieved to have you alone again" Erik pulled Christine into his arms again and kissed her cheek.
"Not quite alone" Christine blushed "Just around 200 other people dancing around us"
"An insignificant fact" Erik swept her back onto the dancefloor and they elegantly glided in between the dancing couples until he had finally danced them next to the door.
"Where are you taking me?" Christine gasped as he tugged at her hand and led her out into the courtyard of the Opera House.
Finding a deserted table with two chairs around it, Eric sat down and glanced at Christine seriously.
"Please, sit with me for a while" he gestured towards the empty chair next to him.
Hesitantly, Christine sank down onto the chair and took hold of Erik's hand.
"What is the matter? Are you not enjoying the ball?"
"I never thought…." Erik whispered as he felt her tiny fingers curl around his "….that I could ever be a part of such……..such luxury"
"Does it make you uncomfortable?" Christine sighed. She had been concerned that this would be a problem as Erik had been so used to his solitude and suddenly he had been thrust into a world where solitude was hard to find. The real world where people knew his name and where he was in demand.
"No" Erik kissed her hand "On the contrary, it makes me so happy to be part of….part of the human race. Until you, I had never felt human before. Just a thing to be feared and avoided at all costs. A monster, a repulsive being, but not human"
"You are very much human" Christine smiled into his eyes as she removed his mask "You are a very good hearted human, whom I adore"
When the mask had been removed, she could see the moonlight reflected in Erik's tears.
"No Erik!" Christine touched the deformed side of his face "Remember, we agreed as we took our last look at the Opera Populaire that there would be no more tears"
"No more tears" Erik nodded as he wiped away the tears "But they are not tears of sadness, they are tears of joy Christine"
Erik pulled his chair up closer to Christine and pulled her towards him
"I never dreamed that I would be so lucky as to be able to touch your face, kiss you or even be in your company. I never thought I could be so blessed"
"You constantly seem to forget that I need you just as much as you need me" Christine leant forward and kissed him long and hard on the lips "Erik, finally, we both have what we want, what we need"
"Each other" Erik nodded "And finally, what with the partnership with Charles, I am now in a position to do something I have wanted to do for a long time"
Erik slowly moved away and got down on one knee in front of Christine.
Christine covered her mouth to hide an exclamation of glee as she anticipated what was to happen next.
"Miss Christine Daae, would you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?" with tears in his eyes, he looked pleadingly up at Christine
"Oh Erik why do you doubt my answer?" Christine laughed, noticing his pained expression "Do you not know how much I love you?"
"I know you love me" Erik nodded "But to marry me is something else"
"Of course I will marry you" Christine threw her arms around him "Erik, you have no idea how much I want to be your wife"
"Oh Christine!" Erik held her closer to him as they both wept for joy.
"Tomorrow, we shall go into the city and I want you to pick your ring" Erik kissed her wedding finger and smiled "Only the ring that you deem the best should adorn this beautiful finger"
Caught up in whole situation, Erik and Christine both stood up and tightly held onto each other as Christine started to sing joyfully
Author's Note: (Well after all Andrew Lloyd Webber did mention in a documentary that this song was originally made for Phantom and I think it is fitting although I won't tamper with the words, they are beautiful as they are)
Christine: "Love, love changes everything: hands and faces, earth and sky.
Love, love changes everything: how you live and how you die.
Love can make the summer fly, or a night seem like a lifetime.
Yes, love, love changes everything, now I tremble at your name.
Nothing in the world will ever be the same"
Erik:"Love, love changes everything: days are longer, words mean more.
Love, love changes everything: pain is deeper than before.
Love will turn your world around, and that world will last forever.
Yes, love, love changes everything, brings you glory, brings you shame.
Nothing in the world will ever be the same"
Both:"Off into the world we go, planning futures, shaping years.
Love bursts in and suddenly all our wisdom disappears"
Erik:"Love makes fools of everyone: all the rules we make are broken.
Yes, love, love changes everything: live or perish, in its flame"
Both:"Love will never ever let you be the same.
Love will never ever let you be the same"
As they finished the song, they embraced in a flood of emotional tears, just like that night in his lair 4 months ago. Only this time, the tears weren't being shed for their fears of a future lived apart. This time, they were tears of pure blissfulness in the knowledge that they would one day soon be husband and wife and would be able to tell the world of their love for each other.
Through his tears, Erik inhaled the scent of Christine's beautiful hair as he let the warm feeling of happiness engulf every inch of his body. No more darkness, no more sorrow for now he would have everything he wanted in Christine and there would be no need for such things.
Already in his heart, he could feel a dozen new compositions just waiting to be put down on paper, emerging from his new found joy and elation. He knew now that the new compositions would be full of love, radiance, and light for now, his life was filled with all three.
The Music of the night was well and truly over.