Hi All! I'm back! This is my new story, I hope you all enjoy it. It's a modern day retelling of the original story, there are alot of modern day retellings out there and while this story refused to be ignored I wanted to try to make mine a bit different from the others out there. As I was thinking about what my characters would be like I decided to make my Christine very real, very ordinary. No extraordinary talents, no exceptional beauty, just very real and very lonely. As the story progresses Christine will discover her voice because thats what drew Erik to her first and I feel it's important to keep that element to the story, cause afterall thats the backbone behind the story of the Phantom of the Opera. But I wanted him to be drawn to her loneliness and solitude first, before he ever heard her sing. So I hope you all enjoy my retelling, please feel free to let me know what you think, as always I'm looking for suggestions to make this story better! Enjoy:)
Disclaimer: I don't own the original story or characters, but the characterizations and story line are mine.
She wasn't exceptionally beautiful or gifted. Nor was she extraordinarily smart, in fact she was a very ordinary girl, with a very ordinary job in a very lonely life.
He wasn't exceptionally beautiful, in fact many would say he had the face of a monster. But he was indeed very gifted in many different fields of study, he was incredibly intelligent but he was also very lonely.
This is their story…
Christine Daae sighed as she looked in the mirror; she had dark circles under her blue eyes that used to sparkle with happiness. She was pale and almost sickly thin. She pulled on a white button down shirt, rolled up the sleeves and tucked her mahogany curls back in a pony tail before grabbing the maroon colored apron and walking out of her bedroom, which connected to the main room of the tiny little studio apartment she could barely afford.
She grabbed her purse, keys and worn old denim jacket before walking out the front door. She walked out to the parking lot, finding her old beaten up Nissan Stanza and unlocking the door and getting in.
She pulled into the parking lot at work, sighing as she pulled herself out of the car. She hurried into the little diner and hung her jacket up before pulling on her apron and walking out to the kitchen to see what needed done.
10 hours later she walked back out to her car, exhausted beyond reason got in and drove home. Once home she looked at the clock, 10:30. She knew she should eat something, with that in mind she went to the little joke of a kitchenette and looked in the fridge. A half-gallon of milk, and ketchup. She sighed, closing the door a bit harder than necessary before opening the pantry door. Rice, a can of peaches and a box of macaroni and cheese.
She shook her head sadly closing the pantry door and getting a glass of water she went to bed. She lay in bed, biting back tears wondering When did my life become this? When did life turn into a nightmare? She rolled over and cried herself to sleep as she did many nights.
Erik Beauvais sat behind his desk, hands steepled, his eyes lost in thought. He gazed out the window looking over the grounds of his vast, secluded estate. His unique golden green eyes watching all that happened on his lands. He touched the cold leather of the mask that covered the right half of his face almost shuddering as if he could feel the scarred tissue and horror that lay beneath the cool leather.
Having been born with the grotesque deformity and having 13 corrective surgeries before the age of 13 his parents horrified at their only child's marred visage turned from him. Leaving him to the care of a long line of nurses and tutors.
Madeleine and Charles Beauvais were shocked to discover the great musical talent that their son appeared to have. Upon the urging of a kindly older priest from the Cathedral they attended mass they hired a string of music teachers for young Erik. At the age of 17 he could successfully play any instrument and rival any concert pianist in the world. He was a musical prodigy, it was a sin no one aside from the staff that worked in his home would ever hear the magic that his fingers could create.
Erik sighed, there was so much his mind and talents could offer the world, but the world shunned him. He knew only the cold comfort that money could buy. He hoped beyond all hope that perhaps there was a woman out there who could love him. That was the only thing missing from his life.
Christine hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and rolled over. She was working a double shift today, from opening till close. Groaning as that thought rolled over in her head she sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and tossed the covers away.
After a long shower, she dressed for work and left. Nothing went right that day…
It began raining just as she got to her car, an icy cold rain that Pennsylvania was prone to in November. Pulling onto the street her apartment complex was on she listened to the radio as she was stopped at a stoplight. She screamed as her car lurched forward as the person behind her underestimated the condition of the roads and didn't give themselves enough time to stop and rear ended her. Thankful that there was no oncoming traffic to hit her in the intersection she pulled over and got out to inspect the damage.
She looked behind her in annoyance as the well-dressed man got out of his Mercedes SUV and stalked over to her. She gritted her teeth as he pulled out his cell phone and called the police, glaring at her as she did.
She arrived at work over an hour late, pulling off her soaked denim jacket she hung it up and hurried out of the back room. After receiving a stern lecture from the owner of the diner she went about the small mundane tasks to keep herself busy until more customers arrived.
As luck would have it, two separate customers ran into her causing her to spill an entire plate of spaghetti on her and a fresh cup of coffee.
The dinner rush was dying down, Christine sighed as she looked at the clock. Still 5 more hours to go. She approached the table with the only customer, attempting a smile.
"What can I get for you today?"
The young man flashed a brilliant smile up at her, noting the dried spaghetti sauce and coffee looked into her tired eyes.
"Long Day?" he asked cheerfully.
Biting back the retort on the tip of her tongue when she saw the sincerity in his eyes she nodded.
"You can only imagine" she replied wryly.
He grinned up at her, before remembering why he was there. "A cup of coffee please"
She nodded in response before walking away to get his coffee. Upon returning to the table she felt his green eyes on her. Trying to hide the blush she could feel creep to his cheeks she asked, "Can I get you anything else?"
She took a moment to process what he said and couldn't help the small smile that graced her lips.
"Knew you could do it," he said grinning. "You look so beautiful when you smile" he said softly.
Again she could fee the blush moving it's way up her cheeks, she bit her lip as she poured his coffee and turned to walk back to the counter when she felt a hand on her wrist. She turned back to him almost fearful.
"Would you like to have dinner?" he asked quietly, not wanting the people behind the counter to overhear their conversation.
She rubbed her forehead "Well, I'm not off until 12" she replied, grimacing slightly.
"Ah" he replied, disappointment flashing in his eyes. He looked back up at her "Well when's your next day off?"
She bit her lip; she wasn't off for another 3 days. She mercifully had Sunday and Monday off. "I have Sunday off"
He smiled "Well then, Sunday night you're having dinner with me"
In her brain a voice screamed you don't have the money for dinner! And you know better than to get close to anyone!
She cleared her throat uncomfortably "Well…I…"
As if reading her mind "On me of course" he said winking "Wouldn't be much of a gentleman if I invited you out and didn't pay. My mother would never forgive me," he said smiling.
She had to smile at that, she thought for a moment before nodding "Dinner sounds lovely"
He smiled brightly at her "Great, give me your number and I'll call you to set a time"
She wrote her number down on the check and left it on the table walking back to the counter with an odd grin on her face. She ignored the whispers and giggles from her coworkers.
When she finally left that evening at 12:25 she was ready to go home and sleep. Knowing she had to be up in 6 hours was discouraging, but she now had something to look forward to. Her first date since her parents had died. She stopped, key in the ignition. She didn't even know the young man's name. He had looked somewhat familiar, but that in itself wasn't unusual. Many times she saw a face that she thought she knew. She drove herself home in a quiet daze, forgetting how horrendously her day had started.
Erik stared at the clock, 1am. He rubbed his eyes; he had spent the last few hours playing the piano to ease the pain in his soul as he often did after his solitary dinner. His home was fully staffed but most of them were too afraid of him to speak to him unless it was necessary. The only people he had regular contact with were Richard, his trusted butler and Nadir Kahn. His only friend that he had met when he was much younger and had decided to tour the world, he had met Nadir in the Middle East. The two formed an odd friendship that had grown stronger when Nadir relocated to the East Coast of the United States and looked Erik up.
Nadir and Richard were his links to the outside world. Nadir served not only as confidante but as his personal assistant as well. He kept Erik in touch with his many investors, bankers and lawyers. He also kept him sane and grounded in reality.
He pushed the piano bench out and rose, arching his aching back as he did. He looked around the exquisite music room he had made with regret. He had no one to share his music with, he had always been alone and he always will be alone. A knock at the door interrupted his melancholy thoughts.
"Still up sir?" Richard's familiar voice called out with a hint of amusement.
Erik smiled wryly "Naturally Richard, you know very well I am a creature of the night."
"Of course sir, do you need anything before I retire?"
"No, goodnight Richard"
"And you sir" the elderly butler replied before walking down the hall to the marble stairway.
Erik stared out the window once again "A creature of the night indeed" he muttered bitterly before striding out of the room to his suite on the second floor.
Christine hurried into work the next morning, again running late. Though not nearly as late as the morning before. She set about her daily routine, ignoring the pointed comments her fellow waitresses made and ignoring the glares of Andy, the owner of the diner.
Nadir Khan sat in a booth near the back of the secluded little diner, the morning paper spread out before him. He looked up when he heard a voice ask, "What can I get you?"
He looked Christine in the eye, unable to ignore the dark circles under her eyes and the tired expression on her face. He smiled at her "Just two eggs and rye toast please"
She nodded writing his order down and smiling briefly before taking his order to the kitchen.
Nadir watched her for a moment as she walked away, she was much younger than most of the other people who worked there. He had seen her there many times when he would stop for a quick breakfast before going to Erik's. She always seemed to be there, she always looked tired and harassed. He shook his head, feeling pity for the young woman. She returned a few moments later with his order, putting on her fixed smile as he made eye contact with her.
He ate his breakfast quickly, perusing the paper as he did. She left his check on the table, filling his coffee cup when he wasn't looking. He left the money for his check on the table, leaving a sizeable tip for Christine. He set his wallet down on the table, as he folded the paper. His cell phone began ringing; he answered it as he walked out the door.
Christine saw the leather wallet on his table a few moments later. She looked around, hoping he had just gone to the bathroom. When he didn't appear she picked it up, wondering what to do. She felt guilty about opening someone's wallet and rifling through it. She found his business card with an address on it and a cell number. She sighed; she would call when she got off. She was fortunate she was only working an hour shift that day; she would be home by 4 at the latest. She put the wallet in her purse and continued with her day.
She collapsed on the tattered little sofa when she returned home. She groaned as she pulled the wallet out of her purse. She picked up her phone and dialed the number. She rolled her eyes when she got his voice mail. She quickly jotted the number he left, before ending the call. She called the phone number, tapping her nails against the old little coffee table.
"Beauvais Residence" an older voice said.
She paused for a moment, before looking down at the card. "Umm, Hi. I was looking for Nadir Khan?" she said hesitantly.
A few moments later she heard someone pick up the phone. "Nadir Khan"
"Oh, Hi Mr. Khan. This is Christine Daae, and I know you have no idea who I am" she said taking a breath trying to calm herself. "You left your wallet at Andy's Diner today?"
"Oh! Thank heavens! I had thought I had lost it on the streets" he exclaimed, relieved.
She smiled "I found it and I could return it to you this afternoon"
"Ah….well. I have a rather full schedule this afternoon" he said, thinking out loud.
"Well, I could bring it to you. That's not a problem"
"I wouldn't want to put you out"
"It's alright, I won't be going out of my way. I have errands to run anyway" she lied easily.
"Thank you, that is very kind of you. I'm assuming that you've found my business card?"
"Yes, about that I'm sor-"
He interrupted her "Think nothing of it Ms.Daae. But you'll find my address on the card. I'll be here all day, just tell them you are here to see me at the gate and you won't have any problems"
"Alright, I'll be by in a bit"
"Thank you again Ms.Daae" he said sincerely.
"It's not a problem"
"Alright, goodbye" and he hung up.
She too hung up and lay back on the sofa again. She hurried to shower and change quickly. Pulling on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She grabbed her purse, pulling her jacket on and walking out.
She found the address easy enough; she was cowed by the security at the gated driveway and the grandeur of the house itself. It was obviously an older home, three stories, stone with ivy growing along the side. She could see a beautiful garden to the side, the grounds well kept. She smoothed her curls down self-consciously before knocking on the door.
A kind, elderly looking man answered the door bowing as she walked in.
"I'm here to see Mr. Khan"
"Yes Ms. we were told to expect you Ms.Daae. If you would be so kind to wait in the library, he will be with you shortly."
She nodded, following him into the massive room with more books than she could ever imagine.
"Would you care for something to drink?"
She shook her head "No thank you" she replied, hoping her voice didn't shake too much.
He retired from the room, shutting the doors behind him. She looked around at the many bookshelves that lined the room covered in books. She dropped her purse on the sofa and walked over, perusing the titles. She began walking around the room, looking at the many paintings on the walls. She had never imagined anything quite like this before. She failed to notice the doors opening and a dark figure walking in.
Erik stopped to watch the young lady, as she looked around the room, awestruck. Nadir was still caught up in a meeting and he didn't want to keep Christine waiting. Erik had begrudgingly agreed to meet her and get his wallet back. He watched her for a moment, taking her in.
She was short and very thin. Almost painfully thin, he wondered if she could really afford much food. Nadir had told him about her somewhat. She had long dark brown curls, and blue eyes that he could easily lose himself in. She wasn't a beauty in the traditional sense of the word, but to him she looked a goddess. He watched as she lovingly stroked the spine of a book before pulling it out and reading the first few chapters.