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Title:Mommy, How Did You Meet Daddy
Subject: Phantom of the Opera
Genre: Humor/ General
Time Frame: 1885 (Not going by ALW's time line.)
Characters: Aria Destler, Christine/ Erik
Summary: Questions are a daily part of a child's life. Questions like, Why is the sky blue? Or, how does the grass grow? And of course, Mommy, how did you meet daddy? A short one-shot based on my characters from His Date With The Phantom's Daughter. If you haven't read it yet, then you should. Shameless plug. You don't have to read that to understand this though.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, and it is becoming increasingly clear that no matter how much I beg, threaten, demand, or how many paper chandeliers I crash, I will just never own it. (Sounds a lot like a certain someone that we all know and love . . .) Only Aria and the plot line are mine. So don't copy them.
Now the story . . . .
The target was in sight.
Only a few more steps . . .
Golden eyes traced the progress of the silent figure in the next room. Wait for it . . . . a few seconds more . . . .
He turned his back, and her keen ears caught the sound of pen scratching against heavy paper . . . now!
As fast as her skirts would let her she ran as quickly as she could towards the adjoining kitchen. Only pausing for a moment to peek out from behind the wall that separated the two rooms. Everything was good. So far . . .
She swallowed an apprehensive breath as she stalked towards the far counter. One more look for caution . . .his back was still turned and the knot that had begun to form in the pit of her stomach began to lessen just slightly. Any moment he would begin playing, and nothing that she did would be able to distract him.
Smiling in satisfaction she lifted herself up on the tips of her small toes. Almost there . . .
Yet the sound of approaching footsteps hit her alert ears and she immediately backed away from her target. Her heart was hammering in her chest and she was sure that it was going to jump out of her dress as she hid behind a pile of vegetables that Rosie had just brought back from the market. Muted voices reached her ears from the other room, and she cautiously poked her head over the-wait a second! The brussel sprouts! Why did mommy insist on torturing her? She sighed as she turned her gaze towards the piano in the other room. A wave of relief hit her as she saw mommy standing next to daddy. Whew, the mission was still possible.
Trying to gather her patience she waited for the grown-ups to leave. Adults always ruined everything.
She groaned impatiently as mommy laughed at something daddy said, and leaned in too . . . eww! They were kissing! She rolled her eyes in disgust. There were many things she didn't get about grown-ups, and this was defiantly one of them. She moved more confidently out from behind the vegetables. Her golden eyes zeroing in on the jar atop the counters. Mommy and daddy would be oblivious to anything short of a chandelier crashing. Oh well. That fit her plans perfectly.
Once again she stood on the tips of her toes, and reached her small hand up. Cautiously seeking. Just a little bit more . . . her searching fingers were rewarded as she removed the jar's lid. A little further and she grasped the items inside.
A brilliant smile lit her face as she paused to examine her prize. Two soft and beautiful, still warm cookies, finally freed of their cruel imprisonment inside the restrictive jar. She could smell the tantalizing blend of chocolate chips, brown sugar, and vanilla. Ahh, mission accomplished.
Yet before she could bite into the delicious morsels her eyes happened to move towards where her parents were just standing. Her brow furled in puzzlement. How did she missed that? They were gone! The familiar feeling of calculating apprehension returned and her golden eyes flicked furtively around. Where could they be! What if she was caught red-handed . . .
She turned around just in time to see her parents enter the kitchen. Oh man! As quickly, and as inauspiciously as she could she shoved the cookies in the pockets that were cleverly sewn into the folds of her dress. Relief flooded over her as she completed this right in the nick of time, and turned around to present her parents with the innocent little angel that they knew and loved . . .
Christine's eyes blinked once in surprise at seeing her daughter, but she smiled warmly in greeting. Aria gulped, it wouldn't be mommy that she had to worry about anyway. She turned her eyes towards her father, and gulped. His matching golden eyes locked onto hers and she was shaken to notice that he didn't seem surprised in the least. Was that a knowing smile pulling at his lips? He knows! He knows! He knows! A traitorous little voice inside of her ranted. He doesn't know! She tried to silence the annoying little voice. Confess! Confess! Confess! She glared at the imagined voice. Why should she confess to something that they had no idea of? They don't know anything.
She didn't bother acknowledging the annoying voice. Just keep smiling, just keep smiling, just keep smiling . . .
Christine was still smiling as she knelt down to hug Aria tightly. Aria grimaced as she squirmed out of the embrace. Forever mindful of the hidden cookies. "What are you doing here sweetie, weren't you playing with Marguerite?"
Aria winced inwardly as she remembered the little Giry girl that she had been playing hide-and-go-seek with. Marguerite was probably still hiding, and she had promised to come and find her after she had counted to a hundred.
She felt guilty now. But . . .but . . . it was the cookies fault! They had distracted her!
"I was looking for you." Aria said cautiously, her mind working furiously.
"Well, here we are."
Aria noticed uncomfortably how close her father was to the cookies, all he had to do was take his attention off of her for one second. Her golden eyes widened as she noticed that she had left the lid off of the cookie jar! It was wide open and perfectly visible to his inspection. Oh, what a fop she was to leave such an obvious clue! Oh you've done it now! The traitorous voice came back to taunt her. She ignored it. Not now! Quick! Think! A distraction! Yes, that's what she needed. A distraction . . .
Questions were always good distractions. Hmmm, a good question. She had already learned about babies. The stork had been an unexpected answer, but last time it had gotten her brownies . . .
She smiled deviously. She had it.
"Marguerite, and I were talking, and she said her daddy met her mommy at a dancing show. She then asked me how you two met, and I had to tell her that I didn't know."
Aria grinned as she saw something close to apprehension cross daddy's face, and mommy smiled lightly. "And?" Christine prompted. Erik glared at his wife, and Christine pretended not to notice it.
"Mommy, how did you meet daddy?"
And there it was. The dreaded question. Christine still didn't know how to answer it, and she wanted to grimace when she saw Aria's expectant face. Why now? She wasn't ready to answer this. "It's a long story."
Now Aria was actually interested. Mommy looked uncomfortable. Uncomfortable stories were always interesting.
Christine smiled slightly, "Well when I was little my father died."
Aria looked perplexed. "You had a daddy?"
Christine looked at her daughter with amusement. "Of course I did. Where did you think I came from?"
Aria looked down, frustrated that mommy looked like she was ready to laugh. Why did grown-ups always do that? She hadn't said anything funny! She sighed in indignant frustration. "Didn't the stork bring you all growd up?"
Christine looked confused. "The stork?" She asked Erik.
Erik turned a bright red, the color nicely shown off by the gleaming white of the mask. "She asked were babies come from. What did you expect me to tell her?"
Christine just sighed as she turned back to her daughter. "OK then, before my father died he promised me that he'd send me the Angel of Music, yet my angel never came , and I was sent to the Opera House to live as a chorus girl."
"That's where Marguerite's mom works." Aria said, proud to connect the two memories.
"Yes, Meg's the ballet mistress now." Christine said, remembering fondly.
"Where did daddy come in?" Aria asked innocently, shifting the cookies slightly to where they would be less conspicuous lumps in the sides of her dress. So far so good.
Christine looked up at Erik. "Yes dear, where did you come in?"
Erik shifted uncomfortably. "Um, well, about that, " he started choppily, his usually melodic voice was strained and uneven, any one of the normal facades that he normally relied on now stripped violently away. "I lived in the Opera House also . . ." He began slowly.
"Were you a ballerina?"
Why would she automatically think that I was a dancer? Erik wondered. He would never belittle himself like that. Crashing chandeliers was a much more amiable pastime. "Lets just say that I was an unofficial part of the management."
Christine rolled her eyes, and Aria nodded her head, absorbing the information. "So then how did you meet mommy?"
"I taught her how to sing." Erik said carefully.
Aria smiled, "Was it love at first sight?"
Erik considered Christine's look of wide-eyed awe, then the look utter terror as she first saw him without the mask. Would that count as love? "Well, not exactly."
Aria grinned as she ran a reassuring hand over the cookies.
"He had me so mad half of the time." Christine recalled with a smile. Remembering the betrayal that she had initially felt, the frustration at his reclusiveness, and her annoyance at his quick temper.
"There were times that I wanted to strangle her." Erik said, remembering the crushing pain when she first removed the mask, the betrayal he had felt that night on the roof, the unmasking during Don Juan . . .
"Yet every time I heard his voice I could never stay mad." Christine said.
Aria made a face as the conversation turned uninteresting. She eyed the door longingly and wanting to wrap up the conversation and go find Marguerite. She could almost taste the cookies . . . "So you got married then?" She asked. It seemed like the logical next step.
"Not exactly." Christine began carefully.
Erik's eyes darkened, and a cruel smile touched his lips. He would love to tell this part. "You see, your mother was convinced that she was in love with someone else."
Aria's eyes widened. "Mommy with someone beside daddy! Who!"
Christine eyed Erik warily. Be nice her eyes seemed to say. Erik looked at her in mock offense. He would be nice, well sort of. He wouldn't call him a fop. That had to be nice enough . . .right? "His name was Raoul. He was rich, annoying, pimple-faced, high-pitched, and winy." He really didn't have any room to talk when it came to the face considering . . . well just considering.
You couldn't pay him to say the Vicomte was disgustingly good-looking, annoyingly kind, and well, just everything that he wasn't. He seethed to himself. It was his story, and he could tell it any way that he wanted.
Aria's look turned to one of distaste. "Sounds like a fop."
Christine's eyes narrowed in defense of her childhood friend, and Erik had to fight to contain his laughter. Christine glared at him, and he threw up his hands in mock surrender. "What? She said it not me."
"Your father is just being rude," Christine said. "Raoul really wasn't that bed.
Aria absorbed this information with a stab of jealousy. Mommy couldn't like anyone but daddy, and she found herself wishing that this Raoul was horrible. Then she wouldn't have to care so much.
Erik glowered. "She was the only one who could stand him. No one else could understand why." Memories hit him. That song on the roof, the gaudy engagement ring, the heart-shattering congratulations as everyone congratulated the Vicomte on his success on winning Christine from that 'horrid creature.'
"How did you get mommy back then?" She asked.
More consideration. "I wrote a song for her." He said. Yeah, try a whole blasted opera. "Then I sang it for her." Well anyway, that was the butchered version. He'd be able to tell her the rest when she was older. From terrorizing the managers, to knocking Piangi out, to the armed police, the locked exits. The fire in Christine's eyes.
"That got her I bet." Aria said proudly. She loved her papa's voice.
Memories from that night came floating back, and he smiled cynically. "Yeah." He said slowly. "That got her."
Christine smiled comfortingly at her husband. She had forgiven him a long time ago. She caught the wide inquisitive glow in her daughter's eyes, and she smiled spite herself. "Afterwards he proposed to me."
"How did he propose?"
Both looked uncomfortable now. How to simplify this?
Erik smiled softly at his daughter. Humiliation coursing threw his veins as he remembered. A thousand apologies, a lifetime of praying would never excuse his actions that night. Aria was looking at him expectantly. Wide innocent eyes waiting to hear a fairytale ending. The same look that Christine had had what seemed like a lifetime ago. "Well, you see, I got down on my knees like this." He knelt down next to her. Golden eyes meeting golden eyes.
Aria giggled, and the innocent sound cut straight to his heart. For once he didn't think. Didn't think about Raoul struggling for breath, didn't think about the horrified look in Christine's eyes. He continued to look his daughter straight in the eyes. "Then I gave her this."
Seemingly out of nowhere he pulled out an elegant, long-stemmed rose out. As always tied with a black satin ribbon. "It had a ring on it, and I told her that even though I had hurt her so much, that I loved her, and I would spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to her. If she would become my bride."
Behind father and daughter Christine stood with silent tears in her eyes. Absentmindedly fiddling with the plain gold ring on her finger. After the mob, after fleeing Paris, after Raoul's blessing and continued hopes for her happiness Erik had done just that. Christine smiled as Aria took the proffered rose, and brought it to her nose deeply inhaling it's scent. "Then she said yes?" Aria asked.
"Yes." Erik answered, now looking past Aria and at Christine. "Then she said yes."
Aria smiled at the happy look in both of her parent's eyes, and she almost forgot the whole thing with the cookies. "Then you lived happily ever after." She said, it seemed appropriate. At least that's how daddy always ended the stories that he told her. She smiled as she started to walk away. She really had to pat herself on the back for this one. She really was a genius.
She only hoped that Marguerite wasn't waiting for to long. Oh well, she'd just have to share her cookies to make up for it . . . Yet she froze as daddy's voice called to her.
"Oh and Aria, I'll take those cookies back now."
So was it funny? Cute? Stupid? Badly-written? Stupid?
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Your humble authoress.