Well, my faithful lovlies, this story is coming together quicker than I had anticipated. I have the first ten chapters written already, so I figured I would start posting. I will try to post every other day, or so…depending on my ability to create the story on a regular basis.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Erik or Christine. They are the wonderful creation of Mr. Leroux – but ALW gave them depth and humanity – as did Kay. I do not own any lyrics that are used; they will be credited at the end of the chapter in which they appear.
I do however; own the plot and any original characters, which appear from the dark caverns of my mind.
Erik – Gerard Butler (There is no other – not for me!)
Christine - Scarlett Johansson (with violet eyes, and a little more of a mature look)
Meckenzie -Emma Karwandy (from Butterfly on a Wheel)
Vince - Pierce Brosnon (slightly shorter)
Karen -Bette Midler (only about ten-years younger, seven inches taller, and long, brown hair)
Ms. Jennison-Samantha Bond (Miss Moneypenny from the latest Bond movies)
Mr. Lynch - Bruce Davison (Senator Kelly from the first X-Men movie)
All other original characters, you can use your imagination.
CHAPTER 1 - Prelude
Five years ago, August
"You can't be serious?" Christine questioned, emphatically.
Raoul walked away from her, wanting to avoid an all out confrontation. He had known she would be intolerant of his decision, but he was past the point of caring. Christine didn't believe in divorce, something about her upbringing in the South.
"Don't you walk away from me, you coward!" She screamed. She roughly turned him toward her and fumed into his face, "You stand there and tell me that our marriage is over, that you won't be my voice trainer any longer, and that you are in love with someone else." Her violet eyes were narrowed and caustic, "But the worst part of it is…you can't stand to be the father of a blind baby."
Raoul hung his head; that statement hit home. His four-month-old daughter, Meckenzie Rae Chagny, had been born blind. Her eye muscles and nerves had failed to develop correctly while in the womb, and there was nothing that could be done. The doctors had been unable to detect the problem before birth, and it was only when she was around six weeks old that the problem had been identified.
He stopped in mid-stride and turned to the enraged form of his wife. Her acerbic, accusative words cut him to the bone, but he could not deny them – she was right. He no longer wished to remain boxed in to this relationship; he felt as though he were drowning beneath the bad publicity and guilt that his daughter's "misfortune" caused.
"Leave Raoul…I never want to see you again after the divorce is final…do you hear me?" Christine emphasized and then raised her chin in defiance. "I don't care where you are in ten, fifteen – even twenty years…" She cried, hating herself for the tears she was shedding, "…you will not come back into my life or Meckenzie's life…is that understood?"
Raoul regarded her with shamed eyes. He nodded his agreement and started to walk out the door.
"I want it to be in the divorce agreement…I'll see you in court." She turned back from him and walked back into the living room. She looked up and saw that he had not moved to leave. "OUT!" She screamed. "Get out of my house!"
Christine had been born a preacher's kid. Her father, Germaine Daae, was a very charismatic speaker, but conservative in his beliefs about the Scriptures. He loved his family without question, and was always there for them; but to Christine, it seemed that the church and its members always came first.
Christine mother was a typical preacher's wife, but she also worked outside the home, as a nurse at a major hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. They had been best friends from the time Christine had been old enough to learn voice and piano.
Catherine Daae had been a tall, picturesque blond, with beautiful violet eyes which Christine had inherited. She had supported her husband throughout his ministry, even during the rocky times when his staunch Biblical standing was not popular with the less conservative congregations.
They had moved a great deal when she had been younger, but Christine would not have traded her childhood for anything. Thankfully, she had those sweet memories to sustain her.
Tragically, her parents lost their lives in a robbery-turned-shooting at a bank while they were trying to get cash for the vacation trip they were taking to Nags Head; they never made it home.
Christine had been 17 at the time, a senior in high school. She received notice of her acceptance into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's medical program to become a doctor, but her heart was with music.
The day they died, Christine had informed them that she was not going to go to college to become a doctor; she was going to be a singer, on stage and Broadway. They expressed mixed feelings about her decision, but her parents would let her do what she wished, whether they agreed or not.
She had no living relatives, so the state emancipated her and she used the money from her father's life insurance policy to pay off the estate. It had not been much, but Christine was able to invest some of it and was able to live on her own.
Raoul had entered the picture not two months after she buried her parents. He was several years older than she was, very influential in the music industry, and boyishly handsome. He offered to tutor her, get her auditions on Broadway, and manage her budding career.
Two years later, when Christine turned 19, she married him; he was 27.
That had been three years ago. He had done what he said he would do, he had gotten her auditions and she had even performed on Broadway. He took care of her all around, but she sensed there was something wrong, long before Meckenzie entered their lives.
Raoul worked all the time, very late…even on holidays. He always came home exhausted and reeked of cheap perfume. Christine didn't think much of it most of the time; after all, he worked in the theater all the time.
This happened a few times a week for the next several months. Christine began to suspect he was having an affair, or several affairs. They had not made love in weeks and she wasn't sure she even wanted him to touch her again.
When they finally did make love, it was more like a release for them both and not an encounter between two people who loved each other. This last encounter resulted in Meckenzie's conception.
The ensuing problems that followed Meckenzie's birth just served to make him more distant and drive a deeper wedge between the two of them. He really hadn't wanted children in the first place, but Meckenzie came into their lives whether he was ready for her or not.
The divorce went fairly well, considering the hateful words that flew back and forth. The judge did not look kindly upon a father leaving his wife and daughter, especially since the daughter had special needs.
Christine obtained full custody and made sure that the divorce papers and custody papers left Raoul with no authority or rights regarding her or Meckenzie; she wanted no contact.
She refused any alimony or child support – if Raoul had to send them money in any way or for anything, he would have a way back into their lives. This was out of the question.
She told herself that they would make it on what she could make at a full-time job. She would still try to pursue her Broadway career, but knew it would be difficult without Raoul's influence and support.
She dropped his name, and began using her maiden name again, even paying the extra fee to have Meckenzie's last name changed back to her maiden name.
He had run her entire career and he had been her vocal coach and trainer; now she had no one to guide her through her lessons; and worse than that, she had no one to help her get auditions.
They parted ways and Christine began trying to reassemble her shattered life; one day at a time.
Meckenzie rested quietly in Christine arms, sucking adorably on her tiny thumb. Tears were creeping down Christine's cheeks as she thought about all the wasted years she had spent with Raoul. The three years they had been married had almost been tolerable, except for his wandering eyes. He had always been a flirt; he had never tried to hide that fact. Christine had accepted it as being a part of his influence with the Broadway people and the others he worked with.
Following the divorce, there were countless appointments for Meckenzie; making Christine's sensitive nerves more frayed. The doctors pursued other means of treating Meckenzie's blindness, but all of them were experimental. Christine wasn't sure how much she wanted done to her daughter if the results were not guaranteed.
Over several months, Meckenzie underwent several non-invasive and a few invasive procedures to create a treatment profile for some new possibilities in optic nerve treatment.
Christine had moved them from the five-bedroom home on Long Island that she and Raoul had shared, to a three-bedroom rancher in the suburbs of Hartford, Connecticut. Her Broadway career had diminished considerably after the divorce. No manager had been willing to take her as a client.
All of the problems with Meckenzie had taken up Christine's time, and Broadway waited for no one. Vocal trainers refused to work with her because of her personal involvement with Raoul. After months of trying to get her career back on track, Christine realized she had been black listed; she would likely never perform again.
'Even from hundreds of miles away, and with months between us…he manages to ruin my life.' Christine thought.
Meckenzie learned to walk four short months after leaving the hospital for the last time; she was four days shy of turning one-year-old.
Christine watched her precious daughter learn the layout of each room in the house. She did not dwell on the loss of her career, for her daughter was everything to her.
She had taken some business courses in college, so she took a job as a receptionist for an ad agency and settled into her knew life.
Meckenzie, although blind, flourished in the arts. She learned to read Braille at a very early age and Christine recognized the musical potential Meckenzie possessed, when she caught her imitating music from the radio onto the piano that Christine had inherited from her mother.
Christine sat one afternoon and watched her five-year-old daughter listen to a song on the radio and then play it on the piano, as best her little hands would allow her to.
Christine was no teacher and had only taken a couple of piano lessons in her life, the ones her mother had given her; her voice had been her instrument; but she knew that the talent her daughter possessed was exceptional.
As time went by, life was little rough at times, Christine had moved from the house to an apartment, hoping to save money. There had been another failed attempt at fixing Meckenzie's eyesight, and the attempt had almost wiped out her bank account; there was no way she could afford to send her daughter to any school of music.
"Oh Meckenzie, what am I to do?" Christine wept one afternoon. "You are too gifted to ignore, but I have no idea how I will pay to send you to school."
Meckenzie lifted her head and acknowledged her mothers voice. Her violet/blue eyes, though unseeing, were bright and beautiful. The infections and subsequent procedures had not robbed her of their beauty.
"Mommy, don't cry, I am doing fine just playing on Grandma's piano…it'll be alright." Meckenzie consoled.
Christine gently swiped the hair from her daughters forehead and noticed again, how little of Raoul there was in her daughter when considering her features; but she did have his instrumental capabilities and beguiling charm.
"Sing for me, Meckenzie…I love it when you sing." Christine prodded.
Meckenzie smiled in the direction of her mother's voice, "What would you like for me to sing?"
"Jesus Love Me." Christine replied.
The song brought memories of her father and her loving childhood. Christine had learned "Jesus Loves Me", at the age of three, when her father had taught it to her. She had not missed her parents so badly for years…the loneliness she felt at that moment was so profound.
As Christine listened to her daughter's perfectly pitched tone and recognized the opportunity Meckenzie would be missing if she did not do all she could, she knew she had to give her daughter a better chance than she'd had; no matter what it took.
Christine was on the internet that night, looking for the appropriate place to send her daughter to study the arts. She would do what she had to do to get the money to send her.
She had sold just about everything she owned to pay the mounting doctor and hospital bills. The one thing she managed to hold onto was her CD/radio system. It was a cold night in late December when she could not sleep and turned on the radio to find the voice of a man speaking about lost love, dying wishes, deep regrets, and dire loneliness; but he also led discussions about different styles, types, and sounds of music; whatever anyone wished to discuss.
His voice was mesmeric and therapeutic, unlike anything she had ever heard before. She was unable to concentrate on what he was saying because she felt captivated by the dulcet, rich timbres of his voice.
Did earthly beings possess such a voice? Christine doubted it; but the audible evidence resonated all around her. She could hear the pain behind the beauty; this man, whoever he was, was personally acquainted with heartache and grief.
"This has been Music of the Night and I have been your host, The Phantom; thank you for the wonderful discussion about Jazz music and its origins. We have heard some of the most beautiful music ever composed, discussed works of art, and mourned over lost loves."
'What a voice he possesses…who is this man?' Christine kept asking herself.
Then, when she thought it could get no better, he began to sing.
"Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation.
Darkness stirs, and wakes imagination.
Silently the senses abandon their defenses.
"Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor.
Grasp it; sense it, tremulous and tender.
Turn your face away from the garish light of day,
Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light…
And listen to the Music of the Night.
"Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams.
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before.
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar…
And you'll live as you've never lived before."
Christine had never been so completely entranced by a voice before. This man could see into her soul with every word he sang. His voice was sensual and mystic, encasing her in its strong, irresistible pull. She wanted more….she wanted him.
"Softly, deftly, music shall caress you.
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you.
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind…
In this darkness that you know you cannot fight.
The darkness of the Music of the Night.
"Let your mind start to journey through a strange, new world…
Leave all thoughts of the life you knew before.
Let your soul take you where you long to be…
Only then, can you belong to me.
"Floating, falling, sweet intoxication,
touch me, trust me, savor each sensation.
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
to the power of the music that I write…
The power of the Music of the Night."
Christine was reacting to the influence of his voice in a completely non-conventional way. She had never felt so sexually enticed by a man's voice…she almost missed the last phrase…
"You alone, can make my song take flight…
help me make the Music of the Night."
She closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. That was almost better than the actual act of making love…his voice had given her the peace and contentment she needed to get a good nights rest.
"Until next Saturday morning…I remain, The Phantom. I bid you adieu."
Song was, "The Music of the Night", written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber