A/N: These first few chapters were originally written in 2004 and so I decided to rewrite them. Here is the rewrite of the Prelude!
Her brown curls bounced and swayed as her energetic legs pumped her towards the luxurious bed. Her smile was filled with innocence and it registered in her flawless child like aquatic eyes.
"Hurry Momma!" The five year old squealed with delight.
"Patience my little Mollia," her voice held a hidden musical tone as it floated through Mollia's toy filled room, "You must remember that I am carrying your little brother Caleb as well." Any person passing by could realize in an instant that her womb was rich as life. Mollia slid under her soft blankets as her very pregnant mother waddled in and sat down besides the bed. Mollia yawned and even in that one yawn one could hear the potential for great music.
"Momma, will you sing me a song?" Mollia asked and being so used to hearing no, she used her last resort; the puppy eyes. Her beautiful blue eyes swelled and formed large alligator tears. Her lip puffed out a little and the gleam of betrayal was apparent in her gaze. Her talent of creating the perfect puppy eyes never failed her.
"All right, but I still do not like the idea. I am only singing one song so chose wisely my little lady bug." Her mother's voice was spilling with uncertainty as she prepared to sing the one song that her daughter adored.
"'Think of me!" Momma please?" The child snuggled deeper into her blankets as her mother fixed her posture. Her mother's voice was flawless and held perfect pitch, and yet there was one major problem; her voice was like a stone, lacking any emotion.
"Think of me, Think of me fondly when we've said goodbye. Remember me, once in a while, please promise me you'll try. When you find that once again you long to take your heart back and be free. If you ever find a moment spare a thought for me…." (From "Think of me" in "The Phantom of the Opera")
The child's deep breath signaled the end of her mother's song as she prepared to leave. The creak of the bedroom door caused her to whip around in fear that her husband had heard her singing, which he despised and loathed. Indeed it was he who stood in the doorway, the soft glow of a candle in his hand. He spoke softly not wishing to wake the little angel who slept peacefully naught but a few feet away.
"It is quite all right Christine. You still have the most beautiful voice that I have ever heard. It hasn't changed since the days back at the Opera House." He walked over to Mollia and bent down, kissing her smooth forehead with fatherly care. Smiling down at his little angel one last time he led Christine out of the room and gently shut the door. Christine continued their conversation with a sad gaze in her chocolate eyes.
"Please Raoul; do not speak of those days again. They are mere moments of the past and I do not wish to remember them." Raoul wrapped his arm around his wife's shoulders, careful not to squeeze too hard.
"And yet you still do," Raoul interjected with a slight hint of agitation, "I am beginning to believe that you miss that monster. I mean really Christine, how long are you going to beg for his forgiveness." Christine's petite lips fell open as she stared nervously at Raoul. Surprised that he knew of her secret, and angered at how he had invaded what little privacy she actually had. "Yes! I heard you asking for forgiveness last night, and the night before that, and so on. You need to forget about those days Christine! You have a life with me as your husband and two, rather soon to be two, beautiful children. What more could your heart desire?" Raoul sighed as Christine's eyes filled with fresh tears, and yet he felt little guilt for speaking the truth. "Did you tell our little Mollia about the Angel of Music or Little Lotte?" Raoul's voice was filled with accusation and worry as he paced their bedroom back and forth. Christine hesitated. Should I tell him the truth and lie and save him the concern?
"I did tell her Raoul but when she asked for more details I told her only that I thought the voice was from an angel but it was really all a part of my dreams; a figment of my childish imagination," Christine saw the disgust on his face and her eyes swelled up with the same alligator tears as Mollia's. The bathroom door slammed closed behind her as she slipped down to the floor. She stayed there for an hour, until she heard Raoul slip into bed. She emerged mere moments after and fell asleep in each others arms, apologies whispered upon their lips.
Mollia was the first to wake the next morning. The bright sun peaked through her curtains and created small sparkles that looked like tiny sunbursts in her hair. Eventually the bright red behind her eyelids became too much to deter and she slipped from her comfortable bed onto the chilled hard wood. After dressing properly with the help with Annabelle the house maid she slipped into her music room, making sure to shut the heavy door behind her. This was the room of her child like fantasies. The walls were a mix between maroon, purple, and pastel pink. The architect had called it "tea room." The architecture was elaborate and fantastic. Mollia had always dreamed of performing on the stage and so the architect had built the room based on the famous opera house. The ceiling was cathedral with many arcs and lovely painting at the very top. There was a miniature stage with curtains and everything. The only thing that was not authentic in the room was the gas lamps that ran along the edge of the stage. Mollia's father feared that a fire would burn down the entire house with the family in it. Mollia slipped up the small stairs to the stage and sat down at her piano bench. She glazed over the keys with her tiny fingers and sighed. She had never learned how to play the piano properly. She could figure out what keys were what notes but her fingering was wrong.
"I wish I could play like the famous musicians can." Mollia sighed and gently lowered the cover over the keys. She was supposed to have another lesson that morning and so she retrieved her violin. She began to play her feelings and was surprised to hear a sad and longing melody swaying from the strings. She played masterfully shifting her hand up and down the finger bow, tying note after note together and switching keys when proper. She let the music around her consume her entire being and let her emotions run rampart. She became so enveloped in the singing sound her aged violin emitted that she did not hear the groan of the heavy wooden door behind her. She felt a hand on her shoulders and flew forward emitting a tiny shriek.
"Mollia dear, calm down, it is only me," Her mother's voice was calm and gentle and Mollia set her violin in its case and embraced her mom. She kissed her mother's rich womb and pulled back.
"Do I have my lesson today momma?" Mollia looked up at her mother wishing that she would confirm the lesson date. Her mother patted her only the head gently.
"I believe it is not until Wednesday, love. I am sorry if you are disappointed." Mollia sighed and hugged her mother one more time, her arms barely making it around her encased brother. She took her mother's soft hand and led her to the piano bench where they both sat. Christine opened the top gently staring down at the shining keys, a look of reminiscing crossed over her features. Mollia began to sing softly, stopping abruptly when her mother slammed the cover to the keys on the piano.
"Why do you not wish to sing in public Momma, and why is daddy so upset when you sing?" Mollia looked into her mother's clear and depressed eyes.
"Something happened, something horrible happened before you were born and whenever I sing your father remembers that time and it upsets him dearly." Christine looked at her daughter gently. Her features hardened quickly at Mollia's words.
"was it when you were at the opera house momma?" Mollia inquired eagerly as Christine sat on the bench baffled, her petite mouth open in surprise. Her bright daughter answered before she could even ask.
"My friends from the park told me of those days. Their mothers said that you were kidnapped and that you used to be the famous leading soprano Christine Daee. Is it true mommy? Did you really sing at the opera house? Did you really have an angel of music?" Mollia slid closer to her mother, the anticipation causing her tiny body to quiver.
"Yes, I am afraid that it is true Mollia," her mother sighed, "I fell in love with what I thought was the voice of the angel of music but it just ended up belonging to a lunatic man. He was a musical genius and your papa fears that he is still there which is why we have never returned." Mollia hugged her mother again and squeezed her tight.
"I love you momma." Christine sighed and kissed the top of her daughter's head. It was the little childish sentimental things that kept her going. The unconditional love, random full hearted "I love you's", the sheer look of gratitude and admiration from her daughter that thawed her freezing soul.
The office was organized chaos, papers scattered in millions of piles across desks and chairs and even stacks of books. Papers slipped between pages of books whose dust reminded of the lack of concern or need for said paper. The only clean spots were two chairs and the oak bookcase directly behind the desk.
"I thought that I would share this wonderful news with you my love," Raoul stood and crossed around the desk to take his lovely wife's hands in his gentle ones.
"You know how they have finished the restorations of the opera house? Well.. " Christine refused to let him finish as she jumped from her chair bumping him aside in a hurry as she went.
"You cannot even imagine going back there Raoul. I fear that he still roams those halls, dead or alive Raoul. If he finds us there, oh God knows what would happen." Her hands wrung together as she stared out into the vast expansion of their lawns. The arms around her waist comforted slightly, the warm breath upon her neck aided even more.
"He is dead Christine. I am now the new co-manager of the opera house. We cannot hide from our past forever. I will not let those events conquer our lives. Not when we are creating a family of our own. We have to go there for a short period of time and I would love to show Mollia the very place where her parents fell in love." Christine brought a shaky hand to her forehead and suddenly cried out, her hands covering her swollen womb. Raoul caught her falling form and screamed for help.
"Raoul….. The baby." Raoul resisted the onslaught of tears as his very pregnant wife passed out and liquid pooled between her legs, covering her dress.
The hospital was filthy; the once pristine white walls were yellowed by the stench ridden breath of infected patients. Raoul sat in a stiff wooden chair that creaked with age as he waited for his doctor to bring news. He felt disgusted just being in the room. The air smelt of starch cleaning fluids, the kind that burned the flesh of the poor soul deemed with the task. The nurse sitting behind the paint peeling desk was old and ill ridden, her face yellowed like the walls with deep marks under each pale eye. She coughed loudly; her germs adding to the cesspool already wandering the room, waiting to infect any worried family member. Finally the doctor emerged from the darkness of the emergency hallway, wiping a red substance on a cloth and sighing as he approached the man who would surely break at the terrible news.
"Sir?" The doctor put a gentle hand on the man's soldier and took a deep breath, "I am afraid that I must be the bearer of misery and despair." Raoul tried to keep himself from falling back into the chair but it was pointless.
"Your wife went into unexpected early labor; too early for the child to live. We tried to save you wife, but we could not stop the bleeding and..." Raoul's face hardened and he burst from his chair, pushing the shocked doctor away before darting down the dark hallway from which Christine would never return.
The room smelt of blood and antiseptic. Raoul looked upon his wife with horror. Never in his life had she seen such a site. Her face was grey, her eyes sunken, and he hair brittle. Her form was drenched in blood. In her arms lay a tiny still form its small fingers wrapped around its mother's hand as a last parting sentiment. He looked upon the frail image of his wife holding the frozen form of their son and cried. His knees folded and he landed in a puddle. The blood soaked into his clothes, staining the skin of his hands. He looked down upon his red flesh and screamed in anguish and torture. Tears rolled from his grief stricken eyes as the nurse attempted to stand him up.
"Sir, you should not be in here. This is no was for a husband to remember his wife." He ripped his arm from the comforting nurse and turned to the doctor eyes cold and haunted.
"Bring her home once you have cleaned her up, the baby as well. I have a daughter at home who will be crushed when she hears of this." He left them, the image of his blood drenched wife, his soul mate holding the form of their dead child; Caleb.
The music that floated about the house was glorious and sad, genius and simple. He stood in front of the door looking down at his form, seeing nothing but the blood upon his skin although it had washed away with water easily, and his clothes burned quickly. He opened the door and his daughter turned violin in playing position.
She saw his face, and did not recognize her father. His hair was in disarray and his skin was as white as fine porcelain. He looked frail and sick; a man whose heart was wrenched from his chest. She lowered her violin and froze.
"Papa, what is wrong? Where are momma and Caleb?" The first sob was all it took for little Mollia to understand everything. Her small body shook as the violin clattered to the floor a single sliver of wood breaking from its beautiful form. She allowed her tears to come like the rain as she ran from the room, her father giving no attempt to stop her. She thrust opened the front doors and sprinted rubbing her stinging eyes hastily. She could here the maid's chasing after her and the solemn voice of her father calling them back to the house.
The weeping willow loomed over her tiny form. It was her sanctuary, her secret hiding spot. She climbed each hanging branch with ease until she found her favorite spot. The branches wove together cradling her form like a new born baby, like her mother would before bed on cold and chilling nights. She curled into herself allowing the shock to set in and the realization to hit hard.
"Momma….Why..." She stayed there until the gentle voice of her father whispered through the leaves.
"Mollia, please come down from there sweetie. We are both hurting very much and I do not wish for you to suffer alone. You will certainly catch your death up there and I cannot bear to lose you." Mollia waited a few moments before sliding gently down each branch; the tree seemed to aid her in the descent into her father's arms. He carried her back to the house and they sat crying in each other's arms, searching for comfort in one another's hearts. Eventually Mollia left her father's arms finding the urge to be alone during her great time of grieving to be too strong to resist. She found herself locked in her own music room, the G clef shaped key, the only key to the room, hung gently around her petite neck. She let her body fall to the small sofa and allowed her feelings to emit through voice. She sang the song that her mother would sing to her father's grave every year, but the word "father" was switched with "mother."
"Little Lotte thought of everything and nothing.
Her mother promised her that she would send her the angel of music,
Her mother promised her…. Her mother promised her…
You were once my one companion, you were all that mattered.
You were once a friend and mother, then my world was shattered,
Wishing you were somehow here again, wishing you were somehow near,
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed, somehow you would be here
Wishing I could here your voice again, knowing that I never will,
No more memories, no more silent tears.
No more gazing across wasted years,
Help me say good bye, help me say goodbye."
She sobbed into the cushion until sleep overcame her mind, pushing her into an endless pit of darkness. Raoul kept his ear to the door his own tears dripping onto the hard wood floor as he listened to the angelic voice of his daughter. Her voice was that of her mothers, she was her spitting image. The funeral was to be in a few days and then they would leave. They would leave this house of memories and began a new stage of their lives; at the Opera House.
~oOo~ (A week after the funeral)
The house was silent, no more childish laughter and play, only the resonant sound of saddening violin. She spent every single day in the music room only coming out for meals and the scheduled bathing time. She had refused any lessons and only sang the songs her mother had. She smoothed out her black dress hating the fact that she had such a beautiful piano and was still unable to play it. She slammed her fists down on the ivory keys just as her father entered the room.
"Sweetie, we must make haste. Make sure that you have packed your violin and your music. Mollia brushed her fingers through her tangled curls once more as she leaned down to pick up her small violin case. She sat in the carriage awestruck at the site of the city. The buildings that loomed over her ant like form, casting endless shadows upon the dark clad figures walking with briefcases and top hats, and Mollia shivered with fear at the sudden crowd that walked around the carriage. Her mind alerted her of the Opera House up ahead. The artistic style of the building gave it away. The beautiful statues represented various fames that Mollia could not name and she gaped at the amount of people who entered as well as exited the building. The outside of the building was laced with a variety of golden shades and vibrant colors. The sheer detail on each inch looked as if the artisan had spent a day on each and every chiseled piece. The building brought warmth to her tiny heart that was untimely cold and arctic, her mother's death taking away her childish emotions.
Papa, it is amazing! This is the opera house is it not? Can we go inside now please Papa?" Her father calmed the bouncing child and called the driver to a halt.
"We may as well walk from here, we are not going to get much farther and we are wasting a lot of time." Mollia smiled gleefully when she was pulled out of the carriage and into the crowd. The rest of the tour was a blur of introductions and colors. Her tiny mind could not memorize the sheer number of details that the interior forced into her sight. The outstanding golden statues, mixed marble floors, grand staircase, and luscious rugs. The people mattered not to the child as she glanced into the giant house. The only thing that registered in her mind was the size of the stage. The amazing lighting and perfect backdrops were just a small detail compared to the amazing sounds that floated through the house hinting at the potential acoustics. Mollia did not wish to leave the house but her father pulled her along promising her that she would not want to miss the next sight and she did not. Down an old creaky hallway the last door up a couple of stairs was the only dust covered and deserted looking one. There was a name professionally carved into the crown of the door and Mollia's eyes moistened at the name; "Christine Daee." Mollia reached for the handle quickly and forced the door open.
"This was your mother's dressing room when she sang here and we believed that you would enjoy staying in the same room that she stayed in while you are spending time here." Her father kissed her head before gently closing the door, leaving her to her solitude. She glanced around the room, taking in all of the aspects of her mother's teenage mind. The flowers and the girlish patterns sewn into the quilt upon the angelic looking bed and the rose filled air that tickled her delicate nose reminded her of her mother's gentle spirit. The room seemed complete, each piece of furniture cleaned spotless, not an ounce of dust on any surface, and while admiring the perfection Mollia found the one blemish that was very uncharacteristic for her mother to want. In anger Mollia tore the dusty cloth that covered the tall mirror on the wall and frowned at her ghastly dress and small pale face. She turned at the sound of the door creaking open behind her. Her father stood hat in his hands and a small smile gracing his ghostly face.
"I want to show you something sweetie. Follow me." His voice was sincere and so I followed leaving the rose scented room for the musky hallway which chilled by tiny bones. The staircase was the eerie part; its walls were stone grown over with moss and other grimy substances. The cobwebs hung down lightly brushing the top her of father's hat. At the bottom she froze, remembering the stain glass window in her music room, the tiny one way up at the top of the wall. It was a replica of the one that she was staring at now, but this one was so much more realistic. The angels looked as if they could flap their wings and fly from the glass, and Mollia smiled. She noticed the candle holders with images under them and she immediately moved forward. Under one, she noticed, was a picture that seemed very familiar and calming. She touched it lightly and looked back at her father.
"Papa, is this grand papa?" Her father only nodded deciding not to taint the holy air with his voice. Silently he placed a small image of his wife in the picture holder next to her father's and lit the candle above it with a match that he borrowed from a stage hand. He left, leaving his tiny daughter to gaze at the picture of her recently deceased mother, tears forming in his own broken eyes.
Mollia looked upon her mother's frozen face with longing and she tried to resist the sudden urge to voice her feelings, but music always prevailed and her control caved. Softly she began to sing her innocent and grief swallowed voice cracking from lack of use.
"Think of me, Think of me fondly when we've said goodbye. Remember me, once in a while; please promise me you'll try. When you find that once again you long to take your heart back and be free. If you ever find a moment spare a thought for me…." Mollia quieted staring down at her folded hands. The voice that sounded from all around her; in her ear, in front of her, over her shoulder, the far right corner of the room, and from up the hallway, startled her and she spun around looking for the speaker.
"Why do you stop singing child? You were simply superb?" His voice was mesmerizing and grand. Each tone floating melodiously through the air, vibrating sweetly in her small ear drums.
He knew he should not have spoken to the girl, but when she opened her mouth to sing he was shocked. Her small innocently toned voice was laced with mourning and grief. She was the spitting image of her mother and father, and had, dare say, a better voice than her mother's, even at such a young age. She looked scared when she could not identify the source of his voice and he sighed lightly; she was just like her mother. Finally she spoke up.
"I do not know the rest of the lyrics monsieur. I would fall asleep before my mother was able to finish singing. Now," tears sprung to the child's eyes, "now I will never know the words..." She was sobbing into the hands that were previously resting in her lap. She felt arms encase her and even though she did not know the man, she felt safe.
"Sssshhhh, it is okay my child. You are the daughter of Christine Daee are you not?" He felt the small girl nod against her dress and sighed softly, knowing that he would sing once again after all. Softly he began singing the words that the child did not know and she snuggled into him crying softly as the memories of her mother streamed through the recesses of her tiny mind. She was silent when he ended her form now completely in his lap. He felt connected to her, as if their souls had boded infinitely. He knew that she had the potential to be the greatest singer in all of Paris, all of France, even the greatest in the world! But did he have the courage to help her? To teach her what she needed to be taught? After a long period of silence he willed himself to speak.
"What is your name child?" She looked up into his face her eyes not glancing at his mask once; instead they stayed locked on his own.
"I am Mollia monsieur. What is your name?" Her curiosity only fuelled his memories and he gritted his teeth forcing his answer out.
"Well, my child. I am the angel of music…." He listened to the footsteps descending the stairs and stopped mid sentence, "I must make my departure Mollia. I promise that we shall meet again." He set her small frame on the cold stone and left through the gated glass. Mollia sat up and watched the shaking form of her father enter.
"Mollia, make haste we must leave this place at once." She was thoroughly confused, knowing that they were meant to stay for a week, but she obeyed standing quickly. She asked a soft "why" hoping that he would answer.
"I fear that it is no longer safe for you here Mollia. I will explain when you are a little older. They exited the small chapel, their ears ignorant to the laugh that echoed through the chapel below their forms.
"So he found my note. Old fool is still a coward, but Mollia, her will is strong. She will desire a teacher in a few years time, one who can actually help her voice excel." He turned, his heavy velvet cape swished behind him.