Here it is, everyone. The final chapter of Ghosts of the Past. Thank you to all my wonderful reviewers. I hope you enjoy the ending and give me one last review. I don't own anything, as you know. So sit back and enjoy. With out further ado: Ghosts of the Past, Chapter Six.
Juliet finished typing the story and sent it off to her publisher. She gave full credit to Christian for his true story and the only actual writing she did on the book was a short foreword. Christian okayed it and waited anxiously to see if his story would at least be considered for publication. A few weeks later, she received a short e-mail stating that her book was going into production.
Dear Miss Morgan,
We are pleased to inform you that your book will be printed as planned. The story has caused quite a stir in the offices, as everyone is eager to read it. We are pleased with your work and hope that you will write or find more stories in the future.
That night Neil came over to celebrate with her and Christian. Christian was thrilled that he would see Satine in a matter of weeks. The trio was growing closer and twinge of sadness mixed with Christian's enthusiasm. Once he left with Satine, Juliet would be left alone. That was why Christian's guilt lifted a little when Juliet and Neil began growing closer. Of course, seeing them together made a small bit of jealousy emerge from within him, but he quelled the emotion by reminding himself of Satine.
Juliet's reaction to Neil's attention was obviously different from Christian's. Besides being flattered, she was also hesitant. Her last relationship had ended in disaster and she still could not talk to her family about it or even see her ex. Eventually, over the few weeks that passed Juliet became more excepting of her admirer. She found him both exasperating and equally charming. He was the one to go to when she needed to be cheered up. Like Christian, she too felt some guilt about leaving him out, but the guilt left her when she reminded herself that he would see his Satine in due time.
The weeks passed, and the trio found many things to occupy the long task of waiting. Mostly it was just introducing Christian to what he had missed while he had been dead and searching the Moulin Rouge for Satine. He seemed to like the movies of the early and mid- twentieth century the best, so they found themselves watching many a black and white film in the following weeks. Finally, Juliet's book was released. That night the trio journeyed once again to the antiquated Moulin Rouge. A light shone in the Gothic Tower and a shadow looked down at them. Juliet made a special point to avoid the crumbling building as much as humanly possible. The chanting melody of the song had begun and it came from the show building again.
Christian was as giddy as a schoolboy. A broad grin lit up his face and he looked as if he wanted to race into the building. His control over his actions in this situation was remarkable. They stepped inside the theatre, which was lit with memories and anticipation. Once again, the wealthy filled the audience and the brightly coloured costumes of the performers glinted in the light as they danced. Christian noted that neither the Duke nor Warner were in the audience.
Christian began to walk away from Neil and Juliet and made his way towards the ghostly-lit stage.
"Please, let this happen." He chanted the words over and over in his head like a personal mantra. The dancers parted, Satine's voice filled the air, the audience thundered, and Christian's heart beat rapidly. The decorated platform rose, but once again it was empty.
Christian's mouth dropped, as did his heart. After over ninety years of trying everything he could think of and over ninety years of wishing and hoping, it came down to this. The promise had not been kept. He had failed. He turned from the stage and walked down the aisle fighting back tears as he had done all those years ago. Juliet didn't know what to tell him and he did not acknowledge them.
Suddenly the performers, audience members, and even the backstage workers faded into the background until all that was left of them were blue glowing orbs. The orbs began to float lazily up to the sky. First one or two, then hoards of the souls that had been trapped at the Moulin Rouge traveled up to await judgment. As he walked up the aisle, Christian noticed the audience members rising. He stopped for a moment, hoping Satine would appear. When she did not appear, Christian kept walking to the double doors, but his gait was slower, more like a funeral march.
All the orbs were gone, leaving Neil, Juliet, and Christian in the light of the streetlamps. Christian made it to the door and was ready to exit, when a shower of silver confetti rained from the ceiling.
A beautiful woman in a long, white, beaded dress appeared on the derelict stage. After the confetti had fluttered to the ground and disappeared, Christian paused at the door and waited for a moment.
The woman looked around for someone and when her eyes found Christian, a smile appeared on her face. Juliet figured that this woman must be Satine. She could see why Christian had fallen for her. Christian had once said that Juliet reminded him of Satine and now Juliet could sort of see why. They shared the same body type and the same hair colour, even though Juliet's was somewhat darker.
When Satine realised that Christian was leaving the Moulin Rouge again, her smile dimmed. She began to look frantic and it looked like she was racking her brain to figure out what to do next. A beautiful sound filled the room as Satine opened her mouth and began to sing.
"Never knew I could feel like this
It's like I've never seen the sky before
Want to vanish inside your kiss
Everyday I'm loving you more and more.
Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing,
Telling me to give you everything.
Seasons may change, winter to spring,
But I love you, 'til the end of time."
Christian looked back at the stage. Indeed his love was there waiting for him. With a smile, he returned her song.
"Come what may, come what may,
Come what may, come what may."
Satine's smile returned as Christina, still singing walked to the stage.
"I will love you."
"I will love you."
He grasped her hands in his and they finished the song together.
"Come what may.
I will love you
'Til the end of time."
When they stopped singing, Christian held her close and kissed her. Satine returned his embrace and his kiss. After all their years of waiting, they were finally where they belonged; in each other's arms. Juliet smiled wistfully. She was not one for crying, but her eyes had started to well up. As she brushed them away, Neil came up from behind her and wrapped his arms around her. Christian broke his kiss with Satine and looked to the pair that was watching them from the aisle. Neil and Juliet put up their hands in a farewell gesture.
Another voice rang out after Christian's words.
"No! My way!"
They all turned to see the Duke standing in the doorway. It was not his presence that concerned them; it was what he held in his hand. The silver plating of a revolver glinted in the dim light. Neil jerked Juliet behind him protectively and Christian shifted so he was in front of Satine. Juliet peeked cautiously out from behind Neil's shoulder to see what was happening. The Duke seemed not to be concentrating so much on the women as on the men who protected them, most notably Christian.
"I don't like people touching my things."
By this time, the Duke had made his way up to the stage where Christian and Satine stood. Unlike his last attempt at killing the impudent boy, this time there was nothing to interfere with his plans and he would carry them out himself, which ensured his success. He held the gun up to Christian's chest with a malicious, even crazed look in his eyes. Without removing his eyes from Christian, he grabbed Satine's wrist and pulled her to him. Satine gasped at his vice-like grip, causing Christian to reach for her and the Duke pushed his weapon into Christian's chest.
"You try to stop me, boy," he spat out the word with venom. "And it will be the last thing you ever do."
"If you hadn't noticed, I'm already dead," he retorted icily. "There's nothing else you could do to me."
The Duke regarded Christian's words carefully. He had been isolated for so long, that he had almost forgotten about that minor detail. His eyes darted from side to side as he thought of a solution to his predicament. He had Satine thanks to the writer and his book, but he also had the issue of Christian. The boy felt for Satine; there was no doubt of that. To be with her he had to dispatch of the whelp some how. While thoughts raced through his mind, his grip slackened on Satine's wrist. It was enough for Satine to try to slip out of his grip and return to Christian. Her actions would have worked had the Duke not noticed.
Christian and Satine's fingertips barely touched before the Duke yanked her back to him.
"Do not test me!"
The Duke's eyes were slits and his hand that held the revolver twitched between the lovers. His eyes still slid from side to side trying to decide what to do. Then he had his own mini epiphany as his eyes hit upon Juliet. Even though Neil had pulled her behind him to protect her, she had slipped back in front of him, nonetheless, Neil still kept a defensive arm around her. The Duke smiled coldly at her and his gun hand stopped convulsing. Juliet noticed the Duke's gaze and squirmed uncomfortably into Neil. Juliet squirmed even more when she noticed that the barrel of the gun was aimed at her.
"I realise that I cannot kill you, but mortality, it seems, is a somewhat more fragile state."
Christian's, Neil's, and especially Juliet's eyes widened. None of them was sure whether it was a real or ghostly gun or whether the bullet would have any effect. Christian stopped moving. Now that a live was actually in danger, Christian lost most of his courage and turned into the same nervous wreck he was whenever he encountered the Duke.
"You should know not to trifle with me." He looked at Satine, who was trying not to let the fear show on her face. "I intend to get what my contract entitled me to."
Satine shuddered visibly and found that this time there would be no Chocolat to save her. The Duke began to pull a frightened Satine along while he kept his gun trained on Juliet. Suddenly, Christian jumped in front of the Duke and knocked him backwards. The Duke fired blindly, letting go of Satine. As the shot rang out, Satine tried to push Christian out of the way, but they were both in the way of the projectile. Christian hoped that the bullet did something to him instead of harming Juliet or Neil.
Juliet shut her eyes and waited for the pain. She felt herself being tugged out of harm's way by Neil. The Duke cried out a horrible scream, one of pure terror. His cry matched the expression on his face. His eyes grew wider and wider until his irises were completely surrounded by white. He threw up his hands to shield his face, but they did not help his fate. After firing the revolver, it had dropped to the ground unlike the bullet. Instead of hitting a target, whether it was Christian or Juliet, a shield of sorts formed around the ghostly couple and succeeded in causing the bullet to ricochet off the buffer and reverse its path. Now the projectile was aimed at the Duke. The shot impacted at his heart, or lack thereof, should have been. As it hit, the Duke's form began to shatter like he was a mirror or a piece of glass and someone took a hammer to him. Shimmering pieces flew through the auditorium and faded away when they landed. All that was left of the Duke were memories, the echo of a scream, and an ornate revolver.
All four of them were breathing hard, trying to understand what had just happened. They all looked to the revolver in silent fear that it would fire again. When nothing else happened, Neil helped Juliet to her feet.
"What in the…"
"Neil, they're joined by the bond of love, and you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords."
Neil looked confused for a moment before he recognized the allusion. Christian and Satine walked over to where the other pair stood. Satine first threw her arms around Neil and then around Juliet. She stammered for a minute with her eyes shining like she was about to cry.
"Oh, I-I…Thank you."
She broke away from them and Christian stepped forward. He shook Neil's hand and said in a brotherly fashion, "Take good care of her." Neil nodded and Christian turned to Juliet. She had promised herself that she was not going to cry, but she broke her vow and a few tears slipped from her eyes. She hugged him tightly as she could hug a ghost and wiped away the tears that fell.
"I'll miss you, Christian"
There was a slight choke in his voice as he answered.
"It'll be alright. I'll try to check up on you from time to time, if I can." He cleared his throat. "Thanks for everything, Juliet, and remember."
She looked up for his words of wisdom.
"We'll always have Paris."
Juliet smiled weakly and muttered, "Knew we shouldn't have watched that movie."
Christian managed a smile and lightly ruffled her hair.
With his words, Christian and Satine began fading and waving farewell to us. They faded until they too where the bright blue orbs that the others had turned into. The orbs flowed down the aisle and onto the stage. Another tear stung my eye. I was going to miss him. I only wish that I had gotten to know the woman he had talked about so much—Satine.
After reaching the stage, the orbs circled each other all the way up to the sky, and as they disappeared, a light rain began to fall and Christian's voice filled what was left of the theatre.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
I believe his words with all my heart and wherever they went, I truly hope that they are happy.
My apartment is still the same, except there are no more shy ghosts fiddling with my laptop, writing messages on my bathroom mirror, or simply talking to me. I miss Christian, but he has not left, not really. His memory still lingers in the rooms and sometimes I can still hear him singing. Whether he sings a song or the words that he left me with, I still hear his voice echoing some times.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
Juliet once again looked at her screen. It was no longer blank. Now it held the story that had helped set Christian and Satine free. It also held the story of someone else.
Juliet keyed in the print command and reflected on the ending. Christian was gone for good, but what she had written was true as were the final words of the book. Some of him was still there. His soul had left an imprint on the apartment, as did his personal effects. Juliet looked to Christian's typewriter, which she had cleaned and set in a place of honour. She had also kept the original manuscript of his story. She leafed through it from time to time to remind her of her friend.
A pair of arms wrapped around her shoulders and cut off her musings. Juliet jumped a little ways before relaxing into her captor.
"Juliet, I respect this whole writer thing, but do you have to do it in the middle of the night?"
Neil sounded tired and his rumpled hair could have proved lack of sleep if it was not tousled normally. He looked a pitiful sight in his flannel pajama bottoms and white t-shirt. She looked down at her own pajamas and back up at him. He was right, two thirty in the morning was a bit of a stretch of her work hours, but something had urged her to finish the book tonight. Juliet grinned sheepishly and tried to think of a good excuse. She found none and there was no way of worming out from underneath his arms. She turned to him as best she could and gave him an innocent look.
"Sorry, but I just had to finish tonight. It's the last time, I swear."
"What you mean to say is that it's the last time until your next book, right."
A tan parchment envelope sat next to Juliet's laptop and the letter from it sat on top of it, still folded.
"What did Edward have to say?"
"Hmm? Oh, he offered his congratulations and said that if we wished, we could have the manor."
"That's nice of him."
Juliet was still concentrating on her final copy. Looking for something to distract her, he looked at her monitor and began to read some of the text.
"You think my eyes are intense and chocolate brown?"
"Hey!" Juliet reached over, flicked a switch, and her screen went black. Neil now had her attention. "You're going to have to read that with the rest of the world."
"But now that you're finished, you'll be keeping regular hours, right."
"As long as there aren't anymore distractions, I suppose so."
He grinned down at her with his trademark boyish half-grin. He leaned closer to her ear to whisper in it, and as he did, Juliet breathed in bringing his scent along with the air. He was so close that she could feel his hot breath.
"What if I'm the distraction?"
She smiled back at him and raised a hand to his face. The light from her laptop glinted off the small diamond ring on her finger. They had not set a date yet, but they figured it was worth the wait. Now that Edward had offered them his mansion, they had a place to have it.
"You make a good distraction."
He grinned even wider, leaned down, and kissed her. She returned his affection, he pulled her up to him, and they stood in the moonlight with the sound of the printer whirring behind them. They collapsed on a couch and she snuggled against him and laid her head on his chest. She could hear the light thud of his heart and that eventually lulled her to sleep. He kept his arms wrapped around her and he too ultimately fell into sleep's grasp. The moon seemed to sing as they slept wrapped in each other's arms until sunlight reigned once again on the earthly plain.