A/N: To those of you that are new to this story, welcome! To those that are getting the author alert, welcome back. You may be wondering where I have been, or why I am updating the first chapter of an ongoing story – here is why.
I have been made aware of the new rules is enforcing about the no MA submissions. I clearly cross the line with my measly M rating. Heh. So, in order to keep my stories visible to people who enjoy them (thank you), I will be editing each chapter to be in line with the M rating. I apologize for the lack of lemons.
If you wish to read POTCH in all its sometimes steamy glory, you can find it on under the same penname.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for accepting the changes! XOXO
Phantom of the Concert Hall
A Modest Proposal
Christine stared at the magazine that she was trying so desperately to read. The words were all blending together on the page; she was so excited about her meeting with her agent. Bradley Clark, a marketing executive from her potential label, Brightstar, had called her the previous morning and left her a wonderful message on her answering machine. She grew all the more nervous, as she recalled the message. He said that he had to speak to her, that he had big news and that it would change her career. If only she could calm her stupid nerves!
Christine's head shot up with a start. "I'm sorry?" She asked the desk secretary that was looking at her with a curious expression. How long had she been trying to capture her attention? God, she needed to quit daydreaming so much.
"Mr. Clark will see you now." The secretary stated, sitting back down behind her desk. Christine was mortified as she stood up and straightened her skirt. The desk was across the room; she'd obviously had to get up and walk over to her to finally get her to pay attention.
"Thank you." Christine managed to squeak out as she strode past the desk and through the glass doors to the right of it. She took a deep breath and made her way down the hallway and to the right to the familiar door that bore her agent's name in gold lettering. This was it! Christine straightened her suit jacket for the thousandth time and knocked lightly on the wooden frame. She heard a response from the other side and opened the door, peering around it.
Bradley smiled at her from the other side of his mahogany desk. "Hi Christine! Come on in! I take it you received my message yesterday." He said brightly, standing up to usher her into the office.
Christine smiled and nodded. "Thank you for calling Mr. Clark. I'm here just as you asked me to be." She said, coming inside and shutting the door behind her.
Bradley walked up to her and shook her small hand, patting it with his larger one. "How many times do I have to tell you to call me Bradley? I'm working for you remember?" He said with a chuckle.
Christine nodded again. 'Quit with the nodding!' She mentally chided herself. "Probably a few more times, but I'll get used to it eventually." She said, attempting to sound confident. Bradley shook his head and steered her towards the chair in front of his desk. Christine smoothed the back of her skirt down and sat, crossing her legs at the ankle. She knew on the outside she was the picture of sophistication, but inside she was a wreck.
Bradley crossed over to a small refrigerator and opened it up, pulling out a can of Coca-Cola for himself. He looked over at Christine from his still stooped state. "Would you like anything? A bottle of water maybe?" He asked.
"Water please." Christine answered. 'God I wish he would just get on with this!' She thought. Bradley fished through the rear of the fridge and produced a bottle of spring water. He handed it to her and she offered her thanks. Bradley popped the top on his drink and sat back down behind his desk. He then leaned back in his chair and smiled at her.
"Are you ready for the news?" He asked. Christine debated on throwing her drink at him and decided that she should probably refrain.
"The suspense is killing me." She answered honestly. Bradley chuckled and leaned forward in his seat.
"The Met has expressed interest in you and wants for you to complete an internship…" He began. Christine's stomach knotted up. They were interested! They liked her audition tapes! They wanted her to observe a fellow musician in her craft!
"…and we have found one for you if you would be so willing." He finished. Christine had to keep herself from jumping up and down.
"Of course I'm willing! I told you I would do whatever was necessary! This is wonderful!" She exclaimed. Her mind reeled. She was so close! This was going to be so easy! Her mental victory was interrupted by Bradley interjecting.
"Now now, hold on a second. There is a catch to this situation. It's minor, but you still need to be aware of it." He said, holding up his hands. Christine eyed him suspiciously.
"What are we getting at?" She asked. Bradley took a deep breath. He reached inside his desk and pulled a manila folder out and tossed it into her lap. Christine looked down at it, scared to see what was inside. What this so called catch was. After a few moments of deliberation, she opened it up and peered at the basic information. Her mouth fell open and her eyes flew to Bradley's. He was apparently awaiting the onslaught.
"A rock star. You want me to spend the entire summer interning for some self absorbed, drug induced rock star?" Christine slumped back into the desk chair, speechless. Bradley folded his hands over the desk with a sigh.
"Christine, I know that your idea of an appropriate internship is not cavorting around Europe with a French rock musician. I'm sorry, but if you desire that job at the Met as badly as you seem to, you must have field work. This tour is the best I can do." He stated.
Christine stared at him. "He's French? I have to learn fluent French too? She stared out the window of his New York office, watching the rain pour down. She was 23 years old, in her senior year at NYU and out in the world. She had been raised on strict rules and regulations, and this was very very reckless. She ran a hand through her dark curls nervously. She looked back up at her agent desperately.
"Mr. Clark, I don't know if I can do this. I was raised on the ballet, opera, orchestra...I've never even been to a rock concert before. I've never been in an environment like that. How can you expect me to do a fair job?" She pleaded.
Bradley looked at his young project, sympathetic. "Christine, I understand your position. You must understand me though. An opportunity like this does not come along often. I had to work very diligently to find this job for you. I urge you to consider. I cannot promise to find you another chance if you do not accept this one. And you don't have to learn French. They speak perfect English." He said softly.
Christine sighed. "I understand Mr. Clark. I am grateful to you for helping me land a job for the summer. Extremely grateful. I will take it." She said, defeated. She knew he was right.
"Smart girl." He murmured. He gestured toward the folder with a nod of his head. "Information on the tour and all the necessities you could possibly have a care about. Your lodgings, clothing, food, everything will be paid for. Those are your passes, and tickets to all the venues that your employer shall be playing at, should for some reason you require them." He offered. He then stood up from his chair and checked his watch.
"Christine, I am sorry to bustle you away like this, but I have another appointment in 5 minutes. If you have any other questions, please contact my secretary or email me if you would like." Christine nodded, finished with her attempts to get out of the tour, and walked toward the door. She slipped the folder into her bag as Bradley opened the door for her.
"Thank you, for everything." Christine said, trying to hide her displeasure with the situation.
Bradley smiled at her mischievously. "You leave tomorrow, by the way." He added.
Christine whirled around. "Tomorrow!" She choked. Bradley shut the door before she could rage another moment longer.
Christine shuffled into the living room of her apartment. She had finally finished packing every last item that she thought she could possibly need for the summer. She had called and made arrangements to have the payments for her apartment taken directly out of her account, and all of her affairs were in order. She sat down on the couch and stared out the window into the night.
'Leaving. For Paris. Tomorrow.' She thought.
She hugged her knees close to her chest and sighed deeply. She was frightened, but didn't know why. She'd never even left the island...and now she was going to travel through Europe? She knew she had made the right decision. There was nothing left for her here, not even family to draw her back to America, but she still couldn't help asking herself, 'how will this turn out?'
Christine's eyes darted to the file sticking out of her bag. She snatched up the thick folder and opened it, spreading the contents across the glass coffee table. The tour was for that of a young man that went by the name 'Phantom'. A picture was clipped to the edge of the tour logistics and she held it close to her face, studying her employer. It was a photograph taken live. The man was clasping both of his hands on the microphone before him, mouth wide. He appeared to be literally belting whatever it was that he was performing. He was handsome, but darkly so. He had dark hair, cut and styled into a short do. The black wisps were gelled up from his face, spiked. A normal hairstyle, one not becoming of a rock and roll musician. His eyes were shut tightly in concentration. The thing that drew her to him though, was the black mask that he wore. It concealed only one side of his face, leaving the imagination to wonder why he hid such handsome features. She raised an eyebrow.
"Must be a gimmick." Christine said aloud. She replaced the contents of the folder and leaned back into the leather of her couch. This Paris, this "Phantom", his fans...this music...would all be a culture shock for her. But was it something that she could learn to live with? She did not know. But she was certainly going to try.
That next morning, Christine found herself at the airport, luggage at either of her sides. She had been up for most of the night, torn between leaving and staying. She had been unable to force herself to think rationally and stay in New York with Paris dangling at her fingertips.
It was dangerous and irresponsible; completely out of character for Christine. But she wanted it so badly. She simply could not forget the wonderful internship that had been placed at her feet. So here she was, alone and nervous as a cat as she waited to be checked by the customs department. After what seemed like hours of security checks, and long unruly lines, Christine finally boarded the plane. She settled into her first class window seat of the 747, and tried to relax. She had never flown before, and the idea did not please her. Instead of focusing on the coming plane ride, she tried to lean back and focus on the good aspects of her trip.
First there was Europe. She'd always dreamed of Paris ever since she was a child. She had loved looking at books about the Eiffel Tower. This was her chance to finally see that grand monument. Then there was perhaps landing that job at the Met. She had always dreamed of becoming a member of the illustrious Metropolitan Opera. This field work was her ticket to stardom. And she was more than willing to help make those dreams come true, no matter what.
"Ahem." Christine looked up to see a girl staring down upon her.
"Can I help you?" She asked. The girl smiled. "Oh no. This seat beside you is mine. I just thought it would be better to announce my presence before I simply sat down and scared the living daylights out of you." She laughed.
The girl smoothed out her skirt and then sat down. She was blonde, petite, and graceful. Her blue eyes held a kindness in them that made Christine feel instantly at ease. She turned to Christine and extended her hand. "My name is Meghan Giry. But you can call me Meg." She said with a grin. Christine took her hand and squeezed it. "Christine Davenport." She offered. This Meg nodded and released her hand. "Please pardon my forwardness, but are you French?" Christine asked.
Meg laughed. "I guess I do not hide my accent very well. Yes, I am from Paris." Meg said.
"You speak excellent English though." Christine added. Meg brightened. "Thank you! It is nice to be told that by an American." She said. Meg reached down into her into her bag and pulled out a leather bound book. Gold trim graced the front cover with her name, Meghan Giry, written in a flowing script. Next to it was an engraved figure of a ballerina.
Christine pointed to it. "Do you dance Meg?" She asked. Meg nodded, the smile never leaving her face. "I am in the ballet corps at the Paris Opera." She stated. Christine leaned back in her chair with a sigh. "I would love to be skilled enough to become a ballerina in the opera. Actually, I would love to be the lead soprano." Christine said dreamily. She suddenly realized she was blabbing her life's ambitions to a stranger.
Christine flushed. "Forgive me for babbling on so."
Meg squeezed her hand. "You're not babbling. Hopefully that dream shall come true for you. Is that why you are traveling to France?" She asked, opening the cover of the leather booklet. It appeared to be her journal.
"Sort of. I'm completing my necessary field work so that I may be considered for a spot in the chorus line at the Metropolitan Opera House here in New York." She answered, turning to look at her new companion.
"I see. What exactly is this field work you are completing? An internship I am assuming." Meg asked, as she busily scratched along in her journal. Christine relaxed as she talked to Meg. "Precisely. I'm to begin touring with some rock and roll musician that calls himself the Phantom or something." She sighed. Meg slammed the cover of her book shut.
"Are you really? My mother is the Phantom's manager!" She squealed. Their conversation was interrupted by the voice of the pilot over the intercom. They were about to take off. The girls fastened their seatbelts and readied for take off. Christine tried hard not to focus on the plane, but on her and Meg's conversation. Meg leaned toward Christine as the plane thundered down the runway.
"Because my mother works for the Phantom, I'll be on the tour as well." She whispered. Christine smiled, grateful that she had a potential friend along the way. "Small world, isn't it?" She murmured, digging her fingers into the arm rests as the plane rose from the runway. "Tell me about this Phantom person. He's not well known in America, but then again, rock music is my cup of tea." Christine admitted. Meg shrugged. "There is not much to tell actually. No one really knows anything, not even his fans. He doesn't reveal too much about himself. Everyone prefers to make their own assumptions and the Phantom is alright with that. He adds to his mystery." She responded, rummaging through her bag. She pulled out a package of crackers and offered some to Christine, who took a couple.
"That's very odd Meg. I wish there was more that you could tell me about him." Christine declared as she popped a cracker into her mouth. Meg swallowed. "I wish there were too. I've been around him most of my life and he's a perfect stranger. Only Maman knows anything about him. I do not even know his real name." She said sheepishly.
Christine was starting to have real concerns about this Phantom. No one even knew anything about him. How was she supposed to be his intern?
They chatted idly about the tour and Paris and about Christine's life in New York. Eventually, they neared the end of their flight. The attendants came down through the aisles and informed the passengers that they were on final descent to Paris, and that they should fasten their seat belts once more. Well here she was; about as informed as she was before she started. But at least she had made a new friend. She looked down onto the city of Paris, growing ever larger every second.