Disclaimer: If I were Gaston Leroux and owned Phantom of the Opera, I wouldn't have stayed home sick today. Ewk.
a/n: so i'm hoping to raise the publicity for this story, any suggestions?
plz read & review!
Chapter Three – Gleaming in the Moonlight
Sitting on an old stump that was once used to split wood, Christine looked longingly at the shed that sat yards from her house. The shed used to be a pale blue, but with ten years of the mountain wind and rain, with no up keeping, the shed was slowly returning to the dust it once was. There was reason Meredith had not kept it or destroyed.
"We're moving you out to the shed, Erik." Meredith said patting Erik's arm lightly as she led him out to the pale blue building. "Charles has fixed it up for you even. This way you can stay more comfortably."
Once settling Erik in his new accommodation, Meredith looked back to the back door of the cabin where Charles stood holding hands with Christine.
"It's done then." Charles said quietly.
"Thank you, Charles." Meredith said softly kissing her husband on the cheek.
Breaking her trance, Christine looked behind her to see her mother with a sandwich and a fruit smoothie. Meredith wore a smile, but it was apparent that there was pain behind her once delicate features. Sitting down next to her daughter and handing her the food she spoke.
"Every now and then I'll come out here too. I never in my wildest dreams thought that all this could happen." Taking her daughter's hand she said, "I really did love your father. I still do."
Christine broke her eye contact with her mother. There was no point in asking why. It is a true fact that the one who doesn't talk, listens and hears. Christine was not a talkative person, but she did listen and she had the memory of an elephant if not better. It was in situations such as these that she would remember what she was told.
"Christine, baby, come closer to me."
Charles had been dying for days. Ever since Christine's seventeenth birthday he had taken to drinking. She never quite knew why and she, at times, wanted to blame herself, but in truth, what had happened was the Charles had suddenly realized that seven years had indeed passed. He never let a day go by when he didn't think about his wife. He loved her more than anything and even if Christine took a greater image liking to him, he couldn't help but remember how he had walked out on his old life.
He had been driving home when he saw no point in his life. The drink was already in his system and all pleasurable things had left his mind. There was a sharp turn ahead and he knew of it well. He sped up and drove straight forward.
Christine looked down at her father as he lay dying in a hospital bed.
"Take my hand, Christine… That's good now. I want you… I want you to know the… the truth. I want you to… I want you to know that I have always loved you… You, and your mother and Meg. I loved – love all of you and … I never stopped. I just… I just was scared to go back… but now you can go back Christine."
"No, Christine, listen to me. I want you to forget all the bad things that have happened. I want you to… to go back home – our home – and relive your life with your sister and mother. I want you to be happy… happy again Christine. I love you… I love you…"
And with that, the old man's eyes never opened again.
"Christy?" Meredith asked.
"Mom," Christine said taking her mother's hand, "Daddy never stopped loving you. He told me so himself."
Tears formed in Meredith's eyes and she hugged her daughter until the sun was gone in the sky. It was strange how Christine did not have the same reaction. There were hardly any tears of any kind left in her. There only seemed to be some empty hole in her heart.
A few days later Christine sat on her porch watching the day pass. Meg had gone out with Gina for lunch and Christine persuaded her to leave without her. Christine needed time to think and so, she sat listening to the sounds of the nature around her. It wasn't long until something else interrupted her.
Looking towards the sound of her name, she saw Raoul walking coolly up the dirt driveway.
"Christy hey! Sorry about the other day. Lately it's pretty much been what Gina says goes."
"Hey but let's not talk about that." He said sitting down smoothly on the steps, "I came to catch up with you."
Smiling lightly she looked up to him.
"You really haven't changed a bit, Lotte."
This made her really smile.
"Lotte." She said sentimentally, "Even Daddy stopped calling me that."
"Yeah, I'm, uh sorry to hear about that."
Shrugging, Christine looked down to her knees.
"But hey, now you're back, and things can go just back to the way they were, even with us."
In saying this he extended his hand to overlap hers.
"You sound like Daddy before he died."
"Really? What did he say?"
"That I should go back to the way things were."
"And why not?"
"You know why."
There was a silence that was filled lovingly with the sounds of the mountains.
"Look, if it has to do with that freak again – "
"His name is Erik." She said looking at him with hurt in her eyes.
"Look, I'm sorry. I just, well, maybe things haven't changed, and maybe they never will, but we can start over. There's nothing stopping us."
"But she doesn't matter now. Not now that you're back." He pleaded.
This made her uncomfortable and she stood up.
"I'm sorry, Raoul, but – but I'm sorry."
With that she left to go into the house.
"I'll see tomorrow then, Lotte?" he asked once she reached the door.
"Till tomorrow then."
Looking to the floorboards she nodded slightly and walked in.
That night when Meg was getting ready for bed, Christine helped Meredith wash the dishes. There were not many questions left for Christine to know or ask about, but there was one that plagued her mind like no other.
"Mom, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course, Christy. What is it?"
Swallowing hard, she said, "Did you ever find out what happened to Erik?"
Meredith stopped her drying and set the dish down.
"Erik, I haven't heard that name in years."
Taking the back of a chair, Meredith sat down almost faintly. Christine followed her lead.
"Well, nothing major has happened around here since then. Everyone has gone back to normal and within a few years, the rumors stopped. Everything dies away with time. He said he was a traveler. Sometimes I believe he left, but others… You must forgive an old women's mind, Christy, but sometimes, sometimes I think I see him, but only for a second. But don't rely on my word, baby. Erik, well he, he could be out there, but that doesn't mean you need to go looking for him, Christy. I don't want you looking for him, is that understood?"
Christine looked into the old women's eyes and whispered the words, "yes."
"Now, I'll finish these dishes. You go in there and catch up with Meg."
Nodding, Christine got up and left.
It was after midnight and the only thing that could be found to penetrate the perfect solitude of the mountains were a few scattered crickets. The old Gary house was silent as well as it sat peacefully on top of its mountain, but there was one just inside the house who wasn't having such a tranquil night.
Christine came running out of the house. The shed door was cracked open and revealed little light from the inside. The sun had already begun to set when the old door flew open and a scared, crying, girl ran in.
"Erik! Erik Daddy said he was moving back to Canada! He wants to leave and take me with him! Erik – Erik what are you doing?"
Little Christine looked around the little shed at the lack of random objects such as experiments and such, around the room that she was so used to seeing. Through watery eyes she found Erik in a corner as he packed up his last things.
"Erik? Erik you're not… not?" she couldn't finish.
"I will not cause any more hurt for your family. I have done enough as it is. I am leaving."
"Erik! Erik no, you can't! Please!"
With this he turned around to face her. Kneeling to her level he said, "Christine, you must not do this. I'm leaving so that you can move on with your life. I've already caused you too much pain."
In saying this is put a hand up to her small cheek. The girl looked from side to side.
"No, no-no, I'll, I'll go with you. I don't want to stay here. Everyone is talking and saying bad things about our family. I don't want to stay here anymore! I want to go with you!" she fell into him sobbing, "I want to go with you!"
He didn't push her away knowing that it would surely be the last time for the two of them to be together.
"Erik, please don't go. I don't know what I'll do without you."
"Don't cry, Christine, you're tears are worth too much in comparison to me."
Leaning away from him in order to look into his eyes she asked, "it's not true is it? Raoul's in the doctors now. He only woke up this morning. Mom said that he was found not breathing outside his house yesterday. They said that it was our fault! But it couldn't be! We didn't do anything wrong!"
He brought her back into his embrace only to make her hush. He didn't want to hear of the past once it had already been over and done with. It was true that the boy had been wondering too close to that little shed for Erik's comfort. It was also true that Erik knew of the boys intentions of keeping Christine away from him as much as possible. What happened the night before was hardly the extent of Erik's capabilities.
"Christine, they say these things because they don't like me. They don't know me like you do, and like your sister, they don't like me."
"But that doesn't mean we can't – "
"Christine, we can't, I was meant to be alone."
"But not when someone loves you!"
Now even Erik's eyes were beginning to water. He knew he had found the only person on earth who would ever accept him for himself and now he had to leave her. Bringing her close to him for the last time he kissed her forehead with all the tenderness he could muster from the heart that had never been taught to love. Now they both were crying when Charles was heard yelling for Christine.
"He'll be wanting to see you." Christine heard in her ear.
"But I don't want to go!" she said taking a tighter hold on Erik's neck.
"But you have too."
He was trying to push the girl away.
"But I won't go!"
"Christine," he said taking her shoulders, "Christine you have to go with him. If you love me, leave me, leave me."
With the words "leave me" ringing through her head, Christine woke with a start. The place that surrounded her would never be the same again since everything had already happened. Raoul was wrong, he didn't understand all that Christine had gone through. With millions of thoughts beating at her mind, Christine put on a light coat and quietly tip toed outside to the one place she could completely be alone.
The rock was cold, but the moon was high and bright. She had not sung in years, but something inside of her was building; something that needed to come out. At first it was a hum, but it grew and grew when her emotions wanted to burst out of her like lightning. Standing on the rock and taking a large breath she suddenly yelled out to the sky, "Nothing has changed!"
When those three words had been said, a pair of bright green eyes began to gleam in the moonlight just beyond the rock Christine stood on.
o.m.goodness. WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN?? funny how i already know?