Hello my loyal readers and others who dare to explore my writings. This story is still in the writing stage, but I decided to start posting for the your sake so that I could get some feedback.

I hope you will enjoy my newest addition and will find it has uplifting as I find it as I write it. I will try my best to keep it real; but there are a few surprises in store (guest appearances by some familiar - though not Phantom of the Opera - characters), so be on the look out for them.

Otherwise, enjoy it and I'll be popping in now and then with comments.

God bless.

UNBREAK MY HEART

(Quickly Comes the Fall)

A modern day work of fiction.

Featuring characters from Gaston Leroux's

Phantom of the Opera

Story line and original characters by

GerrysJackie

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Erik Dominik Miklos, 34: Gerard Butler

Christine Drummond Chambers, 27: loosely based on Jennifer Lopez, a few years younger than she really is, voluptuous, average height (about 5'6"), topaz eyes.

Delaney (Della) Giry, 42: Debra Messing

Francoise Dubois, 49: Looks like Ralph Fiennes, slightly older with graying hair

Raoul Chambers, 31: Paul Walker

PROLOGUE

Marriage was supposed to be forever. It was that simple. At least that was what her mother had always said and Christine had grown up expecting that her life would be a mirror image of her parents life.

"Do you wish to press charges against him?"

That wasn't a question she had ever expected to hear concerning Raoul; but it no longer seemed strange in hindsight. She paused her thoughts for a brief moment, but she already knew her answer. Raoul would suffer far more by being alone in the world; exposed to reality without the nest egg her family had provided him over the last several years.

"No, he will soon learn the price he must pay for his deception and dishonesty." Christine didn't feel the twang of guilt that she had thought she would feel at the thought of Raoul's eminent demise, something she was most thankful for...she has fallen victim to his wiles for far too long.

She signed her name on the dotted line, feeling only the regret of lost years gone by. She would never get them back; Raoul had robbed her of those years as easily and as masterfully as he had robbed her in other ways.

She placed the pen back on the desk, and that quickly, without even the slightest glance back, Christine Drummond Chambers became Christine Drummond once again.

The middle-aged man who greeted her as she left the lawyer's office gave a slight nod of his slightly graying head, acknowledging her as the powerful woman that she was. He had watched her become that woman, loving her as the niece he had never had.

Her father would have been proud.

"The Board and everyone who is someone in Dallas, insists that you take a much needed and much deserved vacation."

She sighed and gave a compliant nod of her head. She was outnumbered once again, not a position she was unused to; but this time, she knew their intentions were only to keep her sane and happy.

"Okay Paul, but only because I know I can trust you to handle things while I'm gone." Christine replied, "You know he's going to put up a stand of some kind, are you ready?"

He sketched a devilish smile, eager to go to war with the young, arrogant, corporate-executive-want-to-be, Raoul Chambers.

"He's going to be the one reliving his days in elementary school when I'm done with him..." Paul promised, "...he'll go back there eagerly with the lessons we have in store for him, lessons you perfected, Ms. Drummond..." his smile was one of pride and deep affection, "...good job!"

Christine took a deep breath, hoping the next couple of weeks or so would cleanse her mind and lift her spirits. She hadn't done anything for herself since her parents had died...it was time.

She had come prepared for the trip, having decided to take a road trip South, heading to wherever her spirit led. She had packed light, and even though she would not have access to her accounts for several days, she had enough cash on which to get by.

The car she drove had been the first car her father had driven as a young man. He had kept it and restored it to it to the beauty of its glory days Christine had always wanted it, and taking it on this trip had seemed a way to connect – once again – with the father she missed desperately.

Paul gave her a last minute, booster-shot hug before watching her drive away. He would see to it that she had no worries while she was gone...no worries at all. Her father had been his best friend, and now he watched over his best buds daughter as if she were his own.

This was certainly going to be an interesting week coming up...and he wouldn't miss it for the world.

CHAPTER 1 – LATE AFTERNOON

Clouds wrestled overhead, fighting for supremacy with the sun; tumbling and rolling, appearing to have a life of their own. The day had been windy and chilly; one of the coldest on record for this part of Texas. Few ventured out, fearing the cold would somehow take up residence in their bones.

But one man stood against the gloomy backdrop of this January day; not even feeling the frigid fingers of the wind whipping at the hem of his wool, knee-length coat. In fact, he had felt nothing for weeks now; he was dead inside.

He had no more tears; no more pain digging at his heart…he was free of such weaknesses as pain, sorrow, and love. He was his own man, and nothing that had been thrust upon him in recent weeks would change that…nothing dared.

He angrily wrapped his arms around himself, trying to shield his tall frame from the cold sweep of wind that had suddenly arrived on the hillside. It struck him; the irony of it all. The wind was callous and frigid, much like his worthless heart.

A sardonic smirk settled over his sensuous mouth. What did he care? He didn't – and that was the cold, hard truth of it. He owed the world nothing and it offered the same in return.

His hard, blue/green glare landed on the marker in front of him and the chill of the wind seemed to suddenly settle in his soul; four years it had been…four long, lonely years. He had struggled desperately during those years, trying with everything that was in him to free his mind of that tragic night.

But even after all was said and done, the pain still tore at him; ate at him. He relived it every night when he closed his eyes; he could hear it; smell it; touch it. And every night he would wake up in sweat-drenched sheets, silently begging God to take his memories away so that he could have some peace.

But God had left him years ago; long before that wretched night four years ago. He no longer cared that Father Bennett prayed for him every night; he no longer cared that life had become a routine and there was no joy in his heart; he no longer cared that he had become a living nightmare.

Peyton and Paige tried; he'd give them that. Their bobbing heads of dark, golden blond hair; their warm, sable eyes, and the way their little faces lit up when he entered a room; he just didn't get it. For most of their lives, he had been distant and aloof, choosing to shut himself off from their expectant smiles and inviting, childish laughter. He wanted no more part of it; at least that's what he told himself. When he thought about it, it was really comical in its cruelty.

He, a man who had never entertained the idea of a family, had suddenly been given one. He, who had never known kindness or compassion as a child, was suddenly expected to harbor such emotions within him! A cosmic joke, that's what it was.

He wasn't about softness and warmth; he had been on his own for too long before being taught to understand the importance of structure and obedience. His keeper – if you could call him that – spared no time for such things as kind words and warm food; no time for a soft touch or gentle smile. Life was about structure, balance, and discipline; heaven forbid that there should be anything that resembled happiness.

He could still hear the raging voice of the man he knew only as Master. There was never anything but anger and bitterness in that voice; Erik could not remember a time when he had ever heard warmth or humor.

"Gregori…" Erik's hoarse whisper fell upon the frigid air like snowflakes; tears echoed in that raspy sound – unshed and unwanted, "…I hate you…does that make you happy wherever you are?" The words trailed off into a strained, spiteful confession, "I hate you."

Finding the force of his words truly frightening, Erik had to wonder when he had become such a jaded cynic. Sure, love had never been a part of his life; but he knew that Greg and Tess had cared about him – at least as much as he had allowed them to. He knew that Peyton and Paige were fond of him too; poor innocent things – they didn't know any better.

As for him, he had loved Greg and Tess with such fierceness; envying their love for each other as much as he longed for such love himself – knowing he longed in vain. When Peyton and Paige had come along, Erik couldn't imagine loving anyone more than he loved Greg and Tess; but these two tiny bundles of giggles and innocence had usurped their place in his heart and become the center of his world.

All that changed four years ago when the world he had so happily constructed, came crumbling down around him. Every day it was the same thing; he vented his rage at a world that had no meaning for him any more. He did his work – better than what was expected of him; escaped inside his few vices; music, drawing, boats, and motorcycles – effectively avoiding any real relationship with Peyton and Paige – out of fear, he supposed, more than anything else. He loved them so much it hurt…and so…he stayed away.

He was a product of his environment, and barely salvageable as far as humanity was concerned. He worked too hard and too much; had no social life and only a few people he would call friends; he had seen too much of the dark side of humanity to remember that there was a good side.

There had been many times throughout the years that Erik had wondered if he was supposed to have perished in the war-torn streets of his homeland; or perhaps he was to have meant his doom aboard the vessel upon which he'd been enslaved for five years. He speculated this often, actually. Why was he still here...why was he still here and Greg and Tess were gone?.

His eyes once again searched the cold stone markers that adorned the graves. Something inside him expected the headstones to talk back to him; to bellow about the injustice of it all. He waited in silence for the voices to come, but it only gave the wicked wind another chance to eat away at him. Pushing the tangled locks of his dark, neck-length hair away from his face so that he could feel the frigid death of it, Erik felt the bitterness seeping in and knew it was time to for all of this to end…if only it were that easy.

He stood up viciously and began pacing beside the gravesites. There was anger in his jerky movements; anger at himself for being so insufficient in so many ways; anger at Gregori and Tess for leaving him in such a precarious position; and anger at God for not taking him in the first place, and sparing Gregori and Tess. There were unrequited tears in his eyes; another source of anger to him, "Why!!?" he screamed, "Why did you have to leave me? I feel so…" he dropped back down on the bench, feeling worse than he had when he'd sat down the first time.

"…I feel so lost." It was barely a whisper.

The marker's lay beside each other, placing Gregori and Tess by each others side in death; just as they had been in life – inseparable. Who was he kidding? Such a sense of loss and loneliness swept over him and he knew he had been lying to himself for too long; the pains was still there – eating at him every minute of every day – he was unable to escape it. Drawing his fists together and slamming his eyes shut, Erik willed the pain to burrow deep, hidden from those who were close to him. No one would know that he feared dying alone; and worst of all, he feared living alone.

He just didn't see any way out of it, not for him.

The long walk back to the house was therapeutic and Erik needed the time alone with his thoughts. If he had taken a moment to examine himself, he would have realized that the heart he swore he didn't have was weighted down heavily in his chest. Perhaps he was more prone to the weakness of emotion because today was exactly four years since his brother and sister-in-law had been killed.

Well, at least they had been brothers in all ways except blood; but that hadn't mattered. For a boy of eight, the lanky thirteen year old had been the closest thing to a father figure since Dimitri Miklos had held Erik in his arms as a toddler of four. If Gregori hadn't been there, aboard that shipping vessel all those years ago...Erik shuddered at the thought of having never meant him.

But Gregori had made life bearable. He was older by five years and had been Erik's protector and friend; and when he had needed Erik to be there as his protector, Erik hadn't been. If only he could trade places with them both…

But he couldn't…and it tore him apart.

Despite the rain, there were a few other people bustling about; moving through it with determination. He was a dark, graceful shadow among them; had been for the majority of his life. His countenance bore little resemblance to the boy he had once been…before…

His anger flared; he wasn't going to think about the past and all the ways it had molded him into the man that he was. He would do his duty; be a guardian to his niece and nephew and try to do the right thing by them, and then perhaps he could find a way to die.

That thought bought a satisfied smirk to his face; after all, life was just a series of bumpy roads that all led to the bottomless pit of eternity. He had once believed there was something beautiful awaiting him when his life ended, but Master had banished all childhood hopes of a heaven for someone like him.

"Heaven is for the beautiful people, you little monster, you have no hope of going there. You best accept your lot in life and know you are a spawn of the devil; and he takes care of his own."

Erik had no idea how many times he had heard that in various forms, but it had been a mantra his foster father had repeated to him at least every day…if not more. If you hear something long enough, you begin to believe it; and Erik had passed that point long ago.

"You were nothing but an ugly street rat when we found you…mulling about in the trash and muck. You should be thankful that I took you in, fed you, and gave you chance."

The voices in his head often gave him horrible headaches; headaches that often caused him to double over with their force. It was during these times that he actually prayed for blessed silence. That was all he wanted really, just that....or someone who could take the noise of loneliness away.

He didn't remember getting into his car and driving the distance to his home, but before he knew it he was going around to the back and entering his house; hoping to avoid any small talk or childish antics until he could make it up to his study. He had no appetite, but Francois tried without fail to get him to sit down and eat something.

"I do not know how you manage to survive on what little you eat. If I did not know what a great chef I was, I'd have a complex by now."

The flabbergasted Frenchman was beside himself with confusion; he could not fathom a man of Erik's stature and age, not having an appetite; it was simply unheard of.

"Is it my cooking, Sir?" He asked, hands on his hips and brows arched in shocked disbelief at his own suggestion.

Erik only shook his head as he ascended up the stairs. To this day, he could not figure out why he surrounded himself with people who had senses of humor or a dramatic flair that just about drove him up a tree. They didn't seem at all intimidated by his black cynicism or lack of humor – which wasn't exactly accurate. Erik had a wonderful sense of humor, but somewhere between the pain of his past and loneliness that threatened to engulf him, it was diminished..

Francois smiled, shaking his head, "You are going to waste away before my very eyes and as I stand over you waving goodbye, you are going to wish you had eaten a little bit more."

Erik continued up the stairs without looking at Francois. After all these years, Erik still found it difficult to look at the man. Francoise was every inch the refined Frenchman; handsome, suave, and debonair. Even at forty-nine, the man was a charmer and had women falling all over him.

Every woman Erik had ever allowed into his life saw him as nothing other than a way to get their picture and name in the society page of the newspaper or some gossip column. He paid them to accompany him to social events, and they got their moment of fame…they both got what they wanted.

Sort of; Erik wanted more, but he dared not pursue it. In today's beauty driven world, Erik fell short, and he knew it. He didn't wait around to hear what the socialites he escorted around the state and country said about him; they would leave whatever function they had attended, he would drive her home, give a gentlemanly kiss to the hand, and that was that.

Half way through the following week, he would send them an elegant bouquet of orchids and a diamond bracelet, letting them know he appreciated their time. They never knew where he lived and they never got his phone number – not that any of them wanted that information to begin with – he was nothing to them. It was all very businesslike and tidy…

…and very lonely.

"Good night, Sir." Francois murmured as Erik topped the stairs.

"Good night, Francois…and tell Jacque good night for me."

Erik knew the man felt some sort of obligation to him, an obligation Erik neither wanted nor invited, but Francois and his son were part of his family, and Erik would do anything within his power to see that the man had all his wants and needs provided.

Family took care of their own.

TBC