A Picture's Worth

Disclaimer: If I were Gaston Leroux and owned Phantom of the Opera, I wouldn't be goint back to college in a week :/

a/n: hello everyone i'm trying something new! you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? well i'm taking that literally. this story will actually be a collection of one-shots that will be inspired by 1800s french paintings. each chapter may vary as to what the genre, characters, and world will be depending on the inspiration i receive from the paintings i find. and remember if you don't like this chapter or another, read another one because everyone will be different! even character traits will vary so i ask for you all not to be turned away by one particular chapter. i'll always tell you at the beginning of each chapter what kind of world and setting your being thrown into as well as the painting if you wish to see my inspiration. ratings vary as well so this is rated t to be safe. hope you enjoy!

plz read & review :)

~A Night At The Opera~

World: Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera

Setting: During the month long period Erik gave Christine to herself in order to finish Don Juan Triumphant

Rating: K

Painting: "Laloge" (1874) by Pierre Renoir

Christine Daae was a beautiful young girl whose age did not yet exceed twenty. Her hair was chestnut brown and was pulled off her neck by a pink rose with only a few curly strands left to lightly grace her pale forehead. The only true color in her face was a very light shade of pink that blushed her cheeks and some light red lip stick that she received as a gift for the particular night. She looked down from the box seat she was in to the brightly lit stage that she once sang for.

Behind her sat Raoul de Chagny who sat next to his brother, Count Phillipe de Chagny. Raoul paid little attention to his wife-to-be. He was too occupied in scouting out the parameter with his new binoculars. As soon as he bought them he had run over to Christine's house to tell her of how amazing they were. He had paid a pretty price for them and their quality was indeed very good, but it still was not enough for Christine. She knew better. She knew him.

Every so often, Phillipe would take the liberty to glance casually over towards Christine. Being an older man he realized how easily a child's mind could become occupied with things that were not even real or worth any threat. He saw how every time she stared at the stage for too long, her hand would grip her little gold purse tightly as if that were the only thing she could keep control of in her life. She was not far from that truth in Phillipe's opinion. While he agreed with his younger brother that she was a good and nice girl, he knew that his family would never accept a performer of such low class. While she had had very good reviews in the past, she still was not near being a prima donna, nor was she royalty.

Phillipe took pity on the young girl and tapped Raoul on the elbow making him break away from looking through his new toy. At the light tap, Raoul jumped nearly out of his seat. Phillipe knew of how his boyish heroics mixed with his hormones were making him think that danger could be lurking around every corner, but Phillipe knew better. He rolled his eyes and pointed to the distressed girl in the corner of the box who had not even noticed the little scene that just took place. Raoul suddenly felt bad for letting his attempt at chivalry get the best of him and looked away from Phillipe and back to Christine.

Lightly taking Christine's white gloved hand and trying to suppress the shudder that he felt he said softly in her eye, "are you feeling well, my love?"

The words took a moment to load into her mind. First she started to nod, but then feeling embarrassed for letting her thoughts get the best of her, she turned around and graced the two men with the best smile she could muster.

"Yes, dear Raoul, I am quite fine, thank you," she spoke in a sweet tone.

Raoul smiled at her in return and squeezed her hand once more before letting it go and returning back to his opera glasses. Phillipe, on the other side, saw straight through her lie. She was not a girl who could lie well. He noticed how her little smile never quite reached her eyes and his pity for the young girl increased. He almost felt bad that his little brother was so oblivious to everything about women, but he was also hoping that this young girl would find someone of her own class instead.

Christine's eyes began to grow pink as her lips tightened curtly. She was trying desperately hard to conceal her mixed feelings about everything around her. Sitting in a box seat was new to her. Her income alone would have never even allowed her to afford a single seat in the balcony, let alone a private box, but she had always been in the shows, never watching them. She realized that if she were going to be with Raoul, that she had to give up that side of her life. After marrying him, she would not need her own income. Raoul had been kind enough to buy her the beautiful striped dress that she was wearing that night. He had always been so kind to her even though her heart had always been in two pieces.

She knew that he was there. He was always somewhere in the opera house, there was no question of that. He of course had told her that he would be working on his Don Juan Triumphant, but that never stopped the feelings she had flying around in her stomach that constantly made her dizzy and sickly. Ever since she had been taken down to his house by the lake, she never could get rid of those feelings and it scared her to an extent that made her want to run back to Raoul quicker every time she thought of them.

As the first act started and performers made their entrances to the stage, she tried to lose herself to the plot before her. She knew the opera, of course, having played chorus roles in it before. Carlotta was next to come on the stage in all her famed glory. People in the audience clapped vigorously making Raoul wake up from his dreams of catching the Phantom in the chandelier. Christine did not mean to be rude when her hands never came together for Carlotta. She did not mean to look so high and mighty in her box next to those she was used to performing with, but her hand clutched her little purse too tightly for her to really move. She could feel that he was near.

Opening her large mouth Carlotta began to sing. Her vocals went high into the air and seemed to sweep around the entire theatre. Christine wondered if she did that when she sang. She often doubted her ability to rival the prima donna as she was often told by Erik.

"Of course you can sing much better than that fat frog."

Christine froze. Had she really just heard Erik in her left ear where Raoul was supposed to be sitting? The jittery feeling that usually stayed locked in her stomach began to move up to her heart making it pound so loudly that the opera in front of her seemed to fade away. She wanted to turn around and prove to herself that her mind was playing tricks on her, but it was as the only thing moving in her entire body was her beating heart.

The opera went on for a little while longer which gave her some time to calm down. Eventually, her heart began to slow and she could hear the music again. Her mind began to tell her little lies in order to calm itself, telling her that everything was alright, that Raoul was behind her with his brother, that nothing could harm her so long as he was around. Taking a deep breath, she steady herself so that she could casual turn to look over her shoulder.

There was Raoul, whose binoculars were currently glued to the stage. For a moment he met her gaze, smiled, squeezed her gloved hand, then returned to the opera. She let herself exhale more fully and allowed herself to try to enjoy the opera again. Light laugher broke from the audience below her and was followed a few chuckles from Raoul and Phillipe. Christine had no idea what had just happened, but she slightly smiled to try to pretend she was enjoying her night.

Directly behind her a deep laugh let lose. It was fully supported and too well held to be from someone without voice training. The laugh was too familiar to her ears for comfort. It gave the façade of light humor, but she knew better. Laughter that rich came from the soul of a madman!

Without full process of herself, her head whipped around behind her. A red curtain with gold trim was all that met her. She felt short of breath and had to put her free hand to her heaving chest. Raoul, for once, gave his wife-to-be his full attention and put his opera glasses down to take hold of her upper arms with his hands. Studying her for a moment he asked oddly, "are you sure you are feeling alright, Christine?"

Without looking into his concerned eyes she kept looking past his chair.

"Raoul, did you hear anything behind us just now?"

The little scene had caught the attention of Phillipe who casually looked over to the pair.

"No Lotte, I heard nothing. What did you hear?"

For a few more long moments, Christine starred back into the light darkness behind Raoul. Shaking her head as if to rid herself of a dream, she gave a fake, sweet, smile back to Raoul then told him that she heard nothing, and that her mind had only been playing tricks on her. This time, Raoul only half way believed her and made a note to himself to keep a better watch on her.

Breathing in as deep as she could in her tight corset, she tried to settle her thoughts. She knew better than to start crying, even though she felt as if she would burst with emotion at any time. Raoul was not to be embarrassed. Christine could not afford that.

After a glass of water at intermission, Christine was feeling much better. She was sure that everything that had happened so far was just her nerves making a fool of her. A real smile even blessed her face at the beginning of the act making everyone in the box feel a little less tense about the current situation. Carlotta came out from the wings and was greeted by applause once more. This time, out of good spirits, Christine clapped for her opponent only to be greeted by a low sorrowful moan that seemed to come from Raoul's far shoulder.

At first, Christine tensed up making her shoulders reach her ear unconsciously. After a long time, she took another breath and attempted to release her stress. Shaking her head she tried to ignore her ears that were obviously playing tricks on her. She knew that the next song to come would be Carlotta's prized aria of the opera. Christina sat back in her chair and tried to enjoy the piece for its beauty, but once Carlotta hit her highest note that seemed to blow the audience away, it was too late to relieve Christine's nerves as she heard a final phrase behind her.

In the most loving and soft voice, light words were whispered so close to her that she thought she felt the breath of death on the back of her neck.

"You can sing far more beautifully than she could ever imagine, my angel."

Instinct kicked into the girl and she immediately stood from her chair and screamed so loudly that even Carlotta was over powered. When turning to look behind her and seeing no one there, she instead felt the peering eyes of everyone around her – staring little hot holes into her body making her weak all over. The world began to spin and everything around her became blurry in the whirl she found herself in.

Raoul caught her mere seconds before she fell over the railing of the box that would have led to her certain death.

have a favorite french painting from the 1880s? tell what it is via review and you may just see it in an upcoming chapter in the future!