Weeks had passed and Erik's new opera was in its tech week and that meant long hours and overworked singers. Within those weeks Christine had never approached Erik about the kiss, mainly for she didn't really know what would be accomplished by bringing it up, and since nothing else had transpired between them beyond that night she let it go.
It was the Wednesday before the premier of the opera and Erik as well as Christine, Andre, Firmin, Phillipe, Nadir and Giry sat in the audience to watch as the cast performed the opening scene over and over again until Erik was fully satisfied; which was not looking likely.
"You have to be shitting me," Erik roared at the exhausted performers on the stage. "The show opens Friday night and this is the best you can do?"
Christine, sitting next to Erik with an iced coffee in one hand and a notebook in her lap concealing the cell phone she was using to text Raoul who was sitting in the wings cracking jokes about the whole mess.
When it came time to insult Carlotta's horrible acting and vocal technique Christine let out a laugh that wasn't meant to come out as loud as it did. Suddenly she felt heated stares coming from every direction. She looked up to see Erik's death stare, "Oh, so you think this is funny do you, Miss Daae?"
Christine felt all eyes on her as froze, stuttering in her seat, "I-I- I didn't mean-"
"And I suppose you can do it better can't you?" he questioned. "You know what? That's a marvelous idea, why don't you get up there and show Carlotta why I am not paying ameteurs to sing in my opera?
But before Christine could protest Erik had her by the wrist and was dragging her up on stage. Everyone looked petrified besides Carlotta who couldn't have been more amused.
"Mr. Destler, this is not necessary!" Giry cried and she made her way to the stage. "Leave the poor girl alone!"
"Stay out of this. This is my opera house and my opera, she will sing or she will be dismissed."
Christine cowered beneath him, he was raised to his full height and his anger was directed right at her. She was physically shaking but fought off the urge to break down into tears, she was a professional and she had to make her way through this.
"Please," she heard a familiar voice say. "Don't make her do this, it was my fault she was laughing I was texting her-"
"Would you like to be dismissed too, Chagny?" Raoul backed down immediately. Erik then turned to Mr. Reyer, the conductor, "Let's do the opening act with Ms. Daae, now shall we?"
The company immediately ran to their places as the orchestra started to play its first few notes. Having seen the same scene over and over again Christine already had it memorized but was still frozen in fear as the lights in the auditorium went dark and the spotlight was on her.
"What are you staring at like that? Are you a dear in the head lights? Go make your entrance, Ms. Daae!" Erik roared as he made his way off the stage so he could watch his personal assistant fail miserably.
As the overture started to play Christine stood off stage breathing deeply and trying to recall everything she had ever learned in school and in private lessons on vocal performance, she played it out in her mind, every note, every move and gesture and how effortless she had to make it look. She needed to prove Erik wrong, not that she wanted to be an opera singer anymore, but that he can't do this to his employees. She felt a light touch on her shoulder that brought her out of her concentration and made her jump, "Sorry! Oh Christine, this is so terrible!" came the sad voice of Meg Giry.
"Meg, it's fine, what Destler doesn't know is that I have been classically trained for the past ten years." She winked at Meg, maybe some mock confidence will help.
"She's right Meg, we went to boarding school, and no one could sing like Christine from what I remember," said Raoul who approached them. "I am so sorry this is happening, this is all my fault. But look I brought you the libretto so you can look it over just incase." And with her he handed over the score and kissed Christine on the cheek. Christine made it very clear in their earlier encounters that she wasn't looking for much in a relationship and that if he were serious about pursuing her he would have to take it at a slow pace.
And with that she heard her cue and proceeded to enter, and then suddenly she opened her mouth and filled the auditorium with her voice, there were gasps heard everywhere but it did not distract Christine who was already lost in the music. She moved with such grace across the stage singing all alone until the rest of the ensemble were to join her. Everyone, picking up on her energy began to become less tired and irritated and suddenly started to sing with more emotion and began to dance less like robots. It was a colorful scene with all the townspeople dancing in the center of town and Christine singing in the middle conducting them as she shined ever so brightly in her regular work clothes.
Andre and Firmin had their mouths wide open at the sight of this. Everyone up there looked like they were having a good time and they all sounded amazing. This was the potential the opera had. Giry had tears in her eyes as she watched how her staging and dancing was no longer disgraceful.
The opening number finished and the cast and Christine held their final poses with huge smiles on every face. Then all at once the magic was gone, the lights went back on and the ensemble began turning towards each other gossiping and giggling about what just occurred.
Christine still standing center stage with a beaming smile on her face felt suddenly someone pulling on her arm and dragging her off stage. Still holding on to her arm Erik pulled her out of the theater and up the stairs down winding passages ways and fast as lightening it seemed. Light headed and out of breath Christine could barely utter a word let alone think of any words to say.
They finally reached Erik's office and Christine's heart sank; she knew what was going to come: he was going to throw her out on her ass for that disgusting display she gave on the stage only moments ago. Christine stood frozen and silent as Erik locked the door behind them. She wanted to just disappear as she waited for his wrath to come down hard upon her. Though when she looked back at him he standing directly in front of her, holding her tenderly in his arms and kissing her full on the mouth. She gasped against his open mouth and she realized what was happening. She found her herself pressing her body against him, standing on her tip- toes and wrapping her arms around her neck and kissing him back. A rush of emotions came rapidly at her as he lifted her and brought her down to the couch that sat directly adjacent to the door. Christine felt her self getting lost in the passion she didn't want him to stop kissing her. Never had she craved anyone as much as him to kiss her or touch her the way he was just at that moment. Then as suddenly as it began she opened her eyes to see him breathing heavily above her and looking at her in awe, "Where in the world have you been hiding?' he asked in a loss for breath. But before she could respond to him, Erik was standing and pulling her over to the piano where he sat down and began to play.
"Sing," he commanded as he played the introduction to one of the arias in his current opera.
Christine, still confused as to what was going on stood there trying to assess the situation. Her silence angered Erik and he slammed down on the keys, "SING, DAMN YOU! SING!"
Looking over his shoulder she began to sing meekly, at first then with a growing confidence as she once again got lost in the beauty of his music.
The world finally stopped spinning. The music was gone, and all that was left were two people in a room at a loss for words to say. Erik looked at Christine with mixture of amazement and confusion, never had he been so torn over someone's voice.
The silence was broken by a knock at the door. Both their heads shot towards the noise as they both heard the familiar accent of their friend Nadir, "Are you two okay?"
"Go away, Nadir!" Erik roared. "We are very busy."
Not taking Erik's warning Nadir let himself in, "Christine, that was absolutely incredible. I thought that first night when you played the piano was incredible this was even better. You are a star!" he said gushing over Christine who's face had turned red with modesty.
Erik rose and stared down Nadir, "You knew she had this talent the entire time?"
"Well, not the extent I know now, but yes I have heard her sing once before." He shrugged it off.
"Well it's true her voice is…good," he said as if Christine wasn't standing in the room with them. "But should she wish to excel, she has much still to learn but I figure she will be able to pass for Friday night."
"Erik, you don't mean?" the Persian said.
"Yes, please inform Carlotta that she will be bought out of this role and to thank her for her efforts but we are going in a different direction."
"Excuse me!" Christine finally blurted out. "But does anyone care for what I have to say about all of this?"
Both of the men looked at the frustrated and sad look upon her beautiful face. Her eyes beginning to become wet with tears.
"Oh, Christine don't become upset darling." Nadir cooed as he took her hand.
"If you don't mind, Nadir I need to have a word with Christine alone, please" Erik placed his hand on his shoulder.
Nadir looked into Christine's eyes reading that she was okay. The door closed behind him leaving Erik and Christine alone once again.
"How dare you do that to me? Put me up on that stage and try to humiliate me? How could you do that to me?" Christine began to cry.
"No, listen to me for a minute. Being up on that stage was the first time in years I have felt so good, proving you wrong about me was the greatest satisfaction I have ever felt. But, I am not interested in performing."
This is when Erik began to laugh, slowly chuckling at first till it was a thunderous roar of laughter.
"And what, pray tell, is so funny?" Christine asked with her hands on her hips and a spit of fire in her tone.
"My dearest one, you are too much." Erik exclaimed as he approached her. "Don't you see? It is fate that you sing my music. No one has ever sung it the way you do, and no one ever could. Now stop being ridiculous and lets get you rehearsed and ready for Friday night." He grabbed her arm and led her again to the piano. He sat her down beside him on the bench and stretched out the score. He looked at her saddened face as she kept her eyes on the ground, "Christine?" he said tenderly. This immediately struck her ear and made her look at his masked face. He took her face in his hands and kissed her softly on the lips. Tears trickled from her eyes as a result and the urgency to kiss him back came tremendously as grabbed him by the waist. He broke the kiss and looked deeply into her eyes, "You can do this. I know you can, you already know the score now all you need to do is be the part. Can you do that?"
She looked at him his reassurance gave her the strength to say, "I'll try."
He pecked her on the lips, "That's all I ask of you. Now from the beginning of the aria then please, mademoiselle?"
LottePhan: wow sorry about abandoning the story for so long, there is absolutely no excuse! Well I hope this chapter was good enough and I fully intend on updating ASAP. Now that I have more of an idea of where this is going I think we can expect more updates anyways. Read/Review if you hate it don't bother mentioning it just leave. And again so sorry for making you guys wait.
And thank you for the wonderful response to the story.