Hope everyone enjoys this epilogue. I had quite a challenge trying to write it. Thanks to any and everyone who has every read or reviewed this tale. Your support has helped me through writer's block and many personal challenges. Thanks a million! Here are the acknowledgments:
CaptainHooksGirl-Thank you so much for saying so about them waiting. I thought it appropriate because they were both equally innocent which I find undeniably sweet
Taria Robotnik-A while unfortunately but I'm glad you like the chapter!
Nami Swannn- You are ever so welcome, Thank you for being such a wonderful reviewer!
Alana Fox-One more, but this really is the last one :,(
PhantomFan01- It makes me sad too, but unfortunately stories can't last forever.
darkgemwildcat-Thanks so much! Your reviews have been amazing and I hope you will like this final chapter.
LaurenvBelladonna- Thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Spyagent001 (in response to your review on ch 6) –Sorry about any slowness but this was my first ever fanfic so the entire story has helped me discover and try to refine my writing skills. Hope you liked how it turned out and I also hope I have improved.
Sparky She-Demon- I am impressed! This story has gotten pretty long but I am so excited that you wanted to read it so much! And thanks for calling it amazing, I hope you will think this epilogue lives up to that
Keedlez- Thank you for saying so about characterization. That is one thing I have truly attempted to keep intact. I love these characters too much to try and change them.
POTO3- Thanks so much! His proposal to her is one thing I actually took quite a bit of time to get worded right. In my mind he would've wanted it perfect and I am grateful you and your friend think it is sweet. Also I think it's so nice of you to say my story is one of the best. It makes me feel wonderful to hear such kind things
Some random fan-If my story is what caused you think that, then oh my gosh, thanks so much!
sheepshanks- Thank you for calling me 'magnificent', you reviewers are truly the best and make the time I put into my stories worth it. And I hope you like my one-shots
max-rose-clary-Your review was so thoughtful. I especially appreciate that you felt that I wrote out Erik's emotions and battles well. I cannot help it, he is my favorite. And I intend to keep writing and I hope you'll enjoy my other stories if you read them J
I'dAskTheWorldToDance-Thanks for saying so. I find it almost miraculous that you like my story without knowing the characters, but I'm glad you do. Can't wait to see what artwork you come up with (if oyu decide to)
Starcrier-Thank you once again for not only leaving a touching review, but being an absolutely terrific beta. You truly make my day with your optimism and always give advice to help make this story be as wonderful as it can.
Erik and Christine's honeymoon lasted for months. They had left France to let the Opera Ghost rumors that lingered simmer back into the myth it had been. Erik had enjoyed sharing his favorite places with her. All across Europe, he showed her artistic wonders and geographic marvels of which she had never imagined.
Christine especially was transfixed by the grand operas performed in Italy and Germany. She found their differences from French opera to be fascinating. Erik also took inspiration from their audience perspective, intending to incorporate some of the realism of the Italian opera playwright Verdi. His experimentation with the traditional grand opera was giving Erik his own ideas about influencing the art of theatre.
It surprised Christine when Erik was the one eager to return to France. But she did not know the secret he was hiding.
The carriage bounced gently up the gravel driveway. Christine smiled at the lovely forest and rolling hills surrounding them. Erik had told her their estate stretched for acres. She could not contain her joy at finally seeing their new home for the first time. Home. Christine and Erik truly hadn't had homes in years. They both had treated the opera as their sanctuary. Now they had a place to call their own, safe from the world's prying eyes and judgments. She hadn't even had a glimpse of the house yet and already she loved it. Her husband sat beside her, holding her left hand and softly chuckling at her rapt expression.
"You needn't look so intently, the grounds aren't going anywhere," he said in an amused tone. "You act as though the land is about to be snatched away from your glance."
Her tiny hand tightened on his, "It just amazes me how blessed I am. I didn't know anyone could be so happy. I have you, and you…," she gestured around her, "You've given me all of this. A real home."
The wheels slowed and stopped. "Why don't you come and see your 'real home'?" he asked helping her down from the carriage in front of their house. She gasped softly. On paper, it had been lovely, but in real life, Erik's creation was exactly like all of his other projects: a masterpiece. It was large, but not huge. Just big enough in Christine's opinion. The stone reminded her of a fairytale cottage. "It's beautiful," she whispered.
"Then it is perfect for you," Erik replied. Then without a single warning, he scooped his angel into his arms and took the stairs two at a time, eager to show her every detail. Deftly turning the knob to the door without letting her go, he crossed the threshold. He gently set her down in their foyer, letting her explore as she would like.
Immediately she found the family room. It was warm and inviting, the fireplace already lit. One wall was entirely filed with book shelves and the furniture was deep reds and browns. She took it all in with eager eyes and hurried to discover the rest of her home. Remembering the dimensions in his sketch, she found the room she sought. The music room was breath taking. All of Erik's instruments were displayed and his large grand piano had been placed expertly in a corner. His collection of librettos and sheet music were arranged deftly in a shelf behind the piano.
"Are you intending to resume our lessons?" she questioned excitedly, turning to peer up at Erik.
He wore a nonchalant expression, obviously trying to tease her, "Perhaps this room is for my enjoyment. We haven't discussed any plans to upstart my teaching again."
Erik glanced down into Christine's face and abruptly grinned at her playfully pouting expression. Then seriously he asked, "Is that what you would like, darling? To resume your career as an opera diva?"
"I simply want to sing again. An audience would be wonderful of course, but singing itself gives me joy."
"But if you could choose?" he pressed, attempting to sound simply concerned and not as intense as he felt asking.
"Well," she hesitated, "Of course I would love it, but I know you don't favor being in the public eye. I would certainly desire my husband to be by my side if I was to resume my role as a prima donna."
Erik felt like sighing in relief, but that would give too much away. Instead he told her eagerly, "You cannot imagine how willing I would be to be able to claim you publicly as mine. I may have avoided the crowds before, but it is different now. I have you to stand by me and if you want me there, I am all too eager to oblige."
Her brown eyes flew up to his green-blue ones, surprised by this admission. She never dared to think Erik would try to rejoin the world. "But, where would I even hope to perform? We cannot go back to the Opera Populaire. That is too great a risk. My desire to sing isn't worth that."
Erik's lips tilted into a small smile, "Believe me, Christine. Sharing the gloriousness that is your voice is worth anything. However, I am certain I can make arrangements to where we aren't in any danger." He let the subject drop there, permitting Christine to finish her exploration of their home.
After the initial tour Erik left her to go unpack their trunks. He brushed off her offer to help, he would much rather Christine enjoy her new home.
When all the clothes and souvenirs had been put away, Erik searched for Christine. He found her in the garden behind the house cutting roses from the bushes and arranging them in vases. He couldn't help chuckling when he watched her add at least one black silk ribbon into every display. When she heard his laugh, she glanced up, a smile playing about her lips. Her brow furrowed confusedly when she glanced the cape about his shoulders and the hat in his hands. "Are we leaving so soon?" she inquired with the slightest tone of disappointment.
"Only for the evening, I assure you. I have a final gift for you. We have to travel only a few moments to reach it, if you are willing."
"Of course," she agreed quickly. "But Erik, what else could you possibly give me?"
"Ah, ah," he chided, "It is a surprise, and I am not about to ruin it for you."
Silently she curbed her curiosity and accepted the cloak he had slung over his arm.
What Erik had called "a few moments" seemed to stretch on for Christine. But she knew it was probably only her anticipation that made the minutes drag. They were in the city nearest their house. Christine was not yet familiar with its streets, so she hadn't the slightest of ideas as to where they were headed.
Erik was smirking at her constant glances that implored him to tell her the secret. He wasn't about to give away even the slightest hint. In fact she was watching the windows far too much for his taste.
Christine jerked sharply back from the window when the curtains were drawn quickly by Erik's deft hands. She was turning irritably to ask why he was being so maddeningly mysterious, when he suddenly caught her about the waist and dragged her onto his lap. He brought his hands up to cup her cheeks and pulled her lips to his.
Christine instantly forgot her impatience and lost herself in Erik's kisses. They had been married for almost a year, yet her desire for him had only grown. To her, Erik was temptation personified. It was difficult over the course of their honeymoon to keep their hands and lips off each other. During tours and operas a single glance or accidental touch could make fire flash into his gaze or pull her focus to desire.
She was willingly losing herself in wanting's grasp; pushing herself against Erik's firm chest and letting him devour her as he liked. It was when she pulled her fingers through his silky black hair that she realized his intent. She broke away laughing breathlessly. "You're trying to distract me!" she accused, her indignation ruined by her still gasping breaths and the hands that still clutched him close.
Erik's breath rasped against her neck as he whispered hoarsely, "And you wish for me to stop?" Immediately he began a heated path of kisses in the crease of her neck, causing her to gasp and pull him nearer.
"Well?" he questioned before seizing her mouth again for a deep kiss that left her head spinning. She cried out into him when his hands ran down her back and clutched her firmly to him. "Do you want me to stop, Christine?" The words were murmured against her lips, teasing her, daring her to say yes.
"No," she answered in a pleading tone he knew well. Grinning his triumph, Erik pulled the strings of her cape and ran his hungry gaze over her delicious features.
"Good," he replied in thick, husky tones, "because I cannot resist."
As the carriage rolled gently to a stop, Erik straightened his disarrayed attire and replaced his mask, all the while fighting his desire to tell the driver to take them back home. Barely restraining himself, he helped Christine out. The complete astonishment written upon her features made every effort worthwhile.
"Erik," she murmured in a disbelieving, small voice, "what...is this?"
"Your surprise," he answered. "Does this please you, ange?" he asked, still half-way afraid she wouldn't want this.
"Did you design it?" She was running her wide eyes over the beauty that was before her. She had never seen such splendor.
"Yes, it was necessary if I am to run it as I imagine. But every detail was sculpted, built, and decorated with your approval in mind. I thought a glorious theatre for your triumphant return to the stage. I hope it doesn't seem over-done."
"You built and entire opera house for us." It wasn't a question, but a surprised statement. "What will it be called?"
"L'Opéra des Beaux Anges," he answered immediately, leading her through the massive doors. "Though technically it should be one angel, but I knew you would argue that point. So I went ahead a made the compromise I already saw coming. Do you like it, the building, the name, all of it? I can add anything if you want something changed." He said all this while escorting her through the lobby and into the theatre itself. She stopped, awestruck when she glimpsed that majesty that was their theatre. Row upon row of red velvet seats lined the theatre. The ceiling was decorated in murals of angels. If she looked closely, she could glimpse her face within the paintings. Erik's was only in one or two, mask-less and scar-less. But in every portrait of their likenesses as a pair, they were obviously the lovely angels, and to her delight, enamored with each other.
"No, Erik, I love it. I couldn't have imagined anything so perfect," she told him. "When will it be open?"
"As soon as I am able to hire the necessary directors, cast, and crew. We can begin working on a new opera in only a few months." He suddenly stopped and peered quickly into Christine's crimson face. The emotion had swept so swiftly across her expression he couldn't help but question what had caused it. "Why the sudden shyness? You shall be more than ready with months ahead of us to work." The shyness hadn't lessoned, if anything, it had intensified. "Christine, what aren't you telling me?" he asked.
"I-well, in several months I won't be in any shape to perform," she confided softly.
His eyes searched hers fearfully, "I do not understand. Is something wrong?"
"No! No, nothing like that. Erik, I…We are going to have a baby."
Christine stifled a smile as Erik's jaw dropped and his intense eyes flew down to her still-flat abdomen. She had never seen him so shocked. His gaze ran back up to hers and he questioned in an unsure voice, "How long have you known?"
"When we arrived back in France, I went to see a doctor while you were checking on the house," she replied quickly. "I've been waiting for the right moment to tell you. Since you decided to surprise me today…well I thought you might be pleased with yours as well." She said this last with an undecided whisper. Erik had yet to display any emotion save shock and uncertainty. She had been hoping desperately that he would want their child as much as she did.
"Pleased?" he questioned incredulously, "pleased doesn't come even remotely close to what I am feeling." He watched as Christine, so shining with happiness only moments before, looked away from him sadly. He realized she was attempting to hide the hurt she now felt. "Ange," he called. Still she refused to turn back to him. Very gently, he caught her chin in one hand and lifted her face to his. He felt his heart clench when he saw the slow tears she tried to control rolling down her cheeks. She lifted her hands to wipe them away, but he was faster, cupping her face in his palms and wiping away the moisture with his thumbs.
"Love, why are you crying?"
"I-I," her tremulous voice stuttered on her explanation, "I wanted you to be excited, but you aren't even pleased, Erik!" Her eyes snapped angrily when she heard his muffled laughter. She opened her mouth to protest, but didn't have the chance. He had caught her lips and crushed her in an embrace.
"You, Madame, are a highly amusing mother-to-be. No, I am not pleased," he stopped her words before she could protest with a finger against her lips. "I am overwhelmed, elated, simply ecstatic at such news," he informed her carefully. "I am also worried, but goodness, Christine, your overzealous, hormonal response didn't give me the chance to say so." He laughed again at her indignant expression. "If your goal was to surprise, you outdid yourself considerably. A-a baby." He said in wonderment. Thinking of being a father frightened him and overjoyed him at the same time. Rarely had he pondered such a fantastic thought.
"Our baby," Christine whispered, pulling his hand away. Her emotional high morphed from despair to happiness in only a moment.
Erik sat in box five of his and Christine's theatre. He was enraptured watching his Christine perform again. It had been ages since he had heard her voice sound so enthralling. The aria he had written never sounded more intoxicating than when her ethereal voice soared through its intricate melodies. Every note entranced him more, sending shivers down his spine. At the end, Christine took a graceful bow. She looked beautiful, standing center stage in her lace trimmed gown. Before exiting she smiled softly up at him, and Erik left the shadows to applaud along with the guests. This Gala was their first event, and if the roaring crowd was any indication, one of many to come.
"Magnificent isn't she?" he asked the wide green-blue eyes looking up at him. The tiny round face was already smiling, chocolate curls bouncing as musical giggles filled the air. Erik found the sound to be just a stunning as Christine's voice. He never took a single second of laughter for granted.
"Mama vewie, pwett-ee," she said as clearly as she could muster.
"Yes," he agreed seriously. Christine often laughed at how much weight he put into their toddler's conversations. But Erik just knew how brilliant she was. "Mama is very beautiful, but so is our little ange," he said, rocking her side to side in his arms.
"So is daddy," his daughter told him.
Erik felt his heart skip a beat with that short statement. He didn't wear his mask at home. Christine insisted that their baby would love the man, not his mask. As though accepting a challenge, their child had never once acted as though his scars were scary or ugly or even strange. In fact, she had to be taught not to remove his mask in public. But never had she been able to say how she felt about his peculiar face. Hearing his perfect daughter say such words made Erik want to shout, sing, and cry all at once.
"Thank you, petit," was all he could manage to say to the expectant little girl he held.
"You welcome," she replied hugging him affectionately. Erik had to restrain himself from embracing her too tightly. Truly his child was amazing. His family was a constant reminder that his struggles and challenges had all been worth the result.
Even now he sometimes questioned if he could really be so fortunate. But, he had only to glimpse the love in Christine's eyes or hold their miracle of a little girl to banish such fears. She was the fallible proof of their love, that it was lasting and pure.
Erik had been the one to suggest her name. Though Christine had thought it beautiful, she had questioned why he picked it. When he had explained, she had deemed the name absolutely perfect.
He had said, "When I first met you, you deemed me an angel. Though I have never deserved the appellation, I tried to live up to it then by becoming the Angel of Music for you. And you, dearest, were a true angel to me. You saved and loved a man the world thought unworthy. I believe that angels have always been a part of our love for one another. Therefore, they are a part of her as well."
He smiled softly now, remembering. "Our little ange," he cooed still hugging her. "Evangeline."
Well Lost Love is over. I have been blessed by amazing readers who have given me over 300 reviews and 21,000 plus lifetime hits on this story alone. You people are truly amazing and I couldn't have asked for more thoughtful, loyal, and sweet friends. Hope ya'll stick around for any future tales, but if you don't, thank you for being a part of this one.
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