Katdancer: I hate ending stories, but I try to end them happy!
I stopped looking out the window of my carriage to see we had arrived at the docks. I nodded and climbed out of the carriage, my fifty six-year-old bones protesting. But we had to get back to Phantasma.
I was working on a wax museum and I had wanted to purchase several things for it. It held figures of those who'd changed my life.
Gustave. Christine. Raoul. Idonea. Lucy. Alexander. Joe. Mr. Erikson. Miss fleck. Dr. Gangle. Mr. Squelch. Madame Giry and Meg.
Gustave had the idea and it was a very successful one. The years had been kind to us and I was so blessed to have held my children and all my eight grandchildren. Gustave had four while the other's had two.
Alexander had finally settled down and was discovered he liked making attractions. Phantasma had flourished under his care and he had built several more around the country. All were successful. He was a skirt chaser as Idonea had predicted. But one woman, Eva, a Spanish woman nailed him. She ignored him and blew him off. Only once she was sure he was sincere, she let him court her. Idonea loved Eva's accents and often begged her to sing songs for her. I allowed her to perform on the Phantasma stage whenever she desired.
Lucy, she looked so much like her mother. When she was 20 she had a huge crush on Joe and followed him everywhere. He was 40 so I assumed it was a bad case of puppy love. When Joe and Lucy came seeking my permission to get married, I was shocked! Idonea laughed at my expression so much she almost passed out. They assured me that their love was real and I had no doubt of it. Still, the age difference bothered me severely. But when I gave my daughter in marriage and I saw her face light up and Joe's face appeared 10 years younger when he kissed her. I knew that I'd made the right choice.
Gustave stayed in Coney Island and he owned it now. He'd resigned himself to being a bachelor, or so he thought.
He was leaving the hotel with me and he tripped over a girl who was scrubbing the Phantasma floor. She had a mouth on her, like Idonea and she told him off in such a way that his mouth was hanging open. She then flounced away from him her wet shoes squishing with each step. He didn't reveal who he was, because he told me later that he was attracted to her somewhat. I don't know why. But then, women have strange effects on men.
A few days later he introduced us to her, Bethany, was so embarrassed that she'd told off Mr. Y's son that she burst into tears one minute, then bawled Gustave out the next. Idonea and I sat back laughing openly at the two of them as they slowly reconciled. I could see she'd already forgiven him, but wanted to drag it out, make him suffer. He married Bethany within the year and it seemed every year for the first six, we came over and she was pregnant. But then Gustave was like me in that way; we just couldn't keep our hands off our wives.
She was lovely although she grew increasingly tired. Her eyes never lost that sparkle. But when Dr. Gangle told me her heart wouldn't last long; my heart almost failed then and there. Still, I refused to let Idonea know she needed me to be strong with her.
For our twentieth anniversary, I finished our play. I remember having to carry her to our private box and I remembered how she cried as she heard all the songs I'd written for her and the ones she'd written for me.
The play wasn't a huge success. But those who knew me best, considered it to be the greatest. She died, a week ago and I buried myself in my work. But it was no use; I could see and hear her everywhere. Our bed smelled of her blackberry perfume always and little things like a broken glass would send me into those twenty years of marriage.
I remember her moments before she slipped away.
"I'll see you soon Erik." Her voice was quiet and soft. "I'll be waiting for you." Her hand dried my eyes. "Erik, I love you."
"I love you."
"Again," she said Erik. "To love. Don't be afraid, to love again."
In her final moments, she was thinking of me. I shook my head. "I'm not afraid. I can't love again. For you were my first wife, and you'll be my only wife."
Tears sparkled in her eyes, and she whispered, "I….love you."
Then, she slipped away.
I looked down at my ring and fingered it. I closed my eyes and relaxed. I felt a horrible pain in my chest. I felt myself falling and all went black. Then I saw myself looking down from the sky to see Gustave desperately trying to revive me and people milling around me.
Had I died?
I moved without accord as the world slipped away to white fog.
I spun around and saw my beloved Idonea standing there, radiant and glowing. She held out her hand for me and I took it, "I've been waiting." She breathed.
I hugged her and my heart soared as I felt her arms around me again. Now, we could never be parted again.