La Fleur du Fantôme

The sudden rush of noise from the stage made me look up from sewing myself into my pointe shoes for the rehearsal. The gabbing of the other members of the corps increased tenfold. I glanced at my friend, Alice, she shrugged. I went back to sewing my pointe shoes. When I was finished Alice took my hand and dragged me out onto the stage to ask her mother, Madame Evenson what was going on. Alice has been my best friend at the Opera Populaire since her mother took me in after my father died. Her short black hair usually stands up at odd angles, she claims it is because it would be too much work to fix it then have a wig shoved over it. But secretly I think she is trying to make a statement to her mother, who doesn't notice. Alice's eyes are a beautiful violet color and her skin pale as fresh cream.

Alice's mother is called Mme. Evenson, but prefers for me to call her Tante Esme. She is a stark contrast from her daughter's dark beauty. Where her daughter's hair is black as night hers is a lovely caramel color, her skin having the slightly olive tint of those born on the coastal regions of France. Her eyes, though, are the same violet as Alice's, purple as spring fleur-de-lis. She smiles at us as we approach. "Madame Cullen? What is all this noise about?" She glances off stage for a moment. The new owners are here and wish to see an excerpt from Hannibal, full costume. Rosalie is throwing a fit trying to get her costume and makeup on." Rosalie Hale is the Opera's present prima donna, and that is an understatement. Rosalie is a beautiful blonde woman with pretty green eyes, who fancies herself a soprano but is more along the lines of a contralto. She acts as if she rules the Opera, strutting about like a queen ordering the corps dancers to do her bidding.

The dancers of the opera rush about trying to find their costumes for the scene we are performing for the new owners. Luckily for Alice and me, we only have our slave costumes, tan skirts with a bra of gold embroidered fabric. My hair is tied back with a length of pretty gold ribbon. Alice and I wear chains on our wrists, attaching us to each other as well as Angela and Jessica, two other corps dancers. We step on the stage and the former owner of the opera stands before us. Monsieur Cullen is a handsome blonde man with bright blue eyes; he looks very tired as he smiles at the cast of Hannibal. "Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the new owners of the Opera Populaire, Monsieur Whitlock and Monsieur McCarty." Two men come forward one, M. Whitlock, is very beautiful with flowing blonde hair and deep chocolate brown eyes. The other M. McCarty has curly dark hair and blue eyes the color of the sky. Both bow politely to us all. M. McCarty looks over Rosalie with a look of hunger on his face, she grins coyly at him. "Madams and monsieur's, it is mine and my partners pleasure to be working with you all at this grand opera house. We look forward to a great year and greater to follow." M. Whitlock smiles shyly as he finishes his sort speech, as he backs up a bit to join his partner I catch him glancing at Alice. If he thinks he'll be getting her just because he is her boss he is sorely mistaken for Madame Esme will put that thought out of his mind faster than you can say Oui.

We begin our dance and I can feel the eyes of both men watching me as I let the music take me over, just like when I am learning to sing from my Angel. Before my father died he told me that from heaven he would send me an Angel of Music to watch over and guide me. When I first came to the opera house I finally encountered my angel late one night when I could not sleep for grief over my father. He spoke kind words to me and said he would teach me to sing like another angel so we can make beautiful music together. And that he did. For the past few years I have received instruction from my angel every night and my voice has grown from merely pretty to truly astounding, or so Alice say when she hears me singing. As we dance I can hear Rosalie attempting to hit the high notes of the song and her voice going sour as vinegar. I could do much better than that, I'm sure my Angel would agree. Just as we are making a grand jump and turn, the large backdrop falls down, right onto La Prima Donna Rosalie who screeches like a hungry crow. Everything stops.

She rises angry from under the heavy painted cloth her face reddening by the moment as she sees Monsieur McCarty trying to stifle his chuckles. "I am done with this!" she cries out. This sobers M. McCarty very quickly "Oh no Miss Hale, you simply cannot go! The opera needs you! I'm sure it was just an accident." She glares at him. "These accidents have been happening for months, good monsieur! I will stand for it no longer as I always seem to be the target of these 'accidents'. Goodbye good messieurs, good bye incompetent little corps dancers! Au revoir!" She turns on her heel and calls to her attendants to clean out her dressing room as fast as possible and then she is gone. M. McCarty turns to M. Whitlock "What do we do now that we have lost our star? The opera is ruined and we've been here for naught more than ten minutes." He groans and buries his face in his hands. Suddenly Madame Esme pushes me forward. "Our little Isabella has a beautiful voice, my good messieurs. Try her before you deny her the part, s'il vous plait." She says this as she catches their wary eyes. She is young they are thinking and it is true I have not yet reached my eighteenth year, but I am prepared. The maestro signals to the orchestra "The aria Mademoiselle Swan?" I nod. I have perfected this most recently with my Angel and I pray he is listening. I take a deep breath as the first notes fill the still air, then I begin to sing.

Think of me, think of me fondly,

When we've said goodbye.

Remember me once in a while -

Please promise me you'll try.

When you find that, once again, you long

To take your heart back and be free -

If you ever find a moment,

Spare a thought for me

The new owners look stunned by my voice, but none is more stunned than the young man who seemed to have just appeared on the stage. He is tall with tan skin and beautiful black hair, he looks familiar but I cannot place where I may have seen him. "Is this our shows star, messieurs?" They look at each other for a moment and nod. The young man grins at me, takes my hand and kisses it softly. I feel a blush rising on my cheeks. "Pardon me, but who are you Monsieur?" It is his turn to flush. "Oh! Excuse me. I am Jacob Black, the Vicomte de La Push." I smile at him. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Monsieur Black. I am Isabella Swan."

I stand on the stage; the flames from the lights are heating me and making me feel warmer than I normally feel. The silvery white gown sparkles as the flickering fires grace it with warm light. The words of the music bubble out of my mouth as smoothly as silk. The crowd looks awed by my talent, I shall tell the Angel of this tonight when I speak with him.

We never said our love was evergreen,

Or as unchanging as the sea -

But if you can still remember

Stop and think of me . . .

Think of all the things

We've shared and seen -

Don't think about the way things

Might have been . . .

Think of me, think of me waking,

Silent and resigned.

Imagine me, trying too hard

To put you from my mind.

Recall those days

Look back on all those times,

Think of the things we'll never do -

There will never be a day,

When I won't think of you . . .

In the private box I can see the Vicomte de La Push staring at me intently. It flatters m immensely, but now I must focus on my music as it reaches its crescendo.

Flowers fade,

The fruits of summer fade,

They have their seasons, so do we

But please promise me, that sometimes

You will think of me!

As I finish my song I smile as the crowd stands and applauds. The show was a great success and everyone is pleased, especially the owners and myself. Alice runs up to me and hugs me, her brunette wig is slightly askew but she doesn't bother to fix it in her haste to embrace me. "You were truly beautiful, Bella!" I make my way through the crowd, accepting congratulations and praise from every one I pass by. When I finally reach my dressing room I am forced to sit and catch my breath. Then there is a knock on the door. It opens to reveal the Vicomte, holding flowers and looking dashing in his white tie and tails. He smiles at me. "My dear Mademoiselle you were truly magnificent, utter perfection I promise you. Someday you shall be the greatest soprano in all the world!" I blush at his words. "Oh Vicomte you are truly too kind." he kneels and looks me in the eyes, his face serious. "Does my Little Bell, still dream of being the most famous singer in the world, or am I mistaken?" Suddenly I know why the Vicomte looked so familiar before, he was my childhood friend Jake. We would play games together when we were young and he would call me his little Bell. "Jake!" I gasp and he smiles. "So you finally remember me, eh?" I nod. "It's been a long time Jake. You've become quite handsome." He keeps grinning. "And you have become quite lovely yourself." He suddenly rises. "I'm taking you to dinner, be ready in ten!" I shake my head. "Jake I cannot. The Angel is strict with me. If I miss one practice he will be cross." Too late he is out the door. I turn back to my mirror and stare at my reflection. Then I hear the click of a lock. My lock.