Disclaimer: No, I do not own the work of Baz Luhrman's hands, thank you very much! Read and review, my dearies!
She always managed to make any room glow with her mere presence; her eyes, a lovely balance between deepest blue and sharpest green, were brighter than any sparkling diamond could ever be. Satine was more than any mere jewel could be, and her love spoke the promise of the universe to Christian. She was his muse, his comfort, and above all, the recipient of all the feelings of love he had been forced to deny under the tyrannical rule of his father. Rather than simply allowing him to take from her, she allowed him to give freely of himself, without any thought of being repaid later on. And for a few blissful months, he could share everything with her, and the very thought of making her smile brought a thrill to him that even he himself could scarcely comprehend. One day in particular, however, captured his memory even after her death, and though it did not ease his grief, it reminded him that there could still be some happiness in the world, even if Satine could no longer sit by his side, her hand gently caressing his.
Christian sat quietly at the window sill, thinking up a new scene for "Spectacular Spectacular," his hat pulled over his grey eyes and his sleeves rolled up past his elbows. The day was warm as could be, and the sun played merrily through the beams of the Moulin Rouge's windmill; in the heat of this final month of summer, the sun herself had kissed his soft skin with a little of her dark blossom. It was very early in the day, but he had already eaten and bathed, and he felt in him a strange air of contentment with the world. Things simply felt right with him, because he knew that later, claiming an emergency rehearsal, Satine would come running to his embrace. While they would rehearse a little, they would probably be otherwise occupied later on, and the very thought made Christian chuckle with boyish delight. Ah, she made him feel so very young, but everyone could see how much he had grown up in her presence; while the strange, enchanted boy still lingered, he had lost a little wonder with experience, but it did his gentle features no harm. The air of youth remained in his winsome smile and in his intelligent eyes, but some of his ideas about life had changed. Before Satine, Christian had placed all women on a high and golden pedestal, never to be touched, but now? Now he could reach out to touch one woman's heart, leading him to become more at ease with all of the fairer sex. They were not strange, exotic creatures to be coddled, but just as human as he was. At any rate, he eagerly awaited Satine's arrival.
Time ticked on, and when Christian finally took a moment to look at the clock, he saw that he had written an entire scene in the three hours that had passed since he began to write. Anxiously, he looked across the street to the Moulin, wondering where on Earth Satine could be. She was hardly ever late, but then again, she had given no exact time for her arrival; what reason did he have to be worried? Even if she was late, she would always come for him. He tried for a few minutes to convince himself of this, but he could not help feeling that something was wrong, very wrong indeed, and after perhaps a quarter hour, he grabbed his things and practically flew out the door. Something was keeping her, and Christian would find out exactly what was wrong, or so he hoped.
Rehearsal for the large ensemble was in full swing as Christian sprinted through the double doors, forgetting to thank the doormen in his haste to find Satine. Almost as soon as he was through the doors, he collided with Harold Zidler's massive belly, and the two men both tumbled to the floor. Embarrassed, Christian apologized profusely to Zidler, and helped the portly showman to his feet. Zidler was in high spirits that day, thank heaven, and jovially asked Christian where he was off to in such a great hurry. Christian, who in his moment of confusion had forgotten his business, instantly returned to his previous frame of mind, and inquired after Mademoiselle Satine's whereabouts in as formal a manner as he could manage.
"Is Mademoiselle Satine quite all right, Monsieur Zidler? We had scheduled a rehearsal for today, and she did not come when I had expected her, and I was wondering if something had happened, perhaps?"
Zidler kindly reassured him that Satine would be fine to rehearse a little later, but that something had happened earlier on that morning to upset her; she would be awhile coming, if Christian was impatient.
"If you really must see her," Zidler told him, "she's in her rooms, but I don't know if she'll see anyone. But if it really is urgent, feel free to go and see her."
After thanking Zidler for his help, Christian made his way to the elephant, and knocked politely at the gold door, hoping Satine would allow him in.
"Who is it?" Christian could hear the slight strain in Satine's voice as she asked; had she been crying?
"Darling," he murmured in what he hoped was a consoling tone, "it's only me. If you feel up to it, I'd like to come in, love."
When Satine opened the door, she immediately fell into Christian's arms, whimpering on his shoulder. Christian then moved them both into the room, shutting the door behind them as Satine raised her eyes to face him; even when crying she was breathtaking, with tears glistening on her eyelashes and making the blue of her irises shimmer like the ocean. However, even the remarkable beauty of her tears could not deter Christian's desire to bring a smile to her pale face.
"Love, what's wrong?" he asked as he gently propped her on the edge of her bed. As he sat down, Satine found a home on his shoulder again, and began to speak with a slight quaver in her voice that nearly broke his heart.
"She's gone," Satine murmured, "she's gone and she's not coming back for me! Oh, Christian, she's never coming back!"
Christian was confused, and patiently asked who this "she" was, and what had happened to so upset Satine. After what seemed like a small eternity, Satine gazed up at him with glistening eyes, and sat up slowly, trembling a little bit. Wiping her eyes and dabbing at her tear-streaked cheeks with a handkerchief, she began to tell her story.
"About two years ago, I found myself up rather early, and so I took a walk out by the front gates when I couldn't get back to sleep. I couldn't leave, of course, but I could very well see through the gates, and that morning, there was the skinniest little girl laying sprawled in front of the gates; her clothes were all ripped, and I figured that some of the men who had come the night before might have found her and harassed her, seeing as almost everyone gets drunk and aggressive after a visit here."
Satine paused for a moment, and gulped in a sharp gasp of air to avoid sobbing again. Christian gently began to stroke her hair, patiently awaiting the continuation of her tale. Unless he knew the story, he could not exactly be of much help, and helping was exactly what he intended to do.
"But there was something worse than that," Satine continued, "because the girl wasn't asleep or passed out. Her eyes were wide open, and when I came close enough, she reached through the gate with those little brown hands to grab at my skirt, and she was so frighteningly small, and so scared. Her eyes were so big, and so bright, but so full of all the horrible things that happen on the street to helpless girls like that! She… she asked me for food, and I begged the gate-keeper to let her in so I could feed her, but he wouldn't let me bring her inside! So I ran to the Elephant, got some bread and some fruit for her, took some water in a little cup, and I brought it back for her. It went on like that for a few weeks, and then we began talking about everything. Oh, Christian," Satine sighed, "she was my only friend outside of this place, my poor Angeline! My God, my God!"
Again, Satine began to sob into Christian's shirt; Christian knew this was not the end of the story, but he liked what he had heard thus far. The story showed him the gentler side of his dear love, the side that existed beyond the Moulin and beyond their own world. Her love extended to others, and that in itself was a beautiful miracle. Gently, he urged her to go on, and tell him more, that she might find comfort in releasing these feelings. With another little gasp, she went on.
"This morning, I went out to meet her as usual, but she was lying by the gates, and she was not moving. She was not breathing. Her clothes were torn even worse than usual, and there was blood dripping from her lips and from her nose. I didn't really believe it for a moment, but I began screaming for anyone to come and help me, to grab her; then I had one of my fits. I fainted, and the next thing I knew, Harry was explaining to me why he could not give some common girl a proper funeral. Warner, the Duke's man? I saw him today, and he was grinning like a cat who has caught a mouse in his maw, and he had her little bag in his trouser pocket! I gave her that bag to collect coins while she was singing, and I know he stole it from her! He stole her livelihood, and perhaps other things, and he struts around proud as a peacock, but he murdered her! Those wounds on my Angeline came from him, and she was already sick and weak! Why do men do these things to little girls who are already hurt?"
This, Christian could not answer; he had never felt the desire to harm someone already in pain that many people, men and women, fall prey to. The idea that anyone had a desire to do such a thing seemed absurd to him, because the actions resulting contradicted the ideas of truth, beauty, freedom, and love that Bohemians were supposed to uphold. Bohemians did not believe in hurting their fellow men, but in bettering the world as a whole, and any true harm done to another human being was absolutely unforgivable in the eyes of their peers. Satine had fallen into silent, trembling sobs, and she quivered against him like a wounded bird. Christian tenderly wrapped his arms about her, and thought on what he could do to help. After a few moments of silence, inspiration suddenly struck, and Christian sprang to his feet. Satine jolted up straight in surprise, but soon settled down as Christian began to speak.
"You know, I was thinking how the show needs more speaking parts, darling, and I thought that perhaps, if you thought it was all right, I could incorporate Mademoiselle Angeline into the show. But I will only do this if you think it is right. If you feel that this will dishonor the deceased, feel free to tell me no, but I think my idea will satisfy you. May I?"
Satine hesitated a moment, but nodded her consent to go on, and so Christian did. He wove a beautiful story from the tragedy; Satine's character, a courtesan, would befriend a young, sweet untouchable with the voice of a bird. This untouchable would be one of the first to suffer and die under the regime of the wicked Maharaja, and the courtesan would be struck with such grief that she could not help but defy him at every chance she had. By the end of his tale, Satine was smiling again, but still the tears streamed down her porcelain face like little rivers. Beaming at her, Christian took a handkerchief to her cheeks, and soon nothing remained of her crying but some barely perceptible trails that no one would notice; and Christian was overjoyed that he had made her feel at least a bit better. He knew she would probably never entirely lose the grief that weighed upon her soul, but he could at least show her that life still could be sunny. It was not like him to be a pessimist, or to let feelings of sadness overwhelm him. He defied sadness, mocked it, and that day, took away from it a beautiful victim.
Thinking on that day, Christian once again took to his typewriter; the book was not yet finished. He would not soon forget this dear little girl, whom he had never met, because she was a bright spot in the life of his beloved Satine. If Satine had loved the girl so dearly, she must have been absolutely wonderful. And so he began a new chapter:
I never knew or even saw Angeline before I heard of her tragedy. I did not know that Satine had had any contact with the outside world until she told me the story of a wide-eyed, beautiful child, who died for the greed and the lust of a wicked man. In retrospect, I see that Angeline, in her own little way, helped me to further grasp the Bohemian dogma; she lived her whole life seeing and feeling terrible things, but taught Satine and I both the true meanings of truth, beauty, and love as Satine mourned her passing. Satine often spoke of her in our little meetings afterwards, describing a girl who had great faith in God and in others, and believed that someday the dreams that she wished would come true. Her wishes were simple, and very few, but they were unreachable castles in the air for someone such as her. Her great love left such an impression on Satine and, indirectly, on me. Even after her death, life could still have light, as long as everyone could love as she did.