Hey there! I see some new names on my review! Thank you for your input and support!t It means the world! It's great! Well, I wont keep you any longer. It's the moment you've been waiting for! Enjoy!

Chapter 9

It seemed like ages before one 'o clock finally came the next day. I was as jittery as could be. What would he be like? Would I live up to his standards? I tried to calm the butterflies in my stomach as I made my way to Donovan Studios.

The fall afternoon was bright and clear as I pulled into the driveway. I gaped as I saw a huge white home at the top of the hill. Did I have the wrong address? I pulled up to the house, every fiber of my being becoming more nervous than before. 'Deep breath Kirsten I told myself. I gathered my keys, purse and courage before going up to the massive red door. I banged the gold knocker against it twice, fiddling with the strap of my purse. An intercom system buzzed on the right side of the door buzzed, causing me to jump.

"Who is it?" Came the same velvet tone.

"This is Kirsten Doyle, I have an appointment with Mr. Donovan" I answered

"Yes of course" I could almost hear a smile in his voice.

The door opened, revealing a tall, slender, gentleman. He wore a black turtle neck, black jeans and black dress shoes that shined. He had a pale complexion and sharp features. His eyes were a shocking blue, that seemed to pierce my very soul. But most noticeable was the slim, white mask that covered half of the handsome face. It looked just as the mask in the stage production does, the wires were somewhere buried in his thick, dark hair that was slicked back. A very detailed costume mask. He was a breathtaking sight. Felt my heart leap in my chest. And I swear I heard Meg Giry shriek "He's there, the Phantom of the Opera!" in my head.

"It's a pleasure to be with you, Ms. Doyle" His words were gentle and he smiled warmly, his eyes sparkling

"The pleasure is mine, Mr. Donovan. I assure you" I kept my tone even and gentle.

"How rude of me, leaving you in the cold like this!" He reached for my hand, sweeping me inside. "I apologize, very inconsiderate of me" He hand was surprisingly cool to the touch.

"That's quite alright, Mr. Donovan. No apology necessary" I smoothed my french braid.

"Ms. Doyle, Erik I insist" He smiled

"Only if I am Kirsten to you" I grinned

Erik extended his hand "It's a pleasure to finally meet you in person." He pressed a kiss to my hand

"Thank you, Erik. I'm honored to be here" I replied as he released me

His eyes widened as he chuckled "Honored? Why, thank you!"

I couldn't help but blush under Erik's enthusiasm. Erik took my arm gently as he grandly gestured to his foyer

"Welcome to my home, Kirsten."

"T- Thank you." I stuttered "It's beautiful"

I gazed around the room, my eyes feasting on the d├ęcor around me. The deep brown marble tiles beneath me, the cream walls that were covered in paintings, a winding wooden staircase that lead to another level were all screaming for my attention. The high ceiling and large windows let in light, making everything gleam and sparkle.

"Thank you." He smiled again as he led me to the living room, where a huge fire roared in a brown stone fireplace. The soft carpet beneath our feet and the red curtains made the room feel warm and comfortable. We sat on large red sofa that had a brown throw draped across the back. Suddenly, a woman came through a walkway that led from the kitchen to the living room. She was plump, with rosy cheeks and sparkling emerald eyes. She graying hair was wound into a bun at the back of her head

"Hello Erik dear! Made a bit of tea for you and the guest!" The woman said happily, her Irish accent thick. Erik chuckled, rising

"Mrs. Andrews, may I present Ms. Kirsten Doyle. She is my new pupil" He grinned proudly at me.

I rose to my feet, extending my hand " It's lovely to meet you Mrs. Andrews." I looked down at the tea service that sat on the coffee table in front of Erik and I.

"Oh you're most welcome, dear. I'm here if you ever need me" She patted my hand, gave Erik a smile, and then disappeared.

I grinned "She's a sweetheart" I told Erik as he poured me a cup

"Indeed she is. The woman raised me since I was five. My parent's had died. A very gentle, Christian lady." His tone was soft

"Oh I'm sorry." I felt an ache in my chest

"It's quite alright, Kirsten" He smiled sadly

"If it's any comfort, I've never known my dad. He left before I was born. I know it can be hard" The ache became deeper.

"I'm sorry to hear that. A man should be proud of have a young woman such as beautiful and intelligent as you for a daughter."

I smiled softly "Thank you" I ran my thumb across the red rose imprinted on the cream porcelain.

"So tell me about yourself, mademoiselle" He brightened, lightening the mood.

"There isn't much to tell, Erik" I shrugged. "I'm a senior at Clearwater High School. I participate in my school choir and drama club. Straight A student. I work at the Mocha Cafe in town Square. And I love anything musical theater. There you go" I listed them off my fingers.

"Well, I'm happy to hear those things, Kirsten. Fan to fan, what is your favorite musical?" Erik smiled

"Les Miserables and The.."I trailed off, not sure if I should continue

He nodded for me to go on, seeming interested. I took a deep breathe, praying I wouldn't offend him or the costume he wore.

"The Phantom of the Opera, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, sir" I finished timidly

"Ahh two classics indeed" He beamed, his voice rich. 'My favorites as well. You can tell, I'm a fan." He gestured to the mask. Something told me now that it wasn't a costume piece. Now that I saw it up closer, I noticed the blush of pink across the cheekbone of the mask. I felt a twinge of uneasiness.

I nodded. "I see. I wish I could dress as Christine. But that Carlotta dress would be hard to navigate in"

Erik chuckled,a hearty, deep, laugh "Yes it would" He became a bit more serious

"I hope it does not bother you, Kirsten. My mask"

"Oh nonsense! Not at all!" I assured him

My mask? Was he implying this was a permanent staple of his wardrobe? What was the secret behind the the tender eyes, the soft spoken manner? Whose is that face in the mask?

There you go! Hope you enjoyed meeting Erik! I will continue this scene in the next chapter. I wanted Erik's home to have a more Beauty & the Beast feel to it, that's why there is more red and brown than the usual black/red combo's I normally picture with Erik. Also, I kinda came up with Mrs. Andrews on the spot as I typed, going along with the Beauty & the Beast theme. I also named her in honor of Julie Andrew's 77th birthday today! I hope you enjoyed it! Review and share!