Final Chapter (24)
Phantom of the Concert Hall (24)
Erik slipped down the dark corridor and back out into the auditorium, Christine in tow. She laid little kisses on his cheek in reassurance as the man she loved walked ever closer to the impending doom that waited them.
Public knowledge of his face.
Christine mourned silently for Erik’s downfall, but knew that he could not hide behind the porcelain forever. It would only make people more and more curious about his mysterious concealment. If that ever happened there would be no telling what Erik would do.
As they reached the stage door Erik paused with his hand on the door knob. He looked down at his feet and shut his eyes. Christine looked at him in wonder. What on earth had happened to him to make him wear that mask, to make him that weary of people? It broke her heart to think that he may have been mistreated because of the way that he was born. It was not like he could help the matter in the slightest. If those people did not understand why he looked the way he did, well she would just have to make them understand. She squeezed his hand and he turned his downcast fast to her. She smiled at him brightly, bringing his knuckles close to her face and planting gentle kisses on them
“You will be alright. I have a plan.” Christine whispered soothingly. Erik nodded gratefully and took a deep breath.
Before he had time to change his mind, he turned the knob and the pair walked into the bright lights of the Paris Theatre. The lights dancing across his face caused his heart to pound as he waited for the reaction of the men before him to occur.
But it did not.
Christine touched his ruined cheek gently and shook her head.
“I’ll never forgive him for what he has done to you.” She said softly. Erik looked at her, confusion written all over his face.
The uniformed men clucked their tongues and shook their heads as their commanding officer stepped up to Erik and Christine.
“Monsieur, I am terribly sorry for the pain he has caused you. How did Clayman do this to you?” He asked softly, inspecting Erik’s flesh.
Erik looked down. So this is what Christine was talking about. The authorities assumed that Alex had done something up in the rafters to ruin his face.
Christine allowed a few tears to slip down her cheeks, adding to the effect.
“Erik was trying to save me sir. When he was knocked to the ground by that monster, Monsieur Clayman broke one of the old gas lamps in the rafters over his face.” She whispered, pleading to Erik with her eyes. Erik understood. She was giving him a way out.
“Monsieur is this true?” The officer asked. Erik looked up at him, his weakened eye sliding up to look at him.
“Yes. Then he attacked Christine. He threatened both of our lives. I had to stop him in anyway that I could.” He said softly, gesturing to the lumpy bag being taken across the stage on a stretcher.
The officer nodded his head fretfully. He believed.
“I understand. Not to worry Monsieur. We shall have your name cleared from the ordeal. You have been a great help to France.” He said, extending his hand. Erik clenched it in own and nodded.
“Let me get you both to the medic.” The officer said softly, his voice sounding fatherly. He gestured to the side door of the auditorium and began to walk away. Erik looked at Christine, relief written on his face.
“Thank you for that.” He said softly, touching her face. Christine shook her head.
“Think nothing of it. I would not have you ashamed of yourself anymore.” She replied, taking his hand from her face and leading him toward the opened door.
::one week later::
“Good God have I missed you like that.” Erik breathed letting his head fall back against the feather pillows of his bed. Christine softly collapsed against Erik’ damp skin, resting her head beneath his chin.
“I hope you never have to again.” She whispered, curling her hands into his thick hair and kissing him deeply.
Erik ran his hands along her bare back, savoring the feel of her slender dancer’s body melded with his own, and how perfect that body felt against him.
Christine rolled off of her beloved’s chest, much to his dismay. She tucked the satin sheet in around his waist and kissed his lips softly.
“I’ll come back Erik. I have a phone conference in 5 minutes with BrightStar.” She said regretfully, sliding off of the bed and slipping into Erik’s robe.
He propped himself up on his elbow, looking at her through molten eyes.
“Just make sure you come back quickly.”
Christine clucked her tongue at him and exited the bedroom to conduct her conference.
So much had happened since that night at the Paris Theatre.
She was free to love Erik openly, without fear of anyone trying to sabotage or hurt the man she cared so much for. Erik was given a complete pardon for the murder of Alex Clayman, it being proven without a shadow of a doubt that he had only acted in self defense. Not many raised questions about the condition of Erik’s face that night. It was easily believed that Alex had burned him and he accepted a vain skin treatment just to make the medical team happy. The police understood the necessity to keep things quiet, given Erik’s celebrity status, so the small fact that his face was in shambles was not released to the public. The Phantom would continue on without suspicion.
Christine walked into the small living room and curled up onto the couch, taking her cellular phone from the coffee table and pressing in the desired numbers.
Directly after the incident, her agent from New York City, Bradley Clark, had called asking for a telephone conference with her the very next day. She had no clue as to what he wanted in particular, but she hoped that it was something that would work out in her favor.
“Bradley Clark.” His voice said gruffly, all business like. Christine chuckled. She knew the real Brad…he wasn’t so tough.
“Hello Mr. Clark, its Christine Davenport.”
“Ah Christine! Excellent, we were just expecting your call.” He said, his voice sounding delighted. Christine raised an eyebrow at the wall.
“We?” She asked.
“The reason I could not tell you what I wished to the other day on the phone is because the rest of the management wished to be present while I conducted this call.” He said.
Christine’s lips curled into a smile. This could only mean something good.
“I see. Good afternoon everyone.” She said brightly. A murmur of hellos echoed through the phone and Bradley chuckled.
“Well Christine, we have a proposition for you.”
Christine closed her eyes, unbelieving.
“Yes sir?” She asked.
“I know that you had your heart set on that spot in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera…and believe me you’ve earned it. You have the spot if you’d like it with no problems what so ever…but…” He began.
Christine smirked, wondering what he was up to.
Brent chuckled again.
“We have been reading the reviews from Paris, and we are very pleased with your work with the tour there.” He said.
“And?” Christine asked impatiently.
“Well we would need to talk directly to your employer of course, but I assumed you would be able to give us some sort of answer so we will go ahead and make our proposition to you Christine.”
“I hope you are aware of the suspense you are creating.” Christine laughed nervously into the phone.
“I know. It’s for effect.”
“Would you get on with it?” Christine said impatiently.
“Alright, alright. We would like to co sign with Antoinette Giry’s management for American publicity.” He said.
Christine’s heart began to race.
“What are you saying Bradley?”
“We want to sign yourself and the Phantom to our label. We want to give you both some airplay and potentially…an American stadium tour.”
Christine’s eyes about popped out.
“Are you serious? You want to bring Erik and me to America to tour?” She asked.
“Precisely, but we will not have you doing any of this back up nonsense any longer. You will perform with the Phantom’s entourage as an equal.” Bradley said.
“I need to speak with Antoinette first.” Christine said, rising from the couch.
“We have already spoken to her. She said that she would discuss it with her employer and give us his answer.” Bradley breathed.
Christine’s broad smile filled her lips again.
“I’ll talk to him too. You’ll hear back from me very shortly.” She said quickly.
Bradley laughed again.
“I’m sure we will Miss Davenport. I’m sure we will.” With that the pair said goodbye and Christine hung up.
No sooner had Christine ended the call when there was a knock at the hotel room door. Gathering her robe closely around her small frame, Christine walked to the door.
“Who is it?” She called through the door.
“It’s me darling.”
Christine furrowed her brow as she unlocked the door.
“You are supposed to be keeping off of your leg!” She exclaimed, pulling the door open.
Antoinette Giry shuffled past her with a smirk.
“Well if you’ll let me in I’ll sit down and then we’ll both be happy.” Antoinette chuckled as she hobbled to the couch.
Antoinette was doing quite well for a gunshot victim. The bullet had settled itself deep in her thigh, only inches from her knee. The bullet was removed only days ago, and Antoinette was already up and about. She was not as quick as she used to be, being hindered with a walking cane, but she would soon be as quick as ever.
Christine smiled as the woman settled into the plush leather couch.
“I just received the most wonderful news Antoinette!” She said, bounding across the room and settling on the couch.
“Did you now?” Christine looked up as Erik strode into the room, toweling his damp hair. He wore black dress pants, but little more than that.
“Come sit.” Erik draped the towel over the back of a desk chair and sat down on the chair across from the two women.
“What is it darling? You’re so excited you’re practically bouncing?” Erik chuckled.
Christine blushed as he shook his head at her.
“Fine, I’ll just cut to the chase. Will you tour in America with me? BrightStar wants to sign us both to the label for an American tour.” She stuttered, so excited.
Erik’s face went blank.
“I’ve never really been to America.” He said simply.
“Oh, psh. You’ve been to New York. That counts in itself. We have to let Antoinette contact management…but please say you will Erik. It’s the chance of a lifetime.” Christine leaned across the coffee table and touched his hand.
“Think about it darling. You would achieve international superstardom.” She said, her eyes dancing.
Erik couldn’t help but smile at the girl, no, woman before him.
“Antoinette, what do you think about this?” Antoinette held up her hands.
“It’s your call Monsieur. I will be behind you 100 percent in either case.” She said, looking down at her walking cane.
Erik saw around that calm exterior. She was excited too. He smiled and looked back at his darling Christine.
“If America is what you want mon ange, then that’s what we will do.” He said softly.
Christine flew to him and crushed him in a tight hug.
“I just want you, but thank you.”
Antoinette beamed at the two people before her.
“I’ll contact this Monsieur Clark immediately. I’m sure the Phantom is eager to make his debut in American society.” She chuckled.
Erik looked up from the kiss he had just placed on Christine’s lips.
“You do that my dear friend.” He said thankfully, looking at Christine.
“Will you allow me to sing as equal with you Erik?” Christine asked uncertainly. Erik smiled, kissing her forehead.
“Darling, if you wished it of me, I would give you the show.” He said, Christine shook her head.
“No need. Just be my equal.” She said, looking deep into his eyes. They danced in the lamplight.
“Step into your lime light then, prima donna.” He said softly.
“Only with you.” She answered, kissing him once more.
“Crowds that scream at superstars
Where bouncers show their battle scars
I've been the first to sign on every wall
Down the road and round the bend
We pray to God it never ends
I've been, I've seen, we've screamed to everyone
We'll see you at the show
If you don't come, we'll never know
You stand off in the back
You still stand out while you're wearing black
Jump onto the bus
And ride around with all of us
We'll go out on the town
And light it up 'til we burn it down
Burn it down
A/N: Thank you so much for all of your kind words ans support throughout the course of this story. I was motivated to work because of all of you. You are the best readers I have ever had. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
If you've noticed...I've set this up as two things.
It can be a stand alone...or...the first of two. If you're interested in a sequel in the next month or two...then I'm willing to write it. My head is already crammed with an idea, but you've got to let me know if you'd like to read it. Comment and let me know.
Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.