Christine clutched the phone to her chest as she sank down on the bed. Angry tears slipped down her cheeks as she inwardly cursed herself for Meg's misfortune. Erik sat down beside her and took her hands in his. Pulling the phone from her grasp, he held her shaking fingers between his own.
"Christine, what has happened? What is wrong?" He asked, concerned. Christine bit her lip and scowled at the floor. She shook her head and glanced up at his patient, but probing eyes.
"It's Meg. He's got her, and he won't let her go if he can't have me. I know it." She said angrily, sobs filling her lungs. Erik's eyes grew wide.
"Who's got Meg, Christine?" He asked, searching her face for answers. Christine hung her head, her curls steaming down into her lap, water droplets soaking her bedspread.
"Alex. The bastard has Meg. He broke out of a police transport tonight and had people watching my apartment. God I feel like such a fool." She yelled, getting off of the bed and away from Erik. He rose from the bed and trapped her arms in his embrace. His eyes were darkened, filled with an emotion she was beginning to understand. Anger.
"You can't be serious." He exclaimed. Christine shook her head angrily.
"Yes. And it's my fault. He's got Meg, and I don't know what in the hell I am supposed to do Erik." She stormed away from him and picked up the phone. She stared at it for a second, with every intention of calling...who? She had no one to call. Frustrated and hurt, Christine threw the phone as hard as she could at the wall, cracking the device and leaving it dead on the floor. Before she could react, she was trapped against a warm, hard body, arms holding her violent form fast.
"Christine, calm down. I know you're angry but it won't help Meg for you to be irrational." He said softly. Christine beat the man before her with her small fists, struggling to get away.
"Don't you tell me to calm down! This is my fault! This is ALL my fault! If I hadn't let her go, she would be safe!" She screamed, pushing against him. Erik held fast, clutching her harder against him to stop her flaling fists.
"No, Christine this is NOT your fault. If it's anyone's it's the damn police for their wretched tactics in transfering maximum security prisoners, and it's partly Meg's fault for going out tonight when you warned her not to!" He scolded, trying to make Christine relax in his arms. She kept resisting.
"Erik, let me go! I am not a child! Do not treat me like a child!" She shrieked, beating against him.
"THEN STOP ACTING LIKE ONE!" Erik roared, tossing her squirming form onto the bed. He stepped away from her surprised and exhuasted stare and looked out the window.
"Please don't make me yell at you Christine. I cannot bear to raise my voice at you. I cannot bear it. But I cannot tolerate you not listening to reason. You are too old to have a tantrum like that. I understand that you are upset, but we will not save Meg if you go to pieces on me like that again. Dammit, don't fight me when I'm trying to help you!" He yelled, flopping down into a chair and letting out a frustrated sigh. Christine's chest heaved from her struggle with Erik and her sobs, and she looked down at the bedspread, trying to gather her emotions.
"Erik, I..I'm sorry. I...I lost control." She whispered, wiping at her eyes. He put his head in his hands, rubbing his temples.
"Darling, it's alright to lose your temper. Just remember who's on your side." He said, his voice back to it's calm, but exhausted state. Christine nodded and tried to calm her own ragged breathing. After a few minutes, Erik looked up at her.
"What are his terms Christine?" He asked, folding his hands in his lap. She looked down at Erik, heaving a sigh.
"He simply told me that he would be in touch. I don't know what to do, I can't call the police or he will do something awful to Meg. " She answered.
Erik thought on that statement for a few moments.
"Do you recall any means for contacting him?" He asked. Christine shook her head.
"No. I deleted all of his phone numbers, and I highly doubt someone like Alex would be stupid enough to leave a trail." Erik nodded in agreement. He got up from the chair and sank down next to her on the bed.
"We'll find her Christine. This is not your fault. We will find her." Erik said squeezing her hand.
"God I hope so." She answered. The sound of a phone shattered the silence that followed. Erik jumped up and ran back to his bedroom. Christine waited impatiently for him to return, but heard him talking in a hushed french in the next room. He knew she couldn't understand french, so he never ever spoke in it. Was there something he was trying to hide? He returned a few moments later, face expressionless.
"That was Antoinette." He said, sitting back down in the armchair he had occupied earlier. Christine's heart sank. How would she tell her about Meg? As if he read her thoughts, Erik turned to her.
"She has been contacted by Meg." He said simply.
"What?" Christine asked, shocked. Erik nodded.
"She was being fed what to say of course. Antoinette said that she sounded completely terrified." He said, staring at the phone.
"What did she say Erik?" Christine got up off of the bed and hurried over to where Erik sat. Kneeling at his side she grasped his hand. Erik remained silent.
"Erik, I know you're trying to shield me from something. You were speaking to Antoinette in french. A thing you rarely do. Please tell me what has happened now." She asked. He turned to look down at her, and ran his hand down her jawline.
"It just so happens that that physcotic murderer has discovered that you are on tour with me. Somehow or another, he was able to find out that you were singing backup in our show. He was able to get out of Meg that her mother was my manager and the sick bastard's wheels began turning." He said angrily. Christine searched his hard face for answers, waiting for him to continue.
"He wants 50 million for Meg, and no police." He said. Christine bit the inside of her cheek.
"I never wanted for you to be in the middle of this Erik! You should never be forced into a corner like that." She said, voice breaking again.
"I owe it to Antoinette, Christine. It's not your fault he found out who I was. " He said, soothing her with his rich voice. They were silent for a few moments, Erik simply looking at her with worried eyes.
"Where will we make the exchange?" Christine asked, placing her hand atop his knee. Erik covered her small hand with own and gave it a light squeeze.
"Meg's...his instructions were for the money to be brought to the final performance of the tour back in Paris, at the Opera House. Only then, would Meg be returned to our care." He said darkly. Christine's mouth dropped, horrified. She stood up quickly.
"Erik no! The tour isn't going to return to Paris for another two weeks!!" She cried. Erik stood up, his dark figure looming over her.
"Yes, Christine I know. I am worried too, but that is better than nothing darling." He said, his eyes searching hers. Christine bit back another sob.
"So what will we do?" She asked, hugging her own body close. Erik stood strong in front of her.
"We shall return to France and continue the rest of the tour. No one must suspect anything. If the police get involved, I fear for Meg's safety."
Christine nodded, wiping angrily at a tear.
"I'll go and pack my things." She whispered, turning back to her closet. Erik sighed and exited the room to give her a moment alone. He strode through the living room and back to his own quarters. He sat down on the bed and pulled his phone from his pocket. He looked at it for a moment before pressing numbers on the keypad and placing the device to his ear.
"Hello?" Erik swallowed.
"Antoinette, it's me again." The woman sighed.
"What has she decided?" Antoinette asked softly. Erik pitied Antoinette for the hardtime she would have to endure during this ordeal. Even when her only child was missing, she still tried to pretend she was made of steel.
"Christine shall return to France with me, I will go and book the two of us a flight tonight" He said softly.
"I have already done so, dear. I shall have you picked up in Paris when you arrive. You are to take the 3'o clock red eye from New York. You have two hours I do believe." She answered. Erik smiled into the phone. Still mothering him.
"Did you tell Christine about his bargain?" She asked. Erik's heart dropped down to his toes. He gripped the phone tightly in his hand.
"Only what she needed to know, Antoinette." He said darkly. He could just see her glaring at the phone.
"Erik, she will find out soon enough, you cannot protect her from everything!" Antoinette sighed. Erik clenched one of his fists.
"The hell I can't!" Erik growled.
"Keep your voice down!" Antoinette hissed. "She needs to be aware that that man is not just after money Erik. He swore that if he couldn't have Christine, no one could. The man is mad Erik!" Antoinette cried. Erik bit his lip.
"I know. I wish there were some other way." He whispered.
"Erik, she needs to be on her guard, but she has to come back to France for Meg's sake." Antoinette said softly. Erik shut his eyes tightly.
"I don't know if I can bring her back on stage with me."
"What? Why?" Antoinette asked. Erik shook his head.
"Do you realize how much danger that would be putting her in? I could not live with myself if I willingly put Christine in harms way." He growled.
"Don't you back out on me like this Erik! You said yourself that Christine had to perform or the press would think something was up! She's become a part of the show! I care about Christine too, but she's the key! Think of my daughter Erik!" Erik slammed his fist down on the night stand beside him.
"Dammit, I won't see her placed in harms way!" He roared. Antoinette remained silent, and Erik heard a bag hit the ground behind him. He whirled around to see Christine standing behind him, confusion written on her face. Erik cursed and told Antoinette that he would be in France at the designated time. Shoving the phone back into his pocket, he stood to face her.
"Christine..." He began. She shook her head.
"You don't have to protect me Erik." She whispered. Erik cursed himself again.
"How much did you hear?" He asked.
"Enough to know that Alex has somehow threatened me as well and you won't let me back on stage." She said, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Christine, I cannot allow it." He said firmly, standing tall over her. She glared up at him.
"Erik, Meg could die if we make one false move. I refuse to sacrifice her for my own skin!" She cried. Erik's eyes flashed and he threw his arms about her, hauling her deadly close to his face.
"I will not let you do this. I will not lose you Christine." He growled. Christine stared into his molten eyes and shook her head sadly.
"It's not your place to decide what I should do Erik. I need to do this for Meg. Please understand. I won't do anything stupid, but I cannot risk Alex's temper to flare because I'm not following his instructions." She said softly, touching his visable cheek.
Erik shut his eyes and took a deep breath.
"You will not listen to me will you?" He asked, eyes still closed. Christine searched his pained features.
"When it comes to another human life....no I will not." She said definatly. Erik opened his eyes and shook his head.
"Then let us return."
TBC...I know, it's a short chapter...but it explained the things to come!!