sparkling_dmnd (sparkling_dmnd) wrote,

Phantom of the Concert Hall (22)

Chapter 22

Hooray! I updated quickly! Thanks so much for your comments!

Two weeks had seemed like an eternity to Christine since she had returned to France with Erik. Two weeks of waiting for that final night of the tour. It had finally come. She sat alone in front of the vanity mirror, staring at her own face. Her chocolate eyes searched
their matching pair in the reflective surface. Had she always looked so lost, so confused? She looked away from the mirror and stood up from the ottoman, peering out the small window in her given dressing room. Hundreds of fans were piling into the venue, smiling and happy. She frowned.

She was miserable.

Meg was somewhere in Paris, hell perhaps somewhere close to this very auditorium. That monster had taken her newfound friend from her, with no motive at all. Christine clenched her small fists as she thought about the look on Antoinette's face when she had picked them up at the airport in Paris. She had never seen her look so helpless. Christine closed her eyes, anger seeping into her small body, as she thought about the possibility of Antoinette never seeing her daughter again.

"I won't let that happen Meg. I swear it." She whispered through clenched teeth.

For two weeks Christine had stayed away from the stage for Erik's sake. If he could have had things his own way, she would not be near the show at all. She had missed the stage, but she knew that it would ease his worried mind if she simply kept to herself backstage. Not until her presence was truly needed. Tonight was the night that she would return to her rightful place. Singing behind Erik's watchful eye.

Alex was to present Meg at somepoint during the course of the concert, and Antoinette was ready with his demands. The money had been gathered this morning. She was to wait at the right wing of the stage for her daughter and her captor. It seemed far too simple to Christine, though. Meg showed herself, a thug took the money, she was free. It seemed far too easy, too perfect.

There was a catch, she knew it.

But there was no time to think about what that catch may be. She did not want to alarm Erik anymore than she had to. If he knew that she even suspected that something else may be in the mix, he would surely ban her from this last show too. She could not do that. Her presence was needed to retrieve Meg. That was one of Alex's terms. He had said he wanted to hear his "songbird" sing once more for him. Christine shook at the thought of that monster being somewhere in the audience, watching her every move..waiting. She was shaken from her deep thoughts by a soft knock on the door. She straightened herself from the window and turned.

"Come in." She called.

The door opened quietly and Antoinette entered the doorframe. She looked completely exhausted.

"It is time my dear. You need to be heading to the stage." She said softly, turning to leave.

"Wait." Christine asked. Antoinette paused in the doorway.

"Yes my dear?" She asked. Christine searched her face for a few moments before sliding her arms around the older woman, giving her a tight squeeze.

"I swear to you that I will do everything neccessary to get her back Antoinette. I swear." She whispered. Antoinette stood stock still for a moment, and then put her arms around the girls back.

"Thank you Christine. For everything." She answered, patting the girl's hair.

"Whatever for?" Christine asked as she pulled away. Antoinette managed a smile as she started out the door again.

"For adapting to a new world, for caring for my daughter...for giving him life." She whispered, walking soundlessly down the dark hallway.

Christine stared after her for a moment, and then followed suit. The dim hallway enveloped the pair as they walked silently through the maze that this auditorium created in its backstage passageways. A door to her right was opened and Antoinette nodded to her as she continued on. Christine nodded at Antonio, one of Erik's many guards.

"Be safe Madamoiselle Christine." He said softly as she entered the room.

He shut the door behind her. Christine's heart started to pound. What if something bad happened during the performance. What if Alex had hurt Meg? So many questions flitted through her mind as she stared into the blackness of the underground.

A hand was held out in front of her face. Christine looked up to see Patrick, the guitarist smiling at her.

"It's alright Christine. We won't let those brutes get you." He said with a wink.

Christine smiled, thankful for a friendly face as she allowed him to pull her onto the stage. She acknowledged the rest of the band as she stepped up to her idle microphone, slipping the feedback earpiece into her left ear. She took a deep breath and looked down at her feet to calm her nerves.

She wore hiphugger pinstripe black and white pants with a black lace tanktop. Her hair was twisted back in sections to the center of her head and then allowed to flow freely. Black pointed boots completed the ensemble.

She vaguely heard the technitions barking their countdown and opened her eyes as the siren blared that signaled the rise of their underground stage. Christine let her head hang own, taking deep breaths, lace covered hands hanging limply at her sides. She could hear the crowd all around her, allowing a certain sense of calm rush over her. She was back where she belonged, standing behind the man she loved.

Following choreography, a solid beat crashed through the auditorium and each band members' head shot up in a ripple. Christine completed the pyramid as her head shot up, the spotlight shining down upon her form. The audience began to scream. A smile crept

to her lips as she saw several fans thrust their hands out to her. A small group of teenagers reached for her and started to scream her name. The sound of another living soul knowing who she was and why she was here amongst the Phantom's entourage brought that sudden calm into extreme excitement.

Her lace covered fist beat the air above her head and the band began to play. Happy laughter rose to her lips. Thank God she was here again. Her heart beat in time to the music as she said a quick prayer for the band, the fans, Meg, and Erik.

The auditorium shook as the lone figure rose in complete blackness in front of her, mist swirling around his lean body.

The Phantom was back to show Paris what he was made of. A screen at the side of the auditorium showed his masculine profile, eyes shut, a black mask covering his unknown deformity. A smug smile was curled onto those perfect lips. Christine's heart began to pound. That man on the screen, that was not Erik. Erik was the loving man that she knew behind the mask. This...this was the Phantom...and even in his masked glory, he was still hers.

The Phantom lifted both arms to the sky as the music crescendoed into his first song of the evening. The microphone clenched tightly in his right hand rose to his lips as his eyes searched his sea of fans, watching and waiting.

Always, known in, all my time
A little left of center now
Reflect as I realise
That all I need is to find the middle pillar
Path to sit like the sun by a
Star in the sky and just be
Sinners, casting stones at me

The Phantom threw his head back as he screamed the chorus into the stale air.

I...I stand, not crawling, not falling down
I...I bleed the demons that drag me down
I...I stand (For nothing)
Not crawling (The center)
Not falling down (Of calms within the eye)
I...I'll bleed (For no one)
The demons (But myself)
That pull me down (For me and no one else)

Christine watched in awe as the man before her performed for his fans. The way he gave them their show never ceased to amaze her, and she did her best to try and match his impassioned voice with her own. The Phantom stopped the song abruptly...a brilliant smile plastering his features. He was taunting them, seeing what they wanted from him. They screamed in response to his games.

The Phantom's eyes flickered to Patrick and he nodded. The keyboardist began another song and the bassist followed right behind with a blare of guitar. The Phantom bobbed his head to the music, allowing it to fill his soul. Christine did not know this song so she danced to the music, much to the delight of the crowd. The Phantom watched her out of his masked eye as she moved along to the music on the ledge above him. Where Christine could tell the Phantom should begin to sing, he did not. The words came from Patrick's mouth.

Why does it feel like night today?
Something in here’s not right today
Why am I so uptight today?
Paranoia’s all I got left
I don’t know what stressed me first
Or how the pressure was fed
But I know just what it feels like
To have a voice in the back of my head

It’s like a face that I hold inside
A face that awakes when I close my eyes
A face watches every time I lie
A face that laughs every time I fall
{And watches everything}
So I know that when it’s time to sink or swim
That the face inside is here in me, right underneath my skin

Christine grinned as she watched the guitarist enjoy his moment in the spotline. She turned back to Erik as he slammed the crowd with his powerful voice.

It’s like I’m paranoid looking over my back
It’s like a whirlwind inside of my head
It’s like I can’t stop what I’m hearing within
It’s like the face inside is right beneath my skin

Christine moved along to the instrumental she knew that Patrick would suppliment. It appeared that Erik was rather fond of teasing his fans with just a hint of their favorite songs. She opened her eyes and saw the Phantom looking at her full on, not caring who saw him. He smiled at her tenderly and then nodded to Patrick again. The Phantom turned and faced the audience with a smile across his lips.

"Thank you." He said, as he could not be heard over their screams. He held out one of his hands the crowd began to silence themselves.

"At this time, I want to do something different. I know you are not accustomed to what I am about to do, but it is special and just for tonight. I hope you shall enjoy it as much as I will." He said with a low bow to his audience.

The keyboard and drums began in a slow melody, Patrick following them close behind. The Phantom left his spot and approached Christine, holding out his gloved hand to her.

Christine was shocked that he would approach her like this, especially on stage at a concert where his fans were watching.

She took his hand as he helped her down from the stoop. He held her hand tightly and looked down into her eyes.

I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so, I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you

I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with everyday
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
That's why I need you to hear

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you
And the reason is you
And the reason is you
And the reason is you

I'm not a perfect person
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you

I've found a reason to show
A side of me you didn't know
A reason for all that I do
And the reason is you

Christine allowed the tears to fall from her eyes as she listened to the Phantom proclaim his devotion to her in front of all these people. His eyes danced inside of his mask as he belted out the words to her, the words the came from his heart. Christine glanced out at the thousands of people around them. Every single one had a knowing smile on their faces.

As the song ended, the crowd screamed their approval and Erik, not the Phantom, took her into his arms.

"I love you." He whispered in her ear. Christine squeezed him tightly, knowing that it did not matter who saw them.

Screams of terror, not joy, rang out through the auditorium as gunfire sounded in the center of the crowd. Instinctivly, the Phantom held her tightly against him, alarm written on his face. Christine felt her own features grow pale with realization.

As the crowd darted away, she saw clearly though the paniced masses.

Alex stood with a gun in hand, muzzle pointed directly into a frightened Meg's temple.


The songs above are Not Falling by Mudvayne, Papercut by Linkin Park and The Reason by Hoobastank
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