Phantom of the Concert Hall (7)
Still PG-13...for now.
Alternate Universe Phic
...takes place in present day Europe. Erik is a European rock star...and Christine his timid intern from the Americas...
..and my promise to my fellow Erik fans...no Fop...
It was early morning when Christine was roused from her sleep. She was not a heavy sleeper by any means, and a soft song floating through her walls woke her easily. She rolled over onto her side and listened. It was very sweet, light, and uplifting. The soft strains of the beautiful melody compelled her to shake the sleep from her tired body and sit up in bed.
Christine picked up the small bedside clock on the night table. 2:30 AM. She yawned and was tempted to try and force herself back to sleep. Knowing it would be impossible with the way her curious mind worked, she tossed the sheets off of her legs and placed her feet onto the floor.
She stood up and instantly grabbed the table for support. The driver had obviously made a sharp turn, and brought Christine back to her realization that she was still on the bus.
She remembered that she and the Phantom were the only two passengers on that particular bus. Could the beautiful music be coming from Erik's room? She found it hard to believe that something so soft could be to the liking of someone like Erik.
The thick skinned rock star that he appeared to be on stage displayed nothing but hard rock and sweat. When he was off stage though, he was debonair, brilliant and...actually a gentlemen. She shook her head at the thought that she had pegged him to be nothing but a drug induced celebrity. He was still but a mystery to her, and she knew that he very well may always be one.
None the less, she picked up the blanket from the bed and draped it over her shoulders. Careful not to be thrown of balance by the rocking of the vehicle, she reached the door and stepped into the narrow hallway.
It was very dark, the only light being that of the headlights on the road at the very front of the bus. It was cold too. Christine shivered and huddled the blanket more tightly around her shoulders. The music was more clear now. It was most definitely coming from Erik's room.
Against her better judgment, Christine made her way down the hall. Once or twice the bus would take a turn and she would be forced to grab onto the wall for support. She winced as she hit the wall with a thud.
Hoping not to make any more noise, Christine slid to the floor next to Erik's closed door. The dim light from underneath the door gave her a sort of comfort in the darkness of the bus, and she quietly leaned her head against the cool wood of the door.
The music was pure beauty. She could not help but smile at the enchanting tune. Then the vocals began on the track. Christine wrinkled her brow as she listened. Could he possibly be listening to opera?
She instantly recognized the voice as that of Charlotte Church. Taken back by the fact that the Phantom of all people was listening to Charlotte Church, she chuckled softly. She had to tell Meg about this when she saw her. The Phantom...listening to Charlotte Church. It was laughable, but she did have to commend him on his good taste.
As she listened, she heard something else along with the beautiful soprano. Christine strained to hear what else was going on inside Erik's bedroom. Then she realized what it was. Erik was singing.
His formerly harsh, but enticing voice was gone. It was rich...and captivating. His beautiful baritone softly rang out over Charlotte's. It sent shivers down Christine's spine as she heard the restrained vibrato spill forth from his lips.
I wish I was in Carrickfergus,
where the castle looks out to sea.
I would swim over the deepest ocean,
for my love to be with me.
But the sea is wide,
and I cannot swim over.
Nor have I,
the wings to fly.
Christine sighed softly as she listened to his beautiful voice. How long had he been hiding this talent? Did Antoinette know what a wonderful baritone he was? Why did he sing rock music when he had a voice so achingly beautiful?
She was so lost in her own thoughts that she did not realize that the door she had been hidden behind had opened. As the light spilled onto her, she opened her eyes and stared up at Erik. A deep flush crept up her cheeks and a knot formed in her stomach.
He had caught her eavesdropping.
"Monsieur...I...I..." She began, stumbling over her own words, embarrassed. Erik placed a finger over his lips, silencing her explanation.
He looked perfectly calm, perhaps even a little amused.
"Mademoiselle, all you need to do is knock if you wish to gain entry. I can assure you that it holds the same meaning in France as it does in America. And I do believe I asked you to call me Erik." He said, his voice velvet to her ears.
Before Christine could open her mouth to protest, he had stepped aside to allow her entry to his bedroom. She tried to gather what was left of her dignity and pulled herself from the floor, when all she wanted to do was crawl back to her room and hide. She sighed, and walked into the room.
She marveled at the surroundings. His bedroom looked like it could have been a room in a palace. Every tapestry, every inch of wood or material was rich in color and feel. She couldn't help but gawk at his furnishings. The door shut behind her with a soft click. Christine turned to look at him, her embarrassment still apparent on her face.
"Mon...Erik, I am so sorry. I did not mean to eavesdrop. I really did not." She said softly, staring at the floor.
Erik sat down in a red velvet chair and propped his head up on his elbow with a smirk.
"Alright, then what were you doing outside of my door at this time of night?" He asked, no menace behind his cool tone.
Christine's heart sank. He had pinned her into a corner. She fumbled with the blanket the was still wrapped around her.
"Well, the music woke me and I was curious to see where it was coming from and what it was." She said, her feet suddenly interesting. She felt incredibly young all of the sudden. Here she was a stupid little chorus girl, babbling on to one of Paris' most famous musicians about her foolish school girl curiosity. She was shocked to hear him laugh.
She looked up to see Erik in the midst of a good chuckle. She felt even more stupid, and blushed anew. Erik smiled brilliantly at her, and shook his head.
"Sweet child, are you frightened of me?" He asked, his voice full of amusement.
Christine gulped, but did not answer. In a way, she was terrified of him, yet she had no idea why.
His beautiful smile faded to an understanding smirk. "I know how you feel Christine. But I assure you, you have no reason to be scared of me. I will admit that I was indeed a little startled when I discovered you huddled next to my door." He said softly.
Christine shuddered at the sound of his voice. Her name slid off of his tongue like silk and and warmed her to an extent that she did not understand.
"Again, I apologize. I hope that you are not angry with me for invading your privacy." She answered, finally looking up at him.
His gentle smile made her heart race, and she stared into his beautiful amber eyes. He really was quite handsome. His hair looked soft in the candlelight and laid in waves across his forehead. His jet black hair made her fingers ache to entwine themselves in the silk of head. He wore black pants and loosely fitting black shirt that hung open around his chest. She could not help but stare at the smooth line of chest that peeked out from behind the folds of the shirt. She wound her hands in the blanket and tore her eyes away from him.
"Apology accepted my dear. I hope that in the future you will alert me of your presence though." He said with a nod. He then held out his arm, gesturing for her to have a seat next to him.
Christine willed her limbs to work and she sat down in the chair beside him. She waited impatiently for anything to break their uncomfortable silence.
As if on cue, he turned his attentions to her once more.
"Do you like the works of Charlotte Church, my dear?" He asked, his voice soft. Christine turned to him with a nod.
"Yes, I am very fond of her music. I especially like the song that you were listening to just a few moments ago." Christine admitted, the knot in her stomach beginning to loosen.
Erik smiled at her, this time a genuine smile. "Carrickfergus is one of my favorite pieces that Mademoiselle Church has performed. I'm pleased to hear that it is one of your favorites too." He replied.
Christine was dying to ask Erik about his ability to perform opera, but she knew that it was probably a bad idea. She remained silent.
"Christine, what vocal part do you sing?" He asked suddenly. Christine turned back to him. His eyes were burning into hers. She felt herself melting from the inside out.
"How did you know I could sing?" She asked.
"Generally, most chorus girls can sing a little my dear. Especially if you wish to be part of an opera." He answered, raising an eyebrow at her.
She had forgotten that she had told him that earlier that evening. She felt foolish again. How was it that this man could reduce her to a babbling mess?
"I am a high soprano." She finally answered. Erik nodded, his approval apparent. He turned back to the stereo on the wall beside him and pressed a button on the receiver. The music began again. He smiled gently to her.
"Would you indulge a request of your employer?" He asked. Christine swallowed, and nodded.
"Sing for me." He said softly. The knot in her stomach returned, and it was far worse this time. She was incredibly shy about her voice, especially around this man with such a magnificent instrument in his own throat.
"It's not all that wonderful, I can assure you." She answered, as the music floated sweetly around them.
He frowned at her and reached over, patting her hand.
"Allow me to be the judge of that." He responded, leaning back again in his chair.
Christine sighed, and knew that she must sing for him. She couldn't keep herself from doing it, for he would hear her eventually. She exhaled to calm her nerves and closed her eyes.
I wish I had,
A handsome boatman.
To ferry me over,
My love and I.
I wish I was,
In the land of Eire.
Where the mountains,
Reach the sea.
Where flowers blossom,
As I do remember.
Where my true love,
Came to me.
But the sea is wide,
And I cannot swim over.
Nor have I,
The wings to fly.
Christine looked over at Erik. His eyes were closed tightly, and he appeared to be quite lost in her song. She smiled to herself and resumed her song, growing more and more confident with her voice.
Ah, to be back now,
To be together,
My love and I.
To be together,
My love... and I!
I wish I was,
To be together,
my love and I!
I wish I was back home again.....
The song faded and Christine remained silent once more. The disc had no more songs on it, so the room remained quiet as well. Erik's eyes were still closed, his hands folded in his lap. She looked down at the floor again, wondering what must be going on inside his complex mind.
He finally turned to her, his entire face lit up, despite his masked features. He gently laid his hand on top of her own and gave it a small squeeze.
"You will not be a chorus girl when you leave Europe, Christine. You will be the lead soprano...I will make sure of that." He said softly.
Christine blushed and nodded to him, finding no response to his kind words. Erik stood and held out his hand to her. She looked up at him and took it. He felt warm, and safe.
Erik's fingers curled around her small hand and pulled her from the chair, dangerously close to him. He looked at her, a fire in his earlier dormant stare. She felt her heart skip in her chest.
"Christine, it is still early. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow, and I would not like to see you exhausted. I'll escort you back to your room." He said softly. He broke the intense contact and led her from his room. The hallway was still black but the night was beginning to fade into a much lighter shade.
When he reached her room, he released her hand. He nodded to her and took his leave. He paused in his doorway, and turned back to her.
"I shall wake you in the morning my dear. Have a pleasant rest." He said with a smile and closed his door.
Christine stood there for a few moments, still breathless from her encounter with the Phantom. She was even more bewildered then before...but even more intrigued. And even...a little attracted.
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! I'll have the next one up shortly!!