Tremulous and Tender

BY : NataliaV
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 7330
Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera movie(s), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Part: 3/?
Disclaimer, summary, etc. can be found in the first chapter.
Uber-Thanks: To Kelsey and Sarah for beta-ing for me. You guys rock! ;) *hugs and kisses*

Christine was silent as Erik took her back. She had so many thoughts and questions churning in her brain. She didn’t know how to sort through them.

He docked the boat and helped her out. She held onto his hand as they walked up to her dressing room.

They’d had a brief lesson that morning. He played his organ as she sang. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to concentrate and missed several notes. He’d stopped playing, taking a deep breath before offering to row her back before breakfast would be served above.

“Did you sleep well?”

“Hum? Oh, yes. The bed is a million times more comfortable than mine.” She wasn’t sure why she couldn’t sing. Though, she could probably attribute it to the fact that he was no longer an angel inspiring her voice to new heights, but a man who made her heart flutter.

“Is there something troubling you?”

“No. Not really.” It was eerie how he seemed to know what she was thinking and could sense her moods.

He directed her along side him. “Christine, I know you feel I betrayed you and I am not the angel you thought yourself confessing to, but you can still tell me anything.”

She looked down nervously. She didn’t want to tell him that his mask and sudden, drastic change in moods when she’d tried to remove it were a big part of what troubled her. “It’s nothing, Erik, really.”

They were before the mirror before she knew it. He flicked a latch and it opened. She entered first, and cautiously, making sure no one was in there before he followed.

A few rays of light were streaming in and Christine was able to really see Erik for the first time. She’d seen him, yes, but there was something more honest and true about natural light on a persons form.

The part of his face that was visible was quite handsome. The mask, though eerie and dangerous looking only served to make Erik look more dashing. His eyes were a deep green that appeared blue in the cavernous below. His inky black hair was neatly slicked back behind his ears.

“I trust,” He spoke, snapping Christine out of her thoughts, “that you will not tell anyone of all you’ve seen and now know.”

“I won’t tell a soul. Will you come tonight?”

His lips twitched in a smirk. “If you wish.” Christine flushed at the words he chose. “If you wish.” There was something endearing about the tone of subjugation he used. He truly sounded as though he meant it, too. Anything she wished, be it in his power, was hers for the asking. And it was she who should say such things! She owed him so much. There would be nothing she could offer to pay him back for the protection, friendship and tutoring he’d given her over the years.

She could only give him the devotion she’d always given him. The devotion he seemed to have for her in spades.

“Until tonight, then.” Christine smiled as he disappeared through the passage and the mirror took its place.

She spared the mirror a lingering glace, knowing he was still there before spinning in a half pirouette and rushing out of the dressing room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meg had been the only one of the ballet rats to notice Christine had gone missing. She’d cornered her after practice.

“Well, Mademoiselle Daaé, where were you?”

“What do you mean?”

“I woke in the middle of the night. You were not in bed.”

“I…” Christine looked away from her friend nervously. “I couldn’t sleep. I went to the chapel. Afterwards, I went to my dressing room. I fell asleep there.”

Meg stared at her, not believing, for a moment. “It can’t have been comfortable.”

“No.” Christine laughed. “I’ll try not to make a habit of it.”

“And you should be careful wandering about. You never know when the Opera Ghost might strike next.”

“Meg, I fear the Opera Ghost as much as I fear you. He shan’t hurt me.” The last bit she said in a slightly wistful tone. Erik had said he’d rather cut his own arms off than hurt her. She would be safe from his opera house antics.

“I wish you would believe me. He’s very real.” Meg shrugged. “If you aren’t afraid of the Opera Ghost, maybe you’d be afraid of the stage hands, like Joseph Buquet. Maman says we should always be on guard when we are alone.”

“Meg, I was fine. I’ll be sure to stay in the dorms tomorrow… to ease your mind, if nothing else.”

Meg sighed, before taking Christine’s hand. “Come one, they’re going to post the cast list for ‘Il Muto’.”

The cast list had indeed been posted. Christine won the role of The Countess. She was excited, but at the same time nervous. If she was going to be getting more lead roles, she would have to overcome the nervousness. She also had Box Five to focus on. Now that she knew that’s where Erik would be, silently giving her the strength to stand there in front of Paris’s elite.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The day couldn’t end faster for Christine. Erik had promised to go at night time. She could only hope he was patient. Meg seemed reluctant to sleep. The girl was chattering on and on.

Christine could merely smile and nod in response.

“Christine, rumor has it the Opera Ghost has a fondness for you!” One of the ballerinas giggled.

“What?” Christine’s face paled.

“He’s mentioned you in his letters to Monsieur Firmin and Monsieur Andre.”

“Really?” Meg’s eyes widened, glancing over at Christine. “I’d not heard that.”

“That’s a surprise, considering it was your mother who delivered the notes!” Another girl exclaimed.

“How—where did you hear this?” Christine finally asked.

“I overheard them in their office! They were quite upset, but the Opera Ghost was quite pleased with your performance the other night and made it clear to them that you were to get the lead in “Il Muto” or something terrible would happen!”

“That is silly. There is no Opera Ghost,” Christine muttered, lying on her side, away from them.

So, Erik had been busy during the day. She’d envisioned him sitting at his organ, playing away. But, the man must do something to occupy his time. Furthering her career for one. As much as she did appreciate it, she wished he wouldn’t threaten the managers so.

The girls continued talking for a few hours before they were all asleep. It was then Christine snuck out of the room, as she had the night before and made her way to her dressing room.

She was almost there when she saw Joseph Buquet a few hundred feet ahead of her. He had his back to her and was swaying drunkenly in a mockery of dancing.

Christine lightly opened the door of her dressing room, and slid in. She shut and locked the door behind her, fearing he might have caught sight of her.

She jumped when she turned around. Erik stood there with a lantern in his hand. “Mademoiselle.” He bowed with a twirl of his cape.

“Monsieur.” She curtsied before she giggled. She was still in her nightgown. Out of air, it seemed, he produced a fine, black velvet cloak for her. He helped her put it on before taking her hand and leading her down once more.

Review Responses:

Or lack thereof. I just wanted to say thank you so, so, so much to everyone. I will respond to the reviews soon… I just wanted to post this a.s.a.p. so as to not keep you guys waiting too long! ~Nate~


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