Friday, May 6, 2011

Phantom of the Opera Fan Fiction: "A Night's Dream of Music", Chapter 1




Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, of course.   This story is based on the most romantic, most exquisite version of "The Phantom of the Opera" - the 2004 movie. I had originally planned it as a one-shot, but my muses, kept bothering me to continue it, so I meekly complied.  I wrote this in 2006.


1886, Paris, France

Chapter 1: Love Stirs

He was at the organ, composing as he played. Notes cascaded through the air as his long fingers deftly moved over the keys. He was totally involved in the music that flowed through him, in the passion that enveloped him. Eyes closed, he allowed the strange rhythms to take him to the limits of reality. Bending over the organ, he seemed to coax it to produce sounds such as no musical instrument had ever produced before. He breathed in time with the sublime melodies that flowed from his soul...

She was watching him, totally mesmerized. Just who was this man who played so divinely, who brought tears to her eyes as she listened? He had whisked her away, down to these hidden levels at the Opera House, places she had never seen, which struck terror into her heart. Now, as she listened to him play, all her fears forgotten, the unearthly music wove itself around her heart, filling her with a sweet ecstasy.

He was utterly masculine. Her heart beat faster in his presence, when she felt his eyes upon her. No such thing had ever happened when she was with the Vicomte, the young aristocrat who was so smitten with her. Indeed, she felt that he could never compare to this majestic genius whose music had transported her to new heights...Never had she heard such wonder, such thundering chords, followed by the tenderest notes, as if the music were alternately commanding, then pleading, its sonorous spell intoxicating the senses.

He was so absorbed in his playing that he was completely unaware of her presence.

She remembered well the first time she had listened to him thus. What followed next had been a traumatic experience for them both. She had torn off his mask, driven by an insane curiosity to see the fully-exposed face of this man whose heart and soul were shamelessly bared in his immortal music. She had merely wanted to cup his unmasked face in her hands, without any barriers between them...

She stirred uneasily now, as the memories laid siege to her mind. She had not wanted to look upon the consequences of her rash act, upon the ravaged face that had been revealed to her. He had forced her to look, nevertheless, screaming obscenities at her, hurting her with the sheer violence of his pain. Then he had retreated from her in horror and anguish, collapsing on the floor not far from where she half-knelt, still stunned.

She had never seen a man weep as he did then, his disfigured face in his hands...

She recalled crawling toward him, to place his mask within reach of his hands. She had then fled to the bedroom he had long ago prepared for her. Slamming the door in a fit of anger at her own foolishness, she had thrown herself on the swan-shaped bed, as tears of shame immediately engulfed her.

Much later, she had heard his knock at the door, his contrite voice, begging her forgiveness. Still shaking with fear, but nevertheless feeling guilty for having unmasked him, she had gone to open the door.  He had his mask back on. Silently taking her hand in his, he had brought it to his lips, feathering a kiss upon it. The light touch of his lips had made her shiver...

The cascade of glorious sound now came gently to an end, and there was silence, utter silence. She opened her eyes to see him hastily pull a notebook from a shelf near the organ, open it, and feverishly dip a feathered pen, again and again, into an inkwell he had set on top of the bench where he sat. He scribbled furiously for a very long time, while she continued to gaze upon him, amazed. He was apparently committing to paper every single note he had played. The man truly possessed a prodigious memory.

At last, he seemed to have written everything down, to his satisfaction. His body, which had been coiled with tension, relaxed. He breathed in deeply, stretched, and finally turned to her, smiling.

She had the distinct impression that he had just returned from a far-away land of enchantment that only he could visit...

"Christine..." His deep, melodic voice never failed to have its hypnotically sensuous effect on her. She smiled shyly at him, blushing.

"I had no idea you were there, listening." His smile dazzled her, in spite of the disfigurement. She was becoming accustomed to his unmasked face.

"I know..." she replied, wonder in her voice. "Was that your music you were playing? You were totally immersed in it. It was as if the entire world had ceased to exist for you..."

"Yes, this is indeed my music, but you have been the inspiration for it. You, a beautiful, shy, angel of a girl...You have been my muse. I could not have written such divine music without you, for you are in my very veins..."

She was not entirely taken by surprise at this declaration. She had gradually become aware of his deep feelings for her. Was she herself beginning to reciprocate those feelings?

He rose from the bench, to walk, cat-like, to her side, as his eyes held her own.

She gazed up at him, completely lost in his intense, golden gaze. He leaned down, and, taking both of her hands, drew her up to stand before him.

"I know that you must surely be returning soon, and that the Vicomte de Chagny will be waiting for you," he said, so sadly that she suddenly felt as guilty as though she had betrayed him.

"Yes..." she agreed, slowly, without alluding to the young aristocrat. "I must return. There are rehearsals...We will soon be starting work on Faust..."

"You would make a magnificent Marguerite..."

She blushed again. "Surely you jest, Monsieur! You must be aware that the role belongs to Carlotta!"

"A truly unpleasant fact, Mademoiselle! You were made to sing it! With my help, you would soon make the Parisian public forget that ridiculous Italian peacock!"

She could not believe he was serious, and so looked away, saying nothing, until she felt his hand upon hers. Looking up, she encountered his unsettling, glowing orbs.

"My heart yearns for your love, Christine...Yet, it would mean nothing were I to attempt to force it from you. And I will not beg! Leave me now, if you must. Come, I will take you back across the lake."

She did not know what to say. She wanted to tell him that she did indeed love him, but somehow, the words would not come forth. Was it love, after all, that she felt for him, this mysterious man who had so beguilingly pulled her through her dressing-room mirror, not once, but several times now? So she silently placed her hand in his, while he, also remaining silent, led her toward the lake.

Just as she was about to step into the little boat, she was suddenly seized by a great sense of urgency, and turned back to look at him. She had to know...and she had to tell him, also...

"What is it, Christine?" he asked, gravely.

She felt a sudden rush of feeling. Tears sparkled in her eyes. She had to know..."Your name, Monsieur. I must know your name..."

He had donned his mask again, but she saw an unmistakable glint in his eyes. He wanted her; his whole being yearned for her.

"Why must you know my name?" His voice, a hoarse whisper of pure pain, raced like fire through her trembling body.

"Because...I have to know the name of..." She paused, swallowing with difficulty, as he waited, poised at the edge of Paradise.

"...the man I have...fallen in love with..."

He seemed to sway for a moment. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath.

Her heart suddenly fluttered, and she felt heat rise to her cheeks.

After a moment, he attempted to regain his composure. Her words, spoken so impulsively, had irrevocably altered everything between them. Slowly, he reached out for her hand. When she gave it to him, he gently began to pull her toward him, away from the shore of the lake.  They stood before each other, eye to eye.

"Please repeat what you just said," he pleaded, softly and intensely. His breathing had suddenly become erratic, as he clutched her hands tightly, his eyes burning.

"I said...that I have to know the name...of the man I have fallen in love with..."

He closed his eyes again, and the most beautiful smile appeared on his lips as he gathered her into his arms. One of his hands began softly caressing her hair.

"Erik," he sighed, at her temple. An errant tear slipped down his unmarred cheek. "My name is Erik..."

"It is a beautiful name..." she whispered, trembling in his arms. "It is perfect, so perfect, for you."

He brought his head down, then. Removing the mask, he kissed her, softly, tenderly.

"I love you..." His hot breath whispered upon her virgin lips. "Stay with me...Let me love you as you deserve to be loved...with the most passionate caresses, the tenderest endearments, the most ardent kisses...Stay with me, my beautiful little diva, for you are my heart and soul..."

Her heart was torn. He was making an intoxicating offer, and she wanted to accept it. Dear Lord, what was happening to her? Yes, she loved him...She could not, however, give in to his overpowering sensuality, not so soon...

She pulled out of his arms, reluctantly. "I must leave...Do not ask from me what only a husband has a right to expect ..."

Her breathing was as erratic as his, and she could not tear her eyes away from him.  He stared at her also, his rising passion evident in his entire body. He took a deep, rather shaky breath. Picking up one of her hands, he pressed a kiss upon it, smiling sadly.

"Forgive me. It was most unseemly of me...how could I offer to taint your innocence with no thought for the consequences? Yes, you must go back up above, where all is light and joy..."

"I will return...Erik." She liked the sound of his name upon her tongue. She savored it, giving him another of her shy smiles.

"I love the way you say my name, sweet Christine. Will you indeed return?"

"Yes! Oh, yes!" She squeezed his hands as tightly as she could.

"Say it, Christine! Please say it..."

"I love you, Erik..."

"Oh, my beloved..." he groaned, as he again enfolded her in his arms, taking her mouth with a voracious kiss that left her breathless. Then he released her, staring forlornly at her.

"I shall count the days until you are once more at my side, here, in this place that pays homage to Music. I shall come for you when you are ready."

She nodded, smiling so sweetly at him, it was all he could do to keep from sweeping her up in his arms, and returning to his house with her. Instead, he kissed her hand once more, then, putting his mask back on, helped her into the boat.

He rowed slowly away from the shore, while she reclined in the boat, watching him. She turned around once to look back at the house, but it was now shrouded in darkness. Christine felt a poignant joy, for she had first tasted love here, at this house on the lake. Though it was a mysterious, strange place, it was Erik's home, and so she had already begun to treasure it.

Yes, she would most definitely return.






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