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Fully flushed in the face from the close encounter-with Erik's seemingly simple gesture or the appearance of the car of Raoul's drunken friends, she did not know-the young woman made an attempt to sit back in her seat for the ride back to the Opera. It was of no use, though; oh, God! He had offered her his hand! It was a common practice in the day for a gentleman to assist a lady into a carriage, but she had never willingly touched him before. . .Even through gloved hands, the meeting of their bodies would have meant so much more than mere civility: they would have seen each other as equals-their love could have bloomed into the red rose, as the white rose and the nightingale were mature enough to handle such a relationship. This could only have been if the connection was made, though-that physical notion must have taken place.

It did not.

So, was that why her heart, wracked in anguish, felt so low-so inadequate? Of course her lover had to intervene-her lover! Raoul! Had she completely disregarded her childhood companion? Really, she couldn't do anything right, not even take the hand of her faithful friend and maestro. Now she had probably broken the poor Raoul to shards; he had seen her in Erik's company, had he not? But what if he hadn't? Then, she was wasting all this worry for naught! Foolish girl, that Christine was. All she had to do was take the carriage back to the Opera House, and all would be worked out. Of course, a bit of fresh air couldn't have hurt. She peered out the window, only to find the very boy she'd tried desperately to elude riding in his own carriage, parallel to hers. He met her eyes with his, and it was all over.

Quick to return to her former position, Christine struggled not to have a heart attack for the duration of the drive.

She could never fully understand him. Even as he caringly held the hidden entrance door for her, she did not realize the magnitude of love he held in her name, or the burning madness of murderous rage he bore for her young friend. Heavens, could anyone have? No, she thought, he was too alien from humankind to be understood. She walked through, carrying these lofty thoughts, determined to quell the imposing impression of gloom. He followed suit and shut the door; she promptly gave way to her senses.

"Erik. . ." she started, barely standing in place. "Erik, I hurt him, didn't I? I don't want to hurt anybody, Erik. Not anybody. . ." Her tremulous voice did nothing to mask her obvious awareness of his ever-nearing presence behind her. Please don't touch me, please don't touch me. . .

"He is not of my concern." She could have leant back into his chest, she realized. He was so close, yet sounded so far. Damn his ventriloquism. . .

"I. . .I . . ." her words escaped fruition, and she could not speak any longer. He stealthily stole his place before her to begin the journey to the house before the lake in the deepest bowels of the Opera-his home.

"Christine, you are too kind-yet so cruel, you do not even know. . ." the Phantom's whispers were mostly to himself, as the girl was more occupied with keeping pace with her guide; she was afraid of the dark.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Though, I did make up a few things here and there... Gotta love that artistic liscense. ^o^

If you aren't familiar with the setting, that's okay, it doesn't really matter. For those who *do* know a thing or two about the story, Phantom of the Opera (the book, not the show, which is an _excellent_ musical, I might add. But it's not what I'm writing from. So there. > D) this takes place after Erik reveals his mortality to Christine (...). They start out in the Bois (don't you love that.. just say it.. "bwah"! Bwah Bwah Bois...)

Props to Susan Kay and Gaston Leroux for writing entire novels in this fashion. Egads...
ellstar Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2002
That was quite brilliant, Em. I haven't read the complete book (just abridged versions when I was younger) so I cannot compare it, but it sparked my Phantom-obsession ;) (Wink)

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Submitted on
October 28, 2002
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