Chapter 3 – Think Of Me
As Carlotta boastfully sang the first few lines of the song the ensemble around her began to get restless, they'd heard Carlotta sing many times before, so this was nothing very interesting. What was interesting was when one of the ballet girls screamed. At this point everyone came out from whatever daydream they had pictured whilst Carlotta sang, and all eyes shot upwards where a massive weight was speeding down towards Carlotta at a tremendous speed. Quicker than anyone had ever seen her move Carlotta shot out of the way and the weight crashed down onto the stage right where Carlotta had stood moments before.
Christine and Meg gripped each other's hands and gasped. Suddenly Christine let go and shot off into the wings, she looked around and saw no one, all attention was on the stage, she looked up where she could just about see the metal framework of the flies, and for a moment she thought she saw a shadow but it was gone too quickly.
She heard people screaming and panic ensuing on stage, 'He's here!' she heard someone shout and then Meg's voice.
'The phantom of the opera!' Christine would have run back but she thought she saw someone rushing down the metal staircase; she still didn't have a good enough view though.
She craned her head but only caught wisps of a shadow.
Back on the stage everyone was in frenzy, clutching together in groups. Taped to the weight was a note, Meg ran over to her mother who was busy trying to quieten people down a little bit.
'He's here! The phantom of the opera!' she whispered, fear in her eyes.
'Shush Meg.' Her mother said sternly. Meg looked back and saw Christine in the wings, just staring at something.
'Honestly! Quiet!' Meg tore her eyes from Christine to their new manager, Mr. Firmin, who had also hoisted himself up onto the stage now; Mr. Louis looked incredibly envious of the pair of them.
'What is this phantom business?' he hissed.
'Absurdity! Insolence! Quiet!' Mr. André bellowed, hoisting Carlotta up where she had slipped on her ridiculous costume and fallen.
'Please, my dear,' André said, murmurs still flew around the group but the main panic had subsided for now, 'these things to sometimes happen…'
For a moment Carlotta looked surprised, then, incredibly angry. 'You're telling me.' she said sarcastically, 'ever since I began working here, these THINGS have been happening! And have you ever tried to stop them? No!' she shouted, pointing her finger at Mr. Louis accusingly, 'and you two!' her pointed finger moved to the two new managers, 'you're as bad as if not worse than him!' she turned her back and put a hand to her forehead. 'These things do sometimes happen!' she laughed bitterly, 'well!' she turned back and looked them sternly in the eye, 'until you stop these things happening, I will not be happening!' she shouted, turning on her heel and making for the opposite wings where Christine was stood.
She marched off and there was an awkward moment's silence.
'Well, I think you know all you need to know, if you need me you have my contact details…' Mr. Louis said with a slight smirk and waltzed back off up past the directorial desk and out through the doors.
'Carlotta will be back…' André announced to the waiting cast.
'Do you really think so?' Mrs. Giry asked them.
'Of course! Once we explain the situation she'll…'
'Look, sir, a message, from the opera ghost!' Meg said, jumping in and snatching up the letter, her mother took it from her and Meg slunk back to the side of the wings where Christine was still trying to get a good look of what was up the stairs by the flies. But she didn't dare move her feet, the ballet girls weren't allowed up there. The head of the flies, Mr. Brookes, would yell at anyone who dared disturb him, but he wouldn't try and drop a weight on Carlotta, would he?
'I refuse to believe in any opera ghost!' Firmin shouted angrily, his large, round face going a deep shade of red.
'Well, sir, all the fly staff is off today, they won't be in until later for the technical rehearsal, for now, they are out. If anyone was up there it must be a ghost!' Giry said and one of the girls screamed. At hearing this scream Christine's head snapped around to look out onto the stage, as it did something pushed past her, she spun with the force of it but it was gone out of the door which lead backstage it slammed shut before she could even see it.
Was it the opera ghost?
She simply looked into space, thoughts whirling around her head.
'I welcome you to my opera…' Giry read aloud, 'please continue to leave box five empty for my use, and my salary is due, that it all.'
'His salary?' Firmin asked, unbelieving.
'Yes. Mr. Louis used to pay him twenty thousand pounds a month, perhaps you could afford more, with Raoul de Chagny as your patron.' She said informatively and some of the girls twittered.
'Yes thank you…' André said, looking at his feet.
'What are we going to do? No one to sing? We'll have to refund!' Firmin said, beginning to panic. A look of an idea spread across Meg's face, upon seeing this, her mother nodded at her and as the two new managers began to talk together, Meg darted out into the wings and grabbed Christine's wrist; dragging her onto the stage she addressed the managers.
'Christine Daaé can sing it sir!' she exclaimed, Christine had been pulled out of her trance and now looked confused.
'What?' Meg no…' she began but Meg shushed her.
'Can you miss?' Firmin asked nervously, now everyone's eyes were on her, she willed herself to say something but her mouth didn't seem to produce a sound.
'Daaé?' André asked, distracted, 'as in, Gustave Daaé? The violinist? Any relation of yours?'
'He was my father sir…' she said quietly, she didn't particularly like talking about her father's death.
'She's been taking lessons from a great tutor!' Meg interceded.
'From whom?' André asked curios.
'I don't his name sir…' Christine said, equally as quiet and shy as before.
'Oh! You're all as bad as each other! That's it, I'm calling a refund!' Firmin said turning away from the two teenagers.
'Let her sing for you.' Mrs. Giry almost instructed them. 'She has been well taught.' She gave Christine a knowing glance.
'Very well…' André said and took Christine's hand, leading her off towards the practice room.
Christine looked back to Meg, Meg gave her best friend the best look of encouragement she possibly could.
Twenty minutes later Mrs. Giry and Meg were waiting outside the practice room, Christine would be done any moment now; sure enough a few minutes later she emerged looking forlorn.
'Well?' Meg asked eagerly. Unable to wait and hear if Christine had been given the main part in the opera.
'Well…' Christine said with a sigh, 'they want me to sing at the gala!' she grinned. Meg squealed and pulled Christine into a massive hug.
'I knew you could do it!' she said shrilly.
Mrs. Giry simply stood by and smiled, she knew Christine would make him proud.
'Christine.' She said sternly and the two girls parted quickly. 'You must get ready, the gala is this evening.'
'Of course!' Christine grinned quickly before shooting off towards the ballet girl's dressing room.
'No…' Mrs. Giry said, grabbing her elbow and holding her back. 'You will now have Carlotta's dressing room.'
Christine smiled, 'Thank you.' She replied gratefully. Mrs. Giry gave her a knowing smile and Christine made off in the direction of Carlotta's old dressing room.
It was a fairly big room, the door opened and you would be looking down a long table with a mirror with light-bulbs around it and a chair in front of it, all the necessary make-up already laid out for her. On the opposite side of the room were a large screen for her to change behind and a rail for her to hang her costumes on, and on the far end of the room opposite the door, a massive mirror, bigger than the door, hanging on the wall.
Christine had a pretty hectic afternoon, she spent time with the costume department being fitted for her massive outfit, and she spent time with Mr. Raymond and their new leading tenor, Alex both rehearsing for that evening, and then with an hour to go before curtain up the make-up department sat her down in her dressing room.
And they attacked her long brown hair with scissors and a curling iron.
Instead of falling sleekly down her back and half across her face, when straight it would still fall straight down but she would have Chinese bangs. But curled, it fell about three-quarters way down her back and curls framed her face.
She wound one of these curls around her finger after she'd applied her make-up, for once she didn't feel shy or afraid to show all of her face. She was excited, there were a couple of thousand people sat out there, waiting for her.
'I should curly my hair more often…' she smiled to herself, this was the first moment of peace she'd had all day.
'Miss Daaé?' a man popped his head around the door, 'this is your ten minute call, and I suggest you change.' He smiled kindly and left.
She took a deep breath and changed into her costume, it had a tight, sleeveless, bodice with a huge skirt that flowed out behind her, and she was surprised to find that it would fit through the door. This was her big moment; she smiled to herself as she admired her reflection in the huge mirror.
'Nothing's going to spoil this; this is for father, not even some phantom. This is for you papa.' She said. And then there was another knock on her door and the same man popped his head around.
Her dressing room was under the stage, she followed him up the steps and into the wings. As she waited for the ballet to finish she shared a moments glance with Alex across the stage, he was waiting on the other side. He smiled at her and mouthed 'Good luck…' she returned the favour and watched as the ballet girls streamed off.
Time for her big aria.
She walked on in time to the music, the lights hit her, the follow-spot enhancing her every move. Suddenly, all her shyness and fear disappeared and she opened her mouth.
'Think of me, think of me fondly when we've said goodbye!' she sang, alone on the stage, looking out to the middle distance, where could Raoul be? They'd known each other as children, she was glad he was here; she wished she could see him.
'Remember me, every so often, promise me you'll try!' now Alex came on, slowly, cautiously. 'On that day, that not so distant day, when you are far away and free, if you ever find a moment, spare a thought for me!' now during this slight musical part, she noticed Alex and ran over to him, grabbing his hands. This dress was much harder to move in than she'd expected, but she managed, as she continued singing she led Alex around the stage as he looked pained.
'There will never be a day when I won't think of you!' her final note in that sentence rang out through the coliseum, and she was noticed. Up in the manager's box sat a young man of seventeen, Raoul.
He squinted down at the girl on the stage, he knew her from somewhere. He watched as she acted and sang, and then it twigged. It was her it was Christine Daaé! They'd been friends since a very young age. Both grown up in the south of England after their parents had come from France.
'Bravo!' he shouted down, clapping. He decided to go and see her after the performance, he wondered if she'd even remember him.
Christine finished off the song with an astonishing note and was able to curtsy to plenty of applause.
After the opera she bowed out to a standing ovation. She felt uneasy taking it all for herself and so invited Alex to stand up at the front with her, although she loved it and Alex insisted she wait a little while longer and curtsy again a few more times after everyone else had left the stage.
She grinned up at the thousands of people, clapping for her!
I hope your proud daddy! She thought to herself.
She heard him, that voice! The voice of her tutor! He was here! He'd seen! It had to be the ghost of her father, who else?
But he was here, the phantom of the opera!