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 I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please

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Angel_Of_Music
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:52 pm

this is an awesome phanphic! keep it up! I would write more, but I'malmost dead-on-my-feet- tired..so, yeah.
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:32 pm

Good chapter. I liked the description and comments of Emma. The description of Erik scared me, but I can see what she meant about caring about him and being afraid of his looks.

I see only one error. You have 'mon amis', it should be 'mes amis'. This is the plural meaning my friends.

Excellent! Keep up the good work. So happy you are back.

Please continue.

Brava, brava, bravissimi! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:15 pm

I'm really interested to see how this turns out. Keep us updated!

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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Mon May 04, 2009 9:16 pm

Thank you, thank you all for your reviews and your support! It means quite a lot to me and just... yeah. Thank you! *bows* ><;;
@Fay: Curses! I should have caught that. My French teacher would be ashamed. ...Or would she laugh? I'm not sure.

------------------------------
Part Twenty-two:

A part of me knew deep down, as I half jogged by Erik’s side, that Max was somewhere in a shop boiling mad. As happy and content as I felt, I knew I would have to face that shaking volcano of fury. And it rather scared me.
[/b]


Scared me so much I tried to hurry Erik along, but of course with little success. Soon after my fourth attempt at rushing him he turned and stopped me, looking fully irritated. I swallowed and instinctively started to raise my hand to the level of my eyes. He positively burned a hole in my skull as he addressed me quite coolly.

“Mademoiselle, if you continue to rush Erik, his patience will no longer exist.” He said, “Erik is perfectly aware that locating mademoiselle Max is crucial at this time. Do stop.”

I nodded meekly but also shrugged rather helplessly, looking around the streets and buildings and people that surrounded us. I couldn’t help feeling a sense of buzzing at the base of my skull, a warning of something bad. Either that or the sun was really getting to me. I felt a little dizzy. I was going to tell Erik, but he turned down another street, Rue St Honoré, and disappeared from my sight.

For a moment I panicked, but his dark death’s head poked out again and he beckoned with one finger towards me, helping me locate him.

I stumbled his way and barely got to glance up at the store in which Erik entered. Monsieur Elysées*, it proclaimed in bold blue letters to the world on the cream building glass. Espace 237 it added, but I didn’t know exactly what that was. A clothing shop, I noted. I would have much preferred the chocolate store next to it in a heartbeat.

I made a face at the headless mannequins in the front display and scurried inside. Erik was not too far away, but looking at some mannequins that still had their heads attached but seemed to be missing their faces. I was surprised French mannequins weren’t much different from American ones.
He studied the suits with mild interest as I stumbled back to his side, my chest heaving from my recent panic.

“See anything you like?” I asked him sarcastically, stepping next to the mannequin to keep him from turning to look at me, not that he bothered.

Really what I was hoping for is that he wouldn’t notice the newer styles and allowances of this century. This being, the feminine sections where the skirts did not exactly go to their ankles and the one embarrassingly bare female mannequin near the back a store keeper was thankfully clothing.

Then again, I reasoned, what was I trying to protect him from? He was a good old, early fifties late forties fellow. He was French. He had been in the streets without a murmur of the difference. It felt silly to shield him here, in his own country and city. He probably knew more unpleasant things than I did. That and there were naked statues in the Opera. What were a few nude mannequins to him?

With these thoughts in mind I waited impatiently as he fingered a red tie. He noticed this.

“Erik being in the proper clothes will allow us to locate your friend without problems,” he stated simply, gliding off to where the racks of clothing were offered.

I stared at his retreating back. He was turning into a Max!

Quickly I followed like the puppy I felt like. He seemed to not grasp the meaning of the size numbers as he looked over a pair of black slacks that could be compared to one of the black suited dummies. I watched him with vague amusement as he held them up with confusion, a frown on his death’s head.

Taking careful steps towards him I collected the pants and looked at the tag…and nearly dropped them in alarm. Sixty-seven euros for a pair of pants! My eyes found his (with difficulty) and my jaw dropped in utter amazement.

“Are they the wrong size?” he asked, quite indifferent to the topic of my acute distress.

I mouthed at him in the way he had once said made me look like a fish and turned away from him to compose myself. He was rich, I reasoned wildly in my head, he was rich and had rich tastes.

It’s not my money, after all. I turned back with a quick smile and told him I hadn’t the foggiest of his modern size, since things were undoubtedly different now. But he and I would do our best to find the right size.

Unfortunately he looked more irritated than relieved. He asked me why there were not people to measure him, to tell him his measurements and gather clothes for him to try on.

My brow creased. I knew we really didn’t do that in America, not in any of the stores I went to. I was just as foreign here as Erik and I didn’t know the ways of the French shops. I told him this and apologized quickly. The last thing I needed was an angry Erik. Or worse, an angry Erik who was particularly inclined to blame me for these shortcomings. This seemed even more likely to happen. I appropriately started to break out into cold sweat.

However, he had his own ideas in mind.

“Erik will see to this problem,” he said presently, and with an elegant swoop he headed straight for the store worker.

I watched him, rather horrified and awestruck all at the same time. This would be fun to watch. And this would also be a very bad thing to go wrong. There was no way we would get by in this century alive if Erik kept nosing…oh, ha-ha, nose joke… if Erik kept prodding into subjects that were best left alone. Indeed the store employee looked a little more than confused as Erik talked to them. I hurried over, wondering if the worker spoke enough English for me to explain Erik away. I certainly couldn’t speak to anyone who didn’t!

To my immediate surprise, however, as soon as I approached the employee had nodded understandingly at Erik and had left him and me for the moment to hurry away. Erik looked extremely smug and gave me a horrific grin of victory. My own mouth twitched into a scowl. Erik got points for being clever and he knew it.

When the worker came back, we were taken to the back of the store, in the dressing rooms. Obviously I was placed outside of this and left to wait impatiently. I really wished I had been smart enough to take a phone. So much time had passed and I knew as soon as Max spotted me I would be in zipping trouble. Then I was surprised again when the worker poked his head out at me and started jabbering away in French. I blinked, confused.

“Er… je ne parler pas française?” I fumbled, trying in vain to rack up a decent sentence that would explain my problem.

He looked at me funny, which could tell me quite a few things: one being my illiteracy, or two my atrocious accent, three being what I said was in the wrong order, or even that I got it right but he was too busy looking at my obvious albino-ness. The latter would rather piss me off so instead I arranged my features to look politely puzzled. The worker seemed to perceive the problem and inverted to English, which was broken and he raised his voice a little more, slowly speaking as if I were a little child, but he was understandable at least.

Monsieur,” he started by pointing back in the dressing room, “want you to help with clothes. What want?” **

He pointed around the store to emphasis his point. I could have pretended to think about what he said, but he didn’t do that when I spoke French so I resisted the small urge. Instead, I smiled and nodded and got up to look at the suits, or at least that’s what I thought. The worker grabbed my arm gently and brought out a notepad on which he scrawled numbers, pointing at each then pointing at corresponding clothing on himself.

Merci,” I said in my American way, which probably sounded utterly ridiculous to him, taking the paper.

He nodded, satisfied, and walked back in the dressing room.

I now looked at the notepad with the numbers, chewing my bottom lip. He had been helpful enough to write out the actual digits, but I couldn’t understand how the numbers were what they were. Frankly I wondered if they were genuine because when I remembered how tall and lanky Erik was, I didn’t think these numbers fit. I don’t even dare say them now, you see. In case that Erik would find out I told because I guess telling people others’ measurements is very rude I guess.

So with a heroic face I started looking through the mens’ clothing, trying to find something in good taste (while ignoring the prices as best as I could, the miser in me weeping) but also obviously modern. It wasn’t difficult to find the measurements given, but it certainly wasn’t easy. But, finally I had chosen two complete suits of the modern look and style, very pleasing to the eyes or at least to mine. One was of course, either black or a very dark grey with a black shirt and dark grey silk tie and the other a light cream with a white shirt and the red silk tie he had looked over from before.

“Try on these two, Erik!” I chirped, coming back into the dressing room.

He was waiting with astonishing patience, sitting in a chair by the little individual rooms. He rose from this chair and stepped forward to collect what I handed to him. I beamed at him while he glanced his stack over, sliding over the red tie more than once. He then looked up at me.

“Erik will need more clothes,” he said firmly, “He cannot wear only two suits! Fetch more.”

I stared at him dolefully but he pointed me out the door and I fell that hour or so to darting back and forth with suits of all colors and styles. There now were two piles on the chair. Keeps and put aways, with the put aways a bigger stack. More than once the poor store employee poked his head in, inquired at Erik only to be sent away again. I didn’t press him for time, though. I noticed vaguely that if I complained about the time Erik took his sweet time.

In the end he had all he wanted laid out on the counter and me waiting to receive the bags they were put in. I had to admire the store keeper’s patience and self sacrifice as he ringed us up. I heard the final price, but I couldn’t remember the French numbers.

That and I suspected that it would be quite expensive and I didn’t want to know. The receipt was given for Erik to sign and I could see the top of the counter. Erik held the pen delicately and his movements were graceful, but what came out as a product was laughable.

He had the spikiest, sloppiest handwriting I ever knew of. A little more than scribbles, it looked like it took Erik a very, very extraordinary effort just to get it readable. Gaston knew what he was talking of when he said a child had written the red inked notes. The store worker and I exchanged glances of surprise, but we said nothing. Me being silent for my safety and he for his business because you shouldn’t insult your customers.

I think Erik could tell what we thought even though we were in silence and he dropped the bags into my unready arms and swept out quickly. I rather felt like a servant trotting after him, cumbered with his purchases. He beckoned me along, stating if I fell behind he would not willingly slow down for me.

“We’re in a lot of trouble,” I mumbled into the bags as I followed him along.

“Why?” he asked smoothly, “we have made our stops and we are on time.”

I didn’t realize the time and when he mentioned it I yelped and stopped.

“Our concert!” I wailed as he grudgingly turned to come back to me. “Oh, oh, oh! I forgot all about our concert! Stupid Emma! Stupid, stupid!”

I began my process of self infliction by setting the bags down so I could smack myself violently on the forehead repeatedly. We had been wandering around for hours! The concert was tonight, and we had to get ready an hour before! I don’t think many people can understand the panic a musician feels when knowing you are going to be late for a performance.

A performance is your lifeblood; it’s what the people remember. No one knows how hard you work when you’re practicing. All the audience knows is how you perform, in that one moment of music.

Already the sun was sinking in the sky and it made my stomach twist in horrible, painful knots. Erik however watched my fluttering calmly and quite at ease.

“You shouldn’t knock your head so,” he said, “You could smack your brain right out. And that would be most unfortunate.”

I stopped my beating to stare at him in aghast.

“Why?” I asked, in spite of my panic.

He didn’t answer, just as I thought he won’t, but merely pointed behind me. I slowly turned, and slowly, it dawned on me. I shouldn’t be smacking myself because I would deprive Max of killing me. And with her standing just behind me and with that look on her face with an equally furious Persian, it was exactly her thoughts. My life would be ending soon, and I must admit I wasn’t thinking about my regrets of my past. I kept thinking about how Erik got another point. I hated that.

And he knew it.

-------------

I hope that this was another enjoyable one and any comments on how to improve would be greatly apreciated! Hug


* This is an actual shop I located, even though I've never been to France. The name and number on the side does exist. If anything is wrong about how it's run, or how it might've looked inside, I apologize. There is only so much I can see through the mirrors in the pictures.

**I don't know how well English is spoken there, or even if they would speak English to a tourist. A reminder that this is all made up, and I don't know that much. ^^;;
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Wed May 06, 2009 6:09 pm

Well I'm starting to like phanfiction Rolling Eyes So you better post more before I change my mind!

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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Thu May 07, 2009 10:41 am

that was great! I am really liking your Phanphic! keep up the great work! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Mon May 25, 2009 6:42 pm

UPDATED. FINALLY. WHEW.
-------------------

Part Twenty-three, Section 1:

“Emma…” Max said through clenched teeth.

I was now a statue and could only watch in vague horror as my friend’s fingers wrapped around my throat, quite literally I assure you. She squeezed once and though she relaxed her grip from truly strangling me, she shook me like a bad child with an ill tempered mother. My brains rattled in my head and I felt my eyes roll back and forth as she shook me hard, all the while yelling at me at how stupid and how irresponsible I had been. Had I been in control of my shaking vision, I would have seen a very docile Erik with an equally matched shocked Daroga.

Once she had shaken me to perfection, she released me and calmed herself by taking deep breaths. I was so dizzy, I squatted right where I stood and attempted to fix my disheveled mass of pale hair. Erik took to standing over me, watching me with much amusement.

“Where have you both been?” Max finally asked, cool and collected once more.

I pressed my lips together in fear of saying the wrong thing. I looked up at my dear uncle for aid. He answered by plucking up the shopping bags and holding them out to her. She didn’t take them but looked through the pants, shirts, and jackets inside. Her nose was wrinkled up in thought. Finally she looked at us both with an acidic stare.

“You weren’t supposed to go shopping,” she chided me, avoiding Erik’s gaze. “You were just supposed to go to the bank!”

I nodded and did my best to look repentant. She sighed and pointed out Daroga to me, whom I just started to look at. Daroga had already been shopping, though he only wore one suit and didn’t have any bags with him. The suit wasn’t even complete. It apparently showed to me and Erik that Max had bought it with her own money.

For those of you who are fascinated with clothing, our dear Persian was wearing tan slacks, brown shoes, a green striped button-down shirt (which did the world of good for his lovely, equally green eyes), and an open tan jacket. He didn’t have a tie, and the two buttons at the top of his shirt were undone. But still perched precariously upon his head was that ridiculous fez hat of his. He looked and probably felt very odd. But I had to admit, Max did very well with what she had. He also looked presentable.

I started to smile at him and he glared. Max later explained they had gone to a second-hand clothing shop they found, and some of the stuff was miraculously on sale. Nothing was on sale for very long and very often in France. I then nodded my approval over his dress to which Max only gave me another withering glare. She then turned her attention to Erik with a surprisingly apologetic air and to my irritation, spoke to him, instead of good old understandable English, in French. She knew I couldn’t understand much, and was aiming for my inability of that language to speak to Erik in private.

I fumed and would have complained to Daroga…but we all know that wouldn’t have gone very far. He didn’t like me much, anyways. So there I stood, feeling awkward until the conversation was done. Erik looked at me with little interest while Max gripped her head in agitation.

“What shall we do about them now?” she asked no one. “We have to go back to our hotel and get ready…!”

“I offered that we keep them at our hotel.” I said sulkily, pulling at a strand of my hair.

Max just shook her head and continued to mumble under her breath, upset in her own way. We watched her pace back and forth, muttering ideas to herself and also exterminating those ideas when they didn’t come up perfect. Daroga followed her with his eyes, back and forth, a frown on his olive-skinned face. Erik took to standing by my side again. I looked up at him, nervous as to what we could do. I then found out what the Persian felt like because Erik looked as calm as he could be. This is truly an aggravating thing when you’re going to be in big trouble and you’re not panicking correctly.

“Are you performing with a musical group?” Erik asked me evenly, like he was merely commenting on the weather.

I avoided tearing at my hair but I nodded, not trusting my voice level to speak to him. He seemed to think about this for only a moment before stating:

“I should like to see that.”

He then handed me the bags and walked over to Max, holding up one hand to stop her pacing. To my surprise, she did stop and listened to him warily. He spoke persuasively, but I wasn’t buying it. Max never gave in to others’ wills. Imagine my shock when she nodded and seemed to accept whatever he discussed with her softly. She didn’t look happy, but she was assenting. A miracle!

“So what’s happening?” I demanded when they returned to us again. “What’re we doing?”

Max looked gravely at me and glanced at Erik who nodded. Apparently this would be difficult to tell me. I felt like a parent with a naughty teenager who didn’t want to say where they were all night.

“They’re going to come with us to the hotel after all,” she sighed finally.

I nodded, knowing there was more. Unfortunately she seemed to be through right there. She didn’t say anything for awhile. I tapped my foot.

“And?” I persisted.

Erik frowned at me for being nosy, but I didn’t care. I would rather have known what was going on for now then not. And Max always told me I should become more informed. She looked at me now and sighed heavily.

“And they’re going to watch us perform.”

I stared and started to laugh, clutching my stomach. This was phenomenal! A plan such as that going past Max’s keen sensibility and into reality? It didn’t seem possible. Or, at least it didn’t seem possible until I noticed that no one joined me in my mirth. I stopped.

“No, really,” I asked between my nervous giggles, “what’s happening?”


--------------

SORRY. Writer's block conquered. (sp? -_-)


Last edited by haleybob on Mon May 25, 2009 6:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Mon May 25, 2009 6:44 pm

Dunno what was up with the site...post was too big. 9_9


-------------
Chapter 23, Section 2:

We had to almost run to get to the hotel on time. Erik, once informed of the area where the building was, raced in the front to lead the way. We had to trust his judgment and his lack of knowledge of about a century or so to get us through the twining streets of Paris. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel nervous or doubting but I followed with faith. If I couldn’t trust Erik the crazy genius, there weren’t too many others that I could.

But soon the streets looked more familiar and I noticed as we hurried along the perfume shop Max and I had stopped next to before going to the Opera House. Even though that occurred on the same day, it felt like an eternity from now. Did we really complete the whole time with Erik in only a matter of minutes? I put my thoughts to the road instead of confusing time warps.

“We made it!” Max suddenly gasped while I panted near her.

We arrived at our hotel in one piece and with two uncles. Just as planned. I grinned and congratulated ourselves while my friends hurried inside. Our hotel was nice, like I said, but it wasn’t the most expensive one out there. It felt like any other hotel you would find, only that there were French speakers and more art. As we entered the entrance way, I spotted other Band kids scurrying along as well. We weren’t the only ones who were late.
I was about to tell this to Max but she was already hot on the heels of Erik, who was veering towards the elevators in a fascinated air.

Daroga, as always, followed like an obedient puppy. I felt the same as I charged after them.

“Emma!” a voice cried my name and I turned unwillingly to see my section leader, Pam, waving at me to come over.

I looked from the opened elevator where Erik was loading himself in, Max and Daroga trying to get in, and back to Pam. With a look to Max, I came to my leader with difficulty.
“What’s up, Pammy?” I said, trying to be light and carefree.

The ding of the elevator made me look over my shoulder. Erik was gone. A cold sweat broke out over me and it took Herculean effort for me to focus back on Pam. Pam wasn’t happy at the moment. She scolded me for just a moment for being late and leaving my itinerary at the breakfast table. I nodded and looked properly ashamed while shifting myself in her view, so that she wouldn’t spot anything out of the ordinary like Max talking with Daroga while racing up the stairway.

“Now go get ready,” Pam finished when I paid attention, “We got to leave in less than ten minutes.”

“What about our instruments?” I asked, finally acting responsible since Max wasn’t here to learn about all that for me.

“In the bus with us.”

With another scowl Pam trotted off, her long black hair bouncing with her small, quick steps. I waited only for a moment before bolting to the staircase. I shouted Max’s name, but there was no reply except for a tuba player up top who yelled something very inappropriate back. I ignored him and took the stairs two at a time, trying to ignore the cramp in my ribs that was starting up.

“Stupid, stupid, curious phantom!” I growled as I came up on the fourth floor where our room was.

I pushed open the door that let me into the hall and I was relieved to find Max. I ran up to her and she grabbed my hand as soon as I came close.

“Erik is gone!” she said, looking very harassed, “I can’t find him…I don’t know what floor he went to!”

I stared at her in horror.

“Well, what about Daroga?” I demanded.

She blushed and pointed down the hall to our room.

“I put him in there,” she said, “I didn’t know what to do with him, and Mr. Party was coming…”

I balked and looked both ways down the hall, feeling more sweaty and tired than ever before. If Mr. Party saw Max put a man in our room, she would be sent home. She would also be kicked out of Band, and perhaps even school. It was very dangerous to do, but as soon as she saw the worry in my eyes she was quick to reassure me that Mr. Party saw nothing and Daroga had been given strict instruction to stay put.

I took that time to tell her we had less than ten minutes to get dressed and get ourselves and our instruments in the buses. I sort of wished I didn’t tell her because she went very pale. I held out my hand to steady her, in case she fainted but she pushed it away and instead pulled me into our room, using the card that I forgot she always carried. This was a good thing because I had forgotten to get my own key card before we left.

Just as Max said, Daroga was inside, pacing and looking very disturbed. He looked up sharply as we came in and immediately started to speak to Max. However she quickly silenced him and looked at the door, a look of panic on it. However I had pressed hard on the dumb door, closing it tight. No one, besides our trumpet roommate, was getting in. I think she told him that he shouldn’t speak, in case someone was listening at the door because he looked dubious. Thankfully, it seemed he trusted Max enough to listen to her.

“We have to change and get ready,” she said fretfully, digging into her bags. “We’ll find Erik after.”

I nodded and took out my own clothes. The Persian seemed to realize what we needed to do because he turned and stared out the window. I wasn’t going to change in front of him, however. And Max was much more in control than that. We took turns going in the bathroom. I kind of had to step back and marvel at my friend. Her concert attire looked very nice, black blouse and pants and shoes, and her hair was straight and well kept despite the worry that ruined her normally peaceful, pretty face. She nearly pushed me in the bathroom and told me and Daroga in turn that she would be looking for Erik, but she would be going to the bus and I should go, too.

I changed as fast as I could and glared once at my reflection. I once again looked like an albino vampire, dressed in all black. I think that many emo people would be jealous of me. There was nothing I could do with my hair. Translucent and unwilling to fix into anything nice, I pulled it back and sprayed it down with hairspray. The Persian leaped from the chair he was sitting in, startled as I burst out of the bathroom. Seizing up my instrument case I waved to him and opened the door, running out.

“Later, Daroga! Stay here!” I said over my shoulder.

I really hoped that the trumpet girl was already ready and in the bus. As I raced down the stairs, clarinet case in hand, I looked for Erik helplessly. He was no where to be found. Tuxedoed and black gowned or pants-ed Band kids were also making their way down, but not as frantically as I was. They were used to me being late, though.

They probably assumed that I was thinking I was late. When I’m late, I run. And that’s what I was doing. Indeed I passed a few saxophones, one of which called after me “It’s not a race!” before I turned the corner. But it was a race. A race against the clock to find Erik, and get him somewhere before we had to leave. For the second time that day, I wished that we had stayed back in his time.

I cursed him under my breath and nearly ran into two people while I ran down the hall. I spouted apologies quickly and was about to duck beneath them when I realized who they were. I gulped and balked all at the same time. Side by side were none other than Mr. Party…and Erik. They both looked down at me with little surprise and Erik smirked at me.

“I’m glad to see you take your job seriously,” Mr. Party said dryly, “But you won’t be late, I promise.”

I could only blush and nod, staring boggle eyed at Erik, not believing he had immediately gotten a hold of Mr. Party. My instructor turned to Erik with a quick motion.

“Your niece is quite an eager member, Mr. Specter.” He said, “You must be quite proud to have her here.”
He then turned to me.

“You never said your uncle was in Paris,” he scolded gently with a smirk of his own, “I’m surprised at you.”

What I was surprised at what that he wasn’t freaked out by this corpse man that I pretended to call my uncle. Of course he had the nose on (not taking it off since we left the Opera House) but still he was pretty intimidating if not unpleasant to look at for very long. Later I realized it was only the zeal for music that brought these two men into conversation. My teacher seemed very comfortable with Erik. I shook my head, clearing it then apologizing to my instructor.

“It was kind of a surprise,” I said lamely after a moment’s thought. “I…He didn’t tell me he was going to visit me.”

Erik was enjoying this and he elaborately lectured me on the importance of visiting family members. Especially, he said with a glimmer in those dark eyes, when it came to performances of this honor. I forced a grin and Mr. Party shooed me away to the bus, taking up conversation with my notorious uncle once more.

The buses that were to take us to the concert were waiting outside and I quickly found mine, bus two, and got inside. It was noisy and crowded as ever, with cases taking up more space than the students. I pushed my way past them and fellow Band people until I reached the seats where Max and I sat. She was there, and by the look on her face, she knew what Erik was doing. She didn’t like it.

I sat down heavily and ducked to avoid a wheeling saxophone case above my head before turning to Max.

“I found Erik,” I said unnecessarily.

“So did I,” Max’s clipped answer led me to silence.

There would be no talking to her until much, much later. She was not a happy muffin. If Erik had been a kid, Max would have chewed him out right then and there. I looked over out the window to see him and Mr. Party load into the first bus, which was mostly the adults that came with us. I sat back and settled my case on my lap. It would be interesting to see how the rest of the evening turned out. No doubt Erik would be taken care of and helped by Mr. Party, and Daroga was safely inside our room. I sighed. Now there was nothing to do but go to the concert and do my best.

I could only hope my new uncle would appreciate the music

--------------

THERE. ALL OF IT IN.
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Sat May 30, 2009 9:11 pm

oohh! The next part shoud be awesome! keep up the great work!
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:32 am

Merr....can't write much during the summer. We're ALWAYS gone.
--------------

Part Twenty-four:

As the buses rolled out from in front of our hotel, I started to feel anxious. The rule for our band and its bus rides are “bus rides are not fun” but we manage to do the exact opposite. Not that it mattered, we all knew that rule didn’t truly apply to us: it just sounded good. It only came into real effect when our bus caught sight of where ever we would be performing. Then, all of a sudden, the bus would fall into complete silence. Very eerie when you’re only a freshman and it’s your first competition.

So now, being nowhere near our destination, the bus was respectfully noisy and it helped only so much with my already rattled nerves. I felt pretty bad for Daroga being stuck in our room for the whole evening. That and I felt a little embarrassed because all our stuff was lying around the room when I left. Made me really wish that our roommate trumpet girl didn’t like Victoria’s Secret so much. But that itself wasn’t making me anxious.

I felt this way because not only would we be performing in front of a huge audience and judges in Paris, representing both America and Nevada alike and one mess up would ruin us forever in the eyes of Europeans and be all over Youtube in the following day for all to see and ridicule further. And not only because of all that, but also because Erik would be right there in the audience watching and listening with the rest of them. It wasn’t everyday that a band could go to Paris and play for the one and only Phantom of the Opera, well known as a genius in music.

I will confess, I was just a little bit worried about that. I would’ve talked to Max about it, to calm myself down but she was still brooding out the window. I kept forgetting conveniently that Max, once seriously angered, was hard to bounce back to normal. For the whole trip to the concert hall I had only my anxieties for company. And they aren’t very good company at all.

It was only when that familiar hush came over the whole bus that I snapped my head up. All eyes were fixed on the concert hall and I found that the little bubble or worry inside me had expanded into a volcano of nerves. I surreptitiously tried to wipe sweaty hands on my concert outfit. The years I had been doing this still did not prepare me for a concert night. I gripped the handle on my clarinet case with one that would only be forcefully released if I died.

The other bus passed, its occupants seemingly equally silent and motionless as we were. In vain I tried to peer inside the darkened windows for a glimpse of Erik. It wasn’t the right bus, however. The other one that did hold my slippery phantom was already winding itself into the parking lot behind the building. Other buses that weren’t ours were already there, waiting for their turn to enter. There would be local bands here as well as other groups from America.

I felt a lump rise in my throat and I tried thinking about not puking. As our bus turned into the lot, I watched as bus one unloaded its passengers. To my relief and apprehension Max pointed out Erik, taller than anyone else. Mr. Party, who thankfully was next to him, was dwarfed by his tall, ugly companion. Max grumbled under her breath and I tapped the window experimentally, wondering if he could see us but a few shushes and threatening glares from other band members made me quickly stop.

Erik and the rest of the occupants of his bus went inside. Mr. Party did not go with them, but instead boarded our bus, ink stamp and stamper in his hands. We knew the drill. Simultaneously everyone held out the backs of their hands to be stamped as he walked down the aisle. Normally this was only done for marching bands but seeing how intense everything here was, stamping was necessary.

Woodwinds were then instructed to take out our reeds for soaking and the brass to have their mouth pieces on hand. I chewed my own reed meditatively, in serious need of some calming activity. Max squished past me to collect her large case stowed in the back with the rest of the larger instruments. And through all this the bus was still silent, the clacking of woodwind instruments being put together and clanging of brass instruments being taken out the only noises that filled the air.

One by one we carefully filed out of the bus, small chatter erupting only when we were out in the cool, outside air. The rest of the band was already there to meet us up and Mr. Perini guided us rather unsuccessfully into a line, bringing us around the back. We had already been informed of what would happen now.

We had a few groups that still needed to perform before us. We were allowed a small room to practice before someone would fetch us for our own performance. We would then play our three songs, bow as one, and watch everyone else. Inwardly I hoped it would be then we could reunite with Erik.

My stomach twisted with amazing flexibility as we walked along. I was quick to find Max and to reply my thoughts in soft undertone. She also agreed to try to get with Erik after we would perform. She would feel better if we had control over our uncle again. I wondered if my friend even knew we were never in control since the beginning but I cleverly kept this to myself.

Sadly, I don’t remember much of the building (we know so little of actual concert places) that I barely recall us even going into the practice room before we tuned and played. I enjoyed our song selections, though and the music momentarily soothed me into a calm stupor, not thinking beyond the next note, the next fermata. All too soon, a stagehand came and fetched us and we rose to our feet, filing out quietly row by row. By now my heart rate was back up and I could barely force a smile back at Max when she waved to me before exiting first with her section.

The back halls were dim and cool, which was good because the stage (like any others) would be lit up and I would be baking in minutes in my black concert attire under those bright lights. Not that it mattered since I was already sweaty with nerves….nothing could help me now. The only good thing about stages were that the light almost always were too bright to see anything.

It mattered little on a French stage. Rickety chairs and stands stood aligned from the last group, far too many then we’d actually use. When we got on, people immediately started rearranging everything to our own comfort. Mr. Party himself helped me set up the front row for our clarinets while I avoided eye contact. I could have rearranged chairs and stands forever instead of actually playing a note. But that wasn’t possible.

Now everything was perfect and while I fidgeted on my chair I heard the percussion section setting up behind us. Mr. Perini stood on the podium, looking over his music calmly though a twitch in his eyelid gave away his true feelings. I looked over at my section. Pam, first chair, was fiddling with her own music, making sure the order was correct for the thousandth time. Our only boy, James, second chair, looked like a king on his throne quite at his ease. I was third chair so turned the other way to look at the two others which were girls, juniors.

They, too seemed quite at their leisure but I suspected it was because they didn’t play for half our songs with all the rests and just because their parts were so minor. I hated that fact that they didn’t do much, but if it kept them from screwing up everything I would be satisfied. The other sections I could hear shifting, tapping feet, and fixing up instruments behind me. The crowd in front was unbearably silent. I hoped I wouldn’t sneeze.

A man came up with a microphone and started to introduce us, naming who we were, where we were from, and what we’ve done to get here. It was all old news and I didn’t hear a word of it. I didn’t really pay attention at all until Mr. Perini’s baton rose. We sat ramrod straight in our seats and placed our instruments to our mouths accordingly. I kept my eyes on the swinging stick in my instructor’s hand. And we begun.

Music filled the whole place, getting into everywhere and bouncing back but we were ready for this. With long practices in our gym back at home, echoing of our own sound was nothing to us. No one was fazed in the slightest as we played. I played my best along with my peers, loosing myself in the notes before me. That’s the best part about playing something you know by heart, everything is almost automatic and no one can ruin it for you except yourself.

I was amazed at my section’s being in tune, I must say. Usually there’s just one of us who’s always off, and in the worst way. I’ve seen the baton we now watched carefully being flung violently at offending members who played too sharp or flat. And it’s completely reasonable: a single sharp in a row of in tune or flat clarinets ruins the whole sound. A non-music person would ask, what’s the big deal? But as Mr. Party says….it’s adding a single hot chili pepper to sweet, homemade ice cream. Disgusting.

The first song passed with no incident. It was lovely. Mr. Perini was actually smiling as he traded places with Mr. Party. Once the short man was up in front of us, we smartened up. If anything the band sat up a little straighter as he took the podium, humorously lowering his stand to his proper height. He barely rose his hand to start us, we knew his habits, his motions. Needless for me to tell you, the song he directed was probably our best. People applauded quickly then fell silent as Mr. Perini took the podium again.

“The final piece,” the man with the microphone stated, “is entitled…Lauds.”

Grins were exchanged behind stands. It was our favorite song. Mr. Perini rose his hands high….and we played. Lauds was what it meant, big, loud, and impressive. Our band, if we wanted to do anything, loved to play loud. And we did but with good tone, fabulous clarity, and a wonderful percussion section. We ruled the stage when we were on it. Off it, we were horrible and noisy and obnoxious but there. There dressed up in the tuxes and dresses, we were professional and we attempted to play so.

We were on the last note, we blasted and then…we stopped. Applause rang out loud and finally I looked away from the lowered baton to turn to the crowds. Flushed and more sweaty than ever, all of us took a bow along with our instructor. It was finally over. I turned as soon as I could to the side, to file out behind my peers as we exited the stage. I stumbled over the stairs but an arm caught me.

“Help me find Erik,” Max hissed in my ear.

I nodded weakly, glad just to remove myself from the bright stage. I peered into the crowds, but the rest of the band was shoving from behind. Max and I were shoved along unable to fight against the natural pull to the back of the audience. It wasn’t long before we were settled in chairs. Max was still standing, looking around in vain while I sat, quite glad she wasn’t making me stand up.

“That was just fine,” a soft voice said from the side of me.

I turned slowly and found myself looking at nothing. I blinked and the soft voice laughed quietly, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up. A single finger tapped my head and I looked up obedient to the call. There, hovering over me frighteningly was the man we were trying to locate. My eyes widened.

“Erik!” Max exclaimed once she had turned. “There you are! I’m so relieved…”

He looked up at her, away from me but I didn’t pull my head back up. How could he be so quiet? And sneaking up behind me again…I didn’t appreciate it but I was so drained from the performance that I couldn’t be mad. Instead, I was a little bit thrilled.

“We really were fine?” I said, still looking up at him, awed that he would give such a compliment.

Max scowled at me, probably for being so forward but Erik didn’t seem to mind. His eyes stood out more in the dark and they flashed with amusement.

“Yes, Emma,” he said, unaware of a flash of happiness in me from my name usage, “you did just fine, for a group so young. Not perfect, certainly. But…it was pleasant.”

My face broke out into the first real smile I had that whole day and only then did I pull up my head to its normal position. Max thanked him profusely as he stepped over the seat to occupy the one next to me. I was even more thrilled and a bit daunted by this. Even seated, Erik was pretty tall, well a head over mine. He turned his attention back to the stage as the crowds hushed. Max gripped my shoulder and grinned at me, which I mirrored back at her. This was the best day ever, I privately thought. The very, very best.

Little did I know that that fact wouldn't wouldn't be of much help later on.
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PostSubject: Re: I Want a Refund on My Phantom, Please   Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:43 am

Sorry I haven't R&R for a long time. I was on layoff and now just started a new job.

As always, nice job. Love the relationship between Emma and Erik. Maybe I missed something, but as I read in chapters prior to the last one, I don't see where Mr. Party is properly introduced. He just appears. Did I miss something. Who is he exactly?

Otherwise, good job! Don't take so long to post. Please continue.

Brava, brava, bravissimi! Very Happy
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