Bid Time Return
Chapter One - ElisabetaChapter 2 - The Hall of History
That was her real name. But to be what she wanted be, changing it was the only option. Now everyone knew her as Elisabeta Devereaux. As an aspiring opera singer, her dream was to become the Prima Donna at the Opera Populaire in Paris, France. But for right now, she was stuck in the chorus at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in the United States.
Standing at five feet seven inches, she had green eyes, pixie – cut flamboyant red hair, skin white as snow, and a beautiful soprano voice to complete the physical ensemble. Sadly in need of a personal vocal coach, she could not afford one. She lived in New York on her own in a one bedroom apartment with a horribly loud trumpet player that lived upstairs. Everyday, she got up, ate breakfast, dressed, left the apartment, and crossed the street where the world of opera was waiting for her.
First, she would go to rehearsal for that week’s or month’s performance. Then it was music class, learning and studying different operas and the artists who created them. Her favorite was what was known to everyone as the “Mystery” show.
It was called “Don Juan Triumphant.”
Elisabeta was the only one who actually enjoyed the music. Teachers thought it was too sensual and advanced for the young hopeful students. Elisabeta thought otherwise. It also seemed that Elisabeta was the student with the highest range. She could reach the High “C” with the greatest of ease, yet she always struggled with the lowest note of “Don Juan Triumphant.” The other girls would poke fun at her when she reached the note. As always, her voice would go lower…and lower…and lower…to the point where it would crack, loud enough for the teachers to yell at her and the other students to start laughing.
However, despite all the torture of the life of an artist, Elisabeta wasn’t all that unhappy. In fact, she was very enthusiastic.
Especially when she opened her mail box, on Monday morning to find an invitation inside.
It asked her to join a certain number of students to travel to Paris, France. They would sit in box seats at the Opera Populaire, while watching a special opera. What the students did not know, or were not meant to know was that the show would be “Don Juan Triumphant.” The opera had not been performed since the 1870, when during the show, the opera house caught on fire. To this day, it remained a mystery as to whom or what even started the disaster. All anyone ever knew was that one person had been killed…by strangulation.
The murderer was never found.
That day on Monday morning, when Elisabeta got the invitation in her mail box, she raced to work.
“Can you believe this? A trip to Paris!” she shouted to her friend Lora.
“Of all the shows to see, why did it have to be this one?” Lora said.
“What do you mean?”
“Come on, you’ve heard and read the lyrics, it doesn’t make sense. It’s also a little too sexy to sing. For me anyway.” replied Lora.
“It’s “Don Juan Triumphant? How do you know that?” she asked.
“My mother is the director. She told me, and swore me to secrecy. But I figured since this one is your favorite, you deserved to know.” Lora said.
Elisabeta smiled, but then she remembered.
“Wait, haven’t you been to the Opera Populaire?” asked Elisabeta.
“Yes, but it was to see “The Magic Flute.” Said Lora.
“What does the place look like from inside? The opera house, I mean. Is it beautiful? What seat should I sign up for?”
Lora was a bit amused that her young friend was so excited to go. (Elisabeta was only eighteen, the youngest chorus member in her level at the Met.)
“Yes, it’s exquisite, but the great chandelier has electric lights and not candles. Try Box Five. Everyone says it’s the best seat in the whole auditorium.” Said Lora.
“This is going to be so much fun! Will you help me pack? I haven’t the slightest idea what to bring. I’ve never been to Europe. In fact, I’ve never even left this country.” Said Elisabeta.
“Slow down girl. I’ll email you a list of stuff to take with you.” Lora said.
Elisabeta hung her head down. Lora had forgotten that Elisabeta was the only person on the planet who didn’t own a computer. She couldn’t even afford her own cell phone.
“Oh sorry, I forgot.” Said Lora.
“It’s alright. Just call me tonight.” Said Elisabeta.
The rest of the day went by fast.
At least for Elisabeta.
She was given her airline ticket, all paid for, including her seat for the show in Paris. On the way home, she went to the travel book store, and picked up some information on France and the Opera Populaire itself. Finally reaching her apartment, she went inside, dropped her stuff on the floor, and sat down on the couch. Taking out the ticket to the show, she took a deep breath and read her seat.
Two weeks later…
The flight across the Atlantic was long and nauseating. The plane took off like a rocket, and landed like a ship’s anchor falling to the bottom of the ocean. After she picked up her luggage, Elisabeta got into a taxi that took her through the crowded streets of Paris. Traveling by herself, Elisabeta was nervous. She was starving and didn’t even know if she’d gotten a suitable hotel. She looked into her purse just to make sure that she still had her opera ticket with her. Suddenly, the taxi passed a McDonald’s and she sighed with relief. Finally, the vehicle pulled up to the hotel which was to remain her home for the next seven days.
It was called Hotel L’Imperial. Getting out of the car, she paid the driver, picked up her suitcase, and walked inside. The hotel was small, but beautiful. Chandeliers everywhere, cherry wood furniture, and the place smelled of roses. Elisabeta checked in, and went into the elevator. It was only big enough for one person! As she reached her floor and walked down the hallway, something caught her eye. It was a sign on top of a doorway that led to small room. The sign said: Hall of History.
“Hmmm, sounds interesting. Might as well take a look.” Elisabeta thought to herself.
She opened the door to her flat and gasped. The bed was smaller than the average American sized twin bed! It had one small window that overlooked the chimneys of the surrounding buildings. She went into the bathroom and noticed that there was no tub. There was only a small cement square on the ground with long hose attached to the wall above it.
“I suppose this must be a French version of a shower. Oh well, I’ll just endure.” She said to herself.
Opening her suitcase, she changed into some jean shorts with a red top. Putting on her sneakers, she then went into the bathroom, and brushed her pixie-cut hair. Leaving her room, she took her camera with her, and walked towards the one-person elevator. Suddenly, she heard something.
It was music.
And it was coming from the Hall of History. Curious, Elisabeta took a detour and went through the doorway. She found the source of the music.
It was coming from a strange but beautifully crafted monkey music box.
Then she saw the sign that said “Do Not Touch.”
“But who wound up the music box?” she said out loud.
“Oh, I see you found it.” said a voice from behind.
Elisabeta whipped around in surprise. She hadn’t even heard the man standing before her enter the room. He was an older man. At least sixty years old. He had white hair and a mustache. He was dressed in servant’s uniform and holding a duster in his hand.
“Found what?” Elisabeta asked.
“Why his music box of course. That is a special little thing. Belonged to a special man who lived many years ago.” He said.
Elisabeta was intrigued.
“Man? What man?” she asked.
“That man, mademoiselle,” he said pointing to a painting at the far end of the room.
Elisabeta looked at the painting. It was a portrait of young man dressed in a black suit with cloak draping over his shoulders. She began to walk towards, and looked closer. The man in the painting was quite handsome. Not only being clean-shaven, he had a strong jaw line, full sensuous lips, and a pair of green eyes that were to die for.
She sighed. Never had she seen such a man. But one thing really caught her attention. The man was wearing a white mask on the upper right side of his face.
“How strange,” she said.
“Strange indeed. You seem quite taken with him.” said the old man said.
Elisabeta had forgotten that the old man was even there. She was so enraptured by the painting. She could have sworn that the eyes of the man were trying to cast a hypnotic spell over her. Finally, she spoke.
“Who is he? There’s no name plate on it.” she asked the old man.
“No one knows. His picture is there because of the mask. No one had ever seen anything quite like it.” said the old man.
“Do you know who painted it? asked Elisabeta.
“No. They found it in his room the day after he left.”
“He stayed here?” she asked.
“Oh yes. In room B5.” He said.
“When was it painted? How old was he? Is he still alive?” asked Elisabeta.
The old man smiled.
“I believe it was painted somewhere around 1870, and I believe he was in his thirties at the time.” He said.
Elisabeta hung her head. That meant that he was indeed not alive. The old man spoke again.
“Some people believe that he was the Phantom of the Opera.” He said.
Elisabeta looked up. She’d heard that story before, but never really thought anything of it. Then she yawned.
“Looks as if you need a nap.” Said the old man.
“Yes.” She said.
And with that, Elisabeta left the Hall of History, and made her way back to her room. Turning the key in the doorknob, she noticed the room number on her door.
She gulped and opened the door. She widened her eyes. The room smelled of roses.
“Wow, this is too much. Better get some sleep. The opera is tonight.” She told herself.
She took off her shoes and climbed into bed. Closing her eyes, she smiled as the music of the monkey box lulled her to sleep.Chapter Three - The Opera
Elisabeta stood in front of the full length and looked at herself. The evening gown, to her, was exquisite. It had survived the flight to Paris. It had no wrinkles or creases whatsoever. The evening gown was pale pink that had a small train trailing down the back. The top of the bust stopped below her shoulders. Quite a bit of cleavage was showing, and she was quite shy about that little bit. She wore white long gloves that traveled up her arms, and stopped just before her elbows. She wore a gold necklace with a solid white pearl hung just at the end of the golden chain. Her makeup was simple and she wore a rose scent.
Yes, she was ready.
The Opera Populaire
The taxi pulled up out front. Elisabeta was in awe. The opera house was glowing. Golden lights lit up the place from inside and there were fireworks exploding in the night sky. She looked around. All along the sides of the buildings that surrounded the opera house were posters with scenes of "Don Juan Triumphant" on them. With a stomach full of butterflies, Elisabeta held her head up and walked to the front door. She gave her the man her ticket and sat in her seat in Box Five. The opera began.Here the sire may serve the dam,
Here the master takes his meat!
Here the sacrificial lambUtters one despairing bleat!
Poor young maiden!
For the thrill on your tongue of stolen
Sweets, you will have to pay the bill –
Tangled in the winding sheets!
Serve the meal and serve the maid!
Serve the master so that, when tables,
Plans, and maids are laid Don Juan
Triumphs once again!
Elisabeta sat in Box Five and watched the dancers perform, and the singers scream their lyrics. Her senses began to fly out of control. Before she knew it, her hands were sweating and her eyes were widening.
Finally, her favorite part began.Past the Point of No Return
The final threshold
The bridge is crossed!
So stand and watch it burn!
We've passed the Point of No…
As the song ended the gypsy girl was kissed and the performance was over. Never had Elisabeta felt so exhilarated in all her life. She couldn't move from her seat! When she actually got up and left Box Five, she had trouble walking straight, because she was so hypnotized by the music. Getting into the taxi, she closed her eyes and dreamt of how she would've loved to have been seduced by the lustful Don Juan.
Back at the hotel, Elisabeta had taken the elevator up to her floor and was walking down the hallway. On the way, she once again passed the Hall of History. She caught sight of the possible Phantom of the Opera's face in the painting at the end of the room.
"If only he were my Don Juan." She thought.
She reached her room, B5, unlocked the door and went inside. Taking off her dress, slip, shoes, and gloves, she went into the bathroom, and took a hot, relaxing shower. After she was done, she dried herself off with a huge black towel. Putting on her long cotton nightgown, Elisabeta got into bed.
This time she did not hear the monkey music box like before when she taken her nap earlier in the day. Not being able to sleep, she decided to sing to herself hoping that that would work.
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera
She thought of the man in the painting. His eyes, his lips, his mask...
Soon she was asleep. Then it began…Chapter Four – The ArrivalFlowers fade
The fruits of summer fade
They have their season, so do we
But please promise me that sometimes
You will think…ah…ah…ah..ahhhhhhh!
The applause ended. Flowers were thrown and Christine Daae stood on stage smiling. Finally, she took her bow and the curtain went down.
As people began to rise from their seats, someone cried out.
“Help, we need a doctor!” cried a man sitting in Box Five.
It was Raoul de Chagny; and the woman sitting behind him in Box Five throughout the performance of “Hannibal” had fainted.
Quickly the young woman was taken backstage to the ballet dormitories where there were beds. They laid her on Christine Daae’s bed when a doctor arrived. He diagnosed the young woman with a minor fever, due to the excitement of the opera itself. Madame Giry and the doctor took off the girl’s blue silk dress and left her in her undergarments. Suddenly, the girl opened her eyes and sat straight up in the bed.
“Where am I?” she cried.
“Relax my dear. You passed out for a little while. You are at the backstage of Opera Populaire.” Said Madame Giry.
Elisabeta blinked and looked all around her.
“I’m where!” she cried.
“The Opera Populaire. You fainted while watching the performance. You were found by the Vicomte de Chagny.” Madame Giry told her.
“Vicomte de what? What performance? And who are you?” asked Elisabeta asked.
“Here, lie back down and get some sleep. We’ll send you home in the morning.”
Elisabeta was frantic. She recognized her own name, but not where she was. She had to ask.
“M’am what time is it?”
“It is Madame Giry. And it is just after nine o’clock.” Said the woman.
Elisabeta looked at the woman. She was wearing a long black dress, and had blonde hair in a black hair net. She also carried what looked like an instructor’s cane. She looked to be in her forties, age-wise, and she had a stern yet sympathetic look on her face. Elisabeta decided to take things slowly.
“Okay, first things first. What year is it?” she asked Madame Giry.
Madame Giry was puzzled, yet she decided to play along.
“It is the year of 1870. Do you remember your name or how you came to be here?” she asked Elisabeta.
“Sort of. My name is Elisabeta Wilhelmina Devereaux.”
“Very good. Here this might help you.” said Madame Giry. She went over to the wooden vanity and picked a small hand mirror. She came back and gave it to the confused young woman. Elisabeta looked into it. Her face paled.
It couldn’t have been her!
But it was.
She could tell because that one little freckle was still on her cheekbone. The rest said otherwise. First of all, her hair was no longer red and pixie-cut. She had long, chocolate, curly locks that went to waist. She stood up from the bed. She had become a little bit taller. Her eyes had become almond shaped, yet they were still emerald green. Her skin was soft and delicate, yet it had tanned just a bit. Basically, almost every physical trait had changed. All except for her eyes.
“Oh my.” She said.
Madame Giry spoke up.
“You seem to barely recognize your own face. Yet the resemblance is remarkable. You look almost exactly like Christine.” She said.
Elisabeta turned her head to face Madame Giry.
“Who is Christine?” she asked.
“Christine Daae, the young lady who performed the female lead tonight. You were sitting behind the Vicomte de Chagny. From what I’ve heard, when the performance was over, you rose from your seat, and fainted from a slight fever.” Said Madame.
Elisabeta stood there stunned. It all made sense now. She’d been watching an opera that starred this Christine Daae. She apparently fainted from a fever, yet she felt fine now. It was obvious that this Vicomte had rescued her.
“I must thank the Vicomte for helping me.” She said to Madame Giry.
“Of course you may, but you’ll have to wait. He’s with Miss Daae at the moment.” Said Madame.
“Oh,” she said.
Then she remembered.
“You said that I looked very much like Miss Daae. Would it be alright if I met her as well?” she asked.
Madame Giry thought for a moment. Christine was most likely to get a sinister visit from a certain someone tonight, because she’d spent some time with the Vicomte. It would not be a good idea for Elisabeta to interfere.
“You will meet her later. Right now I will introduce to the Vicomte de Chagny.
“Alright,” she replied.
Madame Giry left the room.
When Elisabeta finally got her new uncomfortable corset off, she put her dress back on. Opening an elaborate dressing room door, she went out into the hallway. The place was packed with people. Everyone was clapping and shouting sayings of congratulations. They were popping open bottles of champagne, and two men dressed formally were standing outside the elaborate door.
“Those are the managers of the theatre. Let me introduce you.” said Madame Giry.
Elisabeta followed the woman to the door and greeted the gentlemen. That was when a light brown haired man stepped out the room with the elaborate door. He stared at Elisabeta in complete shock. Elisabeta was confused again.
“Sir, is something wrong?” she asked the man.
“Amazing, you could be Christine’s understudy!” exclaimed the man.
“Pardon me?” she asked.
“You look like Christine. So much like Christine!” the man said.
Elisabeta had had enough. She had to meet Christine and see what everyone was talking about. First, she had to find out who she was speaking to.
“Alright, where is Christine and the Vicomte de Chagny. I must meet them both.” She said.
The man laughed.
“Of course, how rude of me. I’m the Vicomte de Chagny. You may call me Raoul. And Christine is just in that room. I’m sure she would love to meet you.” he said.
“They will meet later.” Said a familiar voice.
It was Madame Giry who’d heard the whole conversation. She gave Raoul a stern look and he took the hint.
“Send for your carriage. I will see to Miss Daae.” she said to Raoul.
“Very well. Pleasure to meet you Miss-?”
“Devereaux, Elisabeta Devereaux.” She said proudly.
With a kiss on the hand, Raoul left quickly.
“Come, you need more rest. You still look a bit flushed from the fever. You can sleep next to my daughter Meg. In Christine’s bed.” she said.
Elisabeta was too tired to argue, so she followed Madame Giry back to Meg and Christine’s room. After putting on one of Christine’s nightgowns, she lay back down on the squeaky bed. She closed her eyes.Angel I hear you
Speak, I listen
Stay by my side
Angel my soul was weak
Enter at last
Elisabeta opened her eyes.
Was that someone singing? What kind of a song was that? Who was singing it?
She got up out of bed. Going to the door, she cracked it open. She saw someone at Christine’s door. It was Raoul.
He was fumbling with the doorknob. It was apparently locked. Then Elisabeta heard it.Flattering child you shall know me
See why in shadow I hide
Look at your face in the mirror
I am there inside!
Angel of Music
Guide and guardian
Grant to me your glory
Angel of Music
Hide no longer
Come to me strange angel
“It had to have been Christine. There was no one else in the room. But then who did that other voice, that hypnotic voice, belong to?” she thought. Then she heard something else.
“Whose is that voice! Who is that in there!”
Elisabeta opened her door wider.I am your Angel of Music
Come to me Angel of Music
Raoul left. Obviously to go and get help. Elisabeta stood in the doorway. She decided to investigate. Leaving the door open, she crept across the hall. Reaching Christine’s door, she knelt down to the keyhole and looked inside. She froze.Chapter Five – Counseling Christine
She froze. A woman in white stood before a large ornate mirror. Suddenly, her image changed to that of a man. A man in black. He wore a suit with a brocade vest. His hair was a shining black, smoothly combed back over his head. His skin was clean – shaven and his eyes were that of a beautiful green. He opened his mouth and out came a booming yet hypnotic voice.I am your Angel of Music
Come to me Angel of Music
It worked. Now the woman in white was helplessly caught in his web. Hypnotized fully, she reached out and took his awaiting hand. Slowly and gently, the man in black guided her through the now open mirror. From what could be seen from her position outside the dressing room door, the mirror led to a large stone tunnel. Dark and dreary with cobwebs, puddles, and rats, voices began as the man and the woman disappeared.
"What are you doing here, Miss Devereaux? You're supposed to be sleeping." Said Madame Giry, who'd just discovered Elisabeta peeking through Christine's dressing room door.
Elisabeta didn't know what to think. Had what she'd seen been real? The woman in the mirror looked like her and the man…she knew that man somehow. He looked familiar, but where from she couldn't remember. She finally looked to Madame Giry and tried to explain herself.
"I'm sorry. I heard voices and thought something was wrong. I wanted to make sure Christine was okay." She said.
Madame looked at the door, seemingly deep in thought.
"I'm sure she's just fine. Now let's get you back to bed. Tomorrow we'll take you home." she said to Elisabeta.
Elisabeta panicked. She didn't know where she lived in 1870! Did she even have a home? Quickly, she stopped Madame Giry and spoke up.
"Is it possible for me to stay here for a while…my home is…being renovated?" she asked.
She came up with a good excuse to let Madame Giry allow her to stay where she was at the Opera House. Madame Giry thought for a moment and finally said,
"Yes of course."
Elisabeta returned to her bed and thought of how to get to sleep. It was difficult, because all she could think about was the white mask that the man in black wore over the right side of his face. That face…his face…8 hours later…
She woke up to the sound of distant weeping. Getting out of bed, Elisabeta put on a robe and some slippers, and walked out of her room. The crying was coming from Christine's room. Crossing the hall, she watched as Madame Giry opened the door and left the room. With strength, Elisabeta didn't even bother to knock. She opened the door and walked inside. There she was. The woman in white. The woman whose looks were identical to Elisabeta's. Young Christine Daae. She was on the bed crying her eyes out. The door swung shut and made a loud noise. Christine looked up, her face wet with tears.
"Hello, Christine." was all Elisabeta could say.
"Who are you? Where did you come from? And how do you know my name?" she asked.
"My name is Elisabeta Wilhelmina Devereaux. I had an accident during your performance, and was brought here. Madame Giry told me your name. Are you alright? You seem to have been crying a great deal." Said Elisabeta.
"Yes…I've done something terrible. I don't think he'll ever forgive me." Said Christine through her tears.
Elisabeta was curious. She sat down on the bed and motioned to hug Christine. To her surprise, the poor girl fell into her arms, crying louder than ever. Elisabeta tried to calm her. She held her like a small child and patted her head. She whispered to her. Not even knowing who "he" was, she asked:
"Why won't he forgive you? What did you do that was so terrible?"
Christine forced herself to speak.
"I can't tell you." she said.
"Why? Is it a secret between you and "him?" Tell me, Christine. You can confide in me. I won't let anyone hurt you if that's what you're afraid of. Let me help you." said Elisabeta.
Christine's eyes had dried now. She looked up at her new friend who seemed to be willing to listen to her. She decided to trust her. She had to tell someone.
"I don't where to start." She said.
"First, just tell me what you did. We'll go from there."
"I took his mask off." Admitted Christine.
She pointed to the mirror and looked at Elisabeta. Elisabeta immediately understood to whom she was referring. The man in black. The white mask. She must have removed it. Elisabeta thought for a moment. Finally, she figured out a way to get information out of Christine.
"Let's try this, Christine. I'll ask the questions. You just take your time and answer them. Alright? She asked.
"That's fine." said the young diva.
"Whose mask did you remove? Where were you last night? Was that your voice I heard last night? Who is the Angel of Music? Why does he wear a –
"Slow down. I'll tell what I can." Interrupted Christine.
"He put some kind of a spell on me. I was taken to his home. He sang to me. I must have fainted. I awoke in his bed. I saw him at the organ. He looked lost in thought. He was so mysterious and obsessive. I didn't think he would mind." Said Christine.
"You didn't think he would mind you taking off the mask?"
Christine looked down.
"No." She said softly.
"Christine, what did he look like under the mask?" asked Elisabeta.
She looked up again with a look of sheer horror in her eyes.
"Oh god! He has the face of a monster! Yet he was able to fool me into thinking that he was angel."
"The Angel of Music?"
"Yes, he was my teacher. He taught me to sing. Since I was a little girl, he was a mere voice from the darkness. He revealed himself last night." She said.
"Christine, did he hurt you?" asked Elisabeta.
"No…well sort of. He hurt me when I discovered that he wasn't who I thought he was."
"What happened when you took off the mask?"
"He knocked me to the ground. He screamed cruel names at me and stormed off down the stairs to the shore of the lake."
"Lake…what lake?" she asked.
Christine told her about his lair. She also told her about the way he'd tried to seduce her, the way he looked at her, the way he sang to her, and the way he'd touched her. She then mentioned the life size doll of herself that wore a wedding gown. That made something click in Elisabeta's mind.
"Christine, how does he feel about you? She asked the diva.
Christine looked at her strangely. As if the thought never occurred to her.
"Christine, maybe he didn't want you to see his face, for fear that you might judge him by his physical appearance rather than who he is inside." said Elisabeta.
"I know who he is! He's a monster!" Christine shouted.
"Christine, you don't even know him. I'm sure that within time –
"I don't want to know him! I don't want to have anything to do with him, ever!" Christine said.
She began to cry again. Elisabeta managed to get her to lie back down on the bed. She'd heard enough. She concluded that it was all a misunderstanding. She also concluded that this man…this Angel of Music had romantic feelings for Christine. Judging by what Christine had told her, it was obvious. The Angel of Music was a man in love.
As Christine began to fall asleep, Elisabeta hummed a special tune to her. Then something occurred to her.
"Christine, if he's not the Angel of Music then who is he? What's his name?" she asked desperately.
It was too late. Christine had already passed out. Elisabeta then remembered the mirror. Christine had pointed to it. Getting up from the bed, she walked across the room and approached it. Walking closer and closer until her face was inches from the glass, Elisabeta raised her hand and knocked on it as if were a mere door.
"Knock, knock," she said playfully.
She laughed to herself and turned around and headed for the door. As she turned the knob, she heard it.