I didn’t know how long I planned to stay “sick” for.
Long enough for him to forget me? Long enough for him to die? Long enough for me to die? Maybe I could move to Brazil… get a new name…
I snapped out of my daydream when the phone rang. Glancing at the caller ID, I saw it was Tessa. Surprise, surprise. Annoyed, but bored out of my brains, I picked up the phone and greeted my friend, “What do you want, Tess?” I asked.
“Now, now,” she pretended to sound shocked, “Is that a way to treat your friend?”
I rolled my eyes, “Oh, my dear, dear Tessa, what brings me the pleasure of your call on this fine day?” I said sarcastically, my voice taking on a British accent towards the end.
I could hear the grin in her voice, “Much better!” she said, “Now, you know that hiding in your apartment forever won’t solve anything” she said pointedly.
“I haven’t been hiding in here forever!” I said defensively, slightly hurt, “It’s only been a day, and I’ve only missed last night’s show and today’s. No harm done. And besides, I’m still waiting this hangover to go away” I explained, that wasn’t entirely untrue.
I knew she was rolling her eyes, “Well you’re ‘genius’ plan isn’t working. You’re Angel –”
“-He has a name,” I interjected.
“Fine” she relented, “Ben” she accented his name “has been asking about you.”
The breath escaped my lungs, “H-How? He doesn’t know my name! He can’t! He-” Before I had a freak attack, Tessa saved me.
“Hey, calm down! He’s always staring in the pit during the shows and he waits around afterwards” she said simply, “You know, you not coming to work might get him fired. A Phantom that sings with his chin on his chest isn’t as popular” she mused aloud.
Her attempt at a joke did little to help my nerves, “Maybe I’ll beat him to it and resign first”
That idea suddenly seemed very appealing. However, the idea of playing anything other than the Love Never Dies score did not. And I doubted I was good enough to get into the local Symphony or anything else at a professional level.
“You know you don’t want that” she said pointedly.
Damn her! Was she seriously telepathic? Did it work through the phone?
“Now, tomorrow I want your ass in your seat and your violin on your shoulder!” she said happily, “or I’ll be sticking that instrument where the sun don’t shine” she warned.
Knowing that the wrath of Tessa was something one would wish to avoid, I consented, “Fine”
“Good choice” she purred and I rolled my eyes, “I’m going to go to Brunetti’s, wanna come?”
“Considering I have a feeling that you’re going to find some way to sit with that waiter of yours, I’d rather not” I smiled.
“Caught me!” she laughed, “Fine” she sighed, “but you’d better be there tomorrow!”
“I will be” I promised, “Bye”
The line went dead and I smiled and shook my head as I imagined Tessa desperately trying to woo the waiter. I’d seen my friend many times trying to get a guy, and none of them had ended up particularly successful.
But I had to hand it to her, what she lacked in appeal she made up for in confidence.
I groaned when I remembered that I would have to go back to the Regent tomorrow. I knew that if it was necessary, I would be delivered in a potato sack with cords holding my hands together.
The only way I could see anything good happening would be if he forgot, which he obviously hadn’t, and imagining every other possibility only made me feel sick with worry. I didn’t know why. He had heard me sing, big deal….
Well, it was actually a big deal because I hadn’t sung in four years and he was, well, him!
Forcing myself to be distracted, I grabbed my bag and went down the ten floors to the underground parking garage. Finding my car, I drove the good three quarters of an hour to my grandmother’s house in the suburbs.
As I drove in the driveway and turned the car off, I sat back in my seat and smiled. This house had held no one but my family for the past forty something years, and before that it hadn’t been built.
It was like it had actually become a part of my family… in some weird way.
I got out and locked the car, going through the gate to the backyard and then opening the glass door that lead into the sun room. It was quiet, and I knew my aunt would be at work.
As I walked in, there was a TV in the corner to my left, two pianos along the wall next to it, a bookshelf along the next wall, two more glass doors that lead to the dining room, another bookshelf, a door that lead to my father’s old bedroom, a recliner, a couch, and another recliner that my grandfather had always favoured. In the middle was a small wooden coffee table I remembered hitting my head on when I was about six.
Smiling sadly at the memories, I walked up to the piano and hit a quiet note, careful not to wake my grandmother who was no doubt sleeping. I began to softly play a melody with my right hand, and smiled as the music seemed to reach into my depths and pull out all my secrets.
My hand faltered when I realized I was playing Beneath A Moonless Sky, my favourite song from Love Never Dies. Aw crap.
Forcing myself to forget, I walked into the kitchen, only to find my grandma hard at work cooking.
“Mama! What are you doing up? You should be resting!” I said in alarm.
I dashed to her side intend on dragging her back to bed but she held up a hand to stop me.
“Felicia, relax, I’m fine. If I’m going to die I might as well do it doing the thing I like best,” she said absently, I felt as if I had taken a hit in the chest as the wind was knocked out of me, how could she speak of dying so casually? Did she want to die? Did she want to leave me?
One look at my face and her smile instantly turned to a frown. “Oh, Felicia, I’m sorry…”
I nodded and wiped away the single tear that was now approaching my lip. I rushed down the hallway to my bedroom.
Could this day get any worse?
Not only was I now sobbing like a three year old, I was acting like a five year old! Running to my room when something upset me.
Oh yes, and I was still playing hide-and-seek with a famous actor.
So all up I think that put me at about ten years old?
“And she just ran away? Just like that?” asked Anna for what felt like the fifteenth time.
“Yes, and I have no idea why” I grumbled as we walked along the footpath, “her voice, it’s just amazing!” I marvelled hearing it in my head yet again, “I don’t even know how to describe it” I sighed.
“Is it better than mine?” she asked curiously.
“Well…” I hesitated, somewhere in my mind a little siren went off about offending women, but I decided to be truthful, “yeah” I relented.
To my surprise, she laughed; “Oh Benny-Boy, you got it bad!” she smiled.
I sighed, “I know, I can’t get her off my mind!” I said, the annoyance in my voice was plain, even to my ears. How was it that I could not find out who she was?!
Anna simply chuckled and sipped her Latte, “So what do I do?” I asked desperately.
“Well the first thing is to find out why she ran” she said pointedly, “if she ran she has something to hide, or she’s afraid, or it could be both”
I sighed, “Women are so complicated!” I said shaking my head, “she has an amazing voice; she should share it with the world, not hide in the pit!”
“Are you even so sure she was in the orchestra?” she asked, “I mean, you haven’t seen her in there for a couple of days now” she reasoned.
I opened my mouth to disagree, but stopped myself, she had a point.
Sighing in aggravation I ran my hands through my hair. I was no closer to finding her than I was a needle in a hay-stack.
“Oh cheer up” said Anna patting my back lightly, “I have a plan” she said.
“Which is?” I asked dubiously.
“Well you obviously scared her” she said pointedly, “and as long as she thinks you’re looking for her she’s going to hide” we crossed the road quickly to head up towards the Regent Theatre.
“So you’re saying I need to stop looking?” I asked, she nodded, “How the hell am I supposed to find her if I stop looking?” I asked pointedly, frustration pushed itself into my voice again.
“You leave that to me” she said with a mischievous smile.
I sighed, Anna was a good friend.
I had at once stage wondered if there could be more between us, but I’d only ever thought of her as a friend, or little sister.
But the way I felt about her, my Mystery Girl, I knew that whatever inkling I had with Anna, was nowhere near to how strong this feeling was!
It was no longer a want, it was a need!
I had to find her! To, and this sounded cliché, even in my head, hear her sing once more.
And because of that, because of the strange feelings coursing through me, I couldn’t listen to Anna.
This was too important!
This girl was too precious to trust in anybody else’s hands.
“I can’t do that” I mumbled.
She shrugged, “Suite yourself” she said, “But if you scare her off, it’s gonna be your own fault” she warned.
I sighed in aggravation.
Oh how I knew that. How I wished I could leave this up to someone else.
But I couldn’t. I was obsessed! I had to find her!
And I had to be the one to do it.