[b "I knew that the mask was coming to its end, but I had believed there was still more time than this. I had intended to tell you but not before I got to know you and you got to know me. Tell me how you would have taken all of this had I told you it at the beginning? Would you have believed me? And then there had been the lack on proof and knowing something this big needed a lot to back it up. More than a tale, sheet music, and an old mask."] All of the man's words were quiet as he spoke them, pkercing blue eyes upon the young woman. He was too tired to argue or to try and find a way out of it. He had spent too much time hiding and now she knew the truth. What more was there.
[b "And you are not an idiot when it comes to your father. Anyone would want and hope for someone like him to change. It's natural to want to see the good in someone even when they cannot see it themselves."] Not the right thing to say, but it had come to mind. Again what point was there to hide?
The man slowly looked away and moved towards to the window in the room, staring out at the moon and the stars. He was waiting to see how she would take in all he had said. Hopefully there would be a small form of logic but if not could he blame her? He had kept it all and then dumped it on her.
She was feeling it as much as Cecil was. The tension and the strain. Not only was it from Olivia and Erik but they had been slowly falling into it as well. [b "They'll figure it out.. Maybe.."] The young woman said quietly as she took a drink from the table, taking a sip from it. Instantly she refretted sipping it because the alcohol burned her throat.
At Cecil's words Bea looked up, grey eyes locking on him. He had said it. What they both had been thinking. Their life up until this point had been a fairytale. Had been perfect. Too perfect in fact. Almost she had to see that the "romance novel" was coming to an end and real life would be settling in.
[b "Since it's out in the open.. What does that mean for us?"] It was all she could say as there was no room left to be in denial. No room left to pretend anymore
"It's starting to seem that everyone does stupid things, only think of those points when it's too late. Possibly even beyond fixing. Let's just hope it's not too late," Cecil said quietly, looking down towards the marble with faint interest. Looking to her, he wondered if she was feeling it as well. Licking his lips he grabbed a drink, taking it in just three gulps.
"There isn't a point in pretending, is there? Even if I do stay you'll work very hard at dance even if you don't like it, and school which you like. I'll be working in some museum basement here if I'm lucky. There probably wouldn't be any time for us. If I do go elsewhere, we'd try a long distance, end up in a miserable rut."
There didn't seem to be a reason to mince words. Their relationship had been ideals and romance, nothing realistic at all. It wasn't a wonderful realization.
"That man is old news. He's always done this, and somewhere I always say 'it will be different someday'. Then it doesn't and I feel myself build another layer around my heart. Jesus...I must be one of the biggest idiots out there..." Olivia gave a mirthless laugh before shaking her head. There was so many words that wanted to go around and fling around, but she bit her cheek.
Looking to him, she did notice his tiredness and there did seem to be a subtle difference. What if it was true? She sucked in a breath looking away, attempting to reign her in. Burning bridges wasn't what she wanted anymore.
"You could start with why you lied to me. Always words about later...that didn't happen," she started, her voice strained. "Of course, I should have found out more before even trying anything with you. Just a glutton for punishment and relieving my past...fuck me..."
Erik knew Olvia was usually one to try and mask her emotions. He also knew that she had quite the bite as well and when provoked it came.out. And it had appeared the one person he had hoped they would be able to avoid they had come face-to-face with when they had entered the lounge. He honestly had hoped that his words of not doing much had sunk in. But when he heard the sharpness and the words passed between father he could more than see how the man was like the scum of the earth. Even he had or would have liked a "word" with the man but was too tired for that.
When the man and the woman whom was a student of his and even younger than Olivia was gone, the man began to another table within the lounge that had some drinks but also sweets upon it. He could feel the eyes come back his way and hear the sharpness in her words. Cutting, which given everything as a whole, the man could not say shocked him.
[b "As in say something about what I have told you? Or say something about that cur of a man who happens to be your father?"] Erik asked her quietly as he had a cup in hand and turned back to her. He wanted to be very clear before he spoke, not quite wanting the same bite she had given her father but still thought it would come his way.
[b "Did he honestly think this was the best idea?"] The redhead muttered with a sigj as she walked with Cecil back down the hall and away from the lounge. She honestly was afraid how nasty it could get. Bea had seen Olivia go off only once before and had made it a point to not be the one to set her off if she could help it. [b "He's the Phantom...or was. I'm sure he'll live through that. Barely but he'll live."] The young woman was trying to make a slight joke of the matter.
It was when they were away from Erik and Olivia did her thoughts turn to hers and Cecil's problem. They did have to face them and they were starting to become like a ball and chain. No more like a ton of bricks with more being added. It really was sad because she had wanted to enjoy the night with the man she loved and their friends.
[b "Those look interesting.."] She said as the two were glancing around for drinks and she motioned to a far table.
Cecil remained behind a few steps and gave Bea a look. Oh, there would be some sounds soon, and most of it wouldn't be good. Really, what had taken him so damn long to tell her this? Of course, there was the lack of proof. They would need some sort of refreshment that would be necessary to save them.
"We'll get some drinks and food if they have any, okay?" Cecil said starting back. It was for the best to work through their problems, anyway. When a safe distance away he let out a breath.
"This could get nasty soon...I hope he lives through that..." he laughed nervously, their own problems hitting his chest like a hundred bees. Giving a sigh, he glanced for some drinks.
It took two tries to get the key just right and open the door, normally it was just the one time but she was flustered. If it was the truth she was last one to know which was what infuriated her to silence. Upon swinging upon the doors there was her father with a half naked dancer. Giving an annoyed sound, she ran a hand through her hair.
"Livvy, darling...I thought you'd be at the party..." he gave a nervous chuckle, he was a man in his fifties that still tried to look and act like he was in his twenties. "And you're with...Erik...the teacher."
"Whatever, I do don't care that you were just about to fuck her or the fact that she's younger than me. Don't care if you like this or are against it..." Olivia began in obvious irritation. "I don't give a shit about you...what you do...and you know what, [i dad]...fuck you."
He rose quickly at the words. "That isn't how you speak to me, young lady!"
"I'm just the baggage you couldn't get rid of and after tonight we won't have to know each other," Olivia's tone was as calm as her expression, only her eyes had a deadly precision.
"We aren't done yet, Olivia...ungrateful brat," he hissed standing in front of her with an intense glare.
"You. Are. Nothing. To. Me," Olivia spat before walking away looking for a drink.
When her father and the poor young girl was out of the room, she looked back to Erik. "You want to say something, say it..." She said hating how her tone was filling with more irritability.
Bea of course felt terrible for having kept the secret from Olivia. And even worse when the other young woman had sounded distant or rather detatched. If she were honest she would have much prefered to be yelled at or something. But again, it had not been her place to tell the other and she had promised Cecil she wouldn't.
The redhead had to look on in silence as Erik seemed more tired than they had ever seen the man before and as Cecil showed the concern for the man. She felt horrible that she could not help at all. Slowly as Erik left with Olivia, Bea moved closer to Cecil and gently took his hand. [b "What can we do..?"] She whispered.
The man once known as the Phantom gave a look to Cecil. One that said he knew that it would be a mess but at the same time said they had agreed, no promised to go with Olivia. [b "The reveal I think would be more likely...and that would be complicated to explain..And yes, Cecil I remember you complaining for days how hard getting paperwork and everything for me had been for you."] He said quietly as he was still taking in the mask news and also trying to fight himself and the sudden exhaustion that was starting to plague him.
Slowly he looked to Olivia and gave a nod as she had asked about the sitting down. For the moment it did sound good. [b "Please...I am sorry for all of this..."] Erik said quietly to the young woman. He was waiting for her to lead him where she wanted to go, though from the key in her hand he had a good idea where that place happened to be. At this rate the man only hoped her father would not be there.
"Uh huh...I'm peachy..." Olivia answered in a distant tone. She had wanted to use different words and tone instead opted for this. Bea apparently knew as well. This had the making of the greatest practical joke in the history of practical jokes. Which wasn't funny in any instance.
"I don't think you should go down there," Cecil advised carefully. It had gotten so close, but it seemed everything had been for nothing. "If you...poof...or suddenly show yourself then that will be interesting to explain. It was hard enough getting papers for you."
Cecil seemed legitimately worried, and trying real action here. They were completely serious about this! Either it was true or still the best joke. It couldn't be true.
"Why don't we go sit down?" Olivia suggested, not used to seeing Erik this tired. Walking over to him she placed a hand on his arm. Taking out the key to the lounge. Only the big people went there, but she was a sneak.
Bea looked up at Cecil when the call had come in and tried her best to pay attention to what was said. It was hard becauae he was speaking lowly and quickly. But when he was off the phone, her heart sank just from his expreasion. It sunk even more when he gripped her hand and explained what had happened to the mask.
[b "That means he truly has to have learned and she has to accept it.. This is not good at all."] The young woman whispered as she matched Cecil's pace. She was now worried about Erik and also Olivia. She also hoped that the man had not waited until tonight to tell her.
When they came to the office, grey eyes fell on the young woman. Taking in her words and the expression, Bea knew that Erik had been an idiot and had waited. Slowly she moved to her side. [b "You doing okay?"]
Erik had yet to move towards the door and could honestly not say he was surprised when Cecil had appeared with the news. The man had been starting to feel more off than he had before and somehow had figured it had to do with the mask. [b "Do you know how much of it is left?"] His words were quiet as he spoke them. He was worried himself, which was something nearly no one saw.
Slowly his gaze went to Olivia at her soft words. [b "We do not know what happens fully when the mask is gone. All we know is that it means I am done for unless... Well you know since I did just tell you.. But it will most likely be a reveal of sorts.."] He had not even bothered at trying to keep anything out of his voice. Honestly he was starting to tire down.
[b "Since we are all here, shall we?"]
Cecil gave a half hearted nod, feeling a headache come on, finding that reality was much worse than his history. In history they were dead and there wasn't terribly much behind it. At least, until he met Erik. Hearing his phone ring, he answered it, the conversation was brief but he paled.
"I don't think he's going to make it through the night, the mask is just about gone. That's the last petal on the rose," Cecil explained before grabbing her hand. Starting in a fast pace to where Erik's office would be, he needed a warning at least.
If he hadn't told yet or given time for the news to settle.
How was that possible? Olivia's mind was reeling around just the fact that it was possible he was originally from the 1800's, had a curse on him, and had been the person who had destroyed half of the building as well as killed people. The same person that loved his operas, disliked half of her music, and she shared a bed with most of the time.
Opening her mouth to respond she closed it again unable to find the right words. Hearing the door open she slowly rose, moving the red dress down. Looking back to Erik, she wondered exactly what to think.
Just then Cecil was barreling down the hallway with true panic on his face. "The mask is almost gone, Erik. I think you ran out of time..." he panted.
She looked to Cecil puzzled wondering where he came in, and if Bea actually knew. "So...either there's going to be fading or the big reveal?" She asked slowly, wondering if that was the real scenerio. "This is pretty elaborate."
Of course the man knew it would sound crazy. And all the more crazy when the one he wanted to tell or rather needed to tell had the logical thought process Olivia did. Open as she was, Erik had somehow guessed telling her of The Phantom and his past would be too much. It was even too much for him and sounded far-fetched. The only reason he believed was because of all the anniversaries and also it having once been his life
[b "I know it is a lot to take in and to believe. It very much sounds something that could come from a movie. But I can assure you that it is true. Every word of it. You will find out just how true tonight."] The man said quietly, a hand coming up slowly and running through his hair.
Telling her had been the semi easy part. It was the part of needing proof that would be tricky. He merely hoped when she got it she wouldn't run in fear.
[b "It might do us well to get going..."] The words were weak as he spoke them and opened the door for the young woman.
For one night she could fake it. Had to if that was what it took to have an amazing evening with the people who mattered most. Everything was changing and quickly too. It was kind of hard to think about it all. All head spin worthy.
Her hand took his when the cab stopped before the Opera Populaire and she smiled to him. [b "You look amazing. And remember we're not here for them. We're here for our friends."] Bea said with a smile and walked with him, scanning the faces for Erik and Olivia
Cecil saw three different possibilities futures for the two of them. The first was truly ideal, where they set aside everything just to be together and happily in love. Second, where there were sacrifices and they eventually became miserable. Third, where they found they couldn't make it work with their obligations and distance, and separated.
This wasn't a romance movie so the first wasn't likely. Cecil didn't let that thought sink in too deeply before he took her arm. "Let's go then, this will be fun," Cecil gave a smile, if pretending was what it took. Then he'd do it.
Taking a cab to the Opera Populaire, he glanced around at all the flashing of jewels and clothing far more than his rent. "Damn...I feel cheap right now."
It was a fascinating situation, teacher, friends, and lovers. There was an odd balancing act to that and sometimes it didn't balance out. There was lessons that turned out to be other sessions and personal time that turned out to be lessons. It was fun to her though, the idea of being out of these hallways was exhilarating.
There wouldn't be her dad looming over her, not a massive amount of debt, or ideals that wasn't her. It was her life now. The words was odd but encouraging she was content with that.
Olivia dropped the hem of the dress, feeling some stress partially relived. Olivia listened as much as she could, but it seemed so incredulous, he seemed to believe it thoroughly though. As far as she could see there wasn't any disfigurement or anyway that he was actually from the past.
"I...I don't fully understand...how is any of that possible?" Olivia asked slowly.
[b "If you take him down you'll be falling with him. You've too bright a future for that."] He said slowly as the silence fell between them. The man could see she was trying to think of an answer. Her eyes swam with thoughts and her hands played with the hem of the red dress she wore. Both tell-tale signs she was thinkint and thinking hard for an answer. He had come to know the signs since he had come to know her.
Slowly a smile came to his lips as she mentioned telling her father and step-mother. That did as from how she spoke of the pair sounded as it would go badly. [b "I'll be with you when you do. Telling them will do the job you hope to. Also you are finally free to live your life now."]
The thought of her not being a student anymore was strange. Erik had become so used to having her in his class and all that sass as well. But even he knew it had not been meant to last forever. Everything changed in time. That was one thing he knew from first hand experience.
A sigh did eacape the man in answer to Olivia's last question and he nodded slowly. [b "Yes, it has everything to do with the thing I have been trying to avoid telling you. It appears it has come the time for me to tell it to you."] And with that being said, the man moved over to his desk and took up the sheets of music she had been looking at the night they had gotten together and showed them to her once again. As he did, the man began to explain.
The thoughts of the future were slowly starting to sink in and now they seemed more real. It was almost crushing but deep down she had known this was how things would turn out. But she had not wanted to believe it or let it sink in until she had. Now though it appeared she had to.
A small smile did come to her lips as it did not meet her eyes. The night would be the last of so many things. [b "Live for the night and be merry. Sounds good to me. Especially since we never know where tomorrow will lead us."] Bea said as she moved over to the man and wrapped her arms around him and kissed him.
After a couple moments she did pull back and stroke his cheek. [b "I love you..."] with that she stepped back and picked up her small handbag she intended to take. [b "Shall we go and make sure the other two get themselves moving too?"]
The same conversation normally had the same ending, Cecil wondered why he kept asking and saying the same thing. It ended the same on both sides, so what was the point? Cecil felt the slow dawning on him that there would be some power over their relationship that was not them. Cecil gave a nod of understanding before he walked over to gather the rest of his items.
"I understand," Cecil answered with a smile. Now that he was ready he stepped out of the room to get a drink before they had to go. "I suppose then...I'll consider more into taking this offer for Oxford. It isn't terrible and really I haven't lived elsewhere. Let's just enjoy this night and see where we go tomorrow."
In an sense this would be a last night, since long distance was a form of torture. Even if they were together long distance, it wouldn't really be together. Just weekends when they could.
The repercussions would be huge if she aired the dirty laundry. As much as she wanted to see that man ruined, she wasn't sure if she was willing to be dragged down with him. Looking to Erik, she played with the hem of the red dress before coming up with an answer.
"After tomorrow I won't be a student in your classroom," Olivia answered after a minute. "Tonight, I'll tell them, possibly have a small argument...or large...and I'll be gone. I've already secured a small place above work and plan on continuing with that theatre I did the first play at."
It would be good to be free, and do what she want. At least until her visa would come to an end, then she wasn't sure what. It didn't seem as scary. "Erik, this experience you're talking about. Does it have to do with what you should tell me?"
Gently she leaned against the man, her head resting on his shoulder. Honestly she knew it would be his answer and it made a twinge of guilt stike her. He needed to know that he was free to do what he wanted. Needed to know she has meant what she had said about following after him as well. There was no way she would leave him. But no way she could make him stay either.
Her hands moved to his arms and she gave a small smile as she looked to him as she pulled away a little. The truth was he was as bound by family obligation aa she was. And it did tear both of them apart in its way.
[b "You know I wouldn't ask you to stay here...and you know I would rather take up history. I love dancing and being a dancer..but it's not fun like it used to be. I keep to it because it is what my parents want and the deal we made when I began college."] She said quietly. The words hurt to say out loud but she was being honest with him. [b "So I am keeping with it until I can't..."]
Erik knew the rumours that sometimes spread. Many thought that he took advantage of the girl because of when they were seen together and the age. But never once had he. If anything it was usually her to make the moves. Not to say that he minded becauae he didn't.
The man listened to her words and nodded slowly as he leaned against the desk. [b "You could always spite him by telling him about us. Taking full measures would not end well. To destroy them...Take it from someone who knows from first hand experience."] Erik said slowly and quietly. He was eluding to his past. To the secret he had been keeping for so long. Just from her words it was clear she needed to know. Just he did not know when.
[b "The actions are up to you. What you decide I will go along with."]
It was difficult to behave when in this building, the time would come when they could be open. There was lookers since the age difference. Most probably thought he was taking advantage of her, when really it was likely the other way around. Perhaps it was the upbringing but it didn't matter so much to her.
"I have a chance to take revenge on my dad. It's a such a good chance and before I would have taken it but I'm not sure," Olivia started slowly. "My dad marries someone usually rich and younger than him, stays faithful for six months or less and has a string of affairs. Only they have premarital clause about cheating so he's very discreet. He likes to drive the women away to cheat so he doesn't have to pay.
"I actually have evidence and I could make them both pay. But...I think that I just want to give him the finger and walk out of these doors and back to New Orleans...figuratively. THough I may have to soon, I don't know yet...Any ideas?"
Cecil was a very patient and loving man but there was little to no way that'd he leave her to persue her dream. Of course, if he stayed here, it wouldn't be awful. He would have a position and could work for the Lourve quite easily.
"Well, if you don't want to stop dancing, though I know you really don't want to. There are programs there that are amazing. They'd still be proud, and maybe even more proud," Cecil said before going behind her and wrapping his arms around her. "I will not leave without you. There are chances here, and I'd still be happy."
They were both bound by family in some way or the other. It would be nice to be free of those obligations.
Even now, Bea could still hear Olivia's words ringing in her head. And she still had yet to make the choice if she would "be the good girl mummy and daddy wanted" or to "be her own bitch and take control of her life". It weighed on her more and more as she let the time pass. Part of her loved the dancing but the other part wanted to persue history. And still she had no idea which way to go.
The woman had been brushing her long red locks and had just put her hair up when Cecil's words and look caught her attention. God did she love him and not want to hold him back. He was amazing and talented at what he did. Had a bright future ahead of him. And she knew that he so wanted London. In the beginning he had told her as much that it had been a dream of his.
Slowly she came over and helped the man smoothe down his hair as she had done during other such occassions. [b "I think you should do it and not worry so much what I'm going to do. It's a huge chance for you. And if it comes to it...I can always join you later."] She whispered, kissing his cheek before she moved away to find the sweater that would match her dress.
Erik sat at his desk as he was already dressed and ready to be going. But he had not left the office because there were too many people and he still wanted peace before he had to face it. The man also had been finishing up some of the paperwork he had been doing. It was afterall his habit
When he heard the knock on the door, the man had an idea of who it was and went to open it. Slowly he drew Olivia into his office and closed the door behind them. [b "I'm surprised you haven't headed out yet. It's getting late."] The man said, though he didn't seem all that concerned, knowing she honestly was not looking forward to it either.
His head tilted when he saw she did not look all that happy. [b "What's happened?"]
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