Christine woke earlier than usual that morning. Her eyes slid open well before her alarm was meant to go off, and the sun had barely risen, leaving her with a delightful decision. Stay in bed and cherish the cocoon of warmth around her or… get up early… go on her computer and log on. He might be online already. After all, he was known to keep strange hours. She peeled back her blankets and rushed to slip into a dressing gown before making her way to the lounge room where she was sure she’d left her laptop.
She sat on the couch with the device open on her lap while a familiar feeling of eager curiosity crept in. The page loaded and her profile came up. Her eyes eagerly darted to the corner where the familiar little mail icon sat with a small indicator on the corner. Christine felt a small smile. You’ve got mail. How she loved that phrase. Every time she saw it she got a rush of happiness. Because she knew, on the other end was her mysterious friend.
It had been four months since she had joined this chat site. She had just moved into her new apartment in the city and was trying to find some new ways to talk to new people. It was her friend’s idea ultimately. She had been nagging about it quite often actually.
“When was the last time you met someone new, Christine?”
“Honestly, Meg, it’s no big deal. Besides I’ve got to concentrate on running the store.” Her friend had sighed and turned from stacking the CD’s.
“Christine Daae. It has been too long since you’ve gotten out and met new people. I know I’m wonderful- and that eye roll is not necessary- but I can’t be the only one for you.”
Christine shot her a teasing smirk “One friend is a handful as it is. Besides, I have Raoul too.” At the mention of her boyfriend, Meg seemed to concede.
But, she brought it up once more while they were waiting for their order at the coffee shop. “I’ve heard of these websites where you get a chance to meet random strangers around the same age group and area. You could try that.” Christine groaned. “Please. Just for a trial run at least.”
Christine accepted her order and sighed. “Fine, but only to keep you quiet.”
Christine had made an account that very night and signed up for the over 25 age group. She elected not to put much in her profile; only her gender, and the screen name 'ChorusGirl'. She tried conversations with many people. Some seemed nice enough, the conversation lilted in others, while others seemed to impress the wrong idea entirely. She sighed and was prepared to log off, entirely prepared to tell Meg that the whole thing was pointless. Perhaps one more. Christine scrolled through the names until one caught her eye. 'AngelofMusic'. Interesting, the profile had next to no information, like herself, only that 'AngelofMusic' was a man. She clicked, inviting him to join in a chat room.
AngelofMusic: 'A chorus girl? Am I to infer that this is your profession?'
ChorusGirl: 'I prefer no specifics. It takes all the fun out of it. I enjoy a mystery. But, I will tell you that I love music. If we’re going to assume purely on names, does that mean I am actually talking with a divine guardian of music?'
AngelofMusic: 'Oh indeed. What other logical conclusion could there be?'
Christine couldn’t help but giggle at her screen.
ChorusGirl: 'Well then, in that case, I’m flattered you would talk to a lowly mortal such as myself.'
AngelofMusic: 'Try not to become overwhelmed. Now, I must know, what type of music in particular is your favourite?'
From there the conversation branched off into the types of music they liked, their favourite composers, any instruments they played. They spoke for over an hour, learning about the other while not really learning anything. Christine learned that 'AngelofMusic', preferred Mozart over all composers, liked bitter, Russian tea, and had a Persian cat named Ayesha who was apparently watching the exchange from her diamond encrusted throne where she reigned- (a fancy, overstuffed pillow, he ended up admitting).
Christine eventually logged off, promising to chat the next day at the same time. They soon fell into a routine, chatting each evening, and sometimes in the morning, about their days and whatever took their fancy. They had decided early on that they would not discuss any specifics; no names, careers or family connections. Avoiding these details was difficult at first, but Christine came to love her time talking to 'AngelofMusic'.
Erik Devereux had been surprised when the invite popped up on his screen, he leaned back in his chair and glanced at the profile in question. No real details to speak of. He could respect that of course. While locked in his study in his penthouse apartment, he was eager to keep himself the most private life possible. He glanced at Ayesha, who was lounging on the pillow on his desk. She blinked up at him.
“What do you think? Should I?”
She gave a small meow and closed her eyes, clearly not being bothered by his inner turmoil. It was a chat site after all. What had he been expecting?
Deciding to get this over with he typed a quick message and sent it before he could change his mind. A reply came up moments later and Erik found his eyebrow rising in amusement. The reply was… intriguing. A mystery was always interesting to him, and if the girl was hoping to keep her life private, she could have no qualms if he did the same. And as his hand came up to feel the hard surface of his mask, he knew that could only be a good thing.
As they chatted, he was loath to admit it, his mouth tilted in the smallest of smiles as this girl talked about her favourite symphonies. She was quite knowledgeable about music. A fact he found out rather quickly and before long, 'ChorusGirl' admitted it was getting late and had to log off. He glanced at the study clock and started. They had been talking for longer than he had expected, and he bid her goodnight. But, before he saw her icon disappear, she asked to talk again tomorrow. Erik felt a little shocked. Had this girl really enjoyed talking with him so much?
AngelofMusic: 'If you would like. Same time?'
ChorusGirl: 'Yes. That would be great. See you then.'
ChorusGirl: 'Well, not see you…. You know what I mean.'
AngelofMusic: 'Of course. Until then.'
Erik's amber eyes stared at the spot where 'ChorusGirl’s' icon had been and he chuckled. Conversing with someone from the outside world. Not even about work. Nadir would be thrilled, he was certain. The nosy fool had been nagging him to talk to more people for over a decade, and he had only made his account on the most random of whims to get the Daroga off his back. After all, how could one build a meaningful friendship this way? But still, he couldn’t deny the warm glow lightly settled in his chest as he got up to move to his piano.