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Fan Girl.

“Phantom of the Opera…again,” Jade declares, tossing a handful of caramel corn in her mouth, a few pieces missing the mark and falling into the deep cracks of the love seat. She plunges her hands under the cushions and digs.

“We love this movie!” I exclaim, looking over at her from my squatted position in front of the television.

“Yeah, I know, Christine. It’s great the first five hundred times.” She snorts and reaches into the bag of popcorn again. “We’re working on number six hundred thirty-seven here. I can only take so much of the Phantom getting his heart ripped out because Christine chooses Raul instead of—“

“Stop!” I lunge toward her and quickly cover her mouth with my hand. “You are going to spoil the ending, just like always!” Jade gives me a piercing glare before biting on my down hard on my palm. I screech and back away slowly, like a wounded animal. I really should know better. Jade has been my best friend and roommate the past three years of college. The first thing she asked me at freshman orientation was if she could borrow one of my bras. I knew we would be kindred spirits ever since.

“It’s not like you haven’t seen it before, sister,” she says while picking at a kernel between her two front teeth.

“Very attractive, Jade.” I comment and resume my crouching position at the television. “Why isn’t it working?!” I nearly scream, shaking the DVD player as if that will somehow magically help. I’ve been at this for at least twenty minutes.

“Let’s just watch something on cable.” Jade suggests, scrolling through her phone inhaling more popcorn from her position on the couch.

I pivot very, very slowly on my fuzzy sock clad foot. “What was that?” I growl, causing Jade’s head to bolt into an upright position. “If I’m not mistaken, today is the third Saturday of the month. If I’m not mistaken, the third Saturday of each month is reserved for the watching of, fawning over, and singing to Phantom of the Opera, and not just one rendition, but all the stage and film versions ever produced and known to man. I can’t believe you’re sitting there right now, telling me, of all people, to ‘watch something on cable’!” I take a deep breath and plan to continue my well deserved rant, but hear a very small cough behind me. I turn so quickly my foot catches on the rug and causes me to fall on my bottom. Jade laughs loudly.

“Leave her there, John.” She says after catching her breath. “Maybe being on the ground for a while will bring her to her senses.”

“One can only hope,” John’s deep voice rumbles as he peeks at me from behind his thick framed glasses. He’s moved from his position leaning against the doorframe and is now looming over me.

“What are you even doing here?” I question, grabbing the hand he generously offers me.

“Jade texted and said you were having some TV issues and considering it’s the third Saturday of the month, I figured I better high tail it over here before you had a mental break down.” He scratches the back of his neck. “I guess I was a little late.” Shrugging he makes his way to the front of the television, the same place I stood just moments before.

I glare violently at Jade. She stifles a laugh by eating more popcorn. I snatch the bag away from her and join John at the front of the dorm room. “Popcorn, John?” I ask sweetly.

“Did Jade have it?” He asks wisely before reaching in. I nod shortly. “Did she spit in it?” I peer curiously in the bag and toss it back toward her.

“Good point.”

John is Jade’s older brother by one year. He’s receiving his bachelor’s degree in general engineering. He’s a total AV geek, but you would never imagine it by looking at him. He’s got perfect hair that waves and poofs in all the right places, yet he claims to have never used product. He’s tall and muscular. I’ve seen some of his high school pictures and he was on most of the typical sports teams, football, basketball, and track. It’s shocking how chill he turned out to be in college. Jade claimed he was quite the riot back in the day, but I have never witnessed that side of John. Even when I spend breaks at their family’s house, he is only ever been a gentleman, although he does own a motorcycle, which could be taken as a mysterious side.

“All fixed,” he stands, again looming over me. It’s no surprise he finished so quickly. I look up into his eyes and open my mouth to thank him…but Jade beats me to it.

“Okay, good, get out.” She looks up from her phone for two second and then returns her attention to the more important of the two.

“Thank you,” I say quietly. “You saved the night.” Giggling, I back up to open the door, but step on the remote forwarding the movie to the song “Music of the Night” and before I know what’s happening, John faces the TV and begins to sing along with the Phantom. I stand in shock for a minute before looking at Jade, she is equally surprised.

“How do you still remember the words?” She asks over the music. John looks away from the movie as if he forgot we were in the room. Embarrassment doesn’t even come close to describing the look on his face. “Oh my word, I completely forgot…” Jade’s voice fades as she breaks into uncontrollable laughter. Falling back onto the couch, popcorn flies into the air and on the floor.

I am completely and utterly confused. What are they not telling me? Three years ago, my mother took Jade and me to New York to see Phantom on Broadway, since then we founded the Phantom of the Opera “day” when we watch any and every rendition of the beautiful musical and wish the Phantom ended up with the girl. We’ve obsessed, proclaimed and screamed the songs up and down the dorm halls. Cried, comforted and painfully memorized every line until out heads ached and the sun peaked up above the horizon. We’ve forced every other willing and unwilling vessel to join us on our endeavor to squeeze out some sort of reaction, tears, laughter, and anger. Jade and I are the ultimate Phantom fans, we are complete and total fan girls. Every secret and desire, every wished for change in the plot has been confessed and analyzed. Our hearts have been ripped clean of emotion, bared all to each other. We have no secrets, nothing to hide.

Until now. “John played the Phantom in his senior year of high school!” She exclaims to me from her position on the coach.

“Wha…?” I question, glancing back and forth between the siblings. “How is that even…?” I say to John and turn toward Jade, “How could you forget something like that?” I screech. Clutching my chest, my eyes bulge. I think I might throw up!

“I have no idea?!” She screams back. We aren’t made, but equally surprised. I stare at John like he’s a new person. Only three month ago, during Christmas break, John asked me to join him for a walk after Christmas dinner, I, of course, happily agreed. I liked John, not necessarily like that, but I liked him enough. One might not think it, but John was a sensitive soul. Sophomore year when Jade was having major cramps and I couldn’t get out of the dorm because she was puking all over, I called John. He showed up twenty minutes later with medicine and a few other little necessities. No one ever spoke of it again, but I never forgot.
Anyways, we got to talking and I enjoyed that so much, that it carried over to texting and meeting on campus, then off campus. Until last month’s third Saturday, I forgot about Phantom night while I was out with him. Jade had texted me a bajillion times and called even more inquiring when I was, claiming she would begin the show without me. That’s when I freaked. I told John I had to get back, but he couldn’t see how my “movie night” was more important that our relationship, a relationship, I might add, that wasn’t really classified as a relationship yet. So I cried and begged him to take me back. Never in my life had I ever been as loyal to a man as the Phantom and I would not be the woman to let him down. He thought I was crazy and rightly so, because as soon as Jade and I finished the night and I came clean, she reinforced to me what an idiot I was. After that, the Phantom just didn’t really compare to John, but I needed to keep up the masquerade so that neither of them could tell I truly regretted choosing the fake Phantom over the real, handsome, kind John.

I glance over at him. “Why didn’t you ever say something?”

He scratched his neck and coughed. “I wanted to for a really long time. Before Christmas, way before, but you were so obsessed you could see straight.” But I could see now, I could see that this guy before me really was my Phantom. He waited for me and watched over me.

“I…I,” I say, grasping for a rational thought.

“Christine,” he says as I look up into his face.

“Yes?” I breathe.

“I love you.” He sings and smiles as if he’s been waiting a life time to tell me. I imagine the play. Right about now, the girl cries and leaves the Phantom behind, but I don’t even think about turning away.

“Christine!” Jade shouts, I turn and see that she is no longer enraptured by her phone, but instead the scene before her. “Kiss him!” She squeals. I turn back to John and smile broadly doing just as she commanded. We are cut short by the camera clicks we hear from Jade behind us. “I am so sending these to Mom.” She grins as John, flipping through the pictures.

“Jade!” John and I yell simultaneously and then laugh breathlessly.

“Don’t you want to finish your show?” John asks raising his eyebrow as if scrutinizing my every movement.

Looking at him straight on I say, “Nah, let’s just watch something on cable.” And wink.



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a_heart_to_love said...
today at 7:54 pm:
romantic and funny. i loved it.
 
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