"Don't Miss," He Said Ch. 04 Pt. 01byKyoketsu_Shoge©
Greetings again, readers! Your humble raconteur returns with the next exciting installment of "Don't Miss," He Said. It's time again to join Alphonse, Elena, and the rest of the gang for another bit of fun. More conflict with Gospel, and more romance for the couples. Here you are. Alphonse Rosethorne, take command of your story...Carry out the plan of the day!
"Holy Mary, Mother of God;
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Franz Schubert: "Ave Maria
It was two days after the house was invaded by James the Just. We had turned the body over to the authorities, and had all but gotten back to a normal state of affairs. Breakfast was zany and loud; the days lazed by with more research, and nights...were spent with Elena.
I was perfectly content to sleep with Elena. Though we never got more intimate than sleeping whilst cuddled together, I cherished the chilly midwinter nights during which we would sleep away the cold. We were secure in each other's arms. Now that I look back on it, we were young and naïve; like children playing house.
My activities, when not researching the yet unrevealed members of Gospel, were spent with Elena. There was nearly nothing we did apart, from grocery store runs to clothes shopping.
Heading home from a windy day at the shops, our back seat laden with foodstuffs, I reached a decision with which I had been flirting for many months. While Elena and I expressed our love for each other physically, and often proclaimed it to each other, we had never done anything public. I cleared my throat, and looked over at Elena. She turned to me with an inquisitive look.
"Elena, I've been thinking," I said, turning my eyes back to the road ahead.
"What about, Alphonse," she responded.
"Well," I continued, "We've been together like this for a while now, and it's been so lovely, but we've never...dated, have we?"
A look of relief overtook Elena's face. She had probably thought my words would travel a more...serious path.
"No," she mused, "we haven't. What did you have in mind?"
"Well, I just thought that the most beautiful girl in the world might want to see a show tonight."
"Oh, Alphonse, that's a wonderful idea. What is it we'll be seeing?"
"It's a surprise," I said. "But I guarantee that by the time it's over, we'll both be in tears."
"That good, huh? Okay, now I really can't wait."
That evening, I waited in the living room for Elena. We had planned to leave in ten minutes, so I assumed she was finishing her preparations for the show. I heard a noise at the staircase, and turned to see Elena descending.
The dress which accented her was simple; tasteful. The black dress came nearly down to her knees, lying neatly and tightly against her, not a single wrinkle evident. Stunning is what it was, but in my opinion, Elena could have made sandpaper cargo shorts look sexy.
We took off for the opera in my car, but I shared the back seats with Elena. I entrusted Himeko with the task of driving us, with the provision that she could sit with us during the performances. I had recognized this show as perfect for us when I first saw it: the show was to contain some of the most romantic arias known to any time period.
We arrived at the Joseph Meyerhof Symphony Hall, and Elena and I disembarked from the car, telling Himeko to meet us inside. This was the first time Elena had been to Baltimore, and she was immediately enamored with the city.
I gave the doorman our tickets, and he directed us up a flight of stairs. As we walked, I made sure he could point Himeko in our direction, and he was only too happy to oblige. We ascended the staircase, and I opened a door into a balcony seat about midway back from stage left.
"Quite the view, Alphonse," Elena remarked, taking a seat. "But why a private booth?"
"I just wanted this to be a little more personal for us."
The lights soon darkened, and the curtain opened, revealing the maestro and his symphony orchestra, with a full choir on their right flank. From opposing sides of the stage, a man and a woman neared center-stage.
To applause, the two gave due courtesies and bows before stepping up to separate podia.
Elena tugged my sleeve lightly as the applause died down. "Are they supposed to have the music with them, Alphonse?"
"Well, this is more of a recital than an actual opera, so it's okay in this instance. Here's the first piece. It's from Puccini's La Bohème. It follows Rodolfo and Mimi, during which Mimi is dying from consumption."
The orchestra began, as the two singers traded off melodic lines, singing brilliant descants as they overlapped. "The odd part about this piece," I continued, "is that the last line is delivered offstage."
"Why is that," Elena wondered.
"Rodolfo's friends have beckoned them to leave their favorite café."
"How rude of them. Although I suppose a woman dying of consumption could put a hamper on business."
Elena was enjoying the music. She was the first to applaud as the singers returned to the stage. The next piece took a moment to prepare, during which Himeko quietly came into the box. She sat quietly behind us, and made scarce greetings.
The next piece started, as the female singer exited the stage, leaving the divo behind. He sang the starting note, followed soon by the orchestra. The two traded off, the winds mirroring the melodic hills which the singer presented.
"Oh, Alphonse, I know this one," Elena said. "It's from Gounod's Romeo et Juliette."
"Very astute, my dear. This is the balcony scene, right?"
"Yes, it was Act two in the play. Romeo sneaks into the Capulet's garden, and begs for Juliet to appear."
"Indeed," I responded, "listen how the orchestra speaks for Juliet. The more Rome sings, the more vibrant the orchestra becomes, as though the two are talking."
As the piece came to a close, the man withdrew, and the woman returned, soaked in the spotlight. The aria was from La Damnation de Faust, and it was "D'amour l'ardente flame."
"This is Berlioz, right," asked Elena.
"Very good. Yes, this is his Faust. In this aria, Marguerite is longing for Faust to appear. She goes through stages; panic, distress, but returns to her pensive mood."
We listened, and as the song neared the end, Elena spoke up. "Faust...didn't need to sell his soul to the devil for Marguerite's love...did he, Alphonse?"
"That's the irony, yes."
I loved that I could share this evening with Elena, both of us riding the melodies, intertwined in the chords and harmonies. I wished that the night might last forever, but sadly, Berlioz's piece too came to a pensive close.
The maestro stood and turned to face the audience, who was soon standing with applause. He bowed, and motioned the two singers to center stage, where they took their bows. The vocalist then turned to the maestro, and whispered something in his ear. The maestro smiled knowingly to the vocalist, and, discreetly, to me. He turned to the orchestra, who reached under their chairs to retrieve another book of music.
A single French horn pierced the air with a repeated high note, and was soon followed by the harpist, who played sixteenths which swept through prolonged chords by the strings. The male vocalist stepped beyond the podium, leaving his music behind. He began a simple melody, as the orchestra modulated around him.
"Ave Maria, Gratia plena," the vocalist began, stretching out the vowels to the string's bowtips.
Elena sat in awe, her hand to her mouth, overtaken by emotion. As the vocalist continued, I saw tears streak her cheeks. "Maria Gratia plena, Maria Gratia plena," he continued through the initial wave of applause.
The background died down as he reached the end of the first phrase. Elena turned to me, trying to sniff away her tears. I could see the joy in her eyes. This was...her favorite song.
I first discovered her love for the song about three years ago. We were on our way to Physical Education from German class, walking together; Elena, me, and...Catherine.
"Why'd you stop, Elena," I asked her, looking back to see her stopped dead, hand raised as if to halt us.
Elena merely listened to something we could not hear, and said, "It sounds...familiar." She took off running down a left corridor, and Catherine and I followed. We found her outside a door, head resting against the cold glass, looking in.
I noticed that the room she was watching was part of the music department, and peered in from behind her to see our orchestra. Though I could barely hear what they played, I could hear the voice singing. It was a female voice; a soprano, singing a melody which to me, also sounded familiar.
"It's the Ave Maria, by Schubert," Elena said dreamily. "My mother used to sing it to me...when I couldn't sleep. She'd hold me in her arms, and sing until I fell asleep. It never took more than a few lines, but she would stay with me, humming the melody...until the song was done."
I watched, as Elena kept a legato time with her hand, conducting with an invisible baton.
"Except," she said, "I think it would sound better...with a tenor."
"Et benedictus fructus ventris, Ventris tui Jesus," the tenor continued, as Elena told me with her eyes, that she knew I had planned this.
Elena kept her gaze on me, as I merely smiled. She raised herself out of her seat, and came over to me. The music grew further, and Elena sat down gently in my lap. As she did, I cradled her head against my shoulder.
"Nunc et in hora mortis, in hora mortis, mortis nostrae," he sang, seemingly reaching a minor key, embracing death, as concerned the lyrics.
"Alphonse, will you hold me till it's over," she asked.
"Of course, Elena," I responded, and softly rocked her on my lap in time with the music, which returned to a major resolution.
The final recapitulation arrived: The singer took a final breath as the orchestra took a grand pause. "Ave..." We waited in suspense, while the tenor drew out the note as long as the measure allowed.
The orchestra had barely begun playing the final measure before the whole audience started their ovation. Well, not the whole audience. Elena and I felt the thunderous applause as one, as our lips joined, my cheeks sharing the caress of her joyful tears.
We parted, smiling at each other, and I motioned to Himeko, who provided Elena with a handkerchief. She began to dab at her eyes, and I watched the center aisle, where a coated man got up from his seat, and approached the stage, a bouquet in arms.
"How thoughtful," said Elena, finally capable of words.
Then, I saw something odd. From the right aisle, another man began descending towards the stage, a similar bouquet in hand. "Elena, do you see that," I asked her.
She turned, and watched as the man on the right-hand aisle was halted by another man wearing a long coat. Suddenly...a comic sounding 'poom' echoed through the theatre.
Less than a second later, the theatre shook, as the stage suffered the large explosion. Elena and I unshielded our eyes, and I beheld the destruction down on the stage. There was a large fissure in the front of the stage where the explosion had rocked the floor, and all on the stage lay still. Stunned...or dead.
I looked to the center, where the vocalists and maestro had stood but a moment ago, but saw only a black scorch to memorialize their gruesome deaths.
'Alphonse, the man in the center aisle...look," Elena said, motioning to the coated man with the large bouquet. He gripped the paper, and threw it behind him, loosing a shower of roses. As the petals settled, it became obvious that the man held a grenade launcher. He opened the barrel to a hiss of steam, and loaded another round, which slid in with a 'shlip'.
The man took the last few steps to the stage, and leaped effortlessly up onto it. He turned to face the audience. "Sinners..." he said, with a sinister grin on his face, and in his voice, "shouldn't bastardize such a holy work."
He cocked a lever under the barrel, and rested the weapon on his shoulder. "Isn't that right," he continued, letting the barrel raise towards us, "Alphonse Rosethorne?"
"No way," I whispered in disbelief.
"Oh yes, little Al. You were still very young when it happened, but I guess you've got an idea who I might be," he said, pacing the stage, but never aiming away from us. "And who, might I ask, is the lovely lady you have with you tonight?"
"You bastard, you should know who she is," I yelled down to the stage, "that is, if you're who I think you are."
"Say it," he said. "The name of your parent's murderer; the name I live with!"
"Judas," I said.
"That's right. Your parents paid for their sins, as did the girl's. And, tonight, another paid in full. And, although I'm not sure about the soprano and maestro, we can never be too careful...when souls are at stake...now can we," he responded, the same sinister smirk in his diction.
"Bastard," Elena spat. "They were innocent, and you killed them too!"
"Watch what you say, Miss Wallcroft," Judas countered, resting his finger to the heavy trigger. "None of you are innocent...None of you. Not even this one was born pure," he said, motioning to himself with his free hand. "But, I paid for my sins; my tainted blood is gone...But I did not have to bleed it from my own body."
"But why? ...Tell me why, Judas," I called to him.
He threw his head back, spilling his long black hair from in front of his face, and removed his sunglasses. To this day, I remember his eyes; his piercingly cold, starship yellow eyes. "It'll have to be some other time. For now, I think I'd better just leave before the police can ruin my day."
I gripped the banister in anger, and yelled to him once more, as he turned his back to leave the stage, exiting stage right. "Judas!"
He heeded my cry for but a second, then continued backstage, reaching into his coat pocket as he walked. What he threw over his shoulder did not immediately register in my mind. I believe it was Himeko who spoke first, calling us to the floor, as the apple shaped device sprouted its fiery wings.
Elena and I fell to the floor of the balcony as a firestorm engulfed the right half of the theatre. As the guests still able to move rushed out panicking, I collected Elena and quickly exited the box with Himeko leading the way. I pulled Elena over my shoulders, gripping an arm and leg in an impromptu buddy-carry with which we exited the building.
"Himeko, take care of Elena," I said, discarding my heavy coat and jacket.
"Where are you going, Alphonse," Himeko asked, taking Elena's arm around her shoulder.
"Isn't it obvious, Himeko? I'm going after Judas."
"Alphonse!" It was Elena, and before running off, I turned to her. "When you see him," she said, "Don't miss." I nodded to her before turning into an alley which led around back of the theatre.
I turned a corner, putting me behind the stage wall of the building, and saw Judas' coated silhouette rounding the corner, about fifty yards away. I called his name, but he simply walked on, still propping the grenade launcher on his shoulder. As he walked, I heard him start to sing, in his own smooth tenor.
"In hora mortis...mortis nostrae..."
I ran after him, listening to his singing as I turned the corner, and saw him near the center of a road. He turned to face me, and gave a slight wave with his free hand, which reached out behind him. He fired a grenade at the storefront to my right, and as I shielded my eyes, I saw a large green truck pass in front of him.
I recovered from the explosion's shock and ran to the street, only to see a large garbage truck...a green garbage truck...speeding down the street. There was a man hanging off the back, with long black hair. I gave chase for a short time, but quickly ran out of breath. I sank to my knees, exhausted, and heard a voice sing out from the garbage truck:
Blowing back towards me blew a long coat. It came to rest in front of me, while the echoes of the hymn reverberated off the empty streets. I didn't move from that spot until I felt Elena's soft hands shaking my shoulder. I suppose they found me kneeling in the street, throttling a long winter coat.
I folded the long coat, and boarded the car with Elena, and watched as Himeko left the city behind. We rode in silence, our perfect evening ruined...because of him; because of Judas. The coat lay crumpled in a heap on the car's floor, as far away from me as I could push it.
"Alphonse, I'm sorry this happened," Elena said, worry replaced by reserved disappointment.
"The bastard just won't leave me...won't leave us alone," I said. "If he had a beef with our parents, than why come after us?"
"The Ave Maria...It was beautiful. I don't think I've ever heard it performed better."
"Thank you, Elena. I knew you would like it."
"Do you think you could," she asked, hesitating as though embarrassed. "Would you sing it for me? I think I'd like to hear you sing it."
"I think I could do that," I replied, taking her in my arms. She rested in my lap, my arms cradling her as I had done in the theatre earlier, as I began to sing the best I could.
We disembarked from the car, leaving Himeko to park up, as I carried Elena to her bedroom. We entered the house quietly, and were met with curious glances from Able Company, who quickly got very quiet when they saw us. I ascended the stairs with Elena in my arms, quietly humming the song to her as I went.
After I had rounded the corner to the bedroom hallway, I heard the men of Able Company exchanging theories as to our night out. The sounds of their talk and laughter were dimmed as I entered Elena's bedroom, and shut the door. I set her down, and she went about changing out of her dress. I was surprised as she backed up towards me, and motioned to her dress.
I realized what she needed, and carefully unzipped her dress, revealing to my surprise, a lack of underwear. This was not the first time I had seen Elena's breasts, but I was in awe as I got my first glimpse at her smooth, clean-shaven mound. Her outer lips were closed tightly, but a slight hint of her inner lips could be seen poking through.
I tried to get my voice, tried to warn her of her nudity, but she slumped onto the bed before I could find my tongue. I walked over to her bedside, and reached for the covers. Her hand rose to my arm to stop me, and I looked up to her face. Her eyes were glazed, as though half-asleep, and her mouth was slightly open. Her lips moved inaudibly for a moment, but were soon followed by words. "I told you, it's cold in here," she said.
"Elena, do you..."
"Please come and join me. I need you here to hold me and...to keep me safe."
I paused for a moment, again arguing with my instinct. However, this time, I saw a situation where both intellect and instinct could benefit. I disrobed, and joined Elena in her own bed. The sheets were silken, and held the cold. We shivered, and instinctively moved together for warmth. I held her from behind, and my body again began to react to Elena's soft ass.
This time, Elena made no attempts to speak of it. She merely turned her upper body, and gave me a quick goodnight kiss before resuming her position. We lay like that for several minutes, before Elena began to shift and fidget.
"Elena," I whispered, "are you alright?"
"I'm sorry to ask you, Alphonse...But do you think you could..."
"Sing for me? Just this once more...for me."
I was already lost in my feelings of love and lust with our naked flesh making its first soft caresses, so my voice shook and was sometimes broken as I held out the melody at my lowest dynamic. I fought back my shaking, steeling myself.