Every year without fail Erik made sure everything was perfect: Christine would have all she desired no expense would be spared and neither would he.
On the day Christine had her birthday and on the day she returned from her annual visit to Perros nothing mattered but her. Now if you were to tell Erik that this did not sound much different than any other day of his life, he would freely admit that you were right, but that these two days were simply more important.
On these days Christine needed comfort and care and many other things that he wanted to give her in spades. He made sure to cook what her father would have made, played traditional Swedish songs on his violin, sang any lullaby she wished to hear and had his delivery man make certain that her favourite Swedish confectionery was inn-plentiful supply.
Kanelbulle, Christine adored Kanelbulle and so Kanelbulle is what Erik made sure she had. The taste made her both happy and nostalgic she told him. And every year, as he presented her with them the day before her birthday or the morning she returned from Perros she would clap her hands in delight and smile at him and then she would wrap her arms around him and kiss him making Erik the happiest man on earth.
So imagine his horror when this year, the day before Christine’s birthday(!), the delivery man told him that he had not found any “Kanelbulle”. Erik had reeled in horror and then exploded with rage: how dare this man tell him that there were no Kanelbulle when he had brought them each year! But before his temper had made him harm his much needed deliverer he heard him say that the Swedish bakery was closed, he really could not help it. With a sigh Erik had relented, feeling so bad about scaring the poor man he paid him fifty Francs extra.
Christine had cried when he told her. His angel had cried!! Oh, she had tried to hide it from him, but he had noticed and taken his wife in his arms to sooth her.
“Don’t cry Christine, please,” he had whispered, “I will make it al-right. I can bake anything you like, I can cook anything you like, but please, please don’t cry my love!”
Christine had leaned against Erik and sobbed a little, feeling rather guilty and childish about her overreaction. A grown up, married, woman crying over confectionery? It was just that the Kanelbulle reminded her of the long evenings with her father in Sweden. When she ate them as Erik played his violin she could see him, would be transported back to their little house and the wild nature just for a while. It was something she looked forward to every year. From above her she heard Erik’s pleads and her heart broke: Poor Erik, her husband tried so hard for her every year, creating the most wonderful day she could ever imagine and here she was sobbing her eyes out over one missing detail? Surely he did not deserve this. Swiftly she took a deep breath and stopped her sobbing.
“It’s al-right Erik, I’m sorry for acting like this. I am certain the day will be just as wonderful without Kanelbulle.”
But even though Erik nodded his understanding Christine was worried to see something in his eyes that told her he did not believe her and it made Christine fear that her overreaction might come back to haunt her.
But there was no time to ponder on all of this: there were rehearsals in the world above and that was where Erik ordered her to go, which she did but rather unwillingly. A nagging feeling told her she should stay at home and stop Erik from whatever it was that he might be planning to make up for what he would wrongly assume a failure on his part.
When Christine returned she was sad to see her fears proved correct: everything was prepared for her birthday the next day and there was a dinner waiting for her, but Erik was gone.
There was, however, a note on the table, next to her plate.
My dearest, most beloved wife,
You only deserve the most perfect of birthdays and Erik will allow no less so he has gone out to assure just that.
Don’t worry my angel, I will be back soon.
Your devoted servant,
Upon reading those words Christine burst into tears again: she didn’t like Erik being out on his own as she knew it scared him and she didn’t like to hear him call himself her “servant” he was her husband for goodness-sake!! But most of all she worried something would happen to him, as so many superstitious folk feared a man in a mask!
That day Erik did not return and when she woke up the next day he still wasn’t there. That day Christine’s heart felt heavy with worry and she suffered through the worst birthday of her life.
What had happened to Erik, why was he not home? Had he been hurt? There was no way she could go look for him, as she did no where he had gone. Neither could she sent a search party as besides Madame Giry and Meg, no-one knew her husband existed.
For most of that day Christine sat quietly in the kitchen of the ballet mistress and her daughter, allowing Meg to try and take her mind of things. The poor ballerina failed miserably.
When it was seven Christine returned home, hoping Erik was back by now so she could give him a piece of her mind … or hug him, she had not decided yet. All she hoped, when her carriage drove to the Opera was that Erik would be home safe, as it was bitterly cold outside and it had been raining all day.
But Erik still was not home and there was no sign that he had ever been back. With a sigh Christine lit the fire and lamps in all the rooms to take the cold away from the empty house and settled on a chair with a book. Her heart yearned for her husband and she hoped he would return in time for her birthday kiss.
When the clock struck twelve Christine gave up her waiting: by now she was furious. How dare he leave her alone like that on her birthday of all days? Where he to return she would slap him and not talk to him for days!
With a huff she went to bed.
At three Christine woke up again from a nightmare: Erik had disappeared. Waking to an empty house she shivered to find that the nightmare was still ongoing.
Unhappily she returned to her book and took a chair by the fire, where she dozed off again about fifteen minutes later.