I dedicate this story to Katdancer, a dear fried of mine, without her, I wouldn't have enjoyed all the fun I've had writing on FanFiction.

The book cover from an E/C manip. made by Elavielevenstar

Chapter one: Meeting Raoul De Chagney

A knock on my door caused me to jump. It was him. It had to be him. For it was always him.

"Are you ready?" His rough voice made me shudder.

I picked up my red cloak and wrapped it around me. "Yes."

He opened the door and pulled me out into the light, examining me as if I was a well-groomed horse. "Passable." He flung my cloak back and looked at the neckline. He reached out and tugged it down lower, revealing more cleavage than I deemed to be modest. "Better." I gasped and took a step back, heat flooding my cheeks. "Come," he gripped my arm and pulled me down the stairs. "my guests are waiting."

I didn't fight him. I couldn't. I'd been sold to him for gambling debts owed by my father. He didn't press me into servitude. He paraded me around as if I was his mistress and the whole of France knew.

I held my head high as all eyes turned to me upon entering the ballroom. Then, one pair caught my eyes. Actually, the young man caught my attention. He stared at me. he was very handsome, piercing blue eyes and wavy sandy brown hair.

Why? Why was he staring at me so? I glanced down at my dress and Gerald squeezed my hand tightly. I had grown used to his abuse, but so far he hadn't taken my virginity, nor had he even tried to. But how long could I stay his hand? I had been in his care for even a month yet and I had five more to serve. All ready, his demands were causing me concern.

A tap on my shoulder caused me to spin around. It was him. That young man. He smiled charmingly at me and heat coursed through my body.

"Well, Chagney." Gerald said releasing my hand to shake Mr. Chagney's. "Glad you could make it. allow me to introduce, Christine Daae."

I dipped a low curtsy and he bowed. "I'm pleased to meet you Mr. Chagney."

"The pleasure is mine, Miss Daae."

"Tell me," Gerald asked. "have you had time to view my offer?"

He tilted his head and gave a polite smile, "Not yet."

"Oh well," Gerald said. "why don't you dance with Miss Daae?"

I started. I was never allowed to dance with anyone! Why Mr. Chagney?

"I'd be delighted," he said. But he turned to me and said, "would it be agreeable to you?"

I didn't want to. There was some pull between us and I couldn't allow that. But the pull was stronger than I could resist. "I'd be honored Mr. Chagney."

The words slipped out before I could stop them. He took my hand and swept me onto the floor.

"Tell me Miss Daae," he said conversationally. "have you and Mr. Bartlett been a couple long?" I winced. How could I tell him? So I remained silent. He gently tilted my face up and his gaze narrowed. "What's wrong?"

I dropped my gaze, "I can't."

He waltzed me out to the balcony under the moon. I shivered. It was a full moon and the deserted balcony was too romantic for my comfort. I had to fight this attraction.

"We should go back inside," I said turning back.

He took ahold of my hand and I gasped as his touch electrified me.

"Christine." He said gently, turning me back to face him.

"Please," I said, desperately. "Mr. Chagney."

"Raoul." he said.

"Raoul." His name was like a comforting blanket. "you shouldn't."

"Why Christine?" He asked me gently. "Something's not right. You can tell me." he swiped at a single tear that had leaked out without my knowing. I gasped. "I know Mr. Bartlett, he's not a kind man. Can I help you?"

"No one can." I struggled to pull away from him.

"Answer me this," he demanded. "are you in love with him?"

"No!" I flushed at my hasty answer. A strange look filled those blue eyes and I looked away instantly. "Why should you care?"

"Don't you know," he said, his voice velvety and inviting. "can't you feel it?"

I gasped and looked away, "I don't know what you mean!"

"Don't you?" His voice dangerously near my ear. I jumped and spun around to see his face inches from mine. I could feel his breath on my lips and I shivered. Desire flooding me. "Don't you know?"

His grip loosened and I stepped away from those comforting arms instantly. "Raoul, don't. I don't want you to get hurt."

"You do feel something," he said stepping closer to me. "I knew you felt it, too."

I had to bluff, but I knew I couldn't hide from those eyes. "Felt what?" My voice sounded weak.

"This!" he said, pulling me forward and kissing me!

oh heavens above! I couldn't deny it! This was insane, I'd just met him! Barely exchanged fifty words with him and I was deeply attracted to him! Somewhere in my mind, I remembered Gerald and I pushed him away.

"That." He said deeply, his voice shaking me to the core. "I apologize Christine." I shuddered at the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes. "I know something's holding you away from me! I don't know what it is, but I'm not going to ignore this feeling." His gaze penetrated my soul. "I'll find out what the problem is separating us and somehow, I will get us together. No matter what."

I stepped away from him and hurried back into the ballroom. My heart was pounding so hard I was afraid it would burst.

"Well," Gerald said coming across the room. He smirked. "did you and Chagney have a nice chat."

I gulped. "He just asked about the view."

"I'll bet." He touched my lips and I flushed as he smirked. "if Chagney wants you, he'll have to pay."

"I'd be glad to." I jumped and saw Raoul standing there; an unreadable look in his eyes. He ignored me and looked at Gerald. "Is a thousand francs reasonable?" I gasped and stared at them. A greedy look came into Gerald's eyes. "One thousand five hundred francs is my final offer."

He shook Raoul's hand. "Sold!"

I gasped and I looked at the man who had filled my heart with desire a moment ago. Now, I was filled with hate and shame. When he saw charm wouldn't woo me, he now paid for me.

"I'll take her tonight." At Gerald's sputter he added. "After the party with an extra five hundred francs for your inconvenience."

"Agreed." Gerard said.

Raoul turned to me and gave a slight smirk, "Tonight then Miss Christine."

Gerard pulled me onto the dance floor. "How could you?" I hissed.

"Two thousand francs and have Raoul de Chagney in my hand." He said. "True, I'll miss the chance of breaking you myself. But then, I'd rather keep my hands clean."

I glanced at the clock. It chimed ten. I had two more hours as a virgin.