u Forget me not /u
Christine's Wedding Day.
Christine looked at her reflection in the mirror, while Meg fussed with her hair. Her friend finally placed the De Chagny diamond tiara on her head and attached the veil. The wisps of white lace netting gave her an ethereal look. For some reason her mind wandered back to the mannequin in Erik's lair and as she met her eyes in the mirror, she noted the high spots of colour that stained her cheeks. She cursed her thoughts as a familiar ache settled in her breast, almost constricting her breathing. The church bells were already ringing out in celebration of her marriage to Raoul De Chagny and they had not even walked up the aisle yet.
It had only been two weeks since the burning of the Opera house and the events of that night were still fresh in her mind. The hurt and suffering in Erik's eyes would stay with her for a long time, maybe even the rest of her life. She hardly recognised the girl that looked back at her in the mirror and in some ways; she looked almost as unreal as the mannequin version of herself, like a painted doll.
Her head shot up as Madame Giry entered the room, their eyes met in the looking glass.
"It is time Christine," she smiled at her. Christine nodded and rose from the chair. "You look beautiful, your father would have been proud,"
Christine felt the tears spring to her eyes at the mention of him. She felt his absence more strongly today than any other day in her life. Christine walked over to Madame Giry and wrapped her arms around her.
"Thank you for being a mother to me,"
Madame Giry felt her own eyes moisten as she pulled back to look at Christine, placing a kiss on her cheek. She frowned at the coldness she felt.
"Are you well child?" she asked in concern.
Christine shivered although the room was not cold. "It is nothing, just a little nerves on my part,"
Madame Giry smiled at her. "It is natural. Marriage is a big step for anyone…and especially for one as young as you."
Christine smiled back at Madame Giry. They were interrupted by someone knocking at the door. Meg crossed the room to open it. A young boy stood there, uncertainly shifting from foot to foot. He held a bridal bouquet in his hands.
"Ah, your flowers have arrived," said Meg, taking them from the boy and closing the door. She handed the bouquet to Christine.
Christine took the snow-white roses from her friend and frowned at them, for they were not the plain white roses she had requested. Among them nestled a generous smattering of little blue wild flowers. "What are these?" asked Christine, confused.
Madame Giry cleared her throat. "They are forget-me-nots. They symbolise true love and memories,"
Christine paled for a moment, but she shook off her fanciful thoughts. Deciding it was nothing more than a mistake at the hands of the florist and she turned her mind to Raoul as the organ in the church began to play the wedding march.
"I believe that is my cue," she replied distantly as she left the room to make her solitary journey up the aisle to her waiting husband to be.
Madame Giry watched her walk away, with Meg as her attendant. She sighed heavily as she made to leave the room also. She let out a small cry as her way was blocked by a black caped figure. Her hand flew to her mouth as she looked up at Erik. His stormy eyes glittered with suppressed emotion as he looked back at her. She fought for words, but none would come.
"Madame Giry, a moment of your time please," He walked forward and closed the door behind them.
She was more relieved to see him, than she would admit to. It had had been her secret fear that he had died, possibly trapped by the spreading fire. All Meg had been able to find of him had been his mask and neither Christine nor Raoul had divulged the secrets of what had occurred that night, far below the opera house.
Mme Giry finally found her voice at she looked at him. "You have not come to cause trouble for Christine?"
"No, that is not my intention. I know when I am defeated. I am leaving here, not just this place, but France altogether. I am a wanted man,"
"Where will you go?" she asked.
"I am to sail for America in three days. I have come to say goodbye,"
"Christine must not see you. It will only cause her distress,"
Erik nodded. "Is she happy?" he asked.
"After a fashion…yes she is,"
Erik reached into his waistcoat and held out his hand. Madame Giry looked down at a diamond ring that rested in his palm. "I need one last favour if you please. Take this ring and keep it safe. Christine gave it to me. If she is ever in danger or need, send it to me and I will come for her,"
Madame Giry took the ring from him
He turned to leave, but she put a hand on his arm. "What will you do in America, Erik?"
"Try to live without her," he replied gravely.
He left the room with such haste, that for a moment she wondered if he had been a figment of her imagination. She looked at the ring that she held in her hand just to remind herself that he was not.
De Chagny Estate
1883 - Thirteen years later
Christine closed the door to her bedroom, she wiped at her tired eyes. She turned and was startled to see the doctor standing there. She gave him a weak smile.
"He is resting doctor. He had a bad night, thank you for coming so swiftly,"
"It is the least I can do Madame. I will go attend him and try to make him comfortable,"
She nodded at him before sitting down on one of the chairs that lined the hallway. Her shoulders sagged in defeat, her dress stained with blood from her husband's incessant coughing. It would not be long now; Raoul was in the advanced stages of consumption. Christine had spent the last few months nursing her husband as she had watched him grow weaker by the day. Death would be a release for him, but for her it would be a prison and birth into a world without him.
Their marriage had been a happy one. The only cloud to mar it had been their continued childlessness. She would not even have his child to warm her days of widowhood. As the years had passed and there had still been no heir, he had not blamed her for the lack thereof. That had been left to the other members of his family. It had only served to build their disgust of her, and that Raoul had married so far beneath his station.
She fixed her gaze on a far distant point as her mind wandered. A face she had not laid eyes on for over thirteen years came to mind and she felt the same tingle she had felt on her wedding day. The doctor emerged from the room moments later to look at her. She could tell by the solemn way in which he regarded her, that it was not good tidings.
"Tell me what news doctor and be honest with me," Christine told him.
"He does not have long, if he lives out this night I would be very surprised. Is there anyone that can be with you at this difficult time?"
Christine looked down at the richly carpeted floor. Only one name came to mind. i Madame Giry. /i She still resided in Paris with Meg and could be here within a couple of hours.
"I have someone,"
"Good, you should not be alone. I have given him morphine for the pain. He is asleep now,"
Christine nodded as she rose from her seat and led him down the hall to the main entrance.
"Thank you for everything doctor,"
"You are not looking so well yourself, try to get some rest Madame,"
After seeing, the doctor out she rang the bell and gave instructions to one of the servants to send word to Madame Giry. Christine went back to the sick room. As she entered, her nostrils were assailed by the strong smell of carbolic acid. Raoul rested against the white sheets, his complexion almost of the same hue. Christine noted a trickle of blood at the corner of his mouth and she reached for a scrap of linen and wiped it away before setting down in the chair next to his bed. She lay back in the chair, intending to close her eyes for just a moment.