First, note that in this continuation, the Phantom has terrorized plenty of people, but did not commit murder. This choice was made to develop the plot in a different way, and remove the criminal element from the ensuing complications.
Chapter 1 The game..past the point of no return.
Christine waited on the side stage anxious, terrified, and strangely excited as she was about to give the performance of her life in the Phantom's first formal composition. Filled with apprehension because of what had happened over the past few months. The confusing twists and turns of emotions and life.
When autumn fell just months ago, she was merely a chorus girl. So insignificant that she might have been a prop on the stage. Now, she was the center of attention, engaged to Raoul. So much rested on her shoulders. Tension in her jaw, back screaming in pain, mostly from the stiffening of her muscles at every sound. She had to remind herself to breathe.
Her eyes hungrily scanned the box where Raoul sat keeping a watchful eye. Briefly comforted by his reassuring smile, but even that was fleeting. She couldn't help looking up in the rafters where all of the curtains and sets descended as if from the mystery of the sky. So much had happened in those rafters. The accidental death of Joseph Buquet as he ran in terror at the site of the Phantom. The near miss with Carlotta the day that the new owners Andre and Firmin took over….the day she first gazed on her Vicomte, dear, dear, Raoul. Her eyes quickly ran the length of the catwalks far above her head. Nothing, she breathed a small sigh of relief.
The theater was nearly full now, the flickering lights indicating the opera would begin in three minutes time. Don Juan Triumphant. What did this mean? How would this play out? Where would the Phantom appear? Was he lurking in the shadows, under a trap door, cleverly hung inside one of the thick curtains, planning to swoop in and grab her like a bat? The utter thoughts sent a shiver up her spine. She wished that she was back in the solitude of the cellar chapel being comforted and reassured by Raoul. But that would only delay the inevitable. She bit her lip trying to stifle the flittering in her stomach.
Meg approached from behind her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Are you alright Christine?" Christine startled at Meg's touch, turning to smile at her nervously, apologizing for jumping. "Meg, I'm frightened. See my hands are cold" Christine reached out and placed her hands in Meg's. Meg said "and your face is white, just as it was the first night you told me about your great tutor." Meg smiled, "It will all be over soon, and you and your love will be reunited to live with joy, happiness, and relief."
With that Meg left Christine's side, flitting off to her place behind the curtain on the stage.
Christine was ever grateful for Meg. She had been the only family that Christine had really known since her father died. Madame Giry had taken her in, raising her nearly as her own daughter. Meg had accepted her as a sister, not by blood, but by heart. They shared so many things, played together, laughed together, cried together.
Christine felt as though she had grown ten years in the last weeks. Suddenly seeing some of her youthful naivety pass from her. Christine looked up at Raoul who was talking seriously to one of the guards. She thought of the time she spent with Raoul in the attic at the house by the sea. They had stayed up many nights reading stories and eating chocolates from the box that Raoul always seemed to have under his cloak when he came for a visit. Even though there were a few years between them, he had always struck her as handsome, and most definitely charming. They had truly been childhood sweethearts. She glanced once more at Raoul who was scanning the theater to be certain that their plan was in place. He caught Christine's gaze and nodded in assurance.
Deep in thought, Christine gazed out across the audience at some distant, non-descript point. The orchestra began to play as the lights dimmed one last time, signaling they were about to begin. The trap was set for the Phantom….her Phantom, her friend, her guardian, her guide, her Angel of Music. She choked back her doubt, knowing what she had to do.
Raoul had been her childhood sweetheart, but somewhere deep inside, in places she had scarcely known existed, she knew that the Angel had been the love of her life, her awakening as a woman. He brought out the best part of her. Now she had to betray him.
She felt dizzy as the realization of the responsibility came down on her. She had to do it for all the right reasons, but her heart tore at the thought of the final betrayal of the one soul that had cared for her, loved her unconditionally.
He had listened to her tears, comforted her fears, taught her, guided her, …loved her. The ultimate betrayal in this world that had offered little but cruelty to such a genius. A lump caught in Christine's she do that to someone who loved her so much, had cared for her so much, to someone that she….she…the curtain raised, and she was exposed for all the world to see. It had come…the point of no return.