From Heaven's Mind

Chapter Twenty-Five

"Come on, Julia. Say it. 'Daddy'. You can do this." Christine stopped as she passed the sitting room and looked through the open door. Erik was sat on the floor opposite their daughter, who seemed far more interested in playing with her teddy than listening to her father.

"Say 'Daddy'. Listen, sweetheart, you're going to say it because your mother is convinced that your first word will be 'Mama' and I hate it when she's right." He said firmly.

Christine held back a snort and watched closely as Erik picked Julia up and held her in front of his face.

"Daddy. Or 'Dada'. I'm really not that fussy. Just say something."

"How about 'Mama'?" Christine suggested. Erik looked over at the door and lifted his eyebrows.

"She was this close to saying it, until you distracted her."

"Oh, you liar! She's not going to say it!" Christine said, sitting on an armchair. Erik put Julia down and she began to crawl away on all fours. Christine smiled.

"Stop trying to manipulate her, she'll talk when she's ready."

"I'm manipulating her, I'm simply persuading her." Erik said calmly.

"If she doesn't say Daddy first, it doesn't matter." Christine said. Erik looked at her frankly.

"Christine, she will say it because she and I have a very deep connection and I just know that she's going to say it. Aren't you, Julia?"

He caught her up, swinging her around. Julia laughed delightedly and Erik propped her against his shoulder. Her tiny hands pressed against his face and she gabbled nonsensically. Her eyes had changed from blue and seemed to be turning to Erik's vivid green. Christine laughed and Erik sat down on the sofa, bouncing Julia up and down.

"She's over a year old; shouldn't she be talking by now?"

"There's no rush. Each baby takes their own time." Christine said. Erik put Julia on his lap and looked across at his wife.

"How's Meg?"

"Surviving. I think she's regretting even starting to plan this wedding."

"I'll see if the opera house ballroom is free for the reception, if she wants."

"That'd be great. I can go tomorrow and check." Christine smiled and moved to kneel in front of Julia. "You're getting so big! You're going to need some new clothes soon, aren't you?"

She checked her watch and sighed.

"I'd better jump in the shower before we go to dinner."

"Go ahead. I'll be here manipulating our daughter." Erik said airily. Christine laughed, rolling her eyes.

"You're impossible!"

"Christine, please. We're busy here." Erik said, now busy concentrating on Julia.

Meg glared at the catalogues littering the table. Wasn't a wedding supposed to be fun? Cos this sure wasn't! She muttered and wrenched a magazine on flowers toward her.

Tom came in and looked at the table.

"Still torturing yourself?"

"Yeah… Tom, this is all so complicated. Can't we just elope?"

"Anything you want." Tom said vaguely, pouring himself some coffee before sitting down. Meg looked at him tiredly.

"What happened to the small wedding we were going for?"

"Our parents. Why are you bothering? They'll just do it all anyway."

"Yes, but this is OUR wedding. It should be what we want." Meg said. Tom smiled and kissed her.

"I just want to marry you, Meg. I don't care where or how."

"Nice try, but you're not getting out of this by sweet-talking me. Grab a magazine." Meg said dryly. Tom sighed.

It had been worth a try.

Christine went to the Opera House the next day, Julia in one arm, to book the ballroom for Meg, who had agreed that it would be a good idea. The receptionist at the desk was talking with someone and Christine waited to one side. Until the person turned around and she realised who it was.

"James!" She gasped.

He blinked at her and his eyes widened.

"Christine Destler? My god, is that you?"

"I didn't know you were working here again!" Christine said, shifting Julia slightly to hug James. He looked at the baby.

"And who is this?"

"This is Julia." Christine smiled. James grinned.

"She's beautiful, Christine. Why don't you come in and say hi to everyone? Stuart Mackenzie's working on this piece and there are a few people from Des Yeux D'Ange that you might remember."

Christine followed him to the theatre. Julia looked around curiously at the strange building, twisting one hand into her mother's long hair. Christine hugged her closely and smiled as a good-looking man with dark blonde hair came over to her.

"Christine, it's good to see you again."

"Hi Stuart." She hugged him. Julia gargled excitedly and Stuart smiled, patting her head.

"Hey there, beautiful. What's your name?"


"How old is she?"

"Just over a year now. How's Tessa?" Christine asked.

"Oh, she's great. So what are you up to these days?" Stuart asked.

"Not much. Erik and I have both taken the year off to look after Julia. Erik's supposedly writing an opera, but he spends more time playing with this one." Christine said, looking at her daughter who regarded her with serious green eyes.

"Christine!" She turned and, to her surprise, saw June staring at her in amazement. Christine grinned.

"Hello June."

"What hell are you doing here? Oh, is this the baby?" She held out her hands and Christine manoeuvred Julia into them. June grinned at her. "Isn't she gorgeous? What's her name?"

"To answer all those questions in order, I'm booking the ballroom for Meg and Tom's wedding, yes this is the baby, yes I think she is gorgeous and her name is Julia."


"You love me for it. Are you doing the costumes for this one too?"

"Sure am. Well, she's got her daddy's eyes." June said, examining the baby. Christine smiled.

"Yes. June, you've got to come over for dinner some time; I know Erik would love to see you again. And Nadir."

June eyed her.

"Get that look off your face, Destler."

"What look?"

"You know exactly what look. Bu I'm never one to turn down a free meal, so give me a call and I'll be there. Well, I'd better get back to work." She handed the baby back and shouted for one of the actors to go to the dressing room.

Erik was sat at the piano, testing a new piece when Christine and Julia got back to the mansion. He scribbled on the sheet music and tried again. Julia squealed, recognising her beloved father and he peered around. His face broke into a smile, as it so often did at the sight of them both.

"How did it go?"

"The ballroom is booked. By the way, did you know that James Pewter is working there again?"

"No, I didn't." Erik said, taking Julia and kissing her.

"Stuart is too, and June. I've invited her to dinner on Saturday, by the way."

"Excellent. Has she said anything yet?"

"No." Christine laughed, sitting on the piano bench. "And she's not likely to because she's going for a nap now."

"I'll take her. See if we can persuade her on the way upstairs." Erik said, standing up. Christine rolled her eyes.

"She's going to be such a daddy's girl."

"You say that as if it were a bad thing." Erik commented. Christine took his seat at the piano and began to play the music he had just written.

Two days later the three of them were sat in the living room. Erik was reading the newspaper and Christine was reading a book from the library. Julia was sat comfortably on the floor in front of the fireplace, playing with building blocks. She gabbled excitedly and clapped her tiny hands. Erik looked over the top of his newspaper at her and smiled before returning to the business section.

And then they heard her say something that sounded distinctly like 'yada'. Erik and Christine both dropped their reading and stared at their daughter who was grinning happily. Erik dropped onto the floor beside her, Christine following.

"Julia? What did you just say?" She asked.

"Yada?" Erik repeated. Julia smiled.


Erik looked at Christine in astonishment. She stared back and then touched Julia's hand.

"Julia? Is it Dada? Can you say Dada? Dada?"

"Dada." Julia said, picking up a building block and holding it to Erik. Christine laughed, unable to believe it. Erik picked Julia up.

"Dada? Did you say Dada?"


"Oh my god, she's talking!" Christine squealed. And then she smiled. "You were right again. You were her first word."

"I don't believe it." Erik said, staring at Julia, who was now chewing on the corner of the building block as though she said her first word everyday.

"I've got to tell Nadir!" Christine said, jumping to her feet and running out. She returned a few moments later with Nadir on her heels.

"What? What is it?" He said frantically. Christine pointed at Erik and Julia. Erik looked at the baby.

"Julia? Can you say Dada? Dada?"

"Dada. Dada." Julia repeated again. Nadir's jaw dropped and Christine giggled delightedly.

Nadir took Julia out of Erik's arms and held her up, grinning madly.

"Who's a clever girl?"

"I've got to call everyone we know!" Christine said, diving for the phone. Erik was smiling proudly at his daughter and Christine struggled to remember the last time he had been so happy.

Saturday night arrived and with it came June. A servant opened the door to her and she entered, to be greeted by Christine who smiled.

"Hi June. Come on in."

"Hey Christine. Brought wine." She handed her a bottle and Christine admired it.

"Thanks, we can have this after dinner. Come to the living room."

"And which of these thousand rooms would that be?" June asked dryly.

Christine laughed and pushed open a door. June went in. Erik and Nadir were sat in armchairs, watching Julia play with Trister. Julia laughed loudly as Trister nuzzled her, rolling her onto her back. Nadir noticed June come in and stood, smiling a smile that she returned.


"Hello Nadir. Erik."

"Miss Winters." He smiled. Christine noticed that Nadir hadn't stopped looking at June and grinned.

"Erik, why don't we put Julia to bed?" She said innocently.

"Oh yes, good idea. Come on, princess." He scooped Julia up and Nadir stroked her hand.

"Goodnight Julia."

"Yada." Julia mumbled. June grinned and then looked back at Nadir as they were left alone.

"You could have called, you know." She said. Nadir looked distinctly awkward.

"I… well, I wasn't sure if you were… seeing someone."

"I'm not. And you'd have found that out a damn sight quicker if you'd called." June grinned.

Christine smiled at Erik as the door closed, cutting the rest of the conversation off.

"See? I'm good at this."

"You're interfering."

"No, I'm just giving them a helping hand." She said firmly, as they went upstairs.

Four months later and Meg felt like crying. How could so many things go wrong at once? This whole wedding was a disaster! Christine burst through the front door to No 42, Julia tucked under one arm and a bag of shopping in the other.

"OK, I'm here. What's the disaster?" She said, dumping the shopping on the kitchen table and putting Julia on the floor, where she began to crawl about.

"The caterers have cancelled on me, the band is terrible and we've got two months to the wedding and I still don't have a dress!" Meg bawled. Christine pulled out a bar of chocolate and thrust it at her.

"Eat this. I'll make tea. Julia, don't do that!" She pulled her daughter away from the fridge, where she was chewing on fridge magnet. "She's teething and she's chewing on everything."

"Oh, she's fine. C'mere gorgeous." Meg pulled Julia up and hugged her tightly.

Ten minutes later, tea and chocolate at the ready, Christine began to go over the wedding arrangements that were already made whilst Meg played with Julia.

"How's Erik?"

"Still working on his opera. I had to drag Julia away from him so he could get some work done, she distracts him terribly. Not that he minds." Christine said. Meg cooed.

"Well, that's because you're so lovely, isn't it Julia?"

"Dog." Julia said solemnly.

"She's been picking up a few new words. Dada, Dog, Cat, Mama and Nanda. We think she means Nadir." Christine smiled.

She tapped the piece of paper she'd been scribbling on.

"OK, here's a list of good caterers. I'll ring them up and see who can do it. As for the band, why don't I just ask the opera house if they can recommend anyone? The reception is goin to be there anyway. And as for the wedding dress, that is going to be my present to you."

"What?" Meg said looking up in astonishment. Christine smiled.

"Well, you are my best friend. I want to give you something good, so I'm taking you out tomorrow to see the woman who made my dress. She hand makes and customises all the dresses, she can draw up a few designs and then you can pick one out."

"Christine, that's… aw." She hugged her tightly and Christine smiled.

"No problem, Meg. I'll just call the caterers."

Erik scratched out a note and replaced it with a second one, considering the music carefully. Yes, that sounded much better. Julia was sat beside the piano bench, playing with her teddy and making noises to herself. Christine was somewhere in the house, talking to one of the servants.

Erik began the bar again and wrote in a few more notes before looking down at Julia. She had tossed her teddy to one side and seemed to be concentrating on the floor, perched on all fours. Slowly she pushed her back legs up and tried to push herself onto her feet but wobbled and fell over. Erik watched closely as she tried it again and again, before moving to kneel in front of her and hold her hands as she stood. She was only on her feet for a couple of moments before she fell again but was soon trying again.

The music room door opened and Christine looked Erik. He hissed to her.

"Watch!" He held out his hand again and Julia pushed herself up again. Christine gasped but silenced herself, watching delightedly as Julia fell again but instantly tried again.

"Oh, let me try!" She said, joining them on the floor. Once more Julia stood and Christine squealed excitedly, scooping her up into a hug.


"Christine, you're squashing the baby."

"She's standing! Erik, she's standing up!"

Erik smiled and Julia said, "Cat!" in what sound like a very self-satisfied tone.

"Go out, Christine." She looked up from her book. She was sat in the library, Julia on the floor beside her with Trister. Erik was watching her from the door.

"I'm sorry?"

"Go out. Go and see Meg, go to the cinema, go shopping. Just go out."

"Are you trying to get rid of me?" She smiled. Erik lifted his eyebrows slightly.

"When was the last time you went out without the baby?"

"I haven't. She needs me." Christine pointed out.

"No, she doesn't. I can take care of her. You need to get your life back on track."

"Oh, says Mr I-never-leave-the-house!"

"I have an excuse, I'm an unsociable recluse. You, on the other hand, have a great many friends you should be spending time with." Erik said, sitting on the nearby armchair. Christine closed her book and looked down at Julia, who was stroking Trister's soft fur.

"I… well, I just don't like leaving her."

"I know you don't. But I'm perfectly capable of taking care of her."

Christine hesitated and then nodded.

"OK. I'll see if the guys want to see a film or something. But you'll keep your phone on, in case there's an emergency?"

"There won't be an emergency, Christine."

"But what if there is?"

"You can say 'I told you so'. Go on." He pulled her to her feet and pushed her towards the door. She twisted back to look at Julia.

"Her teddy's in the cot and her teething ring is in the fridge!"

"I know!"

Erik passed Christine her coat and pushed her through the door, closing it in her surprised face. He turned back to Julia.

"And she's says that I worry too much." He said to her.

"Sure, we could rent a movie or something." Max said when Christine arrived. "I can't believe Erik threw you out."

"Tell me about it." Christine grumbled, collapsing onto the sofa. Rebecca gave her a sympathetic look.

"It's probably for the best, Christine. You've got to let Julia have some space."

"She's only fourteen months old!"

"Exactly. She's not a newborn. Erik can handle for a few hours whilst you relax. Believe, someone has got to relax around her, Meg and Tom are so stressed out." Rebecca mumbled.

"What's gone wrong now?"

"Every member of both of their families is trying to interfere and it's driving them insane."

Christine winced. She could only imagine the stress such an event could cause.

"OK, Max you go to the shop and rent a film and buy refreshments. Rebecca and I will calm down Meg and Tom."

"Good plan." Max said, darting to the door as shouting started from the kitchen.

Half an hour later, sat in front of the television with a stack of DVD's and several bowls of popcorn, the five friends were far more relaxed and chatting amiably.

"I know everything will be fine on the day, but waiting for it is just hell." Meg said to Christine who smiled sympathetically.

"If you need anything you know I'll help."

"Yeah, I know. Hey, do I get a hen night?"

"Only if I get a stag night!" Tom interrupted. Max grinned enthusiastically.

"Yeah, that'd be great!"

Meg looked like she was somewhat regretting the idea now but simply sighed.

"What about the honeymoon? Where are you going?" Rebecca asked, taking a handful of butter popcorn.

"Paris." Tom grinned.

"Aw, you romantic." Christine smiled. Tom agreed airily.

"I can't help it, I'm just so great." He said, placing a dramatic hand over his heart. Meg snorted and rolled her eyes.

"Is everything pretty much wrapped up now? I mean, it's only three weeks away." Christine asked.

"I think so. We've got the church, the reception, food, music, clothes, invitations have been sent and replied to and the honeymoon is booked." Meg said, looking worried again.

"I hope you've also got copious amounts of alcohol." Max grinned. Meg scowled at him.

"Don't you dare, Max Hodges! Or I will personally lynch you!"

"OK, OK. Fine. I won't get drunk."

"Rebecca, keep an eye on him." Meg warned and Rebecca saluted her firmly.

"Will do."

The wedding rehearsal was a cold, rainy day. What else could you expect from late October in England? Erik and Nadir were in the second pew with June and Julia as Christine and Rebecca followed Meg down the aisle. They moved to one side as Tom and Meg ran through the vow and they heard the readings. The priest smiled at them.

"And then it's 'you may kiss the bride'."

"Happy to!" Tom said cheerfully and kissed Meg. A ripple of laughter went up and Meg grinned as everyone started to chatter. She went across to Christine and Rebecca. She still walked with a very slight limp, but it was hardly noticeable these days.

"That went well." She smiled and Christine nodded.

"See? Nothing to worry about. Everything is fine."

At that moment several flower arrangements fell over, Julia started screaming and the priest tripped over the edge of his robes. Meg glared at Christine.

"You just had to say it, didn't you?" She said flatly. Christine winced and hurried to try and hush Julia whilst Rebecca and Max hurried to rearrange the flowers and Tom picked the priest up. Taking the squalling baby, Christine bounced her gently. Erik caught her eye and smiled slightly.

"It wasn't your fault, you know."

"Then why does it feel like it was?"

"Pure coincidence." Erik assured her. Christine smiled and stroked Julia's dark hair as she sniffled onto her shoulder.

"I think everyone could use a drink." Tom said. "My shout, there's a pub across the road."

"Sounds like a good idea." Nadir said, scratching his head.

Sat around a large table in the cheerful pub, Meg said,

"I can't believe it's finally here. It feels like forever."

"I know." Tom agreed. "It's been a hectic few years."

"Tell me about it." Christine muttered. "Have you both got your speeches for the reception?"

"Yup. And it's rather brilliant actually." Tom grinned.

"Christine, you're making a speech too, you know. As maid of honour, you are required to." Meg said brightly. Christine smiled.

"I know. I've already written it."

"Well, aren't we organised?" Meg said.

"Yes, we are."

Erik smirked, sipping at his wine. And then they all jumped as a teddy bear went flying through the air. Nadir caught it and Christine looked around apologetically.

"She's been doing that all the time recently."

"Nah, she's OK." Tom said, lifting her from the pushchair and sitting her on his knee. "Aren'cha, Julia? Yeah, you're a good girl."

"Oh, Christine, guess who I saw the other day?" Rebecca suddenly piped up, remembering.


"Terri Ennis."

Christine spluttered on her drink and looked at her.

"Oh… that must have been lovely for you!"

"I haven't really seen her in years. We ended up talking and as soon as she found out I was dating Max she just glared at me, swore under her breath and stormed off." Rebecca said lightly. Max grinned.

"No woman can resist me."

"I managed pretty well." Christine reminded him.

"Yeah, same here." Meg added.

"Never even crossed my mind." June put in. Max scowled and said,

"That's because you've all been corrupted. How am I supposed to work my charms on you?"

"You won't." Erik said, looking at him piercingly. Max looked suitably nervous and Christine smiled at her husband.

"Stop scaring him."

"But he scares so easily."

"Not the point." She said. Erik lifted his eyebrows dismissively and had some more wine.

"And do you, Margaret Rosalyn Grayson take Thomas Michael Sutherland to be your lawfully wedded husband for as long as you both shall live?" The priest asked. Meg, smiling breathlessly, said,

"I do."

Christine's jaw was aching from smiling, but she just couldn't stop. Meg and Tom were just so happy! They exchanged the rings and the priest beamed at them both.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Tom needed no telling. He had already lifted Meg's veil and was kissing her. There was a cheer and Christine looked over her shoulder at Erik and Julia, who were in the pew behind her. Erik waved Julia's hand at her and she smiled before following Meg and Tom out of the church.

After the photographs, Meg and Tom took a limousine to the opera house. Christine and Rebecca waited for the others outside the church, brushing down her bridesmaids dress, a lovely creation of pale pink. She kissed Erik.

"Wasn't it lovely?"

"It was." He agreed. Christine took Julia, kissing her head. Max smiled at her.

"Ready to go? We've got speeches to do."

"OK. Let's go."

The chatter in the large ballroom fell silent as Christine got to her feet. She smiled nervously.

"Hello. I'm Christine Destler and I'm the maid of honour and I'd just like to say a few words."

There was a cheer. Christine rather suspected it came from Max. She smiled.

"Meg has been my best friend for so long now. A good ten years, at least. And I'm taking full credit for this marriage, since I introduced them!" There was a laugh. "It was after Tom and I had been working together on a show at university and we were in the local newspaper. Meg saw the article, pointed at a picture of Tom and said, 'This guy's cute, is he single?'" More laughter.

Christine looked at Meg who beamed at her.

"And you know what? I don't think here are two people more suited for each other than Tom and Meg. I don't know what it is about them; it's not one single quality. But there's something there that just makes sense." She said. "And I could not be happier for them." She picked up her glass and made a toast.

"To Meg and Tom."

"To Meg and Tom." Echoed around the room. Max stood next and grinned.

"Hey. Max Hodges, best friend, roommate, general nice guy." Laughter and Tom rolled his eyes. Max smiled brightly. "I met Tom in university, but I didn't really get to know him until we were in the show that Christine mentioned. And, may I just mention, it was a damn good show. We were awesome, us three. In fact…" Max looked up and down the table and laughed. "That show brought everyone on this table together. Meg and Tom, Christine and Erik because Erik was the producer, Nadir was a producer and June was the costume designer and Rebecca and I both performed in it. So we should probably say a big thank you to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber for writing The Phantom of the Opera.

"Anyway, yeah, Tom and I got on really well and when I met Meg, it was pretty obvious that they were destined to be together. Some people just click, and these two definitely did. So, I'd like to propose a toast to the bride and groom. To Meg and Tom."

"Can I have a dance?" Max asked, tapping Christine's shoulder. She smiled up at him and put Julia back into her pushchair.

"Of course you can."

"I only ask in case Erik gets all protective and jealous." He grinned. Christine rolled her eyes and looked at Nadir and Julia, who were sat at the table.

"Watch Julia for me?"

"No problem."

As they swayed together on the dance floor, Max said,

"That was one great wedding."

"I know. I don't think I've ever seen Meg and Tom so happy. They deserve it, especially after what they went through with the accident." Christine said. Max looked at her and smiled.

"You're an amazing woman."

"Only as amazing as you, Max." She replied. "What's brought this on?"

"I don't know. Just talking about the show, all the memories of it. It really was a fantastic time, wasn't it?"

"It definitely was. Although there were a few things I could have done without." She said quietly. Max grinned.

"Still, we came out of it pretty well."

"That's true. I don't think I could ask for more." Christine said. "The best friends I could wish for, a husband and daughter…"

"I love you, Christine. You know that, right?" Max said quietly. "You're my best friend. Don't ever let that change, OK?"

Christine smiled and was appalled to find tears welling up.

"I love you too, Max." She stopped dancing and hugged him tightly. He buried his head in her hair and then smiled.

"Come on. Happy day, remember?"

"Yeah." Christine smiled. As the dance ended she felt a hand on her shoulder. Erik looked down at her.

"May I have the next one?"

"Of course."

They began to dance and Max went to sit with Rebecca. June and Nadir got up to dance, leaving Julia with them. Rebecca sipped champagne and smiled at him.

"Everything OK?"

"Never better." He said, taking a drink. Rebecca looked over at Meg and Tom who were dancing. Meg laughed at something Tom said and kissed him.

"Do you want to get married?" Max asked.

"Sure, one day." Rebecca said absently. Max blinked.

"No, Rebecca, I'm asking you. Do you want to marry me?"

She looked at him in surprise. He was looking at her with a thoughtful expression. She drained her champagne glass and then said,

"I'm sorry, I'm hearing things. I thought you asked me to marry you."

"I did."

"Yes, I thought so."

"So… will you?"

"…OK." She said carelessly and Max nodded.

"Cool. Hey, Julia, where's your teddy bear gone?"

"That was just perfect." Christine sighed as they entered the mansion. Erik hung his coat up and looked at the sleeping baby cuddled in her mother's arms.

"Why don't you take her up and I'll wait in the living room?"


Hugging Julia's weighty warmth to her, Christine climbed the staircase and tucked her into her cot, covering the blankets over her and making sure Teddy was nearby. Switching on the baby monitor (the other half was in the living room) she turned the light off.

Erik had poured them both wine when she reached the living room. Christine sank onto the sofa, kicking off her heels. Trister pricked his ears up from beside the fire but settled back down to sleep.

"My feet ache." Christine complained, stretching her legs. Erik smirked and sat next to her.

"Perhaps we shouldn't have danced so much."

"I love dancing with you." Christine said, taking her glass.

"Then don't complain that your feet hurt."

"Oh!" She lightly punched his arm and he lifted an eyebrow. Christine settled back, leaning her head on his shoulder.

Their peace was soon shattered by the shrill ringing of the telephone. Erik sighed and picked it up.

"Destler residence."

Christine rubbed her sore feet, wincing at a blister whilst he spoke briefly on the phone.

"I'll get back to you in the morning. Thank you." He hung up and stared thoughtfully at the phone. Christine looked at him.

"Who was that?"

"That was Andrew Norton. He wants me to produce the next show at the Opera House."

"That's great! I mean, I know you're still working on your opera, but it's been over a year since you did work in an actual theatre. Are you going to take it?"

He rubbed his jaw and said hesitatively.

"I… yes, I think I might. But you have to audition for the main role."

"Erik, you know I can't, not with Julia."

"Say we got a nanny for Julia. You can choose one, anyone you want. Then would you audition?"

"What's the show?" She asked curiously.

Erik gave a helpless smile.


"Is it… Des Yeux D'ange?"


"Un'età di amore?"

"No." He said, clearly enjoying himself. Christine shrugged.

"I don't know."

"The Phantom of the Opera."

A grin broke across Christine's face.

"You're kidding me."

"I am not."

"They're really putting it on? And they want you to do it?"

"Apparently so." Erik said, pacing with his wineglass in one hand. Christine laughed.

"Oh, we have to do it! It's... It's like fate!"

"Fate?" He asked sceptically.

"Of course it is! Think about it – the show that brought us together, that caused Meg and Tom to meet, as well as Max, Rebecca, Nadir and June coming to us again, now that we're all together again? That's fate."

"It might be coincidence."

"No, it's fate." Christine said stubbornly.

Erik smiled.

"Very well. I'll tell Andrew tomorrow. Of course, I can't guarantee you the part of Christine…"

"Obviously. But if I audition fairly, then I've got as good a chance as any."

"Do you think Max would be interested in assistant producer?" Erik said, sitting down again.

"I should think so." Christine said, snuggling up to him. His hand began to stroke her hair and she closed her eyes, thinking lazily about her friends, about Julia, about what would happen in the morning, about what would happen if she did get the part for the second time, what this show could lead to.

But mostly… she thought about Erik. She'd said herself that her life had started again when she'd met him and that was true. She didn't know who to thank for the goodness that had come into her life. God, perhaps? Perhaps that was a little dramatic.

But where else could such happiness have come from, if not From Heaven's Mind?

The End

A/N: Well… wow. It's been a long, hard slog but it's finally over. I want to thank EVERYONE who has reviewed this story and everyone who has given me the much needed support that I needed to get through this. I would love to name everyone by name, but that's pretty much impossible because I haven't got time to go through 49 pages of reviews! I am going to miss these characters so much, I actually love them! Especially Max, he's my baby, I adore him.

So thank you. Every review means the world to me and I love knowing that people are enjoying my writing. I'm actually applying for a creative writing course at university (first choice is Bangor in Wales!) so this is sort of practise for me.

Please keep an eye out for my next story! I'm going to finish up 'Soul's Song' and after that there might not be anything for a while because I'm working on a special story. The first chapter will be posted on 13th December and it might help to read 'A Defensive Situation'. And that's all I'm saying about that!

Lots of love, appreciation and phantom-shaped cookies,