Epilogue – Three years passed

"Papa. Papa get up."

He growled and tried to hide deeper in the covers.

"Papa, listen."

He decided that listening would be less taxing than actually getting up so he obliged the voice.

He could hear the murmurs of people, laughing, singing, and the strains of music… Funny, it should be quiet…

Merde! He had overslept!

Erik quickly sat up as Giovanni ran around the bed laughing and Katerina stirred beside him.

"Gio! Why didn't you wake me up sooner?"

He slid quickly out of bed, ignoring his wife's grumblings.

"You wouldn't get up! I tried earlier but mama kept throwing pillows at me!"

"Merde, Katerina, they have already started rehearsal."

Her dove gray eyes stared sleepily at him and as a reply she rolled over.

Erik rolled his eyes and quickly went to get dressed.

Four hours later he was sitting in the audience as Giovanni ate an apple and they watched Marguerite perform the jewel song from Faust. She was improving, thank Goodness. If it weren't for Katerina he never would have given the girl a chance. She did have a very lovely voice, passable and sweet enough for any nobleman's ear.

"Monsieur Durand, you have letters."

"Thank you, Genevieve."

He took the letters from a passing ballerina as she made her way backstage to deliver the mail to the queue.

He smiled, slightly to himself, all the letters were addressed to Master Durand or to Madame Durand. He sifted Katerina's letters out; she could deal with them later, and opened a request for employment from a German violinist. Erik blinked; he couldn't remember if they needed a violinist. He would ask Katerina.

"Papa, is it Tuesday?"

Erik looked down at Giovanni, "You know as well as I do. You'd have to ask your mother."

Giovanni grinned and motioned with his apple, "I think it's Tuesday."

He looked up as Christine smiled at him, her cloak still covered with melting snow.

"There you are!" She laughed as she embraced him.

Three years and he still had to get used to that.

"Aunt Christine!"

Erik stood as she swept Giovanni into her arms, "You are getting much too big to have your poor aunt carry you about, Gio."

The pair just stuck their tongues out at him.

"Where's Aimee?"

"She's with Raoul, Katerina met us at the door, I was only barely able to escape her. She's doing well?"

"Besides practically rolling down the aisles, she's fine."

"Erik, I heard that!"

Erik turned to face his wife who, despite her growing pregnancy, was holding a red velvet clad toddler. Raoul followed behind them with bags and an amused look on his face.

"Ah!" the toddler squealed when she saw him and he quickly took her from his wife relishing the feelings of tiny hands hugging his neck.

"You are back early," he said trying his hardest to keep himself stone-faced.

Raoul rolled his eyes as Katerina and Christine ignored him completely and flitted off to talk with Giovanni on his mother's heels.

"Christine wanted to be here for the baby."

Erik smiled as Aimee bounced in his arms, "Yes, I had heard but she is only seven months along."

"Christine could wait no longer; she said that we must return."

"How was the country?"

"Empty, boring and covered in freezing snow."

Erik looked up at the frowning Vicomte with a slight smile.

"Sounds wonderful, I wonder myself why I don't take these vacations."

"Because you would go insane with lack of anything constructive to do."

Erik briskly nodded and the pair began the trek to their rooms above the stage.

"So? Did Christine have any news?"

He heard Raoul sigh, "She is with child again."

"Ha! You owe me thirty francs."

"I know."

Erik looked at the face of the man whom he had begun to trust over the last three years and nodded.

"Katerina insists that we have some sort of dinner for Christmas."

"She would."

Their conversation continued as they walked, discussing this and that as Raoul nodded and Erik held his godchild in his arms.

Upon reflection Erik had noted beforethat things could have turned out much worse.