Author's Note: Introducing the new and (vaguely) improved Chapter 1. I've managed to cringe every time I've reread it and just couldn't continue writing until I had edited it a little. It might not be much better but it helped me regain some of my inspiration for later chapters. I apologize for the long wait between updates and hope that the edited chapters make more sense.

Warning: This story contains SLASH. If you clicked the button, you already knew that. I'm just reiterating for those innocent minds that don't wish to be corrupted just yet.




Disclaimer: I don't own the book, movie, or play. They all belong to their respective owners. All I own is Jacque. I am not making a dime, nor do I have one to begin with. Good Enough?

Chapter 1: Christine's Decision

Christine quietly entered the room, her expensive gown swinging neatly behind her to avoid the wooden door determined to trap it. A quick glace to the left revealed her fiancé reading calmly in his armchair, barely glancing up to acknowledge her entrance. He knew full well she was having an affair, and continued to do nothing. She sighed dramatically, unsurprised when he gave no response. He never did. Then again, perhaps it was best. The freedom to give her heart to another while retaining Raoul's coveted money and title was nothing to complain about. But it felt wrong. As if she was betraying him somehow, although she had every right to do so. While she loved him like a brother, sometimes he could be so frustratingly stupid. She had agreed to this marriage to protect him, knowing full well he didn't love her in that way, or any other woman for that matter. They had been childhood friends, sweethearts, and she was not blind. She had held her suspicions, and their relationship had ended because he had confessed to her his deepest secret. They had agreed to remain friends and separated for many years; she had forgotten him. Then he had come back, the new patron of the opera house. Hoping to catch up with her, he had invited her to supper. Although she had disappeared with her teacher the first night, he was a persistent man. It was over dinner that he had he had convinced her of his predicament- if his family found out he wasn't about to get married, much less find out he was more interested in men: they would disown him. Family was everything to Raoul and she was obliged to help her friend. Although she had hoped her teacher- her angel- loved her enough stop the engagement, he had not. In fact, he had simply disappeared. He had not been seen or caused an incident in over two months, and she had resigned herself to the fact that she must marry Raoul. They even lived together now, sleeping in separate beds as was proper. It was shortly after she had lost hope that she met Jacque. He was handsome, well mannered, and seemed to express quite a bit of interest in her. Of course, the amount of money his bank account contained had also helped to gain her fancy. She had hoped that if she made it painfully obvious that she was having an affair even before they were married, Raoul would end the engagement. Even in the situation he was in, it was unthinkable that he would stay with an unfaithful woman. Unfortunately, she had been proven wrong. Even with Jacque and her infatuation with the opera ghost, his desperation led him to simply ignore it. Christine did not want to be his wife. Regretting her decision, she contemplated other ways to end it. She could not suddenly break it off with no reason to give to the public- unless... no. She couldn't do that to Raoul. But she was desperate, and Raoul was losing his fame, so he couldn't really give her anything. Jacque could. Her angel could. Not Raoul.

She silently begged his forgiveness, and resolved to do this as painlessly as she could- if that was indeed possible. As guilty as she felt, a smile made it's way onto her face. It was her future or his. And any sane person would choose their own.

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Raoul knew that look. He had seen it many times before; it's foreboding appearance was permanently engraved in his memory. Christine always wore it when she was planning something and, knowing her as he did, it wouldn't be anything good. She was currently regarding him with a such a strange mixture of triumph and apology that he involuntarily slid further back into the chair. Oh, this wouldn't be good at all. He had allowed her to pretend she didn't love the phantom of the opera he supported, then run off to him at night. He had allowed her to have an affair, knowing how much she craved romance. He had offered her a safe marriage with a rich man who was as close as a brother. But it wasn't enough. Christine was fickle, and always wanted more than she had. She was regretting agreeing to help him, and he was regretting asking her. He could have just married some random lady and pretended, but being a gentleman had robbed him of the ability deceive anyone. Unfortunately, he was losing his fame and, secretly, his fortune. He had less and less to offer Christine and she had always put herself before others. And now, she looked dangerous.

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Just to avoid any confusion- this takes place before the masquerade, and after Il Muto. Thanks for reading, and please review. Constructive criticism is always welcome.