Love, the One Thing a

Mask Cannot Hide

This is the first fan fiction I have ever written and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. Whether you will enjoy reading it however, is for you to decide. It is basically a sequel to the Phantom of the Opera, starting after the events of that fateful night at the Opera Populaire.

I hope you enjoy it!

If you don't, please feel free to leave constructive criticism but please don't be nasty, it brings me out in a rash!

CHAPTER 1

Christine sighed as she watched the people hurrying around her. Just watching them rushing about made her feel quite giddy and exhausted. She could see Else who was manically darting from one side of the kitchen to the other preparing the ingredients for tonight's dinner. There was Claude, was anxiously looking at the food selection and occasionally making suggestions as to how it could be improved. Everywhere surrounding her there were maids, and butlers scurrying around, frantically cleaning surfaces that were already gleaming and straightening sculptures and all manners of furniture that really didn't need touching. Christine felt ashamed that she barely knew the names of half of these people who were rushing round for her and Raoul's benefit.

Slowly, she rose up from her chair and approached one of the maids who was stretched over the piano, making sure there was not a speck of dust to be seen.

"Please, let me help you. There must be something I can do"

"No madam" the maid looked most taken aback "It is our duty. The Viscount de Chagny doesn't want you to be troubled"

"Leave it all in our care Miss Daae" another of the maids walked over and briefly touched Christine's arm, "we all have strict instructions from the Viscount not to let you trouble yourself" she wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead and smiled

"After all, you should be preparing for your Engagement Celebration"

Christine glanced over the maid's shoulder and could see Raoul gesturing wildly to another gentleman who was waving a piece of music in the air. She guessed that she should be preparing for the ball really but she couldn't stand all these people rushing round.

"I'm just not used to this kind of………" Christine couldn't find a word to describe the life she had been living since she and Raoul had made their love public knowledge. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, "Indulgence, that's it. I'm not accustomed to people pampering me"

"You should get accustomed to it" Meg happily skipped across the room and embraced Christine "After all, you are not a chorus girl anymore. You are Raoul's fiancée"

"But he won't let me do anything. It's driving me to distraction!" Christine looked straight into Meg's eyes and whispered "I need to take my mind off everything Meg"

Meg frowned and looked questioningly at Christine

"You are getting married in four weeks Christine. Should that not be enough to take your mind off…….." Meg faltered. She really didn't want to be the one to revive the Phantom in Christine's mind.

"You can talk about it" Christine sighed "Its not as if I don't think about it"

Christine gestured to Meg to move away from all the busying maids and said softly,

"Please don't think I am not happy, I am. So happy" Christine forced a smile "I just can't help feeling…….."

Christine trailed off as Raoul approached them. His smile beaming, he threw his arms around the two girls.

"Are you talking about the ball?" without waiting for their response, he carried on excitedly, "It's going to be magnificent Christine. Our ballroom is breathtaking, there have been people working solidly on it for over a week"

Ballroom. That was another thing that Christine found hard to take in. She had spent most of her life living in a small room under the opera house and to suddenly have acquired a ballroom, drawing room, dining hall and all the other many rooms in Raoul's Chateau was overwhelming. She loved her bedroom, it had been decorated the previous week in all Christine's favourite colours and patterns. It was luxury itself. After the Opera House had been destroyed in the disaster, Christine had had no choice but to accept Raoul's offer to move into his Chateau and reside in a separate room until their wedding day. Not that she regretted it, not at all, it was just that her mind was a constant whirl of confusion lately.

It had been two months since the disaster and each and every night the Phantom had penetrated her dreams somehow. Last night, all she could remember dreaming was being in the gondola with the Phantom, the both of them singing beautifully. However, when she had looked up at the Phantom, all she could see was hurt and betrayal in his eyes, unlike when they had really been in the boat when he had looked at her so fondly, with such love and…….

Inside her mind, Christine yelled at herself to stop these crazy thoughts and concentrate on the night's festivities.

"Oh Raoul, I'm sure it will be wonderful" She lightly kissed Raoul on the cheek and gazed into his beautiful brown eyes "but I feel so useless. People are rushing everywhere to get things prepared and I want to do something".

"Christine, please. You have plenty of things you could do" Raoul returned the kiss on Christine's lips then turned to Meg. "Take her to her room and help her to get ready Meg. Not that she needs very long to make herself beautiful"

"Yes, come Christine. I cannot wait to see what you will be wearing" Meg linked her arm through Christine's.

"Now I must go and talk to the conductor of the orchestra again" Raoul run his hands through his hair in exasperation. "Can you believe that he was thinking of including excerpts from Don Juan in tonight's selection? How thoughtless"

"You shouldn't put your hate into the Phantom's music Raoul" Christine frowned "However you feel about him, he was a musical genius"

"We don't need our night marred by memories of him" Scowled Raoul, his facial featured tightening "Not tonight of all nights"

With that, Raoul turned on his heels and strode away.

Meg tugged on Christine's arm and started to lead her down the long corridor towards her bedchamber.

"Raoul really does love you so" Meg smiled "He just doesn't want you to feel hurt anymore. He wants it all to be over Christine"

"It is" Christine stopped "He knows that. He just can't keep cushioning me from everything, I am going to remember, how could I forget?"

"Well, lets just think of happy things tonight" Meg wanted to draw Christine's thoughts away from the darkness of the past. She couldn't understand why Christine couldn't just lock these thoughts away. There were so many other things she could be thinking of.

Meg skipped ahead and giggled happily "the ball, your wedding, your future, its all looking so good Christine"

"I know" Christine smiled and quickly tried to pull herself together. She nudged Meg playfully,

"I just let things play on my mind too much" Christine put her hands on Meg's shoulders and spoke softly "I will get ready, I promise, but please, I just want to be alone for a bit before the ball"

Meg's shoulders sank and Christine could hardly bear to see the hurt look in her eyes.

"Oh Meg, I am so lucky to have you as a friend" she hugged her closely "Please don't be offended. I just need some time"

Meg seemed to brighten at this and nodded. She started to stroll away and turned briefly to face Christine

"Time will heal everything you know"

Then Christine was left alone in the corridor. She could hear the people in the background, busying around so she decided that she would slowly make her way to her room and do as Raoul had wished and stop thinking of the past.

She had a bright, rich future in front of her with the man she loved. Meg was right, Raoul clearly loved Christine more than life itself and what was in the past was just that. In the past. Something to be thought of with a mixture of fondness and regret.

So why then, did Christine feel such unease.