A/N: SO sorry for keeping you guys waiting! I realize that it's really short, but I figured you guys would like to have at least SOMETHING! Thank you guys so much for being patient with me and reading my story!

Chapter 7

With his head down and hands stuffed deep into his pockets, Alain Garnier hurried down the cobbled streets, an occasional sigh of frustration escaping his lips. He was already ten minutes late and the seconds were ticking away. "Damn…" he muttered as he shoved his way through the oncoming crowds of people. His father was counting on him and he couldn't afford to let an opportunity like this slip away. Pausing a moment, he removed his hat and ran his fingers through his thick black hair.

Calm down, he told himself firmly. Alain closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His destination was only a few blocks away and he had to compose himself before negotiating with the potential client. When he finally looked up, he noticed that he had come to a stop in front of the magnificent Opera House, a building he hadn't glimpsed in years. His eyes took in the grandeur and beauty of the immense structure as a fond smile crept onto his lips.

For a brief moment, he felt like a boy again - young, curious, and naive. Almost every day, he would stop and stare at the beautiful building on his way to the tiny bookshop in the heart of the city. There he would sit for hours, reading books and dreaming about the future. He shook his head, remembering the foolish thoughts he once had. But that was years ago, long before he knew anything of the real world.

But there had been something else as well; something he hadn't thought of in years… He could almost see her large, chocolate-brown eyes smiling up at him as they sat together in the quiet corner of the shop, whispering excitedly. The smooth wave of her soft dark hair had always spilled so freely over her narrow shoulders. She was so beautiful; he had longed to reach out and touch those gently waving locks of hair, to press his lips against hers. But he never got the chance…

"Alain, you can't leave like this… please!" Her eyes began to well with tears as she begged him to stay. They stood in the doorway of the bookshop beneath the darkening sky.

He shook his head sadly, refusing to meet her gaze. "I'm sorry… I have to; we leave for London in the morning." Alain paused briefly. "I'd stay behind if I could, I swear… but it's just not possible"

The girl took a step closer to him, her tears finally spilling over. "Will – will I ever see you again?" She stammered brokenly.

Alain tried to smile as his eyes finally met hers. "Yes." He said confidently. "I promise you… I'll come back for you someday." His piercing green eyes bored into hers.

With a soft sob, she raced toward him, wrapping her arms around his slim yet muscular frame. "I'll never forget you, Alain…" She whispered in his ear.


Lost in the memory, Alain could almost feel the warmth of her tears as they fell upon his fifteen-year-old face. A part of him wished that he could see her again, wondered where she was, what she was doing... But he knew it was foolish to dwell on the past. He had more important things to worry about, like the meeting he was now fifteen minutes late for.

Cursing himself for wasting time, he raced forward, determined to reach his destination without any further distractions. Yet before he reached the corner, a brightly painted poster against the smooth white of the building's wall captured his attention. It was an advertisement for that night's world-premiere performance of a new opera.

Hmm… Alain thought to himself. It could be interesting… Regaining focus, he turned to walk away, but before he could do so, the bright red text at the bottom of the poster caught his eye.

The astounding operatic debut of Mademoiselle Lynette Chafee

He re-read it several times, trying to figure out exactly why the words intrigued him so. Chafee… Chafee… He repeated the name to himself, trying to decipher why it was so important. Ah, of course! He nearly laughed out loud at his own foolishness. It was her, his Nettie!

After a few moments, he pulled out his large golden pocket watch. The smile which had lit up his broad, handsome face, was wiped away instantly. Damn it, Alain! He told himself. This is no time to be sentimental! With a shake of his head, he continued his journey down the crowded city streets.

Yet as he walked, he couldn't suppress the excitement he felt at the thought of his return trip to the Opera House, when he would finally fulfill his promise to little Nettie Chafee.