Yes, it's been forever. A lot has been keeping me from updating, including writer's block. I know you've been waiting very patiently, so I've written a longer chapter. Merry Christmas, no cliffhangers:)

DING-DONG

"They're here!" Erik yelled down to Christine.

"I'm kinda busy in here!" she yelled back from the kitchen. "Can you get the door?"

"But you're closer!" he shouted his reply.

"ERIK! Get the door!"

He rolled his eyes as he walked downstairs. In truth, he would have done anything for her, but it was the principle of the matter. That and he liked the way the walls echoed when he yelled.

"MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Erik almost fell over as a tiny blonde launched herself into his arms. He looked helplessly at Patrick, who shrugged as he stepped inside.

"Where do you want 'em?" he asked, referring to the giant pile of boxes he was barely able to carry.

"Under the tree." Erik disentangled himself before reaching for a few. "These can go in the kitchen, I'll be right back to give you the grand tour." He began moving in that direction.

"Oh, yes!" Meg clapped.

"Stop!"

Erik complied, rolling his eyes again. This is becoming quite a habit.

"No men allowed, Erik! You know the rule!"

He cleared his throat. "Christine, it's my house!"

"I don't care," she replied, "send Meg in with whatever unnecessary items she brought."

Meg smiled as she took the packages from him. "See ya later, guys!"

Erik looked at Patrick.

"Yes, it's going to be like this all day."

Erik opened his mouth.

"And yes, it's going to be a long one." He patted Erik's back.

"How 'bout that tour? This place is huge! I bet you've had some awesome parties here!"

Erik shrugged, and led him upstairs to the theatre room.

O O O O O O O O O O O

"Merry Christmas!" Christine cried as Meg entered the kitchen.

"Wow! This is awesome! I wish my kitchen was half of what this is!"

Christine laughed. "I know, it's every woman's dream."

Meg smiled. "So, whatcha cooking?"

Christine didn't say anything.

"Christine?"

She hid her face.

"You are cooking something, aren't you?"

Christine turned around, exasperated. "Meg! I'm the worst cook in the world! I've already burned the green bean casserole, and I'm scared to touch the turkey!"

Meg laughed. "Seriously, you have issues. This is not hard at all!"

"Meg! I'm running out of time and I know I'm going to ruin it! You have to help me!"

"Did someone call for help?"

They turned towards the voice.

"Oh Daniel! Thank God!" Christine ran to hug him.

Meg cocked her head. "I didn't hear the doorbell ring."

"Let myself in; I have a key. Now what's the problem?"

Christine explained the situation she had gotten herself into.

"And now I have this whole meal to cook and I'm running out of time!"

Debienne smiled. "Don't worry, I am a wonderful chef. Where is the turkey?"

Christine pointed to the defrosted bird.

"Alright, well baking will take too long. How about we fry it?"

"That sounds delicious! I haven't had fried turkey since I lived in the south. But how will we do it?"

"I'll run home and get my fryer, it won't take very long. Meg, you are a competent cook, are you not?"

She laughed and nodded.

"Good. You can start on the casserole."

He picked up a potato and handed it to Christine. "You are to peel these until I get back. Do not touch anything else!" He looked at Meg. "I'm trusting you to make sure she follows orders."

Meg laughed again. "Aye aye, sir!" she saluted.

"Alright, troops. I'll be back in ten minutes!"

"Thank you! You are my hero!" Christine cried, but he was already out the door.

O O O O O O O O O O O

By the time the Erik and Patrick came downstairs a couple hours later, there were wonderful smells coming from the direction of the kitchen.

"Christine?" Erik asked.

"It's almost ready!" she yelled back. "Go sit at the table!"

They did what they were told, finding the dining room to be most elegant for the special occasion.

Erik stood up and walked back towards the noisy kitchen.

"Did Debienne ever show up?" he asked.

"Yes, I'm here," Debienne commented.

"Erik! Stop being so nosy and sit down!"

He went back to Patrick. They both shook their heads in understanding.

There was another loud noise. Erik was about to stand up when the doors to the kitchen swung open.

Out came Debienne, Meg, and Christine, all carrying elegant platters adorned with delicious food.

This went on for another few minutes before they were all seated.

"Christine, this looks wonderful!" Erik exclaimed.

She blushed. "Actually, it wasn't-"

"Yes, Christine! I can't wait to dig in!" Debienne interrupted her.

She gave him a look. "Unfortunately I cannot take credit for this meal. You all know I have the cooking skills of a three-year old. Daniel was kind enough to rescue the food from me."

Meg smiled. "Oh come on, Christine. You're being modest. No one can peel potatoes like you!"

They all laughed.

Debienne led everyone in a prayer before they dug in.

O O O O O O O O O O O

A good while later, they were finished.

Meg placed her hands on her stomach. "I'm stuffed!"

"Yes, that was wonderful," Erik agreed.

"Well I hope you saved room for dessert," Debienne said.

Patrick shook his head. "As good as that sounds, I think it'll be a while before I can eat again."

"I agree," Meg replied.

"I know! Let's open presents while we wait for our food to settle!" Christine exclaimed.

Erik laughed. "You're such a child. I can't believe how impatient you are."

She frowned. "You're one to talk. Besides, Christmas is supposed to bring out the inner child in you! Last one there's a rotten egg!"

She ran to the living room, with Erik quickly on her heels.

They sat down, waiting patiently for the others to follow; which they did, laughing their heads off.

Christine ignored them. "I'm the elf!"

Erik laughed at her.

She frowned and grabbed a box. "Ok, this one's for Meg!" She handed it over.

Meg shook it. "I wonder what it is..." She then proceeded to take her time, delicately undoing the tape.

"Oh, come on!" Christine exclaimed. "Rip it!"

Meg laughed and complied.

"Wow! A card!"

Erik smiled. "Open it."

She did, and paused to read it.

"Oh my God! Are you serious?"

Erik nodded.

"What is it?" Patrick asked.

"Erik's offered to pay for our honeymoon!"

"That's awesome!" Christine smiled.

"oh my God!" Patrick yelled, moving to hug his love.

"Yes, anywhere in the world you desire, however expensive. Money is no factor."

Meg ran to hug him.

"Thank you so much! You don't know how much this means to us!"

Patrick moved to shake his hand. "Thanks, man. We definitely owe you."

Erik shook his head. "Don't think anything of it."

Christine smiled at him and went for a larger box.

"Daniel!"

The old man moved forward to receive his gift.

Christine watched him anxiously. "Open it!"

He did. "A card!"

"I'm sensing a theme," Meg commented.

"Oh thank you, my dear. This is wonderful!"

"What is it?" Patrick asked.

He held it up. "A $100 gift certificate to Mike's Greenhouse!"

Christine hugged him. "I know how much you like gardening!"

"I can't wait to use it!"

Erik moved forward and grabbed a box before Christine could return to the tree. "Patrick."

He excitedly opened it. "Yes! Guitar Hero 3! Thanks Christine!"

"I'm giving you time to practice, because you're so going down!" she exclaimed.

He laughed. "Yeah right! I can beat you any day!"

Meg laughed at them. "We all know I'm the champion!"

"In your dreams!" Patrick replied.

"Alright, this one is for Erik." Christine handed him a red and white box.

He looked at her briefly before tearing the paper off and opening the box.

"A card, how nice," he said.

"Yeah, yeah, open it."

He did so and smiled.

"What is it?" asked Meg.

"Three hours of studio time, already paid for!" he exclaimed.

Christine moved into his arms. "Thank you, my love, this is wonderful!"

She smiled. "I thought it would be nice to finally have your music recorded."

He kissed her. "It's perfect; I love it."

"I love you," she said.

"And I you," he replied.

O O O O O O O O O O O

They continued on until the floor under the tree was empty.

"Alright, who's ready for dessert?" Christine asked.

"I'll help," replied Erik.

"You just want to go in the kitchen," she said.

He smiled. "Maybe, maybe not."

She sighed. "Fine, I need help anyway."

He took her hand and led her to the kitchen.

She opened the refrigerator and took out a mouth-watering chocolate cake. He tried not to let it distract him.

"Oh, there's something else," he said.

She looked at him, confused. "What?" she asked.

He grinned, and she knew immediately he was up to something.

"I have something to ask you," he said.

She went back to the refrigerator. "You can ask me anything," she replied.

He grabbed her arm. "No, you don't understand. I have something to ask you."

She nodded. "And? I told you, you can ask me anything.

He shook his head. "No, something important. Some might say life-altering."

She tilted her head. "What are you playing at?"

He pulled something out of his pocket.

"What's that?" she asked.

"Something life-altering," he replied, getting down on one knee.

She gasped, backing into the refrigerator. Her hands came up to her mouth and she knew what he was going to ask.

"Christine," he said.

"Erik," she replied.

He took her hand in his. Her mind screamed. It's happening!

"I bought something for this special occasion."

"I know. There's a little box in your hand."

"Yes. Would you like to see what's in it?"

"Is that your question?"

"Well, that and..." He opened the box.

A shiny silver key gleamed back at her.

"Would you like a key to my house? You know, for emergencies." He stood up.

She gasped. "What?"

"Yeah. Emergencies. It'd be nice to know that you have one too."

She stared at him. "Emergencies?" She was baffled.

He grinned. "Yeah, like not knowing whether this was safe or not," he lifted her hand up.

There, gleaming proudly upon her left ring finger was the most beautiful diamond ring she had ever seen.

"What-"

"I mean, I wouldn't want something to happen to my fiance's engagement ring. This way, I'll know it's safe in our house."

She was literally speechless.

He got back down on one knee.

"Christine Daae, my love, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

"Oh Erik! YES!" she screamed and jumped into his arms.

"OH MY GOD!" The rest of the party burst through the kitchen doors.

"Congratulations!" Debienne yelled.

The energy of the room was soaring and everyone was talking excitedly, but Erik could have cared less. All of his attention was on the woman in his arms.

"You're sure?" he asked.

She kissed him. "Always."