Well, I've been wanting to start a new, modern phic for a long time, but I still have hardly any idea what's going to happen, so pleassse bear with me. It started out written in 1870, so if you see any time errors or terms like "governess" in the prologue, please leave me a note in the reviews. Thanks, guys!

I'm not going to tell you if it's going to be RC or EC, you'll just have to find out for yourselves! (mwahaha)

And big cookies to anyone who reviews the PROLOGUE:) And I haven't given up on Confessions, I'm just thinking of the perfect epilogue. So bear with me on that too. I'm a busy woman! er..teen!

Prologue

Seven-year old Christine plopped herself heavily onto the sandy shore of the beach, seagulls scattering at the disruption, looking out at the dark blue ocean of the Brittany coast with trembling eyes. Her vision was blurred with tears that wouldn't stop flowing, and her tiny nose was puffy and red. She buried her face in her hands, hoping to wake up from this nightmare, trying to lose the sight of her father's face going pale only minutes ago. .of his hand going stiff in hers as she pleaded to anyone who would listen - God, her Angel whom she knew watched over her, even her neighbor- that they not take her father from her. .please, not her father. . .

Her daddy couldn't be gone! She couldn't live without her papa! Who would tell her stories? Or fix her warm soup and sing to her when she was sad? Who would make her laugh? Who would be there? Who!

She cried for ages, her sobs ranging from full-out wails to small, shuddering sobs that shook her tiny frame until she ached. Her head throbbed in agony, only making Christine cry harder. She wished the world would open up beneath her and swallow her whole, taking her to some place where she could disappear into a darkness where she would never be bothered again, never be pained again.

She couldn't bear life without her father! He was the one person who always knew what to say, who helped her defend herself against mean bullies at school, and who made her mother's passing so much easier to handle. But what about his own death? He couldn't comfort her if he wasn't here anymore! He promised her an angel - an angel of music! But no angel would compare to her father. She was only 7. .why did she have to go through all this? All of the girls at her school had daddies and mommies, while she had nothing. Nothing but her Godmother, Mother Valerius, whom was a big strange to be around. But right now she wanted her Papa. Right now, she just wanted to be held in his arms. Or somebody's arms. Someone warm. .she shivered as a strong gust of icy wind blew her chestnut curls around her face, and raised goose bumps along her skinny arms. A storm was on the way, she noted, as she looked up at the darkening sky.

She started to get up, wiping away the freezing tears on her cheeks, when she heard a tiny, sweet male voice she knew all too well call her name frantically from behind her.

"Raoul. ." she gasped quietly as she brought her hands to her side, a smile already lighting her features. She turned eagerly to him, to see him hurriedly and clumsily running towards her, away from his irritated babysitter, sandy blonde hair flying wildly. "Christine!" he called out again. Christine smiled wider, blue eyes twinkling. The tears still flowed, though they had ebbed slightly, and Christine knew it was because Raoul was with her now. Raoul . .how precious he was. He plopped himself down next to her, not minding as his expensive slacks got covered in sand, and took her hand in his. Christine blushed as he rubbed her cold hand, wet with tears, between his two warm ones. It felt nice. Christine noticed his babysitter glaring disdainfully at them both, but she didn't care. Let her be angry. She obviously didn't know what love was. Christine did.

Raoul was nine years old, two years older than herself, and already he was growing into a comforting, loving gentlemen. Christine had met him two years ago, when she had been 5, after he had rescued her scarf from the very ocean they sat by. That very night, she had told Raoul she "loved him lots", though at the time it was nothing more than a childish crush. The boy was beautiful, after all. But Raoul had smiled widely and blissfully, not understanding the difference anymore than she did, and responded in kind. They played every day, told stories to each other or asked her father to tell some, to which he happily obliged. They soon became real childhood sweethearts, both feeling more for each other than a crush, and Raoul was with her through everything. Before she turned 6, her mother had died of cancer, and Christine had been completely devastated. She loved her mother as much as her father, and felt the pain of her loss as much as her father did, even though she was a child. Raoul had been there in five minutes, looking breathless and disheveled, face flushed. He had run all the way there to be with her. Christine had been overjoyed, and was soon laughing and giggling along with him as he sat with her in front of the fire, trying his best to make her forget. He could make her forget everything. .

"Chrissy," he whispered now, blue eyes wide with question. "What's wrong? You're sad. And you're hands are so cold. You didn't wear gloves. You should be careful!"

Christine sniffed and smiled again, thankful that she had such a caring friend. The only friend she had, now. .

She noticed Raoul was looking at her strangely, and she turned her head away in shame, thinking he was making fun of her tear-stained, puffy cheeks. She must've looked ridiculous. But he only turned her face back to his with his tiny index finger, and gave her a crooked, adorable smile, his perfect teeth dazzling her.

"You still look so pretty, Christine, even when your face is all red. I like it." He smiled wider, and Christine finally lost it and collapsed against him, crying now in relief, instead of sadness. Shr buried her head in his jacket, face hidden against his small chest. Raoul instantly brought his arms up around her, not fully understanding what was going on but knowing he had to comfort his Little Lotte. He hated seeing her in pain. .it made him hurt as much as she did. He laid his smooth cheek atop her curly head, not minding as her tears soaked through his new shirt. His father would be furious. .

Raoul smiled wickedly, before remembering Christine was in pain. He held her tighter, hoping to squeeze all her pain away, or at least take some of it off of her. She was shaking terribly. .and suddenly he knew what had happened. It was the only thing that could cause her this much pain. Raoul felt his heart constrict. Poor Christine, his poor, poor little Lotte. .

"It's your father, isn't it, Chrissy?" Christine noticed his voice was laced with unshed tears. She slid her arms around his waist and squeezed him tighter, giving him the answer he needed. Raoul sighed, his heart throbbing from this new realization. Her father. .had. .died? Raoul knew that he had cancer, just as her mother had, but he had never thought that it would take them both. He loved her father as his own - he showed Raoul the kind of love his own never did. He treated him like a second son, and let him play with Christine whenever he wanted. Life without him would be difficult for them both.

But he would help them through it, because Christine needed him to, and he would not let her down.

He felt her sigh against him. "Raoul.." she started, nervousness evident in her voice even through the muffling fabric of his shirt . "Yes, Lotte?" he asked, continuing to stroke her hair. She took a deep, shuddering breath, before pulling back and looking into his eyes. "Will you stay with me forever and ever? No one else has. .and I'm scared."

Raoul took one look at her wide, pleading blue eyes the color of the ocean in front of them, and started to cry. He was crying for her, crying for his lost, lonely little angel, and wondering why the world had abandoned her, why God had to take everyone she loved from her. Well, Raoul decided, I will never abandon her. I will be here, forever and ever.

He nodded through his tears, and they both cried together, as he rocked her in his arms. He suddenly felt so much older, exposed to more of the world than he was supposed to. .at age 9, he was not supposed to be comforting a little girl whose parents had died. This was uncalled for and undeserved. Raoul knew he shouldn't question God - his father would whip his behind raw! - but he didn't understand!

"Yes, Lotte - Christine -, I will be here, forever and ever. And after that, too!"

He paused, thinking.

"You know what, Chrissy?" Christine looked up at him expectantly, both of their tears now drying on their faces. He wiped hers from her flushed cheeks. "My brother said that if you wish for something really hard, you'll get it. Why don't you wish for your papa to be back? Then he can tell you stories again." He looked incredibly hopeful, knowing that only getting her father back would truly make her happy again. Christine only gave a sweet little smile.

"Nuh-uh. I thought that about my mommy, and wished every night for her to come back. One day papa found me in my room on the floor, crying because she wouldn't come. Then he told me how when you go to Heaven, you have to stay there, but she's waiting for me, and she'll always be waiting, and she'll love me as much as she did when she was alive. But I couldn't ask for her to come back. .because. .it was. .her time." She looked down. "But, how do I know it was my papa's time? He wasn't s'possed to leave me by myself! He wasn't s'possed to!" She began yelling, jumping up and running towards the water, suddenly having a strong desire to wash her troubles away. Maybe the ocean could carry her away. .away to where her father was, even. Heaven. .

But as soon as she got knee-deep, her soaked dress clinging to her tiny legs, a small, but strong arm wrapped around her waist and began dragging her back to the shore, kicking and screaming. She fought against him, pleading with him to let her go, to let her find her father, but he wouldn't let her go.

Her tantrum lasted for over 10 minutes, and Raoul never let his grip weaken. He nearly began to cry again as he witnessed his angel's delusional behavior, as she screamed something about "finding Heaven".

How he wished he were brave enough to kiss her. He remembered when he had first met her, as he stood shivering and shaking, soaked to the bone, holding her scarf, absolutely petrified. He thought he was going to drown! Then Christine had leaned over and kissed him lightly on the cheek, and his fear had melted away. Oh, how beautiful she had been that day. . he remembered her laughing at his boyish smile. .she had the most beautiful laugh! Almost bell-like. .clear and musical.

As Christine continued to flail about, he noticed she was starting to exhaust herself, and he prayed she would relax enough for him to take her to his house for tea. His babysitter had disappeared, and he knew she had gone to get Philippe. He would be angry, but he would soften once he found out what had happened. .he would have to!

Finally, Christine gave one last, weak wail, and collapsed against him, and resigned to once again becoming a blubbering mess of tears. She knew she should be ashamed, but she was hardly aware of anything except Raoul's soothing words and comforting arms. She closed her eyes, sinking back against his chest and wrapping his coat around them both. She didn't even feel uncomfortable in this position, too young to find it improper. It was just. .peaceful. She sighed, calm and finally relaxed. Maybe Raoul would let her sleep,. .just for a few minutes. .She knew the storm was coming, she could hear the thunder, but oh, she never wanted to leave! Just as she was drifting into sleep, she felt Raoul's hesitant lips against her cheek. Her eyes shot open, but she didn't move as he kept his lips there. She felt her heart swell, and she smiled ecstatically as she sunk farther against him, and finally Raoul moved his mouth from her cheek.

"Forever and ever, Lotte. I promise. Forever and ever and ever. ."

He chanted the words over and over, the mantra becoming a whisper on the winds that swirled around the two beautiful children, wrapped around each other in a comforting hold.

"Forever and ever and ever. .Little Lotte.. .forever."

Twenty-three year old Christine smiled in her sleep, not realizing as she slept that her beautiful memories were just a dream. Not realizing that she was actually alone, 16 years later, in her one-bedroom apartment in New York City. Not realizing that Raoul was no longer with her, neither was her Godmother Valerius, or her Angel that had never come. Not yet realizing that she no longer had anyone who loved her.

How she wished she could live in her dreams, and disappear from reality forever. . .

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Not much has happened yet, but just give me time. I'm not sure when my next update will be..but reviews make it happen fasterrr..trails off hintingly..