Christine felt crushed.

She had, had many friends before... including meg, one who was extremely close to her... but she had never felt the dull knife of betrayal squarley between her shoulder blades.

How could Maryanne do this? Weren't they friends?

She shook her head as she paced the small room. Dominic had left her hours ago, leaving her to her thoughts... the words that her... maid... had betrayed her...

"It's just not possible!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands into the air.

She wrinkled her nose, not at all pleased with her situation. She wasn't hopeless, and Maryanne wasn't betraying her... right?

Fed up with her feuding mind she stomped to the door and pulled with all her strength.

She let out a small gasp when the door tore open with great strength and hit the wall with a resounding thud.

Cringing from the noise and hoping she hadn't disturbed any unwanted visitors, she poked her head into the damp hallway, and let out a sigh of relief when she realized that she was completely alone.

She made her wall down the damp hall, holding on to the slippery wall for comfort... once again the catacombs came into her mind and she walked through. The sound of water trickling down the wall kept her slightly calm, as she struggled to keep her balance on the slick floor...

Just breath...

The words floated comfortingly into her mind, and she walked forward... determine to find maryanne and hopefully find a way out, before dominic found her.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Raoul flinched as Nadir laced the delicate thread of the stitches he was using to sew up the open wound near the Vicomte's brow.

Although the pain of being stitched up was enough to distract any man, Raoul kept his eye on the pacing masked man.. hoping that he wouldn't suddenly switch out of his generosity mode and kill him right on the spot.

He caught the eye of the notorious phantom of the opera, and looked away quickly... hoping that the man wouldn't be able to read the look of worry that he felt was clearly etched all over his battered face.

"No worries Vicomte, you are of great need to me... I do not plan to dispose of you"

Nadir chuckled lightly, hearing his old friend speak in such tones almost made him want to laugh out loud. He knew his friend could be a ruthless killer, but no one but him and Christine knew the softer side to him... although he was doubtful the Vicomte would ever believe that Erik had that side... especially with the constant cracking of his Punjab lasso.

"A nervous habit?" Nadir gestured toward the cat gut made lasso.

Erik looked down at it for a moment, not having realized he had even been fiddling with it... "are you quite done with the boy's face?" he asked bitterly, wanting a change in subject.

As Erik finished his sentence, he watched a Nadir cut the last of the thread and patted the stitches gently against Raoul's head.

"Yes, I do believe this will heal quite nicely".

Erik grumbled underneath his breath and motioned for Nadir to come and speak in private.

Nadir excused himself from the young Vicomte and walked over to discuss matters with Erik.

Raoul watched in half fascination as the two men conversed quietly. Never he thought would he think that such a man such as the phantom would ever have anything close to a friend... maybe he had misjudged him...

Erik turned swiftly, looking the Vicomte straight on, "It's time for you to keep your end of the baragin"

Raoul nodded, "It is not to far of a ride, we shall be careful to arrive after the sun is set... the darkness will be our ally if we are wanting to get into his manor".

Nadir shrugged, "You don't have to worry about getting into anywhere"

Raoul interjected, "It is guarded lightly..."

Erik broke his sentence with a harsh laugh, "Guards don't affect us boy".

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Christine felt half happy with herself, she had been out of her room for quite some time and no one had bothered searching for her...

She stopped before she rounded a corner, hoping that no one would be waiting for her on the other side.

She peered slightly and sighed when she realized she was still alone, she began to round the corner when a fast moving body slammed into her.

She began walking with the body, feeling the warm arm encircling her waist.. she tried turning, hoping that it wasn't dominic and almost cried when she heard the voice of the slimy man.

"You really shouldn't try wandering off my dear... I didn't want to put you down here to begin with, but when I went to retrieve you I was almost hurt to find you were not were I left you"

Christine sighed as she quickened her pace to match his, "and what exactly were you retrieving me for""

He laughed as he walked, and did not say anything for quite sometime.

After a few moments, they reached a small door, he unlatched it and pushed her through gently.

She stifled a scream as she realized what his intentions were...

Hanging on a small hook was a simple white dress with a veil... and in the corner of the room was a crying and battered Maryanne.

Christine rushed forward, her anger subsiding for the maid when she saw the deep gashes in her face and arms...

Christine turned on a point, "What have you done to her!?" she roared.

Dominic gave a smug grin, "Only convinced her to act out my next and final act with you my love"

"Don't you dare call me love.."

He crossed the room quickly, pushing his frail body against hers, he grabbed her roughly and brought his lips greedily down on hers.

She let out screams of protests and pushed against him... but even for his smaller frail size, he had a great advantage of strength over her.

After he broke their one sided kiss, he pushed her roughly toward the cowering maid.

"You'll learn soon enough not to defy my Christine.."

He turned his attention to Maryanne, "You see to it that she is ready for our wedding... if she is not ready in one hour..." he stopped as he turned to Christine, "I'll kill her Christine... you will marry me".

Sorry for the long update!

I kept getting e-mails with such great reviews, and I knew I needed to update.. I'm real sorry it has taken so long!

Please review, let me know how you feel!

-AesSedia