"Yes, yes you most certainly can." Christine ignored the half mask for one of a rich man's eccentricties. And, besides, he was very handsome on the side he did show.

"I live in the apartment building? The one you are currently planning to destroy within the week? And well, I just wanted to let you know, that you are about to throw fifty or so people out onto the street. But I mean, they had a week to find a new apartment right? Let me tell you something Buddy…"

She walked up to him so that their chests were almost touching. "I am one of those people you are kicking out. I just lost my job due to sexual harassment in the workplace, and my phone has been missing for the past 12 hours. And now, you're telling me that you're kicking me out of my home because you want to build a strip club or something there… Just to warn you, I'm one pissed off lady."

He raised his eyebrows at her. As she looked into his eyes she could see surprise, shock that anyone would talk to him this way, and something else she could not identify. Little did she know that the last thing in his eyes was the thought that he had never been this close to a woman before.

"Miss, I am very sorry to inconvenience you so, but I must let you know that I gave all the tenants a one month warning." Mr. Destler noticed Nadir standing behind Miss Daae. He was shaking his head. Erik mentally rolled his eyes. Sometimes the stupidity of his workers drove him to the edge, and beyond.

"I've however, just been informed that we gave you no notice. For this, I am extremely sorry," He noticed the way Christine's dark blonde curly hair cascaded down from her loose bun to fall on the nape of her neck. He saw the freckle on her left cheek that looked like a beauty mark, and the tiny circular birthmark just below the freckle. He also examined her eyes and found that they were a deep blue on the edges, and light blue on the inside. He could tell that without her makeup on, she would still be a beautiful woman. However, when he was studying her, he had failed to actually listen to what she had been saying.

"Well, if you aren't going to respond, then I will just leave, with your phone."

Erik looked puzzled. His brows furrowed in confusion. "My phone?"

Christine sighed. Obviously there was absolutely no connection at Destler & Kahn Construction. "Yes, you see, the other day I crashed into Nadir, and when we were picking up our things, our phones got switched."

Nadir walked forward and handed Erik Christine's phone. He handed it to Christine; purposefully making sure the phone was in the palm of his hand so that she would have to touch him to get it. When she did, it wasn't fireworks for him at all. It was something better. This was like being the firework, and exploding into the sky. He was the fuse, and Christine was the fire.

He made a mental note to strangle Nadir later for his ever present carelessness. "I am extremely sorry to have caused you so much trouble Miss. Besides giving you back your phone, is there anything I can do?" Erik had never particularly felt compassion or sympathy for anyone but himself. But this time, something inexplicable made him want to help her.

Christine put her hand on her hip, and remembered what her nanny had always told her. Christine's nanny had been Signora Lopez. Signora Lopez had always told her to take chances, and stick up for what was right. Even if it meant getting an attitude. Christine took a deep breath, looked Erik straight in the eye, and said, "Look, the only way you can help me, is by getting my apartment saved, and if you can't do that, then forget it."

She threw his phone at Nadir and walked towards the door. Nadir took a few steps back as if the wind had been knocked out of him. He sneered at her, happy to have the troublesome girl gone. She was far too much for Erik to handle, and too annoying for Nadir to deal with. However, Erik walked after her.

"Miss Daae…" Christine kept walking towards her car. She practically flew down the stairs, with Erik in pursuit, and strode to the drivers car door. She fumbled with the keys for a second, before unlocking the door.

"Please, let me help you…" Christine sat down in her seat, throwing her purse on the passenger side. She slammed the door, as if Erik were not pleading to her through her car window.

"I don't do this very often, please…" Christine took one look at Erik, and drove away, gravel flying everywhere.


A few days later…

The guilt was eating Erik up. He felt bad for the first time in his life. Not even when he went to Iraq did he feel this bad, and Iraq had give him nightmares for years. It still did.

He had to find her. He looked around his lavish office, and for the first time, he looked at all his possessions from around the globe, and realized that they didn't matter. Right now, they only thing that mattered was that Christine wouldn't hate him.

She was different. He could tell.