"Maman, tell me again about my father." The little blond climbed into bed and waited for her mother to speak.
"Your father, well he was a wonderfully mysterious man. Perhaps that is why I found him so attractive. They day we met I helped your father very much and I continued to protect him as time went. Over the years we fell in love and he wanted us to be married, but I did not want to. I was a ballerina, and I could not have a husband and be able to still be so as I was. But I promised to be with him always and to never leave. I would go to see him every night. Then you came and we could not have been happier. Now my dear," Madam Giry bent to give her daughter a kiss. "Its time for bed."
"Good night maman." Little Meg slid under the covers.
"Good night mon cher. Sleep well."
It seemed like so long ago now that she had asked her mother about him. She had only asked the obvious questions once when she was little. Her mother didn't like to answer them and were still a mystery. Who was her father? Where was he now? If he and maman were so happy together why did he leave? Would he ever return? All were questions that she had never been answered. But now she had to ask again, now that they had nothing and stood watching their home burn to the ground.
"Mère, tell me about my father. The truth."
With a far off look as she watched her home become ash before her eyes the Madam began her tale. "He was always a wonderful man, but he did have a wandering eye. I would often find him with another one of the bale rats. We would fight so many times but I loved him still, and he loved me. I guess this time it was just too much.
This time was different, this time he came to me and asked me to help him. I loved him Meg, so I could not say no. I agreed to with a heavy heart, I knew that he no longer loved me. For years I had helped him, protected him, took care of his daughter, and this was my thanks. He came and asked me to help him get another girl. I was so angry, but what could I do? If it made him happy, I would do it.
But it all went wrong this time. It went too far. I had to stop him, but I could not. Thankfully there were others who could." She finished her story and without looking away asked, "Meg why don't you go find some transportation, I can see that he no longer wants me here."
Meg left her mother in a very sad state still staring at the monster that was engulfing their home. With a sigh the Madam whispered to the night, "where did it go wrong?"
"Antoinette," a voice called from behind her in the dark. "Ann," it said quietly and she felt arms encircle her waist. "My love, I'm sorry. I did not mean for things to get so out of hand."
"I know Eric, I am as much to blame, for I let you. You never were satisfied with me. I thought that I could still win you though. I now see that I was wrong."
"No more," the man called Eric spun her around so that she could see his marred and distorted face. She was the one person who had looked at it without fear, she was the one person in his life who had loved him for him, she alone had loved him as a human and not the monster that he had become. He had hurt her, left her, all but killed her, and now he had destroyed all that she had made for herself. "No more, I am yours Ann, my Ann. I am yours alone. I have destroyed you're life for so long. Now let me rebuild it for you. Let me help you as you have helped me."
"Do you mean it Eric? Will you promise to be mine alone and not go chasing after the next skirt you see? Can I trust you now?"
"Yes, Antoinette. I swear on my life that I shall never give you reason to be sad again. I no longer deserve you, but if you could ever forgive me… oh please say you do. Say you forgive me for being the monster that I am and that you will take me back. I have only ever loved you, and I know now that you were the only one that ever really loved me."
"I forgive you Eric. My Eric." She lay her head upon his breast and let him hold her. "Come, let us make a new life for ourselves."
With that they left and found little Meg, who looked up in wonder at the father that she never knew and with a cry of delight ran into his arms and wept. In time, Madam Giry and Meg found another Opera to work for and Eric became a wondrous backstage manager. They lived together happily. When Madam Giry and Meg went to the wedding, Eric watched from the balcony feeling no trace of jealousy for the soprano, as he had eyes only for his beloved Ann. And if the two women would go over to pay a visit Eric would stay at home and wait up so that he could assure his Ann of how much he loved her when they returned and Meg had gone to bed.
In time it was Meg's turn to be married, in honor of her father, she had a masquerade wedding and Eric gave her away. He had made her the most beautiful white gown that seemed to have wings the floated from her back. And then he and Ann were left alone. That is until the first boy was born and given the name Eric.
The phantom stayed true to his promise and loved Ann and no one else for the rest of his life. The grew old with each other and departed for the next world together. Eric died with no regrets and at peace with himself. After the disaster at the opera he destroyed the Punjab Lasso that he had favored as his weapon and had never made another. He repented and soon forgave himself with the help of his wife and daughter. He was allowed into heaven to stay with his beloved Ann for eternity.