I gaze into his eyes. They're so beautiful, so soft. They remind me of our days as children, playing games, enjoying my father's music, and creating stories to tell each other. I wish I could escape to those times. I wish we could be together without regret or fear, but all I can feel is terror.

What happened back downstairs at the Opera? Had he really caused Carlotta's voice to crack like that? And was he here, watching Raoul and I now?

"Don't worry," Raoul tells me, brushing a hand through my hair. "He isn't here." But I can see that he isn't entirely assured of what he is saying.

"But if he sees us . . ." I begin, but he interrupts.

"He won't see us. I love you."

"I love you, too." Even as I say this, I still can't forget Erik. I know he loves me, but how can I love him? He uses such drastic measures to lure me into his trap, and I can't predict what strange plan he'll design next. I look up at Raoul's face. What if he kills Raoul? There was no question that the thought had entered his mind before.

"You're afraid he'll kill me," Raoul says as though he read my mind. I press my head up against his shoulder. Even in the chilly weather, his body was warm.

"I couldn't live without you, Raoul."

"He won't kill me, though." A doubting look enters his eyes.

I shake my head. "He will. He's a madman."

No one would doubt Erik's madness. If he would interfere with a whole opera and kill a stage hand, there is no doubt that he was insane. It didn't make up for the fact that he was a tortured soul, though. Beneath his cold and unusual ways, there is a sensitive and tender spot in his heart. It is scarred and bleeding from the wounds of abuse and neglect, but that didn't mean it wasn't there. Just by staring into his eyes, I can penetrate through his madness and see all that sadness. I always wish that there was a way to cure it, but there is only one thing that could do that: my love.

I can't give him that, though. Not because I don't want. I don't have that love for him. He holds a special place in my heart, but I don't share the same love for him as I do Raoul.

"Do you remember those stories we used to tell each other?" I ask, tears sparkling in my eyes.

"Of course, Little Lotte," Raoul says with a smile, referencing my favorite of them all.

"They all lived happily ever after."

Raoul lets out a long sigh. "I wish we could, too."