*DISCLAIMER: I OWN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, SAVE FOR THE PLOT AND ANY UNRECOGNIZABLE CHARACTERS.*

MADAME GIRY POV

CHAPTER TWO OF 'MY OPERA' BY MADAME A. GIRY

I do not know what I was thinking that night, not truly. All I knew in my eight-year-old mind was that the ugly boy in the cage had just murdered his keeper and now I was alone with him. I was in a 'blank mode' for my mind was in a blank state and my body acted of its own accord. The next thing I knew I had taken him to the opera house that my parents owned and hid him in the catacombs below it. . What I did that night set the stage of the rest of my life.

Over the next few years Erik, the boy only answered to Erik so I assumed that that was his name, proved to be a brilliant boy. For my birthday he designed and sewed me a beautiful dress that was perfect for my form and coloring. He did the same for my tenth, eleventh, and twelfth birthdays. For my thirteenth he composed a song for me and sang it as well. I later discovered that he had been composing music on the side. Even though I was only thirteen his voice made shivers race down my back and my stomach to flutter.

It was for him that I learned to play the piano. My mother of course preferred that I learn dance and ballet instead of piano, but my father thought that every woman should know how to play piano, so learn I did.

After every lesson I would wait in our piano room and wait for Erik to arrive. By this time, he had made a haven for himself in the catacombs below the House. There have been only two times in my life that I have been allowed in there. They were the times when he fell ill.

It only took five lessons from me for him to learn to play beautifully. Like my mother wanted, I learned to dance ballet and when I turned fourteen my parents surprised me with a betrothal. I was betrothed to the son of a family friend, the Girys. The next ten years of my life were busy with taking care of my husband and daughter Meg, and I can admit now that I unfairly ignored Erik. I know that it was cruel of me to ignore him after being his surrogate mother for years. I must say that I do not know what he did for those ten years, but whatever he did gave him enough income to make changes to the opera house and to his haven below.

I was twenty when my parents died suddenly in a carriage accident and my husband and I took control of the Opera Populaire and it was the first day of my reign, as it were, that Erik made himself known along with his ire at me. He left me a letter demanding things such as a salary, a designated viewing box for him so he could see the progress of the performers, and basically true control of the House, or else. I, of course, knew that his threats were real and I graciously conceded to his demands. It was the least I could do after ignoring him for so long.

Since both he and I never knew his birthday, we made one up for him and it was on his twenty fourth birthday that I provided him with his custom-made mask. The 'mask' he had before was just a crude pieced of leather with a hole cut out for the eye that was on the scarred side of his face and a coarse piece of string to hold it in place.

It was a year later that everything changed forever. My Charles' friend Frederik Daae died of illness and left his young daughter, Christine, an orphan. She had no family other than her father and in his will she was left to us. Her first few nights at the House were spent crying at night for her father. It so happened that Erik finally noticed her cries and sang her to sleep. At first, I was not concerned with their friendship, for she thought he was her 'Angel of Music' and not the infamous Opera Ghost and it seemed that Erik preferred it that way. He had spent so long without human contact and love and I found nothing wrong with him comforting and cherishing a child. Years went by, and the older Christine got, the lovelier she became. Even though she was a brilliant singer and was taught by Erik himself, I kept her as an understudy and dancer. It is here that I must confess that I spoiled Christine through the years. Instead of living in the Dormitories where even my daughter slept, I gave Christine her own room. Every tantrum through her Trying Years I gave into. I gave her advice that I even withheld from my own daughter and I kept her sheltered. When she wanted new ballet shoes, I went and bought them. I even went as far as mostly ignoring my Meg's needs when my Charles died and instead focused on Christine.

Truly, I never knew that my actions would be the cause of the storm that ended in fire. I could use every excuse in the world, but that will not change the fact that the way I raised Christine caused her to be shallow, inconsiderate, and manipulative.

Even though Erik had never received love, it did not mean that he did not know how to give it. He fell in love with Christine with his whole heart. It was when she was sixteen that I noticed his feelings for her, for he was making them known. He demanded that she be the Prima Dona of the Opera Populaire and he left her presents such as blood red roses with a black ribbon tied on and little poems left on pieces of paper. During this time, ownership of the House changed hands and Erik was getting more obsessed and possessive with Christine and bolder with his demands. It got worse when we got a new patron, Vicomte Raul de Chagny. He was also Christine's childhood sweetheart. The couple reconnected and fell in love once again and their love just got deeper and sweeter. Erik got angry, very angry. He did all he could to stop the progression of Raul and Christine's relationship but he remained unsuccessful and that only made him angrier.

I shall stop this lengthy explanation for you know the end results of my choices. If not, go to the town square and take a left once you reach Gabrielle's Fabircs dress shop and see for yourself the charred remains of the Opera Populaire. All I will say about it is that Christine showed her true nature when she helped set the trap for Erik and the way she pulled him along even though she was with Raul.

Since the great fire, I have never heard from Christine or Erik again. The only way to get news of Christine is through my Meg for she is healthy and able to listen to news of her former friend. As for Erik, it is quite possible that he died in the fire. According to Meg, after Christine and her love escaped Erik's lair was the only time Christine recounted the tale fully and of course, I was there for it. Erik was last seen staring blankly ahead of him, the ring he gave Christine clutched in his hand, so it is quite possible that he died in the fire because he was escaping the mob that was out for his blood. As I lay here, writing this, tears make their way down my cheeks and the guilt is heavy in my heart. I tried to be a good woman, and I failed. God forgive me.

SARAI'S POV

Sarai did as Madame Giry said and looked at the charred remains of the once grand Opera Populaire. A wave of sadness went through her, for she had been to the House many times in her youth and she had even attended the performance before the one the night of the fire. The House truly had been as grand as the stories said.

She stood there for an hour before a thought struck her, which led to an idea.

'It's too bad it burned down. If only it could be restored again…THAT'S IT!'

Sarai du Lac, heiress to the du Lac massive fortune would buy and restore the opera house to its former glory. It would be so wonderful! She would make sure that there was a new opera every two weeks at least, and there would be statues of gold on each side of the doors, and there would be a fountain in the middle of the lobby. Yes, it was a perfect plan. Especially since the 'Phantom of the Opera' was no more.

With a smile on her face, she walked quickly back where she came from and never noticed the dark green eyes that were glaring at her retreating back.

OOO

"But father!" Sarai pleaded five days later. So far, her plan had yet come to fruitition.

"I said no Sarai! I will not fund the rebuilding of that cursed place!"

Sarai fought the urge to roll her clear blue eyes exasperatedly at her father's stubbornness and the urge to pull her crazy, curly brown hair. She made one last argument before giving up.

"Father, the House burned down five years ago, and so far there have been no sightings of the Phantom! You read the paper then, right? The police were very sure that he died that night. See? There's nothing to worry about."

She gave a sweet smile for effect. She waited patiently and it paid off. She saw her father's eyes soften. She fought to keep her smirk away.

"Very well Sarai, I will have my men take a look at it day after tomorrow for a full report of the damages."

Sarai could have squealed, but she kept it in. Barely. Instead, she settled for throwing her arms around her father and squeezing him tight.

"Thank you so much father!"

Sarai ran out of her father's study and headed towards her bedroom. She had plans to make. Hopefully, they would be a success and the tragic events that happened two years previous would be overshadowed in time by the beauty of the new Opera House.

A/N: SO, THOUGHTS ANYONE?

I HAVE SPENT A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TIME WRITING THIS STORY AND IT'S FINALLY READY TO POST! :D I AM NEW TO WRITING PHANTOM FANFICTION AND THIS IS MY FIRST POTO FIC SO I'M PRAYING OVER HERE THAT EVERYTHING GOES WELL.

A FEW THINGS: SARAI IS 19 IN THIS FIC. I HAVE HER THE SAME AGE AS CHRISTINE. BOTH GIRLS WERE 'SPINSTERS', A.K.A. 17 YEARS OLD WHEN THE FIRE HAPPENED.

MY PHANTOM/ERIK IS THE GERARD BUTLER VERSION.

SARAI IS OF AVERAGE HEIGHT FOR A WOMAN OF THE TIME WITH MEDIUM LENGTH BROWN WAVY, OR LOOSELY CURLED, HAIR AND HAS PALE SKIN. THAT IS ALL I WILL TELL YOU OF HER LOOKS, BECAUSE OUR DEAR ERIC WILL DESCRIBE THE REST OF HER FEATURES LATER ON ;).

AGAIN, PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK?