Sarai's crying episode lasted only minutes, but the effect of the events of the day lasted through the entire night. Sarai did not sleep well. Le Phantome was a story always told in fear and awe, and for some reason Sarai always thought of the Phantom as 'tragic' and 'misunderstood'. But after the way he treated her due to her response to his letter, she couldn't help but wonder if there really was a part of the devil inside of him as some of the stories said. After all, what good man would put is hands on a woman in a violent manner?

'Just forget about him Sarai. As long as you do what he requests you will not have to see him again.'

OOO

For the next few days, however, all she could think about was the Phantom. She became so distracted that even Alice noticed.

"What has you thinking so deeply Sarai?"

They were supposed to be working on the opera that would be performed on opening night, however for the entire hour she had sat there at her desk, staring at nothing.

She looked to Alice and said,

"If I told you, you would think I am insane."

Alice looked at her with one eyebrow raised.

"We are women, Sarai. We'll always sound crazy. You seem like a realistic person, so please, go ahead tell me what has your mind occupied."

Sarai huffed and took a breath,

"The Phantom stole me a few days ago."

Sarai waited with baited breath during the silence after her statement. The last thing she wanted was to come across not only as an insane woman, but an insane employer.

Alice narrowed her eyes.

"But the Phantome is dead. How could he have possibly stolen you?"

"I told you, it sounds insane. It may seem as if Le Phantome has been dead since the fire, but whoever this man is, he is acting incredibly similar, exactly, in fact, like the original Opera Ghost. He frightened me, Alice. I did not come up with this in my mind. I truly was stolen."

After a few moments of silence, Alice simply said,

"Tell me everything, from start to finish."

The two ladies sat down and Sarai told her tale, from being blinded and hung up like an animal, to being returned as if nothing had happened.

More silence, then,

"Are you not afraid? He could come back for you, at the slightest provocation."

Sarai thought for a moment, and was a little surprised that no, she was not afraid. Not really.

"Not really. You know, there's no point in speaking about this, we need continue with the opera, so let us continue. Thank you for lending a listening ear, Alice."

With that, the subject was dropped and forgotten. For the time being.

OOO

It was a few days later that an idea occurred to Sarai. Those who were interested in Mme. Giry's book knew that the Phantome was a lonely creature that was starved for attention. Threats and unkindness quite obviously didn't work on him.

'But kindness might.'

If Sarai wanted the Phantom gone, befriending him might do the trick. If he was too busy being a friend to her, he might leave or even forget about manipulating the Opera House. It was worth a try.

So, after the day was done, Sarai locked herself in her office and continued working, as if everything was normal.

Except,
"You know, I know not why you continue to plague this place. Do you not remember the last time what happened? Your 'house' burned to the ground. One would have thought you had learned to leave things be."

Silence.

"I know you're there. There's no one here but me, so you must be here if you are not down in your little piece of hell."

A noise.

"You know, I think that hiring Alice was a good choice, don't you?"

Although she did not look up to see if she drew him out, she knew. Her body tingled in awareness; the hairs on her neck and arms stood up.

"I think she was an excellent choice.," he answered in his smooth baritone.

Sarai made to turn around, but he put a firm hand on her shoulder.

"Stay as you are. Do not turn around."

"Why", she challenged, "when a whole group of people has seen your scarred visage?"

The hand on her shoulder tightened painfully.

"You, mademoiselle, have not. I wish to keep it that way," his voice deceptively calm. She did not heed his non-verbal message.

"Do you not have a mask? Surely I can see you whilst you are donning it?"

"Shut your mouth about it!" he rasped harshly. He painfully squeezed her shoulder until she gulped and gave a nod. He quickly released her and disappeared. She inhaled and exhaled a shuddering breath.

'Oh how he frightens me so.'

And yet, a voice at the back of her mind told her that although his treatment of her was a bit rough, the hand on her shoulder made her feel utterly female. It would have been even better if his hand had caressed her instead.

'Stop with those silly, horrid thoughts Sarai!'

She determinedly went back to her work, reveling in the fact that at least her idea had been successful.

The Opera Ghost did not visit again.


A/N: I APOLOGIZE FOR THE LACK OF UPDATES! REAL LIFE HAS BEEN KEEPING ME AWAY. I DO HAVE TO SAY THOUGH, THAT I WAS A BIT SAD THAT MY LAST TWO CHAPTERS HAVE ONLY GOTTEN ONE REVIEW :( HOWEVER, I DO EXTEND MY THANKS TO pidpit FOR BEING THE ONE TO REVIEW SAID CHAPTERS :) I AM VERY GRATEFUL :) :) :)

STILL, THE CHOICE TO REVIEW OR NOT REMAINS YOURS ;) AND IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO, THEN FINE, BUT IF YOU CHOOSE TO REVIEW, THEN GREAT AND A BIG THANK YOU!