A Reprise of Chance

Chapter One: New Beginnings

~POTO~

Grace stared at the ceiling. She stared blankly at the ceiling. Her left eye twitched and she huffed in annoyance. She was bored, but it wasn't that she was bored with her marriage; she was just bored by the fact that her husband was needed by Raoul, to go overseas and finalize a deal with the Opera House. So, there she was, lying down in Erik's coffin, wishing the deal would close already so she could have Erik back.

It had been two weeks since Erik had left his home reluctantly and Grace had been trying to busy herself with babysitting the ballet rats, and doing her job at the Opera House, which wasn't the same because Erik was away.

Turning over she stared at the silk lining of the coffin, and fought back the annoyed and upset tears welling up in her eyes. She didn't like being alone. If she had her I-pod or phone she would have been fine, but since the two electronic devices had died she had been enveloped in silence.

She longed to hear Erik's melodic voice floating through the house on lake accompanied by his calming organ music, she even tried to imagine something that he would play when they were together, but the only things she could hear echoing in her head were the poorly thought of lyrics from the phantom sequel "Love Never Dies".

She blanched in disgust, how anyone could like the tripe was a mystery to her. She remembered that her sister from her adoptive family had gotten the soundtrack for her, and after listening to the first five tracks she bailed and went to do something else.

She faced the ceiling again and decided to get up, she knew there was no use in just lying there and decided to go up to the surface. She grinned evilly for a moment taking Erik's hooded cloak and extra mask with her, knowing that it might be worth while to scare some ballet rats for entertainment.

Donning the items of clothing she walked quickly up to the auditorium, taking stairs along the way two steps at a time. Scaring brats is just what she needed right now.

Climbing up onto the scaffolding of the catwalk, she prowled along in the shadows searching for one girl in particular from the ballet group. She spotted the black haired girl called Scarlette, which she had dubbed the 'head bitch' and waited until was hovering near a weak plank on the stage.

In a swift movement a sandbag fell onto the weak plank and the girl squealed as she was vaulted two feet into the air. When she landed she looked up only to get a glimpse of the hooded white mask and wore a horrified expression.

Grace bailed before the screams sounded and snuck away to the kitchen, she quickly discarded the cloak and mask in the hidden passage way and started to walk to the stage, but a familiar face caught her attention and she ran over to Nadir who greeted her with a smile.

"Any news?" Grace asked hopefully, Nadir smiled even more before handing her a letter with her name scrawled in Erik's messy and childlike hand-writing.

"I see you have been keeping Erik's legend alive while he is gone" Nadir noted as he watched several frightened ballet rats run past whispering about the 'Phantom of the Opera'.

Grace tucked the letter away in her pocket before snickering and looking up.

"Well someone has to keep order around here, while he's away" Grace looked down remembering that he was, in fact not here. "I just miss him" she admitted unknowingly keeping a grip on the letter so tight that her knuckles were turning white.

"I know, but maybe there is good news in that letter he sent you" Nadir said comfortingly, they were interrupted by the black haired 'head bitch'.

"Well it's obvious that your husband can't stand your company" she said, Grace's head snapped in the girl's direction, a fate worse than death lingered behind her glare which knocked Scarlette down a notch in confidence, but she persisted.

"But I'm not surprised, with looks like yours I'm shocked that he even agreed to marry you" Scarlette taunted

Grace snarled in response and Nadir had to hold her back

"What do you know, Bitcheralla? I bet you've slept with so many men that I bet you're far beyond tainted for any real men to even consider being married to you!" Grace fought back fiercely.

Nadir, shocked by her words, nearly let go, but held a firm grip so Scarlette wouldn't need to be put in a morgue.

"Young lady!" Nadir started, talking to Scarlette "Never have I been so insulted by words not meant for me, I suggest you leave before I tire of keeping Mrs. Destler from harming you"

Scarlette with wide eyes turned and ran back to Madame Giry to report on her sudden bully, and Nadir started to loosen his grip on Grace whose shoulders were starting to shake.

"Thanks for stopping me and helping me" Grace said her voice a little shaky

"It is not a problem"

He noted that her distress radiated off her in waves and he cringed as he heard a muffled sob.

"That girl has no idea of your love for Erik, and she never will… You should return home, I'm sure you're anxious to read that letter" he said trying to cheer her up and smiled at Grace as her head rose and she bid him farewell.

As she ran off he turned his attention to the direction the girl, Scarlette, had run in. Just as he had suspected he found her complaining to Madame Giry about her mistreatment. He shared a look with the elder Giry and watched as she sent the girl off in a huff.

"I swear that girl is a copy of that prima-dona: Carlotta" Madame Giry sighed

"I suggest you keep her a tight leash" Nadir said as a command "She has been a nuisance for far too long, and today she was appalling, never have I seen Grace so upset about anything"

When Nadir mentioned Grace, Madame Giry knew she would have to restrict Scarlette's activities anywhere.

"I don't know what it is but that girl, but she seems to think everything revolves around her, what is it exactly that she said to Grace?" Giry asked and Nadir started to tell the headstrong ballet instructor the exact dialogue that transferred between the two girls.

Meanwhile in the catacombs Grace sat in a curled position in one of the cushioned chairs in the library. The room was warm with a cosy feel and she was glad she had lit the fire in the fireplace earlier. She held the note in her hand and smoothed out the crinkled paper reading the scratchy writing with a contented smile.

My Dearest

I find that each day that passes in England to be slow and dreadful. Without your company, I find myself more disinclined to help the Fop with this ridiculous plan to join companies overseas and miss you ever so dearly. I have made it clear to Raoul that if he wishes me to stay here for longer than planned that he can expect nothing from me. He does not understand this feeling; I do not understand why he allowed Christine to go and not you. I must thank you again for your brilliant idea of this mask I now wear, without it I am sure I would be attracting many stares. I am always thinking about you and I long to hold you in my arms again. I must go to settle an argument between the new business partners and Raoul; I find it ironic that I am the one with no social skills.

Always in my heart,

Erik

Grace sighed happily and hugged the paper to her chest. She stood up and walked over to a roller desk filled with stationery items and a picture of the couple in Moscow during a holiday before the wedding.

Sitting at the desk she started to write a reply.

My One and Only

Today was a nightmare until I got your letter. You have no idea how happy and relieved I was to receive it, but you might, considering how you feel when you receive this letter. I don't see why Raoul had to take you to England; he's old enough to settle his own business propositions. And you know why he can't leave Christine behind especially since they have a child – It's not an excuse, and I do have to say that what he did was a bastard act – It's not like we don't have our own lives to start. Also, make it clear to Raoul that if he does try to make you stay for longer that I will swim the English Channel to beat the girlish features off of his face. I'm glad the mask is helping you with social calls in the open.

I forever await your embrace, my anti-social musician.

Grace

She crossed out the last line so that it was clear enough for Erik to see and so that he could tell she was teasing.

I forever await your embrace,

Grace

She placed the pen down and let the ink dry. She took a deep breathe and smiled when the scent of ink, paper and envelopes wafted up into her senses. If she had to describe the way Erik smelled it would be a combination of the roller desk, the earth and a slight tinge of smoke.

She frowned for a moment deciding that the analysis seemed a bit disturbing, even for her standards and went to find Nadir so he could mail her letter for her.

Along the way Grace tried to think of ways to distract herself, either by memorising an entire opera or maybe even memorise a book. She remembered seeing a poetry book in the library, but shook her head at the thought, she hated poetry.

She passed the kitchens again humming a song from 'A Very Potter Musical' which reverberated off the close walls and took a quick left avoiding an old trap that had rusted over but still proved a threat when bumped.

She spotted Nadir outside the front doors from a peep hole and snuck out from behind a small crowd of workers.

"Nadir, did I make record time?" she asked cheerfully, along the way she had heard Madame Giry verbally abusing young Scarlette and this had lifted her spirits conveniently.

"Ah, yes, I believe you have" he was still trying to get used to her future lingo "Although if you want me to send this letter today I would have to leave now" he informed her

"If it isn't any trouble please" she said shooting him an apologetic smile "Would you like to join me for dinner tonight or tea maybe, as a thank you?" she asked

"That would be delightful, I'll see you tonight then" he said bidding her farewell before walking quickly to the post office and disappeared into the Paris crowd.

And Grace was left alone again, waiting for the next two weeks to pass until Erik returned.

~POTO~

Well, I had a burst of inspiration for the sequel I decided to not continue – so, yes, the beginning is a bit depressing but it'll get better once Erik gets back from London…