BY : Princess
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 5610
Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera movie(s), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

The next morning, Christine tried to pretend that she had received no letter, and Raoul said nothing more. It tortured him more than she knew, but she was suffering as well. He had watched her put the letter, and the address attached, carefully in a dresser drawer. He noticed the way she avoided that corner of the room for the rest of the morning. When he had to leave her for work (what does a Vicompte do?), he kissed her gently. His eyes searched her face intently as if he would find her plans hidden there. When he found only confusion and love, he kissed her lightly again.

“Good day, Christine.” She smiled warmly at him. As the door closed behind him she collapsed onto the bed. She struggled against the urge to retrieve the letter. She had just stood up, determined to read it again, when there was a quiet knock on the door.

“Come in,” she breathed as she sat back down on the bed.

“Are you ready to be dressed, Madam?” She nodded, though it made her uncomfortable. All her life she had had to dress herself, though she had always needed help with a corset. But having someone actually dress her and do her hair had been reserved for performances. She supposed this was fitting, as every day as a Vicompte’s wife was a performance in itself.

She looked at herself in the mirror, and at the girl, who was her own age, who was tightening the corset.

“How are you, Coralie??” She asked.

“Well enough, Madam, and how are you?” The girl answered politely.

“Well enough, I suppose,” her eyes clouded over for a moment, then came back into sharp focus as the whale bones pinched into her ribs. “Please, tell me about you’re family Coralie.” The maid eyed her curiously in the mirror as she finished tying the corset, her mouth opening to say something trivial about the number of siblings she had, but Christine interrupted her. “I just want to hear some kind of gossip, or hear about something normal, everything here is so…” She paused, looking for a word. Boring? Tedious? “Stiff.” The girl stayed quiet as she turned to pick up the dress her mistress was to wear that day. She sensed the Viscountess had something more to say.

“How old are you, Coralie?”

“I’ll be 19 this month.” She lifted the fabric over Christine’s head, who lifted her arms up like a child.

“When’s your birthday?” As she emerged from the sea of fabric.

“The twenty ninth,” she answered, straightening out the fabric of the skirt.

“Why, you’re the exact same age as Meg!” Christine cried gleefully.

“Am I?” The girl struggled not to roll her eyes, she had no idea who Meg was.

“Yes…” Christine’s eyes became clouded again as she sat to get her hair done. Coralie remained silent as began to comb Christine’s hair. Christine looked again at the girl in her mirror.

“I need a companion, Coralie. I think that would solve all my problems.”

“Problems, ma’am?” Coralie couldn’t imagine what problems this girl would have, though there were rumors of disapproval from the Vicompte’s parents. But how a companion would help with that problem, Coralie had no idea.

“Oh, it’s hard to explain.” Coralie was surprised to see the girl blush. “Now, tell me about yourself. Are you married?”

“No, not yet, though I hope to be this July.” Coralie smiled and shrugged embarrassedly.

“Really? To who?” Christine sat up straighter, smiling broadly. The girls continued to talk about Coralie’s love life, and Christine soon forgot about her own troubles.

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