"Mother! Please can we go to the carnival?" Gustave asked, "It looks wonderful fun."
"We shall have to ask your father," Christine replied, softly patting her son's head.
"But he'll say no!"
She sighed, Gustave was right. There was no way Raoul would let them spend money on something that didn't involve him getting drunk or gambling. It had started about six months after they had married, at first it had just been small bets and a whiskey before bed, but over the last year and a half things had escalated. He tried to hide it from her but Christine knew he'd wasted his fortune and most of her savings too.
"You cannot be so sure," she smiled, "I don't see him having a problem with us going out together as a family for once."
"He never spends any time with us!" Gustave exclaimed, tears forming in his eyes.
"Oh come here," she sighed, pulling her son into a tight embrace, "When is this carnival anyway?"
"It's only here till tomorrow," her son sniffled, his tears soaking her dress.
Raoul would not be happy if she made a promise without first consulting him, although the chances of him returning home that night were small. He would probably lose the house before admitting he had a problem.
"How about you and I go? Just us two?"
"What about father?" Gustave asked, "Will he not be upset that we didn't ask him?"
"I've just remembered your father is away on business and won't be back until tomorrow morning," she lied, hoping Gustave wouldn't notice.
Gustave didn't notice and his face lit up with happiness. He was only ten years old but very intelligent for his age. It would not be long before he realised what his father was really doing.
"So we shall go to the carnival tonight?"
"Yes, my dear."
"Thank you, mother," he grinned and then skipped out of the room.
Moments later Christine heard the piano. Gustave was very musical, a trait he must have inherited from his grandfather, she assured herself. There was nobody else he could have got it from, well there was one, but that was impossible. It simply could not be! Yet she could not rid the thought from her mind. There was nothing of Raoul in Gustave and he had noticed. She saw the way he looked at the boy sometimes, she knew what he suspected.
Things like that are better off in the past. There was no point in dragging all that history up now. The man was dead.
"Madame? A letter has just been delivered."
"Put it in my husband's office with all the rest of his mail," she ordered, not bothering to look up at the servant.
"The letter is addressed to you," the girl replied and placed the letter on the table next to Christine.
Once the servant had left Christine picked up the letter and began to examine the envelope. The handwriting was neat, yet flowing and artistic, the paper was old as if it had been kept in a box for a long time. The oddest thing was what had been written on it.
"Miss Christine Daae."
Either the person did not know she was married or was refusing to accept it. She had a feeling that she knew which option it was. After further examination she decided to open the envelope. Breaking the unrecognisable seal carefully, she then slipped the letter out and began to read:
"I am your angel of music."
Those six words made her feel a little faint and a wave of nausea swept over her. A few moments later she recovered herself enough to stare at the letter a little longer. This could not be! It was impossible! He had perished in the fire that had ripped through the opera house and destroyed it so savagely.
She could not reply, no words would form in her mouth.
"You look rather pale? Are you feeling alright?"
"I'm fine," she whispered and attempted to smile at her son.
Gustave was apparently unsatisfied by her response and tried to read the letter she was clutching in her hand. She pulled it closer to her chest so he was unable to see the writing. Then the envelope dropped to the floor with a light thud. It wasn't empty.
"I'll get it," Gustave smiled and picked up the envelope at an odd angle causing the contents of the envelope to spill onto the floor.
She let out a short gasp as the world began to darken. All she saw was her son's worried face before everything went completely dark. The boy looked at his mother and then the ring that lay on the floor beside her.
"What did you do?" a voice shouted.
"Nothing, I swear," another voice whimpered.
Christine slowly began to regain her senses. Her eyes flickered open. She was lying on her bed with Gustave and Raoul standing nearby. They were the voices.
"He did nothing," she said, "I was just feeling a little odd. Much better now though."
"Oh right," her husband sighed, "My apologies son. I'm away to get some work done before dinner, then we can play cards after."
"Actually Gustave and I are going out."
"What?" he asked, obviously thinking he had misheard.
"I promised Gustave a few weeks ago that I would take him to the carnival tonight. We spoke about it the other night."
She hated lying to him like this. He would believe her because he had been completely drunk the last few nights.
"Oh, that completely slipped my mind," he lied, "Have fun but don't overdo it!"
With that he left the room, stumbling slightly in the doorway. It had been too good to be true, him arriving home sober for once.
"Here's your ring," Gustave announced, placing the envelope beside her on the bed.
A feeling of panic rose up inside her, had Raoul read the letter? He would know straight away who the sender was.
"I didn't show it to father," her son whispered, "He was in an awful mood and I thought this may have made it worse."
"Thank you, Gustave," she smiled.
They sat in silence for a few minutes until Gustave leapt to his feet. His eyes were filled with curiousity.
"Who sent you the ring?" he asked.
"A very dear old friend."
Silence descended again.
"When should we leave?"
All she wanted to do was get out of the house, to get as far away from her husband as possible.
"We'll leave as soon as we're ready," she replied, and laughed as her son sprinted out of the room.