Mme Valerius adjusted the flower crown of white roses and daises that sat atop Christine's head over her veil. The old woman smiled at the young woman's reflection.

"You're the only one smiling at my decision. Thank you," Christine took the woman's wrinkled hand into her soft porcelain one.

"I have done all I can to guide you as best I could in womanly topics and issues of the heart, since your own mother died. Of course you are mistress of your mind and heart and must do what will satisfy you."

"And I am forever, grateful," Christine smiled at Mme Valerius' reflection. "As is he and is going to make sure you are taken care of as well."

A knock at the bride's room door caused both women to turn their heads. The older women lifted her pocket watch, "It's not time yet."

"Maybe the priest wants us to sign the license ahead of time?"

"And risk getting ink on your lovely dress?" Mme Valerius shuffled to the door and opened it. An audible gasp left her lips.

"Is it possible for me to speak to Mlle Daae alone?"

Christine recognized the voice and reflection in the mirror; but she could not recall ever seeing him look so shabby. Jacket was missing, waistcoat wrinkled, the top couple of buttons undone on his shirt, stubble covered his face and his usually immaculate hair completely disheveled. She closed her eyes, trying to keep her heart from sinking; sinking like he almost did those years ago fetching her red scarf; sinking like he almost did just a few short weeks ago when water flooded the cellar.

"Raoul," She whispered. "I will be fine, Mother if you wait in the vestibule."