That night, as Meg had predicted, I couldn't sleep. Though it was not fear of the ill-famed Phantom that kept me awake, it were more earthly matters that troubled my mind. I was absolutely terrified for what tomorrow would bring. The ballet repetition wasn't a pleasant thing to look forward to, all the people in it even less. I was sure to mess it up and I preferred to have as few attendees to witness it as possible.
I let out a sigh and tried to make myself as comfortable as I could. Not that it made any difference, though; I had been tossing and turning for hours now. All I wanted was to be back home, lying in my own bed and waking up to the first morning light. Everything would be normal and there I would not have to be afraid of failing at ballet. But, I reminded myself, if I would home then all of this would have been nothing more than a dream. A frightening, scary, yet incredibly beautiful dream. I knew this was what I wanted. It was terrifying, yes, but at the same time it was all I had ever wished for. I couldn't quit now, not now I had finally made it this far.
Another sigh escaped my lips and I pushed myself out of bed. It was useless to keep pondering over this until the sun would come up. I would probably only get more high-strung and it would end in me running off. I smirked, I knew myself all too well. Now, the sole question remaining was what I was going to do next. An idea sparked and I silently crept to the closet en opened it carefully. Without a sound I grabbed out a paper, a quill and an ink bottle. I had wanted to write maman about my first day, anyway.
As softly as I could, I tiptoed to the door and sneaked out. Mission accomplished, I thought smilingly. Now I just had to find myself a table, a chair and preferably a candle to illuminate my writings. Perhaps I could go to the dining hall, I mused, there were enough tables and I was sure I would be able to find a candle of some kind in the kitchen.
I started walking as I tried to remember the route the girls and I had walked that afternoon. Onewould say it couldn't be that hard, but the Opera House sure was more of a maze than you would say from the outside. Any way, I could vaguely recall the road to the dining hall and decided to make a go for it.
When I finally reached the right hallway I let out a sigh of relief. I must have gone at least three times in the wrong direction, just to run into another dead end and to have to go back again. Still afraid of waking anyone I opened the door carefully and slipped through the crack. Now I was safe. I laid my paper and quill on the table, put down the bottle of ink cautiously beside it and made my way to the other doors, which – I presumed – would lead to the kitchen.
I concluded I had been right, given there was pottery everywhere and there was an enormous furnace that covered one side of the room. Of course they would need a big kitchen with so many habitants, but the actual size of it still amazed me. I shook my head and continued my search for a candle. Slightly irritated I pulled open some of the cabinets and drawers, but I found nothing but cutlery, some whittles and more pots. 'Dear God,' I exclaimed, then I swiftly put my hand over my mouth. What was I thinking? I wanted to move to the next cupboard when a sound caught my attention and I turned around. Startled, I searched the darkness for any movement, but there wasn't any. Maybe it had been just in my head. No, there it was again, clear enough for me to be sure it hadn't been one of my hallucinations. If this some sort of joke of Meg and the others I was going to kill them. I heard the door creak and instinctively took a step back. But I had totally forgotten about my surroundings and a pan fell clattering on the floor. I cringed and quickly put the thing back where it came from without taking my eyes of the door. The sound of footsteps made me shiver and I began to question how much of the stories had been true. Perhaps the Opera Ghost was still here...
Then the figure stepped into the pool of moonlight and I recognized the face of Anne. 'Angèlique? What are you doing here?' She seemed extremely surprised and I couldn't blame her. Who would be so silly to nose about the kitchen in the middle of the night? Apparently, I was.
'I couldn't sleep. I came here in search for a candle.'
'They lie in that drawer over there,' she said and nodded to a cabinet at the other side of the room. So there had the little fellows been hiding.
'Thank you,' I said and walked over to the thing. 'But why are you here, then?' Besides when I made the pot fall, I was sure I hadn't made that much of a noise. Had I?
'I couldn't sleep either, so I went down to get some milk.'
'Got it,' I smiled and held my candle up as evidence. It was a small, long one, so I wouldn't have to worry about it going out all too soon. Not that I was planning on writing all night, because I needed to be fit for tomorrow's dance practice after all.
I waited for Anne to get her milk and then we walked together back to the dining hall. 'I have to admit; you got me really frightened back there. I was about to blame it on the Phantom when you stepped into the light.'
She giggled 'Poor Angèlique, I didn't mean to frighten you. But when I came towards the kitchen, I heard noises and decided to keep calm for a bit.' She rolled her eyes in a meaningful way and gave me sheepish smile. 'I too began to think the Opera Ghost had returned.'
'What a pair we are,' I laughed 'Scared to death by some guy who probably hasn't been living here anymore for years. I'm sure he would laugh at us if he saw how frightened we were back there.'
'I'm sure he would,' Anne agreed, chuckling. Then she drank the last bit of her milk and let out a sigh. 'I'm going to bed now, will you come soon too?'
I nodded, then gestured at my paper and quill. 'I'll be there in a few, alright?'
'Alright,' she suppressed a yawn 'Good night, dear.'
'Good night.' I watched her as she made for the door and then turned back to the untouched writing paper. I chuckled softly, I'd really have to start writing now if I still wanted to get some sleep as well.
Carefully, making sure I wouldn't by chance touch my hair, I lit a match and made the candle come to life. It took my eyes a few seconds to adjust to it, but then I put the candle on the table. Dipping the quill in my ink pot, I wrote the date in the right upperhand corner. Content with the outcome – I didn't have a very feminine hand writing in general – I continued writing. 'Dear maman and papa,' I tapped the quill against my lip. What was I going to write? I did not want them to worry about me, so I had to be as positive as I could be. That is; without lying. Lying was something I had always hated to do and I had always avoided it when I could. I sighed, pushed back the many memories, and dipped my quill in the ink once again. 'Dear maman and papa,' I read out loud again, then pushed the sharp point on the paper again.
"Only one day at the Opéra Populaire has passed and I've already got so much to tell you. I wish you were both here. I miss home, my own room and of course you all. Please send my love to Émile and little Madeleine. As much as I miss you all though, I can't bring myself to want to go home at the moment. The Opera is wonderful and the people are really nice to me.I have already made some friends and they make me feel at home here. I hope you are all in good health and that I will see you soon again.I wish you all the happiness and love in the world,
your little princess"
I smiled as I wrote down the nickname my parents had called me ever since I had been a little girl. It seemed so far away now that I was here, as if from another life. But I could easily recall those moments that my father would call me and I would sit on his lap. We would talk for hours and I had been such a stubborn kid that he often had to force me into bed. 'My little princess, it is time to go to sleep now. No more arguing, go to bed. The world will still be here in the morning, still waiting for you.'Those were good times. I sighed and got up from the wooden bench. Time for bed. With my letter in one hand and the candle in the other, I left the dining hall.It sure was a lot easier to find my way back with the light the candle offered me. That didn't prevent me from getting lost a couple of times, though, but I sure was back at the dormitory faster than I had thought possible. I quickly blew out the light and stepped into the dorm.
As I had expected, I was greeted by an absolute silence and I sneaked back to my bed. I'd better make sure not to wake anyone, because I was certain madame Giry wouldn't appreciate me, or for that matter anyone, wandering through the Opera House at night.
I tucked the letter between my other things in the closet and slid underneath my blanket. A shiver of satisfaction made its way up my spine and I let out a sigh in comfort. My mind finally found the peace it had been seeking and before I realized it, I drifted off in lifelike dreams.