I sat down at the table with two pieces of toast, some fresh juice and some marmalade; my favorite breakfast. The last few days I had been feeling good, wonderful even. Meg was no longer angry with me, Erik and I had come to a sort of understanding and to top it off, I had gotten the piece of prima ballerina in the new opera. Smiling, I watched as Adrienne made little faces on her toast with tomatoes and some onions. She really was one of a kind..
It was at this moment the doors to the dining hall burst open and Anne came running in. Bewildered, she looked around the room, then made her way up to us. 'Angèlique.. there's.. I just..'
'Calm down, Anne, I don't want you to work yourself into a cardiac arrest over something silly.'
The brunette shook her head 'The police are here..'
I dropped my toast on the plate, not caring that the bread was now glued to the plate because of the marmalade. Time seemed to freeze and I couldn't do anything but stare at her. Although she had not directly said it, I knew the implications behind my friend's words: they knew. And they would not stop before they had found their justice. Swallowing, I shook myself back to reality and nodded, realizing what I had to do. 'Come with me.'
'Can I come, too?'
Turning back to the redhead, I must admit I had completely forgotten about her for a moment. But now I had to make a decision, could I trust her? A second ticked by, then I replied 'Yes, but first I need you to get Meg, she's having lunch in her mother's living quarters. Tell her… tell her it's urgent. Meet me at the ballet studio.'
She nodded and without another word left the dining hall.
'Are they already inside?'
'Yes, when I saw them they were in the lobby, questioning some of the cleaning staff. They must have had a new lead on this case, otherwise they wouldn't have come back, not after so many years.'
'Which means; someone told them,' I concluded, then gritted my teeth. 'We have to help him, Anne.'
'What do you propose we do?'
I shrugged my shoulders 'I don't know, but I think he might.'
On our way to the ballet studio, we made sure we were not followed. What if the talebearer would find out where we were going? Looking at the people that passed us by, it was hard to imagine one of them might have just signed by friend's death sentence. I pushed that thought from my mind, I would not let him die.
When we arrived at the ballet studio, I noticed Adrienne and Meg already standing in the room, looking around curiously. Or well, Adrienne was; Meg just looked irritated. 'Why did you sent the little redhead to get me? I thought we'd all agreed that it would be good for me to spend some time with maman..'
'Not here, wait. Just.. follow me and do whatever I say, alright?' Walking up to the moving mirror, I flicked the switch and waited for it to disappear behind another. I heard some gasps from behind me, but decided not to pay attention to them. Now was not the time to explain Erik's ingenious design. 'Come on,' I urged when I noticed none of my friends had followed me into the dark passageway.
Anne was the first to take a step forward, her face a mixture of doubt and fear. Soon, Adrienne followed behind her, tugging Meg along by her arm.
When they had all filed in the passageway, I flicked the switch again and in mere seconds, we found ourselves in complete darkness. 'Alright, everyone take the hand of the one next to you. If I tell you to crouch, you crouch, if I tell you to jump, you jump, alright?'
The others murmured something incoherently, but I decided to take that as a yes. Slowly, I began making my way through the darkness. Sometimes I would warn the others for a missing floorboard or a height difference, but most of our trip was spent in silence. No one dared to question why I was leading them through the passage and no one dared to ask where we were heading.
When, at last, we arrived at the library, I could visibly see the others relax. Apparently I wasn't the only one who wasn't very fond of darkness.
'Why are we here?' Adrienne piped up, clearly having regained her normal composure.
'Where is here, anyway?' Meg added, looking around curiously.
'This is the hidden library.. We are here because.. well, apparently the police are here, looking for Er.. the Phantom of the Opera.' I swallowed, realizing Adrienne did not know anything at all. Not yet at least. 'And we need to stop them. Adrienne, I am sorry I didn't tell you this sooner, but I am friends with the Opera Ghost..'
She looked at me for a moment, then burst out in giggles. 'Do you think I did not know? I mean, I am not completely daft, you know?'
Meg, Anne and I just stared at her for a moment. Had she, the fifteen year-old who had always been treated like a child, really caught on without any of us telling her anything?
We would never ask that question out loud, though, for at that moment the hidden panel opened and Erik stepped in. Erik, in all his dark, tall and handsome glory, made quite the intimidating sight if he wanted to. And believe me, at that moment, he did.
'What are they all doing here?' He demanded to know.
'They are here to help me. The police is coming for you, Erik, and they won't stop until they've turned the entire Opera upside down. You can't stay here..'
'Wait.. the police? Why would they be here, after all this time?'
'Someone must have notified them of your existence,' Anne answered, simply. I was envious of her, for she looked more composed in the presence of Erik than I had the first time. And many times after that, I must admit.
Erik's eyes grew as cold as stone, then he turned to Meg, his jaw set. 'You.'
She scoffed 'As much as I would like to see you be brought to justice, I don't betray my friends.'
Suddenly, the blonde's eyes widened. 'No.. I can't believe.. Oh Angèlique, please forgive me, I was just so upset and I..' She held her face in her hands, then sighed, trying to collect herself. 'That night, when I ran away, I bumped into Veronique on my way back to the dormitories. And I was just so angry and hurt that I told her.. I told her everything.'
'You did what?!'
'Erik, please, calm down. Now is not the time.. We need to find a way to get you out of here.'
'Fine. So what do you suggest we do? I can't exactly just walk out of the front doors, you know.'
I furrowed my brows. 'We need a way to get you out of town unnoticed. But before that, we need to find a way to get you of the Opera.'
'There's a passage leading straight to the Rue Scribe.'
'How do you know?'
Meg smirked 'You're not the only one who grew up at the Opera House, Phantom.' She then sighed. 'Anyway, if we can get a carriage to pick him up there, we might get him past the police.'
'Would they just let a suspicious looking carriage, which has no reason to be there, pass – especially now they are already looking for him?' Anne asked.
'Not if the people in it are of enough importance as to not question their behaviour.. Adrienne, how fast do you think we can get your brother in Paris?'
'I don't know, two, three days perhaps?'
I shook my head 'No that's too long..' Suddenly, an idea formed itself in my head. I admit, it wasn't the best of ideas, nor was I sure the persons involved would even agree to do it, but it was the best shot we had. 'I know someone who can be here by tomorrow at noon.'
'Absolutely not!' Erik all but shouted, quickly getting on at what I was suggesting. 'I would rather die than be in one carriage with that fop!'
'This isn't about you, Phantom,' Adrienne said, crossing her arms before her chest. 'Angèlique would be completely miserable if you'd die and I won't do a miserable friend for the rest of my entire life!' She then turned to me. 'So, what can I do?'
'Well, the de Chagny's can only take him so far, but we need to get him out of Paris, so I need you to write Christophe, nonetheless. Ask him to meet the de Chagny's at the edge of town in two days.. oh and tell him we need a closed carriage. I will write Christine myself, so now all that we need is a diversion.'