It was Thursday morning and, as per usual, we all sat at breakfast together. I had my usual toast with marmalade, but found I could not enjoy it at all. My stomach was tied in a knot and all I could think about was what would happen today – and mostly; what could go wrong.
'It will be alright,' Anne comforted me softly, putting a hand over mine. 'You'll see.'
'She's right, Angèlique. With my natural charm and amazing acting skills, what could possibly go wrong?'
'Very modest, Adrienne.' Meg sighed. 'I hate to say this, but I have no doubt your beloved Phantom will be safe by the end of the day.'
'I know, I just.. Well, I guess you are right, I am just..-'
'Nervous,' they simultaneously finished.
'We can manage. You just do your job, then we will do ours.'
I nodded, though their words had done nothing to sooth my nerves. Time would tell..
Erik's point of viewErik hated waiting. And even more so; he hated waiting for something that was out of his control. It was now eight o'clock in the morning and he knew he still had to wait until noon until there would be any action at all for him. Not that sneaking out through a hidden passageway was really a lot of action – at least not for him – but sitting idly by made him more high-strung than any real action could.
Looking around him, he tried not to think of the fact that this might very likely be the last time he would ever be there. The last time he would sit at the lake, the last time he would let the mighty sounds of the organ echo against the large stone walls of his lair.
Stop it, one of the voices in his head sneered, you were forced down into these cellars, forced to live deep below the rest of humanity. This place was never your home, it was a refuge.
Reasonably, he knew the voice was right, yet he could not shake off the negative feeling in the pit of his stomach. A lot of memories had been made here – good and bad ones – and although none of them had led to his salvation, it caused him grief to leave his lair.
He sighed 'Might as well find myself some entertainment.' Then he stood and walked off towards the surface.
Meg's point of view
Meg sighed as she put on her pointe shoes and looked around the changing room. The ballerinas had just gotten back from a short break and would now go back to practicing until noon. In the break, she'd seen her friends sneaking off unnoticed, leaving her alone to her duty. Although only her three friends were absent, the changing room seemed a lot emptier without them. She really couldn't imagine a life without any of them and that was precisely the reason why she had agreed to help them to save the mad man. The blonde did not look forward to having to put her part of the plan in action, especially since her and her mother had just started on repairing their dysfunctional relationship. However, knowing that she could save a friend from a lifetime of misery, she would still carry through with it.
Sensing a presence beside her, Meg looked to the left, only to come face to face with the causer of all the mayhem; Veronique. Alright, perhaps she was not the causer of all this mayhem, Meg thought, since the Phantom himself was actually to blame for his persecution in the first place.
'Where are the others?' Veronique asked her, looking around curiously.
'They are with the police for questioning,' she lied casually 'From what I have heard they are questioning everyone for anything that could lead them to the mad man.'
The timid girl nodded. 'That's good, I hope they catch him soon.' She stayed silent for a moment while she tied on her shoes. 'You know, my little brother died in the fire, he was only eight years old back then. I will never forget that tragic day and I hope that when the police is done with him, he will not either.'
Being at a loss for words, Meg simply patted her shoulder compassionately.
Fortunately then, they were all called out by the ballet mistress and it was time to start stretching. Before Meg could start with any of that though, she would first have to fulfill her part of the plan.
Quietly, she made her way past the other ballerinas and then cleared her throat. 'Maman?'
The elder woman turned around, meeting her daughter's gaze with full force. 'Meg, why aren't you stretching?'
Almost cowering under her mother's gaze, it took all of Meg's will power not to look away or to go back on the plan. 'The police just came to take Adrienne Rousseau, Anne Martin and Angèlique Fournier for questioning, so they asked me to inform you that they won't make it to the rest of practice this morning.'
At the last name, madame Giry face seemed to tense up. However, before Meg could think more of it, any trace of it was gone and back was the stern face that she knew so well. 'Very well, but if my ballerinas aren't ready for the opening night, I will hold the police accountable for it.'
Meg nodded and then, relieved, got back to her place. That had gone better than she'd expected.
Anne's point of viewAnne nervously tapped her foot on the marble floor as they waited in the lobby. Although normally not one for letting her emotions cloud her judgment, today she too couldn't help but feel a little uneasy. The consequences of their plan if it were to go bad were severe, not just for Erik but for any of them. They would be lucky if they would get away without imprisonment. She would probably never see Émile again..
'Oh for the love of God, would you calm your nerves?' She heard from beside her.
Turning her head, she looked at the little redhead. In contrary to herself, she did not look nervous at all. In fact, she looked as excited and gay as ever.
'I feel like I am in one of those thrilling novels, you know? Getting dressed up in disguise, pretending to be someone else!'
Anne couldn't help but smile at the young girl's enthusiasm. There was some truth to Adrienne's words, though, for she too felt the adrenalin the plan caused rush through her veins. Looking down on her attire, she could hardly remember the last time she had looked so chic. Although she often dressed up to go into town or to a party, she now wore one of the dresses that her father had bought her for very special occasions. Add to that the fashionable hat that adorned her head and she would probably not even recognize herself were she to look in a mirror. She looked on the pocket watch that she'd held in her purse. 'It's a quarter to twelve, we need to get into position.'
Leisurely, and with an air she didn't even know she could muster, they glided through the front doors of the Opera. Outside, they were met with bright sunlight and a lot of policemen.
Anne could feel Adrienne's grip tighten on her arm, but the young girl never complained. She admired her for that. Instead, the redhead turned her chin in the air and struck up some conversation about fashion.
In this way they stood there, pretending to be waiting for a carriage that would never arrive. At ten minutes to twelve, she looked at the young girl and gave her a quick nod. It was time.
On cue, Adrienne looked behind her at the looming Opera House and touched her forehead weakly, before she fell to the ground. This act alone caused many an onlooker to turn their heads towards the commotion, but just for effect – and perhaps because she was terribly afraid their plan would fail – Anne let out a scream of terror.
It did not take long before a dozen policemen had crowded around the seemingly fainted young woman. Even some of the passerby paused at the small crowd to see what was going on, but Anne was too busy to notice any of them.
'What happened, mademoiselle?' One of the policemen wanted to know.
'I.. I don't know, monsieur. One second I was talking to my dear friend and the next she fell down to the floor,' she said, feigning panic. 'But when we left the Opera, she kept going on about a man in a dark cape who was following us. I thought she was merely joking, but just now she said she saw him again and then she fainted.'
He nodded, then softly whispered to one of his colleagues. 'Where did you say your friend saw this man, mademoiselle?'
She pretended to think, then pointed into the direction of the stables. 'She looked that way, I think. Why do you ask?'
He directed a couple of his men to the stables and another three stayed with him to take care of the unconscious girl. 'Nothing to worry about, mademoiselle, at least not for you. But we might have to bring your friend to a doctor, to see if he can find anything on her.'
At that exact moment, a deep breath intake was heard and Adrienne stirred on the ground. Slowly opening her eyes, she looked at the policemen that surrounded her, then sat up.
'Are you alright, mademoiselle?'
She nodded, then smiled apologetically 'I am sorry if I startled you messieurs.'
'Do you want us to take you to a doctor?'
'No, that won't be necessary, monsieur. I feel a lot better now, thank you for your help.' And with that, the two young women went back into the Opera.