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No More Talk of Phantoms or Vicomtes

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"I'm taking Christine away." Meg said, as explanation for her packing up her things.

"Meg, what are you talking about?" Madame Giry demanded.

"She's traumatized!" Meg exclaimed. "Her love has been bartered and bid on and claimed and she has gotten no choice. If she is willing then we will run to a place where no phantoms nor vicomtes can haunt her." Meg turned to get something else and her mother grabbed her arm, forcing her to pause.

"Meg, you know Christine doesn't-" She began in a soft voice.

"I'm perfectly aware, Maman." Meg snapped back, pulling her arm away. "I don't want her love, I want her to be happy. The phantom and the vicomte don't care about her happiness and wellbeing. The phantom wants compassion and a songbird, the vicomte wants a ditzy trophy wife. I just want my friend to be safe." Meg insisted. "The moment that Christine has any doubts we will return."

Madame Giry looked pensive for a moment as Meg finished packing her things. The instructor sighed, looking at her daughter with a fond smile. "You're a good friend, Meg. I believe you." She took Meg's face in her hand and kissed her forehead. "What do you need me to get you for your journey?"

"Enough food to last us a few weeks and a horse." Meg said. "If possible." She quickly added.

Madame Giry nodded. "It'll be done. When are you leaving?" She asked.

"Tonight if Christine agrees." Meg said.

"The poor thing…I can't imagine her disagreeing after all she's been through." Madame Giry sighed.

Christine paced through her room. "Can you believe it Meg?" She demanded. "He wants me to marry him! Does he not understand? It was his proposal that brought about all this hell to begin with!" She lowered herself into a chair, putting her head in her hands. "I can't do it, Meg. I know I promised him, but after all that's happened…"

"Sh…" Meg said softly, kneeling by Christine's side. "It's alright. What if I told you I had a solution?" She took Christine's hand in her own.

Christine raised her eyes to look at her friend. "What do you mean?"

"I've gotten supplies together to leave the city." Meg said slowly, giving Christine time to comprehend what she was suggesting.

"Meg…I couldn't leave. I'm engaged." Christine said.

"Do you love him?" Meg asked, searching Christine's eyes.

"I…I don't know. Nothing makes sense anymore." Christine said, turning her head away from Meg's gaze.

"Do you want to marry him?" Meg asked.

"I…" Christine shook her head. "No, I'm not ready."

"It doesn't have to be forever, Christine." Meg squeezed her hand. "Just until you're ready to return."

"Meg, I don't know about this…" Christine sighed.

"If you want to stay, then you can stay, and I'll be by your side to support you as long as you'd like. I'm just offering another option." Meg said. "You don't have to marry him if you don't want to."

Christine looked down. "I don't know what I want anymore…" She mumbled.

"I understand." Meg said softly. She stood, letting go of Christine's hand. "If you decide you wish to go, I'll be waiting outside the building an hour before midnight with a horse and supplies. If a new day comes and you're not there, I'll return the supplies." Meg started towards the door, but she paused. "Whatever choice you make, I will support you every step of the way. I just want you to be happy." Meg placed a featherlight kiss upon Christine's head. "And if Raoul will make you happy then I wish to be front row at the wedding." She turned once more at left Christine with her thoughts.

Christine didn't really know what to think anymore. She had been through hell and back in the past week and it seemed that Raoul just wanted her to forget it and become a docile housewife. But he loved her. And she loved him. But Erik loved her too, though he showed it in a much different way. Christine did love him, but she couldn't be in love with him. Not after everything he had done. She could forgive him and make her peace with his mistakes, but she could not love him like he wanted.

Raoul was possessive and demanding, and though it was to a much lesser degree than Erik, Christine still wasn't sure she was comfortable with all he asked for. He said that he only wanted her love, but that's not exactly true. He wants her sole undivided attention. He wants a docile housewife that will make him her world. He wants Christine to get over the traumatic experience and just get married after she was almost forced into a marriage with a maniac. Christine may have loved Raoul, but she could not stay with him. So her decision was made.

Christine packed up her things and wrote Raoul a note, explaining why she was leaving. Then she donned her dark cloak and went to where she found Meg, perched on a horse. Meg was wearing a similarly dark cloak, but underneath it she was wearing men's clothing. Meg offered her hand to help Christine onto the horse.

"Are you sure you want to leave?" Meg asked her quietly.

"Positive." Christine nodded.

"Then hold on tight." Meg commanded. Christine wrapped her arms around Meg's torso as the horse started through the streets. Meg's heart raced, whether from the adrenaline of escape or Christine's closeness, she wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. She had more important things to focus on. She had to get Christine out of Paris.