Michelle Le'Clair'e sat by her father's bed, watching his last moments, as his final breath came.
"You will go to the Opera Popular. I promised your mother that if something happened to me, that would be where you went-not the orphanage." His Russian accent was think with a hint of vodka, a mercy for someone dying of a disease that no one could reverse, "The Madame Giry will be here to collect you soon."
"I don't want to leave you,"
"You will never be able to do that, my little songbird; You will always be in my heart."
Michelle could feel the tears fall down her face as he drew his final shaky breath.
The nurses came soon after to clean th corpse, and dress him for his funeral. Michelle didn't know where they would take him; they had become poor over the last few years as she sold everything she posessed to pay for edicine or doctors to treat her father's decaying organs.
She sat there for a long while in silence just staring at the bed in silence when a hand reached out and touched her shoulder.
She looked up to see an older woman, though very young in society standards.
"Yes, are you ready to go, my dear?"
She blinked back tears, rising from her chair, "Almost-I have to pack. I won't be long."
The Madame rose her brow, "Not packed yet?"
"No-I wanted to be here and say goodbye first."
Michelle followed the Madame out of the room and then broke away to retreat upstairs.
* * * * * * * * * *
Madame Giry watched her leave then went outside to where her daughter leaned out the window of their carriage watching her.
"Is she coming?"
"Yes. She will join us in a few minutes. She is packing."
"Yes dear." Meg was a beautiful daughter at the age of twelve, already begining to develop into womanhood, and yet she was still so young in what adulthood would be like.
The madame watched the front door waiting patiently as the child came forth with a tiny package of things followed by a maid with severe scarring.
Looks much like Erik, she mused.
The child embraced the maid, and watched as the maid gave her a yellow velvet rose, and walked her the rest of the way to the Madame.
"Are you ready my dear?"
"Yes ma'am," Michelle answered after releasing the maid, "Good bye Herriott,"
"Good bye my darling," Madame Giry gave Herriot a brief glance, noticing her distinct imperfections. No one could ever love Herriott with her scars from servitude. Missuer Le'Clair'e certainly didn't make those wounds, so she had to have been rescued long ago. It had been years since she had spoken to him, but she always kept to her word--especially when it came to the opera house.
Madame Giry aided Michelle into the carriage, and then turned to Herriott, "I shall keep you posted on how she is doing. As she grows I shall also send you notices of when she is to appear on stage."
"I would appreciate that,"
Madame Giry climbed into the trailer and they were off.
Meg sat next to Michelle, "I'm Meg,"
"You packed so little,"
"I sold it all to pay fr my father's medicine."
"Everything?" the Madame was shocked.
"Yes-all of my inheritance from my mother, and much of the things that my father would send to me."
"Yet there is nothing in the house," the Madame coutered.
"I tried to save him Madame."
"Did they tell you anything about his funeral?"
Oh dear, the Madame mused to herself realizing that he would be buried in one of those compound cemetaries for everyone who couldn't pay for their funeral-much like Mozart.
"I shall look into it." she answered as they went across town to pick up their final orphan; Christine Daae.
Christine was already waiting for them, and Meg jumped out of the carriage to embrace her.
"Oh I cannot wait to begin lessons with you!"
They began to chatter as the Madame came out to gather what things she had packed.
A boy came running to Christine who looked truly upset. The Madame recalled it being the future count Raoul.
"Christine, please don't leave!"
"Oh Raoul, it'll be alright. We'll see eachother again soon. And you'll know where to find me,"
"Raoul, it's okay." she embraced him as he broke down into tears.
Christine's maid pulled Raoul away and together they watched as Meg and Christine entered the carriage. Michelle had moved to so she sat beside the Madame, permitting Meg and Christine the opportunity to sit together.
How polite of the child. She didn't know why she referred to Michelle as a child despite the fact that she was fifteen, and in a few months would become sixteen.
The dormatory for the women was relatively spacious and Michelle took a bed to the far end of the room pressed up against a wall, and watched as Meg and Christine chose two beds next to one another.
An older girl entered giving out orders and barking at every girl. She saw Meg and Christine, clearly not seeing Michelle.
"I thought there were three of you coming."
Meg pointed over at Michelle. She glanced at the young red-orange haired girl and then back at Christine.
"Which one is Daae?"
"I am," Christine answered.
"Be warned princess, I am the future sopranna, and I will not tolorate your protests. My daddy is the patron here."
"Yeah, patron of this and whore houses," one of the other girls in the dorm remarked coldly.
"How dare you bring that up here!"
"You brought up your daddy. I am only here to remind you of what he is."
"Gah!" the older girl shrieked, and vanished.
"Who was that?" Christine asked.
"Carlotta Dudacceli, hieress to a very wealthy family, and one of the top women to recieve the future position of leading sopranna." the blonde girl who attacked Carlotta answered, "I am Fylise,"
Michelle tuned everyone out and returned to placing her posessions in their rightful places. She hadn't packed much; one change of clothes, a nightgown, and a few bathroom essentials. She had also slid what silver she had left, that she would sell for any supplies she needed in case she was never paid.
Meg came over to her to see how she was settling in.
"Are you doing okay?"
"Carlotta thinks she's the boss because she's turning eighteen next week. Ignore her, if you can."
"Do you have anything to say?" Meg asked.
"No, Carlotta cannot frighten me."
"No," Michelle confirmed.
"Why's that?" Christine asked having joined her dear friend.
"Because I have seen things far worse than her."
"Have you?" Fylise asked following Christine.
"Yes, but nothing I am willing to share with you today."
"What is your accent?"
"Of what?" Meg asked.
"Irish, Russian, and French--At least that's what my father told me long ago."
"It's a bit strange," Fylise remarked.
"Well I have never been normal," she answered, as the Madame came into the dormatory.
"Ladies, your classes are about to begin."