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Story Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Twilighted Beta: casket4mytears

Author's Chapter Notes:

Edward POV

Lyrics from Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman


I smiled as I watched her struggle to stay conscious, a yawn giving away just how sleepy she was. Her attention had been focused on Cinderella for the last hour or so and she had refused any attempts her mother or I made to coerce her into bed. When the credits started rolling, I saw a smile turn up her lips and her eyes drift shut.

“And they lived happily ever after,” she whispered.

Taking that as my cue, I turned off the blu-ray player and the television, then making to lift her into my arms. She waved me off and I looked down to find her chocolate brown eyes staring into mine. My breath caught as I realized just how much like her mother she looked in that moment.

“I wanna dance, Daddy,” she pouted. “Like Cinderella.”

I laughed. “You can, baby...in the morning. It’s bed time.”

“But Daddy, it’s not midnight. There’s still time.”

Again, I laughed. It amazed me how much power this little person held over me. I knew how happy it made her when I danced with her and nothing could bring me to refuse such a simple, innocent request.

At my nod, she beamed and jumped from the couch, racing for the stereo. Within moments, she had the device on and was pressing play. She bolted across the room and stepped onto my shoes as we took the familiar waltz stance, her little hand clasped in mine. I took the first step as our song echoed softly from the speakers.

*She spins and she sways
To whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders*

*It's been a long day
And there's still work to do
She's pulling at me
Saying "Dad, I need you*

*There's a ball at the castle
And I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"*

*So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone...*

Her eyes drifted closed again and I realized that the song was lulling her to sleep. By the end of the first chorus, the familiar ding of the clock alerted me that it was midnight. I lifted her into my arms and then turned the stereo off with the nearby remote. She protested as I began to climb the stairs.

“It’s midnight, Nessie,” I murmured. “We’ll finish our dance in the morning.”

Half awake, she mumbled, “Okay.”

I laid her in bed and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. As I left her room, I closed the door until just a sliver of light peaked in from the hall.

“Goodnight, princess.”

I wasn’t even two steps away from the door when I heard her say, “Goodnight, Daddy.”

I smile to myself and head downstairs.

***

Ten years later...

It took all of my restraint not to knock him across the room when he kissed her. He had no right! He hadn’t even asked for her hand yet. My temper flared another notch at his familiar touch on her arm. This boy intended to take advantage of my baby...I was certain of it. No gentleman would behave as he was now. I growled low in my throat.

“I don’t like him,” I muttered darkly. “He’s far too familiar with her.”

I turned at the sound of my wife’s musical laughter. “It’s just a kiss, Edward,” she soothed with a smile. “If I recall, we touched and kissed a lot when we were dating.”

“But he’s Human,” I countered. “He doesn’t have the same excuses.”

“I seem to remember you telling me that you were still a man and still had a man’s needs.” She laughed at the scowl on my face. “Relax, Edward. It’s just a dance.”

I sighed in defeat, returning my gaze to my daughter. The familiar lump formed in my throat as I watched her laugh and smile up at him. Only a week ago, she’d come to me requesting to practice her dancing. The request had come as a surprise as she and I hadn’t done that in well over four years. Once she’d turned 13, her interests had shifted to shopping and boys.

“Please, Daddy?” she begged, her lip stuck out in a pout that I hadn’t seen since she was 15. “Prom is in a week and I haven’t danced in so long. I’m afraid that I’m going to trip and fall on my face in front of everyone. If I practice, maybe I won’t. Please.”

I chuckled. “All right. One dance.”

Her eyes lit up as she raced for the stereo, then played the familiar song. She stood nearly eye to eye with me and I realized, not for the first time, that my baby had become a woman. She didn’t need to stand on my shoes anymore. I grasped her hand and began the familiar movements of the waltz as the opening strains of music brought the words alive.

*She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says, "Dad, the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"*

*So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She will be gone*

Before the song could finish, the doorbell rang and she was rushing to answer it. Her friends had come to get her for dress shopping. I gave an encouraging nod and smiled. She smiled in return, promising, “We’ll finish our dance later.”

My wife’s voice snapped me from my thoughts and I realized that my daughter was leaving.

“Have fun,” I murmured half-heartedly as she stepped over the threshold with her date, the door slamming shut behind her.

I wouldn’t move from the couch until she returned home, I knew. All of my attention would be too focused on worrying about Nessie to think of much else.

***

Three years later...

My gaze flew to their entwined hands and I grimaced. The band on that certain finger of her left hand made her his forever. Nessie was married to the insolent pup that had once tried to steal Bella from me. The thief had instead succeeded in stealing away my only daughter.

I had mixed feelings about this, but was keeping the more negative ones to myself. Despite my issues with Jacob, I wouldn’t ruin her special day. I felt a tug on my arm and looked up to find myself staring into a familiar pair of brown eyes. Her beautiful smile left me stunned.

“Our song’s up, Daddy,” she whispered. “The father-daughter dance.”

I nodded neutrally and allowed her to drag me onto the floor. Hundreds of pairs of eyes focused on us as her hand slid into mine. Slowly, the music began to play and the years melted away. She was seven years old again, begging me to help her practice her dancing. With a weak smile, I twirled her in time with the music. Her eyes filled with tears as the song continued.  

She was so happy the day Jacob proposed. I’d never seen her so happy. Bella had spent the first three hours after finding out discussing wedding plans while I’d not-so-graciously slipped from the room to absorb the news. By the time Jacob was standing to leave that night, I’d reconciled myself to the inevitable and had congratulated them both, shaking hands with my future son-in-law.

A few hours later, Jacob had left and the others were out hunting, leaving Nessie and I alone in the house for the first time in a long time. I was sitting lost in thought when I felt her hand on my arm.

“I know the wedding is six months away,” she began. “But I need to practice my dancing.” When I hesitated, she persisted. “Please, Daddy?”

I pressed the button on the remote and started the song before she could take a step toward it. Her movements were so flawless that I seriously doubted she needed any practice. I smiled, enjoying the moment just the same.

*Well, she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowing and telling us all they had planned
She says, "Dad, the wedding's still six months away
But I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"*

*So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone*

The sudden loss of her warm hand brought me back to reality. I didn’t want the song to end...I didn’t want to acknowledge that my baby was the center of someone else’s world now. Despite the sadness it brought me, I walked her toward Jacob and placed her hand in his. Our gazes locked and an understanding of sorts seemed to pass between us.

“I’ll take care of her,” he promised, his thoughts open.

I smiled. “I know you will, Jacob. I know you will.”

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