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Disclaimer: 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.


There's two things I know for sure


She was sent here from heaven


And she's daddy's little girl


As I drop to my knees by her bed at night


She talks to Jesus


And I close my eyes


And I thank God for all the joy in my life


 


He could still remember the first time he had seen her. A little wallet size black and white portrait of a beautiful newborn. And he, calling her beautiful, was saying something because most newborns weren't beautiful, even his eldest daughter as much he loved her had been far from cute when she was first born. Who knew then that the Kodak paper he had held in his hand had held the image of the baby who would one day become his youngest daughter?


 


Oh, but most of all


For butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer;


Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair


"Walk beside the pony, Daddy, it's my first ride."


"I know the cake looks funny, Daddy, but I sure tried."


In all that I've done wrong


I know I must have done something right


To deserve a hug every morning and butterfly kisses at night


 


In all she did she was always so serious, so studious, and always gave her all. If she didn't get it right the first time, she would do it again and again until she finally got it right. And if he or his wife didn't stop her, she would continue until she had mastered the task at hand. He definitely saw himself in her even in her younger days. When she was being particularly stubborn and determined, his wife would look at him, shake her head, and tell him to go deal with mini-him. They might not share the same blood, but they were both as stubborn as a mule.


 


Sweet Sixteen today


She's looking like her mama a little more everyday


One part woman,


The other part girl


To perfume and make-up


From ribbons and curls


Trying her wings out in a great big world


 


He and his wife had always been worried about the type of boys their eldest daughter would bring home when they finally allowed the girls to date at sixteen. They were right to worry. Every loser, poser, wannabe that could be found their eldest found and dated. Occasionally a good guy was thrown into the mix, but his stay was short. And once, she tried to pass off a college guy as a high schooler. After he had a few words with her and the young man, she had never tried that again and he was sure the boy was still having nightmares to this day.


While their concern had been focused on their eldest, their youngest had almost slipped under the radar. She had her occasional double dates with her sister to keep her off her back, but the true men she was interested in they rarely saw. And one day, he had discovered why. Taking a leisure walk far from home and work, he had passed an outdoor café and did a double take. There sat his brunette daughter holding hands with a dark-haired man that easily had ten years on her. His first thought was to storm over and beat the crap out of the guy, but he knew it wouldn't win him any points with the females in his life so he let it go. After a phone call, he discovered his daughter's handholding friend was a twenty-eight-year-old undercover cop. He was confident this young officer was unaware of his daughter's real age.


One night when the other two females in his life were asleep, he knocked on his quieter daughter's bedroom door. From the moment he had looked into her eyes, he knew she knew she had been found out. With a calmness he hadn't known he possessed he explained to her why she couldn't date an adult when she was still a child- - a teenager. And with a frankness that threatened to unnerve him, she had asked him who was she supposed to date? She couldn't date surfers like her sister. She knew that the ground she walked upon contained dead bodies and some of those graves were shallower than others. She, herself, knew where a few of them were buried.


In that moment, he had removed the blinders he had allowed himself to wear in regards to her. He knew his daughter's younger years weren't easy ones. She had heard too much, seen too much, been exposed to too much. Had he really believed moving her to the suburbs and giving her a "Leave It To Beaver" type family would erase her past? Or put it to rest? Yes, naively he had. He had wanted so hard to believe these past ten years had gone a long way to soothe her soul. He had looked into her brown eyes and saw his own reflected in them. He saw the weariness, the hurt, and the haunting memories that never leave. Gathering her in his arms, he lay against her pinewood headboard and held her as she cried and promised no more older men until she reached eighteen. It wasn't what he wanted to hear, but he had accepted it.


 


But I remember


Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer


Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair.


"You know how much I love you, Daddy, but if you don't mind


I'm only gonna kiss you on the cheek this time."


With all that I've done wrong I must have done something right


To deserve her love every morning


And butterfly kisses at night


 


The dating issue was put to rest and he concentrated on being a loving father trying to comfort his hurting daughter. He prayed she could feel his love and felt safe in his arms. He would do anything for this young woman. Damn the man that had willingly shown her the bad things life had to offer. If that man had been within reach, he would have gladly choked the life out of him.


 


All the precious time


Like the wind, the years go by


Precious butterfly.


Spread your wings and fly


 


When had this happen? How had they gotten here? Here he sat with the love of his life on his right side and his mother to his left waiting to hear his daughters' names called. Waiting for his two beautiful girls to walk across the stage and accept their college diplomas. His eldest's in English. His youngest's in Business and Accounting. His babies were really and truly adults now. How had time gotten away from him so quickly? He held his wife's hand a little tighter.


 


She'll change her name today


She'll make a promise


And I'll give her away


Standing in the bride-room just staring at her


She asked me what I'm thinking


And I said "I'm not sure


I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl."


 


"It's going to be okay," his youngest daughter reassured him.


On her day, she was reassuring him. Making sure he was okay. Damn, he loved this girl- - this woman. The love he felt for her and her sister matched the love he felt for his wife, but in a completely different way. From the moment his baby girl had placed her tiny hand in his, his life irrevocably changed. Just like the moment he first held her older sister, he had felt like a man, a true man for the first time in his life. From the first touch of his two girls, he would have gladly killed anyone that harmed them. With his wife that fierceness, that protectiveness had taken time to develop. But for his blonde angel and brunette princess, it was instantaneous. "I know," he countered.


She gave him a knowing look and nodded.


 


She leaned over...


Gave me butterfly kisses with her mama there,


Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair


"Walk my down the aisle, Daddy


It's just about time."


"Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy?


Daddy, don't cry!"


 


"There now it's perfect," his wife declared.


"You look like the princess Daddy always calls you," his oldest daughter confirmed.


She took his breath away. She was gorgeous. His baby stood before him in the beautiful, white gown her mother had married him in thirty-five years ago. She was all grown-up.


His wife kissed their daughter's cheek. "I love you, baby girl."


"I love you, too."


With a final pat on her daughter's gown, his wife left the room.


"You're going to knock him dead, sis." Giving her sister a quick kiss, his eldest daughter ran to take her place as matron of honor.


They were finally alone. It had been weeks since that had happened. Every time he had turned around women, wedding planners, were everywhere constantly buzzing about. Now that they were alone. What should he say to her? What could he say to her?


"How do I look?" she asked, breaking the ice.


"As lovely as your mother did when she wore it," he answered sincerely.


She smiled.


Her smile killed him. It always had. "Are you sure about this? Because if you're not- -"


She laughed. "Yes, I'm sure. It's taken me long enough to find him. Do you know how long I searched for a man that could measure up to my Daddy? To make me feel as secure as I feel when I'm in your arms? To make me feel like I'm the most important person in the world? A long time. He makes me feel that way and I'm not letting him go. He and I are going to have what you and Mom have. Thirty years from now, I'm going to wheel you into a room like this one and your granddaughter is going to be wearing this dress and getting ready to marry a man that's the best of you and her daddy."


Tears welled up in his eyes.


"You can't cry. Because if you start crying, I'm going to start crying. And if I ruin this make-up job, your blonde angel will kill me."


 


Oh, with all that I've done wrong


I must have done something right


To deserve your love every morning and butterfly


kisses


I couldn't ask God for more


Man, this is what love is


 


Pulling her into his arms, he hugged her tightly. He wanted her to feel every emotion pouring through him right now. With all the things he had done, seen, been a-party to, how had he been so blessed to be allowed to love and be loved by this miraculous human being? "Princess, I love you from the top of the sky- -"


"To the bottom of the ocean," they finished in unison.


"Here," she said, handing him an envelope, "open this afterwards."


He nodded, wondering what was in the envelope as he put it in the inner jacket pocket of his tuxedo.


Hearing the wedding march, he knew their time was up. "Thank you. Thank you for everything."


"Thank you for the love."


 


I know I gotta let her go


But I'll always remember


Every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses


 


"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Stefan Cassadine," the minister announced.


The guests cheered as the newlyweds took to the dance floor for their first dance.


He reached into his pocket and took out the envelope. His movements distracted his wife from their daughter's first married dance. She watched as he opened the envelope and gasped. A birth certificate. He, Edward Jeffrey Deline, and she, Jillian Grace Deline, were the proud parents of Vanessa Grace Deline. His heart was overflowing with emotions.


"The bride has made a request that her family join her and her groom on the floor."


Taking Jillian's hand in his, he walked to the middle of the dance floor.


"I love you, Mom and Dad," Nessa, the brown skinned beauty, whispered as she stepped out of her husband's arms to hug them both.


How wonderful it was to hear her use those rarely used terms of endearment. They had never sounded so sweet.


"We love you," he and Jillian responded.


Ed looked around and saw his other children dancing. Danny and Mary McCoy. He was so glad they had found their way back to each other. Samantha Jane and Mike Cannon. He hadn't seen that one coming, but Jillian said it was obvious from moment one. He'd defer to her judgment on that one. But maybe his biggest surprise, well second to his youngest meeting, falling in love, and marrying a Cassadine, was Delinda's marriage to Gavin "I refer to myself in third person" Brunson. How those two ever got together, he would never know. Even Jillian was stumped by that one. Gavin was trying to be more- - normal, but as long as the billionaire made his Delinda happy he could put up with anything.


With his wife in his arms and his princess, angel, and his other kids surrounding him, Ed smiled. Life couldn't get better than this.


 


Oh, with all that I've done wrong


I must have done something right


To deserve your love every morning and butterfly


kisses


I couldn't ask God for more


Man, this is what love is












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Disclaimer: 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.