Disclaimer: I do not own this character (but if I did, it really wouldn't be so bad)
At best, Erik treated me like an annoyance. At worst, I was not a man, but a boy. Though it delighted me to know that I could aggravate him, part of me desperately wanted his approval in a way I didn't understand. I knew he could hate me at times, but after seeing him stripped defenseless twice now, I didn't hate him. Christine was dead, and there was no point in trying to inure myself to the new life I had found myself in. All I wanted was my daughter...and she was the one thing I could never have again.
I would not admit it to anyone, but seeing Erik beaten had been the best thing that had happened to me. While he was distracted by his obvious feelings for his new nursemaid, I was able to make up the month I had lost...and truly it felt like a lifetime, because I realized I had never spent time with Charlotte the way she needed. Before it had all been to please Christine, and I barely had time for myself when I was not meeting the demands of a self indulgent wife. I loved her still...I always would...but she had cured me of ever marrying again.
If it hadn't been for Eva, Charlotte would have never survived the coldness of our home. She brightened it for our daughter, and made it seem like the sun always shone, and the moon would never fail. My honor dictated that I never seem too interested in Eva, though I had always found her beautiful. I would never have broken my marriage vows, not that Eva had ever been interested in me that way. I never would have treated Christine in the manner that she treated me, though in truth I wasn't surprised. She had connected with Erik in a way I could not connect with her, and even though he had destroyed her idyllic fantasy, where reality was kept at bay so she could pursue unreachable dreams...she had loved him in her own misguided way. Just as he had loved her. Just as I loved her.
Now I had two of her children, though I could see one and love her fiercely, and barely look at the other without remembering how I had killed my wife. I still had not found the courage to hold my son longer than a moment or two. Charlotte seemed as disinterested in him as she would an ugly puppy, and I hoped that my theory of her needing a brother would prove fruitful. In all honesty, it was I who needed her, though I would use whatever force I needed to keep her near me. Erik's misfortune was to my gain, and I hoped he had a long recovery.
We sat through almost half of the ballet before she began to fidget. Her legs began swinging, and she lost her focus on the painted dancers, then gave a little sigh.
"Are you tired, Lotte?" I asked softly.
"Very," she sighed, then yawned. "Are we going home soon?"
I nodded, "Right this second, if that is your wish."
"Then it is," she said, then hopped down from her seat. She frowned, then cast one final look at the scene from Coppelia. "Can I have a dress like that, Papa?"
I smiled. "You may."
"Are we going home? Or are we going back to your other house?" she demanded, striding purposefully out of the box.
"To my house here in Paris," I said softly. "Lotte...I'm not going to keep the house by the sea."
She spun around to look at me, a frozen expression on her face. In that moment she looked more like her father than her mother, a thought that I'd had a million times since her birth. "What do you mean?"
"I'm...I'm going to sell it, Lotte."
"No," she whispered, then turned her back. "You can't...you can't..."
"Charlotte!" she shouted, then took off at a run through the nearly empty theater.
I raced after her, forgetting her penchant for drama and trying to keep up. I recognized a few old friends, all of them stuffier and more boring than I ever thought of being, looking at me with disdain as I abandoned my manners and chased my screaming child. Rather, Erik's screaming child...
He would have been proud of her for the embarrassment she caused me, but I dutifully ignored the comments that 'my father would have been appalled'. Of course my father would have been appalled. My entire family would have been, and the most shocking thing I had done was to marry a virtually unknown starlet from a scandal that rocked Paris for years. Even now the papers still published those grisly stories of my wife when they ran out of things to print. Less and less was mentioned of the actual events in the theater...they were content to make up their own accounts of what was surely a bizarre enough story without their ungovernable expansions.
I caught up with her at the doors, a split second before she darted through them.
"Charlotte," I gasped, eyeing her sternly. "That sort of decorum is not proper for this theater, nor is it proper behavior for you."
"I don't care!" She stamped her foot, then glared at me. "You can't sell the house! You can't!"
How could I explain to her that I would never go back? That house held so many memories for me...memories of a life I had lost, and a love that I had tried to hold on to. For far too long. Christine had haunted me much longer than she had haunted Erik. I had loved her the moment we met, and through the years as children.
Now she was gone, and we had never fulfilled that grand madness...that grand passion that I had always hoped to achieve. We had been more friends than husband and wife, though she was by far the most demanding and jealous friend I had ever had. But I had loved her desperately...so desperately I had wanted to do anything she asked...
Even bear another child with her, against the advice of her doctors.
"Do you want the house?" I asked suddenly.
"Me?" she whispered, then her eyes lit up. "Do you mean it?"
I thought about Erik's reaction to the news, and I nodded sternly. "On one condition. You will not get the house until you come of age."
"What does that mean?" she asked, annoyed that I had put a price on her beloved home.
"That means you will not get it until you are grown," I said patiently. "Until you are...twenty one."
"Twenty one!" she huffed, "Why, I should turn that tomorrow!"
I chuckled, and shook my head. "No, Lotte. You have many years until you turn twenty one. But I will not sell the house. Not unless you permit me to do so."
I was spoiling her, and well I knew it.
It was thankful then that she had Eva. The only woman who could govern her tantrums, and control these outbursts. Erik had better please that woman any way he could. It would be a tragedy if she somehow were lost.