She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I'm sittin' here wearin' 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 dancin'"
"Oh please, Daddy, please!"

He knew the instant he saw her. Fresh from his honeymoon, eating dinner at one of his favorite eateries, the laugh caught his attention. He didn't instantly recall why the laugh distracted him from his bride, but it had. Luckily the woman with the laughter was only two tables to his left, which enabled him to look as if he was captivated by his wife yet still investigate the laughter. Unfortunately the woman's back was to him and the reason the laughter was so familiar to him remained elusive. Upon seeing the mysterious woman's dinner companion, he knew he could always go over to speak to the young man and introduce his new bride without rousing anyone's suspicion; but that wasn't necessary. When he least expected it, she turned in his direction to greet her new dining companions and everything became crystal clear.

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 wanna miss even one song,
Cause all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

His great-grandmother. His grandmother. His daughter. The words spun around and around in his head. The laughter was so familiar, yet difficult to remember because he hadn't heard it in decades. It was the laughter of his great-grandmother. She had always had a smile on her face and a laugh close by. He, unfortunately, did not recall much about the older woman who died when he was ten, but he remembered that laugh. It was like hearing the finest symphony to hear that laughter once again. And his grandmother was imprinted all over her face. The forehead, the smile, the shape of her eyes, the tiny ears. The woman who had nursed and cared for him like no other was alive once again in this mysterious woman. Though he shouldn't call her a stranger any longer, this woman was his daughter.

Two weeks in Montreal had forever changed his life in more ways than one it seemed. Once again it had been a sound that caught his attention. Hearing the most atrocious French he had ever heard, he turned his head to see a lovely, wet American woman trying to ask the concierge discreetly where an affordable restaurant was. The concierge living up to every horrible stereotype of a Frenchmen pretended not to understand a word she was saying. Something about the woman called to him. He went over to her and offered his assistance. He saw the suspicion, yet relief in her eyes upon hearing an English speaking voice.

He suggested she share lunch with him. He was never sure what had prompted him to make the offer. He had come to Montreal to escape the pain of his recent divorce, yet the words had come out of his mouth. He watched as her wheels turned about how to politely refuse his offer, but the decision was taken from her when lightning struck, the rain that had soaked her began falling in earnest, and then the lights went off. With some reluctance, she followed him into the restaurant. He sat her at a table and the next five hours flew by. The best five hours of his life.

They didn't ask each other questions about their pasts. They lived in the moment. He noticed the mark on her left hand that spoke of a ring that had once rested there, but he quenched his thirst to know more. For two weeks, he acted like a tourist and showed her all around Montreal - his favorite haunts, discovered new places with her. He had the time of his life. She was smart, lovely, caring, with an absolute love for life. In their two weeks together, she had given him a new appreciation of life.

On their final night together, they both made the decision to elevate their relationship. After another mouthwatering and exquisite dinner, she accepted his invitation for a nice after dinner drink upstairs in his hotel room. His eyes bored into hers. He wanted her to be sure. Hers assured him she was. It had been a night filled with passion and although at the time he wouldn't have said so, but love also. When he awoke alone the next morning, he picked up the phone to have her found immediately but ultimately he put the receiver down. Theirs was a time stolen out of heaven- - never to be repeated, just appreciated for what it was.

Now he saw what his mistake cost him - - his daughter.

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

He was never quite sure how it occurred, but he convinced himself not to go over to the other table and introduce himself to his daughter. Instead he finished his meal with his wife, drove home, made love to his wife, and once he was assured she was asleep he made his move. Waking his go-to-investigator, he gave the freelance employee all the information he had. He knew he hadn't given the private detective a lot of information, but he had given him less on other occasions and the man had given him more information than he could have ever used or needed.

Why hadn't he followed his first instinct and had her followed when she left his Montreal hotel? He had done everything based on his first instinct and it had never led him astray before. And the one time- - the one time, he didn't do it, he had missed years, decades of his daughter's life. Unlike with his oldest daughter, he didn't get to see this young woman's first step, first smile. He didn't take her to her first father/daughter dance. He had missed countless birthdays, Christmases, gymnastic lessons. Damn it to hell, he didn't even know his own daughter's name.

He had been here before and had never imagined he would be in this same position again. He knew it would be a few days before who exactly his daughter was would come forward; in the meantime he hoped his wife and work would distract him. His wife had started a discussion about having a child. He had been open to the idea before their wedding, but now he wasn't sure. Five children had been born to him and only two of those he had watched grow from infant to adulthood. Did he want to embark on this journey again? He had two, no, three, children he knew little about. Shouldn't he spend his time getting to know them, learn about them? The answer that screamed in his head was yes, yet he knew that wasn't fair to his wife. Decisions, decisions. He had been warned about marrying a much younger woman, particularly one with no children. Could she understand his desire to not have any more children? He was a grandfather five times over. This time he would follow his instinct and have a talk with his wife.

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cause all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
She will be gone

She was everything he could have ever dreamed of. He had amazed himself by receiving the information on his daughter and her mother, yet didn't contact her until a week later. It had taken that long to process the black and white proof that she was his daughter, plus all the memories of his childhood seeing her brought to mind.

He discovered the woman in the hotel hadn't been single all those years ago, but separated - - contemplating divorce. The couple reconciled and was a happy family, until the husband's untimely death. Now his daughter's mother was the full-time caregiver of her eldest daughter, who was gravely ill. Based on this information, he decided to proceed boldly, yet cautiously.

After being assured by the guard, he had discreetly put on her, that she was back in her hotel room, he knocked on her door. When she opened the door, he had to catch his breath. She was more lovely than the glimpses of her he had seen in the restaurant. A thousand times more beautiful than all the pictures he had been given. He introduced himself and she allowed him into her room. He wanted to reprimand her for her foolish behavior, but he couldn't. He had been so grateful, when she stepped back and opened the door wider, he could say nothing.

"You're him?" she said, after he sat down.

"I'm whom?" he responded, answering her question with a question.

"You're my birth father," she replied calmly.

She knew. He had been led to believe she knew nothing about her parentage. "Do you ask all older men, you let in your room without checking the door peep, if they are your father?"

She laughed that glorious laugh. "You sound like a father. And why else would a tycoon I've never met before come to see me at 11PM?"

He had no answer for her.

"Besides I found your business card amongst her pictures of Montreal. I loved looking at them as a child. After I became a woman, I recognized a woman alone in all her pictures meant she was with a man, who couldn't or wouldn't be photographed. And couple that with the family gossip about my parents' separation and now your appearance here."

"Pictures, a business card, and my presence led you to believe your mother was unfaithful? Is not that a bit presumptuous?" he asked, confused yet slightly delighted by his daughter's line of reasoning.

"My father loved me. I was his baby girl. But I was different. Different from my mom, my older sister, my dad. I always wondered why that was. And your non-answer is confirmation. Did anyone in your family love acting? It's my passion."

Once again his great-grandmother came into his mind. She might have been an actress had she been born in a different era, but instead she brought to life physically and vocally every story she ever told. And he found himself sharing these precious memories with the woman who was his daughter.

Well, she came home today
With a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned

It was like they had never been apart. She told him literally about every single detail in her life and he absorbed every single one and wanted to hear more. In the beginning, he was cautious, guarded even, that she was taking this life changing news in stride, but after getting to know her he realized it was just part of who she was. The only thing she asked was that he not tell anyone. He hated keeping a secret from his wife, but he owed his daughter this one request.

He bought a house on the outskirts of town, so they could spend uninterrupted time together. They spent hours talking about her childhood, the childhood of her siblings, and sometimes his. He watched her audition for a play in Chicago in which she got the lead. He believed in her talent, but a discreet million dollar donation never hurt but had been completely unnecessary. The critics loved her performance and raved about her. He wanted the world to know she was his daughter, but he understood her reasoning. She wanted to protect her mother, her sister, her father's memory, and even his family. He tried to assure her his other children would accept her. But she countered by telling him no child wanted to hear about their parent's illegitimate child. He never brought up the subject again.

She says "Dad, the wedding's due six months away
And I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, Daddy please!"

Chicago had been the changing point in their relationship. She had found in her co-star a man, whom she had said was most like a combination of her father and him. He had been dying to meet this man and found the young man worthy of his daughter. And for the first time in their relationship, he could openly claim her as his. Her boyfriend had asked him for his daughter's hand in marriage. She introduced him to her fiancée's small, tight knit family as her father. Using her sister's illness as reasoning for the absence of her mother, he proudly walked her down the aisle in the home where their relationship had truly begun.

After the ceremony was complete, he surprised her with a performance by an artist she loved by the name of Steven Curtis Chapman. The singer/guitarist had played "Cinderella", a song she had made him listen to as they practiced the father/daughter dance. As he moved her across the makeshift dance floor, he was overcome with emotion. Having her in his arms brought about the same feelings he had when he held her older siblings in his arms for the first time. She was his baby and he had never wanted the moment to end, but it had, like all things it came to an end.

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella

To the casual observer, he was just one in the crowd. Even to those who knew him, they would have found nothing amiss. But while his physical body was there, his mind was miles away as red and orange colors flashed across his face. He divided his time between his adopted hometown and Chicago; even going so far as to buying a profitable business from people who didn't want to sell, in order to justify the amount of time he spent there. The dinners they had after her and her husband's performances played like a movie in his mind. He had thought they had all the time in the world together.

She was home on a rare weekend off and was running down the stairs to surprise him, when she missed a step. Instead of leaping into his arms, he watched in slow motion as his daughter fell down the stairs and landed in a heap at the bottom. He quickly dialed on his ever present I-phone as he rushed to her side, searching desperately for a pulse.

She had snapped her neck when her head hit the very first stair, the coroner's report had said. She had died instantly. Instantly. And like his relationship with her mother, the year they had spent together was like a little piece of heaven. His heaven was now gone. Out of respect for her mother and the rest of her family, he did not attend the funeral. But after everyone left, he met his son-in-law there and together after laying her favorite flower, carnations, on her casket, they watched as it was lowered into the ground. His grieving son-in-law left as the belts were removed and raised, this time without the coffin, but he stayed.

He watched as the two men surrounded his daughter with a seemingly endless amount of dirt. The thought crossed his mind of how much she would have to dig through in order to get out of her grave. He smiled at the memory of a weekend spent with her watching the complete and definitive box set of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer." He had actually grown to like the show though he had never admitted it to her. Now he never would. He had said a quick prayer after the workers left. He prayed the man lying beside her would look after her once again for him. With a last lingering look, he turned his back and walked away.

I don't wanna miss even one song,
Even one song

His Lear jet and a waiting motorcycle brought him to their house. The house where he had fallen truly, madly deeply in love with his daughter. The house she made into a home. The home where she took her last breath. Putting the frame of the two of them at Shea Stadium in his inner jacket pocket, he struck a match and threw it. Now he stood and watched as his former home was engulfed in flames. The only thing left would be a shell just like him. His daughter, Layla Williamson-Smith, had forever changed him, Victor Newman, and he knew he would never recover from this loss.

Cause all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone