Look with your Heart

I don't own Lover Never Dies or any of the songs that'll pop up during the story.

SUMMARY:

With Christine dead, Erik must now care for his young daughter, Victoria, and go through the trials of fatherhood alone…

TWO NOTES FROM THE AUTHORESS:

There's a poll on my page- pleasy sneezy go and vote?

I now have a new fan page on Facebook called Allanna Stone- I will (hopefully) update everyday with new ideas and plot lines and even will be accepting fan art. Pleasy sneezy go and give it a like?

On the train ride back to Coney Island, Victoria and Elizabeth played together under the table while Erik and Samantha chatted. But Erik's mind was elsewhere. It had been more than six weeks since her mother's death, and he had hoped that Victoria would have resumed speaking by now. But she hadn't, and Erik was beginning to worry. He wondered if she had been like this earlier in her life? As the train lurched around a corner, Erik jumped when he felt someone grab his leg from under the table. He reached down and Victoria's little hand immediately grabbed hold of his fingers and squeezed them tightly. The faster the train went and the more it rocked, the tighter her hold became.

Elizabeth had been playing with her doll, babbling incoherently to her little ragged friend. But when the train suddenly lurched around a corner, she scampered up into her mother's lap and whimpered quietly, burying her head into Samantha's chest. Samantha smiled as she combed back her daughter's black curls with her fingers, humming a lullaby to her as she drifted off into dreamland.

Suddenly, Victoria popped up on the seat next to Erik, with her music folder clutched closely to her chest. She found a blank sheet of staff paper and began to make some notations. Erik was pleased to see that she was writing down the tune that Samantha had been singing, making up her own version as she went along. When Erik saw the title she had given it, he wondered what she was dreaming of – Mr. Mistoffelees. He found himself humming the song quietly as his daughter made her notations.

At Erik's invitation, Samantha leaned over the table to peek at what Victoria was writing, but frowned as she looked at the mess of notes.

"Can you read music?" Erik asked her offhandedly in an attempt to make conversation.

"I'm afraid I can't," confessed Samantha with a little blush. "I've never had the opportunity to learn."

"Would you like to?... learn, that is?" Erik asked her as the train rumbled to its first stop.

"Well, yes I would… if it wouldn't be too much trouble?" grinned Samantha. "It might provide a way for me to connect with Elizabeth."

"She reads music?" asked Erik, amazed.

"She composes music on the spot, no matter where she is," explained Samantha with a bark of laugher as the subject of their talk grabbed onto her mother's braid in her sleep. Erik wondered what Victoria had been like at that age? "She's a very talented young lady! I will make arrangements for both of you to learn more about music. "

He found himself gazing at the woman and suddenly realized that she reminded him of his sweet Christine. He knew that they weren't the same person, of course - he had held Christine and kissed her, as she laid dying from that horrendous gunshot wound that tore his life apart; the one inflicted by the little dancer, Meg Giry. But he had to stop dwelling on such things. He pulled himself out of his reverie to see that Victoria was still busy composing songs in her little worn folder. He leaned over her shoulder and saw that she was working on a song called The Invitation To The Jellicle Ball. He wondered how this song would tie in with the first one she had been working on, but knew that he would have to wait to hear the entire piece before he could actually understand the story that Victoria was telling.

Less than five hours later, they arrived at Coney Island. No sooner had they disembarked than Victoria grabbed Erik's hand and began rubbing her belly. Victoria had no need for words because Erik could hear her stomach's protests loud and clear. She began to whine quietly in the back of her throat. Erik obligingly directed the young ladies to Tony's Pizzeria.

"Ah, Mr. Y!" boomed Tony, waddling out from behind the counter as Victoria led the group over to her usual table, in the back. "And what will my sweet little angel be having today?" Tony asked, squeezing Victoria's little chin in his beefy hand. "Will it be pizza? Calzone? How about some nice Stromboli? Eh? You never have Stromboli, Little Angel?" Noticing Samantha and Elizabeth, he added, "Ah! And you have brought in some more customers for me! Good for business! Now, what can I get you?"

Erik ordered a pizza for them, along with some iced tea for himself and Samantha and orange phosphates for the children. Samantha and Elizabeth were fascinated at the crowds of people passing by the little eatery, remarking on the occasional circus clown, dancer, unicyclist or stilt-walker advertising upcoming performances. They each did a small performance as they passed by when they noticed Mr. Y's presence, with Erik and company applauding or nodding to acknowledge each of them in turn.

It seemed no time before a server set a steaming pan of pizza in front of them, accompanied by some breadsticks and their drinks. Erik handed the server some cash, but before he could pass around the napkins he saw a small hand reaching toward the hot pan. In a flash he grabbed Elizabeth's hand to keep her from burning herself.

"Hot!" Samantha scolded as Elizabeth snatched her hand away and turned to her doll. "Thank you, Mr. Y, and thank you for the lunch. We've never had a pie like this before. What did you say it was called?"

Erik carefully handed Samantha and Victoria large slices of the pizza pie, and then gave a smaller piece to Elizabeth. "Tony calls this 'Pizza-pie'. It's his specialty. His brother has a Pizzeria in New York and, as far as anyone knows, these are the only two in America."

"It's very good, if a little messy," she replied, extending her arm in an attempt to break the stretchy strand of cheese. "So Victoria, your father tells me that you are writing some music." It was clear that she was trying to get the silent girl to talk; however Victoria simply nodded as she nibbled at a garlic infused breadstick. Soon a server came to the table with what looked like a chair without legs. He directed Samantha to lift up her daughter before placing the item on top of her chair. When Samantha returned her to her seat, she was now sitting as tall as everyone else at the table, much to her delight. Looking around from her new perspective, Elizabeth now noticed the pretty trinket Victoria wore at her neck. She reached out her hand to touch it, but Victoria jerked back protectively, as though the little girl was going to grab it from her.

"It contains her mother's picture." Erik quietly explained.

"Elizabeth," Samantha told her, "You can play with my jewelry, but not what other people wear, unless you ask first and they tell you it's OK." Elizabeth pouted, disappointed that the silent, if not rude girl wouldn't let her play with her jewelry.

During the meal, the two girls, who were sitting next to each other, began nudging each other to gain more room for themselves at the table. At one point Elizabeth's chair nearly tipped over. Erik gave Victoria a disapproving scowl and asked Samantha, who had been sitting next to him, if she would mind trading seats with his daughter. Soon the table was jerking as the two girls began kicking at each other under the table. Samantha gave Erik an apologetic shrug and he got up and switched places with Victoria so that she and Elizabeth were no longer seated across from each other. Samantha put her hand across her face as she stifled a giggle at the sight of this proper gentleman having to deal with a children's squabble, earning her a look of consternation from Erik. When the pizza was finally gone, Erik, now holding a sleeping Victoria on his lap, had wanted to show Samantha where she would be staying, but Samantha said, "Mr. Y, why don't you take Victoria home first?" So he scooped up his young daughter and carried her to his apartment above the Phantasma bakery, while Samantha and Elizabeth waited for him below.

Erik tenderly removed Victoria's shoes and dress before laying her in her bed and drawing the covers up to her chin. Victoria stirred as she found her bear and doll and hugged them close to her chest. Erik felt a fatherly pride welling up within him as he bent down to kiss Victoria goodnight. He left a note for her under her little night-lamp in case she might wake before he returned, and left to show Samantha and Elizabeth where they would be staying.

About an hour later, after Erik had shown Samantha and Elizabeth around some of Phantasma, he finally reached their new home. He wordlessly handed Samantha a key that would unlock both the front and back doors so that they could experience the salty ocean breezes that came with living in Phantasma.

Erik chuckled as little Elizabeth flew around the small, furnished apartment, shrieking loudly as she explored her new (more permanent) home. Samantha called to Elizabeth that it would soon be her bedtime, then sighed as she sank into a chair, her legs suddenly tired.

"And by the way, I had your luggage brought here. It's in your bedroom. I hope you don't mind," Erik concluded.

"I cannot thank you enough, Mr. Y," she said as she shut her eyes in utter exhaustion.

"Erik," he murmured

"What?" Samantha asked blankly.

"Call me Erik, please, Samantha," he repeated with a doleful smile at her. "Goodnight now. Get some rest. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow."

Samantha returned the smile, "Goodnight… Erik," she said, before standing to find out where Elizabeth had gone off to. Erik left the single mother and her little girl, certain that Samantha could handle the rest of the night just fine on her own.