I Loved Her First

Look at the two of you dancing that way
Lost in the moment and each other's face
So much in love you're alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world

Robert Williams looked out at the dance floor; watching his daughter as she danced with the man she'd chosen as hers.

Her white dress twirled about her legs as the man spun her around in a complicated twirl. She was cradled against the man's chest, her head under his chin, one hand resting on his chest while the other was held in his hand up next to their heads; his other hand rested on her lower back, clutching her close. Her hair was pinned to her head with only a few fly-away curls loose; the veil still attached to the tiara that had been carefully arranged amongst her black locks. Green eyes sparkled as she looked up at the man who held her.

The man looked dashing in his tux with his long, blonde hair tied in a braid down his back. Mismatched brown and blue eyes shone as he smiled back at Robert's daughter before taking her on another circle around the dance floor. It didn't show but the boy had been rather uncomfortable in the unfamiliar clothes. Now he looked as if he'd never worn anything else. Robert's daughter had informed him that the Fae were very good at adapting when the situation called for it.

Robert felt a small sense of satisfaction that his daughter had insisted on a white wedding so that her family could be a part of it. She'd broached the subject with them when she'd visited with the boy once and the boy had stated that he would do whatever she wanted if it made her happy. There were no words that could describe the joy on his daughter's face in that moment.

I was enough for her not long ago
I was her number one
She told me so
And she still means the world to me
Just so you know

Robert wondered where the time had gone while memories of her childhood played through his mind like a movie.

There was the time she'd disappeared when she was five. He and his wife, at the time, Linda, had been frantic when they'd been unable to find her. The two had searched the house and surrounding area for hours trying to find their precocious little daughter. Eventually, they'd been forced to call the police who had shown up a little before dusk. In the midst of all the questions, veiled accusations, and tears on his and his wife's part, one of the officers had happened to look up.

"Isn't that her right there?" She'd asked as she looked at the photo in her hand. The one they'd given the police to help with the search.

The whole group of gathered people had stopped and turned to see his daughter walking up the road as if there was nothing wrong in the world. The surprised girl had been scooped up by her parents and almost squeezed to death before they had demanded to know where she'd been. She'd given them an exasperated look, one only a child could give, before informing them that she'd left them a note.

They found it under the kitchen table where it had gotten knocked off. The spelling was atrocious and the handwriting that of a child's but it quite clearly stated that she was going to the park and would be back soon. Robert still had the letter.

Then there was the time when she was seven and he'd taught her to ride a bike. She'd taken to the activity as if it were the most natural thing in the world and he'd been hard pressed to keep up with her on his own bike.

Robert remembered a time when she was ten when he'd taken her to learn how to ballroom dance at her request and she had ended up dancing on his feet. She'd enjoyed it so much that they'd continued with the ritual until her mother had left two years later. After that, he didn't have time since it was suddenly only his income that was supporting them and he'd had to begin working all the hours he could.

He remembered when she was fifteen and she had decided she wanted to take up swimming on her high school swim team. Everyone was surprised at how well she did, even though she'd had no prior training. Robert had swelled with pride when she made the varsity team and had made sure to go to all her meets. Karen had been just as big a supporter as he was and, once Toby had gotten big enough, he had been an enthusiastic participant in cheering Sarah on, as well.

Then there were all the times he'd read her bedtime stories, she'd had pillow fights with him, or she'd simply played outside in the sprinkler on hot summer days. He remembered times when she would play dress up and pretend she was a princess or a knight slaying dragons. He remembered teaching her to bake and cook and how she would end up covered in flour from head to foot. All the things of her childhood that they'd had so much fun doing and that he wanted to be able to go back and do again.

So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything
Life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

His daughter flashed another smile up at the man she was dancing with and Robert felt his heart constrict within his chest. Robert wanted to be able to hate the man who now held his daughter's sole attention but he couldn't. He was the man his daughter loved more than life itself; that fact had been plain on her face when she'd brought the man home for the first time to introduce him to them. She had given no warning that she was dating anyone, let alone that she was bringing him with her that day.

When she'd rung the doorbell, Toby had run to answer it; eager to see his big sister again. He and Karen had smiled at each other over his enthusiasm but they knew his sister's greeting to him would be just as enthusiastic. They'd heard the door open and Toby shout his sister's name before he'd said something that gave them pause.

"Who are you?"

It was obvious from his tone that he didn't really like whoever was at the door, so he and Karen had gone to see what had upset their son. They'd soon realized the reason when they caught sight of the man standing with Robert's daughter, his arm around her waist; holding her close to him. Toby had always been very protective of his older sister and jealous of his sister's attentions. He would often do anything in his power to run off whatever boyfriend she'd deemed worthy enough to bring home. Toby had often succeeded in his endeavors and Sarah was never really upset with him when he did. In fact, she'd seemed almost relieved whenever he managed to run off another one. However, it was soon apparent that Toby wasn't going to get rid of this one and that, if he did actually manage to do so (unlikely as that was), his sister would be very upset with him.

Robert had simply stood in the doorway to the kitchen and stared at the couple while Karen went out to greet them. It was at that moment, that he'd realized he was finally going to be meeting the man who was going to take his daughter away from him. The man had looked up then and locked eyes with him before giving him a nod of deference. Robert knew then that it would most likely be that night that he would give his consent to let this man take his daughter away. He had been right in his assumptions because after dinner the boy had taken him aside to ask for his daughter's hand.

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

Robert felt a hand slip into his. He looked down to find Karen standing next to him with a small smile on her face; the way she'd done that day they'd come to visit the first time; when she had realized he hadn't come out to say hello. She squeezed his hand in comfort, which he returned, before going back to studying the newly wedded couple out on the dance floor.

"You looked like you needed someone," She said quietly. Robert just grunted in reply.

"I was talking to his parents," Karen continued.

"Oh?" He said as he glanced over to the table where the groom's family sat. Robert hadn't been sure how to take it once his daughter began explaining how she and her fiancé had met but the couple had quickly gone about proving it by taking them to meet the boy's parents. After that, they had had little choice but to believe the two. The boy's father, Oberon, caught him looking and gave him a nod of greeting, which Robert returned.

"They said we could go with them if we wished," Karen informed him quietly.

Robert glanced at her out of the corner of his eye before turning back to look at his daughter again. He couldn't help the feeling of hope that filled his breast at the thought of not having to lose his daughter to another world or she having to lose them to time.

"We'll talk about it after the reception," Robert said quietly. Today was for his daughter. Everything else could wait.

Karen nodded her understanding as she leaned into his side.

How could that beautiful women with you
Be the same freckle face kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

His mind wandered to the day his daughter had been born. Linda had been in labor for hours and the doctors were beginning to say that they may have to do an emergency cesarean if the baby wasn't born soon. Thankfully, his daughter had entered the world not too much time later but Linda had still had to stay in the hospital for a while. Robert remembered the first time he'd held his daughter. He'd been so scared he would do something wrong when they'd placed the little bundle in his arms.

He'd stared into her, then, blue eyes, dark hair already coming in thickly, and he knew he would do anything to make her happy. As if she'd heard the promise he'd just made, she smiled up at him before giggling happily and he knew that he was lost. Robert still had the picture his mother had taken of him sitting in the hospital chair, holding his daughter, and staring at her with amazement. At the time, he couldn't believe he'd been a part of making something so perfect.

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But its still hard to give her away
I loved her first

Deciding it was time to hold his daughter again, Robert disentangled himself from Karen before making his way out to the dance floor. He tapped the man his daughter was dancing with on the shoulder to get his attention.

"Excuse me," He said politely, "May I cut in?"

"Certainly," The man answered as he stepped back and out of the way to allow Robert to dance with his daughter. Bowing to the father of his wife, he made his way off the dance floor to sit with his parents.

"I'm very happy for you," Robert said as he took up her hands to begin dancing with her. He was only half-way lying. It was obvious his daughter knew it, too, from the look she gave him but she smiled up at him for his effort anyway.

"I'm glad," She answered softly.

They danced in silence for a time while Robert tried hard not to let the tears fall.

"If you want, we could stay a couple more days," She offered quietly but Robert shook his head. The plan was for them to head back Underground after the reception and Robert would be damned if they delayed their trip because of him.

"No," he said firmly, "Much as I hate to think about it, this is your wedding night and you aren't going to spend it in your childhood home, in your childhood bedroom. You're going to spend it in that wonderful castle you took us to that one time when you showed us where you would be living and where, hopefully, you will have too much to do to occupy your time to be thinking of us."

"I'm always thinking of you, though," She pouted but she said it with a smile. She bit her lip in thought for a moment before asking, "Have his parents talked to you yet?"

"Karen mentioned something about it but I said we'd discuss it later," He answered quietly, "But I will admit that the idea is tempting."

She looked up at him with hope filled eyes before a shining smile lit up her face and she hugged him tight. The two danced for a while longer before they noticed that most of the guests had left with the few stragglers getting ready to leave. His daughter tensed when she noticed something over his shoulder. Suddenly, she was hugging him again while he was hugging her back just as tightly.

From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
Someday you might know what I'm going through

When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

"I love you daddy," She said fiercely.

"I know, Sarah," He murmured in her hair, "I love you, too."

A throat cleared behind him and he turned to see Sarah's husband standing there.

"You take care of my little girl, Jareth," Robert demanded thickly, "Promise me."

"I give you my most solemn promise that I shall do everything within my power to make your daughter happy and to keep her safe," Jareth intoned seriously as he bowed to Robert and Robert nodded his acceptance.

Sarah reached up to hug her dad around the neck again.

"You'll always be my number one," She whispered quietly before making her way to Jareth and taking his hand. The couple stood there for a moment before disappearing in a cloud of glitter.

Robert stared at the spot where he'd last seen his daughter before turning and walking to where his son and wife stood. He didn't realize that his face was wet as he smiled at them.

"We'll see them again," Karen said quietly.

"Yes," Robert answered as he stared at the wall of photos that told the story of his daughter's life, "We will."