''How did it go at school today?'' Elizabeth asked her 6-year-old daughter as the little girl walked through the door.
''It was fine,'' she replied with a smile on her face as she walked towards the table. The smile widened as she reached into the basket at the center of the kitchen table for an apple. ''Mrs. Wilson said that I could be her special helper next week.''
''That's great, honey,'' Elizabeth responded absent-mindedly as she put some more color on her brush for the painting she was working on. Maybe she could finally get that shade of blue right. ''Give me a minute and I will help you with your homework.''
''We don't have homework on Fridays, mom,'' the little giggled. ''I'll go to my room and finish the gift I'm making for grandpa's birthday, okay?''
Elizabeth nodded, her attention back on her painting. ''I'll call you for dinner,” she said to her retreating daughter.
''Okay,'' Lydia said, turning to the stairs and quickly running up them towards her room. When she got there, she closed the door, but not before making sure that the ''Keep out'' sign was face up, facing any unwanted visitors. That way, they would know that they should stay away.
Lydia took out the stuff that she needed to finish the frame she was making, in this case, she needed glue, paint, and some small pieces of wood. Before she continued gathering her supplies, something caught her attention by the window. She walked towards the window, frowning in confusion. What could possibly be there? The curtains were moving, even though she knew the window was closed. After all, even though it wasn’t winter, it wasn’t hot enough for summer yet and the window did not need to be open.
She slowly moved the curtain aside to see what was making it move. It could be a mouse, or another sort of rodent. Or maybe it was just the heater coming on, and the wind from it was blowing lightly at the curtain and making it billow.
As she moved the curtain aside, she suddenly came face to face with a man who had been hiding behind it. Startled, the little girl screamed while the man put a finger on his mouth to show her to keep quiet. Lydia didn’t care. There was a strange man in her room and she wanted to let her mom know it so she was going to make all the noise she could.
It was too late go be quiet, though, because Lydia could hear her mother run towards her room, calling her name. Lydia turned around and faced her bedroom door just as Elizabeth burst through it, relieved that her mom was there to help her.
''What is it?'' Elizabeth asked as she ran to her daughter, taking her in her arms protectively. As she’d heard her daughter scream, Elizabeth had feared the worst. Her heart had thudded in her throat, making it hard to breather. All she could think of was getting to her child before anything happened. Now, with the girl in her arms, safe and sound, Elizabeth could relax a little bit.
''A m-m-man,'' the scared little girl answered, pointing to her window, ''there's a man in my r-r- room,'' she said, her voice trembling with fear.
Elizabeth walked to the window and gave floor length curtains a tug. She didn’t see anything hiding behind them.
''Honey,'' Elizabeth said, her voice carefully soft, ''what have I told you time and time again about crying wolf?'' she asked, wanting the girl to know that it wasn’t polite or rational to imagine and make up things.
''Mommy, there was a man behind there!'' Lydia replied desperately, looking at her mother with sincere eyes.
''And how did a man came into your room, if the window is closed?'' she replied, her voice neutral. She wanted Lydia to rationalize and see that it was impossible for anyone to have come into her room. The window was closed and there was no way anyone was getting out before Elizabeth saw him or her.
''Maybe he opened the window and ran when I screamed!'' Lydia continued, still convinced of what she had seen. ''I swear to God and hope to be eaten by the Cassadines for breakfast if I lie!''
''I really wish that you wouldn't repeat your grandfather's words, Lyddie,'' Elizabeth said with a small sigh. Luke was not always the best influence around children and it was very apparent with Lydia.
''But there really was someone!'' Lydia insisted, watching her mother, not liking the fact that she didn’t believe what Lydia was saying.
Elizabeth walked out of Lydia’s room and began to walk through every room in the house, because the serious look on her daughter’s face was an indication that she wasn’t lying. Lydia was known to giggle and give herself away when she wasn’t being truthful and the little girl was not doing that now, which concerned Elizabeth.
Finding no one, Liz returned to Lydia’s room and told the still frightened little girl that she was safe. Only after Liz promised to install a lock on her window did Lydia finally calm down.
Later that same evening, Lydia was painting the frame she had just finished gluing together when she felt a breeze coming from behind her. She turned around slowly, her heart beating wildly. She knew that she would see someone behind her when she turned around, because she could sense his presence.
''Who are you?'' Lydia asked, trying to keep her voice calm when she saw him, even though she had never been more nervous.
''I’m your guardian angel,'' the man replied in a soft voice, smiling kindly. ''You don't have to be frightened, Lydia. I would never hurt you. My whole purpose is to protect you,'' he continued, his voice gentle and calm because he didn’t want to frighten the girl any further.
''How did you come in?'' Lydia asked, still on guard. She was ready to run if he made a move in any direction.
''I just appeared,'' the angel replied. ''I have been with you for a long time. I didn't mean for you to see me earlier. I thought that it was still too early for you to be able to see me, so I wasn't careful about what I was doing. When you saw me and screamed, you surprised me.''
''Why are you here?'' she asked, carefully watching the man who was just standing there just in front of the window, calmly watching her. His arms were visible and his hands rested on his legs, also clearly visible and unthreatening. The man’s face was very open and friendly, which took a bit of Lydia’s fear away.
''I just came back to let you know that you were not crazy and that you did see someone. I also wanted you to know that you have nothing to fear from me.''
''I knew it!'' The little girl squealed, happy to be vindicated. ''I knew that I had seen someone! Can I see you disappear again so I know that you are telling the truth?''
''Smart girl,'' the angel grinned as he slowly became less and less visible. Within 5 seconds, he was completely gone from her sight, as if he had never been there.
''WOW!'' Lydia exclaimed, her face expressing complete amazement. Her face was radiant and the smile that broke out could've brightened up the darkest of nights.
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
''How did you do that?'' She asked as the angel reappeared at the same spot he had disappeared from. He had slowly become less and less visible to her and now, he slowly became more and move visible to her, until he was solid and she couldn't see through him anymore.
''It takes lots of practice,'' the angel said with a teasing grin. He brushed off his clothing in mock fatigue, causing Lydia to giggle.
''Can you show me how to do that too?''
''I can try,'' the angel replied. ''But before I show you, there are some ground rules that we need to talk about, okay? You saw me now, even though you were not supposed to. Since you did see me, I think that we can become friends, can't we?''
''Of course,'' Lydia smiled. Now that she knew he wasn't dangerous and wouldn't hurt her, the angel had become her friend. ''What rules are there? Can you fly? What happens if you're flying and the wind goes through you, do you get thrown away? What's your name?''
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
''Call me Clarence,'' the angel replied with a teasing smile.
''Clarence, isn't that the name of the angel in “It's a Wonderful Life”?'' Lydia replied with a smile/frown.
''What makes you think that I'm not that angel?'' Clarence asked with a grin.
''Because,'' Lyddie giggled, ''Clarence is old. Besides, it's just a movie. Clarence doesn't exist for real.''
''Well, you can see me, so it shows you that I do exist. But since you are not supposed to know I'm here, I can't give you my real name. I could get into lots of trouble if I told you.''
''Oh,'' Lydia replied in a whisper as she leaned closer to Clarence, ''I won't tell anyone about you. If I do by mistake, I'll just say that you're my imaginary friend.''
''That would work,'' Clarence replied in a whisper, leaning closer to her, making Lydia giggle. ''Okay, let's talk about the do’s and don’ts of having a guardian angel that you can see.'' He then said in his normal voice as he straightened up. ''Ready?''
''Clarence,'' he teased --corrected-- her with a smile and she smiled back. ''Like I said, no one is to know that I'm here with you. They would not believe you, anyway, and you are the only one who can see me. When you get older, though, you probably won't see me anymore.''
''Why not?'' Lydia asked, her smile fading slightly at that prospect. She liked her angel and she didn't want to see him go, ever!
''Have you ever seen the “Nevereding Story” movie?'' Clarence asked as he made his way towards Lydia’s little worktable and sat down on her small chair. Lydia followed his lead and plopped herself down on her bed. She turned her face towards Clarence, giving him her full attention.
''Isn't it the movie where the imaginary world of Fantasia is in danger because the people have stopped dreaming?''
''That's very good,'' Clarence replied with a nod of his head. ''In the movie, a magical land called Fantasia exists because of the dreams, hopes and imagination of little boys and girls like you. But as the children become adult, they stop dreaming and using their imaginations because of the pressure of being an adult, right?''
''Right,'' Lydia nodded, impatient for him to continue. She said she had seen the movie, she already knew all of *that*.
''When you get older, the same thing will happen to you. I need you to believe in order for you to see me. However, as time passes and you mature, you will have more friends and you'll start going out and you will eventually forget about me and stop believing in me.''
''No, I won't!'' Lydia said, finding Clarence’s words hard to believe. She would never stop believing in him, not ever!
''Don't worry, Lydia, honey. Just because you won't see me doesn't mean that I won't be there right beside you. I'm your guardian angel, and I will be here forever.''
''Do you promise?''
''Yes, sweetie, I promise.''
May you never take one single breath for granted
''What else do I need to know?'' Lydia asked. She got up from her bed and walked towards Clarence. Instead of going to him, though, she gathered up the wood and glue and started working on the frame she was making for Luke's birthday. She was going to put a picture of her in it and give it to him for him to put on his desk, next to the picture of her grandmother, father and aunt.
''That's pretty much it,'' Clarence laughed lightly as he watched the little girl intently work on the frame. ''This is way better than watching over you from over there,'' he said, pointing to the window. ''I didn’t have anything to do then, but stand up and watch you. It gets kind of lonely that way,'' he said and winked at her.
''Oh, poor Clarence!'' The little girl said as she walked to him and wrapped her arms around him. She didn't see the surprised look on his face when he realized that she was able to touch him. He wrapped his arms around her tiny body, closing his eyes at the pleasure of being able to hold her close to his heart. ''You never have to be lonely again, I'm here,'' Lydia told him, her voice muffled from where her face was pressing up against his shoulder.
''LYDDIE, DINNER'S READY,'' they heard being yelled from the kitchen, and Lydia broke the embrace. ''Well mommy's calling.'' Lydia said as she let go of him and stood in front of her very own angel.
''Yes, mommy's calling,'' Clarence replied, and Lydia noted the melancholy in his voice. He smiled and pointed to the door with his chin. ''Go on, I will be right here when you get back.''
''You're not coming to the kitchen with me?'' Lydia asked with a frown. ''I thought that you were with me all the time.''
''You don't need me there when mommy is around,'' he said and she noted, once again, the deep sadness in his voice. Her mother had that voice when she talked about her father. ''Mommies are guardian angels children can see. When she is with you, she can protect you just as much as I can.''
''I'm sorry that you're sad,'' Lydia said softly as she caressed his face like her grandfather did for her when she was sad.
''I'm not sad,'' Clarence said, smiling at the little girl, ''I'm never sad, do you know why?''
''Because I get to watch over you.''
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
''LYDIA, DINNER'S GETTING COLD!''
''Go on,'' Clarence said with a smile and watched her go.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
''And then the big wave came crashing in and mommy lost her bikini top!'' Lydia giggled as she fell back on top of her bed. ''She was red as a beet and she was yelling at me to find it under the water, but I was laughing too hard!''
The angel grinned at the little girl who lay so merrily on her bed. He had seen all of that, because he had been there. However, since he had told her a couple of months ago that when she was with her mother, he wouldn't be there because she didn’t need her guardian angel, he let her tell him every detail of her vacation.
''It was so cool, Clarence,'' Lydia continued. ''I was standing on the beach and I was looking where the sun was. How can the ocean be so big?'' Her eyes were as blue as the ocean she was talking about, with stars in them that showed how full of life she was. ''I mean, I could swim and swim and swim and never reach the other side!''
''And then you'd feel fishes nibbling at your toes,'' he teased as he tickled her feet a little and she squealed, putting them under the covers. They heard the door opened and both whipped their heads to the side to see who was coming in.
''What were you laughing at?'' the man asked as he walked to Lydia's bed, before he sat on the edge, on the other side of where Clarence was sitting.
''I was just remembering some of the stuff that happened at the beach,'' Lyddie said and she winked at her angel, forgetting for a second that no one was supposed to know he was there.
''Who are you winking at?'' The new comer asked as he reached and tickled Lydia slightly.
''My imaginary friend,'' Lydia laughed and moved to get away from the tickling fingers. ''Jason, stop it!''
''Your imaginary friend, huh?'' Jason asked as he extended his hand to the other side of the bed and pretended to shake hands with said friend. ''Pleased to meet you''
Lydia started laughing louder when Clarence pretended to bite Jason's fingers, since Jason's hand was at his face level. ''His name is Clarence,'' Lyddie told Jason.
''Hi, Clarence.'' Jason said and finally got up. ''Don't stay up too late talking with Clarence, because you have school tomorrow,'' Jason reminded her.
''I know,'' Lyddie said as she moved under the covers. ''Good night Clarence,'' the girl said as she settled in. ''Good night, Jase.''
''I love you, Lyddie,'' Jason said as he turned off the light.
''I love you, too, step-daddy dearest,'' Lyddie said before she closed her eyes.
''I love you, Lyddie,'' Clarence said as he slowly disappeared as Jason closed the door to the girl's bedroom.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
''Okay, let's see,'' Clarence said as he looked over Lydia's homework for the night. ''Write a short description of the people in your family, including both parents, step-parents (if available) and grandparents. Extra points will be given for aunts and uncles. Hmm…” he said, pretending to think, ''What are you going to say?''
''Well, that part of the homework is easy and I'm already done,'' Lydia said, showing him the sheet of paper where she had written two lines or so about each member of her family. She smiled as he started to read it out loud.
''Mother: Elizabeth Webber Morgan. My mom is an artist. She paints and sells her art in galleries. Sometimes she has to go to the galleries and meet the people who are going to buy her paintings.
Stepfather: Jason Morgan: Jason is kind of like a father to me. He's been raising me since I was just a tiny baby. He is the president of the Morgan-Corinthos Coffee Company. He imports and exports the best coffee this side of the ocean.
Father: Lucas Spencer Junior. I never knew my father. He died in a fire before my mother had time to tell him that she was pregnant with me. When he died, he was working in a bike shop for my stepfather. Even though I never met him, I love him a lot and I miss not knowing him. My grandfather, my grandmother and mother talk a lot about him and I feel like I know him a little. He was a great man.
Grandfather: Lucas Spencer Senior: Grandpa Luke is the best. I smile when I think about him. He is the owner of Luke's Club, the best blues club in town. He is co-owner of Kelly's, the best restaurant in town. He says that when I grow up, I'll be manager of Luke's Club.
Grandmother: Laura Spencer: She is the president of Deception Cosmetics. Grandma Laura always takes me with her when she goes away for business and I love to see new places. She gives me samples of make-up and perfumes and she said that when I grow up, I’d be the face of deception.
Aunts: Lesley Lu Spencer and Emily Quartermaine: My aunts are still in school, and I love them very much. Emily is Jason's sister, and Lesley Lu is my dad's sister.
Uncles: Nikolas Cassadine and AJ Quartermaine: I don't see my uncle AJ that much because he works a lot, and he is the CEO of ELQ. My uncle Nikolas is the CEO of Cassadine Industries. I both love them very much.''
Clarence cleared his throat and smiled at Lydia. ''You did a very good job. Okay, next question. What do you want to be when you grow up?''
''This one is giving me problems,'' Lydia said as she looked down at the floor. ''I can't be what I want to be, and I don't want to be what I should be.''
''What are you talking about?'' Clarence asked, frowning at Lydia’s suddenly serious tone. It was quite a change from her previous cheerfulness.
''Well,'' Lydia said as she met his eyes, ''I can tell you, because I know that you will never say anything to anyone. And you're my best friend, Clarence.''
''I love you, too, Butterfly,'' Clarence answered with a smile as he squeezed the little girl's hand. She smiled at his use of his nickname for her, but she started crying suddenly and she ran into his arms. He held her close while she sobbed her heartache, caressing her blond hair slowly as she cried. ''Tell me what's wrong, angel, please.''
''Oh, Clarence,'' the little girl sobbed, ''grandpa wants me to manage his club when I grow up, and grandma wants me to be the face of deception, while Jason says I'll be working side by side with him. All I want to be is an architect!''
''And why can't you be?'' Clarence asked softly, wanting to understand the little girl’s thought processes.
''Because I don't want to hurt their feelings. And because I wouldn't be a true Spencer if I wasn't something big.''
''Lyddie,'' Clarence said, breaking the embrace to look into her eyes, ''I've been side by side with you since the day you were born. I have seen you grow, and I have seen the love that your family has for you. They would understand if you don't want to be what they want you to be,” he said wanting to comfort her. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. “Do you know what makes you a true Spencer?'' he asked.
Lydia’s eyes sparkled with unshed tears as she looked up at him. ''What?'' she asked, wiping her nose on her shirt.
''The ability to follow your own heart. Grandpa knows that he can never make you something you don't want to be, and grandma would never force you to be something that you don't want to be. Jason went through being forced to be someone he was not, so he would never ask you to go against what you want to be. Being a Spencer means being able to be your own person, and never letting anyone tell you what to say, do, or think.''
''You think?'' she asked, her face losing a bit of its previous sadness.
''Yes, I do. Believe me when I say that your grandmother, grandfather and Jason would never hate you because you want to be an architect instead of a club owner, a model or a coffee woman. Follow your dream and they will be proud of you.''
Promise me that you'll give fate a fighting chance
''I love you, Clarence,'' Lyddie said as she took him in her arms again.
''I love you, too, Butterfly,'' he replied before wrapping his arms around her and kissing her head. ''I love you more than you will ever know.''
''Happy birthday, Butterfly.''
''CLARENCE, YOU REMEMBERED!'' Lydia said as she ran into her guardian angel's arms, her dress floating around her as he twirled her around. ''I thought that I wouldn't see you today!''
''I would never forget my favorite 9-year-old's birthday, now, would I?'' Clarence said as he looked at her, holding her at arms' length. ''Wow, you look like a princess!''
''I am a princess!'' The little girl giggled as she turned around to show him her new dress. ''Where have you been? I haven't seen you in days!''
''Remember what I told you, honey. Appearing to you takes a lot of my energy, and sometimes I have to stay invisible for a couple of days to be able to recharge my battery. But I have been here.''
Lydia smiled brightly and Clarence felt his heart warm up, like every time her smile came from her heart. The last 3 years had been heaven on earth for the angel, as he watched the little grow each day. ''Since you are a princess, may I be your prince?'' Clarence asked with a bow.
''You already are, your majesty,'' Lydia giggled with a curtsy.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
''Then, may I have the next dance with the birthday girl?''
''Clarence, there's no music!''
''Wait, wait, you hear that?'' Clarence asked, his head on the side
''No,'' the girl giggled
''Shh, shh, listen. There it is,''
I hope you dance
Lydia laughed as Clarence took her in his arms and started singing a song that she had heard her mother sing on occasion. It was a pretty song with a nice melody. ''I feel like Cinderella,'' she whispered as she put her head on his stomach. She missed his million-dollar smile as he bent down to kiss the top of her head.
''You are much better than Cinderella,'' he said softly and she looked up. He looked serious but his eyes were smiling. ''You are Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty all wrapped up in one.''
''And you are my prince charming,'' Lydia said. ''I wish that you weren't an angel so I could marry you and live with you forever, Clarence.''
''We might not able to get married, but you will always live with me. I am never going anywhere. I'm here for always.''
I hope you dance
''No, I won't do it!'' Lydia said as she went backstage. ''I can't, I thought I could, but I can't!''
''Lyddie, come on, you can't leave now, we're going on in 5 minutes!'' Elizabeth said softly to her frightened daughter. ''Everything will be fine, I promise!''
''I said no! Mom, I can't do it! I can't sing and dance in front of the whole town! It was one thing when it was only you and I, but we're talking about EVERYONE, here! They will see me and laugh their heads off!''
''They would never do that. You have a great voice, and you will dazzle them, I promise. I would never ask you to make a fool of yourself!''
Clarence was watching from afar, smiling at the nervous Lydia. She was nervous because she didn't want to perform at the Nurses' Ball. He had seen her practice her singing and dancing alone in her room, he had even helped her out with a difficult part, and now she was bailing out on the performance. He walked to her and smiled at her. She almost smiled back but remembered her mother standing beside her and she stormed off. Clarence laughed because he knew his girl. She had stormed off because she knew that he would follow her, which would allow them to speak freely. She was too old now to be talking to an imaginary friend. 13-year-old girls didn't have imaginary friends anymore. He saw Elizabeth shiver as he walked past her and he shook his head, before he walked away to find the terrified teenager.
''I can't do it, Clarence, I can't!''
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
''Since when are you afraid of a little crowd, Butterfly?'' He asked, leaning against a light post.
''Since I have to face these people all summer working with the sick kids, that's when'' Lydia said softly, sighing. ''I'm acting like a big baby, aren't I?''
''Well, no,'' the angel replied. ''You are acting like someone who's scared of ridicule. But do you really want to go through life being afraid to try things? You never know what you might miss out if you are too scared to do something new. Do everything at least once. You can never know if you are going to like something unless you try it and find out for yourself.''
Never settle for the path of least resistance
''I know, I know,'' the young girl said, smiling at her angel. ''What would I do without you, Clarence?''
''That's something that you will never have to find out,'' he replied, before wrapping his arm around her shoulders and walking her back to her mother.
''I'm ready, mom,'' Lydia said with a smile as she reached her mother. ''If you are still doing it with me.''
''I wouldn't let you do this by yourself. Your father was right here with me the first time I went on stage, and I will be right here with you for your first time,” Elizabeth said, grinning at her daughter, having known that she wouldn’t give up. She had the Spencer blood flowing through her veins and quitting wasn’t in her vocabulary.
''I DID IT!'' Lydia screamed, running through the door and into the house.
''You did what?'' Elizabeth asked, her face covered with paints as she was working on a new painting.
''I got accepted to the Student Exchange program! I'M GOING TO SPAIN!'' Lydia started jumping up and down excitedly, followed by her mother, who had gotten up from her chair to join the cheerful girl. The two women didn't see Jason in the doorway, looking at them like they had lost their minds.
''What's going on?'' He asked with a smile as he walked in.
''I'M GOING TO SPAIN!'' Lydia screamed again in a high pitched voice, as she showed her letter to her stepfather. ''Oh, God, what am I going to do? What am I going to take? I have to go and look through my things to see what I need!'' Before either adult could say anything, the girl had run off to her room.
''Congratulations,'' she heard as soon as she opened her door. Her guardian angel was sitting on her bed with a big smile on his face.
''Clarence,'' Lydia breathed in before she ran to him. She ran inside the room and immediately hugged him tight. It had been nearly 6 months since she had seen him. She had started seeing him less and less as time progressed so she cherished the time she spent with him. It had started with a couple of days without seeing him, then it had been a couple of weeks and now, 6 months had come and gone since his last appearance. She remembered what he had told her that first day in her room, that as she got older, she would start needing him less and he would slowly get out of her life, but would still be watching over her. She knew it, but she still missed him greatly.
It had been true, she did need him less, but he was still her best friend, her confident. Even though she couldn't see him, she still talked to him before she went to bed, telling him her fears, hopes and dreams. She told him which guy she had a crush on or which teachers she hated. Even though she knew that he was with her at all times, she still felt better talking to him when she could actually see him. But the day was coming closer when she would stop seeing him altogether, and she was getting scared. How could she go on without his input and advice?
''I missed you!'' She said, holding him close to her. She closed her eyes, relishing in the feel of her arms around a man that she cared for deeply and strongly.
''I was here all along, Butterfly,'' he replied with a smile as he kissed the top of her head like he had done when she was a child.
''I know, but you can see me when I can't see you,'' she replied as she sat on her bed. ''I got accepted for the exchange student program. I'm going to Spain,''
''I know,'' Clarence replied. ''I am here to tell you how proud I am of you. Not everyone would agree to go live in a strange country for 6 months at 14 years of age. You are a Spencer, kiddo, through and through. Nothing scares you.''
''What? I'm scared to death! I'm this close to backing out. How can I leave my parents for 6 months? And when I’m there, you can't come popping in and out like you do here. Mom and Jase are used to hearing me talk to myself, but the family I will be living with in Spain will think I am crazy!''
Living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking
''But think of the great experience that you will live through while you’re there. You’re going to experience a new country, a new way of living, talking and learning. The decision is yours, Lyddie, but remember that every action has a reaction. If you don't go, you might end up always wondering what great adventures you missed out when you had the chance.''
''You're right. I know that you're right!''
''I'm ALWAYS right,'' Clarence grinned.
''Well, not ALWAYS...''
Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making
''I can't believe that I was so foolish,'' Lydia cried, her head in her pillow as Elizabeth rubbed her back slowly. ''Why did I believe him?''
''Because you loved him, honey,'' her mother replied softly, trying to comfort the heartbroken girl. ''It's better that you figured it out now, instead of 2 years from now after he took you for all you were worth,” Elizabeth added.
''But you all warned me,'' Lydia said in a plaintive voice. ''You, Jason, Grandpa Luke, Grandma Laura, even....'' she didn't finish her thought, knowing that she was about to mention Clarence.
Her mother frowned slightly. Elizabeth had thought Lydia had stopped believing in her imaginary friend when she was 10 years old. A young woman of 16 wouldn't talk about her childhood friend.
''But you had to find it out on your own, honey,” Elizabeth said, not mentioning Lydia’s slip. “As much as I want to wrap you in a bubble and keep you safe from harm, I have to let you make your own mistakes. That is the only way that you will ever learn.”
''I just want to crawl into a hole and die,” Lydia said, her voice was once again think with tears.
''Then you'd be eaten by rodents and other small animals with big teeth,'' Lydia heard and her head immediately snapped up. She looked to her right and found that Clarence was sitting next to her, smiling at her softly. She wanted to throw herself into his arms, to cry on his shoulder and let his big arms comfort her, but her mother was still there and she couldn't make any move towards him because that would alert Elizabeth to Clarence’s presence. Instead, Lydia remained right where she was.
''Think about it,'' Clarence continued and Lydia listened, oblivious to the fact that she should be listening to her mother instead of her angel. ''If you crawl into a hole and die, who's going to design the house of my dreams when you’re old enough to move out on your own?''
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter
Lydia had to bite her lip in order to keep from smiling. She so wanted to reply with a smart-ass comment, but her mother would probably call Ferncliff if she did, thinking that she was talking to herself again. ''I'll be fine, mom,'' she said to her mother with a fake smile. ''I just need to be alone for a while.''
''All right,'' Elizabeth agreed as she got up from the bed and made her way to the door. ''I'll be downstairs if you need me, okay?''
''Okay,'' Lyddie nodded and watched her mother go. As soon as the door closed, tears started to fall again and she started to cry. Clarence lay down next to her before he wrapped his arms around her. A long time ago, when he’d first held her, she had gotten used to not hearing his heartbeat when she was in his arms. It had been weird at first, being in someone's arms without hearing that person’s heartbeat, but now she found it comforting. He was here, with her. He hadn't gone yet and that was all that mattered to her.
''I'm never going to love again,'' Lyddie said, her voice muffled by Clarence’s body.
''Don't say that. Just because he was a jerk doesn't mean that all men are,'' Clarence said softly.
''All men are, except you and Jason,'' Lyddie said hotly. ''All my friends are going out with stupid guys. I'm never going to fall in love ever again!''
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
''Then how will you be able to get married and have a family of your own?'' Clarence asked
''I don't know and I don't care. I just want to stay here in your arms forever. Why can't you be real? Why can't you be a flesh and blood man?'' Lydia asked, desperate for answers that she knew she would never get.
''Because I'm your angel.'' Clarence said softly, sadly. ''You'll see, in a couple of years, even a couple of months, you will fall in love again, with the right guy this time, and all of this mess will be a thing of the past.''
''I sure hope not. I never want to hurt that way again''
''Then I should say what I have to say right away and be done with it,'' Clarence said softly, before he loosened his arms from around the young woman. I'm not coming back, Lydia. I knew last time I saw you that it would be the last time, but seeing you crying tonight, I realized that I couldn't let you wonder about when you would see me again or if you would see me again. I decided to show myself one last time to you, to be able to give you a proper good bye.''
''NO!'' Lydia said, hanging onto to him for dear life. She couldn’t think about the prospect of never seeing Clarence in her life again. She had to see him; she just had to. ''You can't leave me, Clarence! I know you said that one day you would have to, but I need you! I love you!''
''And I love you, Lyddie, but you have to forget about me and go on,” Clarence said, every word like a sharp knife through his heart. He hated the effect that his words were having on the young lady in front of him, but he had no choice. He had to tell her now, before it was too late. “What you said a couple of minutes ago showed me how important it was for you to forget about me,” he continued, his voice very soft, almost a whisper. “Lydia, you are looking for someone like me to love, someone who will give you what I am giving you. But you need to find someone human, not the replica of an angel. I never thought that we would be having this conversation. I always thought that you would forget about me way before now, and believe me, Butterfly, this is hurting me as much as it's hurting you.''
''Then don't do it! Don’t leave me!” Lydia insisted.
''I have to!'' Clarence said, clearly in agony. ''I will always be with you, I will always listen to you when you pray and watch over you wherever you are. Nothing is ever going to happen to you, that I promise you, but I can't keep showing myself to you every time you need me, it's not right.''
''You think that I'm in love with you, don't you?'' Lydia asked through her tears with a bitter laugh, suddenly realizing what the angel was afraid of. ''I'm not! I know who you are and I don't want to lose you, daddy! If I can't have you in my life, if I can’t see you every day when I come home from school, then why can't you stay with me the way you have been since I was 6?''
''What did you call me?'' Lucky asked, his voice a mere whisper. He was shocked at Lydia’s use of the one word that he’d never thought he’d hear himself called.
Lydia looked up at him, tears streaming down her beautiful face. ''I know that you're my dad. I know that you've been watching over me. I don't want to lose you. I can't lose you!''
''How did you know? How long have you known?'' Lucky asked, the shock still showing on his face.
''I have known all along,'' Lydia admitted softly, once again hiding her face in his chest. ''You look older than you did on mom's last pictures of you, but I've always known who you were.''
''Why didn't you ever say anything?'' he asked, his arms once again surrounding his daughter.
''Because you told me not to! That first day, you said that you weren't supposed to be here and that if I knew your name, you'd be in trouble. Calling you Clarence was a small price to pay in order for me not to lose my dad for the second time. And now that I’ve had you in my life for so long, you can’t leave me now, please, I beg you!''
''I have to, honey,'' Lucky said softly, kissing the top of his daughter's head. ''You don't know how much I love you, Lydia. You don't know how much I thank God that it took Helena so long to die. That way, I was able to be close to you for a little while longer. I didn't want to tell you that the reason I would leave you is because my time would come when I would finally be able to join Heaven. Both of my murderers are dead now, so I have to leave this place. I can't stay, even if I wanted to.''
''Murderers? What are you talking about? You died in a fire. March 16, 1999. You fell asleep with a candle,” Lydia said, confused at her father’s words.
''No, butterfly, I did not die in a fire. That fire was just a front, a distraction. Helena Cassadine and Cesar Faison kidnapped me instead and tried to brainwash me. Their experiments weren’t safe and I had a violent allergic reaction to the drug they were using for the brainwashing. That was what ended up killing me, not the fire. I died a year and a half after everybody thought I did.''
Lydia watched Lucky, stunned at his revelation. How could it be that something so horrible happened to him? ''And now you have to leave me? Why?'' she asked, because she still needed to know why he could no longer be with her.
''I told you, Butterfly. I couldn't go to heaven as long as my murderers were still alive. Instead of waiting around and haunt houses, I decided to become your guardian angel. I never thought that you would see me, so I thought that it would be safe for me to hang around and watch you grow from a distance. However, when you did see me and were able to touch me, I was happy because it gave you a chance to know me and it gave me a chance to watch you become an incredible young woman. I didn't know that you had recognized me, though.''
''I love you,'' Lydia sobbed as she felt him less consistent in her arms. “I have always loved you.” She knew that he was finally leaving her, but she was still trying to hang onto him. ''Daddy, please, don't leave me!''
''I love you, Lyddie,'' Lucky said softly, giving her one last kiss as he felt himself disappearing. ''I will always be with you, no matter what. When you look up at the sky, think of me and I'll smile and wink at you. You make me proud, sweet daughter of mine. Always remember that''
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
''I love you, Dad,'' Lyddie said one last time, but she opened her eyes and found that Lucky was gone. “Goodbye, Daddy,” she said to the empty room, before she buried her head in her pillow and sobbed.
''With the power invested in me by the State of New York I now pronounce you husband and wife. Mr. Smith, you may now kiss your bride,” the priest said, happily smiling at the young couple standing in front of him.
Emily smiled and wiped the tears off her cheeks before glancing to one side to look at Elizabeth, who was sitting on the other side of the aisle in the bride's section of the little church where Elizabeth and Lucky had exchange their vows that Valentine's day some 24 years ago. She would never have thought when she and Nikolas had showed up at the church that day of the blizzard to pick Lucky and Elizabeth up, that one day, Elizabeth and Lucky's daughter would marry her and Zander's son at that very place.
Elizabeth smiled at Emily and also wiped her tears. The two women started to laugh at the same time, obviously thinking the same thing. Lucky had been gone 24 years, and Lydia had just celebrated her 23rd birthday.
The year after Lydia had lost her first boyfriend, when Elizabeth had tried to comfort her in her room, had been the hardest of her daughter's life. Elizabeth hadn’t realized that Lydia had loved that young man so completely, but it seemed so, because Lyddie had walked around the house like a ghost after that, completely depressed and inconsolable. She hadn't eaten, she hadn't slept and she had cried at the drop of a hat. Jason had told Elizabeth that Lyddie acted as if she had just lost her best friend, which was odd because Jason and Elizabeth both knew that Lydia hadn't been that close to her boyfriend.
Slowly, however, Lydia had started smiling again. Elizabeth had caught her countless times staring at the sky when suddenly, a secret smile would appear on her daughter's face, lighting it up. When Lydia was asked about it, she just replied that it had been her and Clarence's private joke, and that sometimes, if she looked carefully, she could see the angels grin from above. Elizabeth had been startled, because her daughter hadn't talked about her imaginary friend in years. She had let it go, though, because anything was worth seeing Lydia smile again.
After a while, Lydia had started dating her other childhood friends, Emily and Zander's only son. Parker was good for Lydia, because after she started dating him, she became the smiling and carefree girl that she had always been. Today was the first day of the rest of their lives, and Elizabeth wished, not for the first time, that Lucky could've been there to see his daughter walk down the aisle, for him to see how beautiful she was.
''I know, Elizabeth,'' Lucky said quietly from where he was standing to Elizabeth's right and smiled proudly. He had asked for special permission to attend his daughter's wedding and he had been granted it. Not that he could read people's thoughts, but he had known what Elizabeth had been thinking. He saw her smile and he smiled back. She probably thought that she had imagined him saying the words. It was better that way.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
''How about a dance, daughter-in-law?'' Zander asked Lydia and she laughed.
''No, thank you, Father-in-law,'' she replied, a wide smile ''I believe I'm going to sit this one out.''
''As you wish. In that case, I'll go find your beautiful mother, and then and bully HER into a dance.''
Lydia watched Zander leave and she laughed despite herself. It had been hard, but Elizabeth and Zander had finally become friends. They still teased each other, though, acting as if they didn't like each other any more than they had when they’d been teenagers. Lydia leaned closer to Parker and kissed his cheek. ''I'm going to the restroom for a minute, cover for me, will you?''
''Of course,'' Parker grinned and kissed her tenderly. ''Hurry back, though.''
''You won't have time to miss me, I promise,'' Lydia said before she got up and walked to the bathroom, which was no easy task with the huge wedding gown that Jason had bought for her. It was beautiful, made out of expensive white silk and real pearls, but she had trouble moving with it. She was careful, though, because she didn’t want to damage it. She walked into the bathroom for the handicapped so that she would have enough space to move around. She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. Her smile grew when she heard the song that Zander and Elizabeth would most likely be dancing to. It was My Girl, the song Lucky had sang to Elizabeth when he had asked her to be his girl. It was also the song he had sung to Lydia on her 9th birthday, when she had pretended to be a princess.
Suddenly, she felt chills. Lydia was sure that she had locked the door, so why did she feel like she wasn't alone anymore?
She turned around quickly, and found herself staring at her father's smiling face. ''You look beautiful,'' he whispered, his face soft and pure of love. His blue eyes shone with love and pride all at once.
Lydia thought that she was dreaming, that he wasn't really standing in front of her and she was just imagining it. She thought that if she blinked, he would be gone. 6 years. It had been 6 years since he had told her that he wouldn't be coming to see her anymore. 6 years since she made peace with the fact that she had been given a chance that no other child that lost a parent would have, a chance to know that lost parent. Even though she tried very hard not to, she blinked and tears spilled down her cheeks. But when she opened her eyes, he was still there, smiling at her.
I hope you dance
''I know that you said no to Zander, but could I have this dance?'' Lucky asked, extending his hand towards his daughter.
Lydia felt a sob coming and she put her hands over her mouth as she slowly nodded her head. He walked to her, because he knew that her legs probably wouldn't move from where they were. He put her arms around her, and she felt his arms lock around her waist. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and hung onto him for dear life. She felt him start to move to the rhythm of the song, and her feet followed.
Lucky closed his eyes and smiled, before he breathed in her sent. ''I missed you,'' he whispered in her ear.
''I missed you, too, daddy!'' Lydia replied through her tears. ''Oh, God, how I’ve missed you!''
''Congratulations on your diploma,'' Lucky whispered in her ear. ''I knew that you could do it. I'll be waiting patiently for you to build me the house of my dreams.''
''I love you!'' Lydia cried on his shoulder, unable to stop her tears from falling. They disappeared on his shoulder as soon as they hit, without leaving a wet mark.
''I love you, too, Butterfly,'' Lucky replied, holding her close as he danced with her in the bathroom at her wedding reception. ''I will always love you.''
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give fate a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
Song credit: I hope you dance, LeeAnn Womack