This Picturesque Life

Here's A song For The Kid Who Aims So High

“Alright, I think that’s good enough, we can end there for the night,” Nick said stepping away from the microphone as the amps continued humming from the last note.

Justin nodded his head in agreement, detaching the cord from his guitar before taking the instrument off and putting it away. Eric glanced over at the digital clock opposite of them, and groaned softly. “You okay?” Andrew asked attentively as he stood up, dropping his drumsticks to the floor; both of the other two boys were warned by John and Nick about Eric’s fragile state and his sudden mood swings.

Eric nodded, hastily unplugging his bass, “Yeah I’ve just got to hurry or I’ll be late to pick Ashley up.”

Andrew took a hold of Eric’s bass and smiled softly, “Go then, I’ll pack up for you,” He offered.

Eric paused for a moment before smiling in return, “Thanks man.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Andrew replied as Eric removed the strap from around his shoulders and left his instrument with his friend.

As he ran up the stairs, Nick called out a reminder of their practice the next day. Eric shuffled though the kitchen quickly, he had avoided being in that room as much as possible; but it was hard when the basement door was found in there. It stung him too much to be in there for too long, he already had nightmares of that day; but none were as real as being back in that room. The car ride was silent, as he never had any music playing in the car now. All his CDs reminded him of her, and the radio stations were set to ones they both listened to together. Besides there was no telling what songs the station would play, what if they played something romantic?

He arrived to the daycare to find many other parents coming and going, meaning he was more or less on time. Cutting the engine he quickly got out of the car and entered the old building. Looking up from where she sat Amy smiled brightly at him then turned behind her, “Ashley your dad’s here,” She called loudly before standing up.

Eric watched as Ashley hurried in her toddle towards him, and crouched down as she came near, “Hey there,” He grinned at her.

“Dada,” She beamed as she placed her hands on his chest, “Up,” She ordered her smile never diminishing.

Complying he wrapped his arms around her tiny figure and lifted her as he stood back up. “Did you have a good day?” He questioned softly as Amy handed him Ashley’s bag. “Thanks,” He added quickly before tuning in on Ashley’s cheerful recount of her day.

Amy called over her shoulder saying goodbye to Helen before the three stepped out into the warm spring air. Ashley froze mid sentence when she noticed that Amy was walking with them, and looked at her questioningly.

When he noticed the look Eric shot Amy an apologetic look before turning to Ashley, “She’s coming with us,” He told her softly, opening the car door and placing her bag on the floor.

“Why?” Ashley mumbled as he placed her in her car seat.

“Because I’m going to be having dinner with her,” He tried to explain with a soft smile on his face.

“And mommy?” Ashley mumbled confused.

“No baby girl, Amy and I are going out to eat after I take you home,” He sighed before closing the door. Through the window he could see her face scrunch up into a frown, he fought hard to make sure the guilt he was feeling wasn’t displayed on his face. He turned to Amy and smiled quickly, “The door’s open,” She nodded before walking over to the passenger door.

The ride was silent, halfway through the ride Amy turned on the music without asking in hopes of ridding the ride of the awkwardness. Eric gripped the wheel tighter desperately trying to keep his cool, when he glanced at Ashley through the rear-view mirror she was frowning at Amy. He sighed quietly to himself and pulled into the parking lot of his apartment building.

He turned to Amy, “I’ll be right back,” He smiled awkwardly before jumping out of the car and getting Ashley out of her car seat.

But she struggled in his grasp and started hitting him with her tiny fists as she cried, “No dada no,” Over and over again. In the car Amy sighed as she watched the toddler throw a tantrum at her father for going on a date, ‘Who am I kidding here?’ She thought to herself.

Eric walked into the elevator holding Ashley who had given up on her struggles and just cried loudly in his arms. He sighed as the doors dinged open and got a better grip on her before walking to the door of the apartment. Olivia was setting the dinner table for putting the chicken strips into the oven when she heard Ashley’s wails. She quickly shut the oven door closed and rushed to the front door, arriving just in time to see Eric shove the door open; while he managed to control the struggling toddler.

“What’s wrong?” Olivia asked attentively, plucking Ashley from Eric’s grasp only after the toddler demanded her to.

“She started throwing a fit when she found out I wasn’t having dinner here,” Eric shrugged as he placed her bag down on the ground.

“Oh,” Olivia paused as she looked at her daughter, “It’s alright sweetheart, you’ll see Daddy soon…” She cooed softly as she bounced up and down while rubbing soothing circular patterns on her back.

Ashley soon calmed down and placed three of her chubby fingers into her mouth as she stared at Eric, “I’ll see you tomorrow, how about that, honey?” Eric asked as he walked closer to the pair.

“Otay…” She mumbled around her fingers.

“I love you baby girl,” He smiled softly before pressing a kiss to her forehead.

“Lub you dada,” Ashley muttered her eyes welling up once more.

As much as it pained him to do so Eric left on that note, closing the door behind him and only pausing when he heard Ashley start to cry once more. The elevator ride was long and the silence was smothering. When he stepped out of the building the fresh air welcomed him, but his chest didn’t unclench; it was still as constricted as it was upstairs. Once he made it to the car he stopped and tilted his head slightly in confusion as he noticed that Amy was outside the car leaning against the driver’s side door.

Upon seeing him she stood straight and took a few steps to become closer to him, “What are you doing Eric,” She muttered lightly as she stopped.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, why are you here with me and not up there with your daughter and her mother; whom I can tell you still love? I’m not here just for you to get even, or play pretend with. And I’m not a home wrecker Eric… you should go back up there and make nice with your family,” She stated.

Eric stared at her stunned but eventually he unfroze, “Can I pay for your bus or cab fair?” He offered weakly. He wasn’t even going to argue with her, he didn’t know how she figured it all out; but she had. And the most he could give her was to be honest and help her get to where she needed to go.

“Yeah sure,” She nodded, her short black hair bouncing in the air.

He quickly gave her more than enough money for the bus and then waited for her to make her way to the bus stop before he speed walked his way back to the entrance of the apartment building. Moments later he was knocking on the door to the apartment – out of courtesy. When Olivia opened the door he smiled softly as he shrugged his shoulders; his hands plunging into his jean pockets.

“Eric?” She questioned in a whisper, as she stared at him; not sure if she was seeing things.

“Can I join you two for dinner? My plans kind of got cancelled,” He explained.

“Sure,” She mumbled a bit shocked herself. He walked into the apartment and kicked off his shoes before heading to the couch and gathering up Ashley into a giant bear hug.

“Dada!” She squealed happily kissing his cheek several times.

“I’m sorry baby girl, I won’t ever do that again,” He whispered into her hair.

“Good,” She nodded. He smiled and glanced over his shoulder at Olivia who was standing in the doorway watching them. ‘I’m going to try and win your mama back’He swore to himself, while he watched Olivia start to smile.
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I'm so sorry it's been so long, but I hope you all love the update...and now no one should hate me =X
AND I have good/bad news... depends on your outtake...
I finished this story today!!
which means I know when it's going to be over and it'll be over... in three more chapters. Number 25 is the last
Leave some love?