This Picturesque Life

Caught Up in the Moment

Now showered, shaved and dressed; Eric pulled up to the daycare Olivia had given him the address for. It was old, it looked like a church but there were no crosses anywhere; and only the windows on the door had painted glass. He opened the door, and pocketed his sunglasses. A stout woman of about forty hurried over to him from her office, her black hair was dyed; it was obvious from the mixed coloured roots.

“Hello, welcome can I help you?” She asked rapidly.

“I’m here to pick up my daughter,” He answered her slowly.

“What’s her name?” She asked cocking her head to the side.

“Ashley Halvorsen,”

She frowned, “She’s not your daughter…”

His one eye brow rose as his face twisted into an ‘oh really’ expression. “Yeah she is,” He corrected her.

“No he’s much taller than you are,” She informed him.

“And he has hair styled like its right out of the 90’s but it works for him, he has a slightly big nose and sea green eyes?” He asked irritated by the woman, and described his friend’s little brother by one year.

She nodded “That’s him… Kevin I think it is,”

He breathed out loudly and rubbed his face, “That’s my friend’s brother, he’s been helping my girlfriend with Ashley while I’ve been working,” He stated.

“What’s your name?” She questioned walking back into the office; she opened up the filing cabinet and ruffled through the files.

“Eric Halvorsen,” He sighed as she pulled one out.

She skimmed the folder’s contents, her eyes slowly growing in size. “Oh I’m terribly sorry for the misunderstanding,” She stated closing the folder. She set it on the desk and rushed forward “Follow me Mr. Halvorsen,” She said her voice was slightly scared now that she had offended him.

She led him down stairs to what used to be the Sunday school room. Children from the ages of 2 to 4 were running around playing and doing crafts; all sorts of things. A young woman of maybe 23 came towards them “Helen,” She smiled.

“Amy, where is Ashley Halvorsen?” the woman now known as Helen asked.

The younger woman’s black hair twirled around her as she did a fast scan of the room “Over there, colouring,” She smiled pointing.

“Could you go get her things? This is her father,” Helen introduced, putting emphasis on the word so they’re be no more confusions.

“Nice to meet you Mr. Halvorsen,” Amy smiled shaking his hand.

“Eric, please,” He said feeling uncomfortable with the whole formal thing.

She smiled and nodded before going to find Ashley’s things, and he quickly walked over to his daughter. “Hi,” She smiled not looking up from her crayons.

“Hey little girl, want to go home?” He questioned kneeling beside her.

She looked over at him, and just like earlier that morning she stared at him blankly. “No,”

“No? You don’t want to go home? We could go to mommy,” He smiled. “Do you want to go visit mommy?” He asked. She looked away back her drawing and nodded. “Then let’s go yeah?” He asked.

“Otay, me finished,” She smiled dropping the crayons and picking up her paper.

“Okay, I’ll hold this you put those crayons back where they belong,” He smiled. She nodded and let him hold the drawing as she stood slowly and picked up all the crayons and carried them to a bin marked crayons. He glanced down at the picture and smiled, though it shortly faded; a red haired woman and a tiny brown haired girl and an apartment building.

“Go?” She asked as she came back to him.

“Yeah,” He smiled picking her up and walking towards Amy who handed him Ashley’s bag. “Say bye-bye Ashley,”

“Bye,” She whispered to Amy.

“Bye, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Amy beamed at the little girl as they walked away.

Eric put her in her car seat and drove off towards the American Apparel Olivia worked at. They arrived quickly and he carried the fussing toddler into the store and up to the counter where Olivia stood her red hair in a pony tail, one eyebrow raised at her family.

“Hullo misses, I’d like to make a purchase,” He smiled widely laying Ashley on the counter, as he spoke with a fake British accent.

“Are you sure? I’m afraid she doesn’t come cheap,” Olivia smiled playing along.

“That’s good I don’t like my women cheap, I don’t mind spending a little fortune on them,” He winked totally dropping the accent. Olivia chuckled as Ashley broke free of his grasp and rushed to her mother.

“Mommy, I drew a peek-tor,” She beamed.

“You did?” Olivia gasped.

“Mhm,” She nodded quickly before turning to Eric “Where?” She frowned. He reached into his pant pocket where he had placed it; folded neatly. He handed it to her and she thrust it into Olivia’s face “‘ook,” She ordered.

Olivia opened it slowly and smiled “I love it honey, but aren’t you missing someone?” She asked softly.

Ashley frowned and took it back; shaking her short red-brown locks “No,”

Eric felt his smile slip once more, and bit the inside of his cheek. Olivia noticed the saddened expression “Yeah, where’s daddy?” She asked.

“Dunno,” The toddler responded.

“When you get home are you going to add him in?” Olivia asked once more.

“Wot he ‘ook ‘ike?” She asked innocently. Olivia pointed at Eric who had walked away to ‘inspect’ the shinny headbands. “He?” Ashley questioned confused.

“That’s daddy, honey,” Olivia said.

When the toddler shot her a look that clearly said ‘You’re crazy,’ she sighed giving up for the time being; knowing that this wasn’t fair to either of them.
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