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Meghan could tell by the look on his face that Eric wasn’t expecting her to come back. Perhaps he thought that her leaving the money was a sign that she wasn’t interested in working for him but if that was the case she would have made sure to leave the key too. Truth be told, if she hadn’t already developed such a soft spot for Lydia she might have turned down the job for several reasons. Eric was certainly unnecessarily rude and she imagined that his attitude wasn’t exclusive to her. Meghan knew that there was clearly something in his life that caused him to be this way but how he chose to deal with things was ultimately up to him. She had tragedy in her life and she embraced it and tried to overcome it. Another reason was that he had clearly presumed that she was offering more as part of her services. Perhaps she would set him straight on those things later tonight so they could both be on the same page.
[b “I’m taking the position. Sorry! I thought that when you noticed I took the keys you might realise. I just didn’t stay because I had no clothes or anything.”] She smiled towards Lydia when she heard her trying to pronounce her name and she chuckled. Then she tackled her legs and Meghan inhaled and feigned having the kid knock the wind out of her. [b “Now that is what I call a strong hug!”] She smiled down at her and ruffled her hair before Eric beckoned her away to start cleaning up her toys but she looked on at the heartbreaking exchange between him and his daughter. It was clear that she enjoyed spending time with him and was sad that he had to work but she was sure one day she would appreciate everything he had done for her.
When Eric addressed her she was still smiling from seeing their affections. [b “That I can do. I plan on making sure I do my fair share and I was thinking about my rates too. Since you are offering me accommodation, I should be able to offer you a flat rate of £250 a week. Taking £170 off the normal cost to cover rent and bills and such. I know you have to rush off to work but have a think about it and let me know if you think that’s reasonable and we can agree on something later.”] She acknowledged, for the second time, that he didn’t want her in his room and she nodded, accepting the note this time because she didn’t want to offend him and she sighed as he left the house.
Meghan turned to face Lydia and smiled. [b “Did your Dad fix you some dinner already?”] Lydia shook her head and she checked the time. Perhaps this was the only thing that was missing a routine but it was an easy fix and she assumed that meant Eric hadn’t eaten anything either. [b “Alright, you want to be my little Sous Chef?”]
[i “What’s a Sous Chef?”] Lydia walked towards her and took her hand and started making her way to the kitchen with Meghan as she began to explain how a kitchen worked in a restaurant and then the two spent the best part of an hour cooking. Meghan even used the opportunity to teach her about different types of food and got some of her counting in. She put a plate for Eric in the microwave and then the two shared a meal together before she followed the same routine as the night before.
This time Meghan spent some of her free time on her laptop rather than reading, looking at some some online courses that might take her interest. She had forgotten what it was like to learn something new and wondered if she should endeavour to explore education once more. Then she started to make a cleaning schedule so she could print it off and put it on the fridge so she could keep track of what needed doing around the house. Before she knew it, it was passed 1am so she changed into something more comfortable than her jeans and set about cleaning up the kitchen and started on the dishes.
Her favorite cartoon was playing on the screen, The Powderpuff Girls. Lydia loves the way they flew with red, blue, and green paths behind them and fought evil. In secret, Eric enjoyed it too as they watched. His hands wrapped around his daughter, tickling her at times when the scenes got tense before picking up a toy and acting as if it were flying in front of her. He was enjoying himself with his whole world in his lap when he heard a voice that broke his attention.
Turning, his eyes took in the red headed babysitter from the night before. She still came back? It wasn’t as if Eric’s home was all that nice. What were her motives? Did she need a job that badly? Well, he could relate to that. Gently picking up Lydia and setting her down, he stood. [b “Meghan... I didn’t think you’d agree to return. You are taking up the live in position?”] As he stood, it seemed Lydia perked up to see the woman who took care of her the night before.
[i Meg... Megha...”] She said, not really knowing how to pronounce it as she rushed forward to hug her legs. Eric ran a hand over his chin, seeing her joy for the new live in babysitter. Perhaps she was finally a good choice for the job. [b “Alright Alright Lydia don’t bowl her over. Go and pick up your toys before daddy goes to work.”] Lydia pouted and looked up at her giant of a father as her little hands pushed at his legs. [i “But I want you to stay daddy...”] Seeing that made Eric’s heart drop some. Lowering to s crouch, he looked into Lydia’s beautiful blue eyes. [b “I know. If daddy could stay he would, but you like Meghan right? She will take good care of me. You let me know if she doesn’t, okay? I love you.”] He smiled and hugged his daughter, placing another kiss on her forehead then stood as she marched off.
[b “I saw that you didn’t take the twenty dollars I left out. If you’re going to stay here, then it’s the least I can do. I expect more from you though. Cleaning the house and things like that since I never have time to. Make yourself at home just remember the rules. Never go in my room.”] He almost warned, walking to her and placing the twenty dollar bill in her hand. [b “Please take it this time. I know how money can be.”] Eric then headed off with his key in hand, going off to work as always on the late shift.
When Meghan woke up the next morning she found herself fatigued from the late night. Hopefully staying at Eric’s would help her adjust so that she didn’t have to endure the thirty minute walk home. If her parents knew that she had walked home at that time they wouldn’t have been very happy. They were often quite protective of her but she couldn’t really blame them after almost losing her to that crash. In a way, they did lose her because the person that came out of that accident was not the same woman as before. She would often find herself in arguments with them after they claimed they didn’t know who she was any more and she would often bite back. Meghan didn’t even know who she was, how could she? Everything her parents had known about her was gone and it didn’t matter if someone told her what she used to be like, what her routines were, none of them felt right. At least now she was beginning to discover what was right for her.
As she climbed out of bed she checked the clock and then started to move around her room and emptied her drawers into a duffel bag. She didn’t plan and taking anything other than her clothes and her toiletries because she was only going to be living in her room, he had made that much clear, and she didn’t want to take over too much space. If she could help it, it would almost be like she wasn’t there when she wasn’t needed to work. After packing her things she went to have the conversation with her parents about her going to work a live in position. As expected they didn’t like it. They felt like she was taking things way too fast but she felt like a year was enough time since her accident to really start getting that independence back. Meghan often wondered if her parents hoped that the longer she spent at home with them, with their constant reminders of her old life, she might remember something. She had come to terms with the fact she might never remember a long time ago but they never did. Either way, she was a grown woman and they couldn’t stop her from moving out.
When it was time, Meghan threw the bag over her shoulder and made her way back to Eric’s address, leaving a little earlier this time since the heavy bag would slow her down. At least she wasn’t late, in fact she was fifteen minutes early and she knocked briefly before using her key to enter, wanting to give him a warning that she was coming in rather than simply turning up in his living room. As she entered she could hear the sounds of the cartoons in the hallway and Lydia’s giggles which warmed her heart. She placed her key down on the side and set the bag aside for now. She could unpack later when Lydia was in bed. Then she made her way to the living room and saw Eric and Lydia together which brought a smile to her face.
[b “Good evening.”] She said with a happy disposition as she ventured further into the living room.
Eric was in his room before he knew it. The house he lived in wasn't big at all. There was a specified room with Lydia, a master bedroom for him, and a guest room that came with the cheap price of the house. Eric made sure it was large enough for his daughter to be happy in and grow in, but it wasn't exactly ideal. Some of the appliances were old, and he didn't have time to fix them. It wasn't that Eric didn't know how. He was good with his hands, and it was a major reason he was so good at his job as a mechanic. Locals lined up for him to fix their cars, but he couldn't ever charge much. There were few that really knew him or his story, and it was hard to with his rude demeanor most of the time. Meghan didn't have a chance to defend herself. He still figured with her fiery red hair and devastatingly good looks that that was exactly what she meant. It would make sense with the cheap rates anyway.
Eric slept on it, and he realized that morning that she hadn't stayed. She probably wasn't coming back. [i And another babysitter bites the dust.] The mechanic and bartender took a bite of his apple as he rushed out the door, giving Lydia a kiss on the head before he did. [b "I love you, baby girl. I'll be home later."] Eric then rushed out and before long was covered in oil and grease, replacing oil and completing car inspections. After all day as a mechanic, he rushed home and took a quick shower before rocking Lydia on his knee and watching her favorite cartoon. It was his favorite part of the day. The in between time when he had time for his daughter and no one else.
Eric wasn't paying attention to the time. If Meghan was to return, she would return soon. His shift had been changed, so he was working earlier into the night. Lydia was giggling as he tickled her and devoted time as a father to her. She was so beautiful, the most beautiful thing he'd ever laid eyes on. Dark brown hair was forming on top of her head, and she sported the prettiest light blue eyes. He was head over heels for the little girl, and his huge smile reflected that. If Meghan were to observe him then and there, she would see a completely different person.
Meghan didn’t think that Eric was offering her anything but a place to stay for the night. While the thought crossed his mind about whether Meghan thought he was offering more, she was busy thinking how nice it would be to finally get out from under her parents. Ever since her accident she had been staying with them while she recovered and figured out how she fit into the world now. As a twenty five year old woman, she only had a year of life in her but in that year she appeared to have made some progress and perhaps moving out of her parents’ home would be the next step in building her life back up and gaining more independence. Of course her parents would make sure that her room was always available to her and she would appreciate that since she couldn’t guarantee this job would always be there.
If she knew what was going through his mind she would be utterly devastated that he thought she might think he was offering her a one night stand. That was the last thing that would ever cross her mind and the company of men didn’t even feature on her list of priorities. Meghan had learned through diaries that she kept, that before her accident she was driven by her education and her interest in science so much so that she never settled down with a boyfriend and never even shared a night with one. There were better things for her to do then and there were certainly more important things for her to focus on now. She was still in recovery and still trying to piece together parts of her life.
There was that anger again as he tossed a key towards her and looked at her as though he despised her. This would certainly be an interesting rollercoaster of a ride but she happened to be patient and she was confident she could ride it out. When he started to speak she looked confused at his words. What did he mean he wasn’t asking her for anything else? She knew that. She searched her mind for a minute and then when he mentioned that they stay in their own rooms she felt this embarrassment come over her. Did he think...? What was with Meghan that made her employers think she wanted more than a job? Christ she had never been interested in men and meeting the moody and rude Eric wasn’t about to change that for her. She watched him leave and then she sighed and shook her head. Meghan wouldn’t stay tonight at least. She didn’t have any clothes here and she’d need to pack up some of her things. However as she watched him walk away she found a frown upon her face. Meghan closed her hand around the key and returned the twenty dollar notes he had given her to the kitchen side. She wouldn’t take his money for tonight. With that she made her way through the streets of the early morning and made it home by 2:20am. It was an early start so she decided to sleep and pack up some clothes in the morning.
Eric didn’t really know what he was offering when he’d said that. His schedule jumped around all over the place with him taking on shifts just to keep afloat. Lydia couldn’t stay alone. She needed someone to watch her and make her food and ensure she was alright. It was true that it would be easier for Meghan to stay, but he didn’t really know if he was okay with that. She was young and drop dead gorgeous. He was moody and cold, but he was still a man that knew a pretty woman when he saw her. They seemed to fall around the same age with him probably being her elder by a few years or so. She didn’t seem to have another job, or she wasn’t telling him about it. She wasn’t married, or, if she was, she didn’t wear a wedding ring. Eric considered waking up with her there and taking care of his daughter as if she were her mother or his girlfriend or something, and he was hesitant to it. Eric was supposed to close himself off to any other woman as a means of protection. Why did he offer her something he didn’t want her to take?
He did consider that he could tell her to lower her prices considerably as a live in babysitter, and it would be nice to have less money falling to a babysitter and to important things like rent and food. It made sense on all cylinders, but he still felt himself wanting to say no. Would he live alone with Lydia forever? Eric was snapped to reality at the next things out of Meghan’s mouth. [i “Or somewhere to stay for that night?”]
He almost snapped. Was she insinuating that he was asking her for a one night stand? Seriously!? How desperate did she think he was? If he wanted a woman, he could surely find one... Eric’s somewhat softening gaze was hardened again when she spoke those seven words. He was calming down at the topic of his daughter, but he didn’t want to think about sex with another woman yet. Tossing her a copy of his keys, Eric sighed angrily. [b “You’ll be a live in babysitter. I’m not asking you for anything else. You stay in your room, and I’ll stay in mine. Do your job, and you are free to anything else you need. Just not my room.”] He warned and then began to leave.
The fact that he was asking so many questions about his daughter was proof enough to her that he cared about her more than anyone in the world and that was enough for her to want to work for him, even if he seemed to exude a moodiness that has clearly been more from some kind of heartbreak. Maybe the girl’s mother had left them? It would make sense because he just seemed bitter and without much life about him. The only time she could see something in his eyes was when he was talking about his daughter which made her smile, regardless of how he was talking to her. Meghan had no doubt that he led a stressful life. His schedule was enough to tell her that as he seemed to hold down two jobs. Mechanic by day and barman by night and she could respect him for doing everything he could to provide for his child. There were many who wouldn’t do what it took like Eric would.
[b “I wouldn’t dream of slacking.”] Perhaps he would be concerned that because her rates were low, she wouldn’t do her job properly or that she wasn’t as qualified as other babysitters but the fact of the matter was, she enjoyed her job and she knew that childcare was expensive and it didn’t matter who she was working for, she would have had the same rates because she wanted to help families. Eric needed someone who could help him and the fact he had two jobs suggested cash was already tight but she would hardly treat him as a charity case because she didn’t want to offend him.
When he offered the guest room she raised an eyebrow and chewed on the inside of her lip. His schedule was very sporadic and there would be times she was finishing at 1:30am and starting again a 7:00am and not having to walk home during the dark nights would make things easier. [b “Are you offering me a live in position?”] If that was the case she would be able to adjust her rates a little since she wouldn’t be paying for rent. [b “Or somewhere to stay for the night?”] Meghan glanced at the schedule and then looked back up at him and then nodded.
Eric was still counting out bills when Meghan walked no over to follow him to the kitchen. He clenched his jaw, keeping his weight supported by the island. He paid some attention to her when she went on about Lydia, mostly because his daughter was the subject. It was true that she was intelligent. Lydia picked up on shapes and flash cards and sounds quickly. Eric was so proud of her every time she lit up when she got something right. He wanted to set her up for success early. Eric wanted everything for his daughter, but he knew she wouldn’t have a mother growing up. He tried to do both jobs, but he wasn’t that good at the mother part. He wasn’t the best cook or the best organizer or the best dresser. Eric didn’t know how to do her hair, but he was a good father. He didn’t exactly know it, but he had a bond to Lydia that was unmistakable.
[b “She is smart, isn’t she? So don’t slack off with the flash cards.”] There he went, moody as hell. [b “Good. She always asks me to do the voices, but she complains my voice is too low. Especially for her monkey.”] Eric mused, considering it. The redhead would be a good fit for now. He’d decided that.
Eric was stunned to say the least when she said she didn’t charge for the first day. He’d never had a babysitter that did that. Her rates were so low too. Was it because she thought he couldn’t pay her? [i Well, he couldn’t, but he still expected her to ask for more.] Eric just examined her as she spoke about rates. She would serve as a lifesaver for him and Lydia. He eased up just a bit at that.
[b “With those rates, I insist. Not to mention the clean up you’ve done and the fact Lydia hugged you before bed. She’s a little apprehensive at first, but children are the best readers of people. You’re hired. In fact, if you need somewhere to stay you may use the guest room next to Lydia’s.”] He offered, handing her two twenty dollar bills. Anyone Lydia liked, Eric liked. Even if it took longer for him to warm up.
[b “I’ll need you each time I highlighted on my schedule. Is that possible?”]
Meghan often liked to find herself lost in a book, reading ones that belonged on her shelf at home. She assumed that they were books she had read before but now she was able to discover the delights of them all over again which was something she enjoyed. She attempted to find the positives in her situation as often as possible and this was certainly one of the small things she told herself to give herself some piece. She couldn’t remember but she could rediscover if she really wanted.
Lydia had caused no trouble at all, sleeping all the way through without so much as waking up for a drink or a toilet break. She was probably one of the easiest children to put to bed too, mostly because it was clear that Eric had worked hard to embed a routine with her and she was clearly used to following his rules and routines which was something she found children often protested against. She even seemed to enjoy her reading and maths flashcards, getting rather proud of herself when she got something right. She was an intelligent young girl and Meghan could tell that she would continue to be a delightful and intelligent child. Of course, all children had their tantrums and she was certainly sure that Lydia was capable of throwing one every now and then but she had made her first shift easy.
It couldn’t have been easy for the girl not having a mother around but she didn’t completely know the back story. Meghan knew that Eric was a single father but she didn’t know why nor was it her business to ask. Her job, if she was successful in securing it, meant that she was here to look after Lydia and make Eric’s life easier in the process because that was what she intended to do. There was something about the sadness in his eyes that made her want to help him, even if the way she did that was by taking care of his daughter for him. One thing was for certain, he was a very good father and the love between Eric and Lydia was evident in the way the child spoke about him when the two had been left alone.
The good thing about having her book with her was that she hardly noticed that time had passed until she could hear the sound of keys being thrown down. She glanced at the clock and noticed that it was the early hours of the morning and looked towards Eric when he came into view offering him a smile despite his cold demeanour towards her. It was almost as though he was expecting something to have gone wrong. Perhaps he hadn’t had such good experience with babysitters so she wouldn’t let his bark get to her. He seemed surprised that she was still awake but he would learn that she didn’t sleep on the job unless she was required to stay over. Then he started to go through the list he had left her and demanded she told the truth and still she kept her calm despite the fact that he had come across as a little rude.
[b “You have a very intelligent young lady in there. She was able to identify all the shapes on the cards and she counted up to nine before she started to get a little confused. She also was able to recognise her name and started to organise the letters.”] Meghan smiled placed her book back in her bag and then continued. [b “She wanted me to read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Her monkey helped me read it since she demanded that we give the characters voices.”] Meghan chuckled slightly and let out a sigh as she followed him into the kitchen to continue the debrief. It seemed that she had done enough for him to invite her back and she watched as he started to count out bills.
[b “Oh no! First one is always on me so you can put your hard earned money away. My rates are below the average going rate just because it’s a competitive market, no less competent at my job I assure you. I charge $12 an hour with no extra charge for unsociable hours for short shifts or a daily rate of $60 for any more than 5 hour shift. I just ask that food and drink is available to me if I am here around meal times. Does that sound reasonable to you?”] He may have offered her the job but he still had to accept her rate. [b “I have your schedule right here.”] She pat her bag and smiled once more. [b “Lydia is fine. She’s been an angel. I would like to think we got on quite well. I got a lot of high fives when she got things right and I was even surprised with a hug before I left her room.”]
He didn’t wait to see if she got in alright. He hears the door shutting and that was enough for him. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his daughter. Lydia Bateman meant the world to him. Eric would have done anything for her. He would even dip into the illegal side of things if money grew too tight. Eric loves his daughter more than he loved his oxygen. It was part of the reason he kept hiring new babysitters, regardless of the cost that he couldn’t really afford. Eric tried them over and over, scrutinizing every detail when he got home to make sure they were perfectly suited for his little bundle of life that he brought into the world. No one would take his little girl from him if he could help it. Eric only knew the red headed babysitters name because she reached out to him via text after he put up his ad on a local site. Meghan didn’t seem all that bad. At least she didn’t refuse to work for him upon his opening the door. It had happened before more times than he wanted to admit.
Upon looking at the man, you could tell there was something missing. It was as if there was one puzzle piece missing that was tucked away in a deep, dark corner that didn’t want to surface again to complete him. Eric pushed away all his thoughts about Brooke and the death of his supposed forever bride. He was so lovesick he didn’t see that perhaps Brooke was using him in a way for his blind dedication to her schooling and moans. Hell, he was still paying them off. Eric never stopped to think, just finding himself numb to his surroundings unless and only when he was with his daughter Lydia. She made his life bright and full of color and meaning, but it faded when he was without her.
As he pulled into the bar, Eric heard the tacky music and noticed the familiar crowd. Throwing a towel around his shoulder, he expertly mixed drinks, Mai tais, mojitos, martinis, shot glasses, and more. There was one thing you would only notice if you paid enough attention to Eric, and it was that he refused to drink. Not only that, he refused to let anyone who he’d served too much alcohol to drive their car alone. Eric tool count do the beers he’d given to each customer and observed each one to make sure they weren’t too drunk. If they were, he would stop his work and go out of his way to call them a taxi or a friend to get them home. It was another aftermath of Brooke and the car accident. Perhaps it was a reason he took on the job.
It was late when he finished and Mrs. Sylvia stopped flirting with him like she tried each and every night in the same stool worth the same drink. He knew the orders of the locals. It was a small town, so most people stuck to what they knew. Eric was hard to read and get to know though. He didn’t let anyone do so. In short, he was an asshole to everyone but his little baby girl. It was in the wee hours of the morning when he drove back, around 1:30 AM. She was still parked there thankfully. Another check in the good list.
Walking to the door, he inserted his keys and pushed it open, closing it heavily behind him as he threw his keys haphazardly to the side. His deep eyes found Meghan sitting on the couch with a book, still up despite the hour of the morning. Crossing his arms, Eric took a long look around the house. [b “Not asleep yet? Did you do what I asked? Late night snack, tuck her in with the monkey and a story, and practice her reading and math? Don’t bother lying either I’ll know if you do.”] Again, devoid of much emotion except perhaps protectiveness over his daughter.
Walking inside, Eric took a long sip of cool water and then took some money out of his tips that he kept in his leather wallet, flipping through the meager amount. He was surprised when he found the fishes were put up and things tidied. She didn’t have to do that. Bonus. Eric was observant, so he noticed the flash cards in a neat bundle by where she was watching cartoons as well. Her monkey wasn’t in the pile of toys, and she wasn’t crying. Test passed for the first day.
[b “How much do I owe you? Oh and you know my schedule right? You’ll be here a lot more often. Hope you get used to staying up.”] Eric threw some bills out, waiting for her rates. It was admittedly nice having some things cleaned up for once. Finally, he softened a bit at the thought of his daughter upstairs. Relaxing his shoulder some, he leaned against the island in the kitchen. [b “How is she? Did she like you?”] At that, he spoke more sincerely, testing her reaction for a positive one. It wasn’t only his opinion that mattered.
This wasn’t the first child that Meghan had looked after since her accident. When she decided to go down this route she made sure that she became certified and that this became a career for her rather than simply a few one off babysitting jobs. What she was finding was that it wasn’t the kind of job where she could work for more than one family because her shifts would always change. Sometimes a family needed her to work in the day while they went to work and other times they had evening engagements and needed her to work then. On some occasions she had even been expected to stay overnight and that did not bother her.
The most recent family she worked was like that. Both parents were hot shots in their line of work, working all day because that is how they made their money but they also socialised a lot at night because it was an important part of their job, entertaining clients and keeping them happy. Meghan didn’t really know why they even had children in honesty because they hardly ever saw them and it wasn’t like it wasn’t a choice for them. They didn’t have to work all the hours God sent and they certainly didn’t need to go out as much as they did. They left their twins at home with her more and more often, especially since she had built her trust with them. What frustrated her about working for this family, was that they [i chose] to be away from home. Meghan would have been able to understand if they were in a situation where money was tight and they had no choice but this...it just felt wrong. It wasn’t much longer after that when she was given an excuse leave the job.
One night, after she had put the children in bed, their father came home without their mother. He claimed that he had left his wallet and he leaned around her in the kitchen to pick it up, only when he pulled back he did so slowly and then tried to kiss her. Meghan had pushed him away, not interested in having another woman’s husband kissing her. He was a creep and she didn’t like the thought of him being anywhere near her. He tried to push it but that ended in a slap and she told him then that she would not come back again. She didn’t want to leave the children in the middle of the night so she finished her shift and let the mother know that she wouldn’t be returning but didn’t give a reason why, figuring that if she told her what had happened, she would somehow get the blame and Meghan had no interest in being branded a home wrecker.
At least with this new job she would be working for a single father which meant that she would not be at risk of that. As the door opened she was greeted by her employer and he didn’t seem all that happy. He was evidently a good looking man but there was a sadness and anger that lingered in his eyes and she could see that from the very moment he opened the door. Meghan looked at her watch and then back up at him. She was a total of three minutes late, mostly because she had taken the wrong turn down a street and found herself having to turn around to go back but he was right, she was late. She made a mental note to ensure that she turned up early if there was going to be a next time. Meghan knew how this worked, it was a trial and she had to do a good job in order for him to have her back.
[b “I’m sorry! I walked down the wrong street.”] She wouldn’t lay the excuses on thick because she didn’t think that would help the situation. Instead, she stood there and listened to him talk as he handed the note over to her and started to talk over some things with her before he head right out to his car and seemed to drive off. [b “Well alright.”] She said to herself as she stepped into the apartment. This was certainly different to other jobs she had taken on. His apartment was small and a little cluttered but she wouldn’t judge him based on how he lived. She made her way through to the living room and saw his child who was just the cutest little girl she had ever laid eyes upon and she sat on the floor next to her. [b “Lydia right? I’m Meghan. I’m going to be looking after you while your Dad goes to work. Is that okay!”] The child nodded in response as she continued to watch her cartoons. She chuckled to herself and took a look around and then made her way into the kitchen to get herself a glass of water while she read through the handwritten note.
Meghan followed every instruction to the letter, working on her reading and maths with her, realising that she was actually quite and encouraging teacher to the young girl. She had her snack and she read her a story and put her to bed on time and she even managed to earn a hug from the girl which warmed her heart. She could tell she could easily get attached to Lydia and she had to remind herself to hold off on that because her father might not have her back yet. She sighed as she head back into the living room and checked the clock. She wasn’t the type of person to sit and do nothing. Meghan liked to keep herself busy, at least since her accident otherwise she would sit for hours trying to remember something, anything from her previous life and she was sure that would drive her insane. So instead she started to organise some of the toys in the living room, making things a little bit tidier so Eric didn’t have to worry about that after putting a long shift in at work. After that she moved to the kitchen and washed some of the dishes and wiped down the sides and when she was satisfied she hadn’t overstepped she lowered herself onto the sofa to read a book for a little while.
Eric had the perfect life. He grew up in a small town with a good family, including a loving mother and father with meager incomes. His father was the high school coach, and his mother taught in the elementary school. Eric lived with an older brother and a younger sister. They lived in the typical American family setting, and he loved it. He was born with the good looks of his father, set with chocolate brown hair and eyes that matched. As the son of the coach, he grew up playing baseball and practicing catch outside every day. He'd even throw the baseball as far as it would go for his golden retriever, Sunny, to fetch and bring back. Soon enough, Eric was playing on the Varsity high school team and winning state titles. He had several girls after him which he never objected to, but he wasn't anything like the player and jerk his brother was. Eric was a model student. He was smart, graduating in the top 25 of his class. Eric had a bright future ahead of him.
He wasn't always into the party scene, but he went to a few. Like any man, he had several girlfriends and drank alcohol before the legal age. He was living the life of a high school student. Everything sailed smoothly. Eric went on to a small college, playing baseball on a scholarship. It was there that he met his college sweetheart and love of his life, Brooke Robertson. They married quickly as sparks flew just as fast. While Eric was smart and capable, he never really wanted to go past two years in his community college. He wanted more for his life than constant schooling, possibly welding or a mechanic or starting a business. Brooke wanted to go to school. She aimed to be a nurse and build up to a nurse practitioner, meaning lots of school and money. Brooke's parents were terribly strict since she used to party and act bratty in high school, so they didn't offer to pay for any of her school.
Eric found himself working random jobs, sometimes a cashier or a waiter or just work study at the college. He knew how much Brooke dreamed about her career, and she was so important to him. His school was paid for, so he started putting most of his money into her school fund. They'd had to take out large amounts of student loans, so the interest was through the rood, but they had no choice. His parents were older, and they wanted to travel. He wouldn't stop them from that. He couldn't after all they'd done for him. They lived in a small one bedroom apartment, and he provided for her. They were happy. Oh, so happy. She was beautiful with dark brown hair and deep chocolate eyes. He hung a halo on her. She could do no wrong in his eyes.
Pretty soon, she was pregnant. Eric's parents grew wary of her and the amount of money he was spending, not to mention the short amount of time they were together before marriage. He began to pay them no mind. Brooke was the love of his life, and he was set on her. He would have done anything for her. When she birthed his baby girl, it was the best day of his life, even topping his wedding. She was so beautiful and so tiny in his arms. All of a sudden, he felt like he had a purpose and that his world lied in her heart. Eric spent so much time by her side, as much as possible. He was always spoiling her with toys and clothes that Brooke dressed her in. Brooke was headed to graduate school for her Masters and looking for a job. It was all perfect.
And then it wasn't.
His life came to a screeching halt. He'd never forget that night. The flashing blue and red lights splashed all over the front of their now upgraded two-bedroom home. The sounds woke him from his sleep holding his two-year old daughter in his arms on the couch. She started crying nonstop, no matter what he did to cradle her or comfort her. With her on his hip, he opened the door. A policewoman took over caring for his little daughter, Lydia when the chief explained what happened. It was a tragedy. They told him that she died after a drunk driver carelessly ran her off the road. The police tried to assure him that she died quickly and probably rather painlessly, but he wasn't hearing it.
His hands went to his head, and he broke down. Eric Bateman wasn't the same after that. The house was so quiet. He cared for his daughter, but he started to not feel like anything mattered. Everything seemed wrong. He was angry, constantly asking [i "Why did this happen to me?"] Pretty soon, he started getting the bills. They piled on top of each other over and over, and his meager jobs weren't cutting it, no matter how many shifts he took on. Eric took to the internet, hunting down affordable housing for him and Lydia and a job that could pay Brooke's old loans. Every time he got the bill, he was reminded of her and their happy life, and he went into a lull.
It was right after one of those lulls that he packed Lydia up and left that home forever. He sold it and moved to another small town with a cold atmosphere rather than the hot one he lived in. He wanted something completely different. Eric grew cold himself as time went on. He wasn't near as happy and warm and friendly. He didn't even care about baseball anymore or trying to make the big leagues. Soon enough, he was working as a head mechanic at Keith's Body Shop. He was good with his hands. It had been nearly a year since the accident, and his heart was still wrapped in scar tissue and walls built a mile high. Eric never wanted anyone close again. They wouldn't be the same as Brooke, and he couldn't lose someone again.
It wasn't long before he added a job as a bartender at the local bar. It was a walk from the mechanic shop, so it was perfect. He'd be working late nights. Finally, it was time to trust someone else with Lydia. He went through babysitters left and right. Eric had high standards for his daughter. He was done with the teenage students, and he didn't trust old ladies with chances of heart attack right in the middle of their shift. He'd set out an ad online, and there was finally a biter. Eric didn't have high expectations, but he had to do something. He couldn't leave Lydia alone while he worked.
He was waiting for the babysitter to arrive that cold night, dressed for his job on the late night shift at the bar. He'd been working on cars all that morning, so he hardly had any time to himself. When he wasn't working, Eric spent time with Lydia, playing with her and trying to be a good dad. She was late. He kept checking his watch and sighing, pacing back and forth. He didn't have time for this. Lydia was in the living room with her stuffed animals playing and watching her cartoons. Eric wasn't very clean either, but he didn't care. The whole house was messy and unorganized with her toys all over the place. He was just too tired at the end of the day to do anything about it.
Finally, he heard the door bell. Walking over quickly, he opened it with a sigh. [b "You're late."] He spoke, even though it was hardly a few minutes after their stated time. From one glance, she seemed iffy. Bright red hair and blue eyes like the ocean. She looked maybe twenty-four or twenty-five, so she was close to his age. He'd give her one night. If he wasn't satisfied, she would be canned like the rest. Leaning against the doorframe, he handed her a quick handwritten note. [b "She eats a late night snack, and she likes her cartoons until just before bedtime. She loves her stuffed animals, and she has to sleep with her monkey. I read to her every night, and we work on reading and math with flashcards. I have to get to work, see you tonight."] He said without any hint of emotion in his voice, making his way out to his car.
Sat behind the wheel of the car usually felt like one of the safest places for Meghan. She had been driving for a few years and she had always been so confident. She had such focus when it came to driving and even in the torrential rain that poured on that evening. She hadn’t expected the brightness from the headlights racing towards her and she had to throw up her hands to block some of the glare from the light. She didn’t even realise how fast the car was going and because of that, she didn’t have the chance to turn the wheel of the car before theirs knocked hers from the road. The car rolled over several times and her unconscious body lay there waiting for her life to possibly end.
The memories of childhood are different for everyone. Where some have the happy memories that force their lips upwards in a smile whenever their thoughts wondered on to them, others tried their hardest to forget. Although either could bring a person pain or happiness people justified their life experiences as the events that helped shape them as a person. Of course if anyone were to make such a statement those around them would agree that they often think the same about themselves. The building of a human being was quite often a fascinating subject and to delve into the mind of one who had experienced so much certainly seemed like the best way to learn.
Meghan herself did not have many memories at all. Unfortunately, she had found herself in an accident that caused her to suffer some form of memory loss. Many told her she was lucky to have survived but she never asked to have her accident recalled to her because she didn’t want to know anything. Everything about her life from before her accident had merely erased itself, giving her an entirely blank canvas. Many suggested to her that is was a blessing in disguise and that they would give anything to be given a second chance at life and MEGHAN wanted to embrace that. at first, she wasn’t so sure if that was how she saw it. It was a terrifying experience to wake up and not remember anything about the years that had led to her becoming this woman and she would have to work hard to rebuild it.
She was lucky enough to have a supportive family surrounding her who were so willing to help her piece together the missing events of her life and from what she could tell she had been a rather successful student at school and it sounded as though she had a good life up to this point. She tried her hardest to get back into school but she there was something about the accident that changed her and she genuinely had no idea where to go with her life anymore and that fact in itself was extremely upsetting. She didn’t know who she was any more.
Even though some time had passed since her accident, Meghan had never really been the same. Her entire career had potentially been destroyed ever since the moment her car had been rolled off the road. She had once wanted to work in a lab with some of the most intelligent scientific minds. At least, that is what she had been told. Lately, she couldn’t even remember the person that wanted that. She had spent a year trying to piece her life together with the help of her family but all she wanted to do now was find herself and the only way she could do that was by finding herself a job and moving into her own house.
Refreshed from a good night sleep, she tried to force a smile at her appearance in the mirror, trying to judge whether she would need to do anything else with her presentation. It was not that bad, she still looked good, even in the plain dress she had chosen to wear to her babysitting job. It was far from her original dream but all she needed right now was to figure out who she was now. She placed the finishing touches to her make-up by dabbing her lips with clear lip gloss. Her blue eyes had already been defined by the simplicity of an eyeliner pencil and mascara but she avoided all other forms of the paint to avoid over doing it. She took one last judgemental look at herself and decided that it would do. She didn’t usually care about the way she looked but she wanted to make a good impression.
Her form entered onto the deserted streets and headed towards the address. The streets bore no presence of other life just like any other day although today offered a particularly cold environment that caused her to pull her coat tighter around her waist and made her regret her chosen attire. Relief swept over her as she entered the street that housed her destination and she walked towards the building, checking the house number before she extending her hand to press the door bell.
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