Clare stood outside the elementary school waiting for her daughter, Erin, to come out. Erin was 4 and it was her first day of school this year. Clare loved the first day of school because she loved the smile Erin always had on and how she happily talked non-stop about her day, plus it was nice to get her out of their crappy motel room.
They never referred to that place as home. It wasn't what kids are taught growing up as a home. A home was a nice, clean, and happy place. A house or a nice apartment would be more of a home than their rundown, old, dirty pile of shit. Bugs of all different types lived and fucked in the walls, anything that could squeeze through a drain would spill out of the sink, and no matter how much they cleaned it would never feel right.
Clare prayed and hoped to one day give Erin a good home. She was such a sweet girl despite the hell she lived. She deserved a big white house, with nice furniture, flowers and trees in a big backyard, and to be able to have friends come over. Sometimes it seemed like that dream was coming true till a wall broke down, or they needed some extermination, and then it would all crumble down.
Nothing was going right for them anymore, hell it never did from the start. Clare had gotten pregnant with her and KC's baby. They were married of course but that didn't seem to matter when they fought. It would last all night and maybe even to the morning, and even when they had to leave for work it was never resolved. They'd be right back at each other's throats the next time they say each other. It wasn't fair to Erin so they got a divorce. Clare did it for her daughter and KC said he did too, the lying bastard. He just wanted out of the marriage so he could sleep around with his slut all he wanted. Clare was stuck with Erin and they were forced into this nightmare while he's off in L.A.
Clare snapped out of her thoughts and smiled warmly. She bent down and opened her arms to her little angel. Erin ran into her and they embraced with smiles. Clare pulled back, but still kept on her happy smile. She knew Erin only wanted her to be happy, and Clare wanted Erin to be happy. If one was happy, both were happy.
"Hey sweetie, how was school?" Clare asked, walking with Erin to the bus stop.
"It was great, our teacher, Mrs. Anderson, told us all about what we'll be doing this year. There are going to be Fun Days which is like a day where we do something different and fun!"
"Really?" Clare heightened her voice to make it sound fun.
"Yeah, there are days like Pet Day, and Talent Day, and Show and Tell Day." Erin rambled on as they sat down and Clare pulled her onto her lap.
"Wow, which one do you like the most?"
"I like Daddy Day."
"What's Daddy Day?" Clare asked, hoping it was something like just talking about your dad.
"It's when you bring in your daddy and he does something cool."
"Why is that your favorite?"
"Because I'll get to see daddy when he comes." Erin said as if it were obvious.
"Erin, honey, you know daddy has been gone for a while and I told you he won't be back for a long time."
"But he has to come." Erin whined quietly, her lips coming out.
"I'll call him and see if he can." Clare smiled, even though he never answers her phone calls.
"Okay." Erin smiled.
Clare sighed sadly. She hated getting her child's hopes up, knowing that they were only going to come crashing down. Once again she prayed silently that something good would happen and somehow she could give Erin all she deserved.
Clare was taking Erin to the Dot instead of back to the motel. They tried to stay out of there as much as possible, totally wasn't worth the 800 dollars they had to spend to live there. Erin loved going to the Dot anyway. Clare's sister Darcy ended up marrying Peter, who is now the owner of the Dot, and Erin loves Peter, they just click.
"Well, isn't it my favorite customers." Peter greeted them, but mostly Erin.
"Uncle Peter!" Erin cheered and ran to give him a strong hug.
Peter lifted her into the air and carried her over to where they normally sat. Erin was laughing the whole time and it made Clare smile slightly. It was sad that she was the happiest anywhere but the room. Clare joined them as Peter sat Erin down. Clare sat next her and Peter went to get their regulars. Even though he was the boss he liked to work around the place, probably just so Erin can have some fun.
"Mommy, can we go to the park after?" Erin asked with a smiled, giving Clare her most innocent face.
"Of course!" Clare cheered, gosh this kids knew how to get her way.
After Erin had had a few fries, some bites of a hamburger, and drank all her milk they took the bus down to the park. Another place Erin loved to go. She loved almost everything at the park. The swings, the slides, and all the things she could climb, but the one thing that scared her was the steep bridge. Even Clare had slipped and gotten hurt trying to slowly go across it, she could understand why Erin was so afraid. Sure she had tried to help her, but Erin would end up crying and Clare never wanted her baby to cry.
Right now Erin was running around after a butterfly. It was a beautiful day out and tomorrow was supposed to be even better. Clare decided that they could go swimming at the beach that was right across the way. Erin hasn't gone swimming much. It's always to cold, but when she does swim she had the best time of her life.
"Mommy, look!" Erin yelled, catching Clare's attention.
"I'm watching!" Clare shouted back and walked closer.
Erin was going to jump from a platform about 1 foot off the ground onto a small trampoline. Now it doesn't seem like such a huge deal to an adult, but to a four year old it's like jumping off a waterfall.
In the distance there was a loud barking that was getting louder and louder, but digs were allowed at this park so it was strange. The barking got louder and something felt strange. Clare looked over to see a dog running at Erin, well technically it was chasing a squirrel but it was still aimed at Erin. Her instincts kicked in and Clare dashed to save Erin.
Before she got there the dog had bumped Erin and pushed her off. But Clare was fast enough to grab her before she hit the ground. Erin was crying and Clare looked over at the dog barking up the tree. The owner had now caught up with the dog and seemed to be saying something sternly at it. Clare just ignored it and went back to comforting Erin.
"I am so sorry about that. Is she okay?"