Melody looked at him hard to see if he's really going to say yes. Ariel waited too, to see what his response would be.
"I-I...can't," Eric winced at his answer. Melody looked like as if her birthday got canceled. No, this couldn't be! Her dad said, 'I can't!' Melody moved a little back from him.
"What? Why?" She half-whispered half-yelled.
"I-I have work and my boss needs me," said Eric. Melody tensed up. Her fists clenched and her teeth gnashed.
"Work? Work! Daddy! That's all I have heard! Work this! Work that! Boss that! What about me! You never have time for me!"
"Melody please listen-" Eric pleaded.
"No! You listen!" Melody yelled. "You never play with me! You never come to my soccer games or talent shows! I'm getting a funny feeling that you care about work more than me!"
"That's not true!" Eric disagreed. "I do care about you!"
"No, you don't! Otherwise, you'd play with me! You don't do anything with me at all!" Melody yelled. She really wants him to come to her talent show! Why couldn't he understand that she needs him?
Eric was stunned by Melody's outbursts and refusal to listen (or even understand) his reasons.
"Oh, grow up, Melody!" Eric grumbled.
"Mr. Barnes!" Ariel said, shocked by Eric's words. She was in all shock while this fight was going on. She tried to say something but Eric continued.
"I've been working like a dog every day just so you could have an education and not live in the streets!" Since his wife left him, Eric had to work double-shift to support himself and Melody. "I gave you toys; I gave you food! What more do you want from me!" He mentally winced at how harsh he is sounding. Normally, he would not raise his voice, but his daughter's refusal to hear his reasons were irritating him. Ariel was taken back by Eric. How could he sound so mean? Ariel knew she should stop the fight but how could she when her boss and his daughter were ignoring her?
"Melody! Mr. Barnes! Stop!" But her voice fell on deaf ears.
Tears streamed down from Melody's eyes. Her dad wasn't willing to give up a day at work for her?
"I hate you!" Melody screamed.
Hearing at those words, both Eric and Ariel were taken back. Ariel put her hand over her mouth, while gasping. Eric looked as if he had been slapped in if the face.
I never want to speak you ever again!" Melody continued. She ran upstairs to her bedroom and slammed the door. It took a while for the two adults to overcome their shock. Ariel looked at Eric. She noticed that his eyes looked cloudy.
"Mr. Barnes...," she said so softly.
"My boss said no!" Eric barked. "It's not like I have a choice! I don't want to lose my job!"
Ariel tried to think.
"Well..," she said, hesitantly, solemnly. "You have a choice to make."
"What's that?" Eric asked, still angirly.
"See Melody's show or go to work," she answered. With that said, Ariel went upstairs.
Eric stayed at the bottom of the staircase and sighed. He knew she was right but the choice was so hard to make. How would he know which one to pick?
Author's Note: Okay, I hope I didn't make Eric or Melody OOC. If I did, I apologize. I wasn't sure whether to have him tell Melody the truth or lie about it but I learned that Eric is an honest type. He doesn't lie very much thus, I decided to write him saying he couldn't come. I was going to write to have Ariel advise Eric to change his work schedule but I don't know if every company does that. I requested my boss to let me change my work hours at my job on campus, but I don't know if a professional man like Eric would have a choice in that. But for the sake of my story, I'll pretend that his boss doesn't let him change his work schedule.