Normally every morning, Melody would always say good morning to her father.
"Good morning, Melody," sinabi Eric. But she did not on one Saturday morning.
"Melody, I sinabi good morning," Eric was feeling a bit hurt. Melody narrowed her eyes at him. She did not utter a single word. Before Eric could reprimand her manners, Ariel announced that pancakes are ready. Breakfast was also filled uncomfortable silence. Melody poked at her pancakes. Eric only took a few bites of his, feeling awkward.
"Well…," sinabi Eric, sheepishly as he put his amerikana on. "…I got to go. I'll see you later Miss Benson and Melody."
"Okay, see you later, " sinabi Ariel. Melody just sinabi scowled and sinabi nothing. Ariel would have reprimanded for her lack of manners but did not because she understood why the kindergartener was feeling moody. Eric sighed. Boy he really did mess up. He should have sinabi that he did not get a chance to ask his boss's permission when he had the chance. What was he thinking? But the alcoholic father did not have time to ponder madami as he had to leave for work.
After Ariel took Melody to her talent ipakita rehearsal, she went to her lunch to meet Harry. Throughout the lunch, it did not go well. It was not terrible, but it was not romantic, either. Although Harry greeted her like a gentleman and Ariel was flattered, she didn't feel anything toward him. She didn't feel anything either when he pulled out a chair for her. They had a good time talking about the weather and their jobs. Even though, Ariel found herself at ease when conversing with Harry, she still did not feel romantic toward him. Her puso didn't beat faster than its normal rate. Nor did her stomach do somersaults.
"I admit, that I feel something for your sister," sinabi Harry, feebly.
"Which one?" asked Ariel.
"Adella," Harry responded. "But don't tell anyone! Understood?"
"I promised," sinabi Ariel, in a teasing smile. "Why don't you ask her?"
"She'd think I'm crazy!" Harry blushed.
"I'm sure she won't. Give it a try and see where it goes," Ariel suggested. Harry thought for a minute.
"You're right, Ariel. I should," he smiled.
"There! I knew you would!" sinabi Ariel. The waitress came and showed them the bill. Harry paid the bill and gave her a tip.
"Oh, and one madami thing," sinabi Ariel, before they part ways.
"What is it?" asked Harry.
"Be careful when talking about yourself. If you do it too much, people will think you're bragging and not think highly of you."
"I will keep that in mind," sinabi Harry as he put his tuktok hat on. "Well, ta da!"
Ariel waved goodbye and left the cafe. Knowing that she had still has some time before picking up Melody, Ariel decided to visit the park. It was the same park where she met Eric-er-Mr. Barnes and Melody. As she entered through the gates, she walked through the fields. The elderly people were sitting on benches, pagbaba books. The children and teenagers were swinging on the big seesaws and tire swings. The small children were either playing tag or hide-and-seek. As Ariel was walking, she heard a familiar voice calling her.
"Flounder!" Ariel exclaimed. "I did not expect to see you here!"
"Uncle Sebastian and Uncle Scuttle decided to give me the araw off. I invited them over, too!"
"Mon, why did I take the araw off? I got ice cream to sell!" Sebastian whined.
"Ah, pipe down, buddy!" sinabi Scuttle. "I got Ray-Ray to take our shift for today."
"I hope he remembers how to work with the cash register!" Sebastian mumbled.
"C'mon Sebastian!" sinabi Ariel. "You deserve a break."
"You're sweet, child." Sebastian smiled. Scuttle carried a big bucket of water balloons and set them on the ground.
"In the mean time, let's play!" Each person took one water balloon and formed two lines. Scuttle facing Sebastian and Ariel facing Flounder. Sebastian went over the rules of the game. The goal was to toss a water balloon to your partner without letting it fall to the ground. After each toss, both partners take one step back from each other. Everybody was ready to play. Ariel remembered how last time she played, she didn't throw her balloon hard enough. Thus, wanting to make a better throw, she swung hard and threw the water balloon toward Flounder. However, instead of going toward Flounder's hands, the water balloon went past him!
It splattered on a man's face. The man slowly stood up from the bench, peeled the balloon from his face.
"Mr. Barnes!" Ariel quickly raised her hands to her mouth. Oh crud! She thought, seeing Eric's glare. I am going to get the kulay-rosas slip! Great! Way to go Ariel!
Then, Eric asked a confused Sebastian for a water balloon. After taking one, he lift the water balloon and threw it toward Ariel! However, he threw it so fast, it splashed on Ariel's face. Eric began to laugh. It was the funniest thing he had ever seen! Scuttle, Sebastian and dapa started to laugh, too. The poor red-headed girl pouted. Then she smirked when she took another water balloon and aimed at Eric's head, just to shut him up.
"Ow!" sinabi Eric, when another water balloon splashed at him. He put on a mock sorrow look. "That's mean!"
"You deserved it!" Ariel stick her tongue out at him.
"You are the one who started it," sinabi Eric, picking another water balloon. Another one hit him in the head but it came from dapa this time.
"All right! Water balloon fight!" Scuttle cheered. Sebastian, on the other hand, looked scared.
Everybody was running around, firing water balloons at each other. Scuttle kept missing his aim wherever he went. His balloons always splattered on either the damo or on puno barks. Sebastian, who was not fond of getting hit, hid behind a nearby tree. dapa hits the ballons at Ariel and Scuttle. Not so much on Eric, although he secretly would like to just to get him back for throwing one at Ariel. Speaking of his sister, she was firing her balloons at Eric like crazy and he was fighting back. He did not mind this funny game, he was having the time of his life! Ariel noticed something about Eric. He was..laughing? It was so rare to hear him laugh!
Eric felt like he was having a blast! He never had this much fun in a long time! Eric quickly grabbed one last blue waterballoon from the bucket. Before he could take a step, he slipped on the damo which became wet due to the water balloons. He dropped his last water balloon, which popped.
"Ouch!" he said. dapa and Ariel laughed. The ginger head carefully walked over so she wouldn't slip. Giggling, she held out her hand for Eric. He took it and she pulled him up.
"Are you okay?" she asked, still giggling.
What is she giggling about? Eric frowned. Women are so weird sometimes!
"I'm fine," he said, nicely. They sat down on the bench together. Still holding Ariel's hand, Eric used another his other hand to grab nakpkins and wiped his face. Ariel's puso fluttered when she noticed that her hand was still in Eric's. Somehow the feeling felt...sweet. She quickly looked up when she saw Eric looking at her.
"What'cha doing here anyway? I thought you were at work." sinabi Ariel.
"Well, I thought I'd spend my lunch break out here. The office was getting boring anyway," he smirked.
dapa looked at Ariel and Eric. Why did she need to sit down with him? His train of thoughts were interrupted when Scuttle and Sebastian called him to help them pick up the balloon scraps from the damo and trees.
"What about them?" dapa asked.
"Eh, give them some privacy," Sebastian said. Looking at the man and his almost-niece, he had a feeling there was something between them.
"What about you?" sinabi Eric.
"I dropped Melody at her talent ipakita rehearsal and thought I'd visit the park to relax," sinabi Ariel. Hearing the words, "talent show" made Eric's eyes very cloudy.
"Eric, what's wrong?" Ariel asked, feeling a bit worried. Eric's puso bounced. He never heard her address him sa pamamagitan ng his frist name before. It sounded...nice. His puso started fluttering again when he looked at her.
"I-I...I-" He turned away from her. How could Eric tell Ariel about his problem? Would she understand him? Would she forgive him for being mean toward Melody last night?
"Eric, it's okay. You can tell me anything," sinabi Ariel, gently and softly. She scooted closer to him. Eric slowly looked back at her.
"Anything?" he asked, feeling unsure.
"Anything," Ariel confirmed. Eric looked into her eyes. They were full of kindness and love. He took a deep breath and began to talk.
"The truth is I really want to go to Melody's talent show. I really care about her enough to see her. The problem is I never get a araw off from work except on Sundays. But lord help me, I can never get a araw off on any other araw unless it was for an emergency. And I thought about what you said. I am still confused of which to choose. If I choose work, I lose Melody. But if I choose Melody, I lose my job. Whatever choice I pick, it is a dead end for me," when he finished, he looke down. "I am sure Melody doesn't want me to come anymore. My little girl dislikes me." He felt Ariel squeezing his hand. He had forgotten that he had not let go of Ariel's hand since she pulled him up. Then again, he did not want to let go of her hand.
"Eric? Let me tell you one thing," sinabi Ariel, firmly. He looked at her.
"Melody does not hate you," she stated, still firmly.
"But my daughter-"
"I know, I know. But she is not asking you specifically to see her talent show. All she is asking is quality time. All Melody wants is you to spend time with her. If not at the talent show, then maybe on Sunday."
"But even on Sundays, I have to work on my paperwork." sinabi Eric. It may sound like an excuse but it is true. It is hard to play with her on Sundays because either Roy or Walt would give him loads of work to do due on Monday or Sunday.
"I learned that there is always a time for everything," sinabi Ariel. 'A time to play, a time for work'. If not on Sundays, then maybe sometime after school. Yes, work is important because you need to support yourself and Melody but quality time with your daughter is important, too."
Eric was surprised at Ariel's words. How can someone have time to work and to play? It does not make any sense! But he sensed that Ariel meant every word she said.
"You know," he said, leaning forward. "I think you are right,"
"Really?" Ariel asked. She founded herself learning pasulong to him.
"Yes...," His head forehead gently bumped at Ariel's. Both hearts were speeding up. Eric's lips leaned toward Ariel's lips...
"Well, Well, Well! Mr. Barnes!" a loud, deep throaty voice shouted. Eric and Ariel quickly spun thier heads to see a large woman coming thier way. They quickly let released thier hands, much to thier dismay.
"Oh..Hello Ursula," Eric grumbled. He was a little peeved that someone that somebody disturbed him and Ariel. His nanny meanwhile looked pale. Geesh, she almost thought it was dapa or her uncles! It was good thing it wasn't one of her sisters or worse, her father! Triton would flip if he caught his daughter almost halik her boss!
"How are you?" Eric asked, trying to be a bit nice. Ursula came up to them walking around the bench.
"Miserable! Just another wretched araw at work!" She turned her head a few times, as if expecting to see someone. "Where is she? Where is she?"
"Where's "who?" asked Ariel.
"Yes, who?" Eric inquired. Ursula turned to him, impatiently.
"Your daughter! Your little Melody! Last time you were here, she was with you!" Ursula barked.
"Oh, she is at school," sinabi Eric.
"Let me guess. Detention?" Ursula chuckled. "Boy, Mr. Barnes! Was she trouble?" She giggled. "Poor Eric, has to deal with the rambunctious kid! She cackled as she leand her head back. Eric narrowed his eyes at her, feeling a little insulted for insulting his daughter. Although Melody had a lot of trouble at school, she never got detention! Before he could say something to defend his daughter, Ariel quickly sinabi something.
"Oh no, Ma'am. Melody is having a talent ipakita rehearsal."
"Oh?" sinabi Ursula, who suddenly stopped laughing.
"She's going to sing at the talent ipakita soon," Ariel continued. She was beginning to feel a bit nervous. She never heard of an adult talking about thier child that way-even if it was thier own grand daughter!
"Ah, good. It's nice to hear that my grand daughter is doing something productive," sinabi Ursula, smiling. She give Eric a who-is-this look. Ursula knew who Ariel is already due to having Flotsam and Jetsam spying on her. She knew if she addressed Ariel sa pamamagitan ng her name, the two young adults would get suspicious.
"What? Oh! I'm so sorry!" sinabi Eric, feeling foolish for forgetting his manners. "Forgive me. Ariel this is my mother-in-law, Ursula. And Ursula this is Ariel. She is my nanny." Ariel stood up from the bench.
"How do you do?" she sinabi as she curtsied. She knew she was not royalty but back at Denmark she had to curtsy all the time when meeting an elder. Thus this was out of a habit.
"How do you do?" sinabi Urusla.
"Very well, thank you," Ariel replied, smiling a little bit.
"Well! Aren't you a bit old to have a nanny?" Ursula smirked. "Or is she your mistress?" Ariel almost fell down on the grass.
"She's babysitting my daughter; not me!" sinabi Eric, whose eyes looked like they were about to pop out.
"Oh, stop it! I'm just teasing you," sinabi Ursula, flinging her arm carelessly in the air. "You men have no sense of humor." she laughed. Eric and Ariel both did a forced laugh.
"So tell me. Is my granddaughter a dancer or a singer?" Urusla acquired.
"A singer," Ariel smiled politely. "She's going to sing Best of the Both Worlds" from Hannah Montana," Ariel smiled, politely.
"So when do get to see Hannah Montana sing?" Ursula requested.
"We?" Eric asked, raising an eyebrow. From what he already knew, Ariel's going but he is not. So who is going with Ariel?
"You, me, and her, you fool!" Ursula barked. "I thought I'd like to give my granddaughter support," sinabi Ursula.
"Oh..okay," sinabi Eric. "The talent ipakita is on May 31st, the araw after Memorial day. Either at 7 or 8pm,"
"Marvelous! I will be there! Now if you excuse me, I need to go and run some errands!" Before the huge woman left, she turned toward Ariel. "It was nice meeting you, Miss Ariel,"
"It was nice meeting you, too," sinabi Ariel. As soon as Urusla left, Ariel faced Eric.
"Your mother-in-law is a nice woman," she said. Although there is something intimidating about her She thought as she shaked.
"I guess," sinabi Eric. "I-I apologize for my mother-in-law's behavior. I don't know what has gotten into her lately."
"It is all right," sinabi Ariel.
Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle came up to them. They were just finishing cleaning up when they heard Ursula.
"Who was that lady you were talking to Ariel?" dapa asked.
"Yeah Mon, because whoever she is, she looks scary," sinabi Sebastian.