6.62: Interlude – Normal

Erik’s leg was shaking up and down as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He felt almost embarrassed by how anxious and distracted he was that evening. Great first impression, huh?

But he couldn’t help it. There was just too much on his mind.

He thought of Harper’s grandmother, Jocelyne. He barely knew her, but her death still weighed heavily on his heart. She was always so kind to him, even when she had no right to be. His heart ached when he thought of everything Harper had put her through, and the part he had to play in it all.

At least I got to tell her I was sorry while I had the chance. Erik kept telling himself. But had Harper? He certainly hoped so.

Harper… She’d been on his mind so much too. Especially since the funeral. It’s really over. The realization hit him so hard… But seeing her that day had cemented the truth in his mind. There would be no going back for them. But then, did he really want that anyway?

As painful as it was to admit, without Harper, it felt like things were finally moving forward for him. He’d finally finished his rehab program after six long months. Hours spent every single day on bettering himself and overcoming his addiction.

It wasn’t easy at first… There were so many times he’d almost failed. Even one terrible night when he’d been moments away from calling up his old dealer. He literally had the phone in his hands before he came to his senses. And he was so glad that he did.

For so long, it had felt like he was carrying around a huge backpack full of rocks everywhere he went. Weighing him down. Making him slow, and weak. Hurting him.

Finally being free of his addiction had done so much to lighten that load. It was like he could finally stand up straight and breathe again.

And with some of the weight lifted, everything else had finally started looking up for him too.

He was still living with his brother. Danny said he could stay there as long as he needed to, until he got back on his feet. And Erik hoped that wouldn’t be too much longer…

He would be starting his first day of work the next morning.

That was the another thing on Erik’s mind that evening — the fear, uncertainty, and excitement of finally finding a job, after over a year of nothing. It was a programming position for a very small startup that was working on developing a series of mobile apps. And while it may not have been the job Erik had envisioned having back when he was at school, at least it was a job. He was so, so grateful to have one.

It felt good knowing he’d finally have the time and energy to actually focus on his career again. Now that his time in rehab was officially over, Erik only had two brief therapy sessions a week. He would be continuing his one-on-one work with Dr. Kirby… And attending a group session too.

Erik felt his panic beginning to rise yet again as the thought crossed his mind.

He was no stranger to group therapy. He’d spent the past six months meeting with a group down at the rehab center twice a week. And they were amazing. Erik had come to feel so comfortable with the other members of his group. They were all in the same boat. And he trusted them so much.

But now, he was back to square one. This was a whole new group — strangers.

Dr. Kirby assured him they were still people he’d be able to relate to and connect with… They’d all struggled with addictions. And they’d all made it through rehab, just like him.

But it still just felt so terrifying to be there with them.

“Thank you, Kevin…” The sound of Dr. Kirby’s familiar voice called Erik back to the present. “Erik? Would you like to introduce yourself to the group?” She offered kindly.

Shit. Erik felt his stomach turn. He had barely been listening as the other members of the group introduced themselves. Wow, I’m such an ass. He kicked himself mentally.

Obviously those introductions had been for his benefit — he was the only new member joining that evening. And he’d been so wrapped up in his own thoughts, he’d barely paid them any attention. The names and faces were already blurring together in his mind. The only one he seemed to remember was the freckle-faced woman with the sweet smile. Rubi, he recalled.

But what about the others? Oh well… I’m sure there’ll be plenty of chances to get to know everybody again. He told himself as he opened his mouth to speak. Well, here goes nothing…

“Um… hi.” Erik finally found his voice. “I’m Erik. I, uh… just finished up six months at Riverside.”

He felt his cheeks redden slightly as the others applauded him. God, I forgot how touchy-feely this crap can be. Erik almost laughed. But touchy-feely or not, this was what he needed. That much he knew.

“Heh. Thanks.” He continued uncomfortably. “So, um, anyway… I… I’m pretty glad to be done with that place. Not that it wasn’t great.” He added quickly. “I just… I guess I’m looking forward to finally working on… adjusting? Like, it almost feels like I’m re-entering the Land of the Living or something.” Erik let out a small chuckle.

A few of the other group members nodded sympathetically at his words. “I totally feel you, man.” The bearded man beside him said.

Across from him, Rubi smiled her sweet smile yet again. Erik felt his cheeks grow slightly warm at the sight. “Yeah… It’s never easy.” She said.

“Can you explain what you mean about the ‘Land of the Living’?” Dr. Kirby asked.

With a bit of reluctance, Erik turned his eyes away from the blonde woman’s freckled face. “Well, I guess I just mean, like… Feeling ‘normal’, I guess? I never realized til recently just how long it’s been since I’ve felt that way.” Erik’s lips curled into a slight smile as he spoke. “And the closer I get to ‘normal’, the closer I get to having custody of my kid someday, so… ‘Normal’ is pretty damn high on my priority list right now. And I’m hoping this group might help me get there.”

His therapist nodded kindly at him. “I hope so too.” She agreed before turning to address the group at large. “I think Erik brought up something very interesting about normalcy… Is there anyone else who’d like to share some thoughts about that?”

Erik breathed a small sigh of relief as the attention finally shifted away from him. Okay, that was a lot easier than I thought it’d be. He admitted to himself.

Maybe Dr. Kirby was right… Maybe this new group wouldn’t be so bad after all.

And maybe it would truly be another step toward ‘normal’.


52 thoughts on “6.62: Interlude – Normal

  1. Hahaha yes, the new eyes! 😉 ❤️ And he’s definitely being very friendly toward Rubi hahaha but dating someone you’re actively in a therapy group with is probably frowned upon, so… we shall see 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, both Harper and Erik seem to really like checking people out in not-so-appropriate settings. Don’t think that meeting someone in therapy is the best idea (and his attention kept drifting to Rubi the whole time). Already she seems like a distraction, and I wonder if he’ll be less honest because he’s trying to impress (or hide stuff from) someone he obviously finds attractive.

    Glad to see Erik doing better though, and making progress. If he’s ever going to be in Phoenix’s life, that’ll be really important too.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yeah, therapy relationships usually aren’t a great idea. But he’s a guy and she’s pretty, so he can’t help admiring the view a little bit haha I don’t think he plans on pursuing any kind of relationship with her at this point. He knows how taboo that would be.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. I hope Erik continues to stay clean and helps to raise Phoenix.
    My parents went through rehab four times. It did not help them. Last I heard of they were still doing drugs. Maybe someday they will quit. I am just happy I don’t have to live that way anymore.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. It’s good to see Erik getting to a feeling of normal. And custody of his kid….hmmm…I never thought about that! That’s going to be drama in the future especially since he has decided Harper is his past. I think she knows it too but hasn’t really accepted it or thought through what it means.

    And the way he is looking at Rubi, yep, he’s moved on and can’t help checking out his options! Which is a good thing. He and Harper were never good for each other. She had too many issues that dragged him down further. Harper still has a lot of growing up to do. She is light years behind Erik, though she is making baby steps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Harper definitely has a ton of catching up to do! Haha Erik has definitely made leaps and bounds. And yes, looking at other options! 😛 I don’t think an actual relationship is anywhere near the forefront of his mind right now, of course. But the fact that he’s at least willing to look means he’s finally moving forward a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hooray! Erik is FINALLY going somewhere. If only he could’ve done this sooner. But let’s not dwell on the past.
    I have not commented on the last couple chapters because I’m having a really hard time sitting down and typing. But I still am sad about Joce’s death.
    Great chapter!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I doubt everyone is feeling the same .. but I admit to being a bit p*ssed off at him. Somehow Harper is all the way under the bus for this .. “As painful as it was to admit, without Harper, it felt like things were finally moving forward for him.” YAH Sh*thead if you had not chosen a druggie path perhaps she would not have felt so desperate to “rescue” your A** (yes .. enabling you) I am not fan of Harper’s childish attitude but that is not the ball she should have to carry for you Erik. So yes, get clean and move on but NOT at Harper’s expense. She is paying a big enough price .. and hands of her baby because even tho she is stone stupid sometimes she loves her kiddo. (LOL I was NOT expecting to get so p*ssed off at a fictional character LOL)

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Dark WitcHazard: Well isn’t this sweet Erik is finally getting his life together after having no real reason why he couldn’t except that he just didn’t then after aiding in the selfimplosion of a minor decides yeah it’s not worth it I need to focus on me! Using the dumb thinking that’s suggest that my life is slightly better without said person so it has something to do with why I couldn’t get my shit together despite your shit already being messed up before they were even apart of your life! Erik you are officially the worst Rosebrook first love ever you beat Diego something I thought would never happen but you finally sold me after today! Since your plot armor is gone and your relevance of love interest to the story is now null and void. I hope you get ran order by a truck! Right side wheels first then get back upped over by the left side I want all eighteen wheels to role over your smug little face!

    Emotional WitcHazard: Dark calm down we all know this was going to happen I mean look at the banner Erik is they fartherest away from Harper and faded out clearly these were tell signs it was over!

    Nooboos WitcHazard: If that formerly Drug addicted bastard takes Phoenix away I’ll kill him!

    Emotional WitcHazard: Nooboos Nobody is taking him away he just wants custody you know so he can take him on walks maybe play baseball at a park etc! With out another person looking at him like he’s doesn’t desrve it!

    Lover WitcHazard: So cute There he is the fave we all were okay with having a relationship minor despite the age difference! But it was all a lie!

    Emotional WitcHazard: I know the drug use really hit you where it hurt!

    Lover WitcHazard: He was so ugly my fantasies were ruined!

    Shipper WitcHazard: (hold out of red but then presses it watching Harik blow up) It wasn’t that great of a ship anyway!

    Anti Shipper: Told yo so!

    Dark WitcHazard: Well who cares about drug boy! Give me more Harper’s Jail Days!

    Emotional WitcHazard: I think we should be appreciative to this growth Erik has made and hope that Harper has the same conclusion after her time in prison and both become good co parents to Phoenix!

    Dark WitcHazard: Naw give him ten more cameos tops no more solo chapters he’s lost the privilege! You disgust me! Which is a good thing! It means I’ll enjoy your punishment even more!😈🔥

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dang, the Witchazards are brutal today! 😂 (except Emotional!) Sorry to disappoint, but we haven’t seen the last of Erik! He’s Phoenix’s dad, so he’ll be around for a long time…

      Glad to see you commenting again, I’ve missed you! ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Nothing like getting blackout drunk in the middle of the day then having to show up for work to make you think you need to go back to your more positive outlets! Sorry for y’all the Erik hate I promise The WitcHazards will as positive as they possibly can be tomorrow but no promises!😝

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hehehe I’d never dream of censoring the court! They are always free to share their honest opinions here 😉 And ahhhh I’m still just so happy you’re back. I was thinking of you recently and how much I missed the court’s crazy comments ❤


  8. Ugh!!! Can I just slap him right now? I mean I’m glad he’s finally getting his act together but not wanting to make it work for your family’s sake and basically ditching Harper, blaming her for your drug use and trading her in for a blonde bombshell!!! Ahhhh! I’m ripping my hair out!!!! (Maybe it’s time to release Eun from jail. I bet even at 55 he could punch the crap out if Erik!) lol! 😜

    Well one thing that’s good in all of this, Harper doesn’t have to deal with his shit anymore. I hope she finds someone she truly lives that will treat her special and not blame her for her/his problems. ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. To be fair, it has to be incredibly difficult to be in a relationship with someone like Harper: you know, someone who refuses to take the blame for any of the bad things they do just because they may or may not have good intentions.

      I’m of the opinion that although Harper didn’t cause Erik’s issues per se, she definitely was not helping him overcome them either, so Erik recognizing that is actually very mature and can only spell good things for his relationship with Phoenix (and the rest of the Rosebrook clan).

      Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s genuinely satisfying to see Erik moving on with his life. Not away from Harper and Phoenix, but being clean and being able to do things for himself and start new relationships (friendship or romantic, probably best to not cross lines in your therapy group) and it’s in such stark contrast to Harper who can’t get to this point yet. I might have a teensie bias here towards wlw relationships, but I’d genuinely like to see the two of them living their own lives, being friends, getting along again.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. *Sigh* I just love Erik. Can’t we make him the unofficial Rosebrook heir while Harper gets her shit together in prison? :p (jk, Harper, you can stay)

    I admire Erik’s recovery though, and I hope he finds hapiness. Maybe with Rubi, maybe with someone else, maybe just with himself and his son.

    Or y’know, with my simself in an alternate universe 😉
    (I told you I really love Erik)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tough to acknowledge that Harper was enabling his habit by not pushing him harder to go to rehab. Might have turned out the same one way or another, but still.

    Also I dunno if this is a typo?
    “Harper… She’d been on her mind so much too. ” should it be his mind?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha yeah, I don’t think he was 100% blaming her, but definitely recognizing that she was holding him back in some way. But it was definitely his own choice to not go sooner too. Probably 90% his fault, 10% hers? Haha 😛 But this is the first time he’s seeing the negative effect Harper had on him.

      And yes, thanks for pointing it out, I’ll fix it! 🙂


  12. It’s good that both Harper and Erik now has realized that their relationship is over, for good. There’s no going back, with all they have been through. And Erik screaming at her that he didn’t want the baby and that they should give it up, was probably the last straw for Harper. The relationship hadn’t been going that well for a while, and then that happens. And no matter how much he is in love with his son now, she can’t forget his initial reaction. It’s like it’s imprinted in her mind. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. He was shooting up and she was enabling him by doing nothing. I’m not sure if it was because it was the easiest choice to do nothing, or if she actually had given up and just couldn’t see it for herself. It sometimes seemed like she had given up on helping him, but actually she hadn’t really helped him at all. By paying for his drugs she allowed him to continue. By not giving him an ultimatum, like her parents had suggested, she indirectly told him that it was okay that he was on drugs and couldn’t get his life on track. She pretty much told him it was okay to be the “failure” he thought he was. I don’t think he was a faliure though. He had just hit rock bottom really hard, and didn’t know how to get to the surface again. Thankfully now he has gotten help, and i think we can all say we are really proud of him. I know I am. Though he was forced to go into rehab, I think he was very strong during it all. The fact that he came to his senses when he almost fell back and wanted to call the dealer, shows his true strength. A lot of people wouldn’t have been able to resist that urge. But i’m also convinced that if he had done it while living with his brother, he would have been kicked out so fast he couldn’t count to three before he was out the door.

    He should have listened to the other’s introduction though, but it’s understandable that he was distracted. He did great though. He opened up and that can’t have been easy in a group full of strangers. He probably was feeling very self-conscious, wondering what they think of him.

    Seems like the blonde was pretty interested in him 😉 She was definitely flirting with him. He seemed kinda out of place with it all, so i’m not sure it was the best time for him to be flirted with. I don’t think he’s ready for a new relationship. He’s so not over Harper yet, and he needs to heal, by putting both Harper and the drugs behind him, and so far he has managed to do the second one pretty well. When he’s down he probably still feel that old pull towards drugs and the way they made him feel at ease, but he knows better now. He feels stronger, happier, more sure of himself. He has a new job, a baby he wants to take care of. So many good things are happening in his life. And i’m sure he’s not gonna fall back, because then he will lose everything he’s worked so hard for the past 6 months (was it longer?). He needs success in his life, and seems like he’s gotten some already by getting that job. He should be proud of himself. He’s come a long way. We all knew he could do it, but it’s so great to see it actually happening.

    Harper on the other hand has a very long way to go. She’s starting to see that she might be at fault at some of the stuff that has happened, and that’s huge for her! So far she has blamed everybody else for everything that has happened in her life. And now she’s starting to see that she might actually be at fault at a lot of the things. Losing her Oma Joce has had a real impact on her. Seeing that she should have just sucked it up and gone to see her, but then being too late, has hit her hard.

    Btw does the Rosebrooks still read Dust2Dust? Because that might help her a bit. She could go to her grave and talk to her and she might actually hear her. Though i do think Joce would have moved on. She has so many people waiting for her. Mark, Lucas, her parents, her grandparents etc. All the people she cared about, except her children, has passed away. I bet she missed Mark so much it hurt every day that he wasn’t with her. His death hit her hard. She was right, when she was younger, that because he was so much older that they wouldn’t have much more time together. I think he was 76? 78? in that chapter. And she would have been somewhere around 54. It is quite an age gap, but in truth age does not matter much when it comes to love. They were not at the same stage in their life when they met, but they were when they got together again as adults, after Lucas and Hazel’s deaths.

    It saddens me a bit that Zayne barely remember his parents, which is what i understood from a chapter far back? And that Harper didn’t get to meet them at all. She has no real idea who they were, and despite their flaws, they were great people.

    It’s so sad that Joce never got to say to Lucas that she was sorry too, and never got to accept his apology. He wanted to say something to her on their birthday and she just cut him off. And then he died. She must have hated herself so much after that. But going to his urn to talk to him was the best she could do and i’m so glad she did. (damn, writing this i almost get tears in my eyes. Tbh, thinking about it, kinda makes me want to go see my dad and grandmother, before they are not here anymore. But they have just been such assholes to me, and my brother Thomas ( i have 4 brothers). Which is why i’m compelled to not talk to him. I have no feelings towards him, he pretty much ruined my childhood. Sorry, this is not about me though).

    How long does Harper have left of her sentence? 18 months? I hope she spends the rest of that time thinking things over, realizing what she did wrong. Forgiving her parents and reconcile with them. Create lasting bonds of friendships with some of the inmates, like Ivy and Katie. The fact that he would end up being somewhat friends (or just friendly) with Katie, i would never have expected.

    One thing i’m not sure i understood correctly though, is when Erik said in this chapter, that he wants custody of Phoenix. Does he really want to take him away from Harper? So he will be the one raising him and she will just get visitation rights or something? What are the chances in Germany for fathers getting custody of their kid? Even if the mother is in jail? Because he did have a drug problem and that gotta mark him somehow as unfit for parenting or something, right? Even though he will have proven that he has overcome his addiction, the judge might find that there is reasonable doubt in whether he could fall back. And then keep him from getting custody of his son.

    Harper loves his son more than anything. And I think she will be a great parent, even though she might not be great at so many other things. But the love she feels for her son is true and pure. There’s no resentment between them. No feeling like it ruined her relationship with Erik, no feeling like it ruined her life to become pregnant. If anything, I think it saved her from her toxic relationship with Erik and brought her to safety with her parents again. Even though she ended up in jail. She honestly needed to experience some consequences because she hasn’t had much of those ever, but the fact that she was pregnant when she was turned in, and went to jail just after giving birth and having to live 2 years without seeing her son every day, is horrible. It was the worst time ever that she could have ended up in jail. I wish she would just have told her parents about the baby. Then they would never has turned her in. I know they just wanted to scare her. Then it would actually have been better if they had threatened with taking the baby from her, because then she would probably have to go live with them, she would have gotten away from Erik, and possibly started to see that her life is better at her parents.

    I’m not saying Erik is or was a bad guy. He wasn’t/isn’t. But he was a drug addict and that is not easy to live with. Especially when she was a witness to his overdose and then he goes back to shooting up again. If he had gone to rehab long time ago, they might have been able to save their relationship, but things went too far with them and now their relationship is broken forever. I don’t think they will ever get together again. Their history is too toxic to ever go back. And tbh I don’t think Erik was the love of her life. She might have felt that way because it was her first love, but i bet when she falls for someone else, that one will feel like the love of her life. And maybe the next one again. Every time you fall in love, it will at some point feel like the love of your life. But sometimes it doesn’t last. You might still love each other, whether it’s true love, or if it’s just friendly love, it’s still love. I have a friend from England and I love him a great deal. But that’s friends love, not romantic love. I have a boyfriend right now and he is currently the love of my life. I truly believe we will be together forever. But who knows what happens in the future? He might fall out of love with me, or me with him. We might get sick of each other or have too many fights about something stupid. But we are planning on starting a family together in the future. We have talked about it a lot. My previous boyfriends didn’t want children, and neither did I at the time. So we weren’t planning a family together, but just to spend our life together. things didn’t work out though. Love isn’t always enough, as i said earlier.

    Okay, I’m gonna end this comment here. Sorry for writing a novel lol! Must be the longest comment ever haha!

    I loved the chapter. It was great to hear from erik again and see things from his perspective. It’s so easy to imagine what the other person might think or feel, but hearing it from himself is better and gives better idea of who the person really is.

    Thank you for being such a great writer and let us all experience the wonders of your work ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Woah, this literally might be the longest ever 😂 But it was a great comment! So thank you for it ❤️

      There’s no way I can reply to everything you said haha But I can answer a couple of your questions 🙂 Harper has about 19 months left in her sentence, so you were pretty close! And as for Erik, what he wants is joint custody of Phoenix. He doesn’t want to take him away from Harper but he wants the legal right to evenly share his time with Phoenix, that’s all 🙂 It will probably take a few years before he can prove that he’s ready for that, but he’s starting to work toward it now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The bald guy, I KNOW WHO HE IS! Great use of the gallery. (pssst to all those that wanna know, it’s my white-version of Kellogg that I made before I made Kellogg out of him).


        Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s funny because I’m like yeah Harper and Ivy! But I immediately have red flags over Erik and Rubi. They’re both sick and recovering and could potentially help each other, but could also bring each other down. But yet so are Harper and Ivy so why am I encouraging that XD I guess because they at least have different situations. Who knows, maybe it’ll all go to shit or maybe they will all be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha it’s definitely a big risk when two people in recovery try to get together. They can either bring each other down or lift each other up… so I guess if either couple actually gets together, we will have to wait and see which side they fall on 😮


  14. I’m so glad that we are seeing Erick’s story, and not like, bits of his progression trought some other character’s coments! it’s good to see him progress in life.I was afraid, at the beginning, that he would lose for the addiction.After the whole ”Joce and Luc” situation,I realized that, sometimes, there’s not much of a ”happy ending”…And I’m down for him to end up with Rubi! It most likely will make it easier for him to deal with Harper and her girlfriend ( yes, I think they are going to end up together!)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey Rubi! She’s adorable. I don’t love the idea of two ex-addicts being together, but hey, at least they can sympathize with each other. I hope he doesn’t end up in a custody battle with Harper though, joint custody is better. If he gets full custody, I just can’t imagine him bringing Phoenix to see her every week in jail. But I will wait to see before passing judgement.

    Liked by 1 person

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