I look left towards the wide-open windows in my office and admire the view. The sun is shining over the city and off in the distance I take notice of the boats going about their way in the busy Pacific Ocean. Working my ass off to get to this point in my life by attending university immediately after graduating high school and pushing on in my academics even when life threw me a curveball was not simple; I am proud of myself is an understatement. The mind likes to play tricks and always drifts to contemplate my decisions over the past years. What if - my thoughts are disrupted by the sound of my cell phone ringing.
Releasing a relaxing breath, I answer. “Hello.”
“Good afternoon, my name is Stacy. I am the counselor here at Wright Academy calling to get a hold of Ms. Rhodes. This is about her son, Maverick.”
“This is Ms. Rhodes, is everything alright?”
“Unfortunately, no. We have had quite a predicament here at school that involves your son. We are requesting that you immediately come to the school to discuss the situation.”
“Yes, I will be there in the next half hour. I am leaving my office now.”
Tossing my phone down on the desk, I run a hand through my hair and toss it to the left, a tick that indicates a sign of stress. Wonderful, I can only imagine what he got himself into this time; last time he kicked another boy in the shin. Huffing and picking myself out of my office chair, I trudge over to the right side of my desk to gather my purse and pick up my coat and phone on the way out of my office.
I make a quick stop at my boss’s door and give a quick knock, waiting about five seconds before entering.
“Hey, Gloria. I just received a call from Maverick’s school and need to head out. I will see you tomorrow morning.”
She chuckles and then turns to me, “No problem, see you tomorrow. And by the way, awesome job in court this morning.”
Quickly replying with a thank you, I make my way towards the elevator, push the service button, and patiently wait for the doors to open. The ding signal prevents me from having a wandering mind and after a quick scan of the somewhat crowded elevator, the left seems like the better choice; it is less congested.
The garage button is already lighted, so moving slightly back, I fumble over my own feet and nearly topple over, brushing someone’s arm before I regain my balance. Not sparing a glance at the individual, I mutter a quick sorry and adjust myself.
“No worries; glad we did not topple over,” the individual replies while letting out a small chuckle to which I smile and nod my head in agreement. That was a sexy voice for sure.
The voice-over on the elevator signals that we are now at the garage level. The doors open and I quickly exit heading towards my Toyota 4Runner, climbing in the already started vehicle, and taking a moment to gather myself before exiting the parking garage and hitting the busy city roads.
Jamming to some old-school R&B, I soon pull into Wright Academy’s parking lot and lock my vehicle before heading towards the administration office. The private school houses ages preschool through high school and was on the top of the list due to my work schedule; the after-school hours work out well. Entering the office, the receptionist at the front desk speaks.
“Good afternoon, Ms. Rhodes. Please head towards the counselor’s office straight through these doors.”
“Thank you,” I reply while walking in the direction she described.
The door to Mrs. Stacy’s office is open as I approach, and my eyes immediately land on my son lazily lying down on what seems to be a lounge sofa.
“Don’t you look comfortable,” I say startling him a bit.
He jumps up upon hearing my voice. “Hi mommy,” he says as he runs towards me with his arms wide open.
Squatting down to embrace his hug, I pick him up smiling. How did I get so lucky with the most amazing child? I look over at the counselor who gives me a curt nod while she remains seated in her chair. When she clears her throat, I take that as a signal for me to sit in an open chair in front of her desk.
“Maverick and a few of his friends caused quite a ruckus during quiet time today; he and his friends were being quite rough with some of the other kids, and it seemed to cause worry for the teacher.”
I sigh and rub his back. Boys are usually rough, no? Especially the boys I call my brothers. “I am sorry for the actions of Maverick and his friends, Mrs. Stacy.”
She looks at me and gives me a soft smile. After a few moments of silence, she stands up and shakes her head. “Kids will be kids, but we are concerned with the rowdy behavior, and how it can be disruptive for our learning environment.”
I look guilty at her as she continues “You are not the only parent we spoke with today, hence the mention of Maverick and friends. Maybe just talk with him about what quiet time is and the things he can do during that allotted time.”
I look up at her and nod my head. “Of course, Mrs. Stacy.”
After a few more minutes of conversing with Mrs. Stacy, we leave the administration office and head towards the parking lot.
Nearing the 4Runner, I quickly hit the auto start button as Maverick is already dozing in and out of sleep. Must have been all the energy he used to cause the ruckus with his friends. Giggling at my thoughts, I reach for the back door, but my action is cut off by the sound of my name being called.
Still facing my vehicle, the familiar voice calls out again and this time sounds closer, “Hey Olivia!”
I turn around and meet the owner of the familiar voice, Thomas. He is holding a child in the same fashion as me; he looks at me and then at Maverick, looking slightly surprised.
“I knew it was you! Ever since I overheard the counselor and receptionist mention the name Rhodes, I knew. After all, not many people carry the name in this town, especially those who can have children,” he says breathlessly, most likely from running over from his car.
All I can get out of my mouth is a quick yeah while I stare at him in disbelief. What is he doing here?
He seems to read my mind as he starts to speak again.
“I just moved back into town a month ago. My son goes to this school along with Logan’s daughter. It seems that our magnetic energy is also embedded within our kids.”
OMG. Thomas and Logan are back in town, not good. Where there are two the third one is not too far behind. It is time to leave. Maybe even switch Maverick to a new school... I look up at Thomas and give him a fake smile.
“Well, I best get going. Maverick has Karate later this evening and I wanted to rest before class.”
Thomas smiles. “Alrighty. It looks like we will be seeing each other around anyway, Ollie.”
I internally cringe but keep the fake smile plastered on my face while turning back around reaching to open the door. After situating Maverick in his seat, I close the door and rush over to the driver’s side sliding myself in.
Taking a moment to get myself composed, I look up in the rear-view mirror to see Maverick dozing off and smile before driving out of the school parking lot in the direction of our house. After all these years the trio of boys is back. Why couldn’t they have stayed in Montana where they attended college and played football? Why come back?
As I pull up to the house, my eyes move to notice my father’s truck in the driveway. Not a good sign. How many more surprises am I going to receive today?!?
I park next to my dad’s truck in the driveway and carry Maverick and my things into the house. Setting Maverick down on the couch as he starts to wake up, I make my way to the kitchen where I find my father and uncle standing together discreetly talking. These men are attached at the hip – where there is one, there is the other.
“Dad, Uncle,” I initiate while walking past them to grab a snack for Maverick.
They both look at me and Ryan, my father, says “How was work today?”
I shake my head. “Spit it out already,” giving them a pointed look “there must be something going on since you both are here at my house, AND coincidentally, I ran into Thomas today at Maverick’s school.”
They both look taken aback. Guilty almost. Sean, my uncle, takes a deep breath. “We were going to tell you that they were back in town, but we knew how it would make you act and feel. Look how are you are acting right now.”
Immediately, I look down at the goldfish snack in my hands and walk out towards Maverick in the living room. I plop down next to him while offering the goldfish snack which he takes, and then turn on the television and sit there with him while he eats. I have my shit together. He was my best friend. But why did he treat me like that? Can everything go back to the way they were before we had our fallout? I miss my best friend.
My thoughts are interrupted by both my dad and uncle simultaneously clearing their throats. I look to them in the doorway and see them both looking at me with their concerned looks.
“I am going to be fine. It has been years since everything... I am in a good place mentally.”
They nod their heads and come over to sit on the couch as well. We watch a bit of tv before they suggest that they take Maverick to Karate tonight. I am reluctant at first but eventually agree, and soon all three of them are heading out the door.
Maverick does not get too far as I pick him up and plant smothering kisses on his cheeks, nose, and forehead. After releasing him, I stand at the front door and wave to them as they pile in the truck and begin to reverse out of the driveway where I hear a yelping Maverick “bye mommy, see you soon!” and smile while closing the door.
Deciding to sit and soak in a hot bath, I turn on the water before discarding all my clothing and slide in the tub releasing a soothing ahhh.
Laying my head back to relax, I start shoveling through my mind. Having Maverick was one of the best things to happen to me. He anchored me back down from all the chaos and stabilized my life. I worked towards and continue to push in my career for both myself and my son. Maverick... looks like a spitting image of his father with his hazel eyes and face structure. The only difference is the black hair that he inherited from me. Maverick’s father... Colt.