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By:L Wilder

“Ready,” he told me with a wide smile.

“Breakfast?” I asked.

“I got a granola bar.”

“You know that’s really just a snack, but I’ll let it slide today,” I said, playfully rolling my eyes at him “Want some juice or something?”

He shook his head no and headed out the front door towards the car. Overall, it was a great morning, and things continued to go well until I got to my last class of the day. I’d always wanted a career in family counseling and after my divorce, my parents encouraged me to go back to college to get my degree. They helped pay for my classes until my financial aid kicked in, and Mom helped with Wyatt when I was in class. I couldn’t have done it without them, and things were going really well until I started my Counseling Theories class.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” Rachel whined. “He has to be the most boring man on the planet.”

“I feel ya, girl. I’m on my second cup of coffee, and I’m still having a hard time staying awake,” I grumbled. I was just a few classes away from graduating, but first I had to survive Professor Halliburton. Thankfully, I had Rachel there to keep things interesting. I’d met her last semester in my Crisis Management and Prevention class when she asked to borrow my notes, and we’d been friends ever since.

“It’s his voice. Seriously, every time he opens his mouth, it’s like nails on a chalkboard,” she said, drawing out her words as she spoke.

Several heads turned and looked in our direction when we both started laughing. “You’re a nut, Rach.”

“Hey, you want to catch a movie after the gym tonight?”

“I wish I could, but I can’t. Wyatt will be with his dad after school, so I’m going to try to run some errands.” I wasn’t exactly lying; I really did have lots to do. My laundry was piling up, and I had to get some studying done, but those weren’t the reasons I didn’t want to go. I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself knowing that Wyatt was with Michael.

“Wren, we both know why you don’t want to go, but I get it. I know it’s hard sending him over there.”

“I’m sorry. I just get so anxious when he has to go over there. It’s like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop,” I explained.

“I can only imagine. It has to be just as hard for Wyatt,” Rachel told me.

“It is, but at least he has Mrs. Daniels. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s really good with him.”

During our divorce, Michael fought hard for joint custody of Wyatt. Sadly, it had nothing to do with being with Wyatt. No, it was just another way for him to try to hurt me, to exert his control over me. He thought he was being so clever, but I knew exactly what he was doing. His random calls to check in on his son were never about Wyatt. It was just Michael’s chance to interrogate Wyatt on what I was doing or where I’d been. Pushing for joint custody was just his vindictive way to get my child support reduced, knowing full well that less money would make it difficult for me to make it on my own. It was all just a ploy to make me miserable, and it was working. I didn’t feel like I was making any progress, until I found Mrs. Daniels. The judge suggested her independent service company for Michael’s supervised visitation, knowing that they had experience working with children with special needs. With Mrs. Daniels’ background, she knew what to expect with Wyatt’s Asperger’s. He was high functioning, but dealing with all of his little quirks could still be difficult.

“He’s lucky to have her. You both are,” she said smiling. “I’ll tell you what… why don’t we hit the movies this weekend? We can take the kids with us and grab a pizza after.”

“That sounds great. Wyatt loves Annalise, and he’s been wanting to see that new Charlie Brown movie.”

“Great! It’s a plan then. Having something to look forward to might help me get through the next thirty minutes of Dr. Boring,” Rachel said laughing.

After class, we both headed over to the gym for self-defense training. Rachel was a little hesitant about taking the class until she met the instructor, Brandon. Even though she spends most of the hour gawking at him, it’s nice to have her there with me.

“Is it just me, or does Brandon look like Joe Manganiello?” Rachel asked as we were walking out of the gym.

“Hmmm… no. Not even close,” I told her laughing.

“Yeah, well, he probably has a girlfriend anyway.”

“For a guy with a girlfriend, he certainly keeps his eyes trained on you,” I told her as my phone began to vibrate in my duffle bag.