Here I am again, with a brand new story. I got the idea from a prompt on BethylPrompts (tumblr) and I wanted to post this for Bethyl AU Week (bethylnetwork - tumblr).
Beth was impatiently waiting in the hard, wooden chair for the principal to call her in. She had to take off early from work to make this appointment and the man was running ten minutes late already. She started tapping her foot on the cracking, linoleum floor. She looked up to see the school's secretary giving her an evil glare from her desk. Beth sighed and stopped, not wanting to make anyone else angry at this point.
The call from the principal came as no surprise. He never gave a specific reason, only that they needed to discuss her son's behaviour. He was six years old but already becoming a little hellion. She wondered what happened to her cute, innocent little boy who loved to snuggle and sing along with his momma. Once he started kindergarten, she saw his attitude start to change and him acting out more and more. It was frustrating, but she hoped that it was just because he was getting used to a new schedule.
He had only been in the first grade for five weeks when she got the call and here she was. She tried asking him what the problem could be and he just ignored her and continued to destroy the Lego structures he had just finished building. He was getting harder to communicate with and Beth wished at this point that her parents were still alive to help her out. Growing up she never talked back to either of her parents, too afraid of getting a spanking. All efforts proved futile with her son, as he just walked away without a care in the world.
Finally the door to the principal's office opened and a young child stepped out with the principal right behind him. The child made his way over to the secretary, picked up a slip of paper and made his way back to class. Beth locked eyes with the principal, hoping to convey that she wasn't impressed being left waiting.
"Mrs. Greene?" he nodded to her, expecting her to just follow him into his office. Beth got up, grabbing her bag from beside her and stood by the doorway.
"It's Ms. Greene." she corrected him. He gestured for her to take a seat in the chair across from him, and he went to sit behind his desk.
"I apologize for running behind, kids don't know how to wait to be mischievous," he deadpanned, clearly not amused he had to reprimand children all day.
Beth began to wonder if this man even enjoyed his job, and what he was doing in a place like this.
"I asked to meet with you because we seem to have a problem with Chase and his attitude in class."
Beth sighed, knowing exactly where this was going. "I know he's a little rambunctious, but he's always been attentive at least."
"His teacher says that, although he listens and is respectful to her, he is disruptive to his classmates and seems to encompass a lot of excess energy. He always needs to get out of his chair and walk around the classroom."
"I figured that most children don't like to be sitting in a chair for hours at a time. He's always been an active boy."
"His attitude has also been a problem lately. He's very quiet, doesn't participate and when his teacher does call upon him, he seems to make things more difficult by drawing out responses."
"You just said he was respectful?" Beth interjected.
"He doesn't talk back to or negate her, but he does carry a negative attitude," He responded.
"So what do I do then?"
"I want to know more about his home life. What types of activities you have him in?" He sat back in chair, crossing his fingers on his lap as he waited for her to answer.
"His home life is normal. We live in a good community, he eats healthy, he doesn't play violent video games or watch too much TV. I have him enrolled in swimming class once a week."
"Does he play sports? Or have any other activities?"
"No, money is tight since it's just the two of us. I can't afford to put him into sports." Beth admitted, slightly embarrassed.
"Your son has excess energy that he needs to work off. The attitude can be adjusted over time with some counseling through the school, but the energy might need medication."
"I don't want my son on medication." Beth firmly stated.
"Unless you find an outlet for him, then we may have to look into that. I already think he needs some after school sessions with the counselor to discuss his attitude problems." Beth sighed again as she tried to keep her emotions in check. Everything was tight enough as it was; she couldn't afford to put her son into sports.
"We'll see how he's doing in the next month and decide from there what the next steps would be. His teacher seems to be able to control him for the time being, but if he gets to be too much, we may have to look into specialized classes for him."
"I understand," Beth said, getting up from her seat. She grabbed her bag and waited for the principal to open the door. He knew that she was upset. He wasn't that much of an asshole, but she was helpless right now and just wanted to get her son and go home already.
"Have a good day, Ms. Greene," he called to her from his office and closed the door immediately.
Beth went over to the secretary and asked her if she could take her son out of class. There were only another thirty minutes left of school anyways so it wasn't that big of a deal. She told Beth which class to go to and her son would be ready in a few minutes.
During the minutes it took to get to his class and wait for him at the door, Beth tried to think of the best way to approach this. She worried if she gave him a choice, he would choose not to. But if she forced him, he might push back and not want to do it. He was so hard to read these days, that she had to try and get him in a good mood before she sprung this on him.
Chase seemed happy to get out of school but kept quiet as they walked to her car. He threw his bag in the backseat, climbed into his booster and buckled himself up. It was a good thing he was so self sufficient now, because he was a nightmare when she tried to buckle him up herself.
The drive home was quiet, as Beth was trying to think of possible sports she could afford. Soccer or baseball seemed like the best choices but the costs were always high and there were so many practices and games, she wasn't sure if that would work with her schedule.
As they stopped at a red light, Beth noticed a bus bench with an advertisement for the YMCA - YWCA. She remembered going there as a child, taking various classes with her sister and having a good time. With a full time farm, and three children, finances were always tight for her parents so she assumed it couldn't cost that much.
Looking into the rear view mirror, she caught a glance of Chase in the backseat, absently staring out the window. Beth knew she needed to do something for her son and this might be the sign she was waiting for.
Once Chase was off in his room for the night, Beth grabbed her laptop and searched the local YMCA for what it offered. There was a centre that specialized in Youth and Teen activities so she figured that was probably for the best. They had the usual soccer, football, baseball and even tennis, but she was worried about the cost. There was no pricing on the website so she would probably have to go down there on her lunch hour or something.
She noticed a class coordinator name and number and wrote it down on a piece of paper. It was late enough and the lady was probably home for the day. She would call during her first break and see if she could get more information over the phone, or if she would have to go down there.
She looked over her bank account before shutting down for the night. Her savings account still had some funds in it, although it had depleted considerably over the past six years. She had inherited a lot after her father's passing. Neither her sister or her wanted to take over the farm. With the life insurance paid out after their mother and brother's horrific car accident and the sale of the house and land, she and Maggie walked away with quite a bit. It was several years later when she became pregnant that her share dwindled down to barely a fraction of the original amount.
Fresh out of a relationship, and no help from the father, she needed to get her life in order and fast. She bought their house, in cash and was glad she didn't have to worry about a mortgage payment. With the leftover money, she was able to take care of Chase full-time, and not worry about working. At four, he went to preschool a couple days a week, and Beth was able to find a job at the library. Kindergarten, with his half days, Beth was able to work even more and now that he was in school full time, she could work full-time like she had always promised.
She was lucky that the librarian seemed to take a liking to her, understanding the difficulties of a single mother. Carol left her abusive husband while her daughter was quite young, and made it work for them. She saw bits of herself in Beth and was willing to help her out. Her daughter Sophia was old enough to babysit, which allowed Beth to take some evening shifts.
If it wasn't for Carol's generosity, Beth knew she would have never made it, and she would have had to make the long move to Minnesota to be with Maggie and her husband Glenn. It's not that she didn't love her family, she did. She just wanted to prove to everyone that she could do this. This was her choice in the end after all.
Getting into bed, she thought about her day and the things she needed to do for Chase. She loved her son but there were times like this, when she really wished that she had some extra help.
Beth grabbed the slip of paper she wrote on the night before from her purse along with her cellphone, went to the staff office and sat down to make the call. She really hoped that this lady could come up with some alternate suggestions for her, something that would help her and not cost a lot of money.
She dialed the number and waited for the ringing to commence. It was only two rings before someone picked up.
"YMCA, Lori Grimes speaking," the bright voice over the phone spoke. Beth hesitated, not entirely sure what she was supposed to say.
"Hi, my name is Beth Greene and I was looking for some information on the classes and activities you have to offer," Beth rolled her eyes at herself. There was no confidence in her voice, and she probably sounded like a kid.
"Absolutely Beth, can you tell me if there was something in particular you're interested in?" If this woman thought any less of Beth, then she certainly didn't sound like it. She was calm and cheerful and it almost felt reassuring to her.
"Well, it's actually for my six year old son, Chase. He's a little high energy and his school seems to think he needs some extra activities to calm him down."
"Say no more. I have a teenage son myself, and he was a little firecracker when he was about that age. Do you currently have him in anything?" Lori asked.
"Just swimming class. My budget is a little tight so I was hoping for something that wouldn't cost too much."
"Let me see what we have coming up," Lori paused and Beth could hear her rummaging through some papers. "There's some dance classes that aren't terrible."
"Yeah, I don't think he would be willing to dance. He's got a little bit of an attitude problem too. I hate to think of the things he'd say about boys in dance class."
"Understandable. Let's see what else. Ahhh!" she exclaimed. "Now this class is free, but I'm not sure how you would feel about it."
"If it's free, I'm gonna be pretty open minded," Beth replied, suddenly hoping it wasn't anything too crazy.
"We're trying out archery lessons. We have a family friend who is willing to teach a small group of kids. He will also be doing some survival based skills and taking them out to the woods, again free of charge. Is your son outdoorsy?"
"Well, we've never gone camping, but he definitely loves being outside. I think he would really take with archery; that kid has impeccable aim."
"Well, I will sign him up. Not many parents think it's safe for a young child to be holding such a deadly weapon, but I can assure you that the teacher is very knowledgeable with safety," Lori assured her. Beth wasn't that worried. She figured they wouldn't allow just anyone to teach a class like this so she put some trust in these strangers.
Lori took the rest of the information and told her the classes started the following week and would run about ten weeks. Depending on interest, they would see if things would continue on after or not. Beth hoped that Chase would be okay with this and that he would give things a chance. She'd hate to go back to his principal and look like a failure.
Thanks for reading and please review