Sorry for the wait everyone. Here's chapter 6

Valerie walked through the entrance of her workplace, coffee in hand. She felt better that day; she left her son with a set of rules, that Valerie believed, he'd be stupid to not listen to. The middle aged mother made her way to the break room, seeing as she had a good twenty minutes before she had to officially clock in. She worked an eight hour shift from eight-thirty to four-thirty, as a respiratory therapist, at a place called United Patient, which specialized in selling, ordering, and distributing CPAP machines, machines that aid people who stop breathing at night, and those of the like.

There were three others in the break, but Valerie opted to stand by herself. United Patient was filled with merciless gossiped and she didn't want to deal with the drama.

"Valerie, hey." One of her co-workers, Caitlyn, said, bring her attention to the rest of the room.

"Caitlyn, hi." Valerie responded in a false cheery tone; she had a low tolerance level for the people at her job.

"We missed you this weekend at girls night. Why couldn't you come? That son of your getting-."

"My son is fine." Valerie cut in. She shook her head in disgust at Caitlyn and sent her a nasty look. At that moment Valeries's boss, Michael Ross, and Valerie's one friend at the job, Melissa Wright, walked in.
Every females eyes in the room glanced at the African American man. It was a known fact that Michael was a hot item; single, handsome, and financially secure, Michael kept the hearts of all the women, single and married alike, racing.

"Thank you again for the coffe Michael." Melissa said, shamelessly twirling her hair like a teenage girl.

"You're quite welcome." Michael's vice smoothly moved through the room. Melissa walked over to Valerie, but not before flirtatiously telling Michael but, a smile widespread on her face.

"Ho." Valerie managed to say calmly.

"Excuse me?" Melissa retorted, clearly in shock.

"You heard me. 'Thanks again for the coffee Michael.' Shameful." Valerie shook her head chuckled.

"Shut up!" Melissa tried to snap, but she laughed along with Valerie. "I need all the action I can get. Michael's obviously not interesting in anyone at the office anyway, well except for maybe one Valerie Rhodes."

"That man-that man is n-not interested in me." Valerie stuttered.

"To heck he isn't. Every morning he walks past hour desk and says 'Hello Ms. Rhodes, fine morning isn't it.'" She mocked their boss' voice. "Every single day, no matter if its raining, snowing, hailing, or fire coming down from the very heavens. Now I'm gonna tell you one thing. You need to get up on that before I get what I wants." Valerie clutched her stomach from laughter.

"You're so bad Melissa. He's just being friendly."

"Alright Valerie." Melissa said sarcastically. The two women left the real room and headed to their respective cubicles. Melissa immediately began snickering as Michael began walking toward them on his way to his office.

He was bright eyed as he passed Valerie's desk and said, "Hello Ms. Rhodes. Fine morning isn't it?" Valerie's cheeks immediately flushed from any remaining color.

"Yes...yeah, be-beautiful wearer." She managed to stammer. Melissa chuckled uncontrollably, causing Valerie to send her a glare and their boss to stare in confusion.

"Is there something wrong Ms. Wright?" He asked.

"No, Mr. Ross; just proved a point is all." He nodded and dismissed himself.

"Doesn't like you my butt." was Melissa's last stamtent before she answered her first phone call of the day.

Valerie left work feeling satisfied for the days work, but a nagging feeling of exhaustion was also present. She hopes that when she got home she would be able to get some proper, well needed rest. She thought about her son and if he had actually abided the rules she had left while she was gone. She dialed his number on her cell phone; she felt silly when she heard the phone vibrate in her purse. As part of the punishment she took his phone. 'I guess I'll just talk to him when I get home.'

She drove home, failing to avoid the downtown traffic rush. Valerie went into a cycle of slow moving and horn beeping; she released deep sighs of annoyance periodically, but they didn't alleviate her agitation.

When she pulled up in her parking spy at her apartment complex, forty minutes later than she wanted, she was more stressed out than when she had left for work that morning. She climbed the stairs to her apartment, opened the door, relishing in the cool air on that hot eighty degree day, and walked in.

She glanced around her three bedroom apartment and noticed her son was sitting on the couch watching the TV.

"Hey mom." Ryker said without moving his eyes from the screen.

"How was your day sweetie." Valerie asked, making her way into their quaint kitchen for a glass of water, opening and closing the wooden cabinets and getting some water from the tap.

"Boring, horrible, disgusting, unbearable..."

"Hey now, you made the decision, now you face the consequences." The mother retorted causing a groan to elicit from her sons mouth.

"At least give me my phone back. What if something bad happened?" He slyly tried to coax his mother

" I've already said to use our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Covington's house phone if you need to." She referred to her elderly neighbors. "Now I'm going to go freshened up and take a short nap." Ryker made a grunting noise telling his mom he heard her. The tired woman went down the small hallway, passing two rooms, before reaching her master bedrooms. She set her purse down on her queen sized bed and looked in the mirror.

'I need to wash this carrot top of mine.' She thought and chuckled to herself. She took out her contacts and headed to the shower.

Valerie stepped out of the showed and quickly wrapped a towel around herself. She wiped the steam from the mirror and carefully looked at her face for a few seconds, swiping a stray hair from in front of her ear.

She dried off, put on her glasses, light blue pajama pants, and an oversized tshirt. She walked into the den and sat down, deciding she didn't need a nap, on the couch her son was on.

"Hey kiddo what about some pizza for dinner? I'm too tired to cook tonight."

"Sure." Ryker said as he got up and used his long lean legs to take him into the kitchen.

"Honey, when's your next wrestling tournament?" She said trying to start some small talk.

"Two weeks. Playing against Watermoss high." Ryker explained. "Shouldn't be too hard." He walked back in with a bottle of water in his hands. He extended his tan legs on the table and reached for the remote on the Aron of the couch.

"You know before you play you have to apologize to your teacher. Poor Mrs. Martin. You probably made that woman cry."

Ryker, in a matter-of-fact tone replied, "She was being a witch mom. I'm not apologizing, that's it."

Valerie's heart skipped a best. She was severely disappointed and horrified at her son's tone of voice and behavior. His smart comments and don't care attotude deploy saddened her. 'Am I that bad of a parent?' She sadly thought.

"Ryker you will do as I say. You're apologizing to her." She managed to keep her voice from cracking. Her son just groaned and grunted as he got up from the couch, walked to his room, and slammed the door, causing his mother to involuntarily cringe.

'Whats wrong with us?' She thought sadly. Her phone vibrated and made a tone telling her she recieved a message.

It was a text from Melissa asking if they were still on for coffee in the morning; she sent a quick message back confirming that they were.

Valerie decided to scroll through her contacts in search for a specific number. She rolled down until she reached a contact listed as 'Counselor.' She tapped the number and listened to her phone ring.

Disappointingly, she got the answering maching. She hung up and went back to her room. She would wait for the pizza to come and eat a little slice, before se would go to bed.

"I just don't know what to do with him Melissa." Valerie told her best friend. "I love him, but Ryker's gonna be the death of me."

"I'm sorry." Melissa tried to console Valerie with a hand on her shoulder. "The boy just needs a good but whoopin' and he should be fine." Valerie sent Melissa a confused look and Meilissa just stared back.

"You're being serious?" Valerie incredulously asked.

"Hell yeah! Send him over here if you need to, but that boy needs to learn." Melissa answered sternly.

"I'm not hurting my child! And you're definetly not hitting him. No need for any traumatizing events." She cleverly teased. "Ryker just needs a good, firm talking to."

"He needs now than a talking to." Melissa uttered under her breath.

"What was that?"

"Nothing." Melissa innocently replied.

"Okay." Valerie gave her a suspicious look.

"Numbers 5 and 6." The man at the cash registered called.

"I'll get that." Valerie walked up to the counter.

"Here you go mam." She remembered him from the last time she was there.

"Thanks...Dave." She gave him a small smile and walked back to the table with Melissa.

Valerie took a look at her cold coffee and sighed, "Am I a bad parent?"

"Goodness no!" Melissa placed a hand on Valerie's. "I've seen the way you act with Ryker. You're a great mom. A great single mom nonetheless. Ryker's just having deadbeat daddy problems." Valerie almost interjected. "Don't defend that man." Melissa cut her off. "He left you out to dry when you guys needed him the most. But look at you now, you're a great woman." Melissa finished, looking at Valerie's glazed eyes.

"Thank you." She managed to whisper. The two girls finished their coffees, talked for a little while longer, and went off to work.