“Jake, come on! We’re gonna be late!” Beca shouted, scrambling around the living room to find her laptop.
“I can’t find my Spider-Man shirt!” a frustrated voice called out from somewhere in the apartment.
“It’s in one of your drawers!” She finally found her laptop between two cushions and grinned in victory. “Okay, we gotta go now!”
“Mom, it’s not there!”
She sighed, now moving to the kitchen to zip up her son’s lunchbox. She grabbed her cup of coffee to take a quick sip and hissed when it burned her tongue. “Shit-- Jake, just put on another shirt. We’re late!”
“But I want my Spider-Man shirt!”
“Fucking hell,” she whispered to herself and then put everything down to go to her son’s bedroom where he was standing shirtless and pouting. “Kid, we have to go.”
“I looked everywhere and it’s not there!”
Beca looked at the alarm clock on his night stand and groaned when she saw that no matter how much they hurried up now, they were still going to be late. Might as well find his favorite shirt.
“Go look in your closet and I’ll check the drawers again,” she said, already on her knees. She was lucky her boss was so understanding of her being a single mom because she was pretty sure she would’ve been fired by now by the amount of times she had been late since the beginning of the school year.
Beca had always thought the hardest thing would be to see her little boy finally get old enough to go to elementary school. Turns out, the hardest part was convincing him to wake up at 6 AM so they could get to school in time for 7. She supposed she could only blame herself for that since he was her child and he probably liked sleep that much because of her.
She still remembered the first time she had laid her eyes on him, all red and fidgety after she had given birth to him and she couldn’t believe how fast these last five years had gone by. It had been a struggle raising him all on her own but she was proud of the little guy he was growing up to be and she wouldn’t change anything about their situation. It was him and her against the world.
She opened the second drawer and released a humorless laugh when she saw Spider-Man’s face smiling at her, first shirt on top of the pile, all ready to be worn. It was his favorite shirt since he had gotten it for his fifth birthday back in May and she could already see it was getting slightly too small for him. She was afraid of what was going to happen when he was going to grow out of it and he wouldn’t be able to wear it anymore.
It wasn’t like he didn’t have at least 10 other Spider-Man shirts but he seemed to like this one the most.
“Found it, Jakey,” she said and he turned around with a smile and lifted his arms in the air so Beca could put it on for him. She quickly pulled it over his head and laughed when it got stuck on his nose.
“Hey!” he said and grabbed the hem of the shirt to pull it down way more violently than it needed to be. She ruffled his soft brown curls before getting to her feet, her knees thanking her.
“Alright, let’s go.”
They finally made it to the car after running around the apartment to find his coloring book and his coloring pens only to realize they had been in his school bag the whole time. She already felt exhausted even though the day hadn’t even started yet. She buckled him in his car seat and sat on the driver’s seat in front of him. letting herself breathe a little.
“Mooooom,” he whined as soon as she pulled out of the garage and got onto the Los Angeles’ streets where the traffic was already heavy. “Mommy, mommy, mommy.”
Each word was punctuated by a kick in the back of her seat and she kept her voice calm to answer him. “What?”
“Can we sing?”
“No, not today.”
“But I want to sing!”
“I’m not in the mood to sing, little guy.”
“Because someone figured out how to turn off Mommy’s alarm clock and we woke up late today so now I just want us to get to school in silence.”
Jake giggled like it was funny and she looked up in her mirror to glare at him but he looked so happy with himself, she couldn’t even afford to be that mad at him. It was those damn blue eyes that he had gotten from her that were so irresistible.
It was her fault really; for letting him play with it while she got ready for bed but she thought the worst he could do was change the radio station, not change all her settings.
He started singing loudly anyways and kicked on her seat a few times, harder than before. She tuned him out because that was the only thing she could really do when he got like that because she didn’t want him to throw a tantrum before getting to school when they were already late. He suddenly gasped loudly and she almost swerved into the next lane in panic but she regained control quickly and looked in the mirror.
“Are you okay?”
He had his small hands on the window and his forehead pressed against it. He tapped a finger on the glass and shouted.
“Mom, that’s the Batmobile!”
She snuck a look to where he was pointing and saw a black lamborghini with tinted windows.
“Batman’s car! Mom!” he said like he was insulted she had forgotten and she nodded when she remembered.
“Oh right,” she said and then got excited for her kid. “Do you think that’s him?”
“Obviously!” he said as if he couldn’t believe Beca would even ask. He had a bright smile on his face as he stared out the window and he pressed his nose against the glass clumsily. She cringed and made a mental note to clean the window soon because she could already see the stain of his little fingers on it.
He talked to himself for the remainder of the drive and she finally pulled into the parking lot of his school. She put on his Iron Man backpack on his back and she followed him slowly as he ran to the door of the reception. The fact that he knew what to do when they were late embarrassed Beca even more; she really had to figure out a way to make them get here on time more often.
The receptionist gave her a cold glare, like she always did when they arrived late. Beca knew the receptionist pegged her as one of those irresponsible young moms since she first laid her eyes on her and it annoyed Beca to no end. It wasn’t because she was slightly younger than most when she got Jake that she was a bad mom, she liked to think she was doing pretty damn good. Jake seemed happy and that was all that mattered to her.
Jake hugged her and she kissed the top of his head before he walked to the receptionist. The latter put a hand on his shoulder. “Miss Sophie will be glad to see you’re here, Jacob.”
Her boy just nodded shyly, the grin that he had in the car gone and replaced by a nervous expression, the one he always had with adults he didn’t know well. He subtly moved away from the hand on her shoulder and gave his mom one last wave before turning the corner.
She fixed her black blazer and finally made her way back to her car to get to work. The drive to Atlantis Records was quick since she made sure she picked a school close to her place of work.
She opened the door, making a little bell ring and the receptionist at the front didn’t even look up from her phone to speak.
Beca rolled her eyes and leaned her elbows on the desk. “It’s 8 AM on a Monday, Amy. We’re definitely open.”
Amy looked up and discarded her phone when she saw Beca. “Hey Shortstack! Wondered if you were going to make it here today or the kid tornado was going to get ya,” she said in a thick australian accent.
“Almost,” Beca answered. “Is Allen mad?”
“Nah, I don’t even think he noticed. He had a meeting as soon as he came in.”
“Okay cool,” she said and took a peppermint before walking to her desk.
This summer, they had hired a bunch of interns but they were all gone now so the place seemed quieter. Not that Beca minded, she actually loved her place of work because there weren't too many people and she happened to like the person with the desk adjoining hers. Besides, Amy was loud enough to make the whole place seem chaotic without the help of any interns.
“Sup Beca,” Cynthia-Rose said from the desk in front of hers and Beca logged onto the computer and opened something in case Allen came out and she had to pretend she was working on something.
“Hey CR,” she said in the middle of a yawn.
She rubbed her face. “When did my child get smart enough to mess with my alarms?”
“He’s not a little kid anymore.”
“Ugh,” she breathed out and pouted. “Don’t even.”
Cynthia-Rose chuckled and tossed her a muffin that Beca almost dropped but caught at the last minute. She looked at her coworker in awe and shook her head. “Marry me.”
She didn’t have time to grab breakfast this morning because she had been too focused on cutting Jake’s toasts in little squares so this muffin was basically everything she had ever wanted.
“Happily engaged but I appreciate the offer.”
She took a bite and moaned when she noticed it had chocolate chips inside. “You’re my savior.”
“I just know the little guy keeps you busy and someone has to take care of you, right?”
Beca rolled her eyes. “While I do appreciate this, I definitely do not need help.”
“I mean it! Jake and I are doing fine all on our own.”
She had everything she needed. She had a job she loved that paid enough so they didn’t struggle financially. She had Jake who was a kid that was (most of the time) pretty calm and when she really needed help, she had her mom that lived in Seattle who could come by for a few days.
“I believe you, Mitch. I’m pretty sure you’re the only one who could do all you do and not need our help but…” she trailed off and Beca looked away from her computer to look at her, unimpressed.
“You need my muffin.”
Beca snorted at the double meaning and nodded. “You know it, CR.”
“Beca.” She looked to her right to see her boss waving her over from his doorway. “Come here,” he said before getting back inside where Beca could see a client was waiting.
“The boss needs his best girl,” Cynthia-Rose teased with a grin.
She shoved the rest of the muffin in her mouth and flipped off her coworker before entering her boss’ office.
She bent down to pick up Jake, who was running towards her and straightened up to hold him on her waist. He gave her a wet kiss on the cheek and she chuckled, happy to see him again. It was still hard for her to adjust to not seeing him all day when he was at school.
She was pretty sure he was the only person she could ever stand to spend the whole day with. She couldn’t believe how much love she had for her son, sometimes it felt as though it was going to burst out of her. Beca didn’t even think she was capable of loving someone that much until she first made eye contact with him on the hospital bed.
“Hey bud! How was your day?”
“Good!” he said, shoving his face in her neck and his curls tickled Beca’s face a little. She grabbed his backpack that he had gotten out of to hug his mom properly and she walked to her car.
“You wanna talk to me about what you did?”
He swung his legs while she buckled him to his car seat and nodded. “Today we counted to twenty.”
“Twenty?” she said with excitement in her voice. “That is awesome, little man!” She kissed his head before getting into her seat.
“Yeah!” His smile dropped and it was replaced by an adorable frown. “But my teacher told us she was leaving because… because… she’s too fat.”
Beca’s eyebrows raised. “Your teacher is leaving because she’s too fat?”
He nodded, his nose scrunched as he tried to remember everything. “Her tummy is so big, Mommy. Almost as big as mine when we eat pizza!”
It finally clicked and Beca let out a soft laugh to not make it seem as though she was making fun of him. She did remember seeing his teacher at the beginning of the year and she was pregnant so it made sense that she would leave, she just didn’t expect it to be so soon.
“Miss Sophie is going on maternity leave, Jakey.”
“Yeah! Matenitety leave!”
“Maternity,” she corrected and glanced at him through the rearview mirror. “So she’s leaving you soon?”
“Yeah,” he said and pouted, his perfect little eyebrows knit together. “I don’t want her to.”
“I get that, bud. I know you like her.” Beca did find it really unfortunate that Sophie was going to be leaving so soon. Jake had liked her pretty much instantly and it usually took a long time for him to get used to other adults.
It took him weeks to get used to Cynthia-Rose and even more to get used to Amy. It probably didn’t help that Amy pretended to be a monster chasing after him every single time she saw him.
She just hoped he’d warm up quickly enough to his new teacher when she’d get there. So far, he seemed to like school and she wanted that mindset to stay at least a year before he realized school was the worst .
“Hey,” she said sternly and looked behind her when she got to a red light. “We don’t say that word.”
He just pouted and looked out the window, his arms crossed.
“Maybe you’ll get an even better teacher.”
“Jake, you remember how you weren’t sure about Miss Sophie at first but you ended up really liking her? I’m sure the same thing will happen.”
“But I don’t want another teacher! She’s gonna be st--” he stopped himself and Beca sighed to herself.
She could bet money it was Amy that taught him that word when she brought him to work last week when she had forgotten her laptop there.
She decided to change the subject before he started crying in her car. “What else did you do today?”
“I drew me and Spider-Man!” he said, instantly getting his smile back and she let out a sigh of relief.
She just wondered if she had enough space on their fridge for another drawing.