The Greatness Within

A boy, Thomas A. Perez, goes through life living in his brother's shadow. As he is lost in his ways, he meets a wonderful girl, Nicole. Hope was something Thomas was very familiar with. However, love is quite the new concept for him to grasp.
Originally, I wrote this to make my teacher cry (which I did accomplish... she wasn't... the happiest I guess you could say), but now I'd eventually like to write this into my 1st novel and just really expand from what I have already. That way I can get better character development and a heavier impact at those 'sad times'. Hope you enjoy :) .... *Please be sure to check out all of the chapters*


2. Chapter 1: Thomas's Childhood



            Now, the story for me really begins when I was just a child. I literally lived by the phrase, “This life is a party, and I’m never growing up!” At least it made sense. I mean after all, all the “cool” kids at the school did this the same way I did. I guess you could say I idolized them; they were the only people in my life who would even bother to talk to me. I looked up to them, but then one day came.

            A few guys and I were just hanging out, having a great time. We were being what everyone thought was cool. Alex, my brother, who was 15 at the time, was with me too. We were behind a large building a place where everyone referred to as, “The Drug Pit”. Well I should say everyone who was “in”. What’s the point in having a “Drug Pit” if everyone knows about and will catch you? This is where we would bring other kids who have never smoked before and talk them into it. “Come on, it is cool”, “No one will ever know”, “It is going to save your life.” These sayings were about all we had to say to get them hooked for life. We… I mean they found it amusing to see the little kids addicted to this. So they laughed every time. One time, I asked Trent, the “drug lord”, “What happens to us after this?” He responded to me, “Little buddy, let’s just say there is a special place in Hell for the things we do. If you believe in that stuff, I know I don’t, but if you want to sure go ahead. Be my guest.”  To me this always felt a little wrong, but I was too selfish to know what this actually did for the victim. I just went with the flow; after all, this was cool. So, I just never thought anything of it; I didn’t have any regrets for a couple years, a couple years before I met Nicole. Until then, I only helped to ruin other people’s lives, the lives of the innocent and pure.

            Nicole came to my school in 8th grade. By then, I made exactly sixty-six people “followers of drugs”. This was considered to be a very high honor to the seniors whom taught me the definition of right from wrong. They commended me for helping them do so. Maybe it was time to consider something else though. I always felt it wasn’t the best thing to do, and meeting Nicole only helped to further my point.

            Nicole came up to me one day after school and said to me in a sad tone, “Hi! How are you and do you want to be my friend?” I looked at her strangely, but then she continued, “I’m sorry but… but I don’t have any, and I know how odd this must be for you, but maybe… maybe you want to visit me tonight?”

            I never thought of Nicole as one of the “lonely types”, but I guess I can’t say I have ever seen her with an actual friend either. She just seemed too cheerful and nice to be friendless. She wasn’t ugly either. She was just shy and not out-going like the other people at my school. I thought to myself, “Obviously, she must think I’m someone else, why would anyone ask me that silly question in the first place? No one likes me not even my dad.” So I said to her, “Sure, I would love that.” I mumbled quietly, “More than you know. I just have one question. What’s your name?”

            “Nicole, Nicole Alameli,” She said this as if she was about to cry. You could tell the brightness and joy in her face already begin to become evident. Nicole also said very shyly, “Um, do… do you think you can just come over now? I want to spend as much time with my new and only bestie.”

            “Bestie?” I questioned.

            “Oh yeah, sorry, it’s short for best friend.” Nicole said very embarrassed.

            I chuckled a little bit to myself then said happily,” Yes, I can come over now. I just need to tell my brother, Alex, about this. I’m positive I can though.” Nicole walked off with tears of joy in her eyes, and I went to go tell Alex that I was going to a friend’s house. When I told Alex this, I could tell that he was happy that I finally found someone who cared about me. He could tell I was happy about this. Why wouldn’t I be? This was the first time in my life where I actually had a good friend. When I arrived at her house, it looked beautiful. It was a good little country home just outside of town. The time I spent there went by very fast. Nicole and I rode her horses. Well, I should say Nicole rode her horse, and I… I wasn’t so hot. She literally ran circles around me. I wasn’t a big fan of horses until I met her. When we were done riding horses, we went inside and had dinner. Her parents were so nice and were very happy to see the two of us together. After that we played a family game called, “Stop Thief”. I found out the meaning true meaning of, “Getting your butt handed to you”, but it was probably the most fun I have ever spent in my entire life. It got dark and I had to go and return home. The thing I admired most about Nicole was, she wasn’t afraid to be different. Before I left, she ran out and hugged me. For the first time in my life someone other than my brother had hugged me.

            She saw me crying and asked sincerely, “What’s wrong Thomas? Didn’t you have fun?”

            I answered to her still crying, “Yes of course, this is the most fun I had ever had in my life, and you are the second person to hug me sincerely.”

            We were best friends, always there for each other. We would do anything for each other. After that first time at her house, my whole life changed. I actually felt loved and cared for by someone other than my brother. Other people would take a friend for granted, but I… I had no friends like her before. When I was sad I always had Nicole to turn to, and when she was sad she too had someone to turn to. I chose to keep this a secret. The seniors who honored me for what I did. I often thought what they would think of this. Surely they would mock me for this for going “soft”. The truth was, I finally found a place to go to when I felt down. However, I couldn’t keep living this double life. I had to make a choice, Nicole or the life I had always lived. The choice was obvious, but it was harder to turn away from my old life than what I thought. I needed the perfect opportunity, and it could come in time. Now one more thing remained, I need to tell Nicole something I had never told anyone else. I told her, and she only encouraged me to make the choice even more. One of the things she said to me was this, “Although you have done these things, I believe in second chances. This isn’t who you are Thomas, you were meant for so much more than this. I hope you realize this as I do. Remember that one time you said, ‘I would and always will do anything for you, Nicole.’ This is what I want you to do, and I promise you a better life.” She was right. Everything she said was all true. So the next chance I had I jumped on it instantly. I owed her and I would truly do anything for her, anytime she wanted it done.

            One day, we were at “The Drug Pit” and we had brought with us a very nice and intelligent kid. It hurt me to see what we had intended, but this time… this time I wasn’t going to let it happen. We were there and Alex looked at me. He knew what I was going to do, and he was going to back me up. Now and only now would be my escape out of this. This was the perfect moment, the perfect moment I was waiting for.

            When it came my turn I said, “You don’t really want to do this. The truth is, they are doing this to laugh in your face about your addiction. Once you go down this road, I can assure you no way out.” The kid looked at me very strangely. I couldn’t think what he was thinking, but I knew what Trent was thinking. He looked at me viciously as if he wanted to kill me.

            Trent said angrily, “You know, after all you’ve done you are going to turn away now? You’ve dug yourself too deep. If you think you can get out now, I got news for you… you CAN’T!”

            “No Trent,” Alex said next to me, “You are so deluded that you are wrong! You will never see the way out because you won’t let yourself. I shall never let you see the day when my brother, Tom, gets to be like you! We’re done here.”

            Trent responded, “Not quite yet.” Trent thrust himself towards Alex, but little did he know that Alex always carries a gun in his right pocket to these events. Alex stepped out of his way, tripped Trent, and pulled out his gun. Alex whispered in his ear, but I never really knew what he said to him. All I knew is that Trent let us go freely that night and nights to come. I couldn’t believe it; I was finally out of the thing Nicole wanted me to stop. Although we were enemies and had different thoughts, Trent and I respected each other’s decisions, and we honored each other. We never truly lost our friendship. When I needed someone tough, I went to Trent, and he would help me. It always made me feel safe with a tough guy like Trent behind my back.

            Nicole came up to me after that event and said, “I love you. I never thought you would do that, but you did. I’m so happy for you.” And after that she hugged me and whispered, “If there’s anything you need of me, anything at all, tell me. I believe I owe you a great debt.”

            Nicole meant the world to me, so why wouldn’t I do it for her? It was just one thing so I whispered back, “You don’t owe me anything, but rather it is I who owe you. You gave me more than anything I could ever ask for, a true friend who loves and cares for you. I can only count myself so lucky to meet you, but if you can do one thing for me, thank my brother, Alex, for everything he has done for me.”

            Nicole looked at me tenderly with her dark brown eyes and said, “Okay, I will. It is your birthday tomorrow right? If you want, you can come to my place with your other friends and celebrate it. I also have something planned for you too. I think you will like it.”

            “Aw, you’re too generous,” I continued, “I would very much appreciate that if you and your parents don’t mind. Except for one thing, I don’t have any other friends who I would like to have and celebrate my birthday. Just Alex and you will be all I need for the perfect time. And you’re sure you don’t mind at all?”

            “I’m POSITIVE!” Nicole assured me then went on, “My parents thought it was a good idea also. They love to see you, you know. And my parents already have something planned for you too. I’m sure you will absolutely love it.”

            I had to go back home and talk to Alex about this. He said he would like to meet my friend whom I have told so many good things about. Also, since my father wouldn’t get me anything for my birthday Alex would always ask him for something I wanted. He was always good at keeping a secret, so I never knew what he was getting me. Whatever it was, he made sure it was special. He loved to see me happy. He was the only other friend other than Nicole I could think of. I always was made fun of that at school, but I always told them, “One of my friends is worth a million.” I believed that after I met Nicole.

            I knew today would be a special day. I woke up and my brother, as he does every year, made me breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes, just the way I like it. I went to school as usual but, this year, was different. I knew something was up when Nicole and Alex were talking together, and as they were doing it, they looked at me. Alex was giving me the, “You are going to love this”, look, and Nicole was giving me the, “Hehe… You are in for it”, look. I found out what they were up to when lunchtime came. Alex stood on the lunch table we were sitting at and shouted, “Hello everyone! It is my brother’s birthday today! Happy Birthday Tom! Now everyone I’m going to ask you to sing real loud for my brother! He might not be able to hear you!” My brother winked at me, and the people in the lunch room started to sing me the happy birthday song. I couldn’t have felt anymore embarrassed in my life. After school we went to Nicole’s house. Everyone sang me the happy birthday song, and Nicole was right, I loved her surprise. She put together a scrap book of all our great times together. After they gave gifts, we went to the local diner and had supper.

            I asked Nicole, “So was that your surprise?”

            She answered, “Nope that was only half of it. Soon enough you’ll get the other half.” Nicole smiled at me. I thought to myself, “As if she hasn’t already done enough for me.”

            I couldn’t get my mind off what else she had in store for me, but when we got back to Nicole’s house, we rode the horses and played a game. By then, I had to go back and get some sleep, but before I went, Nicole ran up to me and said, “Wait! You didn’t get your other gift yet.” Nicole hugged me for a little bit and said, “Here it is.” Then she kissed me.

            I was shocked and didn’t know what to say, but I had to say something. So I said awkwardly, “Um, thanks. I guess. Sorry, but I don’t know what to say.”

            She then said very lovingly, “Good! That means it was a surprise, for you and me both.” She glanced at me with her beautiful face and then said, “Good Night, I hope you had a wonderful day today.”

            “Thanks,” I continued, “It couldn’t have been a better day. You made it the best day I have ever had, and for that I thank you.”

            Nicole and I were best friends forever, literally. Nothing could stand in our way. If something came up, we handled it together. And Alex, Alex told me one time, that I couldn’t have been luckier to meet her.  I was finally starting to enjoy life. The first time in my life I was loved and cared for, and it all started by that awkward conversation with Nicole. I look back at that day and remember it proudly. This was one memory I would never forget, but when school was going to end, it was time to make some serious decisions, decisions that would change our lives forever. Because I never had a dad to talk to about this, I often went over to Nicole’s house and talked to her parents about this. They gave me great insight, the greatest I have had in years. I can only imagine what would’ve happened to me if I never met Nicole, but I didn’t think about that much because it was all in the past. One thing Nicole’s parents told me was, “Those who dwell on the past will not be ready for the upcoming future. And those who are blinded by pride will never give into the right ways.”

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