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*

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3. Chapter 2: Thomas and Nicole

            It was only a couple years until Nicole and I became married. Life couldn’t have been better; I had a good brother, the best wife in the world, and three young children. It seemed like I was finally living a loved life for once. But like all great things, it had to come to an end sometime. For me it seemed too short.

            Now was the time. We had four kids, two strong sons and two beautiful daughters, but unfortunately, we could barely manage to take care of them. Alex helped us out at the time, free of charge too, but we always felt somewhat guilty of this. He had always given us things, and we could scarcely do something in return. Not only that, but he would rarely accept our gifts or just give it back to us later. This was a struggle for Nicole and me both. Just as in our childhood we would find a way, and we did.

            This was incredibly my fault, for I was foolish and gambled most of my money. I was caught up in the great success stories that the ‘card counters’ had in Black Jack. I also forgot the most important part of the story too, I forgot that they went to college just for that, and knew all the statistics. It seemed to pay off. In just one night, they could make approximately $100,000 U.S. Dollars. As I learned the hard way thought; it had a major risk and needed lots of practice. I never knew gambling could be so involved, but it was. Nicole talked to me one night about it, and just told me to give it up. She was right as always, I was wasting time and money. I wasn’t being the man she once knew so I was determined to change that. I owed her for the great childhood I had. So it was extremely easy for me to quit gambling. Even to me it seemed stupid to pursue something that was impossible for me to reach. As soon as I quit, our family could manage itself once more. We could finally pay off our 6 year car payment.

            I will admit, it was easy for me to listen to Nicole. There wasn’t a reason not to; she had always been right before. Most of all she was my wife, I loved her, and as her husband it was in a way my duty to trust her at times like this. With that out of our way, we lived much more peacefully. Our family could actually be focusing on more family-like things. I liked it that way.

            Peace and happiness can’t last forever. After a year our family was just getting settled down, then war was raged against Germany, Russia, Iraq, and a few other countries. The war was affecting everyone in the United States of America. Luckily, we were doing well, but our death rates in the war were rising too high, too soon. In the times of the war, many attempts were made to gain recruits. Unfortunately, their attempts to gain recruits weren’t as successful as previous wars. Drafts were going to be made if we were to win this war. I remember my brother coming up to me one day, he told me, “No matter what happens, I shall always be with you.” The war was going on for 3 years now. Our town was already receiving draft notes. Sadly, after a month I have received in the mail a draft letter. I was to be sent to the military in exactly one week. I tried to keep this a secret for a few days from my wife, Nicole. She was good at finding out secrets, so that didn’t last so long. She found out and cried all night about this. How was she to take care of our children all alone? We were just getting settled down, and now this happened.

            My brother came up after he heard this. He said to me boldly, “Who’s going to take care of my brother all out there on your own? What I’m trying to say is, I’m coming too. You won’t be alone.” I could tell that there was no way to change his mind. When he set his mind on something he was going to do it, and when he did something, he made sure he gave it his all. As much as I didn’t want him to come… he chose to come.

            Now one more thing came to me, I needed a way to assure my family that I was going to come home. Whether this would happen or not, I didn’t know, but I needed to put hope into my family. My family meant the world to me, and it killed me to see them sad and hopeless. I came home two days before I left, and with me I brought a ring. This ring was given to me by my father, the only thing he gave me. It was worn by my mother the day she died, and I kept it ever since then. I told my family, “Now take this ring and treasure it forever. Surely I will come back home for such a valuable thing. As long as you keep this I will always be there waiting for it.”

            Nicole came to me after I said this the day before I left. She looked very sad, and choked out these words, “I… I can keep my pro…promise, but can you… you keep yours?”

            She saw my astonishment when I said this. I knew I couldn’t keep a promise to that extent. Then I remembered the words she once told me years and years ago, so I said assuring, “I never make a girl a promise… if I know I can’t keep it. You know me and I will return. When I am away, every last thought will be how much I miss you. You will always be in my heart, and that is what will drive me to return.”

            She mumbled to me, “Why do I feel like I cannot trust in your return? I know it may be wrong, and I am sorry for that.” The truth was, I didn’t trust in myself that much either. To promise something like that is almost unrealistic. I couldn’t even trust in myself about that. It is something I never could overcome.

            I looked directly into her dark brown eyes. I could tell she was extremely upset, although you couldn’t see it; I knew it. I needed something to say to her. I wasn’t the best at words, that’s why I used her wise words years ago half the time. I confidently stated to her, “Now, now… Why would I break a promise? I’ve done things for you like this in the past. This time will be no different from all the rest.

            I hugged and kissed my kids on the forehead. It was time for me to go now, and there wasn’t any turning back from here. Boot camp was awaiting my arrival. Although the journey would be harsh and long, I always had the feeling… the feeling of Nicole waiting for me. I carried that feeling with me for the rest of training. Really, in boot camp I remember two things they taught me, how to shoot, and how to survive. After all, what else did a good soldier need to know? Obey orders, shoot, and survive, that’s all we needed to know. Since that’s all we needed to know, that’s all they taught us. They needed an army and they needed it faster than ever. This was one threat America would face, and they would face it with the spirits of their nation.

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