Letting Go - Chapter 1: Promise me!

The Present

Cody Martin sat on the couch in the suite he shared with his mother. His law books lay scattered all around him, while he studied for a major exam he would take that week. He knew this test would make or break his college career, and possibly his dreams of getting into law school, and becoming a top criminal lawyer.

Cody rubbed his hands over his face, hoping it would help his mind to stay alert. He had already consumed enough coffee to keep Columbia in the green for years to come, and somehow another cup just didn't seem to satisfy his need to stay awake. He was beyond stressed, beyond all hope, as his mind kept going over his certain failure.

As Cody removed his hands from his face, the first thing he noticed was his brother's picture lying on the end table by the couch. 'You can do it buddy, I know you can. Just relax, take a break and you'll be able to start fresh.' Those words came back to him many times over, when he had been stressed over a project coming up or an exam he had to cram for.

But, it also brought back the pain of that day, he hadn't meant those words. But, he had been angry, hurt and terrified for his brother. He wanted so badly to deter Zack's steps that he didn't care if he hurt him.

He needed Zack, and that day he realized, exactly how much….


Flash back: two years earlier

"Dude, you're dribbling" Zack called to his twin. Zack and Cody were currently in the throes of a heated game of basketball. Two on two, against Bob and Woody, and presently, they were losing.

"Cody, listen to me." Zack yelled over to him, as he continued to block Bob's attempts at getting by him.

"Zack, I know what I am doing." Cody called back, just as Woody saw his chance and stole the ball from under him.

He didn't waste any time and headed down the court. Zack watched helplessly as Woody then slammed the ball into the hoop, therefore, winning the game.

Cody turned and watched his frustrated brother walk off the court. Ever since heading back from seven seas high, they had been butting heads more often then he'd care too admit? He sighed and ran after him, finally catching up to him at a bench that lined the basketball courts perimeter.

"Zack, I am sorry, I honestly thought I had it." Cody explained.

"Cody, why don't you ever listen to me?" Zack began angry a little annoyed.

"We could've have won this, if you had only paid attention to what I was trying to tell you." Zack insisted.

"I was listening, but this time I needed to go on my instincts, I had the ball!" Cody explained as he and Zack turned their heads in time to see Woody and Bob finishing up their victory dance.

"Yah, I can see that!" Zack threw his sweater over his shoulder, and tried to calm down as he took a shug from his water bottle.

"Look, Zack I'm sorry." Cody stated.

"Save it!" Zack bit back a little too forcefully.

"What is your problem?" Cody was now the one who was getting angry. "You've been biting my head off ever since we came home. What's wrong?"

Zack slumped down on the bench and stared at the concrete in front of him. Cody instantly knew something was up and sat down beside him.

"Codes, I've been thinking a lot about the future and I 'm not too sure where to go from here." Zack stated as a matter of fact.

"Zack I thought you were planning on working, and taking some business classes at the community college." Cody asked.

"I don't know…I don't think I really want to go back to school just yet." Zack stated.

"Cody, if I tell you something, I want you to promise me you won't freak out." Zack said, looking directly into his brother's eyes. Cody simply nodded and Zack continued.

"I stopped at an army recruitment office yesterday, just to get some information. Cody the things I learned, the life I could lead is so….." Zack began and Cody immediately noticed the sparkle in his eye and the excitement in his voice.

Zack wanted to do this, he was serious about this. And Cody's stomach fell as he realized all the dangers, that would come from a life, his brother was now describing to him.

"No! No! You can't, I forbid you." Cody Screamed, as he jumped to his feet.

"You forbid me, what are you my mom." Zack replied, getting up and facing his brother.

"You're not going!" Cody cried.

"See, I knew you'd freak out." Zack replied.

"Yes, yes I am freaking out. Do you watch the news, do you not know what's going on over there. They could send you there and you may be wounded for life, or worse….killed." Cody whispered the last part, and collapsed back onto the bench.

"Or I may come back okay, and go on to live a long healthy, happy life." Zack interjected.

"You don't know that for sure, and the risk is too high." Cody quietly stated.

"Cody they may not send me off right away." Zack explained.

"I don't care." Cody said thinking of the news footage he had watched the night before about a poor family who would never see their loved one again.

"Codes, I need you to be okay with this." Zack said.

"Zack, I can't. I can't be okay with something like this. Something that may get you killed, you can't ask me to do that…I can't lose you. I know I'm probably being selfish, but I need you. Don't do this…please don't do this. Promise me, Zack please promise me?" Cody began to cry and Zack pulled him closer, knowing, the next few words would seal his fate.

"I promise!" Zack whispered into his little brother's ear.


The Present

Cody was awakened from his thoughts as a knock sounded from his front door. He found himself wishing that they would just go away, so he could get back to the task at hand. But, as the knock came again he stood up, opened the door and froze. Standing in the doorway was a man dressed in a military uniform holding a piece of paper in his hand.

*AN: I wanted to take a slight break from writing "Consequences" although I have brainstormed the next few chapters, I am still working on a few new angles.

Anyway, I spent most of the day writing this story and wanted to share it with you. It will be a 4 or 5 shot, I haven't decided if I want to add a fifth chapter yet, but we will see.

As always all reviews would be appreciated…many thanks! :)*