This story probably gave me the most grief. I wanted it to be the very last story, because I feel like it's filled with hope and promise for a marriage that has survived one of the hardest years, so it had to be really good. I wanted to leave me readers with a bang.
So, "Promise" probably went through more make-overs than any of my other eleven stories. My intent was to show that life keeps going after you get through the first year--you still have to work on things, new challenges and blessings will come up, and you have to keep up maintenance on your relationship. "Promise" is about the promises you made to each other, the promises you will make, and the promises of an exciting tomorrow.
This story isn't written from personal experience, so I had to rely heavily on the advice on others. I therefore don't really have anymore background information to share with you. So, here it is: The very last chapter of The First Year by Jillian Torassa.
12:55 PM, Thursday
I need to talk to you about something when you get home.
Jason blinked at his phone. His brain quickly combed through the last couple of days, searching for something that he might have done to upset Rachel. Nothing came immediately to mind.
Is something wrong? he texted back. Turning the key in the ignition, the car shuttered as the engine shut down. He glanced at his watch. He only had five more minutes left on his lunch break. He reached up and straightened his tie, waiting for his wife to text him back.
His phone buzzed, and he clicked open the message.
He opened the door, stepped out of the car, and slipped his phone into his pocket, his stomach trying to wring his lunch out of him like water from a dirty dish rag. This was not turning out to be his day.
10:14 AM, Thursday
“Mr. Sullivan, do you have a minute?”
Mr. Sullivan kept walking. “I never have a minute. Walk with me.”
Jason ran to catch up with his boss. “Well, sir, I wondered if—”
“Spit it out, man, I don’t have all day.”
They had reached Sullivan’s office. He walked to his desk, and turned to look back at Jason, who stood in the doorway.
“Can I come in and sit down, sir?”
“Yes, yes, I suppose. Good God.”
Jason closed the door behind him and sat stiffly at the edge of the chair that sat across from Sullivan’s desk. His boss looked at him expectantly, eyebrows raised, so he cleared his throat, and started. “Well, sir, my wife, Rachel, and I just bought a house, and—”
“I don’t like where this is going, Murray. I’m not giving you a Christmas bonus in the middle of May. This is a business, not a soup kitchen.”
“No, sir. I know, sir, but I know you are looking for someone to take over Hansen’s position, and I thought, maybe, you might consider me. For the job.”
Sullivan stared at him with small grey eyes. “Why would I do that?”
“I have always performed at a high level of professionalism in your company, and—”
“You have had no experience in that department.”
“No, but I have a decent sales record, and I’m a fast learner. I know I would be a good man for the job.”
Sullivan cocked his head to the side. Jason sat up a little straighter. He felt like he might throw up, but there was no reason for Sullivan to see how nervous he was.
“I’ll think about. It might be a more attractive option than hiring from the outside.”
Jason closed his eyes and tried not to smile. “Thank you, sir.”
“I’ll let you know by the end of the day whether I can even consider you for the position.”
“Fair enough, sir.”
“Now, get out of my office.”
7:59 AM, Tuesday
He looked up at his wife. She stood in front of the table, wearing an over-sized white t-shirt and hot pink knee socks. Her green eyes were narrowed.
“Why didn’t you unpack the bathroom box, like I asked you to?”
He stared down at the bowl of cereal in front of him, trying desperately not to roll his eyes. “I forgot. I’m sorry.”
She pulled out the chair in front of her and sat down. “I have a meeting with a potential client today, I spend all of my free time unpacking, and—”
“I’m sorry. I’ll do it after work.”
“I have a lot on my plate right now, and it would make things a lot easier if the house weren’t in a complete state of chaos.”
He reached across the table for her hand. “I’ll do it after work.”
She bit her lip, her eyes still narrowed. “Fine.”
“I’m going to be late. I’ve got to get going.”
“I’ll even put my bowl in the dishwasher, before I leave.”
A small smile cracked the left side of her face. “Thank you.”
He went over to kiss her on the cheek, convinced that a crisis had been averted.