Be my candle chapter 2

And so... time gound it's terrible wheel for twenty years...

Once a vibrant, happy story written about youth took a darker turn. The chapters hadn't been kind to Nick since that day. The vision of Nick's adult life was not the same as the concept he had drawn in his youth.

If it was not enough that his role model of strength was stolen by iris prolapse, his sole protector, the one he admired most hadden fallen ill as well.

She was a goddess to Nick, his guiding light. Where once he looked for shelter, now bound to four wheels it was she who needed sheltering by her son.

Before he had given his first presentation in school he was forced to become the man of the house. Taking on low paying jobs as a farmhand on any nearby field that would pay him, he sweated away every drop of his childhood. No longer gentle, he was hard and calloused by the land. He was bitter for fate's cruel hammer brought down on his innocent head. A cynic, untrusting, and a realist.

He'd occasionally seen his aunt and cousin, but only because they came to him. He had no money or time for fun and friendship. Being blind, Judy couldn't very well come and find him. So it had been a full two decades since he'd seen her face or heard her voice.

But, such is the cruelty of a hand dealt in life. It was put out of his mind and filled only with money. Until the day he came home to find an old kindred spirit, sitting on his couch and enjoying his television.

"Woa-hoh! Wassup man!?"

"Giddy? What the hell are you doing in my house?"

It was his cousin, Gideon Grey. Sprawled out in his living room watching T.V. He hadn't seen him in almost eight years, since his aunt's last visit on his twentieth birthday.

"Are you drinking my beer!?"

"Heh heh, it's bad for ya' Nick. Thought I'd try to be a possitive role model an' git' rid of em' for ya."

"...Get out."

"Aw come on buddy, come over here an' tell me all about your sad, miserable excuse for a life."

Covered in dirt and dust from a long day, Nick wasn't in a particularly good mood. However, it seemed alot of his days ended that same way. So he didn't worry about his cousin's terrible manners and sat down next to him. It would do him some good, he thought, to speak to someone at least every eight years.

"How much you in the hole for now?"

"Right around forty thousand..."

"Giddy" spat out his beer and bolted forward in his seat. He coughed up the beer that went into his windpipe and wiped off his chin.

"How!? Yer workin' every damn day! There aint' no way you could be in that deep!"

"Mom's hospice costs me almost that much a year... plus I've gotta eat and pay for this old shack on top of it."

Gideon sat back with a solemn expression. He thought to himself about how Nick used to be so much happier when they were kids. Nick worried him, but he had a plan to make it better...

"You still work on cars?"

"Yea, you got one to fix?"

"Naw, but do ya' like doin' it?"

"Doing what?"

"Workin' on cars stupid! You aint deaf listen to me when I'm talkin' to you!"

Nick didn't know were Gideon picked up his southern drawl but it was impossible to understand sometimes. They both grew up in the country but some how "Giddy" was the only on to come out with an accent.

"I don't know why?"

"There's this trade school slash "community college" out near Podunck. They got deisel an' auto classes. You could actually make a decent living."

"What part of forty g's in the hole is hard for you to understand Giddy?"

"Naw naw man... government offers loans for free. You aint' even gotta pay em' back till you get a job."

Nick leaned back and thought about it for a moment. He was already in alot of debt, but he wasn't getting by where he was as it is. The realist in Nick told him to sleep on it, and get his lazy cousin out of his house.

"Well, thanks for the tip Giddy. You finish that beer? Then let me show you to the door."

"Aw boo hoo crybaby... you wanna sit alone in yer' dusty little shack an' brood all day be my guest!"

Annoyed with his pessimist cousin, Gideon stood up and stomped towards his exit. When he got to the door he stopped with his hand on the nob, and turned back towards Nick with a grin.

"Well maybe this'll rouse yer' interest... last I heard Judy was goin' there."

In fact, that did arouse his interest. He had thought about her from time to time. In his mind he couldn't imagine why she would want to see him after he essentially abandoned her when they were kids.

"What? Why? I mean... she's still blind right?"

"You don't just get UN-blind stupid, and how the hell should I know? Just don't sulk yourself to death."

With that he left, slamming the screen door in a huff. Nick was left with his thoughts about an old friend, in even worse circumstances than he was. His deepest regret in life so far was not finding her and telling her how sorry he was, that for when she needed him the most he wasn't there...

He already had a feeling his guilt would steer the book that was his life in a new direction. Uncertain whether or not it would be pleasant, he turned in for the night.

After several more hard days, Nick finally had the time to check out the trade school Gideon had told him about. The drive wasn't as bad as he'd thought, and the campus was small enough that it probably didn't cost too much money to attend.

At the back of his mind he thought about Judy, he wondered what she looked like now, or if he would run into her.

He found his way to the small admissions office easily. He took a number, sat down, and waited. And while he did he became aware that he had been thinking of nothing but Judy since he'd arrived. He felt ashamed for a moment, knowing that the real reason he was here was for his mother.

Soon enough he was called up to the desk where a little black ship had been putting his information into her computer. Nick got a bad feeling about her expression, she didn't look bored with her day or happy to see him again.

"Um, Mr. Wilde I'm really sorry but... your application for financial aid was denied."

"Denied!? It's free! What kind of scam are you running around here?"

"Well, it's not free sir... it's a loan and based on your credit-"

"There's a credit check for financial aid!? Why didn't you tell me that when I was filling it out?"

Before he could continue his fit he felt a small warm hand on his shoulder. When he turned around it was Bonnie Hopps in a green pantsuit, and a pearl jewelry lapel. He was shocked to say the least. He pondered in confusion why she might be here right when he was shamlessly yelling at a little sheep receptionist.

"Dorothy, could you check and see if he has the option of consighnment?"

"Yes! Of course madam treasurer!"

She was the treasurer of this branch of the university. She'd taken the job based on her history as an accountant for a bank firm in Zootopia when she was in her twenties.

"He does have a consighnment option, but it looks like none of his relatives have any income..."

"That's alright dear, I'm sighning it..."

"What!?"

Nick and the receptionist had said it in unison, neither expecting it, and both as shocked to hear it.

Nick just watched in shock as Bonnie Hopps walked right up to the form and calmly sighned on the line.

"Miss Hopps! Madam treasurer, you can't just co-sighn a loan for a student you've never met! This could effect your credit!"

"...And who said we haven't met?"

She turned to Nick with a gentle smile.

"Welcome to PCU Nick... oh it's so good to see you!"

As if she couldn't contain her excitement anymore she threw her arms around him in a hug.

Nick kept his arms up and away, still in disbelief of what just happened.

"Judy's gonna be so happy to see you!"