After losing his parents, a boy takes on the role of father to his younger sister. He dedicates himself to raising her, not realising years later that fate has laid out a heartbreaking plan for his own daughter.
When his parents died in a fatal car accident and their lives changed, 19-year-old Thomas had to make the toughest decision of his life: focus on his studies or leave them to look after his little sister, 14-year-old Andrea. Nothing overpowered his love for his sister and he chose her over his future.
“I will never leave you, Andree. I will never give you an orphan life. From now on, I will be your mother and father. I will be with you until my heart stops beating, okay?” – He comforted Andrea with tears in his eyes after the funeral of the parents.
Soon Thomas dropped out of university and began to wander the streets, looking at signs with ads “We are hiring.” When all the shops and companies refused him due to lack of knowledge and qualifications, the car repair shop opened the doors to a new life for him.
“Why should I hire you even though I know you dropped out of college?” The boss asked Thomas, asking a seemingly simple question at the interview.
Thomas pursed his lips and gave an honest answer that melted the man’s heart.
“Because I promised my little sister that I would look after her like a father. I don’t want her to think she’s an orphan… I want her to have a better future.”
“Boy, you’re hired! You can start work today!” – exclaimed the boss and patted Thomas on the shoulder.
The first week on the job was a nightmare for Thomas. Not only was he new, but his colleagues, who were much older and more experienced than him, were constantly commanding him what to do.
“You can’t tighten the screw, champ,” they scoffed. “You’re just a kid, why don’t you mow the lawn or walk the dogs?”
But Thomas was too determined not to give up and kept going, answering his abusers with silence and unwavering dedication to his work. This silenced them and gave Thomas more opportunities to work hard to save up money for Andrea’s university.
As the days went by, Thomas devoted his time and energy to earning money and invested every penny in his sister’s future. He barely slept four hours a night and still got up before the roosters to prepare breakfast for Andrea.
The hot water was ready for bathing, the uniform was neatly ironed, and even her $5 daily allowance was tucked into her pocket. Thomas did everything for Andrea- from sending her off to school to swearing at bullies- and never got tired of it.
Several years passed, and the girl gradually overcame her pain. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in a prestigious university away from home. She didn’t want to leave her brother. But Thomas convinced her to follow her dream.
“‘Andree, I have worked very hard for this day. You have to go. I’m not that far away from you. I’m always in your heart, and it’s just over 100 miles from here. I’ll visit you often, okay?”
Although it was very frustrating for Thomas to have to be away from his sister, he pulled himself together and took her far away. He wanted Andrea to be successful, just as her late parents wanted their children to be successful.
As the girl boarded the bus to go into town, Thomas was there to say goodbye. The bus pulled away slowly as Andrea leaned her tearful face against the window and waved to her brother.
The days passed and when things took a new turn, Thomas fell in love with Sandra, the secretary at the garage. Sandra was an orphan and apart from falling in love with her for what a wonderful woman she was, he decided that she would be a great addition to the family.
Thomas and Sandra were married in a modest ceremony and as they prepared to become parents, a few months later fate dealt them a painful blow.
“No, it can’t be… doctor, please tell me she’s all right,” Thomas cried when the doctors told him that they could have saved his newborn baby girl. His wife Sandra died in childbirth, leaving another important responsibility on his shoulders: their newborn daughter Livia.
Andrea emotionally supported the grief-stricken Thomas. She took extended leave and cared for her niece, but eventually left for the city after Thomas continually urged her to focus on her life.
Several years passed and Thomas worked hard day and night taking care of his daughter. He kept sending Andrea money to help her finish university. One day he found out she had a boyfriend after seeing a picture of her with a boy on social media.
Worried about Andrea’s future and whether she was in good hands, Thomas went to her flat to surprise her. There he met her boyfriend, Jose, who was rather lazy and bossy.
“‘Andree, I’m afraid you’ve made the wrong decision. You can’t live well with a bum like him,” Thomas advised his sister.
Surprisingly, Jose overheard their conversation and rushed into the room with a strange ultimatum for Andrea, asking her to choose between Thomas and him.
“Darling, it’s your decision now. I heard your brother,” he began. “We’ve been in a relationship for three years. You know how happy we are together. I’m not a slacker.”
“Honey, it’s just that my brother loves me very much. He didn’t mean it.” Andrea tried to convince Jose, who was still furious.
“No, you listen to me, okay? IT’S EITHER YOUR BROTHER OR ME. The choice is yours, darling.”
At this point Andrea was confused. Crying, she handed Thomas the briefcase and asked him to leave her flat.
“I’m sorry, Tom. You always wanted me to move on. I can’t live without Jose because I love him. Now I’m at a dead end. I can’t leave him. I love you, but I love him too. I see a whole future with him. I hope you understand.”
With tears in his eyes, Thomas left his sister’s house and walked down the streets. Never before had his heart felt so heavy. But would this be the end of his misery? Sadly, no. Thomas had no idea what awaited him in the days to come.
Andrea moved on with her boyfriend, graduated with honours and got a good job. She rarely spoke to her brother and stopped participating in his life as she used to. The last time she had contacted Thomas, she had sent him an invitation to the wedding. But he did not show up on his sister’s big day and she had no time to find out why.
A few months after the wedding, Andrea realised that she could not get pregnant. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with infertility. Andrea was heartbroken because she loved children. Later, she and José decided to adopt a child. One day she visited an orphanage on the outskirts of town, close to her hometown.
When she met the boys, she felt a strange attraction to a girl who looked like her brother. At first glance, Andrea thought it might be the daughter of Thomas, whom she had seen a few years ago. An unusual birthmark on her right arm confirmed her doubts. Alarmed, Andrea grabbed the phone and called her brother, but his number was disconnected.
“Honey, what’s your name? What is your father’s name and what are you doing here?” – She asked the girl, just to be sure.
“My name is Livia and my father’s name is Thomas and he…,” the girl started sobbing.
“Honey, what happened to your father? Please tell me.”
Livia held back tears and then revealed something Andrea was not prepared for.
“My father lost an arm working in the garage. We were kicked out of our house and he sent me here, promising it was for my own good.”
Andrea was stunned. She assumed her brother had moved on with his life, but she knew nothing about the accident at work or his disability.
“Where is your father now?”
“He lives in the van,” Livia replied and sat down on Andrea’s lap. “I want to go home to my dad. Can you take me, please?”
Andrea was very hurt that her own niece didn’t recognise her.
That evening she visited her brother in his caravan and found out that he had injured his arm working the night shift to send money for college fees years ago. He lost his job and his landlord kicked him out for not paying his rent. Eventually, Thomas was forced to leave his daughter in an orphanage to give her a better life because he hoped someone would adopt her.
“I was testing a client’s car after repairs and its brakes failed. I hit a tree and severely injured my arm. Thanks to the airbags, I got out alive. But I woke up without my arm and my life became hell.”
“Brother, why didn’t you tell me? Why do you love me despite what a terrible sister I was to you? First, I offended you and chose Jose over you. Then I didn’t call you after I got your last money. And then I was so busy with my own life that I almost forgot about you, thinking you were doing well,” Andrea, gripped by guilt and shame, hugged Thomas and cried.
“Because I promised you that I would be your father. Fathers don’t hate their children, even if the children hate them. I know you don’t hate me, but I will always love you, even if you hate me!”
A strange feeling of pain, guilt and joy struck Andrea’s heart. A few days later she reunited Thomas with his daughter and invited them to live with her in her house. But her decision did not please Jose, who still held a grudge against Thomas.
Day by day, José became increasingly intolerant of the presence of Tomás and Livia in his home. He remained unemployed and spent Andrea’s money gambling on the Internet, asking for food and doing nothing to support her or the family. Thomas was hurt to learn that his sister’s husband was a “lowlife”, but he decided not to get involved in her affairs.
One day Jose became enraged when Andrea told him she was going to give her brother a prosthetic arm.
“A prosthetic arm? Do you know how much it costs?” – Jose protested.
“Yes, I do. What’s wrong with that? I pay for it. Why do you ask?”
“I’m asking because I think you’ve forgotten that we’re married. I thought your brother and his daughter were our guests. When are they leaving?”
“Are they ‘going away’? No, they are not going anywhere. My brother and niece will live with us.”
An enraged José again gave Andrea an ultimatum, asking her to choose between him and her brother.
“Don’t forget that I am your husband. Either your brother or me. The choice is yours, sweetheart,” he laughed, sure Andrea would choose him over her brother again. But to his surprise, Andrea returned a few minutes later and shattered his expectations by throwing his suitcase outside.
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! I’ll send you the divorce papers soon!” – she shouted to him.
Andrea kicked out her partner and hugged her brother and niece.
“I’ve already made a mistake I can never undo in my life. I don’t want the story to repeat itself. I want to live with my family. You and Livia are my family.”
From that day on, Andrea took care of her brother and niece and even paid for Thomas’ prosthetic arm. A few months later she divorced José and never regretted it. Her home was no longer just bricks and mortar, but a dwelling full of real love and happiness.