Author's Note: I guess you could say this is the alternate ending.

The next few days were a blur to Tori. She spent a lot of time at Dustin's house because her father and aunts wanted to get ready for the funeral. Things were pretty tense at the Brooks household. His parents kept saying things like, "such a terrible tragedy," and "how are you holding up, my dear," or, "poor child." Every now and then she'd get the occasional sympathetic look.

The only one who seemed to know how to "handle" her was Dustin. They'd played a few video games and eaten a few PB and J sandwiches, but mostly he just let her be quiet and he didn't constantly ask if she was okay or if she wanted him to do anything for her. Actually, Tori kind of felt sorry for Dustin because she could sense that he didn't really know how to act, so she just tried her best to be normal around him, but it was being normal that didn't get her upset all over again.

Emma and Shelley had taken her shopping for a black dress, and now Shelley and Tori sat in Shelley's room. Dustin's sister had thought that Tori probably needed a break from the adults' constant fretting, so now she sat, braiding the younger girl's hair. Dustin joined them soon after Tori's hair was all styled, and the three sat there until Sylvia Brooks knocked gently on the door and informed them that it was time to go.

The funeral went by quickly, although Dustin and Tori didn't fully understand what was happening. All Tori knew was that her mother was gone, and that she and her father were left by themselves. There were a lot of people who joined the Hansons at their house after the service, for Tori had a big family.

Dustin and Shelley stayed with Tori and her cousins for most of the day. A lot of people made comments about how Alan Hanson had done an excellent job transforming the house, and how little Victoria was growing up quickly into a beautiful young lady. Tori couldn't wait for the day to be over.

Finally, the last guests were leaving and only the Brooks family accompanied Tori and her father in their home.

"If there's ever anything we can do...." Sylvia offered.

"Thank you, Sylvia. It really means a lot to us," Alan said. He shook hands with Mr. and Mrs. Croft, and patted the children on their heads.

"Dad, can Dustin stay over tonight?" Tori asked.

"Well, I suppose so....if it's okay with his parents, that is..."

Dustin looked up at David and Sylvia hopefully.

"Why not?" David said.

"Come on, I have an extra sleeping bag," Tori said. She and Dustin said goodnight to his parents and sister, and then they went to get it.

Alan helped them set up camp in the living room before going up to bed.

"Hey, Dustin," Tori whispered once the lights were out.


"Thanks for being there through thick and thin."