Chapt. 17

It was finally Saturday and Tori didn't wake up until ten-thirty. Her body still ached all over but she thought if she slept all day she wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

After wiping the sleep from her eyes, Tori got changed into a blue t-shirt and grey, knee-length jeans and tied her hair into a high ponytail. A smile grew on Tori's face when she saw the green in her hair had almost completely faded, only a few light streaks of green could be seen on the top of her head.

After putting on a pair of comfortable black scandals Tori huffed as she collapsed onto her bed, in realization that she had nothing to do. She was so bored that she wished the boys were there for someone to talk to, but remembered that today was Parent's Day and that the boys were probably outside with their families.

She lay down on the bed and shielded her eyes with her hands from the daylight.

"Your parents aren't coming either huh?" Tori heard a voice speak.

She bent her head up to see Alex standing at the door.

"Not that I know of." She said pushing herself up by her elbows. "Yours?"

Alex shook his head. "No one from the squad gets visits from their parents."

Tori placed her feet on the ground and stood up off of the bed.

"So, what's there to do on a weekend?" She huffed, placing her hands on her hips.

"When you're not dating dumb jocks?" Alex asked with a mocking grin.

Tori laughed. "When I'm not dating dumb jocks." She repeated as she mirrored his grin.

Tori looked at the window and her smile faded when she saw what was outside of the barracks.

Alex snapped his fingers in front of Tori's face when she seemed to be in a sort of trance. He followed her gaze to the window and saw a woman standing outside.

"Who…?" Alex went to ask whom that woman was when Tori answered for him.

"Mum?" She said to herself before rushing outside.

The boys were all sitting around the front of the barracks when Tori ran past. They all looked on as she paced closer to the woman. Alex walked outside slowly to see what was going on.

The woman seemed out of place amongst the other parents. She was decked out in a pink, summer dress under a white cardigan and had her feet in white, five-inch high heels, which dug into the grass with every step she took. Her brown hair was in a sleek bob that stopped just below her ears. The only thing that seemed out of place on her was the large, brown paper bag that she held in her right elbow.

"Mum?" She spoke, causing her mother to turn around.

A disgusted look appeared on Ms Foster's, Tori's mothers, face. Guessing it was because of the way she was dressed Tori rolled her eyes before talking again.

"What are you doing here?" Tori asked.

"Your father asked me to come here in his place." Ms Foster huffed.

Tori glowered at her mother. "Well, don't stay here on my account." She sneered. She turned to walk back to the barracks when she felt a hand lightly grab onto her elbow.

"Wait, sweetie." Her mother said.

Tori faced her mother again to hear what she was going to say.

"Your father was wrong to send you here."

Tori's expression softened. When she was about to say something her mother spoke again.

"I've got a better idea to help you."

Tori quickly became angry again. "Help me? What do I need help for?"

"That's not what I meant." Ms Foster waved her hand to dismiss what she'd said. "What do you think about Debutant School?" She gave Tori a wide smile as though she'd just had the greatest idea in the world.

Tori looked blankly at her mother for a moment before letting out a humorless laugh. "You're kidding me right?"

"No." Her mother answered. "I mean look at you." She pointed to the green streaks in Tori's hair.

"I didn't do this," Tori spat as she indicated to her hair, "If that's what you're thinking."

"It's not just that." Ms Foster said. "Do you really think military school is going to get you anywhere in life? This place is going to turn you into a boy."

That was the last thing Tori wanted to hear. "Look, I would leave this place. But there's these games coming up... and… I've been training to hard to give up now."

Ms Foster huffed disappointingly until she looked to her right. "Hey!" She screamed suddenly causing Tori to jump. "Yeah you, boy!" She said.

Tori led her eyes to where her mother was looking and, to her horror, saw Jeremy.

Ms Foster waved for Jeremy to come over. He looked extremely confused but complied.

'Of all the people.' Tori thought.

Jeremy appeared scared when he saw Tori and figured that the woman must've been her mother.

"C-can I help you?" Jeremy asked nervously.

"Not meaning you bother you," Tori's mother spoke almost flirtatiously. Tori tried not gag as her mother continued to speak. "But may I ask you, since you're a boy."

'You think?' Tori narrowed her eyes into slits.

"If she didn't have long hair and a nice face wouldn't you think she was a guy?" Tori's mouth widened angrily as her mother waited for an answer.

'She had to ask him.' She gritted her teeth.

"That's what I thought when we were dating." Jeremy said happily.

Ms Foster's eyes widened. "You two dated?" She asked.

"Can you just leave her alone?" A voice said from behind Tori, who turned to see Alex walking towards her. Alex looked somewhat frustrated.

Tori's anger turned to surprise.

"And who are you?" Ms Foster asked snobbishly.

Alex's face went blank. "That doesn't matter." He said awkwardly. "Just don't listen to this guy," he pointed with his thumb to Jeremy, "he treated your daughter like crap."

"Whether that is true or not that is none of your business." Ms Foster snapped. "I was only trying to make a point…"

"You know what mum?" Tori interrupted through gritted teeth. "You're done here."

"What?" Ms Foster seemed taken aback.

"Bye." Tori waved once before turning around.

"Wait!" She heard her mother yell. Tori faced her once more, with cocked eyebrows. "I brought these for you." Ms Foster held up the brown bag and pushed it into Tori's chest. "Incase you change your mind." She said, appearing quite crestfallen before finally leaving.

"I like your mum." Jeremy said after the lengthy silence.

Tori turned to Jeremy for seconds without saying a word before she walked back to the barracks. All eyes were on her as she strolled slowly towards the door.

Without looking at what was inside Tori chucked the bag, that her mother gave her, onto the top of her trunk before collapsing back onto her bed.

"You okay?" Tori heard Alex's now all too familiar voice speak.

Opening her eyes, Tori stared at Alex and nodded. She knew he wanted to say more as he fidgeted with his clothing.

"Parents, huh?" Tori let out a hollow laugh as she turned to look up at the ceiling. When she looked back at Alex he had a smile on his face, the smile didn't reach his eyes.

"What's in the bag?" Alex asked, thinking it would be best to avoid tough questions. For the time being anyway.

"I haven't looked yet." Tori groaned as she sat up.

Sliding on her backside to the foot of the bed, Tori placed the bag at her feet before looking inside it.

"Of course." Tori mumbled as she pulled out a white dress with prints of frangipanis over it.

"She got you a dress?" Alex asked disbelieving.

Tori let out another hollow laugh as she peeked through the bag again. "Not just a dress." She stood up and picked up the bag, tipping it so that its contents mounted on top of the bed.

The bed was covered in a sea of pink, purple, red and orange as a dozen or so dresses covered it.

"Wow," Alex breathed. "She's really… determined."

Tori giggled sincerely as she looked over the pile of dresses. "Some of these aren't too bad." She said when she picked up a purple spaghetti strap dress. "Well, not too bad for her tastes anyway."

Tori huffed and sat on the white dress that she had first picked up. "You know she only came here to send me to Debutant School?" She exclaimed, suddenly enraged.

"I heard her say that." Alex said quietly.

Tori looked at Alex and narrowed her eyes.

"I-I wasn't eavesdropping." Alex stuttered, holding his hands up defensively. "Your mum spoke pretty loudly."

"My parents are so weird." Tori covered her eyes with her hands in embarrassment.

Alex accidentally laughed at that. "You haven't met my step-father."

Tori smiled as she uncovered her eyes. "I guess you kinda saved me out there." She said as a sort of thank you.

"It's fine." Alex nodded before turning towards the door.

"Wait!" Tori almost yelled without thinking.

Alex startled prior to facing Tori again. "What?"

"Uh…" Tori stood up and found herself fidgeting with her fingers as she walked closer to Alex. "Did you… wanna go out to eat tomorrow or something?" The words sounded worse in the open air than they did when kept in Tori's head. "As a thanks."

"Yes." Alex said straightaway.

"Cool," Tori struggled to find anything better to say. "See you at eleven then?"

Alex nodded. He felt very lightheaded at that moment, but he didn't want to show it. Starting to feel fairly claustrophobic, he quickly stepped outside as he strained not to smile in front of the other cadets.