Tori's eyes opened when she heard a loud noise from downstairs. She sat up quickly, looking around herself. She didn't remember falling asleep. She didn't even remember lying down in her bed. She looked at her phone. It was nine AM. As she tried to get up, she felt her hand touch something.
"Courtney." She said. She looked behind her and saw that the small blonde was still asleep. Tori smiled weakly, glad that at least she would be able to help the younger girl.
Tori got off her bed and covered Courtney with her part of the blanket carefully. She walked out of her room and headed downstairs. When she reached the stairs, she looked towards her kitchen and found the source of the noise.
"Oh, I'm sorry honey; I didn't want to wake you up." David said when he noticed his daughter on the stairs.
"It's alright. I didn't think you would be home today." Tori said as she walked towards the kitchen while David was picking up the pieces of the plate he dropped.
"Yeah…" David said, not looking at his daughter.
"I see you found the test." Tori said as she saw the pregnancy test lying on the kitchen table.
"I…I did. And I'm sure it isn't yours." David said as he threw the broken plate into the bin and looked at Tori.
"No. I found it last night myself." Tori said. She looked at her father. He didn't seem angry. He didn't seem disappointed.
"Do you know where Trina is now?" He asked.
"No. She's home as much as you are." Tori said. There was bitterness in her voice, and she realized that her father noticed. She wasn't hiding her frustration with the rest of her family.
"I'm so sorry, honey. I… I just need time to come to terms with everything." He said.
"I know. And I know Trina needs time too. I just wonder if any of you even asked yourself if I needed some time, because I lost someone too that day. No, in fact, I lost all of you." Tori said. She shook her head when her father wouldn't even look up.
David's phone rang that moment. He took it out of his pocket and read the message.
"It's the chief. He needs me back at the police station." David said. His voice was barely loud enough to be a whisper.
Tori sighed before she just shook her head. She wanted to ask him about helping Courtney, but she saw that he was gone. He couldn't even look at her anymore. She saw that there was no use.
"My car broke down and Trina got my credit card. Can you at least help me with this?" She asked.
"Of course." He said as he took out his wallet and placed his credit card and some money on the table before he rushed out of the door.
"Thanks." Tori said in the now empty bottom floor of her house. She took his card and the money before she walked back towards her room. She put both into her wallet and then looked towards her closet. She opened it and took out one of her suitcases. She opened it and began throwing clothes into it.
"What are you doing?" Tori heard someone ask behind her. She turned around and saw Courtney sitting on the bed, trying to find her glasses.
"I'm picking out some clothes I am not wearing anymore." She said.
"Why?" Courtney asked.
Tori turned around and smiled a small smile.
"Because I want you to have them. I don't wear them anyway, so why not." Tori said before she turned back around to look for more things she could give the younger girl.
"No, please. You already helped me out yesterday." Courtney protested as she got off the bed and walked towards the half Latina. "Tori, please, you don't have to."
"I know you don't want to be anyone's charity case, Courtney. I understand. But you also have to understand that I can't ignore what you told me yesterday." Tori said as she put her hands on Courtney's shoulders. "I won't just ignore it. Now if you don't want to wear any of my clothes, I understand. But then at least let me take you shopping. I want you to have something nice. I want to take at least one worry off of your head."
"But I can't give you anything back." Courtney said.
Tori felt that familiar pressure in her chest. She wanted to cry at those words; at what she saw in front of herself: someone who never had anything given to them in their life; someone who worked and worked if only to be able to survive, no matter what was necessary. She saw someone who did not even understand the concept of getting something for free.
"And you will never have to. And if there is anything I can ever do for you; anything I can help you with, I want you to tell me, because if I can, I'm going to help you, and if I can't, I swear I'm going to find someone who can. Understand?" Tori asked.
Courtney only nodded as her shoulders began trembling. Before she could even start to cry, she found herself in Tori's arms, who only kept whispering calming words.
"Thank you." Courtney managed to say after a few moments.
"Your welcome." Tori said.
"H-How about I make us some breakfast then? I'm a good cook." Courtney said, slowly calming down.
"Sure. I'll be downstairs in a second." Tori said.
As soon as Courtney walked out of Tori's room, Tori looked back into her closet and kneeled down. She removed a few of her shoeboxes before she took out a black box hidden behind the others. She opened the box and looked inside before she grabbed a piece of paper and wrote something down on it and then placed both in her suitcase, hiding them under the clothes she had already put in there before zipping the suitcase up and carrying it downstairs.
"I think I should head home. Sinjin is probably worried sick." Courtney said after two hours had passed.
"How far away do you live?" Tori asked, looking at the girl who was sitting on the other side of the couch.
"Maybe forty minutes." Courtney said.
"I would drive you but my car broke down yesterday. I'll call you a cab." Tori said as she reached for her phone.
"It's okay, I can walk. I'm used to it." Courtney said. Tori's expression changed at that statement as another realization hit her. Courtney must have walked every Friday and Saturday night to the other side of LA all by herself for all this time.
"Courtney, promise me one thing." Tori said.
"What?" Courtney asked, concerned when she noticed the change in Tori's voice.
"That you will stop doing what you've been doing in the past few months." Tori said, not daring to phrase it any differently. She heard Courtney sigh, clearly not happy with that demand.
"You know I can't do that, Tori. My dad needs that treatment or..." Courtney stopped herself, not able to even say the other option.
"Yes, yes you can do that. I promised that I would help you, and I will. Just give me some time. But until then, I need you to promise me that you won't do this anymore." Tori said as walked towards the other girl and crouched down so that they were at eye level. "You've already done so much. You've already sacrificed so much for your family. Now it's time that you get something good back in return."
"You already gave me something." Courtney said as she glanced at the suitcase standing next to the door.
"That? That there is nothing. There are more good things heading your way, I promise you that. Just wait." Tori said.
"Alright." Courtney said as she nodded. "I promise you I won't do this anymore. I trust you." She said, earning a wide smile from Tori.
"Now let me call you a cab." Tori said.
Fifteen minutes later, Tori led Courtney outside. She put the suitcase in the trunk of the cab and gave the driver enough money for the ride. Courtney said goodbye as Tori watched the cab drive off. She walked back into the house and sat down on the couch. It was just noon and she was already exhausted from the day. She was worried where Trina was; she felt guilty now for attacking her father the way she did. And then there was Jade. Tori wanted to call her. She wanted to tell Jade that she was sorry. That she made a mistake. That she would do anything to get Jade's trust back. But she knew that it wouldn't change a thing. She knew Jade too well for that.
The knock on the door surprised her. She wondered if Courtney had forgotten something. She got up and walked towards the door. To her surprise, she was immediately greeted with a bearhug and a bunch of long dreads tickling her face.
"Hey girl!" She heard Andre's voice as she relaxed into the embrace. He slowly put her down, but didn't let her go immediately.
"Hey." She said in a calm voice as she wrapped her arms around his neck. She looked up, only to see Beck and Robbie standing next to her car, talking about something she couldn't hear. "I didn't expect to see you guys."
"We did come here unannounced, I admit, but we have a good reason. You see…" Andre began as he led her out of the house, "we heard about your little car problem and decided to do something nice for you by fixing it. Or, well, Beck fixing it and me and Robbie standing next to him and pretending to help." Andre explained, happy that he earned a small smile from Tori.
"Hey Tori." Robbie and Beck greeted.
"Hey guys. Thanks for doing this. But how did you know that my car broke down?" Tori said.
"Not a problem at all. And Jade sent me a message last night, maybe around 10." Beck explained.
We were still at the dinner. Tori thought.
"We need your car keys, if that's no problem." Robbie said.
"Oh, yeah, I'll be right back." Tori said as she walked back into the house. She ran into her room and grabbed the car keys before running back outside and throwing them towards Robbie.
"Thanks." Robbie said as he unlocked the doors and got into the car.
While Robbie and Beck began searching for the problem with the car, Tori saw Andre walk towards her before he put his arm around her shoulder.
"What's wrong, Tori?" Andre asked.
"I told Jade about my visions last night." She said. She heard everything around her go silent. She looked up to see the guys only looking at her, concerned.
"So she too…" Andre said, shaking his head.
"Well, no shit, Andre. You're acting as if she ever even tried to hide that something was wrong." Beck said.
"And I'm sure she was angry when you told her." Robbie said.
"You can't imagine." Tori sighed.
Silence surrounded them. The guys didn't know what to tell her right now. It was Jade after all. The silence was interrupted when Robbie's phone rang.
"Hey, cutie, what is it?" Robbie said. Tori had to smile at the nickname. It must be Cat. "Yeah, I'll tell her." Robbie said before turning to Tori. "Cat wants you to pack some stuff and get to her place. What? Oh. Immediately." Robbie said.
"Do I even have a say in this?" Tori asked, looking at him.
"Does she have a choice? No? No you don't."
Tori chuckled lightly. She needed this now. She needed something to cheer her up at least a little bit. And watching everyone around her get better slowly makes the quilt just that little bit more bearable.
"I'll go get some things. Can any of you give me a ride?" Tori asked.
"Andre, take my car. Robbie and I can stay here and see what's wrong with the car." Beck said.
"Sure. No problem." Andre agreed.
"Andre's going to drive her to your place." Robbie said into the phone. "Yeah, yeah… I love you too."
Twenty minutes later, Andre's car stopped in front of the Valentine residence. Tori saw Andre looking at her. She knew that he was worried. She knew that he wanted to help her somehow. But he couldn't, she knew that. And she was sure that he knew it too.
"Something else happened last night." Tori said, looking down at her hands.
"What?" Andre asked.
"When I came back home, I found something. I found Trina's pregnancy test. She's pregnant."
"Oh my god." Andre whispered. "Have you seen her?"
"No. Even worse, dad came home this morning and found it too."
"What did he say?"
"Nothing, really. And then I… I said some things, and again he ran off to work."
"That fucking coward." Andre uttered.
"No, Tori. That's not what a parent does when things get difficult. You don't just run away from it, especially when you have children who are in there too." Andre sighed. "If you want me to, I can talk to him. I won't let him just run off like that."
"No. He'll deal with it one day. He has to. Right now he couldn't change anything anyway. It's too late for that. But I need a favor from you." Tori said, finally looking at him.
"Anything." Andre said.
"You remember Courtney? Sinjin's sister." Tori asked.
"Uhm, yeah…yeah I do. Sikowitz gave that poor girl the cricket I caught in Beck's RV for that secret Santa thing we did."
"Are there any weekend jobs or something like that. She… I promised her I wouldn't tell anyone. But she needs the money and…"
"It's alright. No need to share the secret. I'll ask around. I'm sure there is something she could do. Anything you can tell me about her so I can get an idea?" Andre asked.
"She loves to play the piano. And she's good." Tori said.
"Hm. I got an idea. I'll let you know if it goes well. Now get out of here. Cat's already starring out of the window." Andre said.
"Thank you." Tori said as she opened the door and got out of the car. Andre waved at her one last time before driving off as Tori turned around and walked towards Cat's house.
A/N: This story… I don't know what it is about it, but it's getting harder and harder to write it. And it's not because I lack ideas to continue it. I've been writing this one for over a year now, and I feel an obligation to make every chapter both important and enjoyable to read, which is not easy.
So for everyone wondering why it takes me so long sometimes to update, it's not laziness; it's not lack of ideas; it's not about me not caring about the story anymore. It's just my desire for it to be as good as possible, and more importantly to me, better than the previous ones I wrote.