Chapter 4 –
It was one in the afternoon and the sky was cloudless with the sun shining brightly over the entire field. Angie could feel her fair skin cooking the moment she walked outside.
Using the black hair tie around her wrist she tied her thick hair into a high ponytail to get it off her neck, leaving just her full fringe to lie skimming her eyebrows and bits of untamed hair above her ears that wouldn't stay in place.
"Oh, this is gonna be fun." Elizabeth said unenthusiastically as a group of boys started to join them.
"Oh no," Angie groaned the moment she realised who they were. The cadets of Wellington Academy stood besides the group of girls, sneering from ear to ear with their arms crossed as they kept their faces towards the field.
"Hello again." Angie didn't need to look to see that Dotson had spoken.
"That's gotta be the most annoying voice on the planet." Angie murmured to Elizabeth.
"Hello." Greeted Nicole cheerily towards the boys.
Angie furrowed her brows and chuckled. "I stand corrected." She whispered to Elizabeth while looking at Nicole.
Elizabeth had to turn her laughter into a cough as the man introduced to them as Sergeant Sanders walked towards the group.
"Quiet." Sanders ordered. The voices became quieter until there was complete silence.
"All right, gentlemen…" He paused and looked towards the girls, "and ladies," the girls simultaneously shook their heads, "seeing as it's you're your first day of camp, today is just a practice of the obstacle course. But that does not mean I will go easy on you."
"Fun, fun, fun." Elizabeth chanted as Angie let out a big huff.
"I'm telling you man," Alex tried to speak over the gunshots, "did you see the look she gave me?"
"You mean a smile?" Deak snickered as he reloaded his gun and took aim at the target in front of him. "She was just being nice."
Ignoring what he heard Alex took a shot at the cardboard man and hit the man's stomach.
"I caught her friend looking at me though." Deak tried to boast.
"Hey dummy!" They heard Major Payne shout at the other end of the shooting line. He marched to a nervous cadet Wuliger. "What's wrong with you? Change of environment ruin your aim?"
Alex rolled his eyes and turned back to the target for more practice, hitting about seven inches away from the bullseye.
"Payne's gonna kill us if it means winning that Iron Man challenge." Deak changed the subject.
"How hard can it be?" Alex wondered. "Besides, I thought we were here to get some practice. Not to win some stupid competition."
"C'mon man. You know what Payne's like." Deak said. "Any mention of a challenge or trophy and he's interested. I wouldn't mind winning just for the cash prize though."
"While you boys are busy swapping recipes," Sergeant Wright interjected, "those Novo boys have already shot dozens of men right in the heart." He said, a Texan accent laced in his voice.
The boys both did a once over at their competition to find that Wright wasn't exaggerating. In almost perfect synchronization each Novo Preparatory cadet hit the target right in the middle.
"Payne's gonna kill us." Alex repeated what Deak had said before they turned back to their targets.
"Let's go! Let's go! Move it!" Sanders yelled as Angie pulled herself up the large rope wall. "Faster!"
'So much for just a practice.' Angie thought as she climbed over the wall and made her way to the step tyres.
The Kempsey girls were doing relatively well, but it seemed the Wellington boys were a lot further ahead.
"Let's go beautiful." One of the male cadets yelled over a chorus of deep chuckles.
Angie finished the tyres and sprinted towards the net climb, Samantha followed close behind her and jumped to the left of Angie on the climb.
"Harrison's… gonna… bury us." Samantha said between steps as they pulled themselves.
"I don't… even… wanna think about it." Angie huffed as she heaved herself over the wall and jumped down, almost losing her footing as she did. 'Shouldn't've done that.' Angie thought as a slight pain shot up her leg.
Ruby was the first one to finish out of the girls. She stood far away from the Wellington cadets as she waited. "Come on girls!" She yelled.
"Quicker, you maggots!" Sanders ordered as they made their way to the final obstacle, the low crawl under barbed wire.
"Here we go." Angie grunted as she lowered to her hands and knees. This was her least favourite part. Something always went wrong.
Dragging herself along the rough, dry ground Angie thought she may actually make it, but about two inches near the end she felt something pull her hair.
Angie stopped for a moment and then moved again, feeling another tug on her hair. She looked up at the barbed wire above her to see that her hair had gotten caught. "Damn it." She huffed as she tried to weave her hair free, to no avail.
After yanking her hair free she finally made it to the end of the obstacle course. Samantha followed soon after. Thirteen-year-old Paige Smith was the last one to finish the course.
"Good job, Paige." Angie tried to reassure Paige, who seemed to be ashamed as she walked towards the group.
Everyone grew silent as Sanders started to make his way slowly towards the girls, holding his hands behind his back as he did. Angie's heart jumped to her throat when he stopped in front of her.
"Cadet Moretti, is it?" Sanders.
"S-sir, yes, sir!" Angie stammered.
"Why aren't you wearing a hat?"
Angie's eyes were drawn to the ground. "Uh, hats don't stay on my head, sir." She said to a few chuckles from both the male and female cadets. She glanced over at Major Harrison who shook his head, seemingly embarrassed about his squad's leader.
"What?" Sanders narrowed his eyes.
"Uh, I forgot… sir."
"Well, don't forget." Sanders snapped. "Next time, you either wear a hat or you hair gets shaved off."
Angie's eyes widened and she stepped back at that last part. "What?" She gasped.
"Sir, she can borrow my hat for now, sir." The familiar voice of Dotson yelled across the field.
"What?" Angie gasped again. "No. I will just tie my hair into a bun." Sanders shook his head. "Or pin it all up." Sanders shook his head again.
"Cadet?" Sanders paused and looked at Dotson.
"Cadet Dotson, sir." Dotson smiled maliciously. "I don't have a lot of hair, so I don't need the hat as much as she would, sir."
"Fine." Sanders turned his attention back to Angie. "For now you will use Cadet Dotson's hat until your memory improves."
Angie rolled her eyes as Dotson came over towards her. "Here you go." Dotson grinned.
'Nails on a chalkboard.' Angie thought of his voice as she took his hat, immediately cringing when she felt the sweat that had soaked into it from Dotson's hair.
"You can keep it if you like." Said Dotson cocking his eyebrows up and down before walking back to where he first stood.
Angie's eyes contracted as the hat remained in her hand. She refused to put that thing on her head until she had to.
"Again!" Sanders blew his whistle and all the cadets rushed to restart the obstacle course. Angie winced while she ran to the first obstacle as she shakily placed the sweat soaked hat onto her head.