Dresses and Tailcoats

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I stayed up that night. I couldn't sleep. Homesickness loomed over me like a plague, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt guilty for leaving the way I did.

The amount of turmoil I must have caused my parents. I kept thinking. What do my actions say to them about their parenting? They must think they failed somehow. Failed at teaching me to resist being kidnapped.

A deep part of me knew that I was being irrational; creating obviously fake situations in order to make myself feel worse. The biggest thing they would think they failed at is at keeping me safe, Ena. I shoved that part of me back into the corner of my mind.

For the first time, I let myself be angry at the MDP for kidnapping me. I let myself think about all the normal teenage things I'd miss because of this war, and all of the life lessons and memories I wouldn't be able to experience, despite the fact that I probably would have sat out on most teenage things, like prom or the stupid football games.

At some point, I must have dozed off, because the next time I was aware of time passing, someone was opening the door to our room.

For a brief moment, I was too distracted by the sound of the door opening, then the gentle coo's coming from Cinder as she tried to get Alice out of bed to remember my dream last night, or my mental break down afterward.

When I did remember, it was like a tsunami had slammed into me, making it hard to breathe. My eyelids felt like sandpaper.

She moved around to Indigo, who, in comparison to Alice, was a lot harder to wake up.

After several minutes of Cinder trying to persuade Indigo out of bed, I felt her lean one hand on my bed so the other was free to shake my shoulder, but I turned around to look at her before she could touch me. She just stared at me, her hand still extended towards my shoulder as her expression turned from surprise to concern. I wondered just how awful I looked. "I want to go home." Was all I said.

Cinder stood upright once again and rose her perfectly trimmed eyebrows in a look that clearly said, 'say it again, I dare you.' Behind her, I saw indigo and Alice stop what they were doing and look at me in shock.

"But, Marbles—" started Indigo.

I cut her off "Like, not forever. I just want to visit." Cinders eyebrows lowered a little bit, but she still seemed unimpressed with my statement. "Please?" I asked again.

She looked at me, evaluating me, probably figuring out why I wanted to go home without having to ask me. "I'll see what can be done," She decided. She was looking at me suspiciously like something was wrong with me for wanting to go home. "Anyway, you guys might want to know why I woke you up at 8 am on your day off." She looked away, addressing all of us, "There is a surprise assembly. You might as well come in your pajama's because you will be changing into clothes that are given to you."

Now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows. "But it's our day off," I repeated. The dream last night still had me slightly shaken up, but after breaking down last night, I found it a lot easier to will my voice not to waver and just get on with the day.

She glared at me as Cinder does, "I'm sure you will be happy about what's happening at today's assembly, regardless of that. Brush your teeth and hair, you're going to meet some fairly important people today."

"But we don't have to get dressed?" Indigo asked.

"No.," said Cinder as she walked out.

"Sweet!" Alice chirped. "This is awesome. If school were like this I might actually want to go to school."

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