It was the first Wednesday of November; Natalia had gotten up early as usual. She went down for breakfast only to be stunned.
Sitting at the table were her mother, father, and Dallas. She noticed that he didn’t say anything as she came in. She greeted her parents before getting herself a bowl of cereal, Natalia was confused as to why they were all sitting at the table. It looked as though they had been discussing something before she had arrived.
Natalia rapidly ate her cereal. After putting her bowl in the sink, she turned to her father. “I’m ready to go.” She informed him. That was when her mother spoke up. “Honey, your father won’t be taking you to school for the next little while.” Her mother told her. Natalia noticed how Dallas didn't look up at this. Natalia was at a loss to understand. “How am I getting to school then?” She asked. As Natalia’s mind reached the answer, her mother told her exactly what she had been dreading. “Dallas will be dropping you off and picking you up from school. His schedule for class is similar to yours, and he goes the same way. And next term he will be going to the training camp he signed up for. So it all worked out rather perfectly.” Her mother told her cheerfully.
“But I thought Dad was okay dropping me off.” Natalia complained. There is no way I’m getting stuck with Dallas, absolutely no way, she thought stubbornly. “I was, Lia. It’s just that I have a lot of work to get done, so I’ll be leaving much earlier. I don’t want you to get sick because you don’t sleep enough.” He told his daughter. Dallas had been careful not to look at her or speak up.
“What about Derek? He could drop me off.” Natalia asked hopefully. “He already said he can’t. It was his idea that Dallas drop you off. Don’t look so down sweet heart, you’ll be fine.” Her mother told her, mistaking the murderous look on Natalia’s face.
Stupid, stupid brother, Natalia thought as she dejectedly got into Dallas’ car. Dallas apparently drove a very nice car. It was an Audi A5…it was strange that Natalia hadn’t noticed it until now. Natalia sat silently throughout the ride, not bothering to speak. She wouldn’t even look at him. Dallas didn’t try to make any small talk as he drove to her school.
Once they were in the school parking lot, Natalia got her things together and reached for the door. Oddly, it wouldn’t open. Natalia saw the automatic lock deep within the door. She groaned in dismay. There was no way she could pull the lock up and open the door. There also wasn’t any switch to open the lock from her side.
She turned to face Dallas. “Why are you doing this to me?” She asked him in a bitter tone. “You can’t just leave me, not without a good bye kiss.” He told her. He had a grin planted on his face. “You’re a jerk, do you know that?” She shot at him. “Yea? Too bad name calling won’t open the door.” Dallas retorted. “So this is why you’re driving me to school? So you can annoy me to death?” Natalia told him, unhappily. “No, actually I thought I was doing your parents a favour…and of course annoying you to death is just a bonus.” He told her, with a smirk.
“I’m not going to kiss you.” Natalia told him stubbornly. “Okay, then you can be late for class.” Dallas told her smartly. “You wouldn’t!” Natalia said to him. Natalia looked at the clock on the dash board. She had fifteen minutes to class. Surely, he wouldn’t make her late for school, would he? As if to answer her question, Dallas turned off the engine of the car. He’s serious! Thought an alarmed Natalia.
“I don’t care if I’m late, I’m still not going to kiss you.” Natalia bluffed. She was hoping that he would let her go in time. “Alright, suit yourself.” Dallas said. He took the keys out of the ignition and put them in his pocket. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned in to the seat and closed his eyes. Natalia was furious with him. This was not part of the deal. He was supposed to pick and drop, not hold her hostage in the car and make her late.
Minutes passed, still Dallas didn’t give in. Natalia couldn’t believe he was capable of doing this to her. Natalia glanced at her watch. There were only nine minutes left before class. She needed to get a book out of her locker before English class. He was going to make her late.
“Alright! Alright! You win.” She said, giving in. Dallas smiled as he opened his eyes. Natalia felt like kicking him. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek. Dallas frowned. To Natalia’s dismay, he didn’t unlock her door. “I gave you your kiss, why can’t I go?” Natalia asked. “That didn’t feel like the one you gave me all those weeks ago. So I guess your going to be late.” Dallas told her. Natalia couldn’t say anything to express her anger. She silently sat in her seat.
Another minute passed. This was getting serious. She was not going to be late to class, even if it meant giving in to Dallas’ demands. “Fine, I surrender. When I get home I’m going to kill you.” She told him, angrily. “I’m so sure you are.” Dallas retorted.
Natalia’s heart was already pounding hard as she leaned across the seat. She didn't understand why his presence had such an overwhelming affect over her. As soon as his lips met hers, her mind was blown away, yet again. The rush caught her off guard, just as it had the first time. Dallas deepened the kiss, and Natalia couldn’t bring herself to end it.
Dallas was the one to end the kiss. “I’ll be right here when you finish school.” He murmured. Natalia nodded, to her relief the door was now unlocked. She grabbed her things and got out of the car unsteadily. Part of her felt drunk. Why did he affect her this way, she wondered. She gathered herself and rushed to get into the school and more importantly to class.
Dallas hummed to himself as he left the high school parking lot. As angry as she had been with him, Natalia had given in to his demand. That had been a huge surprise. He was afraid he would have had to unlock the door five minutes before her class started. Or worse, he was tempted to make her late. Yet she had obliged.
As he drove to the university campus, he knew he was making Natalia furious. If making her angry was going to make her talk and stop avoiding him, then that was exactly what he was going to do.
If Natalia thought Dallas was going to stop with the demand of the goodbye kiss, she was wrong. He kept up the ritual. The minute they would reach the school parking lot, he would quietly wait.
“I hate you.” She told him angrily. “I love you too.” He told her calmly. “I don’t love you.” Natalia told him pointedly. “You will, one day.” Dallas told her confidently. “Yea, like never.” She told him waspishly.
Soon enough Natalia stopped thinking about it. If that was all it was going to take to keep him from making her late…then it was a small price to pay.
Secretly, if Natalia was honest with herself, a part of her had started to look forward to this morning ritual…a part that failed to be quashed by her rational self. It was something she didn’t want to admit to…but some part of her still liked him. She had never been able to forget him. Now that he was back…it was harder to ignore those feelings.
To top it all off, Natalia had started to talk to Dallas. His constant presence was at first an aggravation. Then on the one day, when Dallas picked Natalia up, he spoke. “So how was your day?” He asked her. Natalia was taken aback. No one usually asked her that. Normally she just told Derek, most of the time she didn’t say anything at all. “Why do you care?” Natalia said to him, cautiously. “Isn’t that what friends do? Ask how the other person’s day was?” He told her. Dallas looked at her through the rear-view mirror, before returning his eyes on the road. “We’re not friends.” She told him. “Aren’t we? I know you…and you know me. I thought we were friends.” Dallas told her. “You thought wrong.” She told him. “Okay fine, whatever. Just humour me, so how was your day?” He asked her again, with a grin.
Natalia was deep in thought. Should she tell him, or not? She debated with herself. Soon enough she decided to talk. At first she just told him about her classes. When she finished, she asked him about his own day. Soon enough Natalia and Dallas had created some kind of friendship, he would ask about her friends and she would tell him. It was comforting to Natalia that someone actually wanted to know what she had been up to or who she hung out with. Even if it was Dallas.
Through the course of these rides, Natalia started to lessen her snide remarks, and they had settled into somewhat of a routine. Even at home, Natalia stopped avoiding him. Although she wasn’t friendly with him at home, she wasn’t rude either.
“Lia, what are you doing? Do you want to watch a movie with us?” Derek yelled from the bottom of the stairs. Natalia was busy researching her biology project on the internet. She hollered her answer.
Derek shook his head. “Her and homework; inseparable.” Derek muttered. “Tell me about it. She does more homework in one day, than we both did in all of high school.” Agreed Dallas. Derek and Dallas were going to watch movies. It was a cold Friday night, so they had decided it was better to stay in and find something to do. Derek had found ‘Redline’ for them to watch.
“So she isn’t avoiding you anymore?” Derek asked with a grin. “Nope, she hasn’t even insulted me in the last two weeks.” Dallas said with a smile. “And here I was betting that she would kill you.” Derek was snickering. “I thought she would too…but you know me…I have a certain charm.” Dallas told him. “Yea well, just don’t try anything on her. Or else I’m going to have to act as the mature older brother.” Derek told him.
“I thought you were okay if it was me going out with her?” Dallas questioned. “Hypothetically, I am. At least I think I am…but of course she has this stupid crush on Raine Adams…the track jerk. Wait a minute...hold on are you telling me you like her?” Derek paused. He looked over Dallas.
Dallas squirmed nervously in his seat. The two of them had been eating fries at the dinner table. Dallas was nervous, what if Derek blew up on him. “You do, don’t you?” Derek concluded. Dallas bit down his tongue. “If I say yes, you aren’t going to get the bat are you?” Dallas asked cautiously. “The thought never crossed my mind.” Derek put his hands at the back of his head. “I’m guessing she doesn’t know.” Derek commented. Dallas nodded. Derek sat in the couch across from Dallas.
“I feel like I’m about to be questioned.” Dallas muttered. “You seriously like her, or is it another game?” Derek asked, quietly. “I think…it’s serious.” Dallas told him. “Dallas…” Derek started. “Yea?” Dallas said, he didn’t know what to expect. “Don’t play games with her. Don't hurt her.” Derek told him. Dallas nodded in agreement.
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