With December came the euphoria of the winter semi-formal. This year it had been titled ‘A Mid-Winter Night's Dream’, in reference to the Shakesperean play. The buzz around the school was almost addictive. With winter bringing snow with it, everything seemed as though it had been wrought just for the dance.
Derek was being his usually anti-Raine self. “Natalia, I swear if you go with that guy…he will not be alive the next day.” Derek told her one evening. Derek was sitting on her bed helping her with her chemistry homework. “You can’t rule my life.” She told him. Derek looked up from the chemistry text book. His expression was clear. “Watch me, Lia. That guy is a loser.” Derek told her, daring her to say anything to the contrary.
“Okay, but you know what’s funny? You’re going on about him as though I’m actually going out with him. When I’m not! He’s going out with Marissa.” She told her older brother. Natalia glared at Derek. “Well that cheers me up. Now I don’t have to kill him for you. You should be happy, I won’t be going to jail as a murderer and he’s still alive for now.” Derek told her with a grin.
“Hilarious.” She told him. “Okay so, this is how you do the ice table. It’s not that hard.” Derek had pulled a piece of paper from Natalia’s binder, and was showing her what to do for the question. Natalia watched him intently, she listened as he explained it to her.
Once Natalia had gotten the hang of it, Derek watched her do a few more questions before leaning against the wall and reading his own book. She noticed he had gotten out a novel, ‘The Theory of Relativity’, she had read it last year. It had been one of the White Pine books.
Before she knew it, Derek spoke. “So, I see you’re being nice to Dallas these days.” Derek observed. Natalia shook her head in disbelief. “Don’t tell me, Dallas told you that?” She asked him. “No, I noticed myself.” He told his little sister. “Yea? Well don’t get your hopes up, it’s only temporary.” She said, not looking up from her books. “Whatever you say, squirt.” Derek replied. He continued to read as Natalia worked.
Natalia woke up one cold morning; a thick layer of snow had blanketed the entire town. She got ready for school, wearing a sweater and a pair of jeans. She went downstairs after getting ready.
“Good morning.” She greeted her parents, and Dallas. Her parents were in a deep discussion, they looked up to give her a smile. Dallas on the other hand was right across from her, on the opposite side of the counter.
“You sound happy?” He asked her. “Shouldn’t I be? Winter break is almost here, and so is the semi-formal.” She told him. “Don’t tell me…I forgot to ask you out?” Dallas said quietly in mock horror, so only she could hear. Natalia walked over to where he was standing, near the sink, on the pretence of getting water. She smacked him lightly. “I’m not going with you.” She told him. “Even if I asked you out?” He asked her. “Even then, the answer is no.” Natalia told him, with a smirk. “Don’t tell me, you’re already taken?” Dallas asked questioningly. “No!” Natalia said in disbelief. “So then why not go with me?” Dallas asked her. “What do you have to lose?” He told her, there was a grin on his face. “My dignity.” She replied, wiping the grin off of his face. Dallas scowled. “Anyway, the answer is no. So get over it.” She told him. She grabbed her biology project as they said goodbye to her parents and headed for the car.
Natalia looked over her shoulder, finding Dallas deep in thought as they sat in his car. She didn’t want to admit to feeling awful about turning him down, but in all honesty she had her mind made up. Knowing him, he’s just trying to see if he can get me, she thought. She tried to console herself over not agreeing to go with him. It looked as though he had forgiven her, since a smile played on his lips. Natalia brushed her hair away from her eyes. Even she knew Dallas wasn’t going to let it go that quickly.
Dallas had a plan as they drove to Natalia’s school. He didn’t really care that she had turned him down; after all he had already known to expect that. Derek had told him all about Raine Adams. It was amusing to see Natalia turn him down, just because she thought Raine would leave his girlfriend, ask Natalia out, and do it all in time for the winter semi-formal.
For a smart girl, she can sure be blind, he thought as he drove quietly. He saw Natalia sneak peeks at him, as they drove. He wasn’t going to do anything out of the ordinary; she didn’t need to worry about that yet. He was going to annoy her that was all.
Once they had reached the school parking lot, Natalia turned to give him his goodbye kiss. Dallas turned away. It had the effect he was hoping for. Natalia was puzzled. “For hurting my feelings…you owe me five.” Dallas told her with a grin. He knew she wasn’t going to like it. “No! I’m not staying here to satiate your deflated ego.” Natalia told him in fury. “Well then, have fun being late.” Dallas told her, his grin had been replaced with a smirk.
“That’s not fair. I didn’t sign up for this when my parents told me to go with you.” She complained to him. “I don’t think they knew that I wasn’t counting on being rejected by you.” Dallas quipped. “I can’t believe your enjoying this.” Natalia muttered. “I enjoy every moment I spend with you. Even when it is against your will.” Dallas told her in a Shakespearean tone. Dallas watched as Natalia tried to keep a straight face, she soon lost. Her laughter escaped, and Dallas knew he was about to win. “Okay, I’ll let you go with three…but after school I get the other two.” Dallas told her, trying to make a deal.
Natalia looked up at him; he could see her blue eyes sparkle with mischief. It was hard for him not to get lost in the depths of those ocean blue eyes. His thoughts were lost, as he leaned in. It seemed as though she wasn’t going to fight him this time. How wrong he was.
Dallas had forgotten one minor detail, as he leaned in to kiss Natalia. She was quicker than he gave her credit for. Before their lips met, Natalia had pulled up her stuffed monkey, effectively shielding her from him…and of course he had wound up kissing the monkey.
Stupid biology project, Dallas thought. Natalia bubbled with laughter, sitting across from him. She had brought her monkey to show the theory of how monkeys evolved to become man, and give examples of vestigial traits. She had been going on and on about that for a while, he just hadn’t expected her to use it against him.
“You’re going to pay for that one.” Dallas jokingly growled. “I was being nice, in making you pay in two instalments. Now you go and humiliate me further…I think I should up my price.” Dallas told her. “Come on, Dallas. You have to admit it was funny.” She told him, she was grinning wickedly. “Okay, it was funny. Now pay up.” He told her, defeated. She had nine minutes to get to class. “Only if you don’t raise it any more.” She told him. She must have known he would let her have it her way.
Dallas sighed, she was hard to bargain with. “Okay, fine. Just one thing. I get the monkey.” He told her. She didn’t look too pleased. She must have thought he would use it against her. Dallas watched as Natalia placed the monkey on the back seat of the car. “No one gets the monkey.” She told him with finality.
Before Dallas could say anything, Natalia had kissed him. “That’s one.” She told him, as she parted from him. He leaned in this time. When their lips met, it was the same amount of electricity…if not more. “That’s two.” He told her. Natalia leaned in one last time. His lips met hers once more. This time Dallas wrapped his arms around her, he held her close to him. When he let her go, she looked dazed.
“You’re going to be late.” He told her softly. Natalia nodded. Dallas reached over her seat to give her the monkey. “Good luck, Lia.” He told her.
Natalia found it hard to concentrate on gathering her things. Dallas handed her the monkey. “Good luck, Lia.” He said to her softly. “Thanks.” Natalia said to him. He handed her the last of her things. His fingers lingered as she took her bag and books from him. “I’ll be here, after school.” He told her as she left the car. Natalia nodded.
She walked to the entrance of the school. In spite of her rational self, she paused at the main door. She watched Dallas drive off. As he disappeared around the bend, Natalia knew a part of her had wanted to stay with him. Maybe I should say yes to his offer, Natalia thought. It wouldn’t be so bad going with him to the semi-formal.
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