By the middle of the week, Natalia was seriously considering giving in to Dallas. There was no way that Raine Adams was ever going to ask her out. It had been stupid to hold out hope for him, when clearly he was with his girlfriend. At least she had thought he was.
Natalia was sitting in the library talking to Taylor and Steven about ‘Top Gear’. “I don’t care, Richard Hammond eating the paper during the season seven awards, that was the best! He's so awesome!” She told the two boys, obstinately. “No! Jeremy trying to cook in the caravan, and having the kettle catch fire, that was hilarious!” Taylor was argued. “No way! The best one was when they had the truck driving challenge!” Steven piped up. They were interupted before either of them could argue.
“Did you guys hear?” Dawn had come running in from the hallway. The three of them looked at her with bored looks on their faces. “Raine Adams got dumped! Marissa told him off this morning in Philosophy class.” Dawn squealed. Natalia was puzzled. Why would the most popular girl in school dump her boyfriend ahead of the semi-formal? It was rather odd. “Apparently she was sick of him; she told him he was boring. She even told him how she had been seeing some other guy behind his back! She also said something about noticing that he was always flirting with other girls…” Dawn told them.
Maybe Derek had been right, maybe it was better that Natalia stay away from a guy like that; she thought. “Anyway, Raine told her that he never wanted to go out with her in the first place. Apparently he had wanted to ask someone else out…at least that’s what he said.” Dawn babbled.
Dawn had been talking too loudly. Much to Natalia’s horror, the librarian came to tell them to leave. Natalia and her friends gathered their things and left the library. They parted their ways as they left the library, heading to their lockers to switch books for their last class.
Natalia’s mind was whirring. A week and a half before the semi-formal…why would Marissa dump Raine? It sounded stupid. Natalia was kneeling on the ground sorting out the books that she would take home to study and which books she could leave in her locker. She got out her biology textbook since that was the last class she had. She quickly got her things and left for class.
During class it was clear that Dawn hadn’t been kidding, Marissa sat on one side of the room while Raine was sitting on the other. Natalia tried to ignore the latest development of her classmates’ lives and kept herself busy reading her text book. Natalia got through the end of class without any notable event. When Natalia saw Dallas outside waiting in his car, she was relieved. She may not have gotten exactly what she wanted for the winter dance, but at least she didn’t have to deal with anything more complicated than giving Dallas his goodbye kiss.
“Hey Natalia.” Came a voice. Natalia looked up in shock. It was Friday, a week from the semi-formal. “Hi.” She mumbled. She was sitting at her locker, reading her biology text book. Standing in front of her was none other than Raine Adams. Why is he here? She wondered. “Mind if I join you?” He asked her. “Yes…I mean no…” Natalia stuttered. “Actually, I was heading to class.” Natalia mumbled. She closed her book and was about to stand up. “Really? But we have twenty minutes.” Raine told her. “I like being early.” She said to him. “Well how about you leave when there’s five minutes left before class?” He asked her. “Okay, sure.” Natalia told him, she got her book and opened it once again.
“So are you going to the winter dance?” Raine asked Natalia. “I’m not sure.” She told him. She had been debating whether or not to call it quits with the semi-formal, since Dallas and Derek had told her they would all go out to dinner; their parents had decided to go on vacation for a few weeks, so it would only be the three of them.
“Why not? I’m sure it’s going to be fun.” Raine told her. Natalia didn’t know how to answer, she shrugged and went back to reading her biology text book. They were silent for a moment. “How about if you went with me?” Raine asked her. Natalia masked the shocked look on her face. When she didn’t say anything, Raine continued. “I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while. I was hoping maybe you would go with me to the winter semi-formal?” Raine asked again. There was no way Natalia could mask the look on her face this time. This couldn't possibly be real...it has to be a dream, she thought, She was utterly stunned. “Why are you asking me?” She asked Raine. “Because I like you, and I would love to take you out sometime.” Raine told her. “What do you have to lose if you say yes to me?” Raine asked her, lifting her chin, so that she was facing him.
In that moment Natalia couldn’t think of anything that she would lose if she said yes. “So will you go with me?” He asked, inching forward. Natalia turned away. She thought about it. “Okay. Yes I will.” She told him. Raine wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “I was hoping you’d say that.” He told her.
At that moment Natalia heard a frustrated snarl. She looked across the hall to see Marissa stomping away. That can’t be a good sign, Natalia thought. “Do you want to go out for dinner, tomorrow night?” Raine’s voice asked her. “Um…yea, sure.” Natalia replied. There was something uncomfortable about this, she thought. Stop thinking then, her mind commanded. Natalia listened.
Everything was going according to her plan, Dallas scowled at the thought. How did she manage that one, he wondered. Dallas was still furious that Natalia had agreed to go out with Raine. He hadn’t seen her for a while either. Dallas was the one picking Natalia up from school…but it was Raine who was driving her there.
If he does anything…I’m going to kill him, Dallas thought darkly. He was waiting for Natalia in the school parking lot. There was a minute left before the bell would ring, signalling the end of the school day. There were only two days left before the semi-formal, Dallas was reminded as he looked at the banner hanging over the entrance of the school.
Another scowl made its way on to his face. He saw Raine and Natalia, he looked out of place with her. That’s because she should be with me, Dallas thought. Raine bent down to give Natalia a kiss, but Natalia had spotted Dallas, and turned away from Raine. She said goodbye to Raine, and walked quickly to Dallas’s car.
“Hello, love.” Dallas said in a faux British butler voice. Natalia smiled. “I know you miss me, Dallas.” She told him, a smile playing on her lips. “Can’t say I do.” Dallas retorted. “Okay.” Natalia said to him. They were quiet the whole ride home.
What is that girl thinking, Dallas wondered for the hundredth time. As he shut off the engine, it became clear. “I know one thing you don’t know.” Natalia taunted him in a sing song voice. “Oh yea? What might that be?” He asked. Dallas had no idea what he had gotten himself into.
Natalia leaned over, their faces were inches apart. What had come over her? He wondered. He was enchanted by her ocean blue eyes. He leaned in a little. “I know you miss your goodbye kiss.” As she said this, a smirk appeared over her lips. “What makes you say that?” Dallas asked with a gulp. She leaned in closer. “I don’t know…call it an educated guess.” She told him softly, she had come closer. He could see the mischief in her eyes. He didn’t breathe. The smirk on her face was more pronounced, he heard her laugh lightly, before bounding out of the car and into the house.
Dallas sat in the car a few minutes longer. Alone with his thoughts, he knew she had him there. He did in fact miss his morning ritual, but more than ever, he missed her. Natalia had become a constant in his life for the last few months…now in the last week she had been gone. Like a hole that couldn’t be filled. That was how he felt.
Whatever, she likes him…so I need to step away from it all, he thought. Dallas got out of his car. Locking the doors, he slowly walked inside. Natalia was no where to be seen. Dallas hung up his coat and made his way to his room. There was no point in ruining her happiness. She had gotten what she wanted, he would just have to keep a close eye on Raine.
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