Chapter Twelve: The Return
January was not Natalia’s favourite month. The reason behind this was that exams were to start soon. Natalia sat at the dining table, it was her first day back to school and she needed to eat. The only problem was that she wasn’t hungry. She sat at the table staring blankly out of the nearest window. Fluffy white snow still covered the ground, much to her dismay.
Natalia had stopped avoiding Dallas since Derek had talked to her. The only thing was she wasn’t sure how things were going to be once school started. Although Natalia had not actually apologized, Dallas was acting the same towards her. He hadn’t even asked her why she had given him the silent treatment. Natalia tried to act the way she had been, the way she had been before Dallas had gotten so close to her; before everything with Raine. She was scared of doing anything that might seem as though she was trying hard to make amends.
Natalia had never been good at admitting when she was wrong. So she kept up the façade of normality. She didn’t know how to deal with Dallas right now.
Dallas had gotten up early. He had been too nervous to sleep. Today was the first day of the training camp. It would be held at the University of Western Ontario soccer field. He finished getting his things together. He had packed a rucksack full of his soccer equipment the night before. He took his time going down the stairs.
Dallas had not said anything to Natalia. Not once had he asked her about why she had given him the cold shoulder. Natalia wasn’t one to answer under pressure. Dallas hoped that in time Natalia would tell him. He had, grudgingly, left it up to her.
As Dallas reached the landing, he walked slowly to the dining table where Natalia was sitting. “’Morning Natalia.” He said to her curtly, sitting beside her. Natalia looked glumly towards him. Dallas could only think of two reasons why she could look so dolefully at him. Either it was because he was sitting beside her, or it was because she was returning to the school.
“What’s wrong?” He asked; he couldn’t stop himself. He didn’t know why it mattered to him these days. These feelings of concern over her wellbeing were all too new to him. “Nothing, just school.” Natalia told him. Dallas was relieved that it wasn’t because of him. He got himself some breakfast and motioned for her to that he was heading out.
Natalia followed his lead. Dallas unlocked the car, and they both sat. He didn’t say anything as he drove out of the driveway.
Natalia looked out of the window, sitting dejectedly. She hadn’t slept all night, simply because she had been worrying about how to apologize to Dallas, and of course how it would be going to school after winter break. Her main worry had been if any one would remember what had happened between her and Raine. She didn’t want to hear people whispering about her every time she walked past.
Natalia watched as Dallas drove into the school parking lot. She dreaded the moment she would be walking into the building. Natalia noticed that the car had stopped.
Natalia turned to Dallas when she heard the door unlock. He’s not stopping me? She wondered. Dallas, it seemed, was intent on looking at the patch of road in front of him. She could tell he was a little hurt. She glanced at the dashboard clock. She had fifteen minutes before class.
She sat in the car trying to find the words that could explain her behaviour to Dallas, or at least apologize to him.
At last, Natalia decided that there were no words that she could say to Dallas that wouldn’t make her look stupid.
“Dallas, I’m sorry.” Natalia said; her voice trembled slightly. When Dallas didn’t respond, Natalia was tempted to sulk into the seat, instead she unbuckled the seat.
Natalia reached out for Dallas. She couldn’t believe what had taken over her. With him near her, it was like a whole different side to her appeared. An irrational side, one that couldn't deal with him being with another...even the thought was hard to swallow. She was still learning how to control these feelings.
She put on hand on his cheek, making him face her. His presence made her do the strangest things. “Dallas…I really am sorry.” She said looking into his brown eyes. She meant every word of it. She had been stupid to jump to the conclusion of him going out with Mollie. What was upsetting was that she felt even worse now about being so cold towards Dallas.
Still there was no emotion on Dallas’ features. Natalia looked down, her hand still resting on his cheek. “Natalia...” Natalia looked up in surprise. Dallas was looking at her, finally. Dallas reached for her. He tipped her chin up to face him. “I wish you'd tell me why...”
Natalia just stared into his eyes. She felt stupid for what she had done. “I can't...” She told him. He seemed to understand something. He was the one to make the first move. He leaned in and kissed her. Without thinking, Natalia kissed him back.
Natalia was the one to end it. “I am sorry, Dallas.” She whispered to him. “I know.” Dallas told her. Natalia went about to gather her stuff. As she opened the door, she heard Dallas’ voice. “Enjoy your day.” He told her.
“Good luck, Dallas.” Natalia told him. She leaned in to give him a final kiss. She closed the door gently, and walked into her school.
Dallas parked his car in the university parking lot. Although Natalia hadn’t told him what had happened, at least she had gotten to the point where she apologized to him. “That's as good as its going to get...” He muttered to himself. One of these days he would have to demand an explanation from her, he thought.
Dallas grabbed his rucksack and locked the car. He walked towards the field. He knew one thing for certain. Whether or not he got a spot on the team, he knew he had fallen in love with Natalia. It was hard not being able to understand her temperament. He wanted Natalia to understand his feelings.
It wasn't enough for him that she would willingly oblige to his morning demands. The goodbye kiss ritual didn't mean to her, what it meant to him. He wanted to tell Natalia his feelings. Dallas knew that meant spelling them out for her. She probably still thought he was fooling around. It was clear that some things with her still hadn't changed, since the cause of her silent treatment was still unknown to him. Yet Dallas thought for certain that he had gotten somewhere.
She had let him comfort her when Raine had hurt her. She knew part of the reason why he had hit Raine the following day. Natalia just needed to know how Dallas felt.
Will she even care? He wondered as he walked to the changing room. He wasn't sure how his feelings would be received.
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