Chapter Fourteen: The Boy Does Something
There was exactly one week before exams. Natalia had spent time reparing her friendship with Clara and Dawn, the two of them had not made it easy. Dawn had taken her bag from her, when she had joined them in the cafeteria. “Just a precaution.” Clara had said, smiling sweetly. Natalia was less than thrilled. She had apologized, but the two of them were a force to be reckoned with when it came to grudges. They had spent most lunch times gossiping, or talking about prom. Natalia had already decided not to go. Dawn and Clara had been expecting it.
Natalia was happy that today she would be working in her biology group for the last time. It would be the last time she would be working with Marissa for the semester. Hopefully, the last time for the rest of the year, she hoped.
She sat in her seat for biology. She waited for the group to gather around her, like they had been doing since the beggining. Marissa was the last to arrive. “So what are we doing?” She asked. Natalia sighed inwardly. She had not liked dealing with this part. Everytime the teacher was explaining the group activity, Marissa would always be whispering to Raine. So each group work period, Natalia's group always wasted time explaining what they were supposed to do for Marissa's benefit.
Natalia noticed the group awaiting her response. “Oh, no. It's not my turn. It's Christian's turn to explain!” Natalia hissed to the three other people sitting near her. Marissa had turned to check up on Raine. Christian was Natalia's lab partner. He wasn't too happy. Natalia looked over the sheet they had been given, as Christian explained the assignment to Marissa.
The work hadn't taken too long to do. Once they had finished, they went back to their seats. Natalia was busy talking to Christian about the upcoming semester. They both were in the same 'Film Production & Scriptwriting' class, as well as being in the same 'Communication Technology'.
Somebody tapped her shoulder. Natalia looked up, only to see Marissa standing next to her. “Natalia, do you have a minute?” She asked her. “Umm...sure...” Natalia said, fully turning in her chair to face Marissa. “I was wondering if maybe you could help me with studying for biology and chemistry...so do you think you could?” Marissa asked her.
Natalia would have loved to say no. Even Christian was slightly shaking his head. He wasn't unaware of Natalia's dislike for the blond girl. Natalia hesitated in answering. “If it's not a problem, I can come over to your house after school.” Marissa offered. Natalia didn't want to get stuck with her after school...it was the only time she got to herself, and besides today would be the first time she would be entering the library at Western. She wasn't about to give that up for anyone.
“Actually, I'm a bit busy afterschool today...” Natalia started. “How about tomorrow? Please. You have no idea how much I need help to study for these exams...I still don't undertsand how to do the equilibrium calculations using the ice table. How about tomorrow you come over to my house. We can set up a time, and you could drop by and help me study, please?”Marissa asked in a needy tone.
Natalia could see there wasn't a way out of this mess, she relented. “Okay, sure. Let me ask my parents...maybe I'll be able to help you tomorrow.” She said emphasizing on the maybe, hoping her parents would have something important for her to do...she didn't want to have to go to Marissa's house.
“Thanks!” Marissa said happily, before she headed to her boyfriend. Natalia sank into her chair, she didn't like the thought of what she had gotten into. “Good luck...” Christian said, he was trying to stifle his laughter.
Natalia closed her eyes, what had she gotten herself into this time.
Dallas waited for Natalia as she got out of the car. “So are you ready?” He asked her. She had been excited to be going to the campus library for the first time. “Yea, I have Derek's cell phone...food...and my books to study.” She told him happily.
“Alright...now breathe deeply...you are about to enter the halls of Western.” He told her dramatically. He opened the door to the library for her. When she didn't move inside, Dallas looked over to her. Natalia looked astonished. It's not that big of a deal, he thought. He knew that Western didn't mean the same thing to him as it did to her.
When Dallas noticed that Natalia wouldn't be moving, he took her hand and led her inside. He led her up a few floors, to where the biology and chemistry books were kept.
Cubicles lined the walls around the shelves. Natalia circled on the spot. Every which way, there were books.
“So I'm going to leave you here. You can study in the peace and quiet of the library...when I'm done I will call you and meet you here.” Dallas told her, leading her to one of the empty cubicles. It was next to a large window.
As Natalia put her things onto the desk and the chair, Dallas made sure to memorize the spot where she was.
“As for eating...you better do it quietly. If any of the library workers see you...you'll get kicked out.” Dallas told her in a whisper. “Alright.” Natalia said.
“So are you settled?” Dallas asked, before he left. “Yea..I'm fine.” She told him. Dallas found it amusing to see how excited she was about being there.
He double checked his bag to see if he had anything of hers before leaving. Waving goodbye to her, Dallas left for his practice.
Natalia couldn't believe she was in Western. It was like a dream come true. It had even lifted her spirits...considering that she would end up helping Marissa the next day.
As soon as Dallas had left, Natalia had gotten out her books and started doing her homework. The faster she got everything done, the more time she would have to look through the books that surrounded her.
Once she had finished, Natalia got up. She noticed how a few cubicles had been left with their user's belongings still there. Natalia decided to leave her things at her desk also, she wouldn't go very far. She would look through the shelves nearest to her cubicle.
She walked along the aisle, staring in awe at the amount of books. “There's so many textbooks...on everything!” She whispered out loud. There was one book in particular that caught her attention. 'Biochemistry', it read. With the picture of the double helix on the front, Natalia reached out to pull out the book from it's neighbors. She had always had an interest in genetics. It was her favorite unit in biology.
“Wow! It's about DNA! I wish I could live here!” She whispered excitedly. “Are you serious?” asked a voice from behind her. Natalia spun around to see who it was. Some guy was standing a couple of shevles away from her. Natalia flushed with embaressment, she hid her face from the stranger using the book in her hand.
“You must be new here.” She heard the deep voice ask her. Natalia lowered the book. “No, I'm not a student here.” She told him. “That would explain your joy.” He chuckled. “So where, might I ask, are you from?” He asked her.
Natalia took a closer look at him. He was tall, had spiked blond hair, she could tell he had dark eyes, they were framed by his glasses. “I'm actually a high school student. I came here with a friend.” She told him. “Oh, I never thought I'd see the day when a high schooler actually wanted to live in the library...I mean all of us here are forced to.” He told her with a gentle sigh.
Natalia felt a pang of realization. She really didn't have a social life, as the person in front of her had subtly pointed out. No wonder Clara and Dawn hate it when I'm in the library, she thought.
When Natalia didn't say anything to him, he spoke. “Let me introduce my self, I'm Nathan.” He told her. “I'm Natalia.” She said to him without any prompting. “So what are you doing here, Natalia?” Nathan asked her. “I'm studying for my exams.” She answered. “Wow, I wish I had studied like that for my high school exams.” Nathan quipped. No you don't, Natalia thought.
For a moment she wished she had been more out going in the last few months. She couldn't belive that she had spent her entire first semester studyng and doing her homework. Save for a few clubs that she had joined, Natalia hadn't spent much time socializing.
“So what are you studying here?” Natalia asked, changing the subject. “I'm in my third year of computer engineering.” He told her. “That sounds hard.” She told him. Nathan laughed. “Yes, it is.” He confirmed. “So are you waiting for someone?” Nathan asked her. “Yea, actually my friend is in the TFC training camp.” She told him.
“Ambitious.” Nathan muttered. “He's an amazing player.” Natalia said, finding herself a little defensive. “I'm sure he is, but it's a huge camp...the odds aren't exactly with him.” He explained to her. Natalia could feel dislike for him bubbling up. “I belive he'll make it. He's really hard working and he's really skilled.” She told Nathan, growing annoyed of him quickly.
Why isn't she picking up? Dallas wondered. He had asked her to keep the cell phone with her at all times. It worried him, when she didn't pick up the fifth time he had called.
He walked up to where he had left her. He walked to her cubicle, her stuff was there; but where was she?
Dallas heard voices coming from the shelves that were close to Natalia's cubicle. He followed them.
“It's a huge camp...the odds aren't exactly with him.” He heard a male voice say. It was then he heard Natalia's voice. She sounded irritated. “I belive he'll make it. He's really hard working and he's really skilled.” He heard her say. “That alone won't get him a spot.” He heard the deep voice say. Dallas had reached the aisle where Natalia was. He had a feeling that they were talking about him. He hung back to hear Natalia talk. “I know he'll make it. He's dedicated and he loves the game. I believe in him.” He listened to her say. She was sticking up for him. He was taken aback.
Natalia sounded angry with the other guy. It was then Dallas decided to appear. “Hey, Lia. You didn't pick up your phone.” He told her as he walked to her side. He saw the guy measure him up. Natalia looked surprised, she fumbled with the book she was holding as she checked her pockets. “I must have left it in my bag.” She told him, looking relieved.
“I see you've made a friend.” Dallas pointed out. The guy was still standing there. “Oh, this is Nathan...we just met.” Natalia told him, her eyes flickered with annoyance. “Nice to meet you Nathan. I'm Dallas.” He introduced himself, extending a hand. Nathan shook it. “You must be the friend in the TFC camp.” Nathan said to him. “Yea, that would be me.” Dallas said, as they let go. “Good luck. I'll see you both later. It was nice meeting you, Natalia.” Nathan said, as he left. “Likewise.” Natalia said, coolly. She turned to face Dallas, who had one arm on the shelf, leanng back. She put the text book she had been holding, away.
“Time to go?” She asked, sounding hopeful. “You want to leave already? Wait till you actually have to study here next year!” Dallas teased. He heard Natalia sigh.
“Come on, let's get your things.” He followed her to her cubicle. He was touched that she had stood up for him. He silently watched as she gathered her things, double checking if she had gotten everything. As Dallas led the way to the car, he couldn't help but feel some hope. Natalia believed that he would make it. She thought he worked hard and that he was skilled.
Before he had a few doubts about how far he could go, this gave him more hope. He found himself hoping that Natalia was right, that he would be selected for a final spot.
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