Chapter Twenty Four: Till The Light Fades
Derek didn't have to worry about Natalia wandering into Dallas's room at night. The week Natalia's parents returned, everything had turned upside down. She had come down with a cold.
Her parents had been home for a week, the second week they were home; Natalia couldn't belive how much homework she had gotten. She had an assignment due almost every day. Some of her classes were had finished units around the same time, so the tests had been scheduled either on the same day or a day apart.
To top it all off, the weather wasn't co-operating. It had been fluctuating between hot and cold, Natalia's cold had not been getting better.
Natalia sat at her desk finishing her script, it was due tomorrow. She had managed to finish her essay a few hours ago. Natalia stretched before breaking into fit of coughing, her cough had gotten worse.
Natalia ran to get some water from the bathroom tap. She put her hands under the water, forming them into a cup, and gulped some water down.
As the coughing subsided, Natalia looked in the mirror. Her face was all red. Natalia washed her face with cold water, the colour faded. She patted her face dry with a towel.
She couldn't understand what would trigger these fits. She would be breathing normally and then the next breath would make her throat itch and suddenly she would be gasping to breathe.
Natalia had asthma and the cough wasn't making her life easier. Lately Derek had been driving her crazy, reminding her at every turn to keep her inhaler on her.
“Lia, you know as well as I do, that when weather changes you get sick fast. So just keep it with you. It'll give the rest of us a peace of mind.” he had pleaded with her in the morning. Natalia had taken her orange inhaler from him and pocketed it.
Natalia sat back at her desk. The script was almost done. She was hungry. I'll get food as soon as I finish this, she thought. Natalia glanced at the clock on her computer. 10:30pm. She groaned. Time had flown by, she didn't know how much longer she would have to stay up.
Her script had been about a girl who whose best friend had left in the summer to go to his family. She hadn't thought it would create such a void in her heart, but every where she went she would remember him. Then she got a call from him telling her he was coming back, only to have him tell her the very next day that he wasn't. In the end, the girl had learned to tune out the thoughts of him, until one day she bumped into him at school.
Even Natalia knew her plot could use some work. It was the dialogue that gave it strength.
Natalia sighed as she got back to work. She fixed the format of the document. So far it was almost twenty pages.
As she started typing, she heard a light knock on the door. She rolled her chair to the door and opened it.
Dallas stood on the other side. He was holding a plate of food. “Thought you could use some company, and something to eat.” He told her.
Natalia smiled, she let him inside. She had not been able to spend very much time with him. Not only was she sick, but her homework had taken over all her time.
“Thank you.” She told him. Natalia coughed a bit. This time it wasn't as bad. Still she saw the look of concern on Dallas' face.
“I'm fine.” She told him. “No you're not.” Dallas retorted. “You haven't been eating dinner, half the time I go to eat at dinner and you're not there.” He looked worried.
“I just have to finish this stuff. I don't know why everything is due this week. It's like Derek told all my teachers to keep me busy.” She told him. It had the effect she was hoping for, Dallas smiled.
“Alright fine, but now your going to eat in front of me.” He told her. Natalia didn't mind that at all. “Sure.” She said happily, taking the plate of food from his hand.
He had brought her a sandwich, some fruit, and some salad. Natalia put down the sandwich after a few bites. “I can't eat any more.” She complained. “You haven't even eaten half.” Dallas looked at her with a scowl on his face. “I know, but I'm full...” She told him.
Natalia hadn't been able to eat very much of anything. It was typical when she was sick she usually lost her apetite.
Dallas sighed. “Fine, but you have to eat all the fruit and the salad.”
“Can it be all the fruit and half the salad?” Natalia tried to negotiate. “No, you don't eat anyway. So you have to finish both.” He wasn't budging. “Fine...” Natalia gave up.
“So what are you working on?” Dallas asked. “I finished my essay, and now I'm finishing my script.” Natalia said, in between mouthfuls of fruit.
“Can I read it?” He asked. Natalia looked alramed. “No...it's not finished yet!” She told him.
“Okay...” Dallas looked perplexed. Natalia sighed.
“You can read it once it's graded.” She told him. “I just don't want anyone to read it while it's still unfinished.” She explained. “Alright.” He said.
“Sorry...” She muttered. Natalia felt bad about not letting him read the script. “It's okay.” He told her with a smile.
“So where is everyone?” Natalia asked, when she noticed that silence had settled on them. “You're parents have gone to bed, Derek is watching television, and I'm here keeping you company.” Dallas told her.
“Oh.” Natalia mumbled. She was almost finished her salad. She was unable to stifle the yawn the came up.
“You're tired.” Dallas noted. “I'm fine. I just need to finish.” She told him. “Why don't you finish it in the morning?” Dallas asked her. “I'm not going to have a lot of time...and I'd rather not panic about not having it finished or printed.” She told him.
“So hows practice going?” Natalia asked, changing the subject.
“It's going well. I'm enjoying it.” Dallas told her.
Once she had finished, Dallas took the plate from her and headed for the door. Before leaving he bent down to kiss her.
“You'll catch my cold.” Natalia warned him, when she turned away. “Then I'll miss practice, and get to spend time with you.” Dallas told her with a grin, but instead he kissed her cheek.
“Go to sleep soon, Lia.” He told her. “I will.” She replied.
“Good night.” Dallas said, he kissed the top of her head. “Night.” She replied. She watched him leave.
Once Dallas had gone, Natalia turned back to her homework. It was going to be a long night.
It was finally Friday. Dallas waited in the car for Natalia to come out of the house. He glanced at the dashboard clock. She was going to be late if she didn't get out soon.
Finally, Dallas saw Natalia come out of the house. She was struggling with her backpack, and she was carrying more books in her hands.
Dallas got out and took her things from her.
“Thanks.” Natalia said, followed by a fit of coughing. She buckled her belt. “Your welcome.” Dallas said, looking at her. He returned his attention to the task at hand, and reversed the car out of the driveway.
“You look like hell.” He told her. At this Natalia looked at herself in the mirror. “I look fine.” She said.
“Who are you trying to fool?” Dallas asked, incredulously. “Apparently you.” Natalia retorted.
Dallas waited. She knew he was right.
“Alright, fine. I haven't been able to sleep.” She confessed. “How come?” Dallas asked. “Is it becuase you miss me?” He teased.
Natalia sighed. “Funny.” She muttered. “You didn't answer my question.” Dallas prodded.
“Okay...I miss you a little. But that's not it.” She muttered quietly.
“Then what?” Dallas asked, he glanced at her before turning his eyes back to the road.
“I can't shut off my mind. It keeps whirring. I have two tests today...and I haven't had any sleep. It's like I can't shut my brain off at night. Instead I think of all the work I have to do and how I'm going to study for everything.” She told him. “I swear, teachers are only loading us up becuase they were supposed to hand in midterm marks this weekend for report cards.”
“Go figure.” Dallas could see how that would keep her awake. It was just like Natalia to be worried about the upcoming day and the tasks at hand.
“Why didn't you ask your parents or Derek to call the school and tell them your sick?” Dallas asked.
“Because I would still have two tests to write when I got back.” she told him wisely. “And my weekend would be spent studying.”
“Good point.” Dallas muttered. “Well at least your weekend is free.” He grinned. “How about I take you out somewhere?” He asked.
They had reached her school. Dallas stopped near the enterance.
“Maybe.” She told him. Dallas looked at her questioningly. “After I catch up on sleep.” She explained. Dallas took her hand, and kissed it. “Fine, but then you're going to come with me.” Dallas told her with finality. “Okay.” She said giving in.
Dallas didn't want to let her go, but a glance at the clock told him that if he didn't, she would be late. He kissed her hand one last time before letting go.
“Do you need help?” He asked her, motioning to the books. “No, I'll be fine.” She told him. He handed her her books as she got out of the car.
“I'll see you after school.” He told her, before she shut the door. Natalia waved goodbye as she walked to the enterance.
Dallas drove away hoping they would do something during the weekend, he hoped she would be feeling better by then.
Natalia entered her last class of the day. She felt exhausted. She had finished her English test in the morning, and hopefully she did well on her Communication Technology test.
She sat down in her seat and waited for her Computer Engineering class to start. She had been having trouble breathing through out the day. The cough wasn't helping, and neither was her inhaler.
Natalia drank some water out of her water bottle. It relieved her throat a little.
The teacher was taking attendance. Natalia could feel her breathing become more laboured.
Natalia was starting to panic. She was having trouble breathing. Taylor was sitting next to her, he noticed her fidgeting with her back pack.
“What's wrong?” He asked her. “Inhaler!” She gasped. Taylor looked worried. He tookher bag and gave the inhaler to her.
Natalia didn't feel better even after using the inhaler. Taylor was watching her carefully. “Are you feeling better?” He asked her. Natalia shook her head.
“Okay class, let's go to the computers. You will be programming using the coding in the course manual.” The teacher told the class, he was oblivious to what Natalia was going through.
Taylor spoke up. “Sir, Natalia isn't feeling well.” The teacher looked at her.
“What's wrong?” The teacher asked her. Natalia couldn't gather her thoughts. There were blue spots in her vision.
She gasped a bit, trying to talk. No words were coming out. “Natalia can't breathe!” Taylor shouted. “Okay, let me call the office. Did she take anything?” The teacher said as he crossed the room to the phone.
“Just her inhaler and some water.” Taylor told the man. Natalia could feel her friend panicking. She was struggling for air. “Okay...their on their way!” The teacher's voice was getting farther away.
“Her lips are turning blue!” Was the last thing Natalia heard before passing out.
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