The week Natalia was due to visit York, came with a few obstacles. One obstacle in particular.
“Mom! Can't you take me to York?” Natalia asked, she was spread out on her mother's bed. The tour was Saturday...which was tomorrow.
“Sorry, honey. I'm busy this weekend. I have to go to a few meetings. Why don't you ask your father?” Natalia's mother told her.
“I did...he said he has work to do...previously arranged commitments...” Natalia said, imitating her father's tone and face.
“Go ask Derek or Dallas. I'm sure one of them will be able to go with you.” Her mother told her, stifling her laughter at the face Natalia had made.
“Fine...” Natalia said, feigning disappointment. That was a good idea, she thought as she headed to the basement.
“Derek!” Natalia called as she climbed down the stairs. “Over here!” She heard him call back. Natalia headed into her brother's room.
Natalia plopped onto his bed. Derek was busy hanging up his clothes.
“Derek...you know how you always come with me to school...on the first day? Well can you come with me to York...tomorrow? It's a Saturday.” Natalia asked him.
Derek looked guilty. “Sorry, Lia. I'm booked to work overtime.” he told her shuffling his feet.
Natalia noticed his nervousness. “Really?” Natalia got up into a sitting position. “Okay, spill. Who is she?” Natalia demanded. Derek looked at her uncomfortably.
“If you don't tell me, I'm telling Mom.” Natalia threatened, crossing her arms. “What are you going to tell her?” Derek asked. “That you're ditching me and a trip to York for your girlfriend.” Natalia told him.
Derek sighed. “I do have to work overtime!” He protested. “But...” Natalia prodded. “I have a dinner with this girl from work...Aimee...” Derek looked sheepish.
“You're such a great brother...ditching me for work...and Aimee! Oooh!” Natalia teased him.
Derek threw a pillow at her. “Hey!” Natalia shouted. “I'm you're little sister and you're leaving me...for some girl I don't even know!” Natalia said, trying to sound outraged.
“You could always ask Dallas. I'm sure you'd love that.” Derek retorted.
“And here I thought you cared about tradition and coming with me to visit York for the very first time...” Natalia said to her older brother, making sure to sniffle.
“Uh huh...go ask Dallas, like I know you want to.” Derek told her, smugly, not buying any of it. “Fine. I will!” Natalia said, getting up to leave.
She had crossed the door when Derek spoke.
“Don't do anything stupid, squirt.” She heard him calling out to her.
She turned to face him. Natalia stood in the doorway. “That applies to you too Derek. You and Aimee, both!” Natalia shot back. She left her brother blushing.
Natalia walked back up stairs. She was going to go back to her room, but decided to ask Dallas before she headed into her room.
She knocked on the door across from her own.
“Come in.” She heard his voice say. Natalia couldn't help but smile as she entered.
Dallas looked up to see Natalia entering his room. He had been sitting at his desk, reviewing material from the courses he had taken last semester. He smiled at Natalia.
“What do I owe the pleasure of this visit to?” Dallas asked. Natalia shook her head. “Do you always have to say that?” Natalia asked him, she was blushing.
“I don't always say it...I only say it when it's you. So what's up?” Dallas asked with a grin. She turned a deeper shade of red. It took a moment for her compose herself.
“I was hoping you would come with me to York tomorrow...there's a tour! My cousin is going to be there...and Derek and my parents can't come because they all have work...and Derek has a girlfriend...her name's Aimee!” Natalia babbled, adding that tid-bit of information for Dallas's interest.
“So I'm your last resort?” Dallas asked pretending to be offended.
“No! If I asked you first my parents would think I was up to something.” Natalia told him.
“Are you up to something?” Dallas asked, teasing her a little.
“Okay...fine if you don't want to come then just tell me no!” She told him, heading for her room in a huff.
“I never said no!” Dallas said quickly, he got up to stop her. When he turned her around, he saw a grin planted on her face.
“So you'll come?” She asked sounding hopeful. “Sure...only because it's you.” He told her with a smile.
“Thank you!” She said. Natalia gave him a quick kiss before heading to tell her parents.
Dallas sat back down at his desk. It was a few moments before he fully understood exactly what she had told him.
“Wait! Derek has a girlfriend?” Dallas called out.
Dallas and Natalia were up early in the morning. It would take about two hours to reach the university. As Dallas drove, Natalia slept. Her seat had been reclined, she had a pillow and blanket.
He woke Natalia up once they were fifteen minutes away from the school.
Natalia rubbed her eyes. She could feel the excitement brewing in her. She checked herself in the mirror. She looked fine.
She had worn a lavender frock with black capris and lace ballet flats.
Once they arrived on campus, Natalia and Dallas walked to Vari Hall. Natalia looked up. It was a dome like hall, with several balcony like hallways. From the glass double doors, she could see a water fountain. It wasn't intimidating. She liked it.
Natalia borrowed Dallas' cellphone to call Matthew. “Hey! Where are you?” Natalia asked, once he had answered. “I'm walking to the place where everyone is supposed to meet. Where are you?” Matthew asked. “Already there!” She waved to Matthew as she saw him walk in. She ended the call.
“Hey! Lia!” Matthew said, giving Natalia a hug. “How are you?” He asked. “Good. You?” Natalia asked. “I'm fine” Matthew told her.
Realizing that Dallas and Matthew had never met, an introduction was due.
“Dallas, this is my cousin Matthew. Matthew...this is Dallas.” Natalia said to the both of them.
As soon as Matthew heard 'Dallas', he did a double take at Natalia.
“Didn't you...OW!” Natalia had stepped on her cousin's foot. “Not another word, Matt!” She hissed at him. She turned to smile sweetly at Dallas. “Family!” She mumbled. “Do you mind if I have a word with him?” Natalia asked Dallas.
“Not at all.” Dallas said. Natalia smiled and dragged Matthew by the arm to a spot out of earshot.
Dallas was amused. What did Matthew know that Natalia didn't want him saying it in front of Dallas?
He watched as Natalia said something to Matthew before heading back to him.
“Everything okay?” Dallas asked. “Yea.” Natalia replied. Matthew followed behind her, looking slightly harassed.
“Aren't you Derek's friend? The one who joined TFC?” Matthew asked Dallas.
“Yea.” Dallas affirmed. “So how's that going?” Matthew asked.
Before Dallas could say anything, the tour leaders had come to separate them into groups for the tour.
Dallas, Natalia and Matthew were in the same tour group. The followed their group leader out of Vari Hall.
Natalia had put her hand in Dallas's. Dallas held on.
Natalia couldn't believe how large the university was. There were so many different places to go and see.
She had seen Scott Library. It was huge. She didn't like it so much. It didn't feel like a place she would want to go. It seemed almost foreboding.
Curtis lecture halls were nice and neat. She had made up her mind to grab the front seats for lectures. She wasn't going to start her school year sitting at the back.
She had really liked the Computer Science & Engineering building. It was nice and spacious. It had benches along the panes of glass that made up some of the walls.
Her favorite spot so far was the Steacie Science & Engineering library. It was relatively small and quiet and homely.
“This is going to be my new home.” Natalia said to Dallas, as they walked around. “Why?” He asked her. “It's small...and there's computers here and in the basement...and there's sofas where I can nap!” She told him happily. Dallas chuckled.
“So you're already planning to sleep here?” He asked her. “I'm planning to live here.” She told him.
Next on the list, was the Chemistry building. It was next to the Petrie Science & Engineering building.
The Chemistry building was another place Natalia liked. “Anyone with an ACAD labs account can use these computers. Just not when there are biology labs going on.” The tour leader told them.
They were standing in the old GLADE labs, which had been turned into Biology computer labs.
“I love this place!” Matthew exclaimed as he saw the rows of computers.
Once the tour was over Natalia, Dallas, and Matthew headed to York Lanes. Natalia was surprised to see that there was a general store, hair salon, doctor's office, and dentist's office.
“It's like they have everything here!” Matthew said in awe. Natalia agreed with him.
They walked past the general store and pharmacy, but doubled back to buy falafels from the Falafel Hut.
When they started to walk back to Vari Hall, Natalia and Matthew were a bit ahead of Dallas. He was busy reading the newspaper.
“Natalia...” Matthew said. Natalia could feel he was about to ask her something personal.
“Are you going out with him?” Matthew asked, nodding to Dallas. Before Natalia could say anything, Dallas answered.
“Yea, she is.” Dallas said with a grin. “Eavesdropper...” Natalia muttered. She glowered at the both of them. They had finally reached Vari Hall.
Matthew looked as though something had given him a present.
Natalia ran a hand through her hair, nervously.
“Aww...Lia...don't get mad at him...or me for that matter. Wait...don't tell me! You didn't tell your parents?” Matthew said, gleefully.
Natalia couldn't believe what this conversation was coming to.
“Does Derek know?” Matthew asked. Natalia nodded.
Matthew laughed at her. “One word...just one word...Matt...an I will tell you're mom everything.” Natalia threatened him.
Matthew chuckled. “Don't worry cuz, I've got your back!” He told her with a wink. “I can't believe your hiding it from your parents! You're always the good girl!” Matthew told her, he was beside himself.
“Shut up, Matt!” Natalia muttered. She was never going to hear the end of it now.
Dallas and Natalia left for home soon after. As Dallas drove, he glanced at Natalia. She was looking out the window. The sun had begun to set. Dallas returned his attention to the road.
“So...why did you stomp on your cousin's foot this morning?” Dallas asked. He had been wondering about it most of the day.
Natalia was usually a very non-violent person.
“It was nothing.” Natalia told him. She didn't look at him.
“So Matt was saying nothing when you stomped on his foot? Right after you introduced us?” Dallas prodded.
“Yea! Nothing!” Natalia said a little forcefully.
“Right...I could always ask Derek to ask Matt for me.” Dallas taunted her.
“You wouldn't!” Natalia dared him. Dallas turned to look at Natalia. Her eyes were narrowed. “Would I?” Dallas asked, rhetorically.
He got his cell phone and dialed Derek's number, then put it on speaker phone; so that Natalia could hear.
Before the phone rang twice, Natalia had snatched it from Dallas and ended the call.
“Okay, fine!” She gave in, looking harassed.
“I was mad at you in during the March break...and apparently I said your name in my sleep...which of course Matt heard...conveniently.” Natalia mumbled quickly, she was turning bright red.
Dallas couldn't stop himself from smiling.
“You were thinking about me in your sleep?” He asked, amused.
“Shut it, Dallas.” Natalia told him, sounding furious with herself.
“So you were thinking about me! You were dreaming about me! What did you dream about?” Dallas asked, he was even more curious now.
Clearly, Natalia had had enough. “Do you want me to hurt you?” She asked, trying her best to look menacing.
“Alright...alright...I'll drop it.” Dallas told her. A smirk had replaced the smile on his face.
They were quiet for a few minutes.
“So what did you dream about when you dreamed of me?” Dallas asked, razzing Natalia.
“Okay that's it, Dallas. I'm going to sleep and ignore you now. You can drive without my pleasant company.” She told him snidely.
True to her word, Natalia reclined her seat and pulled over her blanket to cover her.
Dallas wasn't good enough to leave it at that. He couldn't help himself. She had made it so easy. Dallas bit his tongue in an attempt to stop, but lost.
“Don't forget to dream of me!” He told her.
Dallas heard her frustrated snarl. “Shut up!” She mumbled.
Dallas chuckled at getting a rise out of her.
Once they had arrived home, Dallas quietly got out and over to Natalia's side.
He prodded her gently. Natalia woke up, she smiled warmly at him.
“Sweet dreams?” Dallas asked her. He could see the look of comprehension in Natalia's eyes.
“You're so full of it!” She muttered sleepily. Dallas chuckled and kissed her lightly. He led her inside the house.
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