Chapter Forty Two: Denying Everything We Were
Dallas, true to his word, had left Natalia alone. He had come home the next night, only to find the necklace he had given her, on his pillow.
The entire week after the break up, Dallas had been in Toronto searching for an apartment. Unfortunately he had not found any that suited him. He had decided to stay at his parent's house during the length of the trip.
Dallas sat at the dinner table, his mother had forced him to stay for dinner, he had been thinking about skipping dinner and going straight to bed. Tomorrow would be another torturous day looking for an apartment.
The week had been going by so slowly and miserably, Dallas had not been looking forward to anything.
His parents talked as they ate. Dallas barely paid any attention. His father had been droning on an on about the family business and how he was going to be expanding it by starting a chain in Europe.
Dallas avoided any thought of what he would be driving to in a few days. What would be, no doubt, avoiding him at all costs. What he had come to love...
Dallas shook his heads, trying to get rid of the thoughts that had started to come to the front of his mind.
“So hows practice going, Dallas?” His mother asked him. “It's fine.” He told her. “Are you enjoying it?” For the most part of the week, his mother hadn't been able to interrogate him to her liking.
“I love it. I'm enjoying every moment.” He told her.
That wasn't completely true. He had, in fact, not been enjoying this particular week. Everything had gone wrong. This isn't how this is supposed to be, He thought. I'm supposed to be with...He stopped himself. He couldn't count how many sleepless nights he had gone through. Thinking over and over if things had been different, if he had never seen Mollie...Dallas ran a hand through his hair. This was not the time. His parents were going to notice his misery if he wasn't careful.
“So are you going to be completing your degree? Or are you going to be playing full time?” His father asked. Dallas had known his father would worry about that.
“Actually, Dad, tomorrow after I look at a few more apartments I'm going to be handing in my transcript and application form to study. I'll be taking late night classes...they start at seven and end at ten.” He told his father.
Mr. Owen nodded his head in approval. “That sounds good. But you shouldn't look for an apartment any more.” He told his son.
Dallas looked puzzled. “What? Why? I need a place to live.” He asked his father.
“Honey, Your father and I wanted to surprise you...we're so proud of you for making it on to the team.” His mother told him. She smiled at him kindly. “We decided to buy you a condo at the Bellaria towers.” His father informed him.
“What! The ones in Vaughan? I looked at them...they were really pricey.” He told his parents, looking at them in awe. His parents chuckled. His mother left to get something.
“You know we both love you. We don't want you living some where horrid. So we decided to gift you with this. Because we're proud of you, and because you deserve it. You worked very hard...don't think we don't know that. You had top marks in your program in Calgary, and your grades at Western were in line with them.” His father told him.
“So we hope you'll like the apartment we got you.” His mother said to him simply, as she returned. She handed him the key.
“Are you serious?” Dallas asked in disbelief. “It's yours.” His parents told him. “Thank you.” Was all Dallas could muster up. He was utterly shocked. Dallas had not been expecting anything like this.
“Your welcome, son.” His father said. Silence settled around them.
“So which university will you be transferring to?” Dallas laughed as his father asked him. “York...it's close to both the Bellaria towers, now that I know where I'll be living...and it's close to the BMO fields. It won't be a long drive.” He told them. And it'll be right where...Dallas forced himself not to think...
The next morning Dallas left to see the apartment. It was beautiful. It was on the third floor, the balcony looked over the lake and gazebo. The place was spacious. Two large rooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a spacious living room, and the closets were larger than he would have expected.
Echoes sounded as he walked through the place. He had thanked his parents profusely. The place was perfect...to bad he would be the only one home.
Dallas locked up, and drove straight on Jane Street. He passed the Mercedes and Audi dealerships as he drove along.
Turning on to Keele Street, he drove along in a straight line, until he turned in. He didn't stop until he was parked outside a glass building. Bennett Student Center, read the sign posted outside. He walked in, and took the elevator to the third floor.
“How can I help you? The secretary asked as he walked to the front desk. “I'm transferring to York in the fall.” He told her.
Natalia had made sure to stay away from...She wasn't going to think about it. Every dinner, she would excuse herself. She would eat later when everyone slept. There was no need for her to have to explain herself to...Not thinking about it! Natalia scolded herself.
The problem was that as much as Natalia didn't want to think...it was hard not too. Especially when she was at home, all alone, for the week.
Natalia stared blankly at her friends as they chatted in the library. She couldn't even remember what the conversation was about.
Natalia had started to notice that although she was taking notes in class...she couldn't remember what the teacher was talking about.
She had been able to keep up the facade of normality, since...I refuse to think about it, Natalia reprimanded herself yet again. It was tiring to control every thought. She had no idea how her friends had not noticed yet. She couldn't have been that good of a liar.
The school day ended uneventfully. Natalia trudged along to her locker and packed her things. She walked to the bus stop, not even pausing to look towards the parking lot.
With her mask in place, she was going to go home. Nothing was going to happen. No one would be there. Nothing was wrong.
Natalia got on to the bus, and sat beside a window. Looking to see the dark clouds of a storm brewing over head. The weather suited her mood.
As she got off the bus and walked home, her mask almost slipped when she saw what was in the driveway. The car. Natalia entered the house quietly, quickly taking off her shoes and rushing in to her room. Breathing deeply, as she leaned against the closed door.
“Thank you so much for letting me stay here.” Dallas thanked Derek's parents, sincerely meaning it.
They had finished lunch, and now it was time to leave. Derek and Dallas had gotten his stuff to the main floor. There weren't many boxes. After all he hadn't brought very much when he had come home.
“Dallas, it was a pleasure having you around.” Derek's mother told him, after giving him one final hug. “Take care of yourself.” Her husband said, shaking Dallas' hand.
Dallas bade them farewell, and he and Derek carried his stuff out of the house.
“Do you have to go?” Derek complained, once more. “Yea, I've been here an entire year, almost. It's not like I was going to burden your parents by staying here indefinitely.” Dallas sighed. “You know they wouldn't mind.” Derek retorted. Dallas kept quiet, as they put the boxes in to his car.
“So this has nothing to do with you and Natalia avoiding each other?” Derek asked, pointedly.
Dallas froze. “No, it's not like that.” Derek looked at him, disbelief written on his face. “Seriously, I need to move to Toronto because of the team.” Dallas insisted.
“You've always been a horrible liar. Especially when it's me you're lying to.” Derek told him, Dallas looked up. He could see he had hurt his best friend.
“I'm telling you...it's nothing.” Dallas said, feeling bad about lying to Derek. “Nothing.” Derek repeated, looking incredulous.
Dallas looked up to find Derek's eyes narrowed. I'm screwed, Dallas thought, defeated. “What did you do?” Derek asked.
“I didn't do anything!” Dallas protested. “Uh huh...so you expect me to believe that you changed your mind and decided to move a week after you've been in Toronto...after the fact that you and Natalia have been avoiding each other...and it has nothing to with her...or something you did?” Derek asked, sounding annoyed. Dallas was quiet.
“Well when you put it that way...Okay fine...Natalia broke up with me...happy now?” Dallas said, running a hand through his hair.
“Why didn't you just tell me that before?” Derek asked. His voice was kinder. “Because, I didn't want to put you in the middle of everything. You're my best friend...and you're her older brother.” Dallas told him, somewhat miserably.
Derek nodded in understanding. “I'm sorry.” He muttered to Dallas. “It's fine...really.” Dallas said. They stood in silence.
Dallas was the first to move. He put the last box in to his car. “Well thanks for everything.” Dallas told him, meaning every word of it.
“Any time.” Derek replied. “I'll come by during the weekend and bring whatever you forgot. And of course help you unpack.” Derek told him. “Thanks.” Dallas was glad to have company, he was a little uncomfortable being all alone in the apartment.
“You know you're welcome back here, if you get lonely.” Derek razzed him. “I know.” Dallas grinned.
“Well this is it. I should get going.” Dallas said. He closed the doors on his side, and shut the trunk, while Derek closed the door near him.
Derek walked over to him. “See you soon.” He said. “Yea.” Dallas said quietly. They shook hands, before sharing a brotherly embrace. “Thanks for everything, Derek.” Dallas said once more, before heading in to the car. “No problem, bro.” Derek told him with a grin.
The engine roared to life, as Dallas started the car. He waved to Derek as he drove away. His heart couldn't have felt more heavier.
Natalia waited outside the school. Derek had told her he would be picking her up, since he had time. Natalia had no idea how that had happened, since usually Derek would be at work at this time of day.
Natalia sat on the elevated greenery. It was a patch of grass with a few trees, a few meters about the ground, with cement compounding it.
It wasn't long before Natalia saw her brother drive over to where she was and park. Natalia walked quickly and got in. The cool air in the car was a refreshing change from the sweltering heat outside.
“Hey, Derek.” She greeted her older brother. “Hey, squirt.” He replied. It was a short, quiet ride home.
It was when they reached the driveway, that Natalia noticed a difference. The Audi A5 that had been there this morning...was gone.
“Where did he go?” Natalia asked, trying to sound nonchalant and keeping up her facade.
Derek looked at her. “He left...he moved to Toronto.” He told her, watching her for any expression.
Natalia had not been ready for the answer. Her face dropped as the facade, she had tried so hard to maintain, cracked. “What?”
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