Chapter Forty Four: Losing Control
Natalia sat in class, staring blankly at the black board. She had no idea what the class had been about. All she had been doing was writing her notes, not really comprehending what it was she was writing. Natalia had been slacking off in her homework too. When she got home, she just didn't feel like opening her books. Not like she had any tests coming up. It was June...all she was looking forward to was final exams and graduation...that was if she had been looking forward to anything.
Natalia heard the bell ring. She walked towards her third period class. It was her Communication Technology class. She sat beside Taylor.
The teacher was handing out the quiz. Natalia felt oddly calm. She had forgotten about it. For the first time she wasn't nervous before taking a test...even though this time she hadn't even studied for it.
Natalia looked at the quiz. There were ten multiple choice questions. Her teacher had given them a quiz similar to this, almost every other week. Each quiz was worth almost two percent of their marks, and at the end of the semester the lowest quiz mark would be dropped.
A few weeks ago, Natalia would have cared about how well she did on this quiz. Today, however, grades were the last thing on her mind.
Natalia filled out the quiz, not paying much attention to the questions or the answers. She finished quickly and handed in her quiz. She could care less about how she had done.
Once lunch arrived, Natalia dashed to the library and hid between the bookshelves until she knew her friends weren't looking for her. She took out her mp3 player and turned up the volume. Playing her music loud in order to drown out her thoughts. Today's song of choice was 'Rain On Me' by Cheryl Cole.
Natalia had gotten in to the habit of hiding among the shelves...only after Clara had said something.
“Natalia, how's Dallas?” Clara had asked on lunch period. “I don't know...why?” Natalia had answered, slightly irritated about being asked.
“Well...the local newspaper did an article on him and nine other guys...he tops the list for most eligible local bachelor.” Clara grinned smugly, showing her the paper. “I guess they didn't know you two were going out!” Natalia had smiled as everyone watched her, hiding her clenched fists. Her nails had dug in and left half moons in the flesh of her palms. At least she had been kept from saying anything back...or letting her emotions spill...
Since then Natalia had avoided being around her friends at lunch. She would see Taylor during classes, but the rest of the time she kept away from the girls.
It wasn't until Wednesday when Natalia would be held accountable for her nonchalance.
The teacher handed back their quizzes. Natalia had yet to receive hers. Taylor was going over the two questions he had gotten wrong.
Their teacher sent them to the computers so that they would work on their assignments. Natalia was puzzled. She hadn't gotten her quiz back.
As she got up to walk to her computer, she heard her name being called.
“Natalia...would you mind coming up here for a moment?” The teacher asked.
Taylor exchanged confused looks with her before heading for the computers.
Natalia approached the teacher's desk.
“You wanted to see me...” Natalia said, quietly.
“Yes, Natalia. I was going over the quizzes...and I noticed that you didn't do so well.” He told her, handing back a sheet of paper.
Natalia saw she had only gotten three of the questions right. She hadn't even passed the quiz. Oddly enough...she didn't feel anything.
“Now, I know you probably will look at this and think how the mistakes could have been easily corrected if you had just reviewed over your work. And I understand, Natalia...that every one is entitled to a bad day. You already know that the lowest quiz mark will be dropped. And so far this is your lowest.” He sighed.
“I just hope you won't let your marks suffer over something like this. And next time I hope you review your notes. Please don't let this become a habit.” Her teacher told her trying to be understanding and stern at the same time.
“Yes sir...I'm sorry.” Natalia said, automatically. “That's alright. You may go and work on your assignment now.” He dismissed her.
Natalia walked back to her desk, and shoved the quiz in to her back pack. She walked over to where Taylor was and logged in to the computer next to him, all the while ignoring his questioning gaze.
Lunch time was going in simliar fashion. Natalia had, once again, run in to the library and sat behind a book shelf, knowing the girls would never look around for her.
“Hey...has anyone seen Natalia?” She heard Dawn's voice ask. “No...I haven't seen her around.” Andre answered. “Do you think she's been going out to lunch?” Clara was next to ask. “No idea...are we still going to Subway?” Steven asked. “Yea...let's go.” She heard Dawn answer.
She leaned back against the shelf, and breathed a sigh of relief. Natalia had successfully shaken them off again. She put on her earphones and drowned out the chatter of the library. Natalia closed her eyes as she listened to her music.
It was a while before she felt she was being watched. Natalia opened her eyes, surprised to see who was standing over her.
“T-Taylor...what are you doing here? I thought everyone was going out to lunch?” Natalia stuttered.
“I was wondering where you were disappearing off too...well now I know.” He told her, sitting down beside her.
“What's wrong? Why are you avoiding everyone?” Taylor asked. Natalia didn't know how to answer.
“You know you can tell me if somethings wrong, Natalia.” Taylor ploughed on.
Natalia tried to gather her words so she could tell him she was fine, but even she knew she wouldn't be able to get away with that lie.
Instead she mustered up some choice words.
“It's been a rough few weeks...” Natalia tried to control her voice, but she faltered, and it broke. “I did...really badly on the quiz...and...”
Natalia paused to gain control of herself. Her fingers squeezed the sides of her nose.
“Every thing's fine...” No sooner had she told him that, a tear fell down her face.
Taylor leaned over to give her a hug. “Why are you so upset about the quiz...it's only worth two percent. You shouldn't worry so much.”
Natalia's composure finally broke. More tears started to fall, despite Natalia trying to stop them.
“It's not just the quiz...it's everything...” Natalia told him, through the tears.
Taylor looked at her kindly. “Tell me what it is that's gotten you so upset.” He said to her.
“Everything!” She told him, she had lost all control. “And...I broke up with Dallas.” All that she had held back...they became a flood of tears and ran down her face. Like a dam that had been broken, she couldn't hold anything back anymore.
She hadn't cried about Dallas leaving, for a long while. Taylor held her as she finally came to grip with reality.
Natalia was sitting on her bed. She had come home after school, not in the mood to work on anything.
Natalia moved to lay on her stomach, all the while reading a book, it was titled 'The Twilight Zone – Complete Stories' By Rod Serling.
Natalia had been making sure to keep her mind off of things. Taylor had been keeping her company during lunches, helping her get things back to normal. He had even helped with making up excuses so that Dawn and Clara wouldn't skin her alive when she showed up.
Natalia heard a knock on her door. “Come in.” She called out looking up expectantly, and in stepped her mother.
“Hello, honey. Is everything okay?” Her mother asked. “Yea...why wouldn't it be?” Natalia replied, returning her attention back to her book.
“Well you've been quiet as of late.” Her mother told her, sitting down on a corner of her bed.
“That's because I have nothing to talk about, Mom.” Natalia replied, without looking up.
Natalia could feel her mother's careful gaze, analyzing her for any sign that things were not as she had they were.
“I'm fine!” Natalia said rather adamantly, looking up to face her mother.
“Okay, so then you'll help me set the guest room for your grandmother?” Her mother asked, gaging her expression.
“What guest room?” Natalia asked, absentmindedly.
“Dallas's old room.” Her mother said.
Natalia froze. “I'm busy...” She told her mother, hastily, her eyes dropping her mother's gaze. Natalia couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable.
“Sweetie...don't think I don't know about your crush on Dallas.” Her mother told her in a quiet voice.
Natalia's head shot up. “What?” She asked, in shock.
“I know you've liked him. Since you were little you've always had a soft spot for Dallas.” Her mother told her with a wise smile.
“Derek...” Natalia muttered, viciously.
“Nope...Derek never told me.” Her mother shook her head. “I'm your mother...I know these things, honey. You used to blush every time he was over.” Her mother reminisced. “It was so cute!”
Natalia could have died of embarrassment. She didn't know how much more she could handle.
“I know you like him, Lia. Why else would you be so miserable?” Her mother asked. “There's been a thunder cloud raining over your head since he's left.” Her mother told her, observantly.
Natalia shrugged. Was she really that easy to read?
She put her head in her mother's lap. Her mother stroked her hair.
“What if I made a mistake?” She asked her mother. Her voice was quiet. “I'm sure you can fix it.” Her mother told her softly.
“What if it's too late?” Natalia asked, voicing her fears for the first time.
“Honey, it's never too late.” Her mother looked at her. Natalia could feel some part of herself hang on to that hope.
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