The sudden change in her mood, hadn't gone unnoticed by her friends. Taylor had begun to notice how happy Natalia was.
Of course, both he and Matthew had caught Natalia kissing Dallas goodbye, when he dropped her outside the CSE building, Monday morning.
“No wonder you're so happy...it makes sense now...you're with Dallas!” Taylor said, as she entered the building.
“I should have known.” Taylor muttered, both he and Matthew laughed as Natalia's cheeks flamed.
“Natalia, remember we have lunch with Clara and Dawn today.” Taylor reminded her.
“Yea, I know.” She muttered.
“You're leaving me alone for lunch?” Matthew looked hurt. Natalia sighed.
“You can come if you like. The more the merrier.” Taylor offered.
“Yea! See at least he asks...and he's not even family.” Matthew gloated, pushing Natalia away slightly.
“Well I was just trying to save you.” Natalia muttered.
“From what?” Matthew looked confused.
“We're going to have to dress you up as a girl.” Natalia told him bluntly. Taylor started laughing at this. He knew where Natalia was going with this.
“What! Why?” Matthew looked alarmed.
“Those two are going to be all over you...they used to drool over Derek and Dallas...So we're going to dress you up so they don't do the same to you. I mean that's just a little creepy...” Natalia shuddered at the thought.
“I don't think that's so bad...I wouldn't mind them drooling over me...” Matthew had just spoken the words, when Natalia smacked him.
“Ow! What was that for?” Matthew winced.
Taylor laughed at the two of them.
“You are not going out with either of my friends.” She told him, sternly.
“We'll see. You're only just touchy about it because they liked Dallas.” Matthew's cheek earned him a shove.
“Shut it, Matt.” Natalia said, a little harshly.
Taylor didn't say anything. He was dying with laughter. Natalia bit down on her tongue, to stop herself from saying anything more.
They made sure to razz her about it the entire day. When one had stopped the other would start. Natalia walked too class with the two of them prattling on and on about lunch and her good moods.
“Lia!” Natalia smiled as she headed in the direction of the squeals. Clara and Dawn hugged her, before they all sat down. They had decided to meet up at Boston Pizza. The girls had already ordered the pizza. Taylor and Matthew sat down on either side of Natalia. Clara and Dawn had yet to notice Matthew.
“So how's everything going?” Clara asked Natalia and Taylor. “It's going-” Before Natalia could finish, Taylor had piped up. “She's back with Dallas.” He grinned.
Clara and Dawn almost physically jumped on to her. They had many questions. Natalia turned a deep red shade. This is so embarrassing...She thought, as some of the other patrons around them glanced at them for a moment.
As the girls quizzed her, the food arrived. “Lia, I'm going to go wash my hands.” Natalia heard Matthew tell her. As soon as Matthew had gotten up, the girls had fallen silent. He turned and walked in the direction of bathroom.
“Who's that, Lia?” Dawn asked, watching Matthew disappear. “He's my cousin, Matthew. Don't even think about it!” Natalia warned as Taylor laughed.
“Think about what?” Dawn asked, innocently. Natalia stifled an irritated groan. “No drooling over my family!” She said vehemently.
“Aww come on...Lia! Dallas and Derek...I get...but why not him?” Dawn badgered her. Clara was laughing at the sound of Dawn's voice. Natalia and Taylor exchanged glances.
“Because-” Natalia was interrupted as Matthew came back and sat down. The girls ignored her.
“So what are you studying, Matt?” Dawn asked, leaning over. Natalia looked over at Matthew. He clearly looked pleased. Natalia sighed, there was no way out of this one...Taylor chuckled, as Natalia leaned in to her chair, resigned, while Matthew chatted with her friends.
Dallas unlocked the door to the apartment. It was almost midnight. His class had ended at ten, but he had stayed late to practice with some of the guys on the York Lions soccer team. Natalia had taken the bus and gone home after her last class.
They hadn't seen each other since the morning, when he had dropped her off at school.
Dallas hung up his jacket and put his equipment bag and school bag on the shelf inside of the closet. Closing the closet, Dallas walked to the kitchen sink and washed his hands, drying them on the towel that hung on the handle of the oven. Dallas wasn't feeling very hungry. He had eaten after class.
He quietly headed for their room. He could see the light from the study lamp. Natalia must have been studying.
Dallas smiled as he walked in to the room. Instead of studying, Natalia was sleeping, she had curled in to a ball, the blanket draping over her. A biology text book lay open on the night table beside her.
Dallas grabbed his clothes to change and left for the bathroom. It didn't take long for him to change, brush his teeth, and get ready for bed.
Coming out of the bathroom, he quietly turned off the lamp and crept on to the bed, pulling the blanket over himself.
His arms were around Natalia, unable to help himself, he burrowed his face into her hair. Inhaling her ocean scent.
“Dallas...you're home.” Natalia mumbled sleepily. Dallas smiled as she said this. It had truly become their home since she had moved in. “Sorry I was late...I played with some guys at York. So how was your lunch with Clara and Dawn?” He asked her.
“It was fun. Dawn asked Matthew if he wanted to go watch a movie with her...Matt was thrilled...urgh...” Natalia sounded a little annoyed. Dallas stifled his laughter. He found it funny how it annoyed Natalia when her friends liked someone from her family.
She turned in his arms to face him. “Its okay if your late...you're first starting game is tomorrow.” She told him, stifling a yawn.
Dallas kissed her softly. “Go back to sleep...I'm sorry I woke you up.” He said to her, holding her closer.
“It's okay, I didn't see you all day...and besides I was planning on staying up...I was only taking a nap.” Natalia told him smartly, he knew she was smiling. He could hear it in her voice. Dallas chuckled. “You could always join me for another nap.” He said to her. “Yea...I think I will.” He heard her say, a yawn escaped her.
“I missed you.” Dallas heard Natalia's quiet voice. She snuggled close to him. “I missed you too.” He told her.
“Good night, Dallas.” He heard her mumble. “Good night, Lia.” He replied, as they drifted off in to sleep.
“Are you sure you want to miss class?” Dallas asked, for the hundredth time. He was driving them to the BMO field. “It's not too late...I can drop you off since it's on the way.”
Natalia sighed. Why was he being so difficult?
“Yes, I'm sure. Matthew will give me the notes, and he records the lecture so I'll get the tape too.” She told him, adamantly. “I already read the material! The lecture is just going over thermochemistry and then starting chapter 8 which is the atomic theory.” She said to Dallas, repeating the same words she had told him since he had asked her the first time.
“If you want, I can lecture you about it!” She said, snidely. They were quiet for a moment.
He should be happy I'm coming willingly! Natalia thought, a little offended.
“Besides, there is no way I am missing this game. Your in the starting line up!” She told him, excitedly.
“I never thought I'd see the day where you would miss class...for anything...let alone for me.” Dallas mumbled.
“Don't get used to it.” Natalia said, a little dryly. Dallas laughed at this. “I won't.” He told her. He saw the hurt look on her face.
“I'm sorry...” Dallas mumbled. “I just don't want you to get behind in your class.” He sounded earnest.
Natalia couldn't stay upset with him for long. “It's okay...I just thought you could use the support...” She muttered.
As much as she wanted to be there for him during all of his games, even Natalia knew she would be cheering him on while watching from a school television, rather than a seat around the BMO field.
It wasn't as though Dallas was shunning her from coming. In the morning he had surprised her when he gave her a replica jersey of his own. “You can cheer me on at school.” He had told her. He just hadn't known that she had planned to come along with him.
“Don't get me wrong. I'm glad you're coming. I just don't want you to feel like you have to sacrifice school for me. I want you to do well in you classes.” He told her. Natalia couldn't help but smile, he genuinely cared about her and the things that mattered to her. Even if it was her grades. “I know.” She reassured him.
Dallas parked the car. Natalia could feel the excitement in the air. They got out of the car. Natalia waited for him to walk over to her.
“Ready?” She asked him. “I was born ready.” Dallas told her with a grin. “Good luck.” She said, leaning in to kiss him. “Thank you.” Dallas said, his arm draped over her shoulder. He pulled her closer, kissing her head. They walked together to the field.
Natalia sat in her seat, watching the game intensely. She couldn't help but feel proud when she had first seen Dallas walk on to the soccer pitch.
Watching intently as number seventeen had gotten past the defense. She cheered loudly as number seventeen shot the ball in to the net.
“Number seventeen, Dallas Owen, sends the ball swerving neatly in to the net! The score is 1 nil! TFC are in the lead!” The commentator shouted, on the loud speakers.
Natalia watched as Dallas ran along the side of the field. His team mates jumping on to him, ruffling his hair, in celebration. Natalia could feel her heart bursting with joy.
It had been a long few weeks. Dallas couldn't wait to bring Natalia home. He had spent a few weeks putting the surprise together. Natalia deserved it. He had been planning to do this since she had agreed to stay. Dallas had worked especially hard after the first game, he had felt bad about hurting her feelings when all she had wanted to do was come to his first game.
Natalia had surprised him further when she gave him a scrap book, which opened to show him his first goal, she had found it in The Toronto Star. Other pictures were put along side it. “It's so you remember.” She had told him, craftily mimicking what he had said to her about high school. He was touched.
Thankfully for Dallas, Natalia wouldn't have noticed that he was up to something, since she was away at school most mornings. Dallas couldn't believe how lucky he was that she didn't bother to come in to the room.
“Okay, we're almost inside.” Dallas told her, as he led a blindfolded Natalia in to their apartment. Dallas flicked on the main lights.
“Why do I have to be blindfolded?” Natalia asked, once more.
“Because the last time I surprised you...you tried to peak.” Dallas reminded her.
“It's not a crime...” He heard her mutter.
“Yes it is. It's not a surprise if you know what it is because you peaked.” He told her.
He made her stand outside the door to the second room. She hadn't even bothered with it when he had asked her to stay. Dallas wasn't complaining, it was comforting having her sleep beside him with his arms around her.
He unlocked the room, having put a dead bolt at the top of the door. Natalia had never bothered to ask why. He had only put one there so no one would come in to see what he had been busy working on. Now that it was complete, he would be removing the bolt.
Dallas turned on the lights of the room, and returned his attention to Natalia.
He took both of her hands and led her in to the room.
“Okay, are you ready?” He asked her. “Yes! The suspense is killing me!” She told him, excitedly. Dallas chuckled.
He undid her blindfold and watched the reaction on her face as she opened her eyes to see the room. He heard a sharp gasp.
The room had been turned into a library and study. Bookshelves lined the walls, and a heavy oak desk was placed in front of the window. A computer was on another desk along the other wall.
Natalia looked shocked and amazed, as she turned around in a circle, trying to take it all in.
“It's...it's...I can't find the right words for it...but it's beautiful and amazing!” She exclaimed.
Dallas watched with amusement as Natalia took a closer look.
“You did all this...for me?” She asked in awe, as she came to face him. “Yea, I did it for you. I know you like to study and I don't want you to tire yourself out at the library everyday... including weekends.” He teased her. “And I wanted to say I'm sorry for hurting your feelings...” He admitted. Natalia smiled, wrapping her arms around him. “It's okay...I understand...” She told him. They were quiet.
“Thank you!” She said excitedly, giving him a kiss.
“I just wanted you to feel at home.” He told her, honestly. He wanted Natalia to be comfortable, and have whatever it was she needed. He knew she wasn't a fan of going to the library on weekends, so now she could stay in the comfort of the apartment. She would have a quiet room to study in...without any distractions.
“I am at home...I have you.” She told him happily. Dallas couldn't help but feel happy as he heard her say this. Dallas pulled her in for a deep kiss.
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