Chapter Thirty Seven: The Beautiful Life
The weekend had finally arrived. Dallas had come home from practice looking as though he went to some university preparatory school. Since the coach had gone on a tirade about the team arriving and leaving the training sessions looking clean and professional, Dallas had decided to smarten up. He wasn't about to face the coach's wrath any time soon.
Dallas unlocked the front door, and walked into the house. He had worn tan coloured pants, a short sleeved white collared shirt, and a matching tan vest. His blonde hair stuck up from the numerous times he had run his hand through them...out of frustration...and the heat while playing on the field. His bag was slung over one shoulder as he entered the house.
He welcomed the cool air from the air conditioner. The heat outside was making him slightly uncomfortable and itchy in his clothes. It was only May and the temperature was increasing steadily. Today seemed like a good day for a picnic. It was the perfect day to go somewhere nice and cool...perhaps by a lake.
Slowly, he walked up the stairs to drop off his things in his room. Derek's parents were not home, albeit conveniently. Derek was off on a date with Aimee...which Dallas had made sure to razz him about, mercilessly. That only left one person. One person who needed an outing...not only to relax...but to forget the week's unprecedented events.
Dallas opened the door to the room across the hall. It was empty. She wasn't there. Her bag was on the floor, closed. Her desk was clear of any text books. Dallas looked around puzzled. Where's Natalia? He wondered.
He walked down the stairs, taking a moment to glance at his watch. It was lunch time. He knew she hadn't planned to go out.
Heading in to the living room, still there was no sign of her. The couches were empty, the television off. Dallas was starting to feel disappointment brewing. He had come home hoping to see her. Now she was no where to be seen.
It wasn't until he heard a laugh, that the basement caught his attention. The door stood ajar. Dallas smiled.
Figures, He thought. If the entire upper portion of the house is empty...she's in the basement...
He walked down the steps. Sure enough Natalia was lying on the couch laughing at something on the television.
She paused what she was watching as she saw him walk down the stairs.
“Hi, Dallas!” Natalia said, cheerfully.
“Hey. What are you doing in the basement?” He asked.
“It's cooler here than it is upstairs...and I was going through Derek's stash of movies.” She told him, with a grin.
Natalia sat up. She was wearing simple flowing white dress with a bow tied at the back. Instead of wearing pants, she was wearing black capris, her black flip-flops lay off in a corner. Natalia's hair had been half let down over her shoulders. The other half had been tied, with her bangs covering her forehead. She looked beautiful.
Dallas sat down next to her.
“Why do you look so formal?” Natalia asked, gesturing to his clothes. Dallas sighed. “Didn't I tell you?” He asked. “Nope.” She answered.
“Well...coach had a fit about all the players looking as though we just get out of bed...and show up. So he told us to look clean and professional. No baggy pants allowed...I think he's sick of seeing pictures in the newspapers...where some of the guys have their boxers showing...not that I'm one of them...I think it was for the over all look of the team.” Dallas told her.
Natalia was snickering, which soon turned in to laughter. “It's not that funny!” He told her, her laugh was infectious. Soon he was laughing along with her.
“Yes, it is.” She told him. “You guys must have looked pretty bad, for him to have forced you all to look 'Clean' and 'Professional'” She said, making quotes with her fingers.
They settled into a comfortable silence. Natalia played her video. It was a few minutes before Dallas took the remote from her and paused it again.
“Why don't we go out for a little while?” Dallas asked her. “Why? It's hot outside.” Natalia said to him. “Come on, it's the perfect weather for a picnic. Plus no one's home.” Dallas prodded.
“Okay...but where are we going?” Natalia asked, with an eyebrow raised.
“That's a surprise.” Dallas told her. He had a place in mind. “Why does everything have to be so secret?” Natalia asked, sounding a little annoyed. “Why do you always ask so many questions?” Dallas retorted. “Because I like knowing what I'm getting myself into.” Natalia shot back, her hands crossed...although she was smiling.
“Well...I don't. So let's go.” Dallas said giving her a kiss, he pulled her up by the hand. She slipped on her flip-flops, and he led her upstairs.
Natalia walked out among the shade of the trees. The beautiful blue colour of the lake was drawing her to it. She left her flip-flops near the picnic blanket which now had a basket lying on top of it. She walked through the soft green grass slowly heading towards the shoreline. The grass felt cool against the soles of her feet.
Soon she had reached the sandy shoreline. Natalia walked close to the water, letting the waves go over her feet. She loved the smell of water, the scent of rain, and she had always liked quiet places like this. She walked slowly along the shoreline.
The lake Dallas had driven them to, was a bit of a walk away from her house. She was surprised she hadn't noticed it before.
Natalia felt a hand slip into hers. She looked up, only to smile at Dallas. He hadn't changed before they left. The top buttons of his shirt were undone. He, too, had left his shoes, she looked to see his feet bare. They walked along quietly. Enjoying the peace and quiet.
“So...will you be going to school when you move to Toronto?” Natalia asked. She knew he was planning to move. She hoped he would still have time to see her.
“Yea...I'm looking for a school with proper night classes to fit in with my schedule.” Dallas told her.
“Why don't you go to York?” She asked, hopefully. Natalia looked at him. He was smiling. “Are you sure you want me to come?” He asked her. “Yes!” She told him, simply. “We'll see...” He told her.
“Where are you going to live?” Natalia asked, out of curiosity. “Somewhere close to both the training grounds and school...I guess.” She heard him say. Natalia looked out at the lake.
There was one other thing that was bothering Natalia. Something she didn't want to know...but needed to know.
“When will you be leaving?” She failed to keep the sad note out of her voice. She felt him squeeze her hand. “I'm not leaving you.” He told her, trying to reassure her. “Yet...” She added. “I'm not going any where for a long while. Don't worry about it.” He told her, stopping and making her face him.
“It's a long way off...so forget about it...and let's enjoy ourselves.” He told her, still not answering her question. His hand rested along her cheek, bringing her in for a kiss. She tried her best to shove the thoughts away...at least for a little while.
They continued walking along the shoreline, hand in hand...a more sombre silence had settled on them.
The cool air coming off from the lake was refreshing. Natalia liked the feel of wet sand between her toes. Natalia found herself enjoying the walk once more.
They had almost reached the end of the shoreline when Natalia spotted something.
“Hey! Look it's a snail!” Natalia exclaimed. She pointed to it, so that Dallas could see. She bent down to pick it up. “Look, it has brown and yellow swirls on it's shell. Usually I see ones with black and yellow swirls. I wonder how you can tell if their male or female...” She wondered out loud. “I have no idea...” Dallas muttered. She was about to put the snail in his outstretched hand, when Dallas suddenly jerked his hand away. The snail fell on to the wet sand.
Natalia shook her head in disbelief. “You're not scared of a snail, are you?” She asked, picking up the poor snail. She walked on to the grass and put it among the bushes where there was another snail. “There you go!” She told the snail.
“I thought I would be able to handle it...but the idea of slime is unnerving.” He told her shaking his head, as she returned.
Natalia walked to the lake and dipped her hands into the water. Rinsing them.
She came back to Dallas. “Here.” he told her, handing her a small pocket size bottle of 'Purel'. Natalia couldn't help but laugh a little. “Are you always this prepared? Even for practice?” She asked him. “You have no idea...” He muttered darkly, before smiling at her. She handed him back the bottle.
They had been walking and talking for a while. Dallas had finally managed to get Natalia away from the water. She loved being close to it, but Dallas had wanted to eat. After they had finished eating, Natalia was up and about again, there was no stopping her.
Now they were walking in the shade of the trees. Dallas now knew that Natalia was very observant. Not that he hadn't known that before...but she was good at spotting things that he would have failed to notice.
“Dallas, what's that?” Natalia asked. Dallas turned to see what she was pointing to. There was something in the tree. “I have no idea.” He told her. “I wonder what it is.” Natalia said out loud. Her curiosity failed to be quenched. That was what made her so interesting to him. She always questioned everything.
Dallas stood under the branch where the unknown object was. “Climb up.” He offered to her. “Are you sure?” Natalia asked hesitantly. “Yea, go on.” He told her. He bent down so she could get on his back. Her feet in his hands. Her knees dug into his back. “Easy! That hurts!” Dallas complained, he hadn't felt anything. He just wanted to bug her. “Sorry!” She mumbled. Dallas snickered. “You're so full of it.” Natalia said, smacking his shoulder lightly. He could hear the smile in her voice. Her hands clenched on his shoulders. Dallas slowly lifted Natalia up.
“Do you see it?” Dallas asked from below. “Nope...a little bit higher...and then I'll be able to see it.” She told him.
Dallas complied, raising her carefully. “It's birds nest!” Natalia told him, excitedly. “Is there anything in it?” Dallas asked. “No...” Natalia said, slightly saddened. “Maybe next time.” Dallas told her, as he carefully lowered her.
He wasn't about to let her down so soon. Her legs were now in the holes created by his arms. As soon as she had wrapped her arms across his neck. Dallas took off. Natalia shrieked, barely holding on as Dallas ran with her on his back. He was going to take her for one wild piggy back ride.
The shrieks soon turned in to laughter. Dallas laughed along with her. “Stop it, Dallas.” Natalia said, through her laughs. He spun and twirled this way and that. Not stopping for a second.
“Nah uh.” He told her, through his own laughs. “Please, stop.” She pleaded with him as he ran near the shoreline and back, with her on his back. “No way.” He told her adamantly. Soon enough, her protests had died down. All he could hear was her laughter. She held on to him tightly, as he weaved his way around trees and on to the sand. Her musical laugh echoed around them.
Dallas soon let her down carefully on to the sand. She was still shaking with laughter. Natalia had weaved one arm to wrap around his. Holding on to him, to keep herself from falling. Dallas had made her slightly dizzy. He walked with her slowly, until their feet were in the water.
Soon the laughter faded away. Natalia leaned in to Dallas. The sunlight reflected off the water. It was picture perfect. This moment, she wished would last forever.
She stood on her tippy toes to kiss him. “I love you.” She told him. Dallas smiled. “I love you.” He told her, kissing her deeply. Moments passed, as they stood watching out along the lake. The peaceful sounds from water hitting the shore gently, around them. It was perfect. She couldn't ask for anything more.
They stood a while longer, turning back to walk to where they had left the pic-nic blanket.
“Race you back!” Natalia said, mischievously, taking her arm out of his and getting a head start. “You're on!” Dallas chased after her.
Once more, their laughter sounded through the trees. Natalia had almost gotten to the blanket, when Dallas tackled her.
They both lay on the blanket giggling and laughing. “I win.” He told her, looking at her, a grin planted on his face. “No you didn't. I win...since I was here first.” Natalia retorted. “Okay, fine. You win.” Dallas settled, turning to kiss her deeply. He pushed the hair away from her eyes.
They lay on the blanket catching their breath, staring at the blue sky and white fluffy clouds above them.
Natalia's brown hair was strewn across the blanket making a halo around her head, mixing with Dallas's blonde.
“That looks like a horse.” Dallas said to Natalia. She looked up to where he was pointing. “You're right. And that looks like a duck!” She told him.
Natalia felt Dallas entwine his fingers with hers. His hand moved hers to his chest. She moved closer to him, until her head rested on his shoulder.
This was how things were supposed to be. Perfectly beautiful.
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