Here's a quote for the day: "You never truly love someone until it kills you to see them hurt."
I'm back again. Hope you guys have not forgotten about this little story here.
There is some tweaking going on with the dates, because this is not the chapter of the banquet, yet, so... please bear with me.
The banquet will most likely be after the next or two more chapters.
Thank you for your patience, guys.
By the way, my O-levels end on the 13th of June, so after that I will be able to post regularly, I guess. And also watch out for some of my other articles, which I will post in Open Mic. I have been devoting some of my time to explore my feelings.
Eli slipped two videotapes into a messenger bag, and sighed. He looked around his room and stared into open space. These days, he did not like to think about Dallas or what they did together. The thought pained him. One would imagine that ache would have eased by now. Wrong. Eli had not stopped thinking about Dallas.
Nevertheless, he never wondered if she felt the same. He knew her too well and he knew the answer. Dallas rarely gave second or third chances. Parker was right - she had been through a lot. But, even he had been through quite a lot. You didn't see him complaining...
Eli looked at the door and saw a brown head with a concerned look.
"Can I come in?" Verity asked him, unsure of his response.
Eli sighed and laid back on his chair. "Sure."
Verity sat on the side of his bed and breathed out. She pointed at the messenger bag and asked him, "What were you putting into the bag?"
"Oh, that's just a few tapes of the last season of Friends."
"Oh..." Verity noticed the discomfort Eli had and decided not to dwell too much on the topic. "Are you excited for the banquet tomorrow?"
Eli grabbed the messenger bag and placed it on his lap. "Yeah, hope everything goes well."
"Yeah, right. This means a hell lot to Mom and Dad. If this becomes a disaster, everybody's going to hate on them forever."
Eli remained quiet. He knew that it was better for him to not say anything at that point. Eli was struggling to control his emotions and if they let loose, everything would spill. Everything.
"Okay, well, Mom is going to somewhere with Bridge and Dad is in his office. There's nobody here now."
Eli felt his heart flutter. Where was she going with this? His thoughts began to wander.
"This is the right time for me to confess about something."
Eli felt his heart skip a beat. The thudding of his heart made him uneasy and increased his blood pressure. But, why was Eli nervous when Verity was going to confess about something? What if she was going to confess about Eli? Something she found out? His thoughts began to do a complete volte-face and his face began to give it away.
Verity noticed and shook Eli. "Eli, you okay?" She let out a little laugh and continued, "Relax, it's not about you." She paused as though letting herself calm down a little. "It's about Dallas."
Well, Eli thought, this didn't make him feel better. He refused to let his emotions get the better of himself. So he drew in a deep breath and let it out.
Seeing Eli a little relaxed, she thought that what she was going to say was going to change Eli's mood. Verity swallowed and heard her ears pop. She bit her lip and waiting for the disaster to come. What she was going to say was going to change Eli's mood in a very, very bad way.
"I was talking to Dallas after we found out about Bridge's engagement. And I may have told her something about you... that may have been not so true."
"What!" Eli stood up, caring the least bit about the falling tapes.
"Eli, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to. You guys told Mom that you were not together, so I thought-"
"What did you tell her, Verity?"
"She told me that she was upset and it had something to do with you. So, I wanted to make her feel better."
"What did you tell her?"
"I told her that you had a relationship with this girl called Jeanette from the Grove."
"I said that she was unfaithful to you and that you were hurt. That's why you're afraid to fall in love again."
Eli knitted his fingers in his hair and closed his eyes. What did Verity just say? Was she serious? Eli burst out. "What the f*** were you thinking about when you told her that?" He couldn't look at Verity's face. Heck, he went with his instinct. In the blink of an eye, Eli raised his hand and slapped Verity's cheek.
Verity felt the repercussions. As the blood flow to her cheek increased, she felt the heat radiating from it. Tears stung her eyes and began to flow mercilessly, uncontrollably. Her pink lips quivered slowly... Verity didn't know what to say. She was angry, hurt and it ached to see Eli behave this way. She presumed the incident to turn out with Eli scolding her, not going to an extent of slapping her. She wiped her tears with the sleeves of her white t-shirt and sniffed. She hoped that she would not regret her actions afterwards. She pointed the middle finger at him, snarling and walked out of his room.
Eli did not gasp or show any sign of shock or surprise. She was a teenager; he had been with her for a long time... this was usual. The only unusual aspect of the incident was that she showed it to him, which he found vaguely surprising. He raised an eyebrow and his smirk morphed into a frown as realization struck him hard.
Now everything made sense.
Why Dallas was angry with him at Bridge's party. Why she told him to never poke his nose into her personal life. Those words were like daggers stabbing his heart, ensuring to not miss any spot. It all made sense. She may have thought that he may have been spreading rumors about her. Eli would never want to bring back what happened before she left. The story was long. He was stupid and confused. Now that Parker had told him what he wanted to know, Eli's mind had cleared a bit.
He walked to the nearest window and leaned his nose against the glass, breathing deeply. The water vapor from his mouth condensed and formed droplets on the glass. He closed his eyes, took his head from the window and banged it on the window with all the power he could muster. It hurt a little. Eli smiled. It felt good. He banged his head again. And again. And again. Again. Again.
His 'kick' skyrocketing.
He stopped. He felt his head burning and felt liquid flowing down his temple and cheek. He tasted it. Blood.
He was bleeding.
There was a small crack in the glass. There was a larger one on his head, he noticed on the mirror. He laughed, mumbling something. Sinking into the bed, sleep was his shelter and safety now, he realized... He laid on his bed staring at the ceiling for a few minutes and his eyes closed.
He slipped into his dreams, a better place for him to be right now.
Five minutes later, he stepped out of the bed, put on a bronze duffle coat and made his way outside his room and house.
Dallas waited. The clock ticked cruelly. Time flew by so fast.
She wondered why time had to pass so quickly when she happened to be having a good time after a long time. She looked at Mitch's face and melted. He was not the average cutie anyone would find on the street with a pair of shorts and messy black hair. He was something more than that, something unfathomable and something that much more mysterious.
She sighed; this was pathetic. That was exactly what she had thought when she first met Eli. Ugh. All her thoughts seemed to revolve around Eli these days. She had a vibe, a sort of intuition that he was about to do something stupid and was going to get hurt. But, she kept telling herself that she did not care. He had "parents" and friends for that. He had his pretty face and fit body to keep him happy. He had a gigantic villa to keep him happy. Why would he even need her? He had all of those things to keep him happy and satisfied.
It was obvious how he did not need her like she needed him.
Dallas was unsure if that hurt her or did not.
She was not sure of everything these days. She told herself that the only solace she could find was in Mitch's arms. But, now... she was not even sure of that.
She had known Mitch for quite some time now. He was interested in her, unlike Eli. He thought Dallas was attractive and he told her, unlike Eli. However, she knew that the love she had for Eli was colossal in comparison with that for Mitch. Her first love was still fresh and she still cherished those memories, which seemed to haunt her like a little melody these days.
Whenever, Dallas was intimate with Mitch in any way, images of Eli seemed to surround her in a thick mist of guilt and remorse. She asked herself, what she did to make her feel that way. She wanted to believe that Eli was emotionless to what was going on. That he only cared about the plan and getting his revenge. But, no. Her heart spoke louder and the voice in her head faded away. He may be miserable too.
She agreed to forget about Eli now.
The sight of the waitress arriving with our food was the most glorious sight ever.
She walked exaggeratedly, swaying her hips from side to side. Dallas pursed her lips and swiftly turned her head to see Mitch. She smiled; he looked the least bit interested.
Dallas was more confident now. The waitress placed the plates on the wooden table. The pungent aroma of the chopped Cobb salad and Parmesan-Panko chicken tenders struck Dallas immediately. The crunchy texture of the chicken stimulated her salivary glands to lubricate her mouth with saliva, and the colorful appearance of the salad made her stomach do a backflip. She was so hungry and this food was making her crazy.
"Do you want something else?"
Dallas shook her head. "No, thanks. This will do."
He looked at the waitress and told her, "Ok, that's it for the main course. Do you have any drinks?"
"Yes, sir. We have a variety of juices, milk, wines, and-"
"Yeah, we'll go for the wine..." He turned to Dallas and asked her, a charming smirk plastered on his face, "What kind of wine do you like? White, red?"
Dallas bit her lip and replied, "Red. I like red."
"Ok, red it is. Give us the best red wine available."
The waitress smiled at Mitch, glared at Dallas and went back, leaving the two to eat their meal. "That was interesting," Dallas finally said.
Mitch laughed, as he bit into a piece of chicken, "Why would you say that?"
Dallas crossed her arms and pursed her lips. "Are you kidding me? You really didn't see the way she looked at you?"
"What do you mean?" He replied in a voice that made Dallas tingly inside.
She bit into the chicken and swallowed. "She is smitten by you."
"I mean, doesn't it affect you in any way?"
He dabbed his mouth using the napkin and leaned close to Dallas. "You tell me if it does. When guys look at you all the time, does it affect you?"
Dallas mirrored his actions and leaned closer to him. "That doesn't happen to me, Mr. Nilsson. I'm not as charismatic as you are."
Mitch touched her arm and looked into her eyes. "Thank you, but that's not true, Ms. Fletcher. In most ways, I think you are the most charming person. You have a certain magnetic pull that keeps me wanting for more of you."
Dallas laughed and noticed that her cheeks were getting hot. She was blushing uncontrollably. "Wow, that's...I should keep that in mind the next time I have zero self-esteem, huh?"
He nodded, looking thoroughly amused and went back to finish his food.
The waitress came back with a bottle of wine and two wine glasses. She placed them both at the table and poured bright red wine into each other's glasses. "There you go, Mr. Nilsson, the best red wine here."
He looked at her and smiled, "Thank you."
She nodded, flirtatiously and left.
Dallas tried to finish her food without getting distracted. The way Mitch was eating... Mmm... it stirred those tingly feelings in her again. He just seemed perfect, unlike Eli, who had his little imperfections. Eli was very brave and somewhat manly on the outside, but the closest to him knew that he was a little vulnerable ten-year-old inside. Dallas still remembered the way he bawled in her arms when they watched 'Life is Beautiful'. He did not understand the Italian language, so he did not even know what was going on. But, what he saw and the little he understood by that moved him to bits.
And then, there was Mitch. She could not imagine him crying over a war movie, or any movie for that matter. He would be the manliest person as Dallas would lay in his arms and he would protect her from anything that would scare her or harm her.
What would that feel like? Paradise? Nirvana? A state of the highest happiness attainable? Not exactly, Dallas debated. Honestly, she did not mind if the person she was in love with was afraid of things like that. Exhibit A: Eli. Even though he was a little girl in those things, he made her happy. They were the perfect two, the perfect match. A lock and a key - the perfect match. She asked herself, looking at Mitch, who seemed to be looking at her in a charming way. He was unaware of the thoughts running in her head. Was this what she expected in a relationship? A man who protected her always? And other aspects of a man also, but this relationship did not feel complete in any way.
Dallas was emotionally incomplete.
She did not feel part of the perfect two.
She looked at Mitch and smiled uneasily. For some reason, she longed to go back to Eli, to lay in his arms and for him to tell her that everything will be fine. Mitch looked at her and smirked. She wondered why.
She figured it out quite rapidly. His foot started to caress her leg slowly. Up and down, he maintained a steady rhythm that Dallas began to follow. He slowly traced his foot up the inside of her thigh and upwards...
Dallas pulled her leg and moved it aside. She coughed and reached for the glass of wine. She drank a sip and looked at her knotted fingers nervously.
Mitch sensed her discomfort and took his foot away. He brought his hand up to touch Dallas' fingers, but froze and sipped his wine instead. He kept his glass on the table and asked her suddenly, careful to keep his tone nonchalant, "I'm sorry. Was that awkward?"
"No, it wasn't and you don't have to apologize. It was just a surprise, that's all."
"Oh, okay, then." He got to his feet, walked over and sat near Dallas, sitting as close as possible. "Is this awkward?"
Dallas chuckled, nervously. "No, no, it isn't."
"Then, I hope this isn't," he said and moved closer to her. Using his hand, he brought her face closer to his, using his finger to lift her chin. Slowly, their lips touched... Mitch was sucking on her bottom lip, Dallas cupped his cheeks, rubbing her hands against them.
Dallas stopped kissing him. She stopped invading his mouth.
Dallas realized something she should have earlier: She felt nothing.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Chapter 18! And an entire post of me replying to comments! Adios!