Asma Ahsan Asma Ahsan
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LOL - I love the way the guy is 'so good to look at.' :P If you leave a line after each paragraph, its easier to comment.

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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
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Dominick & Leah - Chapter 1


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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

1.


       When Dominick Melton saw the round-faced brunette in his accounting class at the beginning of that semester that September, 1992, he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
       He was just beginning college all over again, after a failure of a first try back in 1989; he’d taken radio broadcasting, but after an alumni by the name of Glen Morin had been invited to give a talk on the industry mid-semester, he’d realized that he absolutely had none of the drive that Morin seemed to radiate. The fact that he’d blown off what he thought was an unimportant assignment holding no weight marks-wise was not something he considered when he thought about this.
       The girl, Leah, had a gaze that could transform you, or at least Dominick felt that way. He was only twenty-one and yet he’d never had a proper girlfriend. The closest girl he’d had, Melanie, was more like a painful learning experience than a deep relationship, and she hadn’t really felt it. For Dominick, it had almost even taken a year for him to get over her. He’d spent a lot of that past summer listening to Gordon, the debut album of this new band calling themselves the Barenaked Ladies.
       Life was funny that way, he often thought. Then again, that’s what songs were about, all the time. It was just finding the one that matched your situation, which wasn’t that difficult.
       Dominick had grown up in Ottawa all his life. He had one younger sister by two years, and the family lived in Pineglen, across the tracks from Nomorbrook. He would often look back on that younger time with a feeling of nostalgia – things had been nicer when he was younger. The trees in his neighborhood had seemed so big and grand, the feeling of adventure and excitement as he prowled through the surrounding Greenbelt forest with friends, the family bonding at the Merivale Donald’s Foods – nowadays, heading into the 90s, things seemed to be rushing all too fast. And here he was, already a young adult, trying his second chance at a medium-sized college.
       Algonquin College was not a particularly nice place. The campus was surrounded by parking lots and the interiors were nothing but blandly-painted cement. But Leah brightened the place up immensely with just her face alone. Captivated, Dominick would watch as she drifted from one point in the room to the other, and he’d be overjoyed if he caught her looking in his direction.
       Leah knew Dominick often glanced or looked at her. She was nearing the end of a relationship that was more trouble than it was worth, and he was actually pretty good-looking. Sometimes she would look at him as well, just because he was something good to look at.
      
--
       During a group mingling exercise at the start of his second class the following week, Dominick gathered up his courage, and approached Leah. He tapped her shoulder as she was turned away, and when she looked at him, he began his attempt to talk to her.
       “Uh – hi. Um, I never got a chance to say hi when I saw you earlier.”
       “Oh.” She smiled. “Hi.”
       “Hi.” He struggled with something else to say. “Finding this stuff interesting?”
       “Introduction to Business? Not particularly. It’s just a starting point for me.”
       “Oh, really?” he asked, starting to find common ground. “It’s that way for me too.”
       She smiled again. “Really? Is your name Dominick by the way?”
       “Yes.” He nodded. “I think you’re Leah, is that right?”
       “Yep. Are you from around here?”
       “Yeah, I still live at home actually, which isn’t far from here.”
       “I’m from Gloucester,” she said. “The other side of the river.”
       “Ah. Is this your first time in college?”
       “No, I tried Ottawa U. first. I took theatre but then I realized I didn’t want to move around or have to relocate. What about you?”
       “Well, I was here a couple of years ago for radio broadcasting, but I dropped out when I decided I didn’t have the energy for it, and besides, business sounds a little more stable to me.”
       “Yeah, I think so too. So here we are.”
       They both smiled, which was when the professor decided to give the class the next introduction exercise – writing random esoteric facts about themselves down on small pieces of paper, and then scrunching them up. At the end of a countdown, everyone threw the balls of paper across the room at each other.
       It was another one of those getting-to-know-each other things. Dominick caught a piece of paper that had the name ‘Charlie’ written on it, and after examining it, went back to watching Leah, who was standing right next to him. Catching a ball of paper, she smoothed it out, reacted slightly, and turned to Dominick.
       “I think I got you,” she said.
Dominick nodded in acknowledgement, then turned away and sat down at his seat nearby, secretly excited that she would get to read more about him on that piece of paper. The next part of the exercise included having people in the class read their papers out loud. The professor picked out people at random, until eventually Dominick had to read Charlie’s scribbled words.
       “I’ve got this Charlie…” he began. A tall, gangly person with curly hair sprang up from the opposite corner of the room and said, “I’m Charlie.” Dominick continued. “It says that he is from Bridlewood and he likes Nirvana.” A small appreciative babble of voices briefly filled the room.
       Three minutes later, Dominick was listening as Leah read what he’d written down – his birthday (July 10th), earlier education, and the rather esoteric fact that he was left-handed. Leah glanced at him as she read what he’d said, finished, sat down, then – to Dominick’s surprise – put the piece of paper in her pocket instead of giving it back. 1 comment


--


       That weekend, Dominick spent all day helping his parents move their friends, the Redpines, into Nomorbrook. He relished the activity because it was something to keep him busy, not dependent on the time, and otherwise occupied from wanting the weekend to be over quicker so he could see Leah in class again the following Monday. Emma and Lyle Redpine had been his parent’s friends for five years, and they were moving in from Toronto. They had one four-year-old son named David, which Dominick often kept entertained throughout the busy day to the child’s delight. In any sense, David essentially made the day fly.
       “Her name is Leah?” his friend Daniel asked him later that afternoon as they walked the streets of Nomorbrook and Pineglen. Daniel had been Dominick’s best friend since they met in third grade at Meadowlands Public School. “What’s she like?”
       “She’s like that girl Dougie and I had a crush on in high school,” he said. “Remember Leslie?”
       “I do,” Daniel responded. “I remember how you and Dougie would spend lunch hours just watching her from a distance. You still keep in touch with him?”
       “Not as often, but yeah. He’s in Ryerson University, says he wants to get a degree and then become a teacher.”
       “That’s ambitious of him. What about Leslie?”
       “I don’t know. I think she went to Montreal.”
       “So this Leah looks like Leslie?”
       “Yeah. Same eyes, round face, hair color.”
       “Right. You know, you remember that song we used to play when we were kids? That Donnie Iris one? Weren’t we like, nine then?”
       “’Ah! Leah!’” Dominick said. “That’s funny, isn’t it? That’s me right now.”
       “But do you know how to love her, or do you just wanna touch her?” Daniel joked.
       “I guess it’s just her eyes,” Dominick said in a captivated voice. “They have this quality or look to them that just pulls me in. Leslie’s eyes were just like that, too. I look in them and feel like I want to please them in any way I can.”
       Daniel looked away for a second, almost feeling amused at the way Dominick was talking. “Wanna go to Donald’s Foods or something?” he asked. They had just arrived at his driveway on Avonlea Road.
       “Sure.”
Daniel fished in his pocket for his keys, and they got in his 1985 Honda Civic.
       “So what do you think you’ll do about her?” Daniel asked as they glided down the shady road towards Burnbank Street, near where the Redpines had just moved in.
       “I’m not sure. I just spend most of my time looking at her. I can’t get enough of her face and…”
       “Eyes,” Daniel completed the sentence for him. “Yeah, I know. But if you like her, you should ask her out.”
       “I don’t know. I think she could have a boyfriend.”
       “She could.” They sat at a red light at the Merivale intersection with Slack Road. “Hey, can you do us a favor and run out and hit the button?”
       “Oh, yeah.” Dominick got out of the car, ran to push the pedestrian button, and got back in. “I’m going to just keep talking to her, find out more about her.”
       “Good plan. And – oh, shit! I just remembered we shouldn’t go this way.”
       “Yeah, that Huntclub bypass construction thing is annoying.”
       “We’re not gonna get to Donald’s Foods anytime soon going this way, but I can’t make a U-turn. Oh well,” Daniel sighed. “Why don’t we put on some music or something.” He hit a dial on the dashboard, and they spent the time in the traffic jam due to the construction listening to ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam. As Eddie Vedder sang the anthemic chorus, Dominick only had one thing in his mind – the pretty face of the girl in his class that looked like Leslie.


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