Asma Ahsan Asma Ahsan
Recommendations: 31

Which girl refuses a good and patient guy like that? Very strange! Some women like to be dominated. She could end up with another Luke now and be happy about it. It's pscycological. Some times, women like the feeling of being a victim in a relationship so they can complain about it. A twisted tale. Imagine the potential a woman can reach if a guy loves her like this one did.

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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
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Dominick & Leah - Chapter 6


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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

6.


       Dominick came home one afternoon in mid-July carrying a pamphlet of resumes. He’d been actively looking for a part-time job to help cover the expenses of his tuition for this coming second year of college, especially since his younger sister Heather’s tuition at Carleton was running up a high cost. That, and he felt a recurring annoyance towards himself at the fact that Leah held down a job yet he didn’t. It hadn’t bothered him in the beginning of the relationship, but over the past couple of months he’d been reminded of the fact he didn’t earn anything whenever they went and ate out at restaurants, and he either used old birthday money or cash his parents had given him. He was easily too old for an allowance, and now was the time to make his own money. Even Luke, the immature asshole Leah had been with, worked at Kresge’s Goods, although he wondered if the guy still worked there since his insolent behavior in January. Either way, he hadn’t applied there.


       He applied at the bank outside Kresge’s Goods instead, as well as Zellers, stores in the Emerald Plaza, and even at the gas station. The Merivale Road was an extremely commercialized arterial with lots of job opportunities, and Dominick had spent the entire afternoon making his way down the road, starting at the Clyde intersection and working his way south. The only places he avoided were the discount store and Donald’s Foods, which he felt better visiting as a customer rather than a worker.


       As he entered the kitchen, he found Mae, the daughter of their friends the Redpines, sitting in a high chair. His mother, Elizabeth, was trying to coax her into drinking milk from a bottle. David, Mae’s four-year-old brother, spied him and came running.


       “Dommy! I was waiting for you!”


       “Hey Davey!” Dominick put the pamphlet aside and got down to the child’s eye-level. “Oh?” he asked engagingly. “I hope you didn’t have to wait long.”


       “No. I want to play hide-and-seek.”


       “Okay, sure, but can I just get settled in?”


       “Okay!” David said excitedly. “I’ll be over there.” He gestured towards the living room.


       “Hey, Dom, how was the job hunt?” Elizabeth asked him.


       “Long. I started at Clyde and ended up at Viewmount. But I think I may get somewhere, I handed out something like thirty resumes.”


       “That’s good. I’ve just been trying to get little Mae here to have some milk.”


       “What’s Emma and Lyle doing?”


       “They’re spending the day together, they needed a break from all the exhaustion Mae here’s been giving them. Having a baby can be so stressful.”


       “I hope they’re all right,” Dominick said.


       “Well, I think we can be certain that David’ll be here a lot this summer. He’s turning five next month. You know, I’ve been talking to your father, and we were wondering how you and Leah have been doing.”


       “Oh? Well, we’re fine.”


       “Are you sure?”


       “Yes, I’m sure. I mean, we do have the odd disagreement, but otherwise, no, I’ve really been benefitting from all that advice you’ve been giving me.”


       “You know, a relationship’s never perfect without one big fight or two,” Elizabeth said. “I’m just puzzled at how perfect you two seem to be.”


       “Well, I’m just patient, that’s all. And I know a one-sided relationship when I see it – I’ve been observant.”


       Elizabeth’s face softened. “You’re very open-minded, Dom. I only wish Heather were the same, the boys she brings around all the time…”


       “What’s she doing today, anyway?” Dominick asked, wanting to change the subject.


       “Oh, I don’t know, something with Brooke or Tina or Jack or someone, I’m never sure,” Elizabeth muttered. “Oh, and Alison called me. She finally got her first directing gig.”


       “Really? What project is she doing?”


       “It’s a short educational film that she’s also producing. I’m really happy for her, she’s spent so much money and time writing and writing and getting the odd job producing, she’s finally getting somewhere. Who knows where she’ll go in the future…I almost want to give her another thumbs up.”


       David ran into the room. “Settled Dommy?”


       “I’m counting to ten,” Dominick answered with a smile. The boy ran back into the living room.


       “You know,” he pondered, “random things happen every day. Maybe some kid’s parents divorced and he becomes fixated on Hot Wheel Impalas. Maybe some guy is sitting in Cambodia with a friend of his, thinking about his son. Maybe some random moose will run amok on Merivale Road in the future, or maybe Tim will misunderstand Wilson like usual on Home Improvement. Maybe we’ll get purple rain. But I think that despite that, me and Leah are definitely solid – in thunder and lightning, moose or no moose.”


       “Well, don’t become over confident. And Dom – despite what I said, don’t go asking for trouble or wondering to Leah why you don’t ever fight or seriously argue.”


       “I wasn’t, mom. At least I don’t think I was. Nine, ten, ready or not, here I come!” Dominick went off to find David.
--
       “I have to talk to you about something,” Leah said when he drove over to Billings Bridge Mall to pick her up; they were going to have dinner at Dominick’s that evening.


       “Oh? Sure, what is it?”


       “Well…it’s kind of hard for me to get into. It’s about, well, how we’ve been.”


       “What do you mean? Are things all right?”


       “I’ve been thinking about it,” she said uncomfortably as she sat in the passenger seat and settled in. “I don’t want to surprise you, but this is just something that’s been festering at the back of my mind for at least the past month, maybe since June, maybe since January even.”


       “Well – why didn’t you tell me about it then?” Dominick suddenly didn’t feel too well – Leah was bringing up some sort of sudden bothersome trait about him, no doubt, and after they’d been through nine months of a positive relationship together. Maybe good things were too good to be true? That was another saying his mother had brought up often.


       “Because…it was just a nagging trait that I wasn’t sure about, something that I wasn’t perfectly able to figure out.”


       Dominick turned the vehicle off and plucked the keys from the ignition. They were sitting in the parking lot. He turned to face her directly. “What is it, Leah?”


       She blushed. “This really isn’t easy. It’s just, you…you’re so sensitive.”


       “Sensitive?” Dominick almost laughed. “What’s so bad about that?”


       “Nothing. It’s just that I’ve always felt that all you do is think about me.”


       “Oh. Is…is this the same thing from December again?”


       “Yes, something like that. You just, you give me so much, Dommy. You never take, you always give.”


       “So you’re telling me you’re in doubt of us because I do nothing but give? I don’t know, that sounds kind of unusual,” he said, feeling slightly annoyed. “Leah, if I’m still like this, I guess it’s just in my nature. I want to love and nurture you – “


       “And you do. But…I don’t know, I feel like you’re kind of smothering me with it to the point where I feel like I don’t deserve it all, or like I should be contributing more than I do to bring it to your level of give…”


       “I never expect you to give me more!” Dominick exclaimed, surprised. “Are you telling me that I over-indulge you or something?” He sighed emotionally. “It’s like you’re telling me to stop loving you or something.”


       “I don’t know. You’re just so the opposite of Luke, you know? He was controlling, he was one to take from me, he was just the guy I met and had fun with at the beginning, temporarily. You, on the other hand, you take me and put me on a pedestal, you stare at me in awe, you make me the centre of the universe, and I, I just don’t feel like I belong there. I’m always way higher to you.”


       “Leah, don’t let Luke make you feel…”


       “He didn’t make me feel anything, Dominick. You did. I just think that I’m a little in over my head with you at the moment.”


       “So…what do you want to do?”


       “I think…I think I want to take a break for the rest of the summer,” she said. “You and I really have some great memories that I’ll always cherish…but I need to just break away for awhile. Catch my breath.”


       “So we’re…we’re done?”


       “I think…yes. For now Dommy. Just for now. Is that okay?”


       “We were so happy…”


       “You were so happy. I was happy too, believe me – but I got more happy than I could take.”


       “I thought you loved me, though.”


       She leaned in close to him. “I still do. I think I always will. You’re my sweetheart, my dreamlover. But right now, I need to just go out into the world like a normal, average person, and just be looked at and treated like one. Just for now. Okay? Maybe we’ll try out something new in the autumn…or next year. But for now…I think we need to spend some time apart.” 1 comment


       “I love you,” Dominick said sadly.


       “I know you do. And look – I love you. Please believe that and take it to heart, because I really do. I’m sorry I can’t make dinner tonight.” She stared at him. “Are you going to be okay?”


       Dominick turned away and stared out of the windshield with misty eyes. “They told me this would happen.”


       “Hmm? What?”


       “My mother. Told me we’d get into a fight or have a problem.”


       “This isn’t a fight. It’s not a problem…well, not a bad problem. We just need to, well, be apart right now.” She took his hand and squeezed it. As he turned to look at her again, she kissed his cheek. “I’ll see you around, okay? Bye, Dominick.” She pulled away, grabbed her purse and bag, and exited the large van, leaving Dominick to sit by himself in the Billings Bridge mall parking lot.
--


      The rest of the summer wasn’t nearly as fun or delightful as Dominick had looked forward to. Without Leah around to plan and have memorable days with, he found he had little with which to fill up his time. He had several job interviews at the Zellers, the Swiss Chalet and a couple of stores in the Merivale Mall, but most of them didn’t call back. His mother, Elizabeth, attributed the lack of results to her son’s somber, lethargic demeanor.


       “You gotta go in there happy and assertive, not down-faced and quiet,” she told him. “If you need to fill all that empty time without Leah, a job is a perfect thing to fill it with!”


       Heather was more or less supportive with him. She often had one-sided conversations with him as he sat at the kitchen table, trying to read, telling him about all the past failed relationships she’d had with many boys in the hopes of making him feel better. In the end Dominick just retreated to his bedroom to read.


       The days were long and bright, and it was always hot outside. David was often over, although not necessarily because his parents needed a break; Dominick found himself often eavesdropping on his mother as she talked to Emma on the phone, coaching or supporting her on some sort of issue she was having with Lyle. He felt mildly better at the fact that other people than him seemed to apparently be having relationship issues. He waited for the school year to start as August wore on, in the hopes that seeing Leah again would potentially restart their relationship, but who knew what would happen; the new Mariah Carey song ‘Dreamlover’ was stuck in his head, especially since he felt that he’d failed in some way as Leah’s dreamlover. Or rather, as Leah had made it sound, given new meaning to the word.


       Leah, on the other hand, had been fighting with herself about her ‘awesomeness’ in Dominick’s eyes because she had never been in such a positive, happy, or long relationship before. Dominick was something completely different. He was so different, that nine months of that just made her head spin. Her mother was not happy to find out about her pause on the relationship, but she, like she always did, supported her. “You’re right, you know,” she said. “You both dictate how these things go, only you and him, and if you’re overwhelmed, getting out of it like you did was a good idea. I’m glad he’s respecting your wishes.”


       “He wasn’t happy. He seemed like he was about to cry. But I don’t know. I’m not the most amazing person in the world, yet he treats me like one.”


       “No, but you are special, Leah. Everyone is special in their own way.”


       “Yeah, I know, but…I just need to be low-key for awhile.”


       “I understand. But you know, I’m going to miss him. Did you say this was temporary?”


       “Yeah. But I don’t know about that either. I may go back to him, I may not. I do love him, you know.”


       “And he loves you.”


       “You know that, do you?”


       “I don’t know that. I see it. I saw it in him every time he was here, from the day we had that first dinner and Luke crashed the place. You could tell right away he loved you.”


       “I didn’t know it was that obvious. Well, we’ll see. School starts in several weeks. I’ll see him then.”


       “I hope to see him again too,” Hilary said. “He was so helpful and nice…”


       Those days Leah mostly spent either working or keeping to her self. She found her new isolation welcoming, especially since she hadn’t been single for an entire year. She’d met Luke in June the previous year, and she’d gone from him to Dominick instantly in October, so she’d constantly been in a relationship from then to now. She saw her friend Laura (who was extremely surprised to hear about her parting with Dominick) and bought the new Mariah Carey album, Music Box. When she heard ‘Dreamlover,’ though, it was like Dominick was the only person who mattered.
--
       Leah and Laura sat at a booth in the Standard Tavern, a restaurant and bar on Elgin Street downtown, listening to the music and chatting. They hardly got out often and since they were both unoccupied, especially since Leah now had some free time on her hands without Dominick, they took the opportunity to buy some drinks and listen to some music in a social atmosphere.


       As they laughed and drank, a man, who had been eyeing them for five minutes, approached them. “Hello, ladies, looks like you’re both having fun.”


       Laura, having already had several drinks, laughed. “Of course we were! Are you?”


       “Oh, I am. Can I buy you guys a drink?”


       “Sure!” Laura exclaimed. “Leah?”


       “Oh, no thanks,” Leah said, more down-to-earth than her tipsy friend.


       “Oh, come on, you’re single now, let’s go wild,” Laura ranted. “I’m Laura,” she said to the man.”


       “I’m Devon,” the man replied. He turned to Leah. “You sure you don’t want me to buy you a drink? I’ve got lots of money.” He winked.


       Leah stared at him for a second, then turned to Laura. “I’m going to the bathroom.” She looked at Devon. “Thanks, but I’m good. And I’m not really single.” She got out of the booth and made her way to the back of the bar. After she washed her hands, she stared at herself in the mirror.


       Was she single? Or did she really still feel committed to Dominick? He wasn’t there, no, she was on her own now, but the idea of getting drunk with a guy and then potentially going home with him did not seem appealing in the least. The entire night seemed to have changed – it was originally just supposed to be a social outing, but now it was turning into a night of drunken guy-shopping. Now all she wanted to do was go home and cuddle up in her bed.


       Returning to the booth, Laura had replaced Leah’s seat with two other men, while she sat next to the Devon guy. Seeing her, she yelled “Leah! I’ve got mates!”


       The young men all looked at her and smiled in greeting; one of them shouted a hello at her and held out his hand. Ignoring this, she said, “Laura, I want to go home.”


       “What? I’m not going home now!”


       “Well I am and I think you should come with me.”


       “Why? I’m fine! I’ve got big hands to support me.”


       “Yeah, well, you’re drunk and I think you’re my responsibility. Guys, can you let her out?”


       “I’m staying here!” Laura exclaimed, even as she indicated to Devon to move aside. “You can’t tell me when to go home!”


       “Come on, that’s it, let’s go.”


       “Are those two girls dating or something?” one of the guys asked each other. “They seem to be touching each other a lot.” He giggled.


       Leah helped Laura out of the booth and steered her out of the bar. She felt safe with the fact that when Laura was tipsy or drunk she was easy to control, at least when she was the one telling her what to do. She hailed a cab, which whisked them both home.
--
       Dominick sat in the office, waiting for the manager to return. He still couldn’t believe where he was. A few feet away stood an empty baby stroller; the manager had taken her to the bathroom. Why he had her daughter at work, in his office with him, he had no clue.


       Almost desperate for some work, Dominick had finally applied to work at Kresge’s Goods; he no longer cared whether or not Luke was there and he knew Dean in the Photolab – Dean had always developed the family’s photos. Dean could put in a good word for him. They’d called him in for an interview only a day later, and, putting on his happiest demeanor despite not feeling happy or wanting to be near the place, came into the store. He’d been directed to this office, where he waited.


       A minute later, Nathan Andrews strolled into the room, carrying his nine-month-old daughter, Shirley. “Ah, sorry about the wait. My wife had an emergency appointment and couldn’t take Shirley here along with her, so I have her for the afternoon.”


       “That’s fine,” Dominick said brightly. “Have I seen you before?” He knew that face – that was the manager that had given them the discount after Luke’s taunting and assault that January.


       Andrews stared at him. “Yes. Aren’t you the customer who had a problem with Luke?”


       “Well, don’t worry about that,” Dominick said, “I won’t have a problem with him or anyone else…”


       “Luke doesn’t work here anymore,” Andrews cut him off. “And I’m not worried about you or him or the past. Luke left us back in February.”


       “Oh. Okay,” Dominick said, feeling much better at that piece of information. From his left, the baby gave an audible sigh of content.


       “Now,” Andrews said, “how would you describe yourself?”
--


      To Dominick’s surprise and rising spirits, he was successful in acquiring a job – in the toy section.


       He was surprised at the arrangement, and kind of disbelieving, but he didn’t argue or question it. It was a job. It was money. And it was easy. Basically, he had to zone the four aisles (make sure they looked neat), return and stock the overstock (the merchandise that had been returned to the store) and otherwise be of assistance to the customers. His parents were both delighted that he had a job and something to keep him busy, and out of the house.


       Sometimes Dominick worried that he was slowly becoming the next Luke, at least with the job arrangement, but that thought always left him as stupid and silly. He began spending his days haunting the toy aisles, grabbing carts of overstock from the store frontend, and advising people on prices and fashionable toys; Nathan Andrews took a liking to him quickly, and Dominick sometimes saw his daughter Shirley with him. He always made sure to give her a goofy greeting, and the little girl’s laughter filled him with happiness. Sometimes he spent his lunches in the Photolab if it wasn’t busy, talking to Dean, and life for the moment seemed all right. As September loomed, he got more excited at the thought of seeing Leah again, and as he now had an income, he borrowed his father’s van more often just to simply drive around, often with Daniel; he could pay for his own gas now. As a result of this touring, he listened to the radio a lot more often, and came to cherish the moment it turned on with a good song just as the car started up. At Daniel’s advice, he tried a contemporary station that had an emphasis on Canadian material from the past ten years, and he was shocked at the many awesome songs he’d never noticed much before that was actually Canadian. He became entranced with artists such as Gowan, Martha and the Muffins, Spoons, and Eight Seconds. He became inclined on watching MuchMusic more often at home, particularly when they played older Canadian hits. His life was getting back to what it was like before Leah had changed it, but with this new awareness – idealism. He would try very hard not to make her into an ideal again, if he could muster it. She was just a normal person, not something to be stared at objectively, like a piece of fine art. He’d been jolted out of his seat when MuchMusic played the Sherry Kean hit ‘I Want You Back’ on TV – Kean’s face was essentially a recreation of Leah’s, down to the eyes, with the only difference being the hairstyle. If he wanted a face to stare at like art, he could stare at Kean’s if he wanted to. He ended up watching the channel with his finger poised on the ‘record’ button on the remote, intending on recording the music video to VHS as soon as it was aired again, but the channel wouldn’t – and it was just as well, because he didn’t need to become obsessed with it. He tried to keep Kean’s – and Leah’s – face at the back of his mind.
--
       Despite being alone a lot more often now, Leah was mildly surprised to find herself thinking about Dominick a lot more than she thought she would. He was such a well-meaning person. She disciplined herself from calling him whenever she wanted to, and tried hard to focus on work, which wasn’t too difficult as it was fast-paced.


       At home, her mother kept quiet about asking her about Dominick and instead focused on every day things such as house work, the news, or her own career at the Civic. There were several times when Leah came home to find her mother excited about something she heard on TV – whether it was Kim Campbell’s election campaign (“I don’t know about her, I think an election is the most important time to discuss serious things”) or the announcement of this neat, futuristic interconnectivity thing they intended to call the Internet. (“Leah, have you ever heard of electronic mail? This is crazy!”) Leah relished conversations about these topics, which helped carry them into late August. She didn’t want to feel like she depended on Dominick for her only true happiness, though, and felt strong emotionally and independently despite his kind sweetness. While she did feel a longing for him, she maintained her courage, and this slowly gave her a powerful feeling of self-confidence and independence. She hated the stereotype that said she had to have a male companion – or companion of any kind – to depend on to live her life, and the resolution of her own strong, independent endurance filled her with happiness and strength. With this, the summer slowly winded down to September, and when she saw Dominick, she would finally determine then if she wanted to be with him again.


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Next: Dominick & Leah - Chapter 5