If Only Tonight

Chapter Thirteen - Lost Chances & Missed Opportunities

Into The Storm

Chapter Thirteen: Lost Chances & Missed Opportunities

Walking with some sense of sorrow, Matthew headed in the direction of Mia's office. It was match day, and today was the last match he would be missing; hopefully he wouldn't allow himself to be provoked any time soon. That wasn't the part that saddened him...it was the fact that after this he wouldn't be able to get close to her.

He had skipped the last match, disappearing on Mia. Instead of practicing on the field, he had gone to check up on the work being done on his house. There was still much to be done, but the house looked like it was coming along. More importantly, Matthew had gotten a chance to do some much needed thinking. He had needed the time to think. He knew he had to distance himself from Mia...the only question was how to go about it.

As he arrived at Mia's office, he noticed that the door was open as it usually was. Instead of knocking, Matthew peered inside. She was hunched over her laptop, concentrating on something, while her desktop computer monitor showed a matrix screensaver. It seemed like she was reading something important, since she didn't hear him walk inside.

Matthew waited a few minutes, but when she still didn't notice his presence, he knocked on the door. Mia visibly jumped in her chair, something he had noticed her doing more often since Jason. He watched as she quickly shut her laptop before turning to face him.


Breathing in deeply, Mia got up. He had scared her a little when he knocked on the door. Lately she would become startled at the knock on the door. It was a little ridiculous, she thought. Checking that her laptop was closed, she took off her lab coat and hung it, in exchange for a jacket. When she finally turned to face him, Matthew was leaning against the door. He looked less than thrilled to see her. No change there, Mia thought to herself.

"So...field or park?" She asked him. There was little else she could say to him.

Not once, did he ever greet her, nor did he bother to talk to her in their dorm room. There was no small talk, it was silent between them. Sometimes she felt as though he wished she was invisible. I feel invisible, she thought in annoyance as she awaited his answer. Would it be so hard for you to be nice? Mia stifled the question.

"Park." He told her.

Mia nodded; she grabbed the first book she could find. She wasn't in the mood to play goal keeper, and by the looks of it Matthew probably wouldn't bother with her. She locked her office as they headed out.

Walking through the parking lot, Mia spotted his car. It irked her that she couldn't just follow him in her own car; Mia shook her head and shoved the thought away. As of late, the littlest things had been quickly getting on her nerves. She knew exactly why.

As Matthew drove them, Mia stared out of the window. The email, that she had been re-reading when Matthew had come, was still on her mind.

'My dearest Mia, I hope you're alright. I can't seem to catch up with you. You must be really busy. I hope they're not working you too hard...I don't want you burning out! Your mother and I are hoping you'll be able to come in the first two weeks of December. You weren't able to make it last year and the year before...so I was hoping you would come this time. Honey, I would love it if you stayed for the holidays, but I won't push you to stay. Summer at the cottage wasn't the same without you this year. I missed our little fishing tradition. Your mother would love to see you...I know sometimes you don't believe it, but she does love you, sweetheart. She would really like it if you came and spent some time with us. Anyway, the memorial will be held on the 8th of December, as usual. Let us know if you can come. Love, Dad.'

As much as Mia loved both her parents; a part of her held resentment towards her mother. How can she love me, when she isn't the one who ever emails, or calls...Mia thought. It was clear to Mia, who her mother's favourite was. How was she supposed to compete with her dead brother? It seemed completely unfair. Her father knew this. When she had graduated a few years ago; only her father had come for the ceremony, he had told Mia that her mother was too sick to travel. He had brought a gift from the both of them...it was her car. Over the years, her mother only called when she wanted to remind Mia of her brother on their shared birthday or to remind her of his memorial...a yearly event that Mia had come to dread. It was usually during those calls that she would end up fighting with her mother, and they would hang up angry with one another.

Please don't let her call, Mia wished. It was the middle of October, and already her father was pleading with her to come. Mia had yet to reply to any of his emails. She was a little grateful that she hadn't given her parents the phone number to her dorm room. The thought of either Oliver or Matthew hearing a message left by her parents was embarrassing. What would they think of me? She wondered. Probably that I'm as cold hearted as Matt, she answered herself.

If there was one thing she didn't want anyone to find out about, it was her family. Max's death had been painful, and the only way Mia had gotten through it was by immersing herself in her school work. Even Stacie knew very little about Mia's family. Stacie had gotten curious when she noticed that Mia took off around the same time all the years they lived together. Mia had just told her that she went to visit her family, not going in to much detail about Max. It had only been recently that Mia had stopped going home. When work at the university had started to pile on, it had been the perfect excuse to avoid her parents. Now that Mia had finally gotten a job outside of the university, she wasn't sure she would be going back home. She also didn't know if Felix would let her take time off.

Mia noticed that Matthew had stopped the car. The engine had been turned off. Shoving the thoughts to the back of her mind, Mia got out of the car, and looked around at her surroundings. He had brought them to 'Forest Park', she had never been there before. There was a large soccer field one one side of the parking lot, while on the other side there were swings and slides and various other equipment for children. Mia couldn't believe that it was empty, it seemed all the children were inside probably because of the chilly weather.

Walking behind Matthew, Mia veered off to one of the benches and opened her book. As tempting as it was to go to the swings, Mia knew her job was to supervise Matthew. Great, just great...Mia thought with a little disappointment as she opened her book.

She tried reading, but soon gave up. Her thoughts were a million miles away.


Rain was pouring, night had fallen. She was running towards the group standing inside of the space cordoned off by yellow tape. The red and blue lights flashing illuminated the darkness around her. Sirens could be heard, they were blaring. She must have had an acute sense of hearing, for she could hear her father's feet pounding the pavement, he was far behind. She slowed down as she got closer.

"Excuse me!" She shouted, walking up to the yellow tape. "Hey! Hello!"

"Can I help you?" A uniformed officer broke away from the group, heading for her.

"Where's Max? Maximillion Brooklyn?" She demanded. She looked past him to see if Max was sitting in one of their cars.

"Who are you exactly?" The officer asked.

"I'm his sister, Mia. My father is coming. Where is my brother?" She asked forcefully.

The officer gave her a strange look. Mia couldn't put a finger on in it...it felt like he pitied her.

She heard him take a deep breath. All of a sudden the noise of the siren had faded. She could still see the lights, but they were bleeding out in colour...what was going on? Where was her father? At last the officer spoke. His voice was the only sound she could hear.

"I'm very sorry for your loss."


Kicking the ball and chasing after it, Matthew wasn't enjoying himself at all. He had thought maybe going somewhere different would soothe him. Wrong again, he thought to himself. As he tried out a few tricks with the ball, Matthew glanced over at Mia. Her book lay open but face down beside her. She looked lost in her thoughts.

Giving up, Matthew sat on top of his soccer ball. She clearly had things on her mind, while he was dealing with his own problems. It doesn't help that she is my problem, Matthew thought with annoyance. He watched Mia, she shook her shoulders, seemingly snapping out of whatever she had been thinking about. She glanced at the park and then over at him before picking up her book. A part of him felt bad for making her sit and watch him, when she'd rather go to the park. Sitting on the ball for a little while longer, Matthew sighed with exasperation. This is the last time I'm going to do anything like this, Matthew promised himself. Getting up, he headed towards the girl.

"Bored?" He asked her as he approached Mia. She looked up at him, her expression unreadable. She didn't speak, all Mia did was shrug her shoulders, not committing to either possibility. A yes or no would do! Matthew thought.

"I'm going to head for the park." He told her, as he started walking. From the corner of his eye, he saw her close her book. Still she didn't make any movement to come after him. She was watching as he walked further. Matthew returned his attention to the where he was walking. Sure enough as he sat down on one swing, she came up after him and sat down on the one next to him. They were quiet.

"What happened to practicing?" He heard her quiet voice ask him. Matthew shrugged in reply. It was quiet once more, the only sound was the wind rustling through the trees.

Mia started to swing. Higher and higher, Matthew watched as she kept going. She looked like she was trying to leave something behind.

Strange, he thought. There was something about her, he knew felt familiar. There had to be some loss, he still didn't know whose gravestone was on her cell phone. There was something else that bothered him. Who is that guy? Matthew felt an inexplicable pang of jealousy. Was that her boyfriend, her husband? She looked too young to be married. But there was that ring she always wore on her left hand...How old is she? He didn't know why he cared. Shut up! Matthew scolded himself.

It wasn't long before Matthew started to swing. It only took a little while before he caught up to Mia's height. As she would go up, he would be coming down. Soon enough they were in sync. Both going up and coming down at the same time. Matthew glanced towards Mia as they were going up once more. Her hair was billowing in the wind; she had not tied it back. Her cheeks and nose were red from the cold air, and the part of her dress not covered by her jacket came up around her. Her hands were half in her sleeve while her fingers held on to the chain of the swing.

Before she could notice him watching her, Matthew turned away. He started to slow down. As soon as he reached his desired height, Matthew jumped off the swing and landed neatly on the balls of his feet. He came around and stopped his swing, before sitting on it once more. Shortly, Mia slowed down her own swing to a slow swing; rocking back and forth.

As they sat in silence, Mia pulled her book out from her jacket and started reading. Curiosity got the better of Matthew. This is the last time, he promised himself.

"What are you reading?" He asked watching her look up at him in surprise.

"The Lost Symbol." She replied.

"Is it interesting?"

"I haven't really read that much, but so far its okay."

They both stared at each other, not knowing what to say next. Her voice was soft and musical; Strange...I've never noticed that before...Then again when do I really talk to her anyway? He thought to himself.

A look at his watch told him that the match was over, they could go home now. He couldn't help but feel as though he had lost something. He had been given the perfect opportunity to get to know the girl beside him, yet he had squandered it, over and over again.

What's the point? He asked himself. He was going to stay away from her anyway.

"The game's over...we should go." He told Mia.


Getting up to leave, Matthew didn't look back at what he was leaving behind. The missed opportunities were already weighing on him. I'm an idiot, he berated himself.

Arriving at the grounds, Mia got out of the car and headed in before him. The ride had been no different than the one before. Silence had enveloped them. We're not friends, Matthew repeated to himself as he got out of the car. We'll never be friends; he steeled himself as he walked in to the building.