If Only Tonight

Into The Storm: Chapter Nineteen - Almost Perfect Christmas

Into The Storm:

Chapter Nineteen: Almost Perfect Christmas

Unable to think of anything else but her, Matthew didn't know how he had gotten through almost two weeks without Mia's presence. He had no clue how he had kept himself from asking "When is she getting back?" or "Is she back yet?". He had made sure Oliver would not suspect anything; at least he hoped Oliver hadn't suspected anything.

Matthew looked up at the clock, counting down the hours and days to her return. She'll be here soon, he thought with a little comfort. I hope everything went well with her mother, he remembered the state she was in the day before his international match. He couldn't believe her mother would put her through something like that, that was something his mother would pull...something she had pulled, coincidentally, since berating him was her hobby.

At least now the mystery of who was on her phone had been solved. How stupid he had been to think it was a picture of her boyfriend, or husband. It was her brother, Max. That was also the person whose gravestone she had a picture of on the phone, which she had slammed against the wall.

It had taken Matthew a few seconds to put it back together. It had by lying forgotten, as Mia had fallen asleep. Leaving it on her night table, he had made sure it was in working order.

He remembered how she had looked, when he had taken her to the airport. Reluctant to be leaving but anxious to get home. An oxymoron, he thought. She had turned back to look at him, as she had walked past the scanners. The look in her emerald eyes, Matthew couldn't put a finger on...nor could he forget.

Sitting on the couch, Matthew contemplated choices of what he would be giving Mia for Christmas. She would be back the day before Christmas Eve.

He knew what Oliver had gotten her. He had an idea of what he wanted to give her. The only question was how would she react to it?

The more he thought about it, the more confident he felt. Luciana would've have wanted me to give it to her, Matthew thought about his older sister. His thoughts were interrupted by Oliver's voice.

"I just need the apartment for three months. I'll pay cash for it up front if you like. Look, it's only temporary. My wife and I will be looking for a home during the time we're staying. No! I won't back out! Okay? Thank you. I'll be coming over to sign the lease then. Yes...you'll get the money. Good bye." Oliver said, as he hung up the phone he sighed heavily.

"Trouble in paradise?" Matthew asked, with an eye brow raised.

"Paradise? I'm in absolute bloody hell! Do you know how long I've had to talk to these people just so I can get an apartment for three months? Three weeks!" Oliver vented.

"I'm guessing you won't be playing this weekend?"

"No. I'll be leaving after the Christmas dinner. Ariana's mother is on life support."

"I'm really sorry about that."

"I know...anyway I have to go sign the lease. When is Mia's coming? The day of the dinner, right?" Oliver asked him.

Not knowing how to react to the question, Matthew shrugged. In approximately two days, eight hours, forty one minutes, and seventeen seconds, Matthew thought as he sneaked a glance at his wrist watch.

"Are you staying here before the game?" Oliver asked him.

"No, the house was finished a few days ago. My cousins are setting up and I'll be going home in a couple of days."


I wish I could have stayed longer, Mia thought. Stacie had made her trip to Melbourne quite enjoyable. They had gone to the beaches, Stacie had pointed out all the gorgeous guys around them – much to Mia's embarrassment – and Mia had enjoyed the trip to Stacie's office. The graduate students seemed keen on learning. It had taken her mind off her trip home...and made her miss working with Dr. Phillips a little bit.

Returning home, Mia had been welcomed by her father. Her mother had ignored her for the duration of her visit; only acknowledging Mia when others mentioned her. She had stayed at her aunt's house for the length of the trip, since her grandparents had decided to stay with her own parents until the New Year. Relieved of the duty of dealing with her mother, Mia had happily gone out with her cousins.

Sitting on a plane headed for home, Mia was relaxed despite the fact her schedule for the next few days was going to be fully packed. The match between London FC and Chelsea was on Sunday. She would be arriving with only three days to take care of whatever problems that had come to light during the time away from her roster.

She would be home in a few hours time. Looking out of the window, Mia stared at the white fluffy clouds; clouds that resembled mountains of snow. The thought of snow turned to thoughts of Christmas. London never got as much snow as her hometown Brampton; it was never as white of a Christmas as she used to have at home.

I wonder if there will be a tree. The thought came out of the blue. This was the first Christmas Mia would be spending without Stacie, since meeting the girl. She was a little apprehensive of how the holiday would be with the team.

Having been dragged to go shopping by both her cousins and then Stacie, she had been unable to forget Matthew. Despite what he was like most of the time, Mia couldn't believe he had stuck around to comfort her. It boggled her mind that he had even asked about what had happened to her brother, and had paid attention to what she had said. No matter what she did to distract herself from thoughts of him, nothing worked. Those cobalt blue eyes of understanding stayed with her throughout her trip.

Standing in one of the several stores Stacie had managed to drag her too, Mia had not been able to tear her eyes away from a glass cut figurine. It was of a soccer player chasing after a ball. Having seen the picture of Matthew in Felix's office, Mia couldn't help but think of him as she stared at the figure. Impulsively, Mia had bought the figure. She wasn't sure how Matthew would take it, but she hoped he would like it.

Although searching for something to gift Nathaniel, Oliver, and Matthew, had been hard – what could one possibly get the guys who had the world at their finger tips? - Matthew had been easier than the other two. For Oliver, Mia had found a snow globe with a winter scene of Munich. She knew he missed his wife and country immensely. Along with that she had gotten boxes of sweets for him. It had been interesting to find that both she and Oliver were addicted to sugar.

Picking out something for Nathaniel, had been just as complicated. Having gone through many stores, it had taken Stacie a while to convince Mia to get him a model of a boxer.

"Think of it as an inside joke." Stacie had told her.

Mia smiled as she remembered Stacie dragging her to the checkout counter. Hopefully Nathaniel would like it.

Feeling exhaustion creeping up on her, Mia closed her eyes. It was better to rest now, she thought. Who knew what was waiting for her back in London.


"Hey! Look whose back!" Oliver said, as the door opened to reveal Mia.

As Mia walked in with a bag, Nathaniel walked in behind her holding her other bag.

Catching Matthew's eye, Nathaniel sighed.

"She wouldn't let me take her things. Something about how I wasn't getting any points."

Matthew hid a grin; that sounded just like Mia, refusing help.

Nathaniel had been the one to go pick her up from the airport. Matthew had thought it would be too obvious if he had gone. She waved to him, Matthew nodded his reply. She looked happy to see them; no sign of worry or jet lag could be seen on her face.

Watching as Mia placed her things beside the sofa, before giving Oliver a hug, he saw a confused look cross her face as she took in the state of the room. Strewn around the room were bags and boxes. Some bags belonging to Oliver and the boxes and other bags belonging to Matthew.

"Are you guys going somewhere?" She asked, as Oliver let her go.

Wincing hard, Matthew realized that both he and Oliver had forgotten to tell Mia they were leaving.

"I have a flight to catch after the Christmas dinner. Ariana's mother is on life support." Oliver told her.

"I'm sorry to hear that." Mia told him, looking sad.

"I know...on the other hand, Matthew is moving back home." Oliver shrugged.

"So you both are leaving me alone for Christmas. Thanks..." Mia looked a little down.

"I'm still around!" Nathaniel added his voice. Mia laughed at him.

"I know."

Matthew knew it was lame to be leaving her the day she returned, but there wasn't any other way. He would have stayed a little longer, but after deciding to give her something...Matthew thought it was best to leave with Oliver after the dinner.

"Sorry Mia...I would stay later but it can't be helped." Oliver told her.

"I know."

Watching her expression, Matthew saw some idea come to her mind. At once she lit up.

"That means I get this place to myself!"

She looked excited with the possibility.

"Not to burst your bubble, but both Matt and I will be staying for training camps and stuff." Oliver chuckled.

She stuck her tongue at him. Amused, Matthew knew he was making the right decision. It had been stupid to hurt her.

"Funny. If you're not too jet lagged, we'll wait for you, and go to Christmas dinner together."

"Oh right, there's the dinner. Let me just take a shower. I won't take long." Mia told Oliver, as she hung up her coat.

Matthew watched as she left the three of them. He checked his pocket, to make sure he had her gift. He would give it to her right after Oliver left, right before his own departure. Feeling a little placated about leaving her, Matthew returned his attention to the task at hand.

"Nathaniel, help me load up my car?" He asked.


"Why was it called the Christmas dinner? It was held three days before Christmas." Mia asked Oliver, as they waved goodbye to Nathaniel. He was taking the stairs to his room.

"We have a match on boxing day, for the first time in years. So they moved the dinner since the team will be training during Christmas Eve, and on Christmas. Usually we wound up with matches the day after New Years...which meant no drinking...or partying too hard." Oliver told her, nodding in Matthew's direction.

"I never got drunk! I always showed up early." Matthew shot, turning to face them. He had been walking ahead of them.

Mia stifled a laugh, knowing the outcome wouldn't favour her.

"Yea, you were only slightly hung-over." She heard Oliver mutter under his breath. Unfortunately, Matthew heard him. He glared at the two of them

Stepping inside the room, Mia fell back in to the couch. She hadn't gotten much time to sit around since she had gotten back a few hours ago.

Having dressed in a beige dress with yellow, green, and orange patches, the guys had been surprised that she had not taken long to get ready. Taking off the heels she had worn out of duty, Mia put her feet up on the couch. She took out the elastic band, holding her hair, and lay down on the couch, quite content. The food had been delicious. She was about to turn on the TV when she heard Oliver's voice.

"Alright, guys, I'm going to go. I have a plane to catch."

Mia saw Oliver come out of their room with another couple of bags. This time they weren't just luggage, but gift bags.

"Happy Christmas, Mia." He told her, as he handed her a bag with a snowman on the front.

"Thank you! Just wait a minute." Mia told him, rushing to get both his and Matthew's gift. Nathaniel would be around so she would give his later.

"Here. I hope you like it." She told him handing him a box, with a smaller box attached to the top of it. She placed a separate box on the couch.

"I'm sure I will." He said, as he hugged her.

"Anyway, I'll see you both later. I'll call you when I get there." He told her. Mia saw Matthew come out of the room, from the corner of her eye.

As the door shut behind Oliver, Mia grabbed the box she had placed on the couch.

Turning to see where Matthew had gone, she looked around until she saw him getting his jacket from the closet. He too was leaving her for the holidays.

"Matthew." She called him.

"Yea?" He answered, turning to face her as he flipped up the collar of his jacket.

"Here. Happy Christmas!" She told him, walking up to him and placing the box in his hands.

He looked surprised.

"Thank you." He said quietly.

"You're welcome."

She headed for the couch, knowing he was about to walk out of the door.


She turned at the sound of her name, giving him a questioning look.

"We can be friends." He told her, as he walked up to her and handed her a small box.

Before she could say anything, Matthew had left their dorm room. The tell-tale click of the lock sounded. Mia was too stunned to go after him. He got me something? She thought with shock.

Opening the box, Mia gasped. It sparkled, as Mia held it up by its black chain to get a closer look, her hands trembling. It looked like it was made of glitter. On a pad of velvet, and now in Mia's hand, had lain a beautiful, glittering, bronze heart.