If Only Tonight

Unfamiliar Territory: Chapter Twenty - New Year, New Beginnings

Unfamiliar Territory

Chapter Twenty: New Year, New Beginnings

The holidays had been alright, thought Mia, Christmas and New Years may have been quiet but she had enjoyed them still. Having gone through her roster and finding only two serious injuries; a broken foot and arm. Thankfully neither Nathaniel nor Matthew were the ones injured, Mia was relieved she wouldn't have to sit out of another match.

Finishing her work, Mia had watched a movie with Nathaniel in the lonely apartment on Christmas day. They had opened presents after, Nathaniel had loved his.

"I'm going to remember your little match with Matthew forever." He had told her, laughing.

Oliver had given her a beautiful watch. It was shaped as an old fashioned key on a long chain, at the bottom, near the teeth Mia found her name inscribed. He had also gotten her a huge teddy bear. Nathaniel, on the other hand, had given her a pair of boxing gloves with her name woven on to them. Clearly, he had had a lot of fun teaching her how to box.

Then there was Matthew, no matter how much Mia tried not to think of him, he was inevitable. He had shown up for his appointment, Mia had not known what to say to him. She hadn't given herself much of a chance to talk; she had gone through her roster quickly having only three days to check and double check her players. The appointments had been shortened.

There had been only one indication that anything had changed between her and Matthew. Other than glaring at her, usually he had ignored her to the point of non-existence. Yet for once he gazed at her, and it was with a soft expression on his face. She saw him zero in on her neck, sure enough Mia had worn the present he had given her, and the heart was tucked under the neckline of her dress. He looked seemingly content.

For New Years, Mia had simply lain on the couch and watched television, having the entire dorm room to herself for once, Mia was starting to enjoy it.

Since the Boxing Day match, Mia had yet to see Nathaniel or Matthew. Oliver had called to say that he would be coming back near the end of the month, leaving Mia to her own devices.

-----

"Oi, Matty, what are you doing? Just sitting there?"

Matthew turned to see his older cousin walking towards him. Having gone out to see the newly renovated grounds around his house, he had thought he would practice by himself for a while. Instead, Matthew had run a few laps and sat on the soccer ball, reminiscing about Mia. The figurine she had gotten him, sat on his dresser. Each time he saw it, he could still hardly believe she had gotten him something.

Seeing the chain around her neck, Matthew couldn't help but feel a sense of relief. She had accepted his gift, and there was the opportunity to become friends.

Of course there were those other more concealed feelings that were trying hard to surface...feelings of possession. She belongs to me, Matthew thought again remembering Mia. He shook his head hard, trying to shake loose of those ideas.

Snapping back to reality, Matthew watched as Leon walked over to him. His cousin had longer hair, compared to him, and was always dressed in a collared shirt and creased pants, or he was in a suit and tie. Having brown eyes and hair, his looks were softer than that of Matthew. He was also five years older at twenty eight.

Behind Leon, Matthew could see a silhouette. She was watching them. Lina was Leon's younger sister. At twenty five, she was two years older than Matthew. She had gray eyes, a small frame and long dark hair that ran down her back.

"Well, Matty. What's up?" Leon asked, standing over him.

"Nothing, why?"

"Lina thinks your sulking."

"Over what?"

"Not scoring any of the goals, last match. You shouldn't worry; you're still the top scorer with 18 goals."

Matthew had forgotten about that. He had initially sulked, but since the game there had been peace and quiet. Leon was right; he was still the top scorer. The person behind him was Oliver with 13 goals. Enough time had passed to allow him to think about other things. Other more appealing things...such as Mia, the name crossed his mind once more.

"Not sulking, just thinking."

"About?"

Upon seeing the curious look on Leon's face, Matthew sighed.

"Nothing."

"Right...so you're definitely not sulking?"

"Definitely not." Matthew assured. Leon didn't look like he believed him.

"How's Oliver?" Leon asked, changing the subject.

"Not well. His mother-in law passed away."

"Sorry to hear that."

There was a pause. Matthew got up from the ball. Standing beside Leon, he noticed his shadow was a little taller than his cousin's.

"So what have you been thinking about?"

His cousin wasn't going to let him off the hook anytime soon.

"It was nothing."

"Nothing? Lina tells me you were looking for..." Leon trailed off as he saw the look in Matthew's eyes.

"She told you?" Matthew asked in surprise. He had kept quiet about giving the locket to Mia.

"She said she couldn't find Lucy's heart locket. That's all." Leon said quickly.

"Lina went through my stuff?" Matthew said, looking at the house. The silhouette was gone. Lina! Matthew thought with irritation.

"Lina goes through everyone's stuff." Leon reminded him.

"I know...but still. She knows what Lucy wrote in the letter. I was going to give it one day." Matthew spoke quietly.

"She was just hoping you'd tell her before giving it."

They stood in silence for a moment, soon Matthew started to walk back to the house, and Leon followed.

"I hope you chose wisely." He heard his older cousin say.

I did, Matthew thought. Without answering, Matthew walked in to the house. He had an idea of how to start his friendship with Mia. He was going to take the first step.

-----

"Should you be sleeping on the job?"

The voice startled Mia. Quickly lifting her head off of her desk, Mia ran a hand through her hair before facing the cause of the intrusion. Matthew stood in the door way, looking much friendlier than she had seen him during her first few months on the job.

"I wasn't sleeping. I was just..." Mia trailed off as she saw the knowing look in his eyes.

"Resting your eyes, right?" Matthew completed her sentence, a smirk on his face.

Mia narrowed her eyes in annoyance.

"No." She said, defiantly.

Getting up from her chair, Mia grabbed her lab coat and put it on. She was, admittedly, trying to get some sleep but she wasn't about to tell him that. She had stayed up all night reading a novel. Now that she had no roommates, it seemed she had no curfew to turn off the lights. That and the fact she hadn't read a decent book for a while made her break the rules for once. Never again, Mia thought, it's not worth falling asleep at work.

Walking over to the filing cabinet, Mia pulled out Matthew's file. Going over it, as she walked towards him.

"Your blood work's fine. Your x-rays show nothing's broken..." She started, standing in front of him. Matthew had finally seated himself on the examination table.

As per routine, Mia asked him standard questions, Matthew answered each one. Then came the check up. Upon having checked him over, Mia went back to her desk to fill out a report for his file leaving him to pull on his socks and shoes.

"Nathaniel and I are going to the movies. Would you like to come?" The question, so quiet yet so surprising Mia looked up at him with disbelief.

"You're asking me to come to the movies? With you and Nate?" She repeated his question. His blue eyes showed nothing familiar.

"Yea."

Not knowing how to respond, Mia blurted out what was on her mind.

"Are we going to be friends because you want to be, or is it because you pity me?"

Matthew seemed to be contemplating his answer. Do I really want to know what he thinks? What if it is pity? Mia asked herself. She turned back to her papers and computer.

"Because I want to be. It just took me a while to get used to you."

Mia turned to face him.

"A while?" She looked at him incredulously.

"Yea...I'm not a fan of change. Just ask the guy that used to work here last season."

Mia didn't doubt he had been equally as hard on her predecessor. Still she eyed him with suspicion.

"You're not just saying that, right?"

"No."

"So do you want to come or not?" He asked her, sounding slightly impatient, immediately he looked apologetic. "It'll be a fresh start."

Thinking about it, Mia wasn't sure if she wanted to know someone who could willingly hurt her without knowing her. He is trying though, she thought, and maybe it will be a clean start...Without letting herself contemplate the consequences, Mia gave him her answer.

"Okay, I'll come."