If Only Tonight

Unfamiliar Territory: Chapter Twenty Three - Just Say Yes

Unfamiliar Territory:
Chapter Twenty Three: Just Say Yes

Jiggling her keys in to the lock, Mia struggled to open the door. Her laptop and files in one hand, while the other held two bags of groceries. Since she had been free after lunch, Mia had decided to go out and get some food, as well as some fresh air.

She opened the door only to hear cursing.


"What the hell!"

Setting her things down on the coffee table, pulling off her coat, and straightening her blue dress, Mia looked up to see the yelling was coming from the open bathroom.

"Stupid bloody tie!"

Walking over, Mia saw Matthew facing the mirror and struggling with his tie. He was dressed in a suit.

"Need help?" She asked, failing to stifle her laughter. She leaned against the door, watching him with amusement. She had learned how to tie a tie with her brother and father.

"What do you think?" He asked her pointedly.

"I'm guessing you don't." With that she walked away, leaving him with a shocked expression.

"Come back, you can't just leave me with a tie!" He sounded like he was panicking.

"Alright, fine." She sighed, coming back to him.

Stepping in to the bathroom, Mia could feel her heartbeat speed up. Please don't let him hear it, Mia thought with dread. She was quickly becoming unsure if this was a good idea.

"So what are you doing here? There isn't any match until Sunday." She asked, trying to distract herself. Mia reached up to take his tie and began tying it. He smelled nice, his cologne not being too strong. Mia tried to stop herself from thinking.

"There's a press conference today. I knew I wouldn't have time to change so I dropped my stuff here. Hope that's okay."

"It's fine. It's still your place." She reminded him.

"Yea, yea...I know. So how come you're back early?" Mia saw him peer down at her, his blue eyes curious. She kept working on his tie.

"I got off early, I didn't have anyone scheduled after lunch, for the first time. So I went to stock up on food." She told him.

"You know, riding around in my American built Dodge Challenger." She teased him. She looked up to see him shaking his head in disapproval.

"That must have been enjoyable."

"It was. It's an awesome car."

"Gas guzzler."

"Look who's talking! It's not like you care. Look at your car."

"Ha, ha, very funny."

Mia smiled to herself. They were quiet for a moment.

"Oliver's going to be dropping by to get me." Matthew informed her.

"You're always late, aren't you?" Mia snickered.

"No!" He said in mock offence.

"There. All done."

As she finished, she set the tie in place. Her hands resting on Matthew's chest. Mia looked up, his blue eyes entrancing her.

Mia didn't notice herself leaning in, nor did she note Matthew's arms wrapping around her and his head moving closer to hers. Their faces were only centimetres apart, lips almost touching.

It was then the door opened and closed.

"Matt, please tell me you're ready!" It was Oliver.

Mia and Matthew quickly pulled away from each other.

"Yea, I'm ready." He called out to Oliver. Mia watched as he ran a hand through his hair before washing his face.

Taking a deep breath and looking in to the mirror over Matthew's shoulder, Mia hoped Oliver wouldn't notice the slight pinkish tinge on her cheeks. Walking out, Mia saw Oliver sitting on the couch, he looked up to see her.

"Hey." He said, giving her a questioning look.

"Hello." Mia replied as she sat beside him. "I was just helping Matt with his tie."

"Ah...yea he's always had troubles with ties. It's always fun listening to him when he's stuck trying to do it himself." Oliver said, his face relaxing into a smile. Mia laughed, having seen Matthew struggling earlier.

"So what's the press conference for?" She asked, swiftly changing the subject. She was grateful he didn't suspect anything.

"Drumming up support for the autism awareness dinner. We're going to some hotel today to announce it...but its next week." As Oliver told her this, Mia faintly remembered getting an email asking to RSVP for the event.

"So who's going?"

"I don't know. I think most of the team is going. Are you?"

"I'm not sure. I forgot about it entirely." Mia answered.

"Well, you should come. It's for a good cause, and it's always been a good night out."

"I don't know...judging by how well it went last time I think I'll pass."

"Well, if you do come, you'll get to meet Ariana." Oliver told her.

"Really? When is she coming?" Mia asked, she may have struck out with most of the women in the staff, but there was a chance for her to get along with Ariana.

"A few days before the dinner." Oliver told her with a smile.

"Cool. I'll think about it."

At that moment Matthew appeared from the bathroom looking gorgeous. He caught her eye, Mia looked away to keep from staring.

"I'm ready. Let's go." He told Oliver.

Watching the two of them walk out the door, Mia saw Matthew hang back for a moment. He looked at her, something like regret in his eyes, or maybe she was imagining it.

"See you later." He said, as he walked out.

"Yea. Bye..." Mia let her words linger in the now empty apartment.


Driving along wet roads, Matthew couldn't help but think back to the few moments he'd had with Mia. They had been so close, Matthew was a little disappointed that Oliver had come in. He glanced over to the other player. Oliver was looking out the window.

Of course, maybe it was better this way. Matthew had never wanted to get involved with her, but here he was having been a few seconds away from kissing her. He was sorely dissatisfied.

"I'm glad to see you and Mia are getting along." He heard Oliver say.

"She's not hard to get along with." Matthew commented, keeping his eyes on the road.

"But you are."

Matthew smiled upon hearing this. It wasn't one of his endearing qualities, but it was a part of him.

"Yea I know."

They were quiet once more.

"I saw the locket." Matthew almost did a double take when he heard this. Oliver was still looking out the window.

"She told you?" Matthew asked.

"No, I saw it. She said it was a gift. She didn't tell me it was you." Matthew mulled over this.

"Did you tell her what it means?" Oliver asked.

Matthew shook his head in response. Silence settled over them once more.

"I was a jerk to her, and I just wanted to get on her good side. That's all." Matthew tried to explain it away. It was too bad that he had already told Oliver about the locket all those years ago.

"Matt, don't lie to me. I remember what you told me. So, do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Do you like her?"

That was a good question. Did he, Matthew, like Mia? Matthew sighed with exasperation.

"I guess, maybe. I don't know."

Only a little while ago he had been about to kiss Mia, and he had known he liked her. Yet here alone with his best friend, he couldn't- he wouldn't admit it.



"Do you remember what Mia said the first time you met?"

The question threw Matthew off guard. Here he was, expecting a full dressing down about being such an ass to the girl, and Oliver had surprised him with a simpler question. Realization crept over Matthew, as he nodded his head.

"Yea. She told me I was her favorite player, and that she watched me play since I was in the Italian minor league." He couldn't believe he would bother to remember such a thing. Had it been any other girl, Matthew would have forgotten by now.

"Impressive, usually you don't even remember that there's a girl sitting next to you. Do you know what you said in return?"

Matthew could feel his ears heat up. He had told Mia that flattery wouldn't get her anywhere. Silence again filled the car.

"Thought so. Just, don't do anything stupid." Oliver told him, this time looking at him. Matthew glanced over quickly, meeting his eyes and then returning his attention to the road.


It wasn't until after Matthew had gotten home from the press conference that he figured out what to do. I'll just ask her to come to the dinner, he thought. Initially he had thought he would take his cousins along, but since Leon had a few business meetings and would be back in Italy for the week, Matthew had decided against bringing along Lina. He was still fumed about her going through his stuff. Serves her right, he thought darkly. Lina would hate to miss such a glamorous event. Now all he needed was fool proof plan, Matthew fell asleep trying to find a way to ask Mia.


"Just another two weeks, please!" Mia pleaded into the phone.

"Why? I gave you two weeks already! I'm going to put your profile on eHarmony or something!" Stacie was telling her excitedly.

"Oh eww, come on Stacie! I'm a dignified doctor...don't do this to me!"

"Dignified doctor? Really? Who's the one scared of thunder? Oh that's right...you are!" Stacie laughed on the other end. Mia bit the inside of her cheek to keep herself from joining in the laughter. Instead she tried another plea.

"I was really busy. We went to a club a few days ago and now there is this benefit dinner that's coming up."

"Wait...did you just say you went to a club? What do you mean by 'we'?" Mia could feel Stacie's eyes narrowed at the other end of the line.

Taking advantage of her best friend's curiosity, Mia smirked.

"I'll tell you, but only if you give me another two weeks and don't post the profile up."

She heard Stacie sigh in exasperation.

"Mia, you drive a hard bargain...I'll show some mercy and give you two extra weeks. Now tell me!"

Laughing at Stacie's excitement, Mia felt relieved that there wouldn't be a profile of her on some dating site...at least for now.

"Alright. The team went to Mahiki, and I went with them. It was interesting."

"That's it? It was interesting? Are you kidding me! Why did I give you two weeks for interesting! I take them back!" Stacie fumed.

"No! You can't do that! I'll tell you what happened." Mia proffered.

"Okay, what happened?"

"I went with Oliver and Matt, and I met some of the girls that work here. They had apparently heard about Jason...and they thought I had hooked up with both Jason and Matt...and I don't think we're going to be great friends." She kept what Matthew had said to herself. It had been kind of him to try and cheer her up. She was still curious about what he had gone to tell the girls, she hadn't bothered asking him since she was sure he wouldn't tell her.

"Ouch, that's got to suck." Stacie sympathized with her. "Too bad it's still not good enough to get you an extension!"

"Stacie! Come on, I have a benefit dinner to go to...I'll start my search for a guy right after." Mia couldn't believe to what levels she had to sink to with Stacie. Why me? Why must I have to do this? Mia wondered with exasperation.

"Okay fine, since I'm so nice." Stacie finally conceded. "So who will you be going with?"

Mia sighed, leave it to Stacie to find something to pester her about.

"Probably no one."

"Why not ask one of the guys you work with?"

Mia almost choked as she heard this.

"Are you kidding me? These guys are world class football players, why on earth would they agree to go with me? Have you seen the girls they go out with?"

"Mia, why are you so sure that they wouldn't? You have more substance than any of those girls." Stacie told her, sounding a little peeved about the way Mia perceived herself.

Taken aback, Mia couldn't find anything to say.

"Besides, what if prince charming is right under your nose?" Stacie asked.


Taking as much time as he could, Matthew slowly walked to Mia's office. How am I going to ask her? He wondered. As he approached the door, he heard her voice.

"Yea, yea, Stacie. I'll let you know how it goes. Take care. Bye." He heard her say, sounding exasperated.

He peered in only to see her holding her head in her hands. Her shoulders were hunched over. She looked a little tired and frustrated.

Breathing in deeply, Matthew knocked on her door. Here goes nothing, he thought a little nervously.

Mia turned around to see him.

"Hey." She said, looking from him to the clock. "You're on time."

"Just like I said I'd be." Matthew replied. She gave a small smile. Clearly, she still remembered their little boxing match. In any case, the outcome had worked out well for both of them.

Smiling at him, Mia motioned for him to come in. Sitting down on the examination table, Matthew was afraid he would forget all the words that he had practiced saying to her.

"How are you?" Mia asked him, before he could say anything.

"Fine. You?"

"Alright." She answered, shrugging her shoulders.

It wasn't until his appointment was over that Matthew took a shot.

"So, are you going to the dinner?" He asked, not knowing what to expect.

"I don't know. It seems like if I wanted to go I would have to bring someone with me." Mia told him as she wrote in his file.

"Not necessarily." Matthew said unsure how he was going to ask her.

"What do you mean? Aren't all you guys going with someone?" She asked, her eyebrow rose in suspicion.

Matthew sighed; she wasn't making this any easier for him.

"Some are going with their wives and girlfriends." He conceded.

"Are you going with anyone?" She looked at him intently.

At that moment, Matthew wanted nothing better than to kick himself. This had been the exact question he had been trying to avoid being asked...especially by her. Sighing to himself, honesty would probably be the best policy as long as he didn't end up telling her that he wanted her to come; Matthew thought he would be fine.

"Well...no. I was going to go with my cousins, but one of them is going back home for some business meetings." He told her.

"What about the other one?"

"She's not going."

"How come?" Mia didn't sound as though she would be letting this go anytime soon.

"She went through my stuff."

"So you're punishing her by not letting her come?" Mia smirked.

"Believe me, she hates missing these things." Matthew chuckled. Lina would be livid knowing that she'd be missing the dinner. Maybe next time she won't go through my things, Matthew thought.

Silence settled around them. Matthew mustered up a few choice words and some courage.

"You can come with me, if you want." He offered.

Mia jerked up from what she was writing, looking astounded.


Matthew found his mouth dry, how was he going to get through this? Licking his lips he spoke.

"Well, you could always come with me. You know...since you don't sound like you want to go alone."

She looked as though she was contemplating his offer.

"Is it that obvious?" She asked, looking slightly embarrassed.

"Kind of..."

"I've never gone to these kinds of events...I just don't want to make a fool of myself. The last time was kind of a bummer." She told him, clenching and un-clenching her fingers. She sounded nervous.

"Don't worry about them. You'll be fine. It's not that bad." He reassured her. She had looked upset after her encounter with the wolf pack, Matthew remembered. He watched her as Mia sighed.

"Alright, sure I guess I'll go with you."