If Only Tonight

Unfamiliar Territory: Chapter Twenty Nine - All Seasons Must Come To An End

Unfamiliar Territory:
Chapter Twenty Nine: All Seasons Must Come To An End

The season was finally over. The last game had gone in London FC's favor. They had beaten Manchester City, three nothing. Having placed third in the English Premiere League, Felix was extremely proud.

"That is the highest ranking we've had in years!" He had said at a celebration dinner. "Next year we battle for the silverware."

Matthew had scored the most goals, earning the player of the year from the entire team. Oliver had managed to get the most influential player award, while Nathaniel had won the best goal of the season.

Walking back from her office with a box of things she would be needing for the summer, Mia opened the apartment door to find Nathaniel, Oliver, and Matthew chatting on the couch.

"Shouldn't you guys be leaving for the summer?" Mia asked, as she set her box down.

"We will be. Soon." Oliver told her.

"What are your plans?" Mia asked, knowing a number of the players had already left for vacation with their wives and girlfriends.

"Leaving for California on Wednesday, I've always loved the sand and surf...it's going to be an awesome vacation! Which reminds me...I should really finish packing." Nathaniel told her.

They all laughed at his unpreparedness.

"I'll be going home next week. Ariana wants to see her sister." Oliver told them.

"What about you, Mia?" Matthew asked, before she could ask him. She had noticed how he had been keeping a distance from her as of late. It seemed that after his little stunt in her office, he had been maintaining a wall between them...maybe she was just reading too much in to things...luckily he had not reverted back to his former cold self.

Clearing her mind of her suspicions, she walked over to them.

Sitting down on the couch opposite to the guys, Mia pulled up her legs to sit comfortably.

"I'm going back to work with Dr. Phillips, until July, he wants me to teach one of his undergrad classes, which should be a good experience. Then Felix wants me and Chuckie to go with him and the U-21 team on their tour of Central America. Then in August, you guys will be back for the two week training camp...and guess what I found out today?"

"What?" Asked the other three, sounding rather interested.

"I'll be going with you and Nathaniel to Italy for two weeks, for your national game against the USA. Then the season really starts around here." She told them.

"That sounds packed." Nathaniel commented.

"That's how I like it." Mia responded.

"Why you and Chuckie Manson?" Matthew asked, suddenly.

"We're the only two...because we see eye to eye on how to treat players..." Mia replied diplomatically, with a grim look. Though she and Chuckie were sometimes at odds, especially during the meetings, he was still a lot easier to get along with...sometimes even more easier than Jon.

She would have told them that from all of the doctors, they were the only two who didn't want to strangle each other...but somehow it seemed inappropriate. How would it look to them if they knew the doctors bickered amongst themselves.

"So where are you going, Matthew?" Oliver asked.

"Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona, and Lisbon...I've decided to enjoy the summer as much as I can." He told them, shortly. Not providing much detail, Mia noticed.

"Sounds fun." She commented.

He shrugged his shoulders at her.

"Not as much as yours." He smirked.

"What can I say, work is always fun." Mia muttered under her breath.

-----

"Yea...fun...not a word I would use when describing work." Matthew retorted.

"I don't doubt that." Mia told him, a smug grin on her face.

Deciding not to pursue her jibe, Matthew watched as the three of them conversed. A whole season and she's still here, He thought inadvertently. Even more so he was amazed that he had bothered to try to be kind to her.

It was his last day on the grounds before leaving for his vacation, he would be heading home in a few minutes, having grabbed the last of his things and shoving them in to his car.

The season had come to an end, but there was still something in Matthew that desired there to be more...with Mia. Well at least we're friends...kind of...Matthew thought a little reluctantly, knowing how long it had taken them to become comfortable with each other...not that Mia was at fault...he took full responsibility to when it came to that setback.

He couldn't ignore the growing rue that he wouldn't be seeing Mia for the next few months. There in his mind he replayed all those times he could have stolen a kiss, or a hug; without making it obvious he wanted her...but somehow that wasn't enough...Maybe it was for the best he would be out of the country...he needed to figure out how to stay away from her and not be cold. The time off could help him. Matthew knew he was lying to himself.

"So Matt, ready to go?" Oliver's voice cut into his thoughts.

"Yea, let me just check that I haven't forgotten anything." Matthew replied, stalling for time...he didn't want to leave just yet, he hoped that Oliver and Nathaniel would leave first.

Getting up Matthew left for the large room.

"I'll meet you in the parking lot then, Matt." Oliver told him.

"Alright." He answered, as he looked in to the closet, knowing he wouldn't find anything there.

"We're having a barbecue on Tuesday before Nate leaves; you're welcome to join us." He heard Oliver offer Mia.

"I'd love to come...but I'm starting at the university tomorrow...and I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it." She said. Matthew could feel his heart drop.

"That's alright, drop by if you can. Matt's cousins and Ariana and a few other players and their wives and kids will be there."

"Yea, I'll try."

"Have a good summer, then. Don't let Mark kill you." Matthew heard Oliver tell her, no doubt giving her a hug as he left.

"Don't worry I'll be fine. Have a good summer too." He heard Mia laugh.

Turning to look at the room, Matthew almost felt a little homesick. It was a little more empty this time. She would be here all alone for the summer...without any of them.

"Have a good summer, Mia." It was Nathaniel.

"You too."

"Don't forget, we'll have fun in Italy. I know the best gelato places. I'll plan it out over the summer and you'll see everything. I'll email you the details." Nathaniel was telling her, the two of them scheming about the upcoming trip.

Matthew couldn't help but envy Nathaniel at times, he had such a close friendship with Mia...something that Matthew wanted. It was hard not to be a little jealous.

Hearing the door close, Matthew decided that it was, at last, his cue to leave for the summer.

Walking out of the room, Matthew saw Mia turn suddenly, as though she wasn't expecting him.

"I guess I have everything." He said, to no one in particular.

They stood looking at each other with no idea what to say.

"You should come to the barbecue...it's always a great night out." Knowing she would probably spend the night working on something at the university, he gave it a half hearted attempt to convince her.

"I'll try." She told him.

Moving to the door he opened it, turning to find her right behind him.

"See you in August?"

"Yea, I'll be right here." It sounded as though she was promising him. Giving her word she would be here when he returned.

There was an awkward pause between them, not knowing what to do...should I leave...should I hug her? Matthew wondered.

Deciding to make his move, he moved forward to hug her at the exact time she moved towards him. Stunned by each other, they stopped midway, only to slowly regain motion. His arms around her, he didn't want to let go.

"Enjoy your summer, then...don't work too hard." Matthew said as he held her.

"You too...have nice summer." She told him.

Letting go, Matthew looked at her one last time. Mentally taking her picture.

"See you around, Mia." He said as he walked out the door. He heard her soft voice behind him, a little note of sadness in it. Or maybe he was imagining it.

"Bye...Matthew."