If Only Tonight

Into The Storm: Chapter Five - Thunder & Lightening

Into The Storm

Chapter Five: Thunder & Lightening

The warm August sun was fading, the light starting to dull around them as they walked through the grounds. August was coming to an end. Mia had invited Stacie to come over, so that they could go have dinner at a nearby restaurant. It had been a hot day; neither of them was wearing a jacket. Having finished a tour of the building, Mia had decided to show her the grounds and gym. Stacie had liked the gym and had wanted to see the equipment, but Mia had hurried her until they got outside. The last thing Mia wanted was to run into a certain someone.

Cryptic, she thought while they walked. He had been so mysterious while telling her to stay away from Jason. Although she wasn't one to complain when it came to steering clear of Jason, there was a part of her that felt Matthew knew more than he was letting on.

Telling her not to screw up, that just sounded a lot like her mentor. No wonder Matthew had liked the man. Dr. Phillips was just as cold as he was.

"Are you even listening to what I'm saying?"

Snapping out of her thoughts, Mia turned to look at Stacie.

"Yea, of course I was. Why?" Mia tried to cover up her mistake.

"Because you look a million miles away. Alright, so what was I telling you?" Stacie glared daggers at Mia.

Mia groaned. She had been caught, she should have just said she hadn't listened...then at least Stacie wouldn't be testing her.

"Well you were telling me how you've been applying to teach in Sydney and Melbourne since they're willing to give you a research group, and how Garland finally accepted your paper, and that it'll be in one of next month's journals of medicine. Then you started to tell me about your new research project and how excited you are, because you're going to be researching on something you love and something I probably don't like so much..." Mia trailed off, she knew she was fluffing the end bit.

Stacie smirked at her. Mia rolled her eyes.

"Alright...alright...I didn't pay attention to the last bit...but I did pay attention to the important stuff, like how you might be teaching in Australia! And You being published!" Mia grinned.

"Okay, I'll let you off this time...but next time you won't be so lucky." Stacie said as she pushed Mia away.

"Remember when we used to go to The Grad Lounge?" Stacie asked Mia.

Smiling at the thought Mia nodded.

"Yea...it was always fun going there after exams." She answered.

"Remember that time you sang 'Falling Down' while you were pretty much falling down?"

"I was hoping to forget that..." Mia muttered darkly. Stacie sighed loudly.

"Those were the good old days...I'd get plastered and you would be singing out of your mind. What were you on?" Stacie laughed.

"Nothing! I swear!" Mia said, a little defensively. She would never experiment in drugs or alcohol after what happened to Max or even before it. Max...Mia thought, her throat starting to choke up. Taking a few quiet breaths, Mia relaxed.

"You're right...it was probably all the coffee you drank." Stacie said.

"I never drank coffee...that was you." Mia reminded her.

"Right...You used to drink Coke. I remember! It was like ten cans before the exam and you'd be running for the bathroom!" They both laughed, as Stacie remembered. Mia shook her head, those bathroom runs weren't the highlight of her university life.

"I wonder if Julian still works at The Grad Lounge?" Mia said aloud, she knew Stacie had liked him for ages. It was odd how Stacie was the most outgoing between them, but had never acted on her feelings.

"Yea, he still does." Mia was surprised to learn.

"How do you know?"

"The group went out to dinner and it was the closest place to go. He still remembers you, you know? He was asking when you'd be coming back. His crowds need to hear the voice of a sports doc high on cola." Stacie chuckled.

"So did you ask him out?" Mia persisted, ignoring the jibe.

"Nah...I don't know if he even likes me. You know how horrible I am at reading people." She told her.

"We should go there together, sometime. I miss your reckless side...although it wasn't that reckless...and I miss your voice. It was so much fun." Stacie told her, dropping the subject.

"Yea, sure Stace. Let me know when." Mia agreed.

Silently they walked in no particular direction.

"So speaking of asking people out, who's got your mind occupied?"

Wincing hard, Mia tried to keep her face blank.

"No one. Why would you say that?" She tried keeping her voice calm and level.

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe because I know a certain football player is on the team you work for. And I know how much you've crushed over him and he's on-" Mia interrupted Stacie by putting hand over her mouth. Mia had seen a shadow lurking near by.

"Hey! Watch it!" Stacie complained as she got out of Mia's hold, she didn't like the way Mia had treated her. But Stacie still grinned wickedly.

"Yea, well you shouldn't be saying that around here. You never know who's listening." Mia warned her. The shadow was gone. I must be imagining things, Mia thought.

"Fine, kill joy." Stacie muttered. "So how's it working with the one who hates you?"

"It's okay, I suppose." Mia shrugged as they turned in the direction of the building entrance.

"Has he changed his cruel ways?" Stacie asked with a snicker. Mia laughed upon hearing this.

"Not quite."

"You so like him." The comment had Mia feeling the heat rise up in her cheeks. She shook her head, all the while gritting her teeth.

"Shut up. I don't like him!" Mia glared at her.

Stacie laughed.

"You're actually blushing!" She cheered.

Mia bit down on her tongue to keep from retorting, as her friend laughed at her expense.

"Come on, inside you go, and don't say anything." Mia said firmly, as she held the door open.

"Aww, Mia! I'm not done yet!"

"Oh, but I am. Let's go inside. Now." Mia watched as the older girl sulked inside, all the while chuckling at Mia's red cheeks.


He had yet to talk to Mia again. Matthew had made sure to keep his distance. The weekend had been going well. Mia was out, Oliver was out visiting a few friends, and Matthew had the apartment all to himself.

Happy days, he thought, as he lay on the couch eating from a bag of ketchup chips, all the while watching the last few minutes of Spain verse Portugal in a friendly soccer match. The country he was rooting for, Spain, won the game, 3-0.

Switching channels until he found something amusing, Matthew still couldn't get his mind away from the girl.

His foot was feeling a lot better, and the swelling was almost completely gone; thanks to her.

Still Matthew couldn't understand why his mind was stuck on Mia. She wasn't extraordinary. Well maybe her grades are, Matthew conceded. But there was little else he knew about her. There was no explanation as to why he was affected by her. He still hadn't figured out whose gravestone she had a picture of on her phone.

Matthew had, of course, warned Oliver of Jason's interaction with Mia. The last thing either of them needed was Jason hurting Mia. Oliver would be angry if anything ever happened to her on his watch...or mine for that matter, Matthew thought as he bit into another chip.

Matthew knew that the older boy meant well, but it still didn't stop him from razzing the twenty six year old, when he felt like it. It was Oliver who had helped Matthew settle in when he had first come from Italy at twenty. Matthew had not liked living in London during his first two years, Oliver had made it bearable for the now twenty three year old.

He had been extremely homesick - he had disliked the constantly rainy weather, and hated being the only one from his country on the team. But that had lessened around Oliver. It had been lessened even more when Nathaniel had joined the team, as he was from Italy also.

Oliver had managed to keep both of them from trouble. Even pulling Matthew from Jason's poisonous grip. Matthew cringed at the recurring thoughts. He would have been in a lot of trouble had he not been with Oliver and Nathaniel that night.

Having not paid attention to what was on the television, Matthew switched it off. He glanced at his wrist watch. It was almost nine thirty. Mia still hadn't come back yet, and neither had Oliver.

Bored, Matthew decided to turn in early, getting up from the couch he walked in to his room. As he closed the door, he heard the front door open. He quietly listened to find out who it was.


Matthew's heart sped up. It was Mia. Deciding he would rather her think he was asleep, Matthew didn't reply. Instead he crawled into his bed and lay there until sleep found him.


* CRACK * * BOOM *

The sound of thunder woke Mia up from a sound sleep. Terror coursed through her body as lightening lit up her room.

A resounding * BOOM * followed. Mia was scared. She held the blanket up over her head. Stacie! She found herself wishing for the older girl. Where was Stacie when Mia needed her?

"DAD!" Mia inadvertently squealed, as another loud crack of thunder sounded. This time Mia put the pillow over her head, in an effort to block out the sound. It had no effect.

It was as if the storm was feeding off her fear. The next * BOOM * seemingly shook Mia's room, all the while bright light flooded into her room for less than a second. That was the final straw. * BOOM *

Mia jumped out of her bed and ran out of her room and into the one next to hers. Not thinking of anything but how scared she was, she clambered into the first bed she laid her eyes on.

Pulling the covers up over her head, she felt safe and secure. The storm couldn't attack her while there was someone protecting her.

Mia drifted off, falling asleep to the sounds of the storm. There was a feeling of comfort in her mind, as warm arms wrapped themselves around her and held her close.


The sunlight poked through the curtains, getting in to his eyes. Once disturbed, it was hard for Matthew to fall back asleep. He lay there stubbornly with his eyes closed. He was glad the storm had only awoken him briefly.

Matthew turned over; his arms comfortably wrapped around something...or rather someone. He smiled. Wait a minute...who was I with last night?

His eyes shot open, only to find himself staring into emerald green depths.

Oh shit, the words registered in his mind. Both of them opened their mouths but only one sound echoed in the room.




Mia and Matthew jumped out of the bed, standing on each side, either one yelling at the other.

What happened? Mia thought in shock. All she remembered was running out of her room because of the thunder storm. Oh no, she realized, I must have ran in to Matt's bed...the thought causing her to scream louder.

Matthew had stopped shouting, as Oliver awoke from their loud voices. Mia was still screaming.

"Mia! Stop! Nothing happened!" Matthew tried to tell her, that silenced her.

"Look at yourself! Your still dressed, and so am I." He gestured to her pajamas, and then motioned to his own.

"What's going on?" Oliver asked, drowsily. "Mia? What are you doing here?"

"Yea...what are you doing here? The last time I checked this was our room." Matthew asked, it was the first time she had seen him look confused. He ran a hand through his hair.

Mia could feel her cheeks flame.

"There was a thunder storm last night..." She started.

"We already know that. We were here for it too." Matthew interrupted her.

"I'm really sorry. I used to share my room with Stacie...so she was right there. Last night, I got really..." Mia paused, as the feelings of terror brewed up as she remembered how her room had shook when the thunder had sounded. She wished Stacie was around.

"I think the word you're looking for is scared." Matthew commented snidely, although this time he didn't look or sound as cold as he usually did. All the while, Mia watched as Oliver glared at him.

"Sorry..." Matthew muttered. Mia couldn't believe her ears. It was the first time Matthew had apologized to her...for anything.

"It's okay...I'm really sorry. I got scared and I ran in to your room and climbed in to the first bed I saw...I've always been terrified of thunderstorms..." Mia said, sounding sheepish. Oliver smiled at her kindly.

"It's alright...but I think next time just wake one of us up. I don't think I want to hear another screaming match in the morning." He told her.

"How have you managed to live here so far? I mean you're in England...thunderstorms galore." The question came from Matthew, he eyed her curiously.

"I was living with Stacie...we shared the room...so I always had her around. And back home...my brother and my parents have known me to run in to their room in the event of a thunderstorm. They used to leave the door open when there was a forecast for a storm...just in case." Admitting it made her feel homesick. She missed the safety of her home. It had been the first year she hadn't gone back in the summer. Max...he used to keep her from freaking out when he was around...Mia's throat clenched. He had always been there during a storm...she could remember him coming into her room as soon as the thunder started...until...Mia shook the thoughts away.

Matthew had his back turned to her. Mia couldn't see what he was doing. He's probably laughing at me, Mia thought. She felt stupid for having told them all that. I'm such a loser, she thought with dismay.

"How are we going to get through storm season with you?" Oliver asked with a laugh, he sat up in his bed.

"Good question. Mia?" Matthew snorted as he turned to face her. The two boys stared at her.

"I don't know..." Mia mumbled, looking away. She couldn't think of any solution to this problem.


Feeling cold, Matthew tried to pull some more blanket around him. As he pulled, the blanket wouldn't budge. Something else was keeping it from coming to him. Not again, He thought with irritation.

"Mia!" Matthew said in annoyance. He turned to face the sleeping form.

During the whole week there had been three more thunderstorms. The above average fall temperatures had been costing Matthew his comfort. Namely, waking up alone and warm.

"Hmm?" Came the sleepy reply.

Hiding a smile, Matthew watched as the girl woke up. He saw her register her surroundings.

"Sorry..." She mumbled to him.

"Got scared again?" He couldn't help but snicker.

"The thunder was really loud...it's not funny!" She got up and out of his bed.

"You're right it's not funny. Especially when I wake up to you cutting off the circulation in my arm." He tried to get a rise out of her. Mia's cheeks flamed, he heard her mutter 'Jerk' before leaving the room to go to her own.

Unable to complain at finding the girl sleeping in his bed, Matthew had to work hard to keep up the facade that he didn't like her. He hoped she hadn't noticed him watching her, as she woke up. Twice he had woken up, pleasantly surprised, to find her sleeping with an arm wrapped around his, and her cheek pressed up against his arm.

"Was that Mia?" A groggy voice pulled Matthew out of his reverie.

Matthew cleared his face of any expression before turning to face Oliver.

"Yea...that was her." He told the older player.

"Scared again?"


"What is that? The fourth time this week?"


Matthew saw Oliver contemplate something.

"I feel sorry for her, she's really frightened by thunder and lightening. Poor kid. We need to do something." Oliver told him.

"Hold on! We? There is no we. It's you who wants to do something." Matthew turned on him. He wasn't going to be included in helping her. That would completely destroy his already shattering cold image.

"She's not jumping in to my bed, Matt! Surprisingly, today you aren't complaining...so maybe you're right we shouldn't do anything. She can keep waking you up." Oliver smirked, knowingly. Damn it, Matthew thought, he was caught.

"Alright fine...what do you have in mind?" Matthew conceded.


Tired, Mia dragged her feet as she walked back to her room. It had been a long Sunday. She had decided to go to the gym in order to kill time. Swimming hadn't drowned out Matthew's words had been, they had been following her the entire day. He hadn't been as irritating as he had been the last time. It was her fault for freaking out during the storms.

Why is he living in the dorms anyway? She thought with annoyance. From what she had read in the papers, he had a pretty large property in Cheshire. He should be living there, then I wouldn't have to deal with him, she thought to herself.

If she was honest, it wasn't so bad waking up huddled against Matthew. He was warm. He smells nice...The thought abruptly crossed her mind. Mia blushed in spite of herself. He was attractive. As much as he terrorized her, it was hard for her not to notice the glacial blue eyes that usually held scorn and contempt for her. His short jet black hair was usually styled by the wind, making him look liked he'd just come in from a run. Sometimes, she had noticed him spiking his hair. He looked...way out of my league, Mia thought back to the words he had said. He was a good foot and a half taller than her, but looked every inch the soccer player he was. Mia tried to shake the thoughts out of her mind.

Why can't I just stay in my room? Mia asked herself. Next storm, I'm going to tough it out, she promised herself.

Who am I kidding, I'm going to run again, Mia's confidence crumbled as she opened the door to the room.

She saw Oliver and Matthew talking. The older one sitting on the couch, while the other was standing with his back to Mia. She closed the door as they both turned to face her.

"Hi..." Mia said hesitantly.

"Hey." Oliver greeted her warmly. Matthew just glanced at her before turning back to face Oliver, his arms were crossed. Jerk, she thought. Why did he have to be so gruff towards her?

Mia started to walk to her room to grab some clothes to go and take a shower. She had a very low tolerance for the smell of chlorine. It was then that Oliver spoke up.

"Mia...we need to talk to you." Mia stopped in her tracks. It sounded serious.

"Yea?" She asked.

"We know how afraid you are of thunder." Oliver began. Mia grimaced. I'm such a chicken, she thought feeling foolish.

"We're moving your bed in to our room. So you're not alone and you won't run into Matt's bed, and he won't kill me in the morning." Oliver grinned at her.

"Really?" Mia was surprised; she thought she would be reprimanded for Matthew losing sleep. If he had it his way, she probably would be in trouble, Mia thought.

"Yea…unfortunately. Your clothes are staying in your room." Matthew told her, rather snidely.

Mia bit her tongue to keep herself from retorting.

"Thank you." She told them, grateful. She couldn't believe they would do that for her.

"Don't mention it." Oliver told her.

"Seriously, don't." Matthew reiterated coldly, before walking away, all the while leaving Mia stunned.