If Only Tonight

Interlude Two: Between Denial & Acceptance

Interlude Two:
Between Denial & Acceptance

"Please hear me out." Matthew said trying to get her to listen.

"No way." Mia shot back, adamant about not hearing his reasons.

As they reached the end of the hall, Mia finally stopped. She turned around not being able to go anywhere else. She could see that he was taking in their surroundings, something had caught his eye. Annoyed, and deciding it was better to just get it over with she glared at him.

"What is it?" Mia asked him furiously.

"Mistletoe." Matthew answered.

"What?" She asked, not understanding what mistletoe had to do with anything.

Before she could say anything else, Matthew had pulled her against him. Unable to fight, she looked at him. His eyes showing some unknown emotion.

Matthew crushed his lips against hers.

She couldn't believe it was happening, of all the times she had wanted him or hoped for this moment, she had never thought it would occur because of him.

Not wanting the moment to end, Mia kissed him back. Her hands wrapping around his neck, as his arms tightened, encircling her waist. All the desire, the feelings that she had been keeping from the surface unleashed.

Jolting awake, Mia sat up in her bed. Running a hand through her hair. She had been dreaming about the encounter again, much to her dismay. Still the feeling of stupidity followed her.

Why did I do it? She asked herself once more. Why did I kiss him back? She could still feel the touch of his lips lingering on hers, her heart pounding at the thought.

After they had ended their kiss, Nathaniel had found them looking at each other oblivious to their surroundings, Matthew had roughly pulled away from her; leaving her at a loss to understand what had happened.

"Take her home." He had told the younger player, before abruptly leaving.

Looking confused, Nathaniel motioned for her to come. The drive home had been quiet, neither of them nor Stacie talking about what had made Matthew leave so suddenly.

Flopping back down on her pillows, Mia wished she could go back and changed what happened. I shouldn't have kissed him, she berated herself. I should have just walked away before anything happened!

Pulling a fluffy pillow over her head, Mia wanted to scream her frustration. Don't, someone might hear you! The rational part of her brain told her. Taking a deep breath, Mia flung the pillow, across the room. It hit the door. Forget being rational! She argued with herself, turning over, laying her head down on the other pillow face first, as her arm rested on top of her head.

She spent a few moments trying to will herself to sleep. Too bad you can't change reality, she thought miserably, before finally getting up.

Crossing her room, she picked up the forgotten pillow and threw it back on to her bed. Opening the door to her room, she walked out only to find the source of her anguish still missing.

Matthew's room door was open, and as she walked over to check for any signs of his return, he still hadn't come home yet.


Sitting in front of the television, Matthew wasn't paying attention to anything that was on screen. He couldn't even remember what it was that he was watching.

All he could think of was her. That moment ingrained in his memory. His lips touching hers, and the surprise mixed with joy that he felt when she kissed him back. Her lips were so soft to his touch, he wanted to hold her there forever.

Then what am I doing here? He wondered, turning to look out the window. The field was covered in snow, with footprints from his time training outside. He was holed up in a room, at a lodge in the Cotswolds. Having left so suddenly at the dinner, Matthew was sure Mia was angry with him. How could he possibly explain his actions for that night?

I was drunk? He thought. No...I wasn't.

She probably hates me...the truth of that thought settled upon him. He had left so unceremoniously, Matthew was sure Mia would be waiting to tear him apart, no doubt Lina would be right by her side to help.

But she kissed me back, a separate part of him whispered. She didn't push me away, she had to have felt something between us.

Getting up off the couch, Matthew made his way to the fireplace. Picking up two logs piled along side the wall; he put them in to the hearth, and stoked the fire with a metal rod.

He wanted to go home and just deal with the aftermath, but there was something stopping him. What if she doesn't want me?


"I can picture myself going back to that moment, and just strangling myself before asking him 'What is it?'." Mia spoke in to the microphone. She looked at Stacie's grinning face. This is not going to help me, she realized, albeit rather late.

Having left on a flight back to Melbourne, the day after the gala, Stacie was unable to console Mia in person, so Mia told her the full story via Skype. Setting her laptop on to the bed, Mia knew whatever the girl was about to say would not be in her best interest.

"Have you called him?"

"No! Are you insane? The last thing I want to do is call him." Mia exclaimed. "He's been MIA since the gala. I'm trying to keep myself from freaking out!"

"Do his cousins know?" Stacie asked, thoughtfully.

"I don't know. I never told Lina what happened. She just thinks Matthew's gone off somewhere to train quietly, since our team has a match against Manchester City on Boxing Day." Mia answered, remembering the match.

"I guess you'll just have to wait then, Mia. But I wouldn't worry about it...I think he really does like you, maybe he's just scared." Stacie said, looking wise.

Mia sighed.

Scared of what? She thought.


Closing the door to his house, he made his way back to his car. Placing the packages in the empty passenger seat, he felt guilty for not staying. He hadn't planned on dropping by but curiosity had gotten the better of him. Christmas day was just about to start, with the sun starting to rise. Turning the key in the ignition, his black Lamborghini roared to life.

The drive to back to the lodge was a quiet one. In a few hours he would be leaving once more, for training at the team complex. Their match against Manchester City had been scheduled for tomorrow.

Reaching his temporary residence, he turned off the engine, and got out. His cell phone beeped, a sound that seemed to reverberate loudly through the quiet wooded area.

Pulling out his phone, as he picked up the wrapped packages, he saw that Lina had left him another message. She must have just woken up. Taking out the keys to the room, Matthew unlocked the door and placed the gifts on his bed.

Touching the screen of his phone, he clicked to open his voice mail. Sure enough it was Lina berating him once more.

"Matthew! Come back home and get over what ever stupid thing you've done. This is not how our family spends Christmas! And don't think I didn't notice the fresh tire tracks in the drive way."

Thinking about the possibility of returning home now, he pushed it aside. There was no way he could come home just yet. He wasn't sure what would happen between him and Mia. How would he even face her tomorrow during the match?

Sitting on the bed beside his packages, Matthew pulled out the one he had been looking forward to the most.

In neat script, his name had been written on the card attached to the package. Opening the card first, he saw that she had made it herself. On the cover was a picture of their group. Oliver, Nathaniel, Mia, and himself; it had been taken at the team-press dinner. All of them were smiling at the camera.

'Hope you have a happy Christmas. Maybe you'll get to be man of the match tomorrow!' Was neatly written on the inside, under which her name had been signed.

He un-wrapped the thick package that had come with the card, only to find a huge book. 'Greatest Moments In Football', the title read. Interested, he opened the book flipping through the pages until he stopped. A smile broke on to his face as he saw what had been placed at the back of the book.

'Matthew Rossi's Best Moments in Football.' A whole pull-out chapter had been placed inside the book. With his picture in the London FC uniform on the front, it detailed his career and had his best moments so far. Some of the points listed came from his time in the Italian minor leagues. There was only one person he knew who would be able to write some thing like this. Mia, his guess was verified when he saw the small print on the page that said Mia Brooklyn. How much work had she put into making the chapter? He wondered starting to regret his actions.


It was finally Christmas Day. Getting dressed, Mia went downstairs only to see that it was quiet and empty. Lina and Leon were probably still sleeping. As she walked in to the living room, she noticed that upon closer inspection, all the gifts for Matthew had disappeared. The vanished presents could only mean one thing. Matthew had been here.

Why didn't he stay? She thought, feeling hurt.

Noticing that she only had a few hours before she was due to watch the team train, Mia picked up her own few presents and left for her room. Putting them on to her bed, she opened Lina's first, though she really wanted to know what Matthew had gotten her. Her curiosity had peaked as soon as she saw her name written in his scrawl.

Opening Lina's package she saw a painting of the sun rising over a vineyard. A note was written on the back.

Hope you like it, Mia. It'll brighten up your room and its approved decor! Mia smiled at the older girl's sense of humour.

Turning it back over, she examined the painting. It was painted in oil colours, Mia could almost feel the warm glow of the sun. Looking at the bottom corner, Mia saw Lina's name neatly written. She was surprised, Lina had such a talent.

Putting the painting carefully on her dresser, Mia turned her attention to the next package. It was from Leon.

We're going to have to try some of these this weekend, he had written on the candy cane shaped card he had attached.

Intrigued, Mia unwrapped the package to find a book of recipes for desserts. They do look delicious, she thought flipping through the pages.

Her curiosity could no longer be kept under control. Her attention returned to the small box on her bed. What was inside it? She wondered.

With no card attached, and only her name written on it, Mia unwrapped the package only to find a signature blue box with black writing on it. Holding her breath, Mia slowly lifted the lid, only to find a beautiful Tiffany's bracelet inside. A gasp of surprise escaped her.

The sterling silver bracelet dazzled in the early morning sun, as she lifted it out of the box. On one end of the bracelet was a snowflake charm embellished with a glittering emerald in the center, while close to the clasp was another charm. Looking at the circle, she found an M written on one side in an elegant script embellished with emeralds around it, while on the other side was Mia Brooklyn. The i was also dotted by an emerald.

As she set the bracelet back in to the box, she found a little note tucked in to the side. 'Mia, the snowflake,' it read, 'is unique and one of a kind, since no two snowflakes are ever the same, just like you.'

Although touched by his thought, she couldn't believe he hadn't come back yet. If this was what he thought about her, it made no sense that he hadn't bothered to come home and talk to her. What's the use of being here when he isn't? She thought, annoyed that he had such an effect on her. A part of her felt responsible for keeping him away from his family. The only reason he isn't here sharing his Christmas with them is because I'm here, she thought feeling upset. Putting the box beside the painting and book, Mia sat on her bed, thinking about what to do.

Pulling out her phone, she dialled the one number she knew she could count on.

"Hey Mia! Happy Christmas!"

"Same to you, Nate! Are you doing anything after training?" She asked keeping her voice level, hoping he was free and wouldn't suspect anything.

"No...the dorms have been kind of empty so no one's around to do anything, and with Christmas today they'll be deadly quiet tomorrow after the match." He sounded a little put off.

"It's your lucky day! How about movie marathon?"

"Sure! My room or yours?" He sounded happy for the company.


Ending the call, she was relieved that the player didn't suspect her for anything. He hadn't asked her if Matthew knew, and she was hoping it would be kept that way. Grabbing a few clothes, she packed them in to her duffle bag, and grabbed her laptop, along with gifts for Oliver and Nathaniel.

Opening the door, Mia walked straight in to Lina.

"Happy Christmas! Where are you off too?" She asked, looking at the things in Mia's hands.

"Happy Christmas, Lina. I'm just going to the training, and giving Oliver and Nate their gifts." She told the older girl, embarrassed at being caught. She hadn't thought about what she would say to the two cousins.

"It looks more like your sleeping over..." Lina observed.

Sighing, Mia decided to stick to the truth.

"Nate and I are going to watch movies together. He's all alone in the dorm...so I thought I'd keep him company..."

"This doesn't have something to do with Matthew, does it?" Lina asked her, suspiciously.

"Well...We...I...something happened and it was stupid. I'm just going to the dorms to catch up on some work, and stuff." Mia told her, unsure of how much the girl already knew. "I don't want his Christmas with you guys ruined because of something idiotic."

When the older girl didn't say anything, Mia decided she'd better go.

"Oh, Lina!"

"Yea?" Lina asked, caught off guard.

"Thanks for the painting. I think it's beautiful! And tell Leon I really loved his book." She said, as the older girl gave her a hug.

"You're welcome." Lina said, letting go.

"I'll see you later." Mia said, bidding her farewell, not knowing how long it would take for Matthew to come back.


Having come back from training, Matthew sat on his bed reading through the chapter Mia had written on him. Smiling as he read through it, he couldn't believe how she had selected so many events from his thus far short career.

Turning the page, his thoughts were interrupted when his phone rang. Deciding to pick it up, Matthew answered the call.

"What?" He asked, annoyed with the intrusion.

"Come home now!" Lina told him, sounding angry.

"Why? I have a match tomorrow. I need to focus."

"Focus, shmocus! Get back here right now. Whatever happened between you and Mia, figure it out, because she's staying in the dorms. All thanks to you!"


Entering her own dorm room after so long, Mia felt oddly out of place. It had been a while since she had bothered to stay in the room. Since staying with Matthew and his family, she hadn't felt the need to come back until now.

Heading for the room the three of them used to share, Mia sat down on her bed after putting her bags away.

Before she could think of anything, her cell phone beeped.

She clicked to open the text message. She gasped as she read it.


Arriving at his home, Matthew stepped in to the hall.

"Finally! Where have you been?" Lina asked, sounding irritated as she walked down the hall from the kitchen.

"At a lodge, mother. Trying to focus for the match." He told her, annoyed at her nagging him.

Before Lina could say any more to him, his cell phone gave a shrill beep.

Taking it out of his jacket pocket, Matthew saw that it was a text message.

"What? What's wrong?" Lina asked him, sounding worried.

"It's Oliver. Ariana gave birth to a girl! They've named her Sophia Lily Fields."