If Only Tonight

The Eye Of The Storm: Chapter Sixty Four - Heart of Gold

The Eye Of The Storm:
Chapter Sixty Four: Heart of Gold

On the journey home, Matthew couldn't help but reflect over how his two weeks at home had gone. With his mother resting at home, he had finally decided to book a flight to England. He knew she would be in good hands, since Roderigo would be staying with her, and Matthew would call her from time to time to see how she was doing, now that there wasn't a barrier of blame to stop him.

Time and circumstance changed many things, Matthew reflected, as he looked out of the window. Clouds wisped past him, only to be sliced by the wings of the plane. Her apologies and admissions had shocked him, but the greatest surprise was when she had told him how proud she was and that she loved him.

"I never blamed you, Matteo." His mother had told him, the day after they had brought her home.

"It felt like you did." He had remarked. "For the last few years you made me feel like I killed her. Like I was responsible for Luciana's death. And then with the police thing, you just pushed me away."

"I didn't mean to, son. It was hard to deal with her death, and then with the news of you going to the police, I thought I had lost both of you." She had tried to explain to him. "I am sorry."

The day he was packing he had gone to his mother's room to check if he had forgotten any of his things. Lying on her bed, watching him, she had called him over to her bedside.

"Who was the girl you gave the locket to?" His mother had asked, making him freeze in mid-step. Matthew had been surprised that she would still remember that encounter with Mia. Glancing over at his mother he could see the look of interest.

"Her name is Mia. She works with the team." He had told her.

"And do you..." His mother had trailed off looking away.

"Do I what, mother?" He had asked.

"Do you love her?"

He didn't have to think about it. Matthew couldn't stop the smile that grew on his face when he thought about Mia.


"Very well...be good to her. She looked quite charming."

Smiling, out the window, Matthew couldn't believe she had approved. The thought of seeing Mia again after so long, made him fidgety. He wished the plane would go faster.


Watching TV while she ate her food, Mia couldn't believe what was taking the younger player so long. Nathaniel had promised he would come and watch something with her during lunch, yet here she was all alone in the apartment bored to death.

Flipping through the channels once more, she settled on watching a rerun of 'Law and Order SVU'. She sighed, as she took another bite of her sandwich. He was right, toasting bread for these shouldn't be considered cooking, Mia thought, unhappy with her food. She had missed him ever since he had left. She knew he was set to fly back this week, but he hadn't called to tell her when. He must be busy, she thought rather guiltily.

Being in this relationship had opened her eyes to a whole new side of herself. She couldn't remember ever wondering about her past boyfriends' whereabouts. Back then she didn't care as long as they weren't near her while she studied. Yet here she was, hoping he would call her soon.

Seeing the door open, Mia laughed.

"You finally decide to show up...Nate..." She stumbled on her words as she saw who had come in.

The jet black hair, piercing blue eyes, the perfect smile, made hear heart skip a beat.

"You're back!" Mia exclaimed, getting up as he closed the door behind him.

Walking over to him, Mia forced herself to not run in to his open arms. There was no need to be so dramatic, her mind had shouted at her. As his arms wrapped around her, she was sure he could hear her hammering heart. Looking up she kissed him, having missed the feel of his lips on hers.

"You never told me when you were coming back." She told him, taking hold of his hand and leading him to the sofa.

"I thought I'd surprise you." Matthew grinned. "I stopped by your office but it said you were out to lunch."

"Yea...Nate and I were going to spend lunch being couch potatoes and watching TV." She said, sitting down next to him.

"Yea, Nathaniel told me when I asked about where I could find you."

"So that's why he didn't come." Mia surmised, kissing him again.

"I thought you'd be home or something. Aren't you tired?" She asked, carefully looking over him. He looked exhausted and a little weary, with shadows around his eyes.

"A little. I went home to drop off my things, then Leon drove me here so I could catch up with you and the team."

"So...how's your mom?" She asked.

"She's recovering well. Roderigo is taking care of her."

"That's good."


She leaned against him, feeling more content than she had in the last few days. Though they were quiet she was perfectly happy just knowing he was beside her.

It wasn't long before she noticed he had fallen asleep, his arm around her. Smiling to herself at how peaceful he looked, she ate the rest of her lunch, before checking the time. Cautiously, she got up and walked over to the other room for a blanket. Covering him with it, Mia kissed Matthew's cheek before turning off the TV and the light.

Writing a note that she would meet him at the apartment, Mia put the slip of paper in front of him on the coffee table, and silently slipped out of the room.


"Are you sure you're not still tired?" Matthew smiled at the sound of concern in her voice.

"I slept more deeply in those few hours than I have in the last two weeks. I feel fine." He reassured her.

Having insisted upon driving them somewhere, Matthew knew she hated letting him drive. The fact that he had managed to keep her Challenger in the confines of the garage still grated on her nerves, and now that he was taking the wheel to drive home, she wasn't happy. He glanced at her only to see a murderous look flicker across her face. Unable to stop himself, he grinned.

"Cheer up, we're going to go somewhere nice." He told her.

"Wait...I thought we were heading to the house?"

"No...we're going to the park!" He grinned.


"You'll see." He said, mysteriously.

Knowing that she preferred that they go home so he could rest, Matthew understood her concern. Under different circumstances he probably would have gone straight home and slept off his exhaustion, but the few hours of sleep in the apartment and seeing Mia again had re-energized him. It would be worth it in the end.

It wasn't long before he was leading her through the park, by her mitten covered hand, towards the water fountain.

"Haven't we been here before?" She inquired.

"Well yea...but then it was dark and snowy."

"So you thought I'd like to see it when it's about to become dark and still snowy?" Mia asked, giving him a curious look.

"That and I brought you something back from my trip." He said, finally telling her the real reason as to why he had brought her here.

"Why couldn't you show me at the house?"

"Mainly because I wanted you to open it with me...and not everyone else." He referred to his cousins, in particular one cousin. Lina, he thought giving a small shake, she's going to kill me when she finds out.

"So...what is it?" She eyed him curiously. He knew she was suspicious. There was no box or large package on him.

"Close your eyes and hold out your hands." He grinned.

Shooting him an incredulous look, she obliged. Once he was sure she wasn't peaking, he pulled out the flat wrapped rectangular box he had shoved in his pocket this morning, and placed it on her outstretched mitten covered hands.

"Okay, you can open your eyes now."

He watched as she opened them to find the box in her hands. The curious look on her face, made it entertaining for him. At first she tried to open the package by smartly trying to remove the tape with the thumb of her mitt, when he snickered, she shot him a look of annoyance, before slipping off a mitten and putting in her pocket.

Opening the box, she laughed.

"You're kidding right?" Mia asked, as he saw her stare at the second slightly smaller box.

"Keep going." He grinned.

She opened the second box only to find a third, and then a fourth, and finally got to the fifth tiny box.

"You just had to make sure that you'd keep me in suspense?" She asked him, an eye brow raised.

He only smiled in return; Matthew was starting to feel nervous as she lifted the lid of the final box. Looking at the ground, he heard her gasp as she saw what was in it. He lifted his head up only to find her staring at the box.

"It's so b-beautiful..." Mia stammered. "But...why?"

Moving closer to her, he picked the small gift out of the box. It dazzled in the last rays of the setting sun.

"I thought of you when I saw it." He told her. "Roderigo kicked me out of the house one day saying that I needed sunlight, so I went to the stores around town...and I saw this."

The sparkling silver ring was adorned with a blue gemstone. Though Mia's eyes were green, Matthew had seen the ring and instantly thought of how perfect it would look on her.

Taking hold of her hand, he slipped on the ring, setting it above her favourite emerald one.

"I just want you to know that I only want to be with you. And I'll never hurt you." He promised, looking deep in to those emerald green depths, sealing it with a kiss. And because I love you, he thought silently, as she hugged him tightly.


Staring at the ring, Mia watched as it caught the light of the sun and sparkled. It really is charming, she thought, as she took off the emerald ring from underneath and placed it on the ring finger of her right hand. Forcing herself to stop staring at the piece of jewellery, Mia looked at her phone. That distraction hadn't lasted very long, she thought annoyed with herself.

Her mother still hadn't called her back, she thought glumly. Heading down stairs she decided it would be better to distract herself by watching TV. It was better than being caught by Lina while staring at the ring, and preferable to staring at her phone while waiting for it to ring.

Turning on the TV, Mia settled on to the couch watching Hell's Kitchen. Soon she wasn't paying attention to what Gordon Ramsay was blowing up about, only to be staring at her phone once more. She sighed. Why won't you ring? She wondered, her thought compounded by another long sigh.

"Something wrong?"

Mia looked up to see a sweat drenched Matthew, closing the door to the basement.

"Not really..." She mumbled, as he came to stand behind the sofa.

"Then why do you look so upset?" Matthew had picked up on her facial expression. He had always been a little too perceptive about her moods for her liking. She hated knowing someone was able to read her so well, but at the same time it was a bit of a comfort.

"Well...I called my mom like you said, last weekend..." Mia told him. He looked surprised.

"So what happened?"

"She told me she was too busy to talk and that she'd call me back."

"Well that's good right?" Matthew asked her, leaning over the couch.

"She didn't want to talk to me. She hasn't called back." There was no use in trying to keep the pain from seeping in to her voice. The fact that despite her best effort, her mother still turned her away, stung her more than she cared to admit.

"I'm so sorry to hear that." He said to her, looking sad. She shrugged it off.

"It's alright, I guess."

"Sorry..." He mumbled as he leaned over and kissed the top of her head.

Mia looked away, she didn't want him to see the hurt in her eyes. Every time her mother turned away, she felt like there were pins pricking her heart.

"Did you call your mom? How is she?" She asked, changing the subject. At least one of them had gotten their mothers affections back. Although I never thought she loved me to begin with, Mia thought miserably.

"Yea I did. She's doing fine." Matthew told her.

Silence settled between them, she didn't know what to say. The hurt had started to bubble up. Matthew lifted her chin to make her look at him, his blue eyes holding warmth for her.

"It's okay, Mia. It's her loss that she didn't take the chance to get to know what a great person you are." Matthew told her. "Maybe she's not ready right now, but who knows...maybe she will be one day. Don't worry about it. Okay?"

She nodded.

"Okay..." Mia whispered, her throat chocking up. Tears were already starting to well up in her eyes. "I just wish she would talk to me."

"I know." He murmured.

Kissing her cheek, Matthew let go.

"Let me shower and change. Then we'll watch something together." He told her.

"Okay." Mia agreed, feeling grateful that he understood her pain.

"Thanks..." She whispered, unsure that he would hear her, but he did. Matthew nodded, with a small smile, as he left.


A few days had passed, Mia had come home with a shooting pain in her leg. Must have pulled a muscle, she thought looking at her leg as she sat on her bed. There was no bruising that she could see, and she hadn't tripped or twisted her ankle, but she had worn heels all day. Having forgotten her pair of flats at the house, she had run to the apartment for a spare change of shoes since her snow shoes would leave wet trails in her office. The only pair she found was black high heels, that Mia couldn't remember buying.

What was I thinking? She berated herself, as the pain made her leg throb. Tenderly walking down the stairs, Mia headed for the kitchen, the smell of dinner meant that Lina was around.

"Hey Lina."

"Ciao Bella. What's up?"

"Do you know where I can find any muscle bandages?" She asked, hoping the older girl had one. It would help soothe her pain.

"Yea. There are a few around, I think they're in Matthew's dresser. Bottom drawer to the left, I think. Just check the bottom drawers."

Mia hesitated, surely Lina wouldn't send her to look for them...would she? Noticing her reluctance, the older girl laughed.

"You can go get them. He won't mind as long as it's not me." She told her with a wink.

"If he kills me, I blame you." Mia told her, snidely.

"He won't." Lina assured her.

Heading back upstairs, Mia opened the door to Matthew's, dreading that he would be unhappy if he found out.

With the last remains of sunlight brightening the room, Mia took in her surroundings. She had yet to properly see his room. In all the months she had lived across from him, not once had she bothered to enter it alone. Feeling as though she was intruding, Mia took a deep breath as she moved forward.

Matthew's bed was made up with a jet black blanket, while his night tables held pictures of him and his friends and family. From afar, Mia spotted Oliver in one frame, along with Nathaniel in another. Above his bed was a painting. Snowy mountains surrounded a forest, with a lake running through the middle.

Mia spotted two closed doors in the large room. One was a closet, while the other was probably the master bathroom.

Turning her attention to the dresser she was surprised to find it with more frames, but on either side were the gifts she had gotten him. The figurine from their first Christmas sat beside a framed picture of Matthew and her at the winter fair. The spinning tea cup, she thought with a smile. In the picture, Mia had her eyes closed tightly her mitten covered hands holding on to a laughing Matthew. On the other end of the dresser was the book she had gotten him this past Christmas. A bookmark could be seen close to the end of the book. He must have started on the chapter she had included.

Kneeling on the carpeted ground, Mia opened the bottom drawer on the left. There were no bandages. She opened the one beside it, and still nothing appeared. In the next one, still nothing. It was the last one on the right where she found the bandages, with an envelope on top.

Taking out the letter, she saw Matthew's name in neatly scripted writing. The envelope had already been opened. I shouldn't, Mia thought, not wanted to invade his privacy; but curiosity got the better of her.

Turning over the envelope, she slid out the sheet of paper that was inside.

'Dearest little brother,' It started.

'When you read this letter, I will be long gone from this world. I'm sorry for my weakness, and the pain I've caused you and our beloved parents. I know that you have been carrying guilt around with you for many years because of me. Just know that I never blamed you for what happened. I only blamed the depravity of those men that hurt me. I can still hear their voices following me, wherever I go.'

Horrified, Mia knew she had stumbled upon Matthew's letter from his sister, but still she was unable to put it down.

'Please forgive me for what I have done. I couldn't bear to live anymore. It was becoming too tiring. I know you told me to get help, go to a doctor...but they would have told me what I already know. What was their solution going to be? Pills and tonics to medicate me? I could never live like that. I know you thought I was strong, but I'm not. I've always been weak. It was you who had strength. I've always depended on your strength. You've always carried on no matter what is put in your way. And I'm sure you'll carry on after me.'

'I'm so proud of you, Matthew. I know you'll become a great football player and a great person one day. You need to be free of dead weight to reach your goals. I'm setting you free.'

Her eyes were starting to water, the lump in her throat was starting to get bigger.

'I love you, little brother. Take care of yourself and our parents. Thank you for all the wonderful times we shared, and that lovely glittering locket you bought me. I'll always cherish that moment. Matty, I want you to give this to the girl you love someday. I hope she'll be the delight of your eyes, and the keeper of your heart. I hope she will love you as much as you love her.

You have a heart of gold, Matty. Never forget that.

With all my love,


The letter ended, Mia found herself wiping tears away with the sleeve of her shirt. She felt the pendant around her neck. He had given it to her because he loved her? She couldn't fathom how it was possible. Her thoughts swam in a mess, as she kept smearing her tears away with her hand.

The bandages lay forgotten in their drawer. Hearing the front door open, Mia quickly put the letter back in the envelope, placing it in the drawer and shutting it.

Forgetting the pain in her leg, she ran out of the room, shutting the door behind her. Running down the stairs, Mia saw that it was Matthew, hanging his jacket in the closet. She ran to him.



Looking up upon hearing his name, Matthew watched as Mia bounded towards him. He smiled until he saw the tears on her face.

"Hey. What's wrong?"

She didn't answer, instead Mia threw her arms around him, holding him close to her. He heard her sniffle, as he wrapped his arms tightly around.

"It's okay, Mia." He soothed her, but still she silently sobbed into his shoulder.

What had her mother said that had gotten her so upset? He thought automatically, as he gently kissed her forehead, Mia had started to gather herself.

Nuzzling the crook of her neck, Matthew held her, as the last of her tears fell.

"It's okay, Mia."