If Only Tonight

The Final Fury: Chapter Sixty Nine - Missing In Action

The Final Fury:
Chapter Sixty Nine: Missing In Action

Torturing her slowly, time seemed to move too lazily for her liking. It was like the days wouldn't come to an end. Looking up at the clock in her office, she groaned. Five minutes had passed since her last check; she could have sworn the needles hadn't moved at all.

Pulling her phone from the pocket of her lab coat, she clicked it on. Still no messages or calls missed. Taking a deep breath, she stuffed her phone back in the pocket. Not a word in over a week, Mia thought miserably. He hadn't called her, or texted her, he hadn't even replied to any of the messages and voicemails she had left. It had been radio silence since the press conference.

She had thought that surely he would talk to her on her birthday, but so far today, no one other than her family and friends had called. Why is he punishing me? She wanted to cry out. Didn't I tell him a million times that I wanted to stay?

Matthew, where are you? She wondered, morosely. Even after his ditching her at the press conference, she couldn't get angry at him. At first she was furious that he had left in the hands of the reporters who made sure to ask uncomfortable questions about them, and his unceremonious departure. But for the last week, she had been subjected to seeing the video clip of her announcement being played back on several channels. Lina and Leon had tried to keep her from seeing the clip, but had failed when she saw it on a late night roundup of all the news and gossip of the day.

"Is it just me, or is that Rossi's heart breaking?" The entertainment correspondent had asked with a smirk, as she replayed the small snippet showing the surprise on Matthew's face.

Feeling horrible, Mia looked at her notes, realizing that she needed Jon Lever's files to complete her notes. As she got up, Oliver and Nathaniel appeared at her door.

"Hey...what are you two up to?" She asked, wearily.

These days, she rarely got a moment alone. Either Lina or Leon kept her occupied at the house, or Nathaniel and Oliver were hovering around her at work. No one gave her the chance to take a breath, almost like they were trying to keep her thoughts off Matthew.

"We came to take the birthday girl to lunch!" Nathaniel said cheerily.

"Alright...let me just get some files from Jon, and we'll go." She agreed, knowing it was better to go along with them than give either of them the chance to pester her.

Dialling Jon's number, she waited listening to the ringing but he didn't pick up. Calling Calvin to ask if he had seen Jon, she found it odd that he wasn't picking up either. Trying Kyle as a last resort, Mia was confused when the other specialist didn't answer.

"Do you guys know where Jon is?" She asked the two footballers standing in front of her.

"Lounge?" Nathaniel suggested.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed Oliver give him a glare. Strange, she thought.

"So let me just ask Jon when he can drop the files, and we'll go." She said, taking off her lab coat, and hanging it.

"Why don't we ask him after lunch? I'm sure he'll probably be here." Oliver proposed.

"No. He might leave, since these days we're not really working full hours." Mia said, stepping out of her office, with the other two following her. She locked the door.

"Why not just leave it until tomorrow?" Nathaniel asked.

"It'll pile on to the work I'm already planning to do tomorrow. Besides, the lounge is right there. I can just ask him and come with you guys for lunch."

The two players were quiet, as she led them down the hall. What was going on with them? She wondered, as they finally reached the entrance to the lounge.

"Just give me a minute." She told the two.

Opening the door to the lounge, she saw that everyone was there. The entire team was sitting or standing around the big screen television, watching something. On the TV she saw an empty office.

"Hey Mia!" Calvin greeted her, snapping her out of her daze.

"Have you seen Jon?" She asked, confused.

"Yea he should be around here somewhere. I didn't think you were coming." He smiled.

"Coming? For what?"

"Well, Rossi's signing his contract today."


"Mia!" Oliver called her, a little too late. The words sank in.

She looked at the blonde player, betrayal written on her face, as she turned to face the TV.

As though he had heard his name being spoken, he appeared on screen. The jet black hair spiked up, the ice blue eyes clear and glacial, a tight smile on his face. Matthew stood on the TV in front of her. The words LIVE appearing at the top of the screen.

Standing frozen in place, she watched as he greeted two other men in the office with Aidan standing beside him smiling, before bending over the desk, a pen in hand. Mia watched as he signed his contract to play with Real Madrid. As cheers erupted around her, Mia felt numb. The sound of her cell phone breaking her out of her trance. Mia tore her gaze away from him, as he shook hands with the men around him.

"Hello?" Mia answered her phone.

The voice she heard was her father's.

"Happy birthday, sweetheart!"


With the second week of Matthew's disappearance slowly coming to an end, Mia still hadn't heard a word from him. First thing each morning, unknown to the others, she would try to call him, and text him...but still he didn't respond.

Since the contract signing, it seemed Oliver had enlisted the help of Lina, Leon, Nathaniel, and Ariana, to keep her on lockdown. It didn't matter where she went now, everyone was with her. Either she was playing with Lily at Ariana's or surrounded by all of them as they went to dinner or to the movies.

The burn of him signing his contract on her birthday had faded, albeit slowly. It had seared her that he would do that to her. The only thing that got her through the pain was that at least she knew where he was...for a short time.

That wasn't all, since Matthew had signed his contract, the paparazzi had started to follow her. Around every corner, waiting at the wrought iron gates, there was no place she could go that would hide her from prying eyes. When they went for movies, Mia found herself in the center of the group, the others acting as her personal body guards, keeping her closed off from the shouts and the flashes.

"Mia! Have you and Rossi ended your relationship?"

"Will you be joining him in Spain for your vacation?"

"Do you even know where Rossi is?"

Sitting in Oliver's living room today, she cuddled Lily. The little girl had grown a little in the last few months. Her hair was a little longer now, and she was able to crawl.

"Lily!" Mia called her name. The baby looked up at her, recognizing her name, with a sweet smile growing on her face.

"What are you doing, Lily?" Mia asked, as Lily reached up to grab her nose while babbling away.

The baby was probably the best distraction she had from thinking about him. Anytime she felt upset, it didn't take long to cheer up with Lily talking in her own language, trying to tell her a story or two.

Kissing the little girl's cheek, Mia smoothed the hair that had started to stick up as Ariana entered.

"We should hire you as her baby sitter, Mia." The older girl smiled. "She loves it when you come."

Mia smiled, as the others came in to the room. They had been quite stubborn in staying with her. If it was up to them, I probably wouldn't be allowed to go to the bathroom alone, she thought darkly.

"Ready for dinner?" Oliver asked.

"Yes, warden. I'm ready." Mia replied, snidely; as Nathaniel sniggered.

"You do know I'm not going to fall apart if you leave me alone for an hour or two." She told them handing Lily to Ariana, now that they were all together.

"We know." Lina said, as Leon smiled. "We're just keeping you company."

Shaking her head with exasperation, Mia followed them to the dining room, knowing it was pointless to try to deter them.


The weekend had come, and still there was no word from Matthew. It didn't matter how tired she was coming home after spending the day with the others, the minute she climbed in to her bed, her heart would hurt. The entire days worries upon her.

The only part of the night that bothered her more than the pain she felt was the dreams. Since the press conference her nights had been restless. Her dreams would consist of replays of the conference. Each time she would see the pain and shock spread over his face. Other nights she would find herself walking behind Matthew, calling out his name, but no sound escaped his lips. He wouldn't even look at her. He was driving her crazy!

Shoving the covers off of her, she saw the morning light stream in to her room. Sliding her feet over to the edge, Mia grabbed her phone from the night table. Clicking it on, she felt the same disappointment she had come to expect each morning. Still no missed calls and no new text messages. A sigh escaped her, why couldn't he just tell her where he was?

Turning off her phone, she got up and threw it unceremoniously in to the closet. The muffled thud of the device landing somewhere in her clothes didn't bother her. She was tired of trying to contact him. If he didn't want to talk to her, then she wasn't going to bother any more. He had left her exhausted.

Getting dressed, she headed downstairs only to hear Lina yelling.

"No! I don't care about that Aidan! I swear you'd better tell me where he is right now! It's been two weeks! Client confidentiality can kiss my ass! We're your clients, and when Matthew comes back, you are getting fired! No I'm not threatening; I'm promising to find another agent. Not one who picks sides!" She yelled in to the phone.

"Where did you send him, Aidan? No, don't give me your crap answers!" Mia watched as Lina spoke through gritted teeth.

"Urgh! I hate you!" The older girl hung up.

Looking at Mia grimly, Lina handed her a slip of paper.

"Maybe you can sweet talk him in to giving up Matty's whereabouts? I swear I'm going to kill them both." She muttered darkly, as she walked out of the living room. "Breakfast is ready, by the way."

Picking up the cordless phone, Mia dialled the number on the slip. What chance did she have if Lina hadn't gotten any where with Aidan.

"Lina, for the last time, I can't tell you!" Aidan answered the phone, sounding badgered.

"It's not Lina. It's Mia." She corrected him, nervously.

"Sorry...what can I do for you?" He asked, sounding exasperated.

"Can you please tell me where he is? He won't answer his phone or texts...everyone's worried." Mia pleaded.

"I'm sorry, I can't. He expressly forbade me from giving out any details of his flights." Aidan told her.

"If you can't tell us where he is, can you at least tell him to reply to our messages? It doesn't even have to be me. Just tell him to message Leon or Oliver. Please..."

Mia heard him sigh on the other end of the phone.

"Fine. I'll try to get him to contact you guys. Okay? But I can't promise that it will work."


The third week started, and still Mia had not gotten a response to any of her messages. Not having bothered to bombard him with more, she hoped maybe he would contact them soon.

"So where are we going today?" She asked Lina, while Leon was scrolling through his phone.

"Grocery shopping." The older girl replied, as she put a plate of hash browns on the counter, handing Mia an empty plate and clean fork.

Mia watched as Leon's expression changed from surprise to shock.

"What's wrong?" Mia asked, in between bites of her breakfast.

The other girl had gone over to lean on her brother's shoulder peering down at the screen. The same look crossed her face.

"Nothing. Our company's stocks fell. Oh well...they'll recover." The girl quipped before looking at Mia. "More hashbrowns?"

Shaking off the feeling that she was being lied to, Mia decided to give Lina the benefit of the doubt.

At the grocery store, however, the suspicion that the other five knew something she didn't was unmistakable. Clearly, something was up. They wouldn't let her near the checkout counter, Oliver and Ariana dragging her to the nearest baby ride to entertain Lily.

"What's going on? Why can't I just help Nate, Lina, and Leon?" She asked, more than a little irritated.

"Nothing. Lily just likes these little baby rides." Oliver told her, his face giving away nothing.

"Besides, she likes having you to talk to." Ariana smiled.

Sighing, Mia didn't say anything.

As they headed out, Mia put on the shades he had given her. Matthew, she thought longing to hear his voice again, where are you?

The walk to the car entailed more of the same craziness that had been going on for the last several weeks. Flashes could be seen around her, she heard their voices yelling questions for her.

"Has your relationship with Matthew broken down?"

"What do you think of these latest developments?"

"Will you be leaving him?"

"Do you think a move to Madrid will save your relationship?"

Confused, Mia thought they were asking about his contract being signed on her birthday. That had happened last week, so why would they still be going on about it? She wondered.

The scrum was back at the gates, as though waiting for her to show up. They never give up, do they? She wondered, following Lina in to the house.


"No way! I'm staying home today." She argued.

Enough was enough. She was tired of being hauled along with them everywhere. Not budging from her place on the sofa, next to Lily, Mia stared them down, one by one.

"Fine..." Oliver relented, at last. "You can stay and baby-sit Lily."

"Alright." She agreed, more than happily.

"Just remember-" Leon started when a beep from his phone interrupted them.

Mia watched as he pulled out the phone from his pant pockets, touching the screen to see what had come in.

"Guys, Matthew's coming home on Friday." He announced.

"How do you know?" Nathaniel asked, surprised.

"He finally texted me. I guess Aidan told him to." Leon replied. "Anyway, I was telling Mia-"

"Don't talk to strangers, and don't go out front. I got it." She interrupted him, her nerves jangling at the news.

"We'll be back in a couple of hours. There's a sale at Topshop." Ariana told her. "Lily's things are in that bag."


Watching the Leon, Lina, Nathaniel, Oliver, and Ariana, leave; Mia breathed a sigh of relief. She knew they meant well, but she needed sometime to herself. Now she could figure things out.

"Come on Lily! Let's go outside!" She said to the little child, throwing a blanket over her shoulder.

Carefully picking her up, Mia walked to the kitchen where there was a sliding glass to go in to the backyard. Inhaling a breath of fresh air, Mia carried Lily, walking along the fence. Finally, she had some quiet and she was outside of the house with out any chaperones.

He was finally coming home, she thought. After all this time of giving her the silent treatment he would be back in three days time. Some kind of relief washed over her, like the hardest part was almost over.

"I wonder if he's still angry with me?" She asked no one in particular. Lily talked excitedly in her own language, making Mia smile.

As they continued to walk, Mia heard a shout from across the yard.

"Over here! Mia! Just a moment!" An older man stood alone by the fence shouting at her, and waving for her to come.

Shaking her head, Mia hurried to go inside, but his voice caught her.

"I'm not here to get pictures of you! I just want to talk." He shouted.

His camera was slung over one shoulder; he hadn't bothered to aim it at her yet. Looking around, she saw that he was completely alone. No one else was near the fence. All the other paparazzi were covering the gates. What could he possibly want with me? She wondered, walking towards him against her best judgement.

"I'm not interested in exploiting you." He told her, as she came face to face with him.

The older man had black hair with wisps of grey. His grey eyes held sincerity she hadn't seen before.

"Why should I believe you?" She asked, shielding Lily with her hand.

"I have daughters around you're age, and I would hope nothing like this would happen to them." He answered.

"What do you want?" Mia asked, intrigued by his answer.

He held out a brown paper bag for her. She reached out to take it from his hand.

"You seem like a real sweetheart, and I don't want you to get hurt." He told her before turning around to leave.

"Wait...why are you doing this?" Mia was puzzled.

"Like I said, I would want to protect my girls. The others were going to have a field day had you found out at a store or something."

"What's your name?"


Turning it over in her head, she decided it was worth the trade.

"He's supposed to come back on Friday, Liam." Mia told him. "Just tell the others that he'll be back on Monday."

The older man nodded, as he walked away from her.

"Let's go inside, Lily." She said to the little girl, still cradled in her arm.

Closing the backyard door, Mia placed Lily on the carpeted floor of the living room, allowing the girl some freedom. With her hands free, Mia slipped the contents of the paper bag on to the couch. They were magazines...celebrity watching magazines.

Scanning the front cover, she saw an image that baffled her. It was Matthew...Matthew kissing some blonde haired girl. Looking at the next magazine, it was him on the cover again, but this time two brown haired girls had laced their arms with his. The third showed him kissing a black haired girl with blue streaks. 'Rossi takes a break in Miami!' Read the headline of one. 'Beaches heat up as Rossi parties with a bevy of beauties!' Read another.

Shutting off her emotions, Mia took the first and started to flip to where the story on Matthew was. It was all starting to make sense. The others knew about it, that's why they had kept her away from stores. Leon must have found out that day...when he said the stocks fell.

Seeing Lily sleeping on the carpet, Mia picked up the girl and placed her in her baby seat, covering her with a blanket.

Reading the articles on Matthew, Mia found her heart breaking. All this time she had been berating herself for pushing him away, feeling guilty for not agreeing with him and moving to Spain, and here he was looking worry free locking lips with girls she had never seen. I thought we were still together? She wondered, feeling the emotions rising up. Stay calm...it might not even be true, she tried to tell herself, as she piled the magazines together neatly.

Hearing the distinct sound of car engines shutting off, Mia picked up the magazines and headed for the door. It was about time they told her what was going on.

Hearing footsteps come closer, Mia opened the door, coming face to face with Oliver.

"Hey Mia..." He stopped, seeing the look on her face and the rags in her hands.

"You know..." Oliver muttered, looking horrified. She gave him a tight smile, as the others came in behind.

"How did you find out?" Leon asked her, once they were sitting in the living room.

"Well since none of you told me...a guy was standing by the fence. He gave me the magazines. No, he didn't take any pictures." She told them as she saw their sceptical looks. "He said he had daughters my age, and he would want them to know."

Silence settled around them like a thick blanket.

"Why didn't any of you tell me? Is it because he told you not to?" She asked, the hurt and betrayal rising up.

"Not entirely. He only told me about getting photographed..." Leon admitted.

"But it was me who decided to keep you in the dark about what happened. I'm sorry Mia...I was just hoping Matthew would be back by now to explain." Lina spoke up.

Quiet, Mia was incensed at the fact that they had kept her clueless for so long. She needed time to figure out what was going to happen once Matthew came back. Her heart felt like it had been shattered, and Mia was unsure how much longer she could keep up the facade of normalcy.

"I'm going to move back to the dorms." Mia announced her mind set. This time there was no coming back.

Everyone nodded, even Lina knew better than to argue with her at this point.

I'm done, she thought, numbly.


Picking up his phone from the table in front of him, he saw that there was a new message. Lina had called again.

Paying his bill, he walked out of the restaurant and towards the beach.

Not seeing her for almost two and a half weeks, Matthew had felt empty. No amount of clubbing and partying with strangers could get her out of his head. He wanted so badly to see her again. Mia...he thought, his heart panging at the thought of her.

She had stopped trying to contact him. He hadn't seen any more missed calls from her or any text messages. Maybe she gave up? He wondered.

Clicking the buttons on his phone to hear his voicemail, Matthew heard Lina's voice. She sounded angry and upset.

"Matthew, you'd better get your ass back home...NOW! Not Friday...Mia knows what happened...and she's leaving."