If Only Tonight

Life After The Storm: Chapter Seventy Nine - Coming Home

Life After The Storm:
Chapter Seventy Nine: Coming Home

Looking out the window as their plane took off, Mia could feel her stomach tie in to knots. We're going home, she thought turning to see Matthew watching her.

"Did you tell Leon to pick us up?" She asked, remembering that he was going to ask his cousin.

"Yea. I told him." Matthew answered. "He'll be there waiting for us."

"How long are you going to stay in London?" She asked, the question had been bothering her since they boarded. If it was up to her, she would have followed him or not let him go.

"No idea. Probably a few weeks until the bruises lessen up, but in the mean time I think I'll start on some therapy exercises."

Seeing the look on her face, he smiled.

"Don't worry; we'll have time to spend together." He kissed her gently on the lips.

"Hmm...I guess that's okay, then.." She said, kissing him back.

They looked out the window again, nightlights shone below. It was dark and only faint wisps of silvery clouds could be seen floating past them.

"Since we're going back to London, for a fresh start...I guess I should tell you..." Matthew started.

"Tell me what?" Mia narrowed her eyes, unsure of what he was about to say.

"I pestered Stacie in to telling me where you were...before I left for Spain. I saw your last performance at The Grad Lounge." Matthew snickered as he said the last part.

Shaking her head, Mia laughed, that day suddenly made more sense.

"No wonder Stacie was yelling in to the phone. She left to take the call outside, and she never does that. When I asked her who it was, she said it was Colin from our old research group." Mia told him, as he gave her an apologetic look.

"But if we're going to be confessing...then I have something to tell you too..." She said, timidly.

"Go on." He said, interested in her confession.

"By accident...I kind of read Luciana's letter to you." She said, hiding behind her face behind her hands.

When he didn't say anything, Mia peered through her fingers thinking he was angry, only to find him smiling.

"I knew you read it." He told her, unexpectedly.


"I never really understood why you were crying that day when I came home. I first thought it was about your mother...but a few days later Lina told me she had sent you looking for something in my drawers."

"Yea...a muscle bandage..." She muttered, as he kissed the top of her head, wrapping an arm around her.

Leaning her head against his shoulder, Mia relaxed.


"Hmm?" She heard him ask.

"I have a question..."


"Why was it written in English? I thought your sister would write in Italian or something." She had wondered about that after reading the letter that day, and now having mentioned it she decided to ask. She had found it rather odd.

"Because my mom and dad couldn't read or speak English." He told her, before grinning at her. "By the way...that means you're either going to have to learn Italian to talk to my mom or she's going to have to learn English."

Thinking about it, Mia smirked.

"I'll learn Italian."

"Really?" He looked surprised.

"Yea...then I'll be able to catch what you, Leon, and Lina, say in Italian." She told him, as he chuckled. "And besides, I like learning languages. Italian is very close to French."

Silence settling over them, Mia traced the lines on his palm.



"I love you." Mia looked up to see him smile.

"I love you, too." He murmured, his lips lightly brushing against her cheek.

The two of them comfortable, they watched as the in-flight movie started to play.


"Mia...Mia...wake up." Matthew prodded her, as the other passengers started to grab their carry on bags and filed in to the aisles, ready to leave the plane.

Her green eyes fluttering open, Mia smiled slowly, stretching, before getting up to stand beside him, pulling her bag from under her seat.

"We're home?"

"Yea, we're back home."

Watching as she yawned, Matthew took hold of her bag along with his own small one. Grabbing her hand in his free one, he led her off the plane.

Standing on the moving floor, he looked outside. The bright sun warming him as they moved along. They walked off one moving floor and on to another, heading for the customs checkpoint. Matthew smiled as Mia leaned against him, looking ready to doze off. He made sure to keep her from falling asleep.

"So what's the first thing you're going to do?" He asked, catching her attention.

"Sleep...then eat and catch up on my emails." Mia told him, as she stifled a yawn. "You?"

"The same, minus the email."

Walking to the long line near the Customs desk, they pulled out their passports. When their turn came, the man behind the desk asked them both a few questions before letting them past.

Collecting their luggage from the carousel, they headed to the reception.

"I thought you told Leon to get us?" Mia asked, fully awake, as they recognized a crowd gathered for them.

"I did."

Looking at each other with the same expression of surprise and dread, Matthew could tell she knew who had caught wind of their arrival.

"Lina!" They reached the same conclusion.

Hands entwined, Matthew led Mia through the scrum of people waiting for their families and friends, heading in the direction of the people who loved them.

Oliver, Ariana, Lily, Leon, Lina, Nathaniel, and Stacie were there to greet them. Smiling at them, as he led her to their adopted family, the two of them stopped in front of the group. What do I tell them first? Matthew wondered momentarily.

"Welcome home!" The others said cheerfully.

Before he knew it, the others converged on them. The girls squealing as they greeted Mia, who's hand slipped through his as the girls pulled her away. He watched overhead as Lina, Ariana, and Stacie gushed over her something on her hand. He couldn't help but grin as he saw the pink blush colour her cheeks. He could hear Stacie loudly inspecting the ring.

"That is a pretty rock! It's princess cut, isn't it?"

"Congratulations." Matthew's attention returned to the guys around him, Nathaniel giving his shoulder a squeeze. He winced, as Nathaniel looked sheepish.

"Sorry. Oliver told me you got hurt...I forgot."

"It's alright." Matthew smiled.

"So you two finally worked it out?" Oliver asked holding Lily, giving him a smile as they met face to face.


"Congratulations, then."

"Thanks, Oliver." He told his oldest friend, shaking the little girl's outstretched hand. "Thanks for everything."

The older player nodded in understanding.

"Come on, Matty. Lina's meal is waiting for you." Leon grinned, ruffling Matthew's hair.

Looking for Mia, he found her surrounded by the girls. He walked over to them.

"I'm going to kill you, Matt. This is like the second time you've deprived me of such an important event." Lina told him, sounding miffed.

"I would say sorry...but I'm not." He smirked, knowing he was riling her, as she huffed away.

"Hurt her, and I'll kill you." Stacie whispered, as she patted his shoulder.

"Fair enough." He mumbled back, as she nodded with a smile before leaving to stand with the others.

"Congratulations, both of you." Ariana, gave him a hug as she walked over to Oliver.

Alone, Matthew held out his hand.

"Let's go home." He said, relishing the words at last.

Smiling as she took it, Mia walked towards him.

"Yea, let's go."


"Look who's back!"

Turning around to see who was at her door, Mia's lab coat whirled to a stop around her.

"We were wondering when we'd see you around."

Standing at her door, smiling, were Kyle and Calvin.

"I came in yesterday but you both were out." Mia told them, as they walked in.

Taking a look at the shiny object around her finger, the two specialists grinned.

"Yea, we were busy. The boys were saying that one of the doctors got engaged so we went to congratulate James and Damien." Kyle told her, as Calvin snickered. "Hoping that the rumours were true."

"You're not serious, are you?" She asked, laughing at the two.

"Well…kind of, but I stopped us right in time. If it was James and Damien, then it would be two doctors. So we thought James had gotten back together with Wheldon, but let's face it...that ship has sailed." Calvin grinned. "Too bad though, we even had a card ready for him."

"It said 'Congratulations and Farewell!'" Kyle smirked.

"That sounds like a retirement card." Mia wondered aloud.

"It was. We were hoping that since he'd successfully trapped some poor sod into staying with him forever, he'd finally leave." Calvin said, innocently, as Mia laughed.

"Anyway, now that we know it's you who's gotten engaged, I guess that means you and Rossi got back together?" Kyle asked.

"Yea, but don't worry I'm not going anywhere yet." She told them, as they laughed.

"Well, congratulations. And, we're glad you're back." Calvin said, genuinely.

"I don't think I'd be able to stand hearing another 'When is Dr. Brooklyn coming back?'" Kyle sniggered.

As the three of them settled down, Calvin looked like he remembered something.

"First meeting of the season is tomorrow, who's ready to take on James, Damien, and Chuckie."

"I don't think Chuckie is that bad." Mia said, remembering the time they had worked together during the Central America tour.

"True but together they get to be the Three Stooges, while we're the Three Musketeers."

Smiling, Mia felt happy to be back, as the other two specialists filled her in on the two games she had missed, along with details of their research.


Sitting beside her on the couch, Matthew wrapped an arm around her.

"I can see why you haven't moved back to the house." He told her, handing her a bottle of Coke.

"Really?" She looked at him, the light of the TV giving her features a soft glow.

"Yea...When I left to get here, Lina and Ariana were looking through bridal magazines."

"Their in full wedding planning mode." Mia muttered, leaning against his chest. "And it's my wedding..."

"Aww...worried that they'll pick out your dress?" He teased her.

"No...I already have an idea of what I want." She grinned.


"Shh...you can't tell them. They're taking me dress shopping next week. I don't want to wreck it for them." She told him with exasperation, they had been back in London for barely a week, and the older girls were gushing about the wedding.

"Besides, it's your fault for saying November." Mia told him, poking his chest with her finger. "Now those two are panicking because they have only two months to plan. Do you know I have to go tomorrow during lunch with Lina to pick out invitations?"

"They were asking if we set a date...tell me what I was supposed to say?" He asked, taking hold of her hand before she could poke him again. "Besides, I can't wait to have you as my wife. Even two months is too long."

Kissing her tenderly, Matthew pulled away to find a small smile playing on her lips.

"It's alright, but you're coming with me. Just remember to check your fixtures to find a date."

"Yea, I'll check on that."

"And a venue that's available on that date."

"Right, that too." Matthew agreed.

"So where's Stacie been? I thought she would be ganging up with Lina and Ariana trying to kill you." Matthew asked, as Mia snickered. He had noticed the other girl had been missing.

"She would be, but Garland, her old mentor, is busy trying to murder her. Or that's what she said." Mia told him, as he laughed. "She got a research grant with him for the year, so some of her group from Australia are collaborating with Garland's group."

"So I guess you're safe?"

"Nope...she'll be joining me and the other two for dress shopping." Mia muttered darkly.

"Don't worry, your secret's safe with me. So what is the idea?" He pried.

"Nah-uh, I'm not telling you. You'll just have to wait to find out." She teased him, drawing him in for another kiss.


Walking down the hall to her office, Mia found Felix walking in front of her.

"Hello Felix!" She greeted him, catching up to walk beside him.

"Mia! How was your trip home?" The manager asked, as they turned to walk down the adjacent hall.

"It was good. How was your summer?"

"Well, we finally signed Javier Moran, along with Gerrard Morales and Hayden Pierce. The three of them look very promising." He told her, with a smile.

As they reached her office, Mia found Matthew leaning against the locked door, grinning as they came in to view.

"Matthew! I didn't expect to see you so soon. Don't tell me you've decided to come back? Miss us too much?" Felix asked, playfully, as Matthew laughed.

"Sorry Felix. I'm just here for a while, recovering." He said, as his former manager chuckled. "But I do miss it a little."

"It's nice to see you again, Matthew. Just don't overwork my specialist. We have a match on Saturday, and I'll be needing her." Felix took a few steps, as Mia walked over to Matthew, who gave her a hug.

Turning to see them wrapped in each others arms, Felix smiled.

"Congratulations, you two. I was hoping you'd sort things out."

With that the older man walked away. Mia saw Matthew grin at the manager's approval.

Turning back to face her, Matthew leaned in to kiss her cheek.

"Ready for lunch?"

"You mean ready to look through the stack of food menus Lina sent? No." Mia muttered.

"Don't worry, we'll do that later...maybe tomorrow. Food first!"

"Alright...let's go."


"Okay, Mr. Rossi, you should be able to play within a few weeks. The bruising is almost gone, and you can start training and therapy now. Check with me in two weeks and I'll let you know if you're fit to play." The doctor told Matthew.

Walking out of the office, Matthew couldn't believe he would be able to play again soon. He had been itching to get back to the football pitch, the only thing keeping him from going crazy was spending time with Mia.

Mia...he thought, knowing that now he only had a limited amount of time left with her. It would be okay this time, he thought. They were both on the same page, and knowing that he would be seeing her in a month was small consolation.

Parking in front of the house, Matthew walked in to hear two female voices.

"Are you sure you don't want roses?" Lina could be heard asking. "They're so romantic!"

"But lilies are more elegant...and I like them." Mia told her firmly.

Heading in to the living room, he found his fiancé sitting with his cousin on the couch, looking through a book of flowers.

"Okay, fine. Lilies for your bouquet but roses for the centerpiece?" Lina asked hopefully.

"Fine..." Mia relented.

Spotting him, Lina closed the books. Gathering them, before she got up.

"Hey Matty! Don't forget you have to come see the venues with me tomorrow after work...both of you!" She reminded them, before leaving.

Sitting down beside Mia, she smiled at him, leaning in for a kiss.

"Perfect timing." She murmured.

"Glad to be of service. So what did I save you from?"

"She was about to start on plates, cutlery, table cloths, and napkins."

"Ahh...that sounds so boring." Matthew admitted, giving her another kiss.

"I know...I've never paid attention to half those things at any wedding I've been too." Mia agreed. "So what did the doctor say?"

"I can start training and therapy. He said to come back in two weeks to see if I'm fit enough to play."

"That's good."

"Yea...I kind of miss playing...a lot..."

"Knowing you, I can believe that." She snickered leaning her head against his shoulder. "By the way, did you check your schedule? We have to pick from 26, 28, and 30th of November."

"30th is free. The next day is a Saturday and there's no game scheduled till Tuesday. So we have a few days to ourselves." He grinned as Mia's cheeks burned with colour.

"Since that's sorted, Lina won't kill me. She's sending in the invitations for printing tomorrow." She didn't meet his eyes, looking away shyly.

"You blush so easily." He teased her.

"I know...it's a curse." She muttered.

"It's adorable." Matthew murmured, kissing her lightly on the lips.

As silence settled around them, Mia looked up at him once the colour had faded.

"So what are we going to do now?" He asked, knowing that she was probably hoping for an escape from any more wedding planning.

"Let's go out and watch a movie...before Lina remembers about the cake tasting!" Mia pulled him off the couch, as he laughed.


Leaning her back against Matthew's shoulder as he came to sit down beside her, Mia took a spoon from her ice cream. Surrounded by their friends, the living room of Matthew's house was full of chatter. Lina had insisted on throwing a little engagement party for her and Matthew. Mia watched as Lily was eagerly watching their expressions from her place on Ariana's lap.

"So, you guys never told us how you got engaged." Stacie asked, as the conversation in the room started to die down.

Around them, Lina, Ariana, Oliver, Leon, and Nathaniel, paused; each of them watching Mia and Matthew.

"Well, it's not really my story to tell. It's Matt's." Mia grinned, looking up at her fiancé, who was shaking his head with a smile.

"Come on Matthew, spill." Lina commanded her cousin.

"Well, we were at the cottage sitting on the deck by the lake, and I started to ask Mia some hypothetical questions...and I might have ambushed her with a ring and a serious question."

"Might have?" Mia asked him, as he grinned.

"Okay, I ambushed her. I got down on one knee with the ring. She had no idea I was even going to ask." Matthew admitted.

"Seriously?" Leon asked Mia, with disbelief.

"Yea, we were kind of not talking at that point." Mia said, cringing inwardly. It had been a while since she had thought about those days.

"So what happened when you asked?" Ariana asked, as Lily hungrily tried to take the spoon full of ice cream from her.

"Mia was going to kill me." Matthew snickered, his free arm coming around her.

"He's not lying. I was going to kill him." Mia said honestly, as the others laughed.

"Why did you say yes then?" Nathaniel asked, snickering as Matthew glared at him.

"We figured things out." Mia smiled, looking up at Matthew. His blue eyes gazed at her warmly.

"Aww..." The girls gushed, while the guys shook their heads.

"Yea, after that we went to city hall to get married." Matthew let slip, as Mia blinked hard.

"What!" The girls collectively yelled.

Mia watched as Matthew laughed at their reaction. He's so bad, Mia hid a smile, knowing he had said it to rile his cousin.

"Don't worry, we didn't go through with it. Matthew didn't want to rob Lina of the special occasion." Mia snickered, as Lina shot Matthew a death glare.

"What else did you guys see while you were there?" Oliver asked, wisely steering the conversation away from their engagement.

"Lots of stuff. We went to this amusement park, it had so many roller coasters, you guys should have seen the look on Mia's face." Matthew said, squeezing her hand, as he grinned. Feeling content, Mia listened as he told them about their adventures back home.


"Hey! Look who the cat dragged in!"

Grinning as he walked in to the weight room, Matthew found Nathaniel and Oliver looking at him, both were amused.

"Are you lost, or did you decide to come back since you missed us so much?" Oliver teased him.

"No...I got permission from Felix to use the gym...Leon, Lina, and Mia were getting tired of me working out in the house, they said I needed fresh air."

"I think they meant you need to go outside, not another gym!" Nathaniel commented, cheekily.

"Funny." Matthew smirked, as he leaned against the machine Oliver was working out on.

"So did you meet the new signings?" Oliver asked, looking over at him.

"Yea, I passed them on my way here. Felix said they were promising."

"Yup, and none of them steal my socks!"

"You're on a roll, aren't you Nathaniel." He muttered, as the younger player snickered.

"So where's Mia?" Oliver asked.

"Working, I think she had a meeting." Matthew answered, finally going to a bench next to the weights. Eyeing the weights, he carefully picked one up.

"So, she finally got a moment away from you!" Nathaniel snickered, as Matthew glared at him while Oliver laughed.

"Will you be coming with us to Indigo, then?" The younger footballer asked, as the blue eyed player started to lift weights.

"No, sorry, I'm taking Mia out to dinner tonight." He hid a smile at the thought. He was looking forward to their dinner, finally some time with Mia without Lina badgering them over wedding details.

Turning his attention to the younger player, he grinned.

"What are you going to do now that both of us are taken?" He teased Nathaniel. "Are you going to go with Blair?"

"Nope. We broke up two weeks after you left for Spain." Nathaniel shrugged.

"Sorry about that." Matthew said, meaning it, had he known he wouldn't have mentioned her. The younger player had been so happy to be reunited with the girl.

"That's alright. It's a clean break this time. I don't think she was really that interested in me, anyway." Nathaniel told them, honestly.

"Don't worry, Nate, you'll find the right girl eventually." Oliver told him.

"Yea. Hopefully." Nathaniel looked deep in thought for a moment. "So when are we going out for a guys night? You know I've been on a bar crawl again, and I found a great place! It's on the outskirts of town, and it's really interesting."

Matthew and Oliver sighed, at the brown eyed player's excitement as he continued to give them details about the place.


Typing up her notes, Mia's thoughts wandered. Now that they were getting married, she didn't want them to be separated. Minimizing the window of her word document, Mia opened up her internet browser, looking up universities in Spain.

It was the fourth time during the week she had looked up universities in Spain. The more she thought about it the more sense it made. After this season, what would hold her from joining Matthew there? Nothing. Yes she would miss her friends, the group she had been so lucky to meet were like her own family, but she would be able to see them on holiday. Her contract would be up by the end of the season, and with no intention of renewing it she'd be free to move to Madrid to be with Matthew. Her husband, she thought, relishing the words.

Even if she didn't get a job with a team or university there, she didn't mind going back to school and learning something else. The challenge made it all the more appealing. She didn't mind going back in to research, as long as they were together.


Sitting beside her on the ledge of the fountain, Matthew thought about how much time they had left together. Next week he would be back in Madrid training at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium with the rest of his team mates. Time was sure passing by quickly, he thought with mixed feelings.

Happy at the fact that he'd be able to play again soon, he was rather apprehensive of leaving Mia. Not because he had any doubts, but because he would miss her.

He would miss her scent, the touch of her skin, the feel of her lips, and those gorgeous green eyes.

Looking at her, he saw her making ripples in the water by touching her finger lightly to the surface of the pool.

"So...I've been thinking..." She told him, noticing his gaze on her.


"About moving to Madrid after this season."

"Really?" He asked, his heart jumping with joy.

"Yea. I don't want to be apart from you." She said, looking at him.

"Are you sure? I mean, I don't want you to give up everything for me."

"I'm sure."

"Is that what you really want?" He asked, giving her a chance to think about it, but there was no hesitation in her answer.

"Yes." She smiled.

Thinking about what that would mean for them, Matthew looked at Mia.

"You know...then we have one more thing to add to the list."

"What?" Mia asked, looking panicked.

"Finding a place to live." He told her.

"I thought you bought that house you were showing me?" Mia asked him, looking confused.

A sheepish grin on his face, Matthew was surprised she still remembered the house.

"I didn't buy it. I decided that I wanted you with me, so now we can pick out a house to live in together..." He revealed. Looking surprised at his answer, Mia kissed his cheek.

"Thank you..."



Mia shot a look of disdain at the man who sneered at her. James looked unhappy as he walked out of Felix's office. She had been called down to meet the manager after him, knowing that the purpose of these meetings were to finalize contracts for next season.

"James." Mia glared at him.

"Should I get you a box of tissues? Don't cry too much if you don't get renewed!" He said, smugly.

"Who said I cared about being renewed?" She shot back. "Don't worry though, I'll make sure Felix doesn't assign you my roster."

He walked away muttering under his breath.

Stepping in to the manager's office, Mia saw the elderly man looking through papers.

"Ahh, Mia. Please sit down." He said, looking up at her.

"So, the time has come to decide on contracts for next year. This season will be the last on your contract, would you like to stay with us?"

Having thought about her options, Mia didn't hesitate.

"I'm sorry Felix. But I'm going to have to decline the offer." She told him politely.

"I thought you would." He smiled understandingly. "However, I must say, that I am impressed you are here to fulfill your commitments. Mark was right when he said I would be an idiot not to hire you."

Feeling embarrassed at his kind words, Mia looked at the floor.

"Thank you, Felix. I really learned a lot working here."

"Good." The older man smiled.

As she got up from the chair, Felix stopped her.

"Since you'll be leaving, but I will need your help in finding a replacement."

Smiling, Mia nodded.

"Any suggestions about what doctors could make suitable replacements?" He asked her.

Thinking about it, she knew one person from the doctors that would be a good fit.

"Chuckie Manson."

Calvin and Kyle would kill her for suggesting Chuckie, but having spent a month travelling with him; she knew he wasn't like James or Damien at all. He had a good heart, and in time he would fit in with the other two.

"I will keep him in mind." Felix noted. "Let me know if you think of anyone else."

Nodding, Mia left his office.


Checking in his luggage, Matthew walked back to where they were waiting for him. Standing before the security barrier at Heathrow; Mia, Oliver, Lina, Leon, and Nathaniel were talking.

Dressed in a simple frock with tights, and a pair of flats, Mia brushed the loose hair away from her face, as she turned to see him. Her green eyes shimmering with emotion, but a smile on her face. She walked over to him.

This time, leaving wasn't as hard. He knew he could handle being away from her for now, now that they would be getting married in about a month's time. The knowledge that he would be coming home to her, was enough to loosen the knots in his stomach.

Holding her, his arms around Mia as she faced him, he was content. She would be waiting for him when he returned, and that would keep him going. It would be his motivation to stay injury free.

Leaning so that their foreheads were touching, Matthew looked in to the emerald green depths.

"I'm going to miss you." He whispered, as she gave him a sad smile.

"I'm going to miss you too."

Their lips touching, he kissed her passionately.

"We'll be okay this time." He assured her, as she smiled. "Because this time I know you love me, and you know that I love you too."

Hearing his flight being called, Mia kissed him tenderly.

"Have a safe flight." She told him, as he reluctantly let go of her.

"I'll call you when I get there." He promised her.

Embracing his friends and his cousins before hugging Mia one last time, he waved to them as he left for the security barrier. Feeling excited to be going back, he knew he had missed playing football.

Turning to look back one last time, he caught Mia's gaze. I'll be home soon, he thought as she waved to him. Back to you...