With things finally getting back to normal, Matthew woke up relaxed. Mia had agreed to let him drive them both to work, and back; since they would be starting and ending at the same time for once. Felix had announced that there was some minor maintenance to be done on the complex, and since the power would be shut off for a few hours, the staff and players were told the work day would end at four.
A perfect opportunity to catch some time with Mia, Matthew had arranged for the Ferrari to be checked out. He knew it needed an oil change, and it wouldn't hurt to look over the brakes either. Leon would be taking the car to the mechanic today. Initially, Mia had complained about the arrangement, saying she wanted to drive the American monstrosity that had been parked in the lower level of the garage. It had taken Matthew's reluctant agreement to unleash the car for the weekend that had placated Mia in to coming along with him.
I still don't get what she sees in that car, Matthew thought, as he got dressed. He would have to keep his word if he wanted Mia to trust him again.
Walking in to the kitchen, Matthew saw Lina and Leon huddled together, discussing something in hushed tones.
"What are you two up to?" Matthew asked, suspiciously, getting a glass of milk.
"Nothing. Good morning to you too, cousin." Lina said looking up, as he sat on a barstool in front of the counter.
She walked over to him and placed a plate full of waffles, and syrup, his breakfast smelled inviting.
"Ready?" Leon asked Lina, as Matthew was about to take a bite.
"Ready? Ready for what?" Matthew asked, but Lina and Leon ignored him.
Lina glanced at the clock.
"Yea." She told her older brother.
Bewildered, Matthew watched as his cousins started to count down.
No sooner had they reached one, a loud crash sounded from above. About to get up to see what was going on, Lina gave Matthew a look.
"Sit down, finish your breakfast." She told him, as she set another place at the counter. She was undisturbed by the loud sound.
"What was that?" He asked, perturbed by his cousins behaviour.
"Mia has awoken." Lina replied, placing a glass of fruit punch beside the plate.
Not fully comprehending what she meant, Matthew continued to eat his food.
It was a few minutes before he saw the girl walk in to the kitchen. Mia, dressed in a black frock, with matching tights, came in to the kitchen rubbing her shoulder. He saw her notice his cousins, they were grinning.
"You two were counting down again, weren't you?" Mia guessed, giving them a suspicious look. It seemed in the short time, Mia had been living with his cousins, the three of them shared an inside joke.
Inwardly, sighing, at the predicament he was in; Matthew shrugged off the feeling of disappointment as Mia came to sit beside him.
"So, you're the loud crash at seven in the morning?"
His voice sounded amused, as they drove along in the car. Mia could feel the blush creeping up her cheeks. It was so embarrassing that she usually fell off the bed in the morning. Waiting for her face to cool down before looking over at him, Mia gave a small nod.
Finally feeling the heat subside, Mia snuck a peak at him. Matthew was looking at the road, but the trace of a smile was on his face. His lips slightly turned up, it was clear he found her predicament amusing.
"It's not funny." She told him, poking his shoulder with a finger. His smile became more pronounced.
"I never said it was." He looked over, giving her a grin. "You could always lower the bed."
"Lina won't allow it. Something about the decor of the room having to be approved." She told him.
"Right. She's the one who picks out the furniture." He glanced at her. "Sucks to be you." He remarked, before laughing at her predicament.
"Keep laughing...it won't be so funny when you can't find your shoes." She told him, snidely.
At once he gave her a shocked look.
"Who told you?"
"About what? You're lucky cleats?" She asked feigning innocence.
"It was Lina wasn't it."
"I never reveal my sources."
"Great, so now I have to worry about the two of you taking my shoes instead of one." He said, a faint smile played on his face.
He seemed to be in a lighter mood these days, Mia observed. Since the night at the park, he had been happier, unlike his usual broody self. Having beaten her in finding more constellations, which was a surprise to even her; they had spent time talking about other things before finally returning to the car.
As she turned to look out the window, she heard his voice.
"Are you seeing Stacie tonight?" He asked.
"No, she was asked to sit as a panellist for a few dissertations tonight. Her mentor, Dr. Garland, has a few students who are presenting their papers. He thought it would be great practice for her." Mia answered.
"So what are you going to do tonight?"
"Lina and I have a movie night tonight!"
"I thought that was Fridays and Saturdays?" He asked her with a puzzled look.
"It's anytime we have nothing to do. Besides, Lina said there was rain in the forecast and neither of us want to get soaked going out somewhere." Mia shrugged. "Want to join us?"
"Sorry, as much as movie night appeals to me, I promised Nevarra that we'd go out tonight."
They were quiet as Matthew drove in to the team complex parking lot.
"I'll come and get you when I'm ready to leave. So just wait for me at your office, if I'm running late." Matthew said, as they both stepped out of the car.
"Yea sure." Mia agreed.
"Don't get too scared if the lights go out." Matthew smirked, she felt him bump his shoulder in to hers. He was laughing at the look on her face.
"Shut up." She said, pushing back.
Uncharacteristically, he stuck his tongue out at her. The silly look on his face made her laugh, as they entered the complex together.
"See you later, Mia. Remember to keep a flashlight on hand." He said, making sure to get in a parting shot. Pushing her again slightly, but moving away before she could retaliate, she watched as Matthew gave her a quick grin.
Shaking her head, Mia watched as he walked down the hall. Turning down the opposite hallway, Mia began her short walk to her office, all the while smiling.
"So, where are you going tonight?"
They were finally driving home, Matthew had been teasing Mia mercilessly over the power outage. He had been tempted to wait until the power went out to get her. As though, she had thought he would be up to something like that, Matthew had found Mia in her office, giggling as she and Nathaniel huddled over his phone and watched funny videos.
Finally managing to change the subject, Matthew glanced over at her. She was making patterns out of the condensation on her window.
"We're going to the Shrek musical and then hit Independent." He told her, Nevarra had pestered him to take her to the opening of the new club.
"If you want you could always come with us. Nevarra would love to hang out with you." Matthew offered when Mia hadn't said anything. It would make it so much easier for him to come home earlier if Mia came along.
She grinned at him.
"No offence, but your night doesn't sound half as appealing as movie night with Lina."
He chuckled as he parked the car in to the driveway.
No sooner had he opened the door to the house, he heard Lina's voice.
"Mia! Guess what I got?" Lina called from the living room.
Matthew watched as she quickly took off her shoes before rushing to the living room.
"Just Dance for Kinect! We're going to have so much fun!" His cousin squealed. "Oh, and I got the movies we agreed on."
"Which ones?" Matthew walked over to the room, to see Mia and Lina looking over something.
"Well, Matthew, we're going to watch The Notebook and The Time Traveler's Wife." She told him, holding up the DVD cases.
Now he was sure he was making a mistake going out with Nevarra tonight. They were going to watch sappy movies, and he knew Mia would be in tears at the end. He wanted to be the one she leaned on...and now he wouldn't be.
"So are you ready to play, Mia?" Lina asked.
"Just let me drop off my laptop bag and my coat. I'll be right back!"
He watched as Mia left the room excitedly and ran up the stairs.
"You might want a box of tissues to go along with your movies." Matthew told his cousin.
"Don't worry, Matty. I'm well prepared. We have chocolate, chips, pizza, and Coke to go along with the tissues." She grinned at him, she must have learned about the tears.
"Where's Leon?" It suddenly struck Matthew that he hadn't heard about the oldest of them.
"He's still at the office. He has a flight to catch tonight. He'll be in Tuscany to check the next batch of wine. Apparently the grapes fermented really well for this batch, my dad was telling me about the spectacular taste." Lina told him.
Running the company, the three of them had started after Matthew had been signed to the Italian league had been a smart decision. Matthew, not wanting to waste too much of his earning had decided to do something that would benefit his whole family; and of course his cousins had supported him. Moving here had been a more difficult decision, but creating an office here had worked out for all of them.
"How come you didn't stay late?" Matthew asked, smirking.
"Marketing, branding, and graphic design are not the hardest to do, little cousin. I've got them down to a science." She told him with a huge grin. "Besides, with Leon going for a week, I'll have to take over his duties...so an early day today will keep me from dying on my late days for the rest of the week."
Before he could say anything more, Mia had returned.
"Okay, I'm ready!" She said, bounding in to the room.
"I'm going to go get dressed. I'll see you guys later." Matthew said, excusing himself.
Walking up the stairs to his room, he couldn't believe how stupid he was, walking away from her. Here was a great opportunity to spend time with Mia, and he was forcing himself to go out with another woman.
I should listen to Oliver, and just asked her out...he thought. No! No, you shouldn't, his mind retaliated. You're not good enough for her, you'll do something stupid and hurt her, so its better if for now you stay away, he thought, forcing himself to move on.
Laughter bubbled up from the floor below. Matthew smiled, as he started to go through his closet. He remembered what Mia had told him that night in the park. He had asked her if she had one wish what would she wish for.
"You can't ask for wealth, knowledge, or immortality. And none of those 'I would save the world from poverty or hunger.'" He had told her.
He had watched as she thought about it for a moment.
"I would ask for Max to comeback, but be okay not like he was before he died." She had told him. "What about you?"
"I would probably ask for my dad or my sister." He had said, understandingly. Silence had settled over them.
"You have a...a really great family, Matt." She had said, quietly. "Leon and Lina remind me of my brother. She's outgoing, he's really easy to talk to about pretty much anything, and they're both caring." It was the first time in so long she had mentioned her brother.
"Thank you." He had said, knowing how much the two had meant to him.
Checking his appearance in the mirror, he deemed himself presentable. His black shirt, and dress pants were wrinkle free; running a hand through his hair, he pushed it to one side. Grabbing a black coat from his closet, Matthew walked out of his room, only to hear laughter coming from down below.
Curious, Matthew crept down the stairs quietly. When he reached the middle of the stair case, he had a view in to the living room. The two girls were standing in front of the large flat screen TV, with the sofa behind them.
"How did you win that one?" Lina asked Mia.
"I don't know. Dumb luck?" Mia replied. "You still have the high score, though."
"Want to do this one?" He saw Lina motion to something on the screen.
Leaning on the banister, Matthew watched as the two girls moved to stand side by side. Music started to play, and he saw them start to copy the dance moves on the screen. Amused, Matthew couldn't help but stare as Mia moved along to the music gracefully. As they started to move faster, he saw how both of them snuck glances at each other, it was clear both were fiercely competitive. Mischievous, Lina tried to trip Mia.
"Nice try!" Mia said, as she jumped over the other girl's foot.
"The high score is mine!" Lina said, loudly.
In a quick but fluid move, Matthew watched in surprise as Mia moved out an arm and pushed Lina back, making it look like a move from the screen. A grin breaking on to his face, he watched as Lina fell on to the sofa, she quickly grabbed Mia by the waist; both girls stumbling on to the couch, breaking in to fits of laughter. Matthew was impressed with her slick move.
"You cheater!" Lina cried, as she pulled away from Mia.
"You started it!" Mia had gotten hold of a cushion, and tried whacking Lina with it.
"You missed!" Lina exclaimed, as wrestling Mia for control of the cushion, but the doctor was too quick for her. Mia had let go of one cushion only to grab another, and hit Lina on the shoulder with it. Their laughter travelled all the way to where he was.
Walking the rest of the way down the stairs, he came to stand by the entrance to the living room. He cleared his throat. At once the two girls looked up from the couch. Looking cute, Mia's hair was strewn across her face, she quickly ran a hand through it to put it in place; while Lina grinned at him.
"Want to join us, or are you scared?" His cousin asked, as Mia snickered.
"Maybe later. Anyway, I'm on my way out. I'll be back late. Make sure to give Leon the files." He told her.
"Yea sure. See you later." "Bye, Matt!" Lina and Mia said, as they returned to face the TV.
"Bye...Mia..." Matthew said, his heart heavy, as he turned to leave.
"Where are you off to?" Mia asked when she saw Leon come up the stairs from the basement with a suitcase, a file in his hand, and a stuffed laptop bag over one shoulder.
"I have a flight to catch. I'm leaving for Italy, it's a week long business trip." He told her.
"Have fun?" Mia said, hesitantly.
"I doubt it." Leon smiled. "Before I go, just thought I'd let you know that Nevarra won't be coming over, in case you're planning to go out."
"You asked?" Mia wondered, between the three of them, Leon usually wound up with that duty.
"I called him to make sure. He said he had no plans of heading back to the house with her. I think their heading to a club after the musical." Leon told her.
"No problem. Anyway, I should be heading out. Remind Lina to pick me up next week."
"Has she ever forgotten?" Mia asked, amused.
"You have no idea. Once she left me stranded at Gatwick for a couple of hours. She only remembered when Matthew asked her why I wasn't back yet." He grinned.
"I promise I'll remind her, then." Mia said, solemnly, before grinning back.
"Enjoy the movies." He said, giving her a small hug.
"Enjoy your flight."
"Will do. Lina! I'm going. Ciao." He said, calling for his sister.
"Ciao, bello. I'll see you next week." Lina said, appearing in the hallway, Leon went over to give his sister a hug.
"Don't forget to pick me up." He reminded her, before turning to leave.
Mia watched as he headed out. Walking back to the living room with Lina, she settled on the couch beside the girl.
"You've forgotten him?" She asked, teasingly.
"Just once! Uhh...I can't believe he told you!" She chuckled. "That was like two years ago, it slipped my mind that he was waiting for me at the airport. He still holds it against me."
"Chips?" Lina offered, handing the bag over to Mia.
The two of them settled down to watch the movie.
Thunder and lightening woke Mia up. A streak of lightening illuminated her room.
Disoriented, from being jolted out of a deep sleep. Mia scrambled under her pillow to hide from the storm. The rumble of thunder shook her room. Fear started to build up, as she tried to keep calm.
Not waiting for another sound, Mia ran out of her room to the only place she could find refuge.
Seeing the door closed, Mia urgently knocked on it. A flash of lightening brightened up the hallway.
Suddenly, Matthew opened the door. Mia was surprised to see him standing in front of her, bare chested and in his boxers.
"Mia? What's wrong?" He asked her, concerned.
Stunned Mia took a moment to collect her thoughts, as thunder sounded around them with another flash of lightening, scattering her thoughts.
"I...I..." She stuttered.
Before Mia could say anything, she heard a voice that made her blood run cold.
"Come back to bed, babe." She heard Nevarra call.
"Come back to bed, babe."
Grimacing inwardly, Matthew couldn't believe how stupid he had been. Here was Mia scared out of her wits by a storm, and Nevarra was in his room waiting for him. Shit! He thought.
The look on Mia's face told him she was upset.
"N-Never mind..." She muttered, before slowly retreating to her room. As a lightening struck once more, Matthew watched as the girl jumped, moving quickly towards her room. The door shut behind her.
Closing the door to his own room, Matthew walked back towards his own bed, grabbing his cell phone from the dresser.
Go to Mia's room. She's scared of storms. He texted his cousin, hoping she hadn't turned her phone on silent or worse turned it off.
"You know what? I really don't feel like doing this. I'm just not in the mood." he told a scantily clad Nevarra, putting his phone away.
"I can't believe you, Matt!" She cried haughtily. "Are you serious?"
"I am. I'm just tired, and I have a really long day tomorrow." He tried giving her a plausible explanation.
Grabbing her clothes and putting them back on, she looked furious with him.
"This is all because of that girl!" She cried. "This is all Mia's fault! Everything was going fine until she showed up."
Matthew said nothing, which infuriated her further.
"You know what, whatever! You better have a really great way to make up for this, or don't bother calling."
With that he watched as Nevarra angrily walked out of the room. It was moments before the front door slammed shut.
Hearing the door softly open, Mia heard footsteps, the bed creaked as someone joined her. Moving her head out from under two pillows, she turned to find Lina settling in beside her.
"Hey...Matthew told me to check up on you. Are you okay?" The older girl asked with concern.
"Yea. Thanks." Mia lied, shakily, trying to keep the pain out of her voice. Her heart was hurting.
A loud rumble sounded, with lightening blinding her. She ducked her head back under the pillows and blanket. Lina moved an arm on to her shoulder.
"Don't worry. I'm right here. I think the storms moving further away." Lina comforted Mia.
Nodding her head, Mia started at the underside of her blanket, as tears silently rolled down her face.
© Copyright 2016 Andene. All rights reserved.
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