If Only Tonight - By Andene, Chapter 18, Romance

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If Only Tonight - By Andene, Chapter 18, Romance Empty If Only Tonight - By Andene, Chapter 18, Romance

Post  Andene on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:01 pm

Into The Storm

Chapter Eighteen: Some Tears Never Dry

Most of the week passed by with Mia accompanying Matthew and Nathaniel to their practices. She would spend a few hours before and after practice in an office – the Italian team had allocated for her use - making sure that neither of her two charges had serious injuries and that they weren't on the verge of making some of their old injuries worse. Later in the day, Nathaniel would take Mia to see the city. Sometimes Matthew would join them. It was only while she was with them she would forget the upcoming event she would be missing.

Having already spoken to her father, and hearing his disappointed tone of voice she had been left with a horrible feeling of guilt, so much so that she had emailed him, apologizing once more about missing the event. This time she had meant it.

Mia had tried hard not to think about it, but every time she was alone in the hotel room she shared with Matthew, although not often, thoughts of her angry mother would start to form. It didn't help that her mother had started to call her every day. Thankfully, Mia was usually with one or both of the players or at practice and didn't have a chance to answer her calls.

At least there was something good to come out of all this. Matthew wasn't being his usual jerkish self. Glad that Matthew was at least trying to get along with her, Mia walked around the length of the hotel room. He had left with Nathaniel to eat dinner with the Italian team. They were going out to celebrate the day before the match, since right after most of the players had to get back home for league matches. Although she had been invited, Mia had declined; she was a little tired from waking up early. There was also the fact that she didn't really know anyone else besides Matthew and Nathaniel. It was also the perfect time to answer her mother's call, something which was fast becoming inevitable.

Shutting off the television, Mia walked over to her bed and opened up her laptop. She had just opened her email, when her cell phone started to ring. Like clockwork, Mia thought, a little disgruntled. Hands shaking she picked up the phone, Mia saw the name on the display, her heart plummeted. Knowing this was the best time to deal with her mother, Mia answered the phone.

"Mellenia, where have you been? I've been trying to get a hold of you." Her mother admonished her.

"Hello mother." Mia said curtly. "I was working when you called."

"I see." There was a pause. The calm before the storm, Mia thought bracing herself.

"Your father has informed me that you won't be attending tomorrow." Mia winced at the words.

The formality of her mother's tone had always disturbed her. Unlike her father, her mother didn't use terms of endearment, at least not with Mia.

"I tried to get time off but something came up at work."

"Something always comes up at work, doesn't it? You must have tried very hard." Mia was left stung by the comment.

"Despite what you might think, mother, I was planning to come. It's just that two of the players on my roster had international games." She tried to explain.

"So? You should have thought of that ahead of time." That's so easy for you to say, Mia thought with irritation.

"Mom, I don't think you get it. I was told last minute. I'm not even in London, right now." She told her mother through gritted teeth.

"Where are you then, Mellenia? What is it that's keeping you from your brother's memorial this time?"

"I'm in Luxembourg." Mia clenched her fists, she could tell her mother was about to tear her apart.

"Look, Mom, I'll be coming home after the guys play their game tomorrow. My flight is booked for Thursday." Mia said, in anguish.

"You brother's memorial isn't on Thursday, or Friday, or even Saturday; Mellenia. It's on Wednesday the eighth of December. That means tomorrow. What good is it if you come days later?"

The words struck Mia hard, life a knife going through her heart. Tears started to well up in her eyes. Trying to keep her breathing steady, Mia tried to compose herself. Getting up off the bed, she began to pace the length of the room.

"I wasn't just coming for Max's memorial. I was coming to see both you and Dad." She told her mother.

"Clearly, you weren't coming for Maximillion. You have no respect for your dead brother." She could be so callous.

"Mom, stop this nonsense. I knew Max better than you. He wouldn't have treated me this way." Mia shot back, sick and tired of allowing her mother to use Max against her.


"I'm stuffed." Nathaniel said to Matthew, as they walked up the stairs if the hotel. Matthew's coat slung over one shoulder. They had had to dress formally for the dinner.

"You should be. How are you going to play tomorrow? Can you digest all of that?" Matthew teased him.

"I'll be fine. Too bad Mia didn't come." Nathaniel commented.

Unable to formulate a proper response, Matthew shrugged his shoulders. As they reached Matthew's floor, Nathaniel grinned at him.

"What?" Matthew asked, confused.

"Have fun sleeping on the ground tonight!"

Matthew shoved Nathaniel, shaking his head. Nathaniel had a point.

"She probably jumped at the chance to take over the bed." Nathaniel laughed, as Matthew headed for the door that led to his floor. Holding the door open, Matthew thought of a proper retort.

"If she did, you'll be forfeiting your bed to me." Matthew threatened only to hear Nathaniel laugh harder.

"You're actually worried." He called from the next flight of stairs.

"See you tomorrow, Madonia."

"Yup. I'll be the well rested one from the both of us."

"Ha, ha...more like the bloated one..." Matthew said dryly, as he walked through the door, only to hear Nathaniel's laugh echo behind him. He sincerely hoped that Mia hadn't fallen asleep yet. He was not someone who enjoyed having his creature comforts taken from him.

As he slid the card through the card reader and opened the door, he noticed the room was dark. Walking in quietly, he heard her sobbing. What's going on? Did someone hurt her? Matthew found himself thinking as he quickly walked towards the sound.

"Why do you always have to be like this?" He heard her tell someone.

Moving silently through the darkness, Matthew came around the bed placing his coat on his side. He saw Mia was sitting against the bed, facing the wall. Tears were streaming down her face, glimmering in the light of her cell phone. He couldn't help but feel slightly relieved.

"Mom, this isn't about Max! It's about you always having a go at me!" He watched as she stifled another sob. She hadn't seen him yet.

"You can't keep doing this! This is why I don't come, you always attack me! No, don't hang up! Mom! Please don't-" He watched as Mia started to lower the phone.

"Urrgh!" He heard a frustrated snarl, as Mia threw her phone at the wall across from her. From the sound of it the phone had split apart

Waiting a moment, Matthew turned on the lamp before crouching beside her.

"Are you okay?" He asked her.

Looking up, startled, Mia wiped away her tears quickly. She looked to where she had thrown her phone. As Matthew followed her gaze, he saw that the faceplate, back plate, and battery had come away cleanly. It would be easy to put back together.

"It's nothing." She told him, making no movement to get up. Tears started to fall once more. She leaned her head against the bed, tears running down her face.

Sighing inwardly, Matthew sat down.

"If it was nothing, you wouldn't be upset." He told her.

"It's not like you care. We're not friends. I'm stuck here. My mother hates me." She told him. Mia encircled her arms around her knees, drawing them close to her chest.

"Your mother doesn't hate you." He tried to reassure her. She doesn't hate you unless she's like my mother, He thought to himself.

"You don't know her. She wishes that my brother was still alive. If she could exchange our places...she would. She even missed my graduation to spite me!" Mia's voice broke as she spoke.

She was clearly upset.

"I didn't know you had a brother." Matthew said, as he fished through his pockets for some Kleenex. He handed her the tissue.

"There's a lot you don't know." Mia told him, wiping away her tears.

It was true. He still hadn't taken the time to get to know her. I could start now, he decided.

"This family thing... Does it have something to do with your brother?" Matthew asked the obvious question.

"It's a memorial for him. My mother insists on holding it every year."

"When is it?"


Matthew winced with discomfort. That was why she had wanted to go home. Had it not been for his game, Mia would have been with her family attending the memorial.

"I'm sorry you'll be missing it." He told her, in earnest.

She eyed him carefully; upon deciding that he was being sincere she spoke.

"It's okay...I've missed it before, I wasn't even sure I wanted to go...but then I thought I should because it was the five year anniversary. Besides she likes to leave me in tears every year...twice a year."

Matthew was nonplussed by this.

"Twice a year?"

"The memorial and on my birthday."

"Why on your birthday?" Matthew asked, confused.

"Because my brother and I were twins."

Understanding dawned on Matthew. The guy in the picture, the gravestone; they both belonged to Mia's brother. Come to think of it, he had the same auburn hair, and green eyes.

"I told you she hates me." With that the tears started again. Not knowing how to soothe her, Matthew decided to keep her talking. He was curious about her.

"Mia, what happened to your brother?"

"Why? It's not like you care. You don't know what it's like to lose someone and have to live with it for the rest of your life." She told him, her head resting on knees once more.

I do know what it's like, Matthew thought to himself. I know exactly what it's like.

"Mia, I know how it is." He told her, cryptically.

"Really? Who have you lost?" Mia asked, looking up at him.

"Family." He told her, vaguely. When she didn't say anything, Matthew changed his question.

"What was he like?"


Mia contemplated talking to him about it. Here she was, alone in a hotel with Matthew and he wanted to know something about her life. He seemed genuinely interested. She sighed; if he really had lost someone then he would understand her.

"Max was the best brother you could have. He used to stand up for me in front of our mother. It annoyed her when he wouldn't let her have a shot at me. We were born ten minutes apart...I was the older one, but he was my mother's favorite. She had always wanted a son..."

She paused, trying to figure out the most important things about Max.

"He was lively. I liked books, but he liked adventure. We used to go to the cottage in the summer and he would go hiking, and stay out the whole time. He used to drag me outside with him, we'd go fishing, swimming, and sometimes I'd end up stuck hiking with him." Mia smiled through her tears, at the memories of the two of them.

"He was really outgoing; he could make friends with everyone. If you met him, you would like him automatically."

It surprised her that Matthew was listening intently. He watched her expressions, his blue eyes not cold or distant, this time they held warmth.


Watching her speak of her brother, Matthew could feel she didn't resent him for being the favorite. The way she spoke of her brother was with love. Sitting there beside Mia, Matthew felt enthralled. He wanted to know more, not just about Max but about Mia. That will be something to look forward to, he thought in regards to her.

"So, what happened to him?" Matthew asked, as she had been quiet for too long.

"He started hanging out with the wrong crowd in high school. My mother was not happy with me because I skipped ahead and finished before him. So when we didn't go to school together, she thought I let him flounder. She thought I did it on purpose." She told him, her eyes beginning to wet once more.

"He stayed behind a year in high school, since he was cutting class and he failed a few courses. I tried to help him but I was living on campus at a university. I don't even know when it happened...he just changed overnight. I don't even know why."

The way she spoke, Matthew could tell she had never voiced her feelings to anyone. He let her continue.

"He got into drugs and I tried to get him to stop. He said he would but then I would get a call at three in the morning and it would be him telling me to come get him."

He saw her hold herself more tightly.


"I would take a cab, or bus to where he was and I'd get him home without my mother noticing."

"Why didn't you tell your mother?" Matthew asked, he looked puzzled.

She looked up at him, her eyes giving way to her pain. She had asked herself the same question many times.

"If I told her or my father, he said he would never tell me where he was and he'd never call me again for help. If I told her, she would never believe that Max was doing drugs."

They sat in silence. Mia had hated herself for not having said anything. There was only one way to justify it.

"At least I knew where he was. At least one person knew." She rationalized.

"What happened then?" Matthew asked.


"What happened then?"

The air was tense as Matthew asked her. He could see that the story was coming closer to its end. Close to the cause of Max's demise.

"I don't know...a few months before he died, Max stopped talking to me. I guess he thought I had told our parents, but I hadn't. I tried calling him, but he wouldn't answer. I would stay up nights, waiting for his calls."

She sounded so broken; Matthew would have given anything to make her happy.

"It was June 8th...a month after we turned eighteen, and I was studying in the library. I had taken summer courses at the university. It was after the sunset, it was raining hard." He listened to her set the scene.

"My dad called me and said he was coming to pick me up. The police wanted to talk to him about Max, and he thought it was better if I come with him. He thought I could be of help."

Her voice wavered.

"I dropped my books in my dorm room and I ran out to wait for my dad. We drove to this tiny apartment in some alley in Toronto. There were police cars everywhere, and a couple of ambulances. I ran out before my dad had a chance to shut the engine off."

Pausing to compose herself, Matthew could see how hard the ordeal had been for her.

"I got to where the officers were standing, inside a roped off area, and I asked them where Max was. One of them told me he was sorry for my loss. I didn't believe him...I asked him what he had done to Max, and he wouldn't tell me."

Tears started to flow once more. Matthew checked his pockets for more tissue but there wasn't any. She didn't need them anyway, he watched as she wiped her tears with her shirt sleeve.

"When my dad got there, they told him. The police had been called to the apartment. It was a drug crack down or something. They found my brother and a few other guys. He was on heroin."

There was nothing that could have prepared Matthew to hear this.

"When they tried to arrest him, he tried to attack them. They tazered him. That was it."

Sniffling, Mia leaned against the bed. Matthew didn't know what to say.

"It was a freak accident...but of course they found needle marks in the crook of his elbows...he had been injecting himself with heroin. So he would have died one day..."

"I'm sorry, Mia." Was all Matthew could muster up.

"So am I...I should have tried harder to stop him. It's all my fault. I wish I could have him back. I'd do anything...I would give up everything to get Max back. I miss him so much..." With that her voice broke, and she was crying again.

Hesitating for only a moment, Matthew put his arms around her.

"Shh...It's not your fault. You weren't the one who decided to take the drug." He told her.

"Yes it is..." Came a muffled sound.

"It's not your fault, Mia." He said once more, and he held her.


As the sobs started to subside, Mia felt guilty for dragging Matthew in to her problems. He has a match tomorrow, she thought.

"I'm sorry." She told him, as he let her go.


"You have a game tomorrow. You were right...I am a distracted doctor..."

"I shouldn't have said that." He told her, sounding remorseful.

Leaning her head against his shoulder, Mia felt slightly comforted, knowing that she wasn't alone. Maybe he was telling her the truth about losing someone...he seemed to know how to deal with her. Who had he lost? What had happened? Mia wondered, as she stared up at the wall. They stayed in this way for a few moments, a comfortable silence settling on them.

"Let's get you to bed." Matthew told her, softly.

Realizing that she was indeed tired, Mia let him pick her up. He pulled away the covers and nudged her into bed. Unable to resist, Mia could feel her eyes droop.

"Matt?" She called out to him.


"Good luck with your game tomorrow. I hope you win." She told him, when what she really had meant to say was thanks.

Closing her eyes, she knew it wouldn't be long before sleep found her. She was exhausted, both emotionally and physically. Feeling him sit on the bed beside her, Mia was grateful to him. He couldn't know how much it meant to her, that he had been there for her.

"We will." She heard him tell her, as she drifted off.

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