Blurry Dividing Lines
Chapter Thirty One: Distance Is Key
"Good thing we're only stuck here one day a week." Calvin commented.
Kyle, Calvin, and Mia stood by the field as they watched the players run laps.
"Good thing we're only stuck Mondays." Mia reminded him, not taking her eyes off her roster.
"True...so true." Kyle added; the three of them chuckling.
They had luckily gotten away with just one day on the field. Felix had seen their research and approved of it.
"I can't wait to see James freeze his ass out here." Kyle laughed.
"Agreed." Calvin and Mia said.
As they stood watching the players do exercises; Kyle turned to face Mia.
"How was it teaching for the legendary Mark Phillips?" Calvin asked her.
"It was fine... but you know what...that coupled with taking care of the U-21 really made me want to tell the them to bite me. I mean teaching was a good experience but hearing students whine and complain over tests and marks...not so much." She told them.
"Welcome back then...although I can't really see you saying bite me to anyone let alone students..." Kyle chuckled.
"Yea...neither can I...I mean I liked the experience but to be honest I loved working in the lab and researching." She admitted. At least I had peace and quiet then, she thought.
"Yea? I liked lab work but honestly I was kind of glad to get out of it. I hated writing papers." Kyle admitted.
"I don't like writing either. I just like doing the experiments. Dr. Phillips used to have to get on my case to make me publish my work. He was surprised when I didn't give him trouble this summer." Mia told them.
"Yea, Mark was a great guy...just a little scary." Calvin commented, as Mia and Kyle laughed.
"Seriously, I know it sounds stupid, but I used to hate asking him questions when I first started here. He's so intimidating and stoic." Calvin said, joining in the laughter.
As they settled down, Kyle asked the unavoidable question.
"So how's your roster? All summer I read about how many players were leaving the team."
"They are all there." She said, pointing out a few.
"I thought Rossi would surely be gone by the end of the summer. Madonia and Fields...I doubted them staying around much longer too." Calvin admitted.
"Yea, I heard Inter, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, were offering a lot for him." Kyle added.
"He's still here and so are the other two. Didn't he sign a three year deal the season before last?" Mia asked.
"Yea...but that's not a guarantee. Players usually leave if the club gets a good offer and if it's a prominent club...unless you have a ruler of steel who is willing to turn away the money." Kyle told her.
"But look at Torres and Fabregas...they haven't left. Why would Rossi?" Mia wondered.
"Fabregas has been complaining all summer, but his boss isn't stupid. I don't really know about Torres...but Rossi probably has Felix and his agent telling him to stay; since he's a pretty awesome player." Calvin answered.
"Maybe Felix didn't get a decent offer?" Kyle speculated.
"Or that..." Calvin conceded.
"Okay moving away from my roster...what about you two? Didn't you lose anyone?" Mia asked, getting slightly annoyed.
"Yea. Stefan moved to West Ham, and Enrico has left for his home country of Spain, he will be playing with Valencia this season. What about you Calvin?" Kyle asked.
"As much as I had hoped...Jason Roberts has not changed teams, and nor has his trusty little sidekick Drake. On the other hand I lost one player. Mischa left for Werder Breman." He answered.
"Didn't we acquire any new players?" Mia asked, wondering since they had lost a few maybe the team would have bought a few interesting ones to balance everything out.
"Actually...I heard that Felix was almost done signing Javier Moran to the team. He's from Chile...really good player...but I haven't heard of any others." Kyle answered.
"Interesting...maybe he'll sign some during the season?" Mia asked.
"You never know..." Calvin shrugged. "Maybe we'll finally get rid of Roberts."
"Yea, I need you to fix up the front room and my room. I'll be home for two weeks. Make sure there's food when I get there, and I want my car ready. Remember, steer clear of her. Yes, I mean it! Yea, thanks. Ciao." Matthew said as he got off the phone.
"Making arrangements?" Nathaniel asked, coming up behind him, as they walked to his apartment. "I'm glad I'm staying with my parents."
"Yea...well we'll be in Italy for two weeks. I have a perfectly good place to stay so why not use it. And I'm not giving Mia any chance to think of making me sleep on the ground." Matthew told him.
"Smart...so you're preparing your apartment for her? She could stay in the team hotel? She'll go after the big bed." Nathaniel teased him.
When Matthew didn't laugh, Nathaniel patted his shoulders.
"Just kidding. She'll be happy she doesn't have to share with you. Although I think she'll be sad about missing out on the free room service." He grinned. Matthew gave a small smile.
"What are you stressed out about anyway? It's just a friendly."
"Yea, I know. It's nothing." But HER!...Matthew added in his mind.
Shaking his thoughts away, Matthew unlocked the door.
"I can't wait to see my family." Nathaniel told him, as they walked in.
"Yea...I can't wait..." Matthew said half-heartedly. Nathaniel had no idea what Matthew would be facing. "To be chewed out again..." He muttered under his breath.
Leaving it at that, the two of them got some food out of the fridge and turned on the television. Matthew couldn't help it, but he could already feel the dread building up.
"How's work, Stace?" Mia asked, sitting in her office.
"Never ending! Remind me why I was so happy to move?" Stacie complained.
"Hot guys and sun!" Mia chirped.
"That's right...man I want to go home now. I miss rain." Stacie whined.
"Please don't say that. It'll start raining again." Mia grimaced, remembering her U-21 whiners and the fact that it had been quite rainy as of late.
"Not only does it rain around here about 70% of the time - be grateful you have sun – but you didn't have to deal with the younglings...consider your ears lucky." Mia said darkly.
"Come on Mia. It wasn't that bad. I remember how much you told me you loved teaching. Besides none of my students complain that much over tests." Stacie retorted.
"I said I liked it...I never said love. You have the good students...pfft..." Mia shot back.
"Alright, whatever. So how's work?" Stacie asked, giving up.
"It's fine. I'm going to Italy on the weekend." Mia told her.
"Oh right...you are going with Rossi, right? Is he still being cold?" Stacie perked up. Mia could hear the curiosity dripping from her words.
"No...but that doesn't mean that the trip is going to be any different." Mia told her, sternly. She had noticed Matthew being a slightly subdued recently.
"Ohh...I hear the disappointment in your voice." Stacie laughed.
"There it is again...the yearning in your voice."
Mia gritted her teeth as she heard this.
"Seriously, shut up. I'm still at work." Mia told her.
"It's not like anyone can hear me, Mia." Stacie pointed out.
"Still...just stop." Mia pleaded, looking around to make sure there wasn't anyone listening.
"Alright, alright...I'll stop teasing you about your huge crush on Matthew Rossi."
"Stacie!" Mia squeaked in to the phone. All she got in return was Stacie's laughter.
"Matt, you have to talk to her. She keeps calling the house for you."
"Who told her I was coming?" Matthew asked as he walked down a corridor...Lina had called him with some disturbing news.
"Matt! How stupid do you think she is? She knows you play for the national team. She knows their playing the States in about two weeks...and she knows you are coming. She's your mother for crying out loud." Lina told him, sounding annoyed with him.
"I'm guessing either you or Leon confirmed that I was coming on this end...and Rodrigo told on me on that end." He mentioned his younger cousin. He had called Rodrigo to set his apartment up...should have known how fast he would fold...Matthew thought unhappily.
"We didn't tell her anything she didn't already know, so don't even think of trying the 'I'm so disappointed in you' act." Lina told him. "Cause it's not going to work."
"Whatever...I'll talk to you later." He said, disgruntled, as he hung up the phone.
Stepping in to the office, Matthew didn't bother to knock.
Matthew saw the source of the voice sitting at her desk, reading her papers.
"Sorry...I had to deal with something." Matthew told her.
Mia turned around, to face him. Dressed in black jeans and grey collared shirt, under her lab coat; she looked annoyed with him.
"Okay...just don't let it become a habit...again." She told him, as she picked up his file and walked towards him.
"I won't." He mumbled, sitting on the examining table.
"Looking forward to the trip?" Mia asked him.
"If that's what you call it..." He muttered under his breath. When she gave him a strange look, Matthew looked away.
"Aren't you happy to be seeing your family?"
"Yea...I guess so." The family in his mind consisted of himself, Leon, and Lina. That was it. He sighed inwardly as she asked him her usual questions.
"So how come I'm staying with you?" Mia asked Matthew, she seemed to catch him off guard. They were done with his check up. He seemed to be somewhere else...he was distant. There were no sarcastic remarks, no mischievous glances. He was quiet, but not his usual cold quiet. Odd, Mia thought, as she watched him get off the table.
"I thought it would be easier for you, since neither I nor Nathaniel are staying in the team hotel. Besides...I didn't want Felix to worry." He told her, not giving and canny comments. What is wrong with him? Mia found herself wondering.
"Oh...that's alright." She told him, not completely satisfied with his answer. "But I can take care of myself." She gave a short glare, before smiling.
"I know you can..." He replied quietly before leaving.
Moving to grab the blanket and coming back empty, Matthew knew who the intruder was.
"Mia...the whole point of moving you in to the room was so that I wouldn't have to go through this." Matthew mumbled as he finally got hold of some blanket and pulled it over himself.
"Sorry...thunder loud." Mia mumbled half asleep.
"I didn't hear any." Matthew told the girl.
"Matt...dead as log..." Mia muttered; Matthew felt her calm even breath on his arm. She had fallen back asleep.
"It's like having a vice on my arm..." Matthew muttered as he tried to turn away, only to find her arm tightly wrapped around his. Sandwiched between them was the pink elephant.
Mia must have rushed over during the storm.
It was at that moment he heard a buzz. His phone was ringing. Grabbing it from under his pillow while making sure not to wake Mia, he found himself annoyed.
Who calls this early in the morning? Matthew thought with irritation.
Glancing at the caller ID, Matthew almost dropped the phone. It was his mother.