Chapter Forty Two: She's Not One Of You
“Please listen to me, Mia! I swear this guy will meet up with you.” Stacie pleaded on the other end of the phone.
“No, Stacie. I can't.” She answered, leaning back in to her chair. Mia was taking a fifteen minute break before her next appointment.
“Why not?” Her best friend whined on the other end of the phone.
“I don't have time.” Mia replied, as she checked her email. Along with team emails, Stacie's emails, her father had emailed her. What did I forget now? Mia wondered.
“Seriously, Mia? What's keeping you so busy?”
Mia could hear the annoyance in her best friend's voice. Stacie hated any excuse Mia would give her, but in all honesty she had no time.
“Sorry, Stace...tonight I have a dinner with Ariana. You know, Oliver's wife. She invited me to her place. Just us two since Oliver is going out with Matt and Nate to Indigo. Friday I have a team and press meet and greet. Saturday is the day before the match and everyone has to be at training, Felix's orders. Sunday is the match.”
“So let me get this straight. You're ditching this guy – that I found for you – that could be the love of your life for some footballer's wife, a team dinner, and training and a football game.”
Mia rolled her eyes, Stacie was just being overly dramatic.
“You were the one who told me to make friends. Ariana is really nice.”
“Did you have to make friends when I have a guy lined up for you?”
“Yea I kind of did...” Mia said distractedly. She clicked open her father's email.
Scanning it she breathed a sigh of relief. 'Dearest Mia, We're just wondering how you are. Hope work is going well. Take care. Love your Mom and Dad.' More like just Dad, Mia thought to herself.
“So?” Came the question.
“Huh?” Mia asked stupidly. She had forgotten Stacie was on the phone.
“Did you hear what I just said?”
“Yea, of course.” Mia fibbed.
“Okay, so how about it then?”
“How about what? Come again?” Mia knew she was caught. Closing her email, she directed her full attention to her friend.
“You're going to have to go out with this guy eventually...so I'll be nice...tell me when you're free.”
“I will...but not yet. I need a break from all the non-date dates you forced upon me.” Mia snickered.
“Shut it, Mia. I swear if I find out that you scared them off, I will kill you.”
“I swear I didn't have anything to do with it.” Mia said, hastily.
“Well if it wasn't you, maybe it was the guys you hang out with. Maybe your roomie did it. I find it hard to believe that Old King Cold could resist a charmer like you.”
Mia couldn't believe the accusations Stacie was coming up with.
“Stace, those guys have lives. They go out more than I do.” She defended them.
“Whatever, I'm just saying. It could have been one of them scaring my hard work off.”
“I highly doubt it. They have no reason to meddle in my life.” She told Stacie firmly.
“Okay, well...I'm going to go. Tomorrow is another day...to work my group to death....yay!” Stacie said, sarcastically.
Finally satisfied with his lap time, Matthew headed to the change rooms. He had been swimming in the pool for the last two hours. His arms were starting to feel sore.
Changing back in to his track pants and team shirt from the training match earlier in the day, he walked out of the gym in the direction of the nearest entrance to the apartment. Glancing at his watch to check the time, he saw he had half an hour to get ready before going out.
Nathaniel, Oliver, and himself were going to go to Indigo tonight. It felt like he had not seen Oliver for a while. It was weird. They would catch up at practice, but his absence in the apartment was huge. He was looking forward to a night out with his best friends. Maybe Mia would come with them? He wondered, finding himself a little hopeful.
Entering the apartment, he could see he was alone. It was dark, and quiet. When Mia was around, the living room or their shared room would be alight. If he was around, the lights would be on, but more likely the television would be on.
Once changed in to jeans and shirt, Matthew sat on the couch and turned on the TV. It wasn't long as he flipped through the channels, that the door unlocked.
“Hey!” It was Oliver.
“Hey!” Matthew said, happily, getting up to greet the older player.
“Didn't think I would come?” Oliver asked with a grin.
“Honestly, I was a little unsure. But you've always come through before.” Matthew answered.
“How did you get Ariana to let you out?” He asked, as Oliver sat down beside him, taking the remote control.
“She pretty much pushed me out tonight.” Oliver answered.
“Why-” Matthew's question was interrupted when the door unlocked, in stepped Mia and Nathaniel.
“Oliver!” Mia exclaimed, clearly happy to see the blond haired boy.
“Hello Mia!” Oliver stood up, giving her a warm smile.
Matthew watched as Mia hurried over to Oliver and gave him a hug. A part of him wished she would receive him that way. Nathaniel came to stand beside him, smiling at the reunion.
“It feels like I haven't seen you in such a long time.” Mia told him, as she let go.
“I know. I only see you at practice or during appointments.” The older player told her.
“Where have you been hiding, Oliver?” Nathaniel asked, it seemed that Matthew wasn't the only person who felt like Oliver had gone missing.
“I was taking care of Ariana. She was a little under the weather. She's good now, but for a while she was really panicking about the baby, and about being a good parent.” Oliver told them. They all murmured their well wishes for Ariana and the baby.
“So are you coming with us to Indigo, Mia?” Nathaniel asked, Matthew had been wondering the same thing.
“Sorry guys, not tonight.” She told them, with a smile. Oliver and Mia exchanged looks.
For a moment, Matthew could feel his heart race. What if she had a date? Or worse...what if she knew he had interfered with her dates? I'm so screwed, he thought.
“Where are you off to, then?” Matthew asked, trying to keep his tone indifferent. He saw the looks Nathaniel and Oliver exchanged, they knew what he was thinking, and judging by the smirks on their faces...they were going to raz him about it later.
“Ariana invited me over for dinner.” She told him, before heading to her room to get something.
Oh, he thought momentarily relieved. Then it dawned on him.
“Oh, shit!” Matthew said aloud.
“I was wondering when you would catch on.” Oliver said, laughing at him.
“Lina did this...didn't she?”
“Well no...not exactly...Ariana really likes Mia. They get along well at dinners and she wanted to get to know Mia better. There aren't a lot of girls that you would consider friend-worthy around here.” Oliver clarified.
“So what is the Lina part in this? The part I already know I'm not going to like.” Matthew asked.
“Let's just say the dynamic duo want to reign as the trio of terror.” Oliver laughed. “She'll get along really well with both Ariana and Lina. Especially when it comes to getting back at you.”
“That's exactly what I'm afraid of.” Matthew muttered darkly, as Nathaniel and Oliver laughed at him.
Coming back in to the room, Matthew watched as Mia pulled on her jacket, a large gift bag on the ground in front of her.
“I thought you guys were going out?” She asked, shoving her keys and phone in to her pockets.
“Yea, we are.”
“Well, have a good time then. I'll see you guys tomorrow.” She said, waving as she closed the door behind her.
No sooner had the locked clicked, Matthew rounded on Oliver.
“Why didn't you tell me she was going to dinner with Ariana?”
“Ariana told me this morning. Why would I tell you? So you could interfere again?” Oliver snickered.
Turning to see a sheepish looking Nathaniel, Matthew knew what was going on.
“You told him!” Matthew glared at the younger player.
“He asked what you were up to! It slipped out.” Nathaniel tried to defend himself.
Shaking his head with chagrin, Matthew knew it would have been only a matter of time before Oliver found out. Whether the news came from Matthew or Nathaniel, that was only a small detail.
“Whatever...” He muttered. “So are we ready to go?”
“Yea, let's go.” Nathaniel said.
The ride to Indigo was excruciatingly painful for Matthew. Nathaniel decided that since Oliver knew about Matthew scaring off Mia's dates, that he would enjoy hearing a play by play of exactly how it went down.
“Did you see the look on his face when Mia said she had plans? He was freaking out. That's what he was like when she had dates.” Nathaniel reminisced. “I bet that's what Matt would look like when having a heart attack. It was priceless.”
As Oliver laughed, Matthew dreaded the moment that the footballer would rebuke him for what he had done. It was always worse if Oliver was upset with him, he hated feeling as though he let the older player down.
Entering the club, loud music filled their ears, as lights flashed. People danced while others sat at the bar or surrounding tables, as Matthew, Oliver, and Nathaniel treaded through the crowd to get to where their other teammates were huddled. Seeing a flash of bright red, Matthew turned to see Kristina standing against a wall far from the group. Around her were the other girls belonging to the wolf pack. He watched as she gave him a once over before turning to talk to one of the other girls, a sneer on her face.
Ignore her, Matthew told himself as he greeted his comrades.
“Hey Matthew!” Matthew saw Lucas wave at him, a beer bottle in hand. He waved back.
Finding a table the three newcomers sat down.
“I'll get drinks. What do you two want?” Nathaniel asked,
“Why so eager?” Matthew asked, suspiciously.
“No reason.” The younger player replied, before glancing quickly at the bar.
Looking to where Nathaniel was staring, Matthew saw her. Nathaniel was interested in a red haired girl sitting at the bar.
“Sure...no reason huh?” Oliver said, having noticed the girl.
“Come on, I'll get your drinks if you hurry up.” Nathaniel told them, with a grin.
“Coke with ice.” “A beer, please.” Matthew and Oliver requested.
Turning to face Oliver, Matthew smirked.
“Something bothering you, Oliver? Driving you to the bottle?” He teased.
“Nope. I thought I would make the most of it, since you are the one driving tonight.” Oliver replied, as Matthew scowled.
They were quiet for a moment. Matthew was sure that if Oliver said anything, it would be to chastise him over what he had done to Mia's dates.
“I'm surprised Mia hasn't caught on to your tricks.” There it was.
“Okay, fine...spit it out. Let me hear it.” Matthew said, bracing for his punishment.
“Matt...I just don't think it's the best way to go about things.” Oliver said at last.
“I didn't want her to get hurt.”
“But you could have told her that...instead of playing hide and go seek with her dates.”
“What was I supposed to tell her? Oh hey Mia, I think those guys are wrong for you, by the way I think I like you so don't go out with those guys? Do you know how well that would go?” He fumed at Oliver.
“That would be so funny to watch.” Nathaniel joined the conversation as he sat down and handed them their drinks.
“Oliver, you should have seen him when he got rid of those guys. Matt would look ready to kill. And when he'd walk in to see Mia, you could see the ice in his eyes melting.” The younger footballer razzed, as Oliver laughed.
“Shut up.” Matthew said venomously, as the other two only laughed harder.
“Look, I'm just looking out for her. I don't want her getting hurt by some moron like Jason. Who, by the way, has been bothering her again.” He pointed out.
“Nice way to change the subject.” Nathaniel muttered.
“I'll be there tomorrow. If he bothers her, I'll deal with him. Why hasn't she talked to Felix?” Oliver wondered.
As Nathaniel got up once more, Matthew sat staring at the water droplets running down his glass.
“If you feel so strongly about her, why don't you say something?” He heard Oliver ask quietly.
Quiet for a moment, Matthew looked up. His best friend was watching him carefully. Concern was written all over Oliver's face.
“I'm not good enough for her.” He told him quietly, voicing his fear.
“Then you should work on that.”
Nodding, Matthew got up. He saw the rest of the guys in the middle of the dance floor, laughing and enjoying themselves.
“I will. Just not tonight. Come on, let's go join the others.”
As they crossed through to where the rest of the team was, Matthew looked around for Nathaniel. Spotting the brown haired boy immersed in a conversation with some girl on the opposite end of the room, he felt wistful. Maybe he should have asked Mia to come a few days ago...
He shook the thoughts of her from his mind, trying to pay attention to the song that was playing around them. Some of the guys had found helplessly smitten girls to dance with them. It was easy to spot the players who were in a committed relationship; they were all gathered in one area of the dance floor, moving with beer bottles in hand, to the music, while telling each other amusing stories.
It was there Matthew saw Oliver. He was laughing at something Ivan was telling him, right before Ivan starting doing the robot. He watched as Oliver laughed harder. It was pretty funny, a small smile creeped on to Matthew's face.
From the corner of his eyes he saw a flash of red. Turning he saw Kristina and her minions gliding across the dance floor. She looked up at him, a sinister small on her face. She crooked her finger, calling him to her. Right, as if! Matthew thought, indignantly.
Ignoring her, he walked in the direction of the bar. His glass was in need of refreshment. In his rush to get away from Kristina and the other girls, Matthew walked in to someone.
“I'm so sorry!” Came a female voice.
Looking down at who he had run in to , Matthew saw that it was a woman with jet black hair, and golden brown eyes.
“Sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going.” Matthew said, indifferently.
“That's okay. I've seen you here before.” The girl told him. “Matthew Rossi, You're on London FC, right?”
“Yea.” He answered, not knowing what else to do now that he was caught. She looked at him with sparkling eyes.
“I love watching you play. You're like my favourite player!”
Immediately thinking of Mia, he gave small smile. He remembered how excited she had looked when she told him that. Her bright green eyes had been sparkling, and her cheeks had turned rosy red.
“Thanks. I get that a lot.” He told the girl. She beamed at him,
“Would you like to talk over drinks?”
Not overly interested, Matthew held up his glass.
“Sorry, but I'm not drinking tonight. Maybe some other time...” He said, shrugging her off.
Looking as though her hopes had been dashed, she flashed him one last smile.
“Alright, maybe I'll catch you next time.” She told him, before heading in to the crowd.
Finally making it to the bar, he ordered another Coca Cola. Maybe he should have talked with the girl, then at least he wouldn't be sitting alone thinking about Mia, he thought. She was inescapable, he couldn't help but think of her. When there was nothing to do or to think about, his mind inadvertently went back to her.
“So where's your girlfriend?” His thoughts were interrupted.
He looked over, only to scowl. It was Tasha, Kristina's second-in-command.
“What are you going on about? I don't have a girlfriend.” He told her, annoyed.
Dressed in a deep green dress, she sat next to him. Her ocean blue eyes watching him.
“What do you want?” Not masking his dislike for her.
“Just wondering where your fake doctor is.” She said to him, before flagging down the bartender. “Bartender, another shot please.”
“She is a doctor, and she had other plans.” He told her, coldly.
“Right...I still don't get what you see in her. Why bother with her when you can have me?” She ran her fingers down his arm. Matthew moved abruptly, trying to put space between them.
“You would be better off without her! From what Jason says, she's a right little tramp.” Tasha told him, smugly.
Before he could say anything, Matthew heard his name being called. Turning around he saw Oliver motioning for him to come over. Gulping down the remainder of his soft drink, Matthew got up.
“Jason's wrong. Have you looked in the mirror?” He shot back, icily. Seeing the shocked look on Tasha's face, Matthew was satisfied.
He quickly walked over to the older boy.
“What?” He asked Oliver. The older boy seemed oblivious to who Matthew had been talking to.
“Want to go eat?”
“Yea, sure. Let me get Nathaniel.”
“Nate's coming right behind you.” Oliver said, pointing out the brown haired player.
Turning around to see Nathaniel coming towards him, Matthew saw a peice of paper in his hand.
“Ready to eat?” He asked the younger boy.
“Yea. Uh, Matthew...” Nathaniel hesitated.
“What?” He asked, puzzled.
“That lady over there told me to give you this. She says her name's Nevarra, and that you owe her drinks sometime in the future.” Nathaniel handed over a piece of paper.
Taking it from his friend, he looked over to where the girl was sitting. She smiled and waved to him. He nodded, as he shoved the paper deep into his pocket.
Dreading that Friday had come so soon, Mia slowly walked from her office to her apartment.
Her dinner with Ariana had gone well. The two of them had spent the time talking, and Mia had finally gotten the story of how Ariana and Oliver had first met.
Mia had never tried asking Oliver about his first encounter with Ariana. Not only had she thought it would be rude, but it usually slipped from her mind that the older player might have an interesting history.
Enthralled by the loving way Ariana spoke about her husband, Mia had intently listened to the story. Ariana and Oliver had first met during their second last year in high school. He had been the captain of the soccer team, while she had been one of the school's best artists. The two of them had met by chance when they both signed up for a book club, and then consequently were put together as one of the teams in the club's quiz competition. It had been love at first sight for the both of them.
She couldn't believe that the high school sweethearts had gotten married once Oliver had been signed to Bayern Munich. They must have been so young? She had thought.
The story of their love had Mia wishing she had someone to share her life with, she had struggled to shake off the thoughts. It was yearning deep in the back of her mind, that at times like these would hit her hard. In an instant Mia had thought of the one person she wished she could have been with, regretting that he even came up in her mind. Too bad I'm not his type, her brain had reminded her.
Later during their time together, Mia and Ariana had shared stories about the guys. Ariana told her all about the pranks Matthew, Nathaniel, and Oliver used to pull on each other and on the team. It was hard to believe since Oliver seemed like such a good guy, she could never think of him doing something mischievous. Of course she had firsthand experience with both Matthew and Nataniel's antics.
Walking in to the entrance that joined to the North West Wing, Mia noticed someone standing in the hallway. It looked as if they were waiting for someone.
As she got closer, Mia scowled. What a stalker! Why is he here? She thought aggravated.
Jason Roberts was standing in front of her. He gave her a sickly sweet smile.
“What? Are you following me?” She asked, in fury.
“Nope. Everyone who lives in the North West Wing has to cross this hall. It's a known fact.” He smirked at her.
“Well, just leave me alone.” She told him, through gritted teeth.
As she started to walk away, he made no motion to follow her.
“Wait, Mia.” He called after her, as she reached the adjoining hall to where her apartment was located.
Not knowing why she bothered with him, she turned around.
“What do you want?” She asked, harshly.
“How about a real peace treaty? You forgive me, and in return I get the ladies that work here to be friends with you.” He told her, having not moved at all.
“What makes you think I care about being friends with them?” She asked.
“Because you're not friends with any of the girls here. I think you want a friend but you can't seem to get through to them. It must not help when they think you're with Matthew.” It was always a game with him.
“I'm not with Matthew. And I would never want them to be my friends because they're friends with you.” She told him, anger washing over her. “I will never forgive you, because not only did you try to take advantage of me, but you lied to everyone about it. I know it, the guys who are my friends know it, and so does Felix and the rest of my roster. Just because those girls are under your spell, doesn't mean that once they find out they'll stay to defend you.”
At once Jason's face turned stone cold. The stare in his eyes distant.
“It's my last offer to you Mia. You either forgive me and we both move on from that incident, or you take a risk and we all find out how that goes...” He told her, his tone steely.
Not knowing whether to call his bluff, Mia stayed silent. It only took a few moments of silence before Jason walked away. Carefully, Mia walked to her apartment.
Opening the door to the room, Mia saw she was alone. It gave her a few moments to calm down and collect herself. Not giving herself any time to think about what he had said, Mia drowned his words with the thought of Matthew. She had come home before Matthew the previous night; but he had been out before she had woken up. The only sign that he had been in the apartment was his clothes from yesterday, still lying on his bed.
Walking in to her room, Mia stepped in to the walk-in closet. She had yet to think of what she would wear tonight. Since it was at a club, and only the team and press would be there; she decided she would wear a dress. Moving through her clothes, Mia found a deep purple dress. It's pleated skirt, and slitted lace sleeves, gave it a modern look. Mia pulled it out, and went to find shoes to match with it. Looking in her closet, Mia pulled out a few shoe boxes and lost herself in the task of getting ready. Searching through them, she finally found a pair of matching, lace detailed, heels. Probably bought them at the same time, Mia thought in wonder. It must have been during a shopping trip with Stacie, she reminisced.
Leaving the shoes by the coffee table, Mia walked in to the bathroom with her makeup bag and clothes. It had barely been five minutes when she heard her name being called.
It was Matthew. There was no way she would be telling him. He would get upset knowing she still hadn't said anything to Felix. The only reason she hadn't gone to the manager was because Jason had kept his distance, and because she felt as though she was whining about his breathing in the same room as her. Shaking the thoughts away, Mia focused on the tasks at hand.
“Are you ready?”
“I'll be out soon.” She called back, having pulled on her dress.
Looking in to the mirror, Mia pulled out her pony tail, letting her long auburn tresses tumble on to her shoulder. Combing it, and allowing it to frame her face; Mia now started on her makeup.
Waiting for her was a lot like torture, Matthew thought as he sat on the couch.
No matter how much he tried, there was no way to prepare for what she had in store. Even the most simple design could look glamorous on Mia. It took little effort to stun him.
Matthew tried to take his mind off the inevitable. He knew both Oliver and Nathaniel would be arriving soon, it was best not to look breathless in front of them.
Turning on the television, Matthew flipped through channels, finally settling on watching 'How I Met Your Mother'. As he watched the characters on screen speak about their love lives, Matthew couldn't help but think of his own non-existent one.
He was a 24 year old bachelor, with the world at his fingers...the only problem was that the object of his affection was unaware of his feelings for her. It bothered him that he couldn't allow himself to admit how he felt to her. Still thinking that he wasn't good enough, he pushed the thoughts away.
Not a moment too soon, he thought seeing Oliver and Nathaniel walk in.
“Hey Matt!” Nathaniel greeted him, plopping down beside him on the couch.
“Are you ready?” Oliver asked him, taking a seat on his other side.
“Yea. Do you not see the vest and dress shirt and pants.” He pointed out. He had put on black dress pants, a white long sleeved collared shirt, and a black vest and tie.
“Point taken.” Oliver said. The older boy had dressed in black suit, with a blue collared shirt. Nathaniel was the most casually dressed from the three of them. The youngest footballer had dressed in a deep red short sleeved collared shirt, and black dress pants.
“Where's Mia?” Nathaniel asked.
“She's getting ready.” Matthew answered.
“No wonder you look like you're on pins and needles!” Oliver teased, as Nathaniel gave him a high five.
“Ha ha...” Matthew muttered, not amused, as the other two laughed.
“You do remember that Mia wants to take her own car tonight.” Nathaniel reminded him, as his laughter subsided.
He had, in fact, forgotten about that detail.
Before he could say anything else, the bathroom door opened.
Stepping out of the bathroom, Mia saw the other three guys look up at her. Feeling uncomfortable as they watched her, Mia moved to put away her clothes. She saw Oliver and Nathaniel exchange glances in her peripheral vision.
“Hey...” She greeted them, as she walked to her room to quickly throw the clothes in to her closet.
“Are you all ready to go?” She asked, trying to get them to stop analyzing her.
“Yea, we're good to go.” Oliver said, as he and Nathaniel got up.
Getting her shoes, Mia noticed that Matthew was still sitting on the couch. His gaze had not left her.
“Something wrong?” She asked, worried that her black tights had a rip.
“No.” He muttered, getting up at last.
Sliding on her shoes, she took another peak at Matthew. He was dressed smartly. His hair, combed down and swept to one side. He looks perfect, she thought before being able to stop herself.
Getting her favourite black trench coat, and a clutch that matched her clothes; Mia turned to face the other guys.
“I get to take my car tonight.” She reminded them.
“We were thinking about going with Oliver.” Matthew told her.
“Come on, I never get to take my car.” She complained.
“Consider the planet lucky.” Matthew muttered.
Glaring at him, Mia raised her eyebrow.
“Like your car is so much greener than mine. Yours is worse.”
“But it's mine...so it's awesome!” Matthew grinned.
“Err...” Mia grumbled.
“Come with me this time, Mia. I promise, next time you can take your car.” Oliver bargained with her.
Not wanting to be any later, Mia reluctantly agreed.
As they headed out, Mia caught Matthew looking at her. His expression was one she had never seen before.
“Are you ready for the game on Sunday?” Mia asked him, getting Matthew's attention.
At once he looked down at his feet.
“Yea. I suppose so.” He answered.
Sitting in the car, Mia and Nathaniel sat at the back while Matthew rode up front with Oliver at the wheel. Watching as the street lights passed them, Mia couldn't help but wish that maybe she would catch Matthew's eye.
Caught completely off guard, Matthew was lucky his jaw hadn't dropped when Mia had stepped out. If that had happened, he would never hear the end of it from his friends. Of course, they still had ammunition against him. He had been the last to get up...his knees had felt wobbly as Mia had walked by, and then gone to get her shoes...standing right in front of him.
A vision in purple, Matthew couldn't believe that the Mia he knew, and the girl standing before him were one and the same.
Her green doe like eyes, had been accentuated with eyeliner and some eye shadow. Her cheeks had a light pink colour, while her lips shone with a light purple tinged gloss. She looked delicate in the purple dress.
As they rode to the restaurant, Matthew glanced at Mia through the visor mirror. Looking as though he was fixing his hair, Matthew snuck a peak. There she was seated behind him, chatting away with Nathaniel.
Pushing the visor up quickly, Matthew looked over at Oliver. The blond haired boy had a smile playing on his lips. He knows, Matthew thought with irritation. There was no fooling Oliver.
Arriving, Matthew made sure he was a few steps ahead of both Nathaniel and Mia. There was no telling how he would react, and he didn't need Oliver grinning the entire time.
No sooner had they entered the restaurant, flashes lit up the room. The blinding lights irritated him, but even so he knew he had to grin and bear it. Turning to see where the other three were, Matthew saw Mia and Nathaniel standing together as Oliver walked over to him.
Feeling a pang of jealousy as he watched a journalist ask the two of them to pose for a picture together; he couldn't help but think it was he who was supposed to be there and not Nathaniel.
As the two caught up to Oliver and him, another photographer stopped their group for a picture. Nathaniel had taken one look at him, and moved to stand beside Oliver. A smirk playing on the brown haired footballer's lips, as he glanced at Matthew who was now standing beside Mia. Shut up, Matthew thought giving Nathaniel a short glare.
Once their pictures had been taken, the quartet walked over to an empty table. The entire restaurant had been filled with the first team, reserves, doctors, and the rest of the staff. Felix sat at a table with a select few journalists, and the managing staff. He also saw where the girls were...the wolf pack was seated right beside the bar.
Sitting down, Matthew took one last peak at Mia.
Not knowing how many people would be present. Mia was shocked to see how full Bistro Rouge was. Immediately she saw the girls on the team. They were all standing by the bar, but as she walked in they looked over to her. She saw the girl in a dark blue dress, glare at her. The others followed suit, when they saw her being asked to pose for pictures with Nathaniel, and then with all three guys.
Sitting down at a table, Mia looked around to find familiar faces. Calvin and Kyle were sitting together with Lucas and Ivan. She found some of the other players on her roster sitting together, scattered around the restaurant.
“So, what do you think?” Oliver asked her.
“Other than being temporarily blinded, it looks like fun.” Mia told him, as he chuckled.
“After dinner, we mingle with the others.” Oliver told her.
“Really?” She asked hesitantly.
“Don't worry, we'll introduce you to the people you don't know.” He reassured her.
“That means everyone...” Mia muttered darkly.
As dinner was served, Felix got up and spoke to them. Thanking the press, players, and staff, for having come. Announcing their goal to come first in the Premier League, with much applause, Felix sat down after wishing the team good luck for the upcoming match.
“So...how come Felix does this every year?” Mia asked the guys, out of curiosity.
“It gives him insight in to who he can talk to when there's some exclusive news.” Oliver told her, as their table was served.
“It also gives him an opportunity to seek out reporters who will help him when it comes to damage control.” Nathaniel added, glancing at Matthew, as they ate.
“Not funny.” Matthew shot, glaring at the younger player; as Mia poured herself some Cola.
Mia stifled her laughter, she was sitting right next to Matthew, and there was no way she wanted to get on his bad side tonight.
“True...Jason may need damage control more than you.” Nathaniel quipped. A silence settled on them. Matthew shot a glare at Nathaniel, who looked sheepish. The three players now turned to look at her, as Nathaniel mumbled an apology.
“It's ok. I'm fine. I already saw him talking over there.” She told them. She had seen Jason when they had entered, he had leered at her from afar as she pretended not to notice him. “Besides, Nate's right. Matthew looks saintly compared to Jason when it comes to damage control.”
All of them relaxing, the banter started among them once more. Taking a sip from her drink, Mia caught Matthew looking at her. At once he returned to staring at his food while he ate.
The way he had been looking at her was strange. She had never seen him look at her that way. Could it be that maybe he liked her? Mia wondered. Probably not...if you're thinking that then you've been listening to Stacie way too much! Her brain countered.
They ate quietly, listening to the chatter around them.
Once they had eaten, the waiters cleared their tables. Oliver signalled for them to get up.
“Come on, I'll introduce you.” He assured her, as Mia balked at having to talk to complete strangers.
Watching Matthew and Nathaniel disappear in to the crowd, she was left with little choice. She much preferred going with them, or sitting at the bar.
“Oh...okay.” Mia mumbled.
“If they ask you something, just keep it short and polite.” He told her over his shoulder.
“Kill me now...” She muttered under her breath.
Trailing behind Oliver, she saw the other girls glare at her once again. Stay calm, she reminded herself.
“Mia, this is Michael. He's a sports writer for The Guardian.” Oliver said, regaining her attention.
“Hi.” She said, shaking the hand of an elderly looking man. Michael smiled at her.
“What is your job around here, Mia?” He asked her.
“She's one of our specialists. Mia used to work with Dr. Mark Phillips.” Mia was saved from answering, as Oliver gave a brief summary about her.
“I see. So how do you like working with Felix?” Michael asked her.
“I think he's great. It's been a pleasure working for him.” Mia answered.
“Anyway, it was nice seeing you again, Michael. We'll talk to you later.” Oliver said, leading her towards another person. Before Mia could ask him what Michael was like, Oliver was already speaking to another man.
“Daniel, how are you?” Oliver was saying. “I'd like you to meet Mia.”
Shaking his hand, Mia saw that the man was only a few years older than Oliver.
“Mia, this is Daniel. He works for the BBC.”
“How is it working with the players on London FC? It must be hard trying to keep up with the likes of Rossi.” He asked her.
“There's never a dull moment. It's a great job.” She told him, earnestly.
Weaving in and out of the crowds, Mia could barely keep the names straight. Oliver was making sure that she met every single person there.
“Mia, this is Alex. Alex, this is one of our great specialists, Mia.” He said, introducing her to a man only a few years older than her.
Wearing glasses that framed his bright brown eyes, and standing a few feet taller than her. Alex smiled at her.
“Hi, it's nice to meet you.” He said, offering his hand.
“Likewise...” Mia said, shaking his hand. Alex was dressed simply in black dress pants, and a black shirt. His brown hair was framed his face.
“Alex is a sports and entertainment writer. He works for the Daily Mail.” Oliver told her.
“Don't worry. Today, I'm here off the record. I think Felix would ban me from these great parties if I wrote about them afterwards.” Alex smiled warmly at her. Smiling back, Mia felt her cheeks heat up under his watch. Feeling nervous, and not wanting to say anything Mia was grateful when Oliver pulled her away.
Going on to meet more of the press, Mia looked to see where the other two had gone off to. She spotted Nathaniel only a few feet away, speaking to a photographer. Matthew was standing with Lucas talking to Daniel, the three of them laughing at something, almost instantly she forgot about Alex.
“How many more?” Mia asked Oliver, wanting to sit down and relax, or even just hang out with Matthew and Nathaniel, rather than be interviewed by another person.
“Don't worry. You can go get something to drink. I just need to find an old friend. He writes sports editorials for The Telegraph. Then I'll take you to meet the senior staff.” Oliver told her.
“Fine...” She muttered.
Heading to the bar, Mia asked the bartender for some cola. Giving her a bored look, he went off to get her request.
“Well, well...look who it is...”
Shaking her head at the sound of the voice, Mia turned around, an annoyed expression on her face. A gaggle of girls was gathered on one side of her.
“Can I help you?” She asked, feigning politeness.
“Yes you can, by telling us why a guy like Matthew would bother with Jason's sloppy leftovers?” Said the girl in the deep blue dress, whose name she recalled to be Kristina.
“For the last time, Matthew and I aren't together, and I was never with Jason.” She told them, coldly.
“Right.” The girl beside Kristina replied. “You know what I don't get? Why Matthew says the same thing to cover up for you?”
“Maybe because he isn't covering up for me, and because it's the truth.” Mia retorted. “What I don't get, is why it bothers you so much that you keep asking us about it? Does it make you jealous?”
Mia couldn't believe the words had come out of her mouth. She was tired of hearing about what they thought was going on between her and Matthew. Why was it so hard to believe that they were just friends?
The group of girls became silent at once.
“What did you just say?” Asked another girl, as Kristina glared at Mia.
“All I said was that you must be jealous that Matthew and I are just friends. Or else why would it bother you?” She reiterated.
Kristina looked to be contemplating something to comeback with.
“It makes sense if a t-” Kristina had started, but before she could say anymore, Matthew appeared out of nowhere.
“Hello Matthew.” The girls collectively simpered.
Mia watched as he walked past them, not even turning to give them a smile or nod. He completely ignored them. She could feel her heart beat quicken as he came up to her.
“Hey, Mia. Come with me.” He told her, loud enough for the girls to hear.
“Why? Where are we going?” She asked, watching as the jaws dropped of the girls standing behind him.
“Felix is calling us for team pictures.” He told her, she could see a sly grin on his face.
Offering his arm to Mia, Matthew waited for her. Kristina and the other two girls glared at her, as if daring her to take it.
“Okay, sure.” Mia agreed, holding on to him. No sooner had they begun to walk in the direction of the team, that they were stopped by a nasally voice.
“Wait!” Mia turned to see Kristina standing with her hands on her hips, looking angry.
“What do you want?” Matthew asked her rudely.
“If it's a team picture, why is SHE going when we haven't been called.”
“Because she's not one of you. Mia's a doctor, which makes her a part of the team.” Matthew told the stunned group, as Mia felt her heart jump with delight.
Turning to face Mia, Matthew had a smirk on his face. It looked as though he had been waiting to do that for a while.
“Let's go!” He told her, with a smile. He led her away as the other girls stared in shock.