Chapter Fifty: Remember When It Thunders
There was a loud rumbling noise Mia heard in her sleep. Interrupting her dreams, she turned over only to be blinded by a flash of light. Jolting awake, she heard the roar of thunder. Mia scrambled to close her curtains. Before she could, another bolt of lightening brightened up her room.
Frightened, Mia raced back to her bed, forgetting about the curtains. Trying to deafen the sound and get rid of the light, Mia pulled her pillow over her head and her covers over both of them. It didn't work. The next bolt of lightening and rumble of thunder, could be seen and heard from her hiding spot.
Come on Mia, think rationally! You're a doctor! Who's heard of a doctor scared of a thunder storm? Mia said, trying her best to keep from running out of her room. Okay, how can you tell if a storm is getting closer, or moving farther away? She asked herself. Before she could answer lightening streaked outside, breaking her resolve. It's getting closer! She thought.
Not one to wait around for the tell-tale thunder; Mia shot out of her bed, and ran for the door, clutching her blanket. Racing down the hall, she headed for the one room that held any sort of comfort. Knocking on the door, Mia waited for a reply. When she heard no answer, Mia turned the door knob, as thunder shook the house. The door was unlocked! Running inside, Mia searched for him.
Matthew was fast asleep on his bed, completely unaware of the storm around them. Moving to the foot of his bed, Mia placed one of his pillows on the opposite end, and huddled under her blanket, with his on top. The sound was still loud, but knowing someone was around her, comforted her. Clutching fistfuls of blankets around her, Mia closed her eyes, trying to get herself to sleep.
It took him a while to figure out that the extra weight on his bed wasn't him. As bright morning light entered his room, Matthew stretched, as he opened his eyes. His window was spattered with rain. Seeing the door open, Matthew was puzzled until he saw the ball at the foot of his bed.
Moving to get a closer look, his beliefs were confirmed.
"Mia?" He spoke, quietly.
"Hmph?" Came a quiet reply.
"Thunder storm?" He asked.
"Umh hmph." Came the affirmative reply.
Not moving, he waited for her to get up. It wasn't long before he saw a messy head of long auburn hair pop out from the blankets. Yawning, Mia sat cross legged on his bed, a mess of both their blankets around her.
"Bad storm?" He asked, hoping he didn't sound as though he was teasing her.
"So much lightening and thunder...I don't know how you sleep through it." She said, looking at him.
Stifling his laughter, Matthew took the sight of her in. Even with her hair messy, and dressed in a night shirt and capris, Mia looked adorable.
"I guess I'm just used to it." He told her, breaking away.
"Sorry about invading your bed." She told him, as she started to put his pillow back in place, and gather her blanket.
"Don't worry about it. If you can't handle the storm, you're always welcome to hide here." He told her with a grin.
"I'm going to hold you up to that, you know?" She smiled.
"Yea, I know."
They were quiet for a minute. Mia stared out the window, as Matthew watched her.
"If you don't mind me asking, why is it that you don't like thunderstorms?" Matthew asked her, having been a little curious.
For a moment, she was quiet. He hoped he hadn't offended her. A pained expression crossed her face as she turned to him, looking at him with her deep green eyes.
"I was always a little bit scared of the noise and lightening when I was little, my parents used to leave the door open if I got scared...but for the most part, I was alright. It wasn't until Max died that it really got to me. There was thunder and lightening the night my dad and I were called to meet the police. So I guess subconsciously, I've connected lightening storms with my brother's death..." Mia told him. It was the first time she was mentioning her brother Max, since last season.
"That night always comes up in my mind during a storm, and I just..." She trailed off once more.
"Mia..." He murmured.
She looked up at him, he could see the hurt in her eyes.
"I meant what I said...you're always welcome." He told her, not breaking eye contact.
"Thanks." She whispered.
Looking at each other, he could see she trusted him, enough that she was able to confide in him. Maybe that was enough? For now...he thought.
Getting up, Mia folded her blanket in her arms and started to move towards the door. Before crossing the threshold, Matthew saw her turn back to face him.
"Thanks, again." She said, as she turned and left.
"For you...anytime..." Matthew whispered behind her.
Occupied with work for the last few days, Mia had little time to spend with Stacie. Her best friend had been busy showing her group the ropes along with their old university research group. Grateful that Stacie wasn't able to pry anything out of her as of late, Mia couldn't help but label the nagging feeling since the thunderstorm. A part of her felt guilty, as though she was stealing something away.
Having been avoiding the house when Nevarra was around, didn't help put her mind at ease. Sure I have a lot of work...but they are bound to get suspicious, she had thought; while typing up another report. She was lucky Lina hadn't noticed anything different. Having known the girl for a short time, Mia could already tell that like Stacie, Lina could smell secrets.
As she finished typing up the report, Mia heard her cell phone ring. Feeling her pockets, Mia couldn't find the source of the music.
"Where did I put it?" She muttered to herself.
Looking around her desk, filing cabinet, and counter; Mia couldn't spot the object. Feeling around the papers scattered on her desk, Mia finally found it.
"Hello?" She said, quickly answering it.
It was Leon calling.
"Hi Leon! What's up?" She asked, sitting back down and taking a quick glance at how much typing was left.
"Not much. I just called to let you know Lina developed a warning system."
"Warning system for what?" Mia asked, puzzled.
"For Nevarra." He chuckled.
"Anyway, Lina decided that if Matthew's girlfriend is over who ever knows or is at home will text the others the angry red smilie along with 'is here.'" He told her.
"So angry face is here?" Mia asked, trying not to laugh.
"Yea. Lina's not one to be subtle...or a fan of being ambushed."
"Alright..." Mia said, not knowing how to thank the girl without sounding like she had something against Nevarra.
"Anyway, Lina told me to tell you that Nevarra will be over. We'll be out though. Lina's going out with her boyfriend, and I have a dinner meeting. So we'll see you later. If you need anything let me know. Okay?" He told her.
Not knowing how to thank them for their kindness, Mia just said the first words she could find.
"Yea, that's fine. Thanks."
"No problem. See you at home." He told her.
Home...Mia thought. It was not her house, but it was a comforting substitute much better than her shared dorm room. Lina and Leon had done their best to make her feel welcome, and it did feel close to home.
Pushing the thoughts away, Mia scrolled through her phone. Now that she knew that Nevarra was around, she was going to make sure she came in late. There was no way she was going to get stuck with Matthew's girlfriend now that she had caught wind of their plans.
Dialling the number she had found, Mia waited.
"Stacie! What are you up to?" Mia asked.
"I'm at the university, with my annoying little kids." Her friend told her dryly.
"Working late?" She asked, sounding hopeful.
"Yea, why?" Stacie sounded suspicious.
"It's your lucky day. I'm done work. I can come over and help you out at the lab."
"Uh huh...alright. Come on over. I'm in the meeting room upstairs. The one right above our old offices." Stacie said, sounding too tired to question Mia's motives.
"I'll be right there. I'll bring you some food too." Mia said, as Stacie said goodbye.
Hanging up the phone, Mia cleared her desk, quickly organizing the papers. Stacking the files neatly on to her filing cabinet, she took one last look around to see if there was any other mess she needed to take care of.
Deeming her office clean, she switched her lab coat for her jacket, and left.
"How come I haven't seen your cousins or your friend since that dinner? I'm over, like, everyday."
Looking up from his spot on the couch, Matthew saw Nevarra standing by the window, looking outside in to the darkness.
"Lina goes out with her boyfriend, and usually after his work and business meetings Leon goes to see his fiancé. Mia's usually at work or with her friends." Matthew answered, not understanding why Nevarra was asking him.
"Isn't it weird that she's never around when I come over?" Nevarra asked, sounding a little suspicious.
"Well...it's just that I come over hoping I'll get to know them better, and they are never around. Especially your friend Mia." She said, giving him an innocent look.
"They're really busy. That's all." He said, trying to convince them both.
"How coincidental that they're always busy when I'm around." She observed.
Knowing Lina, Matthew was sure she was avoiding Nevarra, while Leon and Mia seemed genuinely busy. Although the thought that Mia was avoiding Nevarra out of jealousy, made him feel a little bit hopeful. Maybe she had feelings for him that she had been keeping secret? Matthew hid a smile.
Hearing the door open, snapped him out of his thoughts, Matthew stood up following Nevarra towards the hall to see who had come home.
"Hey Mia." Matthew called out, upon seeing the girl hastily take off her shoes at the end of the hall.
"Hey Matt! Hi Nevarra!" She called out, waving at them.
Watching her run up the stairs, Matthew walked over to the bottom of the stair case.
"Where are you off too, in such a rush?" He asked, surprised at how fast she could move.
"Stacie and I are meeting friends at Revenge. I have to pick her up." He heard her shout.
As he moved back to where his girlfriend was standing, he noticed the contemplating look on her face.
"She's not avoiding. She has friends at the university, and her best friend from Australia is visiting." He told Nevarra, he hoped he could quell her thoughts and brush the matter aside.
"Whatever you say..." Nevarra said, quietly.
He heard Mia run down the stairs and in to the hallway. Turning to see what she was doing, he saw her open and close the door to Lina's room.
"Tell Lina, that I put the dress she liked on her bed. I'll be home late." She called out, as she headed towards the door, and started to slip on her shoes.
Walking over to her, Matthew saw the shimmering black dress she had on underneath her coat. Her black heeled boots went along with them perfectly. Swallowing his feelings, Matthew looked at her.
"Remember, be home before-" He started when she interrupted him.
"Midnight. I got it, Matthew. Make sure you remember to tell Lina." She told him, giving him an annoyed look. "See you later! Bye!"
Matthew stared after her, as Mia closed the door behind her; snapping out of his reverie only when he heard the engine of his Ferrari roar.
"So you missed our dear cousin's girl again?" Lina asked, curiously.
They were eating breakfast together, since Leon had already left for work and Matthew was still sleeping.
"Yea, I went out with Stacie." Mia answered trying to keep from sounding nervous. Though she had been avoiding Nevarra as much, maybe more, than everyone else...she didn't need everyone least of all Lina knowing about it.
"You're better than I am at giving her the slip. You must tell me your secret." Lina said, giving a short laugh.
"There's no secret."
Smiling, Mia returned to the food on her plate. She loved the hash browns Lina had made. They made her feel warm, and ready to face the cold, windy, weather outside.
"Anyway, now that I know your good answer for not being around, what is the real reason you aren't home when angry face is here?" Lina asked, getting a small giggle out of Mia. "Is it because you don't like her? Does she think you like Matthew, and give you the stink eye?"
Frozen in place, Mia continued to smile, not knowing how to answer. At that moment a phone rang.
"Oh! Hold that thought!" Lina ran to the phone. "Hello?"
Saved by the bell, Mia thought with relief. Please let her forget! She hoped, as she took another fork full of hashbrowns.