Chapter Seventy Five: The Question
“What's the master of disaster been up to these days?”
Sighing as she straightened her floppy hat, Mia walked down the stairs heading for the kitchen. Holding her cell phone in one hand, she grabbed a bottle of Coca Cola, as she headed for the deck. Having called the older footballer to check up on how things were, she couldn't believe how fast things turned to him...Matthew...She scowled at the thought.
“Your guess is as good as mine, Oliver.” Mia answered.
“What do you mean? You don't know where he is? I thought he was staying with you.” Oliver asked, sounding a little worried.
“He is, but he's been going out over the last few days.”
“And you didn't ask him where he was going?”
“No. All he said was he had some errands to run. Besides, do you really think he would tell me?”
“I don't know.” She heard the older player mumble. “What if he gets lost?”
“He took my car which has a map, my phone with GPS, and his own phone. I don't think he could get lost around here.” She told him, sliding the glass door open, before walking on to the deck.
“By the way, thanks so much for telling him where I was and sticking me with him. You promised you wouldn't tell anyone.” Mia added slightly miffed.
“I'm sorry. I tried to hold out.”
“For how long? A minute?” She asked, snidely.
“A few days. But I couldn't keep it from him. He looked broken before he left for Spain.”
Walking on to the deck, Mia sat down on the polished wooden floor. Sticking her legs in the space between the metal bars she felt the cool water lap against them. Relaxing as she moved her legs back and forth, creating little splashes she sighed heavily, her mood downcast.
“Why do I get the feeling your not telling me something?” Oliver asked, sounding suspicious.
“Uh huh...don't tell me, it has something to do with why Matthew hasn't been around lately?”
“I may have blown up on Matthew...a few days ago.” Mia hesitantly admitted.
“What happened?” Oliver asked, sympathetically.
“I don't know. I guess maybe I was tired of pretending things were all right, and as much as I tried not think about what happened, I just couldn't stop myself. It became too much to keep all bottled up.” She said, starting to feel bad about blowing up on Matthew.
“I know you're hurt, Mia. What he did was wrong...but maybe you should give him a chance and hear him out.”
Mia sighed, feeling conflicted.
“I'm not sure I want to find out just yet. It still hurts that he just left me like that and I can still see those stupid pictures. What if talking to him just makes it all worse?” She finally voiced her fear.
The older footballer didn't hesitate to answer.
“I don't think it will, Mia. I've known him for so long. He really does care about you. You two should talk it over.”
Heaving a deep breath, Mia lay back on to the deck, the hat shielding her eyes from the blinding sun.
“I'll think about it.” She said, mulling the idea over.
“Alright, Oliver. I promise.” She gave in. “Anyway, I have to call Stacie; she's going to murder me for being silent since I've been home.”
“Okay. Take care, Mia.”
“Yea...you too. Bye.”
Ending the call, Mia dialled her best friend's number. The girl would probably kill her for not calling sooner, but Mia hoped that she was too pre-occupied with work to pay attention to her.
“Mia! Hey! How are you?”
“Fine. How are you?” From her tone Stacie sounded pretty free, meaning Mia was not off the hook.
“Great! I hear Matthew found you.” The other girl sounded amused.
“How did you find out?” Mia asked, put out.
“Nate told me.”
Lovely, they all know...Mia thought, annoyed.
“So how is it? Are you two back together?” Stacie's curiosity could be heard.
“No...” She muttered, irritated at the assumption.
“Because we still haven't talked about what happened and I'm not sure I want to.”
“What! How come?”
“I don't know...what if it all goes wrong? And...I kind of...I told him off...”
“Why would you do that, Mia?” Stacie asked her, sounding exasperated.
“Because, he came and thought everything would just be okay. I didn't forget why we broke up, and he can't just expect me too.” She vented, trying to defend herself.
“I don't know, Mia. I think you should give him a chance.”
“Why does everyone keep saying that?” Mia asked, feeling cornered.
“He came to your country to find you.” Stacie told her.
“No, he came because Real Madrid had a match against TFC.”
“But he stayed, even after his team left.”
“That's because he got injured.” Mia countered.
“He went looking for you.”
“Oliver gave him the address.”
Silenced, Mia didn't know how to argue against that point. Matthew had stayed. From the two hours he had spent waiting for her to arrive at the cottage, all the way through the weeks they had spent together painting and travelling the city.
“Mia...I know you're hurt, but you have to give him some credit. He came all the way to Canada, found you and stayed.” Stacie advised her. “We've been friends since our time in university, and I know how much you've adored him. For two years you worked with Matthew, and the two of you became friends. Now you have a chance to be with him, why are you just letting it go?”
Mia didn't say a word. Even she had no answer to the question Stacie had posed.
“What if it doesn't work out?” She asked her best friend, quietly.
“You need to take that chance.”
“I don't want to.” Mia said, her nerves jangling. She hated feeling vulnerable.
“It's better to know than to wonder about it forever. I know you can figure things out.”
It had been a long week for Matthew. Having found what he had been searching for, he sat in one of the reclining lawn chairs beside Mia on the deck.
The two of them had gone back to pretending things were normal, now that Mia didn't avoid him by leaving the room and he had completed his search.
Sitting on the lawn chair beside him, Mia was reading a book. Dressed in a black sundress, her hat covered her face from the sun, as they lounged on the deck. Neither had said very much. They would eat together, watch TV, and spend the rest of time in their rooms or on the deck.
Turning to watch her, Matthew saw her turn the page in her book. She seemed lost in her book. Taking a deep breath and sitting up on the lawn chair, Matthew spoke.
“Let's play a game.” He proposed, not knowing how else to start off.
“What kind of game?” Mia asked, giving him a quick look before returning to her book.
“Sort of like 20 questions, but hypothetical.” He suggested.
“Okay...would you marry me? Hypothetically speaking.” Matthew asked, nervously.
Turning to give him an odd look, Mia raised an eyebrow.
“We're not even going out.” She told him.
“That's why I said, hypothetically.” He retorted.
”Okay...sure. I would say yes.” Mia replied with a snicker.
”What kind of wedding would you want?”
Putting her book in her lap, Mia seemed to be deep in thought.
“Not too much fuss.” She told him. “A nice ring, a dress that I like, and an elegant venue. I don't know...simple and elegant.”
Surprised with her simple answer, Matthew prodded further.
“How many people?”
“Family and close friends.”
”What if I asked you to marry me right away? Like at city hall?” She gave him another measuring look. “Hypothetically, of course.” He added.
”Okay, sure.” She shrugged, returning to her book.
”What if I asked you to marry me right now?” Matthew looked at her seriously.
“I already said yes.” Mia told him, flipping the page in her book, not knowing that Matthew wasn't joking. She still hadn't looked over to see the expression on his face.
He pulled out the small black box he had been keeping in his pocket. Opening it, he moved to bend down on one knee in front of her.
Sensing the urgency in his voice, Mia turned to look at him. She nearly fell off of the lawn chair at the sight in front of her.
”Are you serious?” Mia asked unnerved upon seeing the ring.
When he nodded, Mia didn't think any more.
“Are you out of your mind?” She exploded.
“Are you out of your mind?” Mia asked him angrily, looking contrite. “Did you not hear what I said? This is to make me forget, isn't it? We don't talk about what happened but that's ok.”
“You just want everything to be normal by asking me to marry you?” Mia accused him.
“I'm not trying to make you forget!” Matthew retorted, stung by her rejection. He knew his temper was getting the better of him.
“Lately, you won't even hear me out! I come in to a room and you walk out.” He pointed out their situation. “So if you want to talk, then fine, let's talk. I'm sorry I was such an ass! Happy? I know I screwed up! I shouldn't have pushed you the way I did. I'm sorry.”
”Why did you do it?” She asked him, heatedly.
”I don't know. I know I shouldn't have, I was angry that you were staying, and I thought we would be over when I came home.” He admitted, having tried unsuccessfully to bury those feelings. “I don't know why I kissed those girls…it was stupid...I was scared I was going to lose you, Mia.”
”Why did you do it?” Mia asked, furious with Matthew.
”I don't know. I know I shouldn't have, I was angry that you were staying, and I thought we would be over when I came home.” He looked in to her eyes, his glacial eyes taking on an expression she had never seen before. Regret...
“I don't know why I kissed those girls...it was stupid...I was scared I was going to lose you, Mia.” Matthew told her as she looked away.
“And you did...you don't know how much that hurt.” She told him quietly.
“I know, Mia. When you told me you loved me, I wanted to rewind time and never have left. You don't know how sorry I am for hurting you. All this time without you made me realize that I don’t care if we’re in two different countries…nothing matters as long as we’re together…” Matthew told her in earnest. “Signing my contract with Real was supposed to be a great moment in my life...but it felt empty without you. I couldn't believe I wrecked the best thing that happened to me...that I let you walk away...I'm sorry, Mia.”
Silence settled over them, both of them surveying the other, as though observing the damage. Finally she knew why he had done it.
“Will you marry me?” Matthew asked her again.
“What?” Mia asked incredulously. Their eyes meeting, he gazed in to hers, having resumed his position in front of her. The ring sparkling in the sunshine.
”Right now, at city hall. Will you marry me?”