Chapter Five: The Boy Who Cried
It was sunny.
That was all he could remember from that catastrophic day. Despite the turmoil building up inside his head, he remained silent as he listened in from the other side. He stood outside her door, and he could hear agony from the sad music she was playing in that vintage grand piano he remembered seeing once, when he was allowed to go inside her apartment.
"Only when I'm sad-" he remembered her say, "do I play the piano."
His hand made a fist as he listened her play 'Canon,' a song she played him for him before. It was a happy song, yet hearing it now breaks his heart even more. Not even could brute strength give him the courage to go inside, to grab her, to hold her, to kiss her, to console her.
He was pathetic, and he knew.
He doesn't have any right to comfort her. After all, he was to blame.
It was his damn fault she became miserable. His damn fault she became a mess. His damn fault for ruining her.
It was all his fault, yet he can't stop himself from wanting to see her.
"Why did things have to turn this way?" He whispered to the air. A part of him wanted to blame someone else, to blame the woman whose face he couldn't even remember anymore, for seducing him in the midst of his cold, lonely state; his vulnerable virility from the pressure of medical internship and the fight he had with Erin before that day.
The other part of his just remained silent, unmoving.
He sat behind the door, speechless. The boy must have been so exhausted that day that he lasted through the night sitting beside the door of her apartment, and when he woke up in the morning he found himself under a thickly-layered blanket. A note was carefully placed on top of it.
'Goodbye,' it said.
That was the last time he saw her in five years. And when he had the chance to see her again after so long, there he was, in the middle of another one night stand.
To put it simply, Derek Matthews was, and still is, a horrible man.
"You must have gotten the wrong unit number," Derek answered the man as he casually unlocked his own unit.
The young man scrunched his head as he flipped his phone, checking to see if that was true. However, as he looked through the unit number once again, a look of satisfaction appeared on his face. "This seems to be the right one," the man said coolly. "Do you know Eri-"
The two turned around to find a small brunette, gasping for some air. "It seems even she wasn't notified herself, "Derek thought. The condo sure needs to pay more attention.
"Erin!" The man greeted her with a big smile on his face. Before she could walk forward, Gary pushed her forward to an intimate embrace. It made Derek cringe, but he couldn't do anything. He simply stared at the two like a deer in headlights.
Quickly, Erin unlocked her unit and pushed Gary inside. Before she went in herself, she moved closer to Derek and spoke.
"You and I have to talk later."
It took an hour, maybe more, but Derek couldn't help but feel restless as he waited inside his own apartment. That man, he looked like someone he knew. His features, his way of talking... Hell, everything about him just annoys him.
Derek stood up to get himself some water, when he heard a soft knock on the door. Quickly he opened it, and found Erin standing in front of him with a folder in her hand.
"Hey," he said softly, his voice deep.
"You..." she sighed. "Did you set this up?" She pointed to the folder she was holding, and Derek reached in to open its content. As he read it, he realized that the paper was an exclusive invitation from Greenwood Hospital's own chief to get Erin to be a part of their new magazine.
He took a moment, and then he looked up at her as he spoke. "It's a new project we're launching. The chief is looking into gathering a few journalists to start a medical journal for us. He wants those with no prior medical background to take a look at all his new repertoire and write articles about it in a way the public can easily understand. Those who accept, will get assigned to their own perspective part, per se." As he finished explaining, he tilted his head in wonder.
How in the world did the chief get a hold of Erin's information?
"I won't do it." Erin said sternly. "Tell him I won't do it." She looked at him, expecting a look of disbelief or even a tiny hint of shock, but instead she found him grinning from ear to ear, his brown eyes full of life as if he just found himself a new toy.
"You're going to have to tell him yourself, at the party." He pointed to the bottom of the letter stating the place and time for the gathering, and then crossed his arms as he leaned on the door frame. "Looks like your entire agency is coming."
Erin's blue eyes grew big as she realized what was happening. An exclusive, short-term job offer from the top Hospital is served to her in a silver platter. If she accepts, Ada and the others from the agency will get more access to the Hospital, more interviews, more pictures, and more distinguished readers. It would be impossible to reject it because all of them will be at the party, and if they find out that their newly hired journalist is refusing them this once-in-a-lifetime privilege, who knows what will happen after.
"You did this, didn't you?" She said angrily. "You made it so that I can't say no!" She wanted to push him, her anger about to fly off the wall, but as she stepped forward, her foot got caught in the carpet, and she ended up pushing her body to his, forcing him to step inside the apartment. When they regained their balance, they just stood there, body-to-body, unmoving.
He certainly had grown taller, his chest had gotten bigger and it felt more solid, like a rock. She could feel the faint beating of a heart, but she wasn't sure if it was her heart or his. And when she realized that they were still together, she tried to move away.
But she couldn't.
Because a hand had surrounded her waist like a strong metal chain, tying her to the handsome doctor. And before she could say anything else, he took a hold of her soft brown hair and pushed her to him, meeting those surprised pair of rosy lips into a forceful kiss. It started strong, his lips hungrily devouring her, but then she noticed as he gradually loosened up, his kiss becoming softer, kinder - Like how he was before.
"Stop," she pleaded, and her powerless arms pushed him away. Quickly, she turned around to leave, when she heard him speak.
"That invitation, it wasn't me," he said to her.
"How can I believe you?" She asked him, "When you do things like this?" She touched her head in frustration. "...You haven't changed."
"I changed after you left me."
As Erin heard those words, tears started running down her face. Slowly, they fell like gentle waters. "Then why..." She said as she looked down, "Why did you do it?" She shook her head. "I trusted you, you know. Since we were kids, I looked up to you. I loved you. I really did. But you betrayed me."
She wiped her face quickly, and looked him straight in the eye. "I'll see you at the party, Doctor Matthews. I'll meet the chief. I'll work for the hospital. But don't expect anything else, because whatever we had before - it had been long over."
She walked out of his unit, slamming the door. As she stepped outside, however, she couldn't move. Instead her knees gave up, and she sat outside - motionless." She hugged her knees, and spent the next hour looking at the plain white walls before she had the energy to go back to her own apartment.