'Like water and fire, night and day, our love before - I'll push away.'
Chapter Three: Lies
He closed the door, and sat her on the large leather couch that was placed in the center of his office. His office looked intimidating to her, with metallic silver walls and even a fireplace. Whoever owned the hospital must really want to please him. Erin Grey noticed the several certificates placed in solid black frames that were hanged on his wall - proof of his many achievements. She even saw the bulk of papers spread out on top of the black, expensive quarter-round table he considers an 'office desk.' He had moved up, she thought. Unlike the bunkers, he almost lived in everyday, Derek Matthews belonged to the top now.
"When did you get here?"
He sat himself on the matching love seat, in front of her. Just like the way he called her name, the way he talked to her now was soft and fragile - as if one wrong word and she dashes out of the door. Well, she would.
Problem is, why hasn't she done it already?
"Last night," Erin answered, and she looked at him with vacuity. He wasn't able to have a good look at her before, but as she sat in front of him, he noticed that those soft brown hair had gotten longer, almost reaching her waist. She had gotten taller too, and her face had gotten smaller. She had gotten much more beautiful, he thought.
And then he remembered what happened last night.
"Last night... That woman, she-" He tried to find words to continue, but she stopped him.
"It's none of my business what you do in your free time, Dr. Matthews." She interrupted. "I came back here for a job. That's it."
Erin Grey stood up, and walked swiftly to the door. As she held the handle to her only escape, the door was suddenly blocked by a pair of strong hands, and her small body was left in the middle of them, trapped.
"Sorry. I'm sorry," he whispered. "I was stupid, nothing was supposed to happen, but I've become so irresponsible. " He paused. "Even now, I still couldn't forget you. What will it take you to forgive me?" He cupped his hand on those rosy cheeks, but her eyes remained cold - cold and completely unforgiving.
"Forgiveness is something you give to a person you don't plan to sever ties with. I, however... severed my ties with you long, long time ago. That girl from before no longer exists." She stared at him right in the eye. "She's dead. And the both of us - we're nothing more than strangers."
"No past, present, nor future," she thought to herself. Before he could say anything back, she shoved him out of the way and walked out. "By the way," she smiled at him.
"You really do love blondes, don't you?"
"God, this is delicious!"
Erin shoved a couple more meatballs in her mouth. The Italian restaurant two blocks from the office was immensely popular with the locals, and without reservation there would be no chance to get in at all.
"Slow down there, tiger. We can always order more." Ada handed her some napkins to wipe the spaghetti sauce from her mouth. "I honestly didn't think you have such appetite for a skinny girl."
"I like to surprise people," she answered before she gobbled a baguette in seconds. "And I'm just really hungry today."
Ada sat silently, studying her partner's complexion. "Were you always this thin? You've only been here for two days, but you looked as if you haven't been eating properly for weeks. You look paler compared to your pictures, and those bag under your eyes are telling me you haven't been sleeping properly either."
Erin chuckled wholeheartedly. "Are you a reporter or a doctor?" She sighed. "I'm fine. I had a few deadlines to settle before I flew out, and I didn't have time to do things properly. Besides," she took a meatball and popped it into her mouth. "If my boss plans to feed me like this every day, I'll be better in no time." She showed a grin, and kept eating.
"Oh well." Ada chewed on some salad. "Right, I forgot to tell you. My secretary told me you got a call from someone today."
Ada lifted a finger. "...Could it possibly be THAT Gary Dean?" She paused to look for confirmation, but Erin only looked at her. "You know, the guy who own some shares in CNN. His family own a couple of hotels around too."
"How do you know that?" Erin asked. "He was college colleague from Royal Dane. He was in charge of a couple of things there too, before I left."
Ada shrieked in excitement. "It is him! Oh my, how could you not know his family own that college too? I interviewed a few times. Good- looking and extremely rich! Are you dating him?"
Erin shook her head. "He's a friend. That's it. I have no time for that."
"O-ho-ho. Because of Dr. Matthews?"
Erin dropped her fork, and Ada smiled slyly. "Sorry, but I got curious when you disappeared all of a sudden. I asked the staff, and told me that he dragged you in his office. That person he was talking about..." Ada paused. "It was you, isn't it?"
"Not at all," Erin responded casually. "I don't know him."
"Of course not," Ada smirked. "Don't worry, it's not something I'll blab about. Work is one thing, we can make it wonderful if we tried just a little harder. But love..." she looked down, "It's not something we can control, no matter how hard we try." Ada suddenly changed the topic, as if she hasn't said a word at all.
Afterwards, she gave Erin the keys to her unit in a ten-story condo that's only two blocks away. As Erin reached the tall building, she felt excitement from seeing the beautiful, furnished kitchen, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms. The movers have done a great job, putting her boxes of things in the right room, so all she had to do was unpack. That was until she felt breeze coming out from the opened veranda, giving her a view of the beach far away. She leaned on the marble railing, and breathed the fresh air.
"This is going to be a beautiful start," she thought to herself. A new, fresh, beautiful start.
Everything was finally going well, that is until she looked to her right, where she saw her next door neighbor's veranda, and her neighbor too - wearing nothing more than jogging pants. His eyes were big, his hair messy, and his mouth wide open, a reflection to her own reactions.