Chapter Two: The Meeting
Life has a funny way of turning things around. It can appear to be in your favor at first glance, only to betray you in the bitter end. It will lend you its shoulder like a harmless nomad, only to drop you in your own misery. An unspeakable fate which a very special few experience in their lifetime.
I was no exception to this foolish game.
"Erin Grey, was it?"
I looked up to see a beautiful girl with short auburn-colored pixie haircut eying me like limited-edition cat food. Before I could even breathe a word, she quickly reached for my hand.
"I’m Ada Bishops!" She grinned. "Welcome to Denzel Times!"
Manhattan at seven in the morning was exactly as I have imagined it. Loud, bustling and completely alive. The smell of baguettes and freshly-brewed coffee along with the sight of tipsy individuals with slight hangovers were the highlights of my early walk to the newspaper agency. Some welcomed me, while a few recognized me for my work. One of them included Ada Bishops, the woman in charge of the Affairs department.
I gave her nod, and held her hand. It could very well be the most welcoming voice she heard all day. Ada Bishops tossed her a few files regarding her next project, one she plans Erin Grey to be a part of.
"Your articles regarding intracranial solid neoplasm have so much basis that it made me wonder if you were actually a journalist or a brain surgeon," she chuckled.
"Medical Articles were somewhat of a hobby of mine," Erin responded, and she took a sip from the fresh coffee that a secretary had brewed especially for her. A weird hobby, she thought to herself.
"I could tell," Ada Bishops nodded. "You seem to be having fun writing this." As she placed the article down, Ada Bishops looked at her watch, and suddenly stood up. "Well, let’s go. We have a meeting to catch."
"A meeting?" Erin wondered.
"I have business with Greenwood Hospital, and I need someone who can actually understand what’s going on." She pulled her up and grabbed a cab - pointing him in the direction of the large hospital seven blocks away.
"Greenwood Hospital," Erin Grey whispered to herself. "Of all places, it had to be there."
After chugging down a few sleeping pills last night, she hated herself for still remembering her encounter with him.
He was the hottest thing she’d ever seen in her life.
She compared the boy she loved before to the man she saw last night. The years had been good to him. His physique has gotten much better, his height towering all the way to 6’2. The pretty face he used to have had been replaced by that hauntingly beautiful visage, as if full of mysteries but at the same time like an open book. He looked as if he wanted to talk to her after she said those words from outburst, but she closed the door before anything else could happen. She certainly wasn’t ready for anything yet.
"Damn it, Erin." She scolded herself. Why did she even say his name? Why couldn’t she have just closed the door, or better yet, why did she even open it in the first place? "But of course," she thought.
To think he would be with a woman. Just like before.
"Are you alright?" Ada snapped her fingers in front her.
"I’m fine," Erin Grey answered. When they got off the cab, Ada pointed to the humongous white multi-building complex in front of them. A sign on top written in silver announced that it was the infamous ‘Greenwood Hospital,’ the one responsible for carrying more than eight-hundred private patients a day.
Here, the man responsible for successfully overseeing more than ten surgeries a day, publishing several mind-boggling articles in medicine at the same time, can be found. The infamous doctor who pushed the Board for an expansion of the Hospital’s ER to allow more quick and easy service to those in dire need, and was a definite object of affection for many women.
"What's his name?" Erin Grey looked around. She laughed at the thought of seeing that man again. She knew he was here for his internship, but not many interns decide to proceed with their residency at the same hospital. He couldn’t possibly be an exception.
"Didn’t you read that paper I gave you?" Ada Bishops pointed to the paper in her hand. Erin Grey looked confused, but before she could read it, the doors in front of them opened, revealing a large conference room.
"We wait for him here," Ada said to her, and she noticed as several cameras were being set up beside them.
"He must be famous," she thought to herself.
Erin Grey tried to set her laptop to start taking notes, when she noticed as somebody walked inside the room.
"Ah, there he is." Ada Bishops smiled as the man wearing a solid white lab coat sat in the chair in front of her, getting himself ready for the interview. The man held his collar to loosen the silk red tie that must have been suffocating him. She didn’t even move when he tried to brush his messy black hair with his hands - it only made him look God-like handsome. And then he saw her.
"I’m glad you made some time for us today, Dr. Matthews!" Ada Bishops interrupted him, taking his hand for a handshake.
"Me too," the man replied, but it was evident that his focus wasn’t on his interviewer, but rather to the woman sitting behind her. Erin Grey started typing, to revert her attention from looking up.
Ada Bishops was a definite gem in the agency. She spoke to him questioning regarding his work, his passion, his dedication and his hobbies with a light heart, but everyone could tell that she was saving the best for last.
"After six years of hard work, you have become a household name in regards to your budding career in medicine. How did you manage all this time, Doctor Matthews?"
Erin Grey heard him laugh. As she typed, she could still tell that his voice has gotten deeper, a hint of huskiness and a small cold. ‘He’s sick,’ she thought. She took a peek, and noticed as those warm brown-eyed she loved looked tired, looked so tired and lifeless. He must have done a couple of more of those overnight shifts, just like before. Then she stopped herself from thinking. ‘That was before,’ she repeated.
'You mustn’t care anymore.'
"It wasn't easy, internship was hell," he replied with an amused looked on his face. "But I managed to do it. All it took was hard work and a precisely long amount of patience."
'Internship,' Erin Grey thought. She couldn't dare look up at all.
"Which leads me to my next question," the interview said slyly. "You might be one of the youngest doctors in the country, and you can't deny that particularly handsome face. IS there a woman in your life?"
The whole set was suddenly silent, dying to hear what the doctor had to say next. Erin Grey felt her hands get cold as she typed. But it shouldn't get to her anymore. What he is now is none of her business.
"No," he answered immediately, a sort of pressing response that even the interviewer noticed. "How about in your internship days?" The interviewer asked, determined to get something for the readers. "Did you have time for trivial things like love while you were in the busiest days of your life?"
Erin Grey heard him chuckle softly, but what she heard next took her by surprise.
"I did." He answered after a pause. "I loved a woman for ten years."
"And what happened?"
"...I messed up."
Erin Grey froze, and yet somehow something had triggered her to look up. And when she did, there he was - looking directly at her.
I messed up.
He didn't say anything more, and the interviewer thought the atmosphere had changed so quickly, so she decided to cut the recording. She thanked him, and quickly ordered the crew to pack up. Erin couldn’t muster any courage to look at him, much less to talk to him, so she decided to pack her stuff as well. She quickly grabbed the pile of papers beside her, when a couple of them decided to fall on the floor. As she bent down, a pair of hands grabbed them before she could reach any of it. She smiled to thank the generous person who helped her, but the one she saw was no other than the doctor himself.
"Erin." He spoke her name softly - like delicate, expensive china. She looked up and saw that Derek’s eyes looked bloodshot, like a child on the verge of crying. "I… I-"
"Thank you for picking them up, Dr. Matthews," Erin Grey took them swiftly. "I have to go. It was nice to meet you." She turned around to walk away, to leave the man who she never thought would show up again after five years. However, he didn’t give her the chance.
Before she could stop him, the handsome doctor grabbed her arm. "We need to talk," he ordered, and quickly he dragged her out of room, and into his office.
Not once did he let go.