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Dr. Grace put on her glasses but her tears wouldn't just stop from flowing down. She noticed that the car stopped for a while but she did not look up. Her mind was too occupied by her pain and humiliation that she was already sniffling in between her controlled sobs. She leaned her head sideward towards the car window, hiding her face behind the driving seat. Later on, she placed a scarf over her face to shield her from the eyes of the driver.
She did not notice that Dr. Aijohn stepped in and sat beside her. He was hugging his backpack and was glancing sideways at her every now and then. Thinking back over the years when she had been trying hard
to be noticed by Dr. Jim, how she put lots of efforts to show him that she cared but only got contempt and rejection in return, she cried again. Now, that she began to believe that a brighter and a happy life with Dr. Aijohn awaited for her, she was only slapped in the end by the reality that she could never be loved as she was. What's wrong with her? Why were others more fortunate than her? Didn't she deserved to be happy? To love and be loved?
All her life, her needs and wants were lavishly provided... But eversince she started to fall in love, all she got was denial and rejection.
Having this humiliation played repeatedly in her mind, she cried harder and harder until her breathing became rapid and her heartbeat raced faster. In the next second, she limply fell forward as she felt a sudden light - headedness.
Dr. Aijohn immediately rushed forward to pick her up. The driver, also, instantly pulled to a stop.
"Hurry! Find me a paper bag! " Dr. Aijohn yelled as he quickly opened the car windows to let some fresh air in. Then, he cupped his hands together around her mouth.
"Breath slowly, deeply and
properly. " When he said ' properly', it was a reminder for her as a physician herself, to breath in through her nose and exhale through her mouth slowly and deeply.
The driver hastily searched into the glove box hoping to find a paperbag. Luckily, he was able to save one from buying some bread in one of his trips. He handed it right away to Dr. Aijohn who, in turn, took it up and inflated it first by blowing a thin air inside. Then, he sealed its opening around her mouth and nose.
This was her weakness, her hyperventilation syndrome...If not for this, he wouldn't dare to talk to her on the way. He, perhaps, might not accompany her but he had to bring her back to her parents safely as a responsible man.
After 30 minutes, her breathing pattern returned to normal as well as the pacing of her heartbeats. She did not cry anymore but her stares were empty. Her eye bags swell and her nose reddened. Seeing her like that, a sense of tenderness was roused inside him. She was obviously hurt by his sudden change of behavior.
He pulled her close to him and hugged her all the way to the airport without any word. She did not resist and eventually fell asleep.
After five hours on the way from Layag to the airport and an hour by plane, they finally touched the runway of Mactan - Cebu International Airport. Dr. Aijohn hired a private car and brought her directly towards their home.
"Gracie, dear, you're back! " Madamme Ybañez hurried to the door to meet them. Then, she hugged her for a while before turning to Dr. Aijohn.
"Mom." She greeted her weakly, looking exhausted as she fell on her shoulder. She was almost tempted to cry...
Dr. Aijohn silently watched as he stood across them. Their closeness was very much apparent even with few words. It could explain very well why the Ybañez couple messed up their research launching over a petty and illogical thing.
"Dr. Aijohn, thanks for accompanying my dearest home. Please, come inside for a dinner. Gracie's dad will be coming home soon." Madamme came forward to hug him likewise.
"Thank you so much, madamme. It's really an honor to be invited but I'll be meeting someone else and I am afraid I will not be able to make it on time. " D. Aijohn explained politely, his eyes avoiding Dr. Grace.
"If that's the case, I will not hold you long." Madamme Ybañez gave him a concerned look followed by a thin smile.
Dr. Aijohn nodded and smiled at her. "Thank you for understanding, madamme. I must go now."
He bowed slightly towards Madamme Ybañez then he glanced at her reluctantly before turning his back on them. There was pain in his eyes. Who ever knew when he could see her again? Who knew how long would he bear the task of getting adjusted to a life of solitude again? Above all, how long would he bear the weight of having to take her off from his mind? He really never learned his lesson.
Dr. Grace, for a moment, was somewhat pinned to where she was standing. Just when she heard the clicking sound of the doorknob, did she realize that he was already leaving...leaving her forever.
She was battling inside, whether or not, she would run after him and bear the humiliation of being rejected again. His sudden changes must be because of Hailey and how could she ever compete?
She had already thought hard about it. Since she had started this game, she might as well end this up. Her marriage to Dr. Jim looked more realistic than fighting against this ghost rival in his heart. Perhaps, it would be much better if she would just choose Dr. Jim. Perhaps, there would be more chance for both of them to learn to love with each other... Just perhaps...
The car engine was started. She tried to shut her ears.
Suddenly, no matter how she tried to calm herself down, no matter how she tried to brush him off aside, she became too afraid. Too afraid to lose him even for a day!