Chapter 3 - Departure

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Matt slowly opened his eyes to the new day. His mind immediately thought of Ruth and he turned to his side. She sat awake to his relief. He, however, noticed the lifeless look on her face.

Her eyes were partially closed as she stared into space. It was a look that made it difficult to tell whether she was at peace or she had given up on everything.

The little sounds he made while sitting up made Ruth turn her head. She took one look at him and faced away. Her warm and captivating smile was unavailable for Matt that morning.

His heart sank as he stressed about what she was thinking about. Matt held her hand and she looked at him once more. She was about to turn away when he cupped her face in place.

"Ruth, what is wrong?" he asked her with desperation.

"I am just a little tired." she weakly replied with no emotion.

Matt scooted closer to her. Her grey eyes were dull and exposed the sadness she tried to hide. She looked even paler without her makeup.

Matt tucked Ruth's hair behind her ear while her gaze was down. "I know that you are a strong woman but this burden is too heavy for you to carry alone. I am here for you and I always will be." he softly said to her.

"I love you Matthew." the emotion behind her voice was heart moving; her misty eyes were the physical evidence of it.

Ruth turned her whole body to Matt. She took his hand with both hands. Matt jerked his brow surprised when her tears poured down her cheeks. She faced down and cried deeply. He hugged her close and listened to her sobs.

"Please don't leave me alone Matt. I'm afraid that I will never see you again if you do." she said with a sniffle.

"You will never be able to get rid of me. I'll stand by you until I breathe my last." he poured his heart out.

Ruth sniffed. "Is it okay if we can just stay in my room all day? My mom won't mind sending maids to bring our food up here."

"That's okay with me and besides, I think your father will appreciate that too." he snorted and she finally smiled at him.

****

Eugene sat reading his paper in the living room. He listened to the doorbell but didn't bother to check. Not even the soft sound of shoes hitting the wooden floor pricked his curiosity. He heard Muriel's gentle laugh and turned a page uninterested.

"I trust that it is exactly what I ordered." he heard her say.

"Yes, we baked the cake as per your instructions." a cheerful man's voice replied.

"Cake?" Eugene bended the newspaper with two fingers and looked at Muriel through his spectacles.

"Thank you once again." Muriel happily said and closed the door.

She turned around only to meet Eugene's stunned look. He pointed at the cake and she protectively held onto it. She averted her eyes away from his and waited for him to say something. Eugene took off his glasses and took a few steps forward with his mouth agape.

"What do you think you are doing?" he asked her in almost a whisper.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she sarcastically replied.

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