Cry, Even Better if you Beg - Chapter 119
Uneven thumping could be heard as Leyla slowly made her way up the stairs to her home. The bike hitting her had been painful, but manageable at least that she could limp home with just a bruised knee and a sprained ankle. Hence, there was no need to make a big fuss out of it.
It wasn’t a big deal to her after all.
She soon walked in through their apartment door, ignoring the way her stomach began to churn once more. She pushed on and changed clothes and arranged stuff around their small home until it continued churning.
Her stomach was still persistently upset. Her eyes drifted towards the peaches. She didn’t understand the sudden craving of the fruit, it was the only thing she had wanted to eat lately, and nothing else.
She hummed contently to herself, palms washing the peaches, putting them on a tray, and displaying them on the center of the table. Her stomach churned once more, her hands absentmindedly rubbing her stomach in a smoothing motion.
The discomfort was very reminiscent of when she’d been hit by the bike earlier, still it wasn’t anything new. No alarm to be had there at all, save for the slight aches on her knees and sprained ankle.
Her stomach began to settle down once more, and Leyla proceeded once more with the stuff she wanted to finish, before the uncomfortable churning returned with a vengeance…
She felt like she was about to hurl!
She groaned quietly, hunching on her stomach to stifle the feeling. She didn’t know how long she stood there in that position; trying as she might to move back to her room, she couldn’t help the paired onslaught of dizziness that usually accompanied her upset stomach.
She was so busy trying not to feel nauseous, oftentimes she’d forget the complicated memories that usually kept her up at night ever since they moved to Lovita.
Eventually her stomach calmed down once more, and Leyla straightened out, huffing out in relief momentarily, before limping towards the kitchen window to open it up and let some fresh air in.
Almost immediately the salty sea air wafted into the small home, wisping gently around Leyla’s face as she breathed it in. She shivered involuntarily, unexpectedly feeling a little cold.
She walked back into the kitchen, taking time to assess which peach looked scrumptious, and grabbed it before deftly taking a bite out of it. She hummed in delight, savoring the juicy fruit in her mouth in complete satisfaction.
Before she knew it, she finished one whole peach, and was grabbing onto another.
In no time, it was finished as well.
With the early summer sky reflected on the shimmering waters down below, one could almost call the day ahead as peaceful.
The clouds overhead flowed seamlessly at a normal pace, and the birds flew in and out of their trees. The light bouncing on the cerulean waters seemed almost unrealistic. The sound of flowing water only added more to the serenity in the ambiance.
From there, Matthias, who had lately surrendered himself to the current flow of time around himself, was beginning to take back control over his actions. It was like he’d been swimming so frantically before, creating long ripples around him that he couldn’t see what was happening beneath him.
Now that he’d calmed down, and the ripples in his waters ebbed into a laminar flow, it was like everything was cleared for him.
Just as the pain in his body kept increasing, the calmer, Matthias found, his mind would be. And so he held fast onto it, and kept clinging into it.
Dr. Etman had indeed reduced the dosage of the sleeping pills he’d been prescribing. It was just as he threatened. He even had the audacity to pull the doctor’s card, insisting that his orders would always override the patient’s wants.
He’d been incredibly adamant about it, especially after hearing Matthias’ had slept for two whole days because of it.
Initially, he thought fix this little hiccup quickly by just going to another doctor…
But, the truth of the matter is that Matthias found an odd sense of relief in being lazy.
He even found it incredibly amusing to let the rumor of his declining health run rampant in his absence. The rumor was so widespread in Carlsbar that he’d started receiving countless offers from suspicious doctors lately.
Still, he was certain there wasn’t anything wrong with him, despite what all of them kept telling him. He needed no medicine, only sleep was what he required.
So, with the dosage lowered, he’d found another way to find sleep quickly.
And it was with exhaustion.
He found it to be just as effective as the sleeping pills. This way, he wasn’t exactly not taking care of himself. Exercising to the point of exhaustion, before plopping down on the bed dead tired was no different than the first dosage of sleeping pills he’s had.
“You’re begging for trouble if you continue like this, Duke Herhardt.” Dr. Etman chided him, tone heavy with a warning in a previous late-night visit. “Exercise and sleep were created to help improve our bodies, yes, but only with the right amount. The ‘enough’ amount. No less, and definitely, no more.”
Matthias hummed nonchalantly at the doctor.
“Exercise and sleep sound like a pretty healthy option to me.” He said with a smile that doesn’t really reach his eyes. But the doctor wasn’t feeling amused the least bit by him.
He proceeded to explain that sleep can’t be a cure to whatever had been ailing him. And putting his body to the point of exhaustion in the pretense of healthy living was only counterproductive in his health.
Matthias needed to address the source of his drastic change in habit and lifestyle, and find the proper and correct solution.
“It doesn’t matter what medicine I give, whether it’s sleeping pills or not, I can’t cure your illness for you. Not when you refuse to do anything to correct it!” Dr. Etman huffed out frustratingly, before sighing deeply to calm himself down.
Matthias vaguely wondered if this was how a father was supposed to sound like. The doctor had never spoken to him in a tone like this before. It convinced Matthias that this one was at least genuinely concerned for his health.
What a competent doctor his family had.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he faintly thought, what a great person this doctor was.
This was the kind of man Kyle Etman was trying to become.
Matthias leaned back, and assessed his doctor with critical eyes. He could see the faint similarities of both father and son in their features. They both possessed the same passionate eyes…
The eye’s he’d seen shed a tear as he smiled in complete despair.
Truly, Kyle Etman and his Leyla would have been a match made in heaven.
If only Matthias was willing to let it happen and believe it was, as the people kept telling him. Perhaps his Leyla would be happy to become Mrs. Etman one day too.
And she’d go off to college, supported by a respectable good man. They’d live like a fairytale couple, all happy and sunshines for the rest of their lives…
She might even finally live comfortably later on in life, in the way she’d been unable to when she was still a child.
Instead, he turned her into a sniveling mistress, so afraid and desperate to get away from the man who called her his.
Deep down, Matthias could still find no regrets for his actions. It led Leyla to him after all. And even if he were to rewind time, back to their first meeting…
He wouldn’t change a damn thing at all.
Even if he were to be given a hundred different chances to change the way he did things…
He’d STILL. DO. THE. SAME.
He was certain of himself after all, and had complete confidence in every action he’d taken. He’d admit as much that personality-wise, Kyle Etman was the better choice between the two of them…
But he wasn’t the kind of noble Kyle was. Try as he might to pull the same advances as every gentleman should, but he couldn’t fake himself in front of his mistress.
It was impossible to be anyone but himself in front of Leyla.
And so he strived to break her, so long as she was with him forever. He’d rather see her crying and begging with him, than happy to be in another man’s arms…
Perhaps, it would have been better if he’d killed her even. That way, she’d never be another man’s.
But, was that even the problem anymore? Is killing her an acceptable solution to the glaring problem right now?
In the solace of his thoughts, Matthias grinned somberly to himself.
No. The problem he had right now was that she’s gone.
He’d lost his Leyla forever.
And for all Claudine revealed to him, he didn’t find any of her revelations surprising. Half of him already knew she’d been scheming something. But he found himself to be unbothered by it at all.
It was just like hearing a rumor, he supposed. Every one of them, even though they’re saying the same thing, from Claudine, even to Kyle Etman. It was all just hearsay that he wouldn’t find his Leyla…
That he did not deserve to find her.
He already knew that, but still. He couldn’t help but scour for her. He’d rake every inch of the empire, and even the world to find her again.
To have her again.
Feeling the remaining strength of his body leave, Matthias eventually rose out of the bath water he’d been in. He could see in his reflection how sharper his features had become, how hollowed his face appeared than before.
Still, he appeared as robust, especially with the way the water dripped down on the front of his chest, reflecting the sunlight seeping in through the windows.
“If you truly think you don’t find my services satisfactory anymore, please tell me now, Duke.” Dr. Etman huffed out in continuation as he busied himself with his apparatus, “I have no trouble referring you to a different doctor that would be better equipped to take care and advise you. Because I don’t know how much longer I can do this, Duke Herhardt.”
Dr. Etman straightened up, and looked at Matthias straight in the eye.
“I refuse to keep having my expert opinions ignored, and watch you waste yourself away wallowing.”
Matthias only chuckled in amusement, even as the poor doctor kept eyeing him with great concern. It didn’t matter which doctor he went to. He knew Dr. Etman was the best of the best, but no medicine would fix him…
Not unless that medicine was his Leyla. Or perhaps a god.
‘Maybe a change in scenery would be good.’ Matthias mused to himself, ‘Should I get a vacation away from Arvis for a while?’
Immediately he shook the thought out of his head. The only reason he’d survived so long was because he moved away from every busybody in the main house, and into seclusion to a place that held many memories of his precious time with Leyla.
She was the only one Matthias would willingly worship without hesitation. This place was like her temple.
The place she wept, begged and feared in…
A place she laid herself bare and accepted him into her. Perhaps many religious people would understand him better, with the way he’d bound himself faithfully to Leyla…
It wasn’t any different from how they worshiped their deities.
His senses were beginning to blur. Should he return now? Absent-mindedly, his body began to move sluggishly.
His muscles and limbs were screaming in protest with every movement. It felt like they would break under his decreased weight, but Matthias found no reason to stop.
Stopping only made him afraid of what would happen.
What would happen when he no longer remembered Leyla and their time together? What would become of him? What if one day, he’d suddenly stop searching for her?
His chest tightened at the thought of forgetting Leyla, and never seeing her again.
Never. He won’t survive that.
She was like a majestic tree, thriving in the middle of a roaring river. The sight of her was the only thing that could give him back his sanity, and clear his head back to perfection once more!
She looked a lot like that tree she loved climbing so much! He could vividly see her laughing as he closed his eyes, watching the way her gold hair billowed out behind her enticingly, her melodic laugh filtering into his ears…
Such a bittersweet illusion…
Matthias smiled mirthlessly as he found himself in the middle of a calmed river, not a tree in sight anymore.
Life was meaningless like this. All stagnant and quiet. What else was he living for if not for her? It was like sinking. He could feel him sinking in, but he had no will to save himself from it…
He couldn’t help but recall many of Leyla’s journal entries in times like this.
Her life was so different from his. Where the world had been generous and kind to him, they’d been unforgiving and harsh with her. But she did her best anyway…
But she was gone, so that life of hers was gone too. He made it so that it was the only way she could think of.
His eyes opened and into the breaking dawn, he could see the golden sun beginning to wake up the world around him once more like clockwork. They shone much like Leyla’s tears whenever she’d beg him. A pleasant smile made its way to his lips.
The first one he was genuinely happy to do since she abandoned him forever.
It wouldn’t be so bad now, would it? To be lulled to sleep by her tears instead?
It was the last thought in Matthias’ mind before he succumbed once more to sleep. And when he’d open his eyes after that, a brighter smile made its way to him.
Leyla was here!
They lay side by side, eyes locked into each other, their bare bodies so close that he could feel her warmth next to him!
He wanted to grab her, praise how she’d returned to him! But instead…
He could only manage to reach out, and cup her cheeks faintly in reverence. She was as radiant as ever.
‘Leyla…’ his raspy voice echoed loudly in his head.
And then she was gone. And Matthias was awoken back to the reality of her disappearance. That was just another illusion. An echo of one of their many memories. The space beside him was empty and cold.
She’d never returned.
“Ah, you’re awake.” Matthias looked up, and saw Dr. Etman sitting on the chair beside him. He sighed in relief as soon as he saw the Duke awaken.
“It would have been tragic if your servants hadn’t found you in time by the river, Duke.”
He’d wandered off to the river? He barely remembered the walk there. Matthias was content to listen quietly to further scoldings of his doctor.
They’d found him yesterday. Just how long had he been sleeping?
It didn’t matter.
He was still tired.
How pathetic could he be, that he’d lose control over his motor functions, yet still wind up surviving a near-death drowning, and have to live to be scolded by his doctor?
They should have left him in his paradise. An illusionary world of just him and Leyla.
Were those times they looked at each other in comfortable silence just another lie of hers too?
‘What if it wasn’t?’ His mind rebelled wishfully.
‘But what if it was?’ The darker voice in his mind responded loudly.
He felt like a child once more, overwhelmed by everything around him, he shut everything out because it was much easier like this.
Still, he couldn’t help but wish to be with Leyla again.
He might not know how they’ll end up to be. He might not know for sure if he would be right for her. All he knew for sure was she was his purpose. Without her, there wasn’t anything in his life worth living for.
He can’t keep living without her.
‘Leyla, tell me what to do.’ He called out futilely to her.
“Duke Herhardt, do you hear what I’m saying?” Dr. Etman called out for him, but Matthias was vaguely paying him any attention by now. Every word of concern continued to fall on deaf ears.
Matthias was still stuck in his head, now thinking about his dead canary. The persistent songs of similar birds outside his open window kept him reliving every moment of when he’d known his bird was dead…
Matthias frantically stared at his open window with bloodshot eyes.
The song of his bird was gone. There had never been one at all. His canary had been dead. The song he’d been hearing was the one his canary kept singing to him…
Still, the canary was dead, and he couldn’t help but find a little solace in that fact. It didn’t leave him. It just died.
And a new sick hope began to bloom in both his mind and heart. An enticing thought danced its way through his thoughts from the back of his mind and into the forefront…
‘Yes, if I’m to lose you forever, and never have you again…’ Matthias grinned subtly in a pleased manner.
‘I’d rather kill you instead than leave me at all.’
“Duke Herhardt?” Dr. Etman called out worriedly again, eyeing the duke with more concern than before as Matthias began laughing to himself once more.
There was something ominous in this laugh, yet the doctor couldn’t put the finger on why that was. The doctor’s throat began to dry with nervousness.
And just like clockwork, the phone began to ring.