Here’s chapter 13 of the new book, Dr. Clay, I’ve been writing since NaNoWriMo 2022. Enjoy reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
While Valon was on the steering wheel, he glanced at Clay and saw him leaning to the side, pressing his head on the glass surface, although there was nothing to see amid the pitch-dark surroundings. “Are you okay?” he asked while glancing at Clay.
“Yeah, I am. I just feel a bit exhausted.”
“Yeah, you do. Anyway, I won’t mind driving the whole way, so you can sleep until we get there,” he paused, glancing at Clay again, “Besides, I’m used to driving the long way. So, it’s alright. You can sleep the whole ride if you want.”
“I guess you’re right. I really need to close my eyes now,” Clay said, pulling away his pair of eyeglasses from his face as he bent forward to reach his bag and grab its case. After placing his eyeglasses safely inside the bag, he threw them at the back seat, leaned against it, and crossed his arms again. Then, he went on massaging his temples and eye sockets.
When he turned his head and watched what Clay was doing, he couldn’t help but shake his head and cluck. “You look hammered, Clay.”
Clay nodded and let out a laugh. Yeah, you can’t imagine how much I wanted an escape, Val. So, thanks for the spontaneous trip. “I guess so,” he said, sighing and rubbing his hands against his face up to the back of his head, combing the strands of his hair.
“Go on. I won’t mind watching you sleep the whole time.”
“Would that be okay for you to drive all the way there? I checked how far it was to get there. We’re driving all night to get there.”
Valon clucked. “Just enjoy the ride, Doc,” he said in a tease, expecting Clay to react. However, when he heard Clay yawning, he turned his head and saw Clay shutting his eyes and swiveling his head in the opposite direction. In his mind, he couldn’t recall a moment when he saw a sleeping doctor for the first time. Watching Clay in that fashion made Valon flash a faint smile, and he was somehow feeling bad before moving his attention to the road he was driving.
Then, he looked away, facing the road until he arrived at the highway intersection and saw the stop sign. So, he stepped on the break and grabbed the hand break before pressing himself against his seat. After he let out a sigh and pressed his hand on his lap to relax, he turned his head to check on Clay. It was when he saw the doctor’s face pressing his head against the seat. But this time, Clay’s head was facing him and was closer to his direction.
When Valon realized how close his face was, he yelped and was on the verge of leaping off of his seat. However, while waiting for the green light, he began staring at Clay this brief moment of observing and scanning the man’s features without being interrupted. He clucked when he first thought how exhausting Clay’s life must have been, as he was trying to imagine the daily life that made him snore like that in his sleep.
However, the story changed when his eyes landed on Clay’s dry, chapped lips. He began staring at them before he looked away and pressed his lips, feeling guilty for taking advantage of Clay’s vulnerability with his fingers planted on the car door. Although he tried to resist the urge to look at his face again, he was getting impatient.
So, after a few attempts, as the uneasiness was fading, he suddenly dared to push himself forward with his hand still on the steering wheel and the other pressing on Clay’s seat. He kept pushing himself forward until he was a breath away from Clay’s lips with his eyes closed. Though his face was so close that he could hear Clay breathing, when he could almost press his lips against Clay’s, he realized he was about to cross the line. Despite the struggle to resist the urge he was feeling, he couldn’t dare to push himself further.
At that moment, he opened his eyes so wide, revealing his enormous brown eyes and sighing deep breaths of embarrassment. While he pressed his lips, his eyes still widened in fear and guilt. He thought, oh my God! Why did I do that? Unfortunately, no matter how often he tried to convince himself it was fine, embarrassment became an understatement for Valon. It didn’t take long for him to realize it. So, he pulled away and leaned back against his seat, pressing his head against the leather surface. While waiting for the orange light to turn to green, he kept muzzling his mouth with his hand until shortly after, he saw the green light turned on and drove off. Delete Created with Sketch.
Still disturbed by what he had done, Valon gulped as he tried to keep himself composed, acting as naturally as he could beside Clay. He looked at him and smiled. “We’re here,” he said with excitement while having fun watching Clay being curious about the new surroundings he was in.
After they hopped out of the car, they headed to the backseat and grabbed their things. As Valon opened the backdoor, he was about to grab a bag when he noticed Clay swirling his body as his eyes wandered. He smiled and didn’t say a word as he began to grab the bags and lock the car.
With his duffel bag in hand, Clay wandered around the property entrance after hopping out of the car. Though it was still dark as they arrived earlier than the sunrise, the wide, childlike smile on his face was visible in Valon’s eyes. He also thought that maybe it was the same fascination Clay saw on his face when he arrived at his apartment.
“So, do you like it here?” Valon asked.
“I love it here. Though it’s early morning, I love the vibe. Pure peace,” Clay said with a smile and sniffed deep breaths of fresh, cool air, easing the doctor’s anxiety.
“I’m glad you like the villa. It’s been a while since the last time I came here,” Valon said, gesturing Clay to move ahead and walk, heading to the house, which was a few meters away from the parking grounds. “Come, and I’ll show you around.”
“Do you often visit your dad?”
“Before I became a department head, I visited him almost weekly. However, since the promotion last year, I barely make two visits in a month. After the stampede, my plans got delayed again. So, it has been months since I last saw my dad.”
Clay nodded and clucked. “While you’re here, do you think he’s there to meet you?”
Valon shook his head. “No, we’ll most likely be alone here.”
“Why? Where’s everybody?”
“While on the way here, Agatha texted me and told me he was on a trip with a long-time friend somewhere. But he’s going back in the next few days.”
“How about her? Shouldn’t she be here to spend Christmas with you, too?”
“She will come after her business affairs. I don’t know how being an influencer’s life looks, but she told me she can’t make it until late December this year.”
“Busy woman for her age.”
“Yeah. While here we are, spending the entire Christmas doing nothing. What else can you ask for, right?”
They both laughed.
“I like your relationship with your dad.”
“How about yours? Do you have the same thing, dad-son kind of thing?”
Clay shook his head and scoffed before letting out a laugh. “Never,” he said, glaring before glancing at Valon. “That old man was never a dad to me.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
Realizing the serious situation, Valon decided to shut his mouth and press Clay’s shoulder instead. “Anyway, forget about the sad things. We’re here to have a vacation and have fun. So, I hope you like how it looks inside.”
“Sure.” Clay nodded and followed Valon behind, stepping on staircases made of stones until they reached a massive gate made of hardwood stacked together. When they reached there, Valon stood and pushed the entrance to give way for Clay to enter, revealing a tall, tall white building of modern architecture.
Unlike the traditional Spanish-inspired and cramped design covering his family mansion, the de Lara mansion looked more modern and airy. As soon as they walked into the living room, Clay was in awe of its spaciousness. But the show didn’t end there.
When Valon was having fun watching Clay’s eyes widen in awe of the surroundings, he thought of heading toward the curtains. Then, he pulled the strings, shoving the heavy curtains to the sides, revealing sun rays beaming across the room. Behind tall glass windows displayed the picnic benches and umbrellas installed before the massive swimming infinity pool. Clay’s imagination went further as his eyes caught the vast sea with the sun rising in the background. It was picture-perfect.
“We can get out if you like,” Valon said and opened the doors, gesturing for Clay to walk in first before he followed him behind. When they stood there and watched the picturesque scenery of nature, he looked at Clay, observing him as he eased himself. When satisfied, he looked away, facing the sea and tucking his hands in his pockets. “Life is always beautiful when you wake up in the morning with this view.”
“This is picture-perfect, Val. You would pay thousands of dollars for a view like this.”
“So, do you still feel regretful about coming here?”
Clay shook his head. “No, I don’t.”
Valon smiled. “I’m glad to hear that. How about I show you your room first so you can unpack and relax?”
“That will be nice.”
“Then, I’ll just knock on your door if it’s lunchtime.”
“Thanks, Val.” For everything.
“Yeah. Sure, Clay,” he paused and studied Clay’s frown. “Hey, hey, hey! Look. You came here not because I needed a doctor. You’re here because you needed a friend. Since I’m here as your friend, feel free at home and smile,” he said, pressing his hand on Clay’s shoulder. “Come on, Clay. Smile,” he said, pressing his fingers on Clay’s face and stretching his lips wide. “Like that.”
That shocked Clay to the bone, leaving him without other options to react but to scoff. For him, it was too early in the morning for his mind to sink in these words Valon had just told him. When he was about to fail to save his face, Valon chuckled as he let go of his hand away from Clay’s shoulder.
“Anyway, shall we?” he said and turned as they headed upstairs to where Clay’s room would be. “Here’s your room,” Valon said as they walked into the room.
As Clay entered, he saw the room with a two-person bed covered with white sheets to match the modern and chic feel of the place. Though the place revealed its minimalist beauty, he noticed the little bits of aesthetics around the room. The more he looked around, he began analyzing, wondering if everything there had Valon’s touches was present.
When he turned, he saw Valon helping him get his bag on the bed. “So, do you like it?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“If there’s anything else, I’m a call away upstairs,” he said with a smile.
“Thank you,” Clay said before Valon could leave the room. When he saw the broad smile, he flashed an awkward smile.
Valon yawned. “I’ll show you my room later after we’re done resting. Alright?”
Without saying a word more, Valon shut the door for Clay.
Right after Valon left, he couldn’t help but shove the curtains out of curiosity. Wanting to suck in the beauty of the vast horizon, Clay pulled the curtains to the side and stood before the glass, watching the sun behind the wide stretch of the sea line. While the room remained silent, he closed his eyes and slowly smiled as he heard the birds tweeting and the crows croaking in different melodies playing in his ears.
Then, he opened his eyes as soon as his mind fell into its rabbit hole—reeling the moments with Valon beside him, smiling and giggling as if he recognized Valon’s efforts to try every way to make him feel good. It was the one thing he would never experience from Liz since they began their relationship years ago. Unlike Valon, Liz has always wanted her way.
So, in Clay’s mind, being able to experience this—being cared for and taken care of—was a blessing and a curse. It could have been perfect if he had this emotional lush for the person he loves. The view could have been a complete masterpiece if he had been there with someone who would understand and accept him for who he was and not because of what he was.
But what if it was from a man?
Well, he guessed that’s another story. He struggled to find the right drug and treat himself to reconcile the fact that his heart had begun to stray from where he was supposed to be. Despite not knowing where it could lead him, something more sinister was slowly devouring him inside. As he kept thinking of the possible outcomes, he only got increasingly frustrated and more conflicted in his intent.
On the other side, after Valon has shut the door, it was the first moment he felt the air less closed, feeling so choked that he felt his throat constricting. As he tucked his hands in his pockets, he shut his eyes while exhaling deep sighs to ease the throbbing heart, throbbing his chest. And he kept doing it as silently as he could until he felt comfortable enough to swivel his torso, facing Clay’s door for a minute, and grab his things, heading in heavy steps to his room.
Thank you so much for spending time reading this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I wrote this part three months ago. This chapter, in particular, reminded me of those times when I sat before my desk, seemingly prepared to type in words, but I struggled to keep it up.
It took an external motivation to get it through, and, at that time, the NaNoWriMo event was upcoming. At that time, I thought, “This could be a great opportunity to try and give this a shot one more time. You’d done an excellent job with ‘The Rival,’ so you could do it, Mecyll.”
You know, it’s easier said than done because writing a chapter with a clear intent to finish it requires more than just a skill. Since I started writing fiction, I realized how much this work demands my ability to be naked and the guarantees to answer whether I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to face my fears, conscious or unconscious.
So, being able to write this down meant I managed despite the countless times dancing around with depression and enjoying the roller coaster rides my anxiety provided me.
This is why I don’t know how I could thank you for your support, regardless of the scale or contribution size, from sharing my work with others or buying my books. It doesn’t matter because, for me, every small act you show is appreciated.
Again, thank you, and have a great day!