Chapter 17, Dr. Clay (Cult of Eros #1, Ongoing Update)

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Here’s chapter 17 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.

When Elizabeth tried to pull her arm away, Agatha quickly grabbed her again, forcing her to move forward. At one point, as exhaustion hit her hard, Agatha let out a loud, frustrated groan and released her, only to see Elizabeth stumbling and falling to the ground.

“Are you serious?” Agatha said, almost screaming her lungs out.

Elizabeth didn’t say anything as she looked away, panting.

Agatha took out her phone to check the time and winced when she saw it was already late. Knowing she could miss the bus ride, she kicked the ground as if she was lashing out and screamed. If it weren’t for this woman, she could have eaten something and ridden the bus trip—the last one, at least.

But when she saw how Elizabeth looked, a hopeless woman in despair, she couldn’t help but dismiss her gain. Seeing her in that fashion suddenly reminded her of what had happened twelve years ago.

“Anyway, I’m starving. We should eat something,” Agatha said as she bent down to retake Elizabeth, even though she knew she would do it again. She may have inhibitions. It was clear to her that she didn’t want to leave her there. But every time she did it, she stumbled, leaving her no choice but to crawl until she could barely stand. As she went on trying to walk straight, Agatha grabbed her.

“Get off of me!” she said while repeatedly yanking her arms, trying to free herself from Agatha. “I said, let go!”

“Fine, I’ll let you go, Rich Bitch! But first, I have to make sure you’re safe.”

Elizabeth scoffed and shook her head before she let out a menacing look. “Wow. I didn’t expect the same person who burned me down there at the gym would rescue me.” She hissed.

“I don’t care what you say now. I can’t just leave you alone in the dark,” Agatha sputtered, looking away, and sighed.

Unconvinced, Elizabeth looked around and saw how eerie the street was. Although the loud bars were nearby, the streets next to them were eerily silent and dark. It was as if she was in a different place, making her wonder how she even got there. Then, she began reeling that moment she drank the cocktail.

When she realized what had happened, she shuddered, feeling the ice-cold running at her spine up to the base of her neck. Although she felt forced, Elizabeth knew she had no choice but to walk alongside the woman whom she was less likely would ask for help.

“Fine,” Elizabeth said and began to walk with her.

“I guess saying thank you is pretty hard for you, Rich Bitch,” Agatha said, leaving Elizabeth speechless. While she wrapped her hand around Elizabeth’s arm, Agatha played tug-of-war with every ounce of patience she had. She thought she could finally leave as soon as they crossed the streets where it felt safer.

When they reached the intersection, where many people passed by, Agatha released her. “So, we’ll separate ways here,” she said confidently until she heard Elizabeth’s stomach growling. She giggled. “You’re starving, too. Aren’t you?”

“I’m not hungry,” Elizabeth said, crossing her arms and looking away.

“Okay. Suit yourself,” Agatha said, turning, and was about to walk when she turned again, facing Elizabeth as if she had forgotten something. “Look. You broke my GoPro, and I saved you from those bastards. We’re fair and square now,” Agatha said with confidence and an index finger, pointing at Elizabeth, who remained dazed from the events.

Despite her attempts to keep herself composed, Agatha sensed a deep sadness in this woman. Perhaps, it was how she walked and looked at her the whole time. Though she tried to ignore the nuances earlier, the longer she stayed with Elizabeth, the more she felt compelled to do something to make her feel better.

“Hey,” Agatha paused and tapped Elizabeth’s arm to get her attention. When she saw her being responsive, even though Elizabeth kept looking down and staring into the distance. Agatha pressed her lips as if she was in a dilemma and sighed. She checked her phone to check the time and clucked, feeling she was at the rope’s end. “Hey,” she said, only to no avail until she said the next line. “Do you need somebody to talk to?”

Elizabeth jolted and pulled her face up before she landed a gaze at Agatha, who looked more worried than she was. “I don’t need your help.”

“Fine, if that’s what you want. But you look like someone who needs help.”

Even though talking to this woman and sharing her vulnerability were unpleasant ideas, she knew she didn’t have anybody to go to. So, it was clear to her that she didn’t have other options but to grab the offer. “I guess I am,” Elizabeth said.

Before Agatha could even say a word, Elizabeth felt tears welling up around her eyes. Despite her last few attempts to hold them, it was becoming more uncomfortable for her. So, she allowed herself to cry for the first time. After the first teardrop she shed, it didn’t take long for her to lose it and cry.

In that brief moment, Agatha began to feel sorry for this woman, though she barely knew her. Watching her cry like a child losing her mother was a painful sting in Agatha’s heart, and that sting was a short reminder of how it was for her to lose everything. At that time, she was fortunate to have her brother, saving her from emotional damage.

When Agatha realized how necessary it was to have somebody to lean on, especially during the darkest moments, she slowly went closer to Elizabeth. She hugged her with her hand pressed on the back without saying a word.

Elizabeth widened her eyes when she saw what Agatha was planning to do. Even though she wanted to refuse it, her mind was too weak to tell her body to react. Because underneath the facade she had built for her social security, she was loathing, seemingly convinced she was nothing but a failure.

But when she felt Agatha’s arms around her for the first time, she felt needed and free. Though she made a few short attempts to resist it, she couldn’t, which caused her to break loose, and her cries became louder. It was as if she needed it and loved every second of it. That feeling was addictive because she understood Clay’s life was too hectic to demand more of it.

How could she?

Wishing it was him, Elizabeth pressed her face against Agatha’s shoulders, without caring whether they were blocking the sidewalk traffic as crowds congested around them.

While Agatha was devouring the food, she glanced at Elizabeth, still looking distressed. When her eyes landed on the untouched food she had ordered earlier, she began worrying for her. She gulped as soon as she felt ready and calm enough to start a small talk. “Are you sure you won’t report what happened to the police?”

Elizabeth shook her head and said nothing as she drank the coffee like water. After she let out a baby burp, she looked away. “But no,” she said.

“Why? Those bastards will keep doing what they want if you let them,” Agatha said with demand, only to feel awkward when Elizabeth barely moved to react— the quintessential woman she was. “What will you do now?”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth paused and looked at her, “Thank you,” she said that getting Agatha’s attention before she cleared her throat and looked away. “And I’m sorry.”

Agatha scoffed and shook her head in disbelief. “Sorry for what?”

“It was my fault that I caused a scene when it shouldn’t have been like that.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know what I’m talking about,” Elizabeth said gently, though she was breathing out loud sounds of despair. “I’ve seen your latest video and read the comments. God,” she paused to gulp when she felt choked, trying to stop her tears.

“I’m sorry,” Agatha said, pressing her lips, and stopped eating the food she scooped. She sighed and leaned against the chair, facing in Elizabeth’s direction. “By the way, what’s your name?”

“Why would you care about my name? Don’t tell me you’re feeling bad for what you’ve done to me?”

Agatha refused to answer and scooped a spoonful instead.

When Elizabeth saw Agatha arching an eyebrow, she smirked. “Good. I like that you feel like that because you don’t understand what I’m going through right now.”

“Every person has problems. You have your problems, and I’ve got mine. Alright? The world doesn’t always revolve around you, Rich Bitch.”

Elizabeth glowered but couldn’t say anything to save her face from Agatha’s blunt remark. She let out an exasperated sigh when she felt her defeat was acceptable. “My fiancé ran away a few days ago, and I don’t know where he is. I’ve been looking for him, trying to reach his phone a thousand times. I tried to text him and sent emails. Yet, I received nothing from him. So, I guess I will spend this year’s Christmas alone.”

Shit. Agatha froze in her seat and could not react after what she had just heard. It was beyond words if she were to describe how she was feeling. She could barely say the two words. “I’m sorry.”

Elizabeth looked at her and offered her hand, which further surprised Agatha. “I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me Liz.”

Agatha scoffed at first, but then, knowing what she did, she couldn’t help but continue this shitty small talk. “I know many people know me, but why were you so surprised when you saw me at the gym?”

Though she felt awkward, she gave her a kind smile. “I’ve been watching your videos since you first started. I was one of your subscribers when you barely had ten,” she said, which disturbed Agatha more, and describing it as that was even an understatement. As the influencer that she was, how could she have done something like that to an OG fan? Over the years, she has been promoting positivity to millions of her followers, only to end up doing it the other way around. That was a painful slap on Agatha’s face.

Elizabeth was about to pull away, but Agatha confidently shook her hand and flashed an awkward smile. “It’s nice meeting you,” she paused and gestured for Elizabeth to eat. “Anyway, the food is getting cold,” she said and saw Elizabeth’s smile fading as she began to indulge in the meal.

While they kept eating, Agatha kept glancing at her as if she felt more responsible for Elizabeth. Though Elizabeth remained silent as she ate, Agatha was becoming more restless, though she tried to restrain herself from asking questions. However, the longer she waited, the queasier she felt in her seat.

When she got more impatient, she cleared her throat, wanting to ask something but couldn’t. It took a while before she gained enough confidence to speak. “How did you like my content?” After she threw that stupid question, she looked at Elizabeth with anticipation.

“You’ve improved a lot over the years. The quality of your videos and your storytelling was great. I liked that you always strove to improve and admired your confidence when discussing even the most difficult topics.”

“Why did you follow me?”

“When I first saw your video, I felt like you’re a great person. So, I did.”

“You know, I am used to having people come and go. As a content creator, I know people follow me, but I am also aware they will stop someday. But how come you stayed?”

“I like you. Simple,” Elizabeth said, smiling as she grabbed her things and headed to the counter.

When she was about to get her wallet, Agatha stopped her. “What are you doing?”

Elizabeth laughed. “Don’t worry. We didn’t spend that much on what we ate tonight.”

“But still—”

Elizabeth turned away, ignoring Agatha’s concern, as she gestured to the cashier. “I’ll pay by card,” she said with a smile before she moved her attention to the transaction.

After they left the restaurant, Agatha checked her phone for notifications before glancing at Elizabeth. She clucked, knowing she had missed the last bus trip.

When Elizabeth noticed Agatha frowning, she couldn’t help but be curious. “Is something the matter?” she said in a gentler way, which surprised Agatha for a second, making her let out an awkward laugh.

“I missed the last bus ride. So, I have to tell Kuya I can’t come to the villa tonight.”

“Is it far from away?”

“Yeah. It’s a long hour drive,” she paused and clucked, “Why are you asking me that?”

“I understand how I have aggravated you, Agatha. Believe me or not. They were unintentional. I didn’t mean to be mean. I’m just—”

“I know. How about you go with me?”

“Why would I do that?”

“You’re my OG fan. Isn’t it right for me to treat you special?”

Elizabeth scoffed and looked away to hide her embarrassment. “But I won’t be staying long. I still have work to do.”

“Sure. The villa would be livelier if more people were around, not just me, my brother, and my dad. We have a few housekeepers, but the house felt empty and silent.”

“Do you think that’s a great idea to come with you?” Elizabeth asked.

“Why not? I’ll be happier if you do.”

Elizabeth didn’t say a word and smiled.

Author’s Note:

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!

If you like to support my writing life, here’s what you can do:

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