Here’s chapter 22 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.
“No, Uncle Elmer! Don’t! Please stop. I beg you,” she uttered, screaming her lungs out while her back remained flat on the bed. She pumped her legs wildly away from him, though she barely pushed an inch. He was tremendous in size that he grabbed her legs with both hands and spread them wide for his easy gateway to heaven.
As he pulled his pair of pants and briefs down to his knees, he quickly grabbed Agatha and leaned forward, hovering above her. She closed her eyes and turned her face to avoid Uncle Elmer’s menace. But he held her chin, forcing her to look at him, smirking and groaning as he stroked his erection. Then, he slid it inside her and—
Agatha woke up, mouth open, a terrible noise shattering the dawn’s silence.
It was her, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Shortly after, Valon walked into her room in long strides, rushing to wake his sister up in a nightmare he never expected to see again. “Agatha,” he sputtered as he grabbed both shoulders. While he patiently waited for her to open her eyes, Agatha pulled Valon, wrapping her arms around him. Her cries became louder and louder as she pressed her face against his shoulder, murmuring words Valon barely could understand.
Despite that, it was enough for him to comprehend the trauma that had marked Agatha’s life. As he listened to the sound of her voice, he couldn’t help but shut his eyes and stop himself from tearing up, though his bloodshot eyes couldn’t lie.
Meanwhile, Clay and Elizabeth woke up and jumped out of bed when they heard someone screaming in the other room. When they recognized it was Agatha, they pulled away and left their room. As they headed there and saw the door was open, they saw Valon sitting at the side of the bed while hugging Agatha and patting his hand on the back of her head. They tried not to interrupt, but Elizabeth could not restrain herself, though Clay blocked her, preventing her from entering the scene.
“It’s alright, Agatha. Don’t worry. Kuya is here,” Valon repeatedly said in a hushed tone as he patted Agatha’s head until she calmed down.
“Are you alright?” Elizabeth said, stuttering in her familiar soothing voice, which caught Agatha and Valon’s attention.
When Valon turned his back and saw Clay standing beside her, it didn’t take long for him to look away and move his attention back to Agatha. Little did he know Clay noticed it.
Agatha nodded, forcing a faint smile, though she couldn’t hide the nightmare she had because her sweat and tears had dampened her face. As she felt more embarrassed, she pulled away from Valon and wiped herself before she dragged herself out of bed and approached Elizabeth.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” Agatha said as she walked past her, ignoring Elizabeth’s concern as she headed outside her room.
While Clay expected to hear a word, Valon didn’t say anything as he followed Agatha, leaving Elizabeth and Clay in the room alone, speechless and clueless about what had happened.
Hours after the incident, it was still early morning when Elizabeth walked outside the room, enjoying the view her city couldn’t provide. The air was fresh, and the skies were dark. With her nightgown on, she dragged herself out of bed on tiptoes. As she went outside her room, she strolled, following the hallway, until she noticed one of the rooms was open and lit.
Curious, she headed there and saw Valon standing behind the easel, which stood high as his towering height, with a brush and a palette in his hands. She paused and observed how serious he was while he stroked colors on the canvas, admiring this remarkable man—attractive, tall, and creative. She knew she would fall for this man if she had been single. There was no doubt about that.
And though Clay hadn’t mentioned anything about Valon, she understood why Clay couldn’t dislike this kind of man. After what she had seen, what struck her more was how caring Valon was underneath his stoic shell. But that same thought began to stir inside her, asking herself why Clay chose to remain silent and refuse to tell her details about running away.
As she shut her eyes, she recalled how Clay had kissed her lips and compared it with how he did back then. Although she tried to avoid the discussion, she couldn’t help but overthink, fearing she had missed anything, leading to the scene he had caused in her home. Even while observing Valon from afar, she couldn’t move away and continued eyeing him instead. She felt she wanted to talk to him and ask directly, thinking it was the best option she had to know more answers.
“Hey,” Elizabeth uttered after clearing her throat, waking Valon to his senses.
When he saw her standing near the door frame, he flashed a dry smile as he stepped back from what he was doing and placed the brush and the palette on the cabinet next to him, where he put most of his art materials. Then, he flashed a smile before he moved his attention away from his work to Elizabeth, who looked curious. “Hey, good morning, Liz.”
“Can I come in?” she asked.
Valon nodded. “Sure,” he said, which prompted Elizabeth to walk into the room and look around the canvases, which displayed various techniques and experiments Valon had done. Some were finished, though there were a few left unfinished. With the room’s conditions, Valon felt a bit embarrassed for leaving the space cramped and untidy. He thought it was too shabby for Elizabeth, who looked and walked like a princess fresh from the bed. “Why are you up so early?”
“I can’t sleep and don’t want to wake him up. So, I decided to take a walk and look around your beautiful place,” Elizabeth said with a smile, though she still felt awkward after entering the room in baby steps. For her, she never felt comfortable meddling in someone’s business until she walked in and saw several pieces of artwork filling the corners of the room.
“I’m glad you like it here,” Valon said.
“Are you alright?” Elizabeth asked and was content with Valon’s nod as an answer. When silence reigned between them, she cleared her throat while Valon went on preparing the paints and brushes he needed for his work. “Can I ask you something?”
“How did you meet Clay?” she asked.
Though her voice was soothing, Valon felt a threat. At that moment, he found himself frantic that all he could do was look away and act naturally as possible. His chest was tight that he struggled to maintain his composure before her. He had no idea how to answer Elizabeth and explain how he got into this kind of trouble, bringing Clay to his madness.
Out of nowhere, he found enough balls to look and smile, thinking it would make her feel comfortable with him in this conversation. “We work together at San Carlos University,” Valon said as his eyes bored into hers, thinking he must be crazy for not being attracted to this woman.
“Clay didn’t mention that to me.”
Valon looked surprised and shook his head. “No?”
Elizabeth shook her head as well. “No,” she said and crossed her arms before she continued looking around. When her eyes landed on the piece he had created, she jolted while covering her mouth with her hand. “Oh, my God. You made all of these?”
Valon nodded. “Yes,” he said while his eyes remained on the canvas, though he was eyeing her.
“I have no idea Clay met such a great artist. It looks awesome.”
“Thank you. But I don’t need your compliment,” Valon said as he looked at her while unknowingly studying her features, tracing every line of her face with his eyes. Not even when Elizabeth turned her head and saw Valon staring at her he remained unfazed.
“How did you meet him?” Elizabeth paused and looked at him while unknowingly making Valon uncomfortable. “I asked Clay the same question, but he refused to tell me anything. Anything about you? So, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could do it for me. That is if you don’t mind.”
How should he begin telling the story? This was playing in Valon’s mind as he was in a dilemma. Should he tell her about the art exhibition? How about their artist-muse relationship? Should he tell her about that, too? Goddammit. Valon became frustrated when he failed to devise excuses to dodge the question.
“It’s a long story,” Valon said with disinterest. Though he has a lot to say, he watches every word he says like a hawk. To his surprise, Elizabeth nodded and looked satisfied with the answer he had given her. “You’re one lucky woman, Liz.”
“Am I?” she paused and heard Valon hum, “Why do you say so?” she asked, thinking how he could say something like that when she was nothing but a loser.
“We both know how special Clay is. Not only he’s one hell of a pretty man, but he also has the character any person would want for his partner. He has everything anyone wants from a relationship. And you have it. You have his heart,” Valon paused as he observed how Elizabeth answered his piercing stare, “You can’t imagine how fortunate you are to have Clay looking excited and happy whenever he thinks about you.”
“He does?” Elizabeth asked though she struggled to keep her eyes stay, feeling guilty for not being able to realize that herself. She was Clay’s woman. But how come she failed to understand her man? Why did she have to hear this from Valon, a stranger she barely knew? No wonder Clay ran away and chose Valon over her. Regardless, was that right? No, it didn’t feel right to her.
Of course, mother fucker. Valon nodded. “Clay loves you so much,” he paused when he thought of asking her something. “While talking, can I ask you a personal question?”
“Sure,” Elizabeth said.
“He told me you’ve been together for a long time. So, I wonder if you love Clay the same way he does you. Do you?”
Elizabeth scoffed as if she wasn’t expecting to hear that. “Yeah, I do, of course. How about you?”
Valon let out an awkward laugh. “What do you mean?” Do I love Clay?
“I’m sorry. I assume dating isn’t an issue in your life.”
When Valon turned his back, facing the materials he had placed earlier, he flicked his head to the side to see Elizabeth from his peripheral view. “I appreciate your positive assumption. But no. Just because I look physically great doesn’t mean I have a lavish dating life. It’s nothing like that.”
“Do you have a girlfriend, or are you engaged to someone?”
“Sadly, no. I ain’t hitched right now,” Valon said as he shook his head. Then, he sighed as he slowly went on to the easel with another brush. After he made a few brush strokes on the canvas, he glanced at Elizabeth, whose face revealed a breath away at the top of the canvas.
“But have you loved someone?” Elizabeth asked, which made Valon pause from what he was doing. “Have you?”
“I don’t know. Maybe, I am,” Valon said coldly before he resumed arranging his brushes and the coloring materials on his makeshift working desk. “But I think I have somebody I like,” he said while eyeing her before his attention back when he looked back to the surface he was working on.
Elizabeth smiled. “Really?”
Valon looked at her. “Yes, even though we weren’t sure yet where things were going. It’s one-sided at this point.”
“But if you won’t give up, maybe it could work for both of you. I mean, you’re a good-looking and caring man. Why would you think this person won’t like you?” Elizabeth chuckled.
“I don’t think I could do it either. But if I follow your advice, Liz, do you think it would be possible for me?”
“Sure, why not?”
“There’s one problem, though,” Valon said.
“What is it?” Elizabeth asked.
“This person has someone else. Engaged. Exhausted. Lost.”
“If you would be there by her side when she needs it, the closer you become to her heart,” Elizabeth said while Valon stared at her. Silence permeated as their eyes linked until she looked away and hugged herself. “By the way, I want to thank you for what you’ve done for Clay and for allowing me to stay here for a while.”
“Don’t mind. It’s great to have guests here, too. At least, my dad will be happier to see more people walking around his home than just Agatha and I with a few maids who come and go.”
They both chuckled until Elizabeth became serious again and sighed. “I realized how much time Clay and I haven’t spent together in the last few years.”
“Why?” Valon asked.
“Maybe because I have always been spending so much time working that I barely have time to spare for anything else and have no idea about his new friends. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clay comes to you whenever he needs you. Would I?”
“Do you mind asking me another personal question?” Valon asked.
“No, go ahead.”
“How much do you love him?” Valon said coldly, though deep inside, he was anticipating her answer. But when he saw how her face glowed, thinking about him, it was painful to watch that he began to ask himself how long he had to endure this discomfort.
“So much. I love Clay so much that I would do everything for him,” Elizabeth said as she looked down at the floor to hide her frown, sighing.
At this point, his breathing labored, feeling more distressed. “What if somebody stole him from you? What would you do?”
“I don’t know what I could do,” she said, sighing and looking at him with her bloodshot eyes.
However, Valon remained still, seemingly unaffected by the weight of the word she had said. “I’m glad to hear that you love him that much because he does,” he paused and let out a sigh, looking away, before he smiled. “Anyway, it’s nice talking to you. But I have to get back to my room.”
“Sure. I feel likewise. I’m glad Clay has you to lean onto when he needs it most,” Elizabeth said.
Valon smiled. “By the way, if you’re looking for Agatha, she’s at the pool.”
“Thanks,” Elizabeth said as she looked around Valon’s works, arranged in an array of canvases with dried base paints. But when she found the easel at the corner of most of the room, with a piece of black fabric draping over it, she paused and walked towards it.
Before Valon could walk out of the room, he saw Elizabeth standing before the painting he showed Clay earlier that day. His eyes widened, and his chest throbbed, hammering him when she raised her arm, attempting to pull the cover down and see what it was.
Shit. “Stop right there,” Valon sputtered as he walked in her direction, flashing a menace.
When Elizabeth caught Valon walking long strides towards her, she flinched with her mouth open. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
“Get out. Please,” Valon said, panting. And it wasn’t a request but an order, demanding her, which Elizabeth sensed immediately. When he realized he had raised his voice out of nowhere, he rubbed his face with his hand before planting both hands on his waist. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
“I’m truly sorry,” Elizabeth said as she walked out, pressing her lips and threading her fingers, unable to say a word.
It was the first moment Valon felt the air when she walked out. He thought he had never had this conversation, not even in his teenage dating life. But when he recalled Agatha’s warning, he couldn’t help but scoff and cluck because he knew it was the only thing he could do at that moment.
As he headed downstairs, he paused, swiveling his head to Clay’s room, wishing he could see him walking out of his room. Even though he has a lot to say, Valon can’t find enough courage to do it. Let alone talking to him. And even if he would, he struggled when he suddenly realized the compromises he had to make for this project he wanted to work on. He decided not to say a word until he could organize his thoughts and headed downstairs. Besides, walking away was the best thing he could do.
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!