Here’s chapter 25 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.
“I want to break free,” Freddie Mercury’s voice echoed throughout the vast space, singing Queen band’s hit son of the same title from the loudspeakers, playing in the background while Valon, Agatha, and Elizabeth were in the pool, straddling in the waters.
Instead of engaging in the excitement, Clay decided to sit on the bench and watch them. He wore swimming trunks and a dark T-shirt while appearing to be in the mood to jump and have fun. He stood back and watched them, his eyes catching Elizabeth’s form as she pulled herself up, grasping the metal bars.
She showed off many of her curves, which one could only see from Oscar-winning actors strolling on red carpets, in a turquoise-colored pair of bikinis that complemented her fair skin. Despite appearing thin, she had a petite frame. Her narrow hips were gifted with a broader waist, and her high-cut underwear sunk into her butt cheeks.
But when his eyes turned in a different way, he discovered it disturbing how simple it was to look at Valon, observing his every move and loving the thrill he had listening to every word this man said. Even though he was trying to keep an eye on his fiancée, it seemed like Elizabeth had vanished.
When he closed his eyes, he couldn’t even make out a vague vision of her. He couldn’t even see her, and Valon was what he saw. He watched them for a while, growing increasingly nauseous as he did so. Although he didn’t pull back, he winced when Valon turned his torso and locked eyes with his.
Hold on a second. Why was he staring at him in such a way? When did he start to like this man so much? How did he come to realize how much he wanted this man? As Clay continued to gaze, Valon turned his back and carried on as if Clay’s queries didn’t disturb him at all.
Before he could consider more excuses, Albert showed there and saw him sitting silently. He sat down next to him on the unoccupied pool bench. “Why are you here? Aren’t you joining them?” he asked, gesturing his hand as if he were inviting him to join the youth club, swimming and hanging out. When the dog sat on the ground near him, he patted its head while eyeing the young man before him.
Clay shook his head. “I like observing them from afar and watching them having fun.”
“How’s your stay here? Did the siblings get on your nerves?”
“No. Not at all. I’m glad to be here and be away from my family for a while.”
Albert sensed something about Clay that caught his attention. “Why? Aren’t you on good terms with your family?”
Clay shook his head again.
“What are you going to do when you return? You can’t avoid that all the time. You know your family and what they’re capable of more than anyone,” Albert said, dragging himself until his back touched the cushion and leaning against it. He crossed his legs as he took out a pair of sunglasses, putting them in place, before he swiveled his head, facing Clay.
“By the way, thank you for the VIP invitation you gave last time.”
Albert flicked his head and drew his eyebrows. “What do you mean a VIP ticket?”
“Months ago, Valon gave me a VIP invitation ticket to the artist’s gallery event. He said you helped him set it up.”
“Oh, I see,” Albert replied, smiling and nodding. But his eyes wandered as if trying to understand what he heard. Though he looked confused, he nodded and stretched a smile. “Well, you’re welcome.” He laughed awkwardly as he looked away, moving his attention towards his children and Elizabeth playing and swimming in the pool.
“I don’t like to misjudge you, but I sensed your knowledge about my family,” Clay said, leaning forward and planting his elbows on both knees. Then, he went on, though he noticed Albert flinching in his seat as if caught off-guard with the inquiry.
Albert flicked his head as he cleared his throat, swiveling away from Clay’s direction. He flashed a kind smile when he moved his attention to the young man and saw Clay’s interest. “You’re right. I know your family personally because I was a former politician. With your family’s affluence in this country, I think I may have met anyone in your family at some point. Your family’s quite generous, and I admire the foundation you have built to help others. I like that about the Elizondos. That’s why when I learned you’re part of the family, I was delighted to meet you, Clay.”
Clay smiled. “Thank you for saying that, Albert. I truly appreciate it,” he said, sighing when his mind reeled from the events that had happened lately.
“How are you related to Saturnino?”
I’m his bastard. “I’m his youngest son and the fourth child.”
Albert looked surprised, pulling himself up and planting his elbows on his legs. “How come I didn’t know Saturnino had a fourth child? Did he remarry?” he paused, and when he saw Clay nodding, he continued, “Who’s your mother?”
“Marcela,” Clay said.
Albert froze as if the name stung his heart. “Correct me if I’m wrong. But was she Marcela Santiago before she married your father?” He stuttered.
Surprised, Clay drew his eyebrows in as he wondered about Albert’s sudden interest in his mom. “How did you know my mom’s maiden name?”
Albert smiled, looking away, facing the pool and watching his grown-up children playing. His smile widened when he saw them having fun, recalling how Valon and Agatha used to play the same way when they were younger.
But when he looked at Clay, he pressed his palms together, rubbing them, before he linked his fingers to ease himself. “I know her. I know Marcela Santiago. I mean, your mom,” he said before he looked away, trying to force a smile.
“How did you know her?” Clay asked, knitting his eyebrows, curious about Albert’s connection with his mother.
The Elizondos met many people, which was expected, but Albert seemed to know more. How did they first meet? What’s up with his response, too? Why did he suddenly smile like that when he spoke his mother’s name? Had there been a relationship between them at the time? While patiently waiting for him to say more, several questions raced through Clay’s mind.
“We met at college. We were schoolmates back in the late eighties. We were so young at that time and had big dreams. I remember she took nursing, and I was in the engineering department,” he paused, eyeing Clay, and added, “At that time, we were elected student government officials, so you could say we’re old friends.”
Clay nodded. Just before he was about to ask for further details, he saw Valon approaching them. Surprised, he sat closer beside him, feeling his swimming trunks’ cool, wet fabric.
“Come on, dad. Are you trapping my guest?” Valon asked.
Albert shook his head. “Oh no, I wasn’t. Just want to get to know your friend.”
“I saw you talking about something serious. What is it about?” he asked, only to scoff when he saw Albert winking. “So, you’ve got some secrets, hm? Alright, it’s okay. Anyway,” he paused to stand, facing them. “I got to go,” Valon said.
“Where are you going?” Albert asked.
Valon glanced at Clay. “I have to start working on my project. While I stay here, I should get started. Will you please excuse me?” he said, turning his back and walking away.
“Sure,” Albert said.
“Well, me, too,” Clay said, walking out with Valon.
When Albert was alone, he flashed a satisfied smile while observing the ladies still having fun, listening to the same music playing in the background. Then, he sang the lines enthusiastically as he was familiar with them as if it was the perfect timing to describe himself now. “But life goes on. I can’t get used to living without you by my side. I don’t want to live alone, hey. God knows I got to make it on my own. So, baby, can’t you see? I’ve got to break free.”
Inside the house, Valon headed upstairs until he noticed Clay behind him. He briefly shut his eyes and inhaled deep breaths before he turned, facing him. “I’m sorry for what happened earlier,” he said, forcing a smile.
“It’s okay. Liz and I don’t mind,” Clay said, who still looked slightly distressed from what happened to Agatha earlier that day. When he looked into Valon’s eyes, he couldn’t handle ignoring him being distant. “What’s with you? Why are you being cold to me now?”
“Because you’re quite disappointing, Clay,” he said casually.
“Why? What did I do?”
“I’m not sure if you’re up for the project,” Valon said.
“How could you say that?”
“You don’t want to lose, Liz, right? And there she is,” Valon paused and pointed an index finger in that direction, “You can finally have your happy ever after. That’s what you want, isn’t it?” he said, turning his hack without waiting for Clay to answer. But when Clay pulled him again, he turned his back, facing him this time before yanking his hand away.
“But you said I am your muse, Val.”
“If you had to choose between Elizabeth and me, who would you choose?”
“Why would I have to choose between the two of you?” Clay asked.
“Do you understand what this is about? Maybe you’ve forgotten that a muse must be present whenever I want you to be. Do you think you could do that now your woman is here?” He paused and scoffed, shaking his head. “I don’t think so.”
“I wasn’t playing around when I said yes. I know what I want and understand what you want me to do,” Clay said.
Valon cocked an eyebrow. “Really?”
“Yes, though I had never done this before.”
“This is the last time I’ll ask you this. Why do you want to do this, Clay?”
As much as he wanted to think about how to dispute, Valon’s stares were menacing, choking, and paralyzing him so that he couldn’t organize his mind.
Impatience overrode Valon as he sighed, turning his back again, attempting to free. But when he sensed Clay wanted him to stay, he looked at him, observing his queasiness. He scoffed. “I may never understand why you wanted to become my muse. But you must still convince me if you deserve it, Clay.”
“How?” he asked with determination in his eyes and voice, which made Valon think, damn, Clay was desperate, even though it didn’t make sense to him. Despite needing answers, he knew Clay wouldn’t like to hear that. He knew if Clay sensed him forcing him to do it, the more he would stay away. So, Valon had to do something to lure him into proceeding without being as aggressive as he wanted.
But that changed when Valon saw fire in Clay’s eyes, provoking a sexual stir inside him. As they exchanged gazes, he couldn’t help but feel powerful when he recalled how his conversation with Elizabeth went. It was as if he had succeeded in something, though he couldn’t understand it.
That’s what his mind was telling him. He wanted to know what drove him crazy about Clay because he couldn’t be distracted once they began working together. However, deep down in his heart, he knew what he wanted. He simply didn’t like to acknowledge it.
As he was in a dilemma, he felt like losing his facade the longer he stared into Clay’s eyes. So, he had to come up with an excuse to leave. When he figured it out, he let out an exasperated sigh. “Meet me at the main gate tonight around midnight, and if I see you, I’ll take it as a yes,” Valon said coldly before he turned his back and walked away. He didn’t even wait for Clay to say yes and look at him as he used to.
But then, he closed his eyes, wishing he’d be there.
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 to 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!