Chapter 27, Dr. Clay (Cult of Eros #1, Ongoing Update)

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Here’s chapter 27 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 Valon was about to remove his crocheted scarf, he saw Clay sitting on the makeshift platform he had prepared. Honestly, he wished he knew how this could be. But he was also clueless about everything as they had never done this. “Didn’t I tell you before? We don’t need to do this. You can leave if you want. After all, Liz is all you want, right?”

Clay clucked and cursed as he looked into his eyes with a piercing stare. “I won’t.”

Valon hissed. “Then, suit yourself. But,” he paused, shaking his head, “I doubt this is going where it is supposed to go.”

“What’s with you? Where’s the confident Valon I know?” Clay shouted, demanding for the first time as he rose, leaving Valon startled. “And why were you avoiding me all the time?”

“As much as I wanted to, I can’t stay close to you,” Valon said in a strained, angry voice, almost screaming at his face.

“Why?” Clay paused and studied his face more keenly than he did, trying to understand the odd behaviors Valon had shown him in the past few days. Then, when he realized how it all began, he sighed without letting go of his gaze on him. “Is this really because of Liz?”

Though startled by what he had heard from Clay’s mouth, he refused to speak. But when he looked at him, ignoring the tears welling around his eyes, his mouth opened. “As long as I could see you’re not with me,” he paused to turn his back, facing the opposite direction to hide the tears streaming down his cheeks, “As long as your mind is only filled with your longing for Elizabeth, this won’t work.”

Instead of letting him go, Clay walked towards him and grabbed him, forcing him to look at him. “Look at me,” he said with more desperation, prompting Valon to pull his face and answer the demand. As they exchanged gazes, Valon looked away and bit his lips, sighing, before moving his attention back to Clay. “I can’t bear feeling like this. So, better tell me what’s wrong.”

“There’s nothing wrong with us because there was no us in the first place,” Valon said coldly as he pulled his hand away from Clay.

“Why would you act like that if there’s nothing wrong?” Clay said in a loud, demanding baritone.

“I said nothing! Why are you so persistent?” Valon sputtered.

When Clay noticed something in Valon’s eyes, he walked in baby steps toward him until he reached a comfortable distance. Even though he knew it wasn’t a safe distance, he tried to get as close as possible to see better the nuances he was showing on his face. “Is something bothering you?” he asked, only to find himself uncomfortable when Valon refused to say something. But before he could continue, his eyes widened when he interrupted.

“Why would you care? Whatever I would do, good or bad, it doesn’t matter,” Valon sputtered.

“Why wouldn’t it matter, Val?”

“Because even if I do whatever I want, nobody cares, and I bet not even you.”

“Why would you say that?” Clay replied.

“I know you find me intense and crazy, and I don’t care because this is who I am,” Valon said, feeling choking when he was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. He looked away to hide his tears, though Clay wasn’t blind. He could see how Valon had shed tears because of what was happening, even though he would never know what he had in mind. It must have been grievous that even someone like Valon, as tough and stoic as he was, could not fathom any longer.

“Why do you say nobody cares for you when I do?” Clay said, which made Valon turn his head and look at him.

“It’s easy for you to say that because you have Liz. You have your family. Unlike you, I don’t have anybody who truly cares for me for who I am.”

“I understand life has been hard for you when you lost your parents. But how about your dad and Agatha? Don’t you think they care for you, too?” Clay sputtered. His eyes were bloodshot and teary. He inhaled deep breaths while waiting for Valon to answer his demand.

“They know what I am but not who I am, Clay. So, how could you say they could accept some weirdo like me? I tried to be as happy as possible for Agatha. But nobody cared about how I felt and thought when I needed love and comfort so much,” Valon sputtered and let out a loud exasperated sigh and angry groans as if he was about to scream his lungs out and punch the wall. But he didn’t want to.

Though Clay had not seen Valon that furious, he kept his composure as he didn’t want to escalate the situation. “How about me?” Clay paused as he walked closer to Valon, “Why do you think I said yes to be your muse? Do you think I volunteered because I have to?”

“Wasn’t it?” Valon asked sarcastically as he shot an eyebrow and glared at him.

Clay shook his head as he approached the furious man. Without saying a word, he continued until he was closer to him. “No, it’s not like that.”

“Then, why? I know you’re saying that to make me feel better. But deep down, it isn’t what you intend to say,” Valon said sarcastically. He could have screamed those words at him, which was a no-go for him.

Fearing he would lash out even more, he walked out of the room and breathed for fresh air. He took out a cigarette and lit it up. He pressed the stick between his lips and puffed clouds of smoke until he was calm enough to enter and, perhaps, continue the conversation with this complicated, emotional man.

As he walked into the room, Clay was dead silent. He had never spoken a word since, leaving him wondering why he refused to move an inch after he sat down there, lowering his head.

Defeated, he approached him and bent his knees, leaning forward to his height. When he took Clay’s hand and squeezed it, he flicked his head before he raised his face to look at him. As his eyes looked more concerned, he felt his chest tighten and constrict. So, he sighed, thinking it was enough to ease. “Look. I’m sorry for what I’ve said. I didn’t mean to say those words to you.”

Clay looked at him, still frowning and looking more distant. He looked as if his mind was somewhere, reeling many things while trying to make sense of them. Yet, as he was in the middle of it, he failed to notice how much time had passed because he only cared about how he felt. On the surface, Valon would only see him rebelling in silence, but his world looked different deep inside.

It was a war. And he hated the fact he was caught up between two tough choices, though he may have anticipated this to come at some point. Even though he was convinced of how prepared his mind was, he was stuck in a dilemma. As much as he wanted to explode and snap out of his sanity to feel good, he didn’t want to because Valon was too valuable to hurt. Of course, he didn’t want to look or act accusatory when it wasn’t necessary. Whatever and however this relationship could go, he was prepared.

That was what he had been telling himself over the last couple of months since he met him for the first time. From being his unexpected visitor to becoming his master within the same period was a giant leap for anybody, to say the least. Besides, he knew it was already too late for inaction. His relationship with Elizabeth was on the rocks, and he thought there was no way of saving it.

If he were honest, he knew he was at that point where he was ready to give up holding on to Elizabeth and give in to what Valon could offer at the same time. But how much should it continue, and how long could he endure living trapped inside this shell he had created and lived for most of his life? Could he escape it for the sake of the person he only knew not long ago?

Now, he was in the position he feared the most. As he looked into his eyes, he couldn’t help but feel bad for this man he had never wished he would have never met. Although he was self-assured and confident about many things in his life, he found himself in such an uncomfortable, hopeless situation to live by, yet, he was also curious about how this could go.

Despite living in a world of logic and science for most of his adulthood, as a doctor and a man, he craved a deep-seated sense of adventure. Although meeting Valon was unplanned, he cherished their brief moments when he saw the fire underneath his colorful persona. Valon’s emotional intensity and demand for absolute honesty were something he knew he needed and began to love.

So, instead of backing off or running away, he refused. He thought he would rather speak the truth now than never. His gaze caught him as he looked into his eyes, making him feel a punch in the gut. The longer they exchanged gazes, the more he felt his pain, as if he was absorbing the dark energy oozing out of him.

“When I said I care, I mean it, Val. Even if I don’t show it all the time, even if I don’t say the words you expect me to show you how much I care for you and what you do, I do care. I know I had never said this to you, but I appreciate everything you did for me and for choosing me to be your muse.”

Valon froze, and it didn’t take long for his eyes to turn bloodshot. Though he tried to flash a faint awkward smile, the look in his eyes, his flushing face, and the sudden shift in his breathing were enough for Clay to understand the emotional roller coaster ride he was in. His eyes began to well up around his lids, and as he looked down, the tears gushed, streaming down his cheeks.

“If I didn’t care, if I didn’t care for you, I wouldn’t have come with you and asked for something I honestly find stupid to ask. If I didn’t care about the people and the things you love, I wouldn’t have agreed on anything I knew would cost me and my relationship with Liz. I wouldn’t have volunteered as your muse if I only cared about my ego. Because I would never want to surrender myself to anybody but you.” Clay looked away, shaking his head, as he teared up and was choked as his throat swelled with the urge to cry and the fear of looking wrong.

When he looked down, leaning forward while threading his fingers, Valon could hear him sniffing as he wiped his tears. As he continued watching him, he noticed how hard Clay tried to hide his face. “I’m sorry for doubting your intentions,” Valon paused and sighed, “I do have problems trusting people because I trusted somebody before, and that same person betrayed me.” He scoffed, laughing as he reeled his misery. “Not only did he want to kill me, but everybody I loved. So, I’m sorry.”

Clay nodded as he pulled his face up to his eyes. “Is he the reason for the scars on your body?”

Valon nodded. “Yes. Uncle Elmer did this to me when I was eighteen. He was my mom’s younger brother and our closest uncle. After my parents died, he took care of us, which I was grateful for, until one day, he took me into his secret hideout and chained me up like a dog.”

“Why was he doing that?” Clay asked with concern.

“He wanted my parents’ money. Every day, he beat the shit out of me, and I was severely beaten up that I almost danced with death. It wasn’t until I gave up and signed those fucking papers. Then, he let us go.”

When Clay looked at him and saw how sorry Valon must have felt, he blinked momentarily and shut his eyes before looking down, frowning again. But when he felt Valon’s hand, he looked into his eyes again and saw him smiling.

“Why are you smiling now?” Clay asked.

“I’m just thankful. So grateful for allowing me to talk because I’ve never talked about this to anyone. Not even my dad knows about this in detail.”

“Why did you want to let me know?” Clay asked.

Valon refused to speak. But, God, he looked so attractive when he smiled. It was the first time Clay saw him smiling that way. Though Valon appeared cheerful and bright, there was darkness in how he looked whenever he stared into the distance or was in deep thought. He could recall how dark they were when he talked about his life for the first time. It was as if he attempted to cover what was inside of him underneath his cheerful and carefree personality. As Clay assumed, he didn’t want others to see the untold and the unseen.

Indeed, he was right. Valon had a list of untold dark stories of his past, which explained his bravery and courage. His ability to stay positive, smile, and laugh, even in the more dire circumstances, were survival skills he needed to be alive for his beloved sister—the only person left in his family. Of course, learning these things had never occurred overnight, but years of suffering almost cost him his life. At this point, he felt responsible for pulling the strings, provoking Valon’s intent to unleash the core inside him.

Consciously, he was curious and wanted positive gratification from him, but in hindsight, he desired to see the depth of this man. But who was he for him in the first place, and how did he reach the point where he wanted to become part of his life?

Wow. Challenging questions to ask. But these were the thoughts that filled his mind. Honestly, he didn’t have complete control of any of these thoughts. For him, these were jigsaw puzzles that kept him awake at night. And he was getting more impatient the longer he felt the dread inside his being.

There was something more than attraction, connection, and lust he craved that only Valon could fulfill. That was what he had told himself since he arrived at the villa. For the first time, he became as decisive as he was now. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have dared to come for a secret rendezvous with a man in the middle of the night, let alone leave a woman he was supposed to marry.

“Just because Liz came into the picture doesn’t mean I am getting distracted. I know what I said, and I mean it,” Clay added with conviction, taking Valon by surprise as his eyes widened. “It was my conscious choice to come here with you.”

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 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!

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

  1. Get a copy of “The Rival” Uncensored Gay Romance Novel.
  2. Check out my upcoming book, “Non-Native Speakers Only.”
  3. Find more writing tips on my website (i.e., content writing, freelance writing, copywriting, self-publishing, novel writing, and many more!)

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