Here’s chapter 29 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.
Thinking going to the nearby bar was a great idea, Elizabeth and Agatha walked in and sat on the bar stools near the counter. When they sat, a man wearing a long, white polo paired with a tucked-in black, buttoned vest approached them with a broad smile.
“Hey. Aren’t you girls goddamn pretty?” he paused, eyeing Elizabeth, “How about a Scotch for this fine young lady?” he said, smirking. He didn’t wait for a nod or a gesture before moving his attention to Agatha sitting beside her. “How about you? A shot of Scotch or a glass of beer?” he asked with lesser interest, leaving Agatha scoffing and rolling her eyes.
When he handed Elizabeth a shot, she drank it, downing it in one swallow. Bad mistake. Her throat was raw from screaming earlier, and it felt like she had French-kissed a blowtorch. As soon as she stopped coughing, she ordered another shot, leaving Agatha sighing in defeat while shaking her head.
Damn, it must have been painful to see Elizabeth in that fashion that she had missed the beautiful smiles she had given her early on. She felt terrible for this woman, though her mind couldn’t understand it.
Elizabeth lifted a finger to get the bartender’s attention. “Another one, please. I’m dry again,” she said, surprising Agatha. She already went on the second round when she didn’t even have something to drink. What the hell!
“Alright. Not for long,” he said, winking at her while handing Agatha a glass of beer. He didn’t even bother looking at her as he kept boring Elizabeth with a lustful look in his eyes.
This time, it disturbed Agatha because she sensed he was hitting on her.
Well, you couldn’t blame this man.
Elizabeth was blessed with incomparable beauty that, even though she was frowning, distorting the look on her face, she still looked beautiful. A mestiza.
When he jiggled right over with the single-malt, he smiled at her while he slipped the bottle into her glass.
But that didn’t please Agatha anymore. She couldn’t stand watching this man attempt to gain Elizabeth’s attention. So, when she had the opportunity, she glared at him as he swiveled his head in her direction and saw anger in her eyes. It was as if she was threatening him to stay away. Her eyes expressed fuck off, oozing out of her, leaving the bartender’s face to fall. He looked like a dog that had been whipped before he moved his attention to the customers next to them.
When he disappeared, Agatha shifted in her bar stool as if she disapproved of Elizabeth’s drinking velocity, and the effort of keeping her mouth zipped made her squirm.
Elizabeth glanced at her. “I’m going to be wasted today. So, you shouldn’t stick around. I know you still have a lot to do. You still have videos to edit, upload, and—”
“I’m not leaving you here,” Agatha said while eyeing the bartender, who kept glancing in their direction. She clucked and shook her head when she saw his attempts to flirt.
“Don’t worry about me. I’m already a grown-up woman. I don’t need your supervision. Okay? Besides, I want to be alone,” Elizabeth murmured.
“I’ll hang on until you’re through,” Agatha said, sighing.
Elizabeth cursed as she watched her glass refilled. “If anything happens to Clay, I don’t know….” She didn’t finish the sentence.
“Don’t worry. They’ll be back home soon,” Agatha replied confidently, though she felt otherwise. She waited in silence until Elizabeth was calm enough to talk.
Agatha flicked her head and caught Elizabeth staring at her while she planted an elbow at the counter. Her body twisted on her seat and pressed onto the hard surface for support. She gulped as she went on, piercing her eyes with the weight of her stares. “Hm?”
“Why are you so nice to me?” Elizabeth asked, though her voice was wracked that it sounded as if she was whispering to her. “Your family has been nice to us, and I don’t want to misjudge your kindness because I only knew you personally not too long ago. It’s just—”
“Because I have to,” Agatha replied, interrupting her, with her eyes landing on Elizabeth, who drew her eyebrows in as if wondering what she meant by what she had said.
Even though Agatha looked stoic and seemingly unaffected from the outside, little did Elizabeth know that as they exchanged gazes, Agatha’s heart thundered in her chest as her instincts became alive as if she were in a battle. She could hear her breath leave her lips, her heart pumping, and her blood flowing.
“Why?” Elizabeth whispered, pulling herself away from the counter and leaning forward in Agatha’s direction. Her face was close that she could see her face clearly, leaving Agatha feeling uneasy that she had to look away to ease.
She wished she knew and would have been the first to express her sentiment if she did. However, her mind was fogged, including her unsettling feelings toward Elizabeth.
Was she falling for her? She didn’t know. She was uncertain if it was like that. But she had to give her an impromptu reply, thinking it would comfort her. She chuckled and then let out an awkward laugh to ease the discomfort.
Because your man can’t. “I told you so. You’re my OG fan, so it would be nice of me to take care of you.”
Elizabeth laughed as if she found Agatha’s answer cute. Her face blushed when she smiled. Little did she know that that smile warmed Agatha’s heart even more, spicing her up. “Do you really mean that?” she stuttered.
Agatha nodded. “What happened? Why did you cry after the call?”
Elizabeth sighed as she leaned her back against her seat. “Clay’s brother, Alain, called me today and told me about the project status,” she paused, feeling choked as she was on the verge of crying again, “He said he tried to convince his dad, but then because of Anais, he disapproved the project, which means….” She felt so horrible that she couldn’t even say the following few words to end the sentence.
“Which means what?” Agatha’s voice was scissor-sharp.
Elizabeth looked at her. “I couldn’t help the children for whom this project was done.”
“How much was it?”
“The project would cost them ten million pesos, which they didn’t want to spend for whatever reasons they may have. If they could have… If they could have said yes, it would mean the world to those kids who grew up in abusive homes. I wanted to take them out of there and share the love I could give. But, without the money I needed, it wouldn’t be possible at all.”
Agatha realized the weight of her problems. It wasn’t just about Clay. It wasn’t just because of her brother, who clung to her fiance. It was more than that. She felt it was time to step in because she needed to. Because she had to. That’s what she has been convincing herself ever since this unusual feeling sprouted in her being.
Yet, at this point, being in a place without a clear path to return was crystal clear. She didn’t want to stand and watch Elizabeth in dire hopelessness doing nothing. She was sick watching her crying as if she had nobody to lean on. She wanted her to know she was there, ready to be her shoulders to cry on.
“I’ll try to talk with my dad and see if he can help you out,” Agatha said, and to her surprise, she saw Elizabeth’s face lit with devotion.
“Really? You would do that?” Elizabeth sputtered.
Agatha nodded. “I will. When he comes home later, I’ll talk to him. Don’t worry.”
Elizabeth thought about putting her hand and thanking her formally. Instead, she threw her arms around Agatha and hugged her. “Thank you so much, Agatha,” she paused, pressing her head against her shoulder with closed eyes, “This means a lot to me.”
Agatha smiled, feeling satisfied. “Me, too,” she whispered with a smile.
After they arrived home, the exact moment Agatha had been hoping for came at this point. A chance to show how much she cared. She knew if she would let this go, or if she would fail from this, there wouldn’t be another opportunity to do this for Elizabeth without being too pushy or aggressive.
Even though she understood her role as a friend, and the boundary she could cross was crystal clear, in her mind, she was more than willing to risk herself despite the inhibitions and doubts she had. For her, being able to rescue Elizabeth, hoping it would make her feel good and see her smile again, was the ultimate goal, and there was no other way around it.
And for what?
She thought as she walked upstairs, heading to Albert’s room while repeatedly asking the same question many times. It was as if she attempted to convince herself she was doing something right. However, as she kept going, she couldn’t bear to acknowledge that she was trying to dismiss the idea of being her knight in shining armor.
When this idea dawned inside her mind, although she found it disturbing initially, she couldn’t help but scoff and roll her eyes with her mouth slightly open. Come on. She was a woman, for God’s sake! How could she think of malice and perceive such a request as something else when Elizabeth had nothing but positive, sincere intentions?
This was, unfortunately, an ongoing debate that only ended with no definitive answer. Then, she recalled her last conversation with Valon the night she saw him with Clay. Her eyes widened in surprise as she remembered the words she had told him, frustrating her even more.
After dragging herself to her dad’s office, she stood near the door and reached the doorknob. Before she turned it and opened the door, she briefly shut her eyes, believing that taking deep breaths would help her calm down her nerves. She thought it would have been odd for him to see her in that fashion. She didn’t want to appear nervous or anxious before her father as she was. So, she tried to do so until she was calm enough to make white lies and excuses, which were negotiable and sufficient for him.
Yet, something suddenly made her restless and felt queasier. She asked herself, why would she want to ask her dad’s help for a stranger? Her conscious mind struggled to reconcile her actions with the logic behind them.
Knowing she wouldn’t do favors like this, not even Valon cut, she could have gone crazy if she were convinced it was true. Although she knew it wouldn’t be challenging to persuade Albert when it came to helping others, her mind was blank when she had to force herself to make up reasons for doing it. In hindsight, she denied that little voice was screaming at her.
Agatha was falling for Elizabeth.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” she whispered, squeezing her eyes as she continued clucking before she knocked three times and opened the door. Then, she leaned her body forward, peeping to check whether her father was there, and when she confirmed his presence, she didn’t wait for him to react and walked inside his office while forcing a broad smile. “Hi, Dad!” she exclaimed, which surprised the old man.
Albert turned, swiveling to look at his daughter as she entered, walking on tiptoes. “Hey, what are you doing here?” he sputtered, exhaling exasperated sighs while massaging his chest. “Didn’t I tell you to knock on the door?” he paused, shaking his head in disbelief.
“I did. I swear, I did, dad. Anyway, I’m sorry if I surprised you like that. I know it isn’t helpful,” Agatha purred, blinking her eyes like a cat flirting with its owner, wishing for a treat. After hearing her father’s small laugh, it was the first moment she felt relieved, even though deep inside, she knew she wasn’t done with her mission yet.
While she caught herself in deep thought in the middle of the conversation, little did she know Albert noticed how Agatha’s mood had changed as she became silent. As he kept observing her from a short distance, his mind wandered, reeling with possibilities of what made this woman—the brat she was—act like that. It was as if she was consciously trying to hide something from him. Possibly, an untold truth she didn’t want him to know and acknowledge, whatever the reason may be.
“Is something the matter, Agatha?” Albert asked in his usual gentle, fatherly baritone. Even though it sounded soothing to the ears, like a balladeer’s serenading her, she felt otherwise. It was as if hearing her dad’s question was enough to make her entire body shudder and be covered with a cold sweat.
“Nothing, dad. It’s just—I have something to ask of you,” Agatha stuttered.
“It sounds serious. What is that, my dear?”
She dragged herself closer to his desk, and when she looked at him in the eye, Albert saw how her eyes had turned twitchy and teary. It was as if the request she was asking was a big deal. That worried him because she had not acted like this, no matter how outrageous the requested favors were. However, she was different this time.
“It’s not for me but for Elizabeth.”
“Oh, I see,” he paused as he walked closer to her and pressed his hand on her shoulder, even though she was looking away, trying to hide her face from the gushing emotions inside her. When he let go, releasing his hand off her, he continued, “What is it?” This time his voice was grave.
She pulled her face up, mustering every ounce of courage, and gulped. “I want you to help her. Please,” she said in a desperate tone.
“How?” Albert asked, even though deep inside, he wanted to ask why she wanted to help her in the first place. But he couldn’t dare ask for answers based on how she looked before him. He didn’t want to make Agatha feel more uncomfortable than she was.
“It’s for Elizondo’s foundation,” she said, which caught Albert’s attention.
At that moment, he felt his chest constricting, swelling with anxiety out of nowhere. Deep down, he knew it wasn’t an easy request, and he would never have expected this, let alone from her own daughter. He looked away, turned his back, headed to his desk, and sat on his swivel chair.
“And why do you think it’s a good idea?” he asked, trying not to stammer or show uneasiness before her, even though it was hard for him to cope with the weight of the conversation. As he observed her, Agatha looked more distressed, as if she was hiding something from her. “Tell me, Agatha. Why?”
She looked away at first, but when she could not find good reasons, she forced herself to look into her father’s eyes, swallowing the pride she adhered to. “Because you need to help her… again, it isn’t for me. But I want her to be happy. This project means a lot to her. So, if you could save her with your help, I would appreciate what you’ve done for her.”
“You know, this isn’t you, Agatha.”
“Why do you say so?” she stuttered.
“You’ve asked me a lot of things before, but honestly, this request you’re asking is hard.”
“So, you don’t think you could help her out, dad?” she roared, almost screaming at his face with her face flushed. That surprised Albert even more. “You have supported many people without questions, and now your daughter is asking for the same thing. You’re having second thoughts?”
“It isn’t like that,” he paused and sighed, “Fine. For one condition.”
“And what is that?”
“Just tell me the truth.”
“Do you like her?”
“What do you mean?”
“I know you. Since I adopted you, I have known how you act, when you cry, and what makes you tick. You name it. But this one. You sounded different.”
“How do I sound?”
“Desperate. So, do you like this woman you’re trying to help, Agatha?”
“What should I say now?” Agatha stuttered, looking away.
“Tell me the truth, and I’ll help you save her project.” Because you’re forcing me to meet the Elizondos myself.
“Fine. Yes, I like Elizabeth… as a friend. Are you happy now?”
Albert smiled and didn’t say a thing as he stood and walked towards her, tapping her shoulder. He nodded, stretching his lips wide.
“Thank you, dad!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around as she used to do when she was younger, which made Albert’s smile more expansive than before. Shortly after announcing his agreement with her, it didn’t take long for her to turn her back. A huge smile filled with excitement as she walked out of his office, waving her hand.
Agatha was excited as she headed downstairs, where she left Elizabeth before entering her dad’s office. “Elizabeth! Good news—” she paused as she walked the staircase leading to the living area.
But when she saw her sleeping, she scoffed and shook her head as she went closer to where she was. At that time, Elizabeth rolled herself on the couch while leaning on one side, pressing her face onto the soft plush of the couch. She walked towards her while her eyes glued onto her before she sat at the edge, combing the long strands of her covering her face.
Seeing her in that fashion made Agatha smile and laugh, observing her nuances while reeling the events that happened that day, from the time she saw her waking up frantic to the time she dragged her home after getting drunk in broad daylight. Knowing the boundaries, she knew she couldn’t just do something else as she wanted.
However, at that exact moment, whatever it was that dawned inside her, she didn’t mind her boundaries, which she didn’t want to cross in the first place. But then, after she told her dad the truth about what she was feeling all this time for this woman, she found the audacity to pull herself, leaning forward towards Elizabeth’s face. She didn’t stop until she was a breath away, and with her eyes closed, she kissed her cheeks. Dissatisfied, she pulled herself away, stared at her, shoved the remaining strands of her long hair with her fingers, and kissed her lips.
Then, a man’s loud voice startled her.
“What are you doing?” he asked, echoing the vast space.
With her eyes wide open, she pulled her face up and saw Clay standing near the entry, facing them, and shortly after, Valon followed suit, looking surprised with his eyes widened. And in that exact moment, he began to notice how Agatha stared at them with surprise and anger in her eyes.
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:
- Get a copy of “The Rival” Uncensored Gay Romance Novel.
- Check out my upcoming book, “Non-Native Speakers Only.”
- Find more writing tips on my website (i.e., content writing, freelance writing, copywriting, self-publishing, novel writing, and many more!)