Here’s chapter 3 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.
After an awful night, Clay visited the university hospital to check in with the patient he had saved during the last surgery. Wearing his usual scrubs and a faint smile, he went to the patient’s ward and saw the patient’s parents standing with their son’s bed. He remained unconscious despite the operation’s success.
Seeing their condition plummeted the young doctor’s confidence as he began thinking about what Dr. Hawkeye had told him. Perhaps, he was right about Clay acquiring his current position not because he was skilled enough to be considered a great surgeon but because of his family’s prominence.
Before he walked into the next room, Clay shut his eyes as if he was carefully thinking about what to say to the family, who had been looking up to him, given his contribution to saving the patient. Moments later, he opened the door, which made the parents stand from their seats and greet him with big smiles on their faces. When Clay saw their reactions, he forced himself to answer them with a smile, though he wasn’t feeling the same way as them.
“Doctor Clay, you’re here,” the patient’s father said awkwardly but tried to speak up confidently. He looked worried, but the old man tried to hide his true feelings while Clay strolled towards him. When the doctor was in front of him, he quickly avoided the passionate look in his eyes by staring at the young man.
“What brings you here? Dr. Hawkeye and a few nurses have already visited earlier to check on my son,” the patient’s mother said to add and clarify the situation, which surprised Clay. Because that means he could have skipped this visit. However, it was too late for him to step back, apologize for interrupting, and return to his clinic to save his face.
“Really? They did?” Clay said as calmly as he could, though he wasn’t. In his mind, it wasn’t usual for doctors to visit patients that early and at that frequency unless his attendance was required. “So, what did they say?”
The old man, who looked in his early sixties, smiled as he looked at his son on the bed before moving his attention to the young doctor. “Dr. Hawkeye said my son is alright, and he might be conscious sooner than expected, though the outcomes of the surgery might have been too much for him to handle.”
Clay nodded, reassuring the mother, who stood beside the older man. Though she didn’t say a word to add to the husband’s remark, her faint yet positive reaction was enough for the doctor to understand the gravity of the situation. While glancing at the older woman, he noticed that she didn’t look massive for her short stance, even though she exuded dominance over her husband, as Clay observed.
“I’m glad to hear great news from you. Anyway, if there’s anything else I could do to help you, don’t hesitate to call me or any team to assist you. Alright?” Clay said while he checked the patient’s vitals and observed the parents’ expressions on their faces.
While doing it, he couldn’t help but ask himself why he kept glancing at her, though there was nothing special to keep his attention on her in the first place. It seemed as if there was something odd about them, especially the mother, who remained silent while staring at the unconscious young man. She acted as if she wanted to express something more but could not.
After his routine, Clay glanced at them with a smile as he slowly turned, heading back to the door. But before he could leave, he noticed her wanting to speak up again as she slowly approached him. At that moment, she took Clay’s hand, which startled him.
Then, she looked at him with her eyes turning bloodshot and teary out of nowhere. That made Clay gulp in response. “Thank you for saving my son’s life, Doctor,” she said in a strained voice. “Thank you,” she repeated while pulling his hand closer to her face and kissing his hand before letting him go. She sounded more than desperate, which stunned Clay for a moment.
“You’re welcome,” Clay said, watching her heading back to her son. When she stood closer to his son’s bed, she looked at her son and grabbed his hand before she turned her head and looked at Clay, who remained frozen by her unexpected gesture. “Anyway, I have to leave.”
“Sure, have a great day ahead of you, Doc,” the older man said, which signaled Clay to leave the room. When he did and closed the door, it was the first moment he felt the air less closed while sucking the air in the hospital as if it was a pleasant option. However, he felt relieved from the burden he felt when he was inside. He leaned against the door to ease himself before walking, heading to the next patient’s room to check in.
When he reached Dr. Hawkeye’s room, the chief surgeon greeted him with a surprising gesture with his hand behind him, guiding him to the couch in front of the chief surgeon’s desk. Things happened too fast that he didn’t have time to ask him about what was happening. When Clay sat and leaned against the plush leather, he placed his hands on his lap, waiting for Dr. Hawkeye to speak up and explain more about his concern.
“Is there any problem? Is something the matter?” Clay said while trying to keep his composure in his seat.
Before Hawkeye explained, he took an envelope sealed with a red candle from the pocket of his white gown. He looked at Clay, somehow observing him before he pushed the sealed envelope in Clay’s direction. Then, he looked at the young doctor again with keen eyes, observing his surprised and confused reaction printed all over his face.
“What is this?” Clay asked.
“Somebody, well, the patient’s sponsor wanted to give this to you,” Hawkeye said before he leaned forward, threading his fingers.
“What for?” Clay said while he took the envelope and examined its features. From the outside, it looked like it was an ordinary letter. However, when he squeezed the content a bit, he knew it was made or printed on cardboard. His assumption compelled him to glance at Hawkeye. He assumed the content was either a check, gift card, or VIP ticket. As soon as Clay learned the possible content of the envelope, it didn’t take long for him to respond with defiance, though he tried his best not to show it before his supervisor. Before he opened it, his eyes began to fill with suspicion as he looked at the chief surgeon.
“He said he wanted to thank you for what we’ve done for the patient,” Hawkeye said while arching an eyebrow and pursing his lips.
“Why would I want to receive bribery for my service?”
“It isn’t bribery. I’ve also had mine on the desk,” Hawkeye said, pointing his index finger to his desk before he flashed a quick smile at the doctor and stood, heading back to his desk and picking up the same envelope Clay had on hand, flipping it. “See?”
Clay scoffed and shook his head as he placed the unopened envelope back on the table. “No, I won’t take this. I did what I had to do as a doctor. That doesn’t mean I can take whatever from the patient or accept gifts from the patient’s sponsor. I understand their concern, but I refuse to accept this, even if it’s only a gift to express gratitude.”
Hawkeye nodded, though his eyes told otherwise. It was as if Clay was being obnoxious, and he struggled to accept that. “Alright, I won’t force you. I’ll tell the sponsor about your response.”
Clay sighed. “Is that it?”
“What do you mean, is that it?”
“Is this why you called me here, Dr. Hawkeye?”
“Yes. Why? Did that disturb you?” Hawkeye said with sarcasm in his tone.
“Why didn’t you refuse this in the first place? Don’t tell me you’re allowing these kinds of activities and kept hidden under the table,” Clay said louder, as if this incident was getting on his nerves.
“Why would I refuse if they insist?” Hawkeye said louder as if Clay’s adamance had also gotten on his nerves.
Clay stood and turned his back, heading to the door. But before he could leave the room, he turned his head and saw Hawkeye approaching him. When Hawkeye stood closer to him, it made him suddenly uncomfortable.
“Dr. Clay,” he paused as he pressed his hand on the young doctor’s shoulder, glaring at the young man, “I understand your idealism since you’re new to this department. But once you’re a veteran and have been in this kind of service for a long time, you’ll understand me better than anybody else. When things like these occur, you don’t want to mess it up because of your personal beliefs or whatever principles you want to abide by. We are doctors, and we aren’t saints. By accepting simple gifts like these, you will understand that these kinds of gestures from anybody, regardless if it’s for politics or not, don’t even come close to the mistakes you’ll get into in the long run. Remember that.”
“Why do you think I’d accept that advice?”
Hawkeye scoffed and rolled his eyes before he looked away at the young doctor. “You won’t understand it now. But it won’t be long before you understand my point. And perhaps, you will understand why your father did what he did in the past.”
Hawkeye’s sudden revelation made Clay feel more uncomfortable with the conversation, which made the older gentleman respond the same way. “Why would you include my father’s past in this conversation?” he sputtered.
“I know your hatred towards your old man, Clay. And I know why you’re trying so hard to prove yourself to him—that you’re better than him,” he said, pressing and squeezing Clay’s shoulder.
Speechless, all Clay could do at that moment was to shove the old man’s hand and walk out, slamming the door shut. When he was out in the hospital’s hallway, Clay inhaled an exasperated sigh while briefly shutting his eyes to ease himself from his sudden discomfort.
He walked in significant strides until he suddenly bumped into somebody—a young, eccentric man a little bit taller than him—with his face almost touching the ground. Fortunately, the young man could catch him with his strong grip, wrapping Clay’s arm.
“I’m sorry,” the young man, who looked the same age as him, said with concern in his baritone.
When Clay turned to see the person, he noticed the man’s passionate look in his round, brown eyes, and he immediately noticed the man’s exuding masculine beauty that caught the doctor’s eye. But when he extended his hand again to reach Clay, the doctor averted his gaze, winced as he ignored the stranger’s offer, and rose to his feet, patting every part of him that touched the ground.
“It’s okay,” Clay said, turning his back without looking at him and waiting for him to speak up more, leaving the young stranger in awe, somehow speechless because of the doctor’s attitude, while observing him walking until he disappeared before his eyes.
In the meantime, Clay continued walking until he reached the university’s parking lot, where all employees in San Carlos University, including professors and prof-ed students, park their cars. When he arrived, he jumped inside his car and sighed the deepest sigh from his gut, leaning his head against the driver’s seat.
The next day, Clay was in his clinic when he heard one of his working student nurses begin to talk loudly as if there was an unexpected visitor. Maybe, a celebrity came to visit. Then, one of them knocked on his door and entered the room.
Before she could even say a word to express her intent, he noticed the same stranger he bumped into yesterday standing behind her, which made him feel confused. While he scanned him from head to toe, he tried to recall and check his planner to see whether he had missed any scheduled appointments. However, there was none.
“Doctor Clay, you have a visitor,” she said.
“Yeah, I could see him from here,” Clay said as he looked at the man making his way toward him with a broad smile, which confused the doctor. Who was he, and why was he there, to begin with?
No matter how many times Clay tried to remember anything he had missed, it didn’t matter, as he stood there frozen while watching the young stranger standing before him. “Hi, I guess you’re Dr. Clay Elizondo,” he said.
“Yes, I am,” Clay said, almost stuttering, as he stood with his eyes squeezed in wonder for having someone as tall and attractive as this man and confusion for being there despite having an unclear motive. He flicked his head to the right and gave the man a dubious look. “And you are?”
“I’m Valon. Valon Crisostomo de Lara,” he said with confidence in his deep baritone before he extended his head, inviting Clay to shake hands.
Though he wanted to ask what brought him to his clinic, he was suddenly in panic as he couldn’t open his mouth while Valon shook his hand. As he was doing it, Clay couldn’t help but glance at his hand wrapped in Valon’s hand. While feeling his throat parched the first moment, he felt how tight the grip and warm Valon’s hand was, making the young doctor more suspicious about his intention to come. His eyes then proceeded to stare at the thick fingers wrapped around his hand, which seemed too fragile and feminine compared to Valon’s.
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!