Here’s chapter 33 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.
Despite everything, Clay was determined to make it up to her somehow. He wasn’t exactly sure how to pull that off, considering the hellish life she had been through. But he wasn’t prepared to have her drift off into the abyss, thinking she had been nothing to him. Or that he had found her in some way disgraceful.
Because she wasn’t, and he knew that so clearly.
He had a bearing of a man who knew what he was doing. Very confident. Very self-assured. He had never considered how he and Elizabeth would part. Perhaps, because, after all these years, he had presumed they never would. But he’d certainly never expected it to be because he was forming some attachment to a man. And that was what was happening.
After last night, he couldn’t pretend he wasn’t getting emotionally tied to him. He knew the closer he got into Valon, the hotter the fire.
“Hey, Love. Is something the matter?” Elizabeth said.
Startled, Clay shook his head. “No. Why?”
“You seem to be disturbed. What is it?”
“No, I’m not,” he said as he pulled away and sat at the edge of the bed, which compelled her to raise herself and wrap her arms around him when she pressed her chin on Clay’s shoulder. When she went on, Clay felt relieved, even though she didn’t say a word.
However, his absurd thoughts of Valon had begun to disturb him since last night, and what he saw earlier shocked him even more. He couldn’t understand what had happened and why everything between him and Elizabeth had been messed up since they arrived at the villa. Despite his awareness of what he had done, he couldn’t bear feeling how he cringed when he caught Agatha kissing her lips.
And when did these things begin to happen? He asked. He wanted to. But, as much as he desired, he knew he couldn’t do it. No matter how many times he would try it, he couldn’t seem to muster enough balls to own and acknowledge his mistakes. He couldn’t even say sorry to himself, so why should he ask for the same thing from her?
“Where have you been, Clay?” This time, her voice increased, and she became more irritated.
“How could you drink so much, Liz? And why were you drunk in broad daylight?” That was all he could dare to ask, even though there was so much to say in his heart. His chest felt so tight that he was tempted to give in and show her how furious he was deep inside.
“I’ve been looking for you everywhere, but you weren’t there,” Elizabeth asked as gently as possible.
“So? Is there any problem with that?”
Although she wanted to confront Clay for his strange behaviors lately, she tried not to be overly demanding of her emotional security in their relationship. In her heart, she loathed abandonment in any form, let alone losing Clay. She wanted to demand his honesty about his whereabouts and feelings towards her—if he still loved her or if their upcoming wedding still meant a lot to him.
That’s what she wanted, but she couldn’t even manage to say a word about it. She remembered what her mother had told her when she closed her eyes, that she won’t leave her father until she tied the knot with Clay.
“Not until I see you married. I will stay here.”
Before she came here, she thought he was wasting time doing something else when he should take care of their upcoming wedding. Despite her attempts to ask him about Valon and why he has been spending more time with him these days, she was never satisfied with his answers. And she was getting fed up.
She was in chaos, thinking Clay had spent the whole Christmas break cheating on her. At the back of her mind, she knew it was Valon. Even though she consciously refused, it was the truth, though she didn’t want to assume things that would only lead her to nothing but overthinking, as she always does. For her, she knew doing it would be a waste of time. She had nothing to use as proof unless she could find anything tangible, something physical.
That made her recall the last conversation she had with Valon. She remembered how he became suddenly outraged when she stood by the canvas covered with a black piece of fabric draping to the ground.
But what if her assumption about that painting could turn out wrong?
Another option would be convincing Agatha to tell her something she knew about this issue. In her mind, this would be a great addition, assuming she knew something was off. She thought if Agatha talked and spilled the beans, it was enough to call this wedding plan to a halt. She needed a definite reason.
Although she may appear naive, childish, or clueless, she wasn’t stupid, for God’s sake. She was wide awake when she saw Clay sneaking out of the bedroom last night. And it didn’t take long for her tears to wrap around her eyes when she saw him meeting with Valon near the main gate and leaving somewhere with his truck.
Not too long ago, she saw Clay staring at Valon while playing at the pool, though she tried not to react. At that time, she kept asking herself why she felt disturbed and so paranoid when there was nothing she should worry about.
But remembering them now, though she was hugging him, made her furious. But she wasn’t at the right place and time to explode. She wasn’t at her best, still sobering up from her drinking. As much as she wanted to grab and pull him away from this mess, she knew she couldn’t. She felt dizzy as hell. And as much as she tried to get away and escape, she couldn’t because she needed the De Laras for the children she desired to help. She needed Albert’s support, so she understood she could not just lash out, whining like a child.
Yet, she feared where this could go. She feared things would end between them as a couple one day. She stressed the day when she had no choice but to accept the reality, which she wasn’t willing to let go of. Not yet. She couldn’t bear the pain of her mother, who expected high of her, let alone acknowledge the humiliation this could bring her and her family if her planned marriage with Clay fell apart. She was confused.
Should she allow herself to suffer like that for an unknown time, or should she let this dark chapter go and move on to the next one—a viable option, though she had to raise the stakes to achieve it?
If she suffered as her mother wanted her to for the sake of family and the sanctity of marriage, how long could she endure it? If she chose to move on and become an independent woman, living on her own terms, could she handle living the following days alone, knowing she had nobody?
God. She was just eighteen when they got together, so she grew up with him as an adult. For twelve long years, she learned how to adapt to the fast-paced adult world with this man she thought would be there whenever she needed and wanted. She thought these would remain childish dreams she knew she would never have.
But then, she smiled after remembering Agatha with her that day when she continued reeling these thoughts. Even though she had been admiring her as a YouTube influencer for years, she didn’t expect her to be as warm and caring as she appeared, though they didn’t hit it right at the beginning. It surprised her to witness how cheerful she was and inspired her to become as positive as possible.
From that night when she first met her at the dark city alley, bringing her to the nearby restaurant, to the moments she drove around the Poblacion, helping her film and edit her vlogs. Their brief encounters when she talked to her at the seashore, the extended land travels, laughter, and joyous moments they shared together. She couldn’t help but feel grateful for knowing someone as wonderful and captivating as her.
Though Agatha has never shared a word about her life’s dark chapter, the screams and cries she roared and shed that early morning were enough clues to figure out what might have happened. Elizabeth assumed it must have been wrong that she couldn’t fathom imagining it, let alone hearing her tell her story in detail.
Considering these, it fascinated her to see how she coped with a past so horrendous as she had compared to hers. For her, there was no doubt that she admired the inner strength of this woman more than she ever did now that she had the chance to know her personally. When her mind got stuck with her asking why she was so lovely and friendly to her, that smile faded and turned into a sudden concern. She remembered how she felt when she looked into her eyes while waiting for her reply.
“Agatha, why are you so being nice to me?”
“Because I have to,” she said.
What did she mean when she said it? She thought.
At that time, she found it cute when she recalled how uneasy Agatha was in her seat. It was as if that simple inquiry caught her off-guard, and she wasn’t prepared to answer it as she wanted. However, as she reeled these scenes in her head, she couldn’t help but realize something she would have never expected.
Then, she flinched when Clay rose from the bed and stood facing her. Her eyes crawled until they landed a gaze at the man she loved. At that exact moment, she still saw the emptiness in his eyes, which, to her surprise, didn’t feel as concerning as it did the first time she saw how he had stared at her coldly as he did now.
She rose and jumped off of the bed. While facing the opposite direction, she stood as her feet slowed. “Don’t you think it would be right for us to stop this game?” she asked, which caught Clay’s attention.
“Game? What do you mean?” Clay replied.
She looked at him as she raised her face, blinking to distract herself from wanting to cry at that moment. “I think it’s time for us to stop this.”
“What are you talking about, Love?”
“Stop calling me like that. I don’t think we deserve each other.”
“I don’t understand.”
Elizabeth sighed. “I’m talking about the wedding. I guess it’s better for us both to separate ways.”
“Why all of a sudden—”
“I’m getting tired of this. I’m exhausted fighting for our relationship when there’s nothing between us anymore,” she paused and walked toward him. When she was close enough to hear her loud whisper, she raised her face and glared at him. “And I know you’re cheating on me.”
“How could you say so?” Clay stuttered.
She sighed, letting out exasperated sighs when she felt boiling inside her being. “How could I say so? Look, Clay. Look at me in the eye, and tell me you’re not cheating on me,” she paused after announcing her demand and walked closer to him, revealing her bloodshot and teary eyes.
Clay looked at her as he hissed. “I am not cheating on you,” he said in staccato as if he wanted her to hear every word he wanted, the only words he could dare speak to her without going insane.
Elizabeth shook her head without letting go of her eyes at him. “Fuck you, Clay. I saw you sneaking out last night. How could you still deny it?” she sputtered.
He froze and walked past her to flee the scene, briefly shutting his eyes as if he was carefully choosing the right things to say to her. But when she grabbed her arm, forcing him to look straight into her face, he stood still, though he tried his best to avoid looking into her eyes, fearing what she could see on his face. At that point, little did she know he was on the verge of succumbing to the temptation to express his rage.
“Stop, Liz! Stop!” he said, yanking off his arm. When he freed himself, he looked at her with glowering eyes, casting him a piercing, angry stare. “How dare you accuse me of cheating when you’re the one who is cheating on me?”
Elizabeth scoffed and rolled her eyes while glaring at him. “Oh really? Am I? How could you say something like that to me now?”
“I knew Alain liked you. Perhaps, he may have loved you more than I could. But that scene I saw from you was a different story.”
“I’ve loved nobody except you, and I only have you. So, it doesn’t make sense to do something stupid because I don’t want to hurt you. But you? You’re stabbing my heart right under my nose with that man you’re sleeping with.”
“Who else?” she paused as she went closer to him, raising her face to his eye view. “I’m talking about Agatha’s brother. I’m talking about Valon De Lara,” Elizabeth screamed at him.
His eyes widened. He was beyond shock. He didn’t know what to say then, which made him feel more frustrated the longer he exchanged stares with her. “How were you able to say that, Liz? He didn’t do anything bad. I was only helping him with his project.”
“Alone? A whole night in his atelier? Give me a break, Clay.”
“Why won’t you believe me?”
Elizabeth laughed sarcastically, insulting him while shaking her head, leaving Clay wondering what came through her mind. “Did he mention to you what he told me?”
“No, he didn’t. Did you talk to him?”
“Yes. He said he liked somebody. But the problem was he was engaged, exhausted, and lost,” she paused as gushing emotions swelled around her throat. “I thought he was talking about somebody else, and it didn’t make sense to me why he gave me that look in his eyes until I figured it out,” she paused when she needed to let out a loud scoff and an awkward, angry, and dumbfounded laugh, “Isn’t he creative? How could he steal my man right before my eyes without knowing it?”
“How come you came up with such an idea? Is it because Agatha told you so?
She shook her head. “No, she didn’t say anything. So, don’t accuse her of something she didn’t have anything to do with.”
“How could you say such a thing when he didn’t do anything bad to me, you, and his family? He was there when I needed someone to accept me for who I am. He was the one who didn’t make me feel disgusted when all I received from you was that. Where were you, Liz?”
“So, you think it’d be great to spend nights with him when your fiancée is stupidly unaware of what you’re doing? Because you think that makes you happy?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about now.”
“I am not stupid, Clay. I see how you look at him and how he looks at you. I thought I was crazy for thinking these things. But the longer I noticed, the more it was crystal clear that something was going on between the two of you.”
“And how about you and Agatha? Weren’t you enjoying it, too?”
“Why is she in this conversation?” Her voice sharpened in defense.
“I saw how she kissed your lips when you were on the couch. I thought she wouldn’t do it if you didn’t let her think it was permissible.”
“So, you think I’m cheating with her because of that? I didn’t realize how petty you are.”
“I may sound petty to you, but I couldn’t let this accusation go and be swept under the rug. This is way too much for me to handle.”
“How could you say something like that when she did nothing but help when it was your job as my future husband to save my face before your family?”
“So, that’s how you see me. You only need me to save your face. Nothing else?”
“When your dear sister refused to support the program, when your family turned their backs on me, who was there to help? Who was there to help me with the project for hundreds of children the foundation supports? It wasn’t you, Clay. It was Agatha. When I was crying the whole night and was alone in the dark getting harassed, going on a rampage on the streets, looking for you early in the morning,” she paused and pressed her index finger to his chest, “Who was there to help me search for you when fiance wasn’t there? Who was there to save me from the dire humiliation your family had brought me? It wasn’t you but Agatha.”
“Are you telling me it would be better for you to be with her than with me?”
“Honestly, without her, I wouldn’t know what to do now that I’m in this fucking situation with you, Clay,” she said lowly, pointing her index finger at him.
Unable to fix his thoughts as he increasingly felt insecure, he turned his back and walked towards the door. But he stopped before he could touch the doorknob and leave the room.
“Where are you going?” she paused, anticipating Clay’s response. But when she didn’t hear a word from him, she added, “Do you want to find your man? Go, find him, and fuck yourself!” Elizabeth screamed even when he turned his head and gave her a stern, angry look until he left the room without a word.
Still feeling the urge to announce her defiance, she dragged herself out. But as she walked out, she saw Agatha standing nearby, facing her direction. She looked at her with her teary 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!)