Here’s chapter 37 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.
“Merry Christmas!” With a champagne glass in each hand, everyone applauded. Everyone had a glossy appearance. The Christmas event appeared to be star-studded even though it was modest. Everyone seemed to have read a notice telling them to look their best tonight. The noise of clinking drinks, laughter, and conversation increased as midnight drew near. It sounded like the entire barangay had invaded and crowded the mansion.
When others were engaged in the activity, Valon remained silent. Standing in the corner, he enjoyed observing everyone. His smiles reached his ears as his eyes darted from one to person until landing on one.
“Clay…” he whispered.
He continued to stare at him as he raised his arm to take a drink and swallowed the liquor. When this man ignored the noise surrounding him, anyone could have thought he was losing his mind. How could he have such an attitude toward another man? Was he gay or simply demisexual? He questioned.
As he gulped, he noticed Marco approaching him. He flashed a smile. “Hey!” He took his hand and fist-bumped. “How are you doing?” He threw him a hug and draped his arm around his shoulder. “How about we talk outside?”
Marco nodded. “Sure. It’s a bit loud here.”
“Let’s go,” Valon replied with a gesture.
They went outside and strolled until they reached the swimming pool. They stood there, and the silence reigned. But it didn’t bother him. Besides, his mind wasn’t there.
Marco cleared his throat. “How’s it been for you?”
Valon chuckled and tilted his head. “I should be the one asking you that. It’s been a while, isn’t it?”
“How’s Uncle and Auntie?” Valon asked.
“Oh. They’re fine. They kept fussing with me about coming here to thank you personally. I wanted to. But things got so hectic after I was discharged. So, I didn’t hesitate to grab the chance to come here when Tito Albert offered.”
“I’m glad you came and finally see you,” Valon replied.
Marco smiled as he looked away to drink. After swallowing the liquid, he looked at him and noticed restlessness as he stared at somebody. Curious, he followed the direction and traced the line until he saw the man. He looked at Valon, wondering why his dear friend kept staring at him like he would lay him tonight.
He cleared his throat again. But this time, it was louder.
Valon returned to his senses. “Yeah, I’m sorry. Got distracted.”
“It seems like.” Marco paused and glanced at the doctor. When he looked back at his friend, he felt nonexistent. “Who’s he?”
“He’s your surgeon. He’s the one whom I owed a lot for saving your life,” Valon answered with excitement on his face he had never seen before. Oh. That’s interesting. He thought.
Then, his face lit up when he realized it. “Oh, that’s Dr. Clayton Elizondo?” His voice sharpened. He paused when he noticed his friend gazing at the man. As he studied him, he noticed something.
Valon didn’t look like he admired the man. He was in love with him.
“Do you like him?” Marco asked.
That inquiry caught Valon’s attention as he looked at him with his eyes widened, unable to fix his thoughts.
Marco was right. He smiled and giggled. “But I heard he’s getting married soon,” he continued, immediately noticing his friend’s face shift.
If Valon liked this man, he realized those words stung his heart. He thought he needed to say it to keep him away from his dreamland. However, even with good intentions, he still couldn’t help but feel horrible.
He swallowed the drink like water and expelled a loud sigh. “I didn’t know you’ve made quite a great love story.” He clucked. “Do you think you could handle it? Remember. He’s getting married. And I know you. You don’t take these things seriously.”
Valon was speechless.
Thinking he may have figured out something, Marco looked away and cleared his throat again to ease the conversation. “By the way, I wanted to say thank you for what you did.”
Valon sighed. He flashed a smile while squeezing his shoulder. His face flushed. “Come on. How could I not?” He laughed.
“You know, you didn’t have to pay for everything. You could have asked fifty-fifty, but—” Marco replied.
Before he could say the next word, Valon pumped his chest, wanting to interrupt.
Marco thought nothing had changed about him. Except for his hairstyle. He remembered it was shorter when they last met. Nevertheless, Valon has been like that. Warm. Funny. Loving. Caring. Extremely loyal. He missed these from him.
So, he was happy to see his friend again. He thought it would take ages before he could talk to him like this after his recent promotion as the art department head. If he were honest with himself, he would be beyond grateful for having met this man. Despite his hectic schedule, he still managed to spare time for others. He may have worries about his choices sometimes, but he still couldn’t help but love and support him.
Yet, at the same time, he knew Valon was in deep shit. Knowing him for a long time, he doubted this man could handle the situation. He knew this wouldn’t be easy.
Marco remembered watching Valon dating his flings in high school. He didn’t care about dating a handful at once. Then, one day, when he left the classroom, he saw Valon standing outside the classroom—alone, watching the distance with his arms stretched out and fists pressed to his chin. When Valon noticed him coming, he leaned forward, pressing his body against the wall. He combed his curls with his fingers.
Marco leaned against the wall, facing the opposite direction. He crossed his arms and squeezed his lips. “Problems with your love life?”
Valon clucked. “Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m always thinking about that.”
“Dude, how could you date more than one at once? Don’t you feel tired or get confused sometimes?” Marco asked.
Valon shook his head. “Not really.”
“If there’s one thing I could use to describe you, you’re a Rubik’s cube.”
Valon scoffed and rolled his eyes. He crossed his arms while leaning against the wall with his weight on one leg. “Why would I be Rubik’s cube?” He cocked an eyebrow.
“Because of how you treat people. You act differently with each person you meet. And I bet you’re doing the same with me, your family, friends, and those women you dated. You have different personalities for each one,” Marco answered.
Valon was silent, though he showed a faint and quick smile.
A smile of a man who only knew how to have fun.
Watching him grin like that made Marco scoff and shake his head in disbelief.
The relationships he had barely survived three months. It didn’t even look different in college when he went all-in, flirting with cougars, including cousins. He didn’t mind breaking relationships as long as he had gotten what he wanted. In worst cases, bleeding them out until they run out of cash.
Marco feared he was going to do it again.
But this time, it’s different.
The Elizondos and the Gutierrezes were prominent families. He meant these people were big-time. These weren’t just any other families but the popular and powerful.
Why was he being reckless? How did he come to this?
Would Valon take such a risk? Wow. So many questions to ask.
“But we’re a family. What I did for you is nothing because you’re my brother,” Valon interrupted.
Marco cursed. No matter how much he worried for this man, he’s still a family. A brother he loved. He smiled and threw him a hug. “You never changed, Dude!” Dissatisfied, he wrapped his arms tighter. He pressed his face against Valon’s shoulder. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me.” He smiled.
However, worries filled his eyes.
Clay smiled while listening to the conversations that filled the room. But when he looked outside and saw Valon hugging another man, that smile faded in a second. He stiffened. His eyes couldn’t let go of what he saw, though he felt more uncomfortable. When the man pulled away, he noticed how Valon looked into his eyes. He scoffed and rolled his eyes.
But when Valon laughed with him, his heart sank.
How could he? How. Could. He? That’s what he thought when he decided to go there and set them apart. He couldn’t bear watching his man touching skins with someone else. So, he excused himself from everyone and walked in their direction in strides. He didn’t stop until he stood near them, almost interrupting their conversation.
“Hey,” Clay stuttered. He flashed an awkward smile at both men. He looked at Valon with fire in his eyes.
Valon let out an awkward laugh. “Clay, I want you to meet Marco. Do you remember him?” He draped his arm around the man.
That shocked Clay.
Wow. How dare he!
Even though his chest swelled with humiliation, he thought Valon was being too friendly when he shouldn’t be. He stiffened as he looked down and pressed his lips. “Yes. Sure, I do,” Clay muttered under his breath.
Then, he flinched when he felt Valon’s fingers reach his hand. His stomach churned when he saw him holding it. He raised his face to his eye view. When he noticed how penetrating the man’s gaze was, he felt wanted and oddly proud.
“You two seem close,” Marco said.
Valon flashed a broad smile. “Yes, we are.”
“How did you meet? Don’t tell me you’ve always been there to watch me. Naks! That’s so sweet of you.” Marco’s face flushed.
Valon wanted to speak, but Clay interrupted. “Well, he crashed into my clinic—”
“Is it bad to like your doctor?” Valon said nonchalantly. Then, he kissed the doctor’s cheek.
Marco’s eyes widened.
Clay warmed up when he caught Valon staring at him with such interest. My god. His heart swelled with romance, and he was in a trance with love. He felt the time slow as his eyes looked into his. It was as if Marco was gone and alone with this man, who lovingly stared back at him.
But that scene was cut short when he heard somebody calling them. He swiveled his head in that direction and saw Albert screaming Valon’s name. He watched him walking back to his dad and had a short talk. Then, he smiled and nodded before he waved at him and walked back inside.
Curious, Clay followed his trail until he walked inside the house. To his surprise, he saw Valon heading to the piano adjacent to the living space. He stepped closer until he stood a meter away and watched him sit and press the keys. His heart jumped when he saw him glancing in his direction.
Valon briefly closed his eyes as he played the first few notes of Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” in his rendition. While his body swayed in melody with his hands and feet, Clay couldn’t stop watching him, admiring him more than he already was. When his eyes landed on Valon’s fingers touching each key, he felt a sudden jolt of lust as he imagined those fingers touching him. Watching the man’s long curls slightly covering his face and closed eyes was orgasmic.
He closed his eyes to enjoy the subtlety of each note he played slowed down. Then, he saw himself curling his core as Valon hovered above him. Both hands were on his head, his fingers combing his curls. His eyes blurred with the paint slathered on him while his mouth opened, expelling moans and hisses. Although he had no picture of what was happening to him, he would never forget how those warm, thick fingers felt as they caressed his skin.
It was erotic. He couldn’t deny spending those nights with him was the most pleasurable and wholesome experience he had earned from him. For a long time, in his entire existence, he had never felt wanted by somebody until he met this eccentric but talented man. An experience so new he never thought he wanted.
Damn. Clay realized he wouldn’t want to let go of this man. No. Never.
Even though he was against all odds, he was determined to find ways to be together with him. No matter what would happen next.
After asking himself many times, his mind was finally clear.
“I’m in love,” Clay whispered.
Everyone was quiet while their eyes glued on his son, playing the stage piano. Watching him perform the piece he had been missing was quite memorable. Hearing his rendition of his favorite instrumental music was an emotional experience. A piece of music he knew would bring painful nostalgia for the past.
He was getting old. Albert thought while he remained seated with his hands pressed on his cane. His eyes were bloodshot and teary the longer, remembering the old days twelve years ago when Valon arrived in his life as a troubled teenager and Agatha, in her early teens, who was with him all the time, tailing him wherever he went.
Looking back, Albert was a proud father while watching Valon as an adult. He thought he wouldn’t see him playing the piece he loved as skillfully as he did before.
When he remembered how Agatha was back then, he couldn’t resist glancing at her daughter, standing beside Elizabeth.
Then, he moved his attention back to his son. It was the first time he noticed where his son’s eyes were whenever he looked away from his keys. Curious, he turned his head and saw Clay at a distance.
At that moment, he felt a sudden punch in his chest. He struggled to remain focused on his seat. As soon as his eyes returned to his son, he couldn’t help but wonder. This time, he looked disturbed, as if something was off in his eyes. His breathing labored.
Little did he know Marcela was staring at him all time.
When Agatha glanced at Elizabeth, she noticed she was looking somewhere else. Curious, she followed the trail and saw Clay watching the show smilingly. But when her eyes landed on her brother, she widened and couldn’t help but glance at Elizabeth, who was on the verge of tearing up.
Feeling bad, Agatha raised her arm and patted her back, which startled Elizabeth. When she turned her head and saw Agatha’s concerned look in her eyes, she was quick to look away and wipe her tears with her fingertips.
“Don’t worry. I’m fine,” Elizabeth said as naturally as she could, though her stuttering and strained voice couldn’t lie.
“No, you’re not,” Agatha said, pulling her hand away and moving her attention to what was happening before her. While watching Valon and Clay gazing at each other the whole time, she sighed, shaking her head. Knowing Elizabeth’s situation, she knew she couldn’t stand watching the performance. Despite her reasons, she couldn’t leave Elizabeth alone, especially in that state. So, all she had left was to stay and endure the agonizing show.
She turned her head and looked into her eyes, startled, when she felt her fingers caressing hers. She lowered her head to see what she was doing. She felt her gut squeeze, watching Elizabeth hold her hand. Her eyes widened as they exchanged gazes and shared smiles before they moved their attention to Valon playing until he finished the piece.
Agatha looked away and hid her face flush. Then, she smiled.
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!)