Here’s chapter 61 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.
Still upset about everything, Valon was about to pick up the box when he saw a familiar car approaching. He stood there and watched it park. When he saw Clay hop off, his heart skipped. His temperature rose. His chest felt tight. He felt as if the air sucked out of him. He paused with the box in his hands and looked at the man who slid out. Though his face was partially hidden behind the carton he was carrying, his eyes widened when he saw Clay walking in his direction.
He missed him. Indeed, he’d been missing him.
The box looked heavy from how he carefully lowered it to the ground. When he straightened, he looked him in the eye. “I thought you didn’t want to see me,” he said coldly. Almost stuttering. His face wasn’t pale but flushed with activity. His hair clustered into spikes on his forehead glistened with sweat.
He wanted to look away, but Clay’s piercing stare caught him off-guard. He couldn’t find himself to move. He was stuck because Clay’s eyes stopped him. He saw something in them, something strong enough to penetrate his glasses, something with a quiet but forceful command.
With his heart beating a hair faster than it had been moments ago, he had a million things he could ask him. Things he was curious about. But the reality was undeniable. Only none of them was his business.
Clay stared at him. He stared back. Gradually, his stare softened, and before he knew it, he felt the same kind of quiet force emanating from him he’d felt before. His heartbeat picked up when his dark eyes began a slow, almost tactile meandering over his face. He felt their touch over his cheeks, his nose, his chin. When they reached his mouth, they lingered for a while to trace the bow curve of his lips.
And he wasn’t done yet.
Clay’s gaze dropped to his throat, touching the smooth skin before slipping to his shoulders and chest.
Valon felt weak in his knees, which made him a little tense. A flare of pique shot through him. Clay was a great-looking man, even with those glasses perched on his nose. With his gray T-shirt and tattered jeans, the glasses made him look oddly in vogue. His glasses might have hidden the flash of wariness in his eyes if he weren’t watching him closely.
But it wasn’t that, Valon knew. It was his persistence, his molasses-slow approach, and doggedness that was built of reason. His will was stronger than he’d expected.
“I want to talk with you,” Clay said.
“You. How you’ve been? What you’ve been doing?”
“Well, I’ve been fine and doing all the same things I always do. So, that’d be a pretty worthless conversation.” Valon lowered his body to grab the box and planned to leave.
“Valon.” Clay cried, unable to make of his running. “Please….”
His cry must have reached him because he stopped in his tracks. At first, his body was straight. Then, he expelled breath and sagged a little. He cocked a hand on one hip and hung his head. He stood in silence with his back to him.
Clay wanted to reach out and touch him. But he didn’t dare. Nor could he let him go. “Talk with me. Just for a minute. Please?” he asked, more quietly, a little more desperately.
At first, Valon didn’t think he’d refuse. He straightened his spine and turned slowly when he was about to repeat the same plea. “What did you want to say?” He saw hurt in his eyes. He saw confusion, vulnerability, and wanting. Long fingers clenched around his heart. He let out a small breath. “I’m listening.”
Clay gulped and walked toward him. “Look. You can’t find somebody like me. I’m an accomplished man. I’m funny, unique, and attractive. Sexy as hell. I’m surprisingly creative. I would have achieved a lot more if not because of you. You’re right. I could have had a better life ahead of me. A successful surgeon like Rafael.” He paused, brushing a finger over his lips. “But it isn’t what I want. It isn’t what’s in my heart. I’m sorry for leaving you. And I don’t see anything wrong with what you did. I don’t see anything wrong by committing myself to you—” he took a deep breath, but when he went on, his voice was harder “—unless you don’t make the same commitment in return. No lies. No bullshit. I can’t live in the way I have been. I can’t live in a vacuum, thinking of you, wondering, worrying, and wanting. I can’t sit around waiting for you to call when you get the chance. If you have the chance. That’s the problem.”
Hearing his words, Valon’s body warmed up, feeling the beat of his heart. He was in heaven and hell at the same time. “You could have called me to tell me that.”
While Clay took a while to answer, he had an awful feeling that he was savoring the last bits of pleasure before it all fell apart. He was nervous as anticipation had increasingly overrode his rationale.
“Kuya, where’s the box—” Agatha screamed as she went downstairs to check on him. But when she saw Clay approaching, she stepped back.
“Agatha, Valon? Where the hell are you, guys?” Elizabeth followed her until she stood near the entry and saw Clay standing outside. “Clay… What are you doing here?” She looked him in the eye before she cocked her head. When she saw Agatha nodding, she took the box, turned around, and dragged her inside. “Let’s just let them talk.” She took the other side of the box and helped her bring it inside.
Valon didn’t even hear the ruckus behind him or the women leaving. His attention was on Clay. Full attention. It was as if it was just him and Clay. All he saw was Clay. Nobody else. As much as he wanted to run to him, throw a hug, kiss his lips, he suddenly realized no. He shouldn’t do that. He was at fault. He didn’t deserve that bliss.
“What are you telling me?”
“I’m saying—” Clay paused to breathe deeper and began slowly with conviction, “I promised I won’t leave you again.”
Did he hear it right? Did I understand it right? Am I dreaming? Valon wanted to cry. Exerting the utmost control not to. “Then?”
“Either you love me or not at all. Either we’re together the way we should be or break it off. Over. No maybes.”
“Because I miss you. I love you so much,” Clay screamed.
Valon shook his head. “That same love destroyed the ones we love, Clay.”
Instead of backing off, Clay walked closer until he was so close he could feel his warmth. He looked away, thinking continuing the conversation this way was easier. But then, Clay took his chin, tugging in his direction, and looked into his eyes. “Did you hate me?”
He stopped dead. He slowly pulled himself up and looked into his eyes. “Yes, I did. But you have nothing to do with what happened to my family. You were right. What I had done to you was unfair. I am deeply sorry for it.”
“Did you love me?”
“Yes, I did.”
“How about now?” Clay paused. He looked at him with clear anticipation in his eyes.
Valon had turned into stone. He was at a loss for words. His mind went blank. He didn’t know what to say. But his attempts didn’t escape Clay’s radar.
Clay continued, “No matter how much you want to hide it. That’s not what I see from your eyes.” He gulped, swallowing against a swell of emotion. His heart contracted. “Please. Be honest with me.”
Valon looked away and sighed. It took him a while before he could muster enough confidence to look into his eyes again. “Yes, I still do.”
Clay smiled, feeling a deep sense of relief.
Though he felt the same, there was one thing had bothered him. He thought this was the right time to ask him about it. “Tell me. Why did you leave me?”
“Albert—my—your dad—I mean, he wanted me to.”
Valon nodded, feeling satisfied, knowing he was right. “I see.” He lowered his head and stared at their hands together. When silence permeated, he took the time to relish this moment of feeling his warm hands again. He felt relieved to have Clay again. Yet, at the back of his mind, he couldn’t stop thinking of what mess he had created. The sacrifices he made Clay do. The families he broke. The relationships he fucked up. “Why do you still want me?”
Clay cradled his face, tilting his head. “Because I want to.”
Valon looked confused. Damn. This man’s crazy, he thought. Why would he still want him after the jeopardy? Why would he still want to be with him after everything?
Then, a chill air shot through his back as if he had missed by a ten-wheeler truck.
Love. This was love. True love.
Ah, this was love. This was how it felt. A nice feeling.
“I’m glad you arrived here safely,” he said with a smile, though he felt uneasy. Something was off. He wrapped Clay around his arms, squeezing him. When he raised his face, he saw Alain standing a few meters away behind with a handgun pointing at them.
His heart jumped as the adrenaline kicked in. His eyes widened as fear blanketed his head to toe. Though he froze, he knew he didn’t have enough time to think about what to do. But when he heard the clicking sound, he knew either he would take the bullet or Clay.
No. Valon wouldn’t allow him to do that. He thought he deserved the shot because he had done so much wrong. Despite the hopes he had found with Clay, he was kind of prepared for this. He deserved the bullet for all the sins he had committed. If this was his crucifixion, it was the cross he had to bear, not Clay’s. He had to die.
While he braced himself with Clay in his arms, he used his most strength and held him tight. He turned his back and felt the painful burning sensation swallowing in his back, crawling to his chest. Damn. Then, there was another one. He cursed. It was more painful than the wounds he had. He thought they were already painful. But this one. It was a hell lot more. It felt his whole back was on fire.
Feeling choked, he looked into Clay’s eyes. As they exchanged gazes, he felt that time had stopped. A slow moment he spared to flash a smile. “Clay…” he whispered. And the next thing he knew was closing his eyes as he fell forward, dragging Clay with him. Then, there was nothing but pitch black.
When Clay heard him sigh, he looked at his face and shook him. “Val?” he sputtered. But as his hand pressed against his back, his eyes widened. His palm was stained with blood. He repeatedly called his name, only to hear nothing but silence. His tears crawled like ravaging rivers during the storm as he took his body in position, wrapping it with his arms as tight as he could. His screams became loud like a child.
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!)