Here’s chapter 65 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.
“I’ve made my decision.” Clay pushed the envelope in Hawkeye’s direction. He leaned forward with both elbows planted on his knees. While he threaded his fingers, he took the time to observe the old man, watching him take the letter inside it. He waited in silence until he finished reading and carefully folded the sheet, sliding it inside the envelope again.
Hawkeye leaned against the couch with both hands on his lap. He looked at him, narrowing his eyes as if he were attempting to speak about something. Wanting to know more about what he had just learned. Yet, he struggled to find the right words for it.
“Why?” His voice sounded concerned. He paused and took the time to run his eyes over him. His eyebrows drew in, furrowing his forehead. “Isn’t this what you want, Clay?”
Clay shook his head. “Not anymore.”
Hawkeye sighed. “You don’t have to leave San Carlos because of what happened.” He didn’t wait to hear or see his reply but lowered his head while threading his fingers instead. “In that case, what are you planning to do next?” This time, he eyed him.
Clay shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Does this mean today will be the last time we see each other?” Hawkeye asked, anticipating the young man’s answer. He continued when he saw Clay nod. He didn’t need to hear him say anything. Looking at his face was enough for him to get the gist of what this man had gone through.
Besides, Clay wasn’t just a doctor or a surgeon. He was an Elizondo. As a colleague, he was promising, known for his skillful hands and self-assertive personality. His creative, outside-the-box thinking impressed him. This talented young man would have many more career opportunities if he wished to continue. Perhaps, he would have gone further like Rafael if not abroad. If he would ask, there was no doubt he would give a detailed recommendation letter. No questions asked.
Hawkeye thought Clay was supposed to love his position. However, the drive he saw before was gone. It wasn’t the reason for him being there. What he had in hand was a handwritten resignation letter filled with reasons Clay may have given much thought. As much as he wanted to keep him, he knew there was no way back. So, all he could do was give his moral support. Nothing else. “Anyway, I’m happy to have spent time working with you. Good luck, young man.”
Clay smiled and rose from his seat, extending his hand. “Thank you, Hawkeye. For everything.”
Wishing for a better future, Hawkeye shook his hand and smiled in answer, though a glint of disappointment swelled his heart.
Clay drove, heading to the hospital. He had no expectations whatsoever that day. For him, it was just another day. Another day of missing Valon.
How long has it been? Two weeks? Three? A month? Or maybe more?
He sighed. It wasn’t a sigh of relief but worry. His gut told him something, but his brain couldn’t understand it. All he knew was that something might happen that day. He looked outside and saw the students playing on the soccer field. The smiles and laughter coming out of their mouths were contagious.
It made him smile. He needed it.
So, he parked his car along the curb and strolled along the sidewalk. It was silent, although he could hear the nearby traffic and the crisps from the trees with their branches dancing with the wind, people chatting dilly-dallies, and kids playing on the field.
When he reached the soccer field, he thought of Valon, reeling his first conversations with him.
You know, it’s okay not to be okay.
His heart felt the expansive space drawing him in as he looked up, relishing the cool morning air touching his skin. Though gray clouds heaved the skies, he saw the sun hiding behind them. He swiveled his head on the roofs and saw the birds flying around, conversing in groups. Flowers blossomed. Greenery surrounded him. What a gloomy sunny day, he thought.
That thought left Clay puzzled until he arrived at Valon’s room. As he marched in, he placed the bag full of stuff on the couch beside the bed. Then, he moved his attention to Valon to do his usual thing when he was off work. Watching him. Making sure he looked great even though he remained asleep. Answering questions Rafael or the nurses would ask him. After all, he was a doctor. Nobody could better explain his man’s status than him.
Although feeling dread, he was grateful for Valon’s progress. After several weeks, the intensivist removed him from the life-support system and regular sedation.
Clay took his hand, stroking his fingers, feeling the warmth of his skin. He was relieved when he felt his hand getting warmer and warmer. Because that meant he was doing well. When his eyes landed on his face, he couldn’t help but tear up. He felt choked. His chest was pounding, hammering him. The longer he stared at him, his mind began to wander, reeling the moments they had. From the time he crashed into his clinic. The art exhibition. The coffee time. The laughter. The gazes. Hugs. Kisses.
A lot had happened in the last few months, he thought. When did the time fly so fast? He asked himself as he leaned forward at the edge of the bed. Taking a deep breath, he straightened his arms on either side of him. He wanted to see this man closer, wishing telepathy worked. As he traced his facial outlines with his eyes, he thought doing it would help him send the message faster.
“I miss you,” Clay muttered, briefly closing his eyes while squeezing his hand. Silent sobs filled the air, oozing despair out of him. Despite his attempts to keep his composure, he soon realized he had been holding it in for too long. He thought, perhaps, Valon would hear his cries. Maybe, just a maybe, he would open his eyes and smile. A smile he had been missing for a long time. How long should he wait to see them again?
He opened his eyes and saw Valon’s eyes wide open. He wiped his tears and was suddenly frantic. “Hey,” he whispered while rubbing his hand against his head, combing his hair with his fingers. Worries printed on his face. But that faded when he saw the smile he had wished to see. The typical Valon smile.
Despite looking pale, he looked beautiful. He had always appreciated his big smiles, his big, round, and brown eyes. They were warm, sincere, and loving.
Clay lowered his head when Valon stroked his fingers on his hand. “How do you feel?”
“Good,” Valon replied.
He sighed in relief. Thank God.
Clay hummed in response with both eyebrows arched.
“How are you?”
Clay sighed, forcing a smile. “I’m fine.” He stuttered.
“I’m glad you finally woke up, Val.”
Valon smiled in answer. But for Clay, it was enough to feel his heart burning with love. He was beyond joyful knowing he was alright. The fact he could see him open his eyes and start a small talk was enough to earn a deep sense of relief. The fact he could see the weight of his gaze hugging his soul again was enough to convince himself he was loved.
He gulped. “Will you still have me… as your muse?”
Valon blinked. Then, his smile faded as he wrapped his hand around his. He opened his mouth and muttered words under his breath.
Clay’s eyes were wide in worry, though relief was right on its heels.
But when Valon shook his head, disappointment loosened his grip. He dropped his hand, not looking at all surprised that he had rejected him. He deserved it. Valon deserved a better muse.
As he released him, his heart skipped when Valon retook his hand with a tight grip. This time, the look in his eyes sharpened. He flicked his head forward as if he were trying to speak a word.
Clay could hear him mumbling words he couldn’t understand. So, he leaned in closer. “What did you say?”
“Thank. You,” Valon whispered.
Clay sighed, forcing a smile. “You don’t have to say that.”
“What’s on your mind right now?” Clay asked.
“Marry me,” Valon said.
Clay’s eyes widened. His entire system convulsed in waves when he felt Valon’s hand squeeze his. He pressed his lips and nodded with a smile reaching his ears. But we can’t. You know there’s no such thing in our country.
Valon stroked his fingers until he reached the ring he had given him and gently caressed it. He felt warm, enjoying the delicate touches of his hand. As Clay lowered his face, watching him playing the ring, he realized that’s what he had been missing. Feeling his warm, thick fingers touching his skin.
Oh yes, the ring.
Then, reality smacked his face. It was as if time had stopped.
Don’t tell me…
When Clay saw his ear-to-ear grin, squeezing his eyes, his chest burned.
Oh my God. Was this an engagement ring all along?
He was speechless, unable to organize his thoughts as romance thickened the air. The longer he stared into his penetrating gaze, the more disorganized he became. He didn’t know what to say. Except…
“Yes, I will marry you.” Silently Clay slipped his arms beneath him and brought him into his embrace. Valon went limply at first until the need he felt took him, too. As he went on, Clay pictured Valon left alone while wishing, holding, and being held by another person to offset that pain.
Valon said nothing, and that was fine. He was content to listen to his heartbeat, let it lull him, and offer the comfort of its own. With his arms wrapped around his waist, he felt he had unburdened himself of a secret weighing him down for years. He grew increasingly relaxed and mellow.
But then, his fear of having nobody flashed through his mind more than once since he had been hospitalized. Without him, he would feel very much alone.
He took a deep breath, enjoying Clay’s feel as much as his scent. He felt better. If he wanted to nurse her, that was fine. That was fine if he wanted to wait on him and play guardian. He couldn’t deny the coddling was nice. He loved it. And he couldn’t wait for more. I love you, Clay. So much.
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!)