Here’s chapter 66 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.
“Rise and shine,” Clay whispered and helped him sit up as he turned onto his street. Seconds later, he turned into his driveway and pulled directly up to the side door. With Clay’s help, Valon eased himself from the vehicle.
As they walked toward the university grounds, his heartbeat quickened. He wanted to attribute it to the weakness of his limbs. That might have been true. But he was also nervous. He looked up to find a mischievous smile touching Clay’s mouth. His gaze lingered on his mouth for a minute before he returned his eyes to the path.
He arched a casual brow when they reached the exhibition venue.
“Hi, Sir Val!” Frank waved his hand as he approached them. Excitement was printed all over his face. His smiles were broad, and his eyes were squeezed. His hands pressed together. He looked like a hardcore fan, anticipating his entrance.
Valon drew his eyebrows in. “I don’t understand. What’s this?” When he noticed Frank glancing at Clay, he turned and looked at him. “Clay? Do you know anything about this?”
Clay smirked and winked. “It’s a surprise.”
Valon’s eyes widened as they entered. He couldn’t believe what he saw. His works in massive panels arranged in arrays filling the wall. He couldn’t believe he saw guests roaming around and discussing his art—the demons he had feared and chose to hide from everyone. His mind couldn’t reconcile the fact he wasn’t dreaming.
No. This wasn’t a dream. The photos scaled in various angles he created were in the public’s eyes. His porn was out in the open.
As he walked in their direction, he could see Clay’s silhouette from afar at an angle he knew best. God. Those tattoos he admired. His facial lines were revealed underneath the several layers of paint.
He thought he was okay with keeping his ridiculous sexcapades with Clay in private. But seeing those photos printed and displayed across the room would be a different story. Damn it. Frank? No. Frank wouldn’t do this. He believed he had nothing to do with this. He had never told him about presenting his project in public. And he was convinced he was being clear on that. He trusted him. Unless…
He looked at Clay, who refused to say anything. Before he could express his defiance, his heart skipped when he saw Albert, Marcela, Elizabeth, and Agatha approaching them.
Marco was even there, waving his hand. “Dude!” He fist-bumped him and threw a hug.
“Congratulations,” Marcela said with a smile.
After Valon pulled back, he shook his head. “I don’t know what to say, guys. I’m sorry.” He was at a loss for words. All he could do was let out an awkward laugh to ease himself.
“Is this what you’ve been hiding from us?” Albert paused and looked around with a broad smile. He sighed. “What you did here is excellent.”
Valon was confused. In his mind, his dad would never do something like this. “But dad—”
“I’m proud of you for finally coming out, son,” Albert interrupted. He cleared his throat and looked away, pinching the tip of his nose. “Anyway—”
Frank extended his hand. “Thank you, Mr. De Lara, for sponsoring this event.”
Albert smiled and shook his hand. “My pleasure.” When he returned his sight to Valon, he froze when he saw him staring at him.
“You?” Valon asked.
Albert smiled in response. “How could I not support you? You’re my son, after all.”
Valon hugged him, pressing his chin against his shoulder. He pulled away and looked into his eyes. “I love you, Dad. Thank you,” he whispered.
Then, he moved his attention to Clay standing behind his dad.
“Clay…” He whispered as he took his hand. His eyes filled with tears. He shook his head. “I can’t believe this.” He was restless, almost jumping on his feet.
“I know. Seeing your work in real life and up close is amazing,” Clay said, attempting to calm him down.
Valon gulped to ease, though he felt like running away and being gone. His body shuddered as he continued looking around, still convincing himself this wasn’t a dream. “Wait. You don’t have to do this for me. Wouldn’t you feel afraid? What if—”
Clay pressed his finger on his mouth. “I don’t care. Besides, I’m proud to be your muse. So, why wouldn’t I show everyone how great my Master is?”
Valon was speechless, though his eyes wandered from one piece to another. He couldn’t stop because he knew he had destroyed them. There was no way he could save at least one. Yet…
“Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our second Cult of Eros art exhibition. Thank you for coming here.” Standing behind the podium, Frank paused when he saw Valon from afar. “Without further ado, help me welcome the man behind this magnificent work. Valon Crisostomo De Lara,” he announced.
Everyone applauded, eyeing him.
Valon froze when he saw Frank gesture, asking him to go to the stage. He looked at Clay, only to see him clapping his hands. Feeling defeated, he marched in strides and stood before the podium. Frank handed him the microphone. He cleared his throat while scanning his audience.
“Thank you for coming here today. I appreciate the time you spent here to see my works of art. Honestly, I never expected this to happen. Originally, this was a personal project which I wanted to pursue. However, with the support of my loved ones, I was able to make it.” He paused when his eyes caught Clay from afar. He flashed his typical ear-to-ear grin. “This art wouldn’t have been possible if not because of this person. I’ll be forever grateful for having him, for meeting him, for the love he gave me. Thank you.” He paused, gulping while trying not to get carried away and become more emotional than he already was. “I hope you’re having a great time. Enjoy.” He gestured for Frank to take over as he walked off the stage. He walked in strides, almost sprinting, ignoring the applause he received from the audience. He looked as if nothing mattered to him except for having Clay in his arms.
And that’s what he did. He wrapped his arms around him, squeezing him.
“How do you feel?” Clay paused when he still noticed his restlessness. “You don’t have to worry about me being seen here.”
Valon pulled away, looking worried. “But you wanted to be a successful doctor—”
Clay interrupted. “Don’t worry. I’m with you. Nothing’s going to hold you back.” The words had slipped out on their own. But he thought about them for a minute before he inhaled, saying in a soft and knowing voice. “You make me feel whole and important and secure. You give me the strength to do new things.”
Valon chuckled and burst into tears, moving his hands to his shoulders. He looked into his eyes with a long, loving gaze. “Not scared?” When Clay shook his head in answer, he continued. “No regrets?”
Clay flashed a mischievous grin, his face flushed. “I always know what I’m doing.”
Touched, Valon hugged him and pressed his face against his ears. “Can you hug me tighter? I miss hearing your heart beating.” While Clay obeyed, he smiled, pressing his face against his shoulder.
“Do you know how much I love you, Valon De Lara?”
The question alone was enough to bring pleasure to Valon’s face. He refused to say a word but slanted a grin. With his face flushed, he bit his lower lip.
Clay didn’t need to hear it. He didn’t have to. His long, breath-robbing, arm-throbbing hug said it all.
Months later, they decided to live in the penthouse while Valon’s cave house was under repair and restoration. After a whole day spent doing household errands, they looked hammered and needed to relax. So, they sat outside on a two-seater swing they had installed on the balcony, watching the urban landscape. It had pillows and cushions, so it was comfortable. The sun was warm on their skin, and it felt good.
Leaning against Valon, Clay took a deep, deep, deep breath and let it out in an appreciative smile. As he briefly closed his eyes, he pictured himself standing here, thinking about his hopelessness and deep desire for escape. He remembered how the skies looked the same that late afternoon when his mom called for dinner. That memorable first dinner he had with his father. Who would have thought he would be sitting here now, watching a familiar view, in love?
When he felt Valon’s mouth tickle his ear, he dragged himself back from a pleasant interlude to the present. “The sun or me?”
Valon hooked his arms around his thighs. “No, I can’t choose. Both are beautiful.” He swiveled his head and looked into his eyes. “Each has a role to make. The sun provides the light for every living creature in this world. And you…” He paused and flashed a light smile. “You’re the light of my home. A light I need that makes me happy every moment.”
Clay stretched out his fingers and shot a stare at the ring.
“Do you know what it is?” Valon said in a tease.
“I know it’s Celtic. But I don’t know what it means.”
“The knots you see there is a Celtic Trinity Knot. It means our love and never-ending commitment to each other. A spiritual marriage, if you will.”
Clay smiled and sighed, moving his attention to the sunset before him. “I don’t think you would have thought about that when you crashed into my clinic.”
Valon laughed. “You’ll never know. Life is full of surprises.”
In the months since they had lived together, Clay had done something he had sworn he would never do. Commitment. Absolute commitment. Though it had once terrified him, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt he would always have his love and promise not to let him go.
It was a wonderful life, he thought. And all because of Valon. Feeling happy and hopeful, he was hopelessly smitten with the man holding him while gazing out over the picturesque scene ahead—the sun dipping at the horizon. He sighed in utter contentment. “I resigned.”
Valon kissed the top of his forehead, then murmured into his hair. “What will you do now?” he asked, anticipating his reply, only to see Clay shrug in answer, leaving him speechless. He sighed and laughed, shaking his head. His hand pressed on his temple. “You’re crazy, Clay. You never fail to impress me.”
Clay shrugged. “I don’t care. I’ve spent my whole life living someone else’s life.” He inhaled deeply and sighed in relief. “It’s time for me to do what I want.”
“What do you want now?”
Clay shifted to face him and one arm around his neck. “I want to start a new chapter with you.”
Valon bit his lower lip, his face flushed. “Are you happy… with me?”
Clay looked into his eyes and slanted a grin. “Of course,” he answered while holding his hand. “I always like being with you.”
“Did you regret meeting me?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Satisfied, Valon smiled. “Do you love me?” he whispered in an octave higher than his normal voice.
Cute. “Yes. I love you,” Clay whispered. Then, he reached his face and kissed his lips. Long. Slowly. With precious care.
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!)