From Marty Vee:
This is an excerpt from a novella that I’m sharing in stages. I very much suggest reading from Day 1, the link is:
But to recap:
Billie is trapped in Edgar’s house during quarantine because she was serving him papers from his ex-wife. Billie has hated Edgar for a couple of years, so this is not ideal.
This sofa is going to kill me.
My back and shoulders are a mess of knots. In an attempt to stretch them out, I unroll a mat on the spare room floor and begin a yoga routine. I wake up sometime after when the sun shifts into my face from. Evidently, while doing a gentle back rotation, I dozed off. There’s a puddle of drool on the mat beneath me. I wipe it up with a disinfectant.
The exhaustion is still with me when I emerge from the spare room and find Edgar stocking my linen closet with more towels. I tell him that I need to borrow his pants again. Mine has to go in the wash because of the no underwear thing.
That’s a fun truth to admit. His eyebrows draw together and he looks at me with his head slightly turned. “You don’t have any underwear on?”
I shrug. “I don’t wear them with yoga pants.”
His eyes lower to my crotch.
“Hey!” I snap my fingers. “Eyes up here, buddy!”
“Shit. Sorry.” He rubs his thumb and index finger into his eyelids, his neck growing red. “The other day… you were wearing my pants without any underwear on?”
“If I had any other option—”
“No, I’m—no, I’m not mad.”
“Then what’s the big deal?”
He rolls his lips together, the cupid peak still out—his lips are too full to disappear completely. It’s a pained expression.
“Wait, are you turned on?” I demand.
His brown eyes meet mine in a way I can only describe as sheepish.
“Jesus Christ, so underwear is the barrier between you getting horny or not?”
That gets a shocked laugh out of him before he bites his bottom lip. It slips slowly out from between his teeth.
I go a little tight between my thighs.
Uncalled for, sir.
“You’re not unattractive,” he replies haltingly.
“Wow. Steep praise.”
He rubs at the back of his neck, the bicep of his arm flexing with the movement. “Alright, we should stop this conversation.”
“What is my not unattractiveness too much for you?”
“No. Stop talking,” he rolls his shoulders, “I was an ass that first night. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“That first night?”
“Ugh. I won’t repeat it.” He cringes rubbing his forehead with his fingers. “If you don’t remember, let’s just forget it.”
“Do you mean when you said you look good naked?”
His whole face goes bright red. So red. I’ve never seen someone blush so hard.
“Oh fuck,” he moans, “I’m an ass. Fucking embarrassing.”
“I know, I can feel it.”
“I mean so red.”
“I know.” His head dips towards the floor. There are Crow’s feet in the corners of his eyes from how tightly he has them closed. “You ever say something to someone that is so humiliating, but you’re trapped in a house with only that person for days? Has that ever happened to you?”
Oh god. I am laughing so hard I’m having trouble breathing. But he keeps going.
“I don’t know why I did it; as soon as I said it I was like, you fucking creep.”
I need to lean against the wall for support. My eyes are watering and my cheeks hurt. I snort a little as I force air into my lungs.
“I’m glad you think this is funny.” His voice still sounds pained but through my tears I can see a smile pulling at his lips.
“I am dying! You’re going to kill me.” I’m holding my stomach, I cannot stop.
He gives a little chuckle. “Why is this funny?”
I have to start over a couple of times because the words keep getting caught up in all of the humor. “Okay,” I swipe my eyes one more time, “I didn’t see it as a creeper move but maybe I should have.”
He groans at that and I start laughing all over again.
“Also, you being so embarrassed and having nowhere to go. Christ. So funny. You’ve just been silently suffering and I thought nothing of it.” Yup. Nothing at all. Well, I’ve given it some thought, but not because he made me feel uncomfortable. I’ve just given it some thought because… I’m leaving it at that.
“I—I’m gonna leave.”
That sobers me. “You can’t!”
“Not outside,” he holds his hands out to halt my momentum towards him, “to the kitchen. I’m hungry.”
“Oh good.” I start laughing again. I don’t really know why it’s so funny but it just is. And it feels so good to laugh.
He’s shaking his head as I follow him to the kitchen. Where my puzzle is partially finished on the table. I stand over it; just a couple more pieces in the background to go. I’m not ready to complete it, what will I do then? So instead of sitting down there I go to the seventh layer of hell that is his sofa and open the laptop. I’ve already messaged my mom and Libby. They’re still doing well. Libby “leveled up” so that’s cool. Apparently there’s a woman at her office who also plays that game and they’ve been chatting on their headsets.
I have to stretch my face, it’s sore from smiling so hard.
There’s an email from my producer telling me that they need a video today or tomorrow. I might as well do it today.
“Can I borrow your phone in a little bit?” I ask Edgar when he sits next to me.
He nods taking a bite of yesterday’s stir-fry.
“Cool, I’m going to do what little I can for my appearance.” I stand and stretch because that’s what you have to do when you vacate this sofa. Fighting a smile, I continue, “I’ve been recently bestowed with the title of not unattractive. So, I’m going to do my best to live up to it.”
He’s always shaking his head at me. “I’m glad that’s what you took away from that.”
The video went fine, I included my upper shoulders this time. If that’s not satisfactory, then the studio is just going to have to deal. Also, thankfully Edgar has to wear makeup on occasion for his job because he has makeup remover. So, my face is washed and my teeth are brushed, with the toothbrush Edgar gave me that first night, and I’ve flossed.
It’s getting late. I’m going to have to fall asleep soon.
“You tired?” He asks.
I stretch my right arm across my chest, trying to work some tightness out of my shoulders. “I’m getting there.”
“Take my bed, I changed the sheets this morning.”
“No, I’m fine.”
“You need some decent sleep. What I didn’t spend on this damn couch, I spent on my mattress. You’ll like it.”
So he bought this sofa? This isn’t the one from his divorce?
“I’m good,” I tell him, even though his bed is really tempting.
Standing, he grabs the pillow atop the folded blanket, I’ve been using. He gestures for me to follow him. I don’t know if I should but I do.
He pulls a corner of the blankets and sheets down from the top of the bed. Replacing the pillow on the bed with the pillow in his hand, he steps around me and out of the open door saying goodnight as he leaves.
Okay… so… okay.
I slip between the sheets and pull the covers up. I hardly have time to register how comfortable I am before I fall asleep.
From Marty Vee:
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