From Marty Vee:
This is a RomCom novella I’m sharing in segments, about two people who don’t like each other getting quarantined together. I suggest starting at the beginning:
But I’ll recap anyway:
Billie is a junior reporter for a local network and Edgar, her least favorite person, works in the same position at a competing network. They are quarantined together at his house. She recently found out that most of her previously conceived notions about him are based on someone else’s lies.
I hope you enjoy it!
Edgar and I are cuddling again this morning and I don’t get to pretend that I don’t know. We wake up at the same time. Or I wakeup stretching and it wakes him up. I’m in the middle of the bed—possibly slightly more on his side than mine but it’s not like I whip out a measuring tape. He has his arm across my stomach and a leg over my right thigh. My shoulder pressed against his chest. I’m holding his elbow with my right hand. His left arm is under my neck. I might have drooled on his bicep.
As I have seen his bicep before, I get it. Unconscious Me, I get it.
We both go rigid when consciousness clarifies how our bodies are entwined.
Over my shoulder, I look at him. His face is only inches from mine. His lips are slightly parted and surrounded in a day’s worth of stubble. They’re so plump and firm and defined; with ridged edges. I wonder if they’re as soft as they look.
My eyes flick up. He looks from my mouth and meets my gaze. There’s heat in his brown eyes—a dark almost black ring around the iris then prisms of a redder brown towards his pupil. The morning sun is casting him in a golden glow. He looks like the best morning come to life. And I know something to be true that I have been wondering about for a couple of days now.
I want his mouth on mine.
I want to feel his body weight on top of me and I want to know how he feels under me.
I’m going to kiss Edgar.
But then he rolls on to his back! I’m about to crawl on top of him when he sits up and throws his legs over the side of the bed.
“Morning,” he says with a sleep thick voice, he’s facing away from me.
“Hmm.” It is the only response I can muster.
He stands, stretches his arms over his head before disappearing into his bathroom.
Okay? What to make of this? Is he not into me? I don’t think that’s the case, but it’s a possibility. I thought we’d bridged some of our differences since this whole thing started. I could be wrong. Maybe he’s just not attracted to me. Or maybe we have resolved some differences, but he still doesn’t like me as a person. I’m not usually very sensitive to stuff like that, but the idea hurts my feelings.
Not a lot. Just in a totally crushing way.
It’s twenty minutes later before I emerge from my bathroom. The smell of coffee leading me to the kitchen. I skipped a shower, but I did my makeup. I have to do that video for my producer. The beach babe hair backfired; it was kinky in the middle but flat and straight at the top and the bottom. I pulled it into a high ponytail but that was a frizzy mess. Now, with my hair down around my shoulders; hopefully, it’ll relax and I can do something with it before filming.
The sight of Edgar makes my gut plummet. He’s lifting a mug to his lips and looking down at his phone on the counter. Probably reading an article, some updates on current events.
I take in the sight of his profile; strange feelings raging within me. A combination of wanting and apprehension. I’m unraveling. Some self-preservation I had built around me is crumbling. I feel bare.
Less than an hour ago I would have… I would have done everything. No limits. Some flood gate has opened and there’s no getting the water back in. I know something about myself that I cannot unknow.
I want him.
It may actually be… desperately.
I want him desperately.
Without looking up from his article, he gestures his mug to the corner of the island. A prepared cup of coffee is steaming; it’s the perfect shade of dark tan.
I’m pretty sure that Edgar was avoiding me all day. That can be the only explanation for why he seemed to disappear from every room I walked into. The only words we exchanged were in regards to me borrowing his phone for work and then me returning it.
The email response I received from my producer was less than glowing. I’m getting just about fed up.
My last patience was spent when Edgar ate his dinner at the table instead of on the sofa with me. We were in the same room technically, but my back was to him.
I went to bed almost directly afterward.
I have his laptop open on my lap, The Office playing but I’m not paying attention. My mind is preoccupied with wondering what changed from yesterday to today between me and Edgar. And there is only one explanation: Me.
I’m the difference.
My chest aches. I can feel the sharpness of tears stinging my eyes. Am I really going to cry? Because some guy doesn’t want me back.
I’m not that woman.
I don’t do that shit.
I slam the cover closed on his computer and set it on the floor.
It’s stupid. With everything else going on, Edgar’s rejection is what puts me over the edge? But that’s exactly it.
I’ve ignored a dull aching fear for weeks. But now, I’m in the aftermath; a tipping point met and those fears have spilled into the forefront of my mind.
I want a hug from my mom. And to share an ironic look with my dad while we eat at our favorite cheap Mexican restaurant. I want to go to Libby’s place and share a bottle of wine complaining about our lackluster love lives.
I just want some normal.
It’s my job to pay attention to current affairs and I’m doing my job. I’ve always been efficient at separating my feelings from the happenings of the world. But right now, I feel weighed down by them and the future looks bleak.
I want to go back to the time when I thought I knew what to expect from life and the people around me.
Pulling the covers up to my wet cheeks, I wish I had my own pillow to cry into.
My eyes are dry when Edgar comes to bed.
I’d never forgive myself if I cried in front of him. I feel the bed dip under his weight. My back is to him. I’m bear-hugging a pillow against my chest. I wish it would hug me back. I’m not one for a lot of physical contact but I could really go for some comfort right now.
How ridiculous is that? How ridiculous am I?
My grief turns to anger in a flash. I spring onto my knees facing him. The blankets heaped on the foot of the bed with one slash of my arm.
He startles into a reclined position, his elbows supporting his upper body.
“What the hell?” He asks as I demand, “What is your fucking problem?”
“I have a problem?”
“Are you okay?” He sits up fully. Concern etches his features as he takes in my appearance. I’m sure that my eyes are puffy—it’s too dark in the room to make out if they’re bloodshot. My lips feel swollen and dry. I don’t even want to begin to wonder about the state of my hair. Whatever. Who cares if I look deranged?
“Oh, I’m fine!” Motherfucker.
“What’s wrong?” There’s a crease between his eyebrows.
I put my hand on his chest, I think I was going to shove him but I fist his shirt in my palm instead. “Nothing’s wrong with me. What is wrong with you?”
Fingers encircle my wrist and pull my grip free. His shirt snaps back into place with a stretched and wrinkled patch.
He’s scowling at where his skin touches mine. The hold is firm but gentle. I watch him, wondering what the hell is going on in his brain. What the hell is going on in my brain? Why do I care so much about what he thinks? I try to tell myself that I don’t, but the lie doesn’t sit well.
It dawns on me that today is the first day since the quarantine began that I felt alone.
I clench my eyes shut against the fresh sting of tears.
No. I will not cry.
“Hey,” he breathes. He presses my closed fist just below his collar bone before pulling me into a hug.
My forehead is in the crook of his neck. I want him to hold me but I say, “Don’t.”
He lets me go. His arms hovering inches away from my body before they slowly settle next to his legs.
I don’t move; I keep our remaining points of contact: my fist against his cotton-covered chest and the skin of my forehead to the skin of his shoulder and neck.
“Will you tell me what’s wrong?” He whispers after a couple of silent moments.
My voice comes out humiliatingly wobbly as I say, “I just—it just became too much today.” It’s a partial truth.
“You asked me what’s wrong with me,” he points out. “Why are you mad at me?”
Ugh. That’s what I get for getting all worked up and not thinking it through. “Nothing.” I sit back on my heels. My skin missing his.
The blankets and sheets are a mess but I get to keep my back to him as I sort them out.
“Yup.” I lay on my side of the bed, the blankets pulled high over my shoulder, facing away from him.
I haven’t heard him move, so I assume he’s still in his seated position. I feel like he’s staring down at me. Can the bed swallow me up? I’ll sink into it and never come back to the surface.
“You haven’t liked me for a long time.” His words spoken into the dark room cuts a new wound into my heart. “The whole time you’ve known me. I get it, I was… the worst version of myself and… there was shit being said about me.” Every thought sounds like it’s being forcibly pulled from him. “I want you to—” he tries but then tries again. “It seems like—” He sighs. I can feel the impact of his body falling back. “I don’t want you to hate me.”
Instead of addressing that not only do I not hate him anymore but I like him, I ask, “Why did you avoid me today?”
He gives a humorless laugh. “I almost did something stupid this morning. So I kept my distance.”
I frown at the wall before rolling over to frown at him. He’s flat on his back looking up at the ceiling. “What stupid thing?”
“Something really stupid.”
It’s a gamble that might turn out to totally shred my ego but I ask, “Were you going to kiss me?”
“I’ll sleep in the living room.” He starts to roll out of bed; his legs over the side and his torso erect.
I push myself up on my elbow and hip. “Don’t.”
Over his shoulder, he looks at me. I feel his eyes move from my face to my hair hanging in messy tendrils towards the pillow to my bra-less chest as his eyes sweep back to mine. Swallowing my insecurity, I go back to my knees. With clumsy progress, I move closer to him. There’s a crease between his eyebrows and his lips are parted. I bite my lower lip, nerves tying my stomach in knots. On my knees and with him sitting with his feet on the hardwood floor, I’m a couple of inches taller than him. His left hand settles on the small of my waist. He looks up at me through his black eyelashes. My palm rubs against the stubble of his jaw as my fingers stab into his thick hair at the base of his skull. The fingertips of my other hand rest on his shoulder.
His eyes close at the brush of my lips against his. The positioning is awkward, with the rotation of his spine and my stomach pressed against his side, but we kiss like that. His lips soft and warm against mine. The connection is sweet and tender, just like him. His tongue slicks against mine. I can feel pressure rising inside of me; wanting him mounting like heat.
He’s melting me. The protective layer I keep between me and everyone else is dripping away; I should feel scared but I don’t.
My fingers fist in his hair and I run my teeth on his upper lip.
He pulls away an inch. I groan in protest.
The way he looks at me makes me blink; there’s surprise there but also intensity.
I feel like he’s memorizing me. I’m want to memorize him; the curl of his eyelashes, the bold slash of his eyebrows, the slight indentations of wrinkles in his skin that deepens when he smiles. He’s not smiling now, his mouth slightly parted.
I want that mouth back.
He rotates, kneeling on the bed. His chest against mine. His knees barely on the edge. I shove both my hands into the hair at the back of his head and pull him back to me. He follows my urgency and my unspoken directive as I lie down. He presses himself above me, I can feel him hard between my legs. My mind is spiraling slowly out of control.
Logical thought has taken a leisurely position in the backseat. Its desire behind the wheel.
I touch him and kiss him with fanatic enthusiasm.
He’s just as desperate.
Our clothes are thrown across the room.
Our bodies wrap around each other, writhing and sweaty. The hair on his thigh scraping the skin of my inner thigh. With seeking hands and mouths we discover each other’s pleasure.
His fingers press into my hip.
My teeth bite into his deltoid.
It’s wild and uncalculated. It’s way better than I would ever expect a first time to be. He reacts to me with throaty groans and growls. I want to find all of the ways that I can provoke those sounds from him.
Under my skin, shocks of electricity follow the path of his hands. None of what he’s doing to me is technically new but the way he does it… The way he looks doing it…
I can’t breathe. I can only want.
I want more.
Until I’m left panting, back arched. Sated.
From Marty Vee:
So this is pretty PG-13 for the genre, but I’ve been struggling with how explicit to be. I’d love input from readers. Was this a let down or did it work for you? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Thank you SO much for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend.
You can keep reading Day 9 at: