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. As these things go, feelings got all involved and they did the deed.
I hope you enjoy it!
The video I filmed in Edgar’s room yesterday posted almost an hour ago. I felt paranoid, so I watched it again for anything that would expose I’m at his house. There’s a slight shadowy divot in the wall over my right shoulder. It’s nothing noticeable if you’re not staring at the background of the shot. Also, the imperfection would still have to be in one of his shots; he’d have to film in almost the same location as me, and he’s taller so the angle would be different.
This is ridiculous. I need to calm down.
My producer didn’t give me any crap for my appearance, that’s maybe a good thing. Either she has come to terms that this is as good as it’s going to get or I’m going to get a talking to when this is all over.
Edgar and I are in his bed. We haven’t bothered with the sofa today, because it is where comfort goes to die. I’m doing Suduko in one of those cheap books you can buy at the checkout, while he reads a new novel out loud. Because he’s the most indulgent person or I’m just spoiled.
He’s wearing his reading glasses. I fixated on how delectable and studious he looks. But I can focus almost seventy percent of my attention on other things now.
A fog-horn blaring from his phone makes me jump. “What the hell is that?”
He reads the screen. “A message from the Governor. The quarantine has been extended.”
I knew it was going to happen; the spread of the virus hasn’t diminished enough. I feel… conflicted. There’s disappointment; I miss my friends and family and I really want everyone to be safe. I also want some of my own possessions. I want my clothes and my phone. He’s been very accommodating, but there’s nothing like my over worn sweater. I’d kill to put on a pair of jeans.
But I’m fairly pleased. It means more time with Edgar. I don’t know what to call our relationship or how it’ll change when we aren’t forced to co-habitat.
One thing is certain, I’m not ready to be public.
I’ve spent years talking trash about him. I need to figure out how to backtrack on some of that smack before people know that I not only don’t hate him but I like him. I like him a lot. More than I know how to handle.
The Crow’s feet by his eyes appear as he squints into the middle distance.
I assume I’m reading his mind, when I ask, “What are we gonna do about food?”
His face relaxes and he shrugs. “There’s canned and dry goods in the spare bedroom closet. We’re good for a couple more weeks. It’s not the healthiest living, but we’ll live.”
“My God! How were you ever going to eat through it by yourself?”
“They said to prepare, I prepared.”
“For the Apocalypse?”
He gives me that “you’re so cute” smile. Bastard.
“I was just thinking, that you must be feeling trapped,” he explains.
I stretch to buy myself some time while I think that over. “You’re just as trapped as I am.”
He’s quiet for a few breaths. His eyes on mine. My stomach feels queasy, wondering what he’s going to say next. I can already feel how sweet it’s going to be. And then he says, “Being with you doesn’t feel like a trap at all.”
Okay, I was basically thinking that but I can’t tell him. “Ugh, you’re so mushy.”
“Do you hate it?”
I sigh. “I want to.”
“But you don’t?” There’s the smallest lift of his lips.
It pains me but I admit, “Not particularly.”
He makes a sound like he’s tasted something delicious. He sets the book and his glasses down and crawls over me. With a fist pressed into the mattress on either side of my hips he bends his head down and takes my yoga pants into his teeth, scraping my skin through the fabric. My mind goes fully offline, as I watch him tug them downward, revealing a sliver of skin just under my stomach. Teeth and lips scrape on the newly exposed flesh.
My lungs release a shaky breath.
We both startle at a loud, authoritative, knock on the front door. We look in that direction.
His head swivels back towards me. “What the hell was that?”
I sputter a laugh.
He crawls over me to stand and I follow, much less gracefully. There’s an amused expression in his eye as I get tangled in the covers and almost fall.
“Don’t,” I demand.
“How did I not know you’re clumsy?”
“All this time, I thought I was paying attention.”
“It’s beds and trampolines, I’m really bad at soft flat surfaces.”
I hold up a warning finger. “I am a spectacular dancer!”
I am not.
“Well, you’ve got a style,” he concedes.
My humor comes out in a honk.
He hugs me against his chest and kisses my temple. “I loved dancing with you.”
The knock comes again, louder this time.
With my hand in his, he walks to the front door. At the kitchen island, I let go of his hand to lean against the counter with my arms crossed over my chest. I didn’t put my bra on today, so I’d like to disguise that fact from the unexpected intruder.
On the front porch, stands two soldiers in uniform with masks over their mouths. The one closest to us speaks in a clear voice. “Hello, we just want to check-in that you have all the provisions that you need.”
Edgar begins to nod, but I interrupt him. “Actually, I, uh—I could—It was—” Okay, get a grip. I didn’t expect this, I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts together. Full sentences, now. “I wasn’t expecting to be here.” I twirl one finger around to encompass Edgar’s house. “So, I don’t have any of my own clothes and I have a ton of food at my house. Can I go grab that stuff and come back?”
I see the two soldiers share unsure looks over Edgar’s shoulder. His pupils might as well turn into little hearts. I glance at him and quickly away. My stomach does a flip. In my peripheral vision, I can see him fighting against a smile. The smile is winning.
It’s pulling at the loose strands of my heart like it’s a marionette and that smile is the puppet master.
“We’ll have to speak to our commanding officer,” the second soldier states, “Can we get a phone number? And your address?”
“Sure,” Edgar nods, “should I write it down?” When they tell him yes, he grabs the pad of post-it notes and pen from beside the fridge and jots his number on it with my name above. I recite my address for him to add.
“I wouldn’t expect a response until tomorrow at the earliest but more likely a couple of days,” the first soldier takes the post-it with a gloved hand and stuffs it in her chest pocket.
“Thank you,” Edgar and I say in unison.
They give a polite wave.
When the door is closed, Edgar goes to the kitchen sink to wash his hands. His back is to me, as he speaks, “Grab stuff and come back, huh?”
“Would that be okay?”
He snorts. “I already told you, I want you here.” He reaches for a towel.
“I really called your bluff if you didn’t mean it.”
Rounding the island, he’s looking at me like a starving man looks at a snack. “I meant it.”
The distance between us is gone. He bends at the knees and throws me over his shoulder in a fireman hold.
In shock, I squeal. I’m not used to being picked up, because I’m a grown person, but I do not hate it.
His strides are quick and I watch the floor as we approach the bed. He throws me down on to it, before covering me with his body. His mouth swallowing my laughter.
Edgar has been asleep for a while, he’s making a soft almost snoring sound in my ear. The pressure of his chest against my back rising and falling, roots me. And I know I could plant myself here. Not only does it feel like he wants it. But more importantly, I do.
I want to claim him as mine. I want to be his.
Without warning or my permission, I’m falling in love with him. It’s approached me with such speed that I didn’t see it coming. Now that it’s so close, I don’t think I can step out of its way. It’ll either carry me with it or obliterate me.
He heaves a sigh. His arm tightens around my waist.
I close my eyes to the swell of conflicting emotions.
From Marty Vee:
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