You and Me In Quarantine: Day 7

From Marty Vee:

This is a romantic comedy novella I’m sharing in segments. I suggest that you start at Day 1. You can find it here:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/

Just in case you’re not going to do that, here’s a recap.

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!

Day 7

I have to orient myself as my mind comes awake. There are a couple of important things to remember that clarify reality.

Let’s begin; after dinner, I did work on my puzzle and Edgar did read out loud to me. When The Golden Girls were fully assembled, I cleaned up the kitchen and he continued reading, because the story was gripping. In the end, we finished the book but we stayed up too late.

I needed to fall asleep, but I wasn’t sure where I’d be sleeping. He had been generous to let me use his bed two nights in a row. I didn’t want to sleep on the sofa and even though he hadn’t complained I knew he didn’t want the hardwood floors again.

So, I said, “You know, there’s plenty of room in your bed for both of us.”

He tilted his chin away from me. “You’d be comfortable with that?”

Seriously, he could stop being so careful with me. It was appreciated but at this point unnecessary. “It’s no big deal, let’s just go to bed.”

I brushed my teeth and washed my face—I had combined some Castile soap and coconut oil, then just coconut oil for moisturizer a couple of days ago—in my bathroom. By the time I got into his bedroom, he was already laying down on the side closes to his bathroom door. I switched off the lights and went to the other side of the bed. I had to unclasp my bra and slip it out from under my tshirt before getting under the covers but I forced myself to not feel weird about that.

I hate sleeping in a bra.

It’s not like he could see anything anyway.

“Goodnight,” he said as he shifted to face the bathroom.

I had my back to him as well when I responded with my goodnight.

So that’s how we ended up sharing a bed.

What I don’t know is how I ended up sharing his pillow. Apparently, at some point in the night I crossed the invisible centerline and didn’t go back. I usually don’t move much while I sleep, so this is very weird for me.

I can say, that it smells like him over here and there is something delicious about that smell.

I lay completely still, my eyes still closed, Edgar is warm and firmly pressed against my back; from my shoulders to feet. He’s wearing shorts so the skin of his shin is against my calf. His left arm is under the pillow under my head and the right arm is hooked over my hips. His breath is humid on my neck. Every couple of exhales he makes a throaty groan that I have to be this close to hear.

I might be able to shift myself from his grip and get back to my side of the bed without him being aware of it but the contact feels so good.

He feels… so good.

My ego keeps telling my body to move but my body keeps telling my ego to shut the hell up.

With a content sigh, I lean tighter against him. My ass nuzzling against his groin.
Through his nose he breaths in sharply, his chin and lips brushing against my cotton-covered shoulder. The arm at my hip stiffens and pulls me more securely to him. A sound of pleasure vibrates into my shoulder.

He grows hard against my ass.

I don’t know how I do, but I continue breathing normally. I pretend to be asleep despite my arousal throbbing.

I know he’s conscious when I hear a quiet, “Fuck,” in my ear. Then an even quieter, “Fuuuuck,” before he puts distance between his erection and my ass. With slow careful movements he untangles himself from me.

In the end he pretty much has to fall on the floor of his bedroom to accomplish this. I have to imagine what it looks like because I’m still pretending to be asleep. The whole situation makes me want to laugh, but I hold it in until I hear the shower turn on behind the bathroom door. Even then, it’s more of a silent smile than laughter.

Is he masturbating? That question has me sobering up. The imagery is not unpleasant.

Before he’s out of the shower, I go to my own bathroom to bathe.

He’s eating some oatmeal and blueberries in the living room when I emerge clean.

I’m French braiding my wet hair over my right shoulder. Maybe, it’ll dry and be beach babe wavy tomorrow for my work video. I’d really need to do two braids for that, but I only have one scrunchy. Maybe I can find a rubber band.

“Morning,” I say as I pass Edgar on my way to the kitchen.

“Good morning,” his voice is croaky. His phone buzzes and he bends to grab it off of the coffee table.

“How’d you sleep?”

He’s quiet for a moment and I watch him from the fridge typing out a text. He answers, “Fine. You?”

“Fine.” I’ve already planned out the verbiage of my next couple of questions. “So, I totally woke up on your side of the bed. Did I crowd you all night?”

“No.”

“Was I there when you woke up?”

He swallows a bite of food. “I wasn’t paying attention.” He says it very convincingly. I know he has to be good at masking his thoughts for work, but seriously, if I didn’t know better I would believe him.

“Okay, as long as I didn’t bother you.”

There’s another buzz from his phone, he’s looking down at its screen. “Not a bother.”

*****

I keep having to stop myself from touching him; nowhere scandalous, just his arm or his shoulder. One time I almost touched his knee, he’s still wearing shorts so it’d be even more awkward than if he had been wearing pants. But I caught myself and made it look like I was brushing something off of the sofa. Real smooth.

It’s like there’s a gravitational pull from his skin to mine.

There’s some crazy reality show that a couple of my friends were talking about on their profiles so I turned that on. It’s about to start playing the third episode but I have too much anxious or excited energy. It’s ping-ponging against my insides and I can’t hold still anymore.

“I need to do something.” I roll onto my back to look up at Edgar.

I was stretching on the floor while watching TV. He’s sitting on the sofa with his feet propped on the coffee table.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.” I come to a seated position and pause the show. “I need to do something, like, physical.”

He points towards the spare room. “There’s all that equipment—”

“No, I don’t want to work out. I want to, like, play—like, wrestle.” I’m saying ‘like’ a lot I do that when I feel nervous.

His eyebrows shoot up. “You want to wrestle me?”

I laugh and don’t look at his biceps. “No.” Yes. “That’s just like the kinda energy I have right now. I need to do something. Something fun.”

“Okay… except for wrestling any other ideas.” He watches me while I think.

“Dancing?”

His chest rises with a slow deep breath and then his cheeks puff out on the exhale. “I’m gonna need to be drunk for this.”

“Oh shit, are we drinking?”

“I am.”

A couple of shots and halfway through a mixed drink, he pushes the coffee table against the wall and then the sofa back a few feet. It looks like he’s done this before. We connected his phone to his sound system and Daft Punk is playing.

“Alright, we’re gonna have to do some icebreaker moves,” he says swinging his arms.

“Why are you so nervous?”

“This is not my normal setting.”

“You’ve never danced in your living room?”

“Alone or, you know, spontaneously, yeah.”

“Oh please, it’s just me.”

He snorts. “Yeah, just you.”

I roll my eyes. I get it, I can be judgmental and I have kinda been my most judgey towards him. “Okay, what do you need me to do?” This was already a weird situation and it’s getting weirder.

“Do the most ridiculous move you can think of.”

Without hesitation I body roll from my feet up. It’s a move that Libby and I developed a few years back and we find it hysterical. The roll is heavy in the knees and the arms remain limp at the sides of my body. It’s like a wacky inflatable arm man when the arms are broken.

He watches me, an open mouth smile spreading.

“Didn’t know I could move like this, did ya?”

“I’m impressed.”

“It’s called The Mermaid and it’s an original.” I jerk my chin at him. “Well, come on. Don’t make me dance alone.”

With a chuckle, he nods in agreement before breaking into a very good Running Man.
The night is fun and he makes me laugh a lot. Our dancing is goofy and playful with zero grinding. The only touching we did was when he grabbed my hand and did a dramatic spin and then dip.

We drank a couple more beverages but switch to water before bed.

I do not need to be drunk while I lay next to him, with the memory of his playful grin and laughter so fresh.

I’m dead tired as I lay down and pull the covers up, but I don’t fall asleep right away. His breathing is even. It’s the only sound outside of mine. Our world is so isolated. It’s easy to imagine that it’s only him and me. The thought is kinda comforting.

Without anyone else to have an opinion, I don’t have to explain how my feelings for him are changing. They’re getting so confused. I don’t hate him anymore.

I really don’t hate him.

 

From Marty Vee:

Thank you for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend.

You can continue on to Day 8 at:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/27/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-8/

You and Me In Quarantine: Day 6

From Marty Vee:

This is a romantic comedy novella I’m working on. I very much suggest reading from the beginning.

Day 1: https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/

But I’ll give a quick recap just in case.

Billie has been trapped in quarantine with her workplace nemesis, Edgar. During a conversation on Day 5, she discovered that her opinion of him is greatly based on lies and manipulation from someone they both know.

Day 6

It’s Saturday.

Not that that’s at all relevant to life right now, but it is. Saturday.

I’ve had this twisted gross feeling in my gut all morning and it’s easily traced back to Sofia. Not only, did she use me to violate her restraining order but she lied to me over and over. That’s disturbing. But not as disturbing as how I believed her. Every time. I wanted to trust her. I wanted Edgar to be as terrible as she made him out to be. Gathered, when I met him he was surly and sullen. Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched from a skeptical distance as he’s brightened. But I wanted to believe in that first version of him that I’d met.

Admittedly, if I had a soon to be ex-wife who was corrupting my work and the people around me, I’d be a shitty version of myself, as well.

My heart gives an uncomfortable lurch thinking about how dark that time must have been for him.

I’m sitting criss-cross apple sauce on the living room floor. The laptop is on the coffee table, I’m trying to video chat with Libby. I need to get out of my head. It’s ringing, then it cuts off. No answer.

That’s crushing.

I’m about to try my parents, when her call comes through on my end. My disappointment turns into thrilling excitement instantaneously.

“Hey!” I can see my too excited face in the bottom right corner. But it matches the level of excitement on my best friend’s face.

“Oh my god! I miss you!” Libby has a deep voice, so even though this is said a few octaves higher than her normal voice it’s not what I’d call high pitched.

“I miss you so much! You have the best face! Like my favorite face in the whole wide world!”

“You have my favorite face!” She shakes her hand in front of the camera like she’s wiping something clean. “Okay, okay, okay, let’s get right to business, I’m totally in love with Candace from work and I’m pretty sure she’s in love with me.”

“Really?” I shift on my sit bones, excited energy coursing through my body. “Why do you say that?”

The only word I can think of to describe Libby’s smile is besotted. “I mean, I’m in love with her because she’s… amazing. I already had a crush on her and now, you know, I got to know her. She’s amazing.”

“You really like her.”

“I really like her.”

“Wow.” My heart might float away, it feels so light. I try to put on a bit of a hardass facade but something like my best friend having interest reciprocated, just brings me joy. “That’s so… I’m just super happy for you.”

Edgar comes out of his bedroom and heads to the kitchen.

I snap my fingers as an idea strikes me. “Libby, you should ask her on a virtual date, you could watch the same movie from your sofa and drink some wine while video chatting.”

“That is a cute idea.” Her blue eyes light up

“You should totally do that.”

She sucks on her top lip, it’s her thinking face. “I don’t know.”

“No, don’t ‘I don’t know’ you’re way out of this. Just do it. Come on, you know that’s a smooth move. Like, if some guy did that for me, right now I’d be butter.”

“Easy to spread?”

My come back is interrupted by a choking sound from the kitchen.

“Sorry,” Edgar is wiping his mouth on his arm, “spit take.”

“Are you eavesdropping?” And because I know that Libby is about to quote Samwise Gamgee, I look at her and say, “Don’t.”

She closes her mouth.

“And no, not ‘easy to spread,’ I just meant like soft and melty.”

“I wasn’t trying to, but I can hear,” he answers wiping down the counter.

“Well, since you know what’s going on, you wanna weigh in?”

“It’s a solid move.”

I look back at Libby. “See? Do it.”

I can hear her flicking the nail of her ring finger against the pad of her thumb, her nervous habit.

“Libs,” I console, “everyone is nervous when they ask someone out. You’re a total badass and if she doesn’t say yes I will Internet Troll her. Bad. Real bad.”

“Don’t do that,” she says but she’s smiling.

Edgar is heading back to his room but I have a question for him so I call out, “Hey Edgar, is your producer giving you shit about how you look in your at-home videos?”

Lines form in his forehead. “No, is yours?”

“Yes.”

“Seriously?” Libby chimes in. “Why?”

Before launching into the whole thing, I pat the floor next to me for Edgar. “Come hang out, unless you’re busy.” I can’t imagine what he’d have on his calendar but I want to give him an out.

Libby’s eyes widen at me in a, Seriously? I haven’t gotten a chance to tell her what I learned yesterday.

With my returning look I try to express, Later.

“With what?” He chortles. Lowering himself to the floor, he crosses his ankles and leans back on his hands. “Hi, I’m Edgar.” He jerks his head up in greeting.

“Libby.”

“Nice to meet you.” He’s got a cute shy smile on his face.

I adjust my angle so that I can speak to both of them. “Okay, so, she keeps on telling me to pull the camera back, so more of my body is in the shot.”

In the preview screen I can see him glare at nothing under the coffee table.

“But I can’t, you know, because I don’t have clothes. And she wants me to do more with my hair and makeup, which again, pretty limited on what I can do. To some extent, I get it. I’m a network reporter, my appearance is part of my job but…”

“You look great in them,” Libby states, “like someone I’d share a beer with.”

I snort at that. We love to joke about whether or not I look approachable. It usually depends on whether I’ve forgotten that I have Resting-Bitch-Face.

“I’ve seen your videos, you look fine,” Edgar adds.

“You watch my videos? Don’t you get enough of me during the day?”

He’s still not looking at the screen so I share a look with my best friend.

His lips quirk and he looks at me with half-lidded eyes. “What if I said no?”

I’m searching my brain for a response, I just keep coming up with static; like an old tuning radio with no frequency. And he’s just watching me. I can’t think with him looking at me like this. I remember another reason I dislike him, I don’t know how he found the switch but he can flip my brain right off.

“I’m gonna need popcorn for this,” Libby’s joke gives me something to pull my focus from his face.

That stupid hypnotic face.

“Hardy-harr.” I roll my eyes at her.

“Nah, you’re my competition,” he admits.

“Oh, so it’s research?” Libby leans towards the camera with a shit-eating grin on her face.

“Yeah,” he mirrors her expression, “research.

They share a laugh and I can’t tell if it’s at my expense. “I don’t like this.” I point between Libby and him before shoving at his very firm deltoid. I snatch my hand back before I do something embarrassing like squeeze. “You can go back to your room now.”

“But I love this so, Edgar, you can stay.” She points between me and him.

“Who’s side are you on?” I demand.

“Mine! I need entertainment.” She switches topics before I can argue, “So back to your producer, you feel like she wants more sex appeal out of you?”

“I think that’s the underlying message like maybe she wants me to sex it up to compete with Internet porn?”

“That’s not your fucking job.” The only other time I’ve heard this much anger in his voice was yesterday.

But Libby is already talking, “I’ve got an idea. Ed, we’re gonna need a button-up and a tie and you’re gonna have to be the cameraman. I’m thinking Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith minus the rain boots. We could go full Pretty Woman but we don’t want to break the Internet during a pandemic.”

“Thank you for the confidence boost but somehow I think my tits added to the plethora of tits that the World Wide Web already supplies, would be white noise.”

“It’s not a bad idea though,” Edgar’s tone is reasonable, “we could film it, see how it plays. Then I’d have to up my game.”

And then because I’m wondering if this is still a sore spot, I say, “Well, it’s already been established that you look so good naked.”

“Very, I said very. I look very good naked.” He’s being cool about it but I can see a slight blush rise on his throat. Then to Libby he says, “I’m judging by your silence she told you about that.”

“Oh yeah.” She answers quickly.

I widen my eyes and tilt my head at her.

“I mean, no.”

My eyes roll so hard my entire head lulls. I almost pull my neck out.

“I’m sorry! You have to tell me when I can’t say things!”

“We have had this conversation, just assume that you can’t say things.” This is something she’s heard me say before. I’m sure I’ll say it again. Whatever.

“Don’t look so pleased with yourself,” I direct at him, “I tell her everything. Poor woman has to hear about how I wash my hair.”

“Riveting subject,” Libby says in the driest voice possible.

But Edgar makes a sound between a hmm and purr. “How do you wash your hair?”

He’s doing that heavy-lidded eye thing again! My brain’s going offline. Stop it!

“Is hair washing a kink for you?” I ask trying to mimic Libby’s dry tone.

“Learning new things about myself every day.”

Uhhh… Ummm…

“You need to go.” Because I cannot think.

“Alright, I’ll leave you to it. Libby, it was a pleasure to meet you.”

She fans her fingers then snaps them into two fists. “I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this.”

He gives her another one of his friendly smirks and waves as he walks off camera.

She just looks at me for a little while, her fingers interlaced in front of her mouth. I know she’s waiting for the sound of his bedroom door closing. When it does she says quietly, “There’s so much to unpack there.”

*****

I told Libby about all of yesterday’s revelations. There’s no describing how wide her eyes grew. Then she went on to say that he likes me. I told her it’s possible that he has the hots for me but I very much doubt he feels anything else.

Her response was, “Woman, sometimes you are so dumb.”

We fought about that for a while. Not her calling me dumb—she doesn’t actually think that and I’m clever as fuck, so I don’t care about that. We fought about how she thinks Edgar likes me. I told her to supply evidence and she said she just knew. Like that’s an acceptable argument. I pointed out how he’d sent the gloating drink after he won the award this year and that he hadn’t ever made any moves toward me.

“He knew you hated him,” she pointed out.

“I’m not convinced that’s past tense,” I told her.

She rolled her eyes. “Alright, so you’re at that place where you don’t want to accept that you were wrong so you’re being stubborn for no reason.”

“I’m not being stubborn.”

“We have to change the subject, I cannot keep fighting with you about this.”

My mouth clamped shut but I was stewing, I couldn’t think of anything else to talk about. She seemed to be equally unable to move the conversation on. We ended the chat shortly after that, with her promising to ask Candace out.

I’m about to take a shower but my leg hair is getting pretty unreal, so I knock on Edgar’s bedroom door.

“Come in.”

He’s propped on one elbow on top of his white down comforter, music playing from his phone. His finger is pinched between the pages of a book. It’s a different book than he was reading to me the other night. He slips his reading glasses off before looking at me.

“Did you finish the other book?” I ask.

“Nah, I’m waiting for you.”

“Really?”

He shrugs. “You haven’t worked on your puzzle in a couple of days.”

“Later?”

“Sure.”

I ask the question I came to ask. “Do you have any disposable razors?”

“Nah, I use a safety razor.”

“Fuck,” I say under my breath.

“Your legs?”

I nod.

“You can use it if you want.”

“I tried one a couple of months ago, I couldn’t figure it out. It was like I wasn’t doing anything at all.”

“I could do it for you.” Then he adds, “If that’s not weird.”

Is it weird…? I’m somewhere between apprehensive and, I guess, desire.

“Sorry,” he looks at the white fabric he has pinched between two fingers, “it’s weird, pretend I didn’t say anything.”

“No, actually, if you would. Please.”

He nods and checks the page number of the book he’s reading before removing his finger.

Oh, so we’re doing this right now?

On his way out of his bedroom, he pulls open his third dresser drawer. He tosses a pair of biking shorts at me. The door closes behind him and I change from his sweats into the shorts—which are so comfortable they may come up missing when I can finally return home. They fit tight around my thighs, so I don’t have to worry about him getting an eye full.

So that’s good.

There’s a soft knock on the door and I take a second to reevaluate that this is what I want to do—it’s a surprisingly hard yes. I could not possibly say why, but my stomach is full of excited butterflies. When I open the door, Edgar’s holding one of the kitchen table chairs under one arm.

His eyes make a quick pass up my legs to my face and then they do not stray from there.

“This is what you wanna do, right?” He asks.

“Do you not want to? You don’t have to.”

“No, I don’t mind.”

“Okay, cool.” I lead the way into his bathroom.

He directs me to sit on the chair that he placed facing the tub and has me prop my feet up on its edge. He turns on the hot water and soaks two towels, then wraps each of my legs in one. It’s quite the treatment. I did not put this much effort into my attempts with a safety razor.

Lining a couple of bottles on the ledge, he takes a seat next to them. He indicates for me to place my left foot on his right leg.

My throat is getting tight. I have to force my breathing normal, which makes me feel like I’m slowly suffocating. My heart rate is elevated too; it’s thrumming in my ear.

With slow deliberation, he unwraps my leg. He tosses the dripping towel on the tile floor of the shower. I jump a little at the smack it makes.

His eyes narrow at me, his lips parted. “You okay?”

“I’m fine, I just didn’t expect that.” My voice is not breathy, thank god. I just sound annoyed. Which is fine.

“You wanna put it on?” He asks holding a bottle of shaving cream up to me.

“No, you know how much you need. And just, you know, from the knee down.”

His hands spread the cream in a thin layer on my skin, it’s smooth and light. Then he’s wiping his fingers and palm clean on the towel around my right leg. He starts at my ankle cupping my heel in his left palm which is warm and strong. The strokes are short and careful with very little pressure.

He’s in no hurry.

And I am here for it.

That left hand encircles my ankle next. The razor cleans away at my calf and shin, the skin sensitive to the air and his warm breath. Which climbs up with his progress.
When his focus shifts to my knee, he takes a handful of my upper calf and I feel it in my core. His exhales are now spreading from the inside of my knee to my inner thigh.
I have to press my lips tight to keep any embarrassing sounds from escaping my mouth.
When he’s finally done, he takes the towel from around my right leg and uses it to wipe off any excess shaving cream. He holds the jar of moisturizer towards me.

I shake my head and breath out one syllable, “You.”

I watch his chest rise and fall. The smell of sandalwood fills my nose as he pumps it into his palm. His hands work the lotion into my skin with firm downward motions but it won’t all soak in. He nods towards my fist in my lap. “Your hand.” I give it to him.

“Your hands are dry,” he observes as he rubs my hand between both of his.

“All the handwashing.”

“Do you need more lotion in your bathroom?” His voice is low if I wasn’t sitting so close to him I’d have a hard time making out the words.

“No, I just forget to put it on.” I might as well be whispering too.

We’re both watching where our hands meet. I’m either fascinated by it or avoiding eye contact.

“Have you done this before?” I regret asking because he glances up at me through his eyelashes. I’m trapped in them.

“Shaved a woman’s legs?”

My voice is gone. Fuck, he’s so handsome—all hating him aside, he is so handsome. Luckily, I can nod my response.

“No.” He grabs the shaving cream again and his attention shifts away from my face.

Killl meee. There’s a whole other leg.

I swallow and hope my voice has decided to return to me. “You’re good at it.”

I watch his Adam’s apple bob in response.

*****

So, I’m trying to ignore the residual aching between my thighs; tension is still begging for a release. What will forever be called “The Shaving Incident” was over an hour ago. I planted myself on the sofa—I thought the physical discomfort would help my body move past the wanting. It’s yet to be effective. Currently, my back hurts and I’m still all squirrelly. His laptop is open on my propped knees and I’m scrolling social media.
I decided not to take a shower. I don’t want to wash off the smell of his lotion, it’s different than what’s in my bathroom. In his shorts my smooth legs are exposed, I keep absentmindedly rubbing my fingers up and down my shin.

Edgar is making dinner, the smells of sauteed onions and garlic have my mouth watering. The food situation is still stocked but approaching sparse. We’ll have to be more creative next week about how we prepare our meals.

I hear him pulling plates from the cupboards. The smell of food grows stronger, and then he’s holding a plate with some chicken and red sauce out to me. After setting the laptop on the coffee table I take the offered plate.

I mumble a thank you to the food.

We aren’t making eye contact yet.

 

From Marty Vee:

Thank you for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend.

Keep reading on to Day 7:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/20/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-7/

You and Me In Quarantine: Day 5

From Marty Vee:

This is an excerpt from a novella I’m working on. I suggest starting at Day 1:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/

or Day 4: https://martyvee.com/2020/04/13/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-4/

But just in case, here’s a recap:

Billie is quarantined with her least favorite person, Edgar, because she was serving him papers at his ex-wife’s request. Billie has been sleeping on a terribly uncomfortable sofa, but the night before Edgar took the sofa and let her sleep in his bed.

Day 5

I wake up to sunlight burning golden through Edgar’s bedroom window. It’s really bright, it must be mid to late morning. I can hear him talking on the other side of the door, but not loud enough to understand what he’s saying. There’s another voice too. I assume he’s on the phone.

On sleep stiffened limbs I go into his bathroom to do the necessaries. My toothbrush is in the other bathroom but there’s mouthwash in the medicine cabinet. I don’t snoop through his things or anything but from what I can tell, there isn’t anything interesting in there.

I notice the manila folder I brought over in the trash by the toilet. Tossing the papers doesn’t make the problem go away, buddy. He still owes Sofia alimony. Apparently, he’s very behind.

I put my bra back on then my hoodie before exiting his room. I leave my tshirt atop his bed—which I made—I’ll grab it later when I get laundry going.

In the living room I see his blanket and pillow on the floor. Did he skip sleeping on the sofa all together; the hardwood floor was the preferable choice?

He hasn’t noticed me yet, he’s in the kitchen sharing a laugh with whoever is on the phone. I can see him leaning his hip against the counter taking a drink from a coffee mug with one hand and holding his phone with the other. Do I get my cup of coffee or wait for him to get off the phone? I can smell it. It’s kinda ruining my ability to think.

“You’re up,” he says to me. He sounds surprised.

“I am.” I answer.

“Oh!” I hear a mature woman’s voice from his phone. “So your mystery guest is a woman.” Then louder she calls, “Young lady, come meet me.”

“Mom,” he chastises, “it’s not like that. This was poor timing.” His attention shifts to me as I walk towards him. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Why wouldn’t I want to meet your mom?”

“So true, why wouldn’t she want to meet me?” I can see her face on the screen he’s holding. He got her coloring and eyes. They are beautiful. She is beautiful. If his skin ages as well as his mother’s has, he’ll be in good shape.

“Hello Mrs.—”

“Call me Daniela,” she interrupts me. Pointing to the screen her finger appearing large in the foreground perspective, she says, “I know you. You’re the reporter from his old network.”

I nod. “Billie Sanchez, pleasure to meet you, Daniela.” I’m giving her my hundred-watt smile. I like moms. But also, I can feel Edgar’s tension and I kinda love it. Is he concerned that I will get along with his mom or that I won’t?

“Ed, why are you being so secretive about having such a beautiful woman at your house?” She asks him.

“Because it’s not like that, I told you, it was poor timing.”

“Beautiful? Well, thank you.” Looking from the screen, I say to his profile, “Did you hear that, I’ve been upgraded from ‘not unattractive’?”

“What?” His mom asks.

“Nothing,” he answers dryly.

I grin back at his phone. “Inside joke.”

In the preview screen I can see him fighting a smile. “Mom, I’m going to hang up.”

“I’ve hardly spoken to her,” she admonishes.

“That’s fine. I love you. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Can I speak to Billie tomorrow?”

“No.”

Heaving a heavy sigh, Daniela says to me, “Terrible timing or not, I’m glad you’re there. I would hate for Ed to be alone right now.”

Ugh. Moms never stop mom-ing. Fricken sweetheart. “He’s not terrible company.”

His dry response makes me turn my head to him. “Wow. High praise.”

My smile is still turned on to its full potential when he looks my way. He swallows and looks away quickly.

One of his mom’s eyebrows is raised when I look back to her.

I hardly have time to say a polite goodbye before he hits the red button and ends the call.
We don’t shift away from each other right away. His bicep is close to mine but not touching. I watch the toes on his right foot curl and release, curl and release. His nails are trim and clean. Feet aren’t my favorite body part on anyone but as far male feet they aren’t bad.

“So that was your mom,” I say taking a step towards the island. Leaning against it, I face him.

“Yup.”

“What’s up with your dad?”

“He was in the other room, we talked before you came out.”

“You’re mom seems great.”

His eyes become hazy, like he’s thinking. “You two would get along.”

“Why do you say that?”

“You’re both no bullshit kind of women.”

My eyebrows lift. “I’ve never been so flattered to be compared to someone’s mom.”

He shrugs and walks away, his coffee mug in hand.

*****

It’s been super quiet the last couple of days. My place isn’t very loud, it’s just me that lives there, but I usually turn on music or an audio book during the course of the day.
I have his laptop open on my lap. I’m trying to address an email from my producer asking me to put a little more effort into my appearance for my videos. I’m trying to think of a polite way to say, “Go fuck yourself.” I’ve seen how Edgar looks when he does his videos; his hair styled but otherwise casual. I’m already putting in more effort on my appearance than he is. Maybe his producers are just more laid back than mine. Seething anger is curling tight in my stomach.

Fucking double standards.

I need a distraction.

His music is on his desk top so I click it open. Right away I find a playlist called Dance! I’m going to have to know what this playlist consists of. What does Edgar dance to? And what does he look like when he dances? Because I’m still apprehensive to give him any credit for anything, I’d like him to be bad at it. But like looking good naked, I assume he’s a good dancer. I love to dance even though I’m not spectacular at it. Like, I have rhythm but I still kinda look funny. It’s fine, I still love it.

I’m reading through the song titles. They’re… surprising; like on brand surprising. I turn to watch how he reacts as I click on Scissor Sisters’ I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. He’s rounding the kitchen island, bowl in hand but when the music starts his step falters. His eyes meet mine.

“So, you’re going to have to explain something to me,” I say.

He sighs. “I bet.”

“Like,” I’ve been fighting back this question for a couple of days now but there’s no resisting it anymore, “Why do you own a Hufflepuff tshirt and Golden Girls puzzle?” Then gesturing to the computer on my lap I add, “Why is your Dance! Playlist full of Scissor Sisters and Spice Girls and Taylor Swift?”

“There’s some Daft Punk in there.”

“Yeah, that really saved your bacon.”

He snorts and gives me an apprehensive smile. “I have this friend, she and I became close a couple of years ago… We were both going through a divorce—not that that’s relevant but… whatever.”

Oh shit! I know about this friend; Kitty or something. Sofia was convinced that Edgar and this woman were sleeping together and she blamed their marriage ending on the infidelity. How had I forgotten that he’s a cheating asshole? Fucking prick.

“She thinks it’s funny to get me gifts that are ridiculous, but also something I might have admitted to liking at some point. It’s annoying but it is funny.” He sits at his end of the sofa, a bowl of cottage cheese and tomatoes in one hand and spoon in the other. He waves the spoon towards the computer. “She made the playlists.”

“Are you two a thing?”

He makes eye contact with me before answering, “No.”

But can I take his word for it?

“Were you ever?”

He squints in thought. “It got a little weird, but no.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not what either of us wanted. It wasn’t us that made it weird…”

“What does that mean?”

He doesn’t look totally comfortable with the conversation. I should let him off the hook. I swear I was about to but then he answers me. “There were rumors spread that made things uncomfortable between us for a little while.” He looks down at the food in his hand.

Rumors? Does he mean that they were not having an affair while he was married to Sofia? “So you and Kitty were never an item?”

His head jerks up to look at me, his eyebrows drawn together.

Shit. He didn’t say her name in this conversation. I shouldn’t know it. Busted.
His brown eyes look sorrowful; an old wound reopened. My stomach sinks; not because I’ve been caught snooping but because I can see his pain. I can’t turn off my empathy, even for an adulterer.

“You’ve heard the rumors, then.”

We’re silent. Even Scissor Sisters stop singing. I hit the space bar before then next song can start its happy tune.

He surprises me when he says, “You know how someone accusing you of cheating is a warning sign that they’re the ones cheating?”

“Yeah…” I answer. I’ve been on the receiving end of that glaring indication.

“There’s a lot of truth to that.”

Was he claiming Sofia was the unfaithful one? I just can’t see it. She was so destroyed when their relationship ended. She ended up changing jobs because she couldn’t stand working where she once worked with him.

“I know you like her,” he started, “I get it; she’s charming, charismatic. She makes you feel like you know her. But some people are different than they seem.”

“So you’re saying she’s some master manipulator?”

“You could say that.”

I really cannot with this guy. “Was she just being manipulative when she was crying in the bathroom at work?”

He closes his eyes like I’ve slapped him.

“Or what about when she changed jobs because she was too upset to work where you two had worked together.”

He snorts! I cannot believe it? Seriously, what’s funny about that?

“That’s what she told you?” There’s an edge in his voice I haven’t heard before. “That’s fuckin’ rich.”

“Is it?” I match his venom with my own.

His eyes no longer look wounded, they look sharp capable of cutting. “Billie, she still lives in our old house. Why would it be too difficult to work with our old memories but not live with them?”

I don’t have a response. I didn’t know that. I don’t know what to make of that.

If what he’s saying is true, then it threatens my entire idea of Edgar. Much of my opinion of him is based on the knowledge I received from Sofia but if that isn’t true… I really don’t know what to make of this. I try to find evidence to support my opinion of him that I collected independently of her. But I don’t have a lot of material there. I’m usually pretty efficient at avoiding him.

“Why did you go for the Junior Reporter position if you knew you weren’t going to keep it?”

His eyes blink at my subject change.

He takes in a deep breath, seeming to consider my question. It shouldn’t be a difficult to answer. How full of shit is this guy?

“I wanted to stay but after I filed for divorce my work started getting fucked with.”

“What?! You’re lying—”

“I am not.” His voice is firm, deeper than usual.

“You’re saying Sofia sabotaged your work?”

“Yes, and more than that.”

“Bullshit.”

He turned to face me, his leg bending on the cushion between us. “She did more than that. Before I got all of my stuff out of the house, she poured bleach on my clothes and took a saw to the supports of our old couch so that it broke in half when we were moving it.”

I feel my eyes widen, they might fall out of my head. I don’t want this to be true. “No way.”

“What do you think happened to the air mattress, then?”

“Nooo…” I say this mostly to myself like I’m realizing a plot twist in a movie.

“Yup. I haven’t used it since I moved it out of the house.”

“She sliced up your air mattress?”

“I’m more pissed about the couch and clothes, but if you’re hung up on the air mattress… she fucked with other shit too.”

“It’s just so petty.” I’m still not totally convinced but if I’m honest the man I’ve been living with for the last few days doesn’t resemble the man Sofia painted. He isn’t temperamental or mean or inconsiderate.

“It is.”

“But what about the papers she had me serve you the other day?”

He lifts his eyebrows and shakes his head. “Those weren’t papers.”

“You’re not behind on alimony?”

“I don’t pay alimony, I was going to have to but then she destroyed all my shit.”

“So what was in the envelope?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“I really do.”

He studies me as if he’s weighing if he can trust me. He doesn’t look sure about saying what he says next, “Pictures.”

“Of what?”

“Her and some guy.”

My mouth drops open. “You’re lying.”

“They’re in the trash in my bathroom if you need proof.” It sounds like a challenge.

Do I need proof? I might. This is just too unreal for me to believe. I stand and go into his room.

The envelope is still in the trash. I open the flap and pull out the contents. To say the picture on top is explicit is a wild understatement.

“Oh Jesus,” I exclaim and close my eyes.

“Satisfied?” I hear him from the doorway.

Shoving the photos back into the envelope, I ask, “Why would she have me deliver these? Why not just email them to you?”

“I filed a restraining order. It’s been years of this shit.”

“Why not drop them off herself? I’m sure having me bring them is a violation of that order.”

He nodded. “I don’t know, but I think it’s because I would have to name you in the police report. I tried to file the report online, but it wants your name. I won’t pull you into our bullshit. That’s why she chose you.”

Chose me? Like me specifically? Like he’s protective me; that she knew he’d protect me. I don’t understand.

“File it. I don’t stand for this nonsense. You didn’t pull me into this, she did. She shouldn’t get away with it.” I hold the envelope out for him to take, like I did a few days before. “You can’t throw them away, they’re evidence.”

*****

Edgar let me have his bed again tonight. It’s such a relief. Another good night sleep is more than I deserve, after today’s bombshell it’s even harder to understand his hospitality.

I’m still reeling from the realization that everything I thought about him was greatly skewed by a very untrustworthy person. I’m running through Edgar and my interactions; our jobs put us at the same events often. We see each other at press releases and news conferences. There are conventions that we both cover. There have been awards we were both nominated for, some I received some he did. There was, of course earlier this year—before award ceremonies were canceled—that he won Junior Reporter of the Year and he sent me a drink at the bar.

The gloating was grossly unnecessary.

I sent it back.

So not all of my opinions are based on Sofia’s stories.

I have a hard time changing my opinions once I make them. I trust myself. I’m not all wrong about him. I can’t be. I have to admit, if only to myself, I have been a terrible reporter on the subject of Edgar. Where was my due diligence?

His bedroom feels like a different place than it did yesterday or even a few hours ago. He feels like a different person. Someone I’m shaping with my own impressions. Am I so susceptible to someone else’s influence?

It’s more difficult to fall asleep tonight than it was last night.

 

From Marty Vee:

Thank you for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend. Here’s Day 6 if you’d like to continue:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/20/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-6/

You and Me In Quarantine: Day 4

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: 

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/

Day 3: https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-3/

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.

 

Day 4

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.”

“You’re blushing.”

“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: 

Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend. You can continue on to Day 5:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/13/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-5/

You and Me In Quarantine: Day 3

From Marty Vee:

My site wants to skip Day 2, so you should read that before reading this. https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-2/

Day 1 Link: https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/

I definitely suggest reading  from the beginning with Day 1 in if you’re not going to do that I’ll summarize:

Billie pulled a rash move and found herself quarantined at her least favorite person’s house, Edgar, without a charger for her phone or change of clothes or really anything else that would be necessary.

 

My clothes are clean. I was going to wash them myself, but he already had a load ready to go while I took my shower yesterday. It was just waiting for my meager laundry to add to the mix. Then everything was moved into the dryer before I realized what was happening. I did take care of my bra; handwashing it in the bathroom sink and then hung it over the shower curtain rod to dry. It was only slightly damp when I put it back on today.

Being braless around him had been weird. I didn’t want to ask him for a sweatshirt which would have made it more subtle, so I just tried to not move my upper body too much. I do not have braless boobs. When the girls are free they are wild!

His eye contact was firm when we happened to be in the same room.

I borrowed Edgar’s phone to film a video for work with a very tight frame on my mostly makeup-less face. I sent it to our producer, she didn’t complain but she did say next time I’m going to need to pull the shot back.

A very large silver lining to this whole mess is that cases of the virus are starting to plateau. They’re still growing but not as quickly. My parents are fine so far, as is Libby. She’s playing a lot of some video game, she told me the name and such but… I don’t know what she’s talking about. She’s having fun though. I, of course, get all of these updates via messenger. Edgar has pretty much fully relinquished his laptop to me except when he has to get some work done. I use it for work too.

Our jobs require us to be informed on all current affairs—which is almost exclusively the virus: any medical advances or the politics involved in help arriving to hot spots or how other countries are dealing with the care of their citizens. It’s all so consuming and horrifying that I’m doing my job and then pushing the information to the back of my mind as best as I can. The most he and I have discussed the situation is when I found an article by a BBC reporter that I suggested he read.

Edgar and I, hardly occupied the same room yesterday but today we’re both in the living room.

I’m relieved and annoyed that he’s been a decent host. Based on the stories I’ve heard from Sofia, that is all but miraculous. She was always sharing stories about how he never made considerations for her. That he always had something to say about her choices, even super small ones.

With all this in mind, I know I would not have been a gracious host for him. I would have made him wash the clothes on his back by hand and then wait for them to air-dry or wear them wet. I would not have found it in me to produce alternate clothing for his comfort. I would not have shared my Nutella. It’d be basic provisions only for him.

Over the past forty-eight hours I’ve been thinking about that a lot. Spending time with him is reshaping my impressions. Then I remember the junior reporter promotion I went after, that he got over me and then quit the job a month later.

Quit. The. Job. A. Month. Later.

Like what was his point? His ex-wife—current wife at the time—told me he only went for the position because he was concerned that I’d get it. Which I did, after he vacated it.
The manila folder I gave him has disappeared from its former location on the kitchen table. I’m okay with that. I don’t need him remembering that he should be an asshole to me.

His book is open on his lap. He does this thing where he runs his right thumb down the pages. They make a soft flapping sound as they separate and come back together. I want it to be annoying but it’s kinda cute.

Another thing, he wears reading glasses. They are also cute. They’re a little large and dark-rimmed, totally dorky. I very much have a thing for studious men and he is pulling that look off. That is annoying.

I’m scrolling on his laptop, but my eyes are melting out of my face from all the screen time.

“Do you have any puzzles?” I ask.

“Like a jigsaw puzzle?” His eyebrows raise over the rims of his glasses as if my question surprises him.

“What other kind of puzzle could I mean?”

“There are other kinds of puzzles.”

“Answer the question.”

He takes in a deep breath through his nose and looks out the living room window. I watch his profile, waiting for him to speak. I don’t see how this is a difficult question.
Finally, he releases the air in his lungs. “I have one.”

The way he said it has me concerned it’s explicit or something. “Okay…”

He shakes his head. “I don’t want you to see it.”

Okay, yeah, he has a vagina jigsaw puzzle, I’m sure of it. “I’m not going to make a big deal of it. I just need to do something other than look a screen for a little while.”

“Bullshit. The next eleven days are going to be you giving me shit for this.” He runs his palm on his chin. It makes a rustling sound as his skin brushes the two days’ worth of beard growth. He must not have to record himself today.

“I promise I won’t.”

“You can’t keep that promise.”

“I keep my promises,” I insist. Seriously, I do.

He shakes his head, a man for the gallows. “Not this one.” His glasses go on the coffee table and the bookmark gets slipped between the pages. “Come on,” he jerks his head for me to follow him, “I have a couple of games too.”

I’m kinda nervous about what games he might have if he has a porno puzzle, but okay. I don’t know where I’m expecting him to go, his house isn’t huge. By yesterday, I covered every square foot of it with the exception of his bedroom and that’s where he leads me now. I follow him trying to be discreet about collecting many details as I can. This room feels very different than the rest of the house. For one thing, the bed is unmade and yesterday’s clothes are in a pile on the floor by his bed. The rest of his place is very clean.

Does he sleep nude? The dirty clothes indicate that he does.

I’ve gotten a little distracted by the idea of his naked body. I mean, how good does someone have to look naked for them to not only know that they look good naked but also to tell someone? So, yeah, I’m a little distracted but not obsessed.

Whoa, his closet and master bath situation is ridiculous. Like, a soaking tub separate from the shower with slate-colored tile. You walk through the bathroom to get to a huge walk-in closet. How is all of this here?

“What the hell is going on here?” I ask circling my fingers at the setup.

“The bathroom and all that?”

“Why do you clarify everything, just answer the question.”

His arms cross over his chest. “You’re questions are not clear.”

“They’re obviously clear enough.”

He does one of those sighs before he answers, “The house was a three-bedroom, I converted the smallest room into the master en suite.”

“Won’t that negatively affect your resale?”

“Probably, but I’m happier about living here.”

I can only blink to that. This man is a mystery.

“Excuse me.” He points to the shelving behind me.

I glance over my shoulder and see some games: Monopoly, Risk, Settlers of Catan, a very large Cards Against Humanity and Pandemic—too soon, dude. But my eyes land on a box that is somewhere between purple and pink. It’s the puzzle. I reach up and slide it from its spot between two of the games.

It’s a Golden Girls puzzle. The Golden Girls.

Oh no. I have so much to say. There are so many thoughts. One zinger after another. I’d have less material if it had been a full bush vagina. But nope. We’ve got the timeless wonder that is four women who made up one of the best shows in sitcom history smiling softly up at me.

“I’m waiting,” he says behind me.

My heart is truly aching when I reply, “I promised.”

He laughs. I don’t know why, but he does, he must love my pain.

*****

He’s in the living room and I’m seated at the kitchen table, the border of the puzzle is almost complete. The color transitions of the background are really subtle. It’s going to be a fun puzzle. I’ve moved past wanting to make fun of him to wanting to know how he came to own said puzzle. Like, did he search specifically for this? Was this what he intended to own? If so, why was I the first person to open the box? Was he saving it for a special occasion? Did he intend to binge-watch the show while he pieced it together?

I need to stop this.

He’s back on the sofa, leaning against the armrest and his legs across the seat. I can only see him from the shoulder up over the back support. He’s looking down at his lap, reading glasses back on.

“You should read out loud,” I tell him.

He wasn’t moving but somehow he pauses, like his mind stills or something. Then he looks at me, pulling his glasses off. “You want me to read to you?”

“When you say it like that, I sound like an old lady with vision problems. Which,” I gesture to the table’s contents, “okay, The Golden Girls jigsaw puzzle isn’t helping but it wasn’t my choice.” I decide this is more of a self-deprecating comment so it doesn’t break my promise. “I was reading that book yesterday, it’s good. You should read out loud.”

“I’ll be done with it by tomorrow, you can finish it then.”

“Or you can just read it out loud and I can do two things at once.”

He stands and stretches, his back arching revealing a strip of tan skin low on his belly. There’s a stripe of black hair.

I look back at The Golden Girls on the box, but I can feel Bea Arthur looking unimpressed with me. I know there’s no foolin’ you, Bea.

Taking the seat across from me he asks, “What page are you on?”

Why is he being so nice to me? I would never go back in a book to read for someone else, but I also hate spoilers so I’m not going to stop him.

I hold out my hand. “Let me see it.”

He gives it to me and I flip through careful to keep his bookmark in place.

“Top of page sixty-three.”

He takes the book back and just starts reading. No argument.

I don’t get this guy.

 

From Marty Vee:

Thank you for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend.

Keep reading on to Day 4:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/13/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-4/

You and Me In Quarantine: Day 2

You and Me In QuarantineFrom Marty Vee:

I suggest reading Day 1 first. The link is:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-1/

 

Last night I slept on the worst sofa.

What’s strange is I remember when Sofia and Edgar were going through their divorce, she told me how he was making such a big deal about getting their sofa. Was this the piece of furniture he couldn’t live without? It didn’t make sense, no one needed this thing in their life.

Luckily there’s plenty of room for yoga in Edgar’s spare bedroom, minus the bed part. It’s pretty much empty, just some weights and a treadmill.

Yesterday he pulled out an air mattress and tried to fill it up but there was a cleanly sliced hole in its side. Likely a box cutter, maybe when the box had been sealed and someone got too hyper. He had bent down to examine the hole, two fingers inside rubbing the plastic with his thumb. His head shook and released a heavy sigh. Something seemed to be on his mind but I didn’t ask.

With the air mattress out of commission, that left his bed—which I haven’t seen because I’m not going in his bedroom—and dun dun duuuun the sofa.

God help me. I’m not gonna make it.

I’m tired and my back hurts. My phone is dead. My attitude is not at its best.

I still can’t believe that I’m in this situation.

Yesterday, Sofia called me sounding very upset. The currier she had hired to deliver the legal documents suing Edgar for unpaid alimony backed out. Her job was not considered “essential” and she needed that money. I was so enraged. I was riding the white horse of justice and thinking of little else. Also, seriously, his income must be similar to mine—and if the pay gap has anything to say, his is better—he doesn’t live extravagantly, so where is his money going? Why isn’t he paying what he is legally obligated to pay?

Douche bag.

Sofia was one of the first people to befriend me when I started working at the station a few years back. But she changed jobs before I’d been there a full year. We’d stayed in contact via social media, mostly when one of us wanted to complain about Edgar.

Edgar and I are keeping our distance. He’s in the spare room now, working out; I can hear him grunting with strain.

It’s late morning, I’m lying on my stomach on the floor of the living room trying to read the book he left on the coffee table. It’s not bad. I would normally be into it but I really want to message my mom and see how she and Dad are doing. But Edgar’s laptop is in his room and I’m going to have to wait until he gets it for me. Then there’s Libby, how’s she fairing? She’s my best friend, we became close in college, some people were meant to be in your life and she’s one of them for me. I have other friends too, but those are the three main people that have me distracted and worried.

I need to borrow his phone so I can do a quick video, which I’m going to look real unprofessional for. I don’t know what’s better, fessing up to my boss about this situation or making the video and trying to pass it off as me being just like everyone else. I have some concealer, mascara and lipstick in my bag. I can do a braid for my hair or a high pony. It’s just not ideal.

There’s also my clothes situation. I’m wearing the yoga pants and tank top that I arrived in and slept in. My hoodie is balled up under my chin. I also have a bra and socks on; I’m currently regretting my practice of not wearing underwear with yoga pants; they slip around too much. I have nothing else to wear and I’m going to have to wash what little clothing I have and soon. So that’s on my mind.

The door to the room Edgar is in opens and I reflexively look over my shoulder towards the sound. He’s got sweat beading along his hairline and his tshirt clings to his sweat-soaked torso. The gym shorts he’s wearing stop just above his knee and I can see the V of his muscles there. I swallow, wondering what his leg day might look like, it’s obvious that he doesn’t skip it. He’s got some solid definition in those calves.

Not letting my eyes linger, I look back at the book open on the hardwood floor. He’s walking across the living room to his bedroom. When he passes me, I make a subtle evaluation of his back half.

I haven’t been thinking about his brazen assessment that he looks good naked. But I get it. From what I can tell, yes, I’m sure he looks very good naked. But seriously, congratu-freaking-lations, plenty of people look good naked. I’ve even seen a couple of them. I don’t look half bad naked myself. I’m not going to be posing for any nude shots any time soon but I’ve gotten solid responses. He’s more arrogant about it than I am but I try to focus my self-worth on other aspects; for example, my brain, personality and other things. You know, things that actually matter. So no, I haven’t been wondering just how true his statement is. I haven’t given it any thought at all.

He comes back out of his bedroom, his messy wet hair and in clean clothes. I look up again out of reflex but end up with a bundle of clothing hitting my face.

“The hell?” I push myself into a seated position.

“Change so we can wash your clothes for tomorrow.”

I assess the garments he’s chosen for me: gray sweats and a Hufflepuff tshirt.

“Hufflepuff?” I ask my mouth pulled to one side.

“So?”

“Everything is just so clear now.”

“Slytherin.” He doesn’t say it as a question, but as an accusation.

“Yes but I don’t need a shirt to proclaim it.”

“Do you need a different shirt?” He’s crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the door jam.

I stand with the clothing pressed against my chest. Turning my back on him, I head towards the guest bathroom.

“What are you doing?” I ask him when I realize he’s following me.

“Making sure you have everything you need.” He grabs a towel out of the linen closet in the hall and sets it on the counter next to the sink. I wait just outside the door as he checks the few items in the shower. “I’ll get you some conditioner.”

“You use conditioner?” I pull my scrunchy from my hair and run my fingers along my scalp, chestnut-colored strands fall around my shoulders.

“Don’t you?” He’s watching my movements.

“Of course.” Conditioner had fallen on my lists of concerns but it wasn’t something I was going to get overly worked up about. My hair isn’t too temperamental and it’s not like I can actually do my hair. “But not all men do.”

“I do.” He left.

I turn on the water. Sitting on the edge of the tub I let it run over my fingers waiting for it to get hot. He came back with a comb and bottle. The comb goes on the counter next to the towel before he stretches over me to place the conditioner on a shelf next to the shampoo in the shower and then left. He was so close for a fraction of a second that I could feel his body heat from his stomach on my shoulder.

My shower doesn’t wash away the memory of it.

*****

There is Nutella in this house! Like a lot. Like an obscene amount for one person; therefore, an almost appropriate amount for two. I will weather this storm with my sweet tooth sated—not satisfied but sated.

We each have our own bowl of Nutella and fruit.

He turns The Office on.

I’m getting tired. I hope he goes to bed soon. We’re currently sitting on my so-called bed or as I like to refer to it as, Damned Sofa of Death.

 

From Marty Vee:

Thank you for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend. Here’s the link to Day 3 if you’d like to keep going:

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-3/

You and Me In Quarantine: Day 1

You and Me In QuarantineI knew it was a gamble; that my last-minute attempt to get a jab in on my enemy could backfire terribly. And it did.

So. Damn. Terribly.

Because now… Well, now I’m trapped in Edgar’s house. Like an animal gone to ground with a predator lurking in wait. That preditor being a vicious virus. I’ve debated taking my chances with the virus and soldiers of the National Guard to get away from the duplicitous bastard I’m currently entombed with. Still the directives were clear: seek shelter, do not move locations until told otherwise.

Yup. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Edgar’s digs are sparse and unwelcoming, like a window into his soul. Empty and alone.

He probably has the lamest, most insufficient provisions. My thoughts are on the freezer of food I purchased for this possibility going uneaten, the coloring books and puzzles I’d stocked up on; something to do while I binge-watched TV.

I bet all he watches are high brow documentaries and dark shows with unsettling endings. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for such things, but this was not the time. Now was a time for easy escapism.

For entertainment, I currently have my phone. That’s it. Box checked. But with the World Wide Web at my disposal, that should be enough.

Christ! What kind of phone does he have?! What if he doesn’t have the same charger as I do? I snatch my purse off of the table and begin rummaging in it, searching for the lightning cord that I usually have in there but I’m positive I took out to use at Libby’s house. Tell me I remembered to put it back! But I know I didn’t. I forget shit like this all the time. I all but dump the contents of my bag on the table.

I see him out of the corner of my eye watching me out of the corner of his eye.

Also, I don’t doubt that he’ll feed me, but I question how enjoyable the food offered to me might be. Like so many people, eating delicious food is one of my favorite hobbies. I don’t want to go without that for the next couple of weeks. Truthfully, if the roles were reversed, he’d be living on bread-heels and unseasoned vegetables.

Considering what I came here to do… that might be my fate.

I’m fucked.

“What’s got you in hysterics?”

Hysterics? What is this ol’ England times?

I roll my eyes. Maybe I should try to be nice to him, butter him up, but it doesn’t feel right. I don’t know how to be nice to him. I don’t want to be nice to him.

He sighs. It’s a full-body exhalation. “Billie, what’s wrong?”

I glare at him, making eye contact for the first time since I entered his front door five minutes ago. “Besides the obvious?”

“Obviously.” He crosses his muscular arms over his thick chest. The way he looks is the only good thing about him. If he was a picture of himself, I wouldn’t hate him so much.
He shifts his gaze pointedly to the manila folder I’d given him. It’s on the counter next to the fridge.

“I was just doing her a favor.”

His snort is full of his unspoken accusations. He doesn’t believe me. He shouldn’t, doing his ex-wife, Sofia, a favor was the last on my list of my motives.

“What kind of phone do you have?” I ask, letting my purse fall back to the tabletop with a thunk.

Dawning lights his brown eyes before they slide to my hoodie pocket. I’m sure he can see the boxy outline of my phone there. “No charger?” His voice is full of entertainment.

I clench my jaw. My vision darkens at the edges. I hate this, and I have no one to blame but myself. It’s not even asshole Edgar’s fault. I’d love to pretend that it is, but it’s not.

He lifts one thick black eyebrow.

“No,” I bite out.

You wanna know what’s a terrible position to be in? What really makes you feel like your on your knees, hands behind your back smooshed between two hard surfaces? Being in need of hospitality from someone you not only hate but who also hates you.

The shittiest part: I was in my car heading home. The deed was done. I was home free. I thought.

I wasn’t a mile away when I hit a checkpoint—that hadn’t been there when I’d driven to his house an hour before. A very polite woman in uniform, holding a rather large gun instructed me to turn around and head back where I’d come from. The order had come down, and we were not able to pass the checkpoint for any reason. I tried to argue that I’d head directly home, but nope.

So after I had dropped my bomb on Asshole Extraordinaire, I had to turn my car around, park it in his driveway, knock on his door and tell him that he had a new roommate for the next two weeks.

He hadn’t even fought me, just shook his head and said, “Makes sense.”
The phone charger debacle was the first conversation we’d had since.

A half-smile pulls on his lips, giving him a menacing look. “Mini USB.”

“Fuck!”

That makes him laugh, bent over, holding his stomach laughing.

*****

Edgar will allow me to use his computer to check my socials and get my work done—he and I are both junior reporters for competing news organizations—when my phone goes dead. It’s set to battery save mode, but it won’t last forever. The offer came after hours of me doing nothing but fretting and sitting on the edge of his sofa—world’s most uncomfortable piece of furniture—chewing at my fingernails.

I’ve texted my mom to tell her that I’m safe, but I don’t have my charger, and I gave her Edgar’s number to reach me in an emergency. I had to confirm with him that the number I had programmed under “Biggest Bastard on Earth Inc.” is still his number. It wasn’t, so I updated it.

Mom asked me where I was and who I was with. I told her I was with an old work colleague, which is true. Then, to end the conversation, I gave her the excuse that I needed to conserve my battery.

I have been texting Libby ever since. She is, of course, safely in her townhouse. She thinks the whole scenario is hilarious. I might never speak to her again. Twisted sense of humor, that one.

Strange. When he got up to prepare himself something to eat he offered to make me something as well. So civil and polite, it felt like a trick. I followed him into the kitchen; it was the least intrusive way to scope out the goods.

As far as food options go, he’s pretty well stocked. I’d love to say that I’m surprised, but I’m not, he’s always been an efficient planner. The food is sufficient. But not fun. There’s some fresh fruit in the fridge and on the counter, frozen fruit in the freezer. But where’s the chocolate? Or ice cream?

My God. Two weeks with fruit as my sweet? No. I’m not going to make it.

Of course, his body is that of a Greek god. There’s no joy in his food.

“Yogurt and granola?” He held up a tub of organic vanilla greek yogurt.

I nodded. “Thank you.” My polite response was out before I knew it was there. But my parents drilled manners. You don’t have to be friendly, but you must be polite. It was a phrase repeated regularly. Some things stick.

It dawned on me that he was likely raised the same way. He grew up just a few towns away from where I had, and Michiganders take their manners as seriously as we take our meat and potatoes; they are regular sustenance. The realization makes his offer to feed me more understandable.

He hands me the prepared bowl, and I follow him back to the torture device he calls a sofa.

His politeness doesn’t extend to choosing something to watch. Nope. He turns on a foreign film that I have to read subtitles to follow the story. He must notice my lips purse when I realize what is happening. I’m not one of those “I don’t want to read my movies” sort of people, but was this the time? I’m in no position to complain. It’s better than eating my yogurt in silence and just letting my mind run wild.

Unfortunately, the film is gripping and kinda hot. Like… really hot. I think it’s Portuguese. The male lead has tan skin with dark brown hair and eyes, thick brown eyebrows on a sharp bone structure. His lips are soft pink and full and they move in a hypnotizing way. He reminds me of someone, but I’m having a hard time placing it.

The realization hits me during an explicit sex scene. It hit me at such an alarming rate that I gasped. Which is awkward timing.

Edgar turns his head towards me and blinks before saying, “You okay?”

I roll my lips together, sucking them between my teeth. “Mmm-hmm.”

The sex scene is still happening, heavy breathing and the actor’s back flexing beneath his skin. There was a mole just above his right ass cheek.

“Do I need to turn on something else?”

I shake my head. I wish Edgar would stop looking at me. The flames of a hot blush are filling my cheeks.

“You sure?”

“Eddie, it’s fine,” I snap back.

I know he hates when I call him Eddie, and I receive a glare in response. His attention lands back on the TV. He shifts a little, pulling at his pant leg with his left hand. Then he crosses his right ankle over his left knee.

Is he hard?

I mean, I get it. The movie had me wanting to shift in my seat too.

Maybe it was just proximity, like how hearing two people have sex through a wall will turn you on, but the idea of him feeling aroused at the other end of the sofa made me feel a little more squirrelly.

I could use a distraction, so I ask, “Are you Portuguese?”

“My mom’s parents were.” His focus prickles like thistles on my skin; sharp and itchy.

The characters on screen had found release and are cuddling, the actor’s hand running from the actress’ waist to hip, over and over.

“You look like him,” I nod toward the actor.

“Diogo Morais?”

“Is that the actor?”

“Yeah.”

“Then, yes.” I don’t know if what I’m about to say next makes this more awkward or less, but I’m going to say it anyway, “That’s why I gasped, I was having a hard time figuring out who he reminded me of and then I realized it was you.”

“When he took his clothes off?”

So more awkward. My cheeks burn all over again. “Don’t flatter yourself.”

“You thinking about me naked?”

Kinda. “That’s a leap.”

“I’ll satisfy your curiosity.”

“Jesus Christ! If you take your clothes off, I will chop your dick off with your own knife!”

“Violent. I’m not going to take my clothes off.”

“Good.”

“Calm down. That’s why we’re in this mess, you get worked up and do something without thinking.”

“Don’t talk like you know me.” But yeah, Captain Obvious, obviously.

“I wasn’t going to take my clothes off.”

“Good,” I say again.

“But, I look very good naked.”

I roll my eyes. “Arrogant much?”

“No need for false modesty.”

From Marty Vee:

I’ve included the link to Day 2 below. Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying the story, please share it with a friend.

https://martyvee.com/2020/04/06/you-and-me-in-quarantine-day-2/

You and Me In Quarantine: Heads Up

I will be coming out of hibernation soon. Since taking my pause from blogging, I’ve started a couple different Works In Progress and have had another child.

I’m writing a RomCom Novella that I’d like to share with you lovely folks. It’s about enemies to lovers who are quarantined together. It’s super fun. I’m having such a wonderful time writing it and I hope you have just as much fun reading it.

I’ll be posting the first three days next week (on April 6 which is also my birthday!) Then I’m still trying to decide how I’ll post the following days, like two at a time on a weekly basis or one at a time every five days or so… We’ll see. Feel free to weigh in on how you’d like the installments to come your way.

Heads up, my characters do swear. Also, it’s a RomCom so there will be at least one sex scene, so if you know me personally and that weirds you out… I guess we’ll both just have to be okay with it.

If you enjoy what you read, please comment and share the posts. Thank you for reading!

Blogging Struggles

I want to blog, let’s make that clear. I see the value in using this medium and connecting with other writers. Here’s what’s happening: I’m a stay at home mom, starting my Real Estate Agent business and I’m writing. Those three tasks don’t leave a lot of time for anything else. So as I sit here, I’m surrounded by a messy house and I really need to exercise (aside from the importance of physical activity, we are also going to Hawaii in February for a friend’s wedding.)
 
In that mess of priorities, where do I make time to blog? With my novel, I’m averaging 292 words per day. Meaning that it’ll be around the middle of December before the first draft is complete. I keep reminding myself that at least I will complete the first draft this year. But my goal setting, competitive nature is struggling with the slow pace.
 
Like most creative types, I struggle with organization and time management. I could be better with time productivity. My biggest problem though, is I get excited about one thing and focus much of my time and energy to it. In the midst of that single-minded obsession, I lose track of my other goals. Except writing, at least that has become enough of a pattern in my life that I can expect to average those words.
 
I don’t have a great resolution to this issue of mine, other than trying to distribute my time better. If you have any suggestions of ways to do this, please let me know. I hope that all your efforts are paying off.

Back In The Saddle

So my daughter will turn 1 on May 9th. It’s been since January 2016 that I was able to focus on my writing. (After that I focused more on the fact that we were having a kid in a few months and then the kid was here and the first 6 months I didn’t sleep and the almost 6 months after that has been devoted to catching up from the first 6 months.) Being a mom is off the chain. I love it. But there are aspects that are difficult. I’d love to list them all for you now, but instead, I’ll tell you the success I’ve had with my writing this past week.
Since somewhere around October I’ve made a goal of writing 500 words per day. For the first month, I did pretty well. But then the piece I was working on wasn’t working for me or what I want to write and it fell apart. I’ve written here or there, but I wasn’t making that 500 words per day goal. A couple issues contributed my failure. And a couple things have contributed its correction.
One of these solutions is that for my 30th birthday my husband and family pitched in to get me a laptop of my own. It’s the coolest and all my writing has somewhere to land. Game changer.
-Holy mother of God, this thing is legit.-
Another factor is I’ve started using Scrivener. And now I’m one of the hordes of writers who is like, “Holy mother of God, this thing is legit.” I’m going to try and not become some sort of advertisement but I do suggest doing their 30-day free trial. Watch a YouTube video on how to use it. I’ll share the link to one that I watched. If you don’t like it, then keep using the word processor you’ve been using and no harm no foul.
A big reason for my recent success is the ability to time manage better. This is possible because my daughter is more independent now. I’ve made adjustments with breastfeeding, which has been a difficult experience for me. And I’ve set personal rules on my own nonwriting related screen time. There is a lot of research showing the addictiveness of screens. It’s creepy stuff. If you are wasting hours of your life staring at a game or social media, then you might benefit from self-regulating as well. If you’d like to know how I’m managing this, let me know I’ll write a post about it.
The moral of the story is I have been averaging 700 words per day. I’m also excited with how my writing is shaping into something I’ll be proud of some day. I hope your writing progress has been in upward motion. Good luck and write on!