I am completely heartbroken right now, and rather than sit here and stew in my thoughts and drive myself crazy, I need to escape. It’s all becoming a little too much. I’m not going to lie, I’m highly concerned about catching this virus, I have numerous upper respiratory issues, and I think I would have a hard time recovering from COVID-19. I’m also worried about Neil & my father contracting it. Plus, I have had to turn off the television and avoid Facebook because all of the posts about death, and child abuse, and every other little thing starts to weigh on me, that’s the thing about empathy, there’s no off switch. I also have a terrible habit of always putting myself last until my body forces me to make the time to focus on my health. I know, I need to do better. I deserve to treat myself better.
So I’m writing, I’m writing to escape from the world and immerse myself in another one right now. I am saying this as a bit of a warning, some of that raw, visceral emotion may come through, but I think that only makes the story more real, so I’m using it, and I want to show the importance of intimacy in a relationship. When I say intimacy, I don’t mean sex. While sex is an important part of a relationship, there’s a bond that goes deeper, it’s trusting another with your vulnerability. It’s actually listening and observing. It’s understanding the sternness in a voice is coming from a place of compassion, and baring parts of yourself you don’t share with anyone else, and I don’t mean just physical parts.
I have decided to participate in Didi’s challenge for April. Click here to be directed to her site.
Every month Didi challenges us to take our characters from our current WIP’s and show how they would react to whatever challenge Didi has chosen. This month is how they react to being quarantined.
I have done some changes to my story “Blue Haven,” for those of you who were wanting more, you’re getting it, but please note the changes, the character’s names (Jared & Angela) have been changed to Kevin & Jessica. The storyline has changed too, so just put “Blue Haven” completely out of your mind, the only thing that stays the same is the B&B, but I promise the characters are still the same, maybe just a tad wittier, but it will still have the same feel.
Finding Love In The Streets of Chaos
One night the entire world fell asleep in little world’s of their own, expecting their routine to continue just the same, no one could have ever prepared for what was coming, for the Twilight Zone episode we had all stepped in.
It was Friday, March 13th, 2020 and Jessica Turner had turned on the news while she prepared her morning coffee, her heart sank as she heard the death count had risen in Washinton State alone by seventy people, overnight! She also learned that day she would be stuck in Washington, watching over her aunt Tammy’s bed and breakfast while her aunt was isolated in Colorado with Kate, aunt Tammy’s daughter.
Jessica was just about to walk out of the door to go stock up on groceries for a couple of weeks when a man walked in, he hit her in the head with his umbrella.
“Crap! I’m so sorry, are you okay?” He asked as he put the umbrella down slowly, his eyeballs bulging out of their sockets at the woman standing in front of him.
She chuckled. “Hi, Kevin.”
“What are you doing here?” He asked.
“I could ask you the same thing.”
He smiled at her stubbornness, he had grown quite used to it over the past year or so, only through text messages and social media.
“I had a job interview a few days ago, ya know when all of this started. My original plan was to stay for a few days and look for a house or an apartment in my price range, but now I’m stuck here and the hotel I was staying in is privately owned, and they closed it to costumers.”
“My aunt asked me to close down too.”
“Oh, please, Jessica, I promise I don’t have any symptoms, I will pay your aunt for the room, just please let me stay here.”
She couldn’t just leave him out in the cold, Seattle rain, and if she had to be quarantined, at least she would have company.
“Okay”, she opened the door, stepping behind it so he had enough room to get his luggage through.
He had insisted that he come shopping with her, because he absolutely could not live without french vanilla coffee creamer, Green Mountain Coffee, Fritos, or Oreos, and he didn’t trust her not to forget an item.
She sighed as he placed another frozen pie in the cart.
“What’s wrong now?” He asked.
“You do know I’m a fabulous baker, right?”
“Yeah? Well sorry, my dear, but no one bakes better than Sarah Lee.”
She scoffed, rushing off to stock up on preserves and frozen berries, not realizing that this was all a part of his plan, he was dying to taste her cookies, pies, and pastries. He had only been seeing pictures of them for months.
She placed the frozen pies back in the freezer.
“What are you doing?”
“Why don’t you save those for someone that isn’t going to be quarantined with a food blogger who stress bakes?”
“Fine, but I’m keeping the Fritos and Oreos, dammit. It’s a pandemic, Jessica. You can’t expect me to eat nothing but prissy food for however long we’re stuck together.”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t get snacks, and I cook more than prissy food, Kevin. Believe it or not, I like steak and potatoes.”
“Nachos, burgers, pizza, pasta, and anything that has carbs and or cheese.”
He gently grabbed her shoulder and placed his other hand over his heart. “Please don’t tease me, I can’t take it.”
She rolled her eyes, but chuckled., “Come on weirdo.”
“Any thoughts for dinner tonight?” She asked as he helped her put the groceries away.
“Burgers, prove to me that you can make a good, juicy burger.”
“Alright, Kevin, whatever you wish.”
“Don’t worry, I’m fully prepared to order a pizza when the burgers don’t turn out.”
She scoffed and was about to lay into him when she noticed his eyes soften and a sly smirk form across his face. She realized he was being playful, so she decided to play along.
“Well, Mister Long.”
He chuckled, “Mister Long?”
That’s right, “Mister long, you talk a big game, how about a friendly wager?”
“Oh, you’re on little lady.”
“Alright, what do you want if the burgers turn out to be dreadful?”
“When the burgers turn out to be inedible,” he paused for dramatic effect, “I want you to dance for me.”
“What?”Her voice raising a couple of octaves.
He stepped closer to her, placing her hand in his, allowing her to watch as he trailed his eyes up along her body before meeting her gaze, “You always talk about how much you love to dance. I want to watch you.”
A shiver ran down her spine, he had rendered her speechless, and that wasn’t an easy task.
“What do you want if you happen to make the best burger I’ve ever tasted?”
“Whoa, it just has to be good, you didn’t say it had to be the best.”
“I just did.” He took a step closer to her.
She backed away, bracing herself against the kitchen sink.
“You can’t just change the terms.”
He took one long step, standing so close to her their bodies were almost touching. She could smell his cologne, and it was intoxicating. She gulped as he looked down at her and sternly said, “I just did.”
Her knees buckled, and she knew by that stupid smirk plastered upon his face that he saw it.
“I want you to cook for me,” she replied.
He regained his composure, “Jessica, I didn’t expect you to cook every single night.”
“No, I mean, you have to cook whatever I ask you to cook, you know, my prissy, fancy food, as you call it.” It was her, stepping closer to him this time.
He threw his hands up in defense, “Fine, I think this is a win-win situation for me anyway.”
“Well you either have to dance for me, or I win your heart with my amazing cooking skills.”
She laughed, but stopped as she saw Kevin’s face fall, “Oh, did I do that out loud?” She asked.
Jessica walked back and forth between to kitchen and the back deck where the grill was, Kevin was impressed already, he couldn’t help but steal little glances at her, chuckling as she would try miserably to blow a piece of hair from her ponytail that had flown in her face. What he truly couldn’t believe was the Seattle skyline behind her. He slid across the hardwood floor and ran into the living room, searching for a candle. He placed it in the center of the table. He retrieved two bottles of Guinness from the fridge, nothing pairs better with a grilled burger than a stout. She instructed him to sit, and he watched her as she plated his food. There was a science to it, a thin layer of mustard on the bottom bun, the burger, topped with melted smoked gouda and bacon, the lettuce, the tomato, salt and pepper, enough dill pepper chips to completely cover the burger, caramelized onions that could have been spread on with a knife, and a layer of mayonnaise spread on the top, toasted brioche bun. She placed it in the corner of a square, black plate. She finished the plate by layering homemade, Old Bay seasoned french fries in a tower and placing a small, white dish of ketchup in the center. She sat it in front of him, and he couldn’t help the moan that escaped his lips when he caught the delicious scent.
“Just wait till you taste it,” she gloated.
He was growing worried, as he picked up the burger with both of his hands, feeling the weight of it, he bit into it and these pops of flavors started invading his mouth, somehow all working together to enhance the burger, which had lovely grill marks that he could taste. He looked at her in disbelief.
“I bow to the burger queen,” he said immediately after swallowing. He stood and crossed the room, putting on a Billie Holiday record, and turning off the lights, leaving them with just the light from the sunset and the flame from the candle.
A few days had passed when he walked out to join her on the deck as they watched the city wake up to disturbing calm. They didn’t say a word to each other, they just sipped their coffee in the comfortable silence, which was abruptly interrupted by the ringing of Kevin’s cell phone. He stepped inside to take the call. Growing concerned when about twenty minutes had passed and Kevin didn’t come out to rejoin her, Jessica turned to see him sitting on the couch, shoulders slumped, and his head hanging low. Whoever was on the other line did not call with good news. She gently sat beside him and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
He didn’t look up at her, he kept his head tilted down towards the ground.
“I don’t feel like talking about it right now.”
“That’s okay,” she replied softly, “You don’t need to justify your feelings to me, I just want you to know I’m here.”
There will be a part 2 coming. Hopefully tomorrow, I’m so into this story, but it was becoming far too long to post as a single post.
Love & life lessons,