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Quarantine and Chill – AMBW standalone Romance
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
News of the coronavirus hit New York City, and LA-native Jade is stuck dog sitting in her best friend’s Brooklyn apartment. Her bestie Zora is on her honeymoon in the Maldives, but may now be stuck there too. The island has canceled all flights. Only God knows when Zora will return, and Jade can fly back to LA.
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“Love is like
It can happen
What a way to spend Friday!
I turned my small office television up.
A stern expression covered the news reporter’s face. “The COVID-19 death toll for New York has risen to 200 people. Hospitals have reported 1,000 citizens are now infected. Governor Ellis is considering a possible lockdown and will be holding a press conference soon. We are waiting for his arrival in the next—”
I muted the television in my office and stared at the screen.
The coronavirus has officially come to New York. There’s no ignoring this.
When the virus first broke out in China, I’d been following the news coverage. Other countries began to report on COVID-19 linked deaths—Japan, Korea, Iran. It seemed so far away. I knew Americans would be safe. Then Italy enforced preventive measures as their death toll rose. Next US cruise ships discovered many infected. Next, the ships disembarked along the east and west coast. American COVID-19 cases rose. Still, I felt protected, guaranteeing that the deaths and infections would not get out of hand. Usually, they never did. Scientists and governments always found a way.
But by the end of February, I’d bought a mask but felt too silly to wear it around Manhattan. I kept a positive outlook, confident that everything would turnaround.
Things didn’t get better. San Francisco declared a state of emergency over COVID-19. The global count of infected hit over eighty thousand. Countries all over the world confirmed cases—Switzerland to Israel, Jamaica to Algeria. Travelers coming from Europe were banned unless it was US residents or citizens.
And I began losing sleep little by little. An hour here and there. My eyes grew red from weariness. My head ached. I lost my appetite.
Not even my live-in girlfriend Amber could ease the fear. When she became stressed, she resorted to chemical relaxation. She started taking some pills that she swore had been prescribed by her therapist. But even with the new pills, she argued about small things. One time, I left the toilet seat up, she screamed and pushed everything off the sink. Shampoo, conditioners, and other bottles crashed to the floor. She squeezed out all of the toothpaste and smeared it on the mirror.
Not close to done, she shouted for several minutes from the bathroom doorway. Somehow I kept my cool, although I wanted to scream back. At six feet, I towered over her small frame. With my muscle mass, I outweighed her in every way. If I yelled back, I would have felt like a bully.
Instead, I walked off to the back and worked out my annoyance in my home gym, hoping she would calm down enough to talk. Clearly, I shouldn’t have left the seat up, but there was no need for her to make a mess of the entire space. An hour later, she cried and cleaned the bathroom up.
I looked at the framed group picture on my desk. We’d taken the photo at my sister’s wedding last Friday. It was in one of those party photo booths that printed the picture right there.
Just a week ago and a much simpler time.
I picked up the frame and studied the image. Dressed in a white gown, my baby sister Zora had opted out of the traditional Indian wedding. Her new husband Corey sat next to her. His dreadlocks had been pulled back for the day. He’d played college basketball and now was an assistant coach at Wagner on Staten Island. For once, my sister had met a guy taller than me, and just as nice.
He better treat you right or I’ll break his neck.
I grinned, knowing that Corey would be the perfect husband. Since my father died from a heart attack five years ago, I put myself in a fatherly position with Zora. Last month, I had a long conversation with Corey, letting him know all the things I expected from their marriage—respect, communication, loyalty, and undying love for my sister.
Sighing, I looked at the rest of the people in the picture.
My sister’s maid of honor sat next to the newlyweds. Always silly, Jade displayed a goofy smile, tongue out, and eyes intentionally crossed.
For all the years I’d known her, Jade could never keep a serious expression for a photo. She’d been our next-door neighbor forever. During high school, I was enrolled in a community college photography class. For the final project, I asked my sister and her best friend to model for me. I’d really wanted it to only be Jade. Her beautiful brown skin always glowed in the sun. I yearned to capture it on film. However, it would have been weird for me to just ask Jade to take photos, so I included my sister. While Zora took the project seriously, Jade remained the clown, constantly giving me funny faces. Lucky for her, I aced the course.