A quarantine romance
Categories: Original Fiction Characters:
March 25 2020 Updated:
April 08 2020
1. ONE by marchpisces92
2. TWO by marchpisces92
3. THREE by marchpisces92
"Don't fucking talk to me unless completely necessary"
"Um okay do you want a meat omelette or a veggie one?"
"I'm not eating anything you cook"
"So are you planning to starve for the next two weeks?"
"Didn't I say don't talk to me unless necessary?"
"You would think we could be civil given our names"
"This isn't The Little Mermaid! I'm getting really tired of that joke"
Sebastian Stone smirked as Ariel Carmichael scoffed at him. If looks could kill he'd be six feet under right now.
"You're much cuter than any mermaid Carmichael"
"Keep the compliments for some other woman to drop her panties Stone"
"I didn't mention your panties but we could discuss those if you want"
"Yeah not doing that"
"Where are you going?"
"None of your damn business"
Sebastian watched as his stubborn roommate slammed the door to the balcony; startling his Mastiff awake. The dog looked up at his owner in confusion.
"Well Triton looks like it's just you and me for breakfast boy"
Ariel let out a deep breath as she took in the fresh mountain air as she sharpened her pencils to start a fresh drawing in her sketchbook. She really could not believe her dumb luck.
She had been told that she would have a roommate she'd have to share the cabin with when she booked it back a few months ago.
What were the chances that it would just so happen to be fucking Sebastian Stone?
There are seven point seven billion people in the world why the hell was that smug asshole her roommate?
Ariel was hoping to use this time to recharge herself and rejuvenate her creative juices and maybe even learn some things about herself that she didn't know. There were also some demons she wanted to get rid of as well.
What she didn't expect was being isolated with a cocky football star and his drooling ironically named mutt.
Then on top of that because of the sudden outbreak of pandemic sweeping across the country from a virus called COVID19 a mandatory quarantine for at least two weeks possibly even more.
Ariel was honestly welcoming the thought of the virus just taking her out of her misery at this point. She's always heard the saying God has a sense of humor but surely God must also take into account people's limits.
Given her history with Sebastian and with other things she was trying to deal with; Ariel wasn't sure how she'd be able to handle this. Was God testing her or was God finding a sick sense of humor in this?
Just as Ariel was getting into the groove of her drawing she could hear the annoying pitter patter of Triton's paws at the door closely followed by the sound of his owner
"Calm down boy give me a second; we'll be outside in two seconds"
As soon as Sebastian unhooked the latch the drool monster came flying out barking happily at the family of birds in the near by tree.
"Well thanks to your mutt there goes my sketch; red cardinals are rare"
"Hey you can't blame a dog for wanting some fresh air; plus we're in the mountains there will be other birds"
Ariel rolled her eyes in annoyance as Sebastian sat down across from her in the other balcony chair. He had two steaming mugs that he placed on the table.
"I made some hot cocoa"
"You're almost thirty I'm not giving you a cookie for something an eight year old can make"
"I don't expect it" Sebastian chuckled "just wanted to make sure you had something hot in your stomach since you decided to skip out on breakfast"
The two of them were silent for a minute and Ariel refused to look Sebastian in the eye; she didn't want to give him that satisfaction.
"So why are you up in the Pocono mountains all by yourself for Carmichael?"
"This isn't a necessary conversation"
"Actually it is" he insisted "women don't just plan solo trips like this I was surprised to find you here by yourself"
"I'm grown I don't need anyone to accompany me besides you came alone too"
"Technically I have Triton here plus I'm a straight white man statically nobody is going to mess with me like they would a young black woman"
"I've been up here two days before you came clearly I'm fine"
"True but now you have two guys here to protect you"
"Well excuse me for not leaping for joy"
Despite there being a deadly apocalyptic virus being spread it was actually a gorgeous late March day. The first day of spring, sixty degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. Sebastian watched Ariel tear the page out of her sketchbook and tapped her pencil annoyingly at her kneecap.
"It's too nice of a day for you to be pissed Carmichael"
"I didn't ask you Stone"
"Are you going to be this way the entire time? That could be a very long time considering the quarantine"
"It's just an extra two weeks"
"Could be longer than that"
"I'm not speaking it into existence"
"You don't want to spend the possible end of the world with me?"
"If it really is the end of the world then I've been cheated"
"I don't care"
Sebastian took note of how Ariel never made direct eye contact with him. The only time she did was when he showed up two nights ago and when she recognized him she quickly averted her chocolate brown eyes away from his sea blue ones. He hadn't had the privilege of seeing them since.
Ten years passed since the last time Sebastian saw Ariel.
Ten years passed since they graduated high school.
Late teens is one stage of life and late twenties is another.
Time usually heals old wounds but the way Ariel was acting towards him; told him that some don't.
"I was just thinking" Sebastian said "this time ten years ago someone had a huge crush on me"
Ariel paused her pencil but she still refused to look at Sebastian
"You happen to remember who that young lady was?"
"No I don't"
"You sure about that?"
"Yes I'm sure and whoever she was she's ten years older and moved on from you"
"Really because I don't think she has"
"Stone you can sit out here and relive your glorious formative years by yourself"
Ariel got up and Triton turned to her wagging his tail excitedly wanting and she ignored the friendly Mastiff and went inside. Triton looked over to Sebastian as he was now confused because the dog was always used to getting affection.
"Carmichael's a tough cookie boy; but don't worry all cookies crumble eventually"
Ariel took a deep breath as she finished up the last coat of gesso on her first canvas board and saw that she had three more to do. It was already almost one in the morning. To be fair she had to put at least five coats of gesso on to make the previous image permanently gone.
Ariel wiped the tears that were pricking at the corners of her eyes before they fell. These were the only four canvases that Hassan Mitchell managed to not completely destroy.
"Burning the midnight oil Carmichael?"
"What's it to you Stone?"
Did Sebastian not have any other hobbies outside football; bothering her, his drooling monster he calls a dog, and making corny Little Mermaid references?
"It just seems a little late to be painting"
"I'm not painting I'm prepping"
"Okay prepping then"
"Night is the best time for most artists to work since there no distractions"
"Why are you covering up your finished paintings?"
"I'm recycling them to start new ones"
"Because I can"
"I guess that's the only explanation I'm going to get"
"I've already told you more than you deserved to know"
It was quiet between them the only sound that could be heard was the rain pattering down on the roof of the cabin. Ariel did her best to ignore how Sebastian just felt entitled to just walk in and all around her art space. It was a small room adjacent to the living room so she claimed it. It was hers.
Who the hell did Sebastian Stone think he was?
Sure he was a superstar football player now but to Ariel he would always be that douche from high school who----
"Hey I remember this one"
"Isn't this the painting you did for senior show? It won first place"
Ariel's heart dropped as Sebastian stood in front of one of the best works she ever did; a gorgeously rendered self portrait that she did when she was only seventeen.
Her magnum opus and it managed to get her numerous scholarships to college.
She was honestly was surprised that Sebastian remembered it given their social hierarchy in high school; it's not like it was football trophy.
"I don't remember this part though," he said studying it a little closer "what happened here?"
Ariel knew what Sebastian was talking about. In the self-portrait right at Ariel's neck there was a huge ugly jagged smear of black paint.
Hassan did that and he had done that on purpose because he knew how much she had loved this piece. He had been not only physically abusive but emotionally abusive as well.
Hassan had fully intended to destroy this painting to hurt her. Ariel swore that the smear across her neck was intentional to represent how her voice in their relationship didn't matter.
Why did it hurt still?
They broke up two years ago.
"That's what I said"
"I find that hard to believe Ariel"
It was the first time Sebastian had addressed her by her first name since he got here.
"I didn't ask you to" she replied a little defensively "besides I'm going to gesso it"
"You don't want to do that"
"Yes I do"
"Trust me Carmichael if you wanted to do that you would have done it already"
Ariel frowned biting her lower lip she didn't know why she was letting Sebastian get under skin about it. It's not like she cared about his opinion anyway.
"It's late" Sebastian said breaking her thoughts "why don't you sleep on it?"
"It's not going to change my mind"
Then much to her annoyance Ariel watched as Sebastian took the self-portrait and purposely placed it on the top shelf of the bookcase and propped it up against a vase.
"Hey!" she protested, "I can't reach that!"
"Stone what the hell!"
Sebastian knew exactly what he was doing; he was much taller than Ariel so it was a piece of cake for him to put the self-portrait there. Ariel would need a ladder or a step stool to get it back down herself.
"Now you have no choice but to sleep on it," he said "maybe even think about it for a few days since we're quarantined"
"Fuck you Stone!"
"Sweet dreams to you too Carmichael"
Now Ariel was certain that God was testing her.
A test named Sebastian Walter Stone.
"I'm taking Triton for a walk and you're coming with us"
"No I'm not"
"Yes you are"
"I'm not a fucking child Stone!"
"Then stop acting like one and get your shoes and jacket on"
Without warning Sebastian came over to where Ariel was sitting at the kitchen island table and took her bowl of oatmeal and dumped it in the sink
"You chose to do this the hard way Carmichael"
Ariel felt her cheeks grow warm from embarrassment and unwanted butterflies as Sebastian kneeled down in front of her and gently placed each of her shoes on and tie her laces like she was a damn toddler.
At the same time she found herself being moved by the gesture, which confused the hell out of her because she was a grown woman now not the love struck teenager she used to be.
"That wasn't so bad"
"I'm still pissed at you"
"Of course you are"
Sebastian was well aware of how pissed off Ariel was at him and he didn't care.
There was no way in hell he was going to let her purposely ruin what was considered her best work. He was curious about why she was so nonchalant about the ugly smear across her portrait.
He knew she didn't do that.
"I want to work on my paintings"
"You're too impulsive right now"
"What are you my father?"
"Wouldn't be possible aren't we like three months apart in age?" he smirked "besides the fresh mountain air will do you some good"
Triton came running from the kitchen and immediately started barking happily and pawed happily at the door.
"Looks like somebody is ready to" Sebastian chuckled "you want to get your jacket or do you need me to help you with that too?"
"Fine" Ariel flustered "but just this once I didn't come up here to be constantly nagged by the two of you"
"Alright Triton slow down a little bit boy!" Sebastian chuckled
The huge tan and brown Mastiff looked back at his owner with his tongue hanging happily and what looked like all of the drool he had hanging down his jaw.
Ariel wrinkled her nose at that. It wasn't that she didn't like dogs in fact she loved most cats and dogs but the ones like Triton annoyed her because they were considered "big manly" dogs that men usually have.
A simple Beagle or even a Labrador Retriever doesn't scream masculinity. She was sure he was a sweet dog but he was too much for her.
"You don't have a leash for him?"
"At home yes but usually out in places like the forest or mountains I prefer to let Triton go" Sebastian replied "besides I have him well trained enough so he listens to my command"
"Who takes care of him during football season? I mean when you have to travel"
"I have a neighbor who watches dogs and a cousin who sometimes crashes at my place so he watches him too"
Once Sebastian and Ariel caught up with Triton the dog went sniffing around for a spot to relieve himself. When Triton lifted his back leg to urinate Ariel was surprised to see that the large dog was very much intact.
"You never got him fixed?"
"No" Sebastian chuckled "obviously not if he still has his testicles"
"Most people get their pets fixed Stone"
"Well I'm not most people Carmichael you know that; besides I'm not castrated so why should my dog be?"
Ariel blushed and then rolled her eyes as if she wanted to know about the state of Sebastian's genitals. Men can be so damn typical sometimes. Given his super star athlete status Ariel was sure that he had women on heavy rotation in and out of his bed.
"I hope you're keeping him away from female dogs then"
"Trust me Triton hasn't fathered any puppies; not possible since he's an only dog"
Once Triton was finished he immediately began chasing a squirrel that caught his attention.
"I could talk about Triton all day he's the best dog I've ever had" Sebastian said "but I'd rather talk about you Carmichael"
Ariel paused refusing to once again give him direct eye contact
"What about me?"
"I don't know you tell me," he said putting the ball in her court "it's been ten years"
If Sebastian could pick out the one thing that had not changed about Ariel Carmichael in the past decade it was her being reserved. She had always kept to herself for the most part.
Sebastian looked over at her and she looked away from him. It didn't help that some of her burgundy red passion twists covered half of her face making her look like her namesake mermaid.
Ariel had the habit of biting her lower lip when she was thinking, doing her artwork, or sometimes when she was just plain nervous.
"You're pretty determined not to look me in the eye"
"I don't have to"
"I'd still like to talk to you" Sebastian said, "it looks like you're still quite the artist---"
"It's a hobby" Ariel replied rigidly "nothing more and nothing less"
"You seem to enjoy it"
"What do you mean by that?"
"It's hard to sometimes that's all; my oil paintings don't pay the bills Stone"
"Life is short Carmichael that doesn't mean you stop doing what you enjoy doing"
"Life is also isn't some walk in the woods it throws curveballs sometimes"
"That's true" Sebastian agreed "but you do realize you're talking to a professional athlete I'm used to curveballs"
"You're also a straight white man with privilege"
"Yeah that too"
"I don't have that"
Sebastian picked up on the sadness and the insecurity in his former classmate's voice and it made him angry for her to hear that.
"You're right" he said seriously "you're not white and you certainly aren't a man but your art is obviously your voice"
Ariel stopped in her tracks as her mind wandered back to her prized self-portrait.
"Hassan! Please don't!"
"Your art ain't worth a damn anyway just like you"
"I have a regular voice just like everyone else" Ariel insisted stubbornly
"No it's not like everyone else's it's different and you know that"
"I do my art for me not for everyone else"
"That's not you Ariel"
"Yes it is"
"No it's not because even I remember how excited you used to get about the annual art shows in high school and senior year is when you shined"
"Well that was then and this is now"
"Or something happened to make you change your view of your art"
There was silence between them now and Ariel found herself replaying the same scene of Hassan breaking her down physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Before either of them said anything more; Triton came running back to them.
"Aw Triton what happened boy? You smell like a skunk!"
"I think he got sprayed by one"
Triton barked happily wagging his tail obliviously as if he didn't stink to the high heavens. It looked like walk time was over.
An hour later Ariel was watching a very shirtless Sebastian scrub down his two hundred pound Mastiff. She knew he was an athlete but damn he was....well the definition of ruggedly handsome. She had been attracted to him in high school but adult Sebastian was on a whole different level.
"Hold still boy! You're getting more suds on the porch then on you"
Triton barked as he shook himself down sending the soapy water all over the place and Sebastian laughed.
"Are you ready to rinse him off?" Ariel asked as she awkwardly stood far away enough from Triton with the water hose
"Yup fire away"
Ariel sent the strong spray of water flying to Triton and the dog's fur became free of the suds and he jumped up and down excitedly.
Triton became so excited that he hopped out of the large tin tub and onto Ariel knocking her to the ground.
"Stone get him off me!"
Triton attacked Ariel's face with his tongue and gave her many kisses much to her dismay.
"Alright boy knock it off!" Sebastian whistled at the dog "come on Triton!"
Giving Ariel one last "kiss" Triton got off of her and went to go shake his fur dry at the other end of the porch.
"You alright Carmichael?" Sebastian asked holding out his hand to help her up
"I don't know I just got the wind knocked out of me by your dog"
"I see he left you some kisses too"
"Those were kisses?"
"To him they are yes"
Sebastian handed Ariel a clean towel to wipe her face and said
"Then again I can't blame him for wanting to kiss a pretty woman"
Ariel blushed and she wished that Sebastian hadn't had said that; at least not with his shirt off. Was he really flirting with her or was he just teasing.
"He's going to need plenty of more baths" Ariel said quickly changing the subject "skunk stench doesn't just go away with one"
"Oh I'm sure of it but the question is are you going to be my lovely assistant while doing so?" Sebastian asked crossing his arms bringing attention to his chest
"No I told you just once" Ariel replied "now I'm going to shower and change"
"Can you be sure to leave some hot water for me?"
"I can do that"
"Or we could just shower together and conserve the water"
Ariel threw the towel back at Sebastian and made her way back into the cabin.
"Not happening Stone"
"I'm just teasing you Carmichael"
What an arrogant cocky asshole....but after today Ariel did see the sensitive side of Sebastian and she was starting to feel conflicted about her feeling for him.
Feelings she hadn't had for ten years.
"Hey Bash what's up man? How are you and Triton doing?"
"We're doing alright just got through eating dinner"
Sebastian smiled as he watched Triton let out yawn as he rolled on his back. The mastiff had been sleeping on the balcony for the past two nights so he didn't reek the cabin with his skunk funk.
Sebastian had just finished eating his hearty bowl of chili on the balcony as he watched the sun set on past the Pocono mountain skyline.
Ariel had chosen to eat dinner inside and was painting now; so she was still keeping her distance. Their talk in the forest must have scared her and she was still pissed off about him putting her self-portrait on the bookcase.
Sebastian made a mental note to check on her once he was finished talking to his cousin Barnett.
"How you liking it out in the mountains country boy?" Barnett teased
"Hey you keep on forgetting that I'm originally from the area I wasn't born in Manhattan like some spoiled cousins I know"
"You picked a hell of a time to go" Barnett said, "this corona virus is literally all over the city"
"It's everywhere man"
"So it's just you and Triton quarantining together?"
"No actually the cabin was also rented by another tenant so I'm sharing it with her"
"Her?" Barnett humored "sounds like you're having a cozy quarantine"
"Knock if off dude" Sebastian chuckled "she's an old acquaintance from high school"
"Hey you never know I'm just glad it sounds like you're getting over Gretchen"
"I wasn't about to raise a baby that's not biologically my child; she cheated on me"
"True but I can see why she she'd try to pass off her baby as yours with your NFL check she'd be set for at least eighteen years"
Sebastian cringed and found himself annoyed; he thought Gretchen loved him but he was wrong she loved his dollar signs more.
"Look I came out here to take some of my mind off of Gretchen and recharge my batteries" Sebastian said "I was getting myself ready for the draft at the end of April but with the way the virus is going it might have to be virtual anyway"
"Yeah and you might have to stay with your acquaintance for a while too maybe you'll get better acquainted"
"Alright dude you stay out trouble and tell Uncle Rick I said hello"
Fuck Gretchen Adams
It's dark now and Triton was fast asleep.
It to check up on the creative mermaid and see what creative mess she was doing.
Ariel accidently touched her cheek getting some gesso on it. She just spent the last two hours applying gesso to her other two canvas boards. The whole time she kept looking up at her self-portrait that Sebastian propped up on the bookcase.
She still couldn't believe he did that. He was so fucking arrogant and it wasn't his place to do that. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? Three time winning running back of the Super bowl in the last ten years that's who.
Most people are able to move on from their high school crush but that was hard to do when that person is constantly in the spotlight. Meanwhile look at what Ariel was a failure of an artist and still running from the scars her ex boyfriend left her.
When Ariel zeroed in on the slash at the throat again and found herself getting angry that she was getting upset over it.
"Ariel turn that light off I'm trying to sleep"
"I'm sorry Hassan but I have to finish this piece I told the client I'd have it done tomorrow"
"I have to get up for work at six though"
"Could you sleep in the living room tonight?" Ariel asked.
It was already almost eleven and Ariel had just gotten home from her day job; she was tired too but she had to keep her freelance business running.
"This is my house I should be able to see in my damn room"
"Okay I'll work in the living room then---"
"No I can't sleep with any of the lights on that light always peaks through the bedroom"
"But I need to work---"
"No the hell you don't Ariel!" Hassan cut her off harshly "you really think a painting is more important than my job that pays for this apartment?!?"
"That's not fair Hassan I still work a day job too---"
"It's not enough Ariel!" he snapped at her "you need to get a real job this art shit isn't cute anymore!"
Hassan reached over Ariel's shoulder and ripped the sheet of watercolor she had set up to paint in two.
"That was for a paying client Hassan!"
"I don't care!" he retorted "this art shit ends now!"
Hassan then stomped into the living room and proceeded to go through the rest of Ariel's art supplies and works to destroy them.
"Hassan! Please don't!"
"Your art ain't worth a damn just like you"
Hassan then took her prized self portrait and smeared a tube of black paint on it purposely---
"HASSAN STOP IT!"
"You alright Carmichael?"
Ariel turned around to see Sebastian enter the room and she was immediately embarrassed. She tried to wipe her tears away but forgot that she had gesso on her fingers and ended up smearing some on her face. Along with the gesso on her cheek she probably looked crazy.
"You don't look okay," Sebastian said folding his arms "you look upset and sounded like you were crying"
"What are you a detective Stone?" Ariel spat back hiding her embarrassment
"I'm no Sherlock Holmes but anyone can tell you're upset right now" Sebastian said
Ariel bit her lip refusing to look at him.
"Why don't we go wash that gesso off?"
"I can do it"
"You can trust me Carmichael," he said taking her hand "come on"
"Turn your face up so you're looking at me" Sebastian gently teased her "I need to see those pretty brown eyes"
"Save it Stone" Ariel said "you've seen one pair of brown eyes you've seen them all"
Sebastian wrung the warm washcloth from its excess water and chuckled. Ariel felt like a little kid who scrapped her knee on the playground as she waited for Sebastian to clean her face as she sat on the toilet seat.
"Something tells me Carmichael brown eyes are special though"
It was already a tight and intimate space in the little bathroom so when Sebastian kneeled down in front of Ariel it felt that way even more so.
Sebastian gently rubbed the washcloth against Ariel's cheek to pick up some of the caked up gesso.
"So you want to tell me how this ended up on your face and not your canvas?" he asked trying to lighten the mood.
"It got on my canvas it's just sometimes when I paint my materials are all over the place"
"Were you one of those little kids in preschool who went ham on finger painting projects?" he asked
Ariel blushed and couldn't help but give a little smile
"Looks like I've got you"
"My dad has pictures of the day he picked me up from my first day of preschool and I was covered from head to toe in paint from a simple finger paint project" Ariel said "I had just turned three years old"
"Yeah" Ariel said "my dad said that from day forward he knew that I would be an artist like my mom"
"Your mom is an artist too?"
"Was" Ariel corrected, "she died giving birth to me"
"I'm sorry to hear that"
"It's life" she insisted, "my dad has shown me pictures and home videos of her"
"Yeah but still it must be tough as a girl especially to not have your mother"
Ariel didn't reply and Sebastian continued to wash her face.
"You want to tell me who Hassan is---"
A tear that Ariel had been trying to hold back ended up rolling down her cheek into the washcloth.
"I said no Sebastian" she said firmly her body shook a little bit. It was the first time she addressed him by his first name since he got here. Ariel was pretty serious about that boundary.
Sebastian put the washcloth down and took her hands in his. Ariel tried to take her hands back but Sebastian took a light grip of her wrists to keep them in place.
"Hey look at me"
Ariel reluctantly looked in Sebastian's eyes
"If you want to talk about him I'm here okay?"
"Okay" she replied "but I don't want to talk about him"
Silence fell between the two of them as Sebastian finished cleaning up Ariel's face until all of the gesso was gone.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.