Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"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.