Q: Would you like to read 500 words of Quarantine AU featuring which ship from Solve for i?
I’m not going to say it was because of Bree’s cooking, but it was 100% because of Bree’s cooking: my favourite bikini didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t too small in a sort of cute sexy way, either, it was too small in a scandalous I-would-be-arrested-on-the-beach kind of way. My boobs (what there was of them) were literally at risk of breaking free of the cups at any moment, and the strap on my bottoms divided my middle like a sausage string.
I stared in dismay at my reflection. Why hadn’t I tried them on before quarantine?!
“Are you done? Can I see?” Mikey asked from the bed, dropping her hands from her eyes before I’d told her it was okay. Well, it was a bit too late to say no now, wasn’t it?! Her eyes were directly on the bisected sausage meat on my hips, and they were as wide as saucers. “Whoa.”
I grimaced. “Is it that bad?” I asked, feeling my cheeks go pink. I spun and began to hurriedly ferret around on the clothes pile I’d somehow amassed within 24 hours of staying at Henry’s Enormous Quarantine house. “I’ll just wear a t-shirt and shorts like you.”
In a smooth, athletic movement, she stood up from the bed and caught me before I was able to slip into the safety of a baggy t-shirt. “Shit, um, I meant, like, ‘whoa’ as in, ‘whoa, you’re totally hot’, not like, ‘whoa, it’s terrible’,” she mirrored my grimace. “Sorry, that kind of came out wrong.”
I could barely look at her. “No, it was probably my fault,” I glanced at myself in the mirror and caught a glimpse of more of my crotch than was legal. It was like looking directly into the sun. “Ugh! It’s just, like, look, I should probably shave again. I’ll just wear a t-shirt and shorts.”
She stopped me again. “Gemma,” she said, turning me slowly around to look me in my squinty eyes. “You look, like, mad hot. It’s fine. We’re going to be alone. Everyone else is still working.”
Something about her voice was kind of reassuring. I exhaled, opening my eyes properly. “Are you sure?”
She nodded. “Come on, you’ll be in the pool anyway. Let’s go!” She grabbed my hand and began to drag me out towards the living room and Henry’s pool. I yelped, but she was super strong so there wasn’t much I could do except follow her.
We cleanly snuck past the open door where Min was doing whatever art-design-thing she was doing without being spotted, and then lucked out when we needed to pass Henry’s office because he had the door closed (and you could hear some sort of super serious video conference going on inside), and we’d nearly made it all the way out to the pool when Mikey slid open the back door and stopped dead in her tracks. Naturally, I collided heavily with her.
It was so clumsy of me, I had to laugh. “Oh my gosh,” I told her as I stood back up behind her. “You can’t just stop like that, I—” There was someone in the doorway. “I…”
I’d recognise those predatory eyes anywhere. My stomach dropped all the way to the centre of the earth as Natalie Heiser said clearly, “Good afternoon.” There was ghost of a smug smile on her lips as she looked directly at Mikey. “‘Mikey’, isn’t it? Nice to meet you.” She extended a hand.
It was a power move. We weren’t supposed to shake hands because of Coronavirus. But, like, how could you not do exactly what she said?
She was still smiling. “Don’t worry,” she said easily. “I’m clean.”
While Mikey was hypnotised by Natalie and agonising over the handshake, I was acutely aware I was wearing basically nothing—almost less than she’d seen me in before!—and she was deliberately not looking at me just yet. Yet.
Mikey found her tongue. Then, she did something that super surprised me. “I-I think I’ll pass,” she said, voice wavering. “You know. Corona.” She laughed a bit nervously, inadvertently crushing my hand with how tightly she was holding it.
Natalie’s eyebrow twitched. For a second, I remembered how cold she went when she didn’t get her way—honestly, that was sort of a scarier prospect than literally anything else she could do—but she didn’t do anything like that. Instead, she sized Mikey up with something resembling respect.
Her smile returning, she nodded pleasantly and withdrew her hand. “I have to drop some court documents to Henry,” she said. “But I have time for a drink on the patio afterwards if you two would like some company by the pool.” She paused. “Remaining at a safe distance, of course.”
It was such a deceptively innocent offer. But, like… Wow. Natalie just sitting and watching us in the pool? That was—I wanted to say ‘terrifying’? And it totally would have been but also like ??? some part of me would totally have gone for it. I had no idea what Mikey thought about it, though. I’d told her about the thing with Natalie and she wasn’t at all bothered by it (actually she found the whole story kind of hilarious), but this was something totally different.
“If you’d like me to join you, pour a glass of red and leave it on the counter,” she told Mikey, stepping past us.
For one second, for one beautiful second that she was going to act like I wasn’t even there, but then—
She made eye contact with me.
Her eyes dipped to my red cheeks.
Then down to my breasts falling out of my too-small bikini.
Then all the way down my body.
Honestly, I think in the space of that second, all of me went redder than her lips.
“Hello, Gemma,” she said casually, and continued to Henry’s office.