Love Brought Them Together When a Pandemic Forced Them Apart
A deadly, viral pandemic tears across the world, and on the eve of a nationwide lockdown, Daisy Colton leaves an abusive relationship, moving halfway across the country and back to her childhood home.
Unemployed and mending a broken spirit, she soon finds friendship in Luke Richards, her young, handsome neighbor, who seems like a prince straight off the silver-screen of Daisy’s favorite movies. Bonding over a shared love of books like Tolkien, and quoting movie references to one another, they quickly form a connection deeper than anything she’s experienced before.
But a traumatic past is not so easily shaken, and with the constant threat of infection from the virus on every television channel and around every corner, Daisy must decide if the life she left is the easier road, or if a new life is worth dying for.
Daisy chuckled. Shaking her head, she uncapped her own marker and drew an X in the upper corner. He drew another O at the bottom of the column she was trying to fill in, so she placed an X at the end of the row. Luke blocked her move at the top of the center row, and she did the same at the bottom.
The games continued for several minutes. They expanded to a twelve-grid style, and the strategies became more difficult.
“Now you’re just letting me win,” Daisy said through the glass as she wiped the window clean on her side.
Luke drew a new board, turning his O into a heart. “Maybe I am.”
Daisy looked away, not only for the flush that rose in her face but to push away the pit that had formed in her stomach. She turned back, her eyes looking deep into Luke’s.
“Why are you doing this?”
Luke shrugged. “It was a rough day at work. I wanted to do something fun. Plus, I like you. You’re smart and funny. And I think you’re pretty. Double motivation.”
Daisy giggled, the pit in her stomach turning to butterflies and the blush growing stronger.
Mrs. Colton laughed again, and Daisy heard her mother bidding farewell to her friends.
“My mom’s coming. I need to go.” Daisy said. The last thing she wanted was for her mother to find her flirting with Luke through the window in the middle of the night. She was a grown adult, but it didn’t mean she wanted to deal with the teasing.
Luke quickly wiped his side of the window. He glanced over Daisy’s shoulder, and Daisy followed his gaze. Mrs. Colton was still in her room. She turned back and froze, her breath held tight. Luke stood so close to the window, if the pane had not been there to separate them, she would have felt his breath on her face. He held her gaze, their breath fogging the window between them.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”
He winked and disappeared through the flowerbed, appearing in the light of the streetlamp when he reached the sidewalk. Daisy watched him dart across the street, slipping into his house and greeting Apollo again as if he’d been gone for days.
“What are you doing?”
Daisy jumped a mile. Her mother stood in the living room, one hand on her hip.
“Just… playing some tic-tac-toe,” Daisy said. She raised the paper towel to the window, wiping away the vestiges of her game with Luke, and hiding the remnants of his breath on the exterior of the glass until it had faded.
Pepper bounded onto the window seat, his front paws pressed against the glass, staring outside.
“Maybe try paper next time,” Mrs. Colton said, shaking her head. “Don’t stay up too late, Sunshine. Good night.”
“Right. Good idea. Uh, goodnight.”
Luke’s living room light went dark, and Pepper’s ears swiveled in curiosity. Daisy let out a cleansing breath as her phone vibrated beneath her thigh.
Luke: Goodnight, Juliet.