Love in the Time of Coronavirus

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Chapter One

This all seems like a dream now, an impossible dream that is not only true but continues to evolve every day.

My name is Charlie. I’m a divorced, 48-year-old man with a daughter in college and an ex-wife who loves to tease and torture me from my house in Raleigh. I live in the beach house now, writing freelance stories and fishing mostly.

I’m lucky that I live the life I have. I sold my insurance business and the boring life that went along with it about 10 years ago and settled into the house we built as a tax write-off.

I invited friends down to go fishing. I let my daughter bring her friends home from college. Hell, I even let Sally come down sometimes when I’m traveling or when, inevitably, she needs something done to the house in Raleigh.

So that’s where the dream began. Of course, as dreams go, it’s sometimes a nightmare too.

Sally called the first week in March. I was packing to go to a college basketball tournament with friends when she told me she and our daughter Charlotte wanted to spend a week at the beach house.

At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. We did it all the time, always with me leaving just before they arrived. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see her. It was just better this way.

Three days into the arrangement, the world changed. The tournament I was at was abruptly canceled. A story I was working on for a magazine was canceled too. My friends all went home, and I headed to Raleigh to check in on the big empty house while my ex and my daughter enjoyed a week at the beach.

The first few hours driving down the highway seemed bizarre, almost other-worldly as the news was disturbing and the reality of the situation began to unfold. We were shutting down as a nation, and my state was leading the way.

Total lockdown.

As a freelance writer, I was about as non-essential as they came. And as an unemployed divorcee, Sally was basically stuck at the beach. Charlotte’s classes at Carolina were canceled, and for a brief time it seemed that the entire world had stopped spinning.

I remember walking into the house and thinking I was stuck there. In fact, for most of the next two days, I didn’t call anyone or walk outside or even consider making a run to the beach house. It was if I was quarantined as the last man on earth.

I walked around in boxers for two days, mindlessly checking on things around the house – the heating and air conditioning units, the hot water heater, the locks on the windows, the lighbulbs in the basement.

I was wandering back in time it seemed.

That night I had a dream about the old days, when Sally and I were young and Charlotte was a little girl. Our lives were simple then. I had a good job, and Sally stayed at home with Charlotte, and we played at the pool on the weekends and tried to have sex with a little one in the next room.

Sex was great with Sally. She was adventurous and loved experimenting with new ideas. She was the perfect Southern wife, conservative, prim and proper on the outside, a Baptist girl who still went to church on Sundays and sometimes hosted church gatherings on weeknights.

But in bed, she was the opposite. She was wild and loud, talking dirty as I attemtped to muzzle her to keep our daughter from waking up. She was insistent on trying something new every week or so. Toys, objects, role-playing, taboo. She was always coming up with a way to spice up our sex lives.

Of course, it eventually got out of control. I came back into the town one night a day early. I wanted to surprise her. But as I drove into town, I noticed her car outside a bar. It was a place we frequented before Charlotte was born. It was where many of our old friends still went.

So I was a little shocked when I saw her car outside the bar. I slowed and parked on the other side of the lot and started to walk into the bar, a little unsure of what I was walking into when I decided to walk over to her car for some reason.

As I got a few cars away, I noticed someone was in the passenger seat. It was dark, but the light from outside the bar made it so I could make my way to the other side of the car. I was prepared to drag some thief from the seat when I stopped dead in my tracks.

Sally was in there too, her head bobbing up and down on the guy’s cock. I was only a few feet away but they had no idea I was there. I was stunned. Transfixed on the scene. You could hear him moaning, hear him urging my wife to suck him harder. I could hear her too, making animal sounds as I realized his hand was on her ass, her skirt pulled over her waist.

I could barely breathe. I watched for several minutes, trying to decide what to do. I finally decided to leave, to go home and surprise her there.

But here’s the thing. When I got into my car, my cock was raging hard. As shocked as I was, I was somehow turned on.

That was a hard night, trying to maintain my composure. I didn’t confront her when she came home drunk. I’d sent the babysitter home and put Charlotte to bed when Sally stumbled in around midnight.

She topkapı escort smelled of sex and alcohol, and we went through the motions of surprise and happiness over my coming home early. She passed out on the couch, oblivious that she’d left her panties somewhere else.

I opened her legs and licked her clean as she slipped in and out of consciousness. I was overcome with emotions, anger and lust, rage and wanton desire. I fucked her harder that night than any other time in our lives. I left her on the couch, my cum running out of her freshly-fucked pussy.

Nothing would be the same after that.

The divorce came a year or so later. Little by little, she’d become more bold in stepping out, making excuses and telling lies. She’d come home at night thinking I knew nothing of her affairs. She would encourage me to clean her before I fucked her. She believed she was cucking me, and I was cucking myself.

We fucked like animals for almost two years when it became more than I could handle. I told her I was leaving. I told her I knew everything. She cried and denied and lied until I told her about the night outside the bar. She slapped me.

That was 20 year ago, and here I was in the house again, all alone with memories weighing on me. I walked around in a fog when suddenly I woke up. I’d been in touch with them a time or two, texting them, getting the impression they weren’t coming home. So like the devoted husband a generation earlier, I decided to surprise her.

I walked to the freezer in the garage and emptied it. I filled my SUV with everything I could scavenge from the two refrigerators, waited until nightfall then hit the road. I was going home.

The drive from Raleigh to the coast is all highway now, an easy drive even at peak beach summertime but a straight shot in the night with the nation shut down and no one on the roads but me and the truck drivers.

I never gave it a second thought that I might get pulled over. The only law enforcement I saw was the sheriff on our island. He was parked in the road, blue lights flashing and a spotlight aimed at oncoming traffic.

He walked to my car as I idled up to him.

“Hello Baker,” he said, calling me by my last name.

“Hello Earl,” I said. “Just going home. Everything here OK?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Just went past your house. Looks like a party’s going on.”

I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.

“Never a dull moment at our place, Earl,” I said.

It was past midnight. He waved me on, and I drove down to the beach road. I drove around the curve, and there it was. The party at Mr. B’s house. Every light in the house was on. Music was blaring. There were no cars in the driveway other than my old convertible and Charlotte and Sally’s BMWs.

I walked up the steps without anyone noticing there was company. I opened the front door and walked in. There was no one in the den or the kitchen, so I walked down the hallway toward the bedrooms. All the doors were closed except my bedroom, which was cracked.

I tip-toed to the corner and peeked in. What I saw will never leave me. Charlotte was on her back, her head thrown back moving from side to side. She was moaning. I knew that moan.

And between her legs was our 22-year-old daughter, eating her mom’s pussy with a passion. I stood and watched for what seemed like hours. It was probably only seconds.

Then I walked into the kitchen, turned the music off and made myself a drink. It only took a few seconds before they both ran down the hallway and into the den, where they stopped and looked on in horror.

Dad was standing in the kitchen. Neither of them had a stitch of clothes on.

“Evening girls,” i said.

They burst out laughing, both of them running to me. We all embraced behind the counter, me, my naked ex-wife and naked daughter.

And so began the dream. I wasn’t sure I wasn’t in a nightmare.

Chapter Two

I slept on the couch that night, and I had no idea where they slept until I crept down the hall the next morning to take a shower. No one was in my bed, which was already made. The room looked untouched, as if nothing had happened the night before.

We hadn’t had much of a conversation in the kitchen. They’d both walked out giggling, Sally confidently and Charlotte trying to cover herself.

When I got out of the shower, I threw on a robe and walked into the den, just as I had every morning I’d ever been there. Still, no one was up. I made coffee and walked out onto the deck.

The wind was blowing my robe open, but I didn’t care. I needed salt air. I needed to breathe. I needed to know what in the world was going on.

I finished my coffee and looked out across the water. The ocean was whipped into a white froth. A red sky seemed to be a warning not just for sailors but for who knew what?

I turned around just as a gust of wind blew my robe open again. For a second, I was completely exposed. My ex wife was standing in the doorway, one hand on her hip, her sunglasses ümraniye escort pulling back her long blonde hair, a Carolina t-shirt billowing over a pair of white bikini bottoms.

“Hello Sailor,” she said.

Then she walked up to me on her tip toes and kissed me on the lips.

“Welcome to the lockdown,” she said.

It was only then that I remembered the SUV was packed with everything from the house in Raleigh.

“Jesus!” I said, taking her hand and running down the steps.

“What is going on?” Sally asked.

I opened the back lid and started handing her steaks and frozen hot dogs, bottles of vodka and cartons of milk, frozen vegetables and fresh fruit, bread and bottles of water and Perrier and tonic water. We ran back and forth from the car to the freezer, filling it up and finally walking back to the car where Charlotte stood by the open passenger seat.

She looked just like her mother, tall and tanned, blonde and beautiful. She had a big smile on her face.

“Welcome home, Daddy,” she said, planting a big kiss right on my lips.

Then she handed Sally something from the front seat.

“You forgot this,” she said.

It was a vibrator. I’d packed it last.

We walked in laughing and making small talk of my drive down and their week stranded at the beach. Not a word was mentioned of the night before. Why they ran into the den with no clothes on was never explained. It just never came up again.

That was how we’d always been. Some things needed no explanation. Some things were better left unexplained.

The first few days together were strained. Lots of things went unsaid. We made chatter without any depth. We talked of mutual friends, of the unknown pandemic, of Charlotte’s situation with classes being canceled and my situation with lost assignments and uncertainty about how long we’d be living together.

We made meals, walked to the dune and looked down on the beach where Earl was on a four-wheeler, patroling and keeping people away from the water. We drank in the evenings and told stories of long ago.

And when it was time for bed, Sally would go to the guest room, Charlotte would go dowstairs to one of the bedrooms on the lower floor. I’d usually fall asleep on the couch then make my way to my bed late at night.

Sometimes the bedside light would be on in Sally’s room. Sometimes I would linger by the door, but I didn’t go in. We weren’t there yet.

The days turned to weeks and then to months, and we slowly became more comfortable around each other to the point that we began to flirt more, to laugh more.

Eventually, we made out on the couch, tears in Sally’s eyes as the old days washed over us. Charlotte would give us space. We talked into the night, settled some old scores.

The days were breezy and fun. The evenings a bit tense as we cooked and ate, sometimes in silence, sometimes just listening to Charlotte chattering about her Carolina friends, their wild parties and best-laid plans.

We settled into a routine. But I could tell there was tension beyond just being with my ex again, beyond the obvious situation being quarantined together, having to make decisions about food and grocery shopping and getting by in a new normal that was nothing but for the Bakers of Brunswick County.

I was somehow in the way.

Life had gone without me after the divorce. They’d become closer. So had Charlotte and I, but we’d existed in parallel spheres for 20 years. The scene on the first night back at the beach house hung in the air. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know I’d seen anything, at least that was how I rationalized it.

But every single night, I’d go to bed thinking about it and thinking about Sally all those years ago in the front seat of her car. That was the worst time of my life, a confused time when I tried to hold onto a marriage, going so far as having sloppy seconds with my own wife, just holding onto something that was slipping away.

And here we were again, all together, grown older and wiser and maybe stronger through the years. But the truth was, Sally and I hadn’t been together in 20 years. Charlotte and Sally had. And now I’d seen them together in a way I could’ve never imagined.

I would go to bed with a hard cock thinking about my wife with another man and my daughter with my ex wife. I masturbated to one or the other every single night.

Chapter Three

Charlotte was the glue. She was living a dream herself. For all those years, she’d kept me updated on Sally, telling me about her boyfriends, her sex life, her affairs and friendships and breakups and the fallout.

She said a hundred times, “Mom still loves you.” And I said a hundred times “And I love her.”

But she never knew of the cheating. She never knew the details of the divorce. She just wanted her parents to be together again. And here we were.

After three months together, we were getting a little stir crazy. The beach had opened up at least, and we went on long walks, sometimes üsküdar escort alone, sometimes Sally and Charlotte and sometimes just Charlotte and I. But not Sally and I. Other than a night or two kissing and crying on the couch, we hadn’t truly been alone.

And then one night Charlotte told us there was going to be a bonfire, a beach party among the youngsters, the surfer boys and the locals, college kids and a handful of young people stranded on the island since March.

It was June, and it was time.

Sally and I were weathered by the years. We’d fought on the phone, fought over the house and old friends, the membership at the club, cars and alimony and taxes and investments.

We always made up, but we could never get past the elephant in the room. She’d cheated on me. I’d caught her red-handed. She cheated on me for two years after I’d caught her red-handed. That was what she held against me. That I knew. That I said nothing. That I dropped it on her one afternoon like a bomb.

She did everything wrong, but all she felt was me holding onto that anger, that confusion, all those emotions that ultimately killed us. That was what she held against me through the years.

And that was what was between us now. That hung over everything. We knew there was going to be a reckoning. We just didn’t know how to start it.

Or rather, we didn’t know how it would end once it started.

So we walked softly, avoiding it at all costs.

Until June. The night of the bonfire.

It started like any other Saturday night. Sally and Charlotte flitted about like birds, going through bikinis and summer outfits like school girls home for spring break. They laughed and hugged and generally acted as if they were the only two people in the house, the only two people on earth.

I just watched and listened, trying to act like I wasn’t watching or listening. They would whisper at times, mumurring secrets and talking in a language all their own, two best friends without a care in the world.

Of course, Sally settled on a white bikini bottom and a Carolina t-shirt torn midrift. It was never about the outfit, I realized. It was about bonding. When they came out, they were beaming. I stood in the kitchen with a vodka tonic in my hand.

“Daddy, can I take the convertible?” Charlotte asked.

“Of course you can,” her mother answered without even looking my way.

She was busy making a drink for herself, noisily clinking ice into a lowball glass and pouring a little too much vodka into it.

Charlotte and I winked at each other and smiled.

“How late will you be out?” I asked.

It was a rhetorical question, and we both knew it. I’d asked it a hundred times before, and there was no answer.

“Not late,” she said. “Not too late.”

We all laughed as I threw her the keys. She caught them with one hand, like the second baseman she’d been all those years ago when she played Little League for my boys team. Charlotte more than held her own. She refused to play softball with the girls. She wanted to play with the boys. She wanted to play for her daddy.

She kissed me on the lips, a quick smack, then she opened the refrigerator and grabbed a beer.

“You guys have fun tonight,” she said, looking at Sally and putting her hand around my waist. “It’s time.”

As she walked away from me, her hand slid down my ass and I felt a slight squeeze as she walked toward her mother, kissed her on the lips and whispered something in her ear. They both giggled and looked at me, leering at me from top to bottom. Then they burst out laughing.

My cock was stirring. The bulge was evident.

Charlotte pranced out of the house and down the steps. We heard the car door open and close, the engine fire up and then rev as she gunned the convertible and hit the road, the back tires screeching with the gear shift.

“Our little girl has grown up,” Sally said, breaking the silence.

“She’s just like her mother,” I said, turning to freshen my drink.

Sally walked up beside me and snuggled her head against my chest.

“Is that a bad thing?” she asked, looking up with big questioning eyes.

She was so beautiful. We were in our 40s, in the prime of life. We’d lived, married, fought, divorced, fought some more and made up over and over again over time. If we were still in love neither of us would admit it to the other. Where we were going, neither of us knew.

“We’ll see,” I said.

I didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but Sally didn’t flinch. She kissed me on my bare chest, and I kissed the top of her head.

“C’mon,” she said. “Let’s walk on the beach.”

We walked until dark, all the way to the lighthouse and back, talking about nothing, walking in total silence for much of the way, holding hands, picking up shells, stopping to watch the sun disappear behind the dune and then walking on in silence.

At some point, we stopped and peered far down the beach. There was a tiny speck of flame. The bonfire party. We stood and watched it without speaking, instinctively wrapping our arms around each other. Then we were kissing.

It happened that quickly, neither of us saying a word, just melting into each other’s arms in a passionate kiss, our first real kiss in years. Our hands slid up and down each other’s back, sliding down to our asses, her hands slipping inside my shorts, mine inside her bikini bottom.

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