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Never Been Kissed
Author: M.C. Cerny

March 13th 2020…

 

 

It was the first day I started working from home when this started. I thought about how surreal, scary, and crazy this has been. It was the worst adaptation of a dystopian reality I could think of, and that’s how Laurel and Donovan came to be…two soft voices who wanted to tell a different sort of story.

 

May you find humor in this short romance. It’s not meant to make light of the current World situation, but rather bring a needed smile. I’m also donating a portion of the profits to my favorite NYC animal rescue. Help where you can. I hope you will see a light at the end of the tunnel, a happy ending for all of us. Keep the humor and funny memes coming.

XO - MC

 

 

Never Been Kissed

 

 

I’m an anxious nerdy girl living in a turbulent world.

 

 

We’re in the midst of a pandemic. I live with my family in our cramped apartment where privacy comes at a premium. May is going to be one heck of a meltdown. To top it off, I’ve been crushing on my boss and used a dating app to get over him. I was supposed to meet my online date for the first time when the city put a shelter in place order, and now…we have a Skype date to meet for the very first time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to die a virgin before this thing ends.

 

 

It’s the end of my world as I know it, and I still haven’t figured out if I feel fine.

 

 

1

 

 

Laurel

 

 

Most people hate Mondays. Unequivocally hate them. They send memes of cats punching air and dogs drooling. It’s the kind of dislike that borders on unfair, but remains completely understandable to the rest of the human population, so much so that it’s repeated every Monday like clockwork. My best friend Tess has a whole slip file dedicated to her dislike of Mondays.

Since I live with my mother, sister, and niece in a cramped Brooklyn apartment, I love them.

Immensely.

For me, Monday is a fresh start. It’s always sunny. A new day to escape my closet sized bedroom and head into my busy office where I work long days for a boss that will never notice. Mostly because I’m at the bottom of the office totem pole, and I’ve done everything possible to remain unnoticeable and yet gainfully employed.

There’s a method to my madness because me taking note of my boss means I’m distracted. Distracted means I’ll mess up one of my projects and then get called into his office on wobbly knees and stutter through my apology while trying to not stare at his lovely perfectly formed face. What can I say? He’s unfairly attractive if they were divvying up good looks. And I’m…well, I’m just me.

The things I do know about Donovan Ward include him statistically dating the majority of tall, lithe blonde goddesses with the IQ of a peanut between the ages of twenty-five and thirty. I realize I’m not being fair to that subset of the female population, but jealousy is a green-eyed Hulk monster named Laurel Murphy when I’ve indulged in way too many wine coolers on a lonely Friday night.

I accept this because I know it’s temporary. Someday, I’ll have my own design studio, my own apartment, and a cat. Maybe a doting boyfriend? Considering my dating life has been harshly hampered by my living situation that will also have to wait. This is why I love Mondays, it’s fresh with opportunity and hope for something better.

For the moment, I hum my favorite Rhianna song. It’s blasting through my ear buds and I’m hip checking to the beat. Examining my phone, I have an unopened email correspondence from a guy I’ve been connecting with recently through a dating app. We’re supposed to meet later this week and I’m buzzing with excitement and nerves. Mostly nerves, but still, it will keep my mind off Donovan Ward and my focus on work. It’s my version of church and state separation, and so far, it’s been working out fine.

The sidewalk bustles with my tribe of coffee drinking, briefcase totting, paper reading commuters whom I join riding the subway. Wind whistles past shiny silver skyscrapers and I look up at the sun reminding myself I’m one day closer to my goals. Blinded for a second, I walk into a businessman chatting on his phone who yells an obscenity at me to get out of his way. Ah, New York City, I love everything about its pulse. Even the slightly sour smell that stings my nose and urges me to hurry along brings a certain peace walking up the steps to my office in downtown Manhattan.

“Laurel! Wait up!”

Turning, I spot my co-worker and best friend Tess who hurries carrying two coffees. I pop out my ear buds to grab the cup she thrusts at me. It’s luck that keeps the lid on tight from popping off to splash me with hot coffee.

“Here, take one. It might be the last time we drink Starbucks.” She pants back.

I take a fortifying sip. “Why would we ever be denied this life affirming nectar of the gods?” Raising my hand up to the sky, I can’t imagine changing my ritual of standing in line a few times a week since Tess and I switch on and off who buys coffee. It’s blasphemy for her to think differently.

Tess huffs, “Haven’t you been following the news at all?”

I swallow the hot drink and use my key card to open the door for us as we enter the lobby, pass through security and wait for the elevator.

“I’ve watched some, but I’ve been a little busy.” Busy figuring out how I’m going to pay off my student loan and get my own place before my family drives me bananas.

The elevator dings and we move inside jammed in the corner with a dozen other employees. Our office is on the sixteenth floor where the open floorplan gives us amazing views that are supposed to inspire us. Personally, I think it’s so the higher ups can keep an eye on us. I’m one of the newer graphic designers given the freedom to work from home, but I actually thrive in the office not including the eye candy that is my boss. The computer here is nicer and I don’t have my mother or our dog Marley underfoot.

“Right. That online dating.” Tess waves her hand in the air dismissing my twenty-first century romance and continues with her panicked explanation.

“So, there’s like this flu thing going around, but not the bird one. This one is worse and it made like half the world sick and now that we have some cases here in the city everyone is in a panic. It’s really bad. I know you’ve been working on that project but how have you missed this?”

She keeps talking but I’m focused on Donovan Ward walking past us into the office at a brisk pace with his head down in his phone. I didn’t have time to date between finishing school and getting this job. Seeing as how my boss is this beautiful god like man, I needed a distraction. Something real to focus on instead of my creative imaging of washboard abs and messy dark hair. Thank god Tess can’t hear my internal ramblings and carries our conversation all on her own.

“Right, a pandemic as you said. Am I going to have to go grocery shopping after work?” I tap my lips with my pen. What I’m really thinking about is having to cancel my date and make sure our bathroom closet is stocked.

“Don’t do that.” Tess smacks my pen from hand and I pick up another one from my drafting table where my designing tablet is set up. I raise my eyebrows and Tess huffs clearly irritated with me. My pen, my face even though I know she’s right.

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