It was my turn in quarantine. Two weeks. They don’t tell you who’s the culprit. But when I started checking with my friends who else was in quarantine, I quickly figured out it had to be Don. Worth it! Totally! We kissed for the first time yesterday and it was amazing. I can’t stop smiling all day. Sucks though that now we have to wait for two weeks for our next IRL date.
‘You feel tense, do you need a hug?’ my couch asks. I don’t really feel like it, but if I say no, I know he’ll want to go into an in depth discussion to figure out where he went wrong in his assessment of the tension in my butt muscles, so I consent. The cushions wrap around my shoulders and belly, the fabric slightly increases in temperature and an overlay of fake skin starts making small circles on my back until the hairs in the back of my neck rise up. Then, it slowly lets go. ‘Whats up?’
I don’t want to confess that I am head over heals. But I guess I’m very bad at hiding it.
‘Is it that Don guy?’ my couch asks in a tone somewhere in between interested and contempted.
An infatuated sigh escapes my mouth.
‘Do you…’ Couchy clears his throat. I should ask what’s up with him. He’s never acted like this before. ‘Do you want to send him a DM, videochat, poke?’
Is it not too soon? Better let him wait a bit, I don’t want to seem desperate. But what if he thinks I’m the reason he is in quarantine? Better nip that in the butt. ‘Send him a DM please.’
‘Ok, go ahead.’
‘Hey, Don, what’s up. You also in Qt? Sucks, right? Uhm, do you want to, like … watch a movie or something?’
The reply comes half an hour later, when I’ve already convinced myself he’s ghosting me because he probably thinks I’m the infected one and I’m the worst person in the world to have let him kiss me in that state and also ugly and stupid and boring and two glasses into the most sour chardonnay I’ve ever tasted.
‘Yes, please, I miss you. Can’t wait to repeat that kiss. So you’re also Qt’d. All of my friends are as well, so sorry if it’s my fault.’
‘Don’t worry, these things happen, can’t wait to see you in two weeks. Hope we don’t get sick.’
‘Do… Ehm… Do you want to… hook up couches?’ Daring yet vulnerable. He might just be the one!
Butterflies are messing around in my stomach. I feel my cheeks getting warm. Good thing we didn’t turn on video yet. ‘Wait a sec.’ I pinch my index finger and thumb together to mute voice contact and call up a mirror to fix my hair and wait until the color in my face has returned to normal.
‘Ok, ready.’ A skin overlay appears on the armrest. The mechanical hand pops out and carefully touches the back of my hand. I remember us touching hands yesterday. His were clammy. Couches don’t sweat. I let my head sink into the cushion so he can feel my hair on his shoulder. It won’t really feel, and smell, like my hair. But hey, back in 2020 when this all started, all they had was 2D video call with bad sound quality. We should count our blessings.
Halfway through the movie, he builds up the courage to touch my knee and then my upper leg. I’ve done this before, but somehow this doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s just because I like him too much and I don’t want to be doing this virtually for the first time. But I also can’t stop thinking about that tone: Is it that Don guy?
I should stop him. He will understand that I want to wait until IRL, right? A second hand pops out of the cushion and lifts my shirt over my head. It starts moving over my naked upper body. I can’t stand it anymore. I start wriggling, trying to escape from its firm grip on me. ‘What wrong?’ asks Don.
‘Stop… I’d rather wait until IRL. I’m sorry.’
‘Wait with what? I’m not doing anything.’
The hand starts searching for the button on my pants. Don’s reassuring hologram disappears and the voice connection is blocked.