Bria paced between the hallway and the large sliding doors which bracketed the living and kitchen area of her apartment. She was going to go mad before this quarantine was over. How was she to spend two weeks locked in her house with nothing but the walls to stare at? She was already bored with watching television and she did not even have a lengthy project dossier to power through. All her active projects were now on hold due to the pending lockdown.
With her usual efficiency, she had a contingency plan for such a situation. Project timelines and estimated cost overruns had been adjusted with a few clicks. All the project leads had been notified of her quarantine and were being tested, as well as their significant others and staff. What a colossal mess.
She had been planning to coast for the rest of the week until she headed to Barbados for the interview. Now she was stuck inside.
“You alright in there?”
Riley’s voice followed the gentle knock at the door.
“Yes, thank you.” She was polite to a fault, even when irritated and that had always frustrated Riley.
She could not be mad at him. He had tolerated her numerous requests the night before for snacks and bottled water. She had planned to go shopping after work yesterday and look how her day had turned out.
To say she had been upset when he had put their large four-bedroom townhouse on the market to move next door to her after she had moved out, would be an understatement. Now, she was relieved to know he was close by. Although she had asked for a divorce, she had never ever called him for help, and he had not responded swiftly.
Last night, he had even offered to move in, declaring he was not afraid of the virus, but she had torpedoed that idea. No way would she put anyone else at risk. All her most recent contacts had been notified and were being tested.
Bria shuddered. She prayed no one else tested positive. She had been surprised when they told her assistant had the virus. They had worked closely together daily and so the risk was high.
“They are announcing another lockdown. So, I need to run out and pick up groceries for a few days. Anything you need me to get for you?”
She groaned out loud. Walking to the door, she placed her hand on it. She could imagine Riley standing with his palm on the door, head bent, waiting to hear her response.
“More fruit and vegetables, I guess. I’d really love to indulge in some wine, but I don’t think that’s a good idea now.”
“No worries. Soon enough, we’ll break out that bottle we’d been saving for the groundbreaking.”
Bria stepped back as if she had been hit. He could not see her face, but she could imagine he was waiting to hear her response. They had been about to break ground on a new home. Instead, she had hit him with her decision to end their five-year marriage.
“You still have it?”
“I do. I’m not going to drink it without you Bri. We had a deal.”
“I didn’t keep our end of it.”
“Baby, we can work this out,” she could hear his voice break. “Don’t concern yourself with that now. I’ll go get the groceries. Even grab some non-alcoholic wines for you. Figure out what movie you want us to watch later.”
“You can’t come in here Riley.”
“I’m not coming in. Doesn’t mean we can’t watch a movie together. We’ve both got a ton of devices. There’s got to be a way to do this.”
Bri donned a mask before opening the door to peek at the man who still managed to make her heart skip a beat. “You gonna get the microwave popcorn?”
“No. I’ll get the old-fashioned kind you always burn.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Keep your phone nearby. Will call when I get to the shop.”
He winked at her and left. After he had gone a distance, she stepped onto the verandah and watched his loose-limbed walk down the steps and across to his truck, which was parked next to her luxury sedan. He turned and waved before getting in. A feeling of longing and loneliness took over. Giving herself a mental shake, she watched Riley’s truck disappear around the bend.
Bria gripped the banister and took deep breaths, closing her eyes wishing for a do over.
You’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Why can’t you see that?
She opened her eyes and looked around her.
She was standing on the balcony of a ten-unit complex, she and Riley had built as newlyweds. The U-shaped property was a mix of townhouses and apartments. They had previously lived in one of the largest townhouses in the center of the U, before she moved out and claimed one of the empty apartments on the right side.
Riley had always complained the house was too big for the two of them, with four massive bedrooms and living room. He had wasted no time in moving to the last empty apartment, which was to her left. The townhouses were all sold now. The plan had been to keep the apartments for their rental income. The homeowners paid a monthly maintenance fee for upkeep and use of the common areas, such as the pool, the parking area and a small park which allowed the children to play close to home.
Yes, she would be thankful that money was not a worry for either of them. However, having the money did not fix her broken womb.
Heading back inside, Bria stared at her reflection in the floor-length mirror in the hallway. Her face was a perfect oval. Her cheeks had lost their usual fulness given all the stress she had been experiencing for the past several months. Her diet was a mess. Maybe she could get it regulated during quarantine. She laughed out loud. This quarantine would have her stress eating. She continued with the perusal of her face. Her nose was a bit too broad, she thought, and she had those thick lips that other people paid to have. Riley used to say it was his favorite feature on her face. There was a time it seemed like he spent hours feasting on her lips.
She shook her head and headed for her bedroom. Thinking about Riley and his kisses was not a good idea. She needed to make plans for her future that did not include him. Right now, she needed a plan for surviving two weeks of quarantine.
A headache lurked at her temples. The tension behind her forehead was increasing and she had been feeling as if she needed to sneeze for the past hour.
The worst thing she could have done was read the list of symptoms and then spend hours online watching videos of people who said they had survived the virus. Now every ache and pain had her wondering if it was a sign.
Bria opened the laptop she’d left on the brightly colored bedspread. This apartment had been used as a promotion for selling the other units, so she had gone all out with the color. It was a far cry from the townhouse décor. That had been more muted and suited for one of Saint Michael’s hottest couples. What a joke. The only reason they had earned that title was Riley’s rep. He was a Collymore. A family, who could trace their descendants back to the early 1800s. The men wanted to be Riley and the woman wanted to be with him. Her family line would end with her it seemed. She had no siblings and her mother was no longer alive. Her father? She no longer cared to know if he was.
Riley had been on a mission to destroy as much of his personal wealth when they had met seven years before. She smiled remembering the hard time she gave him before she would even agree to go out with him. Because she had, they now owned this property and others they had been planning to develop together.
What if she couldn’t?
She needed to see a lawyer about ensuring that Riley would not be hindered if something were to happen to her. It had been at the top of her list of things she needed to do as part of negotiating the divorce settlement. Her lawyer had nixed her plan to only ask for a buyout and suggested she ask for an annual share of the profits. Once she moved on, the apartment she was in could also be rented.
Bria groaned. She needed to get out of her own head. None of these thoughts were helping.
What was the best course of action for her situation?
“What situation?” She asked out loud.
If she survived COVID. No. When she survived COVID, what did she want to do next?
Did she want that job in Barbados? Was she going to find another job on the island that would challenge her like her current role did? Was she going to live next door to her ex-husband once the papers were signed?
A text alert sounded.
Closing the laptop, she got up and went to make herself some lunch.