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“Steff!! Come down and eat already. Lunch is served at the table,” called my boyfriend’s elder sister to me. 

“I’ll be there in a few minutes. Thank you!” I was busy at the moment, having a hard time how to end the story I’m writing. The ideas were there in my mind, free-floating but I just can’t get hold of it and jot it down. I had trouble expressing the right words that it won’t just come out.

“Steffany, dear?” She called out again. 

“Yeah, I’m coming!” I replied and left the ending blank for a moment. I’ll come to it later so I will have fresh eyes for it. I ran out of my room, preoccupied that I suddenly bumped into someone on the stairs. 

“Ouch! Really?” He narrowed his eyes while eyeing at me sarcastically. 

I swallowed a bit of moisture left in my mouth. I knocked myself into some kind of hard rock that stood in my way. I felt my forehead hurt a bit and touched it gently. My reaction was late since I’ve been thinking a lot recently. “I’m sorry, my fault,” I replied to him while looking down.” He’s my boyfriend’s older brother, so I should pay a bit of respect.

“Maven wants me to call you for lunch,” he replied and started walking down the stairs. I followed him behind silently. He was referring to their elder sister who’s preparing our lunch. 

“Let’s eat everyone,” Maven called out to us again.

I’d been living under the roof of my boyfriend’s family for almost three years. My boyfriend Patrick was out of town because of his job and has been currently stuck in lockdown there since the announcement of the COVID-19 virus. He left here me with his family. Despite the virus, we still connect with each other through phone texting, messages, and mostly video calls to check up on each other’s state.

“Peter, why don’t you give Steff a hand to the fried chicken?” Maven asked the person whom I was not so comfortable with. After the bumping incident at the stairs later, I don’t have the nerve or the face to look at him. It’s just that I don’t like him. It’s the aura within him I don’t like. Whenever I’m near him, I am mostly out of words and kept silent. 

“Tsk,” Peter said while handing over the plate of chicken to me. 

“You look like a chicken’s ass,” I muttered it to myself. 

“You said something?” he blurted out of nowhere. 

Did I just say it out loud? “Are you talking to me?” I asked. 

“Yeah, I’m talking to you, Steff. Who else would it be?” He replied, raising one brow. 

“I said nothing,” I said and continued to eat. 

This man was so full of attitude, snobbish sometimes, and hard to deal with. I can’t keep my pace with him. I still minded my manners and respect for the family, though. They were so good to keep me under their roof while I pursued my last years in college. I will be forever grateful to them. 

Peter left early after eating with us because he had some work to do. Under the enhanced community quarantine, he had the legal right to go out because of his issued working pass. They left me with the plates and other household chores to do. 

Later, I slept for almost four long hours. I forgot to get back on the story I was writing earlier. My chat box was almost full with all the messages coming from my boyfriend Patrick. 

*Hey, what are you doing, Steff? 

*I’ve been doing indoor works like documents and other kinds of stuff, how about you?

*Are you there? 

*Keep safe always baby, I LOVE YOU.”

His messages made my day. I read my Facebook notifications for a while and then took a bath. I ran down the stairs with soap and shampoo. As I would enter the bathroom, I saw Peter was inside. I immediately closed the door and waited outside for him to finish relieving himself.

As Peter got out, he asked derisively, “Got a good view?” Without waiting for my answer, he walked past me, leaving me shocked to the bones. I didn’t know what was the matter with him. He looked angrily at me. Did he think I was intentionally snooping on him? I was speechless for a moment. This was a first from him.   

Maven found me like that as she passed by. She motioned if she can use the bathroom first and I dumbly nodded. I was burning with mixed emotions after what happened with Peter.

When Maven got out of the bathroom and noticed me still waiting, she said, “Hey, I’m so sorry it took me long to change.” 

I just nodded and smiled at her. 

“Are you okay?” she asked worriedly.

Again, I nodded and hoped my face wasn’t burning. I hurried away and stepped inside the bathroom. 

After bathing, I went straight to my room. I had barely finished dressing up when there was a knock on my door. To my surprise, it was Peter. 

Before I could even speak, he started apologizing. And confessing. 

He told me he’d had feelings for me ever since his brother brought me home. He tried to hide it by being rude to me or keeping me at arm’s bay. But he said he couldn’t anymore. The pandemic made him think life was too short to be a coward.

After a few minutes of shock, I gently told him I love his brother Patrick so much and I can’t ever cheat on him. I also told him that once the quarantine is lifted, I will go back to my apartment to prevent any uncomfortable moments between us.

He took it like a man, although his face looked ashen. Before he went, he promised he’d never bother me again.

That night, I asked Patrick if we could chat through video. As soon as I sent the message, his face appeared on my screen. I smiled, letting all my love for him show. 

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