Hi everyone, have you missed me since I was here last? It’s always a pleasure to be here, talking to you people and visiting the lovely Ofelia. I’m very grateful for your hospitality and kindness ❤️ Today, I’m here to talk about my newest release, So Far Away.
What’s the first thing you’d do if you’d been separated from your significant other (others) for a long time—weeks or even months—and finally got to see them again?
Zakarias and Julian in So Far Away are separated because of a global pandemic; Zakarias has caught the virus and Julian is an ICU nurse and to keep him safe, Zakarias moved out of their house and into the guest house on their property. They’re only separated by a few meters, but it might as well be the moon. Before this happened, they hadn’t been apart a single night for years, so neither of them is coping well. Julian is swamped at work and worried sick about his fiancé. Zakarias only has mild symptoms, but he worries about Julian working himself to the bone and is frustrated about the situation.
They talk every day, even see each other from a safe distance, and try their best to keep their spirits up, but it’s not the same when they can’t touch each other. Can’t offer physical comfort.
So when Julian asks What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get out of there? Zakarias’ answer is immediate. Kiss you.
Me, I’d cuddle up next to my husband, bury my nose in his warm skin, and sleep. I sleep like crap without him, so I’d be exhausted if we’d been in this situation. What would you do?
Caveat: While this story is definitely inspired by the covid-19 pandemic, the virus in my story is a figment of my imagination and not covid-19.
When the rumble of his SUV approaches, I flip open my laptop and log onto Skype. It doesn’t take him long to call, and I answer with a grin. “Hey, babe. I’ll just check the soup.”
I’ve already made sure my laptop camera is facing the kitchen so he’ll see me move around. And who’s to know if I stretch and bend a little more than necessary?
Julian groans. “I see you’re in a better mood.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, grin widening.
“Yeah, drop that innocent routine. It doesn’t work with me.”
“It doesn’t?” I wink and saunter to the cupboard, stretching and reaching for a glass on the top shelf. “I think I’m gonna drink water from a wineglass today. Makes it feel more special, you know,” I say over my shoulder, catching a quick glimpse of him on the monitor, eyes glued exactly where I want them. Score!
His microwave dings, but when I turn around a few seconds later, he’s still eating me up with his gaze.
“Your food’s ready,” I say.
“Mhm.” He nods slowly but makes no move to go get it. So I let him be for a while. Saunter around the small kitchen area, grabbing things I don’t need from high shelves to make sure my T-shirt rides up more. Stick out my ass whenever I can, swing my hips more than necessary, smile, and flirt while I chat about nothing in particular. When I can’t drag it out any longer, I ladle soup into a bowl and sit by the computer.
He meets my gaze. His mouth is upturned, his eyes shiny, and he shifts in his seat. “I guess I’ll go get dinner then,” he says, and when he stands there’s a noticeable tent in his pants.
I make a mental fist pump.
He quickly returns with his heated lasagna. We’re both hungry and devour our dinners without talking much. We put away the dirty dishes in companionable silence; doing everyday household chores together makes it seem a little more normal, even through a laptop screen.
When we’re done, he wanders to the couch, but I lie down on the bed, resting the laptop on my stomach.
“I have stuff I need to do,” he mutters. “Laundry. Or neither of us will have anything to wear soon.”
“That would be worse for you than me. I can always claim a bad Wi-Fi connection and leave my camera off for meetings. Work in the nude.”
That makes him chuckle. “You’re too proper for that. You’d be embarrassed and you’d worry your camera wasn’t properly turned off.”
“I could put duct tape over the camera.”
“We don’t have duct tape in the guesthouse.”
I scowl. “Why not? Duct tape is a necessity of life.”
“I know you think so,” Julian laughs, “and I know you keep some in your drawer at work for emergencies. But you do realize you’ve lived in the guesthouse for weeks now without noticing there isn’t any, not to mention needing it?”
We banter back and forth for a long time, and it does us both good. Julian relaxes more and more every minute and my anxiety level hasn’t been this low since I moved out here, maybe even since the pandemic started.
When we can’t put off real-life any longer—he needs to do the laundry and I need to clean this place, it’s getting filthy—we say goodbye and hang up. But instead, we text each other between chores.
Julian: What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get out of there.
Zakarias: Kiss you.
Zakarias: Definitely. Kiss you, get you naked, cuddle, and smell you. I miss your scent.
Julian: What if I’m at work? What will you do then?
Zakarias: Lie in our bed? Use the coffee grinder and make some of the really good stuff? Use every appliance we have in our kitchen? Break open a fancy bottle of the best wine? Abduct you from work so I can kiss you?
Julian: Yes, please. Abduct me from work.
Engaged couple Zakarias and Julian are convinced nothing can separate them…until a global pandemic hits. Zakarias catches the virus with mild symptoms and isolates in the couple’s guest house. The few meters dividing them might as well be the moon as he watches Julian, an ICU nurse, work himself to the bone, unable to support him the way he needs. Frustration and worry build as the weeks pass. Will Zakarias be declared healthy before Julian burns out?
M/M Contemporary / 14 567 words
Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)
Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.
Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.
Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.
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