Quarantinecopyright Janine Ashbless - all rights reserved
Quarantine was originally published by Ravenous Romance in 2008. It was therefore written long before the Ebola outbreak of 2014-5. Apologies if you find it in poor taste now - history has overtaken a light-hearted piece of fiction, I'm afraid.
The shower switched itself off at last. Tessa grabbed a wad of paper towels and scrubbed herself dry as quickly as possible, conscious that there was a camera in the room and that she was likely enough being watched by the whole laboratory team. She threw the damp paper into the incinerator hatch the moment she was done.
'Close your eyes, Tess,' said a voice over the intercom: a woman's voice and not one she knew. The lights dimmed and Tessa shaded her eyes obediently as the UV floods came on, turning her purple for a few moments.
'Move through to the quarantine chamber.'
Lee was still in the shower. Tessa shot a last resentful look at his cubicle before passing through the airlock. Vacuum pumps whirred, stirring her hair. Then she was through to the quarantine chamber itself. A package awaited her on the table inside the triple-glazed door: a paper all-in-one jumpsuit and a pair of paper knickers. Gritting her teeth Tessa put them on; the paper stuck to her still-damp skin.
She looked round the chamber, but there wasn't much to see. It was depressingly spartan. Four narrow bunkbeds were made up with grey cotton sheets. There was a table and four metal chairs, a toilet cubicle, a shower cubicle. That was all.
Couldn't they have put in a TV, she wondered? Or even a few pictures on the walls? The only thing to look at on the sealed plastic surfaces was a laminated poster bearing a list of instructions. She glanced at it randomly, read the words You will not be permitted direct contact with the outside world. If you need to draw up any legal document such as a will, provision can – and looked away again. Drawing out one of the chairs she sat down with a clang.
A few minutes later the airlock opened with its usual hiss and clunk and Lee came in. He was naked of course, cupping his genitals in his hand. His wiry frame gleamed with damp and his hair stood in wet tufts. There was a line of dark blond hair all the way up from his groin to his chest. It would have been polite for Tessa to look away, but instead she glared. She wanted to punish him. She had twenty-three days to punish him and she didn't see why she shouldn't start straight away.
'What the hell did you think you were doing?' she demanded.
‘Sorry,' he muttered, yet again. He was definitely at a disadvantage. Grabbing his own paper suit he backed off into the toilet cubicle to change.
Twenty-three days. Twenty-three days sitting in this room with Lee and nothing to do, under surveillance, waiting it out. Twenty-three days of grinding boredom. Tessa put her hands over her face, forcing down the jolt of doubt that struck her in the guts. Of course it was going to be twenty-three days: anything else was unthinkable.
The incubation period for Ebola is between two and twenty-one days. Two days over just to be on the safe side, and then they would be in the clear.
When Lee re-emerged he looked more collected; the cocky spark was still missing from his eyes but his jaw was firm and he was at pains to appear insouciant.
'Good,' said the voice over the intercom. 'Lee, will you please move to the speaker and tell me what happened in the lab?'
'I already told you,' he said with a frown.
‘You told your team supervisor. Now tell me.'
‘And who are you?'
'Hazard Containment Unit. Tell me what happened.'
'I just dropped the solvent flask, that's all. I turned round and bumped against the bench and dropped the flask.'
'Start from the beginning. Tell me everything that happened since you both entered the laboratory.'
Tessa listened grimly while Lee talked. She remembered clearly enough what had happened. She'd had been examining pathogenic primate tissue samples – monkeys from some central African country she thought; she hadn't really been sure. That wasn't her concern. There'd been just the two of them in the lab – two of them and half a dozen dead monkeys in biohazard bags. She'd been preparing samples just as she did every day, when she'd heard the glass bottle hit the floor behind her and felt the liquid splash against the legs of her HAZMAT suit. Then she'd heard the lab supervisor shouting over the microphone. Then the alarm had gone off. She shivered.
'Ebola isn't even bloody airborne!' Lee finished.
'This is a Biosafety Level 4 facility, Mr Ellis,' said the woman from the HCU. She'd given up calling him by his forename. 'Procedures have to be followed.'
Of course they did. After the extremely expensive events in Reston, Virginia in 1989, no one was allowed to be overconfident. And yes, the Ebola filovirus wasn't airborne - until the day it mutated and it was.
'The integrity of your HAZMAT suits has potentially been compromised by the reagent,' the woman with cold voice went on. Tessa was beginning to really dislike her. 'I say potentially; please be reassured there are no indications that you have actually been exposed to infection. In order to be absolutely confident you will both be kept in quarantine for a period of twenty-three days from the time of the incident. You will be expected to monitor your own states of health closely; the equipment required to do so will be delivered to you shortly. The emergency contacts you both have listed on your HR forms will be informed that you have been called away for work purposes at short notice.'
'Tell my flatmate she needs to feed the cat,' Tessa said sharply. She was quite heartened to realise she was more worried for Pebbles' sake than for her own. She was as sure as she could be that they hadn't really been exposed to the virus, either her or Lee.
'Your requests will be taken later. Now I'm going to talk you through your instructions. Are you both ready?'
Sighing, Tessa nodded. Lee slumped into a chair and put both his feet up onto the table, ignoring her poisonous look.
'Go on then.'
* * * *
Two days later Tessa was beginning to wish Lee would drop dead. Not of Ebola of course – that was just too frightening to contemplate - but of something quick and clean and preferably really quiet. She'd always found him a bit prickly and smug when they worked together, but in these close confines he was as restless as a tomcat, lurching around the rooms with intrusive clatter and unconcealed rebellion. He was bored, and he had to keep reminding everyone of that. He missed his mates, his computer, his web-access, his beer – in short, his life.
'I can't even stand watching Big Brother!' he snapped at the camera. 'I don't want to be in it!'
Yeah: that was so Lee, thought Tessa. He thought too much of himself to watch something like BB.
To wile away the hours they'd been given - through the airlock of course - a stash of paperbacks, some puzzle books and two hand-held games consoles. Tessa was surprised the lab budget stretched so far. No proper clothes of course, because everything that was sent in to them had to be incinerated after use, so they had to slop around in the ridiculous paper coveralls and she didn't have a bra. Food came from the canteen, which meant it was only slightly less boring than not eating at all. They were also passed a very large box of condoms, which Tessa was outraged by at first until they turned out to be for Lee's personal use. Any bodily fluid was a potential vector for the virus, and thus had to be contained. Lee went pink when this was explained, but it didn't stop him stashing a supply of rubbers in both the toilet and shower cubicles; the only places where either of them could get any privacy.
They'd always sniped at each other when at work, never quite at ease in the other's presence, but now that they were in forced proximity 24 hours a day it was much harder to handle. 'This is so shit,' he grumbled one evening, for the twentieth or thirtieth time. He was sitting at the table playing with his games console, but Tessa didn't think he was talking about the game. She looked up from where she was reclining on the bed with her Sudoku book.
'I'd have thought it would've suited you just fine,' she snapped. 'You get to sit around playing stupid computer games all day – isn't that what you do at home?'
His cold blue eyes met hers. He wasn't disagreeable to look at, at least, especially since he'd been refused a razor so now his annoying goatee beard was beginning to merge with blond stubble. 'Like you know about my life, Tess.'
'I know you waste your time on that World of Whatsit. Wankers. Whatever.'
His eyes narrowed. 'Online gaming's not wasting my time. I'm hanging out with my friends. Just like you, only I don't do it in a club, tanked up on vodka-and-orange and with my tits falling out of my spangly boob-tube.'
'Of the idiots throwing up down the high street on a Saturday night?'
'Of people who know how to have fun.'
'I have fun,' he sneered.
'Watch your mouth,' she said pointing a warning finger at him. 'I've got the same qualifications as you.'
'Yeah well, you know what they say about declining standards in education.'
'Funny,' he snapped, 'because you sound just like my mother did: “Stop wasting your time on those computers!”'
'Did she tell you to stop spending so much time locked in the toilet too?'
Lee flushed. 'You'd rather watch?' he challenged.
Tessa snorted. 'In your dreams, geek-boy.'
Lee's console uttered a mocking beep and his eyes dropped to the screen. 'Oh shit,' he complained, then tossed the electronic box across the table, where it bounced off the wall. Tessa felt her hackles rise; if he broke his then she knew he'd certainly appropriate hers. She bit the inside of her lip.
'This bloody sucks!' Lee moaned.
'Well whose fault is that?' she yelled, surprising even herself with her vehemence.
'Really? Who are you blaming?'
'You're the one who bent -' Lee stopped mid-sentence.
'What?' Tessa sat up and dropped her voice to a hiss. 'What did I do?' She saw Lee's face work as conflicting impulses fought for control.
'You were bent over.' The words seemed to come from a constricted throat. 'Your ... arse...' He made a generously curved shape in the air with his hands to make up for his incoherence. 'I walked into the bench.'
She was gobsmacked. 'You dropped solvent everywhere because you were looking at my butt? In a HAZMAT suit?'
He shrugged, but his face was a funny colour and his eyes looked frantic. 'You've got a great arse. Spectacular. I've always...' His voice died.
'Oh, that's really professional.' Tessa could feel the blood rising in her cheeks, her pulse thumping in her veins. 'Really fucking professional, Lee. ' She got to her feet and stalked over to where he was sitting. 'We've got twenty-three days in quarantine and we might just have been exposed to Ebola because you keep your brains between your legs and couldn't keep your eyes off my arse?' Furious, she turned her back on him, thrust out the bottom in question and wiggled it in his face. 'Seeing enough of it now? Twenty-three days Lee, twenty-three days of my big butt and -'
He grabbed her coveralls in both hands and ripped with all his strength; the woven paper tore right open to bare her panties and jiggling, curvaceous flesh. She shrieked with shock as he pulled her down into his lap.
Shoving one hand through the rent, he got a grasp on her hip and thigh. His hand was warm, his crotch more so; she could feel he had a raging hard-on already, grinding up against her bum. 'Oh God, Tess,' he moaned, pressing her in ways she hadn't imagined him capable of. 'Please...'
Tessa got her breath back, planted her feet, grabbed the table and surged forward from his lap. He held on, standing with her, thrusting her up against the edge of the table and sliding both hands over her bum-cheeks. Part of her mind was wondering if anyone was watching this on the camera, but mostly she was just humiliated and furious – far far too furious to feel scared. The idea of being scared of Lee never entered the equation. Tessa shoved back against his torso and kicked off from the table, sending both of them careening backwards. His chair went flying and he staggered, his hands tightening on her with instinctive desperation. Only the small size of the room stopped them both going over flat; as he tripped backwards, his feet going from under him and she pushing with all her mass, he slammed into the far wall of the chamber hard enough to knock the air out of his lungs.
Tessa felt his hands slacken.
This was her chance of course. It would have been easy to pull out of his embrace. She didn't move. She just stood there crushing up against him, aware they were both panting wildly, aware that his erection had taken a bit of a slap-down but was still gamely nuzzling her bum-crack. Her eyes sought the camera in the corner of the room. They were caught square in its field of view. She snaked a hand behind her and took hold of his cock. It was surprisingly substantial, she thought, for a geek's. She gave it a squeeze and Lee made a noise in his throat like the world had stopped making sense.
'Lee,' she said.
'Yes?' He sounded out of breath and somewhat dazed, but quite compliant.
'There's a camera on us here. Shall we go into the shower?'
His gasp was hot on the back of her neck. 'If you like.'
Crabwise, glued together, they shuffled along the wall to the cubicle door. After all, Tessa told herself, if she'd broken away from him and turned, anyone watching would have been able to see her bum sticking out through the tear in her jumpsuit. That would have been embarrassing. They backed into the shower cubicle and the water came on automatically at the back of the little room, triggered by motion-detectors. Even as the door clicked shut Lee pulled her under the spray.
'Hey,' she said, with some vague idea of getting their clothes off first, but it was too late. And they both found out then that their paper clothes went see-through when wet: transcluscent enough that Tessa's dark areolae showed through the white bloom of the fabric quite clearly, provoking Lee to stoop and bury his face in her wet tits, mouthing at them frantically. Tessa arched her back and pushed them into his hungry mouth, wondering just how long he'd been wanting to do this, but the sheer pleasure of his teeth and tongue plucking at her sensitive nipples soon overwhelmed everything else. She groaned out loud and clawed at his back, discovering that the paper fabric ripped much more easily now it was soaked. Lee shoved her against the wall and tore her clothes right down the front, her breasts spilling out under the shower spray.
There was nothing leisurely or considered about what they did. They were both desperate for action, seething with frustration and bottled fear. They ripped the last shreds of clothes off each other in seconds and Tessa got both hands on his erect cock and his bulging scrotum, working them until they felt as if they were at bursting point. She bit his throat and ground her pussy against him while he squeezed and slapped her tits. Lee's body was spare but muscular; more meat to it than she would have guessed if she had only seen him in work clothes. His cock-head was purplish with need. His fingers scrabbled into the cleft of her pussy, finding her as slippery as if she'd just soaped up, and easy to slide inside.
'Condom,' she gasped, getting a mouthful of shower-water as she let her head fall back. 'You going to fuck me or not, geek-boy?'
'Oh, I'm going to fuck you,' he promised, reaching to scrabble on the soap shelf behind his head. 'I'm going to fuck your beautiful big arse until you squeal.'
She couldn't think of anything she wanted more. By the time he'd found the little packet he was looking for she'd turned her back on him, her arms braced against the walls of the cramped little cubicle, her nipples brushing the cool laminate plastic, her bum presented in all its glory. Over the hiss of water she heard his noise of appreciation, then the plastic wrapper being torn. His thighs pressed up against her rump as he dressed his cock, and then his hand landed on her hip, heavy.
'Want me to fuck your pussy, Tess?' he whispered in her ear. The pussy in question fluttered in answer.
'Yes. God yes. Fuck it hard.'
'I'm sorry; I don't think I heard that. Could you say it again?'
'Fuck my pussy,' she groaned. 'Please, fuck my pussy, Lee.'
That invitation was good enough for him. Crouching momentarily he found his target and impaled her to the hilt in a couple of thrusts that made Tessa's eyes flash wide. Then he locked both hands around the front of her thighs and lifted her clean off the floor, pressing her upper torso hard to the wall so her could fuck her with her legs splayed helplessly and her bum bouncing with each thrust. His strength took her completely by surprise. She let her squeals come bubbling out with each breath, no longer caring if they were being overheard or not, just letting it all rip, out of sheer delight. She even got one hand down to play with her clit, and when she came – noisily, because she knew no other way – Lee couldn't hold back either, nearly bouncing her off the wall with the shuddering blows of his triumphant climax.
He put her back down on her feet quite carefully though. 'All right?' he asked.
Tessa looked over her shoulder. 'Not bad,' she answered with a tipsy giggle.
He stepped back, looking smug as he peeled off the condom and flicked it into the incinerator hatch. She rolled round to lean back against the wall, letting him off for the smugness just this once. He looked at her shining bare body and grinned. Then he grabbed a handful of paper towel, dampened it under the spray and stepped out of the shower.
'Where're you going?' Tessa wondered as he reached for the door.
'To cover that bloody camera.' He pushed his way outside.
She laughed, smoothing back her wet hair. Lee wasn’t as unbearable as she’d first thought, it had turned out. He had his good points anyway. And at least they'd found something to do for the next twenty-one days.
Copyright Janine Ashbless