River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles: “This Whole Time”

That’s another thing about plants. You almost always get a do-over.

It doesn’t work that way with people.

“This Whole Time”
A River Reapers MC Short Story

Author’s Note: Have you been wondering how the River Reapers would handle social distancing? I have! So I wrote a few very short stories, just for fun, just for you and me. The following is unedited, so please excuse any typos or errors. Please also be aware that it may contain spoilers for the series.


When the whole world stopped, I realized I’ve been standing still this whole time.

My day in isolation starts exactly the same as every day before. My alarm goes off, a Pantera song dragging me from the murk of sleep. Shoving the blankets off, I stumble out of bed, drawn through halls filled with vines and leaves toward the promise of coffee. “Morning, Christine,” I greet the African violet on the windowsill. The Keurig sputters, spitting coffee into the mug I dropped and chipped last week. If Margit were here, she’d tell me it’s no big deal. But she isn’t here, and it is.

I’m supposed to be taking care of this place, not wrecking it.

I stroke the violet’s fuzzy leaves, murmuring to her the way Margit taught me. “You’re doing so well,” I croon, pleased. If someone told me I’d be keeping difficult plants alive a few years ago, I’d have laughed in their face.

“Not that you’re difficult,” I tell Christine. “You just need the right conditions to thrive.” I sip my black coffee. I ran out of sugar a week ago. I could just go out and get some, but I don’t need it. I don’t need anything, not really, not anymore.

Except . . .

Grabbing the full watering can by the sink, I begin my rounds. Margit had a careful system, one I try to follow as closely as possible. I don’t want to shock her babies. They—and I suppose me, too—are her legacy, the only living proof that she existed.

“Hey Sarah,” I greet a lemon tree. Leaning forward, I inhale the fresh, citrus scent. “You’re almost there, girl.” The bright yellow fruits hanging from the limbs complement the orange and red tattoos that cover almost every inch of skin I’ve got. Together, Sarah and I are fire in motion. She hasn’t been easy, either. She won’t bear any fruit unless I do exactly as Margit said.

Sometimes, it’s overwhelming.

I visit the succulents next, bidding them all good morning before turning to my favorite, Cherish, the last echeveria I’ve managed to keep alive. Soon I’ll be able to propagate her and it’ll be like I never moved them too far from the sun. That’s another thing about plants. You almost always get a do-over.

It doesn’t work that way with people.

With people, what’s done is done. I’ve made choices and now those reflect on me. I decided to get the tattoos, to cultivate the scary biker look so that no one would fuck with me. I decided to isolate myself in a house full of plants named after women. The only woman I want would never give me a first look, never mind a second.

It’s all my fault.

I water the row of snake plants last, stopping at the tallest. Running the pads of my fingers up and down its strong striped leaves, I trace the almost yellow outline. “Morning, Cassie.” I sigh. “She was on the Zoom call,” I tell the plant. “For a second, I got to hear her voice, and I swear, Cass, that’s more than enough to get me through this. But if this ever ends, I’m going to make my move. I’m going to say, ‘Hello, Lucy.’ Solid plan, right?”

Even though there’s a light breeze outside, the snake plants remain still, the whole house holding its breath.


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River Reapers MC Quarantine Chronicles

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Author: Elizabeth Barone

Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary romance and suspense starring strong belles who chose a different path in life. Her debut novel Sade on the Wall was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books. When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging. Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.

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