you feel like home to me
If in April, you had asked Courtney Taylor how she felt about being quarantined for three months in her best friends' apartment with her ex-boyfriend from six years ago she wouldn't have laughed. She would have glared at best, but most likely she wouldn't have been able to hear you over the loud music she was trying to drown out by having her airpods at the highest possible volume.
Courtney found most of her time spent in the bedroom, her laptop placed on her lap, surrounded by an array of snacks to stop her from needing to enter the kitchen. She was working as hard as she could, taking far more phone calls than she had anticipated, but not being able to see her colleagues in person left her feeling a pain in her chest she couldn't quite place.
It wasn't that she hated Duncan, or even that he so far had been that bad to live with, but every time she saw his face her heart broke down and she either wanted to cry or throw something at him. So, she spent her days holed up in the master bedroom of her best friends' apartment.
Not that Bridgette had escaped this lightly. Courtney had never yelled at her before, but she had not held back the second the phone had been answered. How could she do this to her? Throw a surprise in her face? Throw a surprise that felt like a brick?
Bridgette hadn't said much, just apologised; said she hadn't known. Courtney hadn't listened.
Now she was lonelier than ever. Trapped in a tiny apartment in a tinier bedroom with no one to call and vent to.
Her work phone rang again.
If in April, you had asked Duncan Evans how he felt about being quarantined for three months in his best friends' apartment with his ex-girlfriend from six years ago he wouldn't have laughed. He would have continued walking, wondering why someone in the grocery store was standing within six feet of him.
They were finally restocking the toilet paper and he announced as much to the apartment, loud enough for his voice to travel through the interior walls.
He set about putting away the groceries, his back to the wall where Courtney's bedroom door stood. Duncan didn't see it crack open or see her slip through into the living room. He didn't see her standing, watching. He didn't see her creeping her way up behind him and swiping a chocolate bar from the top of one of the bags. But he did see her retreat, with a smile on her face, the same one reflected on him.
If in May, you had asked Courtney Taylor how she felt about being quarantined for three months in her best friends' apartment with her ex-boyfriend from six years ago she wouldn't have laughed. She would have chewed her lip and said she hadn't she really noticed him there. Until the one Thursday morning in May when she thought Duncan was still sound asleep. She slipped quietly from her isolated room, ready to start her day with a meal, only to be startled as she rounded the couch.
Duncan grinned up at her from the floor, laughing at her embarrassed face.
Courtney turned away, hurrying towards the kitchen, averting her gaze from Duncan's naked chest.
"You've seen more of me than this," he called out, his words light.
Courtney busied herself in the kitchen, hastily starting the blender to not hear Duncan's grunts as he continued his sit-ups. She pulled out her phone, trying to reread her texts messages, trying to scroll through social media, trying to think of something other than her ex-boyfriend behind her.
She tried to escort herself back to her bedroom, but he had his eyes trained on her.
"Must you do that half-naked in the communal area?" She asked, her voice not as edged as she had hoped.
"The spare bedroom is too small," he shrugged, getting to his feet.
Courtney remembered being eye-level with him, but without her heels on, he stood a few inches taller. She titled her head slightly as he took steps toward her. Her lips parted and her cheeks heated, and she didn't say a word before rushing back behind her closed door.
If in May, you had asked Duncan Evans how he felt about being quarantined for three months in his best friends' apartment with his ex-girlfriend from six years ago he wouldn't have laughed. He would have sighed. He was tired. He was tired of being trapped inside a tiny apartment with someone who said no more than three words to him a week.
He was tired when the email came through on his phone from a television studio he'd had nothing to do with for over six years.
Duncan wasn't even halfway through the first paragraph before the texts came pouring in.
did we get the same email?
who's down for it?
man I'm so down for this!
Duncan wasn't even halfway through replying when Courtney let herself into his room. Something about the phone clutched in her hand and the bewildered look on her face told him that she had the same notification.
It was less than two weeks later when Duncan found himself propped up at the kitchen table, his phone resting on top of several cereal boxes, his face lit up on the screen. He was the first person in, the first time he had been early to anything, especially something relating to the horror show he was about to endure all over again.
Courtney had been quiet again since the email had come through. Duncan had no doubt she wanted nothing to do with this upcoming call, would rather isolate herself away and pretend her past had never happened. Duncan knew he didn't help her with that.
Face after face, box after box, his phone lit up with the smiling faces of his former castmates. And the Total Drama zoom reunion began.
There was laughs and glares and stories. The catching up wasn't as awkward as Duncan, and he was sure everyone else, had anticipated. It felt like spending time with friends, even if some of them no longer were.
Lindsay shared pictures of several baking fails.
Bridgette berated several people who mentioned Tiger King.
Several people mentioned losing their job, which was when they turned their attention onto fan questions.
What is everyone doing now?
Do you regret the show?
When was the last time you saw someone in the cast?
"Not as long ago as I think she would have liked," Duncan joked, causing some raised eyebrows.
He watched as Courtney grimaced, closing her eyes, and turning slightly away from her computer screen. And Duncan took the challenge. He pushed himself up from the kitchen table, forcing his bare feet across the kitchen floor.
There was one room in the apartment Duncan had yet to go in, but now he was going to break his self-imposed rules, as he thrust open the door and threw himself onto the bed.
Courtney jostled slightly at the weight of him now next to her. Her face was confused, not as red and angry as Duncan was expecting. He watched her with an audacious smile, and she stared right back with curious eyes.
And that was how the Duncney reunion rumours started.
If in June, you had asked Courtney Taylor how she felt about being quarantined for three months in her best friends' apartment with her ex-boyfriend from six years ago she wouldn't have laughed. She would have waved it off with a fake smile and assumed you wanted her to pose for a photograph before she moved on with her life.
Social media was a big part of Courtney's life and career and since Duncan decided to make the world aware they were stuck together, her stats were soaring. She had prepared to be mad at him, to yell and scream as soon as the reunion had been over and done with, but one look on her twitter page (and several text messages from her publicist), Courtney felt a slight relief.
She couldn't say she hadn't feared losing her audience during this lockdown. Stuck at home doing nothing didn't make for good media content. It was the reason she had agreed to the reunion in the first place; she needed something to talk about. Courtney just hadn't anticipated the talking to be about her reuniting with her ex-boyfriend.
Deciding to embrace it, Courtney started a Livestream one night without her roommate knowing. She knew he was in the living room, playing on the Xbox Geoff had left set up for him, unsuspecting to her antics. She'd thought on the idea for half a day and decided it was time; and why not bring an audience?
Holding her phone in front of her, camera facing Duncan's confused face, Courtney pulled the black beanie he had been keeping tight over his head, releasing his dark black waves of hair to tumble down his forehead.
There was no protesting like she thought there may be. Duncan allowed her to march him into the bathroom with a kitchen chair and an electric razor, while thousands of people tuned in.
If in June, you had asked Duncan Evans how he felt about being quarantined for three months in his best friends' apartment with his ex-girlfriend from six years ago he wouldn't have laughed. He would have looked wistfully across to the young woman sat beside him, to the young woman he wasn't sure he knew anymore.
She'd passed him the first bottle of wine, batting at his arm until he'd moved onto the floor with her, scolding him as if he'd already spilled the bottle onto their friend's couch.
Duncan had laughed, pouring the glasses, drinking it down merrily. He had been prepared for the yelling, for the screaming and the fighting, because that was what he remembered. But Courtney held her face. She had held her face since he'd moved into her zoom box uninvited. And now they were getting drunk on the floor in an alternate universe.
Opening up the second bottle, Duncan chanced a glance in Courtney's direction, watching her sad eyes reflect his. Her head was swaying slightly, but she held his gaze fiercely.
"Why did you cheat on me?" She shoved his chest and she slapped his face and she forced him down without moving from her spot on the floor.
Duncan blinked, turning his head away. He couldn't face her as he thought, as he turned the words in his head, searching for the answer to a question he'd held close to his heart for far too long.
"I don't know," he tumbled out. "I don't know why I did any of it."
Courtney snorted, trying to hold his gaze, but he wouldn't look her way. He could see her take another swig of her wine and wipe her lips, but his eyes looked straight ahead, staring blankly at the cream couch in front of him.
"You have to do better than 'I don't know' with me, Duncan."
He did have to do better. Duncan held himself to a quality now he hadn't before, but the words didn't form the way he wanted them to. He sank back deep inside himself.
A/N: HELLO! HAPPY UPDATE!
I've decided on three chapters which means there is one more left.
I'm not as happy with this chapter as I was with the first, but I'm happy I wrote something so here we are! I hope you enjoy it and this story I'm telling.