103 comments

American Romance Contemporary

Is that it? 

Silver Toyota Land Cruiser. Ubers are almost impossible to spot until they nearly drive up on you.

Virginia grabs her luggage and double checks the Uber app on her iPhone for the driver’s name. Lee. She dutifully takes note of the license plate to compare before entering the vehicle. She isn't going to make that mistake again.

“Who are you here to pick up?” she asks the middle aged driver wearing an Orioles shirt, who neither turns around to greet her nor asks to help with her luggage. Does he want a two-star rating?

“Ginny,” he responds crisply. “You Ginny?”

“Yep,” she replies. Maybe a one-star rating, the way this is going.

“Back from a trip?” he finally tries to be hospitable, looking at her in the rearview mirror. 

“Yep,” she repeats, hoping the conversation has come to a close. She glances at his dark brown eyes staring back at her. “I was visiting my son at college. He goes to Florida State.” 

“You’re kidding me,” Lee says. “My daughter goes to Florida State. She’s a sophomore—go Noles!”

“My son is a junior,” she states flatly, looking out the window. “He’s changed his major three times already and will probably graduate in 2030.” Ginny sighs. “We have amazing in-state schools, and he decides on Florida—Florida of all places!”

“Costing me a—”

“Fortune,” she finishes his sentiment. “It’s why I’m back on the road. Back to sales. Ugh, I thought I was done with all this—”

“Hassle?” he suggests.

“Hassle is right. I should be behind a desk, not out hustling. I’m too old for this—”

“Hassle,” he finishes her thought. “Don’t I know it? Before the divorce, we had my daughter’s college fund all fat and happy. Until my thin and unhappy wife decided she was better off without the both of us. What kind of—”

“Arrogant, self-absorbed, midlife crisis cliché jettisons their entire family to chase their dreams or really, some younger piece of tail?” Ginny’s caustic bitterness practically fogs up the car windows.

Stunned into silence, Lee remains quiet. He gingerly takes a right turn, briefly looking up at her again in the rearview mirror. She’s pretty, even looking utterly disgusted with mankind as a whole.

“Sorry,” she eventually apologizes. “It’s been a long day.”

“S’okay,” Lee says. “After the divorce, I had to pick up this gig in addition to my day job to pay my lawyer for doing almost nothing, except giving my house and dog away. The rest of my money I send to Tallahassee so my daughter can earn C’s in her communication classes while downing jello shots at her sorority house.”

“Well, thanks to my divorce, I now have the privilege of paying alimony to my spouse who can no longer work because of his post traumatic stress disorder. It seems my asking for a divorce due to his blatant infidelity caused him too much anxiety to deal with, you know, life stuff. Like paying bills. So . . .” Ginny trails off.

“So? Sew buttons, my mom always said,” Lee replies.

“Sew buttons, indeed.” 

“Look Ginny, listen. I hate to do this,” Lee apologizes, looking at his iPhone. “But I got an Uber Eats delivery. They’re running a special tonight. 25% off food and a bonus for drivers. Been crazy. I hate to ask, but it’s a big order near your house. Any chance we could stop? I’ll be in and out in no time. You say the word, though. I’ll take you right home.” Big dark brown eyes. Hard to say no to. 

“Lee, I get it. I have nothing at home waiting for me but an incontinent cat,” Ginny replies, rubbing her temples. “I get it. Go ahead and stop. Florida State’s tuition is due in two weeks . . .”

“When did college get so expensive?” Lee asks, parking right in front of a restaurant, blocking the crosswalk, smack in the middle of the fire lane. 

“Up 1200% since we went to school,” Ginny mutters. “Hey Lee, you aren’t one for keeping all the rules, are you?” She motions to his parking job. 

“I kept all the rules until I realized no one else did.” He smiles, a Cheshire cat grin. She can’t help but smile back. 

Lee disappears into the restaurant. Ginny looks around the car. Pristine condition. Pina colada air freshener. St. Christopher medal on the dash. Breath mints in the utility tray. She helps herself to one, tucking her hair behind her ear. She watches the front door while applying a light colored lip gloss, fumbling it back into her purse when he suddenly appears. He’s carrying several silver tin foil trays, a couple of additional bags of restaurant fare looped around his arm. 

Ginny gets out of the car and opens the passenger side. 

“Maybe put it in the back on the floor?” she advises. 

“Good idea,” he says, grateful for her carefully arranging the trays to avoid spillage. “You’re good at this, you know.”

“This ain’t my first rodeo,” she grins, lightening his load. “I worked in catering in college.” 

“I was a bartender. A pretty good one, too. I could throw bottles around like Tom Cruise in Cocktail,” he brags. 

“You are dating yourself with that movie reference,” she warns.

“If I could date myself, that would solve a lot of problems.” 

Now sitting next to him, Ginny watches Lee throw the car in reverse, making a seamless three-point turn. She shouldn’t be impressed, but his driving skills are flawless.

She flushes a bit. He’s quit talking as much. 

The aroma of the food wafts up to the front seat. 

“I’m starving,” she says. 

“Me too.”

They drive in silence to a large house in a better neighborhood than hers.

“You want help?” Ginny asks. 

“Sure,” replies Lee. “If you want. Hey, I could split the tip with you.” They work together getting the take out containers into each other’s arms, walking carefully to the front door. Though the house is dark, Lee rings the bell. 

No response.

“I don’t get it,” Lee says, putting the food down. He walks around the side, taps something into his iPhone, and returns. 

“Everything all right?” Ginny asks. 

“Hang on.” He taps on his iPhone again. “It’s a dead order,” he says, looking at her.

“What does that mean?” Ginny asks, tilting her head to the side. 

“It means this order is canceled. I’m supposed to dispose of the food and just continue on.” 

“Seems like a waste,” she comments, looking back at the car. “We could eat it at my place, since I believe I’m your next stop.”

“I’d like that,” Lee agrees. “I’d like that a lot.”

Lee’s iPhone chimes again. He looks down, smiling from ear to ear.

“It’s my daughter. She’s at one of those sorority formals tonight. See?” Lee holds up his iPhone for Ginny to see. Taking out her reading glasses from her purse, Ginny scrutinizes the picture before she starts to laugh—an unrestrained belly laugh.

“What? Yeah, I know those eyelashes are ridiculous. And don’t get me started on the dress. My mother would roll over in her grave. Probably come back to life and sew a few buttons on it before letting my daughter out of the house. But that’s the style,” Lee says, defensively.

“No, Lee—” Ginny snorts, attempting to control her laughter. “On her arm—”

“The corsage?”

“No, the young man—that’s my son!” All control aside, Ginny takes off her reading glasses and doubles over with laughter, tears streaming down her face. 

He begins to laugh with her, as they pack the food back into the silver Toyota Land Cruiser.

“This suddenly got complicated,” Lee grins, shaking his head.

Ginny wipes her eyes. “It’s not complicated, Lee. Life’s too serious to be taken seriously. Just take me home, and let’s eat.”

And with that, Ginny gave her driver a five-star rating. 


May 22, 2021 23:44

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103 comments

Beth Connor
22:05 May 25, 2021

This was wonderful! I often skip a story labeled romance, however, I am never disappointed by your writing, and this was no exception :-)

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Deidra Lovegren
23:37 May 25, 2021

High praise, Beth Connor 🙏🏻 I’m not a fan of traditional romance — but quirky ones with oddballs? I’m here for it. Thanks for all your support 😎

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ℤ ℍ☮️
11:55 May 25, 2021

This is really good! The ending hit me by surprise - and was funny. Also, it was different from all the romancey stories I've read. If you have the time, could you check out my story called Nova, I need feedback! Anyways, great story :)

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Angela Guthrie
22:25 May 24, 2021

Cute story!

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Deidra Lovegren
23:16 May 24, 2021

Old People in Ubers Hot 🔥

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17:27 May 24, 2021

Aww! I love this so much! The dialogue between the characters is so real. I laughed out loud a few times, gathering weird looks from the people around me. Totally worth it, though! :)

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Deidra Lovegren
17:33 May 24, 2021

Actually, "getting weird looks from people around me" is my favorite hobby. Definitely passes the day :) Thanks for dropping by, Katie. Always a pleasure.

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Helen Ross
15:20 May 24, 2021

yessss I love this so much! the dialogue was so well written and I loved that them finishing each others' sentences was so sweet, not cheesy. As someone going to university next year I hope my parents aren't talking about me like this! to be fair, I don't intend to do jello shots and get Cs... but things change... Great as always!

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Deidra Lovegren
16:57 May 24, 2021

Best of luck at college! 👩‍🎓 Congrats 🎊 HS class of 2021

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H L Mc Quaid
11:27 May 24, 2021

A well-told story with a pleasing twist. The dialogue and descriptions were superb, I could picture what was happening and hear them speaking. The 'sew buttons' quote reminds me of my (ex) mother-in-law (from Wisconsin) who would say. "So? Sew buttons on your underwear." Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed this. :)

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Deidra Lovegren
12:25 May 24, 2021

Tremendous ego boost for a story based off my son bringing home a truckload of food from a dead Uber Eats order. Free food never tasted so good! I credit “sew buttons” to an ex boyfriend’s mother, very Italian, very New Jersey. Man, am I glad that relationship imploded...dodged a bullet. Dodged a whole *^% war... Onward 😜

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H L Mc Quaid
14:04 May 24, 2021

onwards and upwards! I've been thinking about farming some stories from my friends, and am now more inspired to do that, after you've spun an entertaining tale from your son's experience. :)

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Deidra Lovegren
16:52 May 24, 2021

Good writers write what they know. Great writers steal everything they can get their hands on. 😈

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Mark Wilson
07:34 May 23, 2021

Deidra, this was touching, poignant and witty, and I had so much fun reading it! I loved the shared experiences the two had. The references to lost 'Love' and exemplary effort, yielding mediocre gain; "The rest of my money I send to Tallahassee so my daughter can earn C’s in her communication classes while downing jello shots at her sorority house.” So many things I could relate to here (head tilted, inquisitively). The 'Orioles' shirt? (bowing respectfully now) I have an Oriole's tattoo (the Bird) on my arm, orange beak and all, directly...

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Deidra Lovegren
08:06 May 23, 2021

I’m a total Baltimoron! Drinks at Hammerjacks, Who’s on Third — crab cakes at Camden Yards — the McDonalds kiosk at Fell’s Point (back in the day) - Inner Harbor - Sabatinos in Little Italy 🇮🇹- The Baltimore Sun - Cal Ripkin... Like Philly, Baltimore is truly underrated. Great people great food great town. Thanks for a run down on your tats! I am ink free myself, but now I need your Lexus story or I’m going to make one up. Next week — The Lexus Tattoo! (You like Toyota’s that much? That’s all you got in the divorce? Spill the tea........)

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Mark Wilson
08:42 May 23, 2021

Deidra, Rare is the chance that two souls. should diverge in such a way as to be re-united again in Prose! Because I am from Baltimore, I never really appreciated it, until I left; Hammerjacks, Fell's Point, Camden Yards and CRAB CAKES! Unlike places I would eventually relocate to, like San Diego for instance, where I Truly appreciated everything; Taste and Thirst on 4th in the Gaslamp (where I would park the Lexus - a white sedan, that would later morph into a coupe'. I would park directly in-front of the place, as I knew the owner(s) , L...

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Deidra Lovegren
09:04 May 23, 2021

You had me at La Jolla. Best gelato I’ve ever had. Best town I’ve ever wished I could afford to live in. 💰 But I’m an East Coast girl. The West Coast is just too “nice” — am I the only one who fully appreciates the Philly Flyers mascot?! Ah, La Jolla. Lost a whole weekend once attending a wedding there...one wrong turn and I was in Mexico. Shame Hammerjacks shuttered so long ago. Now I need a bag of Utz potato chips...

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Mark Wilson
09:13 May 23, 2021

You had me at UTZ ~ I used to get them by the boxload sent to me all over the World! San Diego, Iraq, Amsterdam, Rome, Taiwan... that and Old-Bay Seasoning. Now, you can buy them (at least the Old-Bay) pretty much everywhere.

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Deidra Lovegren
09:15 May 23, 2021

INGREDIENTS 2 slices white bread, crusts removed and crumbled 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning 2 teaspoons McCormick® Parsley Flakes 1/2 teaspoon French's® Classic Yellow Mustard 1 egg, beaten 1 pound lump crabmeat

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Mark Wilson
09:17 May 23, 2021

Btw - I can't wait to see what you do with the 'Lexus tattoo'!

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Deidra Lovegren
09:20 May 23, 2021

Still waiting for the real story. I’m patient. Let’s go.

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Mark Wilson
10:25 May 23, 2021

OK ~ We were just friends, in the beginning. Then, we grew to be lovers. I would groom her as myself, we would take long drives along the Pacific Coast and together, we were beautiful. A true "Power-Couple", considerate and responsive to each other's needs. Our estrangement from each other (I traveled SO much, as she stayed garaged in SoCal) only sought to strengthen our bond when we were eventually reunited. Celebratory unions would result in peril, as she was (once) impaled on the side of a local (extremely good) SoCal Pizza Parlor....

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Deidra Lovegren
11:24 May 23, 2021

The personalized license plate? Leave that off your resume for future Trixies. Rex Racer about 💯 times better. Almost better than Ultraman and Kimba the White Lion.

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Judith Ve Verka
21:22 Feb 04, 2022

Great story!

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Alvin Fernandes
11:30 Jun 04, 2021

Wow what a story. Didn't expect that ending though, really great.

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Zoe Llewellyn
17:27 May 31, 2021

this is awsome!! i dont think i stand a chance against this story. I absolutely loved it!!! Especially at the end.

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Tim Bengert
14:14 May 31, 2021

This is such a sweet story! You did such a great job building this organic relationship from scratch in such a short time. Great work!

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Joanna Jameson
04:59 May 30, 2021

Hey Deidra! I will be honest, I never thought I would love a tale about a romance between two middle-aged people in an Uber before I read your story!! I am terrible at reviewing stories, so I can’t give any intelligent remarks about it, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it!! If it isn’t a bother, I would love your review of my story- “Subject: We need to sit down and talk.” I don’t write regularly due to time constraints, but I want to improve my writing skills... And I would really appreciate advice from veterans like you!! Love, J.J

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Onyxx Moon
04:47 May 30, 2021

So intricately simple and the end was a real gem! Loved it.

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Niveeidha Palani
11:48 May 26, 2021

Now, I was practically waiting on my knees to see what rating she would give him. Complicated as it seemed, it's just so cliche and the first sentence was spin-off relatable, Deidra.

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Deidra Lovegren
14:44 May 29, 2021

Thanks, NP :) I appreciate your kind remarks. All the best :)

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Niveeidha Palani
23:34 May 30, 2021

Aw, no problem. :)

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00:41 May 24, 2021

This whole story was the meme; Coincidence? I think not. Hey, Deidra! Wonderful story, I think the conversation between Lee and Ginny was really nice. I really enjoyed the plot of this story, and it fitted with the prompt nicely. Awesome work! :) (Also, Lee Jordan? Ginny Weasly?) ~ Jasey

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Deidra Lovegren
18:32 May 24, 2021

Total meme. And LOL -- I ripped off JK ROWLING by accident. Lee and Ginny. HA. Next story, my main characters will be Dobby & Severus, a love story.

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22:36 May 24, 2021

Honestly, here for it

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