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Next: Chapter 2 – Left on Read

(First, stop right there!  Did you read Chapter 1 of our South Boston romance novella yet?  If not, read this first! )

THE MOMENT after Olivia hit the arrow to send her text to Paul, she felt butterflies. “Delivered” could be read which was a good sign. Then she watched the dots come across the screen and then disappear with no reply.

Read.”

A few moments passed before regret settled in.

What did she think was going to happen?  It took over a month for Paul to remove the number block he placed on her.  She tried texting him to see if she left a vintage coach bag that her mother had given her at the apartment they once shared.  The message left was left hanging in space – alone.

Each day that passed with no response was filled with a variety of emotions.

Day One: Maybe he read the message and was taking a day to thinking of something thoughtful to write. (Hopeful)

Day Four: He did remove the block.  That’s a good sign right? (Desperate)   

Day 7: Maybe someone else read it and then deleted it. (Paranoid).

Day 11: Fuck him. (Anger)

OLIVIA SAT on her stoop.  It was late in April and the sun was starting to set.  The sky lit up pink, orange and purple.  She took it in.  Be present.  Be present.  She told herself then picked up her phone next to her like a reflex.  She told herself not to look at it for at least a half hour – but roughly seven minutes later it was in her hand.

Day 13: That’s it, he’s moved on.

Her heart began to ache and a sting of tears filled her eyes.  She looked over the newly planted red geraniums in terra-cotta pots on the brick stairs she sat upon.  Her landlord Michelle must have put those there. The guys on the second floor would never had done that.  It had to be Michelle.  Michelle was in her early 50’s, but a youthful 50.  She did pilates and had long wavy strawberry blond hair and her skin appeared as though she had aggressive facials and maybe a touch of botox. She wore cats eye glasses.

Michelle was married to Steven – a Boston police officer. He appeared every day of his 55 years. His face was rugged but handsome. He was tall and muscular with salt and pepper wavy hair.  They had two sons -Ryan and James.  Both in college.  Steven balanced Michelle’s upbeat and friendly personality, with a more reserved one.

Olivia thought of kicking over one of the planters but stopped herself.  There was a ring camera and how could she explain to Michelle and Steven that their successful – seemingly happy marriage – was provoking this type of irrational rage. She removed her white Nike from the pot.  She opened the yellow Bumble app on her phone and began swiping. Left. Left. Left. Right. Right. Left. Left. Right.  The action was now familiar and second nature.

Boom – you have a connection – the screen read.

She had made a few connection over the last week.  A few she never even initiated a connection.  She effortlessly let the 24 hours dwindle away.  She had one connection that never messaged her back and one that she reached out to last night.  Jonathan age 39. Light Brown Hair. Warby Parker glasses and a slight smile that said, “You can trust me.”  White button down shirt – but with the collar open and casual handsome. Why not, right?  She messaged Jonathan.

The sky grew darker.  The blinding colors fading into a dusky deep blue.  She swiped some more.  Jimmy – 35 – he’s got a sweet face, like he was cute in grammar school and liked by parents in the neighborhood.  His light brown skin is offset by a kind smile of white teeth.  His eyes are covered by black Wayfarer sunglasses. He’s wearing a fitted light blue t-shirt stretched across an athletic build. Most likely one of the popular jocks in high school. But not a jock that bullied kids or took advantage of girls drunk at a keg party.  She bet he played lacrosse. Swipe right.

Almost immediately – Boom – You have a connection.

“Jesus, that was fast,” she said smiling as her picture was placed next to Jimmy’s.  Hey, Jimmy – is all she wrote. “Hey, Olivia!” He wrote right back.

As the sky grew darker, Olivia felt her mood shift.  This was the distraction that she needed. Her phone buzzed again and it was a new message on Bumble – this one from Jonathan. “How does coffee sound,” he asked.

Okay,- who should Olivia go on her first official date since her breakup with Paul.  Jonathan or Jimmy?  Go to our Instagram story to vote! Let’s see where this story goes!

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.