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Next: Chapter 4 – An Awkward Goodbye

(First, stop right there!  Did you read Chapter 3 of our South Boston romance serial novella yet? If not, read this first! )

OLIVIA SHARED a small apartment with Paul for over two years. It was a one bedroom on the second floor of a three decker near the beach.  Paul’s aunt Karen owned the house – a house she inherited from Paul’s grandmother – Helen.  Eight of the Donovan children grew up in that house on East Seventh Street including Paul’s father Big Paul. 

The rent was cheap due to the fact Paul had a family discount.  Olivia had found living in an apartment with three other women to be a challenge and when Paul invited her live with him, she jumped at the opportunity.  When she moved in, she brought with her a philodendron she had since college, a framed painting of a nameless city and a new colorful comforter set from Anthropologie.  The apartment was somber and hadn’t been renovated in decades but Olivia believed with a few aesthetic changes it could be transformed into something special. But beneath the new colorful touches and good intentions, the bleak energy of the small apartment clung to the walls and ceilings and permeated Olivia skins until she developed a rash. Shortly after that, she announced she was moving out.

Paul had recently called her the night of her date with Jimmy.  She put the call aside and wondered if there was a voicemail waiting – begging for her to come back to their Seventh Street apartment. There wasn’t.  There were no texts.  Maybe the call was accidental?

The date with Jimmy ended the following morning with an awkward goodbye.  Two weeks later and Olivia still cringed thinking about it. After Fat Baby, Jimmy and Olivia stopped next door to The Junction.  Her idea which he didn’t object to.  There was a band playing and Olivia order a round of shots because why not? Tuesday night shots are always a good idea.  Jimmy agreed and paid for the round of Jameson plus two Tito’s and Soda.  It was nearly 10pm and her brain was still functioning somewhat responsibly.  If I leave after this drink, suck down two large glasses of water and asleep by 11pm, I’ll be ready for work in the morning.

The band – which consisted of a woman on the keyboards and two guys with guitars started singing on old Maroon 5 song and Olivia moved her body dancing to the beat.  She was having a ball.

“I’m having a a ball,” she laughed.

“We should get another round, right?” Jimmy asked.  “It’s only 10 o’clock,” he added.

“Yes.”

Mid-way thru the next drink, she pulled Jimmy on the dance floor which was not really a dance floor at all but an empty area three-feet away from the bar.  Jimmy twirled her around and dipped her back and forth.  He would make such a great wedding guest Olivia thought and stored that information way in her mind.

After another cocktail, Olivia tapped out and announced to Jimmy it was time to for her go home.  Jimmy suggested another drink at his apartment which was “only two blocks away.”

“Sure!”

Before her date, she made sure she shaved her legs and had on a decent pair of underpants – pale pink with lace trim.  Nothing too aggressive but enough that showed I’m making an effort.  His apartment was a two bedroom in a new building on West Fourth Street.  It was modern and clean expect for a neat stack of pizza boxes in the corner of the kitchen.  Jimmy’s roommate was in his room – no doubt asleep on a work night at 11:30pm – and Jimmy invited her to sit on the couch in his open concept living room.  He offered her a glass of red wine which she graciously accepted.  And this is where things got hazy in Olivia’s head.

More dancing. Sharing playlists.  Singing lyrics. His lips touching hers. Tongues intertwining.  Falling onto the couch.  Kissing and groping ensued.  Darkness. 

The next morning, she woke up early.  A small throw blanket draped over the top half of her body as the sun was shinning through an unshaded window.  Her boots were off but her pink underwear and dress were still intact.  Her head pounded immediately as she looked around the living room.  Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. She contemplated drinking the half a glass of wine on the coffee table. She found her clutch and opened it hoping her phone was in there.  It was along with two crumpled twenty dollar bills and an ATM receipt.  The clock on her phone read 7:22am.  There were 5 texts and a missed call from her roommate Maddy.  It was going to be a very long day. If she left now, she could Uber home take a quick shower and head to work. 

There was no sign of Jimmy.  She quickly put her on boots and picked up her phone to call an Uber.  The front door to Jimmy’s apartment opened and in he walked with two cups of coffee and a bag from the PS Gourmet down the street.

“Hey, you’re up,” he said.

“Yup.”

“I got you a coffee.”

She took the cup of coffee and sheepishly said thank you.  She was afraid to look at him.

“That was fun last night,” he said.

“Yeah, although I can’t believe I ended up on your couch.”

“You wanted to end up in my bedroom but didn’t think it was a good idea,” he smiled slyly.

She imagined he was stating this fact so he could come off as a gentlemen but it just made Olivia sick to her stomach.

“Oh God! I’m sorry,” Olivia blurted out.  She wanted to die right there.

“No worries, at all. I had fun,” he said.

They drank coffee in silence.

“I got an egg sandwich to split.  Do you want half?” he offered.

Maybe something in her belly would help with the hangover she would be suffering with all day.

“Sure,” she said accepting the half. “I should probably call an Uber.”  She looked own at her phone.

“I can swing you home,” he said.

“Okay. thanks.” She accepted the ride without hesitation. She didn’t have the energy to get into an Uber and make small talk on a Wednesday morning in Tuesday night’s date clothes.

He dropped her off in front of her house. Olivia gathered her belongings and thanked him for a fun night.  He smiled and said. “You’re welcome.” Olivia exited his Jeep Cherokee and walked up the stairs, slipping her key into the front door.  She didn’t look back as she heard his car drive away.

She picked up yesterday’s mail in the hallway and heard the first floor apartment door open.  It was Steve the landlord in his BPD uniform, his silver hair, wet and combed back.  He was taking a sip from a travel mug when he locked eyes with Olivia.

“Coming or going?” he asked.

“Sort of both,” she smiled brushing past him up to walk up the stairs to her apartment.

“Must have been a fun night,” he called before she heard the front door close behind him.

Great, humiliated twice and it’s not even 9am.

Later that day after the awkward goodbye, Olivia texted Jimmy to thank him once again.

Thank you for last night.  It was fun!

No problem.

Nothing more.

THAT WAS over two weeks ago.  

Daily she mentally beat herself up for that night.  You should have just left at 10 o’clock.  You should have just went home.  It was a first date. No need to go back to his apartment.  She would replay Jimmy telling her that she wanted to go in his bedroom and he turned her down. She wouldn’t allow herself to think of the words she actually spoke to try and get him in his bedroom.

“You just have to get over it.  Turn the page,” said Maddy.

“I know.  But I’m mortified. God only know what else I said.”

“Who cares what you said!  He seems like a nice enough guy.  He got you a cup of coffee and gave you a ride home.”

Olivia sat in silence and picked up her phone.  She went to Jimmy’s instagram and scrolled through his account – a recently developed habit. There was a picture of his takeout from Seapoint.  Jimmy finishing a run around Castle Island.  At a Red Sox game. Out watching the Bruins game. She went on his IG story.  He was at Roza Lyons on East Broadway.

“He’s at Roza Lyons,” Olivia called to Maddy.  I could just casually bump into him there, right?

“Are you seriously thinking about stalking the guy?” accused Maddy. “Don’t you think that would look kind of pathetic?”

“I guess so but why is he posting where he is on his story if doesn’t want everyone to know.”

“That’s exactly why you shouldn’t go. It’s too obvious.  He should be chasing you.  Not the other way around.  It was one date.  What about that other guy from Bumble that wanted to take you to coffee? Focus on him. Something new.”

Olivia dismissed Maddy’s advice and walked down the hallway to her room to find something causal to throw on and walk by Roza Lyons.  She wouldn’t go in but maybe he would be in the front window seat and she would wave and see how he reacted.

Maddy walked into Olivia’s room as if wise to her plan.  “Seriously?” Maddy brushed a strand of blond hair from her eye.  “You’re not going.  I won’t let you.”

Olivia slipped on a pair of boyfriend jeans and tucked in a white button down blouse.  She applied lip gloss in the mirror over her dresser. She smiled at her reflection.  “I could just be casually strolling by, right?”

“Not a good idea,” called Maddy leaving Olivia’s bedroom.

Olivia looked down at her phone. Two missed calls from Paul.

Okay, readers, we need your help! Should Olivia walk by Roza Lyons to see Jimmy or should Olivia return Pauls phone calls.  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.