The cool sea breeze blew over him as Steven bit into the donut. It was late and he was enjoying a nighttime snack before going back to work. As he chewed Steven leaned back against the Dondai as he took in Beach City in the evening. From his view the Arcade was quiet and most of the other businesses had closed. Only the Big Donut lay open now, Manager Dewey having implemented a “Nighttime Donut” policy. Steven often wondered if he did that just for him since he never saw anyone else come by this late.
His attention was quickly broken when his phone began to vibrate in his pocket. Nabbing it he saw he had a pickup nearby. Quickly hitting the accept button he woofed down the donut in one quick bite before waving goodbye to Manager Dewey as he ducked into the car.
Adjusting the mirror and getting on his way Steven thought back to why he was doing this. Less than a year ago was his 18th birthday. “Being a Man” or so his father had called it opened up all sorts of opportunities for him but the one he was most excited about was getting a real job. In all honesty it wasn’t like he needed a job, after all, his dad was still a bazillionare or something and the Gems always seemed to be able to get money for food and supplies when it was needed.
No, this was about freedom! The freedom to be independent, to not be reliant on anyone! Dad offered him a job at the wash, even offering to let him take it over if he wanted but what Steven wanted was something else; he wanted to forge his own path! So after some searching he landed on a rideshare service. Dad had been kind enough to gift Steven the Dondai Supremo as a “You got your first job!” gift and Steven used it well.
For the past few months he had ferried all kinds of people around Beach City and even Ocean City. It was fun talking with all of the people from all walks of life. Earnestly that was probably the biggest hidden benefit as Steven had been kinda lonely lately with the Gems constantly away helping rebuild after the War and Connie needing time to study for college entrance exams.
Stopping in front of a movie theater Steven hit his phone to tell his client he was there. Much to his surprise it was none other than Lars who knocked on his window. Quickly rolling it down Steven happily greeted his good friend.
“Steven?” Lars replied, taken aback at who was in the driver’s seat. “What, what are you doing here?”
Steven quickly grabbed his phone and looked at it. Nodding he showed the screen to Lars. “I’m your driver! See, it’s even got you on here!”
“Oh yeah, I guess that’s me…” Lars wandered off as he looked at the phone.
“What is it Lars?” A voice called out a few feet away from him.
Steven looked out his window to see Sadie standing a little ways behind. Sadie was wearing a lovely green dress she had picked up for more formal occasions when the band went to the nicer after parties.
“Hey Sadie!” Steven shouted as he tried in vain to wave properly out the window.
“Oh hey Steven” Sadie giggled as she watched him struggle “I guess you’re here to pick us up?”
“Yup” Steven replied as he popped open the door and got out. Quickly turning and moving his seat forward so the two could enter he motioned as a gentlemen for their entry. “Your carriage awaits.”
Sadie giggled as Lars rolled his eyes. “Jeez Steven, don’t you usually have to have sedan in order to do ride sharing or something? I mean, is this rust bucket even going to fit us?”
Steven shook his head. “Of course! They said I can use this car so long as it can fit the order. I just can’t take more than three people.”
“Well I like it.” Sadie chimed in as she struggled to get in the back seat. Once seated she called out, “Coming Lars?”
Sighing in resignation to his fate Lars too made an effort to squeeze into the back seat. Once the two were situated Steven put his seat back into place and hopped in, shutting the door, and starting the engine back up.
“So where to?” Steven asked. Not like he really had to considering the app told him exactly where they were going but he like to ask anyway.
“My place.” Sadie replied. Giggling a little she added. “And make it snappy!”
“Yes Ma’am!” Steven enthusiastically returned.
After only a few miles of silence Steven decided to liven up the somewhat dull ride with a few questions.
“So, what were the two you of you doing out so late?” Steven asked, with a hint of knowing in his voice.
“We we’re um…” Lars started as looked at Sadie then he trailed off and blushed.
“Really?” Sadie asked Lars annoyed. “We’ve been going out for years and you still can’t say it in public?”
“What? I’m just really shy about it that’s all.”
“Uh huh, and that’s why when your parents were asking for someone to help you catch up on school work the only thing you can say is ‘Anybody but Sadie.’”
“Hey, that’s not fair. You know my parents would freak if they found out I had a… Steven! Stop eavesdropping.”
“Lars has got a girlfriend!” Steven laughed. It’s not like this was a big secret in Beach City. People knew about the two long before Sadie joined her band, and long before Lars had turned… “So, I see you’re still pink.” Steven asked with a scholarly tone.
Yup, after all these years Lars was still pink and nobody knew how to fix that. Since the day Steven revived him on Homeworld Lars hadn’t grown an inch or even changed his hair, not that he probably should with the magical portal and all.
“Yeah, and?” Lars asked. The annoyance in his tone quickly changed when he realized what Steven had done. “I think it looks good on me, what about you Sadie.”
“Um, well, I guess. I mean I don’t mind the pink but it’s still kinda weird I’m dating someone who looks so young.”
Both boys gulped as they realized Sadie was steering the topic back. Lars quickly recovered the momentum.
“So Steven, how do you drive when you still look like a thirteen year old?”
“Yeah, it’s weird seeing you up there.” Sadie added.
Both boys took a breath of relief internally as disaster had been adverted for now.
“Well…” Steven started, as he did one of his legs stretched all the way over his head and around his back in the back seat. “I just shape shift the length of my legs and body enough so I can see and hit the pedals. So long as it isn’t a long drive I can do that most of the night, easy.”
“Oh, cool.” Sadie replied, somewhat confused and more creeped out by the leg in the back seat. “You can stop that now.” Returning his leg to normal Sadie added another question. “So why ride sharing?”
“Huh?” Steven replied confused.
“I mean, I know you dad has money so that can’t be the reason, so why are you driving people around.”
Steven contemplated his answer for a few blocks. Finally settling on a response he explained.
“Well actually it kind of is about the money. Connie’s eighteenth birthday is coming up and I wanted to buy her something nice.”
“Well if I just used the money that my dad or the Gems would give me it would really be from me would it? This way when I buy it for her I can really say I worked hard to get it for her.”
“You’ve worked hard enough already.” Lars mumbled under his breath.
“What?” Steven asked, having barely heard him.
“Well I think she’ll love it. The more love you put into a gift the more special it becomes for the person you give it to.”
“I hope so too.” Steven smiled as the brakes squealed on the Dondai. “Well, were here.”
The trio looked out to see Sadie’s house. Steven saw the house was dark as he opened the door and exited the car.
“Is Barb not home?” He asked as he moved the chair up.
“No, moms away with her old roommate this week so we have the house all to ourselves.”
“Ohhhh.” Steven giggled. “You’re all aloneeeee.”
“Cut it out Steven, it’s not like that.” Lars replied as he got out.
Sadie could only roll her eyes as she again struggled to get out of the small car.
Lars confirmed he had arrived on his phone as Steven confirmed his drop off on his. About halfway up the walkway Sadie quipped one more thing to Lars, loud enough for Steven to hear.
“Oh and we’re not done talking about us dating openly you hear!”
Lars shot Steven a quickly look of panic as Stevens phone vibrated with a new pickup. Only able to return a look of pity Steven quickly stepped back into the Dondai and made his way on to the next pickup.