I wrote this story about a year ago. Yes, I actually procrastinated a year editing a one-shot. (It was actually a series of one-shots but I only found 2 publishable). This story is based off of a first draft script of the episode Come As You Aren't. Enjoy!
It had been a crazy night: Elaine had thrown a party for all of the people at the gallery in honor of her successful window display. See, she was still just starting out as a receptionist, so them allowing her to design their window display was a big deal. Perhaps she let it go to her head a bit, but why shouldn't it? It was a big step for her. However, she did feel some regret after inviting them all… She didn't have an upscale apartment or fashionable décor. Despite her worries, she knew she had to go through with it. If only there was someone she could invite that she wouldn't feel nervous around… Alex! She hadn't known him for very long, only for a couple of months—but she felt comfortable around him and felt like their growing friendship had real potential.
Gathering up her courage, she was able to ask him, and, much to her relief, he agreed to attend. Although, she was concerned about the fact he refused to lie about his job while at the party. If she weren't trying to hide the fact she was a driver it wouldn't have been so big of an issue. She simply couldn't tell these people that she was a cab driver. What might they think of her? Nope, it was far too risky; at least for now. Perhaps once she'd been working there a bit longer she could ease into the truth.
Another thing about her and Alex's conversation… how come he automatically assumed that she was inviting him as her date? Okay… so in a way she was, but not so much a date as in someone she'd introduce as her boyfriend, but someone there that no one else knew that could lead to the conclusion they were possibly an item.
Of course that backfired. Finally, she had convinced him to lie about being a cabbie, but now he was flirting with another woman! That wasn't in the plan. How did she not think of it through? She supposed she'd gathered that Alex was a man who—for the most part—kept to himself. It seemed as so when she met him. The bit of jealously she felt confused her. She didn't have feelings for Alex, did she? Of course not… okay… maybe there was some sort of 'spark', but she refused to act on it. When she took the job at the garage she promised herself that it wouldn't become her life. She was much more than a cab driver and no way did she want the job to define her. Making friends with them hadn't been in the plan either, and truthfully, she was mad at herself for it. But they were great people, and she felt a lot closer to them than anyone at the gallery. They never seemed to be putting on an act for her, nor did they treat her any differently because she was a woman. They respected her of course, but when it came down to it, she was one of the guys. Much to her surprise she kind of liked it, but she was still insistent that it wouldn't become her personality.
Anyways, Elaine did end up calling Alex out on his shameless flirting, "Alex, I'm really sorry about the way I've been acting. But just because you're mad at me doesn't mean you have to act so childishly."
With a slight edge to his voice, he questioned, "Elaine, what makes you think I'm mad at you?"
Straight forwardly, she answered, "Why else would you be flirting with that girl?"
Glancing over at the woman, Rita, he responded, "Yeah, I guess you have a point."
"Look, Alex, I know you and I have had our little disagreements the last few days… but I want you to know that your opinion matters to me. I don't want you to dislike me."
"Elaine, I don't dislike you. I like you very much." With that, Elaine couldn't help but smile in response.
Not long after their conversation—as a matter of fact, during—who should walk in but the man Elaine had had a fight with in her cab a few nights before. "Oh no, oh no, oh no, no, no." she panicked to Alex, pulling him back away from Rita. Much to her initial relief, he didn't recognize her. But in the midst of her sighs of relief, she grew insulted. Alex tried to stop her before she caused a scene, but she was far too angry. "You really don't remember me, do you?" she asked the man, in which he replied, "Elaine wasn't it?"
"You're a snob, Mr. Broderick."
She made her point and got an apology, but also revealed that not only she, but Alex too was a cab driver. In doing so, and chance he had with Rita was ruined.
"I've dated cab drivers." she said. "But I figure if a guy feels he has to cover up who he is, I don't want any part of him."
Elaine overheard this part of the conversation and quickly interrupted, insisting that it was her fault, not Alex's. "I told him to make up that story. And I'll feel terrible if he doesn't get too… know you as a result." Rita wasn't having any of this and headed towards the door. As she walked, Elaine continued to try and convince her to give Alex another chance. "He's wonderful." She persisted. "He's one of the most terrific guys you'll ever want to meet."
"Then why don't you take him?" Rita pried.
Almost completely forgetting that Alex was in the room, Elaine bluntly replied, "I don't date cab drivers."
Alex's voice made her jump as he slowly walked up from behind her. "I don't know why you feel that way. It's a wonderful job. And you know what the best part of it is? You get to go to work anytime you want." He began to leave himself as Elaine sighed, "Alex, thanks for coming."
"It's okay. I had a wonderful time." Without another word said between them, he shut the door. Leaning against it, Elaine let out another sigh. After a couple of seconds she looked up to realize that most eyes were on her. What a jerk! She thought. She was just as bad as Mr. Broderick—worse. Alex was her friend and he had done a lot for her tonight. How did she thank him? By completely insulting him. She didn't mean it how it sounded… or did she? Did she really feel like she was better than everyone at the garage just because she was able to fit in with the high society crowd? Or could she? She couldn't even have gone through with this party if it hadn't been for Alex. Party or no party, she had to correct this now. "Excuse me, everyone."
Running out into the hallway she prayed she'd be able to catch up to him. Thankfully, she did catch up to him on the stairs. "Alex!" she called.
A bit startled, he turned around, "Yeah?"
While catching her breath, she gathered the right words. "I'm sorry, Alex. I haven't been good to you at all this evening and that's no way for me to thank you. I really want to say that I didn't mean what I said… but I did… But it did come out a bit harsher than I feel. What I mean is: I really want to make it in the art world, and I'm just so afraid that I'm going to be stuck as a cab driver forever—not that it'd be a bad thing! Just for me… it's not what I want. I'm still adjusting to this new life. I'm still trying to get used to being single again, being a single parent, driving—everything. I didn't mean to hurt you and believe me when I say you're the last person on Earth I want to hurt. I guess my mouth just moves faster than my brain. I know we've barely known each other, but I've really enjoyed spending time with you and the guys these past several weeks. I feel like you all really care about me and you make me feel like I belong somewhere. I really appreciate it… as you can see I still have quite a bit of growing to do. I want to belong in the high society, but I also don't want to be a jerk. Can you ever forgive me, Alex? And perhaps… bear with me in the meantime?"
He was silent a moment, but then he smiled. "Yeah… I guess I can do both."
Elaine smiled wide and hugged him tightly. When they pulled apart, she then asked, "Do you think you could do me one more little favor?"
"What would that be?"
"Don't let me become a snob. Don't let me do to someone like what Mr. Broderick did to me. I hated that feeling. And saying what I said scared myself and I saw me being like him in my future. Especially if it hurts such wonderful people like you."
"What do you suggest I do?" he wondered.
She shrugged, "I don't know… call me out if I say things or do things that could be considered pretentious."
"Well… quite frankly working in an upscale gallery puts you at risk for that, Elaine." he observed.
"Hey, come on," she rebutted. "That's not really fair; there are some nice upscale people you know. I might have my moments but I'll make a promise right now that I won't become what I discovered tonight I hate." Alex just chuckled. "What's so funny?" she interrogated.
"Oh nothing, I think I kinda like you the way you are."
Elaine teasingly scrunched her nose and chuckled. "Well I say there's room for improvement."
"Okay, maybe a little bit… now, I think you should probably get back to your party."
She'd almost completely forgotten! "Oh yeah…" she said with what sounded like a hint of disappointment in her voice. "I guess I should."
"Goodnight, Elaine." he smiled once again.
Reciprocating the smile, she said, "Goodnight, Alex." He started turning to go down the stairs but she pulled him back by his arm. Before he could ask why she carefully placed her hand on the back of his head and pulled him into a kiss. It wasn't very long or deep; only a few seconds. When she pulled away, Alex asked, a bit taken aback, "What was that for?"
A slightly embarrassed Elaine answered, "Oh… nothing. Just-you know, to make up for what I said. Who knows? Maybe someday I will date a cab driver. Goodnight." On that note she started walking back to the party, but before she was completely out of earshot, he called, "See you Monday?"
Calling back, she answered, "You bet."