“You know what really pisses me off?” Aaron asked the moment they sat down on their bench that overlooked the river.
“There are so many things, so I have a million guesses,” Holly replied with a mischievous smile on her beautiful face. “Could you narrow it down for me?”
Aaron had to chuckle. That was an excellent comeback worthy of a high five, so he extended his arm, and Holly gave his palm an enthusiastic slap.
“At the moment,” he began with a sly grin, “it pisses me off that I have to register my car. Like it’s some sort of criminal that needs to be tracked by the city.”
Holly sipped her coffee and nodded. “I agree with you. Your car has a right to privacy, and its Constitutional rights are being violated…”
Aaron raised an eyebrow to her snarky reply.
“Are you giving me sass when I’m trying to vent?” he challenged. “Are you telling me you enjoy paying what amounts to a car tax every year?”
“Unlike you, I don’t drive a shiny, new leased vehicle, so my registration fee doesn’t amount to much,” she confessed.
Aaron took an excessively large sip of his Snapple while he pondered her words.
“You know I hate driving, so I feel like this really screws me,” he decided to just ignore her sass and go right back into rant mode. “I had to give my mileage for the year when I paid my obscenely high registration fee, and it turns out I only drove slightly more than two thousand miles this past year.”
“Now I know that’s down because COVID had us trapped at home, and I didn’t work for six weeks, but still. Between my monthly lease payments and this registration fee, it’s costing me a pretty penny to have a car. The sole purpose of that vehicle being so that I can drive to work, a place I’d honestly rather avoid.”
Holly frowned. She did feel his pain. She was well aware of his aversion to driving, and was quite proud of him for overcoming his almost paralyzing fear of driving in snow. Something he had only done after leasing an SUV with four-wheel drive.
“Look at it this way, the expensive car you’re using has made you feel safe driving in the snow. And it’s made me worry way less about your driving in such conditions. Having that burden lifted from your myriad of anxieties has to be worth something.”
Aaron grumbled and took another sip of his Snapple.
“Plus that registration fee goes towards maintaining the roads,” she added.
Aaron’s eyes narrowed and his cheeks turned beet red.
“Do you mean like the road in front of my house that has been plagued by a pothole for months?” he almost screamed across the short distance that separated them. “I checked it this morning, and there was some huge screw in there, so if the gaping maw in the road doesn’t take out my tire, the giant pointed piece of steel will!”
“And don’t even get me started on how the city snowplow always deposits three feet of snow at the foot of my driveway every time it uses my registration fee to plow the roads.”
Holly didn’t know what to say, so she sipped her coffee for inspiration.
“You know what really pisses me off?” she finally asked.
“Having to register my car like it’s some sort of criminal that needs to be tracked by the city!”
Aaron burst out laughing, which warmed Holly’s heart.
“This is why I keep you around,” he informed her with a wink.
The butterflies in her stomach chose that moment to flutter…