Only With You(4)

By: Lauren Layne


Sophie’s sentence broke off.

The elevator jolted sharply and everything went pitch-black before lurching downward in a faster-than-normal descent.

Ohmigod ohmigod.

The narrow platform soles of her boots were no match for Armageddon, and Sophie was thrown off-balance.

Directly into the arms of the Gray Suit.

She buried her face against his chest, her nails clutching at his neck like a terrified kitten. Please, God, if you make this death trap stop plummeting I swear I’ll stop pestering this grumpy man.

The elevator shuddered again and then stopped.

She remained attached to the stranger as he seemed the only secure thing in sight. She inhaled the reassuring scent of Rich Man and relished the way his breath ruffled her hair. Vaguely she became aware that her nails were still clenched around the back of his neck, but she couldn’t bring herself to move away from his warmth just yet.

He finally cleared his throat and pushed her upright with a rough grip on her shoulders. She whimpered slightly at the withdrawal of physical support, her mind still blank with terror.

“What the hell?” he muttered.

Sophie leaned her shaking body against the wall of the elevator, wishing the irritable stranger would hold her again. Just until the trembling stopped.

“Are we stuck?” she asked in an unsteady voice.

“Looks that way,” he said gruffly.

He pulled a phone out of his pocket and used its light to illuminate the elevator control panel.

“Shit.”

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“The emergency button isn’t working. Nothing will light up.”

Sophie peered in the direction of the elevator controls. “Are you sure you’re hitting the right button? It should be the red one with the little fireman’s hat.”

He turned away from the control panel to stare at her. “I know what button it is.”

Sophie winced. This could not be happening. She could not be stuck in an elevator while wearing less than she would to the beach.

Cool under pressure wasn’t exactly one of her specialties, but she gave it a shot. Pushing panic aside, she forced herself to think.

“Cell phone!” she said. “We can call from our cell phones.”

But The Suit was way ahead of her, already pushing buttons on his fancy phone. The expression on his face said it all. No service.

“Check yours,” he commanded.

“Yes, sir!” she grumbled, fumbling around for her clutch and pulling out her phone. The only benefit of the complete darkness was the fact that he didn’t have to watch the way her miniskirt persistently climbed its way up her hips.

Please get a trillion service bars, she silently begged her phone. Even dealing with Trish in all of her holy Bridezilla horror beat being locked in a tiny black box with the human equivalent of dry ice. But all she saw was the sad little symbol of no service.

“Nothing,” she moaned. “We’re totally stuck. Shouldn’t the elevators have emergency lights or something?”

“They’re supposed to,” her companion said darkly.

Realizing that her legs were still shaking, Sophie slid down the wall until she was sitting on the elevator floor. She wasn’t claustrophobic. Not exactly. And she didn’t have a fear of heights, but…

She was scared.

“Are you crying?” he asked.

“No.” She sniffled.

“Oh Jesus. You are.”

She heard a sigh followed by the sound of sliding fabric. Surprised, she realized he’d just settled on the floor beside her. He pressed something against her elbow.

A handkerchief. Not a rough paper tissue, but a soft, actual handkerchief. How perfectly cliché. What decade was he from? She accepted it reluctantly, knowing that she was bound to get black mascara streaks all over its pristine whiteness, which would only foster his grumpiness.

But it was either that or show up to the bar looking like a raccoon.

Wiping her watery eyes, she looked at him. So maybe she was a tiny bit grateful for his presence. Being stuck with a jerk beat being stuck alone.

“You should know I’m not going to save this as a memento,” she said, waving the handkerchief defiantly in his face.

“What?”

“You know, like in the movies when the gentleman hands the distraught lady a handkerchief and he finds out at the end of the movie that she’s saved it for like decades as a keepsake?”

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