Only With You(5)

By: Lauren Layne


“What movie is that? It sounds awful.”

“Never mind,” she said on a sigh. No imagination, this one. “So what do we do now?”

“We wait. It’s a modern hotel; they’ll have realized by now that something’s wrong.”

She nodded, knowing he was probably right.

“Christ,” he muttered under his breath. “Of all the days, and of all the women.”

Sophie stiffened at the scorn in his tone. “Oh, I’m sorry, would there be a more convenient time to get stuck in an elevator? Or a more preferable woman? A mute nun, perhaps?”

He didn’t answer. Which was answer enough.

“What exactly is your problem?” she asked. “You can’t so much as smile at a stranger, much less make standard small talk when stuck in a small, confined space?”

Nothing.

The elevator jerked suddenly, and her hand grabbed at his leg in panic. The movement stopped as suddenly as it began, and they once again jolted to a silent stop.

“Oh God,” she whispered, biting her lip against the next round of terrified tears, her fingers still clenched on the irritable stranger.

He tensed, but didn’t remove her hand from its viselike grip on his thigh.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Sophie.” She sniffed. “Yours?”

“Gray.”

That briefly distracted her from her terror. “Like the color?”

Like your suit? Like your eyes? Like your personality?

“Yes. Like the color.”

“That’s a nice name.” It was sorta sexy. Very manly. He said nothing, but his leg shifted slightly under her grip, and she wondered if her hand was making him uncomfortable. Probably. She left it where it was.

“How long until we’re rescued?” she asked.

“Soon. This is Las Vegas. I’m sure they have an elevator maintenance service nearby.”

“Do you come to Vegas often?” she asked.

He let out the smallest of pained sighs at her continued conversation. “Every couple weeks or so,” Gray finally responded.

“That often?” she asked, surprised. He didn’t seem like the gambling type. “What’s your vice of choice? Slots? Texas Hold’em? Lap dances? A little Cirque du Soleil?”

This time he didn’t bother to hide his sigh. “Listen, I get that you’re nervous, but do we have to, you know…talk?”

“Yes, we have to talk. It helps take my mind off the fact that we’re stuck in a dark death box. Plus your conversational skills clearly need some practice.”

“Are you always this noisy?” he asked.

“It’s not like I’m singing show tunes. It’s just small talk. You know…safe topics. Weather, movies, careers…Let’s start simple. Where are you from?”

More silence.

“Chicago,” he said finally.

She waited. Nothing. No detail. No reciprocal question. Not even a full freaking sentence. Sophie gently rapped her skull against the elevator wall in exasperation. “You’re killing me. Don’t you ever put more than three words together at a time?”

“Now who’s being rude?”

Sophie fought for calm, both over nerves and temper. Her fingers tightened reflexively on his leg. She belatedly realized exactly how high her hand had slid up his thigh. Her pinky was almost touching…

Oh God. She froze as she realized she was practically fondling the horrid man.

Gray turned his head sharply toward her, and she felt his breath against her cheek in the confined space. He looked away just as suddenly and studied the ceiling.

“I’m not interested in acquiring your services, so you can save yourself the effort,” he said quietly.

She blinked at him, totally confused. “My services?”

“You know, I mean…” He shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not really the type to pay for sexual, um…attention.”

Heat and disbelief swelled to Sophie’s head. She slowly pulled her hand away from his thigh as she processed what he’d just said.

“You think I’m a prostitute?” Her voice sounded like a twelve-pack-a-day chain smoker’s.

Something unfamiliar crept over Sophie’s cheeks, and she realized she was feeling something she hadn’t in years: humiliation. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d bothered to care what someone else thought of her. Somewhere between her family’s lectures and getting her first job carrying full martinis on a tiny little tray, Sophie had learned to let the looks and snide comments roll off her.

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