Disclaimer: All property of JE
In the enclosed confines of the elevator, Ranger's irresistible scent was magnified around her. She breathed it in, restraining herself from taking long, heady lungfuls of the heavenly scent. Ranger, as usual, was stoic beside her, his mind no doubt drifting along in some zen universe where everybody conversed in monosyllabic phrases. Casually, she stepped closer to him, closing her eyes and taking one long drag...
"Are you sniffing me?"
Stephanie contrived to look offended. "Excuse me?"
Ranger smiled. "Babe, if that's what you wanted, I would gladly-"
He didn't have the chance to finish his offer for, at that moment, the elevator jerked to a stop. Caught off balance, Stephanie stumbled and grabbed at the handrails.
The overhead lights flickered and died.
"Just a moment, Babe." The illuminated face of Ranger's cellphone cut through the darkness. "Tank? Yeah, we're in the elevator, what the hell happened?" Ranger paused, listened, then clicked his phone shut.
"Are they coming to get us?" Stephanie asked, hopefully.
There was a beat of silence.
"They're not sure what's wrong with the elevator. They're trying to see if there's something wrong with the circuits."
"Can't they just break open the elevator?"
No one was coming to save them. No one knew what was wrong.
She were stuck in an elevator. Alone. In the dark. With Ranger.
As people ran around the control room, barking at each other and frantically pressing buttons and opening circuit panels, Lester sat in his swivel chair and contemplated lunch.
Lester had had many fantasies about elevators. There was something about the location that was both secluded yet open to the public that never failed to turn him on. And so, it had been the most obvious venue for his first romantic manoeuvre.
In the end, it had proven laughably simple to orchestrate it all. All he had had to do was wait until Stephanie and Ranger were in the elevator, run up to the control room and then snip away at the circuit wires feeding the elevator.
He stretched in the swivel chair like a satisfied cat.
In one fell swoop, he had provided the perfect setting and opportunity for a romantic, up-close encounter.
What could go wrong?
When Stephanie was seven years old, she had accidentally locked herself in a cupboard while playing a game of hide and seek. The cupboard door had jammed and she had crouched in the dark, small space, waiting for somebody, anybody to find her. It took an hour before anybody finally did - her cousins had abandoned the game of hide and seek and had gone to the neighbour's to see their hamster - and only when her mother came home did anybody hear her screams for help.
Now, in the darkness, she felt just as she had in the cupboard all those years ago.
"No, I'm not," Stephanie gasped.
It was just that the elevator suddenly felt very small. And dark. And her lungs felt very heavy, as if oxygen was trickling away from them, despite her deep, long gasps...
"We're going to die," Stephanie blurted. "We're going to die because nobody will find us and nobody will get us out and we'll just be stuck here."
"And then we're going to asphyxiate and die and run out of oxygen and then...and then..." Stephanie gulped. "And then I'll forever be remembered as that chick who asphyxiated in an elevator, oh god, oh god..."
"We're not going to die, Babe, calm down."
"And what about my open casket? I'm ten pounds overweight and I can't really squeeze into my jeans and I'm going to die looking like a cow!"
"I can't look like a cow for my funeral!" Stephanie sobbed. "What will everybody think? What will my mother think?"
"Babe, calm down -"
"And what about Rex?" Stephanie wailed. "I can't leave Rex -"
At that moment, Ranger reached over and pressed her face into his chest. It was less an act of comfort and more of a way to shut her up.
"Babe," he said, in the low, soothing voice he used for disturbed rhinos. "We're not going to die. Tank's going to figure out what's wrong and he'll get us out of here."
Stephanie hiccuped into his chest and mumbled something incoherently.
Ranger stroked her hair. "That's it," he said, comfortingly. "Breathe in, breathe out."
Stephanie mumbled something again.
In the darkness, Ranger could smell her - a flowery mix of feminine scents that instantly turned him on. It suddenly dawned on him that they were alone in an elevator for what was likely going to be an extended period of time. It would be a shame to let this time go to waste...
It was just as he was reaching down to tilt her chin up to his face that Stephanie abruptly pulled away.
"I said, I think I'm going to throw up," Stephanie mumbled.
And she did. All over the front of Ranger's shirt.
When she was done, she pulled away and wiped her mouth on her arm.
"Sorry," she mumbled.
It took an hour and twenty minutes before the employees of RangeMan, the Trenton fire department, three pizza delivery guys, and a couple of bored, off-duty cops saw the opening of the elevator chute. Lester had a grin on his face as the last inch of the elevator door was wrenched forward, imagining what state of undress Ranger and Stephanie would be in.
Instead, he found Stephanie crouched in a fetal position in a corner with Ranger beside her, a patch of yellow substance staining his shirt front.
The look on Rangers face made the guys in the front abruptly drop their tools and step back.
Lester's grin disappeared. He suddenly had a craven urge to run away. Far, far away...
A/N: Please review. They're what keep me going :)