By Vashti Quiroz-Vega
I was staying on the 10th floor of a ritzy Madison Avenue hotel in New York City. I was due in the conference room, where my presentation at a board meeting would shape my career. As I pushed the fifth floor button in the elevator commanding it to transport me to this engagement, I was entirely unaware my life would be changed forever: that a stranger would steal my heart. All of this before I had even reached my destination. Who knew so many emotions could blossom in a 4 by 7 ft. suspended box?
She entered my life on the ninth floor, hauling a suitcase on wheels. As her long, shapely legs crossed the threshold, her smile caught my breath. There was something in her glance that made my heart beat faster. A mermaid’s alluring voice said, “Ground floor, please.” She might as well have sung a lullaby. My knees faltered. What is happening to me? This is not the first beauty I’ve seen. I inhaled, remembering to breathe, and absently pressed the button, obeying her command. I looked at my briefcase and reminded myself of the importance of my session on the fifth floor. My successful performance in this meeting would mean a promotion, a raise—all the things I had been focused on achieving. From the corner of my eye, I caught her checking me out. When I turned, she snapped her head forward and played with her hair. Does she feel it too? I swear the temperature in the small space went up a degree or two as I watched her lick her lips. The intense chemistry filled the chamber—primal, and thick enough to snuff out the air.
The elevator stopped. Talk to her! You may never get another chance. I wrestled with my id. A woman with a haggard face entered the elevator with her brood. Kids played and ran circles in the tight space, while their mother yelled at them to stop. A little boy pushed the beauty, knocking her into me. Prickly sensations coursed throughout my body. I reached out to steady her. As I touched her arm, my eyes narrowed. My pulse raced. I was on fire. Through a cacophony of shrieks and shouts I heard her say, “I’m sorry,” as she moved away a proper distance and tidied her formfitting skirt. How I envied her clothes!
The elevator stopped again. Momma and her chickadees scrambled out of the cubicle. The little boy who had shoved the fetching stranger looked over his shoulder and grinned at me, as if he knew I wanted to thank him vigorously. A few more floors, and she would leave my presence forever. As the doors closed before us, she glanced my way and giggled as she shook her head. “Kids,” I said. She nodded and lowered her eyes shyly. She gathered her long tresses to one side, exposing her neck. She feels it too.
Once more, the elevator came to a standstill. This was the fifth floor, my floor. I clenched my jaw as I stared at my briefcase. The meeting can wait. I turned to look at her. She questioned me with her eyes, no doubt reminded that the fifth floor button was glowing when she first entered the elevator. She glanced at my briefcase and then at me again. Slowly the corners of her lips curved upwards. I imagined what they would taste like. Her face told me she knew I had to be somewhere else, but chose to ride with her instead. The doors opened, and I lost her gaze. Frustration began to set in as a woman invaded our sanctuary, her hair twisted in a severe bun. Although it was lit, the woman jabbed at the ground floor button. My body went slack. The last few floors would be spent with this intruder.
I turned my face and looked at the angel. I tried to muster the courage to speak to her. At least ask for her name. The rejection and maltreatment from beauties past rooted my being in fear and fixed my feet where they stood. Even my voice box was gripped firmly shut so as to prevent me from uttering words. Her lovely blonde hair glittered in the dim man-made radiance. I contemplated the smooth curves of her face. The silky texture of her sun kissed skin beckoned my touch.
Ding. The elevator doors slid open. More people plagued us by entering our world, but I forgave them since the alluring stranger moved closer to me to make way for the crowd. My chest heaved in rhythm with my rapid breathing. Her fragrance drifted into my nostrils, rendering me helpless. Her hips lightly brushed across my manhood, making it come to life. My body quivered. Making room for her luggage, she stood so close. She slowly turned her face toward me. We stared at each other. Speak to her! I could feel the warmth of her breath. I watched her full, rosy lips move to form words. My entire body tensed in anticipation. “This is my floor,” she said.
She might as well have stabbed me in the chest. The hoisting platform came to a halt, and my heart skipped a beat. The doors opened. One crowd departed the elevator while another multitude rushed to enter. She wove her way through the mob, slowed by her luggage. The fear that gripped my body finally released me, and I stepped forward to claim my destiny.
A hand touched my shoulder. “Ethan, I hope you’re ready for this meeting. Those guys are sharks!” It was my boss, grinning and patting me on the back. I tried to focus on what he was saying, but my eyes kept roaming back to the captivating splendor crossing the threshold.
I gripped the handle of my briefcase tightly. “Yes sir, I am ready.” I stepped back to stand next to him and fixed my eyes on the ground. My heart turned to lead, the weight of it dragging me down. I lifted my eyes and watched her amble away. I had never longed for anything as much. Before stepping out of my life she turned and with her eyes, she kissed me goodbye.