#b#To view this story’s original formatting, please see page 36 of the online PDF of this issue: http://www.princetoninfo.com/files/library/pdfs/97.pdf#/b#
There were a lot of people in cafeteria taking their lunch breaks. The constant chatter sounded like a bunch of elementary school kids at recess. Somehow through the noise, Darrah was able to hear her girl pals calling her over to their table. She inquired about the I Spy game. The threesome’s game weekly game had a slight variation on the original game. They alternated who spied every week. There at the cafeteria, they met every Friday at noon. The first 30 minutes was devoted to playing I Spy. It was Desiree’s turn this week to entertain her girls for half an hour of story telling. As Desiree silently chanted, SPY A GUY. SPY A GUY, both Vi and Darrah panned the room for a victim.
“THERE” Vi shouts.
She pointed toward a man at the next table sitting alone. Both Darrah and Desiree look in the direction that Vi had pointed. Desiree sighed and sat back. The other two women leaned in on their elbows. They crossed their legs to get more comfortable. Desiree straightened up and took a sip of soda. She seemed to be staring into space. Her friends started to clear their throats to snap her out of her trance. She smiled and nodded to indicate she was ready to begin.
She said, “A smile or even a wink could change everything.” She paused, then folded her hands and began her story of a woman waiting for an elevator.
As the woman steps into the elevator she has a feeling of anxiety. Just as the elevator doors are coming together a man breezes through. Another man in the elevator recognizes him and they began to chat. She notices that the second man hasn’t pressed what floor he needed. While waiting for the seventh floor she is intrigued by how someone can get on an elevator and not press what floor they need. Okay, maybe the floor he needs is already lit. He couldn’t possibly be going to her floor. He doesn’t look familiar. Maybe he needs the fifth floor. The door opens on the fourth floor and a delivery person steps into the elevator. She feels herself smiling as she listens to the man who didn’t press a floor button. His voice is smooth and raspy, almost velvet-like. The doors open on the next floor, the delivery person and the first gentleman step out. Just before the doors close, the man in the elevator says he’ll see him later. She looks at the button panel and she notices that all the buttons are lit. She looked over toward him, and he has a huge grin on his face. They both stand there staring at each other until the sound of the elevator reaching the next floor makes her spin around. She practically races out to the seventh floor. She turns back, and as the doors close she notices a puzzled look on his face. She thinks he might want to say something and just then the doors close. As she walks down the corridor, she still wonders which floor is his. She shrugs off the mystery man and heads to her office cubicle to begin her day’s work.
Desiree stopped talking. She had a smile on her face. She reached for some fries and took a long sip of her soda. Then she continued.
At the end of the day she gathers up her belongings and heads for the elevators. There is a warning notice taped to the bay doors. Elevator 1 is down for repairs. So she waits over by the bay 2 doors. She looks up and sees that the elevator is on its way up from the lobby. She figures that she would take the stairs to the parking lot. As she opens the door to the stairwell, she can feel the cold from outside. She hates taking the stairs but she doesn’t want to stand around either. So she tries to focus on what she is going to have for dinner. Just as she passes the sixth floor she hears the door open and slam close above her. At first there are footsteps but then silence. No other door had opened. What is the person doing on the stairs? Her heart begins to race. And the pounding in her chest is the only sound she can hear. She slowly starts walking down the stairs. Hearing only her own footsteps, she begins to relax. But then she hears footsteps. Not hers. The other footsteps are slow and steady. She quickens her steps and the other footsteps match hers. She stops right at the fourth floor. As she turns around, she isn’t sure if she should sigh or panic. It is the man from this morning who didn’t press what floor he wanted. He doesn’t move toward her but she still feels threatened. He apologizes for this awkward situation but explains that he had tried to calling out to her before she went through the stairwell door. But she obviously didn’t hear him. Still not sure what do, she does nothing. He tells her that it is not safe to walk the stairs alone after hours. His voice seems soothing but she keeps up her defenses.
“If you wouldn’t mind I could walk with you so you would feel safer,” he says.
She thinks, yeah, right. She tells him that she doesn’t need an escort to her car. He shifts his stance, crosses his arms, and smiles at her. He has no intentions of walking her to her car. Hell he doesn’t know where she was parked. He tells her he isn’t ready to leave the building. And once you walk out the door locks behind you. He starts to walk down toward her. She still hasn’t moved. He continues walking past and suddenly turns to face her. He smiles again and raises an eyebrow in question. She thinks, yeah, right follow him to her doom. What is waiting for her at the bottom of the stairwell? What if he posted the note on the bay door so she would have to take the stairs? No. That’s crazy! There was only a note on bay 1. There wasn’t a notice on bay 2. Standing there looking at him she suddenly feels a calmness come over her. It is his eyes. It is weird. She suddenly feels warmth come over her. As he starts toward her, he asks if she is okay. She replies yes, but it comes out stuttered. To seem more confident, she straightens her back and flings her bag over her shoulder. Standing in front of her, he tells her that he was wondering something since earlier that day. All she can think is, oh great, he’s attempting small talk. She wants to run but her legs won’t move. He takes a step toward her. And now they are eye to precious eye. Something is wrong with her. Her hands start to feel clammy as she gazes into his eyes. She feels like she is in a trance. And for a brief moment she wonders exactly what color are his eyes. They are a remarkable color. They seem to be a blend or maybe it is the lighting in the stairwell. While she is lost in his gaze, he leans forward and gives her a peck on the lips. She blinks so many times she can’t see. She takes a couple of steps back and bumps against the wall. She forgot she was on the platform when she went to retreat. He begins talking about when they were in the elevator. She is still blinking. He continues talking as if he hasn’t just kissed her. He speaks about the other man in the elevator. He was an old associate. He takes a step toward her and smiles again. She doesn’t say anything. She just keeps blinking. He wonders if he could ask her a question. She is still silent. Is he going to continue?
Then he takes one more step toward her, raises his hand, and reaches over to her face. He grabs the back of her head and presses his lips to hers. After a moment, he releases her. After a moment, she realizes her mouth is kissing air. She opens her eyes and smiles. He gives a low laugh and leans into her. Her bag drops, and her body shivers. Still smiling, he takes off his jacket and puts it around her shoulders. He makes a comment that she must be cold. She looks down at her blouse and she realizes why he might think that. He bends down and collects her bag. Still smiling he walks back up the stairs. It occurrs to her that he never asked his question.
Looking up at him, she says, “Umm, you never asked me your question.”
He lets out a laugh. “I wondered what your name was,” he says. “But looking at you standing before me all I could focus on was your lips and how I desperately wanted to kiss you.” Shifting her belongings to his other arm, he stretches out his hand and to introduce himself. “I’m David. I own the suites on the 10th floor.”
She replies, “Hello David, owner of the suites on the 10th floor.” She walks past him and stands at the door to the fourth floor. “Would you mind escorting me to the elevators?”
He stares at her in question. He opens the door and she steps inside. He clears his throat, and she turns to look at him.
“The price to know my name is admittance to your executive suite.” She winks at him and continues. “I’d rather use the elevator instead of wasting energy taking the stairs to the 10th floor.” He motions her to pass and they walk to the elevators.
Desiree sat back in her chair and looked at her friends. Almost in unison both women wanted to know what happened next. Then all of a sudden, the man at the other table walked over to the girls’ table. “Good afternoon, ladies,” he said with a smile to Vi and Darrah. As he walked by, he placed one hand on Desiree’s right shoulder. With his other hand, he placed a business card face down in front of her. When she lifted the card he bent down and whispered in her ear. He stood back up, nodded to the other women, and walked away.
Desiree looked down at the business card in her hand. She quickly turned around in her chair. He was standing by the entrance; he turned to look at Desiree. He sent her a wink and a smile! Her girls were beside themselves. One wanted to know what the card said, while the other wanted to know what he whispered in her ear. Not waiting, Vi grabbed the card. And Darrah tugged at Desiree’s shoulder for a response.
She watched him walked out the door. Turning back to Darrah she said, “He whispered, my eyes are just a shade of blue.” All three sat back in their chairs.
Robyn Spruill is the sales and product coordinator for the Oxford Princeton Programme at 101 Morgan Lane. She lives in Willingboro.