#WritingChallenge: An Elevator Encounter

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by Deirdre

Happy Friday, Authors! It’s the end of the work week for many, including your hero and heroine in this week’s #WritingChallenge:

These condo neighbours have always hated each other. She plays her music too loud and he lets his Chihuahua run up and down the halls. She’s on her way home with a bottle of wine. He gets on the elevator with a pizza.

What happens?

Write your best original/funny/smart/charming/sexy elevator scene in the comments below anytime between now and Sunday, May 14 and we’ll check back with you on Monday!


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  1. Kimber Li

    Ewan put on his most smoldering grin. “Hi.”
    Ophelia positively glowed. No, really.
    “Is something wrong?”
    “I hate elevators!” Ophelia dropped the wine and it smashed at their feet. She gripped the rails and her face shone like a full moon at mid-summer.
    “I said I hate elevators!” Ophelia’s eyes glowed like embers and threw up her hands. The escape hatch blew off the ceiling in a rush of wind and she scrambled up it like a female spider and was gone.
    “Oohkay.” The pizza hit Ewan’s foot and he swallowed hard. “Maybe I’ll try out that new dating app instead.”

  2. This was an early night for Troy. The rest of the group were heading over to a club, but Troy was keeping early nights. Training camp started in three weeks, and he had to show that he was back, and better than ever. He needed his spot on the top line again. He needed to show that he’d beaten cancer, and was just as good as ever. He couldn’t show any weakness, any change. If that meant he had to work harder than anyone else on the team, he would. He had to.
    He hardly noticed the woman in the elevator when he got on. Normally he’d have checked out any female in his orbit, but he was more focused now. No distractions till he made sure he was as good as new.
    He had a workout early the next morning. He was working with the best conditioning guy in the country. Focused on that, he didn’t notice until he was ready to get out on the penthouse floor that the woman was still in the elevator, and apparently thought she could get out on this floor.
    There were two condos on this floor – Troy’s and Mrs. Epps. Mrs. Epp was about 80, Troy estimated, and she was away. So the only place this woman could be heading was Troy’s.
    Troy liked being popular with fans. He especially liked being popular with female fans. A couple of them had become very popular with him. But he liked to be the one choosing, and he just didn’t need a groupie tonight.
    So when the door pinged open on the penthouse floor, and she started to move to the door, he put his arm across the opened door to block her progress.
    “Sorry, sweetheart. You’re not getting out-”
    Next thing he knew he was on the floor, looking at the carpet, hand twisted behind his back. “What the hell?”

    Michelle was exhausted. It had been a long, tiring drive from Winnipeg. She still had the truck to unload, but she was here, in one piece.
    She grabbed her purse, and considered what she needed to take with her for tonight. The stuff in the truck should be safe here overnight. The condo seemed to have more security than the base had had. She decided her purse was all she needed – she had a toothbrush, and she could sleep in her t-shirt. She was too tired to haul anything up to the condo, which was on the top floor. They were moving up!
    When the elevator doors opened, she punched the ‘P’ button. Penthouse sounded pretty good. She actually was fortunate. Her great aunt’s good friend was on a prolonged vacation, and was letting them condo sit for her while she was away.
    She didn’t pay much attention to the man who got on at the lobby level. She looked in the zip of her purse to make sure she had the keys. She was feeling so tired she wasn’t sure she’d even be brushing her teeth. She certainly didn’t want to go back to the truck. Just lead her to a horizontal surface and let her eyes close…
    The elevator doors started to swish open. The man was still in the elevator, but she hadn’t felt any danger – until he suddenly blocked the door.
    “Sorry, sweetheart. You’re not getting out-”
    She didn’t stop to think. There was a threat in front of her, and she reacted as she’d been trained. He was big, but she was fit, and he didn’t seem to expect her to resist. It was over in seconds. He was on the floor, and she had his arm in a lock. Now she just needed to pull out her phone and call 911.

    • Sorry, I realize I misunderstood. Pizza, dog and music weren’t just possibilities, but were supposed to be a part of this. Here I’ve done that – can’t delete the old offering.

      Mark swooped up the Chihuahua with one hand as he raced for the elevator with his rapidly cooling pizza in the other. When he had noticed that the building manager was in his office for once, he’d had to detour to let the manager know that the new neighbour in 8B was playing her music too loudly. Just because it was classical music didn’t mean the volume couldn’t be turned down. He wasn’t a big violin fan and the new neighbour apparently was.
      He slid through the doors, panting slightly. The only other person in the elevator was an attractive red head. Mark had a thing for redheads. She was dressed to kill, high heels and a suit, with a bottle of wine in a special tote under her near arm. The doors slid shut, but she barely acknowledged him, other than to ask, after a moment, if he had a dog.
      Mark sighed. It wasn’t his dog, it was his sister’s, but as much as he didn’t care for little dogs, he was getting really tired of these “Is that a dog or a rat?” questions.
      “Yes.” He answered shortly. Maybe he wasn’t so fond of redheads.
      “Please keep it under control.”
      Mark stiffened, and then saw, with dawning understanding, the white cane hidden under her other arm. Ah, that explained the question, and the response, though she had been unnecessarily curt.
      “Will do.” he promised.
      The silence stretched as the car ascended, and then finally started to slow at 8, and then, it all happened. First his brain noted that she was getting out on his floor. Interesting. Then as her cane flipped forward, he saw the violin case under her arm. He started to get a bad feeling. Had he just complained about a blind violinist? The doors slid open. The cane tapped, the dog stared at it for the briefest of seconds before lunging from Mark’s arms. The red head had taken two steps when the dog grabbed at the cane, his trailing leash ensnaring her ankles. Mark tried to reach for the dog, but the pizza was in his hand, and in slow motion, he saw her start to fall, and the pizza, with Mark close behind, followed her trajectory. He heard the muted breaking of the wine bottle, heard a soft whoofing noise as breath was forced out by her contact with the floor, followed by the feel of her soft body buffering his fall. There was a louder grunt as his weight came to a rest on top of her.
      He saw the wine oozing out from under her previously immaculate suit. The pizza had landed picturesquely on her hair. He was straddling her length rather intimately while the stupid dog ran off with the prized white cane. Mark closed his eyes and hoped this was all a nightmare.

    • Deirdre

      Thanks for taking up our challenge twice! I enjoyed both your entries, although the second spoke to our prompt more directly. 😉 What I also liked about the second one was how you jumped into the action without preamble or setup and let the reader figure out what was going on. And this: “Had he just complained about a blind violinist?” Great line!

  3. Michelle Monette

    “Yeah, Trina, I’ll be right up. I’m in the elevator and I’ve got the wine…NO! I did not get it in a box. It’s just one bottle. We’re going to take it easy tonight, remember…early day at the office tomorrow, whether it’s Saturday or not. No rest for the wicked. And wicked is definitely how I feel tonight!”
    Kelsey Lambert dropped her IPhone into her oversized Michael Kors bag and tapped her open-toed heels as she checked the progress on the elevator’s steady ascent with a quick upward glance. With any luck, she would get to the 25th floor, and her colleague, friend and neighbour’s unit without any more stops and delays. Trina and Kelsey lived in the same floor, and worked in the same office, liked the same wines and came from the same backgrounds.
    They were small-town girls with big dreams and mediocre bank accounts. But you only live once and they were not taking any prisoners. Friday was their night for letting loose -“Freaky Fridays,” as they called them. But tomorrow was a work day, and they had cancelled their regular night on the town. Kelsey had also been kept late at the office, tied up by their boss to finish out some details. The rest of the team had escaped, but not her.
    “Tied up. I almost wish,” Kelsey laughed out loud to herself. She could think of worse ways to spend part of her evening than with the new Marketing Director, Adam Maxfield. “Very yummy.” She smiled to herself, which reminded her that she hadn’t eaten in forever. She hoped Trina had some appies ready. Hungry, thirsty for her wine, and done in for the week, Kelsey looked up again at the numbers and cursed out loud when the elevator stopped at the 14th floor.
    The doors slid open but no one was there. Kelsey quickly reached over to press the button to close the door. She heard scrambling in the hall but didn’t hold the door. She just did NOT have it in her to spend another minute of her Friday night waiting on someone else.
    “Wait, hold the door please,” came an urgent cry from the down the hall. With a change of heart, Kelsey reached over to hold the elevator, but accidentally hit the “Close” button once more just as an overfed Chihuahua shot into the elevator at full speed, barking then growling and snarling at Kelsey, as she backed into the corner, hugging her wine close. Suddenly a hand reached in, the doors opened and the hand was followed by a man, tall dark and wearing nothing but boxers, who scooped up the pooch and confronted Kelsey full on. “Why didn’t you hold the door? What’s wrong with you anyway? The dog could have gotten away from me” His eyes flashed blue and bold. Fiery and cold at the same time, but Kelsey was not intimidated.
    “Me? What’s wrong with me? I’m the one minding my business riding the elevator when this, this, BEAST, charges at me for no reason. And now you! Who do you think YOU are? Really, I don’t understand people in this city. I tried to do YOU a favour. But my finger just hit the wrong button. “ Her eyes fired back at him. And then they took the rest of him in.
    ALL the rest of him. “Where are your clothes?” She sputtered, “ And what are you doing on this floor?”
    Here she was, alone in an elevator with the one human being on the face of this planet that she could not tolerate. “Mr Pickle”, was the nickname she and Trina had for him, because he was always so uptight. His real name was Simon Callahan, a fact she only knew because he lived beside her in number 2508. He had introduced himself after banging on her door one Sunday afternoon to complain that she was playing her music too loudly.
    “I’m writing” he said, “and I need quiet to be inspired.”
    “I’m cleaning” she had retorted, “and music keeps me moving.”
    “Well, give me a break” he said, “ I put up with your music all time, your friends on the patio on Friday nights, AND I know it’s you who jammed up the garbage disposal last weekend with that empty pizza box. Boxes go in the recycle chute, NOT the garbage. And I also would lay down a dollar to doughnuts that it’s you who doesn’t separate your plastic and glass in the blue bins down the hall.”
    “Really? Are we really are having this conversation? Dollars and doughnuts? What the hell?” She flicked her long chestnut braid over her shoulder and glared. For your information, I am new here, Mr. Unfriendly-and-Unwelcoming-Neighbour, and I am trying to catch on to the system. A little patience would be appreciated. I am sorry…oops NOT sorry. Give me a break.”
    She flicked her braid back to the other side dismissively, “I am cleaning now, and you are interrupting my Zen, so you need to go. “
    “You wouldn’t know the first thing about Zen he said as he turned his back and retreated to the safety of his unit.
    Kelsey stuck her tongue out at his back and stepped back into her own place; sunshiny, cozy and loud. He was so condescending with his wire glasses, and his recycling lessons. How was she to know how those contraptions worked? Until moving here, she was used to a burn barrel and weekly trips to the landfill. She could give him a lesson or two on life outside of this Ivory tower but she would never let Mr. Pickle ever get to see that side of her.
    And speaking of Pickles, She was brought back to the present, tight quarters in the elevator with her barely dressed and decidedly hot neighbour, when the dog barked and snarled in her direction again “Seriously, where are your clothes?” She asked, her eyes dropping to places they should not. She had to admit he looked not half bad in this half-dressed state. She liked him like this: Vulnerable; Out of place. She decided to take advantage.
    She reached over and pressed the Emergency Stop.

    • Deirdre

      I really enjoyed the tension you created between Kelsey and Simon, and there’s some wonderful writing too: “He was so condescending with his wire glasses and his recycling lessons.” You’ve jumped right into the action with Kelsey’s phone call, hooking the reader right away with a strong first paragraph. My only suggestion would be that you let that strong writing stand and explain even less. You’ve told us everything we need to know about Kelsey and Simon through their actions and dialogue – great job!

  4. Ivy B.

    Colin Hawke shortened Daisy’s leash as he entered his building. He had no concerns about the German Shepard’s manners, but it wasn’t always predictable what his neighbours’ reaction would be. His partner from the K-9 division of the Regina City Police, picked up his body language as usual, and glued herself to his side.

    “Good girl,” Colin murmured and opened the inner door of the converted red-brick warehouse. Daisy preceded her partner then paused andColin glance to the left.

    Two people stood in front of the industrial style elevator doors. The guy from 4C, with the yappy Chihuahua, and the woman from 5A. It was the woman that drew his attention. Her shoulders were slumped. She had a death grip on her briefcase in one hand, and the handle of the bag from the liquor store around the corner, in the other.

    Colin knew her name was Heather and she played her upbeat music too loud when she was upset. He’d gone next door to ask her to turn it down once and been greeted by a tear stained face. After a halting introduction, she’d apologized and turned it down. Well, that once.

    4C was chatting to her as Colin and Daisy moved forward to stand behind the couple.
    Heather turned to give 4C a weak smile when she caught sight of him.

    “Hello, neighbour.”

    “Evening,” he nodded back.

    “Hey there, who’s this?” 4C asked, looking down at Daisy. His little dog was backing a way from Daisy and trembling.

    “This is Daisy, my partner.” Daisy was giving the smaller bred a quizzical look with much ear flicking, but she stood silent and calm at Colin’s side.

    “Daisy won’t hurt Rex, will she?” 4C asked.

    Colin raised on chestnut brown eyebrow at 4C. He was about to reply when Heather gasped.

    “Oh my lord!” She jumped back and shook her foot. Rex had widdled on one of her expensive black shoes, and her foot.

    “I’m so sorry!” 4C gasped. The elevator chimed and doors separated.

    Heather kicked off her high heel.

    “Here, use this.” Colin handed Heather a T-shirt from out of his gym bag to wipe off her foot.

    “Thanks,” Heather moved back and put her burdens down on the floor, well clear of the growing puddle. Rex was now growling and barking at Daisy.

    “Rex, stop it! Bad boy.”

    “I’d suggest you take him outside to relieve himself, but there’s probably no point now.” Colin had to use his professional voice, and keep a lock on his expression or he start to laugh. Nothing to see here.

    “I should-” 4C started to say, but Colin interrupted.

    “You should clean that mess up. Then take you dog for a walk.” He snagged Heather’s bags from the floor and added them to the hand carrying his own bag. “Going up?” He asked her.

    “Yes, thanks.” Heather hobbled into the elevator. Daisy followed and sat down a the back wall.

    “I’m so sorry.” 4C said again as Colin followed his partner.

    “It’s fine,” Heather said, although there was definite frost in he tone. “What a week I’m having, thank you God, it’s over,” she muttered as she wiped her shoe, while the elevator doors closed.

    “It’s been a bit of a trial, has it?” He press the button for their floor.

    “You have no idea.” Instead of putting her shoe back on. She took the other off with a sigh of relief. “I wash this before I return it.” She hung on to the soiled shirt and Colin nodded.

    “I’ll make you a bet, if I can beat your week, you come over for pizza and bring this bottle of wine.” He gestured to her bag and was gratified to see interest ignite in her violet eyes.

    “And if I beat your week?” She tipped her dark head to look up at him.

    “You can name it.” Colin couldn’t think of anything he wasn’t prepared to do with this lady.

    Her shapely lips curved into an intrigued smile. “You go first.”

    “Three days this week, Daisy and I had to chase felons across fields, out from under condemned buildings, and the last time, we had to dig a drug dealer out of a garbage bin from be hind a burger joint.” He gave an involuntary shiver.

    “Well that does sound like quite the week.” Heather offered her fist to Daisy to sniff, before stoking an ear. Then she looked up at Colin and her eyes lost all their humour. “At least you weren’t arrested for murder.”

    • Deirdre

      Love how you’ve jumped into the action and given us just enough information to understand the dynamics between the characters but left us with a cliff-hanger close! Fun dialogue too, and love the dog’s names! Great use of humour, dialogue, and the element of surprise – nice job!

  5. Sabrina Ross

    Come on come on” Jess Collingwood inwardly fumed as the elevator paused on the way up from the parkade to admit whomever was seeking entrance from the foyer. It had been a long week at the office and all Jess wanted was to kick off her heels, imbibe in a glass or two of Gewürztraminer and enjoy the ambience of whatever music was on her current rotation.
    As the doors opened Jess’s juices began to flow and it had nothing to do with theoverly handsome, muscular blonde man that flashed her an ultra watt smile upon entering. As undeniably hot as Jess’s neighbour was she wasn’t impressed with his revolving door which more often than not involved an extremely yappy small dog darting out and using the 5th floor hallway as it’s personal racetrack.
    No it wasn’t Lance’s or was it Layne’s dancing blue eyes and tanned physique that had her so uncomfortable but rather the aromatic, mouth watering smell wafting from him now.
    Jess had worked through lunch and the the unmistakeable smell of Hawaiian pizza was almost too much to bear.
    ‘Excuse me?’
    ‘The wine. I couldn’t help noticing you like Gewürztraminer.’
    Jess shook her head at her own profanity. ‘Sorry, I thought you said something else. Yes I do, how about you?’
    ‘I don’t know I haven’t tried it before.’
    Was he fishing for an invite!? Certainly he couldn’t have exhausted his long list of female admirers.
    ‘If you don’t have any other plans why don’t you join me for some pizza and then I could give you my opinion on the wine.’
    He made it all sound so easy, ughhh that was the problem it would be too easy to succumb to his charms except for his annoying little chihuahua. What trouble could a shared pizza and bottle of wine cause?
    ‘Sounds great but On one condition.”
    “What’s that?”
    “I’m starving any chance I could get a bite or two now?”
    Layne, yes she was sure it was Layne arched a brow at her and with a smirk lifted the lid, grabbed a piece of pizza and held it up to her mouth.
    Jess opened her mouth and took a bite of cheesy goodness. Unfortunately a piece of pineapple laden ham slid off at the same time and instead of making it into her mouth slid down her blouse to nestle between her breasts. “Damn!”
    At the same moment Jess’s purse slid off her arm to the elevator floor and mid descent to pick it up the elevator doors pinged open she was knocked over as a flurry of fur shot in knocking her on her ass before unceremoniously scrambling under her blouse to eat the ham and pineapple she’d been saving for later.

    • Deirdre

      There’s a lot to like in this strong scene: good use of dialogue, chemistry between your hero and heroine, and an unforgettable visual image to close – I really did lol! Well done!

  6. Jennie

    James Vincent saw her as soon as he came through the glass doors into the marble entrance. Amy Templeton. Just the lady he wanted to see! Waiting at the elevator doors too, the perfect opportunity! He transferred the pizza box to his right hand, picked up his chihuahua with his left and hurried forward.
    Good! One elevator was delayed on the twelfth floor and the other on the fifth.
    ‘Hi,’ he smiled. Contrary to popular belief he could be charming when he needed to be.
    Amy Templeton turned to look at him but made no reply.
    Blondes in high heels! Wasn’t that the formula he promised himself he was never going to get involved with again. Especially gorgeous blondes with um… Yes, he caught them as she flashed him a second look, blue eyes! The little navy linen dress she wore looked good on her tall slim figure too. But blondes with blue eyes in high heels were fatal to his well being. He wasn’t going there again, not this century anyway.
    Nevertheless, hers was definitely the corner apartment and the only one with just the right angle and a direct view of the building site across the street. And he’d promised he’d deliver.
    ‘You have a nice evening planned?’ James looked pointedly down at the red wine bottle in Amy Templeton’s hand.
    Again, she didn’t reply.
    He separated Warburton from the pizza box and put him down. Warburton right on cue went straight over and sniffed her shoes. Red, his favorite color. James could always count on the puppy to read his mind.
    Amy Templeton shifted her feet and moved a little away. A blonde in high heels who didn’t like dogs! Warburton getting it in one, sat down and looked hurt. He wasn’t used to anyone not liking him.
    ‘Is this your dog?’ Definitely she was beautiful. Arrogant too, he imagined. Clearly, she had some professional high powered job. Her manner told him she was used to being in charge. Well. Well.
    ‘Yes. His name is Warburton and he did like you.’
    James didn’t miss the quick flash that indicated she was taken aback, either by his statement or the puppy’s ostentatious name.
    ‘Do you know there’s a rule about dogs in halls?’
    ‘You don’t like dogs?’
    Amy Templeton shrugged. ‘I like dogs but I don’t like dogs running up and down the hallways of expensive apartment buildings.’
    ‘Ah, I see.’ James wondered if he should say that he liked music, just not music played loudly at all hours of the day and night. He decided not to. How much was this contract worth to him? If he could get access to Amy Templeton’s apartment, the money his client was going to pay for that photograph alone, would be enough to put a deposit on a new apartment and he could move. He never needed to be bothered by Amy Templeton’s loud music again.
    James picked up Warburton, forced a smile and held out his hand as the lift doors opened. Amy Templeton hesitated, but then turned and got into the lift. OK he could deal with that. James got into the lift after her.
    Warburton was scrambling, to get down. James held onto him. Should James try to tell her his name again? Perhaps better not too. The softly, softly approach might work better.
    ‘That’s a very nice red.’ James pointed at the red wine bottle in her hand. It was a very expensive label. One he drank regularly.

    ‘Yes.’ Amy looked over at this tall dark haired man before her. He was way too handsome for his own good. From the look of the casual blue jeans and checked shirt he obviously had way too much time on his hands too. Certainly, enough to exercise his dog properly and what sort of a man bought a chihuahua anyhow?
    Amy congratulated herself on her cool reception of this man. There was no mistaking the way he’d hurried to catch that lift. Clearly, he wanted something, but what? She hated being rude but the last thing she needed was to start up a relationship or even a friendship with a man down the hall. Wasn’t that why she had taken the apartment in the first place because with so many apartments and two lifts it was virtually anonymous. Until now. Did he know her name?
    Amy looked over at him again. The little dog was cute and he couldn’t help having an owner who didn’t make him behave. Amy reached across to pat him. Warburton. Who would give a nice little dog like this, a name like that?

    Ah success. Even a woman like Amy Templeton couldn’t resist Warburton! James had never imagined adopting him would come in so useful. He wasn’t just a pretty face to be photographed for a luxury car ad, after all! It was a shame James hadn’t been able to keep the Great Dane too. But the Great Dane was way too big for his apartment and the dog had lost some of his appeal after he’d bitten him on the leg. James wondered what Amy Templeton would say if she had a Great Dane running up and down the hallway?
    James held Warburton out to be patted, as, simultaneously, the elevator made a grinding noise, the whole floor shuddered, Warburton growled like a dog three times his size, and Amy Templeton’s hand encountered the puppy.
    The elevator gave another jolt and James staggered to regain his balance, watching, as the red wine bottle smashed to the floor, twelve pieces of pizza slipped out of the pizza box onto the floor and Amy Templeton completely lost her balance in her high heels and came down on the stopped elevator, right on her bottom. Red blood oozed on her hand.
    ‘What was that?’ said James.
    ‘I don’t know what happened,’ Amy Templeton snapped, ‘but your dog has bitten my hand.’
    ‘No? Warburton, did you bite?’ James looked down at the puppy still in his hand. He brought him into his chest. The puppy obviously realizing he had done something wrong frantically began to try to burrow his way under James arm.
    ‘I’m terribly sorry,’ said James still holding tightly to the frightened dog. He bent down and came alongside Amy Templeton. ‘I’m sure he didn’t’ mean to, he just got a fright.’
    The elevator trembled and began to move up again. Amy Templeton obviously trying to regain some of her composure was now standing, once again, on her feet. James stood alongside.
    A full minute later the doors opened. Was this the opportunity he was looking for? Maybe it was. ‘Come with me,’ said James. ‘I have just the medical supplies for a dog bite. I recently got bitten by a Great Dane.’

    • Deirdre

      This scene has a nice combination of humour and suspense. What photo is it that James must capture, we wonder? How is he going to get that photo and not alert Amy to what he’s up to? Why is it important to Amy that she avoid entanglements? And who would give their cute little Chihuahua a name like Warburton? Great job, Jennie!

  7. Tambra Nicole Kendall

    Hi y’all,
    I hope this isn’t too long. Thank you for the fantastic challenge!
    Tambra’s Submission
    Trilby Gordon shifted her sturdy jute grocery tote to press the button on the elevator. A bottle of Moscato, a variety of cheese and fruit along with some silky, dark chocolate would help soothe her battered heart and mind from the rotten week she’d had.
    “Hold the door, please!” His pleasant baritone called out.
    She pushed the door open button and silently cursed in three languages when he bounded inside. Her next-door neighbor also known as the sexy grouch who uses the hallway every morning as a racetrack for his Chihuahua. Trilby pushed the door close button.
    “Thanks for waiting.” His demeanor changed when he recognized Trilby. A slight frown shadowed across his mouth for just a moment.
    Trilby sighed from the safety of her corner. Weariness prevented her from utilizing her arsenal of sarcasm and the loss of it left her exposed.
    The elevator squealed and jerked to a stop. The phone rang and Trilby jumped. She closed her eyes and tried to take slow deep breaths to control the rising tide of panic. Her hand groped for the receiver as a larger, warm one gently lifted it from her fumbling grasp.
    He surprised her by his kindness. Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.
    Grouchy guy answered the phone. “We’re not hurt. Okay.” He hung up, then sat down, and stretched out his legs. “Might as well make yourself comfortable. We’re going to be stuck in here for a few hours. An electrical issue of some kind. They said they’d do their best to hurry and get us out of here.”
    She eased down beside him and smiled. “You’ve never spoken to me nicely before. Why? Is that a magic pizza, grouchy next-door neighbor guy?”
    His rich laughter filled the space along with the heavenly fragrance of pizza. “The name’s Jake Greyson.”
    “Trilby Gordon.” Her body stiffened as panic began to sink its razor claws into her once more. Food and distraction might get her through this. Reaching into the bag, she pulled out the bottle of wine. “Truce? I’m willing to share if you are. I also have some Edam and smoked Gouda, seedless black grapes, and dark chocolate.”
    He scooted to make room and placed the box between them. She handed him the wine and a corkscrew. Pushing the handles out of the way, she pulled out a package of paper plates, napkins and two wine glasses painted to look like the TARDIS.
    Soon they were settled with full glasses of wine and pieces of supreme deep-dish pizza. They discovered they had more in common than good food, being geeks and rabid Doctor Who fans. A similar value system and outlook on life made her think that opening up and being real with him might be worth the risk. Trustworthy friends were so hard to find.
    “Why do you listen to your music so loud?” He asked before he sipped the wine.
    She leaned her head against the wall. “My ex-fiance did something to mess up my stereo system. I’ve tried everything I know to fix it. All those times it was blaring, I didn’t do it on purpose. I was frustrated and your yelling didn’t help. It brought out my sarcasm even more.”
    “I can check it over for you this weekend.” He reached out and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, letting his touch linger. “I’m sorry for being a grouch. A recent promotion has me on a different schedule and I’m keeping late night hours. I’m still getting adjusted to it.”
    Trilby poured them another glass of Moscato. “Why do you let your Chichi run the hall every morning?”
    “His name is Speedy Gonzales and he loves to run. The hallway is the perfect place for him to burn off some of his energy. A couple of times a day he runs across my sectional sofa, then takes a flying leap onto the loveseat. I’m dog sitting for my sister who’s away on a business trip. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think I’m going to miss him.”
    She laughed as she imagined the energetic furball. The food and conversation helped but once in a while the cloying suffocation and feeling of impending death rose up. Her hand fisted and she blew out a slow breath. Tears burned and she rapidly blinked to keep them from falling. “I’m claustrophobic. Trying to keep from having an attack.”
    “It’s okay. Give me a minute.” Jake packed the remainder of her groceries back in the tote and pushed the box to the side. He pulled her into his arms but didn’t crush her against him. Somehow this contact with him soothed her. Normally, touching or being close to people made the attacks worse.
    Jake lightly stroked her hair. “It seems we were wrong about each other. I’d like to see where this new relationship takes us.”
    Easing up she reached up to stroke his face. “I can’t wait to see what will happen.”

    • Kayla King

      This is a great, full scene, Tambra. Not too long at all! I like that you used the TARDIS wine glasses as an ice breaker for these two neighbors to find out what they have in common. Trilby’s claustrophobia was also an unexpected way to initiate physical contact between her and Jake, and it worked! I’m curious as to what obstacles their new relationship may encounter—if they ever get out of the elevator, of course.

    • Tambra Nicole Kendall

      Hi Kayla,
      Thank you so much for your comment! The first thing that came to mind when I read the challenge was how we misjudge people until we learn the circumstances and take the time to listen. I’m happy with the scene as I have just enough to expand on it into a short story or novella. Thanks, again!

  8. Ann Malley

    Night fell swiftly in the form of deep purple clouds streaking the cityscape just outside the Fordham Condo Complex in downtown St. James. It couldn’t come fast enough for Angie de Clerc.

    This week had passed like tar as in not at all. Her briefcase, though sleek enough on the outside with its taut burgundy leather and hard gold corners, concealed a public relations hell dream. Only Angie wasn’t dreaming. Even though she wished she were as she spied an oversized pizza box making its way across the plush lobby toward the elevator.

    “Wait. I’ll be just a minute,” the man carrying the box panted, having stopped at the front desk.

    “Not today,” Angie said out loud, not caring if she was heard. Hoping she was. Shifting briefcase and wine bottle, Angie’s dates for the evening, if one excluded the ongoing presence of Bruce Springsteen on C.D., she punched the close button.

    Let the Chihuahua man catch the next elevator.

    The guy’s yippie dog had nearly ended Angie’s career earlier that morning, tripping her up in the hallway. He has a thing for high heels his owner had said by way of apology.

    Angie snorted. The one who should apologize is the guy who got his poor dog hooked on chasing women’s shoes. Although, Angie had to admit, the trick was successful. Recalling just how many pairs of stilettos had made their way to and from the apartment down the hall was an impossibility. With his dark good looks one wouldn’t think the man required any gimmicks to get girls but whatever. She had work to do and other riddles to solve.

    “Wait! Come on.” A smile, all white and practiced charm, flashed above the pizza box.

    Angie grinned back watching as the doors began to close. She exhaled, finally, letting the cool of the bottle sink into her skin as she held it tight against her blue blouse.

    “Come on,” Chihuahua man crooned. This time, however, he wasn’t just asking. The pizza box shifted sideways like some extended Karate move, stopping the elevator doors and ending Angie’s small respite.

    The doors snapped open.

    “That’s better.”

    “Better? You don’t mind ruined pizza?”

    “It all goes down the same. No doubt like your friend for the evening.”

    The flashing smile transformed into firm lips, pressed slightly together as her nemesis stepped into the compartment, his lean frame dwarfing her petite curves.

    The effect, while not devastating, didn’t leave Angie completely unmoved. But that could be attributed to the way his tiger’s-eye gaze sought her out. When one of his brows arched high, she was forced to look away.

    “I’m working this weekend.”

    “Me, too.”

    On who Angie wanted to ask. “Good. Then I can assume that the hallways will be safe at least for the next two days.”

    “And I’ll assume that the Boss won’t be telling everyone in the building that he was born in the U.S.A.”

    Gritting her teeth, Angie withheld remark. Sometimes silence was the only policy. She stared straight ahead ignoring the man, the comment, and the insidious smell of pizza that was making her stomach, the traitor, begin to growl. She hadn’t indulged in gooey cheese for far too long.

    “You know, if you’re such a fan of Springsteen, I could introduce you.”

    The man did not know Springsteen. Angie counted elevator buttons.

    “Fan-girling only goes so far,” he baited in that indistinguishable accent. “At some point only the real thing, flesh and blood, will suffice.”

    Sixteen buttons. Angie fixed on counting floor tiles next.

    “Seriously. I’m rather well connected, even though I wasn’t born here. And while I’ve yet to meet your idol I’m currently in negotiations with his record label.”

    Angie’s eyes widened. Her briefcase suddenly weighed like a feather. She caught her lower lip between her teeth to forestall a grin.

    “I could—if you were interested—make a few inquiries.”

    While Angie didn’t look at the man himself, she studied the reflection in the polished metal of the elevator walls. Could this foreign nuisance be the answer to what lay in her briefcase? While meeting the Boss would be great – her insides tingled at the thought – having an inside into the record label that was part and parcel of her current public relations mountain would get her boss off her back. And maybe, just maybe, get her that corner office that had eluded her these past three years.

    “And I could, if you were interested, apologize for my untoward behavior. Your dog caught me off guard this morning. I usually like animals but I’ve been so focused on work lately that’s all I can manage.”

    “All I could manage tonight is a pizza and a smooshed one at that. If you’re interested, though, we can share. You bring the wine!”

    “It’s a date.”

    • Kayla King

      There were some very funny lines here, Ann. Right from the start you set up Angie’s voice as a smart, put-upon young woman who’s got priorities and isn’t interested in a womanizer with a Chihuahua getting in her way. But of course, her neighbor is quite charming, and has a few tricks up his sleeve to win her over. I like what’s not said in this scene—he thinks he’s got her with Bruce Springsteen, but she still has business on her mind. I’d love to see what goes on in his apartment later!

    • Ann Malley

      Thanks for your thoughts, Kayla. It’s been a rough week here and it’s only Wednesday. But, like you, I’m intrigued by what could happen in that apartment. Taking a break to figure out exactly what does may be just what’s needed to make it through to Friday ;^)

      Enjoy your week and thanks again for the encouragement.


  9. Chrissie

    Chelsea always hated dogs. Size didn’t matter, it was dogs in general. They were obnoxious, jumped on people and they barked. When she picked out this condo to live in, she was told no one had dogs on her end. That was a relief, until she met too-handsome-for-his-own-good next-door neighbor, Mark. The guy had killer abs but hid them discreetly behind his Armani business suit, unlike the day she’d seen him at the complex swimming pool doing laps like it was as easy as breathing.

    Temptation at its best, but then she recalled the tiny Chihuahua always at his side. There it was, sleeping on his towel with its paws crossed neatly and its tiny pink nose tilted to the side. A pizza delivery boy walked into the enclosed area with two boxed pizzas held high in the air. The tiny dog saw him and raced toward him nipping at his heels as he walked over to wave at Mark.

    She had seen enough, turned on her heel and headed for the elevator to the second floor.


    Chelsea threw her arm out to prevent the doors from closing only to see who it was that had yelled. Mark, dripping pool water with his towel slung around his neck and the two pizzas in hand. She glanced down as the tiny cream colored dog ran in to settle beside his feet. As the elevator doors closed, the dog began to yap.

    “Can’t you make her be quiet?”

    “No. And she is a he. Harley, to be exact.”

    A laugh escaped her lips. “Like the motorcycle?”

    “Exactly.” A grin spread on his beard-stubble face.

    “Well, Harley is being rude. I’ve done nothing to make him bark at me.”

    “What’s that you have in that brown bag?”

    “My dinner and a bottle of chardonnay. Why?”

    He shrugged. “Is your dinner chicken by chance?”

    “Of course, it’s chicken.” Her favorite boneless fried chicken complete with fries and slaw. This was a celebration of her recent raise. Since she didn’t have anyone to celebrate with, she’d purchased her dinner and wine to enjoy her success in the quiet of her condo.

    Harley jumped high into the air and grasped the paper bag in his tiny teeth. For a second in time, he hung there, suspended with feet flying and growl increasing. The traitorous bag ripped and Chelsea’s fine chicken dinner tumbled to the elevator floor. She caught the bottle before it fell too, but wished she’d let it conk the little beast on the head for ruining her dinner.

    Mark swept the Chihuahua up in one arm, balancing the pizzas with the other. The spoiled beast snarled and snapped to be free. “Harley. Stop!”

    “Oh my God, he minds.” She glanced downward at the mess covering the floor between them. Her shoes were covered in slaw, her skirt streaked in grease, and chicken and French fries were scattered everywhere. “Too bad he can’t clean up after himself.”

    Mark shrugged. “I’ll call the janitor. I can give him a few extra bucks.”

    “Are you paying for my dress to be cleaned too?”

    “I will.” His eyes sparkled with amusement. “I’ll even take you out to dinner, if you’d like.”

    Did she have a choice? Oh yeah, she could sit alone in her apartment eating Cheerios and drinking a bottle of wine—alone. “I’d like that.”

    “Great. Give me a half hour. We’ll meet here?”

    “Without the dog?”

    “Without Harley.”

    “Okay.” It was the best offer she’d had in a long while. And he did owe her for the ruined dinner. “I’m Chelsea Meyers, by the way.”

    “Mark Davidson.”

    She enjoyed his broad smile and the dimple that kissed his cheek. “Like the motorcycle?”

    He chuckled. “Exactly like the motorcycle. My great great-grandfather invented them.”

    • Kayla King

      This was a surprisingly cute scene, Chrissie! I love that the dog is named Harley and is obviously very loved and spoiled rotten. I can see him winning Chelsea over in the future—even though she doesn’t like dogs. It seemed to me like Chelsea’s been noticing Mark for a while now, and my guess is that he’s been noticing her too, and now they finally have their meet-cute!

    • Chrissie

      Thank you for the nice comments, Kayla. It was fun to write a scene from the top of my head. I’m sure it will be a complete story soon. I love these challenges. Sometimes, they inspire me to think out of my comfort zone.

  10. Susan Curry

    Emily quickened her pace as she heard the elevator approaching toward ground level. The aroma of pizza made her realize she should have ordered one to go with the red Lambrusco.
    “Hold the elevator, please,” she yelled as she turned the corner. “Oh, it’s you,” she said as she rolled her eyes.
    “Thanks a lot,” said Tom. “You don’t exactly make my day either.” He shifted the pizza to his right hand.
    “You’re smelling up the entire lobby with that pizza.”
    “At least I’m not ruining anybody’s ear drums, like someone else I know.”
    The elevator door opened and closed and ascended to the sixteenth floor.
    “You see what you did. We missed the elevator because you were ranting about ear drums. Honestly!”
    Emily pushed the elevator button three times and walked a few steps away from Tom.
    Tom glanced at her while her back was turned. ‘Nice legs,’ he thought. ‘This is the first time I’ve seen her in a dress and heels. Actually, those legs are better than nice……….they’re down right sexy.’
    Emily turned facing him, and he quickly turned toward the elevator.
    Emily placed her hand on her growling stomach. The aroma of the pizza was adding to her hunger pains. Tom had loosened his tie, and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt, exposing curly, black hair.
    ‘Oh, my, a hairy chest,’ Emily thought. ‘I love a man with a chest full of hair.’
    “Elevator is here,” said Tom, placing his hand against the open door. “Ladies first.”
    Emily slid her hand inside her purse for the apartment key. She peeked inside the purse while searching, but couldn’t find it. She placed the wine bottle on the elevator floor and while kneeling emptied her purse.
    “Oh, no,” she said as she grabbed her cell phone off the floor.
    “What’s the matter?”
    “I left my apartment key at the office, and it’s too much of a distance for me to return there tonight.”
    She dialed the lock smith’s number and provided her name and address. “You can’t get here any sooner than 90 minutes?” she said into the phone.
    The elevator door stopped at their floor. Tom propped the door open with his body. “That’s a long time to wait,” he said. “You’re welcome to wait at my place?”
    “With you and that yapping dog you call Fred?”
    “Look at it this way, you have the wine, and I have the pizza. They’re a great food combo for a Friday night after a long work week.”
    Emily stared at the elevator floor. “I don’t know.”
    “I’m just trying to be neighborly and a gentleman. I don’t want a woman alone hanging out in the hall for 90 minutes.”
    Emily stood up from the floor where she had been returning the contents of her purse. She shrugged her shoulders. “Well, okay. That’s….that’s very nice of you.”
    “I know. And besides, I’ll have 90 minutes that I won’t have to listen to your music. And maybe you and Fred will become friends.”

    • Kayla King

      I started laughing right from the start with this one, Susan. There’s nothing I love more than two characters who snipe at each other, and Emily and Tom do not hold back. But then Tom shows that he has a nice side, too, by graciously inviting her over when she’s imperiled. You’ve made it delightfully clear, though, that just because he’s doing her a favor doesn’t mean they’ve called a truce! Very funny and engaging.

  11. Sophia W

    Jennie West never normally lost her temper but today she’d already lost it three times, and the fourth time was imminent. Her neighbour had to be the most annoying man she’d ever met. She was in a RUSH and she did NOT want to stand and wait while he DAWDLED into the lift with his chihuahua and his pizza box. Possibly the only man in the whole of Manhattan who wasn’t in a hurry. Marvellous.
    Finally, they were inside.
    ‘Good evening,’ he said.
    Even the way he said those two words annoyed her. Probably because they usually preceded a request for her to turn her music down.
    ‘Good evening,’ she said, not even attempting a smile.
    She’d already pressed the seventh floor button. About half an hour ago, it felt like, she’d been standing holding the doors for so long. The lift set off as soon as the doors closed.
    Jennie stared straight ahead. No WAY was she going to engage in conversation. She just wanted to get inside her flat, kick her heels off, lie on her sofa with a glass of the red wine she’d just bought, and take a few moments, before she got on with some work. Which would again involve turning up her music so loudly that he couldn’t possibly hear her phone conversations. The uninitiated would never believe that twenty-first century intelligence work could be so low-tech, she reflected. At least the loud music apparently had the added benefit of annoying her neighbour so much that he hadn’t noticed anything else about her. As long as he didn’t suspect anything and wouldn’t have a great description of her after she left, it really didn’t matter what he thought of her, given that, as always, she’d be moving on, to another city, maybe another country, within a few weeks.
    And then he could live in peace with his chihuahua.
    She looked down at the little dog at their feet. What kind of a man had a chihuahua anyway? The dog was cute and endearing. The man was large, sarcastic and extremely un-endearing.
    He also had a very muscular chest and strong arms, and smelled divinely masculine, she discovered, as the lift suddenly lurched to a halt and she was thrown against him. Not a surprise because he was possibly the most handsome man she’d ever met, along with being definitely the most annoying.

    ‘You okay?’ Mac Grantham asked his neighbour as he set her back on her feet, managing not to take an extra breath just to inhale her surprisingly seductive scent. He’d caught hints of vanilla and strawberries, he thought.
    ‘Yes thank you,’ she said primly in that cut glass English accent that in anyone else he would have found attractive but in her he just found annoying. Like who spoke like the Queen but behaved like a moronic teenager listening to loud music at all hours of the night? It woke the chihuahua up, which made his dog-sitting torture even worse.
    ‘So it seems like the elevator’s stopped,’ he observed. Inanely, he realised. That was another thing that he disliked about her. He was thirty-five years old. He owned a successful business. He was a grown-up. But whenever he spoke to her she made him feel like a gauche teenager, despite the fact that in his opinion he was always right and she was always wrong about the music volume. Something in the way she lifted those perfectly arced eyebrows and wrinkled her perfectly straight nose very slightly.
    ‘Indeed,’ she said.
    Annoying, he thought. Celeste, the chihuahua, obviously agreed. She squatted on her very short hind legs and carefully pooped against one of his neighbour’s very shapely, he noticed, feet. The foot was encased in a very high heeled patent black shoe.
    ‘Celeste, stop,’ he said, trying not to laugh.
    To give her her due, his normally stroppy neighbour took it well.
    ‘At least they’re patent,’ she said. ‘So they’ll clean easily. Celeste? Interesting choice of name.’
    ‘She’s my grandmother’s. I’m dog-sitting.’
    ‘Good to know.’
    He pressed the alarm button.
    The elevator phone rang. Mac lifted it, greeted the operator and listened for a moment.
    ‘So apparently on a Friday evening they’re going to struggle to get anyone to help us anytime soon,’ he said. ‘Looks like we could be stuck in here for a while. Maybe several hours. Hopefully not overnight.’
    His neighbour swore, impressing Mac with her language.
    ‘Could be worse,’ he said. ‘Obviously we have the dog and the poop to contend with, but we also have my pizza and your wine. My name’s Mac.’
    ‘Jennie,’ she said. ‘I can’t spend the evening in here. I have work to do.’

    • Kayla King

      You used a very interesting reason for Jennie to blast her music, Sophia, and it makes me wonder about just what kind of work it is that she does! You also slipped in that she moves often, which already drives up the conflict for a relationship between her and Mac. I also can’t believe you had little Celeste poo in the elevator—on Jennie’s shoe, to boot. She has a lot of poise, and the least Mac can do is offer her pizza. There’s a lot to build on here!

  12. Jacqueline Burrows

    Sarah pressed the button for her floor, then leaned against the rear wall of the elevator and closed her eyes. It had been a long, tiring Friday with back to back meetings and a missed lunch. Surviving on black coffee for most of the day, she intended to make up for it with some serious me-time and had stopped on the way home to buy a bottle of red. Her plan was to open the wine to let it breathe, phone for take-away and have a quick shower before it arrived.

    Gone were the days when she’d arrive home on a Friday and be out again within an hour or so to party into the early hours. She had her career to think of and intended to spend Saturday on the internet searching for people to headhunt. As manager of a professional recruitment agency, she was always on the look-out for potential clients.

    She opened her eyes as someone pushed the closing elevator doors open and forced themselves through the gap. She realized, with dismay, that it was her neighbour. The man had moved in a few months previously and she had taken an instant dislike to him. Well, to be more accurate, to his dog. An annoying little Chihuahua that woke her up every morning at five o’clock racing up and down the hallway, its rat-like little feet clattering its nails as it ran in a most annoying fashion. She wasn’t a dog lover but could tolerate most at a pinch… but not this one.

    The man stood as far away from her as possible and slightly in front, giving her a perfect view of his back. How rude. He was nothing special to look at; or at least he hadn’t impressed her much the couple of times she’d seen him coming and going, but his back view was worth scrutinizing. His pin-striped suit fitted him well, especially across the shoulders. Her gaze traveled downwards to his slim waist and hips, long legs and polished shoes. Nice butt. But he had lovely hair. Dark brown and thick with curls that she would have loved to twist around her fingers. He appeared to have attempted to tame it to fit in with the rest of his image, but still needed a haircut quite badly. If he was her client… but of course, he wasn’t. He was her irritating neighbor, the one who had ignored her note politely requesting that he keep the hairless mutt in check.

    He was starting to annoy her. She hated to be ignored. Especially by arrogant men. And the aroma of the pepperoni pizza that was in the bag he was carrying was driving her mad. She knew it was pepperoni as it was her favourite, and she’d recognize that spicy sausage smell anywhere, with the red peppers and melting mozzarella. I’m starving!

    Perhaps this was her chance to tell him once and for all to do something about the dog.

    ‘Excuse me.’ He turned around and her gaze fell into beautiful brown eyes framed by thick black lashes.

    ‘Oh, hi. You’re my neighbour, aren’t you? I’m Mark.’ He put out his hand to shake.

    ‘Sarah. Yes, I live in the apartment next to you.’

    Sarah shook his hand and he smiled. How had she ever thought he was ordinary looking? The man was hot. His handshake was firm and his skin warm. She felt a strange reluctance to let go. He was watching her, his smile tentative, as if he expected her to say something else. But her mind had gone blank. Then he spoke.

    ‘Listen – ah, I need to apologise for Henry.’


    She was listening to him with half her mind on what he was saying and the other half on his mouth. He had the most kissable lips she’d ever seen and she had to stop herself from leaning in to get closer to him.

    ‘I know it was you who put the note through my door and I’ve been meaning to apologise for ages. He’s my mother’s dog, you see. She’s been very ill and can’t look after him at the moment. I’m not good with dogs – more a cat person.’

    ‘Oh, me too.’ What was she doing, being nice to the man? She was supposed to be giving him a piece of her mind. So long as she didn’t give him the piece that was busy picturing him naked.

    ‘I’ll try to keep him quiet.’

    ‘Thanks. I’d appreciate that.’

    Then she remembered the note he’d put through her door, asking her not to play her music so loud. But it was only the one time, after her boyfriend had cheated on her, and she was doing her best Bridget Jones impersonation. In her angst and wine-fuddled state, she hadn’t realized it was three o’clock in the morning. But he had been too quick to post that damned note. Still, he had apologized for the dog, so maybe she should reciprocate.

    ‘Okay, my turn to apologise – the music…’

    ‘Oh, don’t worry about that. I had an interview the following day and I couldn’t sleep anyway. I didn’t get the job as it happens. My life’s a mess at the moment. My girlfriend dumped me, my mother’s ill, I hate my job and I’m rapidly becoming an insomniac. But, sorry, you don’t want to hear my problems.’ He smiled and her heart started to melt. Just a small thaw, though. She wasn’t supposed to like this guy. But then her work brain took over.

    ‘An interview? So – you’re looking for another job? I run a professional recruitment service, I might be able to help you there.’

    ‘Really?’ His tentative smile widened into an irresistibly sexy grin. He was really quite charming. Then her stomach rumbled loudly in the silence. The lift had stopped at their floor ages ago and the doors stood open. There was nothing to keep her there. Nothing except the look in his dark brown eyes and the sudden hunger she had that was for more than pepperoni pizza. Much more.

    He gestured to the pizza box. ‘You’re welcome to join me if you like. I bought the family size as it was on offer. I’ll never eat it all myself. And I promise to keep Henry under control.’

    ‘I can provide the wine.’ She held up the bag and he laughed.


    They left the lift together, beaming at each other. Not even Henry the Hairless Horror was going to keep her from an evening with this man. Never mix work and pleasure they said. But what do they know?

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Jacqueline, This is like a perfect romance in 200+ words. You have interesting characters, conflict, interaction, and a really cute ending that gives the reader that afterglow. I love this!

  13. Marcie R

    “Is that sausage I smell?” Brynn wrinkled her nose at the spicy scent as Tiny Dog Owner slid between the elevator doors as they started to close, a pizza box balanced on his palm.

    “Yes it is.” He grinned, standing beside her. He nodded at the bottle of wine peeking out of Brynn’s grocery bag. “Is that a red? Red goes good with beef.”

    Brynn lifted her brows, the tangy aroma of sauce and cheese reminding her she didn’t have lunch. “In your dreams.”

    He grinned again. “There too.”

    “You’re insufferable.” She managed to frown not wanting to be taken in by his charm.

    “Actually I’m Justin. Justin Cantley.”

    “I know who you are.” Gosh, could the elevator go any slower? But that’s what she supposed she deserved when buying a condo on the fifteenth floor just so she could have a view of the night sky.

    “You do huh?”

    “Don’t sound so pleased. You’re the guy with that terror of a dog that runs down the hall yipping every morning and night.”

    Justin looked smug anyway. “Phil’s a happy dog.”

    “Phil?” She looked at Justin. In her three-inch heels they were the same height. It also brought her attention to his eyes – dark dark blue that reminded her of when she was little and would position her pillow under her bedroom window so she could wish upon the stars at night.

    Justin shrugged. “It suits him.”

    “If you say so.” The elevator stopped, the number 15 lit on the side panel. The doors swished open and Brynn noticed how Justin waited for her to step forward first. Great, he had to be chivalrous. However, his dog was still annoying.

    “So what do you say about having dinner?” He lifted the pizza box a fraction as he followed her off the elevator. They both turned to the right.

    She turned, looked at his jeans and gray T-shirt. His brown hair mussed like a woman had run her fingers through it. He looked like he had just rolled out of bed and was too lazy to cook – hence the pizza – while she was in her favorite gray slacks and pink and gray-striped blouse that she wore for her presentation that afternoon.
    Why was she even considering saying yes?

    Justin wiggled the box. And his eyebrows. “Extra cheese.”

    Gosh, she loved extra cheese. “I say thanks but no.” She didn’t want to sound too rude.

    Justin nodded, seeming to take it in stride.

    Brynn imagined he took everything in stride. She unlocked her door, aware he was in front of his which was next to hers.

    “So what kind of music are we listening to tonight?”

    She glanced over to see Justin smiling. Narrowing her eyes at him, she entered her condo and leaned against the closed door.
    Damn she was hungry.

  14. Margie S

    Breathless, Honey Moon stumbled into the elevator pulling her long faux fur coat closer. When the doors slid shut, she slipped the champagne bottle into the pocket, wiped her brow and looked up. ‘Oh, it’s you.’
    Hot pizza in hand, her condo neighbour, Sergeant Grim from the fun police, aka Oliver, stared back with arched eyebrows and a glare loaded with censure.
    For a moment, she wondered what was behind those dark-rimmed glasses. What pulsed under his, I love Mozart, T-shirt. What flavour pizza he’d ordered. Her brain rushed through a few possibilities. But her curiosity would have to wait. Tonight, she was tired and needed to lock herself away for the weekend, give herself time to lick her wounds.
    Her stomach rumbled. He grunted. And the Chihuahua looked like he was about to hump the hem her coat.
    ‘Sorry.’ Oliver tugged the leash. ‘Manners, Horatio.’
    Honey picked up Horatio and the little dog settled in her arms. ‘Hello sweetheart. Is that you I hear yipping up and down the halls at all hours?
    ‘So, what heavy metal hits do you have lined up for us tonight?’
    Not caring for his comment she let it go, too busy trying not to stare at his dimpled cheek and bluer than blue eyes.
    She stroked Horatio’s head.
    ‘It’s summer, what’s with the fur? Leave somewhere in a hurry?’
    Honey let out a long breath. ‘Actually– it’s a long story.’
    He tilted his head to one side. ‘Your bottle and my pizza, long? Horatio and I are good listeners.’
    The elevator dinged…

    • Tambra Nicole Kendall

      I loved this! You caught my attention and I wanted to keep reading. Are you going to do anything further with it?

    • Patience Bloom

      Margie, This is hilarious! You had me at faux-fur. I really like the humor in this and how well and using few words, you capture a moment between the hero and heroine. Well done!

    • Margie S

      Thank you for your positive comments, Patience and Tambra. I loved, loved this challenge. It totally fitted a series of stories I’m working on set in a city apartment building. xxm

  15. Ruby Mae O'Dell

    Brian Davidson was exhausted. It had been a long and tiring week. All he wanted to do was make it up to his apartment, collapse in his recliner and enjoy his pizza while his chihuahua laid by his side. He shifted the pizza to his opposite hand as he press the button for the elevator. He stepped in as the elevator’s doors swished open. He near groaned allowed when he turned around to find his neighbor had rushed in behind him.
    The young woman had moved in about five months ago. While he was normally an outgoing guy that got along with everyone, in the short amount of time since Dani had moved in she had proved to be next to difficult to get along with. She kept odd hours, was always playing her music too loud, and sung along even louder. She had a beautiful voice, he’d give her that, but it was the late nights that bothered him so much. To make matters worse, when she finally did settle down for the night, it wasn’t long and it started all over again because she was always up at the crack of dawn. He didn’t know exactly what she did for a living, but he wasn’t about to take the time to ask her. Especially not tonight, he was too tired to put up with her ridiculously cute playfulness, smiles and giggles tonight. Everything he’d ever asked her had resulted in an around the bush, childish conversation on her end which in the end left him walking away frustrated and his question unanswered.
    He watched as she pushed her sunglasses into her long brown hair, before shifting a wine bottle to the opposite end of her bag as she dug through it in search of something. Most likely her keys again. She’d managed to misplace more things than he’d ever seen anyone in his entire life. She’s had to have at least eight keys made to her apartment so far. He wouldn’t be surprised if their landlord had a whole drawer full of spare keys to her apartment just to save him the constant trip to the locksmith. He couldn’t help smiling at the thought.
    “Wow! You actually have teeth!” Dani giggled beside him as the elevator began its ascent. Her sea green eyes sparkled with amusement. “I don’t recall ever seeing you smile before.”
    “I have you know that a smile quite often. Just never around you Mrs. Fischer.”
    She clutched her chest, “Ouch! That really really hurts Brian. And here I thought we were becoming good neighbors. Also, you know very well that it’s MISS Fischer, not Mrs..” Her smile never wavered, only broadened as she finished off with a wink.
    He rolled her eyes at her answer. Doesn’t this woman ever take anything seriously? They couldn’t reach the top floor soon enough. They’d just passed the eighth floor when the elevator came to a shuddering halt with a deafening screech.
    Dani screamed as her bag dropped from her hand to the floor. “What happened?” She asked as the creaking of the elevator quietened.
    “It seems to me that we’ve stopped. Surely you could figure out that much.”
    Her face scrunched in a frown, “Now’s not the time for wise cracks Brian. Will the doors open?”
    “Wow, look who’s being serious for once.” He answered sarcastically before trying the doors. “Nope. They’re shut tight.” He pressed the help button before sitting in the corner with his pizza.
    Dani’s face paled slightly as she began to pace, “How long do you think we’ll be stuck in here?” She rubbed her hands up and down her arms.
    “I dunno. Probably will take a little while for them to get here, figure out the problem and get it fixed. You might as well sit down and try to relax.”
    Her face paled even more as she paced even faster in the tight quarters. “Hey, you alright?” He asked when her mood only seemed to worsen. He’d never seen her like this before. It was like witnessing a whole new Dani Fischer.
    She stopped and slid down into the opposite corner. A few tears slipped down her cheeks as she pulled her knees to her chest and shook her head. “No, I’m not alright. I don’t like being trapped in tight places.”
    For the first time since he’d met her, he actually felt sorry for her and wanted to help her. Gone was the playful, yet annoying Dani. In her place was this beautiful, yet vulnerable woman that simply needed a friend right now while facing what was clearly one of her biggest fears.

    Dani had never liked tight places. Being trapped in them though was completely terrifying to her. Especially since she was accidentally locked in her grandparents’ storm shelter at their farm when she was little. She’d been trapped in the cool, dark, small space for nearly five hours before her grandpa found her.
    To make matters worse, not only was she once again trapped in a tight space, but she was stuck with the world’s worse neighbor of all time. She prayed that God would forgive her for that thought. As a Christian she shouldn’t be thinking such things about anyone. Even if that someone happened to be an irritable, yet handsome man that drove her crazy. Though she would never let him know that. She had too much fun driving him crazy by playing and picking on him. She knew he couldn’t stand her. But majority of the time she used that to her advantage.
    She was surprised when he slid next to her, “Just try to relax and not think about the situation. We’ll be out of here in no time at all.” He said in a surprisingly comforting tone that somehow managed to melt some of her fears.
    She offered a weak smile as she nodded, “Thanks.”
    He smiled a full smile in return, “No problem. You want to share dinner with me as we wait?”
    His kindness was a welcome surprise and it caused her to smile as she accepted a slice of the pepperoni pizza he held out to her.
    She reached in her dropped bag and retrieved the bottle of wine and the pack of plastic cups she’d purchased tonight. She poured him a cup but stopped short of handing it to him when he held his hand up in refusal, “No thanks. I don’t drink.”
    She couldn’t contain the smallest of giggles that escaped her lips as she explained, “It’s pure concord grape juice. There’s no alcohol in it.” She smiled as he grinned and accepted the juice.
    “So Dani,what kind of job do you do?” He asked as he grabbed his second slice.
    She was tempted to answer in the same fashion she always answered him with. Especially regarding her job. She rarely told anyone that she was an author. When she told people that she was a published author, they always wanted to know the titles. But she preferred her anonymity especially since one of her titles were becoming very popular.
    But looking at Brian now he seemed different, almost likable. It was a drastic change from the man’s personality he always portrayed when she was nearby. He always complained about her music blasting through the roof and her strange hours. Always allowed his wild, yappy chihuahua to run wild in the halls during the day. Most of the time it was right when she was trying to take an afternoon nap before diving into her work. He was always short tempered and rude to her. But now he seemed compassionate and kind. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of this side of Brian Davidson.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Ruby Mae, What a lovely job you do with fleshing out the characters in this scene. I like how clear it is what their relationship is and how they feel about each other. Plus, you present these characters’ motivations very well. Nicely done!

    • Ruby Mae O'Dell

      Thanks so much for the feedback Patience! It’s always great to how I’m doing with my writing. I’ve only been writing for about eight months. So I’m still learning. I do hope to be published with Love Inspired very soon though. Again, thanks and God Bless you!

  16. Jocelyn

    Sutton did a one-finger jab on her floor number, then, hugging the bottle of merlot to her chest, limped to the back of the elevator, propped her hip against the bar there and toed off her shoes. Dropping three plus inches in height, she sighed in relief. The shoes made her legs look awesome but her feet feel awful. If she got the promotion, she was buying a pair of Christian Louboutins. At the end of the day, her feet might be red, but at least they’d match the soles of her shoes.
    The promotion hinged on whether they got the ACME account, so Sutton had spent lunch at her desk and the last few hours in the conference room prepping with colleagues for Monday’s presentation. They knew Wiley and Associates, their top competitor in the city, was presenting today. This time they would beat them, Sutton vowed, so she could get the promotion and raise, and show the upstarts that they weren’t the only gig in town.
    Her eyes drifted shut as she waited for the doors to close and the elevator to begin its slow climb to her floor. Maybe they got it fixed today. It was a daily speculation, also a moot one. Even if it took ten minutes to get to her floor by way of elevator, she wasn’t going to walk up twenty flights of stairs. Not in these shoes.
    While waiting, she envisioned Roman galley rowers, who, instead of pulling on oars, pulled on the cable that hoisted the elevator. Her mind drifted over the image of rows of sweaty shirtless men. Maybe strange for other people, but Sutton didn’t care. She was in advertising – whimsical and visual was how her brain was wired.
    Sutton eyes flicked open at the thud by the closing elevator entrance. A bronze forearm, one worthy of her rowers, had wedged itself between the shiny chrome doors. The doors obediently reopened and a body, all of it worthy of a seat in the galley, stepped through. The profile under the dark head of hair would have done a Roman soldier proud. In fact, she’d had a few fantasies about the face and form of her neighbor. Until she’d heard him call for ‘Cupcake’ or whatever that rat-dog’s name was in a sing-songy voice down her hallway late at night. Coming from a family that had fostered Belgian Malinois pups for the military for years, Sutton had a disdain for any adult dog under thirty pounds.
    Mr. Roman Cupcake’s eyes met hers briefly before he turned and faced the doors in the position probably assumed on the first ride between floors on fledgling elevators. Sutton’s gaze roamed over the perfectly formed back tapering to a lean waist, outlined by the dress shirt. Funny, he didn’t look like a Chihuahua owner. Her eyes touched on the suit jacket draped over the rolled up shirtsleeve. Perhaps that was the male equivalent of taking off your heels. It was considerate of him, as it uncovered a very nice rear. Sutton had no problem envisioning it in a short leather skirt, or whatever it was called that galley rowers wore. The thought brought a twitch to her lips. The smile remained as she sucked in a whiff of the saliva-inducing aroma that now permeated the enclosed space, wafting from the flat box he held.
    “No. You may not have a piece of my pizza.”
    Sutton blinked at the sound of the deep baritone voice. Tearing her eyes off his enticing form, she looked over his shoulder and saw her face reflected in the shiny chrome doors. Just great. The building custodian couldn’t take care of the elevator maintenance, but he did a grand job of polishing their reflective doors.
    “No. You may not have a piece of…” He didn’t finish as he ran elevator eyes, similar to the ones she’d used on him, over her trim figure, using the doors’ reflection. Sutton’s face was as red as the bottoms of the hoped for Louboutin shoes.
    “But if I see another smirk, I’ll give you a piece of my mind.” The voice was mild, but the message was clear.
    Sutton pressed her lips together. She deserved the rebuke. The silence that descended on the car was broken a moment later by a loud growl. Mr. Cupcake’s eyes met hers in the reflection of the doors. His lips quirked in a half smile, a dimple materialized in one lean cheek.
    “Sorry,” Sutton winced. She pushed the bottle of merlot against her stomach, hoping it would muffle the sound. “An apple at my desk constituted lunch.”
    “I can relate. I totally missed it. We presented to a potential client today.” He lifted the pizza box. “Ergo, dinner. The rest of the team was going out, but I needed to get home.”
    “Excuse me?” He swung to face her, his eyebrows furrowed in puzzlement.
    “Your…” she struggled to call the rat a dog, but she’d already come off as a jerk and he seemed to be trying. Good manners prevailed. “Dog.”
    His confusion cleared. The dimple evaporated. “Oh. Muffin.”
    Her lips were edging into a smirk again. Sutton fought the migration.
    “He was my grandmother’s. She died last week. No one could take the dog, or didn’t want him. I couldn’t let him go to a shelter.” His turn to wince. “We’re struggling a little bit with the adjustment.” A large sigh lifted the galley-rower-worthy-chest. “We’ve had some late nights.”
    All urges except empathy for his loss fled. “I’m so sorry.”
    The dark eyes got a little darker briefly. “So am I.” He regarded her solemnly for a moment. “The adjustment would help if you didn’t blast ‘Oklahoma’ through the walls.” There was a little twitch in the cheek, like the dimple was trying to return.
    A little empathy seeped away. It was her apartment, her routine. The music helped her get rolling. “I use it to get ready. ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning makes sense.”
    “Not for me at six AM. I’m more ‘Poor Judd is Dead’ at that time. Especially with Muffin’s hours.” Yup. Definitely a re-bloom of the dimple.
    “Let me guess. Your grandmother was a Rodgers and Hammerstein fan?”
    “Watched ‘em very Friday night that we’d stay over as kids.”
    It was impossible not to return the smile. Her grandma had prompted her passion for old musicals.
    The chime sounded as the shiny door finally opened. The sound of frantic yapping infiltrated the elevator. Mr. Muffin rolled his eyes and sighed again. “I’m sure he’s peed on the floor again.”
    “Dog that size, you could probably clean it up with a cotton ball.”
    Damn. He had dimples on both sides.
    “I know a little bit about dogs. For a piece of pizza, I’ll see what I can do?”
    His eyes dropped to the bottle of wine. “I’ll share if you’ll share.”
    Sutton’s smile grew as she picked up her shoes. She mentally thanked the galley rowers for the slow trip as she stepped out of the car. There were a lot of things she wouldn’t mind sharing with her neighbor. Pizza and wine was a good start. Finding out his name would be a close second.

    • Patience Bloom

      Jocelyn, I can see the image of the bronze forearm wedging open the elevator. Fun, descriptive, and provocative scene and you combine humor with romance. Well done!

  17. Kathryn

    The condominium on Cordova Street had colored glass panels on the outside that looked cheerful when it rained, which in Vancouver was often. The building attracted millennials who knew what they wanted, and had the money to pay for it.
    Twenty eight steps from the entrance to the elevator and Rowena could open the bottle of wine she had bought on her way home from work.
    The elevator was empty.
    “Pure bliss,” she said aloud.
    She hadn’t started the fight with her neighbor and if she was lucky, she would get in the door without seeing him..
    “Can you turn down the music?”
    “Your dog wakes me up. I know you let him out in the hallway.”
    “I bet your dog likes music.”
    The worst of it was that she really, really wanted to play with the dog. But how could she, when pet rules were she had when this guy came to her door to complain?
    She had not been in a mood to compromise.
    The trip trap of feet told her peace was unlikely.
    “Hello Rowena,” The guy was polite as a choir boy.
    And he was carrying pizza, that was so unfair when she had missed lunch. Maybe it was time for a tactical retreat? Rowena smirked.
    “Simon, want to make a bet?”
    He stared at her, “what kind of a bet?”
    “I bet your dog is taller than the pizza you have in your hands?”
    “Taller?” This dog is taller than a pizza, that’s what you are saying?”
    Rowena nodded. How much of a bet was that anyway, guys liked big dogs. It was a sure thing that Simon would choose something that went with his size and she knew he was tall.
    “What do you want?” he asked.
    “If I win, you give me half the pizza, I have nothing in the fridge to eat and I’m starving. All I have is wine.”
    “What do I get if you lose? He asked.
    “You can take half this bottle of wine home with you.” She answered.
    He considered this.
    “No, I want to drink it with you and we share the pizza.”
    He had started the war, but pizza was pizza.
    “Can your dog come over too?”
    “Sure, but I thought you didn’t like Maestro?”
    Rowena bit her lip. “It’s complicated.”
    The realization hit him like a ton of bricks. He hadn’t realized that she was blind.
    “Deal,” he said, “But I win.”
    “Can I pat him, she asked, “to see how big he is?”
    “In a minute”, he said, “let’s get the food set out and then you can meet Maestro properly.
    “I can’t believe you don’t have a big dog.”
    “I think you will like him, he’s a rescue dog from Mexico.”
    “What kind of pizza is it?”
    “It’s a surprise, you have to wait. Everything is a surprise tonight.”
    The teacup Chihuahua wagged his tail; he couldn’t understand what had taken the two of them so long.

  18. Andie B

    Katy had just punched the elevator button for level four when he slipped through the closing doors, looking smug and filling the elevator with the aroma of pineapple pizza. She crinkled her nose and groaned inwardly. “Don’t you ever get tired of that stuff,” she asked Rhett Sinclair, her neighbor of four years. He was tall, dark and sexy but completely impossible.
    “What’s the matter,” he drawled. “Don’t like pizza?” He stepped over in front of her, leaning against the elevator wall.
    “Don’t like pineapple,” Katy retorted, placing her free hand on her slender hip.
    “But, honey, that’s the best part,” Rhett continued to drawl. An amused grin brightened his tanned face, his blue eyes dancing.
    “Well, I’m sure it’s just fine for bachelors and Chihuahuas,” she sassed back, taking a step closer to him. Rhett shoved himself off the wall as they came to a stop and the elevator dinged. But instead of exiting, he leaned in real close to Katy — close enough that she could see those lovely blue eyes contained flecks of green.
    “Now, now. Careful honey. My dog doesn’t bite but I sure do,” he whispered sexily, winking as he turned and stepped off the elevator. Katy’s jaw dropped and she stood in shock, her body still tingling from the encounter.