Hello, everyone! I’m here as Holly today, and I thought I should tell you a little about my newest story, Love in an Elevator – yes, Aerosmith was part of my teenage soundtrack. And, okay, some of their songs are on some of my Spotify lists.
Love in an Elevator isn’t really about love in an elevator, more about falling in love in an elevator. I wrote it to celebrate National Talk in an Elevator Day and to make the talking a little harder, I made one of the characters have a fluency disorder. As if talking to strangers isn’t hard enough.
After years of speech therapy without success, Corey has given up on spoken language and communicates solely through sign language and written text.
Hayden doesn’t notice at first. He does his best to catch Corey in the elevator as often as he can, and since Corey nods and smiles, it takes a few rides before Hayden realises Corey hasn’t spoken to him.
I had a lot of fun writing this one, and while there is bullying, homophobia, discrimination and so on, I’ll still claim that it’s a light-hearted tale.
And if you have a thing for elevators, Ofelia’s Elevator Pitch is about two guys trapped in an elevator. So on Friday, Talk in an Elevator Day is celebrated on the last Friday of July, you can read two elevator stories. One is contemporary, and the other is paranormal 😊
Love in an Elevator
Corey Hope’s school years sucked. With a crippling stutter, he was easy prey, and despite being grown up, his bullies still haunt his nightmares. After he left school, he gave up on trying to talk, and communicates solely through sign language and written text. It works great even though he wished he could say something when Hayden flirts with him in the elevator.
Hayden does his best to catch Corey in the elevator as often as he can, and he thinks they might have something, but it all comes crashing down when Corey sees him having lunch with his colleagues. Corey might be drawn to Hayden, but seeing him with his school bullies has old memories washing over him. He won’t let them hurt him ever again, and he’d rather forget about Hayden than risk Hayden hurting him.
How will Hayden convince Corey he’s nothing like his colleagues when Corey refuses to see him?
Contemporary gay romance: 17,560 words
The weekend had passed too damn fast. Corey liked his job, and he’d been lucky to get it, but he liked time off more. He worked from home for the most part and only went into the office for the occasional meeting, but those too were mostly conducted via Zoom these days.
His boss had sent him an email, listing the most urgent projects for him to have a look at. They had built several new websites for different clients, and as a front-end developer, it was his job to create the layout and make sure they ran smoothly.
Today, it didn’t run smoothly. He’d already spent three hours trying to find an error in the coding, and it was driving him insane when he couldn’t spot it.
Stretching, he went to put on more coffee. Once he’d pressed the button on the coffee maker, he stepped into his shoes and exited his apartment. The mail would’ve arrived. All mailboxes were on the ground floor of the building. Corey understood the mailman not wanting to run up all the floors, but sometimes he went weeks between checking his mail. He’d tried to make it routine to go down on his lunch break, but some days he didn’t have the energy. Now he needed a change of scenery.
He yawned and followed it up with another stretch while riding the elevator to the bottom floor. Once the doors slid open, he stepped out and rounded the corner to his left where the mailboxes covered an entire wall. Whisking his key out, he opened the metal door and grimaced at the stack of envelopes. The top one was the electricity bill.
He went back into the elevator while flicking through the letters. Nothing exciting. The door moved when a voice echoed through the lobby.
“Hold the elevator!”
Corey slid his foot out to halt the doors, and as he looked up, Hayden was hurrying toward him.
“Oh, hi.” He grinned, and Corey’s heart sped up. Hayden looked too good for his own good.
“How are you today?” He glanced at the top envelope in Corey’s hand. “Corey Hope?”
Corey smiled and nodded.
A scent of coffee filled the elevator, but this time Hayden didn’t carry a to-go cup. It had been hard to miss the cup he’d carried the last time—the bright green lime slices on an equally bright yellow background had made the cup light up the entire elevator.
Corey narrowed his eyes and breathed in deep. He wasn’t imagining the coffee scent, he couldn’t be.
“Smelling the coffee?”
Nodding, Corey glanced at him.
“Lucky, I wear black, right?” Hayden gestured at his chest, and the black fabric of his a little too tight T-shirt appeared wet. “It was so embarrassing you wouldn’t believe. I was meeting with a potential client, and I’d poured myself a cup of coffee when my asshole boss came through the door. I whirled around, spilled the coffee, and it was super-hot so in my haste to get the fabric away from my skin, I dropped the cup on the floor.”
“It was a paper cup. What kind of office has paper cups?” He shook his head and sighed. “Tara will be horrified if I tell her. I haven’t decided if I should. It would lead to a ten-minute lecture.” He shrugged. “Could be an amusing one.”
Tara? Should Corey know who Tara was? Maybe she lived in the building too.
Then those dark eyes focused on Corey again. “Anyway, I turned back to the client to apologize for the mess and slipped on the coffee I’d spilled when I dropped the cup. One second, I was standing, the next I was crawling around on the floor. Most humiliating, I’ll have you know.”
Corey gasped and swept his gaze over him, searching for injuries.
“I’ll have a bruise on my hip for a week.” He grinned. “Or at least a couple of days.”
The elevator slowed and soon after the doors opened. Corey stepped out on his floor.
“Are you leaving me, Corey?” There was a sparkle of amusement in his eyes.
“But I’m injured. I’d hoped you’d at least offer to kiss it better.” He winked and heat rushed through Corey’s veins. Was Hayden flirting or was he making fun of him?
Corey shook his head, and Hayden exaggeratedly slumped his shoulders. “Maybe next time?”
Corey grinned but shook his head and hurried off toward his apartment. When he glanced over his shoulder, it was to find Hayden keeping the elevator doors from closing with his foot and watching Corey unlock his front door. He gave him a wave goodbye before entering.