Elevator Pitch! I wanted to write something short and sweet – so I did. It all started with a pile of dishes and Spotify in my ears. A song came on – TVA by Jason Isbell. As soon as I was done with the dishes, I went to my desk and started writing Elevator Pitch.
This story has absolutely nothing to do with that song, and yet it has. The song doesn’t have bear shifters or bats, it doesn’t have elevators or power outages, it doesn’t have homophobic, domineering mothers or nosey neighbours, but the teenage self in the song wanted a girl to want him so much that it hurt. And that line triggered something in me, because haven’t we all wanted someone to want us, so much that it hurt? A bear trapped in an elevator has too.
“I didn’t know there was a limited time for the questions.”
“Obviously, there is.” Bjorn gently pushed against him again. He wanted to wrap an arm around Cecil and bury his nose in his hair, or pull him up on his lap and taste the skin on his neck—stupid thinking! “So, girlfriend?”
“No girlfriend. I’ve never had a girlfriend.”
Bjorn held his breath. What straight twenty-eight-year-old had never had a girlfriend? Maybe he’d never wanted a girlfriend. Maybe he didn’t do relationships. Maybe he had a harem of lovers. Did bats have one mate or several?
“Your first kiss, tell me about your first kiss.”
“First, that’s not a question. Second, it’s not your turn to ask anything.”
“Tell me anyway.”
“Jordan Simmons.” Cecil sighed.
Jordan? Was Jordan a boy or a girl? Bjorn let out a soft growl.
“I was fifteen. It was an early summer evening, the crickets were chirping, a soft ripple on the water surface. I was so nervous, but oh, how I wanted it.” Cecil snorted softly. “It never turns out the way you want it to, does it?”
“My advances weren’t welcomed.” He rubbed his face. “Apparently, what I saw as interest was just kindness. I’ve never been good at reading people.”
Bjorn ached for the young boy. He had a pretty good idea of what it was like to be in love and be rejected—over and over again. Damn, this was a depressing topic.
“What about you?”
“What about me?” Bjorn turned to him despite being unable to see his face.
“Your first kiss.”
“Ah, it’s…a long time ago.” Shit, he should have known asking about kisses would backfire.
“So was mine. Tell me.”
Bjorn took a deep breath and moved away a fraction. Cecil wouldn’t be pleased to realize he’d been snuggling up close to a giant queer—not that they’d been snuggling, but they were touching.
“My first kiss. I was fourteen. Remo Wilson…” Cecil didn’t say anything, so Bjorn continued. “He’s the nephew of my across the street neighbor.” Cecil still didn’t try to interrupt, and he wasn’t moving away. There was no scent of panic, no wave of shifting washing over him. All it means is that he isn’t a homophobe. Bjorn’s mouth was parched, his hands wanted to curl into fists.
“And what?” He winced at the sharpness in his tone.
“When, where? How did it make you feel?”
Oh… “All I wanted was for him to want me. I ached for him to look at me, to touch me. I can still remember how he smelled, how his dark hair fell into his pale blue eyes when he turned around to look at me.”
Cecil bumped his shoulder, and Bjorn smiled a sad smile in the dark.
“I pushed him up against the plank in Mom’s backyard and kissed him. Nothing has ever made more sense than my mouth on his, my hands sliding down his shoulders and upper arms. For half a second, I was flying, my heart banging so hard I feared it would come loose. It was followed by an excruciating pain as Remo kneed me in the balls.”
“Ouch.” Cecil chuckled, but not in a mean way.
“Yeah… I’d rather take a hundred knees to my balls than what followed, though.”
Cecil’s fingers curled around his arm, the heat of him as he scooted closer made Bjorn blow out a breath.
“Apart from a broken heart and a fractured ego? Remo rushed to my mother and told her what had happened.”
“He outed you?” Cecil’s tone was outraged and it made Bjorn grin.
“Yeah. Shifters aren’t really cool with same-sex relationships.” It wouldn’t be news to Cecil. Bjorn didn’t think it was a fact that would’ve escaped him, even if he’d grown up in foster homes.
“You don’t say.” Sarcasm was dripping from every syllable which had a ton of bricks lifting off Bjorn’s shoulders. At least they could continue to sit here without things being weird.
Bjorn Ritter only wants one thing – to live his life away from nosey, demanding bears. That’s easier said than done when you’re the son of the female running the Bayside Bear Community. Cecil Baxter might be a bat, but he grew up away from shifter communities and he’s doing his best to continue to keep his distance. Shifters aren’t an accepting bunch and Cecil has never fit the norm.
Already facing a dreaded meeting with his mother, the last thing Bjorn needs is a stranger using his elevator to escape a pack of werewolves. And Cecil, whose day just seems to be getting worse and worse, could really do without the added stress of finding himself trapped in an elevator with a huge bear shifter.
Still, what could go wrong in three minutes?