I will admit here (and then never speak of it again) that there was a period in my life in which I read one romance novel after another, consuming them voraciously until I’d finally had my fill. I studied them, thinking they would be easy enough to write myself, because the plots were all so predictable. Then for awhile I was totally hooked on this genre, mesmerized by how hilariously funny and contrived the people and the situations and the circumstances could be. Two unlikely people thrown together by instant love or hate – there is never an emotion that is not intense – and they both must stumble towards ecstasy in a suspense filled manner, although the final outcome is rarely in question. Decisions are made on whims and minds are made up for obscure and bewildering reasons. (I hope this helps to explain the following, and that no one will deduce from this little excerpt that I have suddenly lost my mind.) Turns out I would never be a master of the romance novel craft because I think to be one you have to actually take yourself seriously. Anyway, here’s my one and only kick at the cat.
Tiffany could see the doors of the elevator slowly beginning to close so she sprinted the last few feet towards it with her briefcase extended out in front of her body like a battering ram. The doors retreated, but her forward body motion was not so easily restrained. She plowed into the elevator’s lone occupant smashing him up against the back wall. Her briefcase flew open and its contents spewed out in every direction as both of them tumbled to the floor.”Made it!” Tiffany said, mentally congratulating herself, as she sat up and rubbed her head. The doors closed and they began their ascent. “Are you okay?” she asked the prostrate, moaning, and, oh my god, incredibly handsome man who was brushing file folders off his chest.
“That was some tackle. Do you make a habit of bowling men over like this?” He groaned again and sat up beside her just as the elevator made a strange scraping, screeching kind of sound and ground to a halt.
“What?” Tiffany howled in dismay. “I can’t believe this is happening to me! I cannot be late for this appointment!” She clambered to her feet and began to punch furiously at all the buttons with her fingertips and then with her fists. There was no response from the control panel, so she banged her head against it as well, but nothing was working.
“You could try kicking it,” said the man behind her, who had finally managed to extricate his body from the rubble and was now so close to her that she thought she could feel his breath on her right ear.
She turned around to glare furiously at him but was suddenly powerless to hold that thought. His eyes were pacific blue, his hair the color of ocean sand, and his devilish grin so intoxicating it was probably going to kill her. She felt faint. Her knees went weak and she thought she might sink back down to the floor, but he caught her under her elbows and maneuvered her into the corner where the two walls could prop her up. But he didn’t let go. He continued to gaze at her face which he could only describe as angelic. He cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
“Who are you?” she asked him dreamily. I’ve had a good bash to my head, she thought vaguely. Perhaps I’ve got a concussion. I’m locked in a malfunctioning elevator with the most stunning man I have ever seen and suddenly I don’t seem to care if I ever get out.
“I’m Tristan Tolliver” he told her as he picked up the emergency telephone and explained their situation to whoever answers emergency elevator telephones. “Help is on the way” he assured her, because she had covered her face with her hands and was moaning in another fit of despair.
“I’m Tiffany Shuttleworth, your ten o’clock interview”, she mumbled helplessly. “I don’t think I’ve made a very stellar first impression.”
“Can you type?” he asked her, gazing deeply into her eyes.
“Sort of…” she said, looking up at him beseechingly, aware of how her arm was still tingling from his touch.
“You’re hired”, he declared. He had never felt so sure about anything before in his entire life. Even though he suspected she probably had a lot of annoying habits, not the least of which was elevator football, he knew that if she walked away and he never saw her again, he would regret it for the rest of his days.
“But’, she stammered,” there are so many barriers for us to overcome! I’ll have to move to a place that’s closer to the office, and my boyfriend will break up with me because he won’t understand how important this is to me, and you’re obviously still having a very hard time getting over losing your wife in that horrible boating accident, and your three-year-old son will hate me at first, and then there’s your partner and best friend who will be terribly miffed that you seem to be forgetting how much you loved your wife, although grieving for more than two years is probably unhealthy and he’ll eventually get that, but on top of everything else there’s the sexual tension that has to build for at LEAST 19 more chapters before we….”
“Shhhh…” he interrupted her. “How do you know all this?” he asked her in amazement.
“I did some background research for the interview”, she admitted. “And I’ve read a lot of romance novels.”
They leaned in closer to each other and their lips might have met if the elevator had not chosen that particular moment to lurch and rumble and begin to move. They scrambled with burning faces to pick up all the papers and stuff them back into the case. When the doors opened, Tristan and Tiffany emerged a little stupefied and dazed, but flushed with anticipation. One short trip in an elevator and their worlds had been changed in irrevocable and inexplicable ways. They felt energized and exhilarated and ready to take on all obstacles.
There would be many, but no doubt love would find a way.