Paul’s sprint became a flat out run as he spied the elevator doors closing. “Hold the doors!” he yelled, though whether anyone could understand him with a mouth full of bagel was debatable.
Thankfully, whoever was in the lift already held it long enough for him to jump inside. He turned to thank the occupant and couldn’t hide his groan when he saw his saviour was in fact his office rival.
“Working late?” Lewis asked.
“Clearly,” Paul muttered as he hit the button for the ground floor. He didn’t try to engage Lewis in conversation and Lewis stayed silent.
Paul counted down the floors and the seconds until his escape.
Then the unthinkable happened. The lights went out and the lift stopped, halfway between floors eight and nine.
“Shit!” Paul hit every button on the panel, as though that might actually work. The emergency lighting kicked in, but the lift remained where it was.
“You could try hitting the intercom,” Lewis suggested from behind him.
Paul grumbled as he pushed the button. The chirpy voice on the other end did nothing to improve his move. She ascertained no one in the lift was in immediate danger, assured him the repair guy was on the way, but was extremely vague when he asked her for a time estimate.
“Stupid woman,” he snarled.
“Can you get a signal on your mobile?” Lewis asked.
Paul checked. “No. Can you?”
“No. I’m only going home anyway.”
Paul looked at Lewis properly for the first time. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, just with the way you ran for the lift and everything, I thought maybe you’d got a hot date.”
“Not tonight,” Paul replied. Or any night these days. Too many deadlines and not enough hours in the day.
Lewis didn’t seem to feel the pressure of work, or if he did it never showed.
“Can I ask you something?” Lewis asked.
“If you must,” Paul replied, hoping his tone made Lewis change his mind. It didn’t.
“Is it because I’m gay?”
“Is what because you’re gay?” Paul asked.
“The reason you don’t like me. Don’t deny it; you’ve been weird with me for as long as I’ve been working here.”
Paul couldn’t look Lewis in the eye. He hadn’t realised he’d been so obvious in his manner. “It’s nothing to do with you being gay.”
“Are you sure? Only you can’t even look at me right now. I’m not going to jump you or anything. Some of us can restrain ourselves from hitting on straight men.”
Paul had never heard Lewis sound so annoyed. When he finally faced him, he could tell he was barely reining in his temper. “I’m gay too,” he said.
Lewis’s eyes widened and his mouth opened slightly. He licked his lips and drew it what appeared to be a shaky breath.
Paul gestured to the floor and sat down, leaning against the wall. Lewis copied him, sitting across from him. “I applied for your job,” he admitted. “I’ve been here for five years. I’ve slogged my guts out to impress the bosses and it wasn’t enough.”
“Um, sorry,” Lewis offered. “I didn’t know.”
“Why would you?”
“Did you ask why you didn’t get the job?” Lewis questioned.
Lewis smiled. “Why am I not surprised?”
Paul huffed and scuffed the heel of his shoe against the floor. “It’s not like I don’t like my job…”
“You’d just like mine better,” Lewis finished.
Paul realised how he must appear to Lewis. He’d come to a new company, where he’d worked hard, staying late just as frequently as Paul did, and instead of being supportive and friendly, all he’d been met with from Paul was hostility.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m not usually such a bastard. Can we start over?”
Lewis nodded and held out his hand. “I’m Lewis, just started here today, nice to meet you.”
Paul rolled his eyes, yet he did take the offered hand and shook it firmly. “I’m Paul, welcome to the madhouse.”
A rumbling sound punctuated his words as the elevator rumbled to life.
“Damn,” Lewis muttered as they got to their feet.
“What is it?” Paul asked.
“I was hoping we’d be stuck for longer.”
“What the hell for?”
Lewis shrugged. “Haven’t you ever fantasised about being stuck in a lift with a guy you fancy?”
“Not really,” Paul replied, before realising what Lewis had said. “You fancy me? But you didn’t even know I was gay until just now.”
“You’re telling me you’ve never fantasised over a straight guy?” Lewis raised an eyebrow, doubt evidence on his face.
“Okay, you got me there. But I still don’t want to be stuck here any longer than we have to be.”
The lift arrived on the ground floor and the doors opened. Neither man stepped into the lobby and the doors closed again.
Lewis pushed him up against the wall and kissed him hard. Paul barely had time to think about what he was doing before he was kissing him back with more passion than he even devoted to his job.
He pulled Lewis into his arms and groaned loudly as a teasing hardness brushed against his own rising erection.
Then, as quickly as he’d started, Lewis stepped back. “I’ve wanted to do that since I first saw you.”
“But I’ve been such a git to you.”
Lewis smiled. “Have you? I don’t seem to remember you being in any way unpleasant in the few minutes we’ve known each other.”
Lewis winked at him and hit the button to open the doors again. He strolled out into the lobby, leaving Paul to wonder what in the world had just happened.
When he finally moved his feet and left the elevator Lewis was nowhere in sight.
Paul smiled as he continued on his way. For the first time he actually looked forward to working with Lewis… and if he played his cards right, maybe something more.
Also flashing this week