Alicia Blade
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Reviews always appreciated!

Next Time Take the Stairs: Chapter Three
The Elevator

She leaned down and kissed his forehead tenderly, her fingers tracing down his strong jaw line. After she pulled away, Darien slowly, groggily, opened his blue eyes to look up at her.

With a gentle hand, he wrapped his palm around her fingers, still lingering on his neck. Pulling it to his lips, he charmingly kissed the back of her hand, his eyes still locked on her pale blue stare.

"Thank you."

...

"Vain! Um... primp... prissy... girl... babe... CHICK! Is it chick?" Tom yelled. (He's the other construction worker. Everyone, meet Tom! He's short, kinda chubby, and LOVES his headset!) "Feminine... hot... bodacious?"

"No, I got it! Beautiful, gorgeous, incredibly wonderful and sexy... Rita!" yelled Andrew. He was met with a smack in the chest.

"Stop sucking up!" Rita said, before turning back to the game. "Um... Miss America... beauty queen? Yes, yes? Oh, not quite... um... queen... princess... royalty..."

"BEAUTY!"

Ted pointed agreement to Tom, a huge smile on his face, before moving onto the next sign, holding two fingers centimeters apart.

"A little word... um... Beauty A? Beauty THE?"

"Beauty the two-headed cow!" Andrew cheered, receiving another smack on the shoulder.

"Honey, be real! Let's see... AND? Yes, and! Cool! Next word. Another little one? Um... Beauty and... A? THE?"

"THE!" said Tom as Ted showed two thumbs up to Rita.

"Last word! Gruesome... ugly... scary... fat... um... something ugly, terrible... uh...uh..."

"Beauty and the two-headed cow!"

"ANDREW!" WHACK!

"Ow, stop doing that. This is only a game, after all."

Mina and Lita laughed. The blonde jumped up from her spot on the upholstered recliner and began dancing around, singing, "Beauty and the two-headed cow, two-headed cow, two-headed cow..."

Lita joined in with another song, "Old Mcdonald had a farm EE-I- EE-I-OO! And on that farm he had a two-headed cow, EE-I-EE-I-OO! With a..."

"The beauty and the..."

"Moo-moo here!"

"Two-headed cow, two-headed cow, two-headed..."

"And a double moo there..."

"Beauty and the..."

"Here a Moo! There a moo! Everywhere a Moo-moo!"

"Two-headed cow! Beauty and the..."

"EE-I-EE-I-OO!"

"SHUT UP!" Ted screamed at the two lunatics. The room fell silent.

Finally, Raye pointed and smiled sweetly at Ted. "You broke the first rule in the game of charades, TALKING. Sorry, our team gets five points."

Ted, Tom, Andrew, and Rita all groaned. "Well, what was the answer?" Tom asked.

"Beauty and the Beast."

Amy rolled her eyes from her spot on the floor. "Well, DUH!"

Everyone on the so-far-losing team turned to face her. She smiled innocently before returning to her calculus homework.

...

"I wonder what they're doing now," Serena said airily, staring off into space.

"I'm sure they're doing everything they can to get us out of here," Darien answered, tossing his keys from hand to hand in boredom.

She turned to him, her blue eyes watching the jangling keys with mute interest. He sat right next to her, leaning on the adjacent wall. She smiled to herself. Despite previous beliefs, he was probably the first person she would want to be stuck in an elevator with.

Darien felt a hand on his ear and something cold. Jerking back, he turned to look at her. She held up a quarter between her pointer finger and thumb.

"There was a quarter in your ear!" she said cheerfully. Then whispered mysteriously, "I'm magic!"

Darien stared at her for a moment, his keys forgotten in one palm. Then a quirky smile spread across his lips. "Oh yeah, Meatball Head, THAT'S original." His deep voice dripped with sarcasm.

Serena glared at him before rolling her eyes. "Well I'm bored!"

He cocked his head to the side, a smile still lingering on his face. "Do you want to see a REAL magic trick?"

Serena looked at him, her curiosity peaked. "Sure!"

Darien lifted each sleeve, revealing nothing hidden in either.

Serena crossed her arms on her knees, leaning over and watching him carefully and suspiciously as he drew on the suspenseful act.

After he had proven there was nothing peculiar anywhere on him, Darien reached behind his back. Serena watched in awe as his hand returned with a perfect red budding rose.

Darien smiled as her lovely blue eyes grew wide in amazement. Grinning proudly, he handed her the rose, watching as she took it with slightly trembling hands.

"How... how did you do that?" she asked, her eyes roving over the perfectly carved flower.

"A true magician never reveals his secrets."

...

"Seven card stud, low in the hole, deuces wild, split pot," Lita muffled through a candy cigar.

Andrew looked up at her from beneath his plastic green visor. "You play the game much?"

"Whenever I can get out of the house."

"Hey, can we get some drinks over here?" called Ted, snapping his fingers above his head. Amy and Mina looked up at them from their places on the couch. Amy rolled her eyes and looked over at Rita.

"You get them this time."

Rita grumbled and stood up, walking casually over to the dimly lighted poker table.

"What do you want now?"

"A piece of you would be nice," said Ted, his eyes roving over her shamelessly. Rita gasped, her jaw dropping. Turning, she saw Andrew staring thoughtfully at two cards in his hand.

"Andrew! Did you hear what he just said!"

"It's okay, honey. Whatever they say, I still think you're beautiful."

"Ugh! Why you..."

"Hey missy, keep your voice down. Some of us is tryin' to win our hand at poker here!" Raye yelled, sucking on a strawberry tootsie-pop.

"Yeah, now how 'bout that drink. I'll take a rum and coke on the rocks... um... easy on the rum."

Rita glared down at him. "You'll TAKE what I give you!" Grabbing his empty glass, she stormed away.

"Tom has high card showing, lay your bets," Lita instructed.

"Alright," said Tom, reaching into his stash. "I bet 5 yellow reeces pieces."

Lita raised an eyebrow. "I call your bet of 5 yellow reeses pieces."

"Call," Andrew said.

Raye smiled to herself. "I see your 5 yellows... and raise 2 browns."

Every one at the table exchanged glances.

Ted swallowed, before throwing in 5 yellow and 2 brown reeses pieces.

Lita began to deal the next set. "Dealer showing a pair of sixes. I'll bet 6 yellows."

Andrew smiled, looking at the pair in his hands. "I'll call your six, and throw in 2 more."

Raye casually dropped in 8 yellow pieces.

Ted and Tom followed suit quickly, each looking rather dejectedly at the cards in their hands.

Rita cleared her throat. Turning, Ted smiled at the cold glass in her hand.

"Here's your pink lemonade, your MAJESTY!" She set the glass, rather roughly, on the table before beginning to storm away.

"Hey, Rita, wait!" She sighed and turned to look at her boyfriend, who had a mouthful of reeses pieces and an awful green visor on his head.

"Yes?"

"Um... that looks pretty good. Think you could get me one?" he pleaded. Rita groaned and smacked a hand to her forehead before leaving for the kitchen.

"Thanks sweetie! I love you!"

"Whatever!"

Three rounds later...

Tom looked over the three cards in his hand, then down at his four cards on the table. Groaning, he slammed the three face down. "I fold!"

Lita looked up at him a bit nervously. 'Never thought someone could get so angry over losing a bit of candy. Well... yeah, I can. It is reeses PIECES after all.'

She looked at her sixes, lying in plain view. She was the only one with anything showing still... except for Raye's pair of fives.

"Hm..." Everyone looked at her expectantly. "I... I'll... bet... um... 2 browns."

After she threw in her candy, everyone's attention switched to Andrew. He nibbled on an almost gone cigar, staring at his pair of nine's, one in his hand. "Call."

Raye looked over her hand, her eyes circling suspiciously at the other players. "I'll call the two browns and raise..." her hands darted over the small pile by her side, "three ORANGES."

Everyone gasped and stared wide eyed as she tossed the three bright orange candies into the pile.

Ted bit his nails nervously. Slowly, he reached for the pile of candy by his side, and slowly, after much mental debating, tossed in the total.

"Fold!" Lita said, dropping her cards on the table.

"Me too," said Andrew, placing his cards on top of Lita's.

Somewhere in the background, the theme song to 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' began to play.

Raye and Ted stared at each other for a long time. Raye raised an eyebrow. "Well, partner. Care to show 'em whatcha got?"

Ted eyed her evilly, slowly placing his cards down on the table. "Two pair. Jacks and aces."

Raye looked at the hand, a smile dawning on her face. With a laugh, she tossed her cards down. "Full house! Loser! Ha ha! I win, nana nana boo-boo! Ha ha ha! Suckers!" With both hands, Raye reached out and scooped the giant pile toward her. "Aw, sweet, sweet chocolate! How I love you so! Let me count the ways..."

Everyone around the table rolled their eyes. "Next game!" Andrew called, raking in the cards.

...

Darien watched Serena out of the corner of his eye. She was smiling slightly down at the rose, running her fingers over it gently while humming a soft song to herself. She would occasionally bring the rose to her face to smell it, then twirl it whimsically in her fingers. He smiled. For some reason, the thought that she was enjoying HIS rose like that just made him... happy. Very happy.

With a sigh, he leaned his head back against the wall and peacefully closed his eyes.

Serena glanced up at him, finally tearing her eyes away from the gorgeous rose before her. She leaned her head on one knee, letting her gaze drift over him. His hair was hilarious. So not like him. She wondered why he hadn't taken it down yet. Reaching a hand up, she felt the braid on her head. It was a strange feeling. She'd worn the buns since before she could remember. With her attention drawn back to the rose, she had a sudden idea...

'I'm bored. Why not?'

Darien opened his eyes when he heard Serena clear her throat above him. She was standing before him, one hand behind her back, the other clutching the rose in front of her. With the rose stem between her pointer and middle fingers, she brought it up to him horizontally, not far from his lips.

"Care to tango?" she asked in her most sultry voice.

Darien raised an eyebrow, and a little laugh spilled from his mouth. Leaning forward, he took the rose between his lips before standing up in front of her. She giggled happily, the seriousness gone. Besides, he looked SO good with that rose!

Without warning, Darien wrapped a strong arm around her waist, pulling her easily to his body. Her laughter stopped as she looked up to him wide-eyed. With a sly smile, Darien took the small hand that had landed on his chest into his own, looking down at her with all the suaveness he could muster. He winked once, before, without warning, throwing their linked hands out to the side into a starting position.

Serena felt a smile tugging at her lips, though somehow managed to remain serious, and as seductive as possible.

They made eye contact and, mutely and simultaneously, turned their heads to the side. With precise movements, they began to stroll down the small, cramped elevator. Upon reaching the nearest wall, Darien paused and immediately switched hands. Somewhere far away, both of them could have SWORN they heard traditional tango music filling the elevator.

Their steps matched in perfect accuracy as they made their way to the other end of the elevator. Turning once again. Darien leaned to the side, as Serena dipped easily into his arms. He placed his now free hand on her thigh, high enough to be sexy, yet low enough so that she wouldn't slap him. Lowering his face to hers, Serena took the rose into her own mouth. Darien brought her to a standing position again, with his hand still rather possessively clamped onto her leg.

He wrapped her leg around his body before sliding her across the elevator with her one foot brushing the carpet. Serena allowed his support and bent back, letting her loose hair fall down around her ankle. Once they had run out of room, Darien placed his hand around her higher back, turning her to that lying position yet again. Her leg dropped from his side and her arms reached up to wrap around his neck.

Their breathing was heavy as they stared into each other's eyes, Serena with the rose still clutched in her teeth. Their blue gazes clashed intensely into each other, filled with passion and desire. Their heavy, thick eyelashes fluttered in the moment's heavy air.

Finally, Darien said, "We have been in here WAY too long."

...

"I never really >sniffle, snifflesniffle, snifflesnifflesniffle, sniffle
"No, Tom, don't say that!" encouraged Mina, placing a friendly arm across his shoulder.

"Yeah, you're not fat! You're pleasantly plump!" Lita added.

"Do you really mean it?"

"Of course we mean it, big guy!"

"Wow. You guys are being so... so nice to me!" Tom buried his head in Lita's shoulder, tears soaking her now-almost-dry shirt.

Lita looked around at the gawking people. Slowly, she started patting his head. "Um... okay... yeah... Cry it out. There... there..."

"I don't know what I would do without you guys! I've never had real friends before! Maybe... maybe I'm not so worthless after all!"

Andrew came up behind the crying man and turned him around quickly, holding him at arm's length. "Listen here! You are not worthless! Now, there are two people in that elevator who need YOU! No one else, Tom. You're the only one who can help those poor people. Now Tom, I have faith in you! I know you can do this!"

Tom straightened his shoulder, tears stopping abruptly. He placed his hands on Andrew's shoulders. "You're right!"

"I know I'm right!"

"I can do this!"

"You bet you can!"

"I love you, man!"

Andrew stood still as Tom wrapped him in a giant bear hug.

"Um... I... I..."

Rita stood behind Tom, looking her boyfriend straight in the eye and silently prodded him on, winking slightly.

"I... love you... too... Dude..."

...

Serena buried herself deeper into his surrounding arm, closing her eyes serenely. She was sitting comfortably in his lap... with no clue whatsoever as to how she actually got there. But it was nice all the same. They were both dry, and warm, though she refused to give up his jacket just yet. For some reason it felt... protective... safe... a lot like being so close to Darien did.

Darien leaned his head down on hers, exhaustion overcoming him. It had been a long, and interesting, day. They had been stuck in this huge box for roughly three hours now. Three hours that weren't half as bad as he'd thought they would have been. Actually, it'd been fun. Strange... a little uncomfortable at times... but fun nonetheless. He heard her yawn below him and opened his eyes to look down at her. She looked half asleep, almost in a dreaming state.

"You should try to get some sleep," he whispered. Her blue eyes looked up at him. She stared at him for a moment, before smiling slightly.

"Thanks, but it wouldn't be fair to you if I fell asleep."

"What do you mean?"

"Well... you're tired too... and one of us has to stay up for when the elevator starts up again."

Darien smiled. "You're too nice, Meatball Head. I'm fine. But YOU need to go to bed. I'll wake you up when it starts moving again."

Serena looked away, staring into space for a minute. "I guess so... But are you sure you won't get bored or lonely?"

He laughed. "I'm sure."

She looked at him doubtfully, but finally subjected to his ideas, sighing to herself. "Okay." Her head fell against his chest again and she suddenly felt slightly uncomfortable. 'Am I going to fall asleep in his LAP?' she asked herself. Personally, she had no problem with it... but wouldn't he find it a tad... weird?

However, the doubts immediately disintegrated when she felt his other arm wrap around her as well, pulling her small body even closer into his embrace. With an unnoticed sigh of relief, her eyes closed once again, and she soon fell into a peaceful slumber.

Darien smiled lightly when he heard a soft, almost inaudible snoring coming from the girl in his arms. He closed his eyes and let his head collapse onto hers again, his mind drifting into a peaceful reverie. He began to wonder what would happen when they finally got out of here. Would they resort back to name calling and insults? Would they be friends? A part of him felt that even THAT wouldn't be good enough. That he wanted something more...

His thoughts echoed of daydreams and fantasies, mostly of them being... more than friends. A couple. Of her belonging to him. The idea was actually quite... pleasant. In fact, the concept itself made him smile widely, and the fact that she was sleeping in his arms didn't seem to help much at keeping these previously unthinkable thoughts at bay. Still... it WAS a possibility. It couldn't hurt THAT much to ask her out... some time... Who knows? Maybe she'd even say yes.

Darien unknowingly fell asleep, completely forgetting about his given duty to stay up until the elevator began moving again. He figured that tomorrow he would try his luck with the gorgeous Meatball Head.

The crowd waited in silence. Tom had disappeared up the stairs awhile ago, and Ted was back on his walkie-talkie, directly in front of the closed elevator doors. Andrew had his arm around Rita as they watched in awe. Raye was chewing on a handful of Reeses Pieces. Amy was occasionally glancing from the book in her hand to the elevator to see if anything had changed. Mina and Lita were making bets on the condition of the two trapped enemies.

"I say they'll each be in separate corners pouting," said Mina.

"No way. Darien will be unconscious."

"Unconscious!"

"Yeah! Hey, Serena's got quite the arm on her... especially when she's mad! And boy does Darien make her MAD!"

Mina looked up in thought. "Okay... 10 bucks says they'll be in corners pouting, each with bruises. Darien more, since I doubt he's the kind who would willingly hit a girl. But both are conscious."

"You're on!" They shook hands, before turning back to the closed silver doors.

A silence fell over the waiting group. The only sound was static from the walkie-talkie and the munching of small chocolate covered candies. Suddenly, there was a DING and the small up-arrow on the side of the elevator turned on. Everyone simultaneously leaned forward. Agonizingly slowly, the elevator doors opened. Everyone gasped. Six jaws fell as they stared at THE most peculiar sight they had ever remembered seeing.

Serena was in his LAP, of all places. With her head rested on his chest, his on top of her head. He had one arm wrapped around her, while their fingers were laced together with the other. Serena wore a huge green jacket and her hair was not in the normal meatballs, but, instead, a braid was tied around her head. Darien's hair was sticking up from all sides in small spikes. And there were NO visible bruises!

Ted began to step into the elevator, preparing to wake the people up, when twelve hands grabbed onto him and yanked him back.

"WHAT THE..."

"SSSSHHHHHHHHH!" Everyone put their fingers to their lips. He stared at the small group in surprise.

"Huh?"

"Don't you dare disturb them!"

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!"

"They'll never be peaceful in the same room again!"

"Who knows what'll happen if you wake them up!"

"Yeah, this is like... a phenomenon of some sort!"

"It's a Kodak moment!"

Ted looked at them one by one. "So... you're suggesting we just... leave them?"

"YES!"

Everyone grabbed onto him and dragged him quickly away. After he was at a safe distance, Lita turned around and, with the small camera she kept around for emergencies, snapped a picture of the two people.

'Kodak moment indeed. This could definitely come in handy... black mail... HA HA HA!' Turning around, she scampered after the small group. Behind her, the elevator doors closed on a happily dreaming couple.

And Darien never saw that worthless umbrella again.

...

The end!

I did write a sequel to this years ago but I don't think I'm going to post it here. If you'd like to read it, it will be available at First Love once the site gets working again.