Home > Tangled Sheets

Tangled Sheets
Author: J.L. Beck

 

1

 

 

Riley

 

 

I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to make my blurred vision go away. Every ache and pain that I’ve accumulated over the last few hours from sitting on my ass too long slams into me at once. Groaning, I glance at the delicate golden watch on my wrist. A watch given to me by a grandfather who was more excited about my degree than I was.

Fabrics and paint swatches are splayed all over my desk, making it impossible to see where they end, and my actual desk begins. This new project I’m working on is one of the biggest I’ve taken on, and I won’t screw it up. It’s going to make or break my career at Brooks Enterprise.

A buzz sounds from underneath a bunch of papers, and I dig to retrieve my phone from its patterned prison. I swish it open with a flick of my thumb, and the brightness from the screen has me flinching.

A text pops up on the screen.

ROSS: You better not still be at work. It’s 11:00 pm!

I smile at my best friend’s concern for me. I don’t have many close people anymore, but Ross has always been a constant in my life. I can count on him for everything, including the stuff I don’t want his opinion on.

ME: Just finishing up. Leaving now. <3

I rise from my chair and stretch my back. The hem of my white silk blouse pops out of the confines of my black pencil skirt, and I don’t bother tucking it back in. I grab my bag and coat from the rack and lock up the office.

It’s dreary in here at night, with no one around, and I speed walk down the empty hallway, passing one dark office after another. I don’t consider myself a person easily freaked out, but there is something creepy about being in this place when it’s eerily quiet and deserted like this.

I grip my purse and jacket in my arms as I make it to the elevator and push the call button about eight times, because who does it once anymore? I think it’s more out of compulsion at this point.

As I wait, I mull over my latest design issue for the waiting rooms in the hospital. This project is so damn important. Once my boss, Mr. Brooks, sees how hard I’ve worked and what I’ve put into this, he’ll surely know how serious I am about my work and what an asset I can be to the company.

When the door finally slides open with a ding, I suck in a small breath of relief. Time to satisfy my rumbling stomach and catch a few hours of sleep before I have to be back at it again in the morning, but there’s just so much to do. Maybe I should stay up and try to figure out this waiting room issue. If I can only…

I let out a loud scream, clutching my chest as my body reacts to the man in front of me. The sight of his dark aura amidst the tin of the elevator makes him look like a dark God brought down from the heavens to bless us with his presence.

“Why are you screaming?” he asks, sounding slightly annoyed.

“You scared the shit out of me!” I shout, taking a step back, still examining the specimen before me. His broad shoulders and tapered waist make him look like a model in an issue of the Journal.

“I don’t normally have that effect on women. Aroused is more of the reaction I’m familiar with.”

His cocky grin makes me shift my stance, but I keep my eyes trained on him. If Mister Sexy wants to be all cheeky, two can play this game.

“I’m sure, especially with that smirk on your face,” I say, already a little calmer.

“There has never been an unsatisfied customer.” His words are a silky brush over my skin, which leaves a true chill going up my spine.

“Are you going to get in or just stand there?” he drawls, licking his lips.

I’m about to tell him to fuck off and take the stairs, but then I think about walking all the way down there by myself and decide to suck it up and get in the damn elevator.

“Finally,” he grumbles, taking a step back to allow me access.

What an ass!

The parking garage button is already lit up, but I hit it again, anyway. The elevator door closes, and suddenly the small room seems like it’s the size of a postage stamp. His heat is all-consuming in this little tin box, and I shift on my feet as we descend into the elevator shaft. I don’t know what is up with this guy, but there is something about him that makes my skin tingle.

Maybe I should have taken the stairs after all.

Without turning my head, I gaze at him from the corner of my eye. He is tall, at least six feet, with muscular arms that are only accentuated by his charcoal-grey suit.

Of course, an arrogant jerk like him has to be good-looking. How infuriating. Can’t they come in handsome and well-behaved?

I tear my gaze away from the jerk and instead watch the display screen above the doors. Level five, four, three—I swear this elevator moves slower today than any other day—two, one, lobby… almost there.

As the little screen flickers over to the lower level, it suddenly goes blank. Before I can comprehend what’s happening, the elevator jerks to an abrupt stop, and yet another high pitch yelp escapes my throat. The movement is so rough, I can barely keep my balance on my three-inch high heels.

“God! Can you stop screaming already?” This time his tone is commanding and curt. He’s a boss of some kind, but definitely not the boss of me.

“Can you stop being an asshole?” I retort, forgetting for a moment that the elevator has stopped. Then it kicks in, and all the adrenaline my body can manufacture hits me like a brick.

I’m stuck in an elevator.

Late at night.

With a complete fucking stranger.

In an empty office building.

I begin to hyperventilate. The thought of no one being able to find us makes my chest constrict with pain. My palms sweat, and I rub them on my skirt. My wide eyes scan the box for an exit, but there is none except for the small door above us.

I’ve seen too many movies to know how that works out. I’m adventurous, but I try to keep my life intact at all times. Something tells me if I try to crawl out that tiny door, I’ll end up killing myself before we even reach help.

Mr. Sexy and Rude pushes a bunch of the numbers on the panel, but nothing is moving or even lights up. I watch him push the call for service button next, and when I hear the dial tone coming from the speaker above the panel, relief washes over me… momentarily. Then, as if this night couldn’t get any worse, the elevator lights shut off.

“I swear if you scream again… I’ll put you over my knee and spank you until your ass is red,” he threatens, causing me to freeze.

I’m glad it is pitch-black in here because I can feel the heat creeping up my neck and my face.

“Are you suddenly quiet because you don’t want me to spank you or because you are now thinking about me spanking you?”

“W-what the hell is wrong with you? We’re stuck in an elevator, inside an empty building, and you… you… ugh!”

I pull my cell phone from my purse and unlock the screen with shaking hands. The screen lights up, making me squint for a moment before I move it from my face, looking for a mode of escape.

Great… no signal.

It’s ten o’clock now, which means no one is going to come to work for another eight hours at the least.

Shit.

“Maybe it’s just a short outage. Power will probably come back on any minute now,” I say, more to myself than to the asshole stuck in here with me. There’s so much that could happen in eight hours. What if this guy is a psycho who likes to spank his victims first? I mean, who even says spank to a stranger?

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