With a smile of thanks, she jogged
toward the elevators. The one on the
left was just closing, so she
hollered, "Hold the door!" and
leaped forward, slipping her arm
between the doors and taking a step
that jammed the stiletto heel of her
boot right into the crack where the
elevator car met the floor. She
teetered unsteadily, praying she
wouldn't break a bone.
lurched open and, as they did, she
lost any hope of staying upright.
She tumbled inside, heard the snap
of her boot heel breaking, and then
tumbled onto another occupant,
knocking them both to the barely
"Oh no, I am so sorry!" She
rolled to one side before sitting up
to see who had cushioned her fall.
The best-looking man she'd ever seen
lay on the floor, grinning up at
her, making no effort whatsoever to
get to his feet.
"My pleasure." He propped his
arms under his head. "Truly."
She jumped to her feet,
forgetting she'd lost a heel in the
door, lost her balance and fell
again. At least she managed to land
on her hands and knees above him,
like a bridge, and didn't squash
"Sorry." She crawled to the door
and wiggled the broken heel back and
forth until it came out, wondering
why the doors hadn't tried closing
on her fingers. She glanced over her
shoulder to find the man sitting up
with his finger on the Door Open
"No problem. What floor?"
"I need the penthouse, please."
"That's where I'm heading, too."
She pivoted away from his
lopsided grin and nearly stepped on
a rather small, ashen-faced man
leaning in the corner. His body
shuddered when the doors closed and
the car started to move.
"Oh-kay...." She was stuck
between Drop-Dead-Handsome Man and
Pasty-Faced Man and had to figure
out how to do her routine with a
broken-heeled boot. She tucked said
heel into one of the many pockets in
her slicker lining and left the coat
hanging open. She hoped the boot
could be repaired, but because it
was only a week before Christmas she
doubted she'd have any luck with
It was a little like the time,
eight years before, when she'd
performed an aria for the school
Christmas program unaware that two
buttons on her dress were undone,
thereby flashing the front of her
ancient white bra complete with
holes and safety pins.
"So, you were invited to the
party upstairs?" Handsome Man broke
into her thoughts. He climbed to his
feet and moved to stand beside her.
"I wasn't aware it was a costume
She crinkled her nose and shook
her head. "I wouldn't know. I'm only
"Ahhh." He reached out a hand and
flipped the bells on her collar.
"So, Mrs. Claus, is the mister
showing up tonight? Because, to be
honest, I haven't been very good
She had opened her mouth to speak
when the lights cut off and the
elevator ground to a halt. Oh, dear
heavens, she'd done it again.