Today, I welcome my dear friend Holly Day back to the blog; she’s here to talk about her July story, Love in an Elevator (does anyone else hear Steven Tyler’s voice in their heads now, or is it just me?). And before I leave the floor to Holly, I feel the need to reassure her. No, I’m not an elevator talker. I promise to never speak a word to you should we end up in an elevator together 😁
Hello, everyone! Thank you, lovely Nell, for allowing me to swing by today 😘. We’ve reached the seventh story of the year, yay! It’s called Love in an Elevator, and I wrote it to celebrate Talk in an Elevator Day.
Are you an elevator talker? Please say no.
To celebrate Talk in an Elevator Day they suggest you talk to someone in the elevator (duh) but they go on, saying: The conversation doesn’t have to be something complicated or too intense. You can ask them about their day, hobbies, and/or work. (from nationaltoday.com).
Any introverts out there?? I don’t know if it’s just me, but if a complete stranger started asking me about work or hobbies in an elevator, I’d try to claw myself out through the wall. I mean elevators are scary enough as they are being closed in with PEOPLE! To have said PEOPLE interact and expect me to be able to formulate coherent replies while panicking about being closed in with PEOPLE, that’s just cruel. Please don’t do that.
If you want to talk to me, send an email. I love emails. If you’re not an email kind of person, PM me on social. If you’re not a social media kind of person and have my phone number, send a text. If none of the above applies, well, then I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends 😆
Luckily, Hayden and Corey in Love in an Elevator don’t have my aversion to elevator talk. If they’d had, the story would’ve been hard to write LOL
Corey doesn’t talk using his voice. He has a severe stutter and has given up on spoken language. Instead, he communicates through texts and sign language. Hayden talks. He talks so much it takes him a couple of elevator rides to realise Corey never replies.
Corey Hope’s school years sucked. With a crippling stutter, he was easy prey, and despite being grown up, his bullies still haunt his nightmares. After he left school, he gave up on trying to talk, and communicates solely through sign language and written text. It works great even though he wished he could say something when Hayden flirts with him in the elevator.
Hayden does his best to catch Corey in the elevator as often as he can, and he thinks they might have something, but it all comes crashing down when Corey sees him having lunch with his colleagues. Corey might be drawn to Hayden, but seeing him with his school bullies has old memories washing over him. He won’t let them hurt him ever again, and he’d rather forget about Hayden than risk Hayden hurting him.
How will Hayden convince Corey he’s nothing like his colleagues when Corey refuses to see him?
Contemporary gay romance / 17,560 words
For the third time, he took the stairs on the way down. Walking down four floors wasn’t too bad, and he got to pass Corey’s apartment. Or not pass, but he could see his door from the stairs, so he walked as slowly as he could and often stopped to check his phone and read a few news headlines.
He was ridiculous.
Corey had smiled at him, but he hadn’t said anything to indicate he wanted more to do with Hayden than bump into him in doorways, and even that might be more than he wanted. Come to think about it, Corey hadn’t spoken at all.
Hayden frowned. He had to have said something. Surely, Hayden hadn’t talked so much that Corey hadn’t gotten a single word in. He lingered right above Corey’s floor, wondering if taking a five-minute break half a flight down from his floor was illegal. Taking a break wasn’t illegal but taking it on the same step ten times a day wasn’t sane.
When the sound of a door opening reached him, Hayden almost jumped out of his skin. It was what he’d been waiting for, hoping for, but now guilt washed over him. He truly had turned into a stalker. Holding his breath, he listened for voices, but there weren’t any.
Striving for casual, he jogged down the last few steps until the corridor of doors on the third floor became visible. A young woman was exiting Corey’s apartment. Her long chocolate hair reached halfway down her back, and her hands flew through the air as she gestured. She didn’t make a single sound while Hayden stared at her.
The world came to a stop. Corey was deaf?
A second later, Corey followed her out. Hayden stood stock still, hoping they wouldn’t see him. If he didn’t move, they might not notice him.
Corey had his keys in one hand and closed the door but didn’t lock it. He must be planning on coming back shortly.
As they went into the elevator, Hayden ran. Could he beat the elevator to the bottom floor? Rushing down, he grinned when he spotted an old woman leaning on a red rollator waiting by the elevator door on the second floor, and hurried along.
He reached the bottom floor before the elevator and rushed toward the mailboxes. He sucked in a breath and held it to get his breathing under control. His heart drummed fast, but he adopted a casual mail-checking pose. Slowly, he unlocked his mailbox and grabbed the two envelopes that had been there since the day before.
When the elevator door opened, he hung back, watching first the old woman’s rollator come out, followed by the lady herself, then Corey’s friend—girlfriend?—exited. Corey followed shortly after. His hands were dancing in the air, and Hayden’s heart sank. How would he ever be able to communicate with Corey if he couldn’t hear him?
He’d understood Hayden, he’d smiled and nodded. Hayden hadn’t made it up, had he?
Corey turned so his back was to Hayden, and he could no longer see his hands. The woman was moving away, her hands moved as she scowled at Corey. It didn’t look like they were about to kiss goodbye.
Hayden held his breath as she neared the exit, and Corey stayed right outside the elevator. When she slipped out through the door, Hayden cleared his throat. Corey spun around, his eyes widening for a second, then he smiled.
Not deaf. He’d reacted to the sound, but… “Are you deaf?”
Corey frowned. A guarded look crept into his eyes, and the smile was gone. Fuck. “You’re signing.” Hayden gestured at the door where the woman had disappeared as if it would explain his lack of manners.
Corey gave a slow nod, then he turned to the mailboxes.
This day was turning to shit. “But you can hear me, right? Or are you reading my lips? I know you understand me.” He had to. Hayden had told him about his coffee incident and had asked him to come see Tara’s cups. Corey had heard or at least understood him. How hard would it be to learn sign language? Maybe he could learn it so he could understand Corey.
Corey gave him a blank stare, and Hayden couldn’t tell if he’d heard him or not. But he had heard him. Hayden was almost certain.
“You’re…” Dumb was offensive, right? “…mute?” He held his breath. Was mute offensive too? No, he’d read an article about selective mutism, if it was the term they used, it couldn’t be too bad, could it? Hayden forced himself to blow out the air in his lungs as he watched Corey. When he gave one short nod, Hayden slumped against the wall of mailboxes. “So you do hear me?”
Corey nodded again.
“Awesome. And the girl?”
When Corey frowned, Hayden grinned. “The woman leaving.”
Corey held up his index finger, moved it to his cheek near his ear and then to his chin. Hayden was sure it meant something.
“Is she your girlfriend?”
Corey shook his head.
“Is she deaf?”
Nodding, Corey repeated the motion with his index finger.
“Oh, it means deaf?” He tried to copy what Corey was doing which had him smiling and nodding. He could do this! He’d learned one word.
About Holly Day
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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