“You know that the more times you press the “up” button . . . the faster the elevator will arrive,” said Pierre mischievously as he poked away in exaggerated fury.
“You are so silly,” answered the smartly dressed, young, blond haired woman with a coffee cup in her right hand . . . and a smile growing quickly across her face.
“NO . . . it’s true . . . see . . . the door is opening . . . right . . . right . . . . n o w,” he continued, feigning to be serious, and purposefully stretching out the word “N . . . O . . . W” to synchronize with the elevator’s arrival. “And where might I might I have the pleasure of delivering you today milady . . . Paris . . . Rome . . . forty-fourth floor?” continued Pierre as he changed his routine . . . now awkwardly trying to sound British.
“Oh . . . I think should like to return to Rio . . . or . . . no . . . how about . . . the . . . forty-fourth floor?”
“My pleasure . . . milady . . . 44th floor it tis . . . but alas . . . I can only guarantee your safe passage to floor 21 as I have important business for the Crown that beckons . . . .”
Stepping off the elevator, Pierre turned back and placed his hand into the opening to prevent the door from closing, causing an alarm buzzer to sound. “This is the second time in a week that I have had the pleasure of sharing an elevator ride with you, milady, and I shan’t leave you again without first learning your name . . . .”
“Sally,” she replied, struggling to contain the urge to giggle.
“I’m Pierre . . . Godspeed Sally . . . Godspeed.”
“Hi, Sally,” said Pierre from behind . . . trying to catch up as she walked briskly across the pink marble lobby floor towards the elevators.
“Oh, hi!” she said curtly without breaking stride.
“I haven’t seen you for over a week,” Pierre continued, trying to pose a question, though expressed as a statement.
“Really?” answered Sally, trying to make a statement, though posed as a question.
Stammering, Pierre followed up, “so . . . uh . . . I hope the groundhog sees his shadow . . . I mean . . . doesn’t see his shadow tomorrow . . . how about you?”
Sally turned and looked blankly at Pierre without speaking.
Silently, the two merged into the morning crowd awaiting the next available elevator and became separated without further intercourse.
“Where are you headed? asked the tall man in a crested blue blazer, seated comfortably in a chair beneath a “Visitors Report Here” sign.
“I have a delivery.”
“Follow me,” responded the attendant, walking to the closest elevator where he held his security pass up to the card reader while looking for further instruction from the delivery man.
“Oh, how pretty,” said the receptionist. “And who is the lucky person?”
“Someone named Sally. I don’t have a last name.”
“Oh . . . for Sally . . . I’ll take care of it.”
After the elevator door had been closed for what she deemed to be a safe period of time, the receptionist opened the card attached to the vase with a red and green ribbon.
As winter persists in extended fashion
Your occasional glimpse reignites the passion
Of life and living beyond the cold
And with six more weeks of winter
Or so I am told
May this bouquet summons happy thoughts
Or even delight
And warm you with color
And sate you with sight
And I proffer you this
On a cold blustery night
That if you will be my Princess
Then I will be your Knight
“Are you OK, Sally?” asked Winston. “I’ve noticed you standing down here in the lobby away from the elevators for the last couple of mornings.”
“No . . . Yes . . . I am OK . . . I’m just waiting for the elevator crowds to die down . . . you know . . . with me being sick and all . . . I just didn’t want to expose others to whatever I had last week . . . .”
“Oh . . . OK . . . I was worried that maybe you were still angry with me . . . I’ll see you upstairs . . . and don’t forget that we have a client call at 10:00 sharp . . . don’t be late!”
“Well . . . if I was you . . . I would just go down to 21 and ask for him,” said Nancy. “He sent you flowers! He wrote you poetry!”
“I don’t even know his name, Nancy,” answered Sally.
“You know his first name . . . how many Pierre’s can there be . . . if I was you . . . I would just go down there and ask for “Pierre” . . . he sent you flowers, Sally.”
Sally didn’t respond, staring instead out the window towards the Hudson, clearly consumed in thought.
“It’s been over a week, Sally. You know I am right . . . remember that time at Hollins when I told you to call the cadet from VMI . . . that he liked you? You know I am right, Sally!”
“Yeah . . . I know . . . but I’m not even sure that he works here . . . I’ve only seen him three times . . . twice on the elevator and once in the lobby when I snubbed him.”
“You didn’t snub him . . . you were sick and that jack-ass Winston made you come to work anyway.”
“Pierre doesn’t know that.”
After a few moments of silence, Sally turned to face Nancy. “I will think about it . . . he did send me flowers.”
“Welcome back, and Happy Thursday, Pierre . . . et comment va ta famille en Quebec?” inquired Brigitte with an accent that revealed her Canadian heritage.
“Tres bien . . . tres bien, merci . . . et . . . comme toujours, they asked me to pass on their regards to you, Brigitte,” replied Pierre, seamlessly switching between French and English. “Any new office politics that I should know about since I left last week?”
“No . . . but a young lady dropped off an envelope on Monday that I am sure is for you. She said she was looking for a “Pierre” that she had met on the elevator but that she didn’t have a last name. And she described her “Pierre” as, and I quote, “silly, and charming, and smart and handsome.” Afterwards, when I told her there was only one Pierre in the firm, she began to blush! I didn’t put it into the inter-company mail because it looked personal,” Brigitte said, handing him the small, sealed envelope as a smile enveloped her face.
“You’re the best, Brigitte!”
I can’t thank you enough for the beautiful spring bouquet and the equally beautiful verse. I’m not sure which I enjoyed the most!
I was wondering if you might want to meet me for a cup of coffee tomorrow afternoon around 3:00 in the first floor café?
Your elevator friend,
“Dammit,” uttered Pierre in a volume audible throughout the floor. “I’ll be back in a few, Brigitte . . . I need to run over to Papyrus.”
I am so sorry that I missed having coffee with you. I went to Quebec last week to visit my family and didn’t get your note until today when I returned. May I have another chance? How about tomorrow – same time – same place?
Until then, I remain,
Your humble servant and caffeine-starved Knight,
“Where has this month gone?” Nancy asked the receptionist. “We’re already half-way through February!”
“I know . . . next thing the crocuses will be pushing up . . . I love spring flowers!!”
“Has anybody seen Sally?” intervened Winston, sounding in a panic as he rushed past, almost running down the hallway. “She didn’t answer her phone and I have a super important question?”
“Everything is always ‘super important,’” muttered Nancy under her breath.
“I said I haven’t seen her,” replied Nancy in a loud and distinct voice.
“Oh . . . I know where she is,” volunteered the receptionist, clearly excited that she could assist the Managing Partner with an important matter. “Don’t you remember, Nancy . . . she said she was going downstairs to get a cup of coffee . . . she just got on the elevator . . . not two minutes ago . . . remember, Nancy?”
“Coffee? At 2:30? Who drinks coffee at 2:30? And why do I pay for a coffee machine here in the office if my staff is going to go out for coffee anyway . . . makes no flipping sense to me,” Winston grumbled as he walked back towards his corner office, pausing momentarily to lock eyes with Nancy on the way. “I need to see her as soon as she returns.”
Sally still had a compact in front of her face when the elevator stopped unexpectedly at the 21st floor.
“Hi, Sally. What a nice surprise,” exclaimed Pierre. Taking her hand into his, he leaned over and kissed her lightly on the cheek.
“Hi, Pierre,” replied Sally, her heart racing as he retreated to a respectful distance though his hold on her hand lingered for several additional seconds.
“I got to a break-point in my work and thought I would go down to the café a little early,” Pierre explained.
Looking directly into each other’s eyes as if about ready to say something, neither party actually spoke. Finally, Pierre turned and started dramatically pushing the “1” button repeatedly.
“You are so silly,” said Sally, smiling just like she had the first time that she had seen him do it.
“NO . . . it’s true,” protested Pierre, also smiling.
“He has blue eyes,” said Sally to herself.
Exiting the elevator, the two walked slowly in unison towards the café chatting. “What would you like to drink, Sally? I’m going to get a latte.”
“I’d like a latte, too.”
While standing in line, Pierre caught himself staring at Sally more than once. “She has beautiful hair,” he thought. “And a beautiful smile.”
Slowly they sipped their drinks and conversed, with the occasional laughter that drew attention from others in the café.
Eventually, Sally said, “I hate it . . . but . . . I have to go, Pierre. It’s almost 4:00.”
“OK, Sally . . . thank you for having coffee with me.”
“Thank you. I really enjoyed it!”
Rising first, Pierre carefully pulled out Sally’s chair as she stood, whereupon he handed her an envelope.
Sally carefully opened the envelope and read the hand inscribed note.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Groundhogs are liars,
I hope this is true.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Without saying a word, Sally reached for Pierre’s hand and kissed him lightly on the cheek, just as he had kissed her earlier.
On his ride home that evening, the rhythmic clatter of train wheels lulled Pierre into a dream-filled repose wherein he passionately relived the afternoon encounter with Sally, awakening with the hope that this was just the beginning.
BIO: The author, Chuck Foster, works in the energy industry and enjoys writing and gardening as a pastime. He is a graduate of George Mason University.
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