The Light Side [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Joan Bramsch
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: When a claustrophobic party clown gets trapped in a stuck elevator, hysteria rises along with all her helium balloons, till a Superman cop, dressed in jogging gear, leaps to her rescue. Both have secrets that need healing; both find the way to love through the maze of this funny, sensuous romance. [2nd place in the Waldenbook best-seller list]
eBook Publisher: JB Information Station/Reveries - Books with Heart!, Published: 2000
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2004
The Light Side
14 Reader Ratings:
by Joan Bramsch
The sudden bone-jarring stop propelled her into the corner of the cubicle, and she knew. She knew. The elevator was stuck. She was stuck in the elevator. Trapped!
Wild-eyed, fighting the hysteria rising in her throat, Savena held her white-knuckled fist against her mouth. If she didn't start screaming, she theorized, then she wouldn't have to worry about trying to stop. Shuddering, utterly determined to master her overpowering fear, she drew a long breath. Fuming indignation became her weapon.
"Well! This shoots to hell seven months of intensive therapy ... not to mention enough money to buy a new van," she muttered darkly. "Dear Dr. Winkle. Wait till I get my hands around your scrawny turkey neck. "Ah, Ms. Alexander,?" she mimicked in his old raspy voice. Her fingers steepled in a pontifical gesture. "Your claustrophobia is cured. You will never be bothered by it again. I am certain."
To be honest, she had thought so, too, because she could ride in elevators these past three months with no ill effects. It was like a miracle! She had not been able to force herself into one of these small moving boxes since, when she was ten, her father had inadvertently locked her into a storage closet. She was playing hide and seek with him. He thought she was next door playing with her friends and he had gone on an errand. When he returned an hour later, he found her, hysterical and completely terrified by her experience. From that day she was plagued by harsh nightmares and the fear of enclosed places. Finally, as an adult, she had taken matters into her own hands and sought treatment. She had seemed to be cured.
"Ha! Let's face it, Savena," she taunted. "You just haven't been in a situation to warrant a return of your old fears ... until now!" In a near frenzy, she walked the boundaries of her metal cage, circling like a wary animal, seeking escape, knowing there was none. Repeatedly she banged and kicked against the walls in frustration. Gathering her energy, she yelled at the top of her lungs. "Mr. Goldblum! Mr. Goldblum, the elevator is stuck. Mr. Goldblum! Do you hear me?"
Faintly, she heard the guttural response of her business associate and old friend. "Yah, Savena. I hear you. Do not be afraid, little dove. I will get help right away. Try to keep your mind occupied. I won't be long."
She exhaled in giddy relief. Mr. Goldblum knew she was here. Thank goodness! What had he said? Oh, yes. Keep your mind occupied. He knew about her fear and had encouraged her to seek therapy. He himself had gotten help when he had come to America after his release from a Nazi concentration camp. Everyone has some secret inner fear, he had told her. Well, she would take his advice. Keep occupied.
Glaring at her party equipment, she gave the tall helium tank parked in the center of the floor a decisive kick in its wheeled base. "You, O brassy barrel of hot air, are going to be my willing accomplice." With that brave command, she set to work filling balloons of varied bright colors. Each rubber vial expanded to eye-popping proportions, then hissed in complaint when she slipped a tight knot on its lippy end and fastened a length of glittery string to its neck. Like a mother hen, she clucked at her fat, round friends, watching distractedly as each floated to the ceiling of her cell.
"Hey, you guys! Stop your complaining. You're going to a birthday party ... or had you forgotten?" She attached a sunshine yellow balloon to the tank and filled it with gas. Tying the string, she released it to float to the ceiling of the elevator. "Now," she said cheerily to the balloon, "you are for Katie, the birthday girl. You're bright, just like she is." She grimaced in self-contempt. "You're also the color of a coward--me!"
She pulled at a blue ball of light. "And you're for how sad I feel that I haven't overcome my childish fear?" Then she grabbed at a green balloon. "You make me green with envy because I can't--and, oh, damn!" She touched a red balloon. "And I see red when I think about all the time and money and effort I've wasted."
Frantically she continued to fill balloon after balloon until the elevator was so crammed with the floating signals of her distress that they began to bounce off her head. "Gads! A three-foot-thick blanket of balloons," she exclaimed. "If help doesn't come soon, I'll be buried." Unaware that hysteria was taking control of her actions, she giggled wildly. "Hey, that's not a bad idea. If I get lost in a cloud of balloons, I won't know I'm trapped."
Her voice rose in dangerous octaves as she tried to hide from her entrapment. Her skin felt hot; her fingers shook. But she continued her task, methodically filling one wilted petal after another. Like a quavering echo, she began to sing in hushed high tones. "She was only a bird in a gilded cage..."
Her mind switched to automatic and began to replace her fear with fantasy. "Superman! That's who'll come to save me. He'll break through these walls like so much cardboard. He'll lift me into his arms and fly me to safety." Concentrating on her whimsical imagery, she pictured Clark Kent dashing into the nearest phone booth and changing into his Superman costume seconds before he came to her rescue. "Superman! Please hurry," she entreated in a whisper. "I'm--so--scared."
Suddenly through the blur of her fear and the cloud of balloons above her head, she heard a scraping noise. Then a human voice filtered down to her ears. "What the--a surprised baritone growled. At once her multicolored cocoon began to float out the ceiling. Someone--man--had opened the trapdoor. Instantly Savena began to hop from one foot to the other, totally demented with relief. "Oh, save me, Superman. Please save me."
Most of the balloons had escaped when the inquiring face of a handsome male peeked down from above. A wave of sandy hair fell across his broad forehead and silver lights danced in his steel blue eyes as his wide mouth split into a generous, sunny grin. "Is this a private party or can I crash?"
Finding her tongue and trying hard to control her emotions again, she was nonchalant in her reply. "It's just me and my dozen or so alter egos. We were just passing the time until we were rescued." She gulped down an unexpected sob. "You are going to rescue us, aren't you?"
Without a word, her contact with the rest of the human race disappeared, only to be replaced by two Nike-clad feet. A pair of long, hair-shadowed, well developed tanned legs topped by skimpy royal blue running shorts followed. With one leap, the remainder of this magnificent visitor materialized before her wide green eyes. She was not so addled that she couldn't recognize a rare specimen of male beauty when she saw it! The man's narrow waist and broad, defined chest was girded in a matching royal blue tank top. Tufts of golden hair drew Savena's gaze upward to his exposed chest and corded neck, then to his fine-hewn arms and large hands, propped carelessly on his lean hips.
Wow! her brain telegraphed in seven-foot neon letters. When her dazzled gaze locked with the man's laughing eyes, she gulped again, this time with a very different emotion. Actually she felt like an entire rainbow was exploding inside her body. But she held the feeling in and jousted verbally to cover her sudden inexplicable attraction. Well, not totally inexplicable.
"Nice of you to drop in." His grin widened at her play on words. "But didn't you forget your cape? In fact, you forgot your whole outfit."
His golden-lashed eyes narrowed while he digested her observation. Had this experience pushed her over the edge? he wondered. Then his sandy brows lifted in understanding. Superman! "I was in a pretty big hurry to get to you, honey." He chuckled gruffly, his measuring gaze sweeping her body. "I must admit you hardly look like the usual damsel in distress. You're a real clown!"
She frowned at his words and stood to her full five feet four inch height. "I'm Savvy," she retorted.
"I'll just bet you are!" His chuckle had a wicked, knowing ring to it now.
"I mean, that's my name. I'm Savena and almost everyone calls me Savvy." She wiped her purple striped sleeve across her face, only then remembering she was dressed for Katie's birthday party. Complete with whiteface and red fright wig, she was a clown! She forced herself to meet his dancing blue eyes. She was blushing furiously, but he couldn't see it beneath her painted face. For this, she was grateful. "Oh," she mumbled. "I get it now. I thought you were telling me I was crazy or something." She lowered her dark lashes and stood trembling before him.
At once the man stopped laughing. This kid was scared to death, he realized. She was trying to hold herself together with tough words and brave actions. Well, Brady, he told himself, do something! Before she falls apart right in front of your eyes. Without a thought to propriety or good sense, he stepped forward and gathered Savvy into his arms, hugging her to his hard chest and stroking her back with an easy, steadying hand. "It's okay now, Savvy. We'll be out of here in just a little while. Mr. Goldblum called the owners and they're sending someone to fix the elevator."