The Elevator Guy
"This way, Madam," the hotel porter told Lucy as he collected her luggage from the lobby.
Lucy took one last glance around the snazzy hotel reception area and followed him towards the elevator.
The elevator operator stood to one side and flashed her a warm smile, showing pearly white teeth. He looked handsome in his red uniform, complete with flat cap settled upon his fair hair.
"Second floor, please," the porter said and the elevator guy silently complied.
As the doors closed on them, Lucy gave him a quick wave. He just had chance to flash her another bright smile.
Lucy changed for dinner in her room and swept down the hallway towards the elevator. The same guy with the amazing smile met her at the doors.
"Ground floor, Madam?" He asked in a friendly voice.
"To the dining hall, yes please," she responded cheerily.
She stepped into the elevator and the guy accompanied her. He pushed the right buttons, sending them whizzing downstairs.
"Are you here on holiday or business?" He asked, facing the door, but turning his head a little to look over his shoulder.
"I'm intrigued." He turned around and moved closer to her. "Aaron Flint, by the way." He extended his hand.
She took his hand. "Lucy Arguile."
He hesitated, observing her face closely. "Lady Arguile?" He asked tilting his head to one side.
She waved an unconcerned hand across her face. "You're right, but I'm known as Lady Lucy. I prefer just Lucy, though. My title is not important to me.”
"I find it makes all the difference."
Her face became more earnest. She told him in a desperate voice, "I wish I could be like you, Aaron. You're free."
"Don't you think I would prefer to be Lord something or other instead of some stupid elevator guy? A nobody?”
“You’re not a nobody. You perform a useful service. I do nothing all day. I have no purpose.”
“I’m surprised. People like you don’t usually notice people like me.”
“Perhaps we should.”
“I don’t agree that you have no purpose.”
“You should. It’s nineteen twenty-five. People like me are going down whereas the working classes are coming up.”
“Is that why you’re here?”
“Running away from a purposeless, prehistoric existence?”
“I wasn’t meaning it as bluntly as all that.”
“It’s true. We are the past, you are the future.”
“Are we talking about classes or people?”
“That’s not a sensible question. The world works in classes.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way. You seem to me an intelligent girl, if you employed your time differently you could become anything you wanted.”
“Even an elevator girl?” She asked, amused.
“Why do you laugh? You said I could be anything.”
“I’m invisible. It wouldn’t suit you.”
“Me too. My parents won’t see me as anything until I marry well. What’s the difference?”
“It used to be that way, but not now.”
“Times haven’t changed that much. My parents are trying to force me into a marriage I don’t want.”
“You seem like a woman who knows her own mind. You are strong enough to stand your ground.”
The elevator reached the ground floor. Lucy spun around on the opposite side, speaking before the doors closed upon him once more, “I never met anyone who presumed to read me so well, Aaron.”
Dinner was a splendid affair with caviar but Lucy’s thoughts were far from splendid. For the first moment of her life she felt what it was to be lonely. Living at Fairbrook afforded lots of opportunity for socialising. Even when it was only the family, there were footmen, maids and the butler for company.
She hated being alone because she was little used to it, but it did have its charms in that her mother and father were not watching her every move and there was no young man on her left to try to impress. If Aaron had been the appointed target she could warm to him very easily; he was not. It was not likely he would ever be in her line. She liked him though. He was her ally even if he was a stranger.
This couldn't last; she knew very well it had to end tonight so she wrapped up dinner earlier than usual and went for some fresh air outside, taking her last breath of freedom before returning to her room via the elevator. Aaron was pleased to see her again sooner than planned, and he expressed these feelings to her.
“I will miss our conversations, my dear friend and ally,” she answered warmly.
He gave her a look that expressed both surprise and flattery. “You have decided to go home. Very wise, my Lady.”
“It wouldn’t be appropriate now.”
“Are you terribly disappointed in me?”
“Not in the least. It is the right thing to do.”
“I will stand my ground, as you said. I mean to marry only if it pleases me.”
“I’m glad to hear it. I hope you find some happiness. You deserve it.”
“The same to you.”
“I’m not sure anyone would agree, but thank you.”
“Can I ask a favour of you?”
“Call me Lucy. Just for tonight.”
“I’d love to.”
“Tomorrow I’m Lady Lucy Arguile. You won’t be on duty in the morning. It will be an ordinary day all too soon. Our paths will probably never cross again. It has been nice meeting you. You have given me hope.”
“I’m glad I could be of service.”
“You’ve been a good friend.”
She walked away sadly, her head bent to the ground. She would probably never see him again, but she felt a strong bond with him. It was as if she had known him all of her life.
Two years later, Lucy was recalling the kindness of Aaron Flint as she dined out with her new husband whom she had picked herself at the risk of her parents displeasure. He was from a rich family, and though not quite as her parents would have chosen, they were very happy and all thanks to the elevator guy.