Chapter 8

Written by: Kalli Deschamps

Chetna’s eyes flew open as she stumbled. Dr. Batra grabbed her silken shoulders as she lunged toward the wall of the stalled lift.

 

“Oh!” she cried. “How clumsy!”

 

“Are you all right?” he chuckled.

 

She touched her burning cheeks as she turned from his protective arms. “I’m so sorry.”

 

Nothing in her restricted childhood and very conservative life-style had prepared her for sharing a very dark, stuck lift with a handsome man she scarcely knew. Panic caused her shaky voice to tremble. “What should we do?”

 

Dr. Batra’s deep, dark eyes smiled down at her as he chuckled again. “Wait until the power is restored. Would you like to sit down?”

 

She turned in a tight circle. “Where?”

 

“I would guess the floor is our only choice.”

 

Trembling, Chetna’s panic turned to anger; fear to accusation. She almost spat the simple words. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

 

His little boy grin was catching. She fought a rising smile.

He reached for her hand. “It’s like ice.”

“I’m nervous,” she paused, “and frightened. And what will people think?”

 

“About what?”

 

“Well,” she hesitated. “About us. Together. Here like this.”

 

He couldn’t help himself. He burst out laughing! “Mrs. Iyer-“

 

“Miss—-“

 

“Miss. I think this is a perfect opportunity for us to get to know each other. You are a beautiful woman and I’m sure will be a delightful companion to share this unusual interlude in the solitude of an electronic accident.” He felt around the sides of the dark lift. Finding a corner he said, “I’m going to sit down. Will you join me?”

 

Chetna’s cheeks burned again. She hugged her chilling arms as cold air drifted from the ground below. 

 

Dr. Ravi Batra patted the chilly floor next to his right hip. “Come sit next to me and tell me about yourself.” He removed his well-cut sport coat, folded and placed it beside himself. 

 

Tempted, but still uncertain, Chetna finally eased herself down on the makeshift pillow.

 

“You’re not married?” he asked.

 

“ No. I have my mother, a sister and an adopted son who is on his own and works for a software company in Bangalore.” 

 

“Don’t you ever get lonely?”

 

She pondered the question. Finally she whispered, “Not really. I have my job at the bank. My son calls occasionally. Then there is my mother.” She paused. “Will the surgery help her to live?” Frustrated, she cried, “Oh! Why can’t they fix this awful lift?”

 

Dr. Batra took her icy hand and cradled it in his capable fingers.

 

“We’ll do our best. May I call you Chetna?” She nodded.

 

“Will she be able to live with me?”

 

“That depends on many factors.” 

 

He reached slowly and carefully toward her soft cheek to catch one huge tear as it dropped from her tired eyes “Chetna, when we get out of here, I’ll perform the surgery on your mother. When she is calm and comfortable, would you consider having dinner with me?”

 

Comments

I like the way you get Chetna over her nervousness. Be careful of dialogue that becomes just a bit too technical. Keep it simple. Few people would say something like this '...delightful companion to share this unusual interlude in the solitude'. They are more likely to say something like, "I'm glad its you in this lift with me and not someone else." I don't think Dr Batra is as posh as this makes him sounds.
I think that the dialogue is deliberately unnatural ..........Only the writer can tell though....