In the elevator I pushed myself up against the back wall, we’d be going up a while and there was always a lot of stop. Alex stood next to me. I wanted to stare at him to keep my mind off other elevator but I didn’t I clamped my eyes shut to keep from seeing where we were going even though I felt the upward movement and knew exactly how things went.

“I’m guessing you don’t like elevators.” Alex said in my ear.

“Fear of heights. Among other things.” I said.

Alex chuckled, “Like what?”

I opened my eyes and turned to look at him, he was right there in my space, we were so close I could kiss him with a puckering of my lips. “Heights, flying, needles, clowns.”

Alex laughed. “Clowns? Some tragic circus death? High flying trapeze fall to his death.”

I grinned. “No nothing like that.”

“So tell me why are you afraid of clowns, Nox?” He asked so seductively I had to look away. Why was I being so fucking shy?

But looking away was wrong. I saw how high we were off the ground and my heart leapt into my throat and I leaned forward and buried my head against his shoulder without a thought. I jerked away realizing I’d done what I might do with Dorian or Ant. “Sorry.” I mumbled.

He looked at me with something in his eyes. I didn’t know what emotion. But he grabbed my by the belt loops of my shorts and pulled me close. “It’s okay.” He wrapped his arms around me and I felt safe. He smelled safe – that soft citrus scent was home. It was the same scent I kept around the apartment. Margo used apples and ocean scents, but at home it was something I’d just started doing when I got my own place. And Dorian was cinnamon and sugar. It made me wonder how much he’d learned about me. If this was coincidence or planned.

Alex’s arms around me pulled me closer and he whispered in my ear, “Stop shielding so hard.”

I dropped my shield and I felt a new thought. It wasn’t pervasive, just a little nudge. Nothing will happen. I’m safe. I knew it wasn’t my thought. But I let my mind dwell on those few words. They were comforting. The arms around me were safe. He was the embodiment of safe…

The elevator dinged and there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see Dae’lin nod towards the numbers on the elevator. I smiled at her. “Thanks.” I unfurled from Alex, “My floor.” I said to him taking his hand as we left the elevator.

“Who was that?” He asked.

I started down the corridor of many doors. “Dae’lin. My boss and my former mentor.”

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