A sequel to “Flirting with the Enemy”

The brisk November air breezes right through your leggings and chills your shins as you hurry into Payne Whitney Gymnasium. You breathe a sigh of relief as the door closes behind you, shutting out the cold. It’s 9 a.m. the morning of The Game. You have an hour and a half until you’re supposed to meet your friends and tailgate. Any sane person would still be in bed, but for some reason, you woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. You figured a run would help clear your head, but as you step into the elevator and press the button for floor five, you start to second guess yourself.

Just before the elevator doors slide shut, a muscled hand slips through and stops them from closing. The doors widen, and in strides a man you never thought you’d see again. 

You lock eyes as the doors slide shut behind you. “What are you doing here?” he asks, blinking in surprise.

“I could ask you the same thing,” you reply, crossing your arms. “Last I checked, this was my school, not yours.”

He raises his arms in mock surrender. “Hey, I’m just here for a pre-game workout.” 

“Of course. You desperately need it — not that you have a chance of winning.” Only the first part is a lie. He’s just as tall and just as muscular as he was when you fell for him last year, but you refuse to tell him that. His hair is a little shorter and his jawline a little sharper, but it’s his eyes that remind you why you liked him in the first place. They’re a rich brown with flecks of hazel, so entrancing that you find yourself looking at the floor, at the walls — anywhere else, really — to avoid getting lost in them.

He starts to press the button for floor five, before realizing it’s already lit up. He looks back at you, narrowing his eyes in suspicion. “What are you, some kind of athlete now?”

“I’ve always liked to run,” you tell him, frowning. “You don’t know everything about me, you know. We only knew each other for a few days.”

“How could I forget? A few days of fun, and then you ghost me.”

“I did not ghost you.” 

“Do I need to pull up the receipts?”

No, he does not, because you know he’s right. You most certainly did ghost him, and at the time, it seemed like a perfectly logical decision. Maybe it’s his eyes or maybe it’s just the banter, but now? You’re starting to second-guess yourself. 

You watch as the numbers of the floors tick past. Floor two … floor three … it’s not fast enough. You need to get out of this elevator and away from him. “Why don’t you chase after someone from your own school?”

Floor four. He chuckles, and you look over at him. A smirk tugs at the corner of his lips, and you can’t decide whether it’s infuriating or attractive. “I forgot how fun it is to make you mad.”

You wait for the floor number to tick upwards, but it doesn’t. It stays stuck on floor four. You wait for the doors to slide open and let someone else on, but they don’t. “Huh. That’s weird.” You press the five button again, and then the “open door,” but nothing happens. You hear the groan of metal on metal, and slowly, the upward motion stops.

Then the elevator plummets.

The free fall knocks you off balance, and you tumble into him. The drop lasts for only a few seconds, and when the elevator grinds to a stop, you realize his muscular arms are wrapped around you and you’re both gripping onto each other for dear life. You shove him away, and despite the precarity of your current situation, he has the audacity to laugh.

“What the fuck was that?” you ask, glancing around the elevator. The digital display of the floor numbers has gone dark, and the elevator buttons are no longer lit up. You press the “open door” button, but nothing happens.

“Why isn’t it working?” he asks, concern creasing his brow.

You jam your thumb into the open door button a few more times and are met with equally nonexistent results. “Uhh, because clearly, the elevator is broken.”

“But how?”

“Maybe the weight of your ego exceeded its capacity.”

“You’re not funny.” Gone is his lighthearted tone from earlier. He steps in front of you and pushes your hand out of the way of the buttons. “You’re not pressing hard enough.” He takes over, slamming his fist into the “open door” button.

“Do you want to break it any more?” you hiss, shoving him away. “Face it. We’re stuck.” 

His face turns the same shade of crimson as his “Harvard Athletics” T-shirt. You wonder if it’s the same one he was wearing when you met a year ago. “Well we need to get unstuck. I have a game this afternoon, and if you make me late…”

“If I make you late?” The metallic taste of rage coats your tongue. “How is this my fault?”

“I don’t know, it just is.” He turns back to the buttons and jams his thumb into the “emergency call” button. A few seconds pass. Nothing happens.

He runs a hand through his hair and slumps against the wall. “God, this is just my luck.”

You stare at the unblinking buttons in dismay. “Do you think we’re going to miss The Game?”

“We better fucking not.” He pulls his phone out of the pocket and his sweatpants and begins to dial.

“Who are you calling?”

“911. Who else?” He hits the call button, and bright white words flash across the top of the screen: call failed. He tries again, and the same message pops up. A scowl stretches across his face. “God, don’t tell me we don’t have any fucking service.”

“Let me try.” You pull out your phone and dial the same three numbers. 

Call failed.


Call failed.

Call failed.

Call failed, call failed, call failed.

The elevator falls into a silence that’s thicker than molasses. You watch as he slides down the wall and slumps on the ground. His outstretched legs take up half of the room in the tiny elevator. He does nothing but stare at the silver doors in front of him, as if by sheer will, he could pry them open. 

“Someone is bound to get us out sooner or later,” you say after a while. “I mean, PWG is a popular place. They’re bound to realize the elevator is stuck. Someone will come help us.”

He shakes his head. “Not soon enough.” 

Against your better judgment, you slide down to the floor next to him. Your shoulders brush ever so slightly, and the contact sends tingles shooting down your arm. You struggle to think of what to say to make him feel better, before realizing that nothing will, and that it’s not your job to soothe his fears, anyway. “So … how have you been?”

He blinks at you, bewildered. “What?”

“How have you been? You know, since I last saw you.”

“We’re stuck in an elevator, and you’re asking me how I’ve been?” He stares at you for a few seconds, and you wonder if that was the wrong thing to say. Then a laugh burbles out of him. “This is crazy.”

A chuckle escapes you, too. “Yeah. It kinda is.”

“I mean, I never thought I’d see you again after the last game.”

“Neither did I.”

“I never wanted to, either.” 

Your whole body tenses at the declaration. “You … you didn’t?”

“Of course not.” Your intestines tie themselves in a knot. You wish you could scoot away from him, but there’s nowhere to scoot to in the cramped elevator. “I mean, you ghosted me. I was kind of hurt.”


He rolls his eyes. “Don’t make me say it again.”

Slowly, the knot in your stomach unravels. “So … you don’t hate me?”

“I wish I could, but no.” He runs a hand through his hair before turning to you. “Why? Do you hate me?”

“No,” you say quickly. Heat rises in your cheeks, and you look away so he doesn’t notice. 

But he does, and he chuckles. “You’re cute when you blush.” The minute the words leave his mouth, a similar blush creeps across his face, as if he didn’t mean to say that aloud. 

Your heart warms at his words. “Thank you, that’s … actually really flattering.”

“Yeah, well. Don’t let it go to your head.” His words have an unexpected bite, and your heart cracks a little.

“Well, I didn’t mean to ghost you,” you blurt out. Before you can think better of it, an explanation tumbles out. “I mean, I didn’t want to. You were fun to talk to and fun to be around, but you go to school so far away. I just … I didn’t think it would work.”

The elevator car falls silent. For a while you’re too afraid to look at him, but when you do, his gaze is locked on you. Your eyes meet, and your heart erupts in flames. 

The next thing you know, your lips are on his and his hands are in your hair. Kissing him feels so familiar and so foreign at the same time, like a song you used to love but have since forgotten the lyrics to. Butterflies swarm in your stomach and spread to every part of your body, fluttering with excited nervousness as you realize just how much you missed this, missed him

This feels so right. 

He pulls away for a moment, breathless. “You know, Boston is just a two hour train ride from New Haven.”

You kiss him once more before pulling away, a smirk on your face. “Well, isn’t that convenient?”


Four hours later, the elevator doors are pried open. You pick your head off of his shoulder, where you’ve been laying for the last hour, planning monthly visits and weekly FaceTimes. “We might as well try it,” he’d said a few hours earlier. “I mean, clearly we still like each other.” He was right, and you agreed. In the past year, you hadn’t had any luck with Yale men romantically, so why not try a Harvard man? What did you have to lose?

A group of firemen peer down at you from the floor above. The elevator must’ve gotten stuck between floors, and they struggle to hoist you both up and out of the car. They take your names and record your information, asking lots of questions about what happened and how. “We don’t know,” you reply to all of them. “It just stopped.” Yes, it was sudden. No, you didn’t jump. 

“Maybe it was fate,” he whispers in your ear. He squeezes your hand, and you chuckle. 

“I’m sorry you missed The Game,” you say, sincere.

He shrugs. “I mean it sucks, but I have to admit, this kind of makes up for it.” He holds up your entwined hands, and a grin sparks across your face.

“You two are good to go,” one of the firemen interrupts, flipping his notepad shut. You thank them and start to walk away, hand in hand, before your newly-declared boyfriend stops. 

“This is random, but do you know who won The Game?” he asks.

“I think it was Harvard,” one of the firemen replies.

“You’re joking,” you say, incredulous, at the same time your boyfriend says, “Really?”

“How’d they win without me there?” he asks, surprised.

“Maybe you’re what made them lose last year,” you tease.

He rolls his eyes and tugs you away, down the stairs and out of the gym. “I can’t believe we won,” he says, grinning. “You should buy me a celebratory dinner like I did for you last year, remember? Winner eats free.”

“I don’t think so,” you laugh.

“Boooo. Why not? 

“Because you didn’t win.” You pull him in for a kiss, and when you pull away, your smile is brighter than ever. “I did.”