“Just Becker, or Beck.”
“Okay, Becker. It’ll revolve around Elizabeth, and her experience. I’d just like some quotes from you about the rescue itself, how you planned it, the strategy, maybe a picture.”
His features hardened. “No.”
Frustration bubbled in her stomach. “Will you at least give me a reason why you’re so determined not to do it?”
He glanced at the flashing numbers over the doors, his stiff shoulders telling her he couldn’t wait to get out of this elevator. Wonderful. Now he was dying to get away from her.
Glancing at her again, he released a sigh. “I don’t like being in the spotlight, okay? And I definitely don’t like having my picture flashed around.” He rolled his eyes. “For someone who considers herself a good journalist, I’d think you’d understand why that is.”
She bristled. “Why a man who saved a woman’s life doesn’t want some good old praise? No, I don’t understand.”
“I’m a SEAL. My job requires keeping a low profile, getting in and out of places before people even realize I’m there. How well do you think I’d do if everyone knew my face?”
Jane paused. Huh. So he made a good point. “Okay,” she said thoughtfully. “I get that. But there are ways around it, you know. We don’t have to print a picture, and we can change your name in the article. What’s your next argument?”
A flash of amusement filled his eyes. “Has anyone ever told you you’re very persistent?”
“Yep. Goes with my line of work.”
The elevator slowly ground to a stop. Jane glanced up and noticed they hadn’t reached the lobby, but had stopped on the third floor. She waited for the doors to open to let in a passenger, but nothing happened.
Wrinkling her forehead, she glanced at Becker. “Why did we stop?”
“I have no idea.” He moved toward the panel and punched in the lobby button again.
A shrill ringing suddenly blared in the elevator, startling her so badly she nearly fell over backwards. “What the hell?” she shouted over the noise.
Becker studied the panel then jammed his finger against the intercom button. The ringing died immediately, replaced by the sound of static. Becker leaned into the speaker. “Hello, anyone there?”
A moment later, a voice responded. “Hi there, folks, what seems to be the problem?”
“The elevator stopped on the third floor. It might be stuck.”
“All right, just stay put. Let me see what the trouble is.”
“Stay put?” Jane echoed as the static crackled and disappeared. “Where the hell else would we go?” Her suit jacket suddenly felt far too tight, her skin super hot.
Becker shrugged. “He’s probably scared we’ll try to climb out the ceiling panel and rappel down the cables.”
His attempt at humor fell flat, mostly because Jane was barely listening to him. She glanced wildly around the car, measuring it in her mind. Five by five, she guessed. Maybe a couple of feet more. Oh God.
Her head jerked up. “What? Yeah. Sure. I’m great. I’m wonderful.” Her eyes ping-ponged around the tiny space. “Why isn’t he answering us?” she finally burst out.
Becker came to her side, concern in his eyes. “Hey. Hey.” He touched her arm. “Don’t worry, okay? I’m sure they’ll have it up and running in a few minutes. Fifteen, max.”
Sweat bloomed on her forehead. “Fifteen minutes? We can’t survive in this teeny little box for that long! What if we run out of air? What if—” She quit talking, her heart pounding so fast she feared it might stop.
“I take it you’re not good with small spaces,” Becker said with a sigh.
She sucked in some oxygen. “It’s a problem,” she admitted.
“How the hell did you get to the eleventh floor then? You didn’t ride the elevator up?”
She shook her head, pressing her hands to her sides because they were beginning to sweat. And shake. “I took the stairs.”
“You climbed ten flights of stairs to—”
He was interrupted by the sound of static again. Jane’s entire body flooded with relief as a voice filled the car.
“Folks, you still there?”
“Oh, for f**k’s sake, where else would we go?” she muttered.
Looking like he was smothering a smile, Becker moved back to the intercom. “Still here,” he said.
“It seems we’re experiencing some technical difficulties,” the man said apologetically. “The repairman is on his way over to take a look.”
Jane’s heart took off like a terrified horse in a thunderstorm. Oh shit.
“Shouldn’t take too long to get you folks out of there,” the man—no, the devil—added. “Half hour, hour tops.”
Jane promptly dropped to the ground and stuck her head between her knees. She sucked in shallow breaths, knowing she was making a fool of herself, but unable to stop the terror spiraling inside her.
“Okay, thanks. Keep us updated please,” Becker said into the intercom. And then he was by her side, on his knees beside her. “Jane. Jane, look at me.”
Miserably, she raised her head, ashamed of the tears prickling her eyelids.
“Just breathe, okay? Breathe with me.”
She opened her mouth, but when she tried to inhale, her throat tightened. “There’s no air,” she wheezed. “No. Air.”
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