Cat and Anders: The Lift
Updated: May 26
The first thing Cat saw when she opened the door was a cock.
'Oh my — oh goodness, I'm so sorry —'Flustered and clumsy, she hastily backed away. The door swung back on her bum, and she nearly spilt the tray of coffee she was carrying.
'Cat? Where are you going?' The casting director, Britta, stared at Cat quizzically. Britta was probably about Cat's mum's age, with white-blond hair and walnut-tanned skin, merry crinkles around her eyes suggesting she spent much time laughing on bright sunny days.
The actor who had just arrived to audition, Anders, stood in the centre of the room, reading over the script pages. All spectacular two metres of him wearing nothing but his birthday suit. Dirty blond hair was pulled back in a messy man bun, and his startlingly aqua eyes could hypnotise a woman at ten paces. Cat was reasonably sure she could grate cheese on his abs, should the need arise.
She took a deep breath. She wasn't in London any more, Toto.
'Sorry, I thought I had forgotten the, umm, milk,' she muttered, hoping against hope that she wasn't blushing so furiously it looked as though her ears were on fire. She entered the room and placed the tray on the desk, trying desperately not to make eye contact with the one-eyed monster as Anders chatted casually in Swedish with Britta.
But it was as though it was following her. It was the Mona Lisa, in willy form.
Cat had been working for the Stockholm casting agency for precisely one week and was just about to get fired for being a perv and/or a weirdo. She was being ridiculous. It wasn't as though she hadn't seen a trouser snake before. It wasn't even her first of the morning.
She'd known full well that the scene they were casting this morning involved nudity. After spending the night with the female lead, the character had to get out of bed and get dressed. However, she had cast similar scenes over the years in London, and actors normally mimed that sort of thing at early auditions. Cat had been entirely unprepared when the first actor casually whipped his kecks off and appeared in the altogether while she was busy writing his agent's name down.
Anders was the fourth audition of the morning, and until he arrived, Cat thought she had started to get it together. Once you'd seen three long dong silvers in quick succession, you'd seen them all. She could be cool about this, she'd decided. She could be Swedish about this.
Then Anders walked in, and Cat needed a lie down in a darkened room. It wasn't that he was more gorgeous than the others. Every one of them had the whole chiselled Viking sex god thing going on. They'd all been unfailingly polite, with warm smiles and easy manners. And yet, Cat wasn't sure she'd had a coherent thought since the instant Anders smiled at her.
'Shall we get started? Cat — can you make sure the camera is set up?'
Britta added a few instructions to Anders in Swedish, and Cat busied herself with fiddling entirely unnecessarily with the camera.
'Okay, when you are ready, Anders.' Britta nodded to Cat to press record. 'Börja —'
It had been a long day, Cat thought later as she grabbed a basket at the door of the underground supermarket at Medborgarplatsen.
After the final audition, Britta and Cat stayed behind to discuss the day and make a shortlist to call back. It was gone 8pm when Cat stepped out of the office into startling sunshine. Her body wanted dinner and to crawl into bed shortly after, but the sun, high in the sky, insisted it was lunchtime.
It had only been a couple of weeks since she packed up her entire life and boarded a one-way flight to Stockholm. She'd come for adventure, to force herself out of her comfort zone, to stop sleepwalking through her thirties — but a tiny part of her wondered if she had bitten off more than she could chew.
She strolled the supermarket aisles, picking up mysterious packets and jars, wondering what on earth they might be. Cereal and baked beans and whatnot had much the same logos as they did in the UK, so they were safe enough bets — but there was a prominent display of some substance in tubes that Cat was utterly mystified by.
If she were a proper, adventurous immigrant, she would buy some to find out. She would one day, she promised herself. Tonight, though, she just wanted dinner that was familiar and comforting.
Spaghetti bolognaise! Stodgy, warm, and yummy — precisely what she needed to stave off the flicker of homesickness prickling her. Maybe even some garlic bread, if she could figure out what garlic was in Swedish. When she'd looked it up on her phone, it seemed to be the same word as for onion. She supposed they were in the same family, but how were you supposed to tell the difference? Well, who cared — the spaghetti was the main bit.
Ten minutes later, Cat was blinking back hot tears of frustration. Where were the onions? It was a big supermarket with a substantial vegetable section. She'd come across varieties of lettuce she'd never heard of, coconut, kumquats and artichokes — but no onions. What was the matter with her? Who couldn't find onions?
They were usually just, there, weren't they? She'd never knowingly searched for them before. She wracked her brain, suddenly unable to recall the layout of a single British supermarket. The lump in her throat grew, and she suddenly had a horrible feeling she was crying right there in the middle of the carrots.
Cat whirled around in horror and came face to face with Anders.
He found the onions for her. They were in a little separate section, not far from, but distinctly adjacent to the primary, vegetable, area.
'I can only apologise for my country's stupidity in hiding the onions,' Anders said seriously. His eyes were filled with concern at what Cat was fairly confident was a snotty, blotchy mess of a human facing him.
'No, it — now I think about it, it sort of makes sense. They are kind of vegetable adjacent,' Cat insisted in a pathetically wobbly voice. 'Are they even one of your five a day?'
'That is no reason to hide them.' His eyes flashed indignantly, and Cat giggled despite herself. 'I am embarrassed. I will speak — to the king.'
Cat laughed harder. 'Is he in charge of vegetable placement?'
'I don't know,' Anders admitted furiously. 'But if not, I will make him tell me who is.'
'I don't want you done for treason for the sake of my bolognaise.'
'It is the very least I can do.'
Cat and Anders stepped out into the late evening sun after having procured all the necessary ingredients. Cat smiled, turning her face up to its warmth. The cobblestoned square was lined with outdoor bars, all heaving with beautiful people chattering and sipping crisp white wine.
A traffic jam of bikes formed in the cycle lane as they crossed the road. Not the aggressive lycra-warriors of London, but folk in normal clothes on old-fashioned bikes with baskets, pedalling casually. The scene was bathed in an orange glow as the sun finally started to sink towards the horizon.
Anders was carrying Cat's grocery bag and seemed to have naturally fallen into step with her as she strolled towards her sublet apartment a few blocks away. She was sure she imagined the energy tingling between them. Cat was a lot of things, but she wasn't the sort of woman that men like Anders looked twice at.
She wasn't the woman that halted men in their tracks. She wasn't a woman they fought over or climbed trees to play songs at her bedroom window. Cat was the perfectly okay consolation prize the wingman was left with when his hotter pal pulled hers. It was fine. It was what it was.
So whatever she was imagining in his eyes when he smiled at her was just that.
'I just think it is so incredibly brave.' He shook his head in wonder. 'You don't even speak Swedish?'
'Brave or daft,' she chuckled. 'I did a beginners' course in London, but I'm not sure it did me much good.'
'Who speaks Swedish anyway.' Cat had to scuttle to keep up with his long strides as they crossed Folkungatan. 'Anyone interesting enough to talk to speaks English. Except for my grandmother,' he conceded. 'But you shouldn't learn just for her.'
'Honestly, the main problem is food. For the first week, I kept buying filmjölk instead of mjölk, then wanting to cry when it glooped into my tea like yoghurt.'
'Well, it's quite clear you need supervision in supermarkets.'
'Will you bring that up with the king, too?'
Suddenly, they were in front of her apartment building. She couldn't invite him in — that would be absurd. Yet she really didn't want to say goodnight to him just yet. Maybe there was some miraculously non-awkward way to suggest a drink, or —
Then Anders solved the conundrum by kissing her.
The kiss was soft. Sweetly hesitant in a way that brought a flush of hot need flooding through her. She reached for him on her tiptoes and pulled him closer into a deeper kiss. This wasn't happening. Was this really happening?
He gasped as her tongue met his, gently exploring. He wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her clean off the ground. A moan escaped her as she melted around his huge, hard body. One enormous hand softly brushed her bum, and delicious tingles cascaded through her.
'Umm, we should, uhh —'A little bit dazed and realising she could barely speak English, never mind Swedish, Cat staggered backwards and tried desperately to remember how to open the door.
'Do you know the code for the door?' Anders asked with a grin.
'Code, yes. There is a code. Well done.'
She keyed it in, and the lobby door swung open. A smell of polish greeted them in the cool, shadowy lobby. They all but skipped towards the minuscule lift. It was a tiny, old-fashioned affair with a concertina cage door and brass buttons that creaked alarmingly.
It barely fit two normal-sized people, but Anders was like a grizzly bear in a coffin. Cat turned to pull the door across, and Anders immediately bent to kiss her neck, pulling her close from behind, his fingers resting tantalisingly on the waistband of her jeans. The lift jolted with a groan. Cat bit back a scream as Anders reached beneath her blouse, cupping and gently squeezing her breasts through her satin bra, his tongue hot on her ear.
Aching pressure was already building. Cat braced herself against the wooden panelling to grind against the steely hardness in his jeans, enjoying the guttural grunt that escaped him. He slipped the flimsy fabric of one bra cup aside and brushed her rock-hard nipple with his thumb and —
The lift lurched to a stop. Trembling with need and anticipation, Cat reached for the door —
'Hold on, it's stuck — oh come on,' Cat half-yelled. Lust ravaged her body. If she had to wait for one more second to be naked with this man —
'We are in between floors.'
'We're what?' But he was right. The lift was stuck. 'What — what do we do?' Cat didn't know whether to laugh or scream. 'Is there someone we phone?'
'Not yet,' Anders murmured.
He nuzzled her neck; the heat of his lips and tongue and rough graze of his stubble sent her body arching back into his. Excruciatingly mindful that they could technically be seen through the cage door — admittedly only half on each floor — Cat covered her mouth as Anders slowly unbuttoned her jeans.
One hand was firm on her stomach, pinning her against him. Cat spread her legs on tiptoe to allow him access as he lightly slipped his fingers over the soaking lace of her underwear. She turned her head to bury her scream in his hair as he plunged his hand into her knickers, and his fingers met the hot, slick centre of her.
He rubbed, gently then firmly, in dizzying, maddening circles. Fireworks built deep within her as he slid two fingers inside, rubbing softly, urgently with his thumb. His other hand cupped her breast, alternating pressure between the two until finally, white-hot lava exploded within her, ravaging like a thundering waterfall.
Her toes curled in her trainers, and she jerked and shuddered through the most intense orgasm of her life as the lift started to move again.
'I — uhh, thank you,' Cat breathed. She was still shivering, her voice barely sounding like her own.
Anders leaned down and pecked her on the cheek. 'Welcome to Sweden,' he grinned.