***This post is dedicated to all my readers out there! It’s really hard trying to make it as a successful writer so it gives me so much hope that there’s an audience out there who enjoy my writing and storylines. I appreciate you all. Here’s to 100 more! Soul xo***
I’m not a fit person. Can we get that straight? I’ve gone to gym on and off so much that when I’m off it it barely feels I was ever on. In California I tried to attend regularly. Remember Joshua from my favourite gym? Yeah, he kind of beat the will out of me. But this time there’s no excuse. I’m living in New York City, and getting around using a cab only is way too expensive. All my city girls, you know what I’m talking about. So that’s why taking the subway is important; getting to and from the subway is where the real cardio kicks in on your daily. And on a daily of mine, quite recently, I noticed a bead of sweat meandering from my temple. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I was going to work in the morning all sweaty and panting. Thank Jeebus I packed in my compact BonBon and deodorant, otherwise, I probably would have stunk up the whole place. Not pretty.
On my search for the perfect gym, I told Jenny of my hunt and she offered to take me to the one she goes to.
“We can get in a work out as we go and come back too,” she said, selling the place with a passion, “so it all turns out to be one big exercise day.”
“I’m not looking to bulk up here, Arnold Schteroid, so please take it easy on me.”
Jenny laughed, her banging white teeth bouncing off the late afternoon sunlight. “Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.”
The brown hardwood floors led us up to the gym’s reception area where I, since I wasn’t a member, paid a little token of foreshadowing faux-appreciation. I say ‘faux-appreciation’ only because I’m happy now, but when the burning and the pain and the lactic acid (only thing I learned in biology) all kick in, I’ll be burying the hatchet…and my instructors.
Jenny and I were taking a spin class, and as I stared at the wonky mirror, my reflection somewhat skewed, I began to feel dizzy. Was that normal?
Jenny leaned into me. “They have these mirrors specifically for making you look thinner, so it looks like the job is getting done.”
“Is nausea a symptom?” I’m about to hurl.
Jenny giggled. “Please don’t.”
“Who was it that said ‘nothing tastes better than skinny’?” I hiccupped a small one, and subsequently burped lowly. Real classy. Did I mention I get queasy easily?
Jenny narrowed her eyes in thought and stared off into the distance. “Kate Moss, I think.”
“Oh, right.” The thought of taking advice from a woman who willingly disrupts an already edgy flight disturbs me.
“I feel like she’s the type of girl who would make anyone jump,” Jenny mumbled, almost to herself. “Even a tightrope walker.”
Jenny and I snickered to each other. Her comedy was at least making me feel better, but then I noticed something strange about this class.
“Yeah?” she turned to me.
“Is this an all-girls gym?”
She shook her head. “No.”
“Then the class? Is it an all-girls class?”
A smile of realisation began forming on Jenny’s lips. “You’re wondering why there are so many girls in this class.”
“There’s not one guy here.”
“There’s that guy,” Jenny nodded her head my way, her eyes on a person beyond me.
I turned my head to find a guy in a bright pink shirt, a bright pink headband, black compression tights and fluoro orange legwarmers, despite it being summer.
“I’ve never seen that much pink on a guy before,” I muttered.
The man looked our way and smiled, waving his hand excitedly. I smiled and waved back politely, to which he burst out chortling.
I frowned and turned to find Jenny laughing too. “What did I miss?”
“He’s waving to me. That’s Timmy.”
“No way is his name is Timmy!” I grinned.
“You’re awfully excited,” Jenny said confusedly.
“It’s just such a cartoon name. I love it.”
“Aaaaaanyway, he’s cool. We chat sometimes.”
I ooo-ed, pursing my lips till they could be pursed no more. “A love interested?”
Jenny rolled her eyes. “He’s gay if you haven’t noticed.”
“Well you never know. Guys can wear pink. We’re going off track here. Why are there so many girls? And where is this instructor?”
“Both questions will be answered soon enough,” Jenny winked.
On point, the man arrived. “Ready to get started everyone!?” He beamed.
Most put up their arms and everyone woo-ed ecstatically. When the instructors back was turned I scanned the room and some women were blushing, others were fixing their breasts out of their tanks for show, and others were giggling with their friends.
“The main event, ladies and gentlemen,” Jenny said. “Meet Evan, the star attraction.”
Star attraction was an understatement. Evan must have been sculpted by Michelangelo himself. Literally no flaws graced him. In fact, I think a flaw would add to the sexiness this modern-day Adonis was emitting. Blonde buzz cut, tanned skin, greenish-blue eyes; he seemed semi-Latino, giving every girl a semi of her own. He was wearing a loose dark green tank and black shorts. Not so tightly compressed like Mr. Pinkie Legwarmers swooning out over in the back of the class, but enough to reveal to every girl his perky butt when he bent over. In the mirror, I literally saw women’s heads tilt to one side and biting their lips. How can anyone concentrate in this class!?
Suddenly, Jenny was nudging me with her pointy elbow and I had no idea why. “What?” I hissed.
“He’s talking to you,” she said through a smile, eyes wide.
I turned my head slowly and smiled like Dopey the dwarf. “Hello,” I nodded.
“Welcome,” he said, voice as smooth as his perfectly toned arms. “I haven’t seen you around. And I’m pretty good with faces.”
I turned red. I couldn’t help it! “Humana—humana—nenny—” I shook my head. Snap out of it! “—Jenny invited me. I’m looking for a gym to work out in.”
“Let me guess,” he narrowed his eyes and then pointed. “Californian girl, am I right?”
I nodded. “Yeah, you’re right.” My voice deeper and more confident. Like his gorgeous face wasn’t having an effect on me.
“You’re going to enjoy it here. I hope you pick this class as your ongoing work out supplement.”
“Oh I think she will,” one girl behind me scoffed.
“Jenny,” Evan called, “you keep her coming back, you here?”
Jenny grinned. “Oh she’ll be coming alright.” Jenny dipped her head low towards me. “And coming and coming and coming.” We both giggled.
“Alright, class,” he clapped loudly, the echo swimming solely, quieting everyone it touched, “let’s get to work.”
That’s when Jenny leaned in again before we mounted our bikes. “I’m going to ask him out!”
“What’s so hot topic about that?” I asked, grabbing bottles of water from my fridge.
Jenny shook her head when I tried handing one to her. “Cold water slows down the metabolic rate. Drink room temperature, or at least a lot less cold.”
“And the hot topic is that it’s like conquering Mt. Everest. So many girls have asked him out and so many have failed. From what I’ve heard, he keeps saying something about professionalism and whatnot. All that hoo-ha.”
“That hoo-ha is pretty sweet of him,” I noted while filling cups with tap water. “It shows he cares about his clients.”
“He cared about you,” Jenny winked. “I bag him by the way.”
“Uh, boyfriend,” I said obviously.
“Oh, right, how’s that going?”
I sighed. “It’s going fine.”
“Sorry about outing you before by the way, I didn’t mean to—”
“I know. You thought one thing, that one thing didn’t happen, it’s fine. The cat’s out of the bag now. Had to be some time.”
“So what’s the deal,” she took a sip. “Talk to me.”
“It’s like,” I started, struggling to find the words. “It’s like he doesn’t want to talk to me. I mean, we talk; but I feel like he’s putting up some sort of wall. He says things like he’s failing me and that I wasn’t,” I looked down in embarrassment, fidgeting with a fucking painful hangnail of mine, “that I wasn’t supporting him in his time of need. But I tried to. I honestly did. We’re just in a weird funk right now. And I think he wants to skip past the ‘us talking’ part, whereas I want to pry his feelings and be allowed in. I just don’t get it, you know?”
I sighed out of exhaustion and presented her with the question that’s been troubling me. “Why is it so hard for him to open up to me when he has done so many times before?”
“Have you asked him that?”
I lifted my shoulders. “How can I?”
She took my cup of water out of my hand and put both cups on the coffee table. “Call him. Tell him you’re coming over. You should be with him talking about this, not me. Get your butt over there and ask him what you need to know.”
“He doesn’t want me to though.”
“But if you never find out what the issue is, you’ll never be at rest.” She paused. “Even if you just find out the reason why he’s not being open. It’ll give you some clarity, then you’ll both be able to talk better. There’s no harm in trying.”
I thought that, but then I figured if I pushed him to a brink of my own making, he wouldn’t come back the same way. And I wouldn’t be the same person to him. But Jenny was right, I couldn’t leave it to just rot, unanswered and untouched. I had to at least let my voice be heard, my thoughts be known, and my questions be answered.
Suddenly, I smiled at Jenny and grabbed my cup of water for a couple of gulps. “So…Danny-boy won’t mind you’re crushing on some other guy?”
Jenny laughed as pink rose to her cheeks. “No, he won’t mind. He loves sex, I love sex, and we have sex with each other or other people. He’s my best friend, and most times my saviour when I get into trouble. And there’s nothing official or exclusive about us. He and I have the perfect relationship!”
I took Jenny’s advice and called Daniel. I was going to do something about us but I think I just needed that push from someone to kick my butt and actually do it and stop talking about it. Daniel had no qualms with me coming over, he sounded very much like we didn’t just recently have a fight. Quite at ease, if I must say. To counteract anything that I may not have anticipated or taken into consideration, I ordered pizza, to be delivered and paid in full by the time I get to his place, and bought a chocolate fondant that I was dying to taste from this new French place. In all seriousness, I wanted Daniel to feel relaxed and not as if I were ambushing him. That’s the last thing he needed; more stress!
I could smell the delicious cheese pizza as I made my way down the hallway to Daniel’s apartment. I jogged when I noticed the door was open. “That’s for me!” I called out, then inwardly slap myself for speaking so loudly around tenants who are most likely, some if not all, sleeping right now.
Daniel peeked his head around the doorway and the both of them saw me running. Thanks to exercise earlier today, I feel more in pain than ever. Even my period is in awe.
I pulled out the correct money and handed it to Steven, the pizza boy. “Thank you, keep the change.”
He nodded and smiled in appreciation. “Thanks.”
It looked like Steven was new. He just had that way about him; where he’s still smiling. He has yet to get to that phase where he loathes every customer he comes across, fucks over customer service, and his gauge of patience blasts him into madness. For the meantime, I was glad he was politely smiling for us and even thanked us.
“Hey,” Daniel pressed his lips up against mine. Did I smell and taste alcohol or is it just me?
“Hi,” I walked in, handing him the box he offered to carry.
“What’s in it?” he asked.
I grinned. “It’s a surprise.”
“I bet it’s chocolate.”
“From that new French place. You bought that chocolate that has a chocolate lava inside, right? I know I’m right, you’ve been talking about it for a little while.”
I shrugged in defeat. “Chocolate is my weakness.”
He wrapped his hands around my waist and pulled me closer. “I thought I was your weakness?”
“Oh most definitely Mr. Hottie McNaughty. Always.”
“You haven’t called me that in a long time. Last time I remember hearing my sexy nickname from your sexy lips was back in California.”
“We’re a long time coming,” I said proudly.
Daniel smiled. “Yes we are.”
“Daniel…” I breathed when he began running kisses along my neck, “the pizza’s going to get cold.”
He groaned in the hollow at the base of my neck, and then made his way back up. “I’d take eating you over pizza any day.”
Stay focused, Anna. Stay focused. FOCUS! “But the chocolate.” Oh fuck the chocolate! I bit my lip to keep from uttering regrettable words.
His tongue hunted mine out, and we stood embracing each other and pulling each other closer. As if we were trying to merge our bodies into one soul. Daniel turned me around so my back was facing him, and dug his hand into my shirt, feeling out my left breast. I craned my neck back so I could continue kissing him, and he welcomed my tongue. He pushed me up against the kitchen island, and I brace myself with both hands.
“I’m getting real hard, baby,” he whispered into my ear, rubbing his groin against me, making me feel the length of him even through his pants.
I’m a lost cause. For real. The minute seduction prowess Daniel was inflicting on me was enough to sniper thoughts out of my mind. PEW! There goes pizza. PEW! There goes talking to him. PEW! There goes my sanity. The only thing I’d be happy about is the science behind sex and burning calories.
“Daniel…wait…wait…” I implored. If I didn’t get this conversation started, we might never get through it. And he already seemed in a good enough mood to be okay with talking about what I wanted to know.
Daniel sighed, froze, and then pulled back. I knew he was trying to calm himself down when he froze, but it won’t take an instant that’s for sure. “You’re mind’s set on pizza and chocolate, huh?”
I shrugged like ‘ya got me!’, unable to find another excuse. In all honesty, it took all of my willpower to stop. If he had taken a second longer, or started up again just a second later, I would’ve scrapped the entire conversation. What can I say, he hypnotises me!
“Alright,” he said, calming his irregular breathing, “let’s eat.”
We cuddled up on his sofa under a thin blanket as the night was ever so chilly, and munched down on cheesy deliciousness. I was pulling strings of cheese from my mouth; completely opposite to Daniel who somehow managed to refrain from being as spastic as me.
“Oh, you got a little bit just…” he thumbed the corner of my mouth and then brought his lips down for a salty kiss. Wet, smooth, and tasty; all the combination of a perfect kiss from an imperfect relationship.
How do I even begin sussing out what I want to know? Tiptoeing around the situation wasn’t going to last forever, and I had to get through this before the movie ended. What movie are we watching anyway?
“So, umm,” I started, once again pulling a string of cheese from my mouth, acting all nonchalant, “what ever happened to your work thing?”
Smooth, Anna. You’re so smooth.
“Hmm? What work thing?”
“Oh, you know, the promotion.”
My head lay near Daniel’s chest, and I felt it rise and dip as he sighed. “Just that they said I wasn’t a good fit right now, but maybe in the future something will pop up. Eventually. Hopefully.”
Progress. “It most definitely will.”
“I won’t hold my breath though.”
“Please, you’re going to nab a promotion sooner or sooner, there’s no way they’ll—”
“Yeah, that’s what you said last time, Anna.” He leaned in to throw a half-eaten pizza in the pizza box.
We both remained silent. I started feeling guilty, of course. I hadn’t realised I had built up his hopes so high that they were crushed by a sucker punch. Is there such a thing as reasonable support; where you just shrug and say, ‘hey, you might get it, and you might not, it’s life’? Then I could be blamed for not supporting enough. Wonderful.
I cleared my raspy throat. “So do you want to tell me why you flaked out on me?”
“I told you, I didn’t want to lash out at you again.”
Daniel shifted in his seat and I straightened up to face him. “And…I just don’t want you to see me like that.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Like a little bitch, I guess.”
I furrowed my brows in disbelief. “I have never, could never and will never see you like that. I just wanted to know why you wouldn’t open up to me.”
“I do open up to you,” Daniel said, taken aback.
“No, no, no, you open up to me about your parents, about friends, about life in general, but not when it comes to you. Lately, you’ve just been hiding yourself from me and I have no idea why.”
“What do you want me to tell you, Anna?” he said a little impatiently.
“Tell me about your fears, about your worries—”
“I have no fears.”
We turned silent again. Daniel staring at the pizza box, and I staring at Daniel. I turned my attention onto the fondant. When Daniel noticed, he spoke. “How about we skip this conversation, and the inevitable argument and just eat chocolate.”
“Why do you think we’ll have an argument? Why can’t we just talk?”
“Because it always turns out that way with you,” he started, raising his voice. “You push, and you push, and you push until I snap, and then somehow it becomes my fault. When I don’t want to talk about my fears and worries and whatnot, then it means I don’t want to talk about it. And yet you’re still pushing. Why don’t you just let it go, Anna? I’ll deal with my own shit, my own way.”
He stood and walked into the kitchen, peeling a bottle of vodka and a glass, and coming back. Plonking himself on the sofa, he began opening the bottle.
“Okay, well,” I stood, gathering my things, “I’ve clearly overstayed my welcome.” That was so strange to say to my boyfriend!
“Oh, now, what are you doing?” Daniel asked, pouring a glass for himself and then placing both the cup and bottle on the coffee table while getting up. “Come back, spend the night.”
“No, I should get going. Besides, I don’t want to be around you while you’re drinking.”
“I’ll just have one cup.”
I turned. “Have no cups,” I tested.
He shrugged. “It’s just one cup.”
“Well, if it were me or the vodka—”
“Okay, okay,” he said, holding me, “I’ll have nothing.”
“It’s too late, you chose.”
“I chose?” he laughed humourlessly. “Fine, go.” Then almost out of hearing range, he muttered: “It’s always me chasing you anyway.” I rolled my eyes and headed for the door, stomping in rage. “Anna,” he called, “wait, your phone.”
I turned back, and snatched my Blackberry out of his hand. I thought about the moment he was disappointed I wasn’t supporting him and stood my ground. “How do you expect me to support you if you don’t let me in?”
Daniel gave no answer.
Later in the evening, before bed, I messaged him: ‘I’ll be in California this weekend.’
‘For Janet and Stanley?’