“Don’t forget to breathe.” His deep voice rumbles in my ear and my eyes close as a shiver runs down my spine. It does every time he tells me this, like clockwork, and all I can do to smother my sigh is to bite on my bottom lip and push harder on the weights. “You’re doing a great job, Kit.”
My name seems to roll off of his tongue like honey. I chance a glance in his direction to find him watching me, his stern blue eyes focused upon the angle of my hips, the contraction of my leg muscles as I lift them in unison then slowly lower them back down. This being beautiful crap was hard work. Sometimes I wanted to give up, but then I take a look at Cole’s handsome face and remember that he was doing this out of the kindness of his heart...or at least that’s how it had all started. We met about two years ago in the park. I can’t really say that it was a meeting, it was more like he stopped me from choking to death on a Big Mac. Was it embarrassing to get the Heimlich Maneuver in a park with tons of people ambling around? Hell yeah, but it was much more mortifying when you realized that your knight in shining arm looked like he was taken out of a magazine, looking somewhat like the dark haired version of Matt Gray, and had offered to help you lose weight without really pussyfooting around the subject.
I asked him why me once, after working up the nerve to finally find out the truth and all Cole did was look me directly in the eyes and say that I looked as if I needed a change in my life. Well, he was right. I had just been fired from my job for being overweight and there I was, in the park, drowning my sorrows with fast food that would only make me fatter. Ever since that horrible first meeting, Cole has been not only my personal trainer, but my closest friend and confidant. My family swears that we’re going to end up together, but the guy has a gorgeous fiancée who seems to be head over heels in love with him. And me? Well, yeah I’m no fool and I’m definitely not blind. The man is attractive. If I was being utterly honest, I would admit that he was fine as hell, but I’ll stick with the attractive tidbit.
Anyway, two years down the line and 210 pounds later, I’m now fitting into a size ten where as before....you just wouldn’t want to know what size I was. I’m about 150 pounds so if you add 150 to 210 you get what? Yup, you added correctly. 360 lbs of adipose tissue. Not to mention in a week or so, I have my second consultation with my cosmetic surgeon who will be removing my excess skin which should render me to about 130...according to his calculations, at least. He told me that there was nothing wrong with being a size eight.
Cole, on the other hand, was absolutely against my surgery. He didn’t see why I needed it and couldn’t understand why I was planning on going through with it. Thanks to him my confidence has reached heights that I haven’t seen since I was in middle school, but every day when I go home and look at myself naked in the mirror, all I see is excess skin which to me symbolizes that I’m still carrying around old baggage. It has to go and it will go, even if he decides to work me to death to make me change my mind, but Cole already knows that I’m stubborn. Maybe that’s why he is working me so hard today because I told him about my upcoming appointment.
“All right, Kit, you’re done.” His voice sounds slightly disappointed as if he expected me to tap out from the strenuous work out...not that I haven’t done so before, but this time around I decided to stand my ground. “Get on the mat and let me stretch you.”
Oh, the way he stretches me. It always has my mind thinking dirty thoughts. I can’t help it when the man would lie me on my back with one of my legs thrown over his shoulder and pushing into me while telling me to breathe--just like he’s doing now. I get the most amazing view of his glacial blue eyes, his patrician nose, his sharply angled jawline that has a little stubble--I love when he is unshaven. It always makes me want to rub my hands against his cheek until they became raw. And his mouth, those thin pink lips of his always has me fantasizing about him kissing me, telling me that he desires me, that he has waited to make me his for the longest. But that was just a fantasy all thanks to my cousin Emma or should I say Emerald (at least on our side of the family). I met her about a year ago, after she reunited with my uncle Alexander Stone--you know, the crazy journalist who is always in the news for finding a way to get his story even if it means risking his life? Yeah, that guy.
Apparently, after he divorced her mother, Fa Biyu, the vindictive woman changed poor Emma’s name and completely cut her off from our side of the family while we searched for her for years with her right under our noses. Well, back to my previous statement, it’s her fault why my fantasies of Cole and I turned from platonic “push those legs up higher when you do your step ups” to the erotic “push those legs up higher when you do those step ups so that I can see your pussy” type fantasies. Besides, the man was not making it any easier the way he would lean all of his 235 lbs body weight of steel and toss me about as if I were a paperweight or something. It turned me on to know that he could do things to my body that not even I could, like getting my leg to straighten until my knee cap was in my face. On my own, I wouldn’t even attempt such a feat, but here with Mr. Cole Vargis, I could do that and probably fly to the moon if I wanted to.
“I am,” I reply uncertain as to why I sounded so breathless. His black eyebrows lift as if to ask ‘really?’ but he kept his mouth shut as he continued to stretch me on my back before flipping me onto my side to do the same thing. I whimper from lust and actual pain as my tight muscles shouted in protest, but Cole always knew when to stop before the discomfort became unbearable. I squeeze my eyes shut to block out Cole’s handsomeness and the fact that he was taking out his anger at our earlier disagreement on me. Men and their tempers.
Only this woman could make me be this senseless. What is wrong with me? Never have I ever personally involved myself with a client the way that I do with her. Not to mention that they have never been personal friends of mine. Associates? Yes. Acquaintances? Definitely. But someone who has met my parents and have gone with us to our log cabin in Canada for the winter? Never. Kit Stone was and is very different from all of my other clients. Maybe it was because the day that I found her--as if she were some kind of stray animal; let me rephrase that...the first day that I saw her--her tearful light brown eyes told me that she needed a friend. So what did I do? I offered to help slim her down. That probably wouldn’t be the first thing that a guy says to make a beautiful woman stop crying from mortification, but that was the first thing that popped out of my mouth. What the hell do you expect from me? I’m a personal trainer, I can’t help it. Keeping people healthy is a part of my job description.
Look, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to get defensive. To be honest, Kit and I had a fight and we don’t argue often, but when we do...let’s just say that neither of us are willing to admit that we’re wrong. And rightly so, I feel justified on my stance just as much as she feels about her own. She has this ridiculous notion that getting cosmetic surgery will boost her self-esteem and make her into a new woman, but if she could only see the beautiful woman that I work out with almost every day, then she would realize that she didn’t need to change anything else about herself. At one point, I asked her if she was seriously ready to lose weight when it seemed as if she was whining too much about the workouts being too hard, but she looked at me with determination in those gorgeous brown eyes of hers and I knew that she was ready.
I admit that I did push her a bit hard in the beginning, but that was only because she looked ready to give up before she even started. After a few months of us exercising together, we had a deep talk about her goals and how my militant like workouts had re-instilled within her a determination and drive that had disappeared years ago. She told me that thanks to me, she had begun job hunting again and would be able to start paying me back for my free training sessions, and of course, I tried to convince her that it wasn’t necessary, but the woman is hard headed sometimes. Now she has an even better job than the one that let her go and on the plus side, this one pays her an even better salary and she doesn’t have to work herself to death to make ends meet. She was able to find a better apartment and even bought a car instead of hopping from bus to bus. And even though she pays me, I don’t really accept the money. I give her checks to the children’s hospital if she refuses to take them back because a real friend never charges when they’re helping out a friend...at least that’s my motto.
I can feel her staring up at me like she always does when I’m stretching her. She likes to stare at my mouth, how do I know? I can feel the heat rays beaming from those brown eyes of hers onto my skin. I guess she needs a focal point to keep her eyes trained on while I stretch her brains out. The way she pants is distracting, but she doesn’t do it on purpose. I mean, what woman would willing whimper and moan underneath her personal trainer in a non-erotic setting if she could help it? All the same, it makes me acknowledge the fact that if I wasn’t engaged to be married that I wouldn’t mind making a move on her--or would that ruin our friendship? That would definitely ruin our friendship. Besides, Kit doesn’t see me in that light and she is way too beautiful to be single for too much longer. Some lucky bastard is going to come and snatch her up then our little hangout sessions will cease to exist and our brief daily phone calls will be as if they never were. I’ll have to eventually come to terms with losing one of my best friends.
No, I’m not over exaggerating, but if you were a guy with a woman as beautiful as Kit--flawless milky brown skin, heart shaped face, cute little butt chin, full and pale brown cupid’s bow shaped lips, high cheek bones, button nose, big innocent light brown eyes, long eyelashes, evenly arched eyebrows, and curly long hair that framed her angelic face that always gave her an air of innocence--you wouldn’t want to leave her alone with any man that wasn’t you...not even your old kooky grandfather who likes to chase around hot young chicks to get his kicks. You’d be very protective of her.
“We’re done. You can hit the showers,” I tell her and my heart stutters. I forgot to mention her smile, so bright and pearly white. Her teeth aren’t the typical straight that you find with those who wore braces, like I did, actually her two front incisors protrude slightly further than her lateral incisors and she has rather pointy canines that always gave her a childlike youth when her beautiful face light up into a smile. And her dimples. Never have I ever seen dimples so deep before. Sometimes the woman makes me forget myself and just stare at her. Luckily, she never catches me at those moments, but I still needed to keep myself in check for three reasons: 1. I’m engaged and head over heels in love with my fiancée, 2. I’m her personal trainer, which, by the way, was my idea in the first place so I have an obligation to maintain some sort of code of professionalism, and 3. she is my best friend and I would die if I ever ruined things between us. She is just that important to me.
“When you have finished with your shower, you can come by my office and we’ll go over your progress like we usually do.”
“Ok, see you in a few then,” she says then walks away. Her voice reminds me of the sound of sweet violins. I love hearing her speak just as much as I love hearing her laughter. I shake my head out of my daydream and head to my office to grab a shower in my private bathroom. Exercising with Kit always makes we work up a sweat. I’m not the type of personal trainer who talks their client through the workout. I like to do it with them that way if they’re feeling ready to throw in the towel, I can remind them that we, not only he or she, but we as a unit, only had a few more steps to go to reach our goal. That usually helps them to put up a harder fight since they know that they have someone working just as hard with them.
I end up spending way too much time in the shower, something that I only do at home and didn’t realize that Kit had been patiently waiting for me to finish up until I dragged the towel off of my damp hair to find her brown eyes bulging in surprise at my half naked appearance. I can see her eyes drinking in my rippled abs, my well defined intercostals, and my developed pecs. The most she has ever seen me unclothed is in a sleeveless shirt and shorts.
“Sorry, Kit, let me just throw on a t-shirt and I’ll be right with you.” I’m actually fumbling like a teenager under her innocent gaze. My hands feel sweaty and a bit clammy. What the hell? I snatch up a clean plain black T and pull it over my head and hang up my towel in my bathroom before stepping back inside of my office to sit behind my desk. “You know, they say that you’re not true friends until you see each other naked.” What the hell was that b.s.? That was the worst joke that I have ever told in my life and from the look on Kit’s face, she wasn’t about to laugh because it was funny, but because she knew that I was just as embarrassed about my semi nudity as she was. It didn’t help that I could feel my cheeks burning. I haven’t blushed since I was twenty...that’s a good nine years ago.
“That must be the most adorable yet awful pun that I have ever heard in my life,” she says while her melodic laughter fills my office, turning me a brighter red. “You’re blushing! How cute.”
“Stop it or I’m going to kick you out,” I threaten, but she knows that it’s just an empty threat.
“Aw, is little Cole Aiken Vargis blushing?” She continues to taunt me until I’m burying my burning face in the palms of my hands.
“You know what, screw you, Kit Eva Stone!” I retort back using her full government like she had with mine. This only made her laugh harder, clutching her stomach while tears ran down her cheeks. I actually joined her, admitting that it was a horrible joke and begging her to never mention it again. We come to a mutual agreement once our laughter subsides then got down to business.
“Do you remember what this is?” I ask her as I pulled a letter out of my desk and handed it to her. She takes it in curiosity, her eyes reading the contents and watering with fresh tears as she realized what it was: her weight loss promise to herself that she had made two years ago.
“You kept this?”
“Didn’t I tell you that I would? I promised you that when you met your goal, I would give it back to you with a gift.”
“What?” she asks as she wipes her eyes. “We reached it?”
“Yea, aren’t you proud of yourself? As of today, you no longer need me as your trainer.”
“Oh, Cole, don’t say that. I wouldn’t have been able to get here without you. I owe you so much.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” I say and truly mean it. Just watching her reaction to the news was enough.
She reaches across my desk to squeeze my hand in thanks and sends me another warm smile as we stare silently at each other. “So what’s my present?”
“It’s a surprise,” I tell her then swivel away to hide a grin when she began to protest. It’s not that she hated surprises, it’s just that she couldn’t sit still long enough to wait to find out what they were. She always had to know what it was ahead of time then would pretend to be surprised afterwards. She did that last year when her family threw her a ‘surprise’ party for losing her first hundred pounds. What she had actually done was nag the information out of her poor sister, Kat, until she couldn’t take the begging anymore and gave in. But that would not work with me.
“I’m not telling you, Kit, so you can stop begging me to. And don’t even think about asking Kat or anyone else for that matter because I’m the only one who knows about it.” I turn my chair back around in time to find her pouting for a few minutes before she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.
“So does this mean that you’re letting me go now?” she asks me quietly.
“Do you want me to?”
“Am I a supermodel like my sister?”
I got the answer: it was a definite no. “Then you have nothing to worry about. Now that we’re no longer in the weight loss stage, we’ll move on to the maintenance stage where we’ll keep your muscles toned and in shape. Your diet won’t need to be further modified unless you desire it. The only thing that will change is that we’ll be working out less often. We can have our sessions three times a week for an hour maybe an hour and a half or five times a week for thirty to forty-five minutes. The decision is yours.” She’s contemplating. I can tell from the way she tilts her head to the side and inclines a black eyebrow. She’s so adorable.
“I don’t think that your options are fair. I won’t get to see you like I usually do.”
She’s back to pouting which makes me smile. “You have to choose, Ms. Stone,” I say feigning professionalism.
“Fine. Three times a week it is, but it better be for an hour and a half. If you jip me on my time, you’ll be sorry.”
I laugh at her empty threat, throwing my head back in the process. She and I both know that it would take nothing for me to restrain her and tickle her to death, but I guess because of her short and petite stature, she feels the need to assert some sense of power over me. I was definitely the wrong one, still I like to play along to entertain the both of us.
“You won’t have to worry about that, ma’am. I’ll keep giving you some of the best workouts of your life.” She gives me a big smile and stands to her feet with her arms spread for our customary goodbye hug.
“Thank you, Cole. I owe you so much.”
“You don’t owe me a damn thing now get out of here.”
She chuckles and squeezes me tighter before walking to the door. “Have fun on your dinner with Laura tonight.”
“Thanks. I’ll see you in two days.” I watch her leave, unwilling to admit that I felt lonely without her. I have to reign these wayward feelings back in before I cause a catastrophe. I was in love with my client...my best friend.