Thursday, January 31, 2019
First Meeting from Love Works Out by Dellani Oakes
Samantha Summer works at a health club. Nearly 40, she's lonely and alone, especially since her sister just married a man who was dating Samantha. Slightly hungover, she isn't expecting to meet the man of her dreams.
The club was fairly empty. The early morning crowd was gone and it would be a couple hours before the next rush. It was 7:58 and my client was already there.
His back was too me, so I could take in details without him noticing. Six feet tall, broad shouldered, good physique, dark brown hair, a couple tattoos that were slightly obscured by the hair on his forearms.
"Hello," I said as energetically as I could muster.
He jumped, turning to face me. I was struck by the clear, incredibly vivid blue eyes. No, not blue—aquamarine. He smiled, flashing a face full of brilliant whites at me.
"Hank Winter," he said, holding out his hand. He had a slight accent, adding flavor to his name.
I giggled. Not something I'm prone to, but his name made me laugh.
Hank frowned slightly."Did I say something funny?"
"No... no." I cleared my throat, suppressing the laughter bubbling up inside. "Samantha Summer."
He chuckled, his blue eyes twinkling with mirth. "You're kidding."
"God's truth." I raised my hand like I was taking an oath.
"All we need are two more seasons and we'll have a full set."
"We've got an Autumn on the staff and a man named Springer who works out."
"There ya go! We need to get together for dinner."
I paused, wondering if he was serious. I chose to think it was a joke, but I got an odd vibe from him. Not a bad one, just—odd.
"Well, let's get started before it gets too busy," I suggested.
"Sure. No problem." He took a step back, shy and embarrassed. "Been awhile since I worked out. I need to get back in the swing."
"Have you used Nautilus equipment before?"
"Yeah. All the time."
"Great! Then this will be a quick refresh."
I got his paperwork together and showed him around. Most of the machines were familiar. A couple he'd never used. Regardless of his experience, I'm required by club policy to demonstrate everything. He watched me, nodding as I spoke. When it came time for his turn, he shocked me with the amount of weight he could lift without effort.
"I used to do more," he admitted, slapping his belly. "But after eighteen months off, I'm soft."
"Have you been ill?" I was concerned. I need to know if my clients have health issues.
His face clouded. "No. My wife."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"She died six months ago."
"I'm very sorry." I patted his hand. "It must be very hard."
"You married?" Hank blinked quickly, eyes full of tears.
"No." For once, I was ashamed of the lack.
Here was a man obviously suffering and I had no idea the amount of pain he endured. Never having had anyone at the center of my life, I couldn't even imagine his loss.
"I'm so sorry," I whispered, wanting to cry too.
"But, you move on," he said, forcing himself to smile. "So. How about this beastie?" He patted the ab machine fondly. "Been awhile since I saw you, my old friend."
"We'll whip you back into shape," I promised.
Unlike many of my clients, I knew it wouldn't take him long. He was obviously a man who knew how to stay fit. Even without a regular exercise routine, he was in excellent shape.
I set the machine for myself and showed him how to operate it. He grinned the entire time and looked anxious to get to work. I let him take over, watching as he upped the weight.
"You sure you can handle that much?" I teased.
"It'll probably kill me, but I miss my abs." He slapped his belly.
He started working the machine and his shirt crept up as he moved. If he'd gotten soft, what had he looked like before? I've seen a lot of hard bodies in my time, but his.... Wow!
I purposely distracted myself by greeting some of the of the regulars as they dribbled in. Most of them are elderly, but some are people about my age—all of them married. Since school was out for the summer, a handful of teenagers came in, greeting me.
Hank finished, standing up with a grin. "That felt great!" His accent was more pronounced. It took a moment, but I finally placed it.
"You noticed!" He flashed another toothy grin. "As hard as I've worked to rid myself of it, it never quite goes away." His accent broadened more and I knew he did it on purpose.
"My aunt is from Drumsallie."
"No, she's not! I'm from Kinlocheil!"
"I've been there! She took me for a visit when I graduated from high school. In fact, my first...." I stopped talking immediately.
Way to embarrass yourself, Samantha.
The teenage boys stared at me, waiting.
"First—taste of whisky—was in Scotland," I finished lamely, trying to hide my blush behind my hand.
Hank leaned over, grinning, as he whispered. "Nice save, Samantha." His breath was warm on my burning cheek. He smelled fresh like a Scottish Highland morning.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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