I had about another 5 minutes to go on the treadmill. I had just finished a grueling 10k. I had been doing interval training, raising the incline as high as it would go for the length of a song duration which I was listening to via ear buds, then lowering it flat again. My soaked hair was swinging in a ponytail. Sweat had soaked through the back of my t-shirt and down my ass. It was pouring from under my breasts. I was flushed red, sweat covered as I had pushed as hard as I could. Unlike the woman beside me in full make up, hair done, wearing all her jewelry and some expensive lululemon wear, I looked like a freaking mess.
As I slowed the speed down to cool down mode to barely a walk, so I could cool down and give my legs a chance to un-jelly, I used my hand towel to smush my face and wipe the sweat away from my eyes before chugging the rest of my water, spilling half of it over my face. Then deciding the cold water felt good on my hot skin, I sort of dumped the balance of the contents over my face and head. As the machine slowed to a stop and I pressed buttons and recorded the data in my phone APP, I got off and walked 10 feet to a floor mat, splatting myself onto my back so I could do some stretching, but giving myself a minute or two of just laying there, putting the hand towel over my face as I wished I never had to exercise again.
Technically I may have been Star fished on the floor of the gym looking like I had just suffered a seizure, but considering I had not pissed myself, I did not think I looked overly alarming. Then I heard the amusement in a mans voice as he said “You’re working hard and it’s paying off”. I think I held my breath for a minute as I tried to become invisible underneath the hand towel which was covering my eyes. Considering how close the voice was, I assumed he was talking to me, but to confirm it, I would have to move the towel off my face and look.
I slowly, kind of slid the towel up across my forehead exposing male sneakers beside my head, as the towel rose up my face; then I saw blond hairy legs, OH MY! Then wicked thighs, gulp. Short shorts… firm tight tummy under one of those athletic t-shirts… oh Jesus, I think this guy standing over me is that man beautiful guy who looks like a Nordic ski athlete! By this time, I had my one eye looking at him so when my Cyclops glance got to his face (it WAS the man), I could see him standing there grinning down at me like some Aryan Cheshire cat.
I quickly put the towel back over my closed eye’s wishing that I could just sink through the floor. “Yeah! Fun times!” I said. Why? Why did I say that? Fun times? What did that even mean?
As he chuckled he said “Give me your hand, I’ll help you up so you can go refill your water”.
It’s not like he asked, he just sort of commanded me, so even though for a minute I thought I should say, “No, I’m good, let me just lay here”, I was already blindly lifting my hand to some random point in front of me. I actually thought for a minute that if he didn’t help me up, I may not be able to get up and it would look worse to have me crawl across the mat to get to a bench and try to hoist myself into a standing position.
I was well aware that as I stood up, I would have to take the sweaty towel off my face, or risk looking like a dork standing there with a small piece of cloth over my head, leaving my sweaty blotchy, make up free face, open for him to look at. Then I realized he had obviously been watching me anyway and so with a monumental sigh of defeat, I allowed him to grab my hand and pull me up.
Awkwardly I muttered “Thanks” and the grinning Apollo God reached down to grab my water jug, which I had left on the floor, and said “You are quite welcome, come on”. Then he turned and walked towards the water fountain.
I was scared to take the first step forward on legs that felt awkward; I felt like I was a baby horse, unable to control the speed or shift of my own leg muscles. He was ahead of me about 7 feet by the time I started wobbling after him, like a blurry shadow. I was so grateful he did not see my graceful promenade.
I had never been so close to him before and I realized just how tall he was. He was easily 6ft4? 6ft5?Any time I had seen him before, it was from across the room as I was coming or he was going and it was always through the casual “I may be glancing at you as we are in the same space but I am certainly not actually looking at you” thing that people adopt while at the gym. I had certainly never spent so much time ‘looking’ at him on purpose. He started filling up my water bottle at the fountain.
By the time I was beside him at the fountain, he looked over his shoulder and down at me, once again flashing ridiculously straight white teeth in a grin. “You really pushed it today. I knew you were done when you stopped singing.”
“I said, I knew you were done when you stopped singing.”
He laughed, “You sing when you lower the incline.”
Oh my God. I wanted to die. I was embarrassed beyond words
One way to gauge if you are exercising to your maximum potential is that you should not be able to hold a conversation while on the treadmill but simply talk in response to casual communication. I used the lyrics of music to do this. Apparently when you are wearing ear buds, what you ‘think’ is quietly singing, is in fact, audible to whoever is freaking around you. Who knew.
At this point I did put the sweaty towel, back over my face.
“Here’s your water.”
You could hear the restrained laughter in his voice. I just stuck out my hand and felt the bottle placed in my grip.
“Listen, if it’s any consolation, you have a great voice. You shouldn’t be embarrassed for being the sexy singer.”
“Yeah, that’s what we call you. The sexy singer.”
He grins at me. “Yes, the royal “we””
I quickly do the mental recall and put together the times I have seen him and remember that he talks to quite a few of the gym regulars. Most were men.
“I see. So basically everyone hears me singing when I am on the treadmill, yet no one’s ever said anything. Oh my God.”
“Aren’t you going to ask me about the other part?”
“Other part of what?”
“The sexy singer comment. You addressed the singer part but nothing about the sexy.”
Ever see an animal caught in headlights where they instantly freeze, wide eyed and then just sort of … blink? Yeah. I did that.
He cracked up and approximately 200 people looked over at us because of his booming laughter. Okay, it was maybe 3-4 but it felt like more.
I turned quickly away from him and started to walk up the hallway, away from the machines and towards the locker rooms. As I passed the corner, I abruptly turned to ask him why he would bring up “sexy” anything, and I ran into his chest as my turning brought me smashing into him, as he had apparently followed me. His hands came up to grab my upper arms as I ricocheted backwards.
“Oh my God, are you ever hard!”
“Not yet, but I could easily get there.”
I think I made a strangled type noise as my eyes flew wide open because he burst out laughing again.
“I would never have taken you for the type of woman who flusters easily, you know.”
“I’m not! I don’t! But you’re touching me and I’m hot and wet and slippery and not wearing makeup and you’re all… you’re like …shiny and new. And too close. You are much too close and I can’t think.”
“Wet and slippery?”
Wet and slippery? What was he talking about …. Oh yeah! I just said that in reference to my sweaty arms but he took it to the ‘other’ wet and slippery; like sexually wet and slippery, he implied it. He was flirting with me! I am positive that I had never looked worse. I smelled like a gym bag and dirty socks. I was wearing sweat soaked gym clothes and it was clearly obvious I was working out for a reason. I was a poster child for the ‘before’ pictures.
“Listen, I just got here and need about an hour to go through my work out. If you go shower and get cleaned up, we can go grab a coffee afterwards, okay. I’ll meet you in the lobby in about an hour.”
With that, he let go of my arms and walked back to the other side of the room and to the machine where you hang from it, sort of do a chin up and lift your bent legs up then from side to side so it looked like he was doing side crunches. No wonder his whole abdomen area was so hard! I watched him for a few minutes and he never once looked in my direction. He hadn’t even waited for a reply, he just made plans and assumed it would work for me.
I think I was offended. Or I may have been flattered. I wasn’t sure.
I turned back down the hallway to go to the women’s locker room to shower. I had roughly an hour to figure out exactly how I felt about what had just happened and what I should do about it. Part of me just wanted to run away and bail from the entire situation, yet I couldn’t help but want to meet with him. If for no other reason, just so he would see me without looking like I had just given birth after a difficult labour.
I was nervous and filled with sexual energy. He was so hard bodied beautiful. I have never looked forward to having a cold shower, more than I did at that very moment.