I wish he was just a Gym Junkie.
Because then I could forget him and the way that he made me feel.
I’ve fantasized what it would be like to be
with a man like Brock Marx, more than I care to admit.
Lately my gym visits have taken on a whole new meaning.
I'm not the kind of girl who does this sort of thing and
he's the kind of man that does.
He's sexy, dominant and built like a machine.
But worse than that, he’s witty and intelligent.
He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.
Everything I thought I ever wanted doesn’t makes sense anymore.
I wanted him to be another dumb Gym Junkie, the look but don’t touch kind.
But he’s not…and I did.
The old woman walks in front of me and I watch the sway of her hips, as well as the flick of her stylish, silver hair, and I can’t help but smile. I hope I have sass like that when I’m her age. I’m always fascinated when I see an elderly person who appears to be in the prime of their life.
What makes them so happy?
Why are some people dancing through life with joy, while others spend their limited time doing nothing more than preparing to die?
Lately, my mind has been clouded with these thoughts, to the point where they keep me awake at night. I sip my coffee as I stare into space and contemplate life’s questions.
What is the meaning of life?
You hear the question thrown around carelessly so often but recently it’s resinated with me on a deeper level. I get it now. I get why so many people ask the same question because I, too, am curious of the answer. I wonder at what age I’m supposed to work this out.
Happiness is what, exactly?
The shopping centre is crowded today, and I’m suddenly brought to a halt by my hand. I turn back to see what Simon is looking at.
“Do you like this one?” he asks as he stares through the glass at the diamonds on display.
Frustration fills me. Not this again. “Simon.” I frown, not knowing how to put this nicely. “I don’t want an engagement ring.”
He smiles, distracted by the bling in front of him. “Of course you do. All women want to get married one day.”
I exhale heavily. Why doesn’t he ever take the not-so-subtle hints? “I’m too young.”
Simon takes me into his arms and smiles down at me. He looks so mischievous and handsome, and I’m unable to help but smile back.
“I love you,” he whispers.
I wrap my arms around his shoulders. “I love you, too.”
“Well…” He raises his brows. “Don’t you want to make me happy?”
“You know I do.” I smirk
“So, marry me.”
I frown again. This time seems different than all the other times he’s spoken about it. “You’re serious?” I ask.
My chest tightens, and just like that, panic rises from deep in my stomach. I love Simon. More than anything, I love Simon, but we’ve been together since we were fifteen years old. I always just assumed we would break up along the way like normal teenagers do when they grow up. I never, ever intended to stay with my childhood sweetheart forever. I’ve always had plans for when we eventually broke up.
A break up plan, if you will.
Climb the Himalayas.
Fight Dragons with swords.
Do anything other than be normal.
Alas, maybe that’s not how my life’s going to go.
I stare up at Simon and force a smile to my face. He’s hopeful and his eyes are filled with so much love that I get a deep sinking feeling in my stomach.
This beautiful man has been nothing but good to me and loves me so much, and all I think about all night, every night, are the places I want to travel to without him.
No friends, no boyfriends, no expectations. Just me.
The vile taste of guilt runs through me. Why do I feel this way? I hate it.
I kiss him softly on the lips as my eyes search his. “Let’s talk about it tonight, babe.”
“I can’t wait any longer. I need you as my wife… now.”
I fake a smile.
Please, don’t make me choose.
I can’t lose him. He’s a good man. The best. I know I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I let him go.
“Let’s go inside the store and try some on you now. You can pick whatever one you want.” He takes my hand and tries to pull me into the jewellery shop, but I freeze on the spot and pull back.
He turns back to face me, his eyebrows rising in surprise. “What do you mean, no?”
“I mean…” I hesitate for a moment and swallow the lump in my throat. “I mean I don’t want to try on rings today.”
He frowns. “Why not?”
“Because I don’t feel like it.” My temper begins to rise. How dare he railroad me like this? We’ve never even discussed this properly before today. I mean, sure, he’s hinted, but a hint is a long way away from actually trying on engagement rings.
“Well, I do,” he says, his tone clipped.
My chin rises in defiance. “And I told you that I don’t.” I turn away from him and march back to the car.
I don’t want to leave but I sure as hell don’t want to try on engagement rings even more.
It’s 3:00 a.m., and I stare at the clock as it ticks over to 3:01.
The sound of Simon’s gentle breathing is a constant reminder of what I stand to lose.
The room is dark with a shadow of the large oak tree swaying across the wall. Occasionally the sheer drapes sway as a draft from the open window catches them.
Why did we have to meet so young?
And why do I feel like this? If I understand why, then maybe I can tackle the problem head on.
It’s not like I want to be with anyone else, because I don’t. I can think of nothing worse than being with another man, so why do I feel like I need to run far, far away?
I just wish I had some time on my own—time to stand on my own two feet, you know? To make my own decisions and choices, travel where I want to, when I want to. I just need twelve months. If I’d had that freedom two years ago I would have been well and truly over it by now.
Would Simon give me twelve months?
Could I ask him to give me twelve months to be alone, and then meet back up and get engaged, settle down and live a happily ever after life?
No, that’s so selfish. I couldn’t ask that of him. It wouldn’t be fair.
My heart starts to beat faster.
Would he do that for me?
What if he met someone else and fell madly in love? I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t go through life watching Simon love someone who wasn’t me.
I’m the person he loves; I’m the person he is meant to be with. This is a dumb idea. Of course he would meet someone else. He’s gorgeous and intelligent. A young up-and-coming anaesthetist like him would be snatched up.
I get out of bed in a rush, go to the bathroom, turn the light on, and stare at my reflection in the mirror. My heart is beating fast at the sheer thought of losing him.
“Stop it,” I whisper to myself. “Don’t fuck this up. He’s beautiful. Marry him and forget this stupid nonsense.”
Day five of no sleep.
I lie on my side and watch as the clock ticks over to 3:23 a.m. My pillow is wet from my tears. Simon and I have been fighting all week, and now he’s not talking to me.
He’s forcing me into a corner to marry him or leave.
Make a decision.
I feel like I’m on the precipice of Hell because I know what I need to do, and I feel sick about it. I’m going to ask him for a twelve-month break. I need to be honest and tell him exactly how I feel. I love him desperately, but I need this time to discover myself. In the back of my mind I know I could lose him, and if I do I’ll spend the rest of my life with a broken heart regretting the decision I’m about to make.
I could never love anyone else. Simon is my soul mate.
But if I don’t leave I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I did.
Twelve months and I’ll be back with you my love, and I’ll be the best fucking wife you could ever hope for.
You have my word.
8 months later
“Morning.” I smile as I walk through the large office space. Two rows of five desks sit in one main hall. There’s a hive of activity going on, and this is where most of our work is done. Down a corridor, to the right, is my private office, along with the bathrooms and storerooms. Cindy is working in reception, and apart from Jesten and Ben, the other men who work for me haven’t arrived for the day yet.
My company is Marx Security, and we’re private investigators. Each of the men who work for me have a past in the armed forces or the police force. They all come with baggage, that’s a given, but they’re also hard as fuck, which is what I need. There are ten of us at the moment, with another three joining us from the United States soon. We take on special cases and are employed by the government or clients that have enough money to be able to afford us. Very few civilians can, but we get the results that others don’t and we’re worth every penny.
“Hey,” Jesten greets me as he studies his phone.
“Hi, Brock,” Cindy coos, leaning forward and resting on her elbows as she grins over her computer.
I force a smile and drop my head as I walk past her and into my office. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to hire her. I knew it before she even opened her mouth. Gorgeous, young, and as tempting as hell, Cindy is a walking, talking recipe for an X-rated after-hours meeting on my desk. Luckily for her, I take my job very seriously and I’ve worked too damn hard to fuck it up now with my hungry dick. She wouldn’t be able to take what I have to give anyway. She acts like a bad girl, but I know her type. She’s way too pure for my tastes. The poor fool is now openly swooning over me every day, and I have to tell you, it’s fucking annoying. One of these days I’m going to tell her just how much. I dump my bag onto my desk and look around my office. It’s neat, modern, and was decorated by my two sisters, Natasha and Bridget. This is my happy place now. Back when I was a navy seal, the dream of opening this business was what kept me going throughout my lengthier deployments.
There’s a large, rustic timber desk in my office, as well as a trendy abstract painting, a leather wingback chair, and an ottoman that sits by the window. We run the business out of a converted warehouse that has high ceilings and rustic floors to give it an industrial yet modern feel. The business is successful, and every day is different. That’s what I love about it the most.
Ben pops his head around the door, so he can see into my office. “You ready to go?”
“Yeah, sure thing.” I stand and grab my things, and within two minutes, Jesten— who we call Jes—Ben and I are on our way to our first meeting of the day.
We work in threes, that way we can ensure the safety of everyone. Jes and Ben are my partners. Funnily enough I met them both through my sisters. One married one sister, the other had the hots for the other sister, but he wasn’t as fortunate. Somehow, through it all, I gained two great friends and employees out of it.
I got lucky.
We drive down the road in my car. “So, where are we going?” I ask.
Jes flicks through the paperwork from his position in the back seat. “To see a Hilary Chancellor.”
“What’s her deal?” Ben asks.
“Middle aged, very wealthy. Her husband died and it was determined a suicide.”
My eyes find Jes in the rearview mirror. “And the wife doesn’t think it was?”
“She does, but she thinks he was having an affair before he died, and she wants us to find out who the woman was.”
I scrunch up my face. “Fuck off, man, we don’t do that kind of shit. I couldn’t give a flying fuck who was sucking his dick.”
“Same,” Ben mutters as he stares out the window, uninterested.
“The thing is…” Jes continues. “I studied his autopsy report and I’m not so sure it actually was suicide.”
My eyes find Jes again. “What makes you think that?”
“It doesn’t add up. The time of death, where he was found… it would have been near impossible for him to have done it all alone without any help. I also saw that he had past anal trauma.”
My eyes flick to Jes in the mirror in question. “Mr. Chancellor liked cock?”
“Seems so, although I’m not sure if his wife would have been aware of that from just reading the autopsy report. It wasn’t exactly spelled out in those terms.”
I frown as I turn onto their street. “Okay, then let’s go find out.”
We pull up outside a luxury house that backs onto Sydney Harbour, and I instantly smile when I see the view. “Very nice.”
“What stupid prick would kill himself if he lived here?” Jes mutters under his breath.
“Right?” Ben whispers as we approach the front door.
I ring the doorbell, and a male servant answers the huge door. “Yes, hello, we’ve been expecting you. Please, come through.” He shows us through the house and takes us out to the backyard which has spectacular views across the harbour. “Please take a seat.” He smiles as we all sit down. “Can I get you a drink or anything?”
“No, thanks.” I smile. Mrs. Chancellor approaches from inside, and we all stand immediately.
“Mrs. Chancellor, I’m Brock Marx. My colleagues are Ben Statham and Jesten Miller. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I introduce us as we all shake her hand and pass over our business cards.
“Thank you for coming.” She’s an attractive lady in her late forties who is immaculately dressed and has a killer body. She looks around nervously to see if anyone can hear us before she sits down.
Hmm, interesting. She clearly doesn’t trust her staff.
“I’m very sorry about your husband Mr. Chancellor,” I say. “Our sincere condolences.”
She smiles softly. “It’s been six months now and I miss him more every day.”
“So, why are we here?” I ask.
She takes a folded piece of paper out of her pocket and slides it across the table.
“Phone number?” Ben frowns.
She nods. “Yes. But I have no idea whose.” She smiles, as if embarrassed.
“After my husband died, I found this phone number in his cell records. I think it may be one of a secret girlfriend’s.”
I roll my lips. I hate this fucking shit.
“You think he was having an affair?”
“I’m not sure, but he called this number on the days that I was going out of town, which leads me to believe that it is someone he would meet when I was away.”
We all nod and exchange subtle glances. How do you tell someone that you suspect their husband was seeing another man, not a woman? “Mrs. Chancellor, I’m very sorry but I think you have the wrong idea. We don’t deal with infidelity cases,” I tell her.
“I have reason to believe my husband was being blackmailed.”
“Why?” asks Jes.
“He sold a million dollars’ worth of shares on the week he disappeared, but the cash has never been recovered.”
“It’s not in any of his accounts?” I frown.
“No, he withdrew it in cash on the day that he died.”
Okay, my interest is officially piqued. “What do you know about this phone number?” I ask.
“Only that it was disconnected on the day of his death.”
“That’s where I need you. I know you can find out who that number belongs to.”
I nod and take the piece of paper from her. “We will look into it and be in touch. I will need access to bank statements so that we can do a full investigation.”
“Brock?” she says.
“My husband was dying of brain cancer and was fighting to survive. I know he didn’t kill himself,” she tells me with sadness in her eyes.
What the hell? I did not know that…Interesting.
We shake her hand, and she leads us out through the house. I turn to her before we leave.
“Thank you.” She smiles.
“We can’t make any promises.”
“I don’t care if he was having an affair. But I want his death ruled as murder, not suicide. It’s killing my children to think that their father ended his own life.”
I nod and shake her hand. “I fully understand. We’ll be in touch.”
Once outside and away from Mrs. Chancellor, we climb inside and start the car. “Where to now?” Jes asks.
“We need to brief with the boys.”
“Okay, so this is where we are at.” The boys are all sitting in a group around me, and Cindy is taking the meeting minutes. I point to the black board in front of me as I start to go through the point form cases we are working on. We do this every couple of weeks as a group of twelve.
“Through the week, we were contacted by one of the murdered girl’s fathers. He has put out a bounty.”
They frown in concentration as they listen to me.
“A million dollars to any person or persons who finds the killer.”
“What case is this?” Mason asks.
I blow out a breath because this case is confusing and hard to explain. “This particular story goes back a long way, and one of our very own was, in fact, a suspect for one of the first murders.” I gesture to Ben who nods in acknowledgment.
The boys all frown harder, their interest piqued.
“Six years ago, an extremely wealthy friend of ours had sex with a high-end prostitute. Unbeknown to him, she filmed him on three occasions having sex with her. She then went on and threatened to go to the paparazzi with the footage if he didn’t pay her millions of dollars.”
The boys all listen intently.
“He didn’t pay her. Instead, he had his security team try and retrieve the footage tapes. But before they could, the prostitute was found dead at the docklands. She had been hog tied and shot in the back of the head. Her body was severely beaten before they finished her off.”
“Did this wealthy friend of yours kill her?” Mason asks.
“No.” I shake my head. “He had nothing to do with it, although I will admit that it had run through his security team’s mind.”
The boys all glance towards Ben as they try to connect the dots.
“What was her name?” Cindy asks as she takes the notes.
“We will call her TC,” I reply. “TC.” I put a photograph of her up on the noticeboard and pin it in place. “Gorgeous, young, and capable of earning five-thousand dollars for just four hours work.”
One of the boys lets out a low whistle.
“TC was bribing many men. At the time, we thought she was working alone.” I begin to take photographs of the six other women and pin them up beside TC’s. “However, since then, a further six high-end call girls have met the same unfortunate fate as our dear TC.”
“You think it’s a serial killer?” someone asks.
I shake my head. “No, I don’t. I think the girls were all working for the same person.”
“What do you mean?” Jes asks.
“I believe they were working for someone who was… maybe still is blackmailing girls to get the footage of them with high profile men and women so that they can then blackmail the clients into paying for their silence.”
“You think he kills the girls once they’ve done their job?” Big John asks.
I shake my head again. “No, I think he kills the girls to keep them in line. Think about it. What high-end prostitute wants to be filmed doing what they do?”
The boys all nod as they process the information. “Girls of this calibre,” I point to their images on the board, “do not want to be filmed under any circumstance.”
“I think he’s either killing women who refuse to do what he demands, or perhaps he’s letting the other girls know what’s going to happen if they don’t fall into line.”
The boys fall into hushed conversations on possible theories for a moment.
“Do we have any suspects?” Jes asks.
“We do,” I reply. I take out an image of a man and put it onto the board alongside the deceased girls. “We have two, actually.” I point to the first image of a middle-aged man Italian man. “This is Eli De Luca.”
“Who’s he?” one of the guys asks.
“Eli De Luca is second in command of a powerful crime empire run by one family.” I pull out three more images and pin them to the board. “His father Lorenzo is the head. A multi-millionaire who, apparently,” I air quote and gesture to the image, “owns a granite and Caesarstone importing business.”
“Apparently?” someone else repeats.
“I say apparently because he also owns six clubs in the Kings Cross district and runs the biggest drug ring in Australia. Importing stone is his front.”
I gesture to the images of the other two men. “One brother is a lawyer, but we have no further information on him other than he represents only big-time criminals and mafia. He represented Joshua my brother-in-law once. The other brother…” I gesture to the other image. “He lives in Italy, and we have reason to believe he runs the business over there.”
“So, you think it’s this De Luca family behind these murders?” Jes asks.
“To be honest, no,” I answer. “They are successful criminals already. There’s a lot of groundwork to do when blackmailing people, so it makes no sense that they would risk bringing attention to themselves by having all these women as witnesses. It’s too messy for them, they are smarter than this.”
The boys all nod as they listen. “Who’s the second suspect then?” Jim asks.
I pin up another image and the men all gasp. “Yeah, you’ve all seen him before.”
I turn and smile at the guys. “Steven Coleman. Or you may know him as the Senior Sergeant of Police down at the station. They call him Cole.”
“Why is he a suspect?” someone pipes up.
“Ben interviewed a girl when he came back twelve-months ago, and she gave an ID to match his image, but she wouldn’t say his name out loud. She was edgy about being recorded. She freaked out halfway through the interview and ran. Unfortunately, she was found dead from a drug overdose a week later.”
“Was she really murdered?” Jes frowns.
“We don’t know, but she was pretty heavily into drugs, so it could have just been an overdose. Her autopsy gave no reason for us to think anything else. We don’t know if Cole is linked to this case for definite, but we do know that the girls are scared of him. I need you boys to work on this in between our other cases. A million dollars will be a nice buffer to have in our bank account.”
My phone rings and I wind up my part of the meeting to go take the call. “So, that brings us up to ten cases we’re working on at the moment. We also took on another one this morning that Ben is going to brief you on now.”
I push once, twice, three times, and I exhale heavily as I finish my set. “You’re up,” I pant as I stand. I drain my water bottle and Ben lies down on the weight bench before he pushes the heavy dumbbells high in the air. We’re in the gym and it’s 9:00 p.m. We’ve just finished work for the day. Ben’s wife is at my sister, Natasha’s house, and we came here before he picks her up. Ben’s my brother-in- law, married to my other sister, Bridget, and he’s one of my closest friends. Not family by blood, but most definitely family by choice.
He finishes his set and stands to wipe the perspiration from his brow with his towel. “We got that thing tomorrow night, yeah?” he pants, his hands planted firmly on his hips.
“What thing?” I frown as I sit down on the bench.
The front door opens, and I glance over at the mirror as a woman walks in. The way she walks commands my attention, and I turn towards her instantly. She has a confident air about her. Not many women have it and I can smell it a mile off.
Her big blue eyes and olive skin are an unusual combination with her strawberry-blonde hair. I watch her walk by and put her earphones in, and then head over to the treadmills and bikes. She’s wearing black tights, and a black tight singlet with a hot pink sports bra underneath. I can see her every curve. My cock twitches in appreciation. She may just have the most perfect bone structure I’ve ever seen. She turns, catching me staring at her, and gives me a lop-sided smile before she continues on her way.
Ben watches her for a moment and raises his eyebrows before his eyes come back to mine with a knowing smirk.
“Jesus, right?” I murmur under my breath as I lie back down onto the bench. I do my set and stand again, my attention falling back to the mystery woman.
She’s riding an exercise bike to warm up. She’s definitely athletic. Her body is toned and muscular… but not too muscular. It’s just right. She has large, luscious breasts, and I feel my intrigue rise at the perfect specimen before me.
Ben lies down to do his set, but my eyes stay glued on the woman. “You should probably go ride a bike or something,” he mutters as he begins to lift the heavy weights above his head.
My eyes stay fixed on her ass. “The bike isn’t the only thing I should probably ride,” I reply dryly.
Ben nods in agreement.
I take a drink from my water bottle, unable to peel my eyes from her ass.
Seriously, fucking hot…
Ben’s phone rings and he answers. “Hey, babe.” He listens for a moment and frowns. “Yeah, okay, I’m coming now.” He sighs.
I smile as I watch him listen to his wife Bridget, and I can tell she’s ranting on the other end of the phone.
He listens for a moment and looks to the ceiling, and I chuckle to myself.
“Yeah, okay, babe. We’ll pick some up on the way home.” He frowns harder. “You’ll be all right?” Bridget says something else before he replies. “I’ll see you soon. I’m leaving now.” He hangs up and gives a subtle shake of his head as he blows out a breath.
“She’s going to bust your fucking balls before she has these twins.”
“Without a doubt.” He sighs as he retrieves his towel.
“What now?” I ask.
“Indigestion,” he replies dryly.
I break into a broad grin. “You have to listen to her complaining about indigestion?”
“You’d be surprised what I have to listen to, Marx. Indigestion is the least of my fucking worries. Try picking out a baby name with her.” He shakes his head, exasperated. “One name would be bad enough but picking two is near damn impossible.”
I laugh. Bridget hates everything about being pregnant. She’s making Ben’s life a living hell. “Can’t wait for these kids to arrive.” I smile. My reasons are totally selfish, of course. I want my playful sister back. This hormonal, cranky version is micromanaging me to my death.
Ben winces. “Same here. Four more months to go.”
“Ha, that’s if she lets you live that long.”
Ben drags his hand down his face. “Right?” He picks up is phone and other belongings. “See you tomorrow.”
“Yeah ok.” I think for a moment. “What did you say we had on tomorrow night?”
“Tash’s birthday dinner.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s right. See you in the morning.”
I watch as Ben walks out the door, and then my attention returns to the beauty on the bike.
I’ve never seen her here before. I wonder who she is. She looks to be in her mid-twenties, tall—about 5ft 8—and she’s naturally pretty. She’s probably a model.
I continue with my workout, and every now and then my eyes flicker over to her. A few times I catch her looking back at me in the mirror before she snaps her eyes away, as if annoyed that I’ve caught her ogling.
I should go over and say something. No. What do I say? Oh, hi, you look fucking edible.
Creepy guys try to pick up women in the gym all the time, and I am not that creepy guy. I walk over to the pull-up bar and strap the weight to my belt. I slowly pull myself up and begin my set of chin-ups. My knees are bent up behind me and I can see her in the mirror in front of me.
I drop my eyes to the floor and concentrate on the task at hand. Up, down, up, down. I glance up and notice she has completely stopped peddling on the bike as she watches me. I have to drop my head to hide my smirk.
So, you like watching chin-ups, baby, do you? I decide to do an extra twenty for good measure. I wouldn’t want to disappoint her now, would I? I do my chin-ups and she begins to peddle slowly as she watches, and then, as if remembering where she is, she looks away in a rush.
Fuck it, I’m going to go and talk to her. I may never see her here again. I’ll kick myself if I don’t say something.
She gets off the bike and moves over to the sit-up section. It’s then that I notice she has left her keys on the tray of the bike.
Bingo! My opening.
I wipe my face with my towel, and with my heart still pumping hard from all that physical exertion, I walk over and pick up her keys. Then I walk over to where she is lying on her back on a mat.
She has her eyes closed and her earphones in, so I stand and wait for her to notice me. My heart is still beating fast as I watch her come up into a sitting position and lie back down. I can see the muscles in her stomach contract as she sits up.
Fuck. She’s hot.
She continues to sit up and lie back down, and I get an image of her lying down for me in the same position, naked.
Legs up, stomach contracted, cunt…
Fuck. Stop it.
I shake my head to snap me out of my wayward thoughts.
She finally notices me and quickly pulls her earphones out.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” I say, holding her keys up and jiggling them in the air.
“Oh, thank you.” She smiles warmly.
Her voice is husky and sexual, and damn if my balls weren’t already paying attention, they are fucking now.
“I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on.” She breathes, and then frowns as if not knowing what to call me.
Or… you could get your head screwed off. “I’m Brock.”
She smiles, and then says something but I don’t hear her properly. The only word I did catch was, “Pocket.”
I frown. “Your name is Pocket?” I ask in surprise.
She laughs. “No, my name is Tully. I said I need a pocket.”
“Oh.” I smile, feeling stupid. “I kind of liked the name Pocket.”
She smiles up at me. “You wished my name was Pocket?”
“Kind of. Haven’t you ever wanted a friend named Pocket?” I tease as I raise my eyebrows. Cock pocket to be exact.
She laughs freely, and I clench my fists at my sides. There is definitely something about this girl.
“Thanks, Brock.” She reaches up and takes the keys from my hand.
“You’re welcome, Tully Pocket.”
She smiles warmly up at me for calling her Tully Pocket and she bites her bottom lip, leaving a heavy silence sitting between us.
“I haven’t seen you here before,” I say.
“I only joined last week. This is my first visit.”
“You’re here late,” I say as I look around the gym, noticing that we are the only two left in the place.
She looks around as if having the same sudden realisation. “Yeah, I guess. I like to come when nobody else is here.”
Out eyes linger on each other’s for an extended moment.
I point to the weight bench behind me with my thumb. “I better get back to it.”
“Okay.” She smiles again. “Thanks again, Brock.”
Damn it, I don’t want to get back to it at all. I want to stand there and listen to her husky voice and imagine it saying filthy, perverted things to me. I walk back over to the weights and begin a set of arm curls. My workout should be over by now, but fuck it, why not stay here and admire the scenery? Can’t hurt, can it?
We both continue to exercise in silence for another half an hour, our eyes intermittently flicking to each other. I can tell she’s into me.
Fuck it, I’m just going to ask her out. This is so not my usual form, but she’s seriously gorgeous. She’s back on the treadmill again now, running before she finishes, no doubt. I’ll go and get on the rowing machine next to her and ease into the conversation from there.
I take my position on the rowing machine and begin to move. I can feel her eyes on my back.
My legs straighten as I row harder and harder, and perspiration begins to run down my face. Should I just ask her on a date or should I make it more casual and suggest we go for a drink now? Hmm, it’s Tuesday night. She probably has work tomorrow. I can feel her watching me, so I really give it to the rowing machine. Suddenly, the rope of the rowing machine breaks and I fly backwards and hit the wall. A piece of the rope breaks away and it flies onto her treadmill, making her trip and fall spectacularly to the floor.
“H-holy shit,” I stammer as I jump up.
“Ouch,” she hisses.
“Oh my God, are you all right?” I ask. I grab her two hands and pull her from the floor.
“Not really.” She rubs her hands over her thighs in embarrassment.
I look down to see her knee has a deep burn from the treadmill belt and blood is running down her shin. I point to her leg. “You’re bleeding.”
She looks down at her leg and frowns. “Great.” She puts her hands on her hips and glares at me. “This is all your fault.”
“My fault?” I say, surprised.
“Yes. You’re fault. If you weren’t showing off and trying to be Superman, this wouldn’t have happened. You broke the rowing machine cord by being stupid.”
I put my hands on my hips. “I wasn’t showing off,” I snap. “It was obviously faulty.”
“Oh, that’s crap and you know it.”
“I’m telling you right now, I wasn’t showing off. I train hard.”
“I train hard,” she mimics.
I begin to get ticked off. “Obviously, Tully Pocket, you were always the child who got angry and blamed other children whenever she got hurt.”
She rolls her eyes, unimpressed. “Well, obviously you were the child who was always trying too hard to be a superhero.”
“Trying too hard?” I interrupt her. “I’m not fucking trying at all.”
She raises her eyebrows, annoyed. “Whatever.” She storms off towards the bathroom.
Did she just whatever me?
Nobody whatevers me.
I pace back and forth for a few minutes until I can’t take it any longer, and I storm up the hall towards the bathrooms. There are four doors. All of them are unisex and all fitted with a shower and a toilet. Each door is now closed, and I have no idea which one she is in.
“Tully,” I call.
“Tully Pocket!” I call.
“What?” she snaps through the farthest door. “Go away. You’re annoying.”
I take it back, this woman isn’t hot, she’s fucking obnoxious. I open the door and find her sitting on the floor with a wet tissue, trying to wipe up the blood on her leg. I sink to my knee beside her.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
She shrugs but stays silent.
Empathy wins, and I do feel bad. “Here, let me clean you up.” I stand and put my hands on her hips, lifting her to sit on top of the basin.
She stays silent as I inspect her knee. “It’s deep,” I say softly.
My eyes rise to meet hers, and I’m suddenly aware that we are alone in a small space. I bite my lip and turn my attention back to her leg. “I’m going to get the first aid box. I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” she whispers.
I go to the office and retrieve the small, red first aid box, and I return to the hall. I stand outside the door for a moment.
Just fix her leg and go home.
I open the door and find her sitting up on the counter where I left her. She smiles softly as she runs her hand through her hair, her anger clearly now replaced with embarrassment. “Sorry,” she whispers. “I’m flustered.”
My eyes hold hers for a moment. I put the kit down, open it up, and get the saline out, snapping the little pod open. “This might sting a bit.” I begin to pour it on her graze and she hisses, involuntarily grabbing my shoulder. Her touch feels good and I inhale through my nose. This is not the time for sexual thoughts, you dirty bastard. Keep your mind on the job. Band-Aid application, fool.
I wipe up the excess blood as she watches on in silence. Her hand is still on my shoulder and I can feel the heat burning me through my shirt from her touch. I slide my hand up her calf to lift her leg, and goose bumps scatter her skin.
I feel my cock twitch in appreciation and I have to grit my teeth. Not fucking now.
The energy in the room begins to swirl between us and my eyes rise to meet hers.
“Does it hurt?” I ask softly.
She nods, and I know she can feel the electricity between us, too.
“I’ll put the Band-Aid on and you’ll be as good as new,” I tell her, distracted.
She smiles softly and nods again. “Thank you.”
She watches on as I carefully apply two bandages and I slide my hand down her calf muscle one more time. Goose bumps scatter again, and my eyes rise to meet hers.
“Goose bumps?” I ask.
She swallows the lump in her throat as her eyes hold mine.
The air crackles between us and my eyes drop to her parted lips. Large, pink, and so fucking hot.
“What are you thinking?” she whispers up at me.
My mouth opens to speak but no words come out. My chest rises as I try to contain my arousal. This is ridiculous. Unable to help it, I reach down and put my thumb just under her bottom lip and pull her mouth open so that her lips part. “You want to know what I’m thinking, Pocket?” I whisper.
She nods, her mouth is open with my thumb resting on her bottom lip.
“I’m imagining how you’ll look with my cock in your mouth.”