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Weightless(8)
Kandi Steiner

My trainer was none other than Rhodes — Poxton Beach’s closest thing to a bad boy. Other than the fact that he was a senior when I was a freshman and he was absolutely terrifying, I really didn’t know much about him. I only had one year of roaming the same halls as him at PBHS, but that was all I needed to know it was best to keep my distance. Rhodes was a mystery to most of the town, and the fact that he would be getting up close and personal with my body in a matter of minutes set me on edge. It was like a red DANGER sign lighting up over and over again as I watched him closely, that same fear I’d felt toward him in school creeping up. Still, my feet wouldn’t move.

When the woman gave one last wave and walked out the door to my right, I was still standing and staring like an idiot on the other side of the glass. Rhodes dragged the towel over his face once more before lifting his shirt, revealing a sliver of tan skin as he tucked one corner of the offending white fabric beneath the band of his shorts. It was then that his eyes found mine, and for the second time in twenty-four hours, I felt a small shift in my universe.

Rhodes frowned, assessing me through the glass that was my only safety from the unfamiliar sensation I was currently experiencing. Slowly, he walked through the door and leaned against the frame, crossing his arms. “Natalie?”

I was still standing a safe distance from him, my body angled toward the glass. I nodded before finally finding my voice. “Yes. Yeah, um, yeah I’m Natalie. Natalie Poxton.” I extended my hand for his, but he just quirked a brow as he appraised it before looking back at me again, jaw set. Suddenly I felt like an idiot and I let my hand fall.

“I see. I’m Rhodes; I’ll be your trainer. Come on,” he said, moving from his leaning pose on the frame to stand straight. “Let’s get your numbers.”

I tried not to analyze what that I see meant as I followed him back to a small office behind the section filled with weights. It was tiny, but elegant, like only a Poxton Beach office would be. There was one desk and a matching bookshelf that held mostly files. The desk was vacant except for a white, sleek computer and a green notepad, which Rhodes picked up as soon as we entered. He gestured to a large glass scale in the back corner near the bookshelf. “Step up.”

I snapped my head toward him but he was already scribbling away in the notepad, leaving my pleading eyes to fall on the scale in front of me. But that scale wasn’t sympathetic. I swallowed, shifting. I knew it was part of the process. I knew that. Then again, what I hadn’t known was that Rhodes would be my trainer.

Cool, life. Cool.

When I didn’t move, Rhodes glanced up from his notepad and used the pen in his hand to point to the glass monster again. I sighed, shaking out my nerves the best that I could, and stepped up. I was far from excited about the number that popped up on the digital display in front of my face and even more horrified when Rhodes proceeded to calculate my body fat percentage. When he wrapped a long, blue measuring tape around my waist, hips, thighs, arms, legs, and neck, I was pretty sure my face could fry an egg I was blushing so hard. When all the poking and prodding was done, he sat behind the desk and asked me to sit on the small, dark blue cushioned chair across from him.

“So, what’s your goal?” He asked, pulling out a new file to store my information. His arms were still slightly glazed with a sheen of sweat that I couldn’t help but fixate on while I tried to think of the answer to his question.

To get my boyfriend back.

Yeah, suddenly that didn’t sound so smooth.

I fidgeted, unsure of what else to say. “I don’t know, I suppose I’m here for the same reason everyone else is,” I offered, hoping he would nod and continue on. But he didn’t. He lifted his eyes to mine, the piercing green capturing my gaze as he studied me. After a moment, he sighed and leaned back, balancing the pad on his knee.

“Okay, who is he? Who’s the guy?”

I blanched.

“What?”

“The guy. The one you’re trying to get or forget or whatever.” His voice was booming, but with an edgy rasp that somehow smoothed it out.

I crossed my arms, defensive. “There’s not a guy.” Not that you need to know about, anyway. “I’m here because I want to be.”

He shrugged, not fazed in the slightest by what I felt was a huge act of standing my ground. “Fine. Then what’s your goal?”

I chewed my bottom lip, working from the left side to the right and back again. It was a nervous habit I’d had my entire life, and I had to carry copious amounts of lip balm to make up for it. Rhodes’ eyes fell to my lips and I snapped my mouth shut. They stayed there for a moment longer before he found my gaze again. I had forgotten he asked me a question until he lifted a brow, waiting.

What was my goal?

“I just want to be pretty,” I finally answered, my voice just above a whisper. I had let my eyes fall to the floor, just like I did with my parents the night before, and when I lifted them to meet his again I slightly regretted it. His brows were pinched together over the bridge of his nose and he shook his head before quietly scribbling in that damn notepad of his.

I imagined he was writing something along the lines of, “No chance. Never happening. Poor girl.”

“All right.” He stood and I followed, though I wasn’t sure what we were doing just yet. “Let’s go do your first workout. It’ll only be a twenty minute toning session today and then I’ll have you do twenty minutes of cardio. This will be your easiest day. You’re set up to train with me for two hours every day of the week except for Wednesdays and Saturdays. I’m working on your meal plan and I should have that ready by tomorrow’s session. Until then, I’ll give you the name of a fitness app to download to your phone so you can start logging your meals. Log everything, even if it’s bad. You have to be honest for this to work.” I was nodding feverishly, hanging on his every word. “You’ll weigh in once a week and we’ll take your measurements once every three weeks. Here,” he handed me a business card from a small stack behind the computer. “My cell number is on here. You can call me anytime, day or night, if you have questions about what you’re eating or anything else related to your training.”

I took the card, startling a little when our hands touched, then he was on the move. “We’ll start with legs. Do you know the proper way to do a squat?”

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