Red part 12

12: Gym bunnies

Over the course of a few weeks, things started to change. The weather took a turn for the terrible, and a storm hit every bit of England, especially London. This resulted in some storm days at school, which the students welcomed with open arms.

The dynamics between James and me had shifted once more. There was no more teasing, no more secret visits to my classroom or the gymnasium. After that night, after that sexual wake-up call I so desperately needed, he decided it was only fair to take me out on a proper date. And another one. And another one.

We’ve been officially dating since our night at the Odeon on Leicester Square. He chose the movie, I didn’t object, we ended up snogging for most of it. After a long chat, which took place in a little bar off the Square, he asked me, very politely, if I wanted to be his girl. Those were his actual words, by the way. I said yes, of course. How could I resist him. He was the perfect man, kind, caring, loving and handsome. And, not to forget, he gave mind-blowing oral, something that he now did to me on a regular basis.

Another change was that Laura was taking a suspicious mount of sick days. I was worried about her, because she showed symptoms of a terrible flu. But she assured me she would get better. Still…

A Saturday morning, at the tail end of October. The Indian Summer had gone, and I was sitting at the big window of the studio, watching endless torrents of rain fall from the sky.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

James walked in, carrying two cups of coffee.

“Oh, various things. Nothing special.” I said, taking one of the cups and having a sip. The taste of coffee and sugar cheered me up a bit.

“Let me guess. Laura? School? A deadly combination of both?”

I nodded. That man could read my mind. He sat down next to me and put a comforting hand on my shoulder.

“She’ll get better. She’s a strong one, she’ll pull through.”

“But nobody knows what she has. She won’t answer her phone, she takes sick leave and I’m terribly worried.”

“I’m sure she knows and appreciates that. Maybe she needs time to recover? Oh, I don’t know. Tell you what, you tell me how I can cheer you up. I’ll try my best to make it work.”

“Well…” I said, pondering our options. The weather was shit, so we couldn’t exactly go outside and have a picnic. But before I could think of something to do, he pitched in.

“Hey, you told me you wanted to see me in action? Why don’t we take a taxi to my gym? I’m sure Pete wouldn’t mind having a woman there.”

“Is this one of those misogynist gyms that frowns when a woman walks in?” I said, chuckling at the thought of a bunch of grumpy Cockney hard-men doing a little whistle at the sight of me. Or was I thinking too cliché?

“Not at all. They just don’t get a lot of women in. Most of them would welcome the change. Come on, get your sketchbook and pencils. I’ll hail us a cab. I have my kit, we’ll be fine.”

He stood up, put down his cup of coffee and gestured for me to do the same.

“Come on, it’ll do you good!”

“What, an overdose of testosterone?”

“Yeah! Or just seeing me in action. It might inspire you. And maybe, you’ll show me some of your moves.”

“What moves? I have no moves!”

“Come on Reed, I saw the dvds. The dancersize, teach yourself salsa things.”

“First of all,” I said, blushing at this revelation “I’m rubbish at those things. And second, you really need to decide what you’re going to call me!”

“Do you not like me calling you Alice from time to time?”

“Just call me Reed, alright?”

He shot me a polite smile, before taking my hand and pulling me up from my seat.

“Alright Reed. But only if you come with me.”

“Deal.” I said, not giving it any further thought.

I mean, it can’t be all bad, can it?


The smell of man sweat hit my nostrils. I looked around the brick building and took in the sights. Men all around me, sitting on various pieces of ancient gym equipment.

A tall, muscular blond beefcake, resembling Alexander Skarsgard, was breaking a sweat lifting a pair of heavy-looking weights.

Next to him was an older, plumper looking man, looking like he was about to join the choir invisible on a treadmill.

Various men of different postures and such were scattered around the room. One of them was headed towards us. James greeted him with a hearty bear hug.

“Hiya son. How’s you doing today?” asked the small, squat man.

“Hi Pete. Got any room for me today?” said James with a big smile.

“Sure thing lad. The upstairs training room is free as a bird.”

Pete then noticed me.

“Oh, and who do we have here? Hello love.” he said, gallantly kissing my hand.

“Hi.” I replied, not knowing what to do next.

“Pete, this is Alice Reed Sullivan, my girlfriend.”

I couldn’t help smiling whenever he called me that.

“Miss Sullivan.” said Pete, with a reverent nod. He even added a curtsy for flourish.

“And do what do I owe the pleasure of your company?”

“I’m just here to watch him and sketch a bit.” I said. “And you can call me Reed, if you like.”

“Alright Reed. Would you perhaps like something to drink? On ‘t house.”

“Bottle of water, please.”

“I’m sure I can come up trumps.” said Pete, before dissapearing.

James chuckled. “He’s never like this, you know. Only when the occasion calls for it.”

“Is this a special occasion then?” I said, watching Pete scrambling to find water for me.

“Told you, he rarely gets women here. You, love, are a sight for sore eyes. And not only Pete’s.”

He pulled me closer and pecked a kiss on my cheek. “But trust me, he does no harm. Wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“Is there no-one I need to watch out for?”

He grinned very mischievously. “Me.” he said, pinching my right arsecheek. I let out a little yelp, which Pete, who had returned with a bottle of water, mistook as a little cheer for his return.

“Thank you!” he said, obviously humbled by this attention. “I’m not often cheered at.”

James looked at me and gave me a little wink. And I melted, yet again.

“So, upstairs?” said my very cheeky man.

“Yes, no problem. I’ll give you they key.”


Check out the next part later on…

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1 Comment

  1. Sorry I’m slow catching up! blame the storm LOL

    I’m guessing Laura’s knocked up 😉


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