“I think it’s safe to say that you’re being a little dramatic.”
“You could have died on those deployments. Do you not think of that?” Her voice was strained, laced with the concern I knew she carried with her during those hard times.
“You can’t blame her for a war that I drafted myself into.”
“I sure as hell can. Don’t bullshit me and tell me she had nothing to do with you staying out there. She was the only reason you were out there as long as you were.”
I clenched my jaw, forcing the words back down. “This conversation is over. If you came here to help, then help. If not, you can leave. I don’t need you hanging around here making her uncomfortable.”
“What are you saying?”
I straightened, no longer casually shrugging off her comments. “I’m saying that if you continue to give me s**t about this, or if you say anything to upset her, you can leave right now. This is my gym, and you’re living in my house. You may be my sister, but those are my rules. Get used to it.”
Her jaw dropped, her small hands fisted tightly by her sides. More people came and went, which was the only reason she wasn’t cursing me out right now, I suspected.
“Wow. I guess I know how I rank. So much for family.”
Before I could say anything more, she stormed out.
MAYA. I sat on the bench along the wall leaning my head back. I let my eyes fall shut, fighting the fatigue. I briefly contemplated grabbing my bag and sneaking out. With my luck, Cameron was probably still standing guard by the door, with Olivia, no less.
Any semblance of politeness I’d enjoyed before must have worn off after our brief chance meeting, based on the narrow-eyed look she’d cast my way. The way she glared at Cameron had me unsettled too, like we were both in trouble.
I’d had another soul-draining day at work, but somehow I’d gotten my a*s to the gym for a workout that was sure to strip the last of my energy. Now I was going to be subjected to Olivia’s cattiness after a five-year reprieve?
Determined to carry on, I rose and checked myself in the mirror. I’d pulled my hair into a tight ponytail and changed into a snug black sports tank and matching yoga pants. I sighed. Now or never.
I emerged a few minutes later. I wrinkled my nose when the smell of sweat and metal met it. Across the room, Cameron was lifting what appeared to be an incredible amount of weight by a bar that rested across his shoulders. Where did he find the energy to do this all day long? I wanted to find a soft mat in the corner to take a nap on.
I joined him as he returned the weighted bar to its cradle and shot me a bright smile. “Hey, you ready?”
“You’re at a ten, Cam. I’m at about a two. Any chance we can meet in the middle?”
He laughed. “I’ll see what I can do. How do you feel about legs?”
I cocked an eyebrow. “I like them. I have them?”
“I mean doing legs. Have you ever done squats?”
I made no effort to disguise a grimace. He rested his hand on the long metal bar.
“We’ll start with three sets of fifteen on this.”
I went wide-eyed when he started toying with weights. “Whoa.”
He paused, straightening again. “What?”
“This is freaking me out. Can’t I just run on the treadmill for like a half hour and we can do those arm things from the other day?”
He gave me a serious look. “You told me not to go easy on you, and I don’t plan to. Cardio is fine, but I want to focus on weight training, and you need to learn how to work all areas of your body.”
“It may be worth noting that I’m not interested in having He-man legs.”
“You won’t. Legs help you burn calories everywhere though. Gets your whole body to pay attention.”
I cursed inwardly and huffed. “Whatever. Show me what I’m supposed to do, and let’s get this over with.”
He walked me through the motions. We negotiated about the weights, agreeing that I could start with only the bar. He insisted I could do more, but I had no idea what I was doing. I had no interest in pushing the boundaries of my strength today. This was day one, after all.
I did exactly as he asked, determined to stay focused. I didn’t want to look like a fool since I was venturing so far beyond my comfort zone in the work out department.
“Perfect, Maya. You’re good at this.”
I ignored his encouragements and the burn in my thighs as I pushed through the last set. S**t, this was hard. I powered through the last lift and returned the bar.
“How do you feel?”
I took a swig of my water and caught my breath. “I feel like this was a rotten idea. My thighs are on fire, and I want to die. How long are we doing this?”