“I started you with the most intense set first. Should go easier from here. We’ve got another forty-five minutes. Don’t give up on me yet.”
I groaned. He led me to some of the machines, instructing me as we went. He was right. The rest of the workout was less intense, but I was going to definitely feel it in the morning.
He stood in front of me, arms crossed and legs wide, staring me down as I struggled through my last set of leg lifts.
“Enjoying the show?”
“You always this wiped out after work?”
“Pretty much.” I counted silently in my head. Almost done.
“So what is it? Stress, or just the work itself?”
The thought of work weakened my already taxed muscles. “Can we talk about something else?”
“I thought we were going to get to know each other better.”
“Suffice it to say I’m not nearly as passionate about my work as you are about yours. It’s inconceivable to me that you are this peppy after my work day has long ended.”
“You’re like aglow with energy. Makes me sick.” I relaxed back into the seat of the machine, grateful for the break and praying that we were nearly finished.
He smiled. “Maybe you have that effect on me. I’m not usually this energized on the second shift.”
“I think you enjoy torturing me.”
A ghost of a smile curved his lips. “Come on, next one.” He jerked his head in the direction of another machine.
I glared at him.
“What? You maxed out?”
“If you burn me out tonight, I might not be back tomorrow. My couch and a glass of wine are looking really nice about now.” The prospect of forgetting the whole day with a drink tugged at me, a familiar craving I wasn’t used to denying.
He twisted his lips and narrowed his eyes.
“I’m not bluffing. There’s a reason I don’t work out,” I said. “I have zero will power.”
“Fine. One more set, and we’ll call it done. But we’re doing abs tomorrow, and we’re going to go hard on those.”
I rolled my eyes. I was never going to survive this. “I’ll be sure to run right over here after work then,” I said with no small amount of sarcasm.
I finished up and escaped to the locker rooms before he changed his mind about sneaking anything else in. I took my time in the shower, letting all the tension leave my body. I was utterly spent. My head started swimming from the heat. I finished up and dressed, emerging makeup-less and ready for my bed, too drained to care about appearances.
Cameron was waiting for me. He’d changed too, into blue jeans and a crisp white T-shirt. Somehow, the simple ensemble made a mouthwatering combination. I hadn’t forgotten how good he looked in and out of clothes.
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow for day two of hell,” I said.
“Are you hungry? We could grab dinner.”
“I’m good. I ate on the way here.”
“How about tomorrow?”
“I would, but Eli is having his new boy over so I can meet him before they go to a concert.”
He chewed his lip for a second. “I’m afraid to ask about Wednesday.”
I scuffed the toe of my tennis shoe on the floor. “I think I could do Wednesday. As long as you promise to go easy on me. I’ll be lucky if I can walk home tonight.”
“I’ll escort you, just to make sure you get there safely.”
I canted my head slightly. Cameron’s eyes glittered, beckoning me. A subtle surge of energy flowed through me. I wasn’t up for much, but spending a few more minutes staring at his gorgeous face could probably be penciled in.
“You know, you’re kind of a stalker,” I teased.
He grinned and caught my hand in his. My heart leapt at the contact. “Yeah, but at least you know what you’re getting into with me.”
Did I? I pondered that as we started the short walk toward the apartment. “I’m sorry about Olivia,” he said.
I didn’t say anything right away. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into how not surprised I was by the tone of my second run-in with Olivia. Maybe he could assume that she’d spent our last year at school giving me the cold silent treatment, which was more than he’d given me.
“It’s fine. But if you’d rather I didn’t come by anymore, I understand. I don’t want to make things awkward between you two. I realize she’s not my biggest fan.”
“It won’t be awkward. I talked to her.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Great.” I couldn’t imagine that conversation and how awkward my next meeting with Olivia would be as a result. As a former friend, I remembered how ruthless she used to be when it came to her friendships. People were either in or out in her book, and I was most definitely “out” with no prayer of getting back “in.” I wasn’t petitioning anyone to get into her good graces either. She could glare all she wanted. I had my own life and my own friends.