Legend (Page 3)

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And I’m going to sleep with him—the first time that I will ever sleep with a guy—and I’ll do it with no insecurities about him seeing me naked because I’m going to look beautiful and slim and, most of all, sure of myself. So sure of myself I’d do it in broad daylight for him if he asked me to.

Pulling my T-shirt a little lower as it rolls up my hips, I start panting and drop the treadmill speed a little bit. If I don’t, I’ll have to crawl my way to day care to pick up my little package and, carrying him back home, I’ll be trailing my tongue on the sidewalk. No, thanks.

I’m on a healthy living boot camp.

Brooke says I look like Jennifer Lawrence and that she envies my hourglass figure. It’s like my torso was cinched with a corset since I was born. Curvy. But I’ll take Brooke’s athletic physique any day. Genetics made my hourglass figure, but athletic physiques take more than genetics; they take hard work and I admire that.

I press the treadmill speed a little bit faster and survey everyone inside the bustling gym. But my eyes come back to the guy who slipped into the gym after me.

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He’s at the far end of the room, pummeling a heavy bag. He looks totally concentrated. He’s the only fighter here who’s not talking to anyone and not with a trainer.

I’d say he looks friendless, but it’s more like he doesn’t want to be bothered and doesn’t need friends: he’s got his fists.

The beautiful boy is getting attention from everyone in the gym by now. Maybe because he’s really working out the heavy bag, causing the chain holding it to rattle. But I think, for the most part, it’s because he crackles with passion for what he’s doing. And looks sooooo good doing it too.

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To my right, I spy one of the front-desk attendants walk into the weights and cardio area. A second one joins her, speculating. “No membership,” I hear.

One heads back to the desk, the open-plan concept making the reception area visible from my treadmill, and she picks up the phone and hangs up just as quickly. “They’re coming,” she says when the second attendant joins her behind the desk.

I keep walking, now focusing on the guy. He’s a badass. I’ve never seen someone hit a bag so hard, and he’s not bothering anyone. Nothing seems to exist to him except that bag he’s hitting.

I’m watching him when a pair of uniformed security guards appears inside the gym.

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The lady by the entrance points to the young man. He seems to sense them, and he lifts his head, frowning. And then, he slowly starts walking forward. He stops a few feet away from them and stands there in the cockiest, most challenging way I’ve ever seen. Almost as if he’s waiting to be kicked out.

“We need you to come with us and confirm membership at the front desk,” one of the guys says threateningly.

I stop the treadmill and suddenly step down. “He’s with me.”

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The guy and the security guards turn in my direction, and I nod quickly. “He came with me.” I pull out my gym card. The guards come over to look at it. One of them brings back a lady from the front desk.

“Have him sign in next time as a guest,” the lady tells me with a scowl.

I nod.

The guards ease out, and I realize the guy is looking at me. Like, really looking at me. He wears sweatpants and a hoodie and an attitude. He stands motionless, the drawstring sweatpants hanging low on narrow hips, revealing a bit of skin on his abs and the sides of his hips, the start of a muscular V. He’s got a head full of black hair and eyes the color of steel that could melt the same metal they seem to come from. He’s got the most quietly intense gaze I’ve ever seen.

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And it’s latched to me.

I’m uncomfortable.

And self-aware.

I’m wearing a fuchsia workout top and tight workout pants, my honeyed hair tied in a ponytail. I’m nothing special, not among the girls in the gym, and not among the girls out in the world. As he looks at me, I feel the hairs at the tip of my ponytail brush my back and I shiver like I’ve never done before.

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I find his stare really unnerving, so I shoo him away. “Go back to what you were doing,” I say.

He doesn’t move.

His face is young and tanned, all chiseled planes and angles, with eyebrows that are sleek and low, like two angry slashes, a nose too perfect to belong to a fighter, and a jaw that looks unbreakable.

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Bewildered by his attention, I head back to my treadmill.

The guy’s eyebrows lower a little more in obvious puzzlement. I lift my own at him in challenge, my look saying, Are you going to keep staring?

He smiles a little, an unexpectedly gorgeous halfway-there smile.

“Go train,” I say.

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He gives me this cocky nod in a way that makes it seem like he’s saying thank you, then heads back to the gym bags, lifting his gloves. He hesitates for a few seconds, frowning thoughtfully as he stares at the bag, as if puzzled about something. He shakes his head to clear it, glares at the bag, and in a flash—pow, pow, boom!—hits the bag three times and sends it rattling on its chain.

I notice people are glancing in my direction speculatively. Some appear concerned, others seem to be wondering if he’s really with me. They remind me of my mother a little bit. Reese, promise me you’ll take care of yourself.

Mother, I’ll be careful. Let me go. Give me wings! I’ve earned them, haven’t I?

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I begged for time by myself.

Today is the first day of the new and improved me.

So I put in my remaining half hour, then I go gather my stuff and hurry off to the day care for my little package.

This whole time, never once has the guy looked away from his bags again.