Just as her lips parted to speak, to spell out what her body needed, to beg even, they heard the door upstairs clank open. Footsteps fell across the upstairs floor and to the stair well. “Tucker, ya still there?!?” the old man shouted.
“God no” he breathed in frustration. He turned and shouted back, “Yeah! What do you need?”
“We gotta talk about…. Something. Are you alone down there?”
“No! I’m in the middle of a, uhm,” he looked down at her, as if wondering how to word this. She just pulled her shirt down and gaped at him. “Just finishing up a lesson. Can it wait?!?”
“Tonight. Catch up with me tonight, ya hear?”
“Ya, Boss, got it!” Tucker called back up the stairs, frustration splayed across his face.
“Boss?” She asked?
“We were both in the military at the same time. He had been in it much longer than me, so his rank is much higher, but we both got along and retired at the same time. He’s the first person I hired when I opened this gym, so technically I am HIS boss, but you can’t mentally rewind years of it being the reverse.”
They heard footsteps walk back to the front door, it opened and shut, and the familiar clank of the lock echoed even to the basement.
Then reality set in. What was she doing? She will eventually have to leave, most likely with little to no notice, and she really didn’t want to leave her heart behind. Or play with his. Oh this was not good.
“So is this how you coach all your students?” she mocked as she attempted to slide back down to the floor.
His eyes got serious, as he tried to keep her in place. “Absolutely not. You’re definitely the first person I’ve ever kissed in this building.”
“Thank goodness” she replied, still evading him. “I believe our lesson is finished. How much do I owe for this very private lesson?”
“Not a penny. You were worth every second.” Was she serious? How did she go from so hot to all cold shoulder? She meandered her way back towards the stairs. He followed, wondering where she was going with all this.
“Thank you very much. I enjoyed every second” he said, and he meant it.
She stopped a step or two up, turned, and was nose to nose with him. Answering his unspoken question she said in a soft, gentle, pained voice, “I don’t want to hurt you.” She was all serious now. “I will have to leave soon, and I don’t want you all falling in love with me only to hate me when I leave.” She said it with an air of tease, but her next line was dead serious again. “So, I need clarity. I can’t do this for long, and definitely not forever. If you can handle me just for now, I’d love to pass the time with you. But if not, I understand. I need you to say it. I don’t want you to feel used when this is over.”
He stepped in even closer, closing the small gap. He tucked her wild hair back behind her ear, and whispered his answer, “I’ll take whatever I can get of you for as long as I can.”