“I knew there was something different about you from the beginning. Even if I didn’t come out there to get you that first day, you would have made it in. I admire that, ya know? That you won’t let anything get you down. That you keep pushing through. Just like me.”
I want to tell him it’s a lie. That I’m not strong at all and I’m scared to death to fail, but it feels good to have him believe in me. For him to see something in me no one else does. And again, how can I not believe his words? The way he speaks them, how they tickle my skin and seep inside, fuels me. I am determined and I can do anything.
I can’t help it, I lick my lips.
Tegan’s face is slowly, way too slowly coming toward mine. “This time, I’m really going to kiss you so if you don’t want me to, you better stop me now.”
“Stop? You must be crazy.”
“That’s even better than your last compliment.”
Oh my God. Did I say that out loud? And then it doesn’t matter because his lips are on mine. They’re just as soft as they look, but strong too. Or maybe the kiss is just strong, eager, because it’s all I feel or know. It’s like I’m drowning in him.
When his tongue comes out and teases the seam of my lips, I’m done for. Sunken like a ship to the bottom of the ocean. It’s weird how I know what to do, like I’ve done this so many times before. My mouth opens, our tongues meeting, first tentatively and then with the eager need again. I taste the mint. Smell the soap and ocean. Shiver when the hand in my hair pulls me closer to him.
In and out. Give and take, our tongues do a dance that’s foreign and familiar at the same time. When his other hand touches my waist, my arms wrap around his neck. I want him closer. Closer than anyone has ever been to me. And he is, but then after one, two gentle, tongueless kisses on my lips, he’s pulling away.
Tegan’s forehead drops forward so it’s resting against mine. “Why did that take us so long?”
It’s been a few days since our first kiss. I say first because …we’ve done it a lot since then. I’m always awkward and nervous, but the second his lips touch mine, everything else melts away. And I was right. There is definitely a switch from life before kiss and after. Needless to say, life after kiss is made of awesome, even though my head is still a little foggy that the whole thing is happening. That this gorgeous, sexy boy likes kissing me. That he likes spending time with me.
It’s like winning the lotto. One of those things that would be cool if it happened, but you never really think it will and then bam! Your whole life changes.
The thing is, it’s not just because he’s a pretty face either. If that was all, I wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t want him.
Which I do.
But in typical boy fashion, aside from kissing and hand holding, I have no idea if I have him. Are we dating? Is he my boyfriend? Am I the secret girl he likes to lock lips with in private? All these questions circle around in my brain creating a tornado so strong I’m surprised the National Tornado Center doesn’t issue an all-points bulletin.
Yes, I’m going that crazy.
Today is a gym day so we didn’t jog this morning. Oh, and it also happens to be my weigh in day too. It’s weird because I’m not even nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping I’ve made some serious progress, but compared to the Tegan Limbo I’m in, I don’t have the energy to drive myself crazy, wondering what the number will say, or what he’ll think about it.
When I get there, Tegan’s waiting for me like always. There’s been no kissing on Let’s Get Physical premises. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s embarrassed of me, or because making out with your client probably isn’t the most professional thing in the world.
“Hey.” Tegan gives me that playful smile of his, one I’m hoping is my smile.
“Hey.” He holds the door open for me. This time I walk back to his cubby first, without having to be dragged there.
“Alright, are you ready for this? It’s going to be good. I know it. So don’t stress, k?” He’s standing in front of me in the black shirt with neon green lettering that reads, ‘Let’s Get Physical’.
“Actually, I’m not…” The extra walk I went on this week pops into my head. The time we spend jogging. The chances I had to cheat while eating and didn’t. I’ve worked hard. He’s made me work hard and no matter what the numbers say, I’m trying to make myself focus on that.
“Good. Let’s measure you first.” I fight a shiver when Tegan’s finger brushes over my arm longer than necessary as he measures. I don’t ask the numbers or look at the numbers, focusing on the way his skin feels against mine as he goes from one arm to the next. To my legs, waist…ok, the waist feels extra nice. Just like when we kiss, all I feel and know is him.
“I hope you’re eyes aren’t closed because you’re freaked out.”
My eyes are closed? I pop them open. “No…just tired.” Yeah right, hypnotized by his hands is more like it.
“You want the numbers?”
“I don’t know, do I?”
“I think you do. Come on. Tell me you do, Annabel Lee.”
I love the way he talks to me. How he’s always teasing and playful. Plus, it’s kind of cool that he has his own name for me and it sounds so hot when he says it. “Please, like I have the willpower in me not to know.”
Tegan looks down, then up at me through his thick lashes. His eyebrows raise and lower and then that Tegan smile. “You’ve lost three inches in your waist alone.”
Three inches? Three inches? I want to jump up and hug him, but I can’t. Not here. Plus, I’m still not brave enough to initiate the physical contact yet, so instead I clap my hands together, holding them at my mouth. “Three inches? Oh my God. That’s good right? It seems good.”
“Hell yes, it’s good! Now gettcha butt on the scale. I have a feeling you’re going to be happy with the results there too.”
Briefly I wonder if he wants to hug me too. Or kiss me. Does he want to celebrate with me the same way I want to with him? I hope so. Trying to focus on the whole point of this thing, I step onto the scale, watching Tegan’s hand as it slides the weight up and down the scale. What? Am I reading this right?
“160.8. All together you’ve lost five pounds exactly. How does that—umpf!”
This time, I can’t help it. I launch myself at him. Tegan catches me, laughing and hugging. It’s not record-breaking and I know I still have a long way to go, but holy crap. I’ve lost six pounds and over three inches!
“Umm, I guess it feels nice and as nice as you feel, we have an audience.”
I freeze, heat flooding to my cheeks. “Oh, sorry.” I pull away from him. “Was just excited.”
Tegan winks at me. “It’s all good. Come on, let’s go get physical.”
We are nothing but professional for the whole workout. Tegan pushes me through our leg routine today, counting off each of my pushes or pulls and telling me how good I’m doing. Each time he writes my progress down in his booklet and then we move to the next one.
Is he standing farther away from me than usual? Teasing me less? I’m overreacting. Or am I? Is he upset that I plastered myself against him like I’m a Hillcrest High elite and he’s Billy Mason?
“Good workout today and seriously, I’m proud of you,” Tegan tells me as we walk to the door. I’m about to tell him thanks and bye when he looks at Supermodel who I now know as Molly and says, “I’m going to take a break. I’ll be back in ten, okay?”
Oh no. He’s mad. I screwed up and now whatever it was we had going between us is already over. Molly gives him a smile and we walk out. When we get to the parking lot, I throw my bag into the passenger side and close the door, trying to ignore the fact that I know what’s coming.
Because it is. The saying “it’s too good to be true?” Totally a fact. I lean against my car, crossing my arms like I don’t care. I don’t. I knew this would happen anyway.
Tegan steps closer to me. Close like always, but he looks nervous. “I was thinking and… well, maybe it’s not the best idea for me to be your trainer anymore.”
“Oh…” I’m not mad at him, I’m mad at me. At the ache in my chest and the fact that even though I said I expected this, it’s broken something inside me. “Okay.” I turn and try to get into my car which I realize is about the stupidest thing I can do considering it’s the passenger side. I don’t get far anyway because Tegan stops me.
“Hey, where are you going?”
Is he for real? Like I’m going to sit here while he rattles off a list of why we can’t be together or throws the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line my way. “Home. No need to explain. I understand.”
“Um, I’m glad you do, because I don’t.” Tegan turns me around so I’m facing him again.
“You don’t have to do that. I get it. I expected it. I…” You know what? I can’t do this. It’s not right or not fair. “Actually, I’m pissed. You pretend to like me and then one hug in front of your gym buddies and Supermodel and I’m out the door? Whatever.”
“Huh?” he looks at me confused. “I’m not breaking it off with you… You think I would do that because you hugged me?”
He’s not breaking up with me. Best news ever! “I just thought.”
“That’s not me, Annabel Lee—I don’t just bail on people. I held your hand all over the zoo and the fair. If I was going to break up with you over a hug, I wouldn’t have done that.”
My cheeks are hot. Why can’t I stop thinking the worst? “Then what do you mean?”
He steps closer, his legs on the outside of mine as his hands grab my waist. I should pull away, but I can’t. “I’m not breaking up with you. I’m not mad you hugged me. Actually, I would have liked to do even more with you, but I can’t do that here…while you’re my client. I need this job too much, or I would.”
And his mom told him girls are confusing, I’m thinking that about boys. “Then why?”
Tegan leans forward, pressing his lips to mine too quickly for my taste. “Because.” Another kiss. “You’re.” Oh, one more. “My girl.” Two kisses this time. “And it doesn’t feel right for you to pay me for us to work out together. Because I want to be able to kiss you when I want and I can’t do that if you’re my client.”
At least I think that’s what he said. I’m not sure I caught anything after him telling me I’m his girl. “I am? Your girl, I mean?”
He gives my waist a squeeze and I suck in my stomach. “I thought so, unless you’re only using me for my make-out abilities.”
“Conceited. I know. But you like it.”