‘Come on Lily, you can do this… Just ten more minutes to go…’ Gritting her teeth, Lily punched at the keypad of her treadmill determinedly, quickening her pace as she strove to keep up with the gradually increasing speed the machine was going at. Soon after settling in Willow Creek she’d been handed a free membership at the local gym, which she knew she would be using frequently due to the demanding physical nature of her new job.
Which she still couldn’t believe she had. Stretching her arms out, she tried her hardest to suppress the smile that crept over her face whenever she thought about her luck. 250 other people had applied for that job! 250! And out of all of them it had been she who had landed the coveted role at the Space Agency.
Not that it was going to a breeze, mind you. She still could hardly believe the amount of training that was required; while Lily naturally enjoyed working out (a joy she discovered had grown as she aged), it seemed she was spending every spare minute chasing her own records at the gym these days. And she was only five minutes from breaking –
‘Oh, flapping flamingos!!’
Lost in thought, Lily missed a step and had to grab onto the treadmill’s handlebars to stop herself flying off the end completely. Jabbing frantically at the keypad she managed to slow the machine down just enough so she could get her stride back, wiping her brow in relief at the near miss. At least it’s still early and there’s nobody about, she thought. It would have been so embarrassing if –
‘You were lucky there!’ Lily’s heart skipped a beat as the deep voice startled her. Whipping her head round she saw a man working out on the weights machine directly behind her, clearly lost in his own work out.
Then she saw him.
Tall. Dark. Rugged. Handsome. And the sole witness to one of the most embarrassing gym mishaps she’d suffered.
Well done, Lily. Good job.
Grinning his perfect teeth at her, the mysterious vision of perfection started up the treadmill next to hers before jumping on. ‘Don’t worry about it, happens all the time,’ he chuckled. Lily could’ve sworn she saw a wink through his sunglasses.
‘Ever happened to you, though?’
‘Not in a long time, thank goodness! I don’t think I’ve seen you in here before, are you a newbie?’
‘Only to the area! I’ll blame it on the unfamiliar machinery, I think’ Lily laughed, starting to glow a little. It wasn’t just her training that was causing her cheeks to flush now…
‘Quick thinking! I like it,’ the man smiled, barely paying attention to his treadmill yet never missing a beat. ‘Good to know I haven’t been walking around here with my eyes closed. I thought I would have remembered a face like yours if I’d seen it before now. So, what brings a girl like you to the Creek?’
Lily giggled, trying to keep herself under control before she got too shrill. Is he flirting with me!? ‘Work, actually! I’m, er, I’m the new intern over at the Space Agency!’
‘The new intern?! Isn’t that a one in a million position?’
‘Not quite. One in 250….’
The man whistled. ‘That’s still pretty impressive! Good on you… Erm, I don’t know your name?’
Lily couldn’t do anything to hide her blushes now. ‘I’m Lily. Lily Rivers.’
‘Well Lily, Lily Rivers, I’ve no doubt we’ll run into one another again some day. Trainee astronauts need all the exercise they can get, am I right?’
‘I think I’ll definitely be spending a bit of time here, yes!’
‘Good,’ the man replied, staring directly at her with a smoulder. Or at least, Lily thought he was. It was difficult to tell through his sunglasses.
‘I didn’t catch your name?’ she asked tentatively as she hopped reluctantly off her treadmill. She had to be at the Space Agency in two hours time.
‘Probably because I didn’t give you it! I’m J. Huntington III. See you around, beautiful…’
Checking her reflection in the gym’s bathroom after her much needed shower, J’s words played around Lily’s mind. See you around, beautiful…
Beautiful. He’d called her beautiful. Interesting…