Necessary Restorations by Kate Canterbary
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By the time this morning rolled around, Will was wise to my avoidance strategy. I nearly pissed myself from the shock of finding him seated on the kitchen counter, dressed in running shoes, track pants, and a wind shirt, hours before sun-up.
“Ready?” he asked.
It was too early to form words, let alone the sharp, snappy words I wanted right then, and I lifted a shoulder in response. He followed as I jogged downstairs and through Louisburg Square, crossing the Public Garden toward the Back Bay gym. I didn’t expect him to saddle up beside me for sixty minutes of advanced cycling and borderline evil taunting, but he smiled at me as if he’d been doing this his entire I took some perverse joy from the hungry gazes aimed at Will by the hedge fund wives who packed this class. Even Nina, the screaming beast who trafficked in aphorisms like ‘disregard your limits’ and ‘use fear as your fuel’ and ‘move your fat ass, bitch’ was drinking up the rhythmic flex of Will’s thighs and the steely determination in his eyes as she increased the pace. She leaned off her bike when he yanked the wind shirt over his head, revealing a faded University of California, San Diego t-shirt, and I could almost hear her eye-fucking him.
These women were ready to kneel at his feet and beg for the pleasure of his attention, and I…I kept telling him to get the fuck out of my apartment.
“And you run home after this?” he asked when the class ended.
I murmured in agreement. It meant I saw a lot more of him in the morning, but I abandoned the gym shower routine after forgetting a fresh pair of undies on Wednesday. I stopped at La Perla and bought some on my way to the office, but then I realized I never wore new panties without washing them first. I dropped eighty dollars on a pair of basic boyshorts, and still spent the day bare-assed.
It wasn’t his fault entirely, but I ranted at Tom for a good twenty minutes over the apparent lack of back-up panties in the office. I had a spare suit, heels, and stockings. Why not undies, too?
Will used the hem of his t-shirt to mop sweat from his forehead, and a collective purr sounded when his abs came into view. The four thirty spin class didn’t see much testosterone, especially not Will’s variety. “Fuck, Shannon, you’re a machine. That was rough.”
“Underestimated me again?” I asked. “It used to be funny how you did that. Now it’s just obnoxious.”
“I’ve never underestimated you, and I think you know that.” He leaned forward and folded his arms on the handles. “This was like my first week at BUD/S. The only thing missing was the water cannon.” He glanced at Nina. “Why would anyone choose to do this?”
“She might be a Satan soldier, but my ass is a work of art.” I inclined my head toward the group of women staring and whispering in his direction. “If the commando business falls apart, you can always train the high-end stroller crew. They’d drop big money for you to yell at them.”
“The Department of Defense needs to hear about this,” Will said, waving his hand at the white walls and neon yellow bikes. “This would definitely change their view on women in combat.”
“Yeah, I don’t know about that,” I said, cutting my gaze away from the t-shirt clinging to Will’s chest and toward his fan club. “They can’t go anywhere without reliable access to alkaline water.”
He smiled, and I saw his intention before he moved but I did nothing to stop him from tucking some loose strands of hair over my ear.
“What?” I snapped, finally jerking away from his touch.
His smile dimmed and he shook his head. “I’ve missed talking to you,” he said. “I’ve…I’ve missed you.”
A choked, stuttering noise sounded in my throat. All the words were fighting for dominance, and I wasn’t sure which would tumble out first. I opened my mouth to respond then realized we weren’t alone.
“Hey,” Nina said, sidling up to Will. “I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”
“Probably not.” He glanced at the stripe of pink running through her platinum blonde hair and nodded toward me. “I’m here with Shannon. I go where she goes.”
“How do I sign up for that service?” she asked.