Chapter Eleven

122 15 0

My first thought when I walk through the door of Diamond Lotus Yoga is that Noah has lost his mind.

It's not that I'm bothered by the scents of amber and sandalwood inside, or even by the new-agey chanting music in the background. I don't understand a word of it, but it's kind of relaxing. Still, other than Noah's claim that Amarleen can help me, I don't see why he didn't just have me meet up with her outside of class. I've never been a yoga kind of girl.

I take a deep breath and walk up to the counter. I'm about to ask someone there how to sign up for classes, when I spot a face framed with familiar dark curls. Selena Jensen is standing behind the counter. My ex-best-friend. The girl I never thought I'd see again after her family's going-away party during their last weekend in Boston. I know she moved here, but I didn't think I'd actually run into her. L.A. is supposed to be big.

Selena freezes when she sees me. I'm not sure which is worse—the ice in her hazel eyes now, or the hurt I saw two years ago on the night of the party. I don't have long to think about it, because she quickly turns around and bolts toward the other side of the room. Her hair bobs around her shoulders as she pushes open a door and disappears from view.

"Good morning."

I jump at the greeting and bring my eyes back to the other woman behind the counter.

"Hi. Uh, I'm new here and would like to take a class." I hope I sound convincing, since taking a yoga class is not really on my bucket list of things to do before I go back to The Life-After.

"Well then, let's get you signed up," she says, beaming at me. "You're going to love it."

I wish I could be as optimistic as she is, but something tells me I'm going to end up with a few bruises that might dampen that love just a little bit. If I'm lucky, that's the worst that will happen. Everything I know about yoga tells me I'm going to be trying to bend myself into a pretzel, and even the thought of this hurts.

The woman reaches under the desk and pulls out a sheet of paper and a pen. "I just need you to fill out this form, and then we'll get you all set up."

"Great," I reply, taking the paper and pen from her. I wish I really felt that way.

A few minutes later, I'm rounding a corner and stopping outside of a doorway. There are racks of shoes in the hall. Oh right, yoga is done barefoot. I can't say I'm super thrilled about that. I take my sandals off, though, and then walk into the room.

Dozens of people are already inside, and yoga mats in a rainbow of colors are scattered across the floor. I put my mat down in an empty spot a few feet away from where one girl sits with her eyes closed, her hands resting on her knees.

There's a small stage at the front of the room, raised about two feet off of the ground. It's decorated with fresh flowers, a basket, some framed photos, and a gong. There's nobody on the stage, so it must be where Amarleen sits during class. I try to imagine her. She's probably in her early twenties and toned and flexible beyond belief. I hope she's not one of those teachers who will come and correct my posture while I try to twist my body into a position I'm certain it's not meant for. Not that I've ever taken a yoga class. I'm basing this purely on the fictional yoga teachers I've seen on TV shows and in movies.

I look around me again, and something doesn't fit with my make-believe yoga world. Nobody is dressed in anything spandex. Instead, most people are wearing loose white clothes. Others are in sweatpants and T-shirts or tank tops. Nobody is attempting to show off by perfecting a yoga posture, and only a few people seem concerned about stretching out before class.

A girl sitting across the room catches my eye as I continue to glance around. She smiles at me, and I smile back. Okay, this isn't too hard. Maybe I can pretend to be something other than anti-social for the next hour and a half. Fake it until I make it. That's what I always did when I was Anna.

A woman who looks like she could be in her late forties or early fifties catches my attention as she walks into the room. She's dressed in a flowing white skirt and a loose white shirt, and her hair is wrapped in a white turban. Some of my classmates smile at her and say hello. She returns their smiles while weaving through the maze of mats on the floor. Once she's on the stage, she spreads out a white sheepskin and sits down. This must be Amarleen.

The first thing I notice is that something about her calms me, and it's the kind of calm I felt in The Life-After. The second thing I notice is her energy. Little flecks of gold and silver sparkle everywhere around her. I've only seen those colors surrounding Noah and the people I met in The Life-After. I don't think she's an advisor or a second-timer, though. I mean, wouldn't I know that?

"Sat Nam," Amarleen says, smiling out at us. I have no idea what that means, but everyone in the room repeats it back to her. It's going to be a little hard to fit in around here if these people speak some sort of secret language I don't know. Noah could have warned me about that, at least.

Amarleen asks if there's anyone new in the class today. I think about not raising my hand until I see three other people hold their hands up. I raise mine as far as my shoulder. We're asked to introduce ourselves. Amarleen's eyes linger on me for a few moments after I tell the class my name.

"Thanks for coming today, Cassidy. I feel like—" she pauses, tilting her head to the side and studying me again. "I feel like I need to talk to you about something. Please come see me after class."

I nod, feeling the heat in my cheeks. Noah's going to hear about this one the next time he's brave enough to show himself.

We open the class with our hands pressed together in a position that Amarleen calls prayer pose, chanting a few words I've never heard before. Again with the secret language that everyone but me appears to know. It stops when we start the warm-ups, to my relief. Amarleen tells us that we're working on opening the heart center, which is our fourth chakra. This I understand, at least. I learned all about chakras during my brief time in The Life-After.

I know our class is ninety minutes long, but it seems as though far less time has passed when Amarleen asks us to lie down for a final few minutes of relaxation. Once class is over, I roll up my yoga mat and wait until most of the people have left the room before approaching the stage.

Amarleen pats a space in front of her, inviting me to sit down. I slide onto the stage and sit cross-legged, still not sure why she's called me here.

She closes her eyes and I wonder if I'm supposed to do the same. Before I can, she touches my shoulder and opens her eyes again, looking directly into mine.

"I know what you are," she says, her voice soft.

Seven Weeks to Forever (Love / Romance) ✔Where stories live. Discover now