Chapter 8: One Month

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"You don't need this book," I told her outright. When her eyes met mine, I felt the same level of chemistry that I had felt the night in the hotel. "If you'll let me, I can train you," I told her, "for free." I added because of the skeptical expression she was making.

"Why for free?"

"Because I want to show you that with the right diet and exercise that I can help you transform your body to whatever you want." I suggested. When she still looked uneasy I found myself continuing to try to convince her. "Give me a month."

"I don't think that's a good idea considering-"

"That night was that night, this is just about personal training. I'm pretty sure we both can separate the two," I went on. "You're back with your husband and you're working it out, right?"

"Right," she said nodding her head profusely. "And you have Claudia." She added. I wondered why that was even something she was bringing up and found amusement in her statement.

I stared at her for a few minutes, trying my best to read what was going on in her head. Yes, I was attracted to her and if given the chance I would sleep with her again, but I was willing to respect her marriage as long as she did. I wasn't offering her this opportunity in hopes of anything coming out of it, I truly wanted to help her meet her goal because I hated to see anyone insecure about their body, I specifically didn't want that for Joy because I had a soft spot for her after hearing her story and after spending time with her the way we had. It was the unpredictability and mystery of her that made her unforgettable in my eyes.

Rather than respond to her comment about Claudia, I reached for the books in her arm and took them from her.

"Wait, what are you doing?" She asked trying to tug the books back. I forcefully took them from her and then turned on my heel to continue my steps towards the checkout counter. I could feel her walking close behind. There was no line, so once I reached the counter, I placed all seven books on top of it.

"Did you find everything okay?" The teenage-aged girl asked.

"I did, thank you." I nodded reaching for my wallet.

"Can you ring up the children's books separately?" I heard Joy ask her from behind me. The girl's eyes flew to mine for confirmation with what to do. I didn't acknowledge Joy's request or even respond to what she was saying. I gestured for the clerk to ring up the entire order together.

After paying $78.34 for the books, I thanked her and took the bag and receipt. I removed my book from the bag and tucked it under my arm and handed her the entire bag. Without acknowledging Joy I walked towards the door.

"You didn't have to do that," she said running behind me. "Let me pay you back at least."

"It was a gift, just say thank you," I said while continuing the walk towards my car.

"Why do you keep wanting to do things for me?" She asked her hand pulling on my arm to stop me from walking.

"I'm a nice person," I replied simply.

"Why do you want to be so nice to me?" She asked with confusion.

"Because you're a good person," I finally answered, "and I've got a thing for helping good people."

"Good people don't do what I did that night."

"I don't judge you from that night."

"You should," she quickly replied with exasperation.

I ignored her and pulled my wallet out of my pocket again. This time, I removed one of my business cards and handed it to her.

"If you want to take me up on my offer, let me know," I offered. "No strings attached." She accepted the card and read its contents before looking at me.

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