Chapter Two (Part One)
Trip strides into Gina’s health club, wearing a black leotard over black tights. She is swinging her ass just the tiniest bit as she saunters through the door held open by an accommodating fan. She is sure he’s watching her ass as he leaves, which is why she includes the extra twitch. Her hair is still pulled back in the simple ponytail, but she has added a touch of eyeliner, blush and lipstick to her face—she knows how the women in these uppity health clubs operate. For many of them, it’s more a meat market than a place to work out. Trip has small hoops in her pierced ears and a Berkeley sweatshirt over her leotard to ward off the chill. She is wearing her hundred-dollar Nikes, white with a black swoosh. She walks up to the desk where a tall, strapping young lad who looks just barely old enough to shave is manning the counter.
“May I help you?” The young man asks politely, his fingers opening and closing compulsively around the pen he’s holding. His white t-shirt shows off rippling biceps that bespeak of many hours in the weight room. The pimples sprouting on his chin coupled with his agitated manner whisper of steroid use.
“I certainly hope so,” Trip drawls, slipping a touch of Southern into her voice. “A little bird told me that I could try out the facilities for a day, a test run, you see.” Trip smiles and leans forward slightly.
“Sorry, Ma’am,” the man says woodenly, a tic jumping under his eye. “Someone told you wrong.” He turns back to the book he happens to be perusing which is on the benefits of weightlifting.
“Look, Mike,” Trip says after reading his name off his name tag. “I’m a friend of one Mr. Fenwick Harrington. You might have heard tell of him. He said to put it on his tab.” Trip proffers a note from her workout bag. It’s made up, of course, as Harrington had never been into this particular health club. “Here you go, darling. You certainly are nicely muscled, aren’t you?” By Trip’s calculations, Mike is two or three years younger than her and not her type at all, but she’s willing to flirt if it’ll get her what she wants. “You can call him if you’d like. His cell number is on the note.” Trip waits, her body erect. She learned early on that the more confidence you display, the more likely you are to get what you want. Mike reads the note twice, moving his lips. When he hesitates, Trip reaches one red-tipped finger and traces a line delicately on the back of Mike’s hand. He swallows hard and ushers her in.
“Here.” He hands her a guess pass. “Show this if anybody asks. Do you need a locker?” He holds out a key as well.
“Thanks, sugar,” Trip says, bestowing a wide grin on him. She sails past him, only to turn and ask, “By the way, where are the aerobics classes held?” Mike directs her with more accuracy than strictly needed; Trip nods and heads in that direction. Her lip curls in scorn. Some security! He doesn’t even take her name. She arrives to Gina’s high-intensity class three minutes before it’s slated to start.