Chapter 38 – Taylor
Taking a deep breath, I try to mentally prepare myself for training from hell. I knew from the moment I read the personal notice addressed to me on the notice board, that I would be in deep shit. I will be surprised if I can move tomorrow morning or even after training has finished. I sigh loudly, I knew that the holiday with Greg would come back and bite me in the behind. But it is worth it though, to see him carefree like that.
Slapping my cheeks, I force myself to focus on the present, roll my head from side to side as I bounce on the ball of my feet. Let’s do this! Not even thirty minutes later do I regret signing up for this class, as sweat is dripping off me in rivlets, pooling under my hands as I attempt to finish the insane amount of push-ups delegated to me my the general. Not only that, but I am one of the last few to finish, something that hasn’t happened since I joined up. To make my humiliation complete, Greg timidly makes his way in the room and over to our side. My arms shake by the time I am finished and I fight the urge to flop face first on the floor.
He sits down on the bench, slowly taking in the room and all the others that are doing their own thing in the ring, or crunches, or jumping rope. The general smiles brightly at me as he holds out the rope to me, knowing fully well that I loathe that exercise more than anything. “You know the drill.” Giving him the most venomous glare I can muster in my exhausted state, I take the rope and wind the ends around my hands, testing the length of the rope and see if it is long enough. As the monotone thumping sounds from the rope hitting the floor, I can hear the general speak to Greg. “Are you looking to join us?”
I can see Greg start at being addressed, his leg bouncing in nerves. Doubt clouds his face and his teeth worry his lips in indecision. “I am not too sure, but...” He looks around the room and sees one of the guys land a solid roundhouse kick to his opponent and sends him on his knees. “It might be handy to know a few things.” It seems that is all the general needs to hear as he walks over to the desk hidden away in the corner and hands Greg a gym pamphlet.
“Go over this with Taylor and give me a ring if you decide to take a free lesson so I can assess your current strength and devise a plan to help you. Okay?” Greg nods hesitantly and the general claps his hands, announcing the end of the training and not a moment too soon. My muscles are screaming as I slowly wind down the spinning of the rope, walk across the floor and help put away the rest of the equipment.
“So what brings you here?” I bit back a groan as I lift my gym bag over my shoulder and head towards the locker room. The fact that Greg is nervously twisting the hem of his oversized shirt in his hands, one of Zach’s I think, gives me a good idea why he came here.
He doesn’t answer as I undress and hit the shower. With a sigh of appreciation I step under the hot water. “I think it will come in handy to know at least the basics. And I have to see if I have time to come as I have my own training.” He mutters and I realise that I totally forgot about his volleyball training after school three times a week with the odd tournament every other weekend.
“Well the offer is an open offer. Meaning you can go when it suits you, you don’t have to go when I do.” I assure him as we make our way to the car and I briefly wonder how Greg got here in the first place, but he answers that question for me without being prompted.
“When I told dad about the tournament you were in and how easy you make it look, he checked it out online and said it might be a good idea to know at least the basics and he was very enthusiastic when he realised the gym was close. And you know hard it is for dad to be enthusiastic about anything.” He settles in the passenger seat turned slightly so that he can look at me.
“True, your dad is hard to persuade besides anything that involves your mom.” Grinning, I remember the time Zach had the bright idea to book a sauna for him and Tiago. Greg’s dad kept stating that it was a waste of time and money, only to come back on it when Zach said it was his idea and it was for the two of them. Of course Greg blushes at the mention and I have the idea that he has another encounter in mind.
“But how was your training? It looked like you were having a hard time back there.” His face is still scarlet red but his eyes look bright. He even looks a little eager. Probably eager to change the subject away from his parents. The mere mention of it has my muscles aching again, this time with a vengeance. I think I even see my arms twitch a little as they move the steering wheel.
Letting a deep sigh escape, “It seems that I have been a little lax with my training, that is why I was forced to do all those tiring excises. For some reason the General knows when you have been slacking.” I grumble as I pull up at Greg’s house. Greg has the nerve to laugh, making me mock scrowl at him. He is still laughing when I respond “You will find out for yourself soon enough should you join.” And I awkwardly pounce on him and proceed to tickle him until he cries uncle.
He is wiping tears in his eyes as I coax him from the car. “Come on princess, time to return you home so your parents will not demand my head on a platter.” Greg looks indignant at being called princess and I can’t help but laugh at his put upon look. Huffing he crosses his arms and I notice they are developing nicely. There was more definition to them before. His arms have more distinguishing lines than when I first saw him.
“How is your own training going though?” He glares as he notice that I am looking at his crosses arms with interest. The muscles tense in his arms as he fist his hands tightly, before slowly releasing them. “I know you are working hard together with the other guys.” I venture as he keeps silent. “Everybody is super surprised that our Volleyball team made it this far. Most didn’t even know we had a Volleyball team. You guys all changed that.” Now his arms are hanging by his side.
“That is a major improvement.” I step close and cup his cheek, “It won’t take long before you are as popular like Carl Hudson.” I wink at him as he glares at the mention of the thick headed guy before bursting out laughing.
“Well, if that is where I am going, I guess you need to make it clear that I am already spoken for.” He states casually, draping his arms around my neck, pressing close. “Make sure they all know who I am dating.” His eyes mesmerise me as I stare in them, getting lost in the swirling colour. “So that they all know who I love the most.” My brow furrows as he gives me a peculiar look that I can’t figure out. “Maybe I should claim you instead.” He states as his fingers rub through the short hair at the back of my scalp. My head tiles a little backwards at the action, my eyes closing slightly. “Make sure they can’t touch either of us.” My eyes close fully as Greg kisses me deeply.
The sound of a throat being cleared as Greg pulling back and making me pout. For a second time today, Greg’s face flares with red, resembling a strawberry. “You boys need to rap it up.” The rumble tells me that it is Tiago, and I am glad that there is no hostility in it. Sometimes, I catch him or Zach looking at us with a look that either resembles either pity or contempt. I can’t disconcert whether it’s one or the other.
It makes me wonder what it is that is causing them to be this concerned about us. It’s not like we are moving quickly. I mean, we only occasionally have sex and then mostly in my room whenever he came over. The one time we had sex in his house was the time we saw Zach and Tiago having sex. So what is the problem?
“So I guess the king is here to demand you head on a platter.” I snort as Tiago just raises an dark eyebrow at the words. Shaking my head, I reach out to Greg who stepped away to give him one last hug.
“I will see you tomorrow?” Greg rolls his eyes at the desperate question, yet smiles as he steps up on the porch, past Tiago. My heart thumps painfully quick at the sight of his genuine smile. I am in way over my head.
I can’t help thinking that I am a little desperately clinging to Greg, maybe a little too clingy. Maybe we need more space? A fierce pain shoots through my chest at the mere thought of not seeing Greg every day. Is this what they call infatuation? Or is it something more sustainable?
To be honest I have no clue how to figure it out. “Frattello!” Syl’s happy cry pulls me out of my head and I barely catch him as he clings himself at me. What’s going on with him? His face is puffy and his eyes are slightly red. Did he get into a fight? Did he get hurt?
Grunting, I lift him onto my hip, grab my bag and waddle to the open front door. “What’s up little man?” He rubs one of his eyes, while clinging tightly with his other fist to the back of my shirt. He is clearly upset about something and it is a wonder that Miranda has not managed to calm him down. She always manages to do so, so what is going on?
My answer comes when a person we haven’t seen in a very very long time steps into the light of the hall and I feel my heart sink at the sight. Damn it! What is she doing here? First mom, now her.
There is not a smile on her face as I stand toe to toe with her on the door threshold. Just a cool and calculating look on her face. If she is here, no wonder that Syl is upset. We haven’t heard from her since dad died. Haven’t seen her for nearly over a decade and now she shows up here.
My stomach knots as my bad feeling is verified by the concerned look on Gordo’s face as he comes to stand behind her, probably wondering what is taking us so long. We all know the smile on my face is fake as I look slightly down on her. “Welcome to America Sabrina.” There is a glint in her eye and her face transforms as she smiles the same fake smile as me. Yet hers is looks more real than mine will ever be. That is because she is one hell of an actress.
Only the million dollar question remains; what the hell does she want?