I get the gym opened up for the day and do a little walk-thru to make sure everything is setup for the day. I take care of some of the management stuff - paying bills, ordering supplies, etc. - while I wait for the day manager to arrive. My Nanna Milly is bringing in a new group of 'her girls' to take a tour of the gym and get signed up for their free memberships, which is something I have no problem giving out to them. Some of these women and girls have been through a lot, and if they can find some solace in working out at my gym then I'm going to offer all of the help that I can to them.
The day manager arrives, and gets all of the other staff lined out with their areas and tasks for the day. I see my Nanna walk in with a dozen or so females in tow, so I make my way over to her. "Hey my favorite Nanna." I say, reaching down to hug her small frame. I'm 6'6" tall, and she barely comes to my elbows it seems.
"I'm your only Nanna, so I better be your favorite." she says back, smacking my arm. "I've got some new friends. They are all ready to join your gym. I told them that the staff are like family to us, and that they will all be well cared for here. Can you give us the tour, Ty?"
"Absolutely! Right this way." I say, motioning them to follow me. I go through each area of the gym, and introduce the girls to my staff. I've done this tour so many times now that I don't even look back at who is following me, I just walk and point and talk. We finally get circled back around to the front lobby, and I have the receptionist hand me a stack of class schedules and other services that the gym offers. One by one, they all come and get a paper from me and go off on their own to utilize the facility before Nanna takes them back to her place. The last girl is hanging way back, not approaching me at all, head hanging low. I go to walk over to hand her the information, but Nanna stops me by placing a hand on my arm before I could take a single step.
"Let me give her that, honey. You can't approach her just yet." Nanna says, giving me a very pained look.
"What's her story?" I ask as quietly as possible. I look at the girl and feel like there is just something drawing me to her.
"I'll call her over and introduce you two. She is a sweet girl. She is still pretty banged up. She's been with me for a couple of weeks, and before that she was in a coma for almost a month. When the State called me to get her, they had arrested her step-brother for sexual assault, kidnapping and attempted murder. He really did a number on her. She is a few months shy of being 18, but she is very smart. Be the gentle giant that I know you can be, Ty." she said as she walks over to the girl. She puts an arm around her and they begin walking towards me. The girl never looking up from her feet. "Heather, this is my grandson, Tyson. He owns this gym. Say hello." Nanna urges her.
Heather looks up at me, and I can't breath. Why would someone hurt a woman like this, and a very small woman at that. I would swear she was a lot younger than she is by how small she is. Her eyes are more silver colored than gray, and I can still see where the petechiae hasn't gone away in the whites of her eyeballs. Her hair is so dark that it looks black...I wonder if that is her real color. Her face looks swollen, not doubt from the beating she took. Bruises go from the edge of her scalp down her neck, and you can still visibly see finger bruises still on her neck line. It is hard to tell exactly what this girl would look like if the injuries weren't still so fresh on her body. And to think, it has been over a month since she was hospitalized and she still looks this bad.
"Hi Heather." I say, squatting down so I can be more face-to-face with her. "I'm Tyson, but everyone calls me Ty or Thumper." she still doesn't speak. "I think you will really enjoy coming here and meeting new people. Do you have any questions about the gym?" hoping she will at least ask something.
"I don't have any questions." she says in such a whispery voice.
I pull out a business card from my pocket, and reach it out for her. "Take this. If you have any questions, if you have an issue with anything, or if someone is not being respectful to you in any way...you call that phone number. No matter what time, day or night. Okay?" She takes the card and, for the first time, she looks straight in the eyes.
"Thank you, Thumper." she says in her same whisper voice.
Nanna collects her girls and they head out of the gym. I hug her bye and tell her to call me when she gets back in her office and she can speak privately. She nods and trots out of the gym.
The rest of my day goes pretty quick. I had to teach the Senior Ladies' swimming aerobics today because my instructor called out sick with her kid. Pretty sure I just made those ladies day, because they couldn't wait to come up and hug all over me and thank me for the "wonderful and fulfilling lesson". If old ladies masturbate, those broads are going to be doing it later on. Eww!
It is getting time for me to head out for the day, so I get the night manager and staff lined out and I'm off. I climb up in my truck, and call my Nanna. "You have a free minute? I would like to swing by your office and talk to you about Heather." I ask her. I was going to have a conversation with her on the phone, but I have since changed my mind and need to have it in person. She tells me to come on by, that she would meet me in her office.
I get to Nanna's and walk into her office, closing the door behind me. I take a seat across from her, and she can tell that I am contemplating something. "What's on your mind, honey?"
"Heather's full story." is all I say. She knows what I am getting at.
"Like I told you, her step-brother held her captive in their house. Repeatedly raped her. Tried to kill her." she says, like she wants me to drop the subject.
"How was he allowed access to her to do that in the first place?" I ask, obviously not wanting to drop the subject.
"When her mother and step-father died in a car accident two years ago, she had no other family to take her. Her step-brother petitioned the State and was awarded guardianship of her. According to her, the abuse has been going on for far longer than that though. Years!" she says. "The mailman heard her screams where that monster was being beating on her so he called the police. If it wasn't for that kind soul, she would be dead I'm afraid. Sadly, the bastard was long gone by the time the police got there, and they could only arrest him on the witness testimony of the mailman."
I'm sure my rage is oozing all over my face. I feel my muscles tensing. "I need a name and location, Nanna."
"Jacob Fleming. Earsy, just about five hours to the South of us." she says. "I haven't told her this yet, but he is out on bail. Due to overcrowding and lack of DNA, they had to allow him to bond out. He is suppose to be on house arrest until the prosecutor's office can decide whether or not there is enough of a case against him, but we both know what a joke that is. She is too terrified to testify against him, so they are having to do everything without her actually speaking in front of a Judge." Why does that name sound familiar to me?
"I want her to train with me and Jumper starting next week. I know that there is a self-defense class at the gym, but I want her to get a better training that that. Give her this week to heal some more, but she needs to be at the club gym Sunday evening. That girl will never be a victim again." I say and I am getting up from my chair.
"Ty! There is one more thing you should know. He fights. Jacob Fleming, does. Same circuit you used to fight in." she says. Ahhh! That is how I know the name. I never fought him, but I heard he was a brutal fighter that didn't play the rules to win. "Please don't find him. You know the club rules...let bastards like him come on our turf and then you can kill him."
I agree with what Nanna says, I don't like it, but I understand. I hug her goodbye. I was planning on going home, but it looks like I'm going to the clubhouse instead.