Maya’s promotion came with more work, naturally. She had a pretty strong online presence with thousands of followers across all social media, but she needed local flesh to know her too. The more people she influenced, the more people were influenced by the company, and that was all that mattered. Something big was coming, and everyone at the company hit the ground running. The boss suggested they all make cards and hand them out wherever they went. It was old school, but sometimes the world needed a little old school.
Lately, Maya had been hitting it hard, and the big promotion reflected it. She liked the pace and loved being around people, but she felt like she needed to work at a slower pace in order to meet the right people. So, one day, she decided to work from home. She began her day at the gym to meet people and pass out cards. She hated the gym. The gym rats always spoke so highly of working out and touted how energized they felt afterward; Maya just snorted. All she ever felt after working out was pain. Even still, she found herself being drawn to the treadmill and she had no idea why. Well, she kinda did, but she still didn’t understand. Working out was another way to connect with people. Most of the people in her life worked out. Maya didn’t have any hobbies. The only thing she enjoyed apart from partying and kissing was stretching out in front of the TV, stuffing her face with popcorn. So she worked out. Not all the time, but enough to warrant saying “I workout” without hesitation. It was the most unpleasurable event of her day, but man…it sure worked!
She loved how the cruel and unusual punishment made her body look. Her recent hesitation with men was good for her because she knew she was hot stuff before, but now? Ooh wee! She knew she was bad. She’d probably entertain every slithering slimeball that wanted to feast his eyes (and hands) on her. Sometimes, she’d stand in front of the mirror and gaze at her torso. She had a little six pack coming in! She definitely had a two pack, but some days she swore she saw four of them.
The gym in Willow Creek was lame and small. There were only old people doing jazzercise and water aerobics during the day. Skye Fitness in San Myshuno had style…and cute men. She could kill lots of birds with one stone.
One of her Simstagram followers was there and chatted her up for a minute. It was a lovely break from sweating and having a heart attack. When her fan walked away, Brayan was there chatting up Marisol. Brayan was cool, but it was weird seeing him speak to one of her sister’s friends. Marisol was older than Aubrey and had graduated already, so it was fine but still weird. But then again, Maya had no idea how old Brayan was exactly. They could have been the same age, but in her mind, it was still weird.
There was a man she spotted at the other end when she walked in. Every now and then, he’d start talking to someone new. He must have been a trainer. Eventually, he made his way down to her. He was cute. “Hey. I’m Haru. You ok down here?”
She forced a smile. “Yep! I’m great.”
“Good. If you need help, let me know. I’ll be around for a while.”
“Thank–oh! Actually, I need to ask you something.”
“Is it ok if I give out my card here? It just has my name and information on it.”
He gave her a sly grin. “You’re not a trainer, are you?”
Her face wrinkled as if she smelled something pungent. “No! Watcher no! No offense.”
He chuckled. “I think that would be fine. Could I have one?”
She smiled. “Of course.”
“Thank you. Enjoy your workout…and good luck.”
She snorted under her breath. “Thanks…I’ll enjoy it.”
Maya begrudgingly completed the next ten minutes of her run and promptly hopped off that machine of death; she didn’t even do the cooldown. Before she left, she found a few cute guys to give her card to. As she rounded the corner to exit the building, a man stood there smiling at her.
“You’re gonna ruin that pretty face with that frown…”
She wanted to laugh, but everything hurt. Her feet, her thighs, even her hair hurt.
“Workout was good, huh?”
She rolled her eyes. “I hate this!”
“No pain, no gain, right?”
She stormed out of there as fast as someone in pain could storm. The breeze felt great, but it did little to soothe her aches. She felt sorry for being rude to the man. He was just being nice…and he was kind of cute. She should have given him one of her cards.
A mountain of dread loomed over her as she saw the hill of stairs ahead she would have to climb to get home. Just as her eyes were rolling again and shoulders drooping, she saw her friend Tobias up ahead and called his name.
“What’s up, Maya!”
None of them know why, but somehow Maya and her party friends ended up greeting each other with bro hugs. At one point, there was a joke about Maya being such a girly girl but a diehard sports fan and lover of designer sneakers. Maybe it came from there. However it came to be, it was their thing now.
Sometimes, when the rest of them weren’t around, Tobi’s hand would slip down just a bit further than it needed to. It wasn’t anything inappropriate, but it was definitely a sign. Still, she never took the bait. She wanted something else. Something solid and obvious. Intentional!
“You look like you lost your dog! What’s wrong?”
“I hate working out.”
Tobi chuckled. “Well it always had nice things to say about you.”
She managed a tiny grin. “Can you help me up all those stairs?”
“Sure thing, sweet thang.”