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The Gym

Posted on 02 Jun 2022 @ 12:55am by Lieutenant Isabel Castillo & Liam Knight

Episode: Our Path
Location: Dungeon Fitness - Bremerton, WA
Timeline: February 2025

They had made a deal. After a month of casual dating, mostly in the form of hanging out, dinners, and one movie that… in fairness… neither of them had actually seen much of, and Liam was becoming something of a fixture in Isabel's life. There had been more than a few hot end of the night goodbyes as a good night kiss turned into 5 then 10 minutes of kissing and maybe a bit more. They texted, a lot, but it mostly took the form of funny memes or random thoughts. Beyond that they were moving slow and keeping things light.

Now, after a month, Valentine's Day loomed. For most of Isa's life she had scoffed at the holiday in all of its commercialized maudlin splendor. Sure, if she had been dating she had done the requisite holiday things, but it had often felt forced, and it had easily been five or more years since she had been in even a semblance of a relationship. This year, though, she found herself thinking about it differently… wondering–hoping even– if she and Liam might do something together. So when he suggested she join him for a workout she proposed a trade. She would come to his gym if he agreed to a Valentine's date–something a bit more formal than their usual dinner and hanging out.

She was parked outside of the gym he had told her about, five minutes early, wondering if he was going to take two looks at her all sweaty from working out and decide that maybe she wasn't as attractive after all. "It's the gym, Isa," she murmured to herself. "You work out plenty already."

Liam sat at a red light not far from his usual gym. He had just finished work and would not be on call that night, so he was making the usual run to get in a workout. Today would be different to his usual routine, Isabel would be joining him. Things had been going well between them, and he had asked her if she wanted to join him at the gym to get out of their routine of dinners and late night hangouts. She knew he was a regular gym goer, but he felt that bringing her along with him would be fun. Her proposal had intrigued him since it had been awhile since he had done anything remotely fancy or romantic for Valentine's Day. His feelings for Isabel had been growing the more they had been seeing each other, but he had not wanted to risk losing her by rushing into things. He felt they had a pretty good balance, and he was excited to be showing her some more of his world.

As the light changed, he drove down the street before turning into the parking lot. He spotted her car already there, and he pulled into a free spot next to her. He had already changed into his workout cloths from his work uniform, a dark green tank top and black athletic shorts. He waved to her as he collected his gym bag from the passenger seat and stepped out. He locked his truck behind him and stood while she exited her own car to join him at the front. He smiled at her as she approached carrying a gym bag of her own, and he leaned over to give her a quick kiss before saying, "Hey."

She sighed with a bit of relief as he pulled in next to her. She wasn't usually shy in new social situations, but she also wasn't entirely in her element and didn't really know how well or not well Liam knew anyone else who frequented his gym. As the engine on his truck quieted she slid out of her SUV and came around to the front of his truck. Her face lit when she saw him, something she couldn't quite help. It happened every time now. "Hey, yourself," she said, bumping his shoulder with her own and grinning as they turned to go inside. "So what am I in for exactly today?"

"Today is upper body day," Liam said as they made their way towards the entrance. He reached out and took her hand in his as they walked, catching the eye of patrons leaving. "Since this is your first time with me, I wasn't sure you'd handle my leg routine well," he said giving her a wink. When they entered the gym, he nodded a greeting to the young man behind the check in counter. After signing Isabel and he in, Liam indicated her bag. "I have a locker here I can put your bag in," he said.

"Awesome," she said, handing him the bag quickly and then, with one fluid motion, tugging off the heather grey sweatshirt with NAVY emblazoned across the front that she had chosen to fend off the February cold. As she had anticipated the gym was already a bit warm, so she'd settled on capri length black yoga pants and a bright purple sports bra--her preferred workout attire when she had a choice in what she wore. She took her bag back, not thinking a thing of stripping down to a sports bra in front of him and shoved her sweatshirt inside with her keys and wallet before tugging out a water bottle before meeting his gaze with a broad coy grin. "Wait here or..." She left the question hanging assuming he would direct here where he wanted her to go.

Liam had stared as she had removed her sweatshirt. He got the flash of purple as he realized she was in a sports bra and yoga pants. He found his eyes lingering on her longer than necessary. When she looked at him with her expression. He gave her a slight grin before he coughed into his hand slightly. "Umm, I'll meet you over by the dumbbell rack," he said pointing with his free hand before giving her a wink as he headed towards the locker room. After quickly finding his locker, he secured their bags in it and grabbed his own water jug and a couple of towels. He made his way back out to the gym floor and spied the color purple. As he approached her he could see her already working with the weights.

"Already got the jump on me," he said as he set his water down and offered her the towel which she indicated him to set by her water.

She finished a few quick reps with the small weights she'd chosen to start, setting them down before grinning at him. "Not my first rodeo," she reminded him. "Weights are one of the things we can do on the boat to keep in shape. I doubt my routine is quite as in depth as yours..." Her eyes traveled him appreciatively as she said it, "but I know the basics." In truth she was torn. One one side she wanted to show him that she could keep up with him. A part of her wanted him to be impressed by her. Another part of her wanted to go slow and let him show off. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to simply sit, sip her water, and take in the gorgeous tension of the muscles in his arms as they flexed.

Liam smiled slightly and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. "Trust me, I'm not calling myself a fitness guru," he said modestly before looking back to her. "I normally start out with curls, work my way up in weight. Then I like to do press ups with them while laying down," he said patting the bench for emphasis. He then stood and walked over to the rack where he selected the usual weight, he used for warming up. He looked back to her with an upraised eyebrow, "Three sets of 15 each arm."

"Why do I feel like you are more than equipped to refer to yourself as a guru?" She asked teasingly, eyes running down his torso appreciatively before she tilted her head meaningfully in his direction. Eyebrows popping she twirled, returning to the rack of weights and selecting the next size up from the first pair she had used. "I'll follow you," she said, the flirtatiousness in her voice unmissable.

Liam gave her an upraised eyebrow as they stood together facing the one wall mirror. "Guru Knight, has a nice ring to it," he said giving her a grin as he stared curling the weights. He watched her follow his lead and he slipped into his gym mode, focused on his form in the mirror, yet finding his own eyes admiring her as she worked next to him.

The mirror was new for her, but she caught on to the point of it quickly. It was an odd thing to watch herself and so her eyes kept slipping over to him, appreciating seeing him doing something he so clearly enjoyed with the added benefit of getting to appreciate all of him in athletic wear. She caught him looking at her more than once as well. She didn't falter, though, and with a small amused grin, she watched and followed his lead.

With a load thud, Liam let the weights drop to the ground as he sat up from the bench. He was breathing heavily and he felt the sweat running down his back as he grabbed the hem of his tank top and used it to wipe his brow quickly. He looked over and saw Isabel just finishing her own set before he nodded approvingly. "You've got good form, " he said before standing and locking the bench back up in an inclined position. He then motioned for her to come over to join him before patting the seat. "Now same reps but inclined. I'll spot you so you don't drop the weights, then you can spot me," he said. He watched her walk over noting the definition in her own arms as she carried the weights.

She had noticed him sitting up and had been tempted to pause mid rep just so she could get a look at his abs while he wiped his brow. Instead, though, she breathed through the last rep and set the weights down, sitting up and snagging the towel he had brought her earlier to mop her own brow. "Thanks," she said in response to his compliment about her form before she stood and grabbed the weights she was using to carry them over to his bench. She sat in the indicated spot and set the weights on either side of the bench before leaning forward in her knees for a second, taking the opportunity to catch her breath. "Ok," she said after a moment, "ready."

Liam positioned himself behind the bench and kept his hands at the ready near her wrists to help her as she hoisted them up to her shoulders. "Lean into the bench and press the weights up together," he said as she nodded and began the exercise. He moved his hands with hers, the weights making a soft metallic click when they touched. He kept his eyes locked on hers as she exerted herself. When she was finished, he helped her ease them down so she could drop them. He nodded approvingly, "One down, three to go."

The eye contact was distracting. Very... distracting. But Isa managed to muddle her way through the reps, arms shaking slightly by the end. His hands were a whisper's breadth away from her wrists and that, too, was distracting. She found herself chiding herself internally. She worked with how many men? Dozens... more than dozens... whom she had partnered with to workout before. Nearly to a man they were all in excellent physical condition. And yet not a single one of them was this distracting. When they'd finished the last round of reps she was glad to drop the weights even though goosebumps raised on her arms where his hands met hers to bring them down.

"Well..." she said, sitting up slowly, "now that you've gazed into the very depths of my soul..." She stood, grabbing the towel and quickly wiping down the bench before indicating he should take the seat.

He laughed slightly at her comment before taking the seat she had vacated. Grabbing his own weights he held them on his thighs before looking at her in the mirror with an upraised eyebrow, "Your turn to watch now." With a grunt, he hoisted the weights to his shoulders and leaned back before pressing up as she mimicked his movements from before. With each press he let out a harsh breath of air as he looked up into her eyes.

Yup. Still distracting. Apparently the angle of the eye contact didn't have any impact on whether or not it was sexy. She studied his face at first, the strong line of his jaw and the tousle of sweat-dampened dark hair. The temptation for her gaze to stray to his lips was there like an undertow, but she ignored it, keeping her eyes on his. For a moment she debated making funny faces at him as way to break the line of tension that seemed to run directly from the warm brown depths of his eyes to hers. First set of reps finished she tilted her head slightly, helping him ease the weights down the way he had done for her, her hands firm and warm on his wrists. "One down, three to go," she commented, repeating his words back to him.

He laughed before sitting up and wiping the bench down with his own towel. "I guess I should've told you 'one down, three to go...if you can hang'," he said giving her an upraised eye brow. The fire in her gaze back made him grin more as she sat picking up her weights. He spotted her where she banged out two sets one after the other in quick succession. He was impressed that his joke had elicited such a fiery response. He found it incredibly attractive. That was one of the things he liked about Isabel. She could dish it out, but she could also take it. She let him push her buttons, but she pushed his right back.

If her arms were shaking slightly after one rep they were nigh on al dente after doing two in a row. She wasn't willing to show it, though, so she pressed through until she could drop the weights, the clang setting her teeth slightly on edge as they rolled from her fingers. She leaned forward then rolled to her feet, shaking out her arms as she circled to take her place behind the bench. They'd chosen the same route this time and she made sure to brush her hip against his on the way past. "Ok, hot shot," she quipped at him, eyes still blazing, "let's see what you can do."

Giving her a grin, he sat back on the vacated bench, not bothering to wipe it off and responded to her challenge in kind. He felt his biceps burn with the quick intensity of the work out as he pressed them up and together. When he was done with the two sets, he kept going and finished his last before he let the weights drop. He jumped up from the bench triumphant, riding the high. He caught her staring at him in the mirror and saw her give him a look he hadn't seen in a long time. She gave him a look of pride and admiration.

It was hard to say what she appreciated more, the intensity of his focus, his dedication to doing this well, or the way all of it made her heart stutter and skip. All together it was an impressive combination and she couldn't help the swell of pride she felt as a singular thought ran unchallenged for the first time through her head. I want more of this.

After completing his upper body routine with her, Liam entered the men's locker room to retrieve her bag so she could shower and change out of her wet cloths. As he was inputting his combination, Lester Prouse walked in having just finished his own workout. Lester and Liam were both regulars at the gym and they tended to get along. Lester approached and leaned against his own locker.

"Hey Liam, who's that girl you've been working out with? I haven't seen her here before," Lester asked giving Liam an upraised eyebrow.

"That's Isabel. We've been seeing each other for the last month," Liam answered giving the man a slight grin. Lester grinned back, "She's pretty good looking. Definitely knows how to handle herself."

"Yeah, she sure is something," Liam said getting a far away look in his eye as he pulled her gym bag from his locker and exited out to give it to her. As he approached he watched her seeing her in a renewed light and before handing her the bag, he leaned down and gave her a kiss. He could tell he caught her by surprise and he pulled back as she looked at him.

"What was that for?" She asked, pleased surprise in her tone of voice. His kiss was salty, the two of them more both had been sweating heavily, but there was something less in the way he tasted and more in the look he had given her just before that made her curious.

He smiled at her, "Oh, just felt like being spontaneous," he said giving her a wink as he handed her her bag. "Besides, If you can't kiss me when we're both sweaty then that's good to know now," he said giving her a wink. He motioned towards the woman's locker room, "They have showers and towels in there. Meet you back out here?"

Her eyes widened at his comment, running several steps down the road for why that could possibly be good to know before trying to reign her imagination back in. "Sure," she answered before turning and heading toward the women's locker room. She glanced back over her shoulder once as she walked, giving him a grin, and then disappeared into the locker room.

He watched her walk towards the locker room, the way she swung her hips, that took every once of him to resist the urge to follow after her. He sighed before heading to his own locker room, the thought about her meaning more to him coming up again.

As Isabel made her way back out of the locker room she felt as if that had been both the longest and shortest shower of her life. And she was used to showering fast for work. There had been a look on his face that she couldn't shake as she'd walked away and she couldn't help wondering about his comment about kissing. She wore had donned the NAVY sweatshirt again, but now she had a pair of joggers on to complete the set. Her hair flowed down her back, damp, but loose. She hated having her hair dry in a ponytail and though it was a thing she'd done numerous times, she didn't have to here, so she opted to leave it loose.

He was exiting the men's locker room about the same time she stepped out of the women's and it was almost as if their gazes were magnetic, her eyes finding his immediately. She grinned as she did. "You clean up well," she commented with a chuckle, taking in the damp of his hair and the fresh clothes.

"As do you, "he said with a grin as he slung his bag over his shoulder and took her hand in his as they headed towards the front door. His time in the locker room had been spent thinking of her and the time they had spent together. He was glad she had agreed to come with him, and that day had felt normal. It was the only time he had ever invited someone to come to the gym with him, but it had felt like she had done this with him before. As they walked he looked over at her, "So, Valentine's Day," he began before continuing, "This will be the first time in awhile I'll spend it with my Valentine." He gave her a goofy grin feeling like he was back in grade school when they would exchange Valentine's cards with their classmates.

She grinned right back before pressing her lips together, eyes sparkling. "I don't recall the last time I spent Valentine's Day with a Valentine," she said back, confirming that she, too, was in the same boat. "Other than look fancy and eat good food... I'm not even sure what one does on Valentine's Day." That wasn't true. Not entirely. She had some ideas, but they weren't exactly casual... and they certainly weren't fancy restaurant appropriate.

"Look fancy you say," Liam responded adopting a slightly thoughtful look to his face before continuing, "So I'm guessing my usual work outfit isn't 'fancy'." He raised his hands to put air quotes emphasizing his point before giving her a big grin. He already had a vision for the evening though. He would make sure to look his best for her, making a mental note to bring his dress pants and jacket to the cleaners. The problem was figuring out the good food portion. He debated in his head the prospect of taking a ferry to Seattle, but he was sure getting reservations there would be difficult.

She gave him a put upon look as if to say, Obviously. But the cheesiness was one of the things she'd grown to particularly like about him. He never took himself too seriously and because of that it was easy to be around him. Life was just more fun when you could look at it through the lens of Liam's goofy comments and she'd taken to playing the opposite pantomime of the eye rolling, but amused, girlfriend.

Stopping in front of her car, he turned to face her, taking both of her hands in his. "Well, I'll find somewhere nice. In the meantime," he said before taking a few steps towards her and placing his hands on her hips to pull her close. He gave her a smile and leaned down to kiss her softly before he pulled back to whisper in her ear, "Can I just say how sexy you looked in there."

Standing this close Isabel couldn't miss the smell of him. Clean soap and something that had to be a cologne or his deodorant or something masculine. She breathed deeply, shivering slightly at his whisper, a pleased grin growing across her face. Her hands settled lower, tucking beneath his so that she could slide them onto the unfairly tight ass beneath the gym shorts. She pulled him tighter as she leaned into him, lips next to his ear as well. "If you liked that then I guess you'll have to take me through your leg routine sometime after all."


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