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"Sheila Galloway? If you're not Sheila Galloway just ignore me and I'll go away. Well… way over there and try to pretend this almost conversation never happened."
Sheila sighed. She rarely got a break. Her classes were usually sold out. This week Nick planned on doing some renovation work, causing one of her classes to be rescheduled. She half thought of denying it, but instead, she composed her sweetest smile and dazzled the man before her.
"That's me! I'm sorry. Do we know each other?"
Christian’s heart skipped a beat and his lips slowly curved. He knew he should say.... something but he could only smile. After all this time to see her again…
The thorough once over look Sheila gave him made him want to laugh. He felt immense pleasure to know she liked what she saw. She obviously knew there was a connection but hadn't placed him yet. His left eyebrow arched as he debated whether or not to fess up at all. Perhaps he'd just play along and see how deep her interest ran.
Something about this stranger's smile and sexy hazel eyes seemed familiar, but surely Sheila thought she'd remember someone as classically good looking as the man before her. Like a lightning strike, memories came flashing back. It was the incredible combination of arched eyebrow and a cocky grin that made it all clear.
"Christian?! Oh my god!" Jumping up, Sheila carelessly tossed her magazine aside and threw her arms around him.
Christian had to drop his gym bag in order to catch her, the force of her almost toppling him backward. He laughed as she squeezed him. "Now, that's what I call a welcome," he said hugging her back.
Sheila couldn't believe it, she felt positively giddy with excitement. It had to be... "It must be eight years now that I haven't seen you," she said in awe as she realized just how long it’s been.
"Nine," Christian said but was quick to add with a shrug, "but who's counting?"
The woman before him reached goddess status over those years. He couldn't get over her transformation. To him, she was always beautiful, but now… "Now I guess the whole world gets to see her shine," Christian thought as he openly admired her.
Shying under Christian's gaze, Sheila said, "Well... you look great." In Sheila's ears, her voice echoed back in the pitch of an awestruck teen instead of a twenty-nine-year-old woman. "What is wrong with me?" Noticing how Christian's smile became more bashful. Her confidence grew, as she insisted, “No, you do. You really do."
He really did. In college, she had affectionately referred to his look as a bit "ragamuffin" for he seemed to have a permanently rumpled appearance. She would have never equated her "ragamuffin" with this man. For starters, his hair once long and out of control was now significantly shorter but still held some of its curls. He had returned to his natural honey blond instead of bleaching it brighter. She took note he still wore his small silver hooped earrings, which showed he still held a hint of rebellion, even though he had traded his metal band T-shirt and torn jeans for a form fitted black tee and khakis.
"Thanks, you're looking mighty fine yourself," Christian said taking her hand and spinning her around with one arm to get a better look. He knew all about Sheila's weight struggle and her determination to change. "Obviously her determination paid off," Christian thought noticing how toned and defined her arms, legs, and midriff were, as they were delightfully exposed for his enjoyment in her spandex workout gear.
"So," he said with a mischievous wink, "you come here often?"
Sheila laughed. "Same old Christian." He always could make her laugh. "I do, every day in fact. I work here." Giving more clarification, "I'm a physical trainer and instructor for the gym."
Christian looked impressed and then confused. "I thought you went to school to be a physical therapist?"
Sheila couldn't hide her surprise that he bothered to remember what she majored in. "You're right I...I had, but once I got into the physical training aspect of it...well...I sort of became an aerobic junkie," she said laughingly. It struck her as odd that he not only remembered her major but that he even managed to recognize her at all. After college, she became determined to get into shape. It was such a transformation; her before and after pictures became a source of inspiration for her clients.
“It’s obvious you’re no stranger to the workout scene.”
Sheila couldn't resist the temptation to finger his shirtsleeve that strained against his muscled biceps. What she found was most impressive. Whether or not he tightened the muscle to show off or as a reaction to being touched Sheila wasn't sure but appreciated the definition all the same.