(Unpublished: Subject to change)
“Oh my God, Axia, please tell me you’re at the gym?”
Trudy had left the gym no less than fifteen minutes ago and headed straight for work,
so as she gushed down the receiver the minute I answered it, I wondered why she
was phoning me instead of working.
“Wherever else would I be?”
“Well I need a favor. Please. It seems when we were playing tug–of-war with my handbag earlier, my damned thumb-drive fell out. And that thumb-drive has the
freakin’ presentation I’ve been working on all month, and the meeting for that
presentation, Axia, is now!” she intoned. “Please, can you find it and get here in, like, five minutes? Do that crazy driving thing that you always do to get to places fast. ”
“’Sakes, Trudy, you’re so messy. You’re always losing something. And don’t you know you should always have more than one storage for important docs? How uncoordinated you can be! I just stepped off the treadmill and I’m half-dressed and icky an—”
“Goddammit, Axia! Will you just shut your ever-berating pie-hole and find the damned drive? I don’t care how sweaty or busy you are. If you’re not here in ten minutes, then
our friendship is terminated!”
The line went dead.
I scowled at the Blackberry in my hand. Only Trudy could get away with addressing
me in such a manner. She was my best friend and I didn’t feel the compulsion to
control her. True, I might have gotten carried away with the berating, and was
maybe just a weeny bit inconsiderate at her desperation for my aid. But Trudy
knew me well, so she no doubt had expected some shit-slapped answer from me.
Sweat dripped from my face, and my skin glistened from its sheen; the results of a one-hour mountain climbing on the treadmill. Using my towel to dry the sweat
from my face, I went in search of the thumb-drive to help my damsel in distress.
The bright orange thing was found sitting in solitude on a workout mat.
Trudy and I had engaged in a tug-of-war over her handbag in this vicinity when I’d
caught her nibbling on Snickers, which she was prohibited from eating. She’d
quickly tried to hide it in her bag and that’s when the tugging began.
Wrapping my fingers around the thumb-drive, I rushed out of the gym. When Trudy called me, the treadmill had barely come to a halt, so my breathing was irregular and I
was entirely soaked with sweat and in need of a shower and proper attire, but I had to get this cursed thing to Trudy without delay.
I’d watched her labor with the preparation of this presentation for over a month.
But the presentation was the least of the matter. She’d tried for nearly six months to get her boss’s ear to perk in interest of a new idea she wanted to pitch. And I was pretty sure that with a company like that, this was a you-only-got-one-chance-to-prove-yourself-to-me opportunity for Trudy. If her boss liked her idea, well, Trudy could become a wealthy wench. She had brilliant ideas, but in a city like San Francisco that’s teeming with geniuses, the opportunity wall was rather difficult to break through.
Wearing only a pink tube top and a black workout capris with my pink and white
Shape-up sneakers, I hopped into my jeep and pressed it to Coded Solutions. It was an eight-minute drive, but being an aggressive driver, I had the gift of getting to my destinations in record time. Patience and I were vicious enemies.
In five and half minutes I was in the parking lot of the building. My body lunged
from the jeep, leaving the engine on and car door open—no, I wasn’t worried
about theft: ghosts knew who to shout “boo!” at—and rushed through the revolving
doors of the imposing building. Before the receptionist could look up, I spoke through labored breathing, “Trudy-Ann Green. It’s urgent. What floor is her meeting with Mr. Nelson?”
The brunette receptionist scanned my attire with a scowl, but then she blinked at me
as if realizing somehow that I was of no harm, and gave me the information I needed
with an added “Nice bod.”
The elevator ride to floor 42 took forever, but it granted me enough time to restore
my regular breathing pattern. When the doors opened, I instantly became conscious of my sparse attire when the air-conditioner whispered across my bare flesh, turning my nipples to hardened nubs under my tube top. Oh dear, I didn’t think this through.
I was about to walk into a building filled with smartly attired, starched-collar whizzes in their three-piece suits and sharp seams, and I was dressed—if ‘dressed’ was the operative word—in a tube top, vagina-printing workout capris, sneakers and dry sweat. But if I stepped off the elevator, this could be a detriment to Trudy. So, I ate self-conscious for lunch and entered the arctic building. Why on earth was the air-conditioner on full blast in here? Weren’t these people freezing?
The receptionist for this floor apprised me of Trudy’s whereabouts as she made a
sloppy attempt to conceal her disapproval of my attire. As I wove around rows of
cubicles, ignoring the raised eyebrows and curious stares of the employees, I espied Trudy pacing outside the door I was searching for marked ‘MR 42’, while dialing on her cell with a worried frown marring her cute oval face.
“Psst,” I hissed.
Trudy glanced up and saw me and her shoulders visible relaxed, relief replacing her
frown. She gestured for me to hurry while she grabbed the doorknob and opened it
halfway. Wasting not another second, I ran to her and pressed the drive in her hand. “Go ahead and kick asses, best—”
My words tripped over a lust-pebble when the door jerked back from Trudy’s grasp
and revealed a tall, dark-haired figure whose attention was partly directed to a tablet in his hand while his full, sculpted lips moved to form words. “Green, I’ve waited long enough. If I didn’t think your three-line pitch had potential, I wouldn’t have considered your proposal and arrange this meeting. I’m giving my blessed time and you’re wasting it. I think it is rather negligent of you to have the board convened here, on time, and yo—”
His words tumbled over a cliff when he glanced up and saw me there, half-dressed with sweat that was now fine grains of salt, and I was ninety percent sure my nipples were pressing against the fabric of my tube top due to the high-blasting air-conditioner.
Had he been some other powerful figure, I would’ve been mortified, but never
with this Lothario would I cower. Actually, it was the first opportunity I’d been given to see him in person. I’d only ever heard of him, or seen his face constantly popping up on Internet news sites. His reputation in the women department was not of a squeaky clean nature, despite his billions.
The man was too wealthy for his age, too crude for his status, and cocky enough to make you detest him—well, at least that’s what I heard. But he had a brain that was worth more than his billions. He was known as the ‘wise-guy’, with his never-failing ideas in the world of social networking and software creation.
There stood San Fran’s hottest, sexiest, wealthiest Internet billionaire, Lovello Nelson.
Good thing I wasn’t into men as pretty as this one, because, my oh my, the man
was delectable enough to eat. He had inky-dark hair with a natural unkempt flair
to it, his jaws prominently squared and angular, his eyes were a mischievous
slate-gray that were surrounded with curled lashes. But the highlight of his
face was those amazing, impossibly perfect peach-colored lips.
That’s another thing he was famous for, more than his wealth and brains: his beauty.
Anyone who referred to this man as ‘handsome’ should be tossed in the fieriest part of
hell, because that wouldn’t just be an understatement, it would be a sin against
descriptive words and assigning them to their rightful places. He had to be called Beautiful. And not even that did him justice. His beauty could only be accurately described by the quill and ink of a skillful poet. New words needed to be created to suit him, because ‘beautiful’ simply didn’t cut it.
Sharply attired in a navy blue suit, he stared down at me from his height and I stared
right back, not at all feeling inferior that I had to tilt my head up. His slate-gray eyes sparkled as they made a slow perusal of my body, unabashed, and came back to my face. Smirking, he said, “It’s pretty chilly in here, huh?”
I’d been waiting for that remark. Plastering a smile on my face, I ignored his
question. “Mr. Nelson, Trudy has worked really hard on this presentation. Her
thumb-drive fell out of her bag at the gym this morning at my cost. I got here with it as soon as I could. Please don’t dismiss her, hear her out. She’s got talent. You’ll only regret it later.”
Although I tried to make it sound like a petition by adding the word ‘please’, I knew it
came out as a command because Trudy shook her head at me with narrowed eyes.
Damn it. I needed to practice more on injecting emotion into my words.
Pretty Boy Nelson leaned casually against the doorjamb and crossed his legs as if he
were lounging at a bar. He bit down on one side of his peach-colored lip and he glared at me. “Was that a plea or a command?”
“It’s a plea. I’m sorry if it didn’t sound like a plea, I’m not very good at pleading. I’m used to getting whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want,” I answered, matching his glare with equal intensity so he would get the message that I wasn’t one of those gushing, I-get-butterflies-in-my-stomach-when-I-see-you bimbos.
His lower lip got released from the grip of his teeth as he made another shameless
perusal of my body before saying, “I believe it was a command. And judging by
your choice of attire in my professional building, I also believe you’re one of
those irreverent and uncouth bra—”
“Mr. Nelson, please,” Trudy cut in. “You have a meeting with Tarcel’s CEO in approximately one hour. If you will dismiss me now because of my negligence,
then I completely understand.”
What was she doing? Giving up? No! I shot her a castigating stare, but when she
narrowed her light blue eyes, I knew that she was pissed at me for toeing with
“Axia, thank you for trying to help. But it’s okay. You have an extremely busy day,
too. We’ll talk later,” she continued, dismissing me.
Pretty Boy Nelson earned a withering stare from me—which was evenly returned with a smug smile—and I turned on my heels and walked off. A wolf-whistle left his lips
and traveled behind me, harassing my ears. Ha! It was my time to smother a smile
in smugness. On account of my impeccable derriere, I was anticipating that reaction.
Once upon a time, I was a victim of low self-confidence. Every day I’d sadly wish I
had a tall, sexy figure with curly blonde hair like those girls the boys pursued in school. But as I grew, my breasts swelled into perky perfection, and my derriere grew past the average size and more salient each year. By my college years, I’d managed to ensnare the most popular and lusted-after guy in school, and he’d aid in the growth of my self-esteem by making me feel like the only girl in the world.
Being the girlfriend of the school’s most popular guy, I automatically became the most
popular girl in school, and ultimately the girl with the body every girl wished for. Then there was me being a fitness junkie, never allowing my body the chance to slant out of shape, which meant that I had conspicuous, hard-to-attain abs and toned, well, everything.
The mouths around me never ceased to remind me that I had a body that was like a
gift to men on earth. It calmed me to know that I was no longer in the minority of women with low self-esteem. But it was also annoying when people stared at me
as if they’d never seen a woman before. I know, I got a sweet rack, a tiny waist, perfect hips and a gift of an ass, but so do lots of other women. The attention became irritating at times, and when I showed my annoyance, I came across as arrogant.
It didn’t help that I was half-Hispanic with straight, sixteen-inch hair that was
as dark as night, and a pair of pussycat-gray eyes accompanied by fluffy black
lashes. No, I wasn’t conceited or overconfident. I merely practice to accept who
I am. When I’d stepped up next in line to be fashioned by the hands of God, He
decided that He wanted me to be beautiful with a great bod to complement. Why,
then, should I feel bad for being beautiful? If I continued to feel guilty for being me, then I wouldn’t be showing my Creator any appreciation for His gift, and I would never want to be listed in His Book of Judgment as an ingrate. So, I grasped my gift with gratitude, honed it, amplified it, and flaunted it when need be.
Like now, I knew, without a doubt, that Pretty Boy Nelson was still standing at his
doorway with his eyes glued to my ass. And I also knew that being the unrestrained womanizer that he was, his wanting to get a piece of this ass would galvanize him into giving Trudy another chance with her presentation. Yep, being sexy does have its advantages.
Feeling refreshed after showering away all the muck of dried sweat from my skin, I
changed into fresh workout gear and began preparing for my ten o’clock aerobics
class. The gym’s busiest was anytime after four o’clock in the evenings when people are retiring from a long day’s work. That’s the time I try to be off the floors. But then there were also people with odd schedules, so on some days I instructed classes throughout the entire day.
Proud Sweat Fitness Center was my sweetheart. I’d known since age twelve that what I wanted in life was my own gym. At around age eight, I used to join in with my mother as she dressed in bright-colored leggings, tanktop and sneakers and worked her body into a bucket of sweat in front of the television. I’d been fascinated with the whole concept of being active; the continuous movements that would have my heart pounding furiously in my chest. It was the most amazing feeling—still is.
Abnormal as it was for an eight-year-old to wake before her mother at six in the morning and wait in anticipation for her to get dressed, switch on the television and
start working out, this little girl did. And as I grew, I became more enthralled with gym equipment, curious about the way every machine worked, wanting to try them all, until I fell into an obsession with fitness.
At sixteen years of age, I had abs that a celebrity would toss diamonds for. Once I hit the age twenty mark, I became a plague to my father, ensuring him that this was what I wanted. Though it was difficult for him to accept that I was now an adult, he’d granted me access to the account he’d opened for me since before I was born, and, with a thumbs up, told me to go ahead and make my dream happen.
That I did.
And now, PSFC was San Fran’s most popular luxury gym.
Three storeys high, PSFC was sumptuous and inviting with top-of-the-line equipment:
ENEN, no less. Under one roof there was everything from spa to swimming pool to
sauna to basketball courts. Professional fitness teachers of every kind from martial arts to kickboxing. Proud Sweat Fitness Center had it all and I absolutely loved it.
A timid knock sounded outside my office door and I mumbled for the knocker to enter. It was my assistant, Tish.
“Axia, the representatives of both Sweat2Forget and Fitness on Air have called again…” She hesitated. “They’re rather persistent. Are you sure you’re not interested?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
For the past two years I’ve been nagged non-stop with proposals to star in workout
DVDs or have my own television program. Sweat2Forget and Fitness on Air
were more persistent than others and seemed to hold the belief that one day I’d
give in. Apparently, a body and fitness drive like mine would be perfect for reeling in the cash, making their asses wealthy and the consumers healthy. But for some reason, as good as it sounded, I wasn’t interested. I was quite contented with my stance in life and I didn’t dig unnecessary attention. It was the prime reason why I’d moved to San Fran from Los Angeles where my family resides—it’s just an hour-long soar away, but I don’t get harassed as much here.
Being the daughter of Vince Blacksille, proprietor of multi-billion-dollar armament company, Blacksilles’ Protekk, I inadvertently garnered unwanted attention in Los
Angeles. Paparazzi kept snapping my photo and plastering me all over the Internet just for being Vince Blacksille’s daughter. At one point I was even asked to film a reality show. Ha! Laughable. People sure as hell would turn away if they knew the darkness of my life. Therefore, I moved to SF where people are somewhat more work ethical and less starry-eyed. People here kind of, well, didn’t give a shit.
“Okay,” Tish replied with a look of disappointment. “I’ve added four new members to your five o’clock spinning class and two to your 7am Quicksand class. So expect some
new faces. All the staff have been alerted to the meeting tonight but Meredith, the yoga instructor, has come down with the flu so she will be absent all week—”
“No worries. Hanna has agreed to do double time and fill in for her this week.
There’s some malfunction with two of the treadmills so I’ve called the repair guys who’ll be here at 3pm. Oh, and there’s yet another complaint made about the
new girl in the Juice Bar. That I’ll leave to you.”
The lean brunette who stood before me never disappointed. She was the most
efficient assistant I’d ever had and I appreciated her more than she knew. Half
the time when problems popped up, they were solved before I was even aware of
them. “With an assistant like you around I’ll never have to worry about much, will I? You deserve a breath-depriving hug and a big slobbery kiss.”
Tish blushed as her eyes fell to the floor.
Oops, wrong choice of words.
“I’m just tryna tell you that I like having you around. Don’t wanna lose your
assistance. So anything you want, just let me know.”
She didn’t look at me when she muttered, “I think you already know what I want,”
before disappearing through the door.
Shaking my head, I reached for my cellphone and texted “I’m sorry” to Trudy for
that little tiff with her boss, then got up and headed downstairs to the Juice Bar to mend this reoccurring problem.
As I entered the cool, all-glass space of my Juice Bar & Lounge, a fresh island
breeze fragrance traveled on the air; the air freshener that I insisted the cleaners used. Oversized gray sofa chairs were organized neatly around cherrywood tables with fitness magazines strategically scattered in the middle, and blessed sunlight poured through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Once again, I commended Tish. She knew I liked everything clean and organized.
Set on righting this new employee who had managed to stir one too many complaints
about her negligence even though she’d only been here four days, I strode up to the counter of the bar. Unaware of my presence, she was sitting cross-legged on the floor inside the bar, flipping through the pages of a magazine and bobbing her head to whatever music was pouring from her earplugs. My previous bar attendant of three years had left a week ago in migration to London. So this dark-haired, lip-pierced, tattoo-marked, Gothic-looking attendant was an emergency hire.
Still oblivious to my presence, she sucked on a straw from a large cup of smoothie
until the cup made a gurgling sound, moaning that all its contents were consumed. With my eyes unmoving from this impossible girl, I pulled a bar stool beneath my rump and rested my elbows on the counter with my fingers steepled under my chin. Curious as to how long it would be before Gothic Girl realized that a possible customer was at the bar, I remained quiet. Surely she would have to look up some time within the hour.
Seven minutes ticked by before Gothic Girl finally stood up, but only to dance her way
over to the ice machine and blend herself another smoothie, her head still bobbing to music that only she heard. When she was finished, she turned, saw me, and froze with her mouth on the straw.
So it took her all of twelve minutes to notice I was there.
Unblinking, hands steepled, intimidation in effect, I glared. Nervous—which was the usual effect I had on people—she hastily set her cup down on the counter and yanked the earplugs from her ears as her face flushed a deep shade of crimson. “Miss Blacksille, I’m so sorry, I—”
“Four days, six complaints,” I cut in a chilled tone. “Will I receive another,
“No. No, Miss Blacksille. I promise. I never—”
Cool, self-possessed and oozing intimidation, I stood up and held my hand out to her.
Understanding, she wrapped her earplugs around her iPod and placed it in my hand. With one last pointed glare, I turned and left.
Unlike the average person, it took little to no effort for me to get people in line. To
employee or non-employee, I tended to be quite intimidating. It was not something I tried, nor have I practiced to be this way. It was intrinsic; it was in my blood, my veins. My mother and father both carried the domineering gene, and through birth, I have been execrated with a double dose. Only a few were able to elicit a laugh or a smile from me, and Tish has recently become one of those persons. But most of the time I was serious and commanding, which is something I’ve been fighting to vanquish, but to very little avail.
No less than a minute after I re-entered my office and threw the confiscated iPod
in my desk drawer, a knock sounded on the door and Tish entered with a huge Victoria Secret goody basket.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“It was just delivered for you,” Tish answered with a disapproving frown. She added,
“The sender is unknown,” when she deduced what my next question would be.
Obviously peeved by the gift, Tish set the basket down on my desk with unnecessary
attitude and left. I stared in amusement at the door long after she’d vanished through it. Tish was the perfect assistant, but her ridiculous expectations and hopes of me suddenly becoming a dyke one day were what I believed would ruin the good work relationship that we had. It was all I could give and no more, and trying to get her to understand that was a task. Had she not been so efficient at her job, she would’ve gotten the sack ages ago.
Turning my attention to the goody basket, I opened the small card that hung from a twirl of purple strings.
Amazing ass—um, back.
Pretty Positive that I guessed your correct cup size,
’Cause I excel at that.
P.S. Your command was heeded. There better be a reward.
An eyebrow arched as I read the absurd words on the card. What the hell did this even mean and who the hell sent it? A combination of lacy lingerie, bras, frilly boy-shorts, moisturizers, body wash, body splash and colognes overflowed from the basket when I opened it. A sigh flowed through my nostrils as I sat back in my chair and stared at the commotion on my desk.
It’s been over a year since I’ve dated anyone, and I sure as hell haven’t given anyone the impression that I was searching. The sender—whoever the loser was—seemed to have gotten inside info that I was a sucker for Victoria Secret. The words on the card made no sense, and I was far from impressed. So I stood from my chair, grabbed my water bottle from the fridge, a towel from the cabinet and headed off to instruct my spinning class.
Think Axia Blacksille is a little too much for you? If not, and you would like to receive the second chapter of Love Has A Name and find out who sent the goody basket, then head on over to my 'Contact Me' page and sign up for my mailing list! I will be sending out the second chapter exclusively to everyone on my mailing list on Friday, June 7th.
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One Love :)