Twisted Love Challenge (in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, from any genre, 1500 words

A Change of Chi

                Thursday. Her favorite day of the week. Not because the bulk of the workdays were behind her, and not because all the good shows aired on television that night.

No, she thought as she exhaled and lifted her chest, Thursday was the sweetest day because of 6:15 yoga with Joran. It was he, owner of the smooth muscles and some mysterious ink peeking from the waistband of his shorts that made the day grand. She took class three and sometimes four days a week but on only one did she get to appreciate the elegant form of Joran.

Chaturanga into downward dog. And from salutations they moved on to Utthita Adho Mukha Śvānāsana. She felt the prickle of heat as her muscles worked. Her infatuation was growing, she knew, and taking on its own life, yet she’d never try switching classes. Other women wanted Joran too, and she wasn’t about to lose a competition.

“Square your hips, Leslie. We’re not to the twist yet.”

Warm hands righted her pelvis, and slender feet appeared in her line of vision as she stared at her supporting leg. The same hands moved to lift her other leg higher and before Joran’s feet turned to step away she swore his fingers slid along the back of her upturned knee. From under her arm she tried to catch his eye but he was gone, attention already on another student.

Her heart beat loud in her ears. Joran touched students all the time, her and others, tweaking postures as he cruised through the room. But this, this had been something else, she was certain, and now she could scarcely find her breath from the anticipation. It was time to initiate her plan.

*             *             *             *

               Joran took a final gander at the empty studio, checking for the occasional mislaid water bottle or forgotten hoodie, and assured the room was well-ordered, he shut off the lights and locked the glass door. He was not a fan of how passerby could witness classes but the owner, Pete, wanted the public to be able to see his instructors in action and as the studio’s least-experienced employee, Joran couldn’t exactly argue with his obdurate boss. He chose rather, to focus on the fact that the spotless glass seemed to be working to his advantage as he now boasted the largest classes of anyone.

Being an instructor was paying dividends already, Joran thought as he walked to his car, parked in the near-empty lot rife with bright lights. Females flocked to his time slots with increasing zeal and the more student progress he saw the more competent he felt. It didn’t erase his sketchy past but it was helping, just as he’d hoped. Lately he’d even felt good enough to think of talking to Pete about a raise. With a satisfied sigh he unlocked his car door and lowered himself inside.

Someone was standing at the side of the car.

Joran sprang up, ignoring the pain of his arm smacking the car’s metal doorframe, and raised his hands like two blades before his face.

“Hey, it’s me!” The young woman nearly fell as she hurried to back away from him.

 He instantly lowered his hands. “Leslie? What the fuck?”

She chewed hard on her bottom lip. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was just waiting…I didn’t mean to scare you.” She was looking at him from the corner of her eyes, expression pained. He let out a breath and rubbed his sore forearm.

“It’s okay. Next time though, maybe don’t sneak up on me.”

“I know. Stupid.” She came toward him a step. “That position. Was that some kind of karate?”

“Tae Kwon Do. Ten years.” Relief at not facing an attacker was spreading through him and he rolled his head once in each direction to loosen his neck and shoulders before setting his gaze on her. “So, why were you waiting for me?”

Leslie smiled. “I’ve been coming to your class since you started four months ago and you’ve put your hands on me a bunch of times, Joran, but not like you did tonight. Am I wrong or were you sending me a signal?”

Joran leaned back against his car, next to the still-open door. He liked that Leslie was direct. He also liked her legs and her firmyoga butt. And the hair. He was a sucker for a thick, dark mane.

“And if I had been, would you like that?” He knew the comment might label him a dick-head, or a player at the least, but he had a feeling about her and felt safe in his prediction of her reaction.

                “You tell me,” she gave back. “Would I?”

She held his stare as he tried to read her face and all he saw was the start of a smile at her lips.He decided he’d made the right call then, and besides, nothing good came without a bit of risk.

“I think you’d like it very much.” Pushing off the car, he slid his arms around hers, clamping them to her sides. Her eyes were bright and his were closing as his lips met hers. Her mouth opened and the kiss went on, and his hands found her sides and she lifted hands to his head, fingers winding in his hair. Pressed tight against him, he thought she felt even better than she looked and though he’d been thinking about her for weeks he hadn’t imagined things would go this easy between them.

They paused at the same time, heads poised a few inches apart. She lifted a brow.

“Please don’t tell me those were all your best moves.”

“Not even close,” he said, breathing hard. “If you want my best then we’ll need somewhere more private.”

She gave him a slow smile. “And with privacy, you’ll what—blow my mind?”

 “That and a whole lot more.” He squeezed her with the circle of his arms. “And since your question tells me you’ve never been with a yogi before, I’d be perfectly happy to be your first.”

He both felt and heard her short laugh, but when she started to speak, he pressed his mouth to the side of her neck and as he moved to her earlobe her voice trailed away to silence. And he felt so good he almost laughed too.

 *             *             *             *

 The warmth and light pouring through his sunroof matched his mood to perfection, but in truth, Joran could’ve faced a week’s worth of incessant rain and not been brought down from his cloud. For almost eight weeks he’d been seeing Leslie, and though for only a few hours after Thursday class, they made incredible, passionate, no-holds-barred use of the limited time. To the point where he found it difficult to function as her instructor during class and he’d taken to not touching her at all, for fear of a physical reaction impossible to disguise. She teased sometimes too, making bedroom eyes or licking her lips at him and Joran could only hope the other students didn’t notice. He believed the relationship was changing, progressing beyond excellent sex, yet he hadn’t exactly asked the boss about the policy on instructor/student relationships.

He could today, though, given that Pete had called him in for a “little sit-down” and Joran was certain the boss planned a six-month review ending with discussion of more classes or more money, or both, he thought with a smile. As he pulled into the studio lot and parked, he pondered how to mention his feelings for Leslie, and by the time he’d reached the door, he thought he had a decent plan.

Pete was standing in the doorway of his closet-like office when Joran entered the studio and since a class was underway, he motioned at Joran to come in.

“Glad you could come by early today.” He closed the door behind them and extended a beefy hand to pump Joran’s. When their hands parted the boss gestured at an empty chair. “Have a seat.”

Joran sat, tried not to look eager, and watched Pete maneuver his body in the seat behind the desk, which was approximately an inch from his own knees.

“I’ve been planning some changes around here and wanted to fill you in, seeing as how you’re currently the employee with the largest number of new student sign-ups,” he explained, and Joran knew the good news was coming.

“I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak,” Pete went on. “And I don’t have time to run this place the way it should be run.” Joran silently agreed. The boss hardly showed his face at the studio, but he wasn’t sure what that had to do with him.

“So, in my place I’m putting someone who’s invested here. Someone who really cares.”

Joran’s breath caught with the joy of such a promotion, but for only a moment before Pete crushed those hopes.

“She’s in the restroom.” Pete indicated the adjacent powder room with a jab of his thumb. “I told her to come in the second she’s done.”

 As Joran struggled with disappointment they heard the sound of a toilet flush and a minute later the door to the office opened. Pete stood, and at the last second Joran managed to remember to do the same.

“Joran, I’d like to introduce you to my wife, the new manager and master of the studio.” Pete gave him a conspiratorial wink as the woman entered, dark ponytail swinging.

 Joran’s stomach fell and even clad in his street clothes, he suddenly felt more exposed than when wearing only yoga shorts. Leslie’s lips parted in a smile for her husband before she turned and looked Joran square in the eye.

“Oh, there’s no need for introductions, honey. Joran and I are already very well acquainted.”








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