Andy clipped her client on the chin, forcing him to throw his head back with the blow. Next, she got down on her haunches and threw one leg out, swiveling it to push her client’s legs out from beneath him. All six-feet-three-inches and two hundred pounds of him came crashing down with an outraged gasp on the boxing ring bed, making her jump up to regain her footing as the structure quivered all around them. Grinning down at Bob around her mouthguard, she prepared herself to face his rebuke. However, he seemed less than inclined to satisfy her irritable mood today.
Bob groaned into a sitting position and rested his elbows on his upraised knees. Spitting out his mouthguard into a gloved fist, he leveled his resigned moss-green eyes up at her. “That must’ve been some meeting you had with your old man yesterday,” was all he commented.
Andy spat out her own mouthguard, disgusted by his consoling tone. She was itching for a thrash-out and he was refusing to take the bait. What must a gal do around here to get an able and willing male opponent in the ring? “Meetings with my dad are nothing if not out of the ordinary. You should know that by now.”
Bob grunted non-committally. He pushed himself off the bed with the sheer strength of his legs alone, his calf muscles bunching and releasing with the effort. Andy tried not to gulp audibly. Her pelvic floor muscles, however, she thought she heard squeak with yearning. Not that she would respond to such yearnings; Bob was her client, after all.
“Hey! Where are you going,” she protested as he swung himself through the ropes and jumped down to the plywood floor below.
“Away where you can’t cause me too many injuries,” he threw over his shoulders as he strolled towards the punching bags that hung across the gymnasium. “Why don’t you take out your daddy issues on these babies for a while, love? C’mon, I’ll spot you.” He motioned her over with a jerk of his head.
Bob was a first-generation British American. She had met him three years ago while scoping out the sporting outfit in Downtown Manhattan with some of her Wall Street buddies after work one evening. He may have only been a part-time trainer at the King’s Boxing Dugout but he had given his best sales pitch to sign up Andy and her friends for amateur classes. Not that she had been too opposed to the idea. Even fighting out corporate litigations in the courtroom could not expend all the rage she harbored towards her father.
At the time, when Bob wasn’t training recreational boxing to white collar professionals of New York City, he worked as the Creative Director of an advertising agency. While training at the Dugout, they became quite “chummy”, as Bob liked to put it, and Andy had learned about his hurdle in making his new partnership in the agency come up to scratch. Per the agreement, he gained part ownership of the agency he helped build up upon his naturalization. However, before his citizenship came through, his American partner had defaulted on their agreement by making his own son one-third partner, thereby making Bob’s share, upon acquisition, less-than-effective.
Andy had helped Bob sue and win against his old partners, where Bob sold back his share for a hefty sum. These days, Bob owned his own advertising agency, which was doing fairly well for a startup. Bob retained Andy as the lawyer for his company. Though she had a much smaller role to play as his lawyer, their friendship only grew stronger over time. And while Bob’s new business did not allow him to part-time train at the gym anymore, he was always available for a round of “fisticuffs” when Andy was feeling particularly energetic.
Now, Andy did as Bob suggested, giving the bag he picked a good whack the moment she reached it. He was not ready for her sudden attack and seventy pounds of sand swung out. Bob grabbed the bag before it could return and strike her back.
“Easy there, tiger,” he murmured, looking her over again, this time more carefully. “I’m starting to think that maybe you need to talk about it.”
“No,” she answered, charging at the now steady bag with both arms and legs.
“Well, then I can think of another less violent more frisky sport for you to release all this energy.”
There was his flirtatious humor again. It had taken Andy months to realize that when Bob spoke like that, he did not really mean anything by it. It was just his British way. This was a relief because she really valued her friendship with Bob and did not want to squander it by dating him. She never could stick to any relationship more than a few months – another latent effect of her estranged relationship with her father – which he now knew well. He was the only man she trusted infinitely and she was happy to designate him her best guy friend.
Even though she sometimes found herself secretly admiring his rugged Mark Strong profile or had trouble breathing when he turned on his dry charm. “Ha-ha,” Andy retorted, trying to cover up any telltale blush with a pretense of irritation. She continued taking out her frustration on the bag.
Bob pulled away the bag, making her stumble forward on her inertia. “Andy, love, why don’t you take a break from boxing today and let me take you out to lunch?”
Andy stepped up to him, glowering with challenge. She was tall herself at five-feet-ten and it did not take too much elevation to lock eyes with him. But again he was all docility.
“You can talk, not talk, your choice,” he improvised, his gloved hands raised in surrender. “But I am hungry. I had a sudden meeting with a client this morning and missed breakfast. Can you believe it, on a Sunday? Moreover, this guy had so many ideas that for a while I forgot who ran the creative agency. I think only a double-patty cheeseburger and a large basket of fries from Thelma’s will now appease my appetite.”
Bob always ate healthy and she knew that once they reached their favorite diner, he would change his order to something leafier. He was just recounting her favorite food. Andy looked at his familiar close-lipped grin, the teasing glint in his eyes, and knew she was going to tell him all about the meeting with her father. Maybe he knew it already too.
It really was too bad that she was incapable of lasting romance.
~ Zaireen Sultana Lupa, WIP, still no idea for what novel