Thursday, April 24, 2014

Muscle Mom

The wind blew gently in the small central Illinois town. The fall weather swept away the warmth of summer and the town trees began to change color. The town had a small university, which was the major employer for the area. There were a few other small manufacturing companies and a small hospital, otherwise the remaining economy as minimum wage retail, fast food and the such. There was a major highway running east and west through town, most of the businesses were located along the road. Homes were north and south of the street. Although it was a place where no one would live richly, the town was safe, a good place to raise a family and perfect for it's 10,000 residents. There was a community pool, small bowling alley, 2 screen movie theater and a  golf course.

Sara drove the U-Haul off the Interstate and onto the exit ramp. She took the long curve slowly and straightened out the truck as the road turned dead east. "Seven more miles and we'll be there" she told her 7 year old son John. The pair was heading to a new life. A bitter divorce had made Sara much more guarded and cautious. Her son would always come first now. She had found the town years ago passing by to St. Louis. It was a perfect distance away from their troubles and still somewhat close to other family. As they were getting kicked out of their town home and needing a place to live, she thought back to this small town, and found a place to rent, on a quiet street, a small 3 bedroom ranch house. She had enough money for a few months of rent, but needed a job, quickly.

When her husband started to cheat on her, right after having John, Sara found sanctuary in the gym and through it bodybuilding. She struggled, but a few gym rats took her under their wing and she blossomed into a serious competitive bodybuilder. She drove the remaining miles into town, 30 years old, wise beyond her years. Her 5'2" height made people think she was a pushover, but under her usual baggy clothes were 142 pounds of rock hard, thick, lush muscle that every man would envy. Her brown eyes scanned the road ahead, her short dark hair tied in a very tiny ponytail behind her head blew in the cool breeze. She wore a baggy Gold's Gym sweatshirt, the only signs of her physique, her thick neck with chords of muscle showing and her very thick forearms sticking out below the half sleeves on the sweater.

 She looked over at John, who was sounds asleep. The truck pulled into town and she made the second left, to the north, onto her new street. A few more blocks and she pulled into the driveway of the small house. She turned the keys to off and sat in the truck, tired and ready for her new life. She pulled out a prepared back and backpack from the cabin and went inside to set up a sleeping place for the two of them. She then went back to the truck and scooped up her sleeping son and brought him inside. She would start unpacking the truck tomorrow.

Sara put her son down and tucked the sleeping bag over him, then she went and walked around the house, making sure it met her approval. She stepped into one of the small bedrooms and turned around to face a mirror left on the wall. She rolled up her right sleeve to the shoulder and shook her arm out. Her left wrist clasped around her right and she hit a side bicep pose. A huge rounded muscle formed on her arm, her forearm stretched with ease and her tricep popped off of the back. She smiled and rolled her sleeve back down. Now to get some sleep.

The cool fall morning felt great on Dan's bare shoulders. Even though it couldn't have been more that 55 degrees, he liked to run with his racing singlet. He always warmed up quickly enough, and felt like he was lighter on his feet with fewer clothes. Ten degrees warmer and he probably would run shirtless, but at this temperature he would feel a bit self conscious. Having shed about 20 pounds of beer and pizza weight that he'd put on in college, he was proud of his new physique. Four solid years of racing, and he was starting to look like a runner--skinny but powerful legs, hardly any body fat, and even an ok six pack if he flexed. He wished his arms were bigger, though. At work when he rolled up his sleeves, his forearms were skinner than most of his female colleagues. But with 5 runs a week, plus a swim and a bike ride, he didn't feel like he had time to lift weights, and anyway, big muscles would just slow him down.

Today was an interval day--2 miles to the track, then 800 meter repeats until he was ready to puke. He liked these high intensity days, because the didn't give him a chance to think about anything beyond his body. "You can do anything for 2 and a half minutes," was his mantra, echoing through his head as he rounded the track. If he started to reflect on his work, his weekend plans, his beloved Bears football, or the sorry state of his love life, he would immediately notice a drop in his split pace. "2.5 minutes, 2.5 minutes, 2.5 minutes....." until he'd completed 3 miles and was ready to go home. 

He felt pretty good on his workout, but as always, by the time he got to his cool down run home, he looked terrible. As he limped his way around the corner to his house, face red as a beet and drenched with sweat, he noticed a U-Haul in front of the house that had been empty for the last couple months. He saw that even the cab was stuffed full of things. He reflected how nice it was to be in a small town. When he was at school in Chicago, a truck like this would have been broken into 10 minutes after the sunset. But here you could leave your valuables on the street without worrying.

The truck was parked a couple houses down from Dan's, so when he passed it he decided it would be a good end point for his run, and started to walk. His mind had started to wander back to Chicago life, when he was startled by a garage door opening. He looked up, and in the driveway of the formerly vacant house stood a dark haired woman, seemingly a few years younger than him, staring out at the truck. His heart was still racing from his run, but he gave her a weak smile and a wave, and she flashed him a guarded smile in return. "New to the neighborhood?" he asked. "Yep," was her curt reply. "Um, my name is Dan, and, um, if you need any help unloading things later today let me know....I'm just down the street." "Thanks," she replied, "but I've got it." "Ok, well, uh, see you later," was the best Dan could muster.

God, he thought, as he made his way to his doorstep, I must have sounded like an idiot. She was pretty cute, too. Oh well, I'm sure she's married or has a boyfriend, just like every other reasonably attractive girl in this town. Time to hit the shower and get ready for work.

Sara watched the tall, thin man walk away. He appeared to he a seasoned runner. "Well at least someone in this town exercises" she smirked. John was still asleep so she decided to get to work immediately. This would be easy with the furniture already provided and in the house. She started with the boxes of clothes and kitchen stuff. She then rolled up the sleeves on her sweatshirt to her elbows and exposed her massive and thick forearms to the cool air. She began to unload her free weights and bars, then her weight bench all to go into the spare bedroom.

If anyone were watching her they would have been amazed at how easily she handled the entire load. At this point she was just piling items in the house wherever she could.

She finished with emptying the cab and gave it a quick wipe down.

John had awaken at this point and she made them bowls of oatmeal with berries and she drank from her gallon water container.

"Did you sleep good sweetie?" she asked him. "Yep" he said, chewing his meal.

She smiled and got out her computer and immediately began hunting job sites for a job.

As Dan was driving to work, he caught a glimpse of the new mystery woman on the block unpacking the rest of her truck. She was not dressed in the sexiest clothing, just an old sweatshirt and sweatpants. But when she reached up to close the back of the truck and her shirt rode up a little bit, he couldn't help but notice her belly. "Jesus, she is toned," thought Dan. "I'd kill for abs like that." As he watched her in the rear view he thought she glanced up at him, but he couldn't be sure.

He hadn't even seen her for a total of 2 minutes, but for some reason, this woman was on his mind all day at work. Dan had this tendency to fixate on women, inventing elaborate dialogues between them after only brief conversations. He knew this was unhealthy, but it helped pass the time while doing rote tasks at his job. And whenever he started to think about this particular woman, that brief flash of her lower abs kept popping into his mind.

He decided he had to approach her. But how? "I guess I could bring over a pie or something, to welcome her to the neighborhood" he thought, but decided immediately it would be too cheesy. "Or ask her out for a drink....but that would be too creepy." Pretty soon the day had passed, and he'd gotten little accomplished beyond constructing a fantasy conversation with a woman he knew nothing about. On the way home he drove extra slowly past her house, hoping for an opportunity to say something to her, but there was no sign of life on the whole block. As he opened his door he glanced back one more time to her house and thought, "tomorrow....

Sara scurried several websites that morning, including the local chamber of commerce website for jobs. There weren't many openings at all, fewer that she was qualified to do. One office job doing clerical work, a few retail jobs at the mall, suprisingly which most were full time, so she could get benefits. She went online to the store sites and was unable to find applications online, so she changed into a nice pair of pants and a long sleeve blouse and explained to John where they were  going and the behavour expected from him.

Hours later and five applications later, Sara came to her last stop at the mall. The Sears store was looking for a general sales clerk. She sighed and finished the application. She handed it to a worker who asked her to wait. A manager came out and shook her hand. "Hi" he said, admiring her strong grip. "Let's have a seat over here and talk". She motioned for John to go watch the large tv's as she talked to the manager for 20 minutes. She walked out to her car with John with a full time sales job. It paid just enough and provided insurance. She felt like she had a minor victory.

The alarm clock startled Dan out of his dreams at 5:15 am. The sun was just barely out, but he wanted to get in a long run to clear his head this morning. As he passed her house, he noticed that a light was on. "I wonder if she left it on last night for security, or is she a really early riser?" he thought, as his quickened his pace. An hour and a half later he came cruising back down the street, and his heart quickened a bit when he saw her outside the house, arranging some things in the yard.

"Up early today?" he asked. "Yeah, just trying to get settled," came her reply, a little friendlier than their first interaction. "I didn't catch your name the other day...I'm Dan, in case you forgot." "I'm Sara," she replied, "and I didn't forget your name." "Good, I'm glad I made an impression," he said. "I'm just good with names," was her ambiguous response.

"Well, it looks like you got your stuff unloaded without my help, but I do still want to welcome you to the neighborhood," he said. "How about coming over this weekend and we can grill in my backyard?" he suggested, feeling both bold and extremely nervous at the same time. She paused for a moment, before flashing a quick smile and saying, "that would be nice...I hope it's ok if I bring my son...he's 7." "Of course...let's say Saturday around 3:00"

"That sounds great, 3:00 it is" she smiled at him. He was again disappointed by her choice in clothes, it was cool out but she again was wearing a gym sweatsuit. She appeared a bit chubby to him, but honestly it didn't matter to him.

She had a very cute face and he loved the little ponytail she always wore.

"Can we bring anything to the cookout?" she asked him.

"Any side dish would be fine" he said.

"Consider it done". They said goodbye and Dan walked into his house and peeked out his window, watching her clean up her yard some more. Something about her, he thought.

He didn't normally get nervous about spending time with women, but for some reason, as Saturday approached he couldn't stop thinking about seeing Sara and her son. He wasn't the best with kids, and while it didn't bother him at all that she was a mom, he wasn't sure how things would play out on Saturday. He was picturing the two of them sipping wine on his back patio, and having her son there might complicate things.

At least he was confident in his cooking. He had developed a taste for great food while living in Chicago, and after moving back to a small town he had to figure out how to make pretty much anything that wasn't available at Olive Garden or Red Lobster. For the cookout he thought he'd grill a salmon fillet on a cedar plank... it was easy enough that he wouldn't look flustered, but fancy enough that it would hopefully impress her. And it always came out great. In case her son doesn't like fish, he'd bought some hotdogs too.

Saturday morning he was up at dawn, even though he didn't have a workout scheduled. He thought back to his college days, when the only time he'd see the sunrise was at the end of a long night. He didn't exactly miss those days, but he was still always a little surprised when he was ready to rock by 6 am, without even setting an alarm. He'd done his shopping on Friday, so he had pretty much all day to kill waiting for them to come over. As he checked himself out in his bedroom mirror, wearing nothing but his boxer-briefs, he thought back to that glimpse of her abs that he caught the other day. Impulsively, he got down onto his floor and did 100 quick crunches. Then, feeling a little sheepish, he hopped into his shower.

Sara arranged for a babysitter previously, an elderly lady down the street who would watch John for a set amount of money. Saturday was her first day of work, 7am till 2. Then the cookout. A busy day, but something she was looking forward to. Her life. She awoke at five and did a heavy workout for an hour. She then showered and dressed, a long conservative dress for her first day of work. Her thick neck was clearly evident as where her large forearms.

She smiled and admired them, then went to wake up her son. She quickly go him off to the sitter and drove to work.

By 2:30 pm everything was ready. Dan had prepped the food, chilled some wine and some soft drinks, got the coals started, and made the house look reasonably welcoming. He took a quick shower and got dressed. It was a perfect fall afternoon, not too chilly. He wore a charcoal, fitted v-neck t-shirt and his nicest pair of  dark blue jeans

He went back to the deck to check on the coals, and they looked perfect. The fish takes about 45 minutes, he thought, so if I put in on now the place should smell great when the get here. As he finished the preparations he realized it had been a long time since a woman had been in his house. He'd been on a few dates over the past couple of months, but he wasn't the kind of guy to just bring anyone home, and he hadn't had a serious relationship for over a year. It felt good to actually worry about what someone would think about his house. Just as he was hanging up the jacket he'd left on his couch, he saw her door open across the street. His heart jumped a bit, but he quickly calmed himself, poured a glass of wine, and went back to the deck to put on his best nonchalant vibe. 

Sara got out of the shower, yelled to John to make sure he had put on the clothes she had laid out, and dried herself off. Her massive quads flexed as she walked across her room. She tied her wet, dark hair back in a ponytail as she went through her closet for what to wear.

She had ideas of wearing something that showed offe her body, but decided to cover up a bit since it was cool out. She picked out a light blue dress that was made of a very thin fabric, yet it covered her entire length down to her ankles. The sleeves were a bit loose, but her large muscles stretched the fabric slightly. The sleeves on the dress came down to her wrists. With her shape, she still made it look very curvy, one of the benefits of bodybuilding she smiled.

She grabbed the fruit tray she had made, "Let's go John".

In no time the doorbell rang. Dan set down his wine and opened the door. He was caught off guard for a moment when he saw Sara. Until now he'd only seen her in baggy sweat clothes. Today she had on a dress that, while not particularly revealing, still showed off a bit of her figure. Just from her neckline, and the way the dress hung off her shoulders, he could tell she was extremely fit. She wasn't wearing much makeup or anything, but was fresh out of the shower and had a glow to her. He was immediately attracted to her, not so many anything in particular about her appearance, but rather the confidence she exuded at his doorstep. He caught himself smiling for too long, said, "you sure clean up nice!", and invited her and John in.

"What can I get you?" he asked. "Just a water for now," was Sara's reply. "And I'll have a coke," John burst out, but Sara quickly changed his order to juice and instructed him to use his manners when asking for something.

"The food will be ready in about half an hour, but there are some snacks outside and we can go hang out on the patio or in the yard," said Dan. "John, I've got a soccer ball we could kick around, or a Frisbee to toss, if you're interested." As Dan opened the back door for his guests, he couldn't help but check out how Sara's figured filled out her dress as she walked past. More than just fit, this girl looked powerful, from her legs up to her neck. Again he caught himself staring a second too long, but he was sure neither of them noticed.

Sara walked by Dan and into his well manicured backyard. She noticed a large garden on the far end of the property and a huge smile crept on her face. "That's yours?" she asked pointing to the garden.

"Oh, that, yes it is" he said, realizing that she was interested in it. She turned her neck to see him, large chords of muscle in her neck stretched as she smiled.

"Can I go look at it?" she asked.

"Of course" he replied, as John went to kick the ball around the yard.

He stayed a few steps behind her and watched as her thick body seemed to have her dress resting on top of it.

Sara O