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“How’s the gym?” Nora asked, idly stirring the straw in her choco-caramel milkshake. She wished she hadn’t let him order it for her. Some traditions should be changed, she had decided, but she was already halfway through this calorific, creamy beverage and hating every second of enjoying it.
“Gym’s great. Business is steady,” Adrian answered after swallowing his big bite of greasy burger. It wasn’t a cheat day, since he didn’t bother with those any more and just let himself indulge every now and then. He had kept a controlled diet for most of his life anyway and continued to do so. He didn’t offer much more about work than that, assuming his daughter was politely making conversation since this session of Nora and Adrian Seaburys’ weekly lunches had been rather quiet. She never was all that interested in his fitness hobby-turned-profession.
“Still training?” she asked, but contemplating her milkshake and not sparing her father more than a glance.
“Just my usual routine,” he replied, dipping his fries into the smeared dollop of ketchup on the paper. Just a single packet. No need for excess. “I stopped being a PT a while ago.”
He watched his daughter nod and ate quietly for a few more oblivious seconds. Adrian would have looked young for his age if not for the wiry salt and pepper color running through his trim head of hair, and the crows feet when he smiled. He was clean shaven and muscled and Nora always felt like a blob next to him. “Is something up?” he had to ask. They didn’t often have super lively conversations but she seemed especially down today. Low energy, he would say. “Milkshake not good?”
Nora looked up then, feeling her cheeks heat despite her father’s completely innocent question.
“It’s fine,” she lied, dropping the straw. Then she frowned at herself and pushed the tall metal cup away. “Actually, no. I shouldn’t have gotten it.” Adrian raised an eyebrow. Ah. “I’m trying to cut down.”
“Nonsense,” her father responded quickly. “You look great. You look healthy.” At that, Nora gritted her teeth. Healthy. She never understood why he used that word like that. Just say fat.
“I’m overweight, dad,” she said, trying to tamp down her unreasonably rising anger. Adrian scoffed. He only ever saw the prettiest creature on earth when he looked at his daughter.
“That’s just a bit of baby fat, Nora,” he said, ever the reassuring father.
“Well you look awesome,” stated Adrian, as if that was the end of that. He took another bite of his burger, then slowed down his chewing at the glare he saw from the younger Seabury.
“Dad, you run a gym. You know what ‘healthy’ should look like,” she reminded him. It was Adrian’s turn to frown and he started wiping his fingers with a handful of napkins.
“Exactly,” he said, leaning back in the booth. It was hard to make a full assessment with the baggy layers Nora tended to wear, but he had enough experience to make an educated guess. “What are you about a hundred and fifty pounds? At your height? That’s maybe a little over BMI but eh that stuff is whatever. Trust me you’re not fat.”
“A hundred and fi-” Nora couldn’t believe the man would just blurt out a number like that and plough on. “Oh my god nevermind.” She wanted to bury her head in her arms on the table but just stared at her half eaten meal instead. She had lost her appetite, which was a good thing in her mind.
“Nora, what’s the matter really?” her father tried, and she looked up into kind blue eyes. She sighed and tried to push the last thirty seconds out of her mind.
“Nothing dad,” she said, self-esteem notwithstanding. “I was just… I actually wanted to ask you for help. Y’know, get me training. Help me get me a… beach body.” There was a puzzled blink returned.
“Beach body? Honey you’re already gorgeous!” her dad went on wholeheartedly. Adrian really did think his daughter was the most beautiful woman in the world, which he guessed was maybe what a father was always meant to think but he was confident that he wasn’t being biased. Nora was not convinced, well aware of the potential partiality.
“Dad,” she started again, teeth gritted. “Are you going to help me or not?” There were mixed emotions in Adrian now. Perhaps over the years, knowing how disinterested his daughter had been in pursuing athletics or focusing that much on fitness, but was otherwise perfectly healthy, he had built up an automatic response to any doubts about her physical appearance. He showered her with unyielding support and praise, always. When Anne had died he might have overcorrected in that regard, but his daughter was smart and pretty and healthy. He never knew how else to help and was honestly amazed how capable she turned out with him as the bumbling single father.
Now, suddenly, after years of not caring that Nora didn’t care about the one thing he was an expert in, she was asking for his help.
“Of course!” he snapped, surprising them both with his quick excitement. He tempered himself but couldn’t completely control the wide grin on his face. “You’ll always be gorgeous to me though.”
Nora rolled her eyes and was regretting her decision bursa escort almost immediately after his acceptance, but not enough to change her mind again.
Nora regretted buying the outfit. It was tight but comfortable, and she looked awful in it. She wished she had a clean t-shirt to cover herself with. She glared at her stupidity in the mirror. A sports bra? Really? She knew she wasn’t obese by any stretch, but she still hated her body. She hadn’t been ‘slim’ since before puberty but still. She pulled at her love handles. She hated that name as much as she hated seeing them. Cutesy and obscene at the same time. What was it meant to insinuate? Bits of flab to hang onto while you got fucked?
She shook her head, trying to dislodge negative thoughts because she knew they were draining. She turned, twisting a little at the waist to test her flexibility. At least the tights did make her legs look a bit better. The compression made her feel more shapely than just a shape. But she knew that was just an illusion too. She sighed.
“Everything alright in there?” her father’s voice filtered through the bathroom door. She didn’t want to go out there, but she sucked it up, figuratively, and opened the door. Her father filled the doorway and his eyes lit up. “You look g-“
“Don’t,” Nora cut him off, raising a finger. With a smirk he took out his phone and raised it in front of him. “What are you doing?” she gasped, horrified and taking a step back.
“Trust me, this will be worth it,” said her father, taking aim with his camera. “We’ll take another one in three weeks and you’ll be happily surprised.” Nora frowned at the man, but after a moment reluctantly lowered her arms. At least she knew he wouldn’t show anybody else her disgusting ‘before’ photo, and she did look forward to comparing a hopefully better ‘after’ photo down the line. She heard a digital beep of the camera shutter and he nodded, satisfied.
“Done? Good.” She brushed past him. Adrian watched her walking away and had to sigh as well. He knew about people’s insecurities. Knew what some of his old clients thought of themselves when looking in the mirror. And sure, a number of them really did need to reassess their lifestyles and recognize that the person in the reflection could shed a few dozen pounds, but his Nora was not like that. She wasn’t a supermodel, of course, but the meat on her bones was pretty pleasant in his eyes. As far as he could tell most of the fat Nora had put on over the years had accumulated in her bust and her backside. What was the term that new trainer at work taught him? Thicc?
He took another look at the photo of his unhappy little girl. Adrian would concede that perhaps Nora really did look a lot like her mother which was why he saw nothing wrong with her proportions. He hadn’t really gotten a chance to appreciate the woman his daughter had become with the conserative way she usually dressed. She really was stunning in her father’s eyes, even if she doubted that. He only saw the slight paunch of her stomach (which he was going to attribute mostly to his daughter’s terrible posture) as baby fat that hardly needed ‘correcting’. Adrian had to put it out of his mind and get back into the thought process of a personal trainer. He could help her get leaner if that’s what she wanted.
“Alright, let’s get you that beach body,” he said, determined, following his daughter through her apartment.
Nora could not understand how her father was barely sweating. Intellectually she knew why, but seeing him just standing there, breathing normally while she was almost doubled over and dripping with perspiration was infuriating and mildly disheartening. She was twenty years younger than him. They had only been working out for 15 minutes.
“Alright, that was a good warm up,” Adrian said, clapping his hands together.
“What?” Nora felt her knees wobbling and stared up at the man in disbelief.
“C’mon, Nora,” he went on, familiar with this dance. “Let’s keep that blood pumping. Cardio is vital and the best way to cut fat.”
The woman in her heard the words but the girl wanted to rest, and a rare brattiness emerged that quickly won over the body. She dropped onto her butt then let herself melt back onto the yoga mat. She would be laying on her couch if he hadn’t pushed it back to make space for the workout.
“Nora,” warned her father.
“Just give me a minute,” she said, considering herself a full grown woman who should be allowed to lie down in her own home if she wanted to. Adrian loomed over her, arms crossed over his bare chest. He only wore a pair of shorts and wrist band, and while his abs were no longer a clean cut impression he was very obviously muscled. She pulled her eyes away and stared at the ceiling. “Can’t we just… do something for around here? I just wanna get rid of all this really,” Nora sighed, gesturing around her exposed midsection and refraining from gripping onto her ‘handles’ for effect.
“That’s not how it works,” her father chuckled. “Doing a thousand crunches isn’t just going to magically shred belly fat away.” He got down onto his knees and held onto her ankles, bursa escort bayan pushing her feet back so her knees rose up. “But we can start with twenty.”
She felt his pressing grip and took a deep breath. Twenty didn’t sound so bad, so she went to sit up. “Good,” he said.
Nora reached for her knees, straining. “One,” counted her father. She slumped back and took a breath. She went up again. It wasn’t too bad. “Two.” Then down again. There was a tapping from her father’s finger on her foot. “Come on.” She stretched up and this time she barely touched her knees. “Three.”
Nora cursed under her breath. She didn’t realise just how unfit she was until today. Sure it had been several years since she had visited a gym, but she hadn’t lived a completely sedentary life. Why were a few sit ups so hard? “Up, Nora. Three.” She was mad at herself and that helped. “Four… Five. Good. Six.”
By the time he counted to fifteen she could barely move. She didn’t want to give up and pushed herself, her father’s encouragement in her ears.
“Ow… ow!” She winced and dropped back onto the mat, clutching her side. She felt the muscles underneath her flab twisting, alive under her hand. “Ow ow ow!”
Adrien moved swiftly, sliding next to her and pressing his hand onto her stomach.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he assured his daughter, rubbing her abdomen, thick fingers working through her skin. “Just a spasm. Just relax. Breathe.” Nora closed her eyes for a second and let him massage her and she tried to calm her panting. The twitching ceased and she exhaled with relief. She felt fingers brushing the hair out of her eyes and she opened them. Her father’s handsome face was smiling down at her, palm still against her stomach. Nora’s cheeks felt like they were burning worse than her abs. “You good?” he asked innocently.
“Yep!” she blurted, pushing herself upright with her arms. She grimaced at the slight discomfort in her midsection but that soon faded and her breath evened. There was sweat running down her back.
“Alright, drink,” he commanded, handing her a sports bottle. “A little bit.” She did so enthusiastically, the cool liquid a big help. He pulled it away before she could take more than a mouthful but didn’t hold it against him. “I’ll give you a few seconds but I want you up,” the trainer continued, getting to his feet. Nora nodded, staring straight ahead. She felt oddly energized and a few seconds later was ready to get on with her workout.
Nora’s legs were shaking and she was scared she might fall over in the shower. She let the hot water stream down her aching body, pressed her forehead against the cool tile. Every sensation felt good. The heat. The cold. Even the ache. She wasn’t sure how long that workout had been but she was glad her father had pushed her. It felt like she had accomplished something with her body, even if it looked exactly the same as it always did. She looked down at herself right now.
She noticed her nipples again and had been glad for the thickness of her supportive top. That memory of her father’s face intruded her thoughts, made her feel a pulse between her legs. Hastily she twisted the shower knob and hissed, the overwhelming heat washing over her. God that had been strange. She quickly turned everything off again and stood in the steam, watching the water swirl down the drain.
The younger Seabury was happy with her decision to not workout at a gym, despite her father’s insistence. She loved the convenience of being in her apartment. The access to her roomy shower. The lack of any daunting workout machines and most importantly nobody else to compare herself to. It was just her and her dad, and she was used to his ridiculous body already. Half of it was stuck in her fridge right now.
“I was going to order a salad,” she said, holding her bathrobe together with one hand and picking her phone up from her kitchen counter with the other.
“Those places add too much sugar and oil,” echoed her father’s voice in the cooler. He shut the door and was holding two square containers Nora didn’t own. “And I make the best salads.”
He placed them down on the counter and opened the lids to reveal a crisp arrangement of leafy green things, various beans, shredded carrots and some kind of pale protein. Nora was puzzled.
“When did you-” she began, then saw the big empty duffel bag he had sitting on a kitchen stool. She went over to open the fridge. Inside it was almost packed with identical boxes of her father’s premade meals, at least wherever there wasn’t beer or wine on the shelf. “You made all of this? You didn’t have to, dad. And… we had lunch two days ago.” That her father had made this much food in probably just one day had her wary.
“That’s the day I do meal prep,” Adrian shrugged, already seated and forking his salad. “I just made an extra batch for you.”
Nora blinked at her overstuffed fridge for a few seconds and shut it with a sigh. She couldn’t get mad at her dad for something like that, but it reminded her of those depressing school lunches back when she barely had an appetite at all most days. She pulled up a escort bursa stool for herself and dug into the proffered meal while her father watched. He wasn’t succeeding at acting casual but she tried not to make a face as she examined the salad. It did look pretty. When she tasted it her eyebrows rose.
“This is good,” she said, surprised. Her father was beaming. To be fair, he did work hard to learn to cook for them after her mother passed, but by the time Nora was ready to go to college Adrian could manage about three recipes successfully, if he didn’t forget any steps or ingredients. This salad was something else. While it felt light, it was fresh and flavorful and she was even looking forward to maybe eating this twenty more times judging by the state of her fridge. “Maybe we should have less lunches out,” Nora suggested, speaking through a mouthful. “You’ve gotten really good.”
“Aw you’re a keeper, kid,” said her dad, chuffed and proud in equal measure. The corners of his eyes and mouth wrinkled pleasantly when he smiled. He was already halfway through his serving and looked around his daughter’s apartment from her very modern kitchen. “This place is great,” he said, which was probably what he had said the first time he had come over when she moved in but he didn’t really have other words than that.
Nora shrugged in response but was smiling too. The salad was really good and her body was so glad to be filling up with something after that intense session. Through no small effort of her studies, Nora had done pretty well for herself. It was really the pride in her father’s eyes the first time he saw the place that was the most satisfying part of getting the keys. She guessed that’s why he never pushed her into sports despite so obviously being a fitness nut himself.
She preferred books, and computers, and video games (which they got to overlap in a little) and once he recognized how well she could do in her studies there was no better cheerleader for her goals. Granted, she grew up probably a bit more insular than he would have liked but she had a tight knit group of equally nerdy friends. And she had a couple of boyfriends in college but Adrian had no problem with his daughter pursuing a career first. He was always so proud of how smart and ambitious she was compared to him. But he sensed she was probably ready to get back into the game, so to speak. “So you have plans for the summer?” Adrian asked her, as casually as he was able.
Nora was so busy enjoying her meal she could almost pretend she didn’t hear her father over the crisp leafiness.
“Hmm?” she hummed noncommittally.
“You said you wanted a beach body,” her dad recalled. “So I guess you want to go to the beach.” He was this close to knowingly tapping the side of his nose. “Is there a boy?”
“Oh god. There’s no boy, dad,” she said, rolling her eyes and stuffing her mouth with more salad so she wouldn’t have to explain herself for a few seconds. Adrian kept quiet, but over the years he could spot what really underpinned a client’s fitness goals besides improving one’s general wellbeing. A lot of them had an obvious commonality. “I was… thinking of dating again,” she admitted, now consciously avoiding looking at her phone on the table.
“You don’t need to wait ’til the summer for that,” her father asserted. “Guys will be swiping right and superliking you as soon as they spot your pic.” That he even knew the terms and used them correctly was horrifying enough to Nora and she almost choked on a cherry tomato.
“Please don’t tell me you’re on dating apps,” she said after clearing her throat. She regretted the insinuation immediately but Adrian showed no indication he took offense.
“Barret got me to download one last year,” he confessed. “Tried it a couple times. Don’t think that sort of thing is really for me though.” Barret was her dad’s business partner. He was the business side of the partnership really, while Adrian had been the one with the training and people skills that helped the gym thrive. At this point neither man had too much to do for the day to day running of the place, with her dad mainly managing and training up staff while Barret made sure the finances and facilities were in check.
“Phone,” Nora stated simply, offering an open palm. Adrian titled his head.
“I know you still have the app installed. Let me see,” she demanded with a grin. Her father pulled out his out of date device, the screen cracked like a lightning bolt had skidded across the surface.
“Only coz I don’t know how to delete those things,” he said while handing it over.
Nora knew that a good looking personal trainer like her dad would probably do pretty well on a dating app. She did have to dig through a sea of random crap to find it though. He really hadn’t touched the thing in at least 6 months. The photos on his profile were good. The first was him in a sharp blue business suit that was probably one of half a dozen times he ever wore something like that, and his shoulders filled it out nicely. There were two of him shirtless in the midst of various workouts on gym equipment she couldn’t name, showing off biceps in one and an incredibly ripped back in the other. They were in artful black and white. “Those are pretty old but Barr said I should put them in,” explained Adrian, hovering over her shoulder. “He made me put a filter thingy on ’em.”
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