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My lame injury earned me half a day off: twelve hours of antsy relaxation I thought I'd spend not thinking about exercise. Instead, by six in the morning, I was itching to crawl out of bed and move again.

Who the hell am I now?

"Ready for a hike?" Axel asks, stretching his arms behind his head.

There's too much excitement in his voice for a trek in nature on a ninety-degree July day, but I've become increasingly aware that these days are numbered, so I shoot him a smile.

"Sure," I say and bend over to stretch my legs.

In the process, I realize I give him a show down my tank top and spring upwards at the thought. A trace of a smile plays on his lips as he continues loosening the muscles in his arms.

Then, his expression changes. "Wait, hold still," he says and takes a couple steps towards me. His fingers meet my exposed shoulder and flick something from my skin. I watch the small insect fly away and am surprised I don't scream and run in circles, saved only by the warm feeling rushing through me at the thought of his touch on my skin. He clears his throat, drops his hand, and the feeling disintegrates. "It was just a bug. Let's get going."

The trail is steeper than it looks, heightening my caution. Just the thought of hitting the gnarly bruise on my shin again sends a shudder down my spine. If that wasn't bad enough, I have to swat away a fly or a bee or whatever other demonic flying creature every few seconds, earning me a couple eye rolls from Axel. I don't feel bad for laughing in his face when a wasp lands on his forearm, and he lets out a yelp.

"A-are we any closer to the top?" I ask through a couple huffs, unable to catch my breath. I press my hands to my cheeks, and they feel like they're on fire. I pause and down half of my still freezing-cold water bottle, quenching my parched throat.

"Impatient today, aren't we?" he hums without turning around.

I can hardly make out a droplet of sweat on the back of his neck, while I look like I just hopped out of the shower. Walking as I sip on my water, I decide I might as well make this hike more enjoyable.

"You know, I've always wanted to ask something," I say, speed walking to catch up to him. Axel turns around, nodding. "How did you get stuck with me?"

He stops in his tracks. "What do you mean?"

I rest my hands on my hips, squinting as I look up at him. "I mean, how does the whole matching trainees with trainers thing work? Is there a streamlined process, or is this confidential information?"

"Not exactly confidential," he says, cracking his open his bottle of water, "more convoluted. Especially with certain trainees."

I wonder if "certain trainees" applies to me, with how many times I checked off "no" for the application's questions regarding athletic ability.

"So, do you have a say in the final decision, or is it up to Bob?"

He takes in a larger than normal amount of water and chokes halfway through swallowing it. He buries his face into the crook of his elbow and coughs erratically for several seconds, making me wish I never asked.

"No, it's not all up to Bob," he finally says, voice hoarse, "but as time has gone on, he's let me have more of a say in how things go around here."

Seeming to have opened a Pandora's box of curiosities, I now wonder how long he's been working here, what the girls he trained before me were like, and if his vague answers mean our meeting wasn't pure happenstance.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill, or are these normal thoughts?

"Well, if it makes you feel better," I say much more softly, "whoever did decide on this pairing did a nice job."

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