Authors: Karina Sharp
Fighting for Arielle
ISBN 13- 9780692258507
Copyright © 2014 by Karina Sharp.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
This book is dedicated to my wonderful family, friends, fellow military spouses, and those who have been made to believe that they are not good enough. May you always write your own stories and paint your lives in a way that is beautiful to you.
ood work today guys, but tomorrow I want to see a little more effort and hustle," I say as I breathe heavily and look over at Macy. We lazily drag ourselves back into the gym after our daily 5:30am workout with the Navy guys who have been assigned to Mandatory Physical Training, or Mando PT, as we call it. We can hear the expected moans and expletives said within groans coming from the mouths of about fifty sailors behind us.
more of those to go today," Macy sighs as she sits down in our office. "Welcome to the joy that is being a Navy Fitness Specialist."
"How long have you been doing this?" I ask just before I gulp down almost an entire bottle of water in one drink.
"Just a few years. My husband has been stationed here at Pearl Harbor for a year, and before that, I was a Fitness Specialist at the base in San Diego for a year and a half, but it was definitely not this intense."
I think you deserve some kind of award.”
It keeps me busy and helps me pass the time while Ross is away."
I've only been working on base at the fitness center for a few days, but in that time, I've learned quite a lot about Macy.
She's originally from California- a self-proclaimed Valley Girl. She met her husband Ross after he was already a commissioned officer in the Navy. Despite her vows to herself that she would never marry a sailor, Macy met Ross in a bar while spending time in San Diego and says she couldn't resist his charms. The development of their relationship was what Macy claims is like a romantic movie: complete with slow walks on the beach, picnics under big oak trees, scented love letters, and, of course, love at first sight.
My story with my husband is more like a Lifetime movie, I think.
I met Brody in Chemistry our sophomore year of high school, and he became my high school sweetheart our senior year. In a small town, I felt like there weren't many options to help a person develop, grow, and spread their wings, so to speak. Pile onto that an eating disorder and low self-esteem, and there is the perfect recipe for making terrible life decisions. To me, Brody was charming, funny, and, most of all, he seemed to be interested in me, which was a huge bonus in my book. I always had aspirations of becoming an OB/GYN, but my parent's financial status was never conducive to achieving that. Despite the fact I was labeled as gifted, placed in special classes all of my school-age years, as well as easily accepted to several schools for undergrad study, I felt compelled to attend a smaller state university near my hometown. This allowed me to stay around my family and help them out both financially and emotionally. With the decision of going to a school close to home came the abandonment of many of my dreams and aspirations.
Despite a tumultuous off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again, mostly off-again relationship with Brody, I decided to marry him.
He entered the Navy to begin a future for himself. At the time, my achievements were that I had lettered by being on the university dance team and earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, giving me no real plan for the future. Brody seemed to be my ticket to freedom and literally to paradise.
It's not as though I don't have love for Brody.
In fact, the opposite could be argued. I loved him dearly, with as much love as my heart could muster. I mean love him…currently, of course. I currently love Brody. Well, I love him when he is being charming or funny, or just paying attention to me. His simply being nice to me would be a good thing as those moments seem to be fewer and farther between as the days move on. I suppose one could argue that his interactions with me are mostly negative- mean, even. He raises his voice to me quite often, especially when he drinks, and a few times, he's thrown things across the room, but I know he is tired and stressed a lot.
Back home in Texas, I happened upon the
opportunity to dance burlesque when a friend of mine recommended me to a performance group there. I love to perform and would take advantage of any outlet that would afford me the opportunity to dance. I quickly fell in love with the art form as it is an art that requires skill, technique, and some finesse. Prior to meeting Brody, I had always been pretty secure with myself and my physical attributes. When I moved in with him, that self-confidence and self-love began to diminish. Needing an outlet for self-expression, I contacted some local groups on the island and found the best one to perform with.
Brody seems to never be happy with the way I look
, or my company in general, nor is he afraid to be vocal about it, which feeds my insecurity. I often wonder how someone who is not so in love with their body and is overrun with self-doubt can get up on a stage and dance in revealing costumes. It’s not an answer that comes easily. I tell myself that it is for self-expression and empowerment. That truly is a large part of it, or at least it was. However, if I am totally honest with myself, I have to admit that I currently do it because I crave the attention. There’s something so gratifying to me about controlling the emotions and desires of others. Plus, it’s not really me they’re watching. I use a stage name and have a much more confident persona when I’m dancing. I can shut out the rest of the world, do what I love, and then reconnect to hear the praise and applause.
"Where did you say you went to school again?" Ma
cy asks from across the desk, pulling me out of my thoughts.
Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. You've probably never heard of it."
Macy squints her eyes as if she's trying to think hard.
"Nope. Never have."
Macy is a stark contrast to my petite
, barely over five feet self, with long, brown, wavy hair; green eyes; and ample chest and hips, despite being athletic. She is a gorgeous girl in her mid-twenties who is tall and slender, but muscular. Her naturally blonde hair is usually in a ponytail when I see it, but it looks to be straight and about shoulder length. She’s that perfect combination of features a fair-skinned person can have, including blue eyes, but her skin is bronzed. She very much looks the Valley Girl part, with perfectly shaped lips and beautifully proportioned features. It’s as if she was just plucked right out of the stereotype of sunny California, except she’s very intelligent and intuitive.
, Macy looks over to the clock on the wall and declares, "Time for our next workout! Be prepared; this group is crankier than the last."
"Great," I sigh as I bend over to lace my shoes and get ready for my next three workouts of the day.
“By the way, it’s a good thing you don’t wear your wedding ring to work because your hands are going to get so swollen and dirty,” Macy says to me as she heads to the office door.
I haven’t worn a wedding band in quite some time. One thing abo
ut Brody is that he really gets something out of showing me off. He gave me an over-the-top diamond ring when we got married and loves it when people are impressed by the stone, tell him how good-looking I am, or how “well” he’s done for himself. We used to spend a great deal of time at the beach or at fundraisers where I had to dress up and basically be arm candy, which I hated. He didn’t care much for engaging in conversation with me, nor was he a fan of my conversing with anyone else. So, I became resentful, and I used to whine and complain every time I had attend a function or he invited people over. Now, I don’t wear the ring, and he couldn’t care less about my company.
I’ve postulated that the enjoyment he gets from having people tell him I am hot
or ogling me and knowing that I always come back home to him is part of why he doesn’t protest my dancing burlesque. Aside from the fact that it gets me out of the house on the weekends.
feel completely wiped out after our other workouts, but the day is not complete, so says Macy. She tells me the best is yet to come in the early afternoon. I can only imagine what that even means.
, I always take a lap around the gym to check out the eye candy, and then hang out at the front desk to help James fold towels," Macy says with a look of mischief in her eyes.
I am so tired, I think I would rather just collapse on the dirty floor underneath me.
"Can I just lie down in our office and die instead?"
"NO!" Macy replies, seemingly insulted. "I promise you, what you are about to see will re-energize your heart, and you will thank me later."
Not wanting to offend her, I agree to go.
As we first venture into Buffet Hour, as Macy calls it, I am too consumed with the smell of sweat, heat, and my own exhaustion to even look up from the floor. Macy elbows me hard to get my attention away from my own feet barely lifting up off of the floor when I see exactly what she means. This gym, which has been mostly empty all day, is suddenly full of men. Fit men. The kind of men you see on covers of romance novels, except every single one is clean shaven and has short hair. I've never seen such a gathering of toned men and women in one place in my life. After I make what I am pretty sure is a sort of strange, inaudible proclamation of glee, I notice Macy grinning wildly from ear to ear and lifting her chin higher in a very smug fashion as we walk side-by-side. I walk along with Macy around the gym and nod passively as she greets and flirts with various hotties.
Macy is going on about how this is her daily routine and begins to tell me the names of various men
. As we round the corner from the room with the Nautilus machines, my eyes behold what has to be the most fantastic specimen of them all lying on his back, performing bench presses. Granted, I can't see his face, but I scan my eyes down his body, and up, and down, and up again for good measure, to take in what I can see. He is cut like no one I've seen before, but not in the annoying, bulky-with-veins-popping-out way. Instead, he’s toned in a smooth, buff, underwear model way. He is glistening due to his sweat, and if I didn't know any better, I would insist that he is glowing and angels are singing around him. His smooth, tanned skin is taut over his shoulders and pecs. I take in what I can see is a six-pack on his stomach. I am willing to bet there's at least an eight-pack, but his shorts keep me from finding out for sure. That doesn't stop me from picturing what they might be hiding. His shorts do allow me to see his very defined calves, and I feel major heart palpitations. I mentally dub him to be Mr. Yummy. I begin to notice a feeling in the depths of my stomach I've also never felt before. I tell myself it must be my fatigue.
I don't realize that I have stopped walking until Macy says, "Hello?!?"
"Huh?" I ask, trying not to look startled.
"I said, 'How are you liking the moving scenery
, thus far?'"
Uh...everything is just hunky dory!"
I mentally commend myself for the awesome pun I just made and begin to laugh at what I am convinced is a great
wit, in spite of whatever everyone else tells me.
"Ok..." Macy says
, confused. "Why are you laughing?"
innocently. Trying to stifle my giggles, I say, "I sometimes find what I say amusing, that's all."
"What amusing thing did you say?"
As she looks at me through the corner of her eyes, she asks, "Did you just make a pun? Are you laughing at 'hunky dory?' You seriously think you just made a pun? You're such a nerd!"
I see her looking at me incredulously, and
I can no longer contain myself. I erupt into full laughter. Not cutesy
Instead, it is full-on, keeling over, I-just-heard-the-funniest-joke-ever laughter.
Macy tries to play it cool and rolls her eyes at me, but cannot contain herself either.
She begins laughing along with me at my humorous, yet dorky joke. Suddenly, we see Mr. Yummy sit up on the weight bench. He looks at Macy confused as she laughs, and I quickly realize I only had the appetizer portion of Mr. Yummy. His short, dark, brown hair compliments his prominent eyebrows, large eyes, perfect nose, chiseled cheeks and chin. He looks over at me and our eyes lock onto one another’s. I feel like my feet are suddenly glued to the floor and time has completely stopped. I gaze into his eyes long enough to see that they are a dark and mysterious shade of brown, darker than most others’ eyes, but they make me think of a serene place. In that instant, my heart strangely feels at peace. He gives me a slight smile at me, and I can see a dimple in his right cheek, but only his right cheek. I can't help but continue to gaze at him, drinking him in. As I do so, not only do I feel the heat in my stomach turn up by a thousand degrees, but I also become acutely aware of a slowly building warmth between my thighs. He gives me a slight nod, and I smile meekly back, wondering if he can tell that I am stuck in this spot and that if I was wearing panties, they would be unusually wet.
Realizing how ridiculous I probably look and not knowing how much time has passed, I quickly pivot toward Macy, grab her arm, and begin to march away.
I can't help but look back over my shoulder where I see Mr. Yummy looking in my direction, making me blush. I give an awkward wave and begin moving faster back into our office as Macy's mouth drops open in surprise.