Kerlegan left and I told Brandon everything else. What happened to the wolf? I asked.
As Natalie told her all about her personal training certification she seemed to be getting more relaxed.I was one of the top trainers by the time I left. My parents kept asking me if I was going to get a different job, go corporate, maybe go to business school. But I really loved my job. And I was good at it.
I bet you were. I’ve had trainers before, and none of them were even half as good as one of your classes. It helped to flatter sources during interviews, but this had the benefit of being true. Why did you leave the gym?Natalie turned to her glass of green juice again, but not before Nik saw that her eyes had filled with tears.I got married. One of my clients. She shrugged. She still looked down at her juice. Such a cliché, I know.
Clichés wouldn’t be clichés if they didn’t happen all the time. Of course the whole problem was the husband. So . . . why did you leave the gym after getting married? Did you decide to go to grad school after all?She shook her head. She still had tears in her eyes, but she was looking straight ahead now.
No. My husband didn’t think it was appropriate for me to keep working as a trainer after we were married. He said there would be too much touching other people; he knew I was bi, and he said he didn’t have a problem with it, but it meant that working with women was a problem for him, too. So I quit. Nik raised her eyebrows but didn’t ask a question. Natalie answered it anyway. I know what you’re going to say. Before I met him, I would have said the same thing. I didn’t . . . by the time we were married, he’d convinced me of a lot of things. He said my job now was to take care of our house and him and that he’d take care of supporting me. I thought that was so sweet.
When did you stop thinking it was sweet? she asked.Okay, fine. She had to admit to herself that she was smitten with him. It was past time for talking sense into herself. At this point she just had to ride it out for the rest of the night. She knew it was all fake—she knew because she’d been reminding herself of that—but it didn’t matter. Not when he was touching her like that.
At first, she’d tried to give him space—after Bill had moved away, Drew obviously hadn’t wanted to keep up the pretense, so she’d backed away. But they told their real/fake story to Lauren and Dan, and he introduced her to a million people, and all of those things necessitated them holding hands at a minimum. Or so at least he seemed to think, and it’s not like she was going to disagree with him there. So she kept her hand in his and her smile aimed at him, and boy did it feel good, fake or not.At dinner, they were at one end of the huge wedding party table, along with Amy, a few bridesmaids, and creepy Bill, with Lauren and Dan all the way at the far end. Well, at least she’d had lots of practice eating food with people who were hostile to her. She’d discovered tonight that working in politics had given her a lot of skills useful for being a pretend girlfriend. Drew was talking to Amy, who was on the other side of him, so Alexa chatted away with the bridesmaid sitting next to her.
While they ate their entrées—pork chop encrusted with chopped almonds for her, chicken cordon bleu for him—he turned back to her while Amy complained to the waiter about something or other.Good, actually, she said after swallowing. Better than your typical wedding food. Want some? She cut a piece and held out her fork to him.