Kestrel’s Zumba Class

Kestrel’s Zumba ClassI turned on my phone at lunchtime the next day and saw a text message from Kes, reminding me of our Zumba challenge that evening. At least, I think that’s what he said—autocorrect was a nightmare for a dyslexic.

* ZOMBIE 545 2 NIT. WIPE OUR ASS *

Um … Zumba, 5:45 tonight. Wipe our ass?! Oh, Whip your ass? Yes, that made more sense. Hmm, sounded interesting.

Mirelle was eager to meet Kes, but when I suggested she join the Zumba challenge, she stared at me with disgust.

“You know I hate getting hot and sweaty unless I’m getting down and dirty at the same time,” she said. “Although I might come along to watch that hot piece of ass you’re calling your man.”

“Perv!” I laughed at her.

“You know it, chica! But I’ll meet him at the picnic. You haven’t wimped out on that, right?”

“Nope, we’ll both be there.”

* * * *
When I arrived at the gym, I couldn’t see Kes. But as I was running a little late, I hurried into the locker room and threw on my workout clothes. And yes, they were probably a little sexier and a little more revealing than I usually wore to the gym. But all’s fair in love and Zumba.

Kes was already in the studio, chatting to a group of women. I recognized them as the gym bunnies who spent most of their time checking out hot guys. I couldn’t fault their taste in men, but they really needed to get the fuck away from my man.

He saw me and stalked across.

“A fucking dance class?” he spat. “I thought you said this was a Yoga class!”

“I didn’t say anything of the kind,” I laughed at him. “And you set the challenge, not me.”

He raised his eyebrows and smirked. “First person to get out of breath, right?”

“That’s right, mister,” I grinned at him, planting my hands on my hips.

But then he gripped hold of my waist, pulling me against his chest, and rained down scalding hot kisses onto my mouth.

Holy shit! My man could kiss! I pulled away, panting, almost forgetting that I was in the gym’s dance studio. I remembered when I heard several women laughing.

“What are you doing?” I gasped.

Kes just grinned at me and whispered against my neck. “You sound a little out of breath, Aimee. Guess I win.”

“You … that … so cheating!” I yelped.

He winked at me and started to walk out of the room.

“You too chicken to join this Zumba class?” I called after him.

All the other women stopped talking and I turned to look at them.

“My boyfriend thinks this class is easy,” I said loudly.

There was an annoyed rumble across the studio, and Kes’s eyes widened slightly. But then the smirk was back in place.

“Just trying to save you from embarrassing yourself,” he said cockily.

“You can take him, girl!” snapped one of the women.

Just then our teacher arrived.

“Hey, Arlene!” called out another woman. “This dude thinks Zumba classes are easy. You make him eat his words, hon.”

Arlene shot Kes an irritated look. “Is that right?”

Oh hell, this was getting out of hand.

“Okay, ladies—and others. Places, please. Let’s move it!”

I’d taken this class most weeks for a whole year. I’d started when Gregg told me I was getting a fat ass, but that’s another story. The class usually began with stretches and lunges, moved onto the vine step, followed by some hip rolls, butt shaking and then some more complex dance routines.

Well, today the warm-up was the same. But I had to smile when Arlene moved around the room so that Kes was at the front of the class instead of the back. But he seemed amused rather than anything else, and stood with his arms crossed over his broad chest, the running shorts and muscle shirt leaving only a little to the imagination. But from the look on the faces of the other women, they had pretty good imaginations, staring at Kes like he was a calorie-free cream cake.

After the warm-up, lunges and stretches, Arlene ramped it right up. Most of us were puffing after ten minutes and Kes had already won the bet, but as he was standing in front of me, he hadn’t noticed yet. Arlene was pulling out some of the most complicated routines that I’d ever seen and Kes was concentrating on following her lead. I could tell that she was challenging herself to beat this interloper in her class.

I nearly passed out when she made us all do the butt-shake move. I guess she thought Kes would opt out because of the embarrassment factor, but she didn’t know him. He shook his ass like he was riding a road drill.

“Holy smoke!” the woman next to me gasped. “I want to remember this night forever.”

“Tell me about it,” I wheezed.

And I had to admit, he had rhythm. Not that I was surprised—using his body to communicate was nothing new to Kes. This was just a different medium, not a new language. Arlene had met her match, and I was outclassed, outmaneuvered and out of breath. Damn him.

Eventually, even Arlene had to throw in the towel, but only because she was in danger of killing off her class. We were all red-faced and panting unattractively. Kes turned around to wink at me when Arlene declared that the class was finished, and at least I had the satisfaction of seeing that his t-shirt was soaked with sweat.

He whipped it over his head and wiped his face, then leaned down to give me a chaste kiss on the lips.

“Totally hardcore,” he whispered.

“You win,” I admitted, not wanting to be a sore loser.

But instead of crowing about having beaten me, his eyes softened.

“I win every time I open my eyes and see your beautiful face,” he said.

We stared at each other, the room melting away, and something raw and new hovered between us.

“Every time,” he whispered again.

I reached up to touch his cheek, rough with stubble, the skin above smooth and warm to the touch.

I nodded slowly. “My Kes.”

He blinked and a beautiful smile spread across his face. Then he leaned down to press a kiss to my forehead.

The sound of the door banging brought us back to the world.

The studio was emptying, the women dragging themselves to the locker rooms, taking a last eyeful of Kes as they left.

We straightened up, grinning at each other.

With just me and Arlene left in the room, Kes eyed the empty space critically, took a running start, then flick-flacked across the room ending with a somersault.

“He’s a gymnast!” groused Arlene. “You brought in a ringer!”

I shook my head, smiling at Kes as he strolled back toward us. “Not exactly.”

“Thanks for the class,” he said, leaning over to kiss Arlene on the cheek. “Aimee warned me that it would be a hardcore workout.”

“I know you’re blowing smoke up my ass,” Arlene replied with a smile. “But thanks anyway. You’re charming enough to get away with it. Watch yourself with this one, Aimee.”

And she left the room with a wave.

“Another admirer,” I sighed.

Kes tossed his arm around my shoulder. “Wanna go get some food?”

“Sure. Just give me a moment to shower. Meet you out front in 20 minutes.”

He strode away, still full of energy. I wanted to pass out.

Kes paused at the door, looking over his shoulder. “You called me your boyfriend.”

“Yes?”

“First time you’ve done that since we were sixteen.”

Then he turned and left the studio.