Chapter One



“[dropcap]A[/dropcap]agh….”  Paul groaned as he pushed the bar with 255 pounds of weight on it into it’s resting positions with a loud clank.

        With the bar back in its holder, Paul sat up on the bench to rest a second.  Taking a deep breath, he looked around the cavernous gym not really recognize any of the people walking about doing their own workouts.  Paul looked out the window and started to think about where he was at in life right now.  The clear June afternoon was calling him to get out of this place.  He was looking forward to his short drive home.  He knew it would be warm and he would not want to go to work tonight.  After un-stacking the weights from the bar, he decided to make his way to the locker room.  It was getting close to 5:00 PM and work were fast approaching.

        From the moment anyone looked at Paul it was quite obvious that he was a very big guy not tall at only 5’8″, but large in mass and size. This size was more than just genetics, it was years of truly grueling discipline and hard weight training.  This size in combination with his strong wide hazel eyes, curly light brown hair and a skin tone that glowed, gave him the look of someone in the best health ever.  This making Paul a most handsome man that any women desired and men as well.  Paul was 22 and not new to his adopted sport of bodybuilding.  He already held titles in two national pros and three major amateur competitions, plus he held lesser second and third place finishes in five other shows.

        As Paul made his way towards the back of the gym, he could not help but look up and see the six huge individual pictures of the local top ranked bodybuilders, including one of himself, sharing the wall above the entire to the locker rooms.  It was a looming reminder that he had yet to do any competitions this year, and only had one major composition planned, that one only a couple of weeks away.

        For now, though, Paul was for the most part happy with life, and school was finally over and had been since December.  Paul had graduated with his degree in Journalism and was not quite sure what he was going to do next in life.  He had a number of thoughts and ideas in which direction he wanted his life to go in, but none of them seemed right for him or the timing just was not there.  The money he made from modeling, guest posting, bartending and writing articles for the top bodybuilding magazines was more than enough for now and his job with ‘The Alta Nightclub, kept him busy most weekends.  So there was no rush to decide on just what career to embark on.

        His girlfriend, Christiania, always seemed to be on the road these days, which at times annoyed him, but not today.  She was home and he was looking forward to his upcoming vacation and the time that they would have together after his return.

        He walked into a door with the silhouetted likeness of a male bodybuilder on it and made his way down the short corridor, which ended in a large locker room.  He looked about the room with a number of men in different stages of dress, and tried to recall which locker was his, he always seemed to forget.  Spotting the odd colored blue faced combination lock that was his he made his way to the locker just as Britt and David, turned the corner on their way in for their workouts.  Britt was Paul’s usual workout partner, but because of Paul’s job, he worked out on Fridays, before Britt could usually make it in.

        “Hey, Paul, what’s up?”  Britt asked.

        “Hey David, Britt.  Doing good guys, how ‘bout-you.”  Paul smiled with his almost perfectly white smile.

        “Just in to get our workouts in before we do a little Friday night partying.”  Britt stripped off his suit jacket.  “Your off to work right?”  David was already dressed for their workout and was placing his gym bag in a locker.

        “That’s right.  And of course, you two are off to do your Friday night ritual.  Drink be happy and drink some more.”  Paul said slapping Britt on the back and not lightly.

        David broke in.  “You bet your ass we’re too fucking young and way too single to be at home on a Friday night.  You sure you don’t want’a call in sick and join us guy.”  David grind, as he placed his bag into an empty locker.

Paul always noticed that Britt got a little tense whenever David would jokingly mention him going out with them.  Paul really only knew Britt and David from the gym and had never gone out with them.

        “No way guy this is my money making the night.  Plus, I don’t think I could keep up with you guys without a major amount of, advance sleep and heavy mental preparation.  Not to mention the two days that it would take to recover.  Plus I am only a couple of weeks out for my next show.  No drinking now.”  Paul said.

        “You make it sound a lot better then it is, guy.”  Britt said.

        “So you’re telling me that you don’t party till you puke?”  Paul turned from his locker to look at Britt and David’s response.

        “Not puke, just till we fall down.”  David laughed.

        Partying wasn’t the only thing that Britt did well.  At only 26 he was one of the top rated associates with Franklin Myer & Beach, the number three law firm in San Francisco.  Britt was also a very Good looking guy and carried himself with an air of confidence, that bordered on arrogance.  He was considered by most that knew him what people would call a ‘Great CATCH’.   Just shy of 6′ tall with short spiked blonde hair and unusually dark blue eyes which were strong yet showed his feelings, he was also what most would call a pretty boy.

        Paul thought about it and maybe it was time to get to know Britt and David a little better than just as workout partners.  His schedule was going to be opening up more and he would have the time to go out a little more.

“Hey, Dave you do have a good idea there guy.  One of these Friday’s that I’m off we will have to go out, partying.”  Paul said.  This time it was David who gave the tense look.  Paul was not sure if he would be intruding or what but thought if they are thinking of including me what the hell.

        “I don’t know if you could handle the crowd we run around with, dude,”  David said with an uneasy chuckle after a noticeable look at Britt.

        “Are any of these people like the muscle headed idiots that work out here?”  Paul asked.

        “No.  Not really.”  Britt looked at Paul with a puzzled look on his face.

        “Will then, they have brains larger than a pea, I think I could deal with them.”  The three men burst into laughter as two other men looked over at the group, with disapproving looks on their faces, as if the no talking while in the locker room rule had been broken.

Paul did not really think that every person in the place was dumb, but hated the attitude and machismo that most of the guys took on from the moment that they walked into the Gym.  He hated that it was that way at almost every gym he had been to all over the world.

        “Well, okay…you just let us know when you’re up for it.”  Britt pulled on his shorts.

        Thing through the next few weeks that he had Paul asked, “How’s the last Friday of this month sound?” as he pulled on his sweatpants.

        “I thought you made the major portion of your money on Fridays?” Britt asked once again looking over at David.

        “Well sure but I gotta have some time off.  I’ve worked at that place for almost a year and a half now, and I need a vacation.  Plus I will be in the Pro Classic in Florida in two weeks.  So I’ve taken some time off and decide after the competitions to stop at home for a week, I have a seminar to teach, then spending another week right around here. You know, just relaxing and doing all those touristy things I’ve been wanting to do since I moved out here.”  Paul pulled the last of his things out of the locker and placed them in his bag.

        “Back home Ah….  Where’s that?”  David asked sitting on the bench in between the two men.

        “Cincinnati, actually, Indian Hills Ohio,” Paul said with the noticeable tone of loathing.

        “Love it that much Huh.” Britt laughed.

        “Shows that much Huh,”  Paul said with a sneer.

        “Yup sure does…  Well, I tell you what… You’ll be in the gym when you get back right?  When do you leave anyway?”  Britt asked.

        “I leave tomorrow and get back two weeks from today.”

        “Okay, well call me at my office when you get back and we’ll plan to do something then.”  Britt look over at David again, as if a major conversation were being beamed through the air and could only be heard in their heads.

        Paul noticed this but he decided that it was some sort of inside informational look, one that Paul need not know about.  For as many years as he had known them, Paul realized that he knew very little about Britt actually and even less of David.

“Sounds good…”  He answered back.

They had all meet at the gym about two years ago when Paul had moved into the area.  After moving to the Bay area to attend the University of San Francisco Paul was looking for an area that he liked and decided that the peninsula was perfect.  This turned out to be the corset gym to the first apartment that he had gotten and suited his needs for the most part.  Even after he had bought his place a few miles further down the freeway, this gym was still the best place to do his daily workouts.  He looked forward to the day when he would be able to open his own gym and equipped it just the way he wanted it.  He placed the last of his things in his bag and closed it.

Britt, now fully dressed, made the last adjustment on his shoe laces, stood and started for the door, with David a good distance in front of him.  “Talk to you when you get back.”

“Hey Britt, have a good workout, and don’t puke too much tonight… oh sorry don’t fall down too many times.”  Paul picked up his bag and started for the door also.

“It’ll be great when you get a real job so we can work out all the time.”  Britt looked to see if David was in hearing range, he lowered his voice. “David’s just not the same to workout with man.”

“One-day guy, but for now I got to pay the bills and this is the best way.  You Know?”

“You got to do something with that degree of yours.”  Britt said.

“Hey, I am doing what I want right now.”  Paul hated when Britt would comment on his degree, it always reminded him of what his father would say.  In some ways, Britt and Paul’s father were a lot alike.  At least when it came to what Paul was doing with his life.  Even though it bothered Paul, he never made an issue of it, after all, Britt and Paul only saw each other at the gym.  This too was something that Paul was hoping to change.  He had very few friends in this area since most of the people he meets in school were still in San Francisco or had moved to other areas after school finished.  And he could always use a few more friends to hang out with locals.

Paul enjoyed the quiet solitude of his short ride home.  The oversized wheels of his Toyota 4runner buzzed on the unusually hot June day’s pavement.   He knew it would be one of the last times he would be alone till almost 3:00 am.  Whenever this thought came to mind, Paul always dreamed about quitting his job at The Alta, but for right now that was not an option.  With all of the work that he had been doing to line up the finances to get his own gym he had stretched himself as much as possible, and need that job for now.

As he drove up to his condo, he notices the bright red Mazda Rx-7 in his driveway.  He knew Christina, his girlfriend for the past year, was over.  He had given her a key to the place when he bought it six months ago, hoping she would move in with him.  But she felt the need for, as she put it; “More time to understand us.”  What in hell’s name she meant by that, Paul still could not figure out.

Opening the door from the garage into the entry hallway, both of his Kokerspinals were there to greet him as always.  Rocky and Sonny were his babies two purebred cockers, who were bred for the kennel circuit, but Paul could never bring himself to letting the dogs go for the time they would have to be on the road with someone else.

“Hello, boys.”  He said, in a baby like a talk, stooping down to pet both animals.

Paul started up the two levels of twisting stairs that made their way to his place.  The Condo was on the second floor of the building above to smaller flats.  His place was an expensive flat with 24-foot vaulted ceilings and seven large rooms, including two bedrooms and a very large living room and dining room.  He had done most of the decorating himself, with a little help from his girlfriend.  The large living room was made up of two sofas facing one another in the center of the room, at the end near the large picture window were two chairs that were separated by a small table. To the right of this seating area was a fireplace which separated the living room from the dining room.  His dining room was made up of a large sandstone marble table, with eight chairs surrounding it is rectangular shaped.  Though expensive looking his entire place has was done over time and as inexpensively as he could.  Paul liked good things but his parents’ frugal nature had rubbed off on him.  So he picked what he wanted and always tried to get a bargain whenever possible.  ‘Never pay retail!’  His mother would say.

“Hello!”  Paul said loud enough for anyone in the house to hear, as he sorted through his mail.

“Good your home,”  Christina said as she came out of the kitchen.  Christina was 25 and stood a good two inches over Paul, but his large size made them look almost the same height.  She was a very pretty woman, with a look of a high fashion model.  Her long brown hair flowed lightly on her shoulders surrounding the long oval face with a light brown tint to it.  Her large green eyes were always piercingly clear, no matter the light, or her mood.

They met at USF, when Paul was a junior and she was a senior, she was in the finishing months of her management degree, he in the third year of his journalism degree.

Walking over to where she stood, he tiptoed to kiss her on the forehead as she hugged him.

“How was your Friday babe?”  He said softly against her forehead, sniffing in the good smell of her hair.

“Well. . ..” She said softly.  “I’m off to another retrofit.  This time I don’t think you’re going to like it.”  She looked at him as she pulled away.

“Don’t tell me, it’s going to be for the next two weeks, right?”  Paul’s whole demeanor changed.

“Yes. But it is actually going to be six weeks.”  She said softly.

“OK, rip off,” He said calming himself and thinking for a moment.  “Maybe I’ll fly out to where you’re at for a week and we can do something there.”  He relaxed and tried to smile.

She said nothing for a moment as she looked down at the floor walking towards the living room.  “I’m going to be in South Africa.”


“Yea, the hotel that this client just bought is in South Africa.”

“Dam it with the gym deal still up in the air there is no way I can afford to fly there and back.”

“I know sweetie I am so sorry.  I tried to get them to reschedule but, they couldn’t.  I can’t ask them to fly me out there and then back it just cost too much.  So, I’ll have to be there for the whole six weeks.”

“Six weeks!”  Paul said, walking over to the counter in the kitchen, with his back to her.  “What the……this is just fine.   Every Time I plan something this kind of shit happens.”

“Don’t get agree.”  She walked over to him and put her hand on his.  “Sweetie, you know it’s my job.”

Paul took a deep breath.  “Yea, it’s just that its ripoff.  We never seem to get any time together.”

“You’re going to be busy enough with the Pro Classic next week and then your seminar and all in Cincinnati.  Plus I’m sure you can find plenty to do around here without me on your heels.  We’ll do something when I get back. We could go down to Carmel in the middle of the week when it isn’t crowded.”  She said running her fingers through his curly hair. He turned around to face her.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.  I tell you what.  I’ll make the reservations for that place we went to before.”  He actually felt kind of relieved in a way.  While he was looking forward to their time together, he knew she wanted then to be together more than he did.  Why was he so relieved?  He shrugs it off, kissed her and started for the bathroom to take a shower.

“Well, I have to get ready for work.”  He said kissing her again.



This is the 1st round of a book that we are working on getting the edditing done on.  More to come from this and two others.
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