“Sure,” I said, looking around the crowded room. I hadn’t noticed her facing the large windows and the light rain outside at the pool, but she saw me as soon as I walked in.
“I got caught, well, here.” She showed me her slender gold necklace and the white plastic wire wrapped around it, the one that connected to a set of earphones. “I was on the treadmill and see what happened? I should have been more careful.”
Seemingly not embarrassed by it all, she waited patiently as I fumbled with the chain, trying to get it loose from the wire. The necklace’s links were small and held the wire tightly in place. I could smell her flowery, subtle perfume; feel her soft skin against my fingers as I tried to remove the snarl.
She moved closer and lifted her shiny auburn hair from her neck so I had a better view of the chain and her silky shoulders. There was a light sheen of sweat on her creamy white skin.
I tried to concentrate on the task, but I must have stopped fumbling because she asked if I was having problems. The gym was full of people, including some women her age. It occurred to me that she could have asked anyone to help but for some reason she chose me. Not that I was complaining,
It was early. I wished that I’d dressed a little better, shaved, even brushed my teeth a little longer.
“I really appreciate this,” she said. I noticed that her iridescent blue eyes, penetrating ones, focused on me.
“Maybe,” I said, “If I could find the clasp. There is a clasp, isn’t there.”
“Well, I normally never take it off,” she said with the hint of a smile. Beautiful teeth, not bleached, but lustrous. I was looking
Not wanting to be smart-alecky, I murmured something that could have been construed as agreement or interest.
“Maybe if I faced you?”
“No, you’re fine just the way you are.” I blushed but hoped she didn’t notice. Maybe there was a hint of a smile there, I don’t know.
I struggled to find the tiny circular clasp, and using my short nails, to open the tiny clasp, freeing the necklace. It fell into her upturned palm, cord and all.
“I appreciate this, I really do,” she said still standing next to me, waiting and watching me. She kissed me on the cheek.
“I really should be getting on this treadmill if I am going to make it to work on time.”
“Well, if there is anything, no anyway that I can pay you back.…” She moved closer.
“Maybe,” I said weakly. I noticed that a few of the other exercisers were now focused on what was happening between me and my new lady friend. Most must have drawn their own conclusions, assuming that it was a contract in the making, only the handshake missing from the deal. Was that a smug face on the guy at the next machine?
I stood on the treadmill, plugged my earphones into the tiny jack. I started the machine, but I could tell that she was still there, working out the entanglement. So was I.