Day 3 (cont)
Capac tugged at his exercise suit as he stepped into the gym. She won't be here. She didn't mean it the way Fiala made it sound.
Then he saw her. The red hair, of course, was easy to spot. A crowd of men watched as she pumped iron, with the AmerInd security lieutenant Tall Bear spotting for her. Her face was red, but not from her workout. What a hodge-podge of workout clothes she's got. None of it really fits, or goes together. The top looks ready to split open, but the waist is too big. Surely she could have found something that fits better than that?
Tall Bear grunted, and she stopped. "You're done," he told her, and wiped sweat from his brow. "Computer, set weight station C to 1G." Almost instantly, the big man looked relieved, while Mac's expression was disappointment.
She put her weights away. "Thanks, Bear," she told him quietly, and reached for the towel he held out.
"Let's see a movie," he suggested.
Startled, she took a step away. "Why don't you ask Yellow Dog?"
"I have," he answered, and she nodded, as if that settled the matter. "Now I'm asking you."
She looked panicked. "I don't ... do that."
"You don't go to movies?"
"Don't push," she asked quietly. "I could wind up in a lot of trouble."
"Bugalu won't care if we go out," he stated.
Doesn't he know that Bugalu's been warning men away from her?
She grimaced. "Of course Bugs wouldn't care!"
"No," she stated firmly, and turned to the beautiful AmerInd who came up behind her. "Are you done, YD?" The dusky beauty nodded. "Let's get some juice, then I've got to study. I can't believe how much I've forgotten, working on tugs."
"Race," the yeoman returned.
The redhead hesitated, and glanced at a clock. "Okay, but not long." She adjusted several pieces of her outfit as she glanced at the by-standers, suddenly took hold of his sleeve. "Capac! Come and referee." She pulled him toward the treadmills.
"How do you race on treadmills?" I can't look at her. Or her friend, either, not in those outfits.
"It's simple," Mac stated. "We set the treadmill to automatic, then we run for a set amount of time. When time's up, the one who went farthest wins." She took possession of one treadmill and set its controls, as YD did with the one next to it.
"What do I do?"
"You keep track of the time, make sure we stop when we're supposed to, and compare the distances. YD, ten minutes?"
The AmerInd nodded. Capac got them started. It looks like Mac is running faster. Of course, her friend's legs are longer, so she wouldn't need to move them as fast...
"I wondered what you would wear tonight." Capac turned to see that Bugalu had entered, one arm around slim, blond Blossom, two practice foils in the other hand.
"Loaners," Mac replied without interrupting her race.
"And not a single piece that fits," Bugalu stated. "Good news. Abdulla agreed to help you shop. Your first purchase should be an exercise suit."
"Ah, okay," she agreed hesitantly.
Capac glanced at a clock. "Time!" Both women jumped off the treadmills.
Mac turned to Bugalu. "YD's taking me shopping."
"Who's YD?" he asked.
"That's YD." Blossom pointed to the tall AmerInd. "Yeoman Yellow Dog, you apparently haven't yet met Lt Bugalu."
"Wow." Bugalu stared at the tall woman. "How did I miss you?"
The AmerInd grinned and tousled Mac's red curls. Mac rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes, I've distracted him. No need to belabor the obvious."
Bugalu agreed. "But you never used to distract me from a woman that beautiful."
That's very flattering to Yellow Dog, but insults the other two. It that's an example of his usual style, I don't know how he manages to keep getting dates.
"Mac, remind me to ask her out after shore leave," Bugalu instructed.
A dusky finger slid down Mac's arm, producing a look of confusion on her face. "I think she said, 'get in line'. I'm pretty sure that's what she meant."
"You understand her?" Blossom asked.
"We spent 4 days together waiting for the Fireball," Mac returned. "If you're desperate, you can learn new skills very quickly."
"What new skill?" Bugalu asked.
"YD can't speak," Blossom told him. "She communicates through-"
"Can," the AmerInd stated, just to make it clear.
Mac groaned melodramatically. "Two words tonight! She's become an absolute chatterbox!" She turned to Capac. "Who won?"
"What? Oh-" He turned to the two treadmills, only to find one of them had already been claimed by another crewmember. "Sorry, I ... forgot."
"That's okay," Mac said. "It's usually a draw. She turned back to the negro. "What kind of date brings you to the gym?"
Bugalu grinned. "Fencing lessons."
With Blossom? He must have a death wish!
"Let's get started, Alyce." Bugalu turned away, then looked back. "What are you doing next, Mac?"
"Study," she answered quickly.
"Good to see you're keeping out of trouble," Bugalu told her, and walked off.
"Just barely," Mac muttered, and turned to her friend. "Bear asked me out, YD. Can you warn him?" Brown eyes regarded her. "I've already told him, but they never listen!" She adjusted her clothing again, stopped as her eyes landed on Bugalu and Blossom across the room. Bugalu stood behind the blond as he guided her body into various fencing positions. "Now, that's hands-on, if you ask me," she muttered, and blushed.
"That doesn't look like a good method to teach fencing," Capac stated. I never thought Bugalu was cruel, but he flirted with YD in front of both Mac and Blossom, and flaunted his date in front of Mac, when she has obviously come to rekindle an old flame between them. Poor girl. Her heart must be breaking.
"It's a date, Capac," Mac stated slowly, still watching the couple. "The purpose of which is to wind up in bed." She stood a little straighter in sudden interest as Bugalu removed his shirt and tossed it to a nearby bench. "That's irresistible," she grinned. YD grabbed her wrist. "YD, you said I was a distraction! This is the perfect opportunity for me to ... prove it!"
The AmerInd cocked her head, then let go. Mac started across the room, right for the couple in the middle of their fencing lesson.