I finished my second set of ab-crunches and moved on to some hangin' leg raises. Nothin' like workin' up a good hard sweat to help me keep my mind off of where it don't belong. That's what I kept tellin' myself anyway.
Too bad the preacher wasn't on board to help with the spottin' later. Odd kinda shepherd though, even if he did make a good trainin' partner, and pretty decent company. Knew things that no self-respectin' man of the cloth oughta know. Mal once said that Book was a 'conundrum' that one day would reveal himself to us if we all waited patiently enough. I reckoned that just was a fancy way of sayin' to keep our noses outta the lăotou's business or there'd be hell to pay. Didn't stop me bein' curious though. If he didn't have nothin' to hide, what was the big deal?
All I knew was that there was more than meets the eye to Shepherd Book, and I didn't like the not knowin'. Still, I could be patient when I needed to. And every day we spent spottin' weights or in the galley makin' supper, I made sure I dug a little deeper into that mystery. Knowledge was power, right? 'Course a meaty fist in your face could be too. Which was what I'd been workin' on, keepin' myself in peak condition for when brawn was needed over the brain.
"You're stuck too. Trapped within her walls."
What the guai did she know anyway? I chose to be on Serenity. I had options. And I wasn't supposed to be thinkin' about her anyway. I finished the set and reached for my towel, wipin' my face before slingin' it over my shoulder.
I decided to move on to the bench presses. Something tougher, that demanded focus and gorram concentration. I laid back on the bench and spat on my hands and then reached up to get a good grip on the bars, takin' my time to position them right before I lifted them up off of the rests and lowered the bar in line with my chest.
Then I began the reps, keepin' it steady and countin' out loud as I worked through the set. Yep, this was what I needed. An honest workout. None of that over-thinkin' crap.
Then I saw her out of the corner of my eye. She'd been silently watchin' me as I'd gone through the motions, gruntin' and gaspin' for breath whenever I reached my limit and tried to push past it.
I nearly dropped the bar, and only just managed to catch the ruttin' thing in time before it did serious damage to my ribcage. If Book had been here, it wouldn't have happened at all. Cursin', I righted myself and put the barbell back on its rests.
"What are you tryin' to do? Kill me?" I sat up and rubbed hard at the place on my chest that was gonna be black with a bruise tomorrow. "Thought you were supposed to be stickin' close to your gē ge..."
(open to River)