Relatively Famous

By: Heather Leigh

Chapter 1



The sudden screech of tires to my left makes me reflexively turn my head toward the sound, so when my foot hits a patch of ice on the sidewalk, I don’t see it coming.

“Ooof!”

I hit the ground, hard, and my right arm takes the brunt of the impact. Jogging isn’t supposed to be an impact sport.

Holy crap that hurts!

“Are you alright?”

I look up and see a kind, well-dressed older man walking around a black sedan to crouch beside me, his breath puffing out in front of him in the bitter cold.

“Ummm, I don’t know,” I say pathetically. I lift my arm and see that my long sleeved thermal jacket is ripped open and there’s a two inch gash showing through the hole.

“Oh my. Here, let’s clean you up.” He helps me to my feet and leads me to a metal door that simply says GYM across it in red lettering.

I don’t know this guy and this Hell’s Kitchen gym looks a little rough. I pull a napkin out of my pocket and show it to him. “I’m okay, I can just use this.”

He chuckles when he sees my sad attempt to refuse his help and plucks the napkin from my hand. “Miss, you have blood running down your arm and dripping onto the sidewalk. What kind of gentleman would I be if I let you leave in this condition? Come on, they have a first aid kit inside and can get you fixed up quick, I promise.”

My reluctance vanishes at this compassionate man’s words. For some reason, he makes me feel safe, in a fatherly way, which I haven’t felt in a long time. My stomach clenches at the thought of my dad. I shove it back into the recesses of my mind with all of the other problems that I’m too chicken shit to face and focus instead on the searing pain radiating up my arm. It’s easier to face physical pain than mental pain.

“Okay, I guess I do need a little help.”

He opens the door for me and as I pass through he smiles, “I’m Bruce by the way.”

I can’t help but smile back. “Sydney, nice to meet you Bruce. And thanks for taking pity on me and my inability to stay upright.”

“It happens to the best of us,” he chuckles.

Once inside, I’m shocked at the surroundings. There’s no way a guy like Bruce, in his dress pants and impeccably pressed shirt, uses this gym. For one thing, it stinks, like old sweat socks and used equipment mixed with industrial strength cleaner. Second, this isn’t an ordinary gym.

Taking in the huge room, I’ve determined that I’m the only female in this place. The rest are half-naked men grappling or punching bags or beating the ever-loving shit out of each other like the two guys in the ring. Mixed martial arts training, that’s what they do here according to the huge UFC banner on the back wall.

“Damien!” Bruce calls out, waving someone over.

The two men in the ring stop fighting and stare at us, well, at me, and duck the ropes to trot over. I have no idea which one is Damien, but I can’t take my eyes off of the fighter in the black and red shorts with the green eyes. He’s stunning. I feel the heat creeping up my neck and face, embarrassed to be standing here in front of these two hot, sweaty men while my blood drips on the floor.

“Can you grab the first aid kit?” Bruce asks, “She fell on some ice.”

The man with the buzz cut wearing black and yellow shorts nods and hurries off to get it. That must be Damien.

The other guy, Mr. Gorgeous, is eyeing me warily, making me uncomfortable.

“Sorry to interrupt your workout,” I stammer. God he’s hot! And he’s staring at me like I’m about to jump on him. What the hell? You’re attractive and all dude, but really? I’m injured here, not looking for a date. Although, I wouldn’t say no.

“Here.” Mr. Gorgeous hands me a small towel. “So you won’t drip everywhere.”

His voice is like a warm caress and I shiver when his hand brushes against mine as I take the towel. I wrap it around my arm as best as I can. “Thanks.” He’s being acting strange, like he thinks I’m going to bite him or something. “I’m Sydney.” I make a sad attempt at polite, but uneasy, conversation while we wait for the damn bandages.

Mr. Gorgeous looks at me funny before introducing himself reluctantly. “I’m Drew. So you fell?”

Great, I’m so inept that he’s straining to make conversation with me.

“Nice to meet you Drew.” He can be an awkward ass, but I’m going to be respectful if it kills me. “Uhhh, yeah. It’s no big deal, really.”

Bruce and Drew exchange a shocked look. “Have we met before?” Drew asks hesitantly.

I wrinkle my brows, trying to place him. Shit, what if he recognizes me because I look like my mother?

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