By the time Claire finished with Jennifer, she was ready for a workout. It was too hot to run outside, so she walked through the breezeway to the Don Minoga Memorial Wellness Center, a brand new gym built for hospital employees.
The front door proclaimed the facility to be open 24 hours a day. She swiped her ID card, changed in the locker room and made a beeline for the cardio room. Maybe a hard interval run on the treadmill would loosen the knot in her chest.
The large machine-filled room was nearly empty, save for two women on recumbent bikes and a man on the cross-trainer facing her. More specifically, Mitch Firelli.
He caught her gaze and nodded. Then his eyes flicked across her chest and he smiled. Pig.
Turning away to hide her flushed cheeks, she marched to the nearest treadmill and turned on her iPod. She was poised to put in her earphones when someone tapped her shoulder. Firelli.
Be polite but firm. She looked right into his chocolate-colored eyes. “Hi.”
He pointed to her chest. “Did you actually play for Arizona?”
“Huh?” She glanced down at the Arizona Softball shirt she’d forgotten about. “Oh. Yeah. First base.” So maybe he wasn’t checking out her breasts after all.
Mitch smiled, catapulting him beyond handsome. “Perfect.” He rested his hands on his hips. “How’d you like to join our team? It’s slow pitch, co-ed, and we’re always hurting for women, especially ones who can hit.”
It shouldn’t have bothered Claire that he wasn’t hitting on her after all, but a small part of her ego took a hit. Stupid. She wasn’t interested in him. But it could be nice to be part of a team again, even if it was just a low-key amateur league. Maybe she’d even make some friends, something she’d so far failed to do.
“When do you play?”
“Sunday afternoons at Marbury Park around the corner. I’ll get your name on the roster and if you give me your email, I’ll send you the schedule.
“Okay, I’ll have to check my calendar, but I can probably make it,” she said, as if she actually had a life outside work.
“Great. Come thirty minutes early to warm up.” He snagged the equipment sign-out clipboard from a nearby counter and tore off a corner of the lined paper. “Here. Put your cell number on there too, just in case anything changes or we get cancelled.”
It figured. A hot guy finally asked for her number, and it wasn’t even for a date.
“All right. Have a good workout.” He pocketed the slip of paper and replaced the pilfered clipboard. “See you Sunday.”
She nodded and put in her headphones. “Okay.” Resisting the urge to watch him leave, she started the treadmill and increased the pace to a sprint, already wishing she could speed ahead to Sunday.