Unedited. Subject to change, a lot. Light spoilers. Enjoy 🙂
He was mad at me.
I’d never experienced Ramsey being mad at me.
I didn’t even know how to react to something like that, had no idea what to do or say. So I said nothing, and his silence continued all the way to our destination. Even then, he only spoke to advance the workout, and tell me what do.
About twenty minutes in, right after he’d bossed me through running a lap at a pace I hadn’t seen in years, it occurred to me that he was working me harder than usual. I didn’t know if that meant he’d been taking it easy before, and he was pushing my limits because of what I said I wanted, or if he was pushing me because he was pissed. Either way, I kept my mouth shut and worked as hard as I could, until I got sick of… whatever this was.
“Come on Wil. Five more burpees, lets get the shit out of the way,” he said, once he realized I wasn’t just stopping to breathe.
I crossed my arms. “That’s all it is to you? Just some shit to get out of the way?”
“At this point? Yes. I’ve got better shit to do.”
“Then go fucking do it!” I pointed to his truck. “If you’re gonna be all pissy, you can go do your better shit, because I’d rather not be a burden or a chore to somebody who’s supposed to be helping me as a friend!”
He scowled. “That’s what you think this would be, Wil? Really?! You think that feeding your insecurity is the type of thing a friend would do? Validating the idea that you should give a fuck what some internet trolls think, that’s friend shit to you? I don’t know what kind of friends you have, but if that’s what I gotta do, then nah, I’m not your goddamn friend, I’m somebody who actually cares about you, unlike the motherfuckers you’re trying to look good for. When you’re already bad as hell.”
He threw his hands up. “Yes, to me! Maybe I’m wrong for thinking this, but… shit, doesn’t my opinion hold a little more weight than some damn strangers and your cheating ex?”
“I never said it didn’t!”
“But you’re sure as hell acting like it! We’ve been working out together for damn near two years, and I’ve never heard you talk down on yourself, until some shit was said on the internet. And for you to think that grimy-ass dude left you because of your body? That’s… that’s wild, Wil. I don’t even understand that shit, can’t wrap my mind around it.”
He shook his head as he spoke, with such a peeved look on his face that tears started to prick my eyes as he turned away from me.
“I… I’m sorry,” I told him, wrapping my arms around myself as a cold wind whipped past us.
My words made his head jerk back in my direction. “What?”
“I said I was sorry,” I repeated. “I didn’t mean to upset you, I just—”
“Wha-no,” he interrupted, scrubbing a hand over his face. “Wil… I’m sorry. Shit,” he cursed, more to himself than to me, then approached me, cupping my chin in his hands. “I’m sorry,” he said again, looking me right in the eyes. “You don’t have anything to apologize for, this is… this is my bad. I didn’t mean to blow up like that, I just… if you could see you how I see you…” he trailed off, like he didn’t know how to finish, but I didn’t need him to… I got it.
It was the same way I felt when it was Naima, or Soriyah. I hated it when they talked down on themselves, or downplayed their talent, or saw themselves as any less amazing than I did. It actually made me angry, because I never wanted to see them letting doubt settle in, or letting negativity change how they saw themselves. Because I loved them.
And honestly, the same went for Ramsey.
“You yelled at me,” I protested, in my most pitiful voice, and his eyebrows drew together in guilty concern.
“I know. I’m sorry,” he said, then pressed a gentle kiss to my lips, followed by one that was a little more firm, which immediately melted my hurt feelings away. It was a little crazy, how he managed to do that so well, but I wasn’t complaining. Not when he nibbled at my bottom lip for a second before he pulled it into his mouth, or when he slipped his tongue between my lips, tasting me. Not when his hands drifted to my waist, pulling me closer to him, or when I felt his hardness pressed against my leg.
“You see what you do to me?” he asked, then grazed my neck with his teeth. “If you want to make personal improvements, for you… I’ve got you. But just for the record, this body is perfect to me.”