After Marc’s face relaxed a bit I continued to follow Abby, who had already started walking once the healing had finished.
“Hey,” Marc said as he caught up. “Sorry for snapping at you.” With a smirk planted back on his face I knew he was back to himself.
“Yeah, what’s up with that scar anyways?” I asked looking at the remains of the pink line that wasn’t hidden by the scarf. After a few seconds of silence I knew I wasn’t going to get an answer.
We scurried after Abby who had already left us behind, but as we turned a corner, there was a long hall dimly lit by soft wax-like candles. We walked to the doors, when Abby stopped and turned to face us.
“There are two phases that everyone here goes through. In order to progress through your training and to be let out on ‘proper’ missions,” clearly hinting on the small expedition Marc had taken, “you must pass the mental as well as physical training. These trainings are rigorous and you will be tested in ways you cannot imagine.”
“I really don’t like the sound of that,” I whispered to Marc. He simply nodded.
“Hey!” A voice called from behind.
Emily came to stand beside me to face Abby who had clearly noticed her walking down the long hall.
“I presume you’ve heard this from James?” Abby nodded at Emily.
“Yeah, he gave me the whole ‘rigorous training’ talk,” she gave a weak smile.
“Good, then welcome to day one of your physical training,” she smiled and as if there was someone on the other side listening, which I’m sure there was, the large doors opened to reveal a room larger than my college gymnasium.
I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped as I finally stopped gawking at how big the room was and saw how many people were actually in the room.
There was equipment of all sorts ranging from weights to jump ropes as well as some machines I didn’t even know existed until now.
“Hello ladies,” I saw two familiar faces and a third I didn’t recognize.
“Of course we would get paired with them,” I whispered to Emily as she just smiled.
James and Alex stood in front of us and a female figure that seemed like she could run a mile in a minute flat stood in front of Marc.
“Olivia?” I gasped as the transformation from neighbor roommate to fitness trainer was impeccable.
“Score,” was all I could hear Marc say under his breath as I nudged him.
“The friendships you make here aren’t accidental ladies and gentleman,” Abby said as she began to walk away. “Oh, and try not to break them,” we all saw her wink at the three seniors that stood before us.
“I could get used to this,” Emily said.
“I feel like we’ll be getting used to a lot more than that when they’re done with us,” I continued to gaze at Alex, who was wearing black basketball shorts and a white tank.
“Okay,” James said addressing all of us. “We will be your physical trainers for the next month. In order to master your powers you need to build stamina.”
“There are locker rooms in the back. One for guys and one for girls. You’re locker will have your name as well as equipment for your daily work out,” Alex chimed in.
“Get changed and get ready to work hard,” Olivia said with a tone that sounded way too perky.
The three of us walked to the back of the room, glancing at the people training next to us, grimacing at what we would be doing in less than ten minutes.
Just as they said, there were locker rooms that had the locker of more than a hundred lockers in the girl’s room only. “What do you think Abby meant when she said that the people we become friends with aren’t accidental friendships?” I asked Emily as we both got changed into what seemed like a uniform, black nike shorts and a plain white tank.
“Not too sure,” she said as she slipped on her shoes. “But whatever she meant, I’m sure it’s for the best.” She gave me a reassuring smile as I tied my hair up into a ponytail and took a deep breath before looking at Emily who had done the same.
“Ready?” She asked me.
We both walked out the door at about the same time Marc had. “Really?” I gave him a frown. “You’re gonna wear that scarf even though they’re basically goonna put us through hell and back?”
He shrugged but didn’t have time to respond because we were swept away with orders to run or to pick up weights that were almost two times our weight.
By the end of our work out, I had barley any time to talk or breathe. I just sat against the wall with a towel draped around my neck.
“Here,” Alex came up to me and handed me a water than seemed to have just been in a refrigerator. “Tough, huh?”
I simply nodded as I began to chug the water. “Woah,” he grabbed the water as if taking a small object from a baby. “If you keep at it like that, you’re going to be throwing up.”
I rolled my eyes and reached for the water, drinking it slower this time.
I looked across the room at Emily who was still training with James. “Everyone has a different work out based on their powers and physique.” He answered my question without me asking. “It’ll get easier,” he smiled, and I smiled back, even though I’m pretty sure it was only half of one due to the fact that my entire body ached.
“Go clean up,” he nodded towards the locker room I had been in just under an hour ago.
He stretched out his hand to help me up and I grabbed it hoping he could lift me up on his own because my legs weren’t doing their jobs.
When I finally managed to stand it took me a while to get my footing, but I managed to wobble over to the locker room.
I went to a private bathroom and noticed it was identical to the one in my room. I brought in a duffle back that had been put in my locker as well as a change of clothes along with some small bathroom essentials.
I took a quick shower and slipped on some jean shorts and a nice T-shirt that seemed a bit too large for me. Just as I had walked out Emily had passed by me and as she opened her mouth to say something as she noticed how I was already showered and clean and she was still dripping in sweat, but she realized that the shower was on the top of her priority list so we both just laughed and continued on.
I walked out to see Alex in khaki shorts and a nice navy blue V-neck along with flip flops with a duffle bag similar to mine.
“Classy,” I greeted him.
“You don’t look too bad yourself either,” she smiled as he looked me up and down.
“So where to, boss?” I joked as we made our way across the large room to the door that seemed to be the only way in or out.
“Now we train you mentally,” and that stopped me right in my tracks.
I had hoped with all my might that he had said we were going to eat a salad to be healthy, but no matter how hard I had hoped, it wasn’t enough.
Alex simply laughed and kept walking. “A month of this is going to suck,” I murmured to myself as I caught up to Alex.