We continue for what feels like forever, me trying and failing to block every attack coming from James. Soon enough we've both drained our large water bottles and my body feels like I've been running into a wall multiple times. My self esteem has taken a serious beating...it's difficult to come face to face with the fact that I suck at something this badly.
James doesn't take it easy at all, causing me to land up flat on my ass or be jabbed in any part of my torso and arms by his ninja feet and hands. When he finally breaks away I'm covered in shiny droplets of perspiration with my back to the floor after I've just had my legs swept up from underneath me. I'm breathing as if I've run a marathon, the mat under my head feeling like a good place to dig a hole and hide in.
James presses his lips together in a thin line, a small tinge of sympathy written in his face while he looks like he's woken up fresh from a nap. Life is unfair.
"We can take a small break. I'm going to fill up the water while you take a bit of a breather." He picks up the empty plastic containers, jogging up the stairs which lead to the ground level of the house. My lungs continue to burn, taking the precious moments I have to suck life-giving oxygen into them before I sit up and try not to wince at my aching muscles.
I open my eyes to see Aidan standing close to the locker room entrance, his toned arms crossed over his chest. He and Clarisse had finished up not too long ago, his younger sister having shouted something about Math homework before departing.
He runs his hands through his ripened-wheat colored hair and strides over to where I sit. His tall frame squats in front of me, his facial expression unreadable as he observes me. "You're taking a beating from what I can see Elena. You can always ask him to ease up a bit"
"Thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious. I really needed someone else to tell me that for the past two hours I've had my butt handed to me on a silver platter by someone's dad. I thought I was fit...boy was I wrong. Me and my treadmill should get friendlier."
He takes me by the elbow, pulling me up without much effort while my tired legs shake. Damn but I'm out of shape.
Aidan shrugs his shoulders, looking down at me and shifting his feet on the mat beneath him. "You're technique is just fine, but you're always a couple of seconds slow. You need to predict where my dad is going to strike, try and see what his next move is going to be."
I sigh, placing my hands on my hips and glaring up at his endearing eyes. "How do you propose I do that then? The last time I checked, I hadn't developed any sort of psychic ability to see what your dad is going to do. As contradictory as what I'm about to say seems, I actually don't enjoy getting up close and personal with this mat every time I try and stop his wickedly fast moves."
He takes a step away from me, throwing his arms up in front of his face while he looks at me. I simply roll my eyes, not moving an inch as he stares me down. I know that he's trying to get me to do the same, but I'm just not feeling up to facing the mat again.
"Oh come on Elena, give it a try...are you worried I'm going to make you land on your butt even worse than my dad did to you?"