She opened her eyes a crack and studied him. He had a nice profile, a strong chin, a healthy body. He had a nice sprinkling of brown hair on his arms and legs, and strong-looking hands and feet.
He was well-educated, ambitious, had a good job, wanted kids. If he’d had drug or gambling or mental problems, Fawn wouldn’t have set them up.
Perfect in so many ways.
The door opened, bringing in a gust of cold, damp air and a large, damp man. Wearing a fleece sweatshirt and jeans, Miles met her gaze from the doorway for a moment before he bent over to unlace his boots.
Lucy’s heart began to pound. She turned back to the front of the room and squeezed her eyes shut, but she could still see him in her imagination—the combed-back hair just out of the shower, the calm intelligence in his eyes, the hint of a smile on the lips she had tasted just the day before.
She had to admit it. Her hormones were jonesing for the wrong guy. It was like her web browser kept sending her to the wrong link. No matter how many times she clicked “Alex,” her body redirected her to “Miles.”
She had to look at him again.
“Nice jeans,” Alex muttered, turning back to the front of the room.
“Should I change?” Miles asked Mary. “I’ve never done this before.”
“Well . . . why don’t you stay and we’ll see. Once you go, you might be reluctant to come back. Getting here is so often the biggest challenge.”
“Great.” Miles grabbed a mat and strode over to Lucy’s side, ignoring Alex. “Morning.”
She felt her face flood with heat. Closing her eyes, she ducked her head and told her respiratory system to calm the hell down. “Morning.”
He unrolled the mat and fell down on top of it with a grunt. After manually arranging his legs into a cross-legged position, forcing his knees down with his big hands, he swore under his breath. “Sorry. Sore from a run. Don’t mind me.”
“Maybe you need a recovery day,” Alex said.
“I thought yoga might be the perfect thing to loosen me up.” Miles looked up at the teacher, excessive innocence in his gray eyes. “Is yoga good for flexibility?”
“Absolutely. Just give it time.” Mary beamed at him with evangelical good cheer. “Take it slow and you’ll find yoga is a path away from injury.”
“Sounds good to me,” Miles said. “Batter up.”
Lucy folded her lips between her teeth to hide another smile.
Alex exhaled loudly through his mouth, sucked in more air, let out another one.
“You can get started now,” Miles said. “I’m ready.”
“We already started,” Alex said tightly.
“Really? Awesome. I can do this.”
He sounded so sincere, and looked so proud to sit cross-legged on the floor, Lucy caught his gaze in the mirror and smiled at him. He had such a friendly face, broad and open, nothing pinched or held back. When he smiled back at her, a dimple flashed in his left cheek and she gazed at it for a long moment.
Smiling, Mary settled herself in front of them. “Wonderful. Now, reach your hands forward and stretch to the top of your mat, keeping your sitz bones grounded—“
“Sit bone?” Miles bent forward, but just barely. His arms pointed rigidly ahead like a kid learning how to dive.
Alex stopped pretending to be self-contained. In fact, he looked like he was about to erupt. “Miles, if you think this is so funny, maybe you should leave.”
A quick frown passed over Mary’s face. “We’ve got a place for everyone here. Nobody should be worried about what his or her neighbor is doing.” She got up and went over to Miles, touched his shoulder. “That’s it. You just need a little support.” She padded off to the racks behind them and returned with two large cork blocks and set them under Miles’s hands.
Alex snorted and Mary shot him another displeased look. Miles appeared to be making a genuine effort to fold himself forward, then from side to side as Mary instructed, and didn’t say another word. Nevertheless, Lucy could feel the tension building in the room like a kettle over the stove.
The next postures had them on their hands and knees, and that was no problem. They all arched their backs and hunched themselves over and breathed as Mary told them, Alex with obvious enthusiasm, exhaling his air out with a hunh that was so loud Lucy glanced at Miles to see what he would do. He caught her eye and winked.
Hunh! Alex went again, and Lucy had to bite her lip and stare at her hands pressing into the mat to stop herself from laughing out loud.
The laugh burst out of her. Alex swung his head sideways to look at her in dismay.
“Sorry,” she said, swallowing air and staring at the floor again.
She kept it together for another few minutes, even during the Modified Plank and the Child’s Pose—which for Miles required the addition of another pair of blocks under his arms.
But then came Downward Facing Dog.
He watched Alex, Lucy, and Mary position themselves, then tried to lift his own butt in the air. He didn’t come close to looking like an upside-down V; his knees were bent, his head was lifted, and his chest was parallel to the floor.
“Woof,” he said. “Does this work for you?”
Mary stood up from her own pose, went over to him, and tried stack the blocks higher so he could straighten his legs. “It’s not what works for me, it’s what works for you.”
He grunted and dropped his knees to the floor. “Maybe I’m more of a caterpillar. Is there a caterpillar pose?”
She touched his broad back and smiled. “We’ll do Cobra in a minute.”
Should the instructor be touching one of her students so much? It’s not like she could imbue his body with flexibility through the power of her skinny little fingers. And why did she keep smiling at him?
Lucy’s thoughts continued along these lines throughout Triangle Pose and all the Warriors. It’s like Mary was choosing poses she knew Miles wouldn’t be able to do so she would have to stroke his big, strong, inflexible muscles. And then get him hot and sweaty so he had to take off the bulky sweatshirt, exposing the thin, skimpy t-shirt he wore underneath.
His jeans strained against his thighs, his back stretched the jersey of the t-shirt, his strong arms lifted over his head and he looked like Atlas himself.
Lucy lost her balance and fell to her hands and knees.
“Listen to your body,” Mary said.
The instructor might have been surprised to know what Lucy’s body was saying, because it had nothing to do with yoga. She got back to her feet and tried to balance with her legs three feet apart. Just don’t look at him.
They folded over and got down into Plank Pose, which was a little more than Lucy’s arms were up to. She slumped down to her knees and then flopped onto her belly.
In spite of Miles’s jokes about being a caterpillar, he wasn’t having any trouble with holding himself off the ground in the Plank’s pushup position. His broad shoulders flexed with muscle and his legs stretched out behind him firm and immobile.
From her bellyflop position on the floor, Lucy watched Mary with narrowed eyes to see if she would find an excuse to go touch him again. “Readjust” him.
Lucy looked over at Alex, caught him looking at her, and smiled politely.
“Try Child’s Pose if you need a rest,” he said.
“I’m fine right here.” She closed her eyes and put her cheek on the mat, forced to listen to Mary’s footsteps pass by her and hover next to Miles again. Hussy Pose.
OK, you’ve officially lost it, Lucy.
She joined into the rest of the positions as well as she could, grateful when they moved onto their backs for leg stretches and twists and she could stare at the ceiling instead of at Miles’s body, and later when they went limp, closed their eyes, and drifted off into a state of total relaxation.
As soon as Mary told them to wiggle their fingers, Lucy was getting to her feet and rolling up her mat. Miles was still sprawled out on his back next to her, a peaceful calm on his face, and she felt a powerful urge to adjust him.
He opened his eyes, those smiling gray eyes, and made a face. “I think I’m stuck.”
Before Mary could rush over to help, Lucy bent over and held out her hand. “Here.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You got superpowers I don’t know about?”
He grinned and her stomach did a chatoranga. “I will.” He lifted one hand, put it in hers, and pulled. She tumbled forward and landed on top of him, her face in the crook of his shoulder and her butt in the air. “Whoops,” he said.
“Déjà vu,” she muttered. She could feel his heart pounding under her cheek, smell him.
“Ah, French. The language of love,” he said softly in her ear.
Her free hand in the middle of his huge chest, she pushed herself up to kneel next to him, unable to look away from his face. His sensuous mouth was curved up in a smile, but his eyes were serious and dark.
Alex appeared on his other side. “How the mighty have fallen.” He grabbed Miles’s opposite shoulder and rolled him over onto his side, facing away from Lucy. “Yoga’s not for everyone.”
The hem of Miles’s sweatshirt had risen up, exposing the base of his spine and the hint of two dimples above the waistband of his jeans.
The blood rushed out of Lucy’s head. She stumbled onto her feet and carried the mat over to the rack, her mouth dry.
“Are you all right?” Mary asked her.
Nope, Lucy thought. Not at all.