She strokes her fingers down my beard thoughtfully, but she seems pleased.
“What about you?” I ask.
She shrugs. “I’ve barely even been with anyone, let alone picked a man up at a gym.”
“Before today it would have been…” She looks introspective. “Exactly once. Six years ago.”
It’s my turn to look shocked. “Peaches. Baby.” I wrap my arms around her tightly, thinking back through her session. Was I too rough with her? “I’m going to be more careful next time.”
Amelia gives me a look that I can only describe as bratty as hell. “You think I’m going to break, daddy? I don’t want you treating me like I’m… like I’m…” She trails off, looking outraged.
“Like you’re what?”
“Like I’m frigid.”
Her cheeks blaze and angry red, and I know she didn’t choose that word by accident. “Who calls you that?”
Amelia shrugs angrily. “Everyone. At work, anyway. Because I’m so dumb about sex. I never really wanted it before, so I don’t know much about it, but that doesn’t make me cold and prickly. It would be dumber if I went about sleeping with people for no good reason, wouldn’t it? Well, I think so, anyway.”
Amelia’s staring up at me, defiant. Her hair is dripping, and I smooth it back from her face and kiss her tenderly. Her mouth is soft and sweet, and I take her ass in both my hands. My god, this girl is something.
I break the kiss. “You do whatever the fuck you want, and screw those assholes.”
Amelia gives me a sly look. “Did you just say I could do whatever I want, daddy?”
Ah, shit. “What I meant was—”
“Too late! No backsies!” Amelia crows and grabs the loofah from me, dousing it with more body wash and soaping up my chest.
Grinning, I shake my head at her. “You can try wriggling through any little loophole you find, but it won’t work. You already agreed to my rules, remember? Signed and sealed.”
She pouts at me. “Damn it. So I did.”
I turn her around and swat her behind. It makes a loud, wet smacking sound. “No bad language.”
Amelia dances on her toes. “Ow! Okay, okay!”
We take our time getting each other very clean, and then I help her out of the shower and wrap us both in fluffy white bath sheets. When she’s dry, I take her through to the bedroom and settle us both on the bed, Amelia in my lap.
“You’re just the cutest. You know that?”
Amelia swings her legs back and forth happily. “Who, me?”
“Oh, yes. I want to see you again, Little Miss Peaches. Here. At the gym. At dinner. In my bed. What do you think of that?”
“Yes, please,” she says, wrapping her arms around my neck.
“I think you should know one thing, first. I’m a full-time daddy. It’s not just for the gym. If you’re bratty, if you’re mouthy, if you’re willfully disobedient, I will punish you.”
Amelia snuggles closer, rubbing the tip of her nose against my beard. “This is so lovely. I haven’t been asked out on a date in years and years.”
I take a handful of her ass and squeeze. It’s as if she heard the first thing I said and then ignored the rest. “I mean it. I’ll spank that little ass of yours bright red until you cry if I think you need it. Inside the gym and out of it. This goes beyond what you agreed to on paper. This is something bigger.”
Like the little brat she is, Amelia goes on choosing not to hear what I’m saying. “But I’m a good girl. You won’t have to do that.”
I put my head back and shout with laughter. “Oh, peaches. Thank you for the best laugh I’ve had all day. All right. Day after tomorrow, come to the gym for a proper session after you finished work. Then I’ll take you out for dinner, and you can ask me anything else you need for your article.”
Amelia nods, her eyes shining. “Okay, daddy.”
When she’s like this, all cute and snuggled in my arms, I could almost believe that she will be a good girl from now on. Smiling to myself, I kiss her, wondering how long it will be before she’s bratty little Amelia again.
* * *
Two evenings later, Amelia stomps into the gym at her appointed time. I can practically see the black storm cloud boiling over her head as she stalks past me to the stationary bike. Without a word of hello, she starts pedaling like she’s in the final stage of the Tour de France.
I go over to her and glower. I never told her she could start her workouts without my say so. “Good evening, peaches.”
Her face softens a little as she sees me standing with folded arms by her side. “Hi, daddy.”
Okay. Not in full brat mode yet. Let’s see if I can pull her back from the edge before she really gets herself into trouble.