Fit for the Job(2)

By: Darien Cox

“That’s me,” Jay said, forcing a smile. “Fitness guy.”

Finally the man stepped back, waving Jay into a large foyer with shiny marbled tiles. To the right, a structure of open, staggered shelves held various different bonsai trees. To the left, a small fountain tinkled soothingly. “You got a cell phone?” the man asked as he closed the front door behind them.

Jay turned to him, frowning. “Do I...what?”

“Cell phone,” he repeated more slowly, like he was speaking to the mentally impaired. “Do you have a cell phone on you?”

“Oh, yeah.” Jay pulled his phone out of his pocket. “I do.”

“Would you mind if I held onto your phone during your meeting? It’s just a security precaution. I’ll give it back to you before you leave.”

Ah, Jay thought. Security. That made sense. With the handsome, symmetrical face and killer bod, Jay had initially thought maybe he was an actor, like Eben Wright, despite his somewhat unconventional look. But now it was obvious, the stance and demeanor. This man had the vibe of a sentry.

“Sure, that’s no problem,” Jay said, handing over his phone.

Mr. Ponytail security guard took the phone and slipped it into the front pocket of his jeans. “Do you have any other phones on you? Any cameras or recording devices?”

“No,” Jay said, absentmindedly patting his empty pockets. “Nothing.”

Scratching his scruffy chin, the guard met Jay’s eyes, then looked him over from head to toe, scrutinizing him. For a moment Jay thought he was about to be asked to strip down and prove it. The sudden heat pooling in his groin at the thought of this man stripping him down shocked him, and he cursed his fair skin as he felt his cheeks reddening. Blessedly, his scruffy guide chose that moment to turn away and head out of the foyer. “Follow me, please.”

Jay trailed him down a long corridor, past a vast, high ceilinged kitchen, then they turned right down another short hall before stopping in front of a set of double doors. Jay tried not to stare at the lean muscles under that black tee shirt as the guy shifted to pull the doors open. As he stepped back and extended an arm toward the room, Jay caught a whiff of spicy cologne come off of him. Or perhaps deodorant? And that thought led to more intimate ponderings about what the man’s golden skin might smell like if he pressed his nose to it. Like sunshine, he guessed, with a bit of sweat mingled in. Jay bit the inside of his lip to keep his composure. For Christ sakes, Jay, you’re here for a job interview. Focus.

“Go on in and have a seat. Eben will be with you in a minute.” With that, his broody guide offered a quick smile that brightened his eyes, then he left, closing the doors and leaving Jay alone in a vast, furnished room.

The sudden shift in the stranger’s demeanor—from stern and suspicious to polite and smiling—threw Jay off, and he stared at the closed doors for a moment, wondering if he’d see the guy again. Hoping he would.

But his nervous gut quickly reminded him of his purpose here, and he turned and stepped farther into the room. It was an office, but larger and more extravagant than any he’d ever seen, light pouring in through tall windows that ran along the wall. But he had barely a moment to take stock of his surroundings before he heard the door open again, and turned around to see the handsome, black-haired movie star step into the room. He smiled at Jay, then closed the door behind him.

Jay had two thoughts when Eben Wright crossed the room to shake his hand: he looked taller in real life, and he had woman’s eyelashes.

He’d never met a movie star before, never had any particular desire to. Colleagues he knew sought celebrities out for employment, viewing it as the golden goose of career success in the fitness world, but he’d always been busy enough with his run of the mill, non-famous clients...not to mention Rhode Island wasn’t exactly a hub of the Hollywood elite. But to his surprise, he found himself moderately star struck. Eben Wright was even more striking in real life than he was on the silver screen.

“Jay, thanks for coming.” He gave Jay’s hand a double pump. “Come on over and have a seat. Can I get you a drink?”

Jay had rehearsed this in his mind on the way over. If the movie star offered him a drink, would it be best to accept or decline? If he accepted, he might seem overconfident, too familiar. If he declined, he might seem uptight and nervous. Eben hadn’t specified if the drink he was offering would be alcoholic, or of the general beverage variety. Jay opted for balance.

“Water would be great, thanks, Mr. Wright.”

The actor smiled and moved past him. Jay followed him into a spacious office with a desk in the corner, cluster of leather chairs at the center, and a bar along the back wall. A bar in his office. He had the surreal sensation of being in an old Cary Grant film, where everyone drank Scotch at noon and offered cigarettes from fancy gold cases. Taking a seat in one of the chairs, he watched while Wright moved to the bar and pulled two glasses from the display, dropping ice in. Jay had always been considered tall, but Eben had several inches on him in height. He looked so much shorter in his films, more average in every way.

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