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Oct 9th, 2017
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  1. A week later, it turns out that everything actually is fine. At least if you’re Lemony Gem. Seated on her stationary throne at the front of the room, elevated enough to let her look out over the suffering, sweating bodies in front of her. The light-haired girl wears a wide grin as she sits upright, cups a hand to her mouth, and shouts over the music.
  2.  
  3. “This is it, pedal-people! Thirty-second sprint! End strong, end strong!”
  4.  
  5. There are a few pockets of groans as the spin class creeps towards the twenty-five minute mark. Even with broad lines of moisture running down her face, Lemony strikes an impressively confident figure as she digs deep to really pump out the last bit of the class. Lifting her rump slightly from her seat, the co-ed leans forward, her legs pumping in a show of solidarity with the struggling members of her class.
  6.  
  7. “Dig deep!” she calls over the powerful beat of the music, “don’t slow until the song stops; you’re nearly there!”
  8.  
  9. The lights above the raised platform shine down into her eyes, leaving her mostly blind beyond the small, illuminated space around her. Sweat continues to bead up and dribble down her face, neck and forehead from the heat of the lamps, but she’s long since passed the point of caring, as her grey tank top is quite thoroughly soaked.
  10.  
  11. At last the song ends, the last note echoing off into space. There are a few groans of relief and a lot of heavy breathing, but it’s all muted when compared to the mechanical whirr of the stationary bikes; the thirty-some two-wheelers content to whisper, hiss, and hum incessantly in the silence between songs. And then the final track comes on, bringing a smile to Lemony’s lips, and is followed up by one last line of encouragement, “Okay pedal-people! Just listen to the song and do what is says: shake yourself out and get loose!”
  12.  
  13. Sure, the sporty girl is far from the pop-princess type, but the song has grown on her in the week since receiving the gift of her headphones. It’s even become something of a ritual to listen to as her cool down song after a hard twenty-five minutes of really giving it your all. It’s fast enough that the riders can find a gradual pace to slow down. Plus, the break right in the middle makes a great chance to dismount and finish stretching out in front of the class, encouraging them to do the same
  14.  
  15. Which is just what Lemony does as the beat drops out.
  16.  
  17. Standing beside her faithful ride, the trainer stretches out her arms, legs and back, standing half in and half out of the limelight. As one of her eyes adjusts to the dark, she sees the spattering of men in the class staring at her, and feels a small thrill twist in her stomach as she realizes how much she feels like a piece of meat under their watchful gaze. Sure, it’s two, maybe three, but even still, the unusual feeling rumbles around inside her until the song ends, she says her goodbyes, and the class filters out.
  18.  
  19. With a heavy sigh, Lemony picks up her phone and disconnects it from the sound system. Taking a few seconds more to make sure that her legs don’t have too much a wobble to them, she steps off the platform and trots out into the artificial light of the gym beyond. The co-ed takes a deep breath of the slightly stale air, the effort of the community palpable in her sinuses, when the world descends into darkness again.
  20.  
  21. “Good job today, Lemony,” a distinctly masculine voice says, with just a note of amusement. Lemony can’t help but smile.
  22.  
  23. “Coming from you that means a lot, Mr. Streak,” she laughs, dragging the still warm towel across her face and neck as she mops up the sweat. Flicking the cloth away from her head, she smirks up at the much larger redhead and does her best to imitate his crossed arm posture, though she’s much less intimidating than him. Undeterred, she grins up at him. “In fact I haven’t seen you down here in a few months now; I thought maybe you’d forgotten about your intern.”
  24.  
  25. With a heavy chuckle, Fire Streak shakes his head. “Unfortunately, even if I wanted to, your clients wouldn’t let me. Every week I run into someone from your class or personal training sessions who just has to gush about how much the appreciate you.” Pursing his lips, older man brings a hand to his chin and looks thoughtful for a moment. “Which reminds me, have I offered you a job with the Wonderbolts yet?”
  26.  
  27. “I don’t believe that’s yours to offer, Mr. Streak,” Lemony says with a small, disbelieving smile. “Last I heard you’d given up your leadership positions for a more managerial role.”
  28.  
  29. “I’ve still got some clout,” he assures her, leaning in a bit closer. The light haired girl’s lungs tighten as he shortens the distance between them, their faces closer together than she would have believed; close enough that she can begin to make out the well-hidden strands of silver and grey nestled in his hair. “I’m not out of the game yet, and I can probably have my choice if I think someone would be a good fit. Seeing you on that bike, we could certainly use someone that comfortable on two wheels.”
  30.  
  31. Finally remembering how to breathe, Lemony lets loose a heavy sigh and takes a step back. She makes an unnecessary movement to smooth out her hair with her fingers before flashing an unsteady smile. “I appreciate the offer, Mr. Streak; I’ll have to think about it. But thank you and I’ll, uh, I’ll get back with you later.”
  32.  
  33. With the very weak goodbye out of the way, Lemony quickly hurries past the owner of Bolt Fitness and makes her way to the locker room. The towel rests comfortably on her shoulders as she pushes past the door and into the changing space. Spatters of conversation can be heard from the other women in the locker room, mostly housewives who can afford to be out at the gym in the middle of the day. The group trends older, so of course their conversations generally circle around the same general topics:
  34.  
  35. “My, it’s difficult to get rid of that pudge around your middle as you get older, isn’t it? It seems like every month I come here, I seem to get a little heavier. I wonder, should I stop going to the Corner so often?”
  36.  
  37. “I had to go to a meeting last week about how Fleur was making eyes at her teacher; Mr. Pants? I know how girls can be at that age, and he’s a fine looking young man, but much too old for her, much too old. How has Trender by the way?”
  38.  
  39. And, of course, the one that seems to be on every woman’s lips lately:
  40.  
  41. “Have you heard about that Canterlot school?”
  42.  
  43. The answer to tat is always the same, of course they have. It’s hard not to be aware of that particular oddity of the town. Sure, there might be some truly outrageous figures in the city, Lemony lives with Cadence after all, but there’s just an unusual amount of stellar bodies in that school. Not just the students, but the teachers too.
  44.  
  45. Making her way into the washroom, Lemony strips out of her clothes and leaves them in a haphazard pile on the bench traveling around the perimeter of the wall. Dropping her towel beside, she steps into one of the shower stalls and turns the water on full blast. An increasingly familiar tingle rolls through her body, the same one she felt when flirting with Buck and when the eyes of the men in her class are on her. And, admittedly, when she listened to the wet, sloppy sounds of unashamed lip-loving between her roommate and boyfriend too.
  46.  
  47. Still, those thoughts are distant enough that the co-ed can focus on washing herself rather than groping. Just as well, considering she’s quickly joined by three other, older women. The chatter amongst themselves about things that have no bearing on Lemony’s life, but as she cuts the water off, she can’t help but pick up bits and pieces.
  48.  
  49. “So your daughter really does go to that Canterlot school?”
  50.  
  51. “Oh yes, she’s one of the top athletes.”
  52.  
  53. A matronly scoff. “I’m not sure that pole dancing can be considered a sport.”
  54.  
  55. “It really isn’t that bad.”
  56.  
  57. Lemony wanders over to her things and stares at the three women as she dries her hair. Two of them seem rather plain, the typical posh-mother one might expect from the regular clientele of the gym; it practically courts Crystal Prep families exclusively. But the third is different, mature but with a certain cuteness that defies her age. From the way she bounces on the balls of her feet, to the obviously put upon smile as she defends her daughter, the orange-haired mother carries herself with confidence.
  58.  
  59. “You don’t have to put up a front. We all know the stories about what goes on in that building. The Principals and staff are deviants.”
  60.  
  61. “That’s right; I can’t believe the Mayor has let things go on this long, but I’m certainly going to complain at the next council meeting.”
  62.  
  63. “We can’t be having that kind of behavior in our town.”
  64.  
  65. “It’s an aberration.”
  66.  
  67. Lemony rolls her eyes, but as she finishes toweling off, the short-haired woman smirks and lifts a limber arm to the water. It dribbles down her smooth, still tight body, then, without batting an eye, replies, “Honestly, it’s alright for you to say that you’re concerned about the upcoming inter-school competition.”
  68.  
  69. The other women fall silent, allowing the slim woman to wash her face before continuing. “I mean, this is the first time in recent memory that Canterlot High could beat Crystal Prep. And I’m sure my daughter is going to do just that, you’ll see. Because she’s the greatest at anything she puts her mind to. And if it is a pole dancing competition, I’m sure she’ll win that with grace too.”
  70.  
  71. Unable to hide her smile, the co-ed slides her towel around her body and leaves the threesome behind. A few minutes later and Lemony is dressed, with her sweaty clothes stuffed into her bag and moving towards the door. Almost as an after thought, she spots the scale and climes onto it. The plate squeaks, the dial rolls, wobbles and then finally settles. Rather than hopping off however, Lemony can only stare at it in confusion.
  72.  
  73. “That can’t be right,” she mutters, climbing off the platform and then stepping back on once she confirms that it’s set back to zero. The dial whirrs forward then stops, earning a frustrated click from the co-ed as it seems to have drifted further to the right than the last time. “Stupid thing must be busted.”
  74.  
  75. That doesn’t stop Lemony from kicking off her shoes and going immediately over to the sliding scale however. The weight clacks, making a fair bit more noise than the trainer would have liked, as she slides the pieces into place. A slight red tint of shame settles into her cheeks as the scale further confirms what she had presumed to be a lie. Not taking the time to pull on her shoes, Lemony picks them up, along with her bag, and hurries for the door.
  76.  
  77. It seems that everything is not fine after all.
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