His workout was finished and he sat to take a final reading of his heart rate on his small white machine. As he did, he noticed that one of the therapists, his favorite, came in. She made a face at a colleague and said: "Almost time!" Then she made a sad face.
He thought, to himself, that she looked absolutely beautiful. It was then that he made his decision. He simply believed that there were times in life, when you have to do something, as outrageous as it might seem at the time. But, if nothing else, John Atherton was a man who, once a decision was made, followed through. It was responsible, he thought, at least in part, for his great success in business.
Certainly, in that area of his life, his business or maybe we should say businesses, things were going well -- great guns, was the phrase that he said to himself. Then with a kind of grimace he added: "If only I can get things to go so well for me physically."
It was, after all, the reason that he was at the rehab facility in the first place. He'd had his 'heart dances', he liked to call them, stretching back for over fifteen years and was hoping that things were now under control.
To that end, he watched his diet; he took his medicines and worked out faithfully three times a week. It was at this great facility, a kind of adjunct to the hospital, that he did his workouts. It was also at this facility that now and again he saw Robin Massin.
That was one of the treats for him with his workout, seeing her. He thought she was just gorgeous, physically stunning.
Robin, of course, was totally unaware of John Atherton's regards. She was, just then, in a point of having her position phased out. As a matter of fact, she'd volunteered, since the other therapists were married with children and she didn't want it to be either of them that were laid off. She was in a 'counting down' kind of mood at the time, and working her way through the day but there weren't any real rays of sunshine for her that day. She didn't realize that she was, in fact, a ray of sunshine for Johnnie Atherton.
But he was determined now to at least say something. His mind was made up and, when that was the case, he never lacked courage.
He was getting ready to leave and noticed that Robin was back in the back doing her own workout. It was his opportunity. He walked back there and stood by the bench where she was doing a workout with some weights.
(Robin Massin had been married but he had turned out to be fairly a loser and she was now happily on her own for over a year. She was fit, certainly fit; she worked out at the facility during the day, and had enough time to do good workouts. At the age of 35 she was a dark haired beauty. She had relatively small breasts but her overall physical form was sensational. She also had a nicely rounded butt that was certainly helped by the kind of exercising that she did.)
At that precise time, she was finishing a workout and had a client in about 45 minutes later.
She was also planning to give herself some time off, once the job faded and then look around for another position. She knew that she could make the transition on what she had saved, as long as it were not a huge long time before something new came along, but she really didn't think that it would be.
It was then that the ray of sunshine came in her life that day. John Atherton, determined now, appeared at her side.
Robin looked up and said a soft: "Yes?"
"I'm sorry to interrupt your workout," he said, "But I wanted to say something."
She was immediately impressed by his manner. He wasn't nervous; he was calm; he seemed in total control. He was older -- read for 'older' in his early to mid-50's -- and a very attractive man. She'd certainly seen him around the place for about a year or more, and was familiar with him.
"Yes?" she said, sitting up now.
"I wanted to tell you that I find you blindingly beautiful! Seeing you here always makes these workout sessions a treat for me. Please don't think that I'm coming on to you; I'm not, really! I'm not trying to make time or any such shallow thing. I just think that you need to have someone tell you how lovely you are!"
Robin was simply open mouthed in shock. She looked at him, taking it all in and fairly gaped, as he nodded and said: "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my opinion."
She nodded; she had, right then no words; she didn't know what to say, and by the time she had recovered, he was just gone. She looked around but in vain; he just wasn't there anymore.
She took a few minutes then to sit with her friend Louise in the therapist's room.
"I have to tell you what just happened," Robin said, still starry eyed from what John had said.
She went over it with Louise, who giggled.
"I bet he likes you," Louise said.
"He didn't indicate that at all," Robin countered, "As a matter of fact he went out of his way to say that he wasn't trying to make time with me."
"Don't think so!" Louise said, "And you know what?"
"What?" Robin asked, just shaking her head.
"He's rich! Owns the world!" Louise said with a grin.
"Get out!" Robin said.
"Really, it's what I've heard," Louise said.
"Well," Robin went on, "I can't believe that anything more will come of this but it certainly made my day; I mean, with the time closing in and all."
"Oh, yes," Louise said, "You are so wonderful to do that for me and Penny!"
She got up then and insisted on a hug for Robin, who clung to her for a few minutes, still processing the kind words that John Atherton had spoken.
He, as he walked away and finished his workout, felt particularly good about what he'd done. He was smiling with himself, and agreed with himself that he needn't take the issue any further.
"Yes, she's gorgeous but she's probably married and has a passel of children. John, you just don't need to get involved."
It was his determination. He let it lay there. He didn't see Robin every time that he went for his rehab workout, both weights and cardiac, and for the next few days, their schedules didn't match at all, and by then, she was done with the job, her redundancy time had come.
It was a Thursday about a week later. John had treated himself out to dinner to a small Italian place that he both owned and liked. He'd given his driver and his housekeeper/cook, Mrs Keats, the night off. They were a couple and were celebrating an anniversary, and so, that night he was on his own.
He was having a glass of wine, when someone was standing next to his table. He looked up and was totally shocked to see Robin Massin standing there, looking down at him and smiling broadly.
"No, Mr Atherton," she began, "I'm not stalking you."
"Too bad!" he quipped and she gave a short giggle kind of laugh. "In fact," she began her explanation, "I was supposed to meet my former colleagues from the rehab facility for dinner but they just called to cancel."
"Please, join me!" he said.
"It wasn't my idea to intrude," she said, "Just to say thank you for what you said the other day. It came with good timing for me."
"Ms Massin," he said, "I have a bottle of wine here and don't want to drink it all myself; won't you please join me?"
Robin smiled and followed her instincts, saying 'yes, thank you'. She sat. John just turned and made a gesture for the waiter, who arrived and said a very polite: "Yes, Mr Atherton?"
"Another wine glass please; the young lady and I will be dining together," he said.
"Certainly, Mr Atherton," the waiter replied.
"Very polite and they know your name here!" she said.
"They should," He said, "I own it; but don't tell anyone or they'll all be complaining to me!"
She put her hands up to her mouth and giggled again. "You get more and more interesting all the time," she said.
"And your beauty is still ravishing," he replied, "And I promise to not keep embarrassing you with statements like that."
"I'll try to suck up my courage and take such compliments in," she said with a grin. "You needn't stop making such statements altogether!"
"Good for me!" he said, matching her grin with his own.
"What would you like?" he said, "For dinner!"
"I knew what you meant!" she said matching his smile. "But what do you suggest? I've only been here a time or so."
He made a recommendation for their dinner and they agreed to share two separate entrees and each have some of them. Then they settled to talk. She didn't seem to be very ill at ease with him, and John Atherton certainly wasn't ill at ease with her.
"What exactly brought you to the rehab facility?" she asked.
"Gifts from my family!" he said with a rueful smile. "A heart attack fifteen years ago, accompanied by angioplasty, a quad by-pass five years ago, and recently heart surgery to correct atrial fibrillation."
"Oh," she said, "You really have gone through it!"
"Yes, but I'm in better shape now than I've been in such a long time!" he replied. "What about you? You said 'former'."
She told him about the downsizing then, and her determination to let it be her, since Louise and Penny each had families.
"How nice!" he said, smiling at her.
She liked the compliment: "Thank you..."
"John," he said, "Just call me John."
"Thank you, John," she said then.
They continued through the dinner with their small talk; he did tell her a bit about his company 'A-World Enterprises' and how busy it kept him.
.... There is more of this story ...