The first time I noticed Martina, she was kneeling on a yoga mat waiting for class to begin. It was a small group, mostly middle-aged ladies, and she stood out straight away as the only other young person in the room. As I rolled out my mat, I noticed her tying back her long brown hair.
The second time I noticed her, she was kneeling on all fours with her head arched upward, her back curved. She had on expensive-looking yoga pants, in dark grey, and they clung to her legs like a second skin. She was perfect, and the way she held that pose told me she knew it.
The third time was at the end of the class when the instructor asked us all to give each other a goodbye wave. She turned around to me, smiling, and our eyes met. She seemed friendly, open, curious. I smiled back.
After the class, I ran for my car amid a sudden downpour. As I pulled up at the traffic lights outside the club, I saw her crossing the street. No umbrella. Getting soaked.
When the lights changed, I overtook her and pulling up a few yards ahead, opening the passenger side window.
“You must be getting soaked,” I called out.
She peered in, recognised me, and laughed. “This happens all the time,” she said. “I’m such an idiot.” She had a quiet voice, rather low.
“Where do you live? Let me give you a lift home.”
She hesitated, looking at me again with that wide smile, then apparently decided that I wasn’t any kind of threat.
“I’m just off Manor Road,” she said. “Is that alright?”
I nodded my head, and she climbed in the passenger seat.
“Nick. Nice to meet you, Martina.”
“God, I’m so wet already,” she said. She pulled a towel out of her gym bag and started to wipe off her arms and face. “I’m sorry for messing up your car.”
“Mess it up all you like,” I smiled.
She caught my playful tone and turned her eyes to me again, and I could feel her giving me the once over.
“Your first time, right?” she asked. “I don’t remember seeing you in class before.”
“First time, yep. I’m officially a yoga virgin.”
She laughed, “Not anymore, right? How was it, anyway?”
“If I’m totally honest, it was pretty hard. I play a lot of football but this was something else.”
My eyes were fixed to the road now, but as I spoke, I could feel Martina’s eyes watching me, and when I stopped talking, her eyes seemed to linger. Her eyes went to my lap, then to my bare legs. I was wearing light cotton gym shorts, and in the driving position, they had ridden high up my thighs.
“You’ll do fine,” she said, still smiling. “Just do everything the teacher tells you. I can help you if you want.”
“You helped me already,” I replied.
“Well, I couldn’t see the instructor all that clearly from the back, so…”
Martina gave a little laugh that contained a little squeal of pleasure.
“So you copied me.”
“‘Fraid so. You seemed like you knew what you were doing.”
She didn’t answer straight away, and as I pulled into Manor Road, she pointed to a large detached house on the corner, and I pulled into a vacant space right outside. As I turned off the engine, the started to smatter against the windscreen.
Martina seemed in no rush to jump out. Undoing the seat belt, she twisted a little in the seat so she was facing towards me, resting her slim arms, which were bare to the shoulder, in her lap.
I slipped off the seat belt and turned to meet her gaze with a smile. Her big brown eyes were hesitating. I allowed my eyes to drift from her face to her delicate hands.
“Do you want to come in?” she asked.