Morning came before I was ready but I still got out of bed before my alarm. I opened up a few bags of clothes until I found some work out clothes. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed some juice and found that breakfast was on the table waiting for me. I sat down and ate quickly. It tasted wonderful to have a balanced breakfast for once. I got ready to go, finished my plate as Tom came out of his room. He looked at me and smiled.
"You ready to go?" He was to chipper first thing in the morning and I didn't have coffee yet but I nodded anyway.
We walked out the door and he led me over to his SUV and we got in.
"Today I am going to take you and drop you with Imi that wayo you know how to get there tomorrow if you decide to stay with us after the hell she is going to put you through today." His expression was bemused as he pulled out and headed to the base, the ride was quiet except for the music and I smiled to myself.
It didn't take but five minutes to get to the base and get parked. Tom led me over to an old building about half a mile from the SUV. He opened the door and the cacaphone of noise was staggering. I looked at him for a moment before I walked through the throngs of training women before Tom stopped me in front of a super hot model like chick with long dark hair and scars that marred her beautiful honey tanned skin.
"Heya Imi, been a while." He stepped up to her with confidence and offered her a friendly hug.
She hugged him back fiercely. "Hey Tom, it has been a while, how have things been?"
Tom shrugged. "Same thing work, recruiting, business as usual. And speaking of recruiting, I have someone for you. Brass thinks she is going to rival everyone here." He pointed at me and smiled. "This is Ava and they want you to give her your worst."
She raised her eyebrow at him and he coughed.
"Well not your worst, but the worst you can dish out, that way she knows what to expect the whole time she is here. Goodness knows she doesn't need to be coddled, she has been through hell herself. If you agree to do this, you are going to be her mentor and no one else. You have to decide this for yourself, the Brass won't force you to do it, but I believe it would be beneficial for the both of you."
Imi looked him over for a second with her hands on her hips before she walked past Tom and over to me. "So you think you have what it takes to be on MY team?"
Her look could have melted a car bumper, but she just stood there and waited for my answser. I shrugged my shoulder. "Honestly I don't know, but my life couldn't get any worse than it already is. I want to do something meaningful with my life and since I can't seem to keep myself out of trouble then the military told me that maybe you could do something with me."
Her expression changed slightly and a ghost of a smile appeared on her lips. "Well, if you can survive today, then you will be able to survive the rest of the eight weeks and we will see if I will give you the advanced training that you will need to be a part of my team."
I nodded. "Then I guess I have to do my best. I know this is going to sound odd, but what else do I have to do with my life, go back to the house to get my ass beat by my step loser."
She nodded at me and looked back at Tom. "Oh, I'll take her on alright, but I can promise by the time I am done with her she will be the best that there is here, of course second only to me because there are somethings I just can't teach."
He nodded. "Alright I will come back at 7pm and pick her up. Give her hell Imi, I will see you later." He hugged her again and walked out leaving me with the female equivilant of the grim reaper.
She smiled at me evily. "Come now Ava we have a lot to do and you have little time to do it. Come with me as I explain the finer details of what you are going to be doing."
I nodded and followed her through the fifty or so women who were training hard. She walked me out of the building and to a field with a lot of obsticles and stopped.
"Alright Ava, now you are going to warm up by doing sixteen laps which is four miles and you have to do it in under fourty minutes. If you don't you will keep going until you do. Once you get your four miles under fourty minutes then you are going to do the obsticle course in under ten. Most of our girls can do the obsticle course in under nine, but this is your first day and I am going to make sure you are somewhat caught up with them."
I nodded and started to stretch and Imi shook her head. "If you stretch now before the warm up you are going to lose power in the obsticle course. You might as well start running and don't stop until I tell you."
I took off around the track and kicked myself for not bringing my Mp3 player to keep me motivated. I ran and ran around the track and with each pass I become more and more exhausted. After I ran my first set of sixteen she looked at me, shook her head and motioned for me to do it again. I rolled my eyes before I moved to take off and I felt a hand grab me and a sharp slap to my face.
"Do not ever disrespect me, I don't need you here, this is a privilage not a right. I don't tollerate anything but the best from my soldiers and if you think I don't see anything well don't be too sure. Now I advise you to run another sixteen before I beat the ever loving shit out of you."
I didn't say or do anything but what she told me to do. I ran my next set of sixteen wondering just what those scars of hers were from. I imagined many things and wondered what made her as she was, but I was too afraid to ask. As I finished my second set of sixteen she looked at me with an odd expression.
"What was it that kept your mind occupied as you ran?" Her curiosity made me smile a bit.
"I was thinking of random things a few things in particular and trying to keep my mind occupied while I ran. Thought of a few things in my life and others that weren't about me. Anything to keep my mind busy while I ran. What's my time?"
Imi kept quiet for a moment and then smiled. "You just did the fastest four miles of any female here at twenty seven minutes. Now for the hard part, which is going to be able to get through the obsticle course in under ten minutes. I will do it once and then you will have to do it. Make sure you watch me closely that way you can pick it up."
I nodded as she moved over to the start and with speed and grace moved through the obsticle course. I watched in awe as she was moving in and out, up and down and through many different obsticles until she was standing in front of me panting for breath. I was amazed at how nimble she was. She looked at me expectantly and grabbed the stopwatch.
I got in position as she told me to go and I failed miserably for the first six times that I did it, not even coming close to ten minutes. I could see that Imi was disappointed, but I was winded long before I even started and as seven o'clock rolled around I was dead tired, wiped and in massive amounts of pain. Imi looked at me with a with a saradonic smile.
"I knew I was going to kick your butt, but goodness Ava, they told me you worked out daily. I don't see that as much of a work out if I can kick your butt in less than twelve hours. Be here tomorrow at 6am. If you don't show I will know you aren't serious about what I can do for you. Sometime soon I might tell you just what it is that we do and maybe give you some insight into what others could only dream to know. You have to earn this Ava, I won't hand you anything, you have to bust your ass for everything."
I nodded as much as I could and watched as she walked away and left me where I was laying. It felt like eternity until I found arms lifting me off the ground. At that moment in time I wouldn't have cared if it was Satan himself that cradled me as long as he put me in the hottest bath imaginable and then laid me in my grave because I was done.
"Seems like she actually likes you." Tom's voice broke the wonderful silence I had been craving since my pulse started to resound in my head a few hours ago.
I huffed a laugh as he placed me carefully in the passengers side of his SUV. The short ride was a welcome relief to the stretching and painful movements that were about to follow the trek I had to make up the stairs to my bathtub and then to my bedroom. Ugh, if only the bath would just come to me.
I got out of the SUV with a loud groan and walked slowly into the apartment and even slower up the stairs. By the time I made it to the bathroom and started the bath I was almost too stiff to go grab clothes and a towel. I shuffled over to the bedroom, grabbed out my most comfortable PJs and the softest towel I had before I closed the door. The immediate knock on the door startled me and I almost fell over. When I opened it Tom stood there with a few small packages and a little container.
He smiled at me and handed them over to me. "Put a teaspoon from each of those packages in the water and when you are done I will put some ointment on the scrapes on your back. I promise all of this is completely worth it. The salts are to alleviate pain and stiffness and the ointment will make those cuts heal three times faster then they normally would."
I nodded, smiled and closed the door after he walked out. I did as he instructed and when I sunk into the steaming water I sighed in relief. My long red hair was tied back out of the way and I could feel the salts soaking into my skin and the pain started to disappear and I felt my joints start to loosen. It felt like I could go another twenty rounds with Tyson and enjoy it fully.
After about fourty five minutes and my skin completely pruning, I got up, turned on the shower and washed the sweat and dirt out of my hair before I got out and got dressed in my comfiest sleep clothes. I smiled until I looked in the mirror and saw the scratches from the barbed wire crawl I had to do over and over and over again. It was just like being back at the step loser's house and in his clutches again. I started to shiver until a knock sounded at the door.
"You still alive in there Ava or did you fall asleep and drown?" His voice held a hint of humor as he spoke and I couldn't help but to laugh.
"I am still alive, just looking at the handy work the barbed wire did on me. I will be out in just a second for your to put that ointment on."
I heard him take a step away. "Take your time, goodness knows you still have to be hella sore after everything."
I nodded then remembered that he couldn't see me. "Yea a bit, but those salts work wonders and I should be right as rain by morning."
I walked out of the bathroom after I put on my ratty old PJs, the tshirt holey from so much wear. "Alright, well now that you are out of the bathroom, come with me into the living room and we will get the salve on your skin and get you a drink and send you off to la la land. Tomorrow I think you will find that you aren't done with the hard stuff, but when you are it will be a piece of cake for you."
I let out a hysterical giggle. "Yeah, kill me now and play later. If I can take the beating then I get the sweets."
He pushed me down in front of his chair and lifted the back of my shirt and placed it over my head. As the shyness started to come over me I almost hunched my shoulders anticipating the beating that just might be coming my way. As his hands touched me I flinched and gasped and I felt him tense up immediately.
"Sorry I should have warned you that I was about to touch you. I forgot, I should be used to partially broken women already as I work for a bunch of them." He wasn't sarcastic about it at all and he sounded a bit sad.
I was curious at his words. "Do you mean the unit I am joining is a bunch of women that come from similar situations kinda like mine?"
I felt his body move as he nodded. "Yes, they are. Take Imi for example, she was sold into slavery, beaten, raped and lost almost everything. I will let her tell you the whole story, but that is the beginning of what made her who she is today." His hands worked steadily, and it felt wonderful as the pain slowly started to go away and the warmth from the ointment penetrated into the rest of the sore muscles in my back and soon with him working out the kinks, the pain was gone.
I smiled at him as I put my shirt back over my head and then stood up. "Wow, seems like I need to finish the hard part of my training so I can learn more. She seems like a wealth of information."
He got up and I followed him, sitting on a stool in front of the bar. "She is very clever, strong as can be, kind, compassionate, but she has had it rough and wants her girls to be as strong. She wants you to be as ready as you can be for everything that may ever come your way, but you will have to also be able to think on your feet. The more you show her you are capable, the more willing she will be to make you a part of her team. Goodness knows she needs the best of the best and you can be just that Ava, I know you can."
I looked down in front of me and saw a shot placed there. I quickly took the shot and started to get dizzy instantly. I looked over at Tom questionably. "What the fuck was in that shot?"
"Just a little sedative to help you sleep a bit better tonight, now let's get you to your room so you can sleep the shit off and you will be as good as new in the morning. Trust me you will thank me later."
I felt myself start to nod off and smiled, content that for once I wouldn't have to sleep with my door locked or scared that someone would try to get in. For the first time in my life I felt safe and thanks to Tom and his kindness, I knew I could move forward.