Part I is here
Norman went straight to the rent-a-car counter and took a beige Taurus, nothing flashy. He had gleaned from Saffron’s blog that her sister lived and worked in the Georgetown area, He asked for a map and directions to the Georgetown Fairmont where he inquired about a room.
“Check in time is at 3,” the young desk clerk smiled at him, “I can go ahead and book your room and you can leave your luggage with the bell captain, if you’d like.”
He agreed and inquired about gyms in the area.
“There’s a fitness center on the third floor. Your room key will give you access 24 hours a day.” Norman wondered if her cheeks got sore from so much smiling.
“Thank you, Elizabeth,” he said, glancing at her name tag, “I’ll be back around 3.” He looked over her shoulder as he went out to the street. She was still smiling.
A short walk took him to Washington Circle Park and he found a bench to enjoy the day and use his smart phone to locate nearby gyms.
There were a lot of gyms so he started walking. His search pattern would begin from K Street and 23rd, where he was, south to F and west as far as Wisconsin Ave. This would be the quickest quadrant as the Potomac made it look more like a triangle than a square. His second quadrant would be north of the first, as far as N St. His third quadrant would go east from 23rd as far as Connecticut Ave. The fourth quadrant would extend from 17th in the east to 23rd in the west with the north/south span from K to F.
He spent the rest of the day searching, stopping only to check into his room at about half past 3. There was no sign of Cinnamon.
That night Norman took dinner in the hotel and retired early. He could stay in DC only three days before he was scheduled to be in Houston. He had two more days to find her, else he would have to come back. No worries, he had waited this long for her. He could wait a little longer.
But it seemed he wouldn’t have to. The next morning on N Street he caught sight of a pony tail swinging back and forth about half a block in front of him. There was something about the way it swayed that was familiar. The colour was not quite right but hair colour could be changed. This one was the colour of burnished copper – the colour of Cinnamon. He quickened his pace, he needed to get closer.
The woman’s size was right, and she carried a gym bag so he followed from about 25 – 30 feet back. He needed to be sure. When she turned at the next corner he knew. He recognized her profile. She was still beautiful. A memory of the scent of her sweatshirt, the one that he had stolen in high school, filled his nostrils and he smiled. He fell back another 20 feet or so and matched her pace until she disappeared into a small street three blocks down. He ran and arrived in time to watch a shabby grey fire door swing shut on the left side of the street, two or three doors down from the corner. A sign hung above the door beneath a single bare light bulb. The sign read simply ‘Pierce Street Gym’.
Norman didn’t go in. He waited outside to see if Cinnamon would come back out. He waited an hour and a half before returning to the hotel. He needed to research the Pierce Street Gym. What he found surprised him.
Pierce Street Gym did not have its own website and he found only a couple of references to it at all. He put together that Pierce Street Gym was a place where serious fighters trained. Boxing, Kick boxing, and MMA champions hailed from there. This was going to change his plans a bit.
Norman had anticipated Cinnamon to be working in a place like 24 Hours or LA Fitness, catering to the business man and business woman. Maybe an independent, pricier gym for people with means, but he didn’t expect her to be working in a gym that trained fighters. How was he going to get in there? He needed to know more before he could make his move.
Inspiration can come from unexpected places.