Whip Him Into Shape
Authoress' Note: This is a random idea. I have no explanations.
Disclaimer: Characters you recognize belong to JKR. The plot is loosely based on my gym. And Ginny is loosely based on some of the peculiar habits of my trainer (aka working out during her breaks, Lean Cuisines for meals, etc.), who is willing to talk about Pride & Prejudice while having me do jumping jacks.
Chapter 1: The Contract
Ginny Weasley met the increase in the machine's resistance with a kind of determined superiority, taking the machine's challenge eagerly. Almost nothing was difficult for her these days. She often found herself turning the elliptical machine on to its most difficult setting and then practically sprinting the entire session just keep her heart rate where it belonged. Finally finding herself a bit short of breath, Ginny reached for the water bottle sitting placidly in the machine's holder and took a few gulps. Trying to concentrate on her breathing, she regained control, falling back into stride on the machine. Losing herself in the music blasting from her iPod, Ginny Weasley revelled in the high that the running was giving her. She felt on top of the world, carefree…oh, bugger, she thought with a sigh, noticing the man frantically waving to get Ginny's attention. What does he want? Pressing on her iPod first to pause the music, and then down on the machine's keypad to pause the machine, Ginny took the headphone out of her ear to hear what Bernard, the man in control of the gym's reception, so desperately had to say.
"Yes, what is it, Bernard?" the redhead asked with exasperation, dabbing at her forehead with a towel. She hated it when her staff interrupted her personal workout time for simple questions. It was usually things they could have just as easily figured out themselves, and Ginny simply didn't have all the time in the world to baby them. Forcing herself to assume a professional manner, she applied a tentative smile. "What can I do for you?"
Bernard, nervous manner somewhat eased by Ginny's smile, said, "Ginny, I'm very sorry to interrupt your workout, but Jacques told me it was urgent."
The redhead's eyebrow lifted in concern. Jacques Ferdinand was the manager of the gym, and Ginny's boss. He was in charge of the paperwork aspect of the gym, while Ginny was in charge of her real passion- training. The thing that Ginny really enjoyed about the fitness industry was changing a person's mindset, helping them to love themselves. She had no desire at all to ever manage a gym, paperwork bored her, and so she was very grateful for Jacques Ferdinand. It was highly unusual for Jacques to authorize interrupting Ginny's personal time, so the Weasley could logically deduce that this matter was something truly vital.
Ginny Weasley allowed herself to be pulled along, sweaty and panting slightly, to Jacques' office. Knocking twice, the redhead entered, taking occasional sips from the water bottle she had brought with her.
"Please sit down, Gin," Jacques muttered distractedly at the paperwork scattered on his desk. Tapping his finger to his temple, he seemed to be trying to unravel some very difficult problem. Suddenly inspired, he began madly scribbling on a calendar some business had sent him.
Ginny made a mental note during this process- Buy Jacques some more Post-Its for his birthday, he's soon going to run out of spare calendars and cereal boxes on which to calculate. Check.
Finally setting down his pen, Jacques reclined in his office chair, regarding her over the top of his desk. Bringing one hand up to stroke his blond beard, he cocked his head to the side, analyzing her thoughtfully. "Ginny, I have a proposal for you."
"Is that so?" the redhead asked curiously. This wasn't unusual; Jacques always went to Ginny with his most high profile and high-paying clients. Often, they were clients that never actually set foot in the gym itself- Ginny would be hired for ridiculous amounts of money to make house calls. She had no real issue with it, it was just more money in her pocket and that of the gym, so that was fine with her. But something told Ginny that today's proposal would be a special one.
"Yes," he replied promptly in his thick French accent, searching in his Filofax for the correct name and number. "I got a call this afternoon. Something about a guy marrying some really rich bird, I s'pose. You know me; I'm not too interested in details. It's the numbers that matter to me, chicken."
Ginny gave a curt nod.
"In short, they're willing to pay, and I mean, pay, for a trainer to work out the entire wedding party."
The redhead's eyes widened in excited shock. This was a rich wedding, Jacques had said. In Ginny's experience, the richer the wedding, the bigger the bridal party. Usually these events had eight bridesmaids or so, so eight bridesmaids plus the eight groomsmen would be sixteen…then plus the maid of honour and best man brings the total to eighteen, and then the bride and groom would be…twenty people. Twenty people at fifty pounds an hour for weeks at a time means…
Ginny could finally take that trip to the Bahamas.
"You'll get a seventy percent cut of all fees paid, of course," Jacques continued. "They want to hire the trainer to make a definite difference, and the wedding is two and a half months away, so you would be basically spending most of your free time there. At least eight weeks, they said."
Then Jacques' eyes took on a dreamy expression. "Then they said that the cost didn't matter. My kinda people, Gin. I like them already."
Ginny mentally returned from her beachside lounge chair complete with mai-thai to ask the question that really mattered: "So…who's getting married?"
Jacques put on his reading glasses, squinting at the tiny script of his secretary. Triumphantly, he read, "It looks like a…Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy."
And it was at that point that Ginny Weasley fainted on Jacques Ferdinand's office floor.
"Is she all right?" Bernard asked nervously from the doorway, noting the redhead trainer's toned body splayed across Jacques' floor.
"She's fine," Jacques muttered curtly. "Bring her some water and smelling salts, perhaps a little ice, too. I think she may have bumped her head on the way down."
If Bernard was shocked at the polite disinterest of the manager in his head trainer's welfare, he didn't show it. Bernard merely nodded, and sprinted to fetch the items that Jacques requested. In a way, he could understand why Jacques was so unconcerned. Ginny was the youngest daughter in a family of many boys; she had probably encountered more bumps and scrapes than Jacques and Bernard put together.
Sighing and wrapping the ice in a dishtowel, Bernard began the long walk across the gym back to Jacques' office. Glance momentarily flitting to reception, he checked on Lola Medici's progress. Lola was a perky nineteen-year-old brunette, hired only yesterday to help out at the front desk while Bernard was busy with more important matters. Though Bernard had to admit, she concerned him slightly. All her…knives weren't in the drawer, if you will. So far she had managed to confuse about three of the four trainers, unnecessarily cancel five appointments, and double-book both Ginny and one of the other big trainers, William. Now it looked like Lola was confused- again.
Momentarily forgetting about the ice, Bernard jogged over to reception, where Lola was regarding a tall blond man with obvious bewilderment.
"I'm sorry, sir," Bernard interjected in Lola's frantic apologies, "what seems to be the problem?"
The man then turned from Lola to Bernard, and drew himself up to full height. Bernard couldn't help but notice that the man hadn't left the house in a few…years, Bernard thought with a snort. The man could do with some serious sunshine.
Indeed, the man was very pale and gaunt. There were dark circles underneath his eyes, and he looked like he hadn't had a night of proper sleep in a decade. His clothes were of impressive finery, and his hand rested on the reception desk, showing off a large platinum ring with a family crest.
"First off," the man began, voice chuckling hollowly, "you could hire employees with a minimum level of competence and intelligence. I trust that's not too much to ask these days."
Bernard regarded the man like someone cornered by a poisonous viper. Bernard was well aware that the man was rich. More than likely, the man was a customer, or with some luck, a long-time potential one…so Bernard had to tread very carefully. "I'm so sorry about any misunderstanding, sir. It won't happen again, I can assure you."
"It had better not," the blond retorted with superiority dripping from every syllable, shooting Lola a look of complete and utter loathing. "But for now, I have more important matters to attend to. I have an appointment to meet Mr Ferdinand, the manager of this place, if I understand correctly."
"Yes, sir, he is. If I could just ask you to have a seat for a moment," Bernard nodded towards the plush couches in the waiting room, "I'll have him right out to meet you."
The man looked somewhat affronted by being asked to wait like some commoner, but sighed, resigned to his fate nonetheless. "Fine."
Bernard sprinted to Jacques' office, the cold ice turning his left palm completely numb. Gingerly uncapping the smelling salts, he put them near Ginny's nose, allowing them to waft in the air. Startled, the redhead jerked awake. "W- what happened? I had the most terrible nightmare…"
Groaning in pain, Ginny's hand went to the back of her head, which she had hit on the desk on her way down. Bernard gave her a sympathetic grimace, holding the ice to her head for her. She, meanwhile, turned to Jacques.
"I did just dream that we signed a big contract with Draco Malfoy, didn't I?"
"Yes," he murmured, not bothering to look up from his paperwork. Ginny breathed a big sigh of relief, even allowing herself to smile slightly. Getting up and making her way toward the door, her bubble of happiness was burst when Jacques abruptly continued, "he hasn't signed yet. He'll be here momentarily."
A thousand emotions flooded Ginny at once. Anger, frustration, elation, jealousy…all of it was there. On one hand, this was Draco, her long-time family rival, and Pansy, the stupid bint who made her life hell in her schooldays, but on the other, this would be the largest commission she had ever had. If she played the cards right, she could probably make more money in the next eight weeks than she normally made in a year. Merlin only knows that Ginny could really use the extra cash, she would finally be able to put a down payment on a new car, pay off those old credit cards, maybe take a vacation…
The possibilities were endless, and Ginny Weasley knew what she had to do. There was no way this commission was going to William or any of the other trainers. Despite personal differences, Ginny was determined to set them aside and deal with this situation professionally. She also couldn't deny that the prospect of forcing Draco Malfoy to drop and give her twenty push-ups was more than a little justifying.
Sweet, sweet revenge, she thought to herself, the ghost of a smile tugging at her lips.
"Jacques?" Bernard said cautiously, not wanting to interrupt the manager's steady stream of numeric muttering. "I believe Mr Malfoy might already be here. You have an appointment waiting in the foyer."
A smile spread on Mr Ferdinand's face. "Early. I like that. Reminds me of myself. Come, Ginny, let's go greet our newest client."
Ginny rose slowly, following Jacques into the main part of the gym. Jacques looked back to assess Ginny. "You're a little sweaty, but it'll have to do. At least smile, for chrissakes," he whispered harshly through his toothy grin.
The redhead rolled her eyes. She was used to Jacques' no-holds-barred comments on her appearance. The manager, in addition to being a dear friend of Ginny's, was also flamboyantly homosexual, and responsible for any moment that Ginny could actually be considered "stylish". He had personally picked out her dress for the gym's grand opening, picked out a pantsuit for her home loan application, etc. etc. Ginny was no longer hurt by his harsh criticism, as she realized it was really just his way of showing that he cared.
Nervously checking a mirror on the wall to be sure she was smiling, Ginny followed Jacques to the foyer, and found herself with eyes that she hadn't seen in around ten years- Draco Malfoy's.
Sure, Draco had gotten a bit taller, and Merlin knows a lot paler, but he was still recognizably the Malfoy from all those years ago. Ginny felt her stomach began to tighten as she nodded curtly toward the taller man. Draco was regarding her with a slight curiosity, it was almost as if he couldn't place who she was. And perhaps, Ginny realized with a start, he honestly didn't realize who she was. She had changed since Hogwarts; she was taller, a bit more toned, and definitely tanner. Her red hair had even developed golden specks from being out in the sunshine all the time. Perhaps he really doesn't know¸ Ginny thought in awe, putting her fingers to her lips in surprise.
Draco noted her lips with interest, mind idly contemplating the attractive redhead. Crap. Think Pansy. Yes. Wedding, two months…to Pansy. Yes. Shaking his head slightly as if to jog his thoughts back to the present, he turned his attention to Jacques Ferdinand, who had been excitedly prattling on about the gym and its facilities for close to five minutes now, not that Draco had remotely paid attention at all.
"Yes, I see," the Malfoy muttered. "Well, I don't mean to rush you, Mr Ferdinand, but I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a hurry…"
"No problem," Jacques replied quickly, motioning for the two to follow. "I'll just take you to my office and we can get those papers signed."
"Marvellous," the Malfoy whispered sarcastically, nonetheless obediently following the flamboyant Frenchman.
Ginny snorted with laughter. Perhaps this won't be so bad, after all.
"So, Mr Malfoy," Jacques continued, marking certain portions of the contract with a hot pink highlighter, "I'll need you to sign here, and here. This is just a simple clause that ensures if you or any of your party happen to get hurt during this training process, Shape Gyms or Madam Weasley cannot be held responsible."
Draco's eyes bugged slightly at the mention of the attractive redhead's surname. Turning his gaze slowly to the left, his eyes widened even more when he noted the characteristic red hair, and those chocolate brown eyes from his schooldays. No bloody way. A Weasley is going to train me in time to marry another pureblooded Slytherin that hates her. This is perhaps just a tad too ironic, he thought with slight amusement, absentmindedly signing where Jacques indicated.
"Okay, it looks like we're all done. Ginny here can give you her mobile number, and you two can arrange the first of, I'm sure, many meetings," Jacques said cheerfully, going to the back office to file the contract, leaving Ginny alone with Draco.
"You," Draco said simply.
"And you," Ginny retorted, crossing her arms over her chest somewhat childishly. She didn't mind the money, but the idea of working with a pureblood supremacist was still not okay in Ginny's eyes. Draco, on the other hand, wasn't overly thrilled himself, but was more worried about Pansy's reaction. During a time when Pansy and he had been broken up during his Hogwarts schooldays, Draco had made a rather distasteful remark about the nice shape of the Weasley's assets- something that Pansy was fond of bringing up during any argument, about, well…anything. He could only imagine how his fiancée would react when asked to work with the redhead on a regular basis up until their wedding day.
Ginny reached into her purse and took out one of her business cards. Handing it to the Malfoy, she pointed to the mobile number. "That's usually the best way to reach me, I do some house calls for other high profile clients so I'm not always here at the gym."
Draco nodded. "Well, I'll have my receptionist ring to arrange the first meeting tomorrow. Would you like to see all of us at once or individually?"
"It'll need to be individually, with as many people as this party is bound to be. How many are there in total?" the redhead asked, reaching across Jacques' desk for a pen and piece of scratch paper.
"Twenty-two. Eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, maid of honour, matron of honour, two best men, Pansy, and myself."
Ginny scribbled obediently, a smile tugging on her lips.
"What is it? What are you smiling about?" Draco demanded curiously.
"I was only two off, that's all."
The ghost of a smile began on his features, too, but he caught himself just in time. Get yourself together, man. This is a Weasley we're talking about here.
Shaking off the moment of intimacy, and instead delving into the familiar detached professional attitude they had adapted with one another, Draco continued. "Yes, well, we'll be in touch."
Ginny nodded curtly. "Looking forward to that."
With a nod in response, Draco exited the office, walking toward the gym doors. Here goes nothing, he thought bitterly, clutching his folded triplicate copy of the contract and exiting the gym into the rainy London weather.
Ginny waited until she was in the safety of her own office, heating up a Lean Cuisine with the break room's microwave and sipping a water bottle, before she muttered softly to herself, "This should be very interesting."
Authoress' Note: I have no idea where the concept came from for this. Really. I just wanted to start a new fic, and was reading Shape and thinking of how I hadn't been to the gym in like a century and…yeah. Hmm…well. REVIEW ANYWAY! …Please?