Fuck cardio, fuck cardio, fuck cardio.
The words blurred together into an unintelligible mess of resentment as Reece Kelham began to sprint. His thumb fumbled with the speed controls on the treadmill, slick with sweat. The motor filled his ears with a tortured whine, the belt flying faster and faster beneath his feet. He shook the sweat out of his eyes, ignoring how his calves ached, forced another explosive burst of energy to catch up with the belt. Forty more seconds. Forty more seconds. Forty more god damn seconds of fucking sprinting for his life and trying not to trip or cough up a lung in his exhaustion-- oh, hey, ten seconds.
The treadmill lurched as Reece stepped off the belt onto the sides, bent over the control panel and breathing in sweet, sweet oxygen. His thumb met the beautiful down button until he could resume a leisurely pace. Sweat pooled in his 'I-Haven't-Shaved-My-Head-In-Three-Weeks' hair. His scalp itched. Reece drained the rest of his water bottle, his thirst out-competing his need for air. The treadmill finally slowed to a stop and the world began to come back into focus. The headphones in his ears buzzed something with bass and drums and little concern for hearing damage. The gym was packed, echoing with the wet slap of flesh on flesh and shouting coaches correcting form. Reece had been grateful to find the gym, even if it was nearly an hour long bus ride away from work. He would have bussed three hours one way if he had to. He didn't mind his job; the water treatment plant had decent pay and he got to dick about in the lab all day, but nothing compared to the rush of fighting. Fighting, however, did not pay the bills.
Luckily the gym was only a twenty minute walk away from home. A large bag draped across his shoulder, Reece beat the familiar path home. He liked walking. He would walk everywhere if he could manage it without getting stabbed, to be honest. It gave him time to decompress and process his day. He never could manage to unwind on the crowded buses, never could relax with the stink of sweat and the crazies that frequented his route. As entertaining as his commute could be (Hutch had particularly enjoyed his story about the dancing woman who had accused the driver of being a Satanist and begun screaming obscenities at everyone on board), it was nice to simply walk. His music continued to blare through cheap headphones, but he couldn't hear it. Reece's brain was busy sorting through the day, compartmentalizing his To-Do List, taking inventory over the aches and pains in his joints, planning out his evening. First things first; shower. The lab had a weird smell, one that got into your hair and clothes. He'd taken to keeping his work clothes at work and shaving off his hair. This, coincidentally, was number two on his list, along with a good shave. Dashing although stubble may be, it itched like a motherfucker when it got sweaty.
He finished his planning by the time he reached his building (shower, shave, food, email Dan about the supply order, Yoga, a couple rounds of video games, bed-- it was a good list). He fumbled with the lock-- they really needed to get on their landlord about fixing the thing, another item for the list-- and opened the door to the smell of something that could be called food. The door cooperated and locked neatly behind him. While the outside of their building could be accurately described as "Jesus Christ, what a shithole", Reece had worked hard to make sure the interior couldn’t be. Without fail her devoted half of his Sundays to cleaning the place and keeping it orderly. His mom had been all too happy to help him decorate and make the place feel more like a home, even installing a box garden in his kitchen window. He had never been fond of spending money on crap, and damned if his home would fall into that category.
Reece dropped his gym bag by his room. He’d have to go down to the Laundromat tomorrow. Another list would have to be made. Scratching his too-long hair, he followed his nose and wandered into the kitchen. Hutch, cooking. He could cross food off of the list.
“Heya,” he greeted intelligently. “What culinary masterpiece have you crafted for me tonight?"