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The LaPorte Caves – Revised – Ch 08b – The Best Man He Can Be

Written by circes_cup :: [Tuesday, 10 December 2019 23:24] Last updated by :: [Friday, 24 January 2020 12:22]

CHAPTER 08b


SYNOPSIS UP TO THIS POINT
Julia and Howard took a wrong turn in a Kentucky cave and tumbled out into a world of amazon women.  Julia had promised to refrain from taking the elixir that transforms women to amazons, but later broke that promise.  Now an amazon, she has proven herself superior to Howard in every possible way— in power, in athletic talent, and perhaps even intellectually.  And when this became painfully, irrefutably clear to him, Howard lashed out at her in anger. He has yet to find a way to live with being outmatched

DISCLAIMER
This story contains adult sexual content.  If you are not of age to read this stuff, don't.  No resemblance between these characters and real people on Earth is implied or intended.


Howard awoke to the caw-caw of unfamiliar shore birds, rudely reminding him that he was anywhere but home. He pulled the blankets up to his neck, his exhausted body aching with the simple motion.

I need to face it, he resolved to himself. I’ve been in denial about Julia’s new power. The only way to overcome it is to face it.

And I’m capable of facing it, he assured himself. She was still Julia, after all. There was still a part of her that was unchanged, and that seemed to tether the heights to which her new body could rise. I just need to quantify what’s changed.

He began to run through the specifics in his head. I’ve seen these women lift cars, one handed. A car, if it’s built light, weighs maybe 2,500 pounds. I could lift about one hundred pounds one handed, if my life depended on it. So maybe she’s twenty-five times stronger than me?

The conclusion somehow put his mind at ease. 25X was a ridiculous multiple, but it was within his imagination. The problem now had its meets and bounds. She was crazy strong, but in no way a goddess. That steadied his rampant emotions.

Howard felt sleep overcome him again, the caw-caw of the shore birds serenading his early morning slumber. As his wakefulness faded, one thing did bother his mind. But he didn’t have the cogency to process it…

On the beach, how did those houses keep shifting theiir position?

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Howard woke again when he sensed the mattress deforming under him. Julia had sat down on its edge, her chocolate eyes gazing down at him.

“Sorry to wake you.”

“Sorry to hit you,” he groaned.

“It’s ok, honey. I didn‘t hurt.” She took his palm and pressed it onto her bare midriff. His fingers found only smooth skin overlying balls of iron. “See? No damage. Nothing to feel sorry about.”

“Men should never hit women.”

“On Earth,” Julia corrected. “Here, you can be forgiven. You look pretty wiped out.”

Howard tried to sit up, but was greeted by a chorus of aches and pains. He sank back into the sloping mattress.

“Mindy wants to take me to the gym,” she said. “She wants to show me how to lift.”

“Weight training? Because you girls feeling a bit weak?” Howard could sense the bitterness in his own voice.

“The way she talks about it, trips to the gym are pretty much a social thing, like getting your nails done together. Girl time.”

Howard struggled again to sit up, this time ignoring the pain his sore body experienced. He was certain that his skin now featured a prominent blue and purple bruise, received not through any overt assault, but rather from swimming straight into her. Swimming into a concrete wall would have been far more comfortable. Her muscles were that hard.

And now she wanted to go to the gym – to make them even harder.

“I don’t mean to abandon you, but I thought you might appreciate a little break from, well, me,” she explained. “I really wanted to make you happy this morning, and all I did was make you more upset. I don’t seem to be able to get anything right.”

Howard took her hands in his and caressed the thick veins that coursed over her wrists and the backs of her hands. “Maybe the problem isn’t you. I’d like to come.”

“Please don’t feel that you have to. Mindy says it won’t be much fun for a guy. Men and women work out in separate facilities, and the facilities for men aren’t that good.”

“I realized something last night.”. Howard placed his hand on her thigh, which felt like warm rock to him. “I’ve been living in a bit of denial.”

The chocolate pools of her eyes were as soft as her legs were hard.

“I had had hoped that the Nourishent wouldn’t work on you. Even when I saw how you had grown, I had hoped you wouldn’t turn out to be as powerful as the others here. But, that’s not how it happened. You are ridiculously strong and a phenomenal athlete now. You’ll be better at the butterfly stroke than me in no time…”

“Truth be told, I already am,” Julia admitted softly.

“… and I need to get used to it. I’d like to come to the gym, Julia. I’m going to force myself to witness every bit of what you’ve become, no matter how awesome it is. That’s the only way I can accept it and move on. We might find the way home tomorrow, or we might never find the way home. I need to face the reality of the situation I’m in.”

“Come here, you big lug.” Howard found himself encircled by her arms, his face drawn close to hers. “You’re pretty awesome, did you know that?”

Howard felt her warm, smooth lips on his, her breath the sweet scent of ripe cherries. Her lips were gentle at first, dancing over his, sending tingles throughout his body.

But then her mouth enveloped his in a deep frech kiss. Howard felt the breath pulled out of him as her larger, stronger lungs inhaled. She moaned happily.

Her embrace suddenly constricted. Her encircling biceps had flared wide, not from exertion but simply from the bending of her arms. Howard felt his own arms pinned against his ribcage with unrelenting force. He tried to squirm free, but he felt like nothing more than a twig being crushed by a pair of pliers. He felt the blood flow ceasing in his arms.

For a moment, she broke off the kiss. Her smile was blithely unaware of the pain she caused. “You are so sexy to me now. I could do this all day.”

Nothing could have terriried him more. Howard’s voice tried to formulate a plea. But as his body sought the breath to speak, the iron vice of her body just closed further, her voluminous breasts, hard as bowling balls, warping his ribs inward.

Her lips were back on his now. He clamped his jaw shut, hoping that such uncooperative behavior would signal his distress. But her needy tongue simply pried his jaw apart and ravished him, her lungs once again empting his of what little air they had. Her passionate moan vibrated his bones.

Little black spots formed in his vision as the distress of his body deepened. He felt a panic begin to overcome him, which made him want to hyperventilate, which made him panic all the more when his lungs couldn’t ventilate in the slightest. He was going to die, right here in her arms.

But then, without warning, the assault ceased. His mouth was free to breathe again, and the constriction around his chest slackened.

Howard buried himself against her bosom, his chest heaving and tears rolling onto her skin. He hoped this would be mistaken for passion and not pain, too ashamed to admit his weakness.

“Mmmmmm,” she purred. “So many guys would have been totally humiliated by having a girlfriend who is stronger,” she murmured. “But not you.”

She placed a gentle hand on his head, pinning it against the firm mass of her breast. Howard neck twisted with the rise and fall of her chest. He feared that another bout of affection was coming.

“We should get going to the gym.” Howard offered as a distraction.

She hopped up from the bed, her movement spritely and her voice as carefree as a little girl’s. “You bet. I’ll get Mindy’s car down from the rack.”

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It’s no big deal, Howard reassured himself as he waited with Julia in the reception area. You are going to see them lift a lot of weight. But it’s a comprehensible amount of weight. Not an insane amount. They’re still just people. It’s no big deal. If you can accept the facts, you can overcome them.

“All the weight training suites are taken right now,” Mindy said as she returned from the reception desk. “But they say one should be freeing up in a few minutes. Come on, we can warm up in the yard. You can come too, little man.”

Mindy couldn’t have been more annoyed about the fact that Howard was tagging along, he could tell. It was as if he were depriving her of her ‘girl time.’

Howard followed the ladies through the corridors of the gym. Unlike the warehouse-like appearance of many earth gyms, this one had a more refined feel. Sconces with natural light tones took the place of hard fluorescent ceiling lights. Howard followed the two enormous women through spotless corridors lined with gleaming stainless steel. The air smelled fresh and the staff wore crisp white uniforms.

Outside, the “yard” turned out to be a junkyard of sorts. There were a number of used and rusted vehicles sitting in several piles. The piles were surrounded by trapezoidal frames constructed of steel I-beams, like the outlines of Mayan pyramids, their top platform several stories off the ground.

Mindy approached one of the pyramids, a steel frame over a pile of four dilapidated cars. She bent her legs, and launched off the ground, alighting on top of the frame with ease.

It’s no big deal, Howard said to himself. She’s genetically gifted, nothing more.

Julia followed her up using a set of rungs welded into one of the legs of the frame, clearly not ready for a three-story leap. Howard followed as well, although he could not come close to keeping up with her.

“What exactly is it?” Julia asked, staring down at the contraption on which the group stood. A horizontal bar was affixed at waist height. Steel cables descended from each end of the bar to the pile of cars below.

“Bicep curls,” Mindy said. The teenager grasped the bar and curled it to her chin. The steel frame groaned and shifted underneath Howard’s feet, forcing him to steady himself. Howard looked down to see the pile of cars rising with the motion of the girl’s arm. Her biceps swelled to the size of volleyballs with each repetition. Her arms did not quiver in the slightest, and in fact, the expression on Mindy’s face was half-bored.

My lord, Howard thought, the girl is curling a pile of vehicles like it’s nothing. “How much weight is that?” She blurted.

Mindy shrugged. “Six, maybe seven tons. Wanna try?”

“I’ll pass.” Howard’s mind once again began to reel. He had seen these monsters life one car. But four?

“How ‘bout you, Jules?”

Julia moved into position, awkwardly. “Be patient with me, Mindy. It’s still a bit strange to me.”

Howard watched her grip the bar. No, no, no, no, his thoughts pleaded. Please don’t be this strong.

She gripped the bar, Her knuckles whitening and the tendons on her arm tensing.

“Not so hard,” Mindy cautioned. “Lighten up your grip or you will warp the bar.”

Julia seemed to relax a bit. She bit her lip and hauled her forearms upward. The stack of cars let out a WHANG as it was slammed upward. Howard stumbled as the frame shook, and then descended to his knees for stability.

“That wasn’t bad at all!” his girlfriend exclaimed as she repeated the motion, more carefully this time. The pile of cars rose and fell below the threesome with a steady rhythm.

“The real weight machines are inside. These are just for warming up.”

Just for warming up, Howard gasped silently as he watched. Each of them had the power of not of dozens of men, but hundreds!

Mindy adjusted the length of the cable and talked Julia through several other warm ups – standing rows and the like – before twisting her head around to another vehicle pile under another trapezoidal frame.

“Come on, let’s do legs now.”. The teenager launched herself into the air, her body sailing high above the junkyard and landing on a another pyramid frame forty feet away.

“I can’t.” Julia hesitated. “I’ve never done it before.”

“Just try.”

Julia followed the younger woman’s advice, jumping forty feet to the next pyramid frame, and letting out a yelp when she landed successfully.

Her body had judged the trajectory with near perfection, even though it was her first time. It’s no big deal, Howard tried to reassure himself as he watched his girlfriend make a few more experiemental jumps, hopping from frame to frame. Her confidence seemed to build with every jump. Soon she was jumping from one end of the pyramid cluster to the other, covering one hundred horizontal feet with ease.

“I didn’t know it was so easy,” Julia revelled, doing a full flip in the air before alighting on Mindy’s pyramid frame.

Easy for you, Howard thought. Your body learns everything easily.

“Howard, want to come over and watch us do legs?” His girlfriend asked.

“Nah, that’s okay.” He tried to sound indifferent. “I can just watch from here.”

Viewing the spectacle at a distance give Howard a renewed appreciation for the physics involved. The two ladies were standing atop the largest of the metal frames, from which hung a total of three vehicles. But this time, the vehicles were buses.

“How much?” Howard shouted.

“Why do you care?” Mindy crossed her arms. “Fifty tons.”

The heap of metal creaked and groaned like a freight train in motion as the stack of three buses rose and fell under the power of his girlfriend’s locomotive thighs. Overwhelming, ridiculous, frightening – there was no one word that rightly captured how strong these women were.

They were goddesses after all.

NO, Howard’s mind recoiled! It’s no big deal. She’s stronger. But you’re both still people. Equal people. But despite repeating that mantra in his head, Howard found a combination of instinctive fear and jealousy brewing inside of him.

Thankfully, Howard did not have to witness much more of this. A weight training suite had opened up.

If the corridors of the place had been a departure from gyms in Kentucky, the weight training suite was only moreso. No weight training machines filled the floor, no racks of dumbbells lined the walls – there were just three benches and three thick bars, one beside each bench. The benches were supported by thick columns of solid steel. Along the perimeter of the room, mirrors and floor-to-ceiling windows were interspersed with sections of wall. The wall had a rough-hewn look, and was covered by a sheet of plexiglass. Along the perimeter, too, stood a half-dozen male attendants.

“I don’t even know what he’s doing in here,” Mindy scowled at Howard. “He should be in the men’s section.”

“How does this room even work?” Julia asked. “Just a bench and a bar?”

“Maybe Howard can show us. Why don’t you bring me one of those bars, Howard?”

With some hesitation, Howard approached bars lying on the floor. They were nearly as tall as he, and thick as ears of corn. He bent down to pick one up.

The bar didn’t budge. Howard bent at the knees, straddled it carefully, and heaved upward. His arms smarted and his voice let out an OOFF. Howard tried one more time, his muscles beginning to burn before he finally gave up.

“I can’t,” he admitted.

“I WONDER why,” Mindy laughed lightly as she sashayed over to him. “MAYBE it’s because the bar weighs EIGHT HUNDRED pounds.” She lifted the bar between her thumb and forefinger. “MAYBE it’s because the bar is designed for women. MAYBE it’s because the whole suite is designed for women. MAYBE it’s because men don’t even BELONG here. You should stick with boy weights. Before you get yourself hurt.”

She bumped him playfully with her hip, flattening him against the wall.

“Ooops.” She pouted.

“Mindy!” Julia admonished.

“It’s ok. It’s ok.” Howard said, to embarrassed to admit otherwise. His back began to ache.

As he watched the nineteen-year-old return to the bench, eight-hundred-pound bar pinched between her fingers, Howard struggled to swallow his pride.

But at that moment, he also felt the warmth of his girlfriend behind him, the cinnamon scent of her skin close to his. He felt her fingers knead the base of his neck with slow deliberate strokes, as if she were rubbing the shame out of him. And it was working.

“You’re the best guy in the world, you know that?” she whispered.

Howard laughed. “In this world? How about we go and see whether I can be the best guy in the other one?”

Julia responded only with her fingers, continuing to stroke him, as if to say ‘I’m not giving up on you.’

Mindy placed the bar in its cradle above the bench and motioned Julia over.

“Wish me luck,” his girlfriend whispered as her fingers left his back.

An attendant removed a small metal cover from the floor, revealing the end of a thick cable. He pulled on the end and attached the eye-hole to the end of the bar. Another attendant did the same on the other end of Julia’s bar.

“How much weight, miss, for your bench press routine?” The attendant asked.

“Start her with seventeen,” Mindy said, hands on her hips.

Out of the corner of his eye, she saw an attendant remove a metal panel from the wall and slide something into it. Julia lay back on the heavily buttressed bench and slid herself below the bar.

“Julia,” Howard interrupted.

She turned.

“You’re not so bad yourself.”

Julia answered with a wink and a beaming smile. She pushed up against the bar. The cables went taut and then a section of the wall shot upward.

The walls weren’t walls at all, Howard finally realized. They were weight stacks. Howard could bench a weight stack the size of two shoe boxes. She was benching a weight stack the size of a wall.

Her first repetition ended with a room-shaking CLANG. She did ten more, her arms beginning to shake at the tenth repetition.

“That’s all I can do,” she admitted.

Howard wanted to encourage her, just like he had done on the mountain slopes in Kentucky. But Mindy spoke first.

“It’s alright,” Mindy said. “You’ll improve.”

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The cables coming out of the floor were complemented by other cables that were strung through the ceiling and the walls. In combination with a bench that could be adjusted to any number of positions, every muscle could be exercised, to any degree.

Howard forced himself to watch the displays of power. I have to witness this, Howard reminded himself. Witnessing is the path to acceptance.

So many tons for this, so many tons for that. Julia was guided through a dizzying series of exercises with dizzying levels of weight – far beyond what Howard had imagined possible before this moment – and she seemed to be enjoying each new experience more than the last.

The truth is as big a deal as you make it out to be, Howard lectured himself. Accept it and you can move on. Howard was only beginning to do that when Mindy spoke again.

“Back to the start of the routine,” the teenager finally ordered. “Your body should be ready to step it up a bit on bench. For bench presses, twenty-one.”

From seventeen tons on the bench press to twenty-one, all in the course of a single workout? That shouldn't be possible. Howard watched as Julia settled into the bench, waiting for the pins to be set by the attendants, and began heaving the bar skyward. “Easy!” His girlfriend announced lowering and raising the bar again.

A new unease settled in to Howard’s gut – and it must of shown on his face.

“She’s adding muscle fiber, Howard. Our bodies build new muscle so much faster than yours. How long does it take you to grow your little muscles? Days?”

“Weeks,” Howard replied dully.

“We can do it in minutes.”

Four tons – that was the capacity her triceps had added since she first arrived in the suite. The equivalent of more than a car. The unease in his gut grew further. It wasn’t just that she was strong. She was orders of magnitude stronger, and she could get stronger still with almost no effort.

Nourishment had done more than simply make his girlfriend’s body more powerful, Howard realized. It had indeed transformed into a living goddess – someone against which no creature, and no object, stood a chance. And with that sort of power, how could the personality that wielded it not change? How could resist the thrill of knowing they were invincible?

He felt a sudden feeling of claustrophobia. “I need some fresh air,” Howard stood and made for the door. “I’ll be in the men’s area on the roof.”

“Wait… Why?” Julia struggled to rack the bar quickly as she spoke.

He looked at her bulging tricep, swollen with her new gains. “Mindy was right: I don’t belong here.”

“But honey…” Julia seemed uncertain. “It’s no big deal. I love you for who you are, not how much you can lift.”

08b1 In The Gym“It is a big deal,” Howard concluded. “You’re pushing yourself to be better. And it’s not in my nature to just sit around and watch. I need to push myself to be better, too, even if the scales are different. I need to focus on being the best man I can be.”

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“What a joke,” Mindy observed after the man left the room.

“Mindy… that is unkind.”

But Julia couldn’t resist being amused herself. What was he going to do up on that rooftop – bench two hundred pounds? Three hundred? Going from normal Howard to best-he-can-be Howard seemed little different than an ant going from pushing one piece of dust across the floor to push two.

Julia did another repetition of the leg press, the room darkening with the movement of the fifty-five-ton weight stack. It was ten percent greater than her starting weight, but her legs were nonetheless rising to the challenge, moving it smoothly up and down the track.

Howard’s comparative weakness clearly made him miserable. The weight room attendants, by contrast, seemed content with their role. Sure, they were on the job, and working hard to keep up with her changing exercises, but they seemed to get a rush out of doing their jobs well and pleasing the two females in their midst. Whenever Julia shared the glee of discovering her increasing strength, the men broke out into spontaneous smiles.

Julia watched Mindy sit on her own bench and call the tonnage for another exercise. The young girl stretched to ready herself, her wide swath of back muscle widening further, like the flared head of an angry cobra.

Mindy was magnificent. A pretty face, boobs to die for, and a body that seemed to revel in the exercise in which it had been indulged. While her skin had always been smooth and healthy, now it was positively glowing. While her muscles had always been large, now they were huge with the swell of productive exertion. And while she had always been well defined, now she seemed to be chiseled out of stone: her expanded muscles had devoured what little fat her body had possessed.

Julia stepped in front of one of the floor length mirrors to see how her own body was coming along. She flexed her abdominals and watched baseballs become softballs. Except they weren’t soft at all. She turned her derriere toward the mirror and flexed here thighs and glutes, watching those huge muscles swell with dramatic new volume. She turned to face the mirror again and launched a double-biceps pose, ballooning her upper arms to the scale of volleyballs, her sports bra stretching wide over the spread off her engorged lats. Yes, all of her muscles had expanded, and her already admirable definition had increased. Her body was indeed transforming itself over the course of just a single workout.

Julia gave a start as she felt strong arms encircle her from behind. Strong hands slid under the industrial strength elastic of her sports bra and squeezed her breasts assertively. “Admiring yourself?” It was Mindy’s throaty whisper. “Can I join you in that?”

Julia squelched a moan. The attention felt… very nice. “Mindy, we’re not alone here.”

“So? It’s just a few men. They‘d like nothing more than to watch the two of us fool around.”

At those words, Julia felt a heat forming below. She felt Mindy’s left hand leave her left breast and begin to snake lower. Julia arrested it with her own hand. “I can’t,” she pleaded. “Howard.”

“That little boy?” The teenager’s throaty whisper replied. “I can do things to you that little male minds could never imagine. My tongue can bend a steel rod like it’s a twizzle stick.”

Julia trembled at the thought. She felt Mindy’s fingers pinch her nipple – and it wasn’t a light pinch either. At least a ton of force was involved, and it felt delightful.

“I still can’t,” Julia protested.

“You are an interesting visitor,” the whisper replied, its hands slackening and slipping away. “And that boy is lucky to have you. Too lucky.”

Julia went back to her bench limbs quivering. The bar and the cables paid the price for her body’s burning need. On the bench press, the whole room shook as she heaved the bar away from her and then set the weight stack back down with a BOOM.

But as much as she tried to take out her aggression on the weights, her body stymied her by adapting so quickly to the increased burden. Every time she worked a muscle, she would feel the strain at first, but it quickly transitioned into something else – a deep inner warmth that seemed to emanate from within the muscles themselves. When she later returned to that same exercise, she found that muscle group were hungry for more.

The bench press, which had started at seventeen tons, was soon at twenty-five, and then thirty, then forty. She then spread her arms wide for fly’s, her pectoral muscles at first heaving fifteen tons – the equivalent of four cars – but later pulling nearly twice as much.

And so it continued. Julia worked muscle after muscle, relying upon Mindy to point out exercises she had never heard of before. The older woman’s ignorance was much to the bafflement – and amusement – of the attendants. Thighs, shoulders, abs, glutes, calves, biceps, triceps, lats, pecs, obliques – he ladies did them all.

By the end of an hour her body was suffused with a happy glow. Her muscles throbbed with power even more unreal than what she had possessed earlier. She let the weight stack down with a thunderous, satisfying CLANG.

Julia rested her palms against her knees as she sat on the bench, sweat pouring down her forehead. Her body satisfied, at least for now, allowed Julia’s mind to clear. Howard was adamant that the two of them did not belong in this world, Julia mused. But how could something that was wrong feel so… incredibly right? It stood to reason that perhaps Howard’s instincts about this place were mistaken. It stood to reason that her instincts were just as valid, and those instincts told her that a body that could lift forty tons was a body worth keeping. After all, she felt fantastic!

The bar, however, seemed less than fantastic: it was bowed into an arc, and riddled with indentations from her fingers.

“Put it in the discard bin when you’re done,” Mindy specified. “They can’t be reused.”

Deep in thought, she folded the weight bar in half and then over on itself a second time, the thick steel emitting a plaintive groan. She couldn’t get her mind off of Howard, how intimidated he had seemed by her strength.

Howard had come to the gym to make peace with the reality of Julia’s new body. But it had only served to intimidate him further, and now he was up on that roof in some sort of silky, self-imposed contest with himself to become the best he could be.

Once, Howard had been the provider. He had played a clear role in her life. But now, that role was gone, and the man seemed unable to adjust.

Was he antiquated?

Her arms and hands, working on their own accord, steadily crumpled the bar into a ball. It once had a function, but now it was useless. She tossed it in the bin with a WHAM, discarded forever.

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Julia followed the clink-clink sound of the men’s free weights up the stairs. Mindy had run into a few friends down in the women’s area, but mentioned that she would be up shortly.

The ground floor of the building was so burdened with the women’s weights that constructing a basement underneath it for the men would have been unnecessarily expensive, Julia had learned. In fact, it wasn’t even worth building separate ground floor space for the men, since male memberships didn’t bring in enough money to justify the cost. So, the men were relegated to the roof.

A light drizzle had set in since the ladies had been outside, and Howard had much of the rooftop facility to himself. Unlike the cable-and-stack systems used with the ladies, the men had a bunch of free weights, many of them rusty.

The weight discs were larger than what Julia usually saw on Earth, even for men. And many of them were festooned with mermaids, pink hearts and flowers. Second hand girl weights, she realized.

Howard was engaged in bench presses. The broad, twenty-four-inch-wide plates he was using would have been intimidating to her back in Kentucky. Now, they seemed laughably small.

But from the reddening color of Howard’s face, Julia could tell that he found the weight anything but childish.

“Hey,” she said, standing over him.

He struggled to rack the bar, letting out several HUFF’s before dropping it into the metal cradles.

That made Julia uncomfortable. “Howard, take it easy. Don’t overdo it.”

“I can handle it.” Howard unracked the bar and lowered it for another repetition. He whispered “two” to himself as he tried to bring the bar back up.

But the bar’s movement was slow, and his face was turning bright red.

“Sweetie, you gotta breathe,” Julia offered as his face reddened further.

“I don’t… “ he panted, racking the bar with an unsteady CLANG. “I don’t need you to tell me how to work out.”

Julia glanced at the discs at each end of the bar. They were one hundred pounds a piece. “Two hundred pounds, plus the bar? Honey, you never did that at home. What are you doing to yourself?”

“You think it’s a pathetic weight don’t you?”

“I didn’t say that.” But she thought it.

“Just trying to focus on myself, Julia.” He unracked the bar with a HOOF. “I realized, it doesn’t really matter what you ladies can do. I just need to focus on myself. Be the best I can be, however different that is. That’s what’s important.”

“The best you can be doesn’t look like much.” The voice was Mindy’s.

And indeed, Howard’s arms were wobbling as they arrested the bar’s descent. When he applied himself to raising it, his arms were positively shaking. The bar rose only slowly.

And Mindy wasn’t alone. Julia noticed that her friends from downstairs had followed her up.

08b.2 In The Gym“My friends want to see what people from another world are like. It’s been years since we’ve had anyone tumble out of the caves.”

Julia surveyed Mindy’s gaggle of girls as they formed a circle – four of them in all. All were towering, eight-foot-tall paragons of physical power, their muscles all in peak condition from recent workouts.

“That’s cool.” One of the women crouched down, hands-on-knees, examining him like a specimen. “My men never come with me to the gym.”

The bar finally reached the top of its journey, clattering onto the rack as Howard’s arms gave up the effort.

Julia could tell that Howard did not like the attention, and she wanted to save him the embarrassment of struggling in front of such an audience. “I’m glad that you’re trying to improve, honey, but you need to step it down.”

“And how exactly do I do that when there aren’t any smaller plates?”

Julia surveyed the rooftop facility, replete with secondhand pink, baby blue and turquoise discs. All of them appeared to be at least two hundred pounds, some were twice that size. Perhaps the drizzle wasn’t the only reason that men avoided this facility.

Howard re-tightened his grip on the bar and lifted it off the rack for yet another repetition. The bar almost seemed to plummet toward the man’s neck, so minimal was his ability to resist. He finally broke its fall. But his face turned beet red as he tried to raise the bar again – and it was going nowhere.

Julia slipped two fingers under the bar and brought it up for him.

“Don’t help me, Julia. I can do it, just a few more reps.”

“No, you can’t. Like I said, you need to step the weight down.” Julia grasped one of the iron discs and tore a chunk away, the solid iron separating like the bread of a morning pastry. Genetically enhanced finger muscles that far exceeded even the strongest man’s bicep continued to tear at the metal without effort. She worked the perimeter of the disc, tearing as she went. Mindy watched dismissively as Julia proceeded to the other side and did it again. Julia balled the excess iron in one hand. And with the other, she pinched the bar between her thumb and forefinger, picking it up without effort. “There, that should be better.”

“You just tore iron apart with your bare hands,” Howard declared in a leaden voice.

“Fifty pounds makes a difference for him?” one of the girls asked, incredulously. She was a massive hulk of mocha-colored skin and jet black her done up in a bun.

Julia heard Mindy suppress a not-so-quiet giggle.

“Honey, don’t listen to them,” Julia implored. “Tell me if the weight is better now.”

“It’s not better,” Howard’s fingers slid off the bar. He sat up. His head tilted downward as if burdened by a third iron disc – one that only he could feel. “Just leave me alone.”

“Honey, don’t be that way. I love you, no matter how weak you are.”

Howard froze, the cool of the drizzle moistening his shocked expression.

“That didn’t come out very well,” Julia mumbled. “But you know what I mean.”

Howard nodded slowly, the recognition dawning. “I used to be normal in your eyes. But now, I’m something less. And no amount of effort on my part is ever going to change that.”

“Howard… honey…”

But he didn’t answer. He just stood up from the bench, squeezed himself between two of the hulking towers that were Mindy’s friends, and walked away into the drizzle.

-----------

“Howard, wait up. Howard!”

It didn’t take long for Julia to catch up with him. But that didn’t stop him from trying to outdistance her. It was almost cute to see the effort he applied to his brisk walk, and how little it did to distance himself from her superior, longer stride. It somehow made her want him more than she already did.

“Howard, I was just trying to help!”

He had made it down an exterior staircase and halfway across the parking lot when he was finally forced to pivot and face her. “You humiliated me.”

“Please honey…” She opened her palms toward him in bewilderment. “… one-fifty, two hundred – what does it matter? They’re just numbers. I’m dating a person, not a number.”

Standing face-to-face, her powerful body towered over his inconsequential one.

And the sadness did not leave his expression. “On the bench press… where did you start out?”

“Seventeen tons,” Julia almost whispered. “Mindy started me off light so I wouldn't strain anything.”

“How many times greater is that than a man?”

“Two hundred seventy two Male Equivalent Units.” she admitted in a murmur.

“And how many Male Equivalent Units were you doing at the end of just an hour’s work out?”

“Six hundred.” Her voice was a whisper. “Six hundred men. I’m at peak now.”

“What does that mean?”

“There aren’t strong women and weak women here. We all get the same juice. We all have the same capacity for strength. Without working out, our bodies are naturally at five hundred male equivalent units. A trip to the gym puts us as peak strength – usually around six hundred male equivalent units. And we stay at peak for days afterward.”

“And how many hours a day do you need to work out to stay at this… peak?”

“Howard…”

“How many?

“An hour a week.”

“It’s not fair,” he whispered down into the pavement. Then, Howard confronted her arm with a stare. “Flex it.”

“Howard…”

“Flex it,” he insisted.

Julia did, placing one balled hand in the palm of another. She flexed, her arms exploding wide, her pectorals thickening and rising like loaves of bread. In an instant, she had become a wall of muscle. She sensed Howard’s breathing quicken, his primal flight instinct taking over. He was so weak, so easily intimidated! And that made him seem so vulnerable to her, so in need of her protective embrace. She felt a fire growing within her, warming her to the tips of her fingers.

To lessen the intimidating effect, she switched out of that pose to a simple bicep flex, the arm muscle quickly forming a nearly spherical shape. The skin pulled taut over the roundedness, the sun shining brightly off the top of the dome she had formed.

She watched Howard’s palm explore it. Then, his fingers whitened against her flesh, trying to dimple it. But her muscle did not give even a fraction of a millimeter.

He shook his head. “So, so hard.”

She loved the feathery touch of his fingers against her flexed arm. Ever since first putting her lips to the bottle, she had worried that Howard would not like her brawn, not find it attractive. But now, he was looking at her physique wide-eyed, and she could only assume it was a sign of appreciation for what he saw. She gave her arm an extra little flex, causing the dome of her bicep to rise a bit higher. Howard’s eyes only grew wider as his hands began to shake. So delicate, so loving – SUCH a turn on!

“To be honest, I haven't even finished learning everything I can do with this new body. It seems a very long list.”

She watched her boyfriend’s eyes grow stunned and glassy as he absorbed the news. So frail. So cute.

“It’s so unfair,” he said, his fingers still exploring her muscles. “All you did was drink juice, and now you’re … this. Superhuman. Part of me hates you.”

There was a little tremble to his lips as he said it. Those kissable lips.

He squeezed harder, trying repeatedly, fruitlessly to dimple the flesh. But his hands began to shake with the effort, while her muscle was still round as a bowling ball.

“Howard, don’t. You’ll bruise your fingers.”

But Howard did anyway, his weakling puny male muscles trying to compress her gargantuan, super-dense, female one. It was so hopeless as to be completely adorable.

An aching warmth began to form inside of her. She had always been attracted to him, but in this new body, the power of that attraction was overwhelming. She lowered her arm and placed her fingertips on his collarbones.

“Howard, make love to me.”

Howard took half-a-step back. “What?”

"You know…" Julia ran a finger over his dainty pectoral muscle until she found his sternum, and then gently – oh, so gently – backed him into a car. "It's not just my muscles that are superhuman. My libido is… something more as well."

Howard looked up at her with pleading eyes. "Honey, we're in a parking lot. We shouldn't."

"We should. Women take their men wherever they want here.”

“But Mindy could be ready to go now.”

“She’s back inside gossiping with her friends,” Julia replied, still holding him aloft. “I can hear them. One of the windows of the gym is open.”

“You can hear them?”. Howard cupped a hand over his ear, as if his unenhanced ears might be able to hear the faint conversation trickling through the opening a hundred yards away. SO cute!

She slid her hands into his armpits and raised his body up, his face level with hers. Julia planted a gentle kiss on his lips.

They felt lifeless to her. She drew away to see that he was looking around furtively, still anxious about their public location. Weak AND bashful, she thought. Even cuter. She was dying with need for him.

She tried to release her pheromones, to leave him without a functioning brain that could make his own decisions and form his own words. But her body didn’t answer the call, and she found herself negotiating once more with her words.

“OK, silly,” she breathed. “If you’re going to be THAT shy, I can find us a place more private. Julia draped him over her wide shoulder, like a baby being burped. In the back of her head, she heard Howard protest, but the sound of his protest only made her need him more. She carried him away from the parking lot and into a grove populated by palm trees.

The wide trunk of a palm tree seemed perfect for what she had in mind. She pinned him against it with one hand-- perhaps a little roughly, as the poor man let out an OOF! with the impact. But Julia was too excited to pay much heed.

"Julia, you can be a little intimidating, you know, in that body."

She barely heard him. She needed to feel him against her. Placing her palms against the bark above his head, she leaned her chest into him. It was greeted by his two hands cupping what little of her enormous breasts they could grasp. And squeezing.

“That feels SO good…”

She closed her eyes and delighted in the sensations. She leaned into him further, pressing his hands back toward him.

“I’m trying to push you away!” He grunted.

“You’re playing hard to get, you little devil. And it is SO turning me on.” She opened her eyes to find his arms quivering with exertion against her soft breasts, the tendons jutting out of his forearms with the strain. That gentlest of pressure felt better and better to her.

“I want to just wrap you around me,” she growled. Brushing his hands away, she pinned his torso assertively against the tree. After some wriggling, she got one massive breast under each of his armpits. She straightened her posture and watched with bemusement as her boyfriend slid up the bark of the palm, his measly 175 pounds supported only by her insanely firm breasts, his feet flailing a full two feet of the ground. Julia dug her fingers into tree trunk and pulled her herself into him. The tree groaned under the pressure of her body. So, too, did her boyfriend.

But Julia heard only the roar of the growing inferno inside of her. With her hands now free, she felt around for his belt and then ripped it apart with a single motion. After that, the shorts and underwear slipped easily off. She found herself cupping his naked ass in one hand and his manhood in the other.

It was flaccid. Even in her old body, this sort of friskiness would have garnered a better reaction. She looked up to his face for an answer and saw it turning blue.

Oh no, not again. She was overwhelming him yet again, and not in a good way. She eased off him gently and watched the warmer colors return to his face.

"You scare me." Howard was panting. "Your body scares me."

"It doesn't turn you on, just a little bit? I've got curves like I've never had before."

"It's your muscles that are the problem."

Julia took a deep breath, trying to collect her emotions. With her inhalation, the tree again creaked under the pressure and Howard again emitted a grunt of discomfort. Perhaps he was right to be scared: her body had more power than control right now. She backed away and lowered Howard to his feet.

"I'm sorry," she said. She spread her arms wide and stared at them, as if seeing her huge limbs for the first time. "The difference between us is so great, it’s easy to lose track. I promise I'll learn to control it better."

She watched Howard slink away from the living diagram of superhuman power. "It's not just that you nearly crushed me. It's something more basic. I can't just flip a switch and become attracted to something I've never liked before."

"Oh," Julia felt herself reddening. "To you, my big muscles… I’m ugly?"

Howard only cast his gaze to the ground. She knew what that meant.

"I see," she whispered, now filled with shame. "I didn't know that was how you felt."

By that point, Mindy was making her way toward them across the parking lot. There was no more time for couple talk. “We should head back to the car,” Howard suggested.

“Go ahead without me.” Julia tried to smile. “I’ll find my own way home.”

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