|Stan walked up the driveway of the house and went in the unlocked back
door. We were in a nondescript but clean kitchen. "Jonathan? Where are
you?" he called out.
From an open door at the back, we heard Jonathan call, "I'm in the gym, Stan, bring them back here."
Stan led us through the rear door into a large room that was apparently a converted garage. It was full of barbells, dumbbells, and assorted other equipment, some of which I didn't recognize. The walls were covered with the covers of magazines I had seen at the newsstands, but never had the nerve to pick up -- "Iron Man", "Muscular Development", and others, as well as some much older-looking magazines with names like "Physique Pictorial". In a corner of the room was a raised area with a spotlight of some kind above. A large mirror covered half one of the walls.
But I didn't take in these details right away, because I was staring at Jonathan. He was actually a little shorter than me, but I had the impression of someone towering over me. He was wearing a flannel shirt with the sleeves torn off, open at the front, showing tanned and smooth chest muscles (I only later learned they were called 'pecs') thicker than any I had seen, atop a 'washboard'-like stomach. His arms seemed to me as thick as my legs, and there were thick veins running along this biceps and throughout his forearms. His oversized trousers were belted in at the top, showing a narrow waist. He must outweigh me by a hundred pounds, I thought. His face was friendly and open, with a couple day's growth of beard. His long light-brown hair was tied at the back. I figured him for a college student, perhaps because of the "USC" bumper-sticker that adorned the back of one of the benches.
"I don't think I want to be *that* big," Barry murmured.
"Not much danger of that," I whispered dryly.
"Hi, I'm Jonathan Leblanc. I see you've met my star pupil. Stan, whom have you brought?" Irrelevantly, I was impressed by his proper grammar.
"This is Barry," said Stan, and Jonathan reached forward and shook Barry's hand. "And this is Mike." Jonathan grasped my hand in his own.
It was actually no bigger than mine, with callouses on the palm, and a strong but not overwhelming grip.
"Glad to meet you guys. Stan said you wanted to know how he built up his muscles -- well, this is the place. Have a seat." Barry and I sat on a bench, with Jonathan sitting on another across from us.
Barry got right to the point. "Can you give me muscles like you did with Stan?"
Jonathan looked at Barry and grinned. He turned to me. "Mike, is that what you want, too?"
I looked over at Stan the musclekid, and at Jonathan, the muscleman. I had never really talked to anyone like Jonathan before -- or Stan, for that matter. There were muscular guys at school, of course, but they usually treated me with contempt, if they paid attention to me at all.
So, talking with someone like Jonathan and Stan was kind of scary. I was shaking. Steadying myself, I said, "I'd like to be able to have muscles like yours someday."
Jonathan looked us over. He flexed his arms. If Stan's hard round biceps were like oranges, then Jonathan's were like someone had shoved melons into his arms. Before I could think, I reached across and squeezed a steel arm. My hand barely made it halfway around. "Oh, wow," I breathed, while Barry just exclaimed, more bluntly, "Fuck!" Jonathan looked seriously from me to Barry. "You're impressed? Well, these arms took years to build. Let me tell you something. I can't 'give' you guys muscles. I can show you how to lift weights, and let you come here and lift with me. I can tell you about how to eat, because you can't get bigger without eating. I can teach you how to show off your muscles to the best advantage. But there are no magic pills, no SuperSoldier serum, no magic Hercules Ring," (he shot a smile over at Stan, who responded with an embarrassed blush at some private joke), "and no secret Charles Atlas programs. I can't give you muscles, guys. You have to *work* for them, and I mean 100%. It's not going to happen overnight, and you have to be totally focused when you're lifting, and be thinking about your training whenever you eat and sleep.
"And that also means you guys don't do grass, no uppers, no dropping acid, not even booze or cigarettes, you understand?" I glanced at Barry, who looked very serious and nodded. I knew that Barry smoked from time to time, so this was no trivial matter.
I swallowed. My mouth was dry. "If we do all that, and do everything you tell us, and lift with you all summer, what kind of muscles will we have when school starts in September?" I asked. "Will we look like you? Like Stan?"
Jonathan looked from me to Barry and back, considering. "Stand up and take your shirts off. You too, Stan." Barry stood up and pulled his shirt off quickly, eager to show off his physique. I followed suit, and looked over at Stan, who already had tossed his shirt to the floor. Stan was not unnaturally huge or anything -- inches shorter than Barry and obviously much lighter, but he showed ridges of muscle all over his body, sharply defined. Stan was one of those people who never put an ounce of fat on his body, and every muscle in his body stood out like carved marble.
"OK, guys, flex your arms. Stan, show them how I want to see it. See, Barry, don't hunch up your shoulders like that...better." He walked around us, and I felt his hands gently squeeze on my flexing arms and my shoulders from behind. I wished that it had been me squeezing *him*, and once again, I felt like my dick was going to escape from my pants.
Jonathan apparently didn't notice. "OK. Now, Stan, show them how to do a side-chest."
Stan turned his side to us, joined his hands in front of him, pulled his shoulders back, drew in his stomach and flexed his chest to show unexpected thickness. Through his thin skin I thought I could pick out individual muscle fibers at the center of his chest. "See how he sort of pulls his arm across his chest to tense the muscle? Now you guys do it." I did my best to imitate the musclekid's pose. It was amazing to watch this seventh-grader with a body that most high school boys might envy.
Gently, Jonathan corrected my posture and showed me just how to apply the resistance to tense the muscle properly. He felt my chest as I flexed.
Once again, I longed to do feel Jonathan's chest instead, but did as I was told and performed the pose more or less properly.
I looked over at Barry, who was doing a pretty fair imitation of Stan's pose, but, like me, was obviously showing much less pectoral thickness than Stan; really hardly any at all. Still, Barry seemed to be enjoying this. He was always more of a showoff than me. Jonathan watched us, looking us up and down critically. Somehow he missed the swelling between my legs.
"You picked up those poses pretty well the first time. OK, I think I have a fair idea of what kinds of physiques you guys have.
"Have you guys ever done any bodybuilding at all? Outside the usual gym-class pushups and stuff?" We both shook our heads. "Barry, how much do you weigh? And how tall?"
"About 132. I'm five-foot ten"
"And you, Mike?"
"About 138. I'm six feet. And a half an inch," I added, unconsciously imitating Stan.
"All right, look. Between now and the start of school is about three months, right? This stuff takes time, and as I said, nothing comes overnight. Three months isn't a real long time, but if you come here regularly, and do everything I tell you, and really *work* when you're in here, by the end of the summer you should expect to be anywhere from 145 to 160 pounds, Barry, and Mike, since you're taller, you should add maybe 5 or 10 pounds to those numbers. That will be pretty much all muscle. I can just about guarantee you that your arms will be bigger than Stan's are, and you'll look more muscular than most of the guys your age. How does that sound?"
Barry and I looked at each other, looking up and down at each other's physique. I looked over at Stan, who flexed his arms again with his hands behind his head, and tensed some amazingly-ridged stomach muscles as he saw me looking at him. He grinned his now familiar smartass grin at me.
But then I looked into Jonathan's face and everyone else in the room disappeared. "It sounds really tough. I don't know if I can do it, but I'll try. Tell me what to do."
Jonathan put his hands on my shoulders and gave a friendly squeeze.
"Great! Barry, what do you think?"
Barry looked at me. "Any muscles Mike can build I can build bigger," he said. "I'm in!"
Jonathan clapped Barry on the back. "All *right*! Stan, looks like our little Muscle Club has four members now! From now on, these are our training partners and buddies. We don't make fun of them, we encourage them; we don't put them down, we bring them along the road to muscular bodies like ours. Understand?"
Stan looked from Barry to me. I thought he was going to make another crack about how much better his body was, but instead he said, "You bet! You'll see, Mike. It's tough all right, but by the end of the summer, maybe *you'll* be showing off your muscles for *me*! Nobody knows this stuff better than Jonathan!" He looked at Jonathan with a bit of understandable hero-worship, a look returned by a fond smile from Jonathan
"One for all and all for one," I said. "Guess we'll have to be called The Four Muscleteers!"
Barry groaned, "Shit, Mike!" while Stan giggled. Jonathan gave me a warm smile, and said, "Hmmm...I'll have to think about that one." He tossed Barry and me our shirts. "Well, welcome to the club, men. It's really too late for training today, so come in tomorrow after school, say 3:30, and we'll get started. Bring your own gym clothes if you can." He led us to the door.
"Jonathan," I said tentatively, "I just have one question. Why are you helping us? Why spend time on a couple of skinny high school kids?"
"Who's skinny?" said Barry.
Jonathan looked at my textbooks. "You're a pretty sharp student, I think? OK, well, let's just say 'Pygmalion'. OK?"
I thought for a moment, remembering the play that had been the basis for 'My Fair Lady', and supposed that Jonathan meant that he liked the challenge, like Henry Higgins accepting the bet of transforming Eliza Doolittle. In my mind's ear, I heard Rex Harrison's voice saying, "She's so deliciously *low*".
"OK," I said. "Thanks."
As we walked to our own homes, Barry and I couldn't stop talking. Barry mostly talked about how great he was going to look in the fall, and I was mostly talking about how Jonathan and Stan had amazing physiques and we were really lucky to have hooked up with them. Finally, Barry asked me what Jonathan meant by 'Pygmalion'. I explained about 'My Fair Lady', which satisfied Barry. But for some reason, it seemed to me that I was forgetting something. Still, I wasn't about to let it bother me.
Whatever happened, it was going to be quite a summer.
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