Ayumu had long since dozed off on her camp bed, but Gou didn't feel tired at all. In fact, she'd never felt more awake in such a long time. Isuzu just had that effect on her. It felt great to meet someone who shared her love of muscles! Even if it seemed like poor Ayumu was a lost cause in that regard – they'd tried to convert her all night, but eventually Ayumu's eyes had grown heavy and she'd nodded off. Both of the other two girls looked at her sleeping figure curled up on the next campbed along from them and giggled.
“How could anyone fall asleep in the face of such well-toned triceps?” Gou asked.
“I know, right? These are some of the finest muscles in competitive swimming this season!” Isuzu replied.
Their voices came out as frantic whispers. They didn't want to wake Ayumu up, but at the same time they were so excited to have someone to share their interests with. They shuffled close together. Isuzu was a Mikoshiba, so personal space wasn't an issue. Suddenly, Gou found herself appreciating that.
“Maybe we've seen enough of this season though,” said Gou, closing the glossy magazine on her lap with great reluctance, “I want to know who you think will be the upcoming stars of the next season? Or maybe the season after that! Soon enough, so many people we know might be up there with the best of them. Maybe they'll even be covered in these magazines.”
Of course Rin was a given. But Gou amused herself with the thought of Haru standing indifferently while photographers tried to get him to pose. It was a shame that Makoto wasn't going pro, because that boy had muscles that deserved to be seen. Oh, and Sousuke as well! When Sousuke recovers, he'll definitely be on the cover of one of the best muscle magazines.
But what did Isuzu think? Would she agree with Gou's suggestions?
Isuzu pulled back, a wide grin on her face, as if she already knew the answer for sure. That confidence made Gou sure of her as well, so she pressed forward, eyes practically sparkling as she anticipated the response.
“Well, I've got some amazing muscles as well, you know?” Isuzu announced, “I'm going to make it into the magazines for sure when I go pro!”
With that, she pulled back the sleeves on her pyjamas and flexed her her biceps for Gou to see. They were indeed... impressive. Gou heard herself gasp as she covered her mouth.
“Incredible...!” Gou whispered, “Isuzu, you'll definitely be in those magazines! You should be in them right now!”
Isuzu relaxed her arms again after hearing that, suddenly looking a lot more embarrassed than confident. She let out a few barks of laughter, but then silenced herself, to not wake Ayumu up. Not that it mattered, since it seemed like Ayumu was out for the count and sleeping like a log.
“Ahaha... well, maybe not right now,” Isuzu said, “But that's why I'm working hard everyday! You should see my training and diet schedules.”
“You have a diet schedule as well?” said Gou, “I'm always telling the boys the importance of proper nutrition, but it takes ages for it to sink in. Rei is married to his vegetables, Shizuru seems to exist on seaweed and Nagisa eats absolutely everything. Honestly, if they were as diligent as you, then managers like me would have no work.”
“That's not true at all, managers are super important! I wouldn't know my head from my toes if I didn't have a manager keeping me on track. But a lot of the ones at my school think I'm too intense for some reason... can't imagine why!” Isuzu said, “Hey Gou, when I do go pro, you should totally be my manager! We'll be the greatest team there ever was – the whole world will have to watch out for us!”
“It's a deal!” cheered Gou.
She reached forward and the two of them high-fived. Gou wasn't sure when the last time was that she'd gave anyone a high-five, but Isuzu just seemed to bring out that side of her. Could she really be the manager to a pro someday? Well, if Isuzu believed in her, then she felt like she could be.
“Don't worry, I'll make sure to keep my muscles in the best shape possible for you,” promised Isuzu.
Then she winked at Gou. She actually winked. Gou felt her cheeks turning pinker than usual.
“I-I'm sure that you'll be able to do that easily enough...” Gou mumbled, “You're so dedicated.”
“Sure am!” Isuzu agreed, “That's why we'd better hit the hay. As much as I could stay up all night talking about muscles, we need to be up bright and early for our jog tomorrow. Can't let anyone get ahead of us!”
Before Gou could say anything about that, Isuzu grabbed hold of her in a tight hug and pulled both of them down onto the bed in a heavy flop. Was this a Mikoshiba tradition as well? Gou wasn't sure. What she was sure about was that she liked being held in these well-toned arms like this.
“G-goodnight, Isuzu...” Gou whispered.
“Night, Gou!” Isuzu replied.
And just like that, Isuzu was out like a light. Yes... Gou felt for sure like this could be the start of something. She was eager to see where it went.