About a week after what they’ve come to refer to as “the incident,” Helen notices that Bob is still acting a little less than his normal jovial self, and she has a good idea why.
After breakfast one day, she observes his grimacing as he shifts uncomfortably on the bar stool in their tiny motel kitchen.
"You know, if you didn't insist on smashing through buildings all the time, you wouldn't have hurt yourself last week," she says playfully, reaching over the island to poke him in the shoulder.
"Very funny," he says, wincing at the memory of being slung through a downtown office as a result of the Omnidroid’s erratic attack pattern. "I'm fine, just a little stiff," he continues, taking a sip of coffee. “I’ll be in ship-shape in no time.”
Bob is more or less bulletproof, but sparring with the multiple Omnidroids had taken its toll. They’re also getting on in years, and wounds don’t heal as fast as they used to.
"I know something that could help," Helen says, reaching for Violet’s abandoned plate. “What do you think about trying yoga with me sometime?”
Her back is turned to him as she places the dirty dishes in the sink, and Bob almost spits out his coffee. “Trying what’s-it now?”
The kids have just been put on the school bus, so Bob can’t even exchange the typical what’s your mother talking about? look with them.
Helen turns to him patiently. “It’s a spiritual practice that started in India,” she explains. “You do poses and stretches and focus on your breathing. There’s a real physical component to it.”
Bob frowns as he sets his coffee cup down, still not seeing her point. “Like exercise? You know I already work out...”
She squeezes his arm fondly. “Of course. But I think it could really make you loosen up,” she replies, her mouth curving into a smirk. “Not to mention, it’ll help with things like grace and balance in the field. No offense, but there’s definitely room for improvement there.”
Mr. Incredible is agile, sure, but he’s no match for, well Elastigirl. She could be on to something here, but he’s still not sold.
“What would I have to do?”
“It’s basically stretching, like I said, but there’s a lot of strength involved with some of the poses. I’ve been doing it for a while, and it’s really helped me stay sane.”
“When, exactly, did you have time to do...yoga?” he tries out the word.
Helen shrugs. “I try to do it after the kids go to school. I started after Dash was born -- there was a catalog to learn the poses from, and the rest came pretty naturally.”
He gapes at her. So this had been going on for a while, then.
“It’s not that big a deal,” she snorts at his expression. “I wanted to stay in shape, and it did the trick.”
Bob pauses, remembering his wife leaping back into her usual acrobatics on Nomanisan Island. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but now that he thinks about it, she’d bounced around like not a day had gone by since they’d been forced underground.
Was this...yoga was the reason for that?
Bob finds it hard to believe that this is the first he’s hearing about this hobby of Helen’s. But she never stops surprising him, and it’s one of the things he loves most about her. He doesn’t mind that there’s a lot he still doesn’t know, even after fifteen years of marriage, as long as he gets to keep on making discoveries.
“Okay, you’re on,” he replies, stifling a laugh at the look of intent on Helen’s face. It’s adorable, really. “When do you want to do it?”
A wrinkle of amusement appears in her brow.
“I can tell you think it’s going to be easy, huh?” Helen replies. “How about this afternoon, once Jack-Jack’s taking his nap?”
“Deal.” He puts his empty mug in the sink.
“And wear something you can move around in!”
By some miracle, Jack-Jack goes down for his nap as planned.
Back in the small living area, Bob sees that his wife has laid out two slightly singed foam mats; one lime green, the other peach-colored. She emerges from the bedroom a few seconds later, and his eyebrows raise at her change of clothing. He lets out a low whistle before he can help himself.
He’s opted for a worn T-shirt and gym shorts, but it’s Helen who looks downright tempting in a pale pink camisole and a pair of grey exercise pants that hug her curves oh-so-perfectly.
Bob cocks his head, thinking that this whole thing might not be so bad, actually.
Sure, he’s witnessed her prancing around in her supersuit in public a million times, but this is different. To see her wearing skintight clothing like this in a domestic setting, just the two of them, is a whole other level of sexy.
“Oh, stop,” she scowls, stretching one arm to sock him gently, successfully interrupting his reverie.
He blinks innocently in return. “What, we’re doing yoga, like you wanted! I can’t appreciate my wife looking hot in her yoga outfit?”
Helen rolls her eyes, but a light blush has bloomed on her cheeks. “How about you try to keep it in your pants, or we’ll never get to do any actual exercise,” she retorts.
“Alright, let’s go over some of the basic poses first,” she instructs, clasping her hands. “We’ll start with Downward-Facing Dog.”
“Sure. Are you gonna demonstrate?” Bob asks, still finding it impossible to take the whole thing seriously.
He watches as Helen gets down on all four limbs, walking her hands a few inches forward the front of the mat and spreading her fingers wide, pressing her palms down firmly. She then curls her toes under and slowly presses her hips towards the ceiling, her lithe body shifting into an inverted V.
Bob smirks at the wonderful sight of God’s most perfect creation sticking up in the air -- namely, his wife’s ass -- but it only takes a moment before she jerks her neck around to glare at him.
Bob startles, caught. “What?”
“Get down on the mat, mister. You’re doing it too.”
Thirty minutes later, after more than a little groaning (on Bob’s part) and the hilarity of watching the large man lose his balance and fall over (on Helen’s), she tells him to slowly get up, though she remains on the mat.
Bob’s surprised to find that he’s drenched with perspiration. Helen, meanwhile, has barely broken a sweat.
He tries not to pout at the injustice of it all.
“That was unnatural,” he mutters, flopping back on the sofa. Bob glares at Helen as she finishes up with a perfect side split, effortlessly stretching one arm to her left foot, then right. Infuriating.
Previously, Bob had thought he was a decently flexible person with decent balance. He was wrong. After being forced to twist and bend his body into one foreign shape after another, he earned another chip in the ol’ ego, a newfound respect for his wife, and the beginning of an understanding that those gymnastics didn’t just appear overnight.
Helen ignores his dramatics as she easily emerges from her split with a sigh of satisfaction, standing to roll up the mats.
“Despite the complaining, that really was not bad for your first time.” She sounds pleased, and it sparks a tingle of pride in him.
Not that he’ll give her the satisfaction.
“You’re bendy, it’s not fair,” Bob moans with more volume than necessary, one eye trained on the curve of Helen’s backside as she leans the mats against the wall. Seriously, were those pants painted on, or what? “You can just use your powers to do the moves.”
Helen turns around and takes a step towards the couch, ignoring the strong man’s complaints. "I know it wasn't the most fun thing for you, but thank you for indulging me,” she sighs.
Bob’s not really mad, and it actually was kind of fun, so he nods, attempting to look at least somewhat appreciative.
“I had a good teacher,” he winks.
“I know,” she scoffs. “Is there any chance you didn’t completely hate every single moment?”
"It wasn't as horrible as I thought," he allows. Seeing Helen quirk her eyebrows in question, he clarifies. "I'll stick to the freight train lifting, I think, but it's wasn't horrible."
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“And I do feel a little better,” he replies truthfully.
Helen beams. “That’s great, honey!”
“It wasn’t easy focusing, though,” Bob chortles.
Quick as lightning, he reaches one arm out from his place on the couch, grasping the elastic woman by the waist and tugging her to his side.
“Hey!” she bats his hand away.
Bob chuckles, continuing his explanation. “Mostly, I found it hard to concentrate with you wearing,” his eyes comb over her form, “These magnificent pants.”
“You see in my suit all the time,” she shakes her head, but that faint blush has returned. Oh, the drawbacks of being a redhead.
“I don’t know, this is different,” he grins, slowly tracing the curve of her hip with one hand before she can stop him. “You know, we should try some of those moves tonight," he adds, waggling his eyebrows.
Helen rolls her eyes, but he can see that she’s on her way to getting probably riled up, too. "How'd I know you'd suggest that?"
He raises his hands up in surrender as she leans in to place a forceful kiss on his lips, and Bob doesn’t bother to hide the smug grin on his face.