The Tennis Lesson

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“Good.
Yes, that’s it.
A bit harder.
Keep going.
Nearly there.
Oohhh, that’s lovely.
And, we’re done.”

I walked gratefully to the end of the court and set down my racquet. I was tempted to sit down but I resisted, just drawing deep breaths as I recovered. It had been a really hard workout, but I was pleased with my fitness. A few months ago, I wouldn’t have lasted even a quarter of what I’d just done.

Jacqui came over and gave me a big hug. “That was great, I’m really proud of you.”
I hugged her back, despite the fact I was covered in sweat. She didn’t seem to mind. I suppose she was used to it. She was, after all, a tennis coach.

“Claire, I want you to enter the club championships next month,” said Jacqui. “I think you have a good chance in your grade.”
“Really? I was going to enter, but just for the experience. I didn’t think I had a chance of getting anywhere.”
“I don’t think you’ll win. Martinez is too strong at the moment. But she could have an off day. You should aim for semi-finals anyway.”

I basked in the praise. I did think I had improved a lot, but it was great to hear it from Jacqui.

“Oh, I don’t know about that. Doesn’t matter anyway, I’ll just go out to enjoy myself.”
“No you won’t!”
I was surprised by her vehemence. “I haven’t spent months training you for you to take it casually. You have the talent, and you’ve done the work. You can be a good sport and not get nasty about it, but on the court, you play to win.”

I smothered the urge to make light of it. I had always had trouble with being competitive, always wanted to be the nice girl. I didn’t take compliments well either. I tried to deflect them, or deny them. But not this time.

“You’re right. I will enter, and I’ll play to win.”
“Good girl.” Jacqui’s nod of approval was the most satisfying thing I had seen in ages.

“Still on for coffee?”
“Sure.”
“OK, see you around four.”
“See you then.”

I showered and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. Jacqui’s house was in the opposite direction to mine, so I was going straight there. As I drove, I reflected on how close we’d become.

I had been in the city six months. I’d moved to get away from my old job, my old boyfriend, and my old group of friends. None of them were terrible, but none of them were much good either. I felt I was drifting, bumbling along, not going anywhere. So I moved.

And I discovered that being on your own in a new city is quite scary. I found a job and an apartment without too much trouble. But I didn’t find any friends. Everyone was busy. It didn’t help that I was too nervous to propose anything. I just sat back and waited for someone to invite me to something. And they didn’t.

But I wasn’t completely helpless. I decided to join a tennis club. I hadn’t played since I was a teenager, but I had enjoyed it. I figured it would help me get fit again, and also be a way to meet some people. Good move!

The people were friendly, but it was when I decided to take some lessons that things really came right. I discovered that Jacqui was a lovely person, as well as a good coach. She took me under her wing, introduced me to people, and generally made life better.

In many ways I looked up to Jacqui. I guessed she was around mid-forties, almost twenty years older than me. She was so confident and assured, just what I aspired to be. I had seen her coach some of the men as well, and she didn’t take any nonsense. But she wasn’t nasty about it, and everyone seemed to respect her.

Around the club, Jacqui was usually in tennis clothes, not surprisingly. But there had been one occasion at an awards dinner, that I got the chance to see her dressed up. I was amazed at how beautiful she was! She wore a dark red gown, cut quite low. I had never really noticed her breasts before, but there was certainly plenty of cleavage on show that night!

I was looking forward to the afternoon. We had chatted in the club bar a few times, but I had never visited her house before. She was going to show me some of her trophies and photos from her days as a professional.

“Welcome,” said Jacqui, giving me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She made coffee and showed me round her trophy room, which was even more impressive than I had expected. Then we went to her beautifully decorated lounge and had a glass of wine.

When I finished the wine, I set the glass down and said, “Thank you, it’s been lovely, but I should probably go now.”
“If you want,” said Jacqui, “but I’ve just noticed something. Would you mind taking your top off for a minute?”

Her face was carefully bland, but my mind and my heart were racing. Why did she want me to take my top off? Was there some innocent reason, or was it the obvious reason?

I suppose I had sort of been expecting this. Just certain looks she had given me, little smiles, glances that seemed like interest, but could easily not be anything.

I suppose if I hadn’t been willing to take the chance, I wouldn’t have come to her house. Not that I thought she would try to pressure me, I just wasn’t certain how I would respond if she did try something.

I suppose if I’m being honest with myself, I wouldn’t have come to her house wearing a thin T-shirt and no bra, unless I had not only been expecting this, but hoping for it!

All this took only seconds to race through my mind. I decided not to ask any questions yet, but just see where it went. My hands trembled slightly as I pulled the T-shirt over my head.

I offered the shirt to Jacqui, but she didn’t take it. “Thank you, but I wasn’t interested in the top. I just wanted to look at your breasts.”

There! It was out. There was no mistaking her intentions now. What was I going to do?

So I responded by freezing like a rabbit in headlights. Good one Claire, that will prove what a sophisticated, grown-up woman you are.

“So,” began Jacqui, “I like to be clear. In case you hadn’t realised, I am lesbian. And you are beautiful. If I have mis-judged, I will

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Written by Kerry Killeen
Cargado July 22, 2021
Notes That look. What did it mean?

Nothing, surely. I must be imagining it. She couldn’t be flirting with me. And I certainly couldn’t be responding to her. I wasn’t a lesbian.

But, maybe, just possibly, if I had to be honest, I might admit to being a little bit curious. Surely it couldn’t hurt to visit her, to “see her trophy room”.

So Claire visits. What does Jacqui do? Does Claire satisfy her curiosity?
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