Rating: PG this chapter, NC-17 later
Summary: Sawyer is a tennis pro. Jack needs some help with his swing. ;-)
Note: Belated fic of the Jack-just-needs-to-get-laid variety for lostsquee queens cmonkatiekatie and astra2014, and inthekeyofd should find some kinks of hers in here too! ;) (There’s a little Sun in here for southernbeauty5, not much though, I’m afraid.)
Jack ran hard for the ball, lunging to reach another powerful serve from Sun. He had it in his sights, he could have sworn, until it seemingly sailed right through his racquet. Again.
He kicked a stray ball across the court in frustration and tried not to think of how much Sun weighed and how she’d been keeping him running for half an hour while barely breaking a sweat herself.
All that hand-eye coordination Jack could usually count on -- in the operating room, on the golf course, even on the basketball court -- was missing today. Or maybe tennis just wasn’t his game. But he wasn’t going to admit defeat yet. He didn’t get where he was by giving up when faced with a challenge.
Sun was patience itself as she simply picked up another ball and gracefully lobbed it overhead. She was giving him an easy shot, and he still missed it.
He swore under his breath and called for a time-out. He walked over to his gym bag and took out a towel to wipe the sweat off his face. His new tennis whites were sticking to him uncomfortably and he was out of breath from chasing those damn balls all over the court.
He drank half a bottle of water, then poured the rest over his head. Damn, it was hot today.
It wasn’t until he peeled off his shirt that he noticed the man standing on the other side of the chain link fence watching him. He was tall with the build of an athlete -- broad shoulders, gym-sculpted biceps, and long lean legs. His white tennis shorts and polo shirt were crisp, defying the heat of the day. His deep tan and that expertly mussed shaggy blonde hair made him look more like a surfer than a tennis player, but by the amused look on his face he’d been busy critiquing Jack’s game from behind those dark, designer sunglasses.
“You’re holding your racquet too close to your body,” the man said with a strong Southern drawl, pointing through the fence.
“Yeah? Thanks,” Jack said brusquely. He never took kindly to unasked-for advice.
“You need to loosen that arm ... hang on.” Jack watched in irritation as the man entered the court.
He glanced over at Sun, who merely shrugged and smiled. The stranger nodded at her in passing, and she watched him go with a look of open admiration Jack had never seen her give him. Not that he wanted his head nurse to look at him like that, but he was already feeling a little inadequate today. He didn’t need to be shown up by some bronzed, blonde tennis god.
“Name’s Sawyer,” the man said, striding confidently toward Jack. “I’ve got some time before my next lesson, and I just couldn’t let you keep swinging like that.”
“Thanks, but I don’t want to ...” Jack attempted to say, but Sawyer was already at his side.
“It’s no bother,” Sawyer said with a dazzling grin that should be starring in its own toothpaste ad and a set of dimples that tipped the scales from handsome to ridiculously, male-model-perfect handsome.
“Here, let me see your swing ...”
“Jack.” He looked at Sun again. Her hand was over her mouth, like she was trying to suppress a giggle.
Somehow, Jack let himself get talked into showing off his swing for Sawyer. He knew his form was bad but with a pro watching him, he felt even more self-conscious. The third time through, Sawyer stopped him with a firm hand on his forearm. “No, like this,” he said, guiding Jack’s arm through a looser arc. “Now you try it.”
Jack sighed and tried to duplicate the same motion. “Better,” Sawyer smiled. Jack jumped when Sawyer gave the knotted muscles of his right shoulder a quick squeeze. “You’re holding a lot of tension up here, Jack. If you’re too tight up here, you can’t get the swing you want. You doing this for fun or...?”
“Relaxation,” Jack admitted with a pained laugh. Sawyer chuckled softly, a low rumbling sound in Jack’s ear, and somehow that seemed more intimate than his touching Jack just now.
Women must line up for blocks for lessons from this guy, Jack thought, although he imagined they’d have trouble concentrating on the tips he was giving them. He pictured a series of housewives in too-tight tennis skirts giggling as Sawyer brushed those slender fingers over an arm or maybe slipped a hand onto a waist to correct a stance.
He rolled his shoulders a few times and when he swung again, he could feel the difference. He had to admit Sawyer had a point.
“OK,” Sawyer grinned, one quirked eyebrow visible behind those dark glasses. “You ever need a private lesson ...” He reached in his shorts pocket and pulled out a card. “Give me a call.”
He waved to Sun -- Jack had almost forgotten she was there -- and then stepped gracefully through the door in the fence. He stayed to watch Jack return Sun’s first two serves and gave Jack a thumbs-up. “Atta boy,” he said, and he walked -- strutted really -- to another court.
They played through their hour and by the time they were done, Jack thought he might really be getting the hang of it. He’d sent back a few smashing volleys that had caught Sun off guard. He didn’t quite jump across the fence to shake her hand, but he felt good. Like he could hold his own.
“So, are you going to follow up about those lessons?” Sun asked, and if he didn’t know her so well, he’d swear she was teasing him.
“We’ll see,” was all he said.
He ended up clearing room in his schedule for tennis twice a week. He thought about calling Sawyer for a private lesson, but then again, his game was improving. Although it would probably all go to hell with an expert watching him. So he put the card in his nightstand drawer and forgot about it.
The following Tuesday, he was already stepping onto the court when his cell rang. It was Sun, calling to cancel. “No problem,” he told her. He’d just practice his serve. He sent the first ball flying -- straight into the net. Now he was glad he was alone. But it was the same with his next serve. He wasn’t so immature as to throw his racquet across the court but he was sorely tempted. Why was he here anyway? There were 100 other ways he could get the exercise.
He turned when he heard a familiar low chuckle. Sawyer was leaning up against the fence, fingers curled around the metal links. He was wearing that same cocksure grin, those same dark glasses. “Offer for those lessons still stands.”
“Yeah, well...” What could Jack say? No, thanks, I’m doing fine without? “Sure,” he said, and by the time Sawyer had opened and gate and latched it again, he was laughing at himself. “My partner canceled for today so I thought I’d just practice my serve.”
Sawyer stopped mid-saunter to wince. “Yeah, I saw.”
“Hey,” Jack objected, but he was here to learn, wasn’t he? Still, the critique stung. “I want you to know I’m the man to beat if the game is golf or basketball.”
“I’ll bet you are.” Sawyer slung his bag down next to Jack’s. He produced a tennis ball, holding it up like it was an orange he was about to peel. “But this game’s a little different. The ball’s a little different. For one thing, it’s fuzzy.” And he rubbed it against his face, as if demonstrating its tactile quality, a wicked grin playing over his face.
“Yeah, I noticed.” Jack twisted his racquet with one hand, trying to stop from laughing. He felt like Sawyer was making a joke at his expense, but strangely, he didn’t mind. Jack had always been an unapologetic teacher’s pet and he found himself slipping back into that mentality, just wanting to do good and earn an approving smile. “You don’t have a lesson right now?”
“You’re it, hot shot,” Sawyer said, flashing those killer dimples like they were going out of style. “Gonna show you a thing or two.”
He stepped behind Jack and talked him through his serve, how to hold the racquet, how to start the movement from his feet and follow through. “Ever do any boxing?” Jack nodded. “Same thing.”
It was another hot day and sweat started to pool at the small of his back as Sawyer put him through his moves. He was trying to listen to his advice, to envision where he wanted the ball to go before he hit it, but Sawyer’s hand on his forearm was more than a little distracting, not to mention how close he was standing, close enough to catch a whiff of cologne, musk with a hint of sandalwood or some other exotic oil. Everything about Sawyer made Jack feel very square, even the way he smelled.
“So, you ready for a real game, Jacko?”
It took a few seconds before he heard the question and answered in the affirmative. Sawyer crossed to the other side of the court and let Jack serve. The first serve cleared the net, but from then on, Jack had to struggle to keep up, even though he knew Sawyer was taking it easy on him. He hated the casual way Sawyer practically loped after the ball, like a dog who’d rather nap than chase after a ball.
He pushed himself harder, as much to see Sawyer spring to life as for his own pride. There was a tremendous coiled energy in Sawyer and he’d yet to really see it in action. Sawyer was too good to just be a tennis pro, he began to suspect, and he wondered how he ended up teaching the rich and the bored and the clumsy.
And even as the word “clumsy” formed in his mind, he tripped diving for a low ball. He ended up on his knees, hand instinctively thrown out to stop his fall.
“You all right?” Sawyer came bounding over to him.
“Yeah,” Jack said, picking himself up. His knee was skinned, but his hand was fine. “Good thing. Ten-hour operation day after tomorrow.”
“You doin’ the operatin’?”
“Yes. I’m a spinal surgeon.”
“Ahh.” Sawyer nodded, like he’d been supplied with a long-missing piece of a puzzle. “Explains all that tension.”
Jack’s stomach fluttered a little to realize that Sawyer had been wondering about him and what he did for a living. He twirled his racquet with a flourish. “So, what do I owe you for the lesson?”
A sly smile was Sawyer’s answer. “On the house,” he said after a beat. “I don’t know about you doc, but I’m dying for a shower.”
Again that flutter. Jack looked away quickly, not letting himself smile. He pulled at his soaking wet polo shirt. “I could sure use one,” he said. “Lead on.”