DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.
"This morning, we're going to work on your forehand swing," Garrison's tennis instructor informed the class once they were all out on the tennis courts.
The class was limited to eighteen students because there were only nine courts. Garrison's class fell five short of the eighteen. Eight o'clock was too early for most college freshmen to be up and out of bed, and mostly freshmen took the course. Having thirteen students also meant one of them didn't have a partner to practice against.
"Because we have an odd number of students," the tennis coach continued, "I asked the tennis team coach if one of her ladies would volunteer to help us out. Class, this is Delaney Justice. She was state champion back home in Georgia last year."
The rest of his class offered a cheerful, "Hello, Delaney." Garrison stared at Delaney as if she had an extra eye on her forehead.
"I've partnered you up by going through the roster and matching the first student to the last and working my way towards the middle." The instructor smiled at Garrison. "Kaylor, you're the lucky one. You get to partner with Delaney today."
"Yeah, lucky me," Garrison replied with what he hoped was an appropriate amount of enthusiasm.
Delaney smiled and jogged over to stand next to him. "Isn't this great?"
"Sure, it's great," Garrison said with a forced smile.
If Delaney sensed any reservations on Garrison's part, she gave no indication.
Delaney the Scorned
The instructor started speaking again. "You all saw the video on Wednesday. It gave you a good idea of what a forehand swing should look like. Now, I want you to practice. One of you watches while the other tries a few swings and then switch. I'll circulate and give you constructive criticism where needed."
Garrison and Delaney stepped onto the court designated for their use.
"Our instructor isn't one of your coaches?" Garrison asked Delaney.
"Miss Wilder, no, she's a grad student who teaches this class sort of on the side," Delaney explained. "She did play on the tennis team here when she was an undergrad. From what I hear, Miss Wilder was outstanding."
Garrison watched Miss Wilder correcting another student's stance. Then he turned his attention back to Delaney. "I guess you should show me what to do first."
"Right," Delaney agreed. She raised her racket and said, "Watch what I do and try to do the same."
Before the class ended, the students had gone over the forehand, backhand, and overhead swings. Delaney told Miss Wilder how well she thought Garrison was doing picking up the moves.
Miss Wilder praised Delaney for doing such a good job helping Garrison.
Once Miss Wilder dismissed them, Delaney asked Garrison if he'd had breakfast.
"I haven't, actually," Garrison told her. "After I get a shower, I was going to grab a bagel at Einstein's on my way to Spanish. Laurel is going to try to meet me there."
Delaney stiffened. "Laurel, the girl you were with Friday morning?"
Garrison grew wary. "Yes, her."
"Hmph," Delaney puffed. "Are you two going out now or something?"
Garrison moved a step farther away. "Yes, we are."
"Fine," Delaney huffed. "Maybe I'll see you there, maybe I won't," and she stormed off toward the locker rooms.
Bagels with Laurel before class
Laurel was waiting for Garrison when he arrived at Einstein's. She had an Asiago cheese bagel, toasted, with garden veggie cream cheese, and an iced coffee with one cream and one sugar.
The confused look on Garrison's face put there by Delaney's odd behavior after the tennis class was replaced by a broad smile when he spotted Laurel.
"Thank you," he said as he approached the high-top table where she was seated.
"I knew you wouldn't have much time," Laurel said, rising from her seat to greet Garrison with a hug and kiss. "And I remembered what you ordered last time. I hope it's what you wanted."
"You chose what I would have ordered for myself," Garrison assured her, following up with another kiss.
Laurel pushed him away playfully and said, "You'd better sit down and eat. You don't want to be late for Spanish."
Garrison sat down and took a sip of his coffee. "How was your first class?"
Laurel shrugged. "It was a class. How was tennis?"
Garrison finished his first bite of bagel and said, "You'll never guess who showed up to help out with the class."
Laurel frowned. "Delaney."
"And guess who the instructor paired her with because we have an odd number of students in the class."
Laurel's frown deepened. "You. Of course, it was you."
"You're on a roll. Let's see if you can make it a hat trick. Guess who started to ask me to breakfast after tennis class."
Laurel scowled. "I don't have to guess. I know. Delaney."
"Three out of three," Garrison cheered softly. "She got upset when I told her I was meeting you here."
"Well, duh," Laurel said with a sneer. "Delaney likes you and doesn't like it that you and I are together."
"So," Garrison said, pointing at Laurel with the remainder of his bagel, "you don't think I should ask Delaney out?"
Laurel's eyes narrowed in on Garrison, and she said, "Not unless you want to wind up like Friday."
Garrison finished the last of his iced coffee and checked his phone. "No, I do not want to wind up haunting my swimming pool, or anyplace else for that matter. And I do not want to be late for Spanish, so I'd better get going."
"Do you want to meet for lunch?" Laurel asked as they both rose and policed the trash on their table.
"Sure," Garrison said. "How about the Hawk's Nest?"
"I'm good with the Hawk's Nest," Laurel told him. "See if Calvin and Mariah want to come, too."
"I'm sure they will," Garrison predicted. He gave Laurel a quick kiss and then said, "I'll see you at lunch."
Garrison's story continues in Chapter 25
- Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 26
Garrison's Spanish teacher provides the second unpleasant surprise of the day.
© 2021 DW Davis