“I’m going to win this.”
“No, Steve. Trust me, you’re not.”
“Wanna bet? All I have in my wallet.”
“That’s a pretty thick wallet.”
“And it’s gonna stay that way. I’m winning this tennis match -- two love sets.”
“Hohoho! Someone’s getting cocky. Deal. All in your wallet against… fifty bucks.”
“FIFTY? Are you kidding me, Will? Do you know how much I have in this?”
“Certainly not your life-time’s savings. Lemme see.”
“Get your filthy hands off!”
“No money, no deal.”
“500 dollars. Happy?”
“Oh wow. Hey guys, come look at this! How many bills do you think this is? That’s got to be --”
“Stop that! You want to get us mugged?”
“Relax, Steve. Do they look like thugs to you?”
“Ok, they do. But stop getting so wound up! You’ve been like this all day. Wait, don’t tell me. Are you… PMSing?”
“Shut up and tell me how much it’s gonna be.”
“Do you even have that much money?”
“No, but I will when you lose.”
By the looks of it, Will was going to have that much money soon. Who had Steve been kidding? He didn’t even know who he’d be playing against, and it turned out to be a powerful opponent. He’d struggled to win the first set, thankfully winning both games, and, if he continued playing like this, he was bound to lose the second. Not happening.
He racqueted the ball quickly, almost allowing a second bounce. He tightened his lips and felt sweat running down his chin. He quickly rubbed it off as he skidded to catch the next ball. It went out on the other side, easily. He wasn’t paying attention – he was losing concentration. He knew how to do this.
With that point lost, there was a deuce on 40. The next point told who was in the advantage. It didn’t matter that he had won the first game of this set – if he lost this one, he’d lost his bet.
He missed a ball that had flown to the right end.
“Advantage-40,” the umpire called.
He saw the opponent once more serve the ball with intent eyes and tried his best to predict where it would land. It was a fast ball that went to the other side of the court, and he had to slide in to try to make his racquet touch it. Miraculously, it did, and it all but hit the top of the net as it passed over. He got up just in time to see the ball come again, straight at him. He hit it, making it careen right over his opponent’s racquet, out of his reach. It bounced once and went out.
A careless hit from him after two well-placed ones led to a too-fast ball that went out.
Come on, Steve, concentrate, he thought fiercely.
The ball bounced quickly back and forth over the net before he lost his breath and failed at making his racquet’s middle reach it. It struck the metal around the netting and bounced once. He ran to try to reach the ball before it bounced again, but he was too late.
He didn’t pay attention to what else the umpire had to add. He huffed with his head lowered, cap shielding his eyes. Hands on knees, he lifted his head and glanced at the sidelines, in time to see Will with his wallet in hand, waving the $500 in the air with a look of triumph, a vicious, white-toothed grin lighting his face.
“I hope you get mugged!” Steve yelled breathlessly in his general direction.
**cheers, kid sister