Copyright© 2011 by carney22
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Everyone seems to have figured out that Tom would be perfect for Gabi... except Tom, of course. Fortunately, the solution is just a mouse click away. Just a little romantic sparring between a jock and a college tutor...
This was the part of being a college athlete that Gabi Chaffey hated.
"I really don't want to do this," she grumbled, toweling off in the locker room shower. Another particularly grueling Central State volleyball practice had just ended.
"Well, then don't go," Chantelle said.
Chantelle Ford was Gabi's best friend, a relationship that was the product of years of on-the-court cooperation. Through two-plus seasons at Central, preceded by years together on various junior national teams and summer camps, Gabi's setting talents had fed Chantelle's thunderous spikes.
Chantelle was just as tall and leggy as Gabi, but while Gabi was a perky, short-haired blonde, Chantelle was a sleek African-American. And now, in their junior year, they and their teammates were as close to being female athletic celebrities as you'd likely find on any college campus.
So Gabi considered Chantelle's opinion, but couldn't bring herself to ditch her appointment.
It was her own fault, she thought. She was a good student with an ambitious course load, and was carrying a GPA somewhere between an "A" and a "B." But when the faculty rep who was in charge of monitoring the academic progress of the volleyball team had stopped by, Gabi had made the mistake of mentioning she was in danger of dropping into the "C" range in a couple of courses. Nothing that would have made her ineligible to play, of course. But it was enough to set off alarm bells with the faculty rep, and the next day she'd received an e-mail that she had been set up with a student tutor, one of the perks of being on an athletic scholarship.
"They weren't going to take the chance of losing their all-conference setter," Chantelle smirked. "I just hope you don't end up with the same chick Marissa had. Hey, Marissa!"
Marissa Carlton, Central's defensive specialist who was at the moment hooking her bra, turned around at her locker. "Yeah?"
"Didn't you have some problems with a tutor last semester?"
"Oh, you mean that Goth bitch they overpaid to try to help me with biology?" Marissa said, laughing. "What a 'tude on her. She kept mumbling about how she had to work nights at the Burger Shack to pay for school, while I was getting a full ride for slapping a ball around."
Gabi sighed. "That's exactly what I don't want to deal with. It's bad enough that so many of the guys I hang around with are dumb jocks, I just don't want to deal with someone who assumes I'm one, too."
"Jesus, I hope you don't get the one that Marissa had," Chantelle said. "Marissa, you remember her name?"
"Nah, if I think about her at all, I just think of her as Goth Bitch."
Gabi pulled a sheet of paper out of one of her textbooks. "His name is Tom Cassidy."
"Doesn't sound like Goth Bitch to me," said Chantelle. "Look, you can either go for one session tonight and say 'That's it, ' or just call and cancel."
"No, I'll go. Guess it can't hurt. See you tomorrow." She tossed on a sweat shirt, grabbed her books and headed out the door.
Roughly 30 minutes later, Tom Cassidy was running his finger over a row of books on a shelf in his apartment, finally finding the calculus text book for which he'd been searching.
"Another athlete?" Brendan asked, gathering his own books.
"It is indeed," said Tom, still preoccupied at the shelf.
"You know what a real hardship it is for me to go study at the library every time you do the tutoring thing, don't you?"
Tom turned and shook his head at Brendan. They'd met freshmen year, struck up a friendship, and after the umpteenth class they'd shared, they figured they might be able to put up with each other in sharing an apartment.
"You know, about one out of every three dollars I make on tutoring goes to buying pizza that you get to share..."
"Yeah, yeah, okay," said Brendan, smiling. "Who'd you draw this time?"
Tom picked up the paperwork the athletic department had sent him. "Looks like ... a Gabrielle Chaffey."
"No way! Gabi Chaffey?"
"Ummm, I guess so."
"Man, I saw her play last week. She's pretty amazing to watch. Good volleyball player, too."
Tom looked at him blankly.
Brendan shook his head. "Jesus, you don't pay attention to anything that goes on around here, do you? They went to the Final Four last year. Got one game away from the championship game."
"You go to volleyball games?"
"Well, yeah," said Brendan. "When the football team sucks as bad as ours does..."
Tom laughed. "Okay, I'll take your word for it. I'll give her your best."
But Brendan, rather than hurrying to leave, suddenly became preoccupied with re-filing the papers in his backpack. Tom frowned at him for a minute. "Okay, you can stay and say 'Hi, ' as long as you promise to not be completely embarrassing."
"Don't know what you're talking about, man," said Brendan.
The door bell rang.
"Okay, I'm ready to go."
"Of course you are," said Tom, grinning, before opening the door.
He was taken aback by the person waiting there, a long-legged woman with short blonde hair, a cute button nose and sparkling blue eyes highlighting an adorable face. She had both arms down in front of her, holding her books in a defensive posture.
Tom held out his hand. "Gabrielle Chaffey? I'm Tom. Tom Cassidy. Come on in."
She smiled. He seemed nice after all. She stepped inside to find another man looking at her expectantly.
"And this," said Tom, "is my roommate, Brendan McWilliams. He's apparently a big fan."
"I saw you guys play Fresno last week," Brendan said, pushing past Tom and enthusiastically shaking her hand. "You guys were awesome."
Tom sighed. "Remember the part about not being embarrassing?"
Gabi grinned and thanked Brendan, who Tom then hustled out the door. "I've set up a couple of chairs over here, so let's get started."
There were two padded chairs facing each other in the living room, and Gabi sat down in one. The whole situation was much more comfortable than she'd been anticipating, but she had to get something off her chest.
"Look ... I appreciate you helping me out, Tom, but I don't want you to think ... I mean, I'm not..." She looked up at him, hoping he understood. He simply looked at her with a helpful smile on his face.
"I mean, I'm a real student. I'm not just taking pointless classes to keep my average up."
He shrugged. "Okay."
"Yep. Okay by me. Do you want to go over the calculus today?"
And he smiled at her, and she suddenly felt just fine about everything. Not to mention that he looked really cute when he smiled.
She no longer worried that she wouldn't be taken seriously. What bothered her now that she was relaxed was that she couldn't help but notice him, his thick brown hair, and baby blue eyes, and the cute dimples when he smiled. He didn't have a particularly athletic body, but he looked like he was in good shape. Twice she had to silently reprimand herself for paying more attention to the man than what he was saying. But within minutes, that wasn't a problem. Because it turned out that Tom was a very good tutor.
All of the material that had been confusing seemed to magically come into focus. He explained everything so evenly and simply, and everything made sense without him making her feel any the less for not having understood it before. Professor Mazzante always seemed to make everything in the class so confusing, but now it was all coming together, and she was enjoying it. It was like one long conversation with a friend, rather than a boring lesson.
And he really was quite good looking, she decided. In fact, after an hour and a half, she suddenly realized she was staring at him, rather than listening to him. She realized it when he got a funny look on his face, waved two fingers in front of her eyes and said "Gabrielle? Are you in there?"
She blushed, and then suddenly had a sense of unease sweep over her. Tom merely smiled and suggested that they'd probably been at it too long.
"Now, let me give you a clue about Mazzante's tests," he was telling her, as she collected her books. "You know how they say it's important to show your work? It's doubly important on his tests. That's the root of all partial credit. And he doesn't trust neat. Don't make your test page too organized.
"And judging by what I see," he said, handing her notepad to her and grinning, "that's part of your problem."
She smiled back, looked down at her impeccable penmanship, and nodded her understanding.
"How do you know all of this?" Gabi asked.
"I've had Mazzante a couple of times. I took this course with him, actually."
"Ummm, no ... freshman year."
"Ah!" said Gabi.
She turned to go, but Tom said "Gabrielle?"
She spun around to face him.
"I didn't assume that you weren't a serious student. I would have known from your course load that you were, but I don't automatically assume that about anyone."
And he smiled that smile that seemed to so easily get under her skin, and Gabi found herself biting her lower lip and smiling coyly back at him. "Okay," she said, softly. "Next week, this same time?"
"Philosophy, right? I'll be expecting you."
Gabi walked away from the apartment with her books snuggled in her arms and a smile on her face. The experience hadn't been anything like what she had been dreading. She'd enjoyed being treated like an intelligent person. Maybe the male student-athletes she'd been hanging around with were a little too heavy on the athlete, too light on the student. Tom wasn't like anyone she'd ever met.
"Maybe Philosophy 101 won't be quite so boring," she thought.
Suddenly, though, she remembered how uncomfortable she'd felt moments before, and realized why: he continued to call her "Gabrielle." No one ever called her by her full name. She'd been "Gabi Chaffey" her whole life. It had been in headlines in the local newspapers. She had never been one to trade on her relative fame, but for the first time in her life, it bothered her that someone didn't know who she was.
"But maybe that's a good thing," she mused.
Tom's first act after Gabi's departure was to plop back down in his chair and stare off into space. She'd been ... intriguing. And he could have sworn that a few times she was actually flirting with him.
He sighed. It had been so long since he had trusted his instincts about women that feeling this way made his head hurt. He needed an outlet. The usual would do.
When Brendan returned, he found Tom in front of his laptop, his fingers gliding over the keys at a speed that let Brendan know that Tom's muse was present.
"How'd it go?" Brendan asked.
"Hmmm? Oh, just fine."
Brendan looked over his shoulder.
"Yeah, I think you're going to like this one. A little sentimental, but a good deal of heat..."
"Sweet! Be sure you send me the link."
Tom's fingers returned to flashing over the keyboard.
It was turning out to be a very good week for Gabi. Like on Wednesday, when she gave a surprised Professor Mazzante a big grin, handing in her calculus test with 10 minutes to spare and walking out of the classroom confident in the knowledge that she'd aced it ... and that her calculations were sufficiently sloppy to impress.
That afternoon at practice, she threw herself around the court to the degree that Chantelle had to pull her aside. "Damn, girl! Save some of it for the game tomorrow."
She did, and Central State easily disposed of Florida. Now Chantelle was all smiles. "I don't know what's gotten into you," she said, "but whatever it is, I hope you keep it up, if it means I'm going to get all of those nice soft sets to spike."
Gabi blushed. Chantelle cocked an eyebrow.
But it wasn't until the next day, at the Shakedown, that Chantelle began to dig deeper.
The Shakedown was an informal Central State tradition. It took place every Friday night, when the school's athletes took over Hannigan's Bar, and made it the athletic department's unofficial headquarters for unwinding at the end of the week. Generations of Central students seemed to pick up on the protocol by osmosis. It was athletes and invited friends of athletes, and everyone else seemed to know better than to intrude.
"So, how did the tutoring go," Chantelle asked, passing a glass of beer to Gabi.
"It was wonderful!" Gabi gushed. "Well, I mean, Tom's really good ... he made it really easy ... you know ... he was nice to me. He didn't make me feel stupid."
Chantelle stared at her. "Uh HUH."
"Nothing, I just said 'Uh HUH.'"
"I hate it when you say it like that," Gabi said, sourly.
Three days later, Chantelle was staring again as Gabi got dressed after practice. But this week, rather than a sweat suit, Gabi was wearing a short denim skirt and a cute spaghetti-strap top. She gave Chantelle a withering glance.
"I don't want to hear it..."
Chantelle grinned, shook her head and walked away.
Half an hour later, Gabi found herself experiencing a full-blown panic attack. She'd been standing in front of Tom's door for a few minutes, unable to knock. This wasn't like her, for God's sake. Never in her life had she dressed solely for the sake of impressing a boy ... or a man. They'd always been impressed enough as is, and the few who she'd taken to bed hadn't gotten there as a result of any feminine wiles. He'd laugh at her. Or worse, look at her like she was some airhead bimbo. Somewhere along that train of thought, she forgot that she wasn't ready to knock on his door, and did so unconsciously.
The door opened, and in a flash all of her anxiety and doubts melted away. He was there, began to say something and then stopped, mouth half open, eyes quickly taking her in, and then actually shook his head to snap out of it.
The moment passed in little more than a split second, but she knew that this time she'd gotten under his skin.
She knew even better when she was inside, and saw that he'd set up the chairs again, but with a table between them and off to the side, with a plate of snacks. He'd gone to the trouble to cut up carrots, celery and cheese for her.
"You set a gracious table, sir," she said, grinning and thinking to herself, "My God, he's actually blushing!"
"Well, we do what we can," Tom said, returning her smile. "I figured it's a pretty dry subject, so the least I can do is feed you. Can I get you something to drink?"
Gabi decided that she enjoyed having Tom wait on her, and when he delivered the cola she'd requested, she crunched a carrot stick suggestively and grinned at him.
But he didn't lose his composure. They were in his arena, after all, and as he dipped into the textbook he was once again in control.
"Okay, Philosophy 101, the study of logic. This is a lot drier than most people expect it to be, but it all depends on how you approach it..."
And for the next two hours, Gabi entered that wondrous state of academic inquiry in which she really GOT IT. Professor Thompson was always so boring, with his droning monotone, but Tom made everything a lively conversation. Principles that had been dry and bland came alive for her, and her admiration for her tutor grew and grew, so much so that she was actually disappointed when he brought a halt to the session.
"Anyway, Brendan will be back in less than an hour to reclaim his turf," he said, smiling.
But Gabi didn't want to leave. While Tom began to clean up the study area, she sidled up to his book shelf and ran her eyes across his collection. If there was a pattern, she couldn't figure it out. She looked at another pile of books not filed away.
"Is this what you're taking this semester?" she asked.
Tom looked up and nodded.
"Bio-Chemistry, Advanced Principles of Business, Poetry of the Romantics," she read. "Mmmmm, the Romantics, eh?" She grinned and bit her lower lip teasingly.
"Yeah, okay," he said with a smile, taking the book from her hand. "The Romantics were part of an intellectual movement, not the board of directors at Harlequin Romance."
"Seriously, Tom, what are you majoring in?"
He gave her a tight smile and looked away. "I guess that would be 'Undecided, ' with a minor in 'Who Knows?' " he said, wistfully.
"But why? I mean, you're so smart. You could major in anything you wanted."
She noticed his mouth tense slightly.
"I've been a little out of it the last year. Having a little trouble focusing ... Whenever I finally come around, I figure I'll have a little bit of everything that I can fall back on, use as a base..."
"But what happened?"
He stared at her for a moment, and she noticed he wasn't looking at her bare shoulders, or her long legs, or any of the other parts of her body she'd strategically bared. He was looking into her eyes, obviously measuring ... something.
"It's really not worth going into, Gabrielle ... Anyway, what's your career dream?"
"I guess I want to coach, when I'm finished playing." She looked up at him suddenly. "Okay, I know what everyone thinks when they hear an athlete's going to coach, that that's all they can do..."
"No, I don't think..."
"And that's why I'm taking all of these courses, and..."
"Gabrielle!" he said, bringing her up short. "I don't think anyone assumes that about you. Look, if you want to coach, it just means it's something you truly love. And ... really, what you're doing, pushing yourself academically, trying new things just to learn, that's what college is supposed to be all about. You're living the true college experience better than I am." And he smiled.
Gabi stared at him, her heart pounding. Would he ever cease to come up with ways to make her feel special?
They were both quiet for a few moments, and it suddenly occurred to Gabi that they were very close to each other, and that just being this close to him was quite nice.
Tom cleared his throat. "Well, I guess this is the end of it. You obviously have an excellent grasp of the material. I think you're going to do great in this class."
The thought that this really was the end of it horrified Gabi, but she recovered quickly.
"Well ... you know, I really could use some help with economics. I mean, if you're willing."
Tom's smile reassured her. "Sure," he said, "just let the athletic department know. If you can convince them that you need the tutoring, then I guess you won't have to convince me."
Suddenly, her eyes went wide as a thought popped into her head. Her hand instinctively reached out and touched his chest, her fingers spreading across it.
"You have to come see me play!"
"Thursday! We've got a bunch of home games this month, and we play Penn State on Thursday. I want you to come see me. I mean, I've seen you doing what you do best. I want you to see what I love doing."
She looked at him expectantly. His mouth opened, then closed, and his eyes drifted off to the side as if in thought. And then he frowned.
"I'm sorry, Gabrielle, Thursday just isn't going to work. I've got a test Friday in Bio-Chemistry, and a paper in Situational Ethics the same day, and despite how smart you may think I am, I'm the worst procrastinator you'll ever meet."
Her smile dropped a fraction, but she said "Okay, but I expect you to show up at a match soon. Promise me?"
He shook his head, amazed that it mattered so much to her. "I promise."
When she'd gone, he found himself in a familiar position, slumped in his chair and staring off into space. It had taken him so many months to achieve his Perfect Calm; why was this woman throwing pebbles onto the surface and causing such ripples? He'd been mortified moments before, standing so close to here, the mere sensation of her hand lightly against his chest causing his groin to stir. She'd have run screaming from the room if she'd known. He was sure of that.
Tom sighed. Maybe he should break with tradition and knock off that 20-page ethics paper tonight, rather than Thursday night. No, there was no way he could focus right now. His imagination was stirred, and he knew how to deal with it. He hopped up and went to his desk, flipped open his laptop and found the most recent file.
"Hmmmmm, now where were we when we last saw Tony and Angelica?" he muttered. "Bent over the kitchen table, with a dish of butter as the lubricant closest to hand..."
He looked up and thought for a moment, then stored the file and created a new one.
"No, let's try something in a different vein." And within moments, his fingers were flying over the keyboard.