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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
THANKS: To fewthistle for the beta.

Tennis Etiquette
By ralst


"Scribbs, can you tell me again why we're doing this?"

"It's the final."

"I realise that, but what I fail to grasp is why you woke me up at five in the morning to drive all the way to Wimbledon to not get onto the court."

Scribbs dropped their cool box onto the ground and indicated to Ash that she'd found the perfect spot. "You only get onto court if you're a player, and you couldn't hit a tennis ball with a bus." She dabbed at her nose with sunscreen before turning to do the same for Ash. "And the reason we're not inside the club is because they're sold out."

"So your brilliant plan is to sit out here and watch traffic?"

With a sigh, Scribbs pointed down the hill towards the clearly visible centre court. "Those people down there wearing white and hitting the little ball with the teaspoon shaped bats? They're tennis players." She pointed to the large crowd around them. "And we're all here to watch them play."

"That's centre court?" Ash gave the spectacle a fleeting glance and then another as she noticed the swarms of eager onlookers and click happy photographers. "It's this crowd. I couldn't see properly."

"Yeah, right."

"I'm not a tennis person," Ash insisted. "The last time I watched a game, Borg was playing."

Scribbs thought about making a Star Trek joke but decided her reputation was too fragile to risk it. "This is the Ladies' Final." She pointed to the figures in white. "They are tennis players." Extracting a can of larger she passed it to Ash. "The tanned one is Amelie Mauresmo and we want her to win."

"We do?"



"She's French." Ash gave her an unbelieving look. "And she's gay."

A roar went up from the crowd, both inside and outside the court, and the women's conversation ground to a halt as shot after shot was exchanged on court.

"Your girl is losing," Ash said at the end of the first set.

"It's not over until it's over," Scribbs answered wisely.

"Thank you, Yoda, I never would have guessed."

Scribbs wished she'd made the earlier Borg joke. "So you're rooting for Henin?"


"The other one."

Ash shrugged.

"It's tennis," Scribbs explained. "You should always root for the gay players in tennis." She thought for a second. "Unless they're playing someone English and straight, then you have to go with the home country."

"And if two English players or two gay players are competing?"

"Then you go with the one who does the best sex-grunts."

Ash ignored the game and turned her full attention to Scribbs. "Sex-grunts? How many largers have you had?"

"Just the one." Down on centre court Mauresmo did a wonderful jump and smash, and the crowd on the hill went a little crazy. "She's going to take the second set," Scribbs enthused.

"What is a sex-grunt?"

"You know -" Scribbs grabbed hold of Ash's arm as the final ball of the set ricocheted off the ground and Mauresmo pumped her arm in satisfaction. "- she got the set!"

"Scribbs, if I knew I wouldn't be asking."

"This set will decide it."


Several heads turned in their direction but the start of the third set soon returned them to anonymity.

"You know those sounds they make?" Scribbs asked. "Just as they hit the ball?"

A particularly loud grunt was heard from below and Ash nodded.

"Well, they basically fall into two categories." Scribbs held up her hand in a mannerism reminiscent of her old junior school teacher. "The screechers, like Sharapova, and the proponents of the sex-grunt."

If disbelief could be given a pictorial entry in the Oxford English dictionary, it would have been the look on Ash's face at that moment.

Reluctantly, Scribbs abandoned the game to whisper into Ash's ear, or rather, performed a sex-grunt in her ear.

Ash blinked. Swallowed. Blinked again.

"Which one of them has the best sex-grunt?"

With a smile, Scribbs urged her to listen, and within minutes Ash was as wrapped up in the game as everybody around her. As championship point loomed, Ash's hand slipped into Scribbs', and she was practically on tiptoes trying to get closer to the action.

A roar from the crowd signalled the Frenchwoman's win and Scribbs followed that by a blistering kiss to a shocked Ash.


With a half smile, Scribbs explained her theory on tennis etiquette. "An afternoon watching tennis and drinking larger is a date. I asked, you said yes, therefore this is our first official date." Not waiting for the confusion to dissipate, Scribbs moved in for a second, longer kiss. "And I always kiss on a first date."

"A date?"

"Yeah, you know, two people alone in a crowded place, trying to work out whether or not they're going to get lucky. A date."

Ash was about to argue against that particular definition but she realised she didn't want to. "So, am I going to get lucky?"

Scribbs picked up their cool box and started walking to where she'd parked the car. "Let me hear your sex-grunt and I'll tell you."

The End

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