The older man with the sinewy, grizzled body, baldheaded but with an abundance of salt and pepper body hair, and the younger man, barely more than a boy, tall and lanky and blond, met at the center of the net. The younger man, shirtless and in gym shorts and tennis shoes, looked wrung out and was hanging his head. He was covered in sweat and had a hangdog look about him. His hair was soaked and hanging down in his face. He obviously had been worked hard on the court.

In contrast, the old man, also shirtless and in gym shorts and tennis shoes, looked like he could go another couple of sets. He was lightly sweating too, but his body more glistened than melted under the burning Flushing Meadows sun. His body was hard, not massively muscled, but without an ounce of body fat on him. So hard that the bluish veins on his arms, legs and torso popped up just under the surface, there being no fat in his body for them to run through.

The older man was lecturing the younger man, demonstrating this and that with his tennis racket. The younger man was mimicking his moves and either nodding or shaking his head at the quiet instruction he was being given. After a bit, the older man reached across the net and cupped the back of the young blond's head and gave it a couple of pats.

They turned and walked toward the benches at the side of the tennis court, where their gym bags lay on the ground and various bits of tennis paraphernalia and backup tennis rackets were scattered along the benches. They were also walking toward a middle-aged man standing near the net post and just inside the wire gate to the corridor between this practice court and the one next to it. This third man, who was fifty, but a well-preserved, if slightly puffy, fifty, was wearing a light-green polo shirt over well-pressed khaki trousers. His brown-leather loafers looked like they'd cost a couple of hundred doors-each shoe-and, indeed they had. He was a handsome man with a full head of gray hair, but with darker eyebrows, a darker down on his forearms, and darker hair curling up from the V of his polo shirt, indicating that he once had been an auburn brunette. Twenty years the older man's junior, he hadn't sustained the hard body the older man had. He wasn't fat, but he was meatier and more pampered, treated more to massages than the blistering sun and the effect of pounding after tennis balls.

As the two tennis players reached the side post, the man who had been coaching the young player man reached over and slapped the younger man on the butt and muttered, "Get a shower, and then I'll see you in my office after I've had a chat with Mr. Sebastian here." His voice, a deep bass, was heavily accented. Either Russian or of some eastern European origin. In fact, it was Russian, retained despite fifty years residence in the States.

The young blond flashed Sebastian a look laced with curiosity, interest, and a hint of recognition. He then went over to the bench, scooped up his tennis gear, and sauntered off toward a long, low building set in the middle of a sea of practice courts.

The two older men watched him go, and then Sebastian turned to the older tennis player. "Wasn't that Gordy Patten, Grigor? Didn't he go out in the first round?"

"Yes it is Gordon Patten, and yes he did get beaten in the first round. You may remember him from the academy, although he was just a kid then. Took a set, though, which is better than last year."

"I heard you tell him to meet you in your office. They've given you your own office here?"

"Including your Stephanie, I have seven in the tournament, so I get my own office in the locker room here, yes."

The older tennis player and coach, Zhukov was standing close to Andrew Sebastian, and Andrew trembled at the sensation that the older man would reach out and touch him. The Russian tennis coach had always been the hands-on type. Andrew couldn't decide whether he would shrink from the touch or warm to it. The two men hadn't spoken in person for five years, and the parting had been somewhat volatile. And then the Russian did reach out and touch Andrew on the forearm, leaving his fingers there, as they continued to talk in somewhat strained tones. A chill went up Andrew's spine at the touch, and the sensation fought for his attention as they continued to talk in low tones, even though there wasn't another soul in sight.

"That was two weeks ago when Patten lost," Sebastian said. "First day of the Open. I'm surprised he's still here. So, he's still one of yours? I would have thought-"

"Yes, I have him at academy still-and it has been years, I think, since you have come to Boca. Even Stephanie notices that and remarks on it-somewhat bitterly, I might say. Not good; not smart. But on Patten. His backers won't release him from my academy 'til I say he's ready to go on his own. I told him second round at the U.S. Open this year or back to Boca Raton. So, is back to Boca Raton."

"But not last week?"

"No. He stay here and watch how others do it-others who can get past first round. And I work him every morning, here, until he ready to fall, until he look good enough to make it to second round in Melbourne in January."

"I'm glad you weren't that hard on the women players, Grigor." Sebastian said, with a somewhat nervous laugh.

"Stephanie never complains to you does she, Andy?"

"No, Stephanie never complained to me about you. She has always sung your praises."

"And now she in the women's finals, this afternoon."

"Yes, yes, she is. Against your own daughter. How do you feel having two of the women players you trained, including your own daughter, in the women's final of a major?"

"Is about time, don't you think?" Grigor Zhukov answered. "How do you think I feel? Proud, of course."

"But it means so much to you-what you want from me-to do this?"

Zhukov just gave Sebastian a hard look, and when he next spoke, he changed the subject altogether. "Must go now, Andy. I see you later. Instruction of Gordy not over yet."

Andrew Sebastian returned the hard look, started to say something, thought better of it, and then turned and walked to the open gate to the pathway between courts.

"I see you later, right?" Zhukov repeated, his voice a bit deeper and harder than the first time he'd said it.

Sebastian visibly sighed and answered, without turning back. "Yes, later." And then he left, walking in the opposite direction to that Gordy Patten was taking to the locker rooms. Going instead toward the main part of the tennis complex of Flushing Meadows, where his daughter and Grigor's would be battling it out later that afternoon for the women's tennis championship trophy at the U.S. Open.

Zhukov watched him go until he'd turned a corner at the edge of the practice court compound and was out of sight, and then he walked slowly toward the locker room. He wasn't in a hurry. He did his best not to wince as he walked. At seventy, he knew he was getting too old for this hands-on tennis instruction. But with him, it would be hands-on or nothing.

He entered the locker room and looked around, not seeing anyone. It was the last Saturday of the tournament. It was all over except for the two championship matches. The two men would be out here, practicing, this afternoon, wanting to do so when all attention was on the court where the two women were playing their final match. They'd both sleep in this morning, though, willing their bodies to recover from the two hard-fought weeks of getting this far.

He passed the shower room, the shower still dripping where Gordy Patten had just been, and entered his temporary office, at the end of a corridor, back in a corner, just like he'd requested. There was a window in the door. All of the doors had windows in them. But he'd covered his on the inside with paper and no one had questioned him. Once in the door, and having closed it behind him, Zhukov stood there, looking at the young tennis player, Gordy Patten, perched on the edge of a massage table, naked except for a towel wrapped around his middle.

Zhukov shot the bolt of the door lock behind him and moved to the table.

Neither of them spoke. This was nothing unusual. This had gone on since he turned eighteen while Gordy trained at Zhukov's Boca Raton tennis academy-just part of the payment for Zhukov developing Patten into a tennis star.

Reaching the younger man, Zhukov reached down, placed his hands under Patten's knees, and lifted the young man's legs off the floor, spreading them and raising them to where the heels of Patten's bare feet could dig into the edge of the padded table top. Patten himself unknotted his towel, opened it, and spread it out on the surface of the table top on either side of him. He leaned his torso back, his shoulders pressing into the cinderblock wall on the far side of the massage table, and moaned to the ceiling as Zhukov's tongue went below his ball sac and between the orbs of his buttocks.

Within minutes, the younger man was grunting and groaning and gasping as Zhukov, his gym shorts and jockstrap down around his ankles, worked his cock inside the younger man's passage. Patten cried out as Zhukov jerked his legs up and out, strong hands grasping the younger man's ankles, as he dove his cock deep into the channel and began to pump.

Patten panted and moaned, always surprised as how big the Russian was, how much deeper he could reach inside him than any other man, how vigorously the old man still could fuck him.

* * * *

"Are you sure you are staying here, that you aren't coming to the court?" Patricia Sebastian asked, more than a bit pissed, and her mood came across clearly. She was decked out to the nines in expensive-brand tennis wear, although she'd never lifted a racket herself and referred to the sets as innings, and had spent the entire morning getting her hair done, a manicure, and pedicure. She wanted to hear the commentators say that she and Stephanie looked more like sisters than mother and daughter.

"No, I'm sure. I'd be more of a nervous wreck than I am now," her husband, Andy, answered. He was sitting on the bed in shorts and a T-shirt. Open-toed sandals on his feet. He could have been going to a tennis match too, but one where he'd more likely be sitting in nose-bleed heaven than one of the players' boxes.

"This is your daughter's first super bowl final-maybe her last."

"It's a grand slam tennis event, Pat, not the super bowl. It being her first is all the more reason for me not to attend. I'd have a meltdown courtside whether she was winning or losing and the cameras would be delighted to catch that and take attention away from our daughter. All of the attention should be on her-speaking of which, you aren't really going to wear that hat in the player's box, are you?"

"Don't change the subject," Patricia said-although she took the neon-hued straw hat off and cast it on a chair, where, Andrew was later pleased to see, it was still pulsing when she'd left for the tennis venue. "It's just another example of you not supporting our daughter's career."

"That's not fair, Pat. I have worked my ass off to pay for her training and preparation and through two years of working her way into getting enough prize money to support herself. And I got her into Grigor Zhukov's tennis academy and moved my business down to Boca Raton so she'd have a house and family to come home to."

"And then moved the business back to Richmond after only two years. And left Stephanie and me alone down there for the next five years before she started into the junior tournaments."

"You don't understand, Pat. I did all I could. I was there when it mattered, and then I couldn't go on any . . ." He stopped. He hadn't told them before. He hadn't said anything to either Pat or Stephanie about it-ever. And today wasn't the day to bring it up. He had thought several times in the last three years that Pat knew something-but not that, not what was most significant and telling today-today of all days. Nothing had come up in the divorce, but he was sure that Pat had nosed out something. That's why he hadn't contested the divorce and had been generous. He no longer cared what Pat knew-but he didn't want Stephanie to know-or, god forbid, the press. Her career was just lifting to the pinnacle now. She didn't need any side circus attached to her.

"At least you'll be there afterward-for the parties and such-win or lose?"

"Yes, Pat. After the match-knowing its outcome one way or the other-I'll be there. Stephanie probably won't even know I wasn't in the stadium during any part of the match-unless you tell her, of course. We can tell everyone I just had to watch it from someplace inconspicuous, where the cameras couldn't pick me up."

"But you won't be there at all, will you?"

"No. I'll be here, in the hotel. Watching it on TV." And, in fact, Andrew planned on doing that-although not just that. But he had no intention of telling Pat what else he'd be doing. "And I have a strong feeling that those will be victory parties-victory parties for Stephanie-we'll be going to."

"You think so? Stephanie told me she wasn't sure at all. Maria Zhukov is a strong player, very strong. This isn't her first sup- . . . champion's final."

"Yes, but Maria doesn't have many more years in her and Stephanie is just coming up. I just have a strong feeling about this." The strong feeling was from inside track knowledge, although he'd never reveal it. And, though never mentioned, it was proof positive of what he'd do for Stephanie's career.

They left the room at the Sheraton LaGuardia East hotel together. It was Pat and Stephanie's room, not his. His room was three floors above. They no longer were a family, and Stephanie was nearly as dismissive of him now as Pat had been since the divorce. She too thought that he had deserted her. But she was as wrong as Pat about that.

He let Pat take the first elevator that responded, down to the ground floor and to the waiting limousine that would take her to Flushing Meadow and the limelight that she basked in-probably more so than Stephanie did. And then, with a deep sigh, he summoned another elevator to take him up three floors.

* * * *

Andrew had plenty of time to get back to his hotel room, take a long shower, and pad out into the room with just a towel around his waist and turn on the TV set to catch his daughter, looking younger than her twenty-one years and perky in a way that he knew meant she was a bundle of nerves, and Maria Zhukov, at thirty-two looking tough, determined, and "been here before" confident, come out of the tunnel and onto the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. At nearly the same time as he switched on the TV set, there was a knock on his hotel room door.

"Did anyone see you?" he asked as he let the man into his room.

"No reporters, if that's what you mean," Grigor Zhukov answered. "But wouldn't that make the news: 'Dads fuck in Hotel Room while Daughters Battle at U.S. Open Final.'"

"That's not funny, Grigor," Andrew said, withdrawing into the room. Backing, whether he meant to or not to the edge of the bed, where Grigor advanced upon him, reaching out and placing the heel of his hand in the center of Andrew's chest.

"You've put on weight in last five years, Andy."

"Then perhaps you don't want to do this," Andrew snapped back.

"Not enough weight for me not to want to do this," Grigor snapped right back. "Have they started play yet?"

"You can see for yourself. The set's on. The girls are warming up."

"Good, we can fuck while they volley in first set. I can be there for trophy ceremony. Do you think I can time my thrusts with the rhythm of the volley?" He laughed at his own joke.

"Do you always have to be so crude-and so direct, Grigor?" Andrew asked.

"You always liked that about me. I don't pretend like you do."

"You do pretend, Grigor, or you'd be out of business."

"And you'd be out of a tennis star for a daughter. But enough of warm up for us." Grigor pushed Andrew down to a seated position on the bed with one hand and grabbed for and whipped off the towel Andrew had tied around his waist with the other hand. In short order, his own trousers and briefs had hit the floor, he had his hands cupping Andrew's ears, and he was guiding Andrew's mouth to his cock.

Andrew didn't fight him. He had known that Grigor was coming here. He had known what Grigor was coming for. He didn't go down on the cock immediately. His tongue went to the tight skin over Grigor's hairless groin and traced the line of a bluish vein down to the base of the cock and then down the cock. He was about to cover the oversized cap of the throbbing cock with his mouth, when, instead, he turned his face up to Grigor's.

"You did set it up, didn't you? I agreed to be here-for you, like this-because you were going to arrange for Stephanie to win. Maria has won two majors already. And she's thirty-two. You agreed that it was Stephanie's time, her turn. Right?"

Grigor laughed. "You would have been here for me even if I didn't . . . wouldn't you? No pretending." And then, when Andrew didn't answered, Grigor laughed again and said, "Suck me off. I don't have all day."

Andrew didn't have time to look at the set-or listen to the commentary-until Grigor had grabbed his knees and lifted and spread them so that he was digging his heels into the edge of the bed and had reclined back on the bed, holding Grigor's bald head between his hands and moaning as Grigor's mouth went down under his ball sac and the Russian's tongue darted between the crease of his buttocks.

Groaning and moaning deeply, Andrew turned his face to the TV set. The score was 3 to 1, first set, in Maria's favor. The camera went to the stands, picking out Maria's box and then Stephanie's, focusing in on Patricia preening for the camera, appearing not the least concerned that her daughter was down a break of serve, probably not even realizing that Stephanie already was losing.

Andrew shuddered and whimpered, his eye's slitting, "Please," he murmured.

"Please what?" Grigor queried, lifting his head, staring up along a naked, trembling torso that wasn't all that bad for a man of fifty.

"Please, if you're going to do it, get to it."

"You want cock, don't you? You're beginning to remember how much you wanted it; how often you begged for cock after first time I took you. I'm not here because of any deal you think you made for Stephanie, am I? I'm here because you remember cock and want it again. You never should have left Boca, left me."

Andrew groaned and turned his head toward the TV set. He didn't see it or hear it, though. He was thinking, thinking back to when Stephanie's talent was first remarked on. She was only six. It had taken nearly two years to get her into Zhukov's academy. Andrew had been thirty-four when he'd let the first man fuck him. He'd long fantasized about-and had been propositioned; he was quite a looker when younger-but he'd never been given enough of a reason to take the risk. Until he was trying to get Stephanie in the Zhukov academy. Zhukov, that first man, had been fifty-four. He told Andrew straight out what the conditions would be before he'd take Stephanie on as a student. He'd fucked Andrew for a year before she was permitted to enter the academy.

Five years ago, as Stephanie was showing the ability to move to the pros, Andrew had broken away. He left Boca Raton. Moved his business back to Richmond. Left Patricia and Stephanie behind in Florida. Tried to celebrate his escape from Grigor. But he hadn't escaped, not really. There had been more men then. He ever had been on a quest for someone who could fuck him like Grigor had. The quest had not been fully successful. And then there had been the divorce.

The deal had been Grigor's idea, and Andrew had jumped to it-and, yes, damn it, it hadn't just been because of the deal. It had been because he never had gotten Grigor out of his system.

He cried out an "Oh, shit!" and clutched at the bedspread as Grigor entered him, strongly. And then he was panting and arching his back, putting his pelvis in motion, and gasping a litany of "Fuck me, fuck me, fuckmefuckme!" as Grigor thrust hard and deep and pistoned faster and faster until Andrew ejaculated up his belly and screamed a glorious release.

He lay back on the bed, exhausted, sweating, sighing, as Grigor stood between his thighs, still inside him, smiling, gripping his hips. Grigor slowly pulled out of him, pulled the condom off his cock, and commanded, "Make me come now." Andrew reached down, grabbed the big, hard cock in both hands, and began to stroke it.

"No, suck me off," Grigor said, moving up on the bed, his knees squeezing the sides of Andrew's chest, his torso leaning back, with his hands gripping Andrew's knees. He turned his head toward the TV set while Andrew closed his mouth over the cock and brought Grigor to an ejaculation.

Grigor brought his torso back up and looked down in Andrew's face. "You want me fuck you again, don't you?"

"Yes," Andrew answered. It was a reluctant yes, but it was a yes.

"You're sorry you ever left me, aren't you?"

"Yes," Andrew whispered. Grigor hadn't lost any of his virility in the past five years, any of his vigor, any of his stamina, any of his cock's ability to find and play every nook and cranny of Andrew's channel, deep. In Grigor's case, seventy wasn't old in every respect. Yes, damn it, yes Andrew wanted Grigor to fuck him again.

"Well, not now, I'm afraid. There isn't time now. But I'll be back tonight, after the parties. You'll be here, won't you?"


"And you got two key cards to the room, didn't you? You have one for me."


After Grigor had dressed and left the room, Andrew lay there for a few minutes, damning himself for his weakness-and for having already calculated how many hours he would have to endure until the parties were over and he was back in this room, waiting.

He heard the rise in applause on the television set and looked up in time to see that the set was over. Maria had won it 6 to 3. He sat, eyes plastered to the screen until it was all over. Grigor had made it to the tennis venue in time to be in his daughter's players' box to beam down at his daughter, Maria, as she climbed on a chair to receive victory hugs from those in her box.

The camera scanned to the other player's box. Patricia was still preening, probably oblivious to the fact that the match was over. Andrew had been right, though. If he'd been in that box when the camera scanned it, he wouldn't have been able to hide his disappointment.

Nobody knew what he'd had to do to enable Stephanie to get even this far. Nobody, of course, but Grigor Zhukov. And Grigor wouldn't see it as any sort of a sacrifice. Grigor considered himself to be a gift.

Andrew laughed. Who was he kidding? He saw Grigor as a gift too. And he knew there was no reason whatsoever to pretend with Grigor that there ever, really, had been any sort of a deal today that Andrew had consciously expected to be honored.



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