I'm working again on Saturday but this time my client is some 40 year old woman with a bleach blonde perm who can't seem to hit the ball more than twenty yards at a time. She spends more time gossiping to her friend than paying attention to the game and even though we set off at two this afternoon it's almost seven by the time we get around the course. As they play the last green I exchange a look with Joe, who's carrying the other bag and I can tell he's just as eager to be finished as I am.
"Finally!" I exclaim to him after we're done and the women are out of earshot.
He laughs. "I thought it would never end. My one went round in a hundred and thirty three," he says, pulling a face.
I grin. "She'll be going pro in no time."
"Hey, speaking of pro," he nudges me with his elbow and gestures towards the other side of the first tee, where the practice bays are. I'm excited to see Santana standing alone with her back to us, whacking a ball into the netting in front of her.
"Oh, cool," I say, feeling myself grin widely. I pause for a few seconds. "I'm gonna go speak to her," I decide.
"Alright," says Joe, "I'm gonna head home; I've been waiting all day to go blaze. See you later, Britt."
I chuckle. "Bye, Joe." He walks off towards the club house and I hesitate before dawdling my way towards Santana, trying to think of what to say. I haven't seen her since Wednesday and I've been thinking about the offer she made me. Or at least, pretending to think about it because let's be real; there was no way I was ever going turn it down.
Screw it, I think. I'll just tell her now.
"Hi," I say lamely as I walk up behind her.
She looks around in surprise, straightening up from getting ready to swing. "Oh, hey Brittany," she smiles. "Be careful sneaking up behind me like that, I might have hit you!"
"Oh," I say, feeling silly. "Sorry, I should have realized."
"It's okay," she says, rolling her eyes playfully. "I guess I'm just paranoid about that cause it happened to me when I was a kid," she says.
"Really? Were you okay?" I ask, wide eyed.
She waves her hand dismissively. "Oh yeah, I was fine. I must have been about nine. During my lesson I wanted to ask my instructor a question so I stupidly walked up behind him at the driving range and got a three iron to the head." She pushes back her hair a little and I see a small white scar near her temple. "No permanent damage though," she adds with a small smile. I make a mental note to announce my presence loudly any time I walk near her while she's playing. "So what's up?" She leans back a little on her club.
"Oh. Well I saw you and just thought I'd come say hi," I say. I pause and then continue nervously, "Also I wanted to let you know that I thought about what you asked me the other day, about being your caddy and I think I wanna do it." I look at my shoes, suddenly worried that she's changed her mind about the whole thing.
"Oh," she says. She sounds surprised. "Right. Well, that's great."
"I mean, if the offer still stands," I say quickly.
She smiles. "Of course it does! That's really cool." She nods a little as if in approval. "I think this'll be awesome."
I grin. "Okay. Great! So like…what happens next?" I ask.
She laughs and shrugs slightly. "Um, I guess I'll tell Will and he will sort out all the official stuff. I think it's pretty simple though. I'll just let you know when I wanna practice and we can sort out times that work for both of us." I feel a thrill at the prospect. "Oh and I'll give you a schedule for my competitions," she adds.
"Great," I say. I hesitate, before adding, "And thanks; I'm really glad you asked me."
She looks down at the ground, almost bashfully. "Oh, it's okay. It's about time I found someone. I'm glad it can be you and not some creepy older guy who tries to hit on me like the caddies Will usually finds for me," she says, rolling her eyes.
I laugh. "Okay then." I pause, not wanting to walk away yet but unsure of what to say.
"So, were you playing today?" I eventually ask, sticking my hands in my pockets to stop myself from fidgeting.
"Not today." She reaches out with her foot and guides a ball into position in the middle of her mat as she answers me. "I was just bored and came down here to practice my chipping and get some dinner." She focuses on the ball before gently swinging back and hitting it forward into the net which surrounds the bay.
"You know," she says with a small smirk as she turns to get another ball, "part of the caddy's job is to give tips and advice to the player about how they should play their shots."
I raise my eyebrows. "Really?" I'm pretty sure I don't know how to do that. I think she knows that though.
"Yup. You'll have to start critiquing me," she jokes.
I grin. "Guess I'll start paying more attention to how you play then."
She chuckles softly. "Have you ever played?" she asks me curiously, twirling her club slightly in her left hand.
I shake my head. "Never. I'm pretty sure it's not my calling."
She grins and holds out her club. "You wanna try? You never know, you might have an undiscovered talent."
I laugh and hesitate for a moment. I want to try but Santana's golf clubs probably cost a whole lot of money and I would die of embarrassment if I somehow managed to damage one. "Go on," says with a crooked smile.
"Okay," I finally agree, taking it from her. "I'm right handed but seeing as I've never played in my life I think I'll be awful either way." She laughs and steps in front of me, bending down briefly to place a ball on the rubber tee sticking through the mat. I move into position and place the head of the club behind the ball. I glance once more at Santana's face and she nods in confirmation, her arms folded and a slight smirk on her face.
I take a deep breath before bringing the club back and then swinging it through as fast as I can. There's a horrible clunking noise as the metal connects with the ball and I feel the vibration jar my hands through the rubber grip. I watch as the ball bounces off the tee and rolls all of three years away along the ground.
I flush with embarrassment and look up to see Santana trying not to laugh without much success. "Nice shot," she comments.
"Hey! It's hard, okay," I say, grinning despite myself.
"Okay, okay," she says once she's collected herself, stepping forward. "Obviously it was terrible but that's just cause you were doing about a million things wrong." She places another ball on the tee. "Here, set up your shot again."
I obediently place the club back into position and get ready to take another swing. "Okay, stop," she says. "First of all your feet are all over the place," she says with a small laugh. I stand up straight as she crouches down in front of me. "Here, put them like this," she reaches forward and guides the toe of my right shoe so that it's pointing in front of me and just a little closer to the nets than the ball. She then moves my other foot further left and I flush as her fingers curl around my ankle. "Now, don't move them," she commands, before standing.
"Alright," I say, holding my feet rigid.
"So now, your grip," she says. I look down at my hands where I'm clutching the top of the club. "Let go first." She holds the metal part of the shaft between her fingers and I remove my hands. "Place your right hand on it first, with your thumb straight and pointing towards me."
"Um…" I hesitate before gripping the club and raising my thumb towards her.
She giggles, "Not like that. Here," she steps around me and stands to my right, moving close to me. My heart leaps from her proximity. She reaches down and touches my hand and I bit my lip. She's focused on adjusting my grip and doesn't seem to notice my reaction. She gently moves my hand further around the club and presses my thumb down.
"Okay, now, your left hand will kind of sit on top of your thumb." She leans closer so she can reach across me and grab my left hand, moving it carefully into the correct position. "Kind of. Just move it down a bit," she mumbles, quietly now that she's so close. I think my heart rate is going through the roof at the moment. "Okay, that's good." I feel like she keeps her hand resting on mine for a couple of seconds more before removing it and leaning back. That's probably my imagination going crazy though.
She moves to stand behind me and I stay facing forward, not wanting to mess up my footing. Also I feel like I'm blushing and I don't want her to notice.
"Okay now just lean forward a bit." My breath catches as I feel her hand pushing softly on my lower back and I swallow hard. Is she doing this on purpose? I lean down a little according to her instruction and she moves to stand in front of me again.
"Alright," she says with a smile, seeming pleased with her manipulation of my stance. "So make sure you keep your eye on the ball the whole time. Don't look at the net and don't look back at your swing. Always look at the ball."
I nod in understanding. "Always look at the ball," I repeat.
"Yep. And finally, the most important thing is to take your time. Your first shot sucked because you were trying to hit it really hard. Just go slow and you're more likely to make good contact."
I nod. "Okay. Anything else?" She shakes her head and I look intently at the ball. I swing more slowly this time and the club makes a much nicer sound when I hit the ball. It actually gets off the ground this time and hits the net in front of me. It's not as good as the kind of shot Santana hits but it's still a hell of a lot better than my first attempt.
"Way-y better," Santana remarks, grinning at me.
"That actually looked like a real shot!" I exclaim and she laughs. "You should be a golf teacher, Santana."
She shrugs a little. "Maybe I will be eventually. Sometimes pros become instructors after they stop competing."
"Well obviously you're good at it," I say, swinging the club a little as if taking a shot.
"Or you're just good at learning. You want to go again?" she asks. She must sense my enthusiasm.
"Yeah!" I line up my body they way she showed me before while she bends down to tee up the ball again.
I think I must be slightly over excited from my last shot because this time when I try to hit the ball I just completely miss and I hear a swoosh of air as the club passes clean over the ball. I look down in confusion.
"You lifted your head!" Santana accuses.
"I did not!" I argue, but I'm smiling. Maybe I forgot about that part.
"You totally did, I saw it," she laughs. "You were looking right at the nets when you swung through and you lifted your whole body and that's why you missed." She folds her arms with a smirk. "That's called a fresh air shot."
I laugh. "Alright, alright I lifted my head. But let's just call that a practice swing," I say, getting ready to try again.
"Of course it was," she says, giving me a smile which makes my heart clench. I grin back like an idiot and then look down, trying to focus.
"Relax your shoulders. They're all tensed up. And lean down more." She pauses. "You're taller than me so the club is probably a little short for you."
"Okay," I say, hunching over.
"Remember, take your time and keep your eye on the ball," she reminds me. I try again and this time I make contact. This shot might even be better than the other one.
"Yes!" I say, fist pumping.
She laughs. "Nice. You'll be a pro before you know it." She walks over to her bag a few yards away. "You want to try a driver?" she asks, laying a hand on one.
"Um, maybe," I say. That's a bit scarier than a pitching wedge. "Sure."
She pulls off the club cover and walks towards me. "For real though, I can teach you how to play if you want. I bet I can get Will to hook you up with some clubs," she says, not meeting my eyes. I think she does that when she's nervous about asking me something. "You know, ones that face the right way," she jokes.
I smile. "That would be really cool." I take the driver from her. This club is a lot longer so I don't have to hunch over as much when I get into position.
Seemingly satisfied by my response, she steps forward and starts manipulating my body again…once more sending my brain into overdrive.
"I have to admit, it is kind of hard to keep your eye on the ball when you're having trouble seeing it," Santana says, squinting a little.
It's almost fully dark now and Santana and I are still hanging out at the practice bays. I gave up trying to play golf about an hour ago and now I'm just watching her practice.
I laugh from the ground, where I'm sitting cross legged a few yards away. I don't want to leave but unfortunately it's getting pretty impractical for us to stay here. "Yeah…maybe we should admit defeat and head back."
She swings back and whacks the ball in front of her into the nets with a huge amount of force. It impresses me every single time just how much power she gets behind her shots when she uses her driver. You wouldn't think such a small person was capable of it.
"Agreed," she says after lowering her club. She starts gathering the balls that litter the front of the bay and I get up to help her. "Thanks," she says once we're all done. "Are you heading to the changing rooms?"
"Yeah, I am," I respond. "I still need to get my phone and stuff from my locker."
"Sweet," she says as she picks up her bag and we start to head to the club house. "So, I totally forgot to mention this but there's a competition next weekend that I'm playing in."
"Oh. Cool," I say, trying to remember if I have plans or not.
She glances at me. "I realize it's really short notice so obviously you don't have to come if you don't want to or can't. I just thought I'd ask just in case because the course is in town and I guess you're my caddy now," she says quickly as we enter the building.
I smile to myself. "Um. No, it's fine," I say. "I think that'll be okay. Like, I don't have plans or anything so…" I trail off.
"Cool," she says brightly. "I'll let Will know. And it's only the Saturday, by the way." She shrugs. "It's just a small thing, really."
"Alright," I say. We reach the locker room and I dig out my key from my pocket. "So what do I have to do? Apart from carry your bag, obviously," I ask, suddenly worried that I'll have a ton of new responsibilities.
She chuckles softly from behind me as she opens her own locker. "Um. I don't really know. Probably not much." I grab my street shoes and sit down to change into them. "Nothing you won't be able to do though," she says with a smile when she closes her locker and turns to me. "And I'll make sure Will explains anything I don't know about."
"Okay then," I say, standing and grabbing my backpack before closing my locker. She seems like she's ready to go so I head for the door.
"Did you drive here?" she asks me as she follows behind me.
"No. I don't even have a car," I laugh. "I just walk to work. I don't live too far away."
"Oh right," she says, coming to walk beside me. "Well, my car's in the parking lot so I can give you a ride home if you like."
"Oh. Are you sure?" I ask. I hope she's asking because she wants to and not because she feels obligated to offer. "It's really not that far."
She smiles and rolls her eyes. "Of course, Brittany. Just come on."
We walk out of the club house and she heads towards a car parked by itself on the far side of the parking lot.
"Oh my god," I say as we stop in front of it. "You have a really nice car, Santana." It's a convertible sports car, the kind with only two seats, and it's jet black in color. I admire the subtle curve of the body and the silver rims and swallow hard. I'm kind of a sucker for nice cars and I don't think this is helping with the not-being-attracted-to-Santana thing.
"Oh," she laughs as she pops the trunk. "Thanks, I guess. When I won my first big tournament I decided to splash out with the prize money and buy something extravagant." She grins at me as she walks around to the driver's side and opens the door. "You gonna get in?"
I nod enthusiastically and open my door. The little light inside comes on and shows off the dark red and black leather interior. "Holy shit," I mumble. I see her smirk slightly out of the corner of my eye as I duck to climb into the car.
She turns on the ignition and we're thrown into darkness for a second before the dashboard lights come on, giving her face a slight orange glow. The music player automatically comes on, playing music softly from the speakers behind us. Oh my god, this is so sexy. I briefly wonder what it would be like if Sam had a car like this then cringe. I don't think he could really pull it off.
Santana places her right hand on the back of my seat, just behind my head as she reverses, twisting to look through the back window. I'm not expecting it and my breath catches slightly from her sudden closeness.
I give Santana directions to my apartment as we travel down the driveway away from the parking lot.
"You're kind of near me, actually," she says, making we wonder exactly how near. I bet she has a huge expensive apartment as well.
"Do you live by yourself?" I find myself asking her.
"Yeah, I do," she responds. "I think I like it that way though," she says with a smile. "The privacy is nice."
I laugh. "Yeah. It must be nice not having to wait for three other people to shower before you in the morning."
It's only a five minute drive to my place and soon we're pulling up outside my building. Suddenly I feel awkward about saying goodbye, like I always do.
"Well, thanks for the ride." I say, tapping my hands on my knees and turning to her.
"No problem." She smiles softly back at me making my stomach knot and twist. Fuck. I just wanna jump on her. "I can take you home any time, you know. It's silly for you to walk when I can just drive you."
I'm hardly listening at this point so I just nod politely. I turn to open my door.
"Oh wait, Brittany. Can I get your phone number?" I look round in surprise. "So I can call you to sort out all the details for this weekend and stuff." Right. Of course.
"Oh, yeah, sure." I pull my phone out my pocket even though I know my number off by heart.
"Here, just type it in," she hands me her phone. I tap in my number, triple checking that I get the digits right and hand the phone back. "Cool," she smiles. "I'll send you a text so you have mine."
"Sweet." I can't think of anything else to say so I open my door and clamber out of the car. "I guess I'll see you on Saturday?" I say uncertainly.
"Yeah, for sure. I'll probably see you before then at the club though."
"Alright." I stand for a moment holding the door open and shuffling my feet. "Well, bye then!" I wave at her lamely.
"See you later, Brittany." She smiles at me once more before I close the door and walk to the building entrance. It always feels strangely anti-climactic when I say goodbye to her. Like there's some weird tension between us. But that's probably just all in my head because I'm the one fantasizing about making out with her.
I resist the urge to look back at her before entering my building and closing the door behind me. As I'm heading up the stairs my phone buzzes, still in my hand. Knowing it's Santana, I excitedly open the text.
It's just about the simplest thing she could have sent me but it's still got me grinning like a maniac. Shit. I really need to snap out of this.
I bite my lip in worry as I go into my apartment and head for my room. After tonight I definitely can't deny my attraction to her. I remember the way she gently touched me to move me into position and just the thought of it makes me feel warm. And she was being so sweet tonight, teaching me how to play and then taking me home. Maybe Santana is just one of those people who is really good at making you feel special.
I collapse backwards on my bed and stare blankly at the ceiling. Briefly I wonder if I should break up with Sam but the thought vanishes quickly with a sharp pang of anxiety. That would be crazy. There's nothing to suggest Santana is even into me, plus there is nothing wrong with me and Sam's relationship. I can't break up with him after two years just because of a crush.
I roll my eyes at myself and reach over to grab my phone. I find my conversation with Sam and send off a text asking about his day. Soon his response has me laughing and feeling reasonably confident that everything is going to be fine.
The same night, Santana is in my dream. It's not surprising considering how much I've been thinking about her. The whole thing is a bit vague but there's something about us sitting in her car and playing a video game on a giant TV screen on the dashboard which definitely wasn't there before. I keep hoping she'll put her arm around me but instead the dream morphs into me eating mac n cheese at Mercedes' parents' house with the director of golf. Which is pretty weird. I wake up feeling delirious and confused at quarter to four before rolling over to go back to sleep, trying and failing to keep a certain golfer off my mind.