Trophy

For the past several years, Nicole had won the club’s annual tournament, though the competition hadn’t been exactly fierce. Most of the other girls at the club snubbed their noses at athletics. “Oh, I hear you’re playing the games again. Do you actually enjoy it?”

Golf and tennis were the reasons Nicole had consented to join the club in the first place. Greg didn’t care what she did, as long as she made appearances from time to time, so she took long walks on the golf course, and practiced her forehand and backhand against various walls. She wasn’t sure what the other wives did, but they spent all their time at the club at the clubhouse. Playing bridge? Sipping margaritas? They probably sat around talking about what a disgrace she was, to the club, to the aristocracy and womanhood. She hoped that’s what they talked about.

“Hey,” came a voice behind her at the tennis court. “You want to go a round?” Nicole turned. Her first thought was, “I didn’t think they’d let a black girl in here,” but that was an acknowledgement of their racism, not her own. She said, “Sure!” and introduced herself.

Bethany had an amazing serve. Once they got a rally going, they seemed evenly matched, but Nicole could barely get to the ball from a standstill. “Where’d you learn to hit like that?”

“Oh, I sleep with the tennis instructor,” the woman said, but she was joking. She was tall and beautiful and quick-witted. Nicole smiled.

“Looks like I’m going to have some competition this year.”

“Wish I could say the same.”

She was only joking, Nicole told herself. She was only joking, she told the other wives, her cards face-up on the table, her cocktail salty.

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