Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2116748-A-Great-Game
by beetle
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · LGBTQ+ · #2116748
A convo between soccer stars gets steamy. Lesson #4 for Building the Emotion & Sensuality.
Summary:Soccer/Football team captain and forward Denny Kowalczyk's just lost another game to his team's chief rivals. In a funk, Denny is moping in the locker room when the midfielder of the opposing team, the charming and attractive Kurt Renholder, offers some words of wisdom.
Word Count: 1,516

“Smile, Kowalczyk . . . you played a great game today.”

Frowning-frowning-frowning, Denny Kowalczyk looked up from his slump on a corner bench in the locker room. Standing in front of him, a sweaty, grass-stained, Teutonic vision in his team’s white-and-green, was Kurt Renholder—known on the field as “The Cleaner”—holding a towel and smiling his perfect smile. His golden hair was somehow still fashionably tousled despite almost dripping with sweat and sporting sprigs of turf in it. His cornflower-blue eyes were all aglow.

Of course, they were. His team had won, largely due to the The Cleaner’s block of the challenging team’s forward.

Denny Kowalczyk being said forward.

Wincing, Denny rolled his sore shoulders then gingerly, absently touched a protracted scrape high on his thigh, curtesy of Renholder’s cleats. The wound was dirty and raw and irritated-looking. Denny knew he should hose off and get some disinfectant spray on it, but he was too apathetic to care, at the moment. Too apathetic to even bend a glare Renholder’s merry way, as he normally would have.

As he normally did, every time the irrepressible midfielder’s team won which, of late, was a demoralizing eight games out of ten.

And the other two had been very close calls.

“Maybe,” Denny allowed in a dismissive grunt, shrugging his wide, coat-hanger shoulders. His long, rangy body was buzzing with leftover adrenaline . . . but exhausted beyond the point of yawning. His limbs were leaden and sluggish, despite the last zings of nervous energy. “But a great game ain’t always a winnin’ one, Renholder.”

“Hmm.” When Denny glanced up at the other man, it was to see that bright smile slipping into a more thoughtful expression. Renholder blinked and shrugged, swinging the towel in his left hand around his neck. “That is true. But winning isn’t everything.”

Denny snorted a quiet, rueful laugh. “Maybe not. But it sure as shit’s a lot of the things. An’ anyway, that’s easy to say when your team gets to take home the trophy, the respect, and the hot hangers-on.”

“Bah,” Renholder said, just as dismissive as Denny had been a minute ago. Then, with another shrug and a grateful sigh, he sat next to Denny, who shoved over a few inches to give the burly midfielder some room. Still he could feel the heat baking off the slightly shorter man . . . could smell the acrid tang of his sweat, the chemical-sweetness of his fabric softener, and a salty-musky scent that was just, Denny knew after eighteen sporadic months of sharing locker rooms with the other man, Renholder. “All you Americans care about is the destination. Never the journey.”

Denny snorted again, taking a moment to glance around their small, unnoticed corner betwixt a perpendicular bank of wall-hugging lockers. The last stragglers of their respective teams—the majority of whom had already hosed off—were moving around the labyrithine locker room in various states of undress, bullshitting in English, Spanish, and German about their plans for the evening.

Big damn melting pot, Denny thought wryly. “Well, the fuck’s a journey without a destination, Renholder? Jus’ a long, pointless walk. Like golf.”

Chuckling quietly, Renholder leaned forward, forearms on thick, muscled thighs, and glanced up at Denny from under shaggy, blond fringe. “I’m not saying the destination doesn’t matter. That winning doesn’t matter. I’m simply saying that it’s not the only thing that does. Things like sportsmanship and honor matter as much, if not more. Heart and soul are just as important to a game as winning it.”

“Sure,” Denny agreed, as the last handful of players finally drifted out into the hall, taking their raucous, male laughter went with them. “Makes for a less-sore loser.”

Renholder rolled his pale eyes. “That’s not what I meant, Kowalczyk, and you know it,” he said mildly. “If all you cared about was winning and trophies and . . . hot hangers-on, you’d never have kept playing after your first big losses. You’d have quit in your second season. Or your third.”

Squinting, now, Denny fixed Renholder with his most suspicious scowl. “What’re you talkin’ ‘bout?”

Thick blond brows lifted in question. “You lost some very important games in those seasons, yes?”

“Yeeeees.” Denny drew the word out slowly, warily. “You been diggin’ into my dirt, preparin’ for this little rah-rah speech, Renholder?”

Another soft chuckle. Renholder had a low, pleasant tenor, simultaneously rounded and terse. “Of course, I haven’t, Dennis. I just pay attention when you’re interviewed.”

Denny huffed. He was rarely interviewed. And not even once, in the past season. “And why’s that?”

Renholder bent an opaque look Denny’s way, followed by a long-lashed blink. “Professional curiosity,” he finally answered, a small smile curving his generous mouth. He tilted his head a bit as if regarding Denny anew, the fluorescent light overhead turning his yellow stubble golden. “You’re a talented forward and cunning captain. You play hard and demand the same of your team. You’ve more than earned every win. Even the ones you didn’t get.”

As an unaccustomed blush burned its way across the stark planes of his olive-toned face, Denny looked down at his abraded thigh. Taut, lean muscles below torn skin twitched and jumped in response to the injured nerve-endings. Denny winced, but almost smiled. “Well, that’s, uh . . . that’s sweet of ya to say, Renholder.”

“Eh. We Germans . . . we’re not so much known for our propensity toward sweetness. I’m merely being honest.” Shrugging again, the midfielder sat up, then stood up, stretching and contorting till his strong, limber body ran out of cracks and pops. Then he looked back at Denny, almost catching the opposing captain in the midst of a considering once-over that lingered at broad shoulders, sculpted thighs, and a perfectly round ass.

Almost caught me, Denny thought with relief and amusement at his own ridiculousness, and smiled his blandest, most innocent smile. Renholder returned it with his big, dazzling one.

“If you’re enjoying the view from the behind,” he said laconically, a sudden, knowing twinkle in his light eyes, “then perhaps sometime soon you’d care to see the front. . . ?”

After a few stunned moments, Denny’s mouth dropped open. His face went up in near-literal flames before he blanched completely. Then blushed again, glancing furtively around the otherwise empty locker room.

“Ah,” he said, then stammered out some more sounds that wanted to be words before finally settling on. “Ah, Renholder . . . list’n, I—”

“Please,” the German midfielder said with his usual amused calm, holding up a hand to halt Denny’s stammering. “Call me Kurt.”

Then he was peeling off his white and green jersey, baring his hairy, muscular barrel of a chest and toned eight-pack.

It was nothing Denny hadn’t seen before. Nothing he hadn’t fantasized about, oh, at least a billion times. Kurt Renholder was many things, but none of them was body-shy.

“Right,” Denny said breathlessly, his mouth going dry as he looked down at his dirty, scraped-up leg. And: “Kurt.”


“List’n, Kurt, I. . . .”

“Or perhaps I’m flirting too baldly?” Ren—Kurt made a disgusted, self-mocking, terribly German sound of annoyance. “Verdammt! Eighteen months of not flirting enough and I ruin it by flirting too much. Scheiße!”

“Naw—I mean, no! Y’ain’t flirtin’ too much—I’m from Texas . . . ain’t no such thing as too much of anything!” Denny blurted out, springing to his suddenly-not-so-tired feet, one hand held out as if to settle on Kurt’s brawny chest . . . but at the last second, Denny paused and let his hand hover inches away.

Both men stared at Denny’s hand for long moments before looking up at each other, solemn-faced and blushing.

Then Kurt stepped closer to Denny, so that Denny’s palm splayed flat on the warm, damp, hairy spot above Kurt’s strong, steady heartbeat.

Then Kurt’s hand—grubby, square, and large—was covering Denny’s and holding it in place, just like his pale gaze held Denny’s dark one. That brilliant, bright smile made a slow, but definite comeback, dazzling and drawing Denny’s own grin.

“In fact, I could do with a little more flirtin’, butch. Jeeee-zus,” he breathed gruffly, fighting to control the goonish grin that stretched from ear to ear. “I ain’t a mind-reader. An’ in case ya haven’t noticed, I’m a tad slow on the uptake.”

“Just a tad,” Kurt agreed, his gaze laughing and dancing, lingering and admiring in a once-over that made no bones about what it was.

Then Kurt was turning away, striding off toward the showers, thumbs hooked in the waistband of his low-riding shorts. A moment later, the shorts were a puddle of white fabric left where they’d fallen.

“By the way,” he tossed over his shoulder as he went, probably aware of Denny’s devouring eyes roaming his mostly-tanned body, but always returning to that perfect, moon-pale ass. “This is me, flirting.”

Then, with a quick, inviting glance over his shoulder, blue eyes flashing, Kurt turned the corner of the angled entryway that led to the showers, disappearing into steam and the hiss of showers heedlessly left running.

Several seconds later, shirt shucked and stepping out of his own sodden black shorts, Denny was following after, smiling-smiling-smiling.


(Inspired, in part, by this photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/reinhardkrull/32239588434/sizes/l/)
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