Menolly’s hands hit the wall in perfect unison and she raises her head from the water, gasping, to see Coach Domick squinting at his stopwatch. At last he looks up. “25.25,” he says, almost reluctantly. Up in the stands, Sebell whoops. Menolly can’t hide her grin. That’s faster than Marleen Veldhuis - not quite world-record-breaking, but still, damn good!
“Give me a three hundred warmdown and you’re done for the day,” Coach Domick says grumpily, and Menolly nods, still grinning, and pushes off the wall into the long, easy strokes of freestyle. Butterfly is her true love and her best stroke, but even she can grow weary of it after an entire afternoon of sprints.
A splash next to her draws her eye, and she blows a stream of bubbles at Sebell, who has slipped into the lane next to her and is matching her stroke for stroke. He is a freestyler by preference, his long arms and enormous feet giving him a marvelous advantage, but though he’s taller and stronger she’s more dedicated. She has the fire, Coach Domick said once, when he thought she couldn’t hear. She’s got the will to push herself and keep pushing, where Sebell, dear Sebell, is sometimes a little too content to coast. He makes a very good warmdown partner for all that, and Menolly stretches out and enjoys watching her lover out of the corner of her eye. He looks very good in a speedo.
Robinton is waiting for them when they get out, two towels held ready in his big hands. Coach Domick has wandered off somewhere - he’s a good coach, but has no people skills - but Menolly doesn’t care. If there had been something she needed to know about, he would have stayed to tell her, as bluntly and rudely as ever; since he isn’t there, she did pretty well today.
She and Sebell take their towels, and Menolly fumbles for her water bottle, drinking thirstily. “Did you see?” she asks Robinton. “I did my fifty in 25.25!”
“I did see,” Robinton says approvingly. “Well done, my dear.”
“I think I earned a kiss for that,” Menolly says, grinning up at both of her tall lovers. They chuckle in adorable unison.
“At home,” Robinton says. “You taste of chlorine at the moment, my dear.”
Menolly sticks out her tongue and heads for the showers, Sebell hard on her heels.
“You should get in with her next time, give her some real competition,” Sebell suggests as Menolly turns on the shower as hot as it will go.
“The nice thing about being retired, you realize, is not having to do butterfly sprints,” Robinton observes dryly.
Menolly sticks her head out of the spray long enough to give Robinton her very best puppy eyes, in perfect unison with Sebell. Robinton puts a hand over his eyes and sighs.
“Yes, alright,” he says. “Next time.”
Menolly holds up her hand for Sebell to high five. Robinton shakes his head at both of them. Menolly grins, still high on 25.25, holy shit, she did it, and ducks back under the spray, rinsing out her mouth thoroughly to get rid of the chlorine taste. When she finally shuts the shower off, Robinton is waiting for her, bending down to kiss her softly and thoroughly; and Sebell is there as soon as Robinton lets her go, eager and sweet as he always is.
“C’mon, champion, let’s take this home,” Sebell murmurs against her ear, and Menolly grins, and links arms with her lovers, and leads the way.