Simple Physics

Chapter 2 - Momentum

What had he been thinking? No, honestly, Tucker mentally scolded himself, what in God’s name could he possibly have been thinking? He shuffled his books to one arm and entered his locker combination, scowling only to himself. It wasn’t that he was desperate; he knew that much. He didn’t even want to be in a relationship—not really. And it wasn’t that he needed money. Hell, there were certainly better ways if that were the problem.

Tucker sighed as he opened his locker and squinted up at its disarrayed contents. Dash probably got blown twenty times a day anyway, he thought sourly. Maybe he was throwing the whole thing out of proportion and needn’t really worry about it. Somehow, the thought didn’t make him feel better.

“Tucker!” He turned at the call, and Danny waved as he approached. “Hey, Tuck, what’s up?” he said, flopping against the locker beside him with a clattering bang and grinning like a madman. “You look…” Danny expression faltered for the first time. “Actually, you look a little down,” he said, frowning slightly. “You feelin’ okay?”

Tucker debated. Lie through his teeth to avoid further questioning, or come up with a believable half-truth on the spot for a sympathetic ear? Just as he started trying to figure out how he possibly could turn ‘I sucked off Dash Baxter yesterday in tutoring,’ into a believable half-truth, Sam came to the rescue.

“Hey, Tucker,” she said cheerily, coming up behind Danny and slipping an arm around his waist in a way that immediately explained his initial madman-in-love mood. Danny and Sam had finally made up. Again. “How did that tutoring thing go yesterday?”

Way to get to the point, Tucker thought mildly, trying not to frown as she tucked her chin against Danny’s shoulder. “It was…interesting,” he said, turning to his locker to politely avoid witnessing the not-so-discreet exchange of public affections going on between his two best friends. For some reason, it always made him uncomfortable to watch.

“Oh, yeah! I forgot you had that,” said Danny. “So, is Dash as dumb as he looks, or dumber?” Sam elbowed him reprovingly, and Danny grunted. “Okay, okay!” he surrendered. “I was just asking…”

“Well-” Tucker began, but then, the topic of their conversation appeared across the hall, and he swallowed the rest of his sentence. Speak of the devil, he thought silently. In this case, a very tall, formidable looking blonde devil currently stalking towards them like a predator on the hunt. Perhaps Dash hadn’t completely blown him off after all—excuse the innuendo.

“Foley!” Dash barked in a voice more than loud enough to carry across the room, and Danny and Sam looked up, apparently noticing him for the first time. “I believe,” he said as he drew closer, “that I owe you something.” His hand shook the locker as it came down inches to the left of Tucker’s head, caging him in.

Tucker resisted the urge to gulp. “Oh?” he said, straightening his back and lifting his chin in his best impression of undaunted nonchalance. “Really?”

“Yeah,” Dash purred, close now and grinning wickedly. “Really.”

Tucker felt a stab of empathy for the cornered mouse and gave up on nonchalance. His new goal was to keep his knees from going out from under him. “And what is that?” he said, hoping his voice sounded braver than he felt.

“Deal’s a deal, Foley,” said Dash, waving something under his nose, and Tucker frowned.

“A…what?” Squinting, Tucker pushed up his glasses, trying to focus on the object dangled before him. When he succeeded, heat swept up his neck, and he silently cursed himself. He hadn’t expected Dash to actually pay. “But…when I said that I…you don’t really have to-”

“Oh, but I do,” murmured Dash huskily, further invading Tucker’s personal space with apparently no concern whatsoever for who saw. The smell of laundry detergent and cologne filled Tucker’s senses, and his pulse did a double take. “I’m a man of my word, and besides…” His hand felt hot on Tucker’s chest, pressing the air from his lungs and making one of the metal locker handles dig painfully into his back until he winced. “You earned it.”

Tucker mentally cringed at the phrasing. Whores “earned” money that way, and Dash was making sure he caught the implication. “Technically, I really more won it than earned it,” he pointed out, more for his own benefit than Dash’s. “It was a bet, after all, not a business transaction.”

Dash snorted, but let up. “Yeah, well. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Foley,” he muttered. This time when he waved the bill, Tucker snatched it, crushing it in his palm and hastily stuffing it in his pocket as if hiding evidence. Dash chuckled, and his stare sent a shiver down Tucker’s spine. “See you in physics,” was all he said before he turned and disappeared amid the bustling throng.

“Okay…” said Sam, looking utterly perplexed. “So what the hell was his problem?” she asked, glaring off down the hall in the general direction of Dash’s disappearance. “And what was that he gave you, anyway? Tucker…?”

As she was talking, Danny had caught Tucker’s eye, his expression concerned and questioning, but when she prompted him, Tucker broke from Danny’s stare to look at her. “What? Oh…it’s, umm…” Tucker’s fingers crinkled around the bill in his pocket, and he frowned. “Fifty bucks,” he said.

Sam’s eyes went wide. “Fifty bucks? Tucker-”

The bell rang.

Tucker breathed a sigh of relief and shut his locker. “I’ll tell you later,” he said, and before either of his friends could protest, he fled into the masses in the direction of his next class.

The bell officially gave him until lunch hour to come up with a plausible excuse for winning fifty dollars off of Dash Baxter—something other than blowing him in under three minutes flat, that is. As he shouldered his way through the undulating stream of his fellow peers, Tucker felt confident he could think of something.

Six hours later, he was not quite so confident as he stepped into the virtually silent Casper High Library. After Dash had avidly assured their physics teacher that the last tutoring session had “blown him away,” that the one on one action had had fantastic results, and that he thought Tucker had a lot of underappreciated talent he was sure he could benefit from, the teacher had jumped at the opportunity to keep them signed up for more sessions. Tucker, almost speechless by that point, had managed to insist that they at least move to the library, as opposed to a locked physics classroom—safer, he hoped, though he didn’t explain his motives to their teacher. Now, he stood alone in the library, a large textbook clutched to his chest as he sought out a suitable base of operations.

Eventually, he settled on an empty table near the back of the room and moved to it, dropping his backpack beside it and opening his book to their most recent lesson. Since Dash had yet to arrive, he set in on the homework. He didn’t have to wait long.

Less than a minute into the first problem, the front doors banged open with a raucous clatter that blatantly defied any and every “quiet” rule usually applied to libraries and boldly announced the arrival of his “pupil.” Not for the first time, Tucker wondered what exactly he’d signed up for in agreeing to these sessions. Moment’s later, Dash himself appeared, swerving around to the opposite side of the table and tossing his bookbag to the ground with a resounding thud, as if his arrival had not already been made adequately apparent by his brash entrance. Tucker frowned.

For lack of anything better to say, he muttered, “You’re late.”

Dash snorted. “And who’s to say you’re not just early?” he said, dropping into his chair and immediately stretching out to his full length, arms pulled over his head with a lazy yawn. “Eager for something?”

Tucker ignored the taunt and turned the page in his text. “Just get out your homework and turn to 309 in your book. We were discussing momentum today, so I figure that’s the best place to start.”

Dash groaned audibly. “You can’t be serious,” he said, honestly incredulous as he eyed Tucker’s textbook like some vile creature from the black abyss coming to swallow his soul.

Tucker looked up. “About what?” he asked.

“You…you are, aren’t you?” Dash concluded desperately. “You actually want me…to do my homework.”

Tucker raised an eyebrow, stuck halfway between disbelief and amusement. “I thought it would be a logical place to begin, yes. Why? Did you have something else in mind?” Dash’s eyes glazed slightly, and Tucker quickly rethought his wording. “One that involves actually learning physics?” he amended sternly.

“Last I heard, friction was a big part of physics, Foley,” he goaded, and Tucker rolled his eyes.

“Look, if grasping the concept of these assignments was as simple as taking a face to the cock, you wouldn’t be failing,” Tucker stated bluntly. In fact, you’d probably be passing with flying colors. “But seriously, friction wasn’t all that hard to understand in the end, was it?”

“Umm,” Dash pondered, uncertain now that Tucker wasn’t responding so flamboyantly to his jibes. “I…guess not?”

“Well, momentum isn’t that complicated either. Here…” Tucker stood up, sliding his book across the table and turning it around to face them as he came up behind Dash, pointing to the first problem. “A point fifteen kilogram baseball moving at twenty-six meters per second is slowed to a stop by a catcher over the course of two tenths of a second. What is the force exerted on the catcher?”

If possible, Dash slouched further in his chair. “Why the hell do I care? It’s a stupid baseball and he catches it…big whoop.”

“Well, you can calculate impulse momentum by-”

“Can’t you make it more…interesting?” Dash implored, dropping his head back to stare up at Tucker with pleading blue eyes—much harder to ignore than they should have been, Tucker noted absently.

“Umm…define interesting?”

Dash smirked. Before he could open his mouth, Tucker shook his head.

“Never mind. In that case…” He pursed his lips in thought. “How much do you weigh?”

“Uh…hundred eighty-five?”

“Okay…so that’s…about eighty-three kilograms, since we’re working with metric, call it eighty…” Tucker snatched a sheet of paper and a pencil. “How’s this… An eighty-kilogram football player rams a…erm…fifty kilogram cheerleader…against a wall for thirteen seconds, over the course of which his momentum decreases from two hundred and sixty kilograms times meters per second squared…to zero. How much force has he applied to the cheerleader?”

Dash considered this. Finally, he said, “How am I supposed to get anything done in thirteen seconds?”

Tucker slumped against the back of the chair and dropped his head in his hands. “You,” he muttered, “are hopeless.”

“Hmph.” Dash glanced back at the sheet of paper and lifted it up, inspecting the figures. After a moment, he turned to Tucker. “How much do you weigh?”

Tucker straightened back up, expression guarded. “Why?” he asked.

Dash shrugged, making a show of indifference as he re-read Tucker’s sample problem. “Dunno,” he said, not looking up, “maybe I’d rather ram you against a wall for thirteen seconds…”

Tucker opened his mouth, flushed, shut it, and frowned. “One hundred and twenty-two pounds.”

Dash turned, startled. “Really?” His eyes ran the length of Tucker’s frame, lingering occasionally on places that made Tucker’s cheeks heat embarrassingly. When he reached Tucker’s face, he grinned. “I could bench you,” he said matter-of-factly. “Almost twice over, in fact.” He looked back to the paper. “How much is one-twenty in kilos?”

“That,” said Tucker, “you’ll just have to figure out for yourself.”

“But-” Dash objected.

“One pound is approximately half a kilogram. You’re a big boy; I’m sure you can figure it out,” said Tucker, and with that, he turned, walking off towards the bookshelves.

“Hey, wait! Where are you going?”

Looking back over his shoulder, Tucker raised an eyebrow. “We’re in a library. Where do you think I’m going? I need some new reading material.” He continued off into the shelves. “Work on your homework,” he called. “If you need me, I’ll be in the science fiction section…”

As he disappeared among the columns of books, Tucker took the time to consider the oddity of his situation. He had chosen the library specifically for a peaceful, populated place to study—someplace quiet, but busy enough to discourage, well, unprofessional self-distraction. As it turned out, it seemed the Casper High Library was abandoned as school on a Sunday, and though he was sure the librarian had to be lurking somewhere, or the place wouldn’t be open, he hadn’t seen a face but Dash’s since he’d walked in. Deciding not to worry about it, he selected a promising cover from the shelf and opened it at random.

It wasn’t terrific—not terrible, mind, but nothing to write home about. He was about to put it up when a rumbling voice growled, “I need you,” hot against the shell of his ear, and he jumped, trying to spin simultaneously and nearly tripping over himself in the process. The end result was Dash with an arm on either side of him, trapping him to the bookshelf and grinning like a cat with the canary in its teeth. Tucker swallowed.

“Uh…you…you what?”

“You said,” Dash reiterated patiently, “that if I needed you, you would be in the science fiction section. I’m having trouble with problem number three.”

“O-oh…right,” said Tucker breathlessly. “Well, okay, umm…” Dash had yet to let him up and he frowned slightly. “I…I can’t exactly help if you don’t-”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Dash asked.

Tucker blushed. Well that was an abrupt change of subject. “Er, no,” he said.

“Girlfriend?” Dash prompted.

Tucker sighed. “No,” he repeated, this time more firmly. “I’m not in a relationship of any sort at this time. Happy? Now would you please-”

“Where did you learn to give head?”

Tucker’s cheeks lit up like roman candles. “That,” he retorted, abashed, “is really absolutely none of your-”

“I’m making it my business.”

“You can’t just-”

“You must have learned somewhere,” Dash pressed, and Tucker’s eyes narrowed dangerously.

“This,” he hissed, “is sexual harassment.”

Dash burst out laughing. “Oh, that’s rich, Foley,” he said. “And what was yesterday, huh? Friendly peer to peer bonding?”

“A bet and handjob, Baxter,” Tucker snapped, glaring heatedly. “Now back off before I-”

“Before you what, Foley?” Dash purred, and Tucker went rigid. “Scream for the librarian?” Tucker bit his lip, fighting a shiver as hot breath trickled down the side of his neck. “I’ve got you by over sixty pounds and almost five inches. You’re not going anywhere until I say so…”

“Like hell,” Tucker panted, but it wasn’t much of a threat because Dash’s hand was pinning his hip, making heat pool in his gut and causing a good number of other reactions he’d rather not think about.

“I’ll tell you what yesterday was,” said Dash. “It was a bet, a handjob, a blowjob, and one hell of a fucking great orgasm.”

Tucker swallowed. “I’m…flattered?”

“See a movie with me Friday.”

“I-” Tucker cut off, utterly thrown. “Wait…what?”

“You heard me.”

Tucker stared, too startled to express anything else as he searched Dash’s expression for anything but seriousness. He found nothing. “You…you’re asking me out?” he asked, beyond incredulous.

Dash’s brow furrowed. “Well, when you put it that way, it sounds fruity…”

The word ‘duh’ lingered on the tip of Tucker’s tongue for several long seconds, viciously tempting, but in the end, he let it go. Instead, he said, “I don’t date guys.”

“But you suck them off?”

“Well when you put it that way,” Tucker muttered sarcastically, “it sounds fruity.” When Dash glared, he sighed. “Speaking of fruity…I thought you were straight?”

“I am.”

“Uh-huh…” Tucker eyed him over the rim of his glasses, squinting slightly and pursing his lips. “You’re straight, I have twenty-twenty vision, the world is flat, and the moon is made of green cheese.” He blinked several times and frowned, pulling off his glasses and rubbing them on his shirt before returning them to their rightful place on his nose. “Back up a bit, will you? You’re fogging the lenses.”

“You never answered my question.”

“Well I can’t very well help you without at least looking at the book-”

“Not that question,” Dash growled impatiently, and Tucker tilted his head.

“Oh? I just thought that since that was the reason you came over here in the first place… Unless it wasn’t?”

Dash scowled. “You have a one-track mind.”

“So do you,” Tucker countered.

Dash frowned, looking thoughtful. Finally, he said, “If I ace Thursday’s physics test…will you go?”

“Ace it?” Tucker snorted. “At this rate, it’ll be a miracle if you pass it.”

“If that’s true, then you don’t have anything to worry about, do you?” Dash retorted, and Tucker frowned.

“Ace?” he repeated. “As in…an ‘A’?”

Dash debated. “Umm…ace, as in….a ‘C’ or higher?” he offered tentatively.

Tucker rolled his eyes, fighting a smile. “No one will ever accuse you of not trying,” he muttered.

“No one has ever given me this much trouble before,” Dash admitted and again, Tucker snorted.

“Why am I not surprised?”

Dash grinned. “Because I’m blonde, blue-eyed, and drive a Porsche?”

“It was a rhetorical question,” said Tucker.

“Mine wasn’t.”

“I told you,” Tucker repeated, “I don’t date guys…”

“It’s not a date,” said Dash. “It’s…a planned outing…where we both happen to show up at the same theatre and mutually celebrate my first academic success since kindergarten. How’s that?”

“I didn’t know you had it in you,” grumbled Tucker. Eventually, he sighed, eying Dash’s looming figure doubtfully. “A ‘C’ or higher?” Dash nodded. “A movie Friday?” Another nod. “And it won’t be some sappy, second rate chick flick thing with-”


“Fine,” said Tucker. “If you let me up, and we go over there and work on your homework, and by some miracle you get a ‘C’ or higher on the test Thursday…I’ll happen to show up at the same theatre as you, Friday night. We can work out the details if and when it happens, okay?”

Dash grinned and backed off, holding out his hand. “Shake on it, Foley,” he said.

Reluctantly, Tucker accepted the hand, and less than a second later emitted a startled yelp as it yanked him forward, bringing him chest to chest with the other and knocking him momentarily breathless.

“For the record,” said Dash, “I was ramming you against the wall with a force of twenty Newton…and our masses were irrelevant since the formula required only the change in momentum and time, and you’d already given that.”


As Dash released him and walked back towards the table, Tucker suppressed a shiver that had nothing to do with cold, and put up his book. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a little voice whispered that he had a date—no, a planned outing that in no way signified a romantic relationship—with Casper High’s star quarterback Friday night, but he quickly silenced it. No need to get his hopes up.



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