Out on the fighting floor - Sarah Carter rolled her toes in carpet, hands on her hips. Kristen Bell walked on her hands a few feet away, long blonde hair pooling on carpet, legs kicking lazily in the air.
"She's just going to get her ass kicked," Hewitt grumbled, never happy when Neve was hogging spotlight. "Why are we even here? This is stupid."
"I think she's going to do it," Kristen Kreuk said, pretty in her ponytail, elegant fingers gingerly handling a long stemmed wine glass. Catering staff milled about with trays, up-glassing the guests.
"You would," Sarah said, turning her head to give Kreuk the cold-eye. "How's your neck?"
Kreuk glared, pursed her lips. She thought hard for something to say, but nothing came. Sarah smirked, rolled her ponytailed head in a lazy circle.
Bell had gone to stretching out her inner-thighs, holding a lateral lunge, bouncing gently on her folded right leg while extending the left out to the side. "Where is she?" Bell asked no-one in particular.
"You guys don't know Neve very well, do you?" Camilla Belle said, edging her way to the front of the collected fighters. "It's Neve's birthday."
"Neve's birthday?" Elisha asked.
"So this is..."
"Yep. Neve's idea of a party."
The spacious house belonged to a friend of Neve's, and was carved out of rock, incorporating 70s style concrete architecture over actual rock features. A spiral staircase led to the second floor, and Neve came into view, descending barefoot on the metal steps. She was dressed sporty: black hatler-style top; snug red boy cut bottoms with black belt; gleaming black hair drawn back into a slick french roll, thin bangs long down either cheek.
The blondes gathered - Kristen in black bra and leopard print swimsuit bottoms; Sarah in gold bikini - her hair in a long, low ponytail with bangs framing her face. They watched with hooded gazes as Neve stepped onto soft carpet that had been laid down specificially for the fight. Suspended from the roof was a fixed trapeze bar; also laid in special for the occasion.
Elisha whispered in Camilla's ears as guests began to congregate around the edges of the room. "So...This is Neve's idea?"
"Yes," Camilla murmured. "Why are you whispering?"
"She looks...old," Bell said as she moved in behind Sarah. She'd made no effort to lower her voice; she hadn't been speaking to Carter - she'd intended for Neve to hear it.
"Hi guys," Neve said with a friendly tone emanating from hardened features. She shook out her thighs, then rolled her toes the way Sarah had: a dancer's habit. The toes cracked audibly - also a legacy of the dance.
"Hi Neve," Sarah said, her voice soft, delicately balanced on the edge between sweetness and cruelty. Sarah could go either way. She stepped forward, chin tilted down, body lithe. Bell split out to Sarah's right, traversing carpet with sinuous front walk-overs taking her wide around Neve's left flank.
Sarah attacked, eyes hard. Right kick, chest high: Neve slap-blocked the foot, backing away cool. Left kick, chest high - Sarah's ponytail tossing - arms up as she torqued her body lithe into the blows; right kick; left kick, step and 360 kick - the right heel whistling past Neve's face. Campbell stayed calm, backing away as she slapped and parried the feet off, eyes narrowed in concentration.
Satisfied, Sarah turned her back on Neve to a round of applause, the blonde walking away while sorting out her bottoms with a delicate finger-flick. Her legs were hard, golden brown, elegantly curved; her buttocks taut, stetching lines in her gold bottoms with each step. The ponytail brushed her lumbar with a gentle tick-toc: everything about the woman was cool, lethal grace.
Bell attacked from the flank, kicking her right foot at the back of Neve's head. Neve ducked deep, then stepped back - causing Kris to kick herself in a graceful circle: Bell stepped out and walked away, glancing back over her left shoulder with a pout.
But where was Sarah?
Neve cried out as her right knee buckled and went to canvas. Sarah's right foot swung up at Neve's face: Campbell crossed her arms, blocking the kick in the nick. Sarah bounced off the block, planting on her right leg and kicking Neve in her back with a bright clapping noise. While Neve arched in pain, her hands up at her shoulders, Sarah planted on her left leg to front-kick her right foot against Neve's right shoulder, shoving Campbell to all fours.
Bell stepped out of a front walk-over, emerging off Neve's left flank and kicked a right foot into the brunette's sturdy ribs. The hollow thump sounded out sick against the concrete walls: Kristen's firm tummy hardening into muscular relief with the torque of her delivery.
Sarah stepped in to kick her right foot against Neve's right side, but Campbell blocked the thrust on her right forearm. Straightening to her knees, Campbell caught Kristen's right foot by the ankle, snatching the kick out of the air. Neve twisted and pushed, sending Bell sprawling, then quickly crossed har arms to block Sarah's kick to the breasts. Blushing hot, Carter stepped away, lips curled off her teeth. Bell regrouped, also snarling; Neve rose to her feet.
The women circled - Bell to Neve's left, Sarah to her right - the entire triangle rotating gently clockwise. Neve was clearly bigger, paler, fuller through the trunk and thighs, broader through the shoulder. She cross-stepped to her left, full, curvy legs carrying her smoothly across carpet. She lacked the sudden pounce-speed of her blondes, but she was no less poised or graceful on her feet. She was a lioness amongst leopardesses.
The blondes closed suddenly, attacking either flank.
A flurry of clap-and-crack kicks and blocks rang out - Neve feverishly slapping high kicks away from her face; lifting either leg to check lower kicks. The smaller women were furies - fists clenched, arms raised as they twisted, torqued and stepped into their foe. Despite Neve's best efforts, sudden pink blossoms of hurt erupted across her tummy and ribs, hamstrings and chest. For every two strikes she stopped, one got through. Step by step, Neve was driven to the concrete wall.
Sarah's ponytail swept across Neve's eyes, causing Campbell to flinch/bring her hands up.
Bell pressed her hands and chest into the wall off Neve's right side, kicking her right shin across the pan of Neve's thick abdominals. Campbell groaned, cramped forward as Krissy withdrew her leg. Sarah moved in quickly to secure a neck clasp and the small crowd hooted. Carter's knees out of the neck clasp were legendary fight winners, and seeing the lithe blonde put the technique to a bigger, more voluptuous brunette was a true thrill.
Neve crossed her arms against her body, breathing through pursed lips as Sarah worked knees up into the protective guard around the ribs. Bell grinned, crossing in behind Sarah while enjoying the view - Krissy's hands on her hips. The sounds of Sarah's right knees thumping against Neve's slumped torso - and the sound of Campbell's breathy grunts began to prevail as the crowd settled down.
Sarah sucked Neve off the wall via the neck clasp, holding the brunette's head down.
Bell hopped the floor, then leapt onto the rigidly suspended trapeze bar, swinging herself to a seat atop it as Sarah positioned Neve at the stumble.
Holding Neve with the left behind the head, Sarah stroked an oily right-armed European uppercut to the brunette's overhanging face, picking Neve up, straightening her with a smack. Campbell reeled back on her heels, eyes blinking...
...right into the clapping clasp of Bell's thighs slapping into place around either side of Campbell's head.
"That's it," Hewitt said with her usual 'I told you so' lilt. "She's done."
Campbell's hands gripped at either Bell thigh, feeling the curvy firmness of the muscle. The big brunette groaned, face distorted by the blonde's gripping thighs. Neve shifted weight from foot to foot, trying to find twisting leverage that would free her.
Sarah grinned, patiently taking her time to line Neve up, then hopping in sideways to deliver a devastating Bruce Lee right sidekick into the brunette's straining tummy. Campbell shouted in pain as the kick pushed her out of Bell's scissor and sent her sprawling to her back. Krissy yelped with pleasure, dropping down to hang from the bar with her hands, generating speed for giant swings. As Bell's gymnastic body hurtled in circles - Sarah advanced, flicking her golden bottoms into place about her perfect buttocks.
Neve groaned, rolling to her left side, eyes shut tight, arms hugging at her throbbing tummy.
"That was an awesome kick, wasn't it Neve?" Sarah chirped as she closed. While she spoke, Kristen flipped herself into the air, twisting and somersaulting before sticking her landing. Bell cheekily arched her back and threw are arms up in a mock Mary Lou Retton, clenching her buttocks for the gold.
Sarah stood in behind cringing Neve, looking down all blonde malevolence. "How's it going, Neve? You know something - you DO look a little old." Bell stepped in across from Sarah, the writhing brunette hurt on the carpet below them.
"Kick her!" Sarah suddenly said, raising her fists as her right foot smacked against Neve's full rump. Carter's thigh shredded into view - the long balletic muscle propelling vicious, rapidfire kicks against the full beef of Neve's quivering backside. Carter's breath came in harsh pants as she ramped up her attack.
"Yeah!" Bell shouted, and joined in - her fists raised as she went at Neve's belly with the same rapid-strike right foot kicking. Campbell shuddered, gurgling as she took it front and back, hugging at her gut against the cracking impacts.
Slowly, Neve rolled to her tummy as kicks pelted her ribs and hips. She pushed up onto her hands and knees - taking kicks in her body, then she threw herself into Bell, tackling the smaller blonde around the hips and dragging her to the carpet. Kristen squealed and writhed, nearly wrestling Neve onto her back. Sarah rushed in, but Neve got her left leg up, taking Sarah in her belly and shunting her off to the side. Neve struggled to her knees, pulling Kristen up by her bra straps, then slugging a right hand into the girl's midriff. Bell sighed in pain, sinking onto her haunches: Neve rose, her hands pushing on Krissy's head and shoulder for balance, kicking her left leg out behind just in time to catch Sarah in the belly again and knocking her down.
Neve reached into the damp mass of Bell's hair, pulled her to her feet, spun her and pushed her into the oncoming Sarah. The blondes tumbled backwards, and sprawled to the carpet in disarray. Neve wiped her lips with the back of her right hand. She was disheveled, but serviceable: the gamines hadn't done enough to break the big girl down during their best chance.
The blondes rose, but Neve was upon them, smiting.
A swinging right hand took Bell on the jaw - spinning her around, dropping her chest-first to carpet.
Sarah faced into a swinging left, taking the blow on her chin and staggering away, buttocks bouncing.
Bell's eyes were half closed: she was stunned, hurting. she pushed herself to her knees, took a robust kick in her ribs as Neve put the full meat of her backside into a swinging boot. Bell flipped onto her back, knees drawn up, arms hugging her ringing ribcage.
Neve spun, fists up: Sarah stopped her approach, licking her lips. Carter's eyes glanced quickly to groaning Bell: "Get up!" she hissed.
"What's it gonna be, Sarah?" Neve said, voice calm. She stepped to her left, never taking her eyes from Carter, and kicked Kristen's raised left leg. Bell bit back a cry, keeping her knees up at her chest.
"She's hurt, S," Neve continued. "We fight, maybe she recovers enough to get back into this, maybe she doesn't. If she doesn't..."
Sarah glanced at Bell again; returned her gaze to Neve.
Campbell had already soaked up Sarah's best kicks. One on one, this fight would go to carpet and Sarah would take as good as she could give.
Maybe she'd string things out long enough. Maybe not.
Sarah stepped back, swallowing hard. "All right," she said, stepping back farther and lowering her hands. "I'm out. Sorry Kris."
Carter turned her back and headed towards the crowd. Kreuk smiled at her with joy in her dark eyes. Sarah caught the look and snarled: "#### you." Carter pushed past into the crowd to get changed.
Bell got to her feet because Neve let her, and there was fear in the blonde's eyes. Fear, but no submission.
"Fine," Kristen said, and clenched her fists at her chest.
It wasn't as easy as Neve supposed it would be.
First, she'd closed too recklessly: Kristen had snuggled in close with Neve's right arm around Bell's shoulders while Krissy tucked a short right into firm brunette paunch. The shot was no joke: Neve cramped up hurt, her face pinched in shock. Krissy wriggled in around behind, gut-wrenched Neve off her feet and put her on hands and knees.
The situation had changed. When it was two on one - Bell and Sarah had elected to stay standing, use their legs and do most of their damage whenever Neve went down. Now - woman to woman - Bell had no choice but to keep Neve off her feet and hope to trap-grapple her into submission. In quick succession, Neve writhed and muscled her way free of two arm bar attempts and a heel hook as the blonde threw one submission after another. Neve hadn't been close to tapping, but she couldn't reverse and go over to offence with Bell retaining the initiative. A tense hush came over the crowd as Neve struggled to impose her will. The quick and wily blonde was keeping her foe at bay, as long as Neve could be continually forced to react.
The bodies rolled across carpet, grunting softly, faces tight with effort as the fighters squirmed into and out of awkward, upended positions.
By the time Sarah had showered, dressed in her sleek gold cocktail dress (cut very short; backless) and returned to the party, Bell had had Neve secured in a head scissors for nearly two minutes.
Chagrined, the blonde pursed her lips, staring at the action. Kristen was doing well: it meant that Sarah had screwed up - allowed herself to be bluffed out of the fight. Together, Sarah and Kristen would have been mopping Neve up by this point.
"You got totally punked!" A soft voice chirped happily at Sarah: Kreuk!
"Please tell me that's code for 'kick my ass again, Sarah'." Carter growled, not taking her eyes of the sinuous struggle on carpet.
"Sure, ok. Who's gonna be your back up this time?" Kreuk said sweetly, smiling even as the girls around her were smiling. "Not exactly the most popular stunt you've ever pulled."
Carter's cheeks heated. She turned, met the maddening gaze of the hated brunette. "Wasn't it just 3 weeks ago that you were crying 'stop Sarah, stop' - or words to that effect?"
"Knock it off you two," Camilla said. "One fight at a time, okay?"
Neve lay on her left side, in trouble. Krissy lay back on her elbows, right leg over-topping Neve and trapping Neve's right arm in the hold; left leg underneath, encircling the brunette's head. Bell didn't have the gamine's typical wiry leg: she was beefy at the weight, solid and strong, and Neve's face grimaced at the force Bell was exerting.
Krissy's face was calm, thoughtful. Occasionally, she'd reach for Neve's trapped arm, grabbing at the wrist to deny use of the limb to Campbell. Occasionally, Kris would sit up, putting Neve on her back and pressing down to handsmother her. The attrition was not negligible: after 4 minutes, Neve's face was red and her body shone with sweat. Kris was making Campbell work hard - much harder to Kristen was - and Neve's ribs were beginning to show signs of bad bruising, courtesy of the night's opening round.
The crowd was murmuring: maybe Neve HAD been reduced just enough. Maybe Bell could pull this off.
Kreuk kept turning her head to smile at Sarah, knowing the blonde could see her in her peripheral vision.
By degrees, Neve turned in the scissor, getting to her knees and hugging Kristen's right leg in both arms. Bell licked her lips as she rode her brunette - Krissy's forehead grinding into carpet as the blonde's hands braced on the floor. Bell's buttocks rang with the effort of pouring pressure to Neve, now more than ever.
Neve rose to her knees, pushing forward slightly, then edging backward. Krissy was losing the grip - she tried to resecure it, but Neve was sliding out backdoor, between the blonde's legs. Bell scamptered free as Neve rolled away, and the girls regrouped to the sound of raucous applause.
Standing, Campbell pulled at her nose, circling to her right, and stalking as Bell shied away.
Neve was patient, feinting Krissy, slowly encroaching on her. Those who had seen it before knew this for what it was: the prelude to Neve's fabled take down offence.
It began with a shoot around Kristen's hips - the brunette's legs stamping on carpet to drive the blonde to ground with a crash. Bell squirming free, raising her knees to reject Neve, but when they stood - Campbell again was the aggressor.
She shot in and took Kristen down 3 more times - each time ignoring a blonde punch or rushing through a blonde kick. Bell fought with a gypsy's abandon to buck and bridge and roll out from under her tormentress, scrambling away before Neve could pound at her in earnest, but the effort was taking a toll. Bell was mouthbreathing and her eyes had gone from feisty to distressed. She scampered where before she had stepped with purpose. Neve was beginning to dominate her.
At one point, Kristen's eyes met Sarah's, and a full conversation passed in a glimpse. How could you? You stupid whore. I'm sorry, but then again, we were never exactly friends, were we? On and on.
Neve took Kristen down and immediately began yanking her left leg to free it from Bell's defensive scissor. The limb slid free easily as Kris no longer had the strength to contain Neve: Campbell mounted, then crouched low on her haunches, putting her weight on Krissy's chest.
Bell's breath came in grunts and pants and whimpers now. Her legs threashed and kicked at carpet, but she could no longer dislodge her stronger foe. The initiative had passed to Neve: now the blonde was forced to squirm and writhe to deny her foe finishing position.
Campbell was patient, using her weight as a weapon. Her arms encircled Kristen's head, looking for triangle chokes with Bell on her back. Krissy squirmed out of these, giving up her back, only to feel Neve's relentless arms writhe into position for rear naked chokes. Krissy would rise to her knees and attempt to roll out of these - always partially successful, but never fully escaping Neve's grasp. Campbell's legs hooked at Krissy's hips, pulling her back in so the arms could resecure her, and once again, Bell would find herself in peril.
In the end, Bell could not resist the crushing combination of her foe's mass and anaconda persistence. Neve fought with a tired little smile on her lips, smearing Bell all across the carpet, slowly using her up. When Campbell could have easily chocked her blonde out, she stood instead, leaving Kristen wheezing on her back, chest heaving.
Neve reached into Kristen's hair, slowly pulling the groaning blonde to a seat, then to her knees, then to a standing position.
Neve scooped the girl up - easily handling her weight and just as easily slamming her hard into carpet.
Bell hit with a crash, and went limp. Her eyelashes fluttered as she writhed in slow mo, slam-shocked.
Neve reached into Kristen's hair, pulled her to her feet again. This time she pulled Kris into a front choke in Campbell's left arm - the blonde doubled over and helpless. Neve's right hand reached to secure Krissy underneath her left buttock and with a mighty heave, Neve pulled the blonde up and over, suplexing her to her upperback while hooking the left leg. The crowd roared at the muscular maneuver as Neve held an effortless three count, then shoved Kristen away in a deadweight heap.
Neve rose, hands on hips. She looked down at blonde rubble: Bell lay on her back with her hips twisted to her left, her right leg thrown over her left, her arms out to either side. There was nothing left. Neve had used up every last drop.
Campbell looked up and smiled, mopping her brow with her right forearm as her friends moved in to congratulate the birthday girl.
* * * *
Two AM: moonlight shone in black puddles that had collected in shallow potholes.
Sarah's dress was torn - ruined. Blood rickled from the corner of her mouth as she struggled up to hands and knees on ashphalt. She swallowed, swaying slightly on the spot, blinking her badly swollen left eye.
"That it?" Kristin Kreuk said, "You done?" She stood in dark purple slacks and blouse, fists balled. All around the driveway, the late-staying guests stood at a respectful distance, taking in the unsanctioned fun.
Carter got shakily to her feet. She'd lost one of her shoes: she tottered uncertainly. She waved her right hand once like a blackjack player waving off the dealer; her eyes closed and opened sleepily, tongue probing her swollen lip.
Slowly, Sarah turned away from Kristin, the blonde clearly beaten. Carter stumbled away one foot shod, one foot bare as her date moved in with a supportive arm.
Happy birthday, Neve Campbell!