"Grand Liz - you look wonderful as always - strong, fit. You make Diaz look a harridan in these shots, so you do." God love Tara Willows, media rep, head marketer for the Hurley swimsuit line and Elizabeth's favourite sycophant. To hear Willows tell it, Liz had never lost a fight, never suffered, never even been threatened. The woman removed several 8X11 prints of the recent bare-knuckle match, laying them out with a snap against the glass-topped coffee table for Liz to review.
Photograph: Cameron reeling, turned away from Liz and stumbling away from the camera - Liz striding after her, fists clenched. Diaz wore that white bikini recognizable from that dreadful Angel's sequel. Liz wore a baby blue triangle string from her own collection: the entire reason for the photo-shoot fight. Hurley couldn't remember the moment exactly, but the early action had been all winging haymakers, big lusty roundhouses sending both women staggering across the room. From the looks of things, Liz had just landed a tasty right hook to Cameron's head from a southpaw stance. "And you thought we should HIRE a fighter!" Liz jibed, referencing the early concerns of the board members. Pretty big risk, marketing fighting apparel with your own name on it, and backing it up with your own fists. Losing to Diaz would have been a huge set back right out of the chute. Willows hadn't liked the idea one bit, had wanted to ante up for Landry or even a fitness model instead, but she'd come around in time.
Photograph: Liz on the right, Cam on the left. Liz with her right arm somewhere behind Cameron, anchoring the blonde for a triumphant left hand buried into the meat of Diaz' flat paunch. Hurley leaned forward from the chaise and drew in a sharp breath at the sight of Diaz all cramped up in the picture - chest forward, face distraught, lips parted, her right leg slightly lifted in response to the hurt. Hurley could still hear Cameron's breathy whine of protest when that punch landed.
"We definitely need to show a body blow," Liz murmured, focusing on Cameron's face. Diaz' eyebrows frowned in pain, her eyes shut tight - she didn't like it in the body one bit. "We need to show that Hurley suit is strong, forceful. The way I'm punching her here makes it look as though she's already quitting."
"That was rather late in the fight, as I recall."
"Yeah, but let's put it near the front!"
"What about these?"
Photographs, half a dozen of them: Liz and Cameron groggy, hair obscuring parts of their faces, eyes glaring with hate as the girls circled, dukes up and cocked tight at chest height. After the whirlwind opening moments, they'd settled down into straight punching - Liz her right jab, straight left hand; Cameron her left jab, straight right hand. The apartment rang with the bright, cracking noise of knuckle on skull, girls landing quickly, deftly, smacking each other's faces back. If there had been a moment during the contest when Liz had doubted herself, it was during this stretch - just wondering who's resolve would break first. "Get my eyes here - very aggressive," Liz said, reaching out to tap one of the photos. "That one. It says I backed her up, took her heart away when the chips where down."
"And this?" Photograph: Cameron connecting with a crisp, intercepting jab, her right hand loose, just beneath her chin. Liz's face looked spanked, like she'd just bit into a rancid lemon. Cameron had timed her perfectly coming in and startled the Brit with the firm rebuke.
"You know what? Put it in first - make it seem that Cameron started strong, held the upperhand, and couldn't hold me off. I came from behind to win this thing - overhauled her. No quit in a Hurley girl, so on and so forth"
"Yeh, you know - I like that. What about this?"
Photograph: Cameron standing, fists clenched and out to either side in a slight gull wing. In the foreground, Liz dazed, on all fours: she'd been tagged a scrumptious combination on the chin - Diaz simply dragging her fists back and forth across Hurley's lips as the Brit waded in. Liz pursed her lips, sipped her drink. "I think not," she said, and smoothed hair behind her left ear.
Photograph: Liz and Cameron struggling at arm's length, pushing at each other - Liz breaking the stalemate with her left knee brought up sharp to Diaz' bony ribs. Cameron's cry of pain had been exquisite and the photo captured the moment perfectly: her head tossed back, mouth open to howl an agonized vowel. "You know, this wasn't strictly legal," Tara grinned. "Our contract had specified punching exclusively, 'to a decisive finish'".
Liz smiled. "Put it in. It says Hurley girls take what they want, do what they want. Rules are for the girl in the other suit."
"Oh that's nice, luv. 'Rules are for the girl in the other suit.' I'll just be stealing that for the US campaign." Willows shifted her weight and cleared the table. "Alright, now here are the money shots." She laid out three photographs like a poker dealer putting down the flop.
Photograph: Liz on the left, turning into a rising left cross, left shoulder under her chin as she stared at the effect of her punch. Cameron windblown, head tossed back, hair flying - her closed eyes still visible despite the tilt of her head, her arms loose, swinging out wide. Both women looked very solid, standing thigh to thigh, and Hurley was belting away to victory.
Photograph: Cameron seated on the white leather couch - Liz kneeling on the left, her left arm snaked around blonde's neck, right hand raining down short and sharp against the upturned face. Hair obscured Cameron's left eye and cheek, her mouth parted to accept the punches - she seemed dreamy, sluggish, helpless. Up high on her left knee, her breast pressing in against the side of Cameron's face, Liz seemed utterly dominant, and the sight of it sent a thrill of memory down her spine.
Photograph: Cameron as seen from behind the couch, with Liz astride the blonde's lap, pouring home the fight winning right hands. Hurley held the front of Cam's top, the taut knuckles of her gripping left hand just barely visible over Cam's shoulder, but it was the eyes that sold the photograph. Elizabeth's eyes shone with conquest, with exultation, every punch a victory on its own. As she remembered - Cameron was out, not even whimpering anymore. These punches just landed on deadweight, cracking Cam's face over the back of the couch, over and over again as blonde skull lolled forward to receive the next blow.
"Is there a shot of this from another angle?" Liz asked. She wanted to see Cameron's hands pushing in feeble protest against Liz' dominant stomach; this photo didn't show that. Sure enough, another one did. "Perfect," she breathed.
Photograph: Cameron laid out on her belly, slumbering features turned towards the camera, hands up around her head. Liz in behind, on her knees looking down at Cam's back, tawny mane framing her face and tumbling down her chest. Liz recalled those delicious moments of contemplation: what to do with Cameron now that the American was helpless?
Photograph: Liz in behind sleeping beauty, using her knees to separate Cam's legs. A series of photographs captured the thrusting, moist knee-pumps Liz had given Cameron up between the legs - Liz grinning, flicking her hair behind either ear, losing her balance in one shot and reaching down to Cameron's lower back to steady herself. Hurley remembered the warm damp of Cameron's buttock and crotch: like kneeing freshly baked loaves of bread. Cameron had slept through it all, body jerking ever so slightly with the thrusts, breath coming out in little huffs as Hurley worked her.
"Keep these for the European campaign - we'll never get this passed in the States," Liz purred.
There were other shots, many depicting strong moments for Diaz that would never see the light of day. Cameron pulling Hurley's top and stunning Liz a right uppercut to chin: the cheek of that blonde, to smile so when she had scored that punch. Cameron rudely shoving Liz up against the wall - Hurley so shaken, so dishelved: Diaz had treated herself to belly and breasts in those moments. It had been a fight, Liz ruefully admitted, still feeling the kinks and aches in the aftermath. Additional photos betrayed Liz's ruthless and unethical use of her legs: her kicking of Cameron's tummy and chest; her thigh lifts to the belly putting that shocked look of exquisite agony on Cameron's face. No sense in including too many such shots: the knee to Diaz' ribs would be more than sufficient.
Photograph: Liz smiling, standing, fingers snapping baby-blue bikini bottoms back into line against those perfect buttocks. Behind her, Cameron sleeping off the punishment on the floor.
"I like my legs in this one," Hurley said. "Let's finish the set with it." And so they did.