Jessica wore a yellow bikini, her hair blonde for this occasion, in a smooth, low, ponytail. Like Keira, Jessica had decided not to wear MMA gloves: she wanted to grab at Knightley, wouldn't be punching much. If she had the chance, she'd drop elbows on the bitch, but she wouldn't be looking to trade standing up. Alba's limber legs wrapped about Keira's slender hips, holding the Brit in guard. Jess embraced Knightley up top in an over-under grip - Alba's left arm sliding up under Keira's right; Alba's right arm looped over Knightley's left shoulder. There they had struggled for the better part of the first round.
Jessica could feel the muscle of Keira's tummy gulping and straining against her own; felt Keira's moist, panting breath on her right cheek; blowing in her ear. How she hated it! But there was little she could do. Knightley was fast and strong tonight, and Jessica hadn't been able to get off her back.
"Show me something guys, or I have to stand you up!" the ref barked. Knightley wriggled, got her right hand over Jessica's mouth. Alba squirmed, "mmmmmmpff!" turning her head and pushing with her guard into Keira's hips.
Then, rough hands reached down, pulling at Keira's wiry arm, separating the girls to restart.
Up again, Jess closed her fists, held 'em chest high, bounced on the balls of her feet. Keira did the same, circling gently to her left, her cold-eyed glare never leaving Alba's face.
This was their first fight of this summer - something of what had become an annual ritual ever since Knightley's stupid ‘Pirate’ movies had gone from ‘Disney cute’ into legit summer blockbusters. Jessica hated that it made so much sense to everyone in Hollywood for her to have to fight Keira to stay on top.
"She's not in my league," Jess had rolled her eyes when her agent had given her the good news about the date.
"The numbers say she is Jess," Jimmy Stranach had said. He was young for an agent, but his dorsal fin was already well respected in the industry. He steepled his long, surprisingly elegant, fingers, pursing thin lips. He was right of course - and when Jimmy was right he got impatient.
"She can't kick with me!" Alba said, more petulant than she intended. What she had WANTED to say was, ‘She's not pretty enough’ but the money guys never understood that stuff! Jimmy especially waved that kind of talk away like it was smoke. Money; Q ratings; box office; number of column inches; number of covers; reviews - THAT was the only language Stranach and his ilk understood. But Jessica felt what she felt: fighting Keira made Keira look good - better in fact, than she really was. Why couldn't everybody else see that?
"Jess," Jimmy said, his sigh at her petulance showing his irritation. "Keira Knightley can kick with ANYone. You know that!"
As if to prove it, Keira punched a brisk one-two at Jessica's face - startling her back into the present. The punches tapped Alba's quickly raised fists, but they’d done their job! With Jess occupied up top, Knightley twitched and licked a cracking right kick to Alba's already bruised left thigh. Jessica's lips parted as breathy hiss got past her clenched teeth. Keira bounced back out of range; dukes up; cocky face brightening as Alba clamped her lips tight and set about walking Knightley down to get that kick back.
The kicks licked back and forth as they had done at the start of the round: long, slender limbs taut with sinuous strength snapped out and back - the right feet of both clapping their opponent's sleek left thigh. Ugly red swatches glowed on the thighs of both women, testament to their heartless commitment to the tactic. Ever since Cameron Diaz chopped down Katie Holmes with leg kicks, everyone had taken a second look at the strategy: it was simply too effective - and had made Cameron look too good - to ignore.
Alba stepped into a right round kick to Keira's ribs, cracking the British girl a gorgeous lick that hurt her! Keira’s face went from snide to stricken as she backed away to the fence; fists at her temples. Jessica jumped in with her left knee up, taking Keira in her flapjack jugs; then Alba slammed her right elbow on Knightley's guard, catching a bit of scalp. Jess was bringing a rangy left hand back in underneath when Keira reached out to clinch, snugging Jessica firmly about her lower back.
Alba pressed in on Knightley and squirmed, tipping to her right and jutting her butt out to gain separation below. Straining, Jess worked to pin Keira, jerking her left knee inside Knightley's left thigh. Knightley gasped softly - a sigh on Jessica's ear. The British girl shifted her grip, trying to get control, but Alba's lithe wriggling made it difficult. Another knee jammed into sinewy British thigh meat CHUNK - then another - CHUNK!
Keira's chin dug unhappily into Jessica's left shoulder as Knightley worked to contain her lissome foe. Alba panted with hard-working enthusiasm, systematically going at her girl with maybe a minute left on the clock.
Suddenly, Keira switched from clinch to clasp, cupping her hands behind Jessica's head and locking her fingers. Stooped over, Jessica whined, thrashing her arms in a flailing series of limber-limbed punches into Keira's belly. She answered with a vicious right knee - the bony joint catching Jessica heavily in her sternum. The American shouted in pain, her body giving a jolt upon impact!
Keira jerked and twisted, slamming Alba's right side against the fence. Jessica grimaced, pushing her hands against Keira's ribs, but the British lass had wonderful position. Another right knee pounded up into Alba’s midsection. Knightley pushed Jessica's buttocks against the fence to completely the reversal of position. Now Keira went to work, rhythmically jerking her right knee up and in!
Knightley's face intense; tongue furtively licking her lips as she went at Jessica. Alba got her arms down, crossing them against her body, but the sheer concussive effect of Keira's blows was driving the air from the American.
The crowd roared and Pam Anderson - always front row at MMA events - shrieked, "GET HER KEIRA! GIVE 'ER AGAIN! GIVE 'ER AGAIN! WOO! ATTA GIRL! YEAH!"
The bell ended the round
Keira acknowledged the break with another knee hard to Jessica's chest. Alba blurted in outrage, but she was hurt. Straightening, Jessica wiped tears; her lips trembling; her legs shaky. That had been a bad bit of business there - very bad indeed - and clearly gave Knightley the first round. Alba glared resentfully at Keira's triumphant backside as Knightley brazenly swished it back toward her side of the cage.
Jessica's head rang and she blinked to clear the tears from her eyes as she rested her back on the octagon wall. She’d had a bad first round on the beach against Penelope Cruz a few weeks ago - once again thanks to that damned Muay Thai Neck Clasp. Now, she could see Cruz in Keira’s corner, animatedly talking with her through the fence. Jessica knew Penelope and Keira hated one another - but the Europeans were determined to bring her down - so they’d managed to close ranks, at least where Alba was concerned.
"...you hear me? Jess? Jesus baby, snap out of it!" It was Carmen Electra. Jessica turned, accepted the water bottle over the padded fence-top and tried to focus on her training partner's words. "You OK?" Carmen asked, her eyes unable to hide her concern.
"I'm good," Jessica said, voice small and breathy, betraying her body-hurt. "I'm good."
"She wants to knee you Jess, ‘kay? That's what Penelope knows, that's what she's coaching her. Kick her leg a few times when you come out, then take her down, awrite? Go right to canvas and roll with her - she can't grapple with you - not this year!"
Jess nodded, ears still ringing slightly. They'd worked so hard on submissions in camp and she was anxious to do some squeezing; but Keira had clearly dictated terms the first round. Jessica's right hand rubbed flat against her throbbing sternum, trying to ease the pain.
Carmen's eyes narrowed: Jessica was distracted, dazed maybe - but whatever the cause, Alba wasn't as focused as she should have been. Electra lowered her voice, "Jess, baby, that girl is NOT as hot as you, hear me? No way! There’s NO comparison. She's a bag-of-bones, a HAG, OK? Relax; have some fun with her. You get ON her and bend her up: she can NOT handle your grappling, because you are TOO DAMN HOT!"
Alba smiled at Carmen's paper-thin motivational ploy and Electra had to smile and wink. She’d been in Jessica's shoes once before - when she'd fought hard to keep Jessica in her place. That had been a doomed struggle. Electra knew the doubts and fears that plagued a young fighter in Alba's position and she knew how to keep Jessica grounded. The truth was, Keira was a real threat to Jessica and everyone knew it. The trick was keeping the threat in perspective.
The bell sounded beginning the second round
Jessica took a deep breath, lifting her shoulders and hopped to midring, fists up. Springy legged, wide stances - both girls pinging out rangy left yo-yo jabs to measure: all traces of fatigue seemed forgotten as the fighters executed with fresh vigor. Jess poked a straight right; poked a straight left; then twisted into a right round kick that bashed Keira's blushing left thigh. The high, sweet THWACK of bone on meat brought whistles and hoots from the crowd as Knightley shied away, frowning.
Keira picked her left foot up, flicked it at Jessica's belly, then stepped the left foot forward as she rushed in to shoot Alba's waist. Jessica read it, sprawling down with her feet well behind her - stunning backside suddenly plumping up into relief as she arched her back. Knightley's shoot was stuffed - leaving her caught in Alba's grip around her left arm and head!
Jess dug her chin into Knightley's upper back as the girls struggled to their knees, backsides quivering, as each leaned forward into the hold, mutually supported by it. When they finally stood, Jessica brushed a right uppercut against Keira's face, then caught her a rigid hook on the cheek as the British girl scampered back.
Alba shot for Keira's legs, but the British lass wouldn't have it. Knightley sprawled, going low and intercepting Jessica about HER left shoulder and head. For a moment, they struggled on their knees - Keira controlling Jess in the Guillotine - backsides upthrust as they thought through the problem.
Suddenly, Keira dropped her right shoulder and rolled to her back, twisting Alba over on top of her, leaving Jess stared up into the lights. ANACONDA CHOKE! Keira strained to grab her elbows and tighten her grip about Jessi's arm and throat. Jessica's legs spasmed and kicked at canvas, her face suddenly purpling. Pulling at Keira's forearms, Jessica's face tightened as she brought her long legs up and over her head, executing a slow backward somersault to simultaneously break Knightley's grip AND to mount her!
Keira reacted quickly, looping her left leg up from behind and curling it about Alba's tummy. Jessica squirmed and toppled to her left, hitting canvas on her hands in a push-up posture as her legs writhed to scissor Keira about her middle. Success! Knightley groaned on her back, face crimping in pain as Jessica's ankles slapped together. Alba’s hard-working features brightened into a smile as she felt her grip sink deeeeep.
Keira gasped, straining against Jessi's humming side-grip to get to her knees and slowly work Alba onto her back. Mission accomplished! Keira sprawled forward into Jessica's guard, going chest to chest and locking up over-under on Alba. Both girls panted belly-to-belly, taking a moment to assess the situation. Then Jessica went for a Face-to-Face Choke, snaking tanned arms around Keira's head and left arm, cinching her up tight.
Knightley groaned as she defended it, wedging her pointed left elbow down into the hold and eventually worming her arm all the way through it, leaving Jessica in possession of Keira's head. Knightley's right hand pushed at Jessi's left arm, shoving it up far enough that Keira could go for a Face-to-Face Choke around Jessica's head and left arm. Knightley grinned as she sunk it in deep - the left side of her face helping to keep Jessi's left arm trapped in the hold; helping to press it against Alba's throat.
Jessica whimpered and wriggled, her left arm sticking up helplessly. Jess broke guard to press her feet against Keira's hips; a pulsing push of Alba's lithe legs broke the hold, shoving Knightley off to her left.
A mad scramble as the girls writhed to resume contact on favorable terms. Rolling, they embraced, but tumbling across canvas, neither proved able to secure control. Legs flailing, both trying to snare opposing heads, they took turns twisting around on their backs. Both tried to pounce down from their knees on their opponent, only to meet long legs and pushing feet. They thought nothing of bringing their legs up over their heads while lying on their backs - anything to ward the other off. It was like two eels battling underwater - bodies entwining and coiling; sliding and shimmying; corkscrewing.
The girls seemed almost double-jointed as shoulders and heads slipped free of locks and scissors and chokes. Long torsos rubbed in constant contact - tanned, nubile flesh slick-n'-wriggling. Eyes blazed, teeth bared as the fighters threw submission attempt after submission attempt in a rolling bundle of lanky-bodied vixen.
With a minute and a half left - Keira managed to sink in a Gutwrench from behind Jessica who got to her knees and fought her way to her feet, breathing hard through pursed lips. Jessica's hands fluttered to Keira's firm-gripping fists at her tummy. Alba wandered forward, eyes narrowed, pushing down on her tormentress' wrists. Keira stepped-with from behind, riding her chin on Jessi's left shoulder. Knightley was breathing hard too, wincing with the effort of her wrench, but she had control and she slowly walked Jess to the fence.
Alba's right hand reached for the links to stabilize herself as she tried to hook her left arm around Keira's left elbow, hoping to make a throw while Knightley wriggled and shifted, maintaining her grip. She kneed Jessica in her right buttock, sending a tremble of firm flesh rippling through the region.
Methodically, Keira broke the Gutwrench, her right hand grabbing Jessica's right wrist. Lips tight, Knightley showed her strength, pulling Jessica's hand off the fence and down to her belly. Alba frowned, writhing her wrist in Keira's firm grip; spooning her backside into Keira's pelvis.
Keira looped her left leg around Jessica's left leg: Alba's left hand shot out to the fence to stabilize her balance. Then slowly, thoughtfully, she looped her left arm around Jessica's throat, then hopped up onto the blonde's slender back. Alba gasped under the sudden weight and stooped forward, pulling at Keira's left wrist as the British vixen went for chokes. Bad spot for Jessica!
It had been a close round, and this was a strong late move by Knightley. Despite the weight, Jessica couldn't go to ground and allow Keira to really lock in the Choke-and-Scissor. Alba squirmed, pulling at either Knightley hand as the British girl patiently alternated, trying to slide either arm in around Jessica's slender throat. Keira was settled in nicely; her legs about Jessica's hips while she worked to extricate either wrist from Jessi's grip. With her free hand, Keira systematically pounded Palm-heel Strikes to the side of Jessi's head to soften and unnerve the American. She could hear Alba's breath coming in shorter puffs - evidence of strain. Knightley knew when a girl was tiring and discouraged, and she knew when to pour it on. Squirming suddenly, Knightley went for broke.
Keira reached to the top of the fence with her left arm and shimmied quickly to get her left leg over Jessica's left shoulder. Keira's left foot snuggled in quick behind her right knee, neatly trapping Jessica's right arm in a deadly Triangle Lock! Hugging the fence, Knightley crowed as she felt Alba shudder between her legs.
"NO!" Jessica cried - as furious as she was alarmed by her foe's innovative assault.
Poor Jessica! Alba's left hand cupped Keira's hard left thigh. Her eyes closed; her eyebrows arched high; her mouth gulping wide for air. Keira's legs worked like silent pythons, cinching and constricting while Jessi's dark, tanned, legs shook with the strain of maintaining her balance and supporting the weight of both girls.
"GIVE?" Keira shouted, her voice panting and excited: her legs HUMMING with the effort of crushing Jessica.
Alba gurgled, unable to speak: her left hand flinched, as though getting ready to tap out on Keira's leg.
The bell rang - end of the second round!
Jessica's hand slapped Keira's thigh. Alba couldn't help it; her hand simply betrayed her; mutinying of its own volition - though too late to lose her the fight. Keira took her time, her legs uncoiling slowly as she hung off the fence top - then she dropped down with a perky smile and bounce in her step.
"Close one, Jess," she chirped. "You felt it coming, huh?"
Jessica blubbered, hands at her throat, eyelashes fluttering as she slumped against the fence. She’d been within a hair's breadth of submitting, of giving in to Keira's legs, and the realization sent new shudders of panic through Alba's willowy body. Blinking away tears, Jessica stole a look at Keira and her heart sank. Keira was LAUGHING with Penelope - looking fresh, fit, and hungry for more. Knightley's blonde ringlets were a little disheveled from pulling her head out of umpteen scissors and chokes, but it only made her look more feisty than frazzled.
Panic and doubt welled up in Jessica, tightening her chest. It was like the feeling she'd had fighting Mendes - when Eva had proven she was stronger and basically irresistible, and that Alba's defeat was only a matter of time. Jessi's publicity guys had spun the losses as Eva being a naturally bigger woman and that the girls weren't REALLY in the same weight class - but Jessica still had butterflies anytime she thought about those bouts. Would she feel the same way about Keira after tonight? The thought made Alba's knees weak.
"Knock it off. Right now." Carmen snarled, reading Jessica's mind.
"What?" Alba mumbled, reaching to accept the water bottle.
"That she's-better-than-me bullshit - knock it off. You've lost a couple rounds, you haven't lost the fight."
"I can't control her. She's starting to take my back..."
"You're GIVING her your back. Jesus Jess - do you WANT her to beat you? Is that it - you want Keira to be number one, so you don't have to carry the summer all by yourself? Let someone else handle the pressure for a change? God, you make me so sick sometimes."
"Listen to me," Electra hissed. "Do you remember when you knocked me out in this very octagon? Do you?" Jessica did. At the time, it had been huge for her, and had really started to show that Carmen had finally lost a step against the best young girls in their prime. "I was feeling then what you are now. I knew it was over for me - you were like lightning that night - I couldn't hold you off. I know you're feeling that way now, but this is different - WAY different. You need to decide to be number one - right now, baby. You're years away from a girl doing to you what you did to me. You need to be the Jessica Alba that stopped ME!
“Hell, if I couldn't handle that girl, Keira-freaking-Knightley sure as hell can't. But if you're quitting Jess, if you're not going to fight Keira hard - don't go out there. Tell me now and I'll stop this thing. It's your choice." Jessica swallowed, and her throat hurt. She glanced again across the ring, caught Keira staring exultantly at her. She saw it in the British girl's eyes: she couldn't wait to finish Jessica.
"Quit or fight Jess - what's it gonna be?" Jessica took another swig of water, tossed the bottle over the fence, wiped her lips, snapped her yellow bottoms back into place across her perfect rump.
"Fight," Jessica said, maintaining eye contact with Keira.
The bell sounded beginning the third round.
Knightley bounced forward, feinted a jab at Jessica's face, then shot for her waist. Alba sprawled, legs well back, buttocks bunching up: she stuffed Keira's shoot, taking both women to their knees. When they stood, Jess rolled a loose right/left uppercut combo to brush Keira back: Knightley jumped out of range, stalked to her right on panther-paw feet.
Keira tried again, shooting for Jessica's long, dark-tanned legs and Alba sprawled, catching Keira's head and right arm in a Guillotine Choke. As the girls struggled to their knees - Jessica dug her chin in Keira's shoulderblade - then suddenly rolled to her left, taking Keira over into an Anaconda Choke. On her back, Jess couldn't quite grip her elbows and Knightley squirmed and twisted out of it, scrambling away and leaving Alba on her back.
Keira tried to pounce back on top, but Jessi brought her knees up, getting her legs in between the girls, forcing Keira to roll away like an acrobat and both girls rose to their feet once more. Knightley glared, panting, prowling to her right; hands up, fingers twitching. Again she tried to take Jessica down and again Alba sprawled, stuffing Knightley down into the canvas. Keira was spending herself in these attacks and Jessica's nerves settled as she felt her body gaining control of Keira's. Alba had stabilized, Keira couldn't take her down!
Knightley tried three more times to lunge in for Jessica's legs - driving a shoulder into Jessica's tummy - but the attempts were slower now; almost walking-speed; and Jessi had no trouble redirecting Knightley face-first to canvas. Alba always came away with control - her arms encircling Keira's head and either arm - the girls leaning forward on wide-spread knees, tightly clenched buttocks thrust high.
Jessica was making it harder and harder for Keira to extricate herself as well. She would try to disengage and stand, but as she was getting up, she'd find Alba's foot hooking an ankle, or Alba's legs scissoring one of hers. Escape was always possible for the limber little Briton - but expensive and hard-won at the cost of great wriggling and yanking of limbs.
Jessica was patient, often converting her take-down defenses into simple weight-bearing holds used to wear away at Keira. After stuffing Knightley to the canvas, Jess would twist the girl onto her back, then lay on her - her right arm looping over Keira's right shoulder, down in behind her, linking up with Jessi's left hand near Keira's left armpit. Spreading her legs wide, Alba would push up with her right side on Keira's chest, just managing the Headlock, but making Keira take her weight.
Knightley grunted and slithered around, her knees up, feet pushing at the canvas, trying to find exit leverage. From this posture, Jessica could punch or slap her left hand down into Keira's tight, hard, flat tummy. Not a lot of leverage, but she could hear Keira's muffled outrage, feel her cringing to tighten her abs against Jessi's workmanlike pounding. Had it been an apartment bout, Jessica would have enjoyed slowly raking her nails over that hated muscle; furrowing the flawless flesh and putting a stinging hurt on her hated rival.
In the latter half of the round, Jessica went over to offense and Keira began to stumble!
Even when Keira successfully sprawled and stuffed Alba's takedowns, the American simply bulled her way forward, wrestling Keira onto her back anyway. Knightley worked brilliantly out of her guard, squirming and twisting against the canvas; bucking and writhing her way out of trouble and Jessica found mounting Knightley no guarantee of solid control. But Alba kept at it; kept driving on Keira, taking her down - kept climbing atop her and forcing her to work.
Jessica could hear Carmen screaming herself hoarse.
"PUSH UP! PUSH UP!"
"ELBOWS JESS! ELBOWS!"
At one point, Keira lay on her left side, panting - Jessica atop her. Alba slid her right arm in around Knightley's throat and Keira groaned; both hands pulling desperately at Jessica's choking limb. Somehow, Keira managed to turn into the hold, winding up mounted, but gulping her hips, bucking and writhing, struggling to get out of it.
Jessica rode the bucking bronco best she could. Even if she couldn't hold the advantage, Keira was spending all her money in these exchanges. Jessica's pursuit was dogged, even when Knightley managed to squirm out from under her Jessi would scissor one of Keira's legs and pull her back in. Alba went for Armbars and Comorrahs, forcing Knightley to grit her teeth and writhe her arm or wrist free of the holds.
Then the bell rang ending the round.
Jessica was mounted atop Keira's back, exploring ways of getting in at Knightley's throat from either side. With a contemptuous shove, Jessi pushed up off her girl, making sure to rub Keira's face into canvas upon rising. The British girl seethed at her touch, but was clearly spent. Her body trembled, having been sorely tested and wrung out by Jessica in the third.
Carmen was smiling when Jessica approached. "Ats ma girl," Electra said. Jessica smiled and fixed her ponytail as she glanced across the floor to check on Keira. She was wincing, hands on hips, breathing hard. Penelope was jabbering at her, making wild Spanish gestures with her hands.
"That's more like it," thought Jessica.
the bell rang to signal the fourth round
Jessica fairly strutted toward Keira who looked shabby and spent. When Alba lunged for the Briton's slender legs, she did so with the knowledge that it could very well be for the last time. She never saw Keira's right knee come up - didn't even feel it exactly as it caromed off her temple!
The crowd roared as Jessica reeled right, then sprawled to her back, her limbs spasming, eyes rolling back into her head!! Jessica couldn't hear the crowd over the fireworks exploding in her head. She was badly, badly, stunned, and when Keira dropped on top of her, she wasn't even aware of it.
Leaning across Jessica's body, planting her left hand on the canvas at Jessi's right side, Keira crouched on her knees and punched rights down onto Jessica's sleeping face. It looked exactly like Katherine Heigl's follow up on Jennifer Garner in the shocking first bout of the evening -when Garner went down stunned from a swinging Heigl right roundhouse - then lay there gobsmacked while Kathy hammered away to victory.
Keira's slender hands didn't carry the kind of lightening power Heigl's did - but Alba looked just as helpless as Garner had as her head jerked under the pounding, her lips parted as she simply faced woozily up into the punching.
Instinctively, Alba's legs came-to and slithered up around Keira's hips. It was weak and limp, but it was guard, and it stopped Knightley's pounding. Keira leaned in chest to chest, her hot breath panting in Jessi's face. Alba weakly reached to tie up, but Keira was too strong! Freeing her right arm, Keira dropped a forearm/elbow on Jessi's hairline. Knightley was very aggressive - knees digging into canvas as she pushed up on Jessica; shoving the girl inch by inch along the floor toward Penelope.
Cruz was clapping and jumping like a little maniac, squealing for Keira to finish her prey. Squirming tummy to tummy, Keira got her right leg free, bending it under her to half-mount Jessica. Desperately, Alba's sinuous legs scissored Keira's similarly built left leg. Jess could feel the Briton tugging and yanking at her limb, trying to wrench it free.
Another Knightley elbow slammed down, catching Jessica hard on her left cheek. Jessi's head jammed against canvas and, for a moment, her arms dropped, palms-up, near her head. The crowd screamed as Jessica appeared to go limp, her legs suddenly stretching out straight on the canvas.
Keira yanked her left leg clear, scooting herself up into a triumphant mount astride Jessica's chest. Alba simply lay there in surrender, eyelashes flickering. Keira raised up, lips curled back from her teeth; eyes feral as she clenched her right fist; her elegant left hand surrounded Jessica's throat, holding the blonde down.
Blinking and weak, Jessica whispered, "donnnnn't." It's doubtful Keira heard it.
Alba bucked up with her hips, groaning as she tried to twist to her side. She couldn't, but her movement spoiled Keira's right hand punch. Knightley rode the wave, getting to her knees; wrestling Jessi back down flat. Keira snarled as she again raised her right hand.
This time, Alba's legs took advantage of Knightley's raised all-fours posture. Sliding out from beneath they curled up around Keira's head and her outstretched left arm. Jessi's left leg bent around Keira's neck, her left foot tucked in under her right knee; right leg bent at the knee, locking her foot in place.
Jessi had Triangle on Keira’s head and left arm!
Knightley's eyes bulged in disbelief. She hunkered down on her haunches and tried to slither back out of the hold. Jessica reached her hands into Keira's hair, pulling the head forward, higher into the crotch, more snug. Holding Keira's hair in her left fist, Jessica managed a pair of wan, scraping elbows against Knightley's hair line, causing a fresh spasm of wriggles from the Briton. Knightley had escaped from a number of Triangles already this night, but she’d been fresher then, and none of those were as deep as this one.
On her back, Jessica relaxed, let her legs work. She licked her lips and shifted her hips, cinching the hold just a bit tighter. She took hold of Keira's trapped left arm by the elbow, pulling it across Keira's throat. Knightley began to gurgle, pushing suddenly forward into the hold as hard as she could.
Jessica rolled with Keira's drive, turning onto her right side. Reaching down, Jessica lightly hugged her own knees, totally engulfing Keira's head and throat in crushing flesh. Knightley's lithe legs bicycled as she lay on her left side: her left arm stuck up out of the pile, pushed by Jessica's stomach.
Suddenly, frantically, Keira began slapping her right hand on Jessica's left thigh! Just like that, Knightley was quitting; submitting; tapping to Jessica's legs!!
Alba groaned and slumped on her back, all the strength gone from her limbs. She splayed out starfished as Keira rolled away to lie sobbing on her back, hands at her throat, knees drawn up to her breasts.
For a moment, they were identical gamines, each ruined and devastated by her struggle with the other; the only difference was that Keira had surrendered and Jessica had won!
Alba sat up, tears shiny on her cheeks as she hugged her knees. To her right, Keira lay shuddering and gasping while, outside the octagon, the crowd was euphoric.
Jessica glanced over, wiping at her own tears. Part of her wanted to ask Keira if she were OK, but then she remembered the press conference - the "Keira-time" bullshit. And she remembered Keira's after-the-bell knee-strike; and her own after-the-bell tap-out to Knightley's Standing Triangle.
Jessica also thought of Stranach and the studio bosses, the advertisers, the media - all the people counting on her to be number one. She thought of all these things and her concern for Keira melted away. She got to her knees, just off Keira's left shoulder, then methodically, deliberately, Jessica raised her right elbow and plunged the point down between Keira's perky little breasts. CRACK!
Bone on bone contact wrenched a blubbering sputter of pain from Knightley who cringed, rolled over onto her right side and lay facing away from her tormentress as if to say, "Take my back - it's yours".
Jessica Alba stood, hands on hips, looking shaky, firm breast rising and falling rapidly with her hard, heavy breathing; quietly exultant. SHE owned the summer; and she owned it because she'd TAKEN it from Keira Knightley!