A blonde with the look of a very fit mother in her thirties stood with her back to Cat on the far side of the pool, the warm water lapping at her well-toned and tanned calves. She wore a very vivid, yellow bikini - her buttocks hard and high from an obviously very effective daily gym regimen. At her feet, sitting with her back against the battle-pool's edge, a brunette slumped, elbows propped on the rounded ledge behind her; a beaten woman - utterly exhausted - conscious, but barely able to hold her chin up from her heaving chest. The brunette wore a little silver bikini - very chic - and while her full, deeply tanned physique bespoke considerable power she was completely used up at this point.
The blonde looked back over her right shoulder: a strong face, with 30-something lines adding-to, rather than subtracting-from her beauty. "Oh yeah, we're done," she said with a smug, all-conquering smirk.
Stepping over the brunette onto the marble sidewalk, the woman in yellow strutted off onto the lawn, wringing her hair out en route. The brunette winced as she got creakily to her feet - right hand clutching her back as she too exited the pool, limping through the palms to return to her family.
Cat glanced around, absently walking the perimeter of the pool. "Looks like we're early," she said.
"Maybe she's chickened out," Danielle said, squinting into the distance. Dani’s body looked very full and muscular in a lacy black string bikini. It was an oddly elegant, grown-up look for Fishel - very Apartment chic. Her hair fell loose and long down her back - the odd strand picked up and tossed by a gentle desert breeze.
Cat smiled. "Ahhh, no!" They both knew Allison Mack didn't make challenges she didn't intend to keep. "These duels are stupid Dani. How many times have I told you: Always..."
here Dani chimed-in, repeating in mocking unison Cat’s oft-repeated sage advice, "...get...paid!"
"Right," Dani chortled. "Duels are dumb - like you and Charlize?"
Bell nodded. "Exactly like Charlize and I." Just saying it brought a collage of images flooding back into Cat’s consciousness; images of her numerous private, semi-private and all-too-public contests with the legendary blond ‘Golden Goddess’ Charlize Theron. Duels were stupid; no money, all risk, no reward. But then again, if you wanted to spend half an hour working an opponent's left leg, there was no one or nothing to stop you - except the fear of what she might do to you if - or when - she got free. When it came to Charlize, Cat hadn't cared about the risk of payback; all that had mattered was what she did to Theron - right then, in that moment. A tiny smile creased the corners of Cat’s full lips as she imagined she could hear Charlize' cries; feel the blondes long, strong left leg as she held it trapped in her powerful grip. Cat felt a warm flush of embarrassment at the flickering recall of how warm and good the thought of Theron's suffering made her feel.
Cat shook her head: stupid. "Nervous?" She asked Dani, if only to break her own train of erotic thoughts.
"No!" Dani said curtly; glancing to her right and squinting. "Yeah. A little. I'm not worried about her...it's more..."
"Yeah. Me. How'd you know?"
"Some girls just get to you - nothing you can do. I know I'm not the same when I'm facing Jeri Ryan or Charlize - I'm not me. I don't like who I am sometimes, when I fight them. You know, I really hate that they can get to me like that. But I can’t…"
"I know!” Dani interrupted. “That's the thing - I just don't feel like ME when I’m facing Allison. I HATE her so much…"
"Why?" Cat posed the question, knowing she couldn’t explain her feelings toward Theron or Ryan to anyone…not even herself.
"I don't know," Dani lied, looking down into her cleavage self-consciously as she rubbed the back of her neck with her right hand, her fulsome breasts jiggling with the motion. Dani didn't WANT to admit her pettiness - certainly not to her friend Cat. Bell was the classiest woman and fighter Dani had ever met and she really didn't want to get into this with her - to share the ugliness. Allison was like itching powder under Dani's skin; a sliver in her foot; her hay fever in springtime.
Cat tensed as she saw two women approaching, "I think that's them."
Allison Mack emerged from the palms - young, stocky, strong - muscular thighs chafing as she stepped barefoot from the grass onto the marble walkway. She wore a two-toned bikini - yellow top, green bottom - all very sporty and snug. She squinted in the sunlight as she made eye contact with Danielle. Behind her, wearing a bright pink bikini, strode Allison’s second. Dani's lips parted in surprise, and the hackles on the back of her neck rose at the sight of Kaley Cuoco - supposedly one of Fishel’s staunch supporters!
"Hey!" Kaley said, all friendly; waving a hand as if grabbing at something in the air.
Cat sloshed through water to where Dani was standing, imposing herself between Fishel and the two women. "You OK?" Cat frowned. Dani hadn't shown much emotion, but Cat knew she’d been rocked by the sight of Cuoco in the enemy camp.
"I'm fine," Dani said, pressing her lips tight. "Let's start this."
"’kay," Cat said turning away to join Cuoco on the marble sidewalk. Cat perfunctorily nodded ‘hello’ and Kaley smiled back.
Allison stepped down into the pool with a gentle splashing sound, then sloshed toward Dani. Full ahead slow. Dani took a deep breath, tossed her head to get the hair off her shoulders, tucked her elbows in and raised her loose against her chest. It began tentatively, warily; both girls in wrestling crouches, exploring, tapping and touching the other's shoulders, grabbing each other's hands. Both women wore intense expressions of concentration. Reflected blue sunlight shimmered off rounded thighs and stubborn tummies, glimmering and shifting as the women’s movements disturbed the once-tranquil water.
It was Dani who secured the first good lock: snaring Allison's left wrist and quickly stretching the limb out into a snug standing arm-bar. Ali frowned, pursing her lips as Dani yanked the blonde onto her toes - tucking the limb under her right armpit, bracing with her left hand pushing at Ali's shoulder. Dani's right hand gripped at her left wrist - right arm looped snug around and under Ali's elbow. Fishel tugging at the shoulder joint - reefing on it; Mack sloshing in a counterclockwise stumble, slapping her free right hand at the burning shoulder, gritting her teeth against the pain.
"Smart," Kaley said without looking at Cat. Both Seconds stood focused upon the action. It would be their duty to compose the official record and to act as witnesses of good faith.
"This isn't Dani's first rodeo," Cat deadpanned. She’d discussed strategy with her friend coming in - how energy would need to be conserved, how Allison's arms would have to be weakened early.
Then Allison stunned Dani with a short right hand out of the arm-bar. Fishel took it, holding on grimly, but Ali jammed it in again - and once more to finally punch her way free. Dani sloshed to her right, holding her jaw but Allison immediately caught Dani's left wrist from behind and stretched the limb out. Now Allison cinched up her own arm bar - reefing at the shoulder; chewing on her bottom lip as she eased Dani around.
"Looks like they both have the same idea," said Kaley.
"Mmmmm,” Cat purred nervously.
Dani suffered, then firmed and punched her way out with right hands to Ali's ribs, cramping her up on the spot. Back and forth, back and forth - the girls sought out one another's arms, prepared to pay the price to tire shoulders/strain biceps. It was meaty work - both possessed full, rounded limbs, and the heavy SMACK of thick muscle on muscle echoed in the pool.
Pulling Dani's right arm away from her body by the wrist, Ali stepped in close with a European uppercut snug under the shoulder-joint that made Fishel cry out - her voice crisp and clean with pool-acoustics - her face tilting up in grimace. Ali separated, licking her lips, cocked her right fist at her mouth, then stepped in again, this time with a short, drifting shoulder-block into the opposing shoulder joint. As Allison curled her back into Dani's front on the follow-through, Fishel's left hand splayed against Allison's hip; Dani breathing hard, tummy quivering against Ali's back. Ali quickly cinched up Dani's right arm in an armbar, gave it a good, wrenching pump. Fishel groaned, minced around on her toes as Mack retook command.
"What're you up to, Kaley?" Cat asked; conversational. Obviously Kaley was up to something and they may as well talk about it.
Cuoco shrugged, "I think Mack's going to win. I think it's her time."
"Dani really likes you,” Cat said a bit snippishly. “She thinks of you as a good friend. She's very emotional, Kaley; it hurt her to see you backing Allison today."
"I know. And I'm sorry about that, but I didn't write the rules."
"What rules are those?"
Cuoco pursed her lips, choosing her words carefully. Her voice lost its ditzy edge. "I benefited from my association with Dani the past year," Cuoco admitted. "You know how advertisers are - Fishel's a winner so her friends must be winners too. That's just the way it is."
"The Paris Hilton approach to fighting,” Cat sneered. “Just make sure you're in the photograph of someone else's winner's circle at the end."
"Whatever,” Kaley shrugged. “I've fought plenty but, yeah; some of Dani's spotlight spilled over to me. When I saw Mack wrestling though..."
"You figured it was time to change mounts?"
"Something like that."
"That's cold, kid," Cat sighed, neither judgmental nor approving; fact.
"It's smart,” Kaley corrected. “You of all people should understand."
Bell flinched at the thinly veiled reference to her former friendship with Charlize. ‘Is that what Young Hollywood thinks of me; a model ladder-climber?’ But the circumstances of Cat’s falling-out with her blonde ex-protégé and lover were much more complicated. Still, Cat understood how it might look to an outsider - someone who didn’t know the ‘real’ story.
Allison had strung a few moves together, moving from one of Dani’s arms to the other; beginning to push Fishel around. Taking Dani in a firm two-handed grip by her right wrist, Allison spun around, slamming her back into Dani's front as she pulled Fishel's extended arm over her right shoulder. Yanking down hard, Ali grinned as Fishel cried out - up on her toes, her left hand bracing wide on Allison's hip as their bodies melded wet together, front to back. Another barbaric yank - Dani's shoulder suffering, taking the brunt of it; Mack's knuckles whitened at the clenching force of her grip on Dani's wrist.
In trouble - Dani tucked a short left hand into Ali's back - her fist slapping wet against taut kidney. Allison immediately responded with a brutal left elbow driven back into Dani's gut. As Fishel cramped up, Ali rotated under Dani's still-secured right arm, twisting the limb out straight and bending Dani forward doubled over. With a stomping motion, Ali smashed her raised left elbow into the rear of Dani’s shoulder and head, dropping her to one knee with a splash.
With Fishel on her knees, Ali cinched up armbar on the right arm, biting her lower lip as she wrenched again, glorying in Dani's gasp of pain. Dani grimaced, her left hand cupping her right shoulder. Allison was slowly but surely winning the battle for arm supremacy and all four girls knew it!
Dani powered her way to her feet, then punched her way out with three stubby little lefts to Allison's jaw. When the blonde released her, Dani didn't follow up; instead, she strode across the pool, exiting the far side - her bare feet slapping wet against the marble, then going silent as she stepped onto the cool, cushy grass.
Allison pulled at her nose as she waded out of the water herself, walking Dani down. Allison oozed confidence - coming forward on Dani was huge - each step a tiny victory in itself. Dani scowled, massaging her right shoulder, rotating it as she turned to face Allison as she stalked in. Ali reached to lock up, wishing to continue her grappling assault on Dani's limbs but Dani stepped inside the embrace, carrying her right fist so snug to Allison’s tummy that neither Cat or Kaley could see the punch - but they heard Allison's sudden shout of hurt; saw her crumple forward.
As Dani palmed Allison's shoulders upright, Cat touched Kaley's arm and said breathily, "Come on." She circled the pool with Kalely in tow, moving to get a closer, better, angle on the action.
Ali grunted, eyes frowned shut as Dani tucked another short, hard right to midriff, then pitched forward, face upturned, arms crossed over her belly. Again Dani palmed her girl's brawny shoulders, pushing her upright, then almost gently swept Mack's arms back and away from her tummy. Pushing in close - her chin jutting out over Ali's right shoulder - Dani buried another right into her foe's midriff. Allison whimpered and turned away, hugging herself in stupor.
Now it was Dani's turn to walk Ali down! Dani's hands grabbed Allison's shoulders from behind - tugging to turn her around. Dani stomped her right foot as she slammed her right forearm short and hard to Ali's jaw. The blonde torqued to her right; back on her heels; fronted-up again, staring. Dani's left hand reached around the back of Ali's neck, pulling her into the mop-up European uppercut. Allison's head whipped up and back from Dani's bicep/inner elbow connect - spun around and staggered, tight buttocks wobbling in stunned syncopation with her stumbling, shambling gait.
Again Dani walked Allison down; eyes narrowed, heartless. Cat nodded in silent approval. This was Dani at her best, bludgeoning and hounding a stricken opponent. As Allison hugged herself and cringed away, Dani stepped in behind, smacking a loud forearm SMASH against her upper back with a bright, ringing spank. Allison bunched up as though someone had snapped her bra from behind; shoulders up; hands chest high; wrists bent back.
Dani stabilized Ali with her left hand on the blonde's left hip as she slammed that rude right forearm bright n' tangy across Ali’s taut lower back. Mack cried out as she crumpled to all fours. Dani tossed her hair off her shoulder, stalking to the side to see what might be done. Bellowing in rage, Dani lifted her clenched fists and kicked Allison savagely in her rightside ribs. The foot bounce off blond mid-torso with a sickening THUD, crippling Allison on the spot. Ali dropped back onto her haunches; trembling arms hugging her midsection; tears streaming from eyes shut tight.
Dani tucked hair behind both ears as she glared down, teeth bared in snarl. Now, the beating would commence, and Allison would finally learn the hard truth about this particular relationship.
Cat glanced at Kaley's face, noting her sudden concern. Not - Cat now knew - for Allison's predicament but her own. Cuoco was clearly anxious about having jumped ship one fight too soon. In a way, Bell admired the young blonde. She was doing whatever it took to make it as a celebrity these days; making hard decisions and living with them. Betting against Dani was a huge gamble, but Kaley had taken the chance, realizing the risk involved, and wanting the commensurate gains regardless.
Unfortunately, Kaley was going be associated with a loser, and worse, would have gained an implacable enemy in Dani Fishel in the process! Cat knew Dani was a sweetheart; a stand-up girl in a sea of treachery - but she also knew the flipside of her emotional approach. Dani loved and hated hugely and, once Mack was beaten, Kaley would almost certainly be next in her sights. And Dani wouldn’t wait for the right air-date, or contract or sponsor! She’d seek Kaley out and fight her in a parking lot if need be - money or no money. Dani was a whirlwind - one Kaley would be reaping sooner, rather than later.
Dani had closed with Allison, taken her to ground and began punching methodically to the body and ribs as Allison applied a defensive headlock from her back. This was sweaty, grinding work - especially with a hot sun beating down on bare backs. Allison squinted up into the cloudless sky, concentrating - her left hand gripping her right wrist - holding Dani's face close to hers. Ali had gotten her legs wrapped up around Dani's hips in a loose guard - controlling her, preventing her from mounting her. Belly-on-belly, Dani just kept working, jamming fists into the flanks or tummy of her foe - occasionally lurching up to club awkwardly at Allison's face.
Cat admired Allison's poise. She was suffering - her lips set tight and her eyes cringing whenever Dani dug in especially well downstairs - but her defense was sound. Bell knew Dani couldn’t win victory from this posture, more work would have to be done before taking Ali down and pounding her out.
"Stand her up, Dani," Cat said in a raised voice. Kaley flinched, left hand on her hip, right hand at her throat as she continued to view the action with alarm.
Suddenly, Allison rolled Dani over! It was startling - the reversal so smooth, almost effortless! Mack must have spent minutes micro-adjusting her hips, feeling Dani's balance through her tummy, setting her up for that single hip-pop-and-turn. Now Allison was on top - her knees outside Dani's hips in proper mount - and Dani was in a terrible position. Reacting quickly, Dani clinched Ali's upper body, embracing the blonde over her left shoulder and under her right armpit in a frenzied slapping of hands on flesh. Allison bellied down, distributing her weight onto Dani’s - in no hurry now.
Allison wriggled, her left hand working on Dani's right tricep to push the arm up and over so Allison could wriggle her head free. Mission accomplished - Allison pulled her skull out of Dani's clinch, laying her right ear in tight behind Dani's right arm and cinching up a counter-grapple. Now Allison had Dani snug - her brawny right arm over Dani's left shoulder; her left arm and head tucked in under Dani's right arm, trapping it in her grasp. Dani squirmed, her little feet digging furrows in the grass. She groaned as Allison flexed and squeezed, cinching in the front choke with an Anaconda’s patience, hunkered down close on her haunches to keep Dani's body pinned.
Kaley’s brightened, visibly relieved. "Good Ali - you got her!" she chirped.
Allison's face was red from her effort, her forehead pressed into the grass, pink tongue furtive at the corners of her mouth as she writhed to tighten her grip. Dani's knees flopped from side to side, then she planted her feet to thrust and buck her hips. Dani's round little tummy pulsed rapidly in and out.
Cat mentally willed her friend to relax. "Breathe, Dani," she muttered softly.
Finally, Dani managed to turn onto her left side. Allison rode her for a moment, her right cheek snug behind Dani's right shoulder, but the threat had passed. Abandoning her hold, Ali sat up as Dani rolled over to lay belly-down. Allison took a moment, sucking deep breaths through her nose, exhaling through her mouth; her hands on Dani's shoulder blades. Dani too took in rasping gulps of fresh air, propping up onto both elbows.
Ali immediately sought a choke as Dani exposed her throat! Allison's left arm slithered in across neck, but Dani tucked her chin and buried her face in the grass; elbows tucked in to her body beneath her; hands up, protecting the sides of her throat. Ali worked at it - leaning to either side, trying to wedge a hand in, but Dani turtled tight, refusing access.
Ali sat back to think, her hands splayed against Dani's broad white back. Now Allison bent forward again with new purpose, her left hand taking a firm grip of Dani's trap muscle on the left side of her neck; her right clamped around her left wrist to stabilize her hold. Even with Dani's face in the grass muffling her voice, Cat could hear her moan. Ali's forearms and grip were disproportionately strong for a girl her small size and Bell winced as her friend suffered.
"You give?" Mack huffed, squeezing the harder as she asked but Dani refused to dignify her question with a reply.
Allison worked it long enough to be certain Dani wouldn’t submit, then changed tack once again, working to fit her arms in under Dani's arms. Ali lay in as close as possible, always making Dani take her weight as she sloooowly wedged her hands in between the muscle of Dani's triceps and her firm ribcage. Wriggling, pushing, Allison made headway, eventually squirming her arms into the gap; prying Dani's defensive shell open with agonizing persistence. After a minute's worth of burrowing, Allison was rewarded as she managed to reach around and clasp her hands in behind Dani's neck, securing the full nelson.
Dani groaned, understanding her new predicament and feeling the full power of Ali’s arms. Ali tugged and grunted, then rolled onto her back, pulling Dani over with her. Dani lifted her hips and legs, drawing her knees toward her chest to ward off Allison's flailing attempted scissors. Unable to secure Dani’s waist, Allison settled for scissoring Dani's left leg. They lay, front to back, Allison's thick muscle seeking to subdue and wear down Dani's via a tightly applied nelson.
But it was simply too soon! Allison punished Dani to the point of exhaustion, but when Allison's arms began to tremble and her fingers had gone numb, Dani STILL hadn’t surrendered and it was clear a stalemate had been reached. Allison released Dani and fell back with her arms flung out on the grass. Dani rolled gingerly off to her left, side by side with Ali - both girl’s mouths sucking moist air; both tummies rippling and shuddering as they pumped rapidly in and out with exertion.
Finally, Dani sat up, panting - arms around her raised knees for a moment before she stood and walked away with hands on hips, plump cheeks flushed. Kaley crossed to kneel with Allison and whisper in hushed tones to the blonde while Cat fell in step beside Dani, laying a comforting arm around her sweaty shoulders.
"You alright?" Cat asked.
"Yeah," Dani panted. Her hair was disheveled and she looked drained. Mack’s fearsome grappling had taken its toll. "How'm I doing?"
"You're losing on points," Cat said. No gamesmanship here, no motivational ploy. She simply told Dani what was happening as honestly as possible. "She's better than we thought on the ground. You need to stand her up and break her down. You’re doing great when you were punching her - you need to do more of that."
"But I'm stronger!" Dani protested, her voice audible across the pool. She stopped walking - turned inside Cat's sheltering arm; looking up at the tall brunette as she lowered her voice and repeated. "I'm stronger than her - I know I am. She's just...slippery."
Cat smiled. The stubbornness of the kid. "OK, you're stronger. But I'd like you to punch her in the body, and smash at her while standing up, OK? When she goes down, you pull her back up again, and you give her extra. And when she's really out of it, you go in with hugs and you take what's yours. And then she'll know you're stronger too, all right?"
Dani nodded. "OK," she said, grudgingly buying in. "OK."
Cat smiled, gave Dani a friendly spank on the rump and sent her back into the fray.
Cat would not have believed it if she hadn’t seen it herself! When the action resumed, it was as brutal, as methodical, as devastating, as anything she’d ever seen in a celebrity match. ‘Yes,’ she thought to herself. ‘even as bitter as between Charlize and myself - if not as mean-spirited.’ Throughout it all, neither girl cheapened herself going to the trunks of her opponent as if on some silent, tacit level, both wanted to subjugate the other on terms each knew best. It was an argument of power - not finesse, or cruelty - and neither girl wanted to foul to get such an advantage and lessen herself in her opponent’s - and her own - eyes.
Allison accepted Dani's terms and slugged with her standing up. Whenever one buckled and staggered away, the other grimly walked her down from behind - stocky, powerful legs stomping barefoot in water or on grass. They splashed in and out of the pool, brawling mindlessly from one side to the other; stumbling randomly around the enclosure. The occasional visitor - mostly curious women drawn by the feminine grunts and groans, but also small groups of voyeuristic males - would wander through the palms for a quick glimpse. But nobody lingered overly long or approached too close.
The women seemed to know that something intensely personal was taking place and to watch it was to feel almost voyeuristic and out of place. The men, those who tried to linger, were quickly dissuaded by the glaring glances of both Cat and Kaley who, in those few instances, were united in their desire for their friend’s struggle to be as private as possible.
It was smashing, cudgeling stuff - forearms, fists, shoulders with the occasional boot to tummy. It was European uppercuts and short pro-style punches; it was ribs, and sternums, tummies and backs. The firm, powerful bodies that had begun the fight grew visibly looser as they bruised up badly under broiling heat of the sun and the withering fists of their opponent.
Both girls cried out with ever-increasing volume and frequency, neither able to hold in the pain any longer. Dani dropped Allison to all fours with ax-handle smashes to the upper back, but instead of pursuing to grapple - Dani dropped to her knees in front and heaved Ali upright onto HER knees; then rammed an open palm-heel strike up under her breasts to drive a bleat of agony from Ali's lips. Dani hair-hauled Allison to her feet by her soft blonde hair as Cat had instructed her to do. Dani was committed to brawling, and she kept the pressure on.
When they brawled in the water, hair clung damp and slick to faces, backs and shoulders. When they brawled long enough outside the pool, their hair dried and fluffed before matting down again with sweat. Each took turns sitting the other on the edge of the pool as she stood in front of her in the water to pound mindless right hands down on the hairline of her victim. Just methodical hammer-and-tongs - with the seated girl facing grimly up into the punishment, reeling in stupor.
Both girls would twist out their opponent’s left arm, exposing the ribs protecting her heart and neither shrank from the task of burying shaft-like rights into under the other’s vulnerable left breast. Cat and Kaley both winced at the thudding blows, and the ragged sobs that accompanied them…Cat’s mind flashing back to her early battles with Theron, recalling the first time she’d discovered how devastating to the small breasted blond Cat’s breast bashing fists would be. It had given Cat a real advantage in their battles and Cat saw that Dani had taken her advice to heart about how to break a blond.
Eventually, after what seemed a numbing eternity of two-way brutality, Allison hit on a simple if dreadfully effective tactic. Fsts clenched at her chest, she began to pound Dani’s biceps; methodically, thickly. She leaned in close, twisting side to side as she drove her knuckles flat and snappy to the beef of Dani's shoulders, biceps and - always without fail- Dani’s heavy, heaving, hulking, breasts. It was swiping, cuffing stuff - very tight delivery with little backswing, heavily leveraged; the blonde putting her weight behind every punishing shot. At first, Dani answered back, punching Allison’s body with short, palms-down lefts and rights, stamping onto the blonde's sturdy torso. But gradually, Dani's punches began to lose steam and the piston-punching rapidity gradually subsided. Dani grimaced, her limbs numb, as Ali began to walk foreword almost continuously; steadily slamming away side to side on Dani's limbs.
Cat detected it a split-second before it happened. Bell's lips parted, and she almost cried out "NO!" as Dani groaned, and turned away, giving up her back. It was the tipping point - Bell saw it clear as day - the point at which Dani let doubt creep into her mind. The point at which Dani - quite literally - blinked!
Kaley glanced at Cat, frowning in confusion; the young vixen's eye still lacked the seasoning to detect and understand such miniscule but critically important fight-changing moments. For the first time in the match, Cat's stomach clenched with anxiety. Dani had been broken toe-to-toe and now Ali was pouring through the break in the dyke!
Dani, hugging herself with her arms, turned her back to Allison who sprang forward, snaring Dani in a side headlock. This was no super-model's flimsy excuse for a headlock - this was a bone-jarring, heart-breaking, bicep-vise hold and Ali bared her teeth as she squeezed. Dani blubbered in the crushing grasp - but Mack's hand-grip in front of Dani's mouth muffled her complaint. Ali walked her prisoner back into the pool - the water surging and licking at the women's thighs.
There, Allison put it to Dani until Dani had to go to one knee in a daze. Allison went over to offense full time, engaging her on all fronts. The bearhugs flowed forth - Allison judging Dani to be properly softened up. Dani fought a vigorous defense as the two swapped hugs chest to chest and while Allison's grip was no more fierce, she was fresher and Mack had the knack of sliding in and winning position whenever they engaged from their crouch. Dani got her clamps in, but she was giving up two or three hugs to one - and to a woman with breathtaking, fight-winning power in her arms and shoulders!
Slowly but surely, Ali was grinding Dani down - to Cat’s disbelief of Cat and Kaley’s barely restrained exultation. Ali took Dani back into the pool, sat on one of the submerged stools and pulled Dani down onto her lap. With water lapping at their hips, Ali hugged up tight around Dani's tummy from behind - Allison's left hand gripping her right wrist at the line of Dani's trunks. Dani groaned, her head falling back on Allison's right shoulder as her hands pushed weakly at Ali's strong wrists.
Ali sat side by side with Dani at the pool's edge, leaning over to hug her body and Dani blurted in pain as Allison hugged up from Dani's left side, trapping her left arm between damp bodies. Allison rested her right cheek on Dani's shoulder; Dani's free right hand pulling at Allison's cable-strong left arm as they sat there. Dani sniveled, fighting back tears, praying for Allison's limbs to exhaust themselves. Ali smiled a weary, hard-working smile as she wrung just a bit more fight out of her rival.
Only once did Dani break free. She turned away as if to run, but Ali chased her onto the grass, riding her to ground from behind with a gut-wrench, then tightening up a fresh bearhug around Dani's trembling, heaving middle. Laying on their right sides, Dani's butt spooned into Allison’s lap; Mack grinning over Dani’s shoulder at Cat and Kaley as she can feel Dani's muscular body shuddering with quit.
Time and again, Dani would attempt to rise, but each time Allison held the gut wrench - controlling and riding Dani when a hug wasn't quite there, then re-cinching in a new position once Dani’s brief resistance was overcome and her body stabilized.
Allison sat Dani in the water, pinning Dani's back against the edge. Ali would sit on the pool's lip in behind Dani, scissoring up her ribs and wrapping her arms around Dani’s head in sleeper-choke. With the water lapping at Dani's pumping, red, tummy, her struggles were sad and sluggish. With Allison's left arm snaked tight about Dani's throat - Allison's left hand cupping her right bicep while her right hand cupped atop Dani's damp skull - Dani was a helpless vixen. Her eyelashes fluttered shut and her lips parted in woozy stupor. Her hands pulled Ali's rounded arm, or reached up to claw at the left shoulder, or simply flopped and flailed aimlessly. Ali rested her chin against Dani's head and grinned.
It was tragic, hard to watch - but Cat forced herself to take it in. How Dani lost would be important; as important as how she would have won. Cat needed to note the details and fight for them when the story was told. Knowing this, Dani refused to surrender, even when it became the only right thing to do.
Allison continued to pour it on. She had Dani from behind and Dani was too weak now to renegotiate. Allison asked repeatedly for submission, but her voice served only to shock Dani into fresh wriggles of defiance. On her haunches behind a seated Dani, Allison hugged up tight under Dani's bulging breasts, almost pushing the mountainous mounds of soft flesh up out of her bikini top. Dani flailed her arms awkwardly from side to side, trying to twist or shimmy free, lolling her head back over Mack's right shoulder.
Even this torment couldn’t wring the submission from Dani's lips. When Cat could no longer bear the sound of Dani's exhausted cries, she urged, "That's enough Dani - stop this!"
Still, Fishel wouldn’t submit and that was fine with Allison. She reclined onto her back, heaving Dani up onto her torso back-to-front, maintaining her heartless bearhug around Dani’s breasts, her happy face leering at Cat over Dani's left shoulder as she sobbed and thrashed weakly - her arms spread wide, or pulling her hair as Ali rocked and squeezed.
Riding Dani to the lawn again, Ali maintained the gut-wrench around Dani's paunch: the girls flopped to their right sides, spooning. Dani's face glistened with her tears and their combined sweat as she lay imprisoned in Allison's lap - Dani's left hand pushing pathetically down on Ali's left wrist as Allison snuggled in - calm; breathing through her nose; her gripped hands pressed deep into Dani's softened up underbelly as her forearms crushed Dani’s tortured ribs.
It all happened so suddenly. Dani's left hand frantically slapping the grass, her face all cramped up as fresh tears flowed freely from tightly closed eyes. Kaley pumped her fist at her hip, hissing, "Yessss!" through clenched teeth. Old tennis-player habits died hard.
Dani was quitting, her stocky body finally, completely, used up. She lay sprawled limp on her side, sobbing uncontrollably as Ali rolled away, got to her knees, her chest heaving, then pushed slowly to her feet and then burst into spontaneous and excited tears of jubilation.
Cat winced at the sight of her destroyed friend; on her side; knees drawn up; body shivering in misery from the humiliation of losing to a ‘Dani Fishel type' - as heartbreaking as it was unforgettable.
Allison rushed to Kaley and hugged her, squealing as she fell into the blonde’s encompassing arms. Finally composing herself, brushing back happy tears, Ali turned to Cat and extended her hand. "I am so glad you were here for this," Mack said, her voice trembling with emotion. "It meant a lot, Catherine - really."
"You were great," Cat said, forcing a polite half smile as she took the victor’s hand. "It’s a huge win for you."
Ali nodded, hands at her face as fresh tears came forth. Fairly bouncing, Ali headed off through the palms - thrusting her hands high and emitting a shrill squeal of triumph en route.
Turning back, Cat watched Dani struggle to all fours, then crawl away before slumping to a seat in the grass with her back on the base of a palm tree; knees drawn up to her chest; arms hugging around her knees; head bowed on her knees; her body shuddering with uncontrollable, inconsolable, misery.
Allison Mack had forced Dani to submit; had FORCED her to give up!
Cat turned to Kaley, and said softly, "So, where will you go with this?"
Cuoco made an effort not to gloat; keeping her voice businesslike. "BLONDE! Magazine wants 500 words - so we'll go there. Plus, of course, I'll put something on my website."
"It was a fair fight," Cat admitted. “And I think you'll agree, exceptionally hard-fought. There were several points I thought either girl was going to win."
"I disagree," Kaley said with a firm shake of her head; her eyes never wavering from Cat's. "I saw a rout."
"Allison wants to go over wide - what do you want me to do? Toe-to-toe she outfought Dani; outslugged her; outwrestled her. She broke Dani down in the shoulders - that's DEFINITELY going in - I mean come on, Fishel wasn't a factor."
"Kaley you can't be serious. Don't put that Allison ‘routed’ Dani. Don't do that."
"I'm saying Allison dominated the arm-battle, and after she beat Dani's arms numb - I'm sorry - but she just rolled Dani up. That’s what happened."
"But not like that!" Cat lowered her voice, edging a little closer to Cuoco. "Don't you understand what'll happen if you write this up huge for Allison? It'll force Dani into defeating Allison at all costs. She'll have to - they're too similar - any advertiser wanting that look is going to go with the perceived better brand. That - and Dani's pride - will mean they’ll be at each other's throats for the rest of their careers."
Again, Cat flashed on images of herself with Charlize and with Jeri. She didn't want that for Dani. "Please, Kaley. Acknowledge Dani's effort…it's only right…and fair."
"Maybe I want them at each other's throats," Kaley said, a tiny grin flashing briefly.
Cat blinked. "What?" And then it all came clear in a rush. She wondered how much of the hatred between Allison and Dani had started because of a rumor, or a report, or an innuendo issuing from the pouting lips of Kaley Cuoco. Ali and Dani would tear each other up - then the girl who’d ridden both their coat-tails would step in and push them both to the sidelines- just the way Charlize had done to Cat.
Kaley could see Cat putting it all together, and she smiled sadly. "Don't hate the player…” Kaley purred, gently tugging open front of Cat's white shirt and slowly and provocatively scraping a fingernail down the length of her deep cleavage. “…hate the game."
Then Kaley padded away, passing Dani’s slumped over body. As she passed, Kaley purred softly, "Bye-bye Dani." Her voice wasn’t unsympathetic, but as Cat stared at Kaley’s bouncing bottom as she sashayed away she felt a cold chill.