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6TD Part 128
The women who play a prominent role in Alan's life, naked, some with slave collars
SIX TIMES A DAY – Part 128
Kung Fu Fighting
Day 75: Friday, November 29

Written and illustrated by Spacer X <paul_t_22@yahoo.com>

Copyright © 2004 - present Spacer X; All Rights Reserved.

This is part of a longer e-novel. It's highly recommended that you start with the Introduction and read the parts sequentially, in order to understand the characters and previous events. The Introduction also provides the full set of story codes for all parts, as well as explaining the story structuring into chapters within parts.

This is an illustrated story. If for some reason a picture doesn't display, you may need to refresh the page or right click on that particular picture to retrieve it. If a picture has a black border, then there is an alternate version showing more skin. Read the "Bonus version" instructions in Artwork to activate and use this feature.

CHAPTER 1

Heather inwardly rejoiced when she saw Ryan leave the sideline bench during an attention-catching play on the football field and sneak off towards the boy's locker room. There was a chain-link fence around the edge of the football field. He walked right along the fence to reduce the chance of being observed, but she saw him.

She thought, Thank God I was watching Ryan - I almost missed his move. Good thing I've been so careful to keep my eye on him, and he didn't even know it, the idiot. He's obviously up to no good, and I'll bet dollars to donuts that he's plotting against Alan. This is my chance to shine! My Sir will be so proud of me when he finds out how I single-handedly stopped Ryan's plan - he's bound to lift the 'no ass' ban and give me a good solid pounding back there. Ooooh God, just thinking about it gets me hot, and it fucking itches soooo much. I can't believe how much I need him to stuff his yummy fat pole up my butt, like he did yesterday!

I'd better get going. Who knows what those assholes have planned. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any of his buddies; where the hell are they? Why is he going along the fence; it only goes toward the locker rooms? A-ha! That's where they must be!

She mumbled something to Joy about having to go pee, grabbed her cell phone from where she'd stashed it under the cheer megaphone, and then quietly slipped away. Luckily, Heather could use the restroom in the girl's locker room, since she was on the squad and the public restrooms were on the other side of a fence, so it didn't look odd to anyone that she was headed in the same direction as Ryan.

In fact, Ryan didn't really care if she followed or not, so long as it was just her. He had watched her, as well as Amy and Katherine, eye him and the other members of his gang on the bench from time to time. He figured that Amy and Katherine wouldn't follow him, judging from the way others had been keeping an eye on them since they'd arrived at school. They knew they could be used as bait and shouldn't just wander off to investigate something. Janice and Joy were acting very protective and obviously had been clued in to the situation at least somewhat.

Heather, on the other hand, was a free agent and potentially dangerous. But Ryan knew her well enough to know that she loved the spotlight and thought her shit didn't stink. If she saw him wander off, she was the type to try to fix things herself. She would never even consider working with others or calling for help. Having already calculated that she was the one cheerleader likely to follow him, he had arranged for his girlfriend, Rebecca, to slow Heather down.

His occasional backward glances confirmed that she started following him after saying only a few words to Joy. The other cheerleaders were busy with their cheers and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Not yet, at least. He was wearing his full football uniform even though he was benched for the game, but he also had a cell phone hidden away. It started to ring and he pulled it out.

It was Ivan, another member of Ryan's gang and a wide receiver on the football team. His season had ended two weeks earlier when he injured his big toe. It wasn't a serious injury, and he could still walk and even run just fine. But he couldn't plant his foot properly to run routes, and his toe would take months to heal, so his season was over and he wasn't required to suit up or appear on the field. This freed him to help with Ryan's plot while the other remaining members of his gang had to remain on the bench or even take part in the game. Ivan was also serving as the lookout. He was the one positioned to see if and when Alan left the stands, and his first call to Ryan as Alan headed to the bathroom had set the plot in motion.

Now he was calling a second time. He told Ryan, "He's right where we want him. Christine's still with him. They're headed to the bathroom and they're all alone. There's absolutely nobody else around."

"Good. Lure them away. Just remember, don't hurt her too much. No visible bruises if you can help it."

"Right. Hurry here!"

"I'm on it."

Ryan was almost to the boy's locker room. As soon as he hung up, he speed-dialed Rebecca, who was waiting a short distance away in the girl's locker room. She was on a number of sports teams during the year and her presence there would not seem out of place.

As she flipped open her phone, Ryan said to her, "Becky? Heather's coming. She's following me."

Rebecca replied, "Just her?"

"Yeah."

"Don't worry; I'll stall her."

He asked, "You've got the door taken care of?"

"Don't worry; I've got it."

"The door is locked, right?"

"Yes, already," Rebecca huffed.

"Good. Stall her. Do whatever it takes to keep her there. She can be very determined. And she's like a hundred feet behind me. So get ready!"

The football field was surrounded by a chain-link fence in anticipation of events where there would be a charged admission, so people couldn't sneak in or out. It so happened that there were virtually no such events, since it was a challenge to get a good crowd even for free, but nonetheless the field only had a few access points. The boy's and girl's locker rooms were one of the few ways to get through.

Heather knew this, and thought, Why would they use the locker room? That doesn't make sense! But wait... Ryan's just going to pass through. No worries, though. I'll just sneak through the girls' locker room and then follow him so I can be in the middle of the action and get the big reward. They think they're smarter than me, Heather Morgan? HA! They're so pathetic!

Sure enough, Ryan walked briskly until he got through the door of the boy's locker room. Then he broke into a run through the building and out the other side. Once he was back outside, he started running even faster as he bee-lined to the ambush spot.

Heather walked briskly until she got through the door of the girl's locker room, but then she stopped. She saw Rebecca standing there, obviously waiting for her.

Rebecca stepped forward. "Heather! I'm so glad you're here. I've got some very important information. I think my boyfriend Ryan is up to something no good, and I think I know what it is. You've got to help!" Her plan was to stall Heather for as long as possible with a false confession about Ryan.

Heather in her red cheerleader's outfit, near the shower area in the girls' locker room

Heather, however, wasn't buying it. What's Rebecca doing here? She's Ryan's girlfriend; she has to be in on this, the bitch! I don't know what "this" is just yet, but I'm gonna find out! If she thinks she can stop me, she has another thing coming. NOBODY gets in my way!

She replied brusquely, "That's nice. Tell me about it later," and started to hurry past her.

But Rebecca stepped right into Heather's path. "No! You've gotta listen. This is serious!"

Heather took a moment to assess the situation. Rebecca knows she is no match for me; after all, who is? She must be stalling for time, trying to keep me from going through the locker room. Has she blocked the doors? Probably. Shit, she could have even locked 'em! By the time I get that all worked out, Ryan'll be long gone.

So Heather just said, "This is bullshit," and hurried back out of the building.

Rebecca followed her out, calling, "Wait! Wait!" But Heather wasn't listening. She watched as Heather ran from the entrance to the girl's locker room to the nearby entrance to the boy's locker room. (In fact, it was all part of the same building, but there were no interior connections between the two sections.) She was amazed as she watched Heather open the door to the boy's locker room and rush inside.

Rebecca had no idea what Ryan was really up to because he had told her as little as possible for security reasons. All she knew was that Ryan wanted her to stall Heather, giving her the outline of a bullshit story to tell Heather, and that he had her make some fake screams which he'd recorded. She didn't even know about the feud against Alan. The taboo of going into the boy's locker room, though, was too strong for her to just rush in there, especially since she didn't know if that was what Ryan would want her to do, and she couldn't get out the other side of the girl's locker room quickly because of the obstacles she'd put in place to block Heather.

Still standing at the top of the steps leading into the girl's locker room, she pulled out her cell phone and called Ryan for further instructions. But the phone rang and rang and Ryan didn't answer.

However, Rebecca hadn't been completely unsuccessful. Heather quickly made it through the boy's locker room without seeing a soul. She burst out the other side and looked around for Ryan. But he'd had just enough of a head start to foil her: she couldn't see or hear any sign of him.

She was pissed.

But she kept her cool, and thought, Okay, where would he go? She looked around. A short distance in front of her was the heart of the school, where all the classes and administrative offices were. She knew those would all be locked up. Alan. Alan. Ryan has to be after Alan. Alan wouldn't be that way. He wouldn't be over by the parking lots, either. Where would he be? What if he went to the bathroom or something like that? Oh shit!

The spectator stands lined the west side of the football field, and there was a public bathroom just to the west of that. She broke into a fast run in that direction, keeping her eyes peeled for any signs of Ryan as she went.

However, precious time had been lost.

CHAPTER 2

Alan and Christine were making their way to the men's restroom. The stands rose up to a good height, and most of the area underneath it was unused, but covered by a concrete wall with little more than beams and rafters on the inside. The underside was, however, where men's and ladies' restrooms had been built. Alan and Christine had to walk down some steep stairs to get from the top of the stands back to ground level.

Their leaving the stands was spotted by Ivan, Ryan's teammate, who had been watching them and who immediately alerted Ryan.

Alan walked casually, noting how Christine was looking around warily and walking like she expected to get jumped from behind at any moment. I can't believe how serious Christine is about all of this. I mean, I appreciate the help, but she needs to take a chill pill. Sure, half time or after the game, we should worry. But I just saw Ryan and his whole gang sitting on the bench! Besides, we're within easy shouting distance of over a hundred people. When she gets tense like this, then I get tense. Maybe some jokes will help her relax just a bit.

He asked, "Did you hear the one about the blonde who tried to buy some orange juice?"

Christine sighed and rolled her eyes. She tried to show displeasure at Alan's blonde jokes, even though she actually liked them. "No," she replied.

Alan grinned. "She stood there at the store for two hours just staring. Do you know why?"

As smart as Christine was, she wasn't particularly good at figuring out jokes or coming up with her own on the fly. She was forced to ask, "No. Why?"

"Because the word written on the box was 'concentrate'!"

Christine groaned. But she'd figured Alan would joke like this and she had prepared some jokes of her own. As they slowly walked down the stairs so she could look around carefully, she said, "There's only one thing dumber than your dumb blondes, and that's tit men. And you know why: they're always thinking about boobs. Why, I knew this one tit man, he was so obsessed about breasts that it took him THREE HOURS to watch 60 Minutes!"

Alan laughed as they reached the bottom of the stairs. He stopped and stared hard at Christine while continuing to smile. He brought his face right up to hers, as if he was trying to intimidate her, but in fact they both knew that he was just playing around. "So. That's the way it's gonna be, huh? You're gonna fight fire with fire?"

Christine being held by the forearms, just above the elbows, so that her breasts practically push into Alan's chest

"Yep," she replied defiantly, going along with his mock tough-guy tease. Or at least she tried to act defiant, but she broke into a big smile. She knew she should be more mindful of danger in her surroundings, but she was having a hard time thinking about that when Alan's lips were so close to hers. His face was so near that his chest was pressing hard into hers. She could feel her nipples growing hard as her spongy big tits practically enveloped his muscular chest.

He thought, My God, she is actually pushing her big tits into me. Whew! This is getting hard to take. She feels so good, I want to rip her blouse open and grab her luscious melons and... No, no, I can't think like that. I have to keep her safe from my debauched lifestyle.

Still, he couldn't resist leaning in closer, pressing their chests even closer together. He teased her some more just to prolong their contact. "So every time I tell a dumb-blonde joke, you're gonna tell me a dumb-tit-man joke?"

"Yep!" She was still maintaining a defiant stance and pose, but inside she was swooning and melting. Oh my God! Is he gonna kiss me? I think he might kiss me! What if he kisses me?! What should I do?! She was contemplating closing her eyes and puckering her lips.

But all of a sudden, he just said, "Okay, fair enough," and pulled away. He'd realized that she might accidentally brush up against his growing erection, and he didn't want things to go that far.

Christine was stunned (and disappointed) by his withdrawal, and immediately looked around. She half expected a group of masked men holding baseball bats to be standing behind her, but the coast was clear. In fact, there wasn't a single person to be seen anywhere. That was dumb, she thought. I can't lose my focus! Not here, not now.

A bit more miffed at herself than at him, she barked testily, "What was THAT all about?"

He was smiling from ear to ear, greatly enjoying the contact and the banter. "What was what about?"

"All that leaning in close and practically touching noses. Was that just some kind of cheap excuse to feel my chest against yours?"

"Yep!" he admitted proudly. "After all, you said it: I'm a tit man."

"Grrr!" she stomped a few feet away huffily. But on the inside, she loved the attention. Her heart was still pounding from the near kiss. She'd always hated her over-endowment, since her breasts had always been a tremendous athletic inconvenience to her rather than an asset to be cherished, but now she was having second thoughts about that. She'd also never really thought of her breasts as powerful erogenous zones, as fingering her own nipples didn't do much for her. But now she was rethinking that, too. Her nipples were hard and even tingling, just from his verbal and visual attention.

The two of them walked in silence towards the men's room for a few paces. Christine was again wearing her intense frown of deep thought, and trying to ignore her arousal.

At this point, Alan realized he'd probably been a little too cavalier about the whole situation, given the enemies he had. Wouldn't it be ironic if I go to the bathroom and a bunch of thugs come out of nowhere and beat me up? I can't just make this problem go away by pushing it out of my mind. Maybe she's too vigilant, but I'm probably not vigilant enough. There needs to be a balance. He looked around carefully and was relieved to see that the coast was clear.

Then she muttered, "You're a hopeless case, you know that?"

"Yep!" he admitted proudly. "Did I tell you why the dumb blonde sold her car?"

"No, but hold that thought, boob brain. We're at the men's room already. Can you hurry up so we can get out of here?"

"Sheesh. Okay, fine." He was going to be sarcastic, but realized that she was just trying to help him and he should be more appreciative of that.

"Just GO already!" She tapped her foot impatiently. "And yell if you have a problem."

He couldn't help but tease her some more, "Okay. But maybe you'd better come in, just to be on the safe side. That way, I don't have to yell. And it's probably better if you hold it for me while I pee, so I can remain fully alert to any danger."

She started to blush a deep red. "You wish."

He continued to tease, "Actually, I do."

She pushed him hard in the chest, sending him a couple of feet closer to the bathroom door. "GO, already!" She pushed him mostly to get him into the bathroom before he said anything more embarrassing, and even more arousing.

He was having a fun time. He walked into the bathroom and carefully checked the stalls, because he knew that's what she would want him to do. The coast was clear. Then he walked to the urinal and started to pee. He finished quickly and washed his hands.

When he walked back out, he sighed heavily, as if he'd just completed a difficult task. "Boy, I don't know how I made it through that. Especially the hand-washing part. It was all... like... complicated!" He gesticulated wildly with his hands to emphasize his frustration. "I don't know why, but all I could think about was beautiful women with big breasts." He stared very deliberately right at Christine's rack as he said this.

She was so embarrassed she wished that the Earth would open up and swallow her whole. But at the same time, she was excited and turned on by his obvious lusty attention.

He brought one of his hands up to his hair and stroked it. "How's my hair?" he asked with concern.

"Huh?"

"Am I turning blond? I feel all blond." He put on a stupid face.

Christine guffawed at that. She was also grateful for the shift of attention from her body. She teased, "How shall I kill you, Mr. Bond? Slow and torturous or fast and painless?"

CHAPTER 3

Ryan had run by while they had been teasing and joking. Knowing where they were, he took a long route to make sure there was no way they could see him. Then he worked his way back to the building where Ivan was hiding.

Ivan stood on the far side of the building with a boom box in one hand and a cell phone in the other, occasionally peeking around the edge of the building and through some trees to check on Alan and Christine. They were over a hundred feet away. It would be extremely hard for anyone to see him during one of his occasional peeks, since he'd carefully picked this location.

Ryan reached Ivan, patting him on the shoulder.

Ivan knew what he was going to ask. As he put his cell phone away, he said, "They're still there. You got here just in time."

Ryan smiled. "Do it then. When you're ready."

That exchange had taken place while Alan was still peeing.

Once Alan was out of the restroom, Ivan decided the time was right and started playing back Rebecca's recorded screams on the boom box he was carrying. Ryan had devised a fiendish plan to lure Alan, and Christine if she was there too, into an ambush to rescue a screaming woman (or so they would think). He knew their reputation as moralistic do-gooder types and figured they couldn't resist such a chance to save a "damsel in distress."

Alan started to walk back towards the stairs leading up to the stands. "I never did tell you why the blonde sold her car. It was for the gas money... No? No laugh? I need to work on my delivery."

"Shhhh!" Christine hissed, looking all around very suspiciously.

"Wow, I must really-"

"Shut up!" she hissed. "Listen!"

Alan listened. It was faint, but he could hear the sound of screaming. Female screaming.

"You hear that?" she asked warily.

"I think so... it's gone already. Sounded like someone screaming, maybe. Could that be coming from the game?" He looked east towards the stands.

She paused, trying to listen closely. "No, I don't think so," she finally concluded. "It sounds like it's coming from that way." She pointed west.

"I think it might have been a female voice. Is it my imagination, or did you hear it again? And a bit louder now?"

In fact, he was right. Ivan had turned up the volume on the boom box a couple of times already. The plan was to make the occasional screams just loud enough to draw Alan's and Christine's attention and send them searching for the source. It would be very bad if anyone else heard.

He added, "I think we should go check it out. It sounds to me like someone in trouble."

Christine was listening closely and getting that feeling too, although it was hard to tell. When the wind picked up and rustled the leaves on nearby trees, it was impossible to hear any of the voice at all.

She looked around carefully and said, "Well, okay. We can check it out a little bit, but let's not stray too far from the stands. This could be a trap."

"It could be," he admitted as he started to walk west. "But the odds are so improbable. Ryan and his whole bunch are playing in the game right now. We know that. If it was half time, then maybe, but that could be ten or more minutes off, the way our team is running their no huddle offense."

Christine walking warily, hands swinging by her sides in half-closed fists, ready for action

The two of them walked ahead warily.

Christine was careful to make sure that she and Alan remained in the open and far from any possible ambush spots. She wondered if Alan was right and she was being too paranoid, but she kept her cell phone in her hand ready to dial, anyway. She knew the others, and especially Alan, already thought she was being way too paranoid. She had to admit to herself that Alan had a point - she had just seen with her own eyes a few minutes earlier that Ryan and his gang were safely involved with the football game.

To make matters worse, there was the incident in the boy's locker room with Ryan and Amy that turned out to be just a feint on Ryan's part. So Alan had already effectively cried wolf once, making school officials less likely to move rapidly to help.

The two of them quickly walked west a couple hundred feet until they came to a building known as The Clubhouse. The surrounding neighborhoods were wealthy, in some cases extremely so, and their school was remarkably endowed considering it was public. The Clubhouse was at the center of all the sports facilities on the west side of the football field and stands. There were tennis courts, racquetball courts, basketball courts, a volleyball court, and even a walled Olympic-size swimming pool. There was also a nearby gymnasium with indoor basketball courts, and more.

All the facilities were closed and locked for the duration of the Thanksgiving vacation, so there was no reason for anyone to be about. The parking lot was on the other side of the football field. The area was completely deserted.

Rock and Ivan had been hiding on the other side of The Clubhouse, but once they saw Alan and Christine heading towards them, they ran off to hide behind a more distant building, making sure to move at an angle so The Clubhouse would block the view of their retreat.

Staging an ambush at The Clubhouse would not do, because it was within easy sight and hearing distance of anyone who might wander from the stands to either the men's or ladies' restrooms.

Christine moved forward warily, with Alan just behind her, until she cleared the far side of The Clubhouse. She stopped and looked around. She said quietly, "I don't see anything. There's no one here. And I haven't heard any screams for a while."

"Yeah, it looks that way, and I haven't heard any, either," he admitted. "But the sound could have been coming from maybe inside one of the tennis courts. Or racquetball courts." He pointed in one direction. "Or maybe from inside the pool area." He pointed in another direction.

"Maybe," she said as she carefully walked around The Clubhouse until she'd nearly circumnavigated it. "But it's been a while. Maybe whatever it was is over."

Alan listened carefully. In fact, the boom box had been turned off while Ivan and Ryan moved to a new position where they couldn't be seen, so even the occasional distant scream had come to a halt. But just as Alan was about to agree with Christine that he didn't hear anything either, Ivan turned the boom box back on. Again, the goal was to make the scream just barely loud enough for their two victims to hear.

"Wait! There it is again," Alan finally said. "It's still coming from that way, I think." He pointed west again.

Christine nodded, and said, "It could be off the school grounds." About two hundred feet ahead, the fence bounding the school property could be seen, plus an undeveloped canyon beyond it.

"Could be," he admitted, "but we should check it out just the same. That's not just some kids playing; that sounds like someone in serious trouble."

Driven by curiosity, and still afraid of crying wolf, she decided, "Let's go a little bit further and then call for help if we still can't figure it out. It could still be nothing. Or maybe it's a couple of lovers doing the deed."

The more Alan thought about it, the more it made sense to him that it could be a woman crying out in ecstasy, not in pain. That eased his worries a lot, and he relaxed enough to joke, "'Doing the deed'? What do you mean, a couple of real estate developers signing papers?"

She rolled her eyes at him and made clear with her disapproving face that he should be quiet so they could listen for the screaming.

He decided it would be wise to shut up. He knew this was a potentially very serious situation, but teasing Christine was so much fun that he couldn't help himself. I've got to try harder. Christine's really trying her best, and she cares. She cares about protecting me and even about protecting strangers. Sure, it was probably just a couple of lovers sneaking off, but what if I'm wrong? He sighed happily, despite the strange situation. That's one thing I absolutely love about her - she inspires me to strive to be a better person.

They could still hear the occasional screaming, although both of them were beginning to wonder why it was no louder than when they'd first detected it. It was still just barely audible.

Christine pointed out they could be moving parallel to it instead of directly towards it, which would explain why it wasn't getting louder. (In fact, Ivan and Ryan had moved positions yet again, drawing them further away from the stands and the football field.)

Much of the area around them was open ground where it was impossible for anyone to hide. For instance, the bicycle racks were to the north, as was the teacher / staff parking lot, and the odds of anyone hiding that way were low.

To the west were the swimming pool, tennis courts, racquetball courts, and more. There were lots of potential places to hide, so they found themselves drifting that way.

Alan pointed out, "You know, if it was a couple of lovers sneaking off for a quickie, they might be doing that inside one of the tennis courts or racquetball courts. Normally that would be way risky, but look how deserted everything is." The green fences around the tennis courts would provide some cover, but even better were the racquetball courts, which were surrounded by concrete walls.

The screaming was starting to get a little bit louder as they got closer to the racquetball courts, though still very intermittent. The two of them were walking quite briskly now. If it was just a couple of lovers, they wanted to confirm that quickly and get back to the safety of the stands. But if it wasn't, they didn't want to be creeping about while a woman was potentially being raped or otherwise attacked.

The distances they'd walked were not vast, and it had only been about a minute or so since they'd started to chase after the mysterious screams.

CHAPTER 4

The two of them came to the west side of the racquetball courts, because the screams sounded a bit louder over there. They were nearly at the edge of the school grounds now, a fact that made Christine a bit antsy. She had her cell phone out and was mulling over whom she might dial. But she decided instead to investigate further and put the cell phone back in her pocket.

There was a sizable gap between the west edge of the racquetball courts and the chain-link fence bounding the school. The fence itself was hidden from view by a line of tall bushes, as was the arroyo that lay just beyond the fence, outside the school boundary. Anything might be going on out there unseen, beyond the fence.

aerial view of the area where the fight occurs

Alan and Christine made it close enough to the fence to look to the south, all the way down the corridor alongside the racquetball courts, almost to the southwest corner of the school property. They expected to see just a twelve-foot-wide access corridor for maintenance and emergency vehicles, with a shed for grounds maintenance equipment at the far end and a tall, bushy thuja tree (also known as arborvita) along the fence near the shed.

They both stopped and stared in shock. There, beyond the tree, stood an enormous man with a beard. He was raising his fist up high and then swinging it down, although they couldn't tell who or what he was hitting, since he was at the other end of the corridor and whatever he was doing was mostly hidden by the tree.

The other thing they noticed immediately was that the sound of female screaming, which had become much louder once they'd passed the corner of the racquetball courts, was coming from near the man. The obvious conclusion was that the man was assaulting some woman.

This seemed so obvious that neither Alan nor Christine felt the need to point it out to the other. They both realized that the man was a stranger: not only did they not recognize him, but he didn't even look to be of high school age. Even though he was a good ways off, they could tell that he was big, as big as their football team's linemen, maybe bigger, and his thick black beard showed that he wasn't anyone from their school, since no-one there, staff or student, had a beard like that.

They guessed that he had climbed over the fence to enter the school grounds, perhaps found a high school girl wandering around, and then dragged her to just about the most remote spot in the school to rape her.

Neither Alan nor Christine considered that this might have anything to do with the football players; they assumed that they'd just happened to stumble across what was obviously an extremely serious situation. It was clear that they had no time to waste - every second counted for the poor girl.

The giant was only pretending to beat a woman, knowing that the bushes would conceal from Alan and Christine that he was just striking air. His name was Aaron, and he was Ryan's ace in the hole: a teenager who attended Rock's new high school, but was freakishly large for a high school student. He was six feet six and 300 pounds, with a full beard, all of which made him look much older. He was also a bully and known to take money in order to beat people up.

Earlier that morning, when Ryan had scrambled to come up with a plot that they could pull off that same day, he liked the idea of surprising Alan during the football game the best. He knew that Rock was so keen on getting revenge on Alan that Rock would be eager to pay Aaron to guarantee their success.

The attackers' objective was simple: beat Alan to a pulp and intimidate him and Christine into silence with the threat of another, more vicious, attack on Alan if they told people what had happened. All of them but Ryan had arranged alibis so that, even if Christine and Alan did squawk, it would be their word, as known friends, against the football players and their friends. They thought the difficult part would be in arranging the ambush, with the actual fighting just requiring the trouncing of a "nerd" and a "girl."

The plan was simply to scare the bejesus out of Christine rather than actually hurt her in any way. If she were badly beaten, then she and Alan could go to the authorities and her wounds would back up their accounts; if she were uninjured, then it would be a simple case of "he said, she said," and, since it was known that she was a close friend of Alan's, her claims would hold little weight. The fact she and Alan had already cried wolf over Amy a few days earlier would make their word even more suspect.

Sketch of the long corridor and the area where their attackers are hiding, with markings showing initial placement and long paths of movement

The tree that partially hid the giant extended about five feet from the fence, not far from a maintenance equipment shed. The shed itself, which was at the extreme corner of the school property, was beyond the giant; it extended across the full width of the corridor down which they were running, and then some. The giant was somewhere between the obscuring tree and bushes and that shed, perhaps a little more distant than the end of the racquetball courts, but from where Alan and Christine were they could not see the ground near him or tell what he was doing.

Ivan and Rock were hiding behind that same tree, across from the southwest corner of the racquetball courts, close to Aaron but out of sight. Ivan had the task of watching through the bushes near the tree for Alan's approach, to cue Rock on when to have Aaron charge at Alan.

Ryan had hidden in the bushes along the fence at the other end of the corridor, behind where Alan and Christine had been standing when they'd first caught sight of Aaron, so that he could cut them off if they didn't take the bait. He waited until they had moved into the narrow corridor before starting quietly after them, staying close to the bushes to make his pursuit less obvious. He was still wearing his football pads, though not his helmet. If they decided to turn around before reaching Aaron and the others, he was there to intercept and hold them so that they couldn't escape.

Ryan's gang had emptied the shed of much of its maintenance equipment in an attempt to set up a barricade that would block the eastern exit from that area along the south wall of the courts. It wasn't much of a barricade, but it would slow down anyone who attempted to run away, permitting them to be attacked from behind.

Alan and Christine saw the giant look up at them. He grinned and straightened up, pretending to drag something.

Alan took a quick look at Christine, saw the horror in her eyes, and started to run down the corridor towards the giant. He had no idea what he could do when he got there, but he intended to do whatever he could.

Christine was also about to break into a run. There was no time to make a call on her cell phone, so she briefly turned towards the stands and screamed at the top of her lungs. She wanted to do more to alert their friends back at the game, but hoped that her scream would be better than nothing.

This was the same piercing scream that Susan and Suzanne and others heard as they were already leaving the stands to search for Alan.

Alan looked back, understood what she was trying to do with the scream, and kept running.

After her scream, she also started to run. She really didn't like the fact that Alan was in front of her, but there was nothing she could do about it now except run as fast as she could and try to pass him.

Ryan and his gang also heard the scream but misinterpreted it. They took it for a sign that Christine was scared shitless, causing them to disregard her as a factor even more than before.

Their opinions would have been a pleasant surprise to Christine, who was confident that she could stop the giant cold, and rescue the girl if she wasn't already mortally injured or dead.

Christine in a tight Spandex outfit, overtaking and running past Alan

Christine was a tremendous athlete. Even though Alan had gotten a head start while she had paused to scream, she soon passed to his left and kept pulling away from him.

She was very unhappy at charging headlong into danger, but felt like she had no choice since there was no way she could get Alan to slow down without risking hurting him. Besides, she thought there was an innocent girl in danger, so even a few seconds delay might make a difference in her fate.

Alan marveled at Christine as she went by. But then he returned his focus to the giant, who was looming larger and larger in his field of vision, and got a very bad feeling.

He thought, Shit! Look at that guy! He's just standing there, grinning! And he's huge! HUGE!

Alan's pulse rate and blood pressure spiked as his brain released more adrenaline. He'd been pushed around and punched at in recent weeks, but this would be his first-ever real fight. He thought he was being brave trying to help a rape victim against such a formidable giant of a man. But with Christine by his side, with her martial arts training, he figured they'd be able to at least stop the rape. His vision narrowed as he focused on the threat and turned his run into a charge.

CHAPTER 5

Christine approached the tree, with Alan some twenty feet behind her. When she was able to see past the tree, she saw that there was no abused woman near the giant, and in fact no woman whatsoever. She yelled, "IT'S A TRAP!"

Then someone behind the tree yelled "TAKE HIM!" to the Goliath waiting ahead.

The giant charged straight at Alan, bringing him near Christine's own line of advance.

Suddenly it seemed to Alan that things were happening in slow motion. The giant ahead was coming at him fast, arms up, head and shoulders down and legs pumping in a surprisingly quick sprint.

Alan felt helpless, like he was in a nightmare fleeing from some threat but could only move slowly. He no longer had time to ponder how they had been foolish enough to fall into a trap, how many enemies they might be facing, or how to escape. In the blink of an eye, his heroic effort to save someone had turned into utter disaster. His courage evaporated. For a moment he had a terrible image of himself bloodied and battered, forced to watch while a gang of vicious thugs raped a defeated Christine. All he wanted to do was get out of there, but that wasn't an option. His vision narrowed to the monster charging at him as he frantically struggled to avoid being splattered instantly like a bug smeared on a windshield.

The primitive survival instincts of millennia of human evolution kicked in. Without conscious thought, Alan braked and turned, skidding as he did so, trying to dodge behind the nearby tree to avoid being crushed by the giant who was now sprinting toward him. If he could get behind the tree, then the giant would have to slow to make the turn, at least reducing the force of any subsequent impact.

Christine wasn't nearly as concerned as Alan by the trap. Unlike him, she knew how capable she was in her chosen martial art. She had some butterflies, because she'd never been in a real fight before, but she figured she could take on a small gang of opponents without difficulty, provided that they didn't have comparable or better martial arts training. Since she knew that thugs usually didn't have the discipline for such training, that didn't worry her; she was much more concerned that they might have weapons: a knife or a gun would be a problem. Although she had trained in how to defeat someone with such a weapon, provided that it was at close range, that would raise everyone's risk of serious injury substantially. She was more worried for Alan than for herself, and would have been happier if she were facing their assailants alone: trying to keep Alan safe complicated matters.

She saw that the behemoth was going to pass her, making it obvious that Alan was the intended victim. She decided that wasn't going to happen.

She ran on for a moment, then suddenly accelerated, leaping in the air in an arc that would carry her past the giant at the precise moment that she needed.

When Christine had seen the huge man charge at Alan, her immediate impulse had been to incapacitate him permanently so that he couldn't attack anyone else, disabling him with a single savage kick deep into his right knee, like breaking a board, turning his cartilage and ligaments into bloody hamburger. She certainly wasn't going to let him hurt Alan.

But just before her leap she'd realized that she was letting her anger override her Aikido training, which emphasized harmony and love of all beings. Like her role-model, Wonder Woman, Christine didn't need to hospitalize the giant to make sure that Alan wasn't harmed, so she'd revised her countering strike to not cause such massive damage by jumping slightly later and more forcefully, so that her kick would impact just above the behemoth's knee rather than penetrating it, delivering what Bruce Lee called a "timed stop hit." Also like her role model, she'd used her incredible figure to distract him.

Christine in a tight Spandex outfit in mid-air, leaping with right leg leading and arms held high, away from her body

Aaron saw her leap, sensing that she would pass near but miss him. His eyes were drawn to her enormous breasts, which were continuing to rise and pull away from her chest as she started to descend. All other thought left his brain as his body continued on autopilot.

Christine's leap was timed to descend next to Aaron just as his right leg needed to come off the ground. Kicking diagonally downward as she closed on him, she transferred virtually all of her kinetic energy into his sprinting right thigh just above his almost-straight knee, momentarily pinning his trailing foot to the ground with the momentum of her descent and the kick from her strong leg muscles.

As she kicked, she shrieked the kiai battle cry she'd been taught, both to distract her opponent and to focus all her energy into the point of contact. The result was instantaneous.

Aaron was startled out of his trance by her penetrating alto cry, followed immediately by the impact of her kick. What the fuck? In an instant he realized what she had done, and that he was about to hit the ground very hard. Her expertly-timed pin of his trailing right leg had caused his body to twist sideways so much that his left shoe could not gain traction. At the same time, his overall momentum pulled his body away from her, breaking their contact. Since he'd already been in a deep forward lean for his sprint, he literally came down as if he'd been pole-axed, striking the ground in quarter-profile on his left side.

He automatically tucked in his chin as he started to fall, as all football players are taught to do to minimize head and neck injury. That trained reaction caused his forehead to hit the ground first. Because he wasn't wearing a helmet the impact knocked him out. For an instant he slid on the side of his face as the rest of his body collapsed. A small rock tore his cheek, which started bleeding profusely. At the same time, the sideways motion of his upper leg, imparted by Christine's angled kick, flipped him onto his back, halting his slide mere seconds after her leap.

As with their previous fights, Ryan's plan had been to beat Alan and intimidate both him and Christine. Rock and Ivan sprang from their hiding place when they saw Aaron sprint by. They expected to grab and subdue a cowering Christine, so they were chortling at her presumed cry of terror. By the time they cleared the tree, Aaron's body had already skidded to a stop.

The tree had blocked their view of Christine's explosive counter, so they were dumbfounded when they saw the motionless form on the ground. They both thought, What the hell?! A short, confused advance brought them near Aaron's head, where they saw the blood all over his cheek. They couldn't believe what they were seeing. Rock found himself wondering, Holy shit! What happened to him?!

A look at their opponents provided some clarity. Alan, standing at a distance on the other side of Aaron, looked as bewildered as they were. He'd never been in a fight before and it showed. He was still trying to comprehend what had just happened, how they'd fallen into such an obvious trap, and what he should be doing about it at that moment.

Christine in a tight, form-hugging Spandex outfit, in a martial-arts-like ready stance

In contrast, Christine was facing them all in an alert and obviously well-practiced martial arts stance. She looked confident, unfazed by whatever had occurred.

It dawned on Rock as he looked again at Aaron's still body, She must have done this! Ivan reached the same conclusion. They were blown away that Christine - a mere girl! - had taken Aaron out. He was built like a brick wall and supposedly had never lost a fight. They wondered how she had scored such a freak lucky hit.

She certainly didn't appear to be a threat; she looked hot and sexy! Both attackers had a hard time staring at anything other than her incredible huge lycra-clad breasts, which were heaving up and down as she breathed deeply. They couldn't believe that anyone so busty could be a significant fighting opponent, though they knew vaguely from school that she was involved in some sports.

Rock leaned down to check Aaron. The wound on his cheek was small but bleeding significantly, making it look much more serious than it really was.

"Jesus!" Rock exclaimed as he brought his hand down to feel the extent of the damage. "You okay?"

Aaron's eyes were closed and he failed to respond, though he was obviously still breathing.

Ivan hovered nearby, keeping a wary eye on Christine. They were focusing on Aaron's facial wound because it was bleeding a lot. They couldn't imagine any way to take him out that would leave him on his back head-first in the direction of his charge. The more they thought about it, the more puzzled they were about what had occurred. Since they hadn't seen the encounter, they had no idea how he'd been taken down so abruptly and assumed that he must have just been phenomenally unlucky.

Closeup sketch with markings showing Christine's intercept of Aaron and continuing paths of movement near the shed and the tree

When Christine kicked the giant, the impact sent her tumbling diagonally away from her prior path, into a well-practiced forward breakfall roll that provided a safe landing, where she deliberately retained just enough momentum to bring her to her feet. Her cell phone fell victim to this maneuver, getting crushed from the impact when she came to rest on the back pocket where it was being carried.

That left her standing facing the shed, so she turned to confront their attackers. Her outthrust chest increased both her testosterone production and her lung capacity, priming her to take on anyone while also ensuring that they would be mightily distracted. She brought her breath under control, to the slow, deep, tactical-breathing pace she had been taught to use in combat. Her elbow was hurting, leading her to realize that she must have struck a rock during her breakfall roll.

She assessed the situation swiftly. Alan was just in sight behind the tree. Some distance from him was the prone giant, whose immobility told her that he was 'down for the count.' To her right, she saw the hastily assembled barricade blocking off that access. In front of her, Rock and Ivan were edging toward the downed body and, still some distance away, Ryan was running up the corridor toward them all.

She realized that her years of training to defend against real predators had more than prepared her for this little dustup: these bullying football jocks were going to learn a lesson. The ones still standing were schoolmates, so she would restrict her technique to things that would be unlikely to seriously injure them, even though that decision placed much of her repertoire off limits.

Alan was undecided whether to fight or flee. His instincts screamed that he needed to flee, and he probably would have if Christine hadn't looked so confident and in control. He'd realized in recent weeks that he was a lover, not a fighter; if she had looked worried, he probably would have panicked. Instead he drew inspiration from her and resolved to fight with her to the end, even though he expected them to lose and take a beating.

When the giant started running directly at him, Alan's adrenaline had spiked so much that he'd lost all external awareness. He hadn't heard the distant command of "Take him!" He didn't see Christine accelerate and leap. The threat of the giant was so all-consuming that he didn't even register the man's crash to earth.

Alan's fear had been so great that he was lucky he hadn't shit his pants. He tried desperately to catch his breath, because his adrenaline spike had momentarily shut down many of his body's systems. As his blood pressure dropped, his higher brain functions again began to operate. He realized that he somehow hadn't been "crushed like a bug," and began to recover partially from his panicky fear. His breathing was so heavy as he tried to suck in oxygen that he couldn't hear anything else.

Alan's own assessment initially included only the fallen giant. Whoa! That guy is down? What a lucky break! What happened to him?!

He saw Rock and another football player from school cautiously approach the giant from his far side, coming up to his head. Then Rock said something to the giant and bent down to touch him.

Alan saw Christine off in the distance, beyond the prone giant. He thought, Thank God she escaped that monster too! He was still so out of it that he didn't realize that she must have been responsible for the behemoth's condition. Besides, like the others, he was fooled by her appearance and his ignorance of how effective martial arts could be. It just didn't seem possible that a girl who looked like she did could fell such an enormous guy in an instant.

Christine took a moment to recover from her counterattack. Now that it had succeeded, she was shaking slightly in relief as her momentary adrenaline surge subsided. She thought, Geez, it actually worked! Although she knew that her extensive training had prepared her for such actions, she'd never before been tested in unexpected combat. Now she began to feel those first-time jitters in the aftermath of her first serious contact with a real-life aggressor.

She looked to see how immediate a threat the others were to Alan, and concluded that he wasn't in imminent danger - Rock was focused on the downed giant, Ivan was trying to look at both the guy on the ground and her, and Ryan, who could reach Alan first, had eyes only for her.

She shook herself out of her post-contact fugue. She focused on Rock and Ivan, who were closest to Alan, and on Ryan, who was obviously coming straight for her.

CHAPTER 6

Closeup sketch with markings showing Christine dealing one at a time with Ryan, Ivan and Rock

Ryan had been trotting to the ambush site some distance behind Alan and Christine, staying close to the bushes so that they wouldn't see his pursuit. This caused him to miss Aaron's takedown, because the tree and Alan ended up blocking his view of Christine's sudden, violent attack.

When he saw that Aaron was motionless and that Rock and Ivan were just standing around, he got pissed. At least Alan and Christine were trapped in this corner of the schoolyard with nowhere to go. He'd heard that Christine had some martial arts training, so he decided that she needed to be taken out immediately; they could pound Alan afterward.

He accelerated into a sprint, going near the racquetball courts to avoid the others and get a clear shot at Christine, intending to slam into her with his football pads and immobilize her. At the same time he yelled, "Ivan, help me with Christine! Let Rock handle Alan."

Christine was in her 'fight mode', assessing everything quickly and rapidly, choosing her next action without emotion or self-reflection. She barely broke stride as Ryan rushed toward her, instead driving almost straight into him while extending her arm out to the side to lead his reaching hand away from his body. Simultaneously, her other hand rose up from between them, starting near his waist, shooting toward his neck while avoiding his shoulder pads.

This was not the reaction Ryan had expected to his charge. His time sense slowed while he closely tracked that nearer hand, which seemed ready to assault his neck. It did not, but moved lightly past, merely brushing his skin, and then drove sharply back and down. Next thing he knew, he was landing flat on his butt, with the fall mostly cushioned by his pads.

She'd stiffened that arm while at the same moment moving from her hips diagonally forward under his extended arm and past his body, sweeping his shoulders backward, behind his hips, unbalancing him and letting gravity do the rest. His focus on the hand that seemingly was assaulting his neck had let her lead his mind, which led his body - a basic Aikido technique that not even a trained mind could resist. He hadn't stopped her; in fact he'd barely slowed her advance toward Rock and Alan.

It was at that point that Ivan arrived. He tried grabbing both her arms.

She responded almost automatically, as a result of years of training, by stepping into him with her right arm coming down above his left while her left arm rose up underneath his right, at the same moment that she diverted right to sidestep him on the side of the descending arm.

This forced him to twist sideways while her dual, opposing arm motions split his attention. He found himself taking a dive along the plane of his descending arm, on the receiving end of an Aikido takedown throw.

She disconnected from him as he tumbled past her, which left him rolling away, attempting to protect his head from impact.

When Ryan called Ivan away to help with Christine, Alan suddenly realized, Hey, Rock is ignoring me! He's just bending over that giant dude. He realized that Rock was alone and vulnerable now that the other football player was gone. He might be able to help Christine and take out one of their attackers. Alan's adrenaline surged again. He's the guy behind this attack! This is my chance! Get him!

With that, Alan charged around the giant's head, straight toward Rock.

Although Rock stood up and turned when he saw Alan approach, his astonishment at actually being attacked by an intended victim let Alan get in the first blow, which was to Rock's jaw.

Unfortunately, Alan didn't know what he was doing, so that his blow ended up hurting his own knuckles more than Rock's jaw. Then they were at such close quarters that the two of them could only trade body blows. Rock hit Alan hard in the chest and arms. Alan quickly found himself on the defensive.

Christine was dismayed when she saw that Alan had run over to Rock and started fighting. Although she appreciated Alan's bravery in trying to help, in fact it just made things more difficult for her; now she would have to defeat their three remaining opponents without maiming them while simultaneously trying to keep Alan from getting hurt.

She started to move hurriedly towards Alan and Rock, but at that moment Ryan was on her again.

Christine in her tight Spandex outfit, with her right hand raised in a fist and her left elbow ready for a backward strike, with a big guy wearing football pads coming up behind her left side

Ryan had scrambled to his feet and rushed at Christine while she was still dealing with Ivan. She saw him coming and raised her fists, making it difficult for him to anticipate her next move.

Christine knew that Ryan was the one who had attacked Alan in the stairwell. His instructions to Ivan a few moments earlier showed that he was coordinating this attack as well.

She was sorely tempted to teach him a lesson while taking him out of the fight for good, jamming her elbow into his solar plexus before pivoting rapidly and using her hip muscles to power the heel of her other hand at maximal speed and force diagonally upward against his jaw, snapping his head backward and sideways in a corkscrew motion to concuss him and give him whiplash. But she held back, because she had decided to avoid seriously injuring her schoolmates.

He grabbed both her wrists from behind, using his stronger muscles and greater weight to pull her arms behind her, figuring that might incapacitate her.

She had let him grab her like that because it would give her the opportunity to dominate him psychologically so completely that he would have to realize the futility of fighting with her. (She would not realize until later how much her Wonder Woman fixation had influenced this dangerous decision to let her hands be pulled behind her back.)

As soon as Ryan pulled her wrists together behind her, she grabbed his now-adjacent left wrist with her right hand, then spun to the right, clockwise, while bending her left wrist upward. Her whole-body motion, originating in her hips, pried her left hand out of his grip as she continued turning, because her wrist grab had coupled his pin of her right wrist to his own left arm, making it impossible for him to hang onto her left wrist as she spun in place.

As she completed the turn, facing him, she brought her now freed left hand into play. She grabbed his left hand which her right hand still held at the wrist, bent his fingers in on themselves in a manner that torqued his wrist, then used her hips to apply irresistible leverage, forcing him to turn sideways to her and fall on his back to prevent her from dislocating his wrist or elbow. In doing this she was very careful to align and control her movement correctly, because she knew that a mistake in this technique could tear his wrist and elbow ligaments or spiral-fracture his forearm.

Ryan thought, Geez, she's strong! It was all basic Aikido, pitting her hip muscles plus gravity against his much weaker arm joints. He didn't know the one non-obvious move that could counter her attack.

Once he was on the ground, Christine walked his captive arm rapidly around his head while still holding it up, opening his shoulder and forcing him to roll over onto his stomach. Pressing down on the back of his hand, she put more pressure on his bent, twisted wrist and (through his locked arm) his now-vulnerable shoulder, demonstrating who was in control. She pressed gently but with increasing firmness until his concern that she would dislocate or break one of those joints overcame his determination to not give in. Very reluctantly, he had no choice but to submit. He cried out, "STOP! I GIVE!"

It was only at that point that she relented, releasing the pressure. To disengage, she placed his hand in the middle of his back (so that he couldn't grab for her), then rapidly stepped away. Once again, his pads hadn't protected him at all.

After taking Ryan down a second time, Christine moved hurriedly toward Rock and Alan, who were still fighting. She was frustrated, because putting Ryan down in such a dominating way while avoiding seriously hurting him had taken a few valuable seconds, and meanwhile Alan was getting punched. She was confident that she could defeat their aggressors, but she didn't want Alan to get seriously injured in the process.

Ivan was on his feet again in time to see the conclusion of Ryan's second attack. He felt that there wasn't much point in going after her again by himself after what he'd just seen her do to Ryan, and whatever had happened earlier to Aaron, so he followed her but kept his distance, hoping that she might offer a better opportunity when she was preoccupied with someone else.

CHAPTER 7

Alan and Rock had been going at it while Christine dealt with Ryan's second attack. Rock, who was heavier than Alan, understood the advantage of having a clear field for action. He had moved them both away from Aaron's downed body and further from Christine, back toward the racquetball courts.

Rock's presence made it clear to Alan that this fight was about Heather. Alan felt somewhat guilty for 'taking' Heather away from the quarterback, even though it was really Heather who had taken herself to Alan. But he had insisted that she dump Rock publicly, without considering the likely consequences to himself of that action. Now he was seeing one result of his being so mean and thoughtless.

Alan figured that Heather's dumping Rock had been partly Rock's fault. He suspected that Rock had been too dense and uncaring to be concerned about Heather's pleasure, so left himself open to being replaced by a better lover. So in a way Alan was also hitting Rock for Heather when they fought. Along with the need for self-defense, now that he had attacked Rock, those reasons motivated him to slug away as best he could. In doing so he was able to take out his anger at the football players, and particularly at both Rock and Heather for them putting him in this situation.

Like Alan, Rock was also an inexperienced fighter, because he'd always had his bigger buddies fight for him. As a result, up to this point their blows hadn't done much damage, producing just bruises and scuffed knuckles. However, Rock's greater weight and strength were wearing Alan down; Alan was becoming winded and definitely beginning to suffer.

He began to regret his spur-of-the-moment decision to attack Rock. Fighting for real was a lot harder and more tiring than he had imagined, way beyond what it looked like in the movies. He guessed that it might be easier and more automatic if he knew what he was doing. Or if he had super-quick reactions like Peter Parker (Spiderman). But he didn't, so all he could do was try to hit Rock while not absorbing too many hard blows himself.

The big problem was, he couldn't pause for breath or Rock would be all over him. So he had no alternative except to keep slugging away, even though his blows were becoming more half-hearted and less effective (if that were possible) as he tired.

Somewhere during this time he detached enough from the immediacy of fighting to wonder how Christine was doing. He wished he could help her, but he had more than he could handle just with Rock. He had an increasing dread that this was not going to end up well.

As an experienced quarterback, Rock always tried to maintain a tactical view of the field. He had purposely positioned himself while fighting Alan so he could keep an eye on what was happening with his buddies. He had seen Christine repeatedly blow through them while coming toward where he and Alan were fighting, so he prepared himself for her arrival.

Because Rock had kept Alan with his back to Christine, Alan was unaware of her approach. He had not seen how effectively she had dispatched her blockers while coming to his aid, so he had no idea that he was about to be rescued.

Christine in her tight Spandex outfit, leg high after a snap-kick to someone's head

As Christine closed on the two of them, she saw that Rock was watching her, so she feinted a high snap-kick to his head, expecting him to dodge. He did, and backed off as rapidly as he could because of what had happened to Aaron and what he'd seen her do to Ryan and Ivan.

Alan didn't react when Christine suddenly appeared in front of him. She had to grab and shake him to disrupt his focus on fighting Rock and get his attention. His first response was "Whuh?" He had been so preoccupied with fighting Rock, and had become so worn out from the effort, that he didn't immediately grasp what was happening.

She said, "Alan! Move! I can handle them. I need you to go make a path through the barricade."

She was concerned that one of the other attackers might get to Alan if she were to have him retreat down the long, wide corridor with her attempting to defend them both. Since her prime goal was to make sure that Alan didn't get seriously hurt, she decided that he would be safer if they got away from their attackers by opening a narrow path through the barricade, because she could defend that opening while he found some witnesses whose presence would stop the attack. That would also provide a task to occupy him, getting him off the field of battle.

Alan nodded. He was grateful that she had given him some way to contribute to the outcome that didn't require him to know how to fight. He was also glad that this would let him catch his breath after fighting with Rock.

She escorted him firmly but gently around the corner of the racquetball courts, toward the barricade.

By this time Ryan was again on his feet. He called for Rock and Ivan to huddle with him, to develop a play that would let them incapacitate Christine.

Since she had no desire to hurt her schoolmates, she simply positioned herself between where they were talking and where Alan was clearing the barricade. If they stayed away she would leave them alone, but if they returned to the attack she would stop them.

Christine was calm and utterly confident, waiting with some slight amusement to see what their attackers might do. Now that Alan was out of harm's way and the others had lost the element of surprise, she knew that taking care of them would be pretty straightforward, even though it would undoubtedly be a three-on-one fight.

By calling for a huddle, Ryan again confirmed that he was their leader. Since her earlier takedown and his ensuing forced admission of defeat had obviously not deterred him, she decided that he merited another, more extreme lesson. She was starting to get pissed at his obstinate persistence.

Ryan, Ivan, and Rock broke their huddle and tried to come at her simultaneously from three directions at once. Ryan, who was wearing football pads, took the center slot, with Ivan on her left and Rock on her right. Since they didn't know much about martial arts, they thought that it would be straightforward to confuse her with their three-way attack and grab and hold her.

Christine smiled inwardly at this opportunity. Much of her Aikido training had been in randori, the practice of defending against multiple simultaneous attackers. The key elements were to separate the attackers momentarily, dealing with each rapidly, individually, and above all to keep moving no matter what.

She saw how she could arrange her counterattack to deliver Ryan's lesson. With her right hand raised threateningly, she moved directly toward the gap between Ivan and Ryan, apparently ready to strike either of them, making it hard for them to deduce her intent. At the last moment she darted round outside Ivan, sliding her descending right arm along the top of his grabbing right arm, forcing him to twist away from her as she passed him. They both turned to face each other, at which point she repeated the technique that had taken Ryan down earlier, with her right arm guiding Ivan's shoulders back and dropping him on his butt as she moved between him and Ryan.

This maneuver brought her left side immediately in front of Ryan, who grabbed her near arm as she had expected. She pivoted to face him, bringing her now-unoccupied right hand diagonally up in the narrow space between them, to Ryan's right shoulder. Once above his shoulder, her hand slashed sideways at his neck, delivering a percussive advanced-Aikido "blade strike" to the nerve receptors of his carotid sinus, located next to his carotid artery.

The precisely-delivered shock to this critical nerve plexus triggered a physiological response known as carotid sinus syncope: his arteries lost muscle tonus and dilated while his heart output dropped, causing his blood pressure to plummet precipitously, leading to momentary unconsciousness. As his grip relaxed and his body collapsed he toppled over away from her, propelled in part by her blow.

In Aikido practice she would have supported her sparring partner after such a strike. This time Christine pushed Ryan away instead, then held his arm to retard his fall enough to avoid a serious head injury as he crashed to earth unconscious, with only his football pads to cushion the impact.

She looked for Rock, to take him down, and saw that he had instead headed for Alan, despite Ryan's tasking him to grab Christine. This was due to Rock's rage: from his viewpoint, Alan had cuckolded him and stolen Heather from him in a very public, humiliating way, so this was extremely personal.

Closeup sketch with markings showing Christine tasking Ryan and dealing with the 3-on-1

Rock and Alan had just started trading blows again when Christine arrived. Using a one-handed variant of Aikido pain holds and joint locks taught to law enforcement officers around the world, she reached out and grabbed Rock's arm at the wrist, compressing his skin just enough with her thumb and encircling forefinger to deny his brain the lead time needed to counteract her next move.

Using a precisely-applied torquing grip, she forced two specific bones in his wrist to move unnaturally against each other, causing their surface nerves to scream in unfamiliar agony, while at the same time her encircling finger pinched another nerve on the outside of his arm against a bone. The pain was excruciating, apparently forewarning of major bodily injury, and thus commanded his total attention.

The same Aikido technique also locked up Rock's wrist and elbow joints while forcing his shoulder to roll inward, making it impossible for him to wrest his arm from her grasp. (The resulting control without injury that it provides is one reason why military police favor that hold.)

Although Rock was now completely focused on his forearm and what she was doing to it, Christine's wrist technique had been so quick and unobtrusive, and the resulting movement of Rock's forearm had been so small, that Alan didn't catch on that the situation had just changed, so he hit Rock again, this time connecting with Rock's now-undefended face near his eye. It was a hard enough blow that Rock would sport a big shiner for days.

Christine was surprised by that, then realized that Alan didn't know enough about close-contact fighting to understand the implications of her seemingly innocuous grip on Rock's wrist. She said, "Alan, don't hit Rock when he can't defend himself."

Alan was startled and apologetic when he figured out that she must somehow be controlling Rock. "Sorry. I didn't know..."

Christine shifted to a two-hand grip to better manage Rock. She forced him onto his tiptoes, locking his shoulder joint in the process, then used his arm as a lever to make him move in the direction she wanted. His brain would not permit more pressure where she was forcing the bones in his wrist together; with his wrist, elbow and shoulder all under her control, he had no choice but to follow her lead and do whatever it took to minimize that unfamiliar, agonizing bone-on-bone pain.

During this encounter, which had taken only a few seconds, Ivan had gotten back on his feet and moved toward the fighting. As he approached she forced Rock, whom she was still holding on tiptoe, to move backward toward him. She kept Rock between them, allowing Ivan to see that Rock was completely helpless.

Ivan got the message: she could do the same to any of them. He was stunned. Just moments earlier they'd had a seemingly enormous three-on-one advantage. Where had that gone? He mentally cursed Rock for ruining their plan. (Had he been less of a brick he might have realized, from everything he'd seen, that they were facing a well-trained fighter against whom they'd probably never stood a chance.)

Ryan had regained consciousness and was trying somewhat unsteadily to get to his feet, so she forced Rock to back up into him, making the two of them collide. Then she released her grip on Rock's wrist.

Christine decided that the situation was stable, with their attackers milling around and not about to charge at them immediately. So she moved back toward Alan, staying between him and the others, and reached into her pocket for her cell phone.

She intended to have Alan call in their location and get some witnesses whose presence would help end the confrontation. When she pulled out her phone, she saw that it was smashed. She decided to yell again, to help Suzanne and the others find them. "HELP! SOMEONE HELP! BY THE RACQUETBALL COURTS, NEAR THE SHED!"

That puzzled her three opponents, whom she'd been blocking pretty effectively without any outside help. Ryan wondered whether her yelling was to get witnesses.

Alan's hopes soared when he saw Christine reach into her pocket, presumably for her cell phone, but then his hopes were dashed when he saw her pull it out, frown, and put it back in her pocket. When she cried for help, he thought it was because their situation was desperate. He figured that they were about to get pounded and didn't know what to do. He immediately stopped working on the barricade and prepared himself for more fighting, assuming what he thought of as a "fighting stance" with fists forward.

They were all standing near the barricade, without much movement, each apparently waiting for the others to make a move. It was a strange standoff, an unexpected pause in the action.

Suddenly Aaron came around the corner of the racquetball courts from where he'd been downed. Like some kind of relentless, bearded, burly Viking berserker, he was wiping the blood from his face like it was nothing. He flashed a triumphant toothy smile. "Leave 'em be, boys. I've got 'em. I personally want to kick the shit out of that damn bitch!"

Both Alan and Christine realized that the others must have seen Aaron stirring, which explained in part why they had been waiting - they'd been glancing back at Aaron and were hoping that he could take on Christine. Between that and Christine's call for help, they felt greatly emboldened.

Aaron moved toward Alan and Christine, but he could only limp forward slowly. His body wasn't ready to back up his cocky attitude, since he was still recovering from what Christine had done to him. He stopped well short, knowing that he couldn't face her yet when he could just barely walk.

When Alan saw that Aaron was up again and headed their way, he thought, Oh shit! We're screwed! Christine's good, but she must be on her last legs like me. Besides, what can we do against FOUR guys, especially that huge guy?! We're trapped here. That Hulk dude can just rush us and flatten us like pancakes, and then the rest can mop us up.

Fuckety-fuck! Fuck me! Alan cursed as he looked at Aaron. He's like a walking mountain!

"Hey, you gonna be okay?" Rock asked Aaron. Rock was obviously very angry, still hoping for revenge despite being unable to deliver it himself while Christine was protecting Alan.

"Yeah, just give me a minute to walk it off," Aaron replied. "Those two aren't going anywhere. Then the four of us will be able to take 'em on at once. But let me get the chick. This is personal now. I'm gonna fuckin' pulp her face into the ground!"

Alan felt lightheaded as another, weaker, fear-induced adrenaline surge hit him, making him tremble. He was panting, too winded to talk to Christine. He looked at Aaron limping about and thought that it wouldn't be long, maybe just a minute or two, before Aaron was ready and the fighting would resume.

CHAPTER 8

Aaron had misconstrued Christine's cry for help, thinking that meant she was out of options. He yelled, "Come on, guys; help me get the bitch. She almost broke my leg!"

The other three football players just stood there, not moving toward her. She decided to make the situation clear to Aaron so she moved aggressively toward the three and they all backed off rapidly. Then she just stood there on the balls of her feet, visibly waiting for whatever anyone might try next.

Aaron cussed them out: "You guys are all pussies. Are you gonna let a girl stop you?"

Ryan replied dejectedly, "She already has, just like with you." Then he warned Aaron about Christine: "None of us could hold her. The last time I grabbed her she knocked me out. Take her on again if you want, but watch out."

Suddenly he realized that one possibility would explain their situation. He knew of Christine's reputation: that she was superb at everything she did. He asked, "Christine, are you a black belt?"

That question startled the others; it hadn't occurred to them. They all waited for her answer.

She replied, "Almost. My exam is early next year."

Aaron's first thought was Oh shit! He suspected (rightly) that someone preparing for such an exam would be at the peak of their training and practice. He cursed under his breath.

Aaron had not always been bigger than everyone else, so he'd had to develop street smarts as a child, unlike the three coddled "rich boys." He recalled her peculiar shriek as she had kicked him, now recognizing it for the martial arts attack cry that it must have been, and realized that her incredible takedown when he'd rushed at Alan had probably not been a fluke. If she'd stopped the other three without apparently injuring them, they must have posed even less difficulty for her than he had.

Her precise aerial assault and her reported knockout of Ryan implied a dangerous level of expertise. His leg was bruised and aching, swelling above the knee where she had kicked it. He was a bully, not a fool; he would not risk an even more serious injury by confronting her again.

He turned his rage on Ryan, who had brought him into the fight, saying in an obvious sing-song mockery, "A frigid, brainy looker from school is acting like his bodyguard. Don't worry about her."

Then he shouted in anger: "Did it ever occur to you to do your fucking homework and find out why she thought she could protect him? No wonder she stopped you all. Taking on a black belt - or worse, someone who's ready for their black-belt exam - without even knowing it is fuckin' suicide."

Christine, glaring

When Christine heard Aaron quoting someone, she deduced it must be Ryan. That disrupted her quiet, combat-ready demeanor; she glared at Ryan, shooting daggers with her eyes. If looks could kill he would have withered and died on the spot.

Ryan had shifted his gaze to her the moment he heard Aaron repeat that insult. He knew she wouldn't forget.

Aaron, on the other hand, grinned with a bit of relief as he saw her switch her attention to Ryan. Since he had decided to avoid taking her on again, Ryan would now bear the brunt of her wrath if the fighting resumed, rather than him. He thought that was only fair, since Ryan was the one who had set up this disastrous confrontation and enlisted his services.

Everyone just stood there, each at a loss about what to do next. It wasn't at all clear what would break the standoff. Then they all heard a loud scream from around the corner of the racquetball court: "STOP! STOP!" Everyone froze, not knowing if it was the police or what.

Heather in her red cheerleader outfit, face thrust forward, looking simultaneously hot and threatening

In fact it was Heather, running down the same corridor that had taken Alan and Christine towards Aaron, wearing just her skimpy red cheerleader outfit. It had taken her a few minutes of running around before she got close enough to hear the sound of Aaron's angry voice. Her approach had gone unnoticed since the corridor was out of everyone's sight, so by the time she yelled she was already only about twenty feet away from where Alan's attackers stood.

Ryan's gang had gone into the fight with casual attitudes, but now they were so preoccupied with their impasse with Christine and this new revelation of what they were up against that they hardly reacted to Heather's appearance. Aaron initially classified her as "just a dumb cheerleader," which he deduced from glancing at her red cheerleader outfit. The others recognized her as soon as she appeared, since she was the school's only blonde cheerleader and the only one with a long ponytail, but that recognition also led them to dismiss her as being irrelevant to their standoff with Christine.

As Heather came to a halt a few feet from them, she screamed "It's over! Stop! The police are here!"

"The police?!" Ryan asked. He knew there was a policeman providing regular security at the game, but had checked him out and was underwhelmed. The guy was old and fat, with a double chin on his double chin. He looked like the type who would be really bent out of shape to have to get up and do anything (which probably explained why he was given the lowly task of providing security at a high school football game).

Heather said, panting, "Yeah, he's coming. He's slow."

However, Ryan looked her in the eyes, really examining her expression. He concluded, "No he's not. That's bullshit. You're full of shit!"

In fact, Heather was bluffing. She had followed Ryan from afar, so far off in fact that she made a couple of wrong turns before she got within range of the fighting and followed the sound the rest of the way. She hadn't come across the police officer or anyone else on the way here. The mere fact that she was arguing with Ryan was a big victory, however, because it meant the fighting was still stopped while everyone decided what to do about her intrusion. Heather certainly was no fighter, but it looked to her like Alan and Christine were in a very bad position. Just one look at Aaron's sheer size was enough to tell her that.

Her goal was to raise enough confusion so that the fighting would be delayed until others would come and help. She started slowly walking towards Alan and Christine as she kept talking to Ryan. "Seriously! You guys are the ones who are fucked... No wait. Why don't you just stay here, not believe me, and keep on fighting? Keep fighting until the police can see you and catch you in the act. Yeah, that's a smart move."

Aaron was not used to defeat, but he already had a police record and didn't want to add to it. Even though he was being paid to help, this wasn't his fight or his school. In particular, he had no intention of taking on Christine again. "Hey, guys, maybe we should get out of here. Who is this chick, anyways? It seems like you know her." He was still limping back and forth, trying to walk off the aching bruise in his leg caused by Christine's kick.

Rock pointed at Heather angrily and said fiercely, "That WAS my girlfriend. Heather. I, I... had FEELINGS for her! But then this mother-fuckin' asshole came along" - he pointed back towards Alan - "and ruined everything!"

Heather was very surprised by that. Feelings for me? That pencil-dicked asshole showed all the "feelings" of a Neanderthal. It was all about status: the quarterback going out with the hottest girl in school. But still, if he suffers from that delusion, I can use that to my advantage. He's practically getting gushy on me by his monosyllabic, pea-brained standards. I need to keep him talking about our so-called "relationship."

She said, "What do you mean you 'had feelings for me'? Feelings? You sure never showed 'em! You LOST me, you jerk! You didn't know how to treat a woman, and I only stayed with you until someone better came along. Which wasn't hard." She couldn't resist sexual innuendo even now.

Aaron stared at them, thinking, All this is about HER? Shit. Women trouble is the worst kind of trouble there is! What bullshit!

Rock tried to roar back but it came out so strangled that even Ivan goggled at him. "You two-timing WHORE! I treated you like a queen and you went behind my back in FRONT of me! Donna told me what really happened between you and him at the Baskin-Robbins!"

Donna spied on Heather just like Heather spied on Donna, and one of her friends had overheard Heather boasting about this incident. She'd gleefully told Rock what Heather had done with Alan as a means of splitting up Heather and Rock and improving Donna's odds of becoming Homecoming Queen.

This was news to Heather, who made a definite note of Donna's scheming. But she didn't even flinch, because now she was in her element. She put a hand on her hip, struck a pose, and said saucily, "Look. I can't help it if you failed to satisfy." She was about to launch into some really nasty comments about Rock's very undersized penis and compare it to what Alan's oversized penis could do for her, but then she remembered where she was - she was surrounded by four angry guys who still had their fists up and were raring to fight. That made it not a good idea to goad Rock into becoming even angrier than he already was.

Heather, confrontational, in her red cheerleader outfit

So she tried a different tack. "Rock, things were good at first between us, but then it just wasn't happening. I liked you but there just wasn't that click, that spark, you know? If Alan hadn't come along, somebody else would have. In fact, if you want to talk about 'stealing' me away from you, you ought to know that I'M the one who went after HIM! Besides, I didn't think you cared for me at all. I thought I was just your arm candy."

"I cared, Heather; I really cared!" By this point Rock was practically blubbering. "I thought you were someone special. I thought we had that spark? Didn't we?"

Heather smiled at him sympathetically while thinking, Shit, how long do I have to string this loser along? He loved me? What a crock! He's not worthy of holding Alan's jockstrap! Somebody come and save us already before I gag on all this stupid bullshit!

Christine thought, What a slut! She'll sleep with anybody! What does Alan see in her that I can't offer?

The pause had given Ryan time to start to assess the situation logically. He realized the presence of Heather as a witness was a very bad thing indeed, if one combined it with the fact that Christine was there as well. He said to the others, "Hey, this is very touching and all, but we need to get out of here."

But Rock cut him off before he could say more. "Shut up! This is important to me! Heather and I have some issues to settle, and I don't want any of you to touch a hair on her head. She's MINE!"

Ryan had been hoping that they could just back off from Christine and get away, then deny everything. After all, it would be their word against Alan's and Christine's - four against two, or now three counting Heather. But as Heather continued to talk, his worries began to grow. Christine and Heather, they're like mortal enemies; everybody knows that. They don't agree on anything. If they both testify against us, that could be really bad. Hell, I don't even have a decent alibi like the others if I can't make it back to the bench, and how will I be able to make it back with Heather and the others running around screaming bloody murder? I have to stop them from talking somehow. But how?

Fuck! What are we gonna do? It's not like we can stop them; they're gonna talk. The whole idea was to smash Alan and intimidate Christine, but those girls aren't intimidated at all. In fact, it's the other way around; Christine has intimidated each of us. I should have known she'd be superb at whatever she did. FUCK!

If we just jump the fence right now, Alan's bruises - hell, the blood on the ground from Aaron's face. With all that DNA testing shit, they'll probably be able to prove we were here. I've gotta at least somehow get Heather to shut up. Or even get her on our side! What if she says that they started it? Hell, Christine and Heather really hate each other's guts - everybody knows that! If only I could use that to my advantage and get 'em to turn against each other. Heather's a viper who rules the pit, but she's a mercenary at heart and will sell out for the right offer. I just have to figure out something I've got that she wants. But what?!

CHAPTER 9

Unfortunately for Ryan, he didn't really have anything that Heather wanted. What Heather wanted most at the moment was to impress Alan and get back in his good graces, so obviously betraying Alan to his enemies was a complete non-starter for her, but Ryan had no way of knowing that.

Susan as 'mama grizzly bear'

Four more people burst on the scene even as Ryan was still trying to think of a way out, making his scheming moot. Susan and Suzanne had been running together, looking for Alan and Christine, while Simone and Sean were running together, doing the same. Both pairs had either gotten lost or had run in wrong directions until they came close enough to hear Christine's second yell for help.

All four of them had just met up inside the racquetball courts when they heard the sound of angry people arguing and realized where the fighting was taking place. Suzanne and Simone pulled out their cell phones to call in the location to Glory and 911 as Sean and Susan ran ahead to discover that they were on the wrong side, as the fighting was just outside the walls of the courts. Then the whole group, moving together, quickly rounded the eastern wall of the racquetball courts to race along the corridor between the courts and the fence near the library. They tried to sneak up, but were seen when they climbed over and through the flimsy barrier that Ryan's gang had built to block that corridor.

Ivan saw them coming and cried, "Shit! This is NOT GOOD! I'm outta here!" He rushed to climb over the chain link fence on the western side of the shed that led to the empty canyon beyond it.

But Heather laughed contemptuously, then asked loudly, "Where are you going, Ivan Fedorov? You have seven witnesses who saw you here, so what good will that do?" She laughed some more. She was great at mocking laughs, at which she'd had plenty of practice.

Ryan realized the gig was up, so he made no attempt to move. "She's right, Ivan," he said wearily. "If you run, they'll just track you down anyway and you'll get in even more trouble. Besides, Aaron's in no shape to get away, so he'll get caught and lead the police to the rest of us."

Ivan made it to the fence, but he stopped there and turned around. "FUCK!"

Susan, Suzanne, Simone, and Sean were all panting hard as they climbed over the barrier, since they'd been running practically nonstop the last five minutes.

But Suzanne said loudly and firmly, "FREEZE! Nobody move, nobody talk! Don't do anything! This is a crime scene and the police will be here in a minute!" That wasn't a bluff, either. Simone reinforced Suzanne's threat by loudly and conspicuously talking on her phone to Glory, who was guiding the police officer at the football game to the site of the fighting.

Rock was still hoping against hope to somehow pound Alan some more once Aaron stopped hobbling around and could run some interference against Christine. Upon hearing Suzanne's mention of police arriving, he cursed, "FUUUUCCCK!"

He walked up to Aaron and said in a low voice, "Aaron, I'm totally screwed. Being caught on school grounds is an open-and-shut case against me anyway. All we've got here are broads and nerds. Can you just keep Christine occupied for a minute or two so I can finish Alan off?"

Aaron didn't get a chance to reply, though, because Susan had heard that and erupted in full 'mama grizzly bear' fury. She and the others had made it over the barrier and she was headed straight for her son, so she was close enough to hear Rock.

Susan as 'mama grizzly bear', confronting Alan's attackers

She stormed towards him, shouting, "YOU WILL DO NO SUCH THING!"

Sensing trouble, Sean and Suzanne hurriedly tried to get between Susan and Rock. Grabbing Susan's arms, they managed to keep her from physically assaulting Rock, but only just barely.

She brought her livid face so close to his that he was forced to lean back and then step back as she kept coming at him. She was spitting and screaming at Rock while frantically wriggling in an effort to free herself. "If you touch a hair on his head, you're DEAD! Do you understand?! DEAD! He's my baby!"

Alan was a ways away so he could only listen. He cringed at being called a "baby" and shielded his eyes so he wouldn't have to see his mother going postal.

Heather and Simone watched with fascination. At five feet eleven inches, Susan in her "mama grizzly bear" mode was a sight to behold, to say the least, and both girls made mental notes to never tangle with her.

Sean and Suzanne were still frantically trying to hold Susan back, barely managing to do so, succeeding at all only because Rock was backpedaling rapidly.

Suzanne cried out, "Stop! It'll create a legal nightmare! These guys are guilty as hell! Don't complicate things!"

Susan didn't seem dissuaded, and in fact looked like she was going to rip Rock into little pieces unless Sean and Suzanne got more help, and fast. She cried out with great venom, "You BASTARD! HURTING MY BABY!" She plunged a hand into a pocket to pull out some pepper spray so she could at least nail Rock from a distance.

Suzanne managed to knock the pepper spray out of Susan's hand, but not before Rock spotted it and backpedaled again into Ryan, who angrily threw him forward.

Ryan barked, "This was supposed to be about US, you pussy-whipped loser! Not some dumb cunt! And now you're afraid of a MOM? Go cry to your own mommy!"

Rock whirled on Ryan, but Ivan stepped between them, saying "Cool it! We got enough problems! Shut your mouths! Don't say anything!"

Susan was still struggling wildly, threatening to break free. Then Suzanne had an idea and said, "Look at Alan! He needs your help!"

Susan looked at Alan, still standing by the shed with Christine, and completely forgot about Rock. Her vicious face instantly morphed into a deathly worried one while her body posture relaxed. As Sean and Suzanne let go, she opened her arms wide and ran to her son. "Oh, Tiger!"

She thought, My Tiger is hurt! He needs me! He was so brave; he's a hero! He needs his big-titted mommy! I just want to show him how much I love him and smother him in milky titty love! But we can't do that in public; it'll give everything away. I have to be STRONG, just like Tiger is strong! Keep it cool until we get home!

Sean positioned himself between Alan and Christine on one side and Rock and Aaron on the other, to help out in case the fighting resumed. Ryan and Ivan sagged in defeat, moving farther away toward the fence, talking softly as they tried to dream up excuses for their parents.

Suzanne picked up Susan's pepper spray and held it up - her own was in her purse back in the football stands - just to make sure those two wouldn't try anything. She gave them the evil eye. I hope they try something. I'd kill for an excuse to go psycho all over their asses! They hurt my Sweetie and that's unacceptable! Go ahead and try it, punks - make my day!

Simone had been standing close to the center of activity, prepared to fight. But seeing that there was no immediate danger, she rushed over to Heather to stand with her and block the other corridor leading away from the shed area.

Heather had her cell phone out. She was calling her father, Frank, who was in the stands watching the game, to come over and help. Since her father was a big, strong former Marine, she figured he could help with securing Ryan's gang if need be.

She was surprised at how much she wanted him there just then. I sure am glad Dad is at the game. I can't believe it, but I can hardly wait for him to get here and hold me and hug me. Jesus, I sound like some kind of mushy soft girly-girl.

Susan rushed over to Alan, took him in her arms, and gave him a great big hug. It took a lot of willpower for her not to kiss him on the lips or show other signs of incestuous affection. "Tiger! Tiger! You're hurt!"

Suzanne rushed to Alan as well. She longed to hug him too, but she had more important things to do. She knew Susan's passion could barely be controlled, so her first job was to make sure that Susan didn't say or do anything sexually incriminating. But Susan gave her a look indicating that she was being mindful of public appearances.

Relieved, Suzanne looked around. It was clear that the desire to fight had drained from all four members of Rock's gang. They were just quietly standing around, looking defeated. Still holding the pepper spray, she pulled out her cell phone and called her lawyer.

Glory standing by the school's chain-link fence

The arrival of Glory and the heavyset police officer a minute or so later was somewhat anticlimactic, because by that time the situation was well under control.

The officer, whose name was Charlie, looked remarkably like Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard and was sweating more than anybody else there, even though he'd exerted himself the least.

In fact, with the possible exception of Aaron, none of the members of Ryan's gang had any serious criminal tendencies; they were just spoiled, overconfident, arrogant bullies. They came from rich families (again, except for Aaron), and assumed that their parents would soon arrive with legal representation to get them out of this fix.

Suzanne, though, was determined to make sure that didn't happen. For all practical purposes, she was more in charge of the scene than the hapless police officer, at least until the school officials arrived, and she made a blizzard of phone calls. She was determined to see that nothing would go wrong.

Glory was in a bind because she longed to hold Alan and comfort him, both like a mother and like a lover. But due to the other people there, she was forced to act as if she almost didn't know him. She was afraid to show any affection at all, for fear that she would quickly spin out of control and kiss him on the lips.

She was relieved though to see how happy Alan appeared when he recognized her. He gave her a very grateful and loving smile, despite the risk. That eased her concerns a lot, giving her the strength to carry on without any direct comforting words or touches.

Still, her relief that Alan was okay was tempered by the sad feeling that she was an outsider. She envied Susan, who continued to hug and mother Alan like he was on death's door. She was reminded that he had a very close family and harem, and the two were nearly one and the same, yet she was not a part of it. She wouldn't be going home with him, nor would she be spending the night with him. Those thoughts weighed heavy on her mind. But luckily, there was suddenly much to do and she didn't have the time to dwell on such issues.

Christine looking down, as seen by a camera looking up from below her big boobs

Christine felt alone, ashamed, depressed, and guilty, all the while trembling from the aftermath of her first real combat now that the fighting was over. Everyone else seemed to have something to do or someone to hug. She wanted to hug Alan, but Susan was still all over him like an octopus.

Alan thanked Christine profusely while Susan continued to hug him, but Christine didn't pay close attention. She just stared at the ground in a daze.

Heather's father Frank had arrived on the scene just after Glory and the police officer. (Her mother Helen was stuck in a beauty salon getting her hair done, so she was unable to be there.) Frank checked to make sure that Heather was okay, then gave her a hug and a pat on the back. Then he noticed Christine's white face, trembling, dazed look and depressed manner. He had commanded a Marine rifle company in the Gulf War over a decade earlier and recognized the symptoms, so he left Heather with Simone, went to Christine and spoke softly to her.

She replied to his gentle questioning and soon was sobbing in his protective arms while he soothed her. She was grateful for the attention and didn't care at the moment that he was the father of her worst enemy. Frank was a great big burly bear of a man, but he could also be a big softy, and the tender reassurance he was offering Christine was exactly what she needed at that moment. He was proud to give it to her.

Meanwhile, all sorts of law enforcement officers, medical workers, school officials and other functionaries began showing up.

Christine's parents, Lars and Olga, weren't at the game, but a school official had called them and they rushed over immediately. Christine felt a lot better after she was enveloped in yet more hugs from both her parents.

Frank Morgan pulled Lars aside and spoke earnestly to him about what Christine needed over the weekend in order to recover quickly from the emotional trauma of the fight.

Alan and Christine were amazed at the fuss that was being made over what had happened. Soon, yellow police tape had marked off the crime scene, and Rock, Ryan, Ivan and Aaron had been handcuffed.

Ryan had been quiet along with the others. As the bracelets closed on his wrists and the officer was reading him his Miranda rights, it began to really sink in just how the situation was being treated. He snapped at Rock, "This is bullshit! I'm not going to take the fall for you! This is YOUR problem. I was dragged into this against my will!"

"What the hell are you talking about?!" Rock growled incredulously. "It was YOUR plan."

Ryan lied, "Yeah, but I only meant to intimidate Alan. I didn't think there'd be any violence."

"That's such BULLSHIT!" Rock shouted. "Oh, I get it - you're trying to weasel out of it now, aren't you? Are you going to stab me in the back? I thought you were my friend!"

"Hey, I am NOT going to prison for you!"

Suzanne listened to their arguing with a wolfish grin. In recent days, and especially in the last 24 hours, she'd had brief but very informative discussions with Heather and Simone around the time of the group meeting that morning, plus longer discussions with Glory, Katherine, and others. She'd pieced together the story of how Rock was cuckolded by Heather with Alan, and she knew somewhat of the friendship between Rock and Ryan.

She thought, Ryan's going to squeal like a stuck pig! Count on it! Why should he ruin his future to get revenge for Rock's romantic failures? It's not his fight. It's a wonder he went to such lengths to plan this fight for a friend, but I can tell they won't be friends for long! Ryan's gonna try to pin this all on Rock and Rock will try to pin it all on him. And there are those other two. With all their infighting, we'll be able to get the dirt on not only these guys here today, but the rest of their gang.

CHAPTER 10

The football game was still going on, but Katherine and Amy were called and both abandoned their cheerleading duties to rush to the scene. They brought the purses and shoes that Susan, Suzanne, and Glory had entrusted to the couple who had been sitting nearby in the stands.

By the time the two girls got there, Alan and Christine were being loaded onto gurneys, despite protesting that they didn't need them. Suzanne knew the gurneys were unnecessary, but had tangled with school administrators before and muttered dark legal threats until those were brought out. Being brought in on gurneys would put the two heroes near the front of the hospital emergency room's waiting line for treatment, and so get them out faster.

Katherine and Amy were beyond horrified to see Alan lying on a gurney. Their first thought was that he was dying or at least seriously wounded.

Both were already crying as they rushed up to him.

"OH MY GOD!" Katherine shouted. "Brother! Are you okay?!"

Alan smiled. "I'm fine. Just a few cuts and bruises. Nothing's broken. And we won! Don't worry. This is just a formality."

Amy was trembling. "Really? Don't lie!"

"Really! I didn't want to get on this thing at all, and neither did Christine. We just have some scrapes and bruises, is all. But Suzanne and the assistant principal... what's his name? Mr. Garcia. They absolutely insisted. It's some kind of legal thing. We've gotta be checked out at a hospital even if we're perfectly okay." His words switched to the fight in general. "Can you believe it? We actually came out of this okay!"

Katherine let out a great sigh of relief. "Oh, THANK GOD! Really? Can I hug you?"

He smiled. "Definitely!"

Katherine and Amy bracketing Alan, each with their head against his chest as they hold him in relief that he survived

The two girls practically threw themselves at him, but they could only do so much trying to hug him while he was lying on the gurney. They were crying even as they laughed with joy, knowing that he was okay. They bent over him and tried to hug as much of him as they could until he winced from their pressure on his bruised sides.

Suzanne walked up behind Katherine and tapped her on the shoulder. "Hey, that gurney needs to move." As Katherine stood up, Suzanne pointed towards the patient but slightly annoyed paramedic waiting to push the gurney away.

As Suzanne walked around the gurney to pry Amy off Alan on the other side, she said, "Alan's right; this is just a formality. With any luck, Susan and I will get them in and out of the hospital in an hour. Then we'll take Alan home and you can hug him all you want."

That thought cheered Amy and Katherine considerably, and they started to disengage so that both Alan and Christine could get pushed away.

But as Amy started to lift her head, she remembered that, as Alan's official girlfriend, she could get away with more in public. She placed her mouth up to his nearest ear and whispered, "Speaking of hugs, my lips want to give Alan Junior a good long hug, if you know what I mean." He didn't answer, so she paused uncertainly and then added, "That means I want to suck your cock a really, really super long time to show how happy I am that you're okay."

He chuckled, even though it hurt his bruised sides. "Yeah, I kind of figured that's what you meant." He looked up at her with a loving smile.

Katherine punched Alan on the shoulder very lightly, making sure to pick a spot that didn't look hurt.

"What?" Alan asked.

"That's for looking like you're dying and scaring me half to death!" But she was smiling widely even though tears were still rolling down her face.

The paramedic was tapping his foot, more than ready to push the gurney away, which he thought he'd finally be able to do.

But acting on impulse, Amy suddenly bent back down and gave Alan a nice long kiss on the lips.

Susan, Suzanne, Katherine, Heather, Simone, Glory, and even Christine in her gurney stared longingly at the kiss. They all wished they were in Amy's shoes.

Susan was watching Alan particularly closely. It was taking all her willpower (and some private, strong words from Suzanne) not to stick by Alan and hold his hand all the way to the hospital. Heck, if she had her way she would have been happy to lie on the gurney with him. Or better yet, naked and on top of him. It drove her crazy, but she knew that she had to restrain herself lest people start to suspect things.

She thought, As Suzanne keeps telling me, a good mommy has to do more than just suck and get fucked. Sometimes I have to look responsible, and even wear clothes. Even a bra, for crying out loud! Yuck. Sadly, this is one of those times. I can't even so much as suck on his fingers. But I'm a good mommy. I have to stay strong!

She gave Alan a blazingly hot look as she thought, But just you wait until we get home, Tiger! You're my hero! My brave, strong hero. And you deserve a great big hero's welcome, that's for sure! Mommy's gonna get all naked as she drops to her knees and serves her master with her hungry mouth and busty body! Maybe you need to tie Mommy up and give her a good spanking for wearing a bra, and then bend her over and...

Shoot! I can't do this. Not here, not now. I have to keep it together. I have to! ... Oh, poo! Why does he have to be so heroic and studly all the time?!

With Alan and Christine finally rolling out of sight, and Heather's father and Christine's parents busy talking to a school official, Suzanne gathered Susan, Amy, Katherine, Glory, Sean, Simone, and Heather into a private huddle away from everyone else.

Taking charge, Suzanne said, "Good news, everyone. Now, it's obviously bad that Alan and Christine had to fight and get hurt, but the good side is that this should permanently remove the football player threat. Those four guys are in a world of trouble. I've been talking to my lawyer, the vice principal, and others, and I think it's pretty certain that all four are going to have to do some jail time."

"Jail time?" Amy squeaked, shocked.

Glory nodded. "I don't know all the ins and outs of what happened at the fight, but in Rock's case what happened doesn't really matter. He's been expelled from this school and he came back onto the school grounds. That's an open and shut case right there since it can't be denied he was here. He might get a year in jail just from that, and I'm sure there'll be other charges against him."

"Really?!" Sean was very surprised.

"Sure," Glory said. "The law is very clear. After all, once someone's been expelled, what else can you threaten them with to keep them away but jail time? Usually when someone comes back it means big trouble, like what happened today. So this is taken very seriously. Mr. Garcia told me that Ryan and Ivan are also being suspended immediately, pending expulsion, and will not come back to this school next week, if ever."

Suzanne nodded. "They're all in a world of hurt. It's obvious that Ryan will happily sell out the others to save his own skin. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if EACH of them try to cut a deal at everyone else's expense. But none of them are going to get off scot free; I'm going to make sure of that. And my lawyer says we can also tie this fight into a larger conspiracy against Alan, and so sweep up the rest of Ryan's clique. There clearly was a conspiracy to get Alan, in every sense of the word. You all remember when they threw him down the stairs, punched him, painted his chair and all that. They'll all be charged with what any of them have done. If any of the guys arrested today want any leniency at all, they'll have to rat on all the other conspirators, which will let us completely flush the whole rotten lot down the toilet. The others obviously won't be in as much trouble, but an incident this public means that they'll all be transferred to other schools, at the very least. So our worries are over."

Everyone gave a sigh of relief at that.

Heather and Simone shared a private grin. They had no doubts at all who would be spreading the word about this incident, not to mention the dividends that would be coming their way for months to come from Heather's maneuverings a day earlier on the phone.

Heather was particularly elated. She knew that a lot of girls would be practically kissing her feet in gratitude for having been given the heads-up in advance, so they could publicly burn their bridges and steer clear of guys who were now going to be radioactive for the rest of the year, all before the shit hit the fan. Meanwhile, Rebecca, Ryan's girlfriend, would be pleading for crumbs from her hand, to keep her part in this criminal conspiracy from becoming public knowledge. All of this would do wonders for her chances to win Homecoming Queen, effectively erasing the hit her reputation had taken for dumping Rock and getting involved with Alan in the first place.

But Heather was even more excited over what this could mean for her relationship with Alan. She hoped her brave stand in stalling the fight would put her back in his good graces. She was honestly surprised at just how very elated that prospect made her.

I rock! I totally rock! Alan's ass ban is so gonna be history; I just know it! I'm gonna go from his doghouse right back to being his brick shithouse and living in total Bitchslut heaven! Yep, he's gonna be calling me his one and only Bitchslut again as he pumps and pounds my ass like only he can! With any luck - and a little necessary pushiness - I'll have him in me before today is even over!

Thinking about Christine standing next to Alan after the fight, and having some vague notion that Christine had some martial arts training, she continued with a bit more worry, I didn't get to see what happened in the fight, but knowing the Ice Prude and the way she's been trying to cozy up to MY Sir lately, she's probably going to try to take all the credit. Ice BITCH! But whatever she did before I arrived is moot, since the fight was obviously about to restart and they would have been creamed had it not been for ME and MY brilliant delaying tactics. I just need to make sure he understands who had the REAL pivotal role in this fight!

Suzanne went on, "Furthermore, this will be like a charm of protection for Alan for the rest of the year. Anyone else who messes with him might get sucked into this whole conspiracy situation, so all but the total idiots will steer clear."

"Wow, that's cool," Amy said. "But isn't he gonna have all kinds of court trouble and stuff?"

"Not if I can help it," Suzanne said. "I've got some pull here and there, and where I don't have pull I'm gonna get it. I can guarantee you almost 100 percent though that this will be settled before a trial. The only one who might fight is Rock, and he doesn't have a leg to stand on. And for press, there's bound to be a story in the local rag, but I'm gonna smooth things over to make sure this story doesn't have any legs beyond the bare minimum coverage."

Heather, always sensitive to the levers of power, asked, "How are you going to do that?" She was very interested in Suzanne's techniques. She'd never really given much thought to Amy's mother, except to acknowledge to herself how attractive she was, but by the way Suzanne had taken charge today she could tell that this was an impressive woman with formidable talents. She wanted to learn from her.

Suzanne could practically read Heather's mind. I'll bet you'd like to pick my brain, wouldn't you, Blondie? Well, it ain't gonna happen. You're dangerous enough as it is. The last thing I wanna do is teach you new ways to try to manipulate my Sweetie. However, I wouldn't mind picking YOUR brain. Alan seems pretty attached to fucking your ass, and after checking it out I can certainly see why. Heck, you might even end up in the harem someday, if you ever get your shit together. So I need to make it my business to understand YOU. Hee-hee.

But Suzanne just smiled enigmatically and said, "I have my ways. But this is not the time to gab, as I've got a lot of things to do at the hospital. If you're really curious, maybe we can meet or talk on the phone some other time."

"I'd really like that, Mrs. Pestridge," Heather replied in an obsequious manner.

Suzanne nodded at that and continued, "I just wanted everyone to know that things are good and there's no reason to worry. Both Alan and Christine were a little dinged up, but by the time school starts on Monday you won't be able to tell from looking that they'd been in a fight at all. Now, some of those bullies are more hurt, but I'm not exactly going to cry about that. Everything is going to work out from here just fine, trust me. Thank you, by the way, all of you, for coming through in a pinch. Everybody did great."

Heather cut in, acting as if Suzanne was talking only to her, "Yeah, it was pretty touch and go. When I arrived, Alan and Christine were just about to be totally defeated. But my quick thinking and stall tactics saved the day."

Suzanne frowned at that, but just said, "We can talk about that sort of thing later, but right now, who wants to come with me to the hospital?"

Susan raised her hand in a split second and practically threw herself in front of Suzanne. "ME! Me, me, me, me, me, me, me! Let's go!"

Suzanne smiled widely at that, and also noted that Amy and Katherine were eagerly raising their hands. She thought, Why am I always the one who has to take charge of all this unpleasant stuff? I actually enjoy doing it, but I also want the others to start carrying some of the load. I'm hoping that Glory, at least, can help me in some areas. I don't want my Sweetie to be unduly bothered by the fallout from this fight, but I'm certainly gonna have my hands full for the next couple of days.

CHAPTER 11

Alan and Christine were side by side on their gurneys as they rode in the ambulance to the hospital. Since neither was seriously injured, their going to the hospital was largely a precaution. Therefore they were left alone in the back of the ambulance, giving them an opportunity to chat in private.

Alan's head was swirling while his heart was racing. While he felt exhausted after the excitement of the fight, his body still coursed with adrenaline.

They were silent for a minute or two as the ambulance moved quietly through the city streets. (Since there was no emergency, they were moving at the speed of other vehicles, without use of a siren.) Alan had turned his head and was watching her from just a foot or two away.

"Christine, I don't even remember if I've had a chance to say this, since things have been crazy since before the fight. But... thanks."

She just smiled and made a little shrug, like it was no big deal. She was being very modest.

But Alan wasn't having that. "No, really! You practically saved my life back there! I mean, if you hadn't been acting as my bodyguard and protecting me, I would have been toast!"

She thought, I DID almost save your life back there. Those guys were out to seriously hurt you and cause real damage. But she again modestly and nonverbally deflected his praise.

He started to review the fight in his mind. "Dang! Now that I think about it, you really stopped them all single-handedly while I was getting beat up by Rock." He looked down at his wounds. "How did you do that? I mean, no offense, but all those guys were a lot bigger and stronger than you. Especially that one gigantic guy."

She noted, "Aaron. I caught his name afterwards."

"Yeah, Aaron. How did you handle him?! I mean, he's gotta be the biggest high-school guy I've ever seen!"

She explained, "You gotta understand, size and strength has less importance than you'd think. In a normal street fight, maybe, but not when you throw serious martial arts training into the mix. Someone who really knows their stuff, well, it's like using an Uzi against sticks and stones. In a battle with those weapons, who's gonna win?"

"The one with the Uzi, obviously," Alan replied. "But, I mean, come on. He was HUGE! And there were four of them and only two of us! That's more like a machine gunner versus Godzilla. Even with a machine gun, Godzilla is gonna keep coming. I mean, he was, like, a giant!"

Christine nodded. "True. But someone's strength can be used against them, if you've been properly trained. Most of what I did was Aikido, which uses leverage against an attacker's mind instead of just their body."

"Like Jiu-jitsu?"

She rolled her eyes. "Yeah. For some reason, people have heard about how Jiu-jitsu and Judo use leverage, but those are basic martial arts concepts; Aikido just takes them further than the others. In Jiu-jitsu you still have to throw the other guy; in Aikido you get them to throw themselves. Size doesn't matter much; with a big but poorly trained brute like Aaron, his size can actually become a liability. Basically, you lead their mind and their body follows."

Alan eagerly asked, "Is that how you took him down early in the fight? I kinda missed what happened there."

She said, "Uh, sorta, but only partially. What I did to him was largely aggressive defensive martial arts. Aikido is mostly purely defensive, like what I used on Ryan and Ivan and Rock. With them I just stayed centered and took advantage of their lack of knowledge about serious fighting. For example, whenever any of them decided to do something to me, I was able to use that decision against them because it made their moves more predictable. Sometimes I targeted specific nerves, like how I stopped Ryan and Rock at the end. Most of that's almost impossible to resist unless you know the right counter-moves."

Alan persisted. "But how did you take out that big guy? One moment he was running RIGHT AT me and then suddenly he was flat on his back. How did you do that?"

She said "I pinned his rear leg to the ground just when he needed to raise it to take his next step, which made him twist and fall. But his being knocked out was mostly luck." She was too embarrassed to admit that she had set up the knockout by using her boobs to grab and hold the giant's attention until the outcome was inevitable. That actually had been Aikido mind-leading: by inducing his gaze and eyes and head and neck to track her enormous rack as she came up alongside him to his right, she had caused him to initiate the clockwise spiral twist and reduced vestibular inner-ear sense of balance that contributed to his fall.

She explained in detail what she'd done. "At first I was going to destroy his knee so he couldn't hurt anyone else. But that would have injured him permanently, probably ending any chance for a sports career. So at the last moment I changed my target slightly, instead kicking down hard above his knee, jamming his lower leg into the ground just as his foot needed to come up during his sprint."

"His other foot was already in the air, about to come down for his next step, with his hips rotating with his stride. That momentum made his body rotate around the pinned leg so much that he couldn't get traction with his other foot, which by that time was coming down sideways. He was already leaning so far forward in his sprint that he smacked into the ground almost instantly."

"After that, the same body rotation flipped him onto his back. I knew that taking him down like that would make him rethink his priorities: he wouldn't dare attack you again until he'd dealt with me. You saw that when he came back - his first concern was to take me out."

She concluded, "A concussion like he got often causes memory loss of events just beforehand, so he might not even know exactly what I did to stop him."

Alan was wide-eyed, hanging on every word. "Wow! But what made you decide to attack him? How could you pin his leg? How did you manage to not get hurt yourself? I mean, he was so big and-"

She explained, "Whoa! Too many questions at once. Let's take them one at a time. I took him down to stop him from hurting you, because I saw he was going to smash you. I wasn't going to let that happen! I'd promised to protect you."

He looked at the determination on her face; for some reason it really aroused him. He realized it was because she was showing how much she cared about him.

She explained in more detail how she'd timed her leap and surprised the giant with her martial arts kiai shriek, which delayed his response until he had no time to save himself. She again avoided mentioning the critical extra distraction provided by her remarkable rack.

She finished by saying, "I'm really glad I changed my mind and didn't break his knee. If I'd kicked directly into it as I originally intended, a lot like breaking a board, he'd be crippled with a shattered knee. He'd be the one in this ambulance and I'd be feeling even more guilty than I am already."

She turned away and stared at the vehicle roof above her head, looking very sad.

Alan asked, "But why are you feeling guilty? He attacked us; we didn't attack him. You were simply protecting me."

"I know," she said. "I've trained all my life to defend people, yet when the time came my first response was to destroy my opponent. If I hadn't changed my attack at the last moment I would have damaged him for life. I let my emotions overrule my training. That's how I failed."

"Whoa! What?! Failed? You kicked ass! Now you stop this second guessing. You saved me! Don't beat yourself up because, in hindsight, you think you could have done better. You did what you thought was needed at the time, to stop his surprise attack."

Christine suddenly realized that her impulse to inflict such a major injury had occurred because she'd been reacting to her first impression, that the giant had been raping a girl. She responded as she'd been taught to do during a sexual assault, to give the attacker such a big immediate problem that he would forget all about his intended victim. She tried to explain, "Yes, but-"

Alan interrupted, "No 'buts'. Don't 'should' on yourself. You've gotta eliminate those three bad words - should-a, could-a, would-a - from your vocabulary. You're so great; I think you're totally amazing."

Christine blushed; she didn't know what to say at first. However, she was still feeling bad, so she complained, "No, I failed. In fact, I even failed at failing. I've spent YEARS learning martial arts, not to hurt people but to stop violence, in self-defense. Aikido is all about harmony; that's what the word means. My starting point should have been eliminating him as a threat, not crippling him permanently. But the very first time I was in a real fight, I forgot all that and turned into some kind of vengeful beast. I was going to ruin him for life! Luckily, I had a moment of sanity just before I leaped, so I was able to change my target. If I hadn't... I don't even want to think about it!"

She looked so despondent that Alan thought she was going to cry.

He reached over and took her hand. "Hey! Don't beat yourself up. As far as I'm concerned, you're my hero! Sure, maybe your initial reaction was a little harsh, but that was your first real combat situation. Nobody's perfect their first time. And you got your 'vengeful' impulse under control in time, didn't you? You didn't break his knee and cripple him. I saw how you looked afterwards; you were all calm and collected, ready for whatever was coming next, while I was pretty much having a heart attack."

She thought back, then grinned a little bit. "Yeah, I guess I recovered pretty quickly." Her expression turned sour. "But I never should have tried to cripple him in the first place. That's unforgivable. It's just that I thought he was abusing some poor girl... and... he was going to hurt you. That wasn't going to happen!"

Her face hardened in a mask of fierce resolve. It looked downright frightening, even though she was staring at the ambulance roof again and not right at Alan.

He squeezed her hand, causing her to look his way. "Hey. It's cool. If it means anything, you're forgiven. As I said, I think you were a hero back there. And I'm touched that you got so emotional in your concern for my safety that you lost your poise. That means you really care, don't you?"

She looked at him, again not knowing what to say. Then she frowned and reacted again. "Of course I care, you idiot! Sheesh!"

Christine lying on her gurney, open-eyed, with Alan's head over her as he descends to kiss her

He laughed with glee, because he knew she had trouble expressing her emotions, and that was a way of acknowledging her feelings without getting syrupy about it. He scooted closer, so his face was over her gurney. "Cool. Like I said, you're my hero. Or, I should say, my heroine. And I think you deserve a big thank-you kiss."

Before she could decide if that's what she wanted, his lips were on hers.

He had meant to just plant a quick kiss on her face. But his mouth had a mind of its own and went for her mouth instead of her cheek or nose, and once they made lip-to-lip contact their passion ignited. Before they knew what was happening, they were necking.

Alan wound up lying nearly on top of her as they French kissed passionately for a minute or two.

He thought, Dammit, should I be doing this? I can't get involved with her, but one thank-you kiss... That's allowed, isn't it? Dang! It just feels too good to stop! At least he had the self-control not to fondle her boobs, although the way they pressed into his chest felt heavenly.

Eventually, the ambulance hit a pothole, causing them to remember where they were. Alan pulled back a bit so that he was mostly on his own gurney instead of hers, but their faces remained only inches apart and they stared deeply into each other's eyes.

They both sensed that they had crossed a line. The pretense that they were only "practice dating" was falling away by the second.

Christine whispered with awe, "That was, uh... quite a thank you!" Her heart pounded wildly. She wanted to roll on top of him and glue her body to his, but she remembered that they were in an ambulance with other people up front.

He grinned widely. "Because you're quite a girl! Geez, you're brainiac smart, you've got a body and a face that stops traffic, you're fun to be with, and now I'm finding out you've got a big heart too. I mean, you really put yourself at great risk for me. You're so awesome that it blows my mind!"

She turned away in embarrassment because she didn't know how to handle such great praise. But inside, her heart soared. She was so happy she felt like jumping for joy.

After she recovered a little bit, she growled gruffly, "Not hardly. I'm not all that."

He grabbed her shoulders and turned her body back his way so they were making eye contact again. He stared at her hard. "Hey! You ARE all that! Why do you think I've been into you so much these past couple of years? Is it your incredible body? Your remarkable, well, curves?" He couldn't help but glance at her huge rack. "Your heart-stopping face?"

He continued with even more passion, "Hell yeah! That's part of it, sure. But there's so much MORE to you! I love so many things about you. I love your personality. I love that you're a fundamentally good, moral person. That means a lot to me. I'm not at all surprised that you went all-out to protect me, because that's the kind of person you are. There are some other real stunners in our school, like Heather. In fact, I have to say that most of my friends, that's all they can talk about: Heather, Heather, Heather. But I was never keen on her because I could tell even from afar that she had a black heart. But you have a heart of gold."

Christine's face turned sour, despite all his compliments, which she knew were sincere. She asked jealously, "Well then, why are you, well... getting it on with her?! Everyone knows you are! That's what this fight was about."

He thought, Shit, shit, shit! Why did I have to mention Heather of all people?!

He couldn't help but sigh as he struggled to explain. "Well, it's complicated. I never asked to get involved with her. She came onto me in a big way. Kind of like a tidal wave, in fact. She's like an unstoppable force of nature when it comes to getting what she wants."

Christine grunted in acknowledgment. She had to admit to herself that that much was true.

He continued, "Ironically, it was the very fact that I WASN'T into her that made her interested in me. Everyone else sort of falls all over themselves to please her, or at least they're just slack-jawed and stupid around her because of her looks. Heck, I'm sure you know exactly what I mean, because I see guys acting like that around you all the time too."

Christine stayed silent because she couldn't deny that. However, with her it was more a case of being admired from afar, since most guys were too intimidated by her to talk to her up close.

He went on, "I used to be like that too. I wasn't all fawning, but I didn't have the confidence to even say 'boo' to her. I'm sure she didn't even know my name. Then, a couple months ago, I started to get some sexual experience, and that gave me more and more confidence. It helped that I'd spent so much time around you, and my sister, and my mom, and Amy and others. I mean, let's face it: I've been surrounded by beautiful women all my life, so they don't intimidate me so much. Then I ran into Heather a few times and talked to her some, and I made clear that I really couldn't care less about her and her beauty. I wasn't faking; she didn't interest me at all."

He sighed. "But what I didn't know was that was like throwing raw meat in front of a hungry lion, er, lioness. She'd never been treated like that, ever, I'm pretty sure. She took it as a challenge and seduced me with all the subtlety of a flying mallet. I have to say, I was weak and I didn't put up much resistance when she threw herself at me. And then, that's when things got weird. Because I still didn't care. I mean, geez! I'm a horny teen guy. If some bombshell babe wants to have sex with me, I don't have the willpower to say 'No.' But I knew she was still a bitch, and I made clear that I didn't like her and didn't even really care to have sex with her again."

He sighed with even more exasperation. "Little did I know, but that was like throwing even MORE raw meat to an even hungrier lioness! The more resistant to her charms I was, the more determined she was to get me to fall for her. I kept trying to push her away, and that kept backfiring. By the time I understood the dynamic, well, things got even weirder. It's complicated, to say the least, and I hate to say this, but I need to be honest with you. The fact that she and I kind of hate each other, well, it results in some really hot sex. And every time, afterwards, I want to say 'never again,' and then it happens again. What can I say? I'm weak."

Now it was his turn to look away in embarrassment.

Christine thought about that. Her blood was boiling with jealousy, especially when he mentioned the hot sex, so it took her a minute until she could get her emotions under control enough to respond. "I... see... And I do see. That makes sense, in a twisted sort of way." Still, she clenched her fists. She was almost physically ill from thinking of Alan having sex with Heather.

He turned back to make eye contact. "I know I'm a cad. I get involved with all these women, and I can't help myself. And yet I still carry a torch for you. Every time I'm near you or even look at you, I get too horny!"

She looked down at his crotch and saw a pronounced tenting there. She said wryly, with a sly grin, "I can see that."

Abashed, he quickly adjusted himself to hide his bulge. "Um. Yeah. See what I mean? But really, you do something special to me, in my heart as well as, uh... lower down. Every time I see you I get butterflies, because I know what a great person you are, inside and out. And when you risked everything to save me today, God! It just makes me want you that much more. Just being near you, it's so hard holding back from kissing you!"

She thought about the "thank-you kiss" they'd just shared, and her heart pounded so hard it practically leapt from her chest. She wasn't a natural seductress, but she gave him a devastating "come hither" look because she really meant it. She said in a husky, sexy voice, "Then why hold back?"

Their faces drew together slowly, increasing the sexual tension.

As their lips came close, he thought, Oh man! What am I doing? I can't bring her into my crazy world. I have to resist!

But his resistance was low, and there was no resistance on her part. Their lips met again and they kissed with just as much passion as before.

However, the kiss didn't last long, because the ambulance arrived at the hospital a minute or two later. Fortunately they felt the ambulance coming to a stop, which gave them a chance to break their tongue dueling before someone opened the back door.

They broke the kiss with barely a moment to spare, since they'd been so into each other that they'd almost missed the fact that they'd arrived at the hospital. As it was, the ambulance driver who opened the back door was all smirks and grins, since Alan and Christine looked so obviously lusty and busted.

NOTES: For this part, I had exceptionally great help from IBT, Gnome, Hermit, KGL, and WD40. They proofread the originally-published text and pictures over and over again and helped in lots of other ways. This part is much improved thanks to their efforts. Hermit critiqued with the pictures, as usual. WD40 worked extensively on the original fight scene in particular, and many other things besides. KGL provided key help with the pictures; he had a hand with nearly every picture, and is largely responsible for many of the backgrounds. Also thanks to Ivagabundus, YellowPeril, DD, Nightfallen, CPN, Old Salt, Marguerite Mingorance, Sam.I.am, YamiBoy, Orestes, Sacbob, Story Lover, and greyshadow.

The rewrite of the fight was instigated by WD40, who realized that if Christine had enough training to not lose immediately, she'd be trained well enough to take down her untrained opponents. He kept pushing for more realistic, faster action with less speech, contributing greatly to the effort.

The fight description was revised by Sam.I.am, then improved by greyshadow. The associated Christine's martial art techniques webpage provides links to clear youtube videos of most of the techniques that she used, demonstrated by (then) 4th-degree Aikido black belt Gary Boaz. Almost 200 other youtube videos by this same instructor are also accessible from that webpage. All of Christine's Aikido techniques, except her potentially-lethal percussive strike to Ryan's carotid sinus, are taught to beginning and intermediate Aikido students. Only the mind-leading aspect of her takedown of Aaron is Aikido; she learned the principles behind her timed stop-kick from Bruce Lee's writings.

Christine's choice of techniques to use against the football players took into account that they might not know how to employ a breakfall to land safely from a rapid, circular mid-air throw. She judged that her other alternative, to take them down gently at the end of such throws to avoid damage to their spines, would take too much time, delaying her from getting to Alan. Thus most of her techniques were more linear than circular, leaving her opponents flat on their backs where it would take them some time to get back on their feet and return to the fight.

Thanks to Spacer for permitting this rewrite, for all of his constructive criticism, and for adding a new last chapter to this part in support of the effort.
-Sam.I.am

It is not the author's intention to infringe on anyone's copyright. If an image copyright holder finds an unauthorized image within these illustrations and wishes it removed, we will do so immediately. We will not respond to hearsay or assumptions, only to originators or their authorized agents. Thank you. Spacer X