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Her heart thudded in her chest. Her blood thundered through her, she could feel the pulse in her neck, thump thump thumping. Sweat broke across her brow, heat flushing her skin. Adrenaline surged through her and she pushed herself even harder. Punch, kick, block, kick, spin, punch, throw, roll, rise, kick, punch.
Tory pushed herself through her workout forms with her partner, Allie, at a swiftly quickening pace. The two young women matching each other move for move in an intricate and dangerous dance. They'd done this at least once a week since finally befriending each other after Tory rescued Allie from a knife-wielding maniac and Allie had, in turn, protected Tory from that same man. Their friendship had been built on mutual respect and a healthy dose of competition and had progressed to movie nights and girl talk.
Tory had never really had a girl friend like Allie, or at all. Tory wasn't always the most sociable person, her resentment towards the world making it hard to her to trust anyone. But Allie's bubbly personality and unflagging persistence had paid off and Tory had fallen under the blonde's spell and now trusted her with her life and her emotions.
Something in their training pattern changed suddenly. Allie was pushing Tory just a little harder, being a bit more forceful, a clear challenge in her eyes.
"You want this to be a sparring match?" Tory panted as Allie moved a little faster.
"Think you can handle it?" Allie grinned back.
Tory laughed breathlessly, "Bring it, blondie."
And no more were they training, it became an honest sparring match.
They traded blows back and forth, blocking and countering easily. When Allie got in a lucky punch to Tory's gut Tory swept low and knocked Allie's legs out from under her. When Allie was flat on her back Tory quickly pinned her and caught her breath.
"Give up?" Tory taunted.
Allie rolled her hips and unseated Tory, dumping her to the mat and reversing their positions. Allie smirked, "Not yet."
Tory laughed and spun bucking like a mule beneath the other girl and tossing Allie to the floor. They both regained their feet and Allie made a beckoning gesture with her hand. Tory, not one to refuse an invitation like that, went in swinging.
The two of them went back and forth, neither gaining ground. Eventually they dispensed with the fancy martial art they were still learning and went straight to tossing one another over each others' hips and to the mat. That quickly lost appeal as the girls tired and they ended up rolling on the mats trying to pin one another.
Tory had Allie pinned again, her hips locked to the ground and her shoulders held down by Tory's hands. Allie hadn't conceded defeat though she knew she couldn't break the hold with anything fancy, instead her hands game up and danced all along Tory's sides shocking the other girl with the ticklish sensation. Tory squealed and rolled off Allie but, having found this new weakness, Allie followed and kept ticking.
"Allie," Tory squeaked through laughing, "Allie, stop." Tory kept laughing.
Allie laughed and kept going, "Not until you say uncle."
Tory didn't want to give up but between the strenuous exercise and not being able to breathe anymore she groaned and called out, "Uncle!"
Allie sat back and crowed her laughter.
Tory moaned and laughed a little more, "That was totally cheating."
"We didn't agree to any rules," Allie pointed out with a happy smile, "I won fair and square."
Tory reached out and slapped Allie's thigh. "This time," she warned mock seriously, "I'll get you next time."
Allie bent down and kissed Tory's cheek, "Sure you will, tough girl." Allie climbed to her feet and looked to the wall-clock, "Shoot, I'm late for dance practice. See you later, Tory!" She ran out of the dojo with a wave and was gone.
Tory lay on the mat with her cheeks burning and butterflies in her stomach. That was new, she thought with a bashful grin, I wonder what I'll have to do to get Allie to do that again. Tory climbed to her feet and grinned while grabbing the key to her motorcycle. She'd go watch Allie practice then maybe they could do another movie night. Just the two of them.
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