SMACK! I winced as my back hit the mat. Bugger, bruised my spine again – yippee. I ignored the ache as I grappled with Nathan. Like hell I was letting him win this one.
I hooked my leg around his as he worked on getting me into a shoulder lock and before he managed to get his arm in position, flicked him over using his bent elbow to my advantage.
It didn’t go as I intended. The bastard went with the roll so we tumbled straight over with me on the bottom. Again. Fuck.
“Awww is little Kitty Cat stuck?” Nathan’s obnoxious grin was in my face.
Jerking my right knee up I snatched at his collar and wrenched leaving my left leg limp so we rolled over. He gave a yelp of surprise as he slammed into the mat.
A very satisfying sound. I moved to lock his arm. Not quick enough. Grabbing both my arms he pulled and I was back where I began. On the mat, with his face in mine.
‘Knee to the groin’, suggested the silly voice in my mind. ‘Catherine’, my sensible voice was stern, ‘use what you were taught – no cheap shots’.
“Cat’s down”, hollered our Sensei as he tracked the grappling pairs in the room.
‘Like hell I am’ growled both voices and I wrapped my legs around Nathan’s hips. The look of shock on his face was amusing, even more so when I gave him a suggestive smile, arching my eyebrow. Cheap shot? Not if he fell for it.
He didn’t register what I was doing till his head connected with the mat. A loud ‘thunk’ noise. Excellent.
I grinned down at him.
“Catherine wins!” Sensei had a wide grin.
Nathan scowled up at me, “get off would you!”
I stood and sauntered to the side, joining Kassie as we watched the final pairs fight. So far tonight I’d won all three of my fights.
Not quite as good as Loi.
I watched as she brought Daniel to the mat, hard enough to get a yelp of pain in response.
Sometimes the two inch mats don’t feel that thick. I felt a momentary pang of sympathy for him.
“Laura wins, fifth fight tonight making her the evening’s champion!” Sensei crowed in triumph.
Kassie and I hollered, clapping our hands for Loi as she stood, ever graceful and walked over to us. Most the guys in the room gave rueful grins as they joined in the applause.
“I can’t believe you’re letting yourselves get beaten by girls” Sensei shook his head in mock distress “what will I tell the other Sensei’s’ at the meet?”
“That you train Amazons”, Jason the class smart arse quipped back.
Actually that was a good description for Loi, though I don’t think you’d see many Amazon’s with Scottish accents. Five foot eight, with a figure like a pin-up girl and thick black hair to her waist, Loi made most people look twice.
“What’s the magic word?” a voice saturated with sweetness demanded, interrupting my thoughts. The three of us along with the rest of those sitting out, turned to look. There was Sian, the fourth of our quartet, with Grant beneath her tiny thighs.
For some reason Grant felt the need to be stubborn when tapping out with Sian. It might be due to her dainty appearance. Sian was the blond in our group and just adorable to look at. Dainty and precious (more like precocious, truth be told) she scraped in at just five foot like Kassie. But while Kassie had a curvy busty figure, Sian was petite in every sense of the word. Except personality of course.
Our poor Sensei didn’t know what hit him when the four of us began coming to class. It was one of those serendipitous acts of fate that meant the four of us moved to Wellington within six months of each other. This Dojo was the only one in the region which offered Black Belt classes that suited our needs. We’d all began jujitsu (Brazilian style) for various reasons years ago. It was rather surprising we hadn’t met earlier.
A yelp and frantic thumping signalled Grant’s submission and Sian wore a demure smile as she made her way to us. After a debrief from Sensei, class was dismissed and we headed to my jeep in the parking lot.
“I’m getting really sick of Andrew”. Kassie grumbled as she climbed in the back seat.
“Why?” Sian hopped in the other side.
“He keeps teasing me about being old”.
The pout on Kass’s face was adorable, Loi and I started laughing.
“Kass you’re only twenty five” I emphasised only. “Andrew’s just some stupid nineteen year old who knows nothing”.
“Hey! Not all nineteen year olds are stupid”. Loi gave me a look.
Sian chuckled from the back, “boys are three years behind in maturity levels Loi and Kassie he has to pick on you cause Loi would squish him”.
True, thought Kassie, settling back in her seat. Such a pity he won’t try. Cat took a left at the lights and pulled up at Loi’s apartment.
“Oh I forgot!” Loi exclaimed. “We’ve been invited to a costume party at Brad’s next weekend. He’s just graduated”.
Brad was a workmate of Loi’s. Kassie had seen him once or twice before – a tall guy if she remembered correct.
“Theme?” Demanded Sian.
“Fantasy. I was thinking I’d pop over tomorrow morn and we’d check out the store?” Loi arched an eyebrow questioningly.
The store was The Hand me Down Princess, a second hand shop we frequent. I nodded along with the others.
“I’ll be up early, why not come over around nine?”
Kassie and Sian groaned while I grinned at Loi, “the early morning will be good for them”.
She laughed and waved at us as she went inside.
“Nine?” Kassie grumbled, “not all of us are early birds Cat”. And not all of us have dogs that require runs each day, she thought. Audrey was a lovely dog but if Cat missed her run then the dog would be a terror. Unlike her beautiful tortoise-shell cat Lucky. Cats were so much easier to look after – low maintenance and cheap to feed.
I pulled into the driveway and we went inside. Lucky greeted us at the door with loud meows and I could hear my dog Audrey whining at the back door. I went to feed her while the others snagged the showers.
I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT!
I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT!
My detestable alarm blared as I scrambled to shut the thing up. Silencing it, I flopped back into bed, tempted to roll over and go back to sleep. My plan was foiled however by a large lump wedged behind me.
“Audrey”, I growled.
The dog whined at me, wagging her tail – she knew full well the bed was out of bounds.
Audrey tumbled off the bed, whining and crying in apology, nipping at the end of my nose and then doing a silly frantic run around the room. I sat up and glared at her. Huntaways. They’re adorable dogs, very loyal, smart and the cutest puppies you’ll ever see, but neurotic! It was my own fault really. I’d picked the pup that was all by herself in the litter and according to every trainer I’d ever been to since, that was the animal you should avoid. The one by itself, because it meant it had issues.
Which Audrey did but I still loved her. Casting another glare at her I hopped out of bed and found my running gear. Five minutes later and I made my way to the kitchen with Audi urging me on, using her herding instincts. Kassie was bent over the dishwasher as I entered so all I saw was her mass of dark curls.
“Morning early bird”, I drawled, grabbing a banana from the fruit bowl, her head snapped up at my entrance, her golden brown eyes peeking out from amongst the curls.
“Cat! I thought you were out already?”
“Nope. Nearly though, I’ll be back by eight thirty so it should give me enough time to get ready”. I grinned at her.
“It better!” She scolded. “It’s all your fault I’m up at seven on a Saturday and I don’t want to have to wait around for you”. She gave me a steely look as she ducked back towards her bedroom with Lucky draped around her shoulders. The cat appeared to be giving me a very smug look.
No wonder Andrew’s teasing her about being old, she sounds like my mother. I wrinkled my nose at her retreating form. Almost hard to believe she was only two years older than me. Audrey whined at me.
“Coming” I swallowed the last of my banana. Snatching her leash and my parka from the hook, I clipped her on and off we went.
When we arrived back Sian was up and about, making a yummy big breakfast. Bacon, eggs and hash-browns, I raced for the shower with my stomach rumbling. Audi disappeared looking for Lucky, they adore each other and are often together. While rinsing my hair out I heard a voice holler.
“Hellooo? Anyone home?”
I stepped out of the shower, tying on a bathrobe and twisting my hair into a turban with a towel.
Laura was in the kitchen when I got there and Sian dished up the breakfast. We all dug in and while they sipped hot drinks I ducked off to my room to change and dry my hair.