The next day after work Ann returned to the gym. She signed in, and this time waited much more patiently for the day crowd to exit the building and for Tucker to appear. He came up just a bit after six, ushered everyone out, and locked the door. When he turned to face her this time, there was an air of expectancy, instead of pity.
Good. She could handle that much better than having people look at her as weak.
She followed him downstairs, and they crossed the large room to the mat. As she looked around, her eyes caught on the counter she had sat on last night and made out with Mr. Goodlooking. She saw the rectangular pad on the wall, and when she turned to ask him if that’s what they needed, he nodded his answer, as if reading her mind.
“Remember the stance, hands up, legs apart, face your opponent.” Her body flushed with the memory from the night before, “hands up, legs apart” were the things he demanded erotically in her dreams.
He was much more serious tonight. The playfulness from the previous evening was gone. He took the pad from her and placed it on his own arm. He circled her, and she kept right up. It didn’t take long for her breathing to get labored, lunging left, then right, then blocking the slow, exaggerated blows. It didn’t hurt; it was just much more intense than she was expecting.
“Remember, you are in control here. If it gets too much, just say so. I’ll stop.”
Oh goodness, she had a feeling she might get a lot closer to yelling mercy now than the night before.
“Next, I want you to attack.” He grabbed a much longer rectangular pad that was twice as thick. “If I get too close, I want you to grab the sides of the bag and drive your knee in – as if you are kneeing the attacker in the groin. Let’s do a few for practice.”
She obeyed. “Harder, it won’t hurt you, it won’t hurt me. If you miss, repeat quickly until he drops you.” She repeated the knee, this time with more intensity. Getting in such close proximity intensified things exponentially. Then they went back to the dance; when he got in closer, she grabbed the pad, brought up her knee and released. “Good, you’ve got this” she heard him say.
“Now I’m going to take you down to the ground. You’ll see that this same technique can be adjusted to work if you are pinned down. Are you ready?”
No! Yes! Now or never I guess. She nodded her head, and he came in quickly, grabbed her similarly to the way the attacker had, the way the Monster had, and brought her to the ground just as easily, before she had time to react. She was instantly thrown back in time, and a desperation to escape enveloped her body. It scared the living shit out of her. She screamed bloody murder and instantly fought to get out, forgetting everything she had just learned. “NO! Stop!” she screeched before she could get her wits back about herself.
He quickly stopped, got off her and moved back a good six feet. “Are you all right? I’m sorry.” The compassion returned to his face, but she was still shaken.
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