By Anonymous

Southern California: The Present

Unless one saw the two women from the front, no one would ever be able to tell them apart. Each of them had dark hair, reaching the middle of her back. Their general builds were identical, the same slim waist, supported by well-muscled legs and slender, though well-curved, buttocks. Their upper bodies were well-defined too, the muscles rippling though arms and shoulders with each movement.

It would indeed have been difficult to tell them apart from a distance, as well, since each was blessed with high, full breasts, held that way by incredibly erect posture, the mark of a woman who knows her body and is proud of it. And each woman moved with the same measure of smooth, coiled, athletic grace. Each of them was about five-nine, about one hundred and forty pounds, though neither looked it. And each was extremely beautiful.

No, the viewer would have to get close to them to see the difference. Only a look at their faces would allow the determination of who was who.

One of the women was Miranda, a second-generation Cuban. She was twenty-eight years old. She was an executive with an advertising agency, starting with her firm immediately after college graduation, and making her way through its levels to the point where she was a part of the hierarchy, and was being considered for a partnership. She had proven herself to be adept, reaching for the accounts that had made her what she was. Each problem Miranda encountered, no matter how complex, had been solved by her tenacious, never-say-die attitude.

When one studied her face, one saw sharp, intelligent eyes. She was single and, though she had many offers, her commitment to her career had always taken first place. The other woman was Cathy, born and raised in California, though she had traveled extensively throughout the world. She was forty-two years old. Cathy had been a real estate broker for seven years, seeking something to do after the breakup of her marriage. Three years before, she and a friend had formed their own company, but she had bought him out the year before. She had a large, wealthy clientele, and handled luxury properties all over the world. She had worked long and hard on many sales, finally convincing many clients by the force of her personality to make purchases that, five minutes before, they hadn't wanted to make.

The women both belonged to a racquet club in an upscale part of the city and each was renowned for her prowess at racquetball, though they had never played against each other. It was rubbed into each, however, when any loser to either invoked the other's name.

They had never spoken, but each knew who the other was. Each quietly studied the other in the weight room, watching with some interest as the other did her weight routine. Sometimes they seemed to follow each other around from set to set, always lifting the same weight as the other, no matter how difficult as though each had something to prove.

Miranda, for her part, watched with disgust as Cathy, fully capable of attracting lovers half her age, did exactly that. Miranda was even heard to say that she wondered what such young and handsome men were doing around an "old bat" like that.

Cathy, of course, had heard about these comments, but had studiously ignored both the comments and the commenter during the two months since they had begun. A tension had, of course, built between the two during this time, but neither had been disposed to do anything about it, beyond the watchfulness that each imposed on the other, until Friday, July 18, when the two women left the gym at the same time.

Miranda was dressed in a short-skirted business suit, dark blue in color, with a white blouse and black heels. Cathy, having time to go home before going to her office, was dressed in a blue tank-top, with a short denim wrap-around skirt and athletic shoes. They were carefully avoiding eye contact as Miranda started her Sable and Cathy started her Porsche. Each arrived at the parking lot exit at the same moment, at exactly the same moment.

The left front quarter-panel of Miranda's car was crunched, having met the passenger door of the Porsche. The two women locked eyes before either left her car, and each knew what was going to happen. Each woman left her car at the same time and locked eyes again for a long stare-down before they approached each other, while a dozen pairs of eyes watched from the windows of the gym.

"You wrecked my car," Cathy said. Her eyes never left Miranda's. Miranda smiled slightly, though not with her eyes. "The way I see it, you wrecked *my* car."

"I see," came the reply. "Shall we let the police sort it out?" Miranda shook her head, unbuttoning her jacket. "Do we really need the police?"

The posture of the two women changed with that remark. Both stood more erect, turned a little more to face each other, and there was a sudden light in their eyes, along with the barest hint of a smile. Each breath came a little deeper and their breasts pointed at each other just a little more.

"No," Cathy replied. "We don't."

Never letting her eyes leave Cathy's, Miranda reached into her jacket pocket and extracted a business card, which she handed to the older woman. "My address and number are on the card. Call me in three hours and tell me what the estimates on your car are. I'll trade you the information. That will give us each time to get to the bank before they close for the weekend."

Cathy nodded. "Good."

Miranda started to get into her car, but turned around. "You know, your workout clothes are really very nice, good enough for much more than just a gym. I particularly like the white outfit. And I have a skirt just like that one."

Cathy smiled. "Thank you. You really look nice in those heels. They show off your legs very well."

"Good of you to say so. I do like to show off."

At eight o'clock the following morning, the agreed-upon time, Cathy, armed with a white envelope, walked unannounced through the door of Miranda's apartment. She was dressed in her skintight white exercise outfit, nothing underneath, and the wrap-around skirt covering her from waist to mid-thigh. On her feet were a pair of black heels, which caused her calf muscles to bulge with each step.

On the table, just inside the door she saw two silver plates. In one, was a white envelope which was identical to hers, and a wristwatch. She placed her envelope in the other plate and removed her watch, the only jewelry she wore, and placed it on top of the envelope. She felt her breath coming in deeper as the anxiety grew in her. She stepped into the living room.

Miranda was across the room, dressed identically to Cathy, standing with her feet apart, her hands on her hips, muscles tense with anticipation. Cathy stopped just inside the doorway, assuming the same pose as her rival. She saw the younger woman's nipples extending sharply, distending the cloth of the exercise clothing she wore, and felt her own growing ever harder in response.

From the time that Cathy had walked through the front door, everything which had been pre-planned by the women had been done. Everything now was ad lib, yet each knew that the rituals were far from over. The two were too much alike, too eager to enhance their intensity even further.

"This has been a long time coming," Miranda said quietly.

"I've wanted it for some time," Cathy replied.

Miranda took a small step forward, matched identically by the other. "Yes, I have, too. Look at us. We could be twins, except our faces are different." She took another step as she spoke, and again, Cathy did the same. "You know, I read your progress chart in the gym one day last week. Our measurements are identical. And we lift the same amount of weight, in every respect."

This time Cathy took the step and Miranda matched her. They were about six feet apart now. "I also read yours," Cathy said. "We do the same amount of time on the stair climber, the bikes, the treadmill..." She took another small step, as did Miranda. Three feet.

They paused there, taking a few moments to reexamine the body of the other, look at the muscles which were flexed, almost quivering in anticipation. The arms, the flat stomachs, just barely visible over the tops of the skirts, and the legs, flexed so much more than could ever be caused by a mere pair of heels. Then the eyes locked again, almost serenely.

"You are a beautiful woman," Miranda said. "So sexy."

"You're no less sexy," Cathy replied.

"Two women so evenly matched in strength and endurance," Miranda said. "So competitive." She slipped off one shoe with the other foot, tossing it gently behind her, knowing without watching that Cathy was doing the same. The other shoe was removed in the same manner.

"And neither of us likes the other," Cathy replied, closing one more step.

Miranda did the same and felt her nipples against Cathy's, not hard, but just barely touching. Her breath came in a sharp gasp, matching Cathy's.

Each woman moved her arms out to her sides, slowly, eyes still locked. The heels of their hands made contact and their fingertips came together. They built up strength slowly, with just their fingertips. Soon each was pressing with all the strength their fingers could provide. Eyes still locked, looking for any sign of weakness in her opponent, neither could find any. The excitement built further, with each set of nipples pressing harder into the other, each breath becoming harsher. Neither knew how much time had passed, but each could feel the sweat forming, beginning to soak their hair.

"Two women, so strong, so sexy." Miranda said with effort, through clenched teeth. "Equal isn't good enough, for either of us. One of us has to be better."

The pressure of the fingers ceased and the two women stood for a full minute, breast to breast, fingertips still touching, looking at each other's sweat-covered face, not just the eyes. Then the eyes made contact again and each could see the other's intensity.

Both women silently reached down and undid the buttons which held shut her skirt, and removed it, tossing it off to the side, neither breaking the eye contact. Then they reached out to their sides again, this time interlocking their fingers, with agonizing slowness. They began, with the same slowness, to put pressure on each other's hands, to try and bend the fingers back. At the same time, each placed her right thigh against her rival's, high enough that it sexually aroused the other.

The sexual contact between them had nothing to do with physical attraction. What caused it was the desire of each to be proven the better woman in *any* physical respect. The sexual duel between them was no more than an extension of their test of strength. But, it was no less important, either.

Breast pressed harder together, stomachs came together, then hips, and the eyes, which only moments before had been looking for weakness or pain in the other, were now looking over the right shoulder of the other, as they were now cheek to cheek, hearing the other's breath, which turned into gasps, then grunts, then groans.

The two duels fought for attention as each woman gave in to the sexual duel and felt her hands being forced back. She would then turn her attention more to the test of strength and force the hands back to the neutral position. The arms were nearly perfectly still now, and neither woman had a square micron of her body that was not covered in sweat. Each felt the body heat, the slick sweat of the other, and reacted to it below.

Miranda felt the spasms in her arms and shoulders as the contest entered its fourth minute. She wanted more than almost anything to quit. The only thing she wanted more was to win, to best this other woman, both physically and sexually. She felt Cathy's long dark hair sticking to her face, to her hair, and kept fighting.

Had she seen Cathy's face, it would have inspired her. The older woman was grimacing in pain, fighting to keep going, despite the flames which shot through her upper body. Still, she felt Miranda's steel-hard nipples against her own, both sets unyielding, and knew that she could last as long as her younger rival.

Their sexual duel had expanded now, five minutes into their battle, as each ground her hips against the other, feeling as though they were two bucking, straining wild mares, though to the casual observer, the motion was almost negligible. But each knew the effect of the other's rock-hard thigh pressed against her, could feel the strength of the other's leg muscles against hers, and each was being drawn closer by the second to her orgasm. The groans were slowly changing from signs of mere pain to a mix of pain and pleasure.

Each felt her own strength giving out, at the same rate as her rival's, neither able to move, able to win, and neither woman able to admit defeat.

At the same moment, each felt the climax rush up on her. The moans were louder now, and they felt as though they were in convulsing fits as completion came, though, from visible appearances, nothing had changed. Yet each screamed and felt each other's strength increase briefly to almost maniacal levels.

Yet, as it passed, they sagged against each other, spent, and stood that way for five minutes, their arms at their sides, legs still pressed together, leaning their heads on the other's shoulder.

Finally, they had the strength to stand, though their hands were still too weak to release their interlocked grip. Their eyes met once more, and stared, though glassy, at each other. After a long two minutes, the animosity arose again and each began to tighten her fingers, once more.

The legs moved apart as they each realized that this would be their final effort. They were each willing to admit their sexual equality. All that mattered now was strength.

Pain filled the face of each woman as the renewed duel continued. Both were still weak - exhausted, actually, but both refused to concede. For another three minutes, the test of the strength of their bodies, as well as the test of their will through their eyes, continued.

Miranda felt her strength beginning to ebb. Sobbing with pain, her knees buckled and she felt her breasts moving below Cathy's. It was no comfort to her to hear Cathy sobbing as she was - not while she was sinking to her knees, and she fought back with the last of her reserves, but fruitlessly. It took another two minutes for her to kneel and another minute after that for Cathy to bend her fingers to the breaking point. Finally, tears streaming down her face, she whispered "enough".

Cathy immediately released the pressure and fell to her knees as well. The last of her strength was completely gone. They knelt there, hands interlocked, for five minutes before Cathy could work her fingers free of her rival's. After another minute, she rose and, fingers still trembling, buttoned on her skirt, and stepped back into her high heels.

She walked back out into the foyer, stopping at the door to look back at Miranda, who was still on the floor, but no longer crying. The younger woman met her eyes one last time, but this time, there was respect.

Cathy nodded and walked into the foyer. She examined herself quickly in the mirror and ran her hands through her hair. Satisfied, she reached down and picked up her wristwatch from the silver dish, then her envelope. With a small smile, she moved the other wristwatch into the empty dish and took the other envelope. With a sigh, she left the apartment.