Continuing the story of Penelope Primrose, taking place during the start of the Beautiful Angels of Boxing Entertainment league.

The author of these stories goes by the DeviantArt handle of thegeorgiapeach. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed his post-match analysis of B.A.B.E. matches very much. But now, he’s covered a year in the life of the former UK Foxy Boxing champion.

Without detracting from the current B.A.B.E. storylines and keeping true to (and in some cases building up) the personalities of B.A.B.E. fighters, this story presented an outsider (UK) view of what was going on with the league. These stories helped make my own fictional world seem more real to me! In fact, as far as I’m concerned, these stories are canon to my own stories.

This doesn’t usually happen but I was so into this storyline, that I actually wanted to help bring some of it to life. And with the author’s permission, I will be re-publishing these stories to the B.A.B.E. blog.

So, (around) every week, you can tune in here for the stories with some associated images. (Not everything will have images… just the action-oriented stuff! And, please, visit thegeorgiapeach‘s DA page for his stories and analysis. It’ll be worth your time!

Story by thegeorgiapeach and art by cpunch . (Please note, some of the images in these stories may have been previously published. Click the highlighted links below for refreshers as you go along.)

Raqual Balboa’s assistant, Mandy, quietly opened the door to her bosses office, a stack of files packed high in her arms. Each file carried the latest B.A.B.E. related information Raquel had asked Mandy to collect for today’s meeting. As Mandy entered, she overheard the latest in the grim news about Lana Sinclair that Liberty Lane was sharing with Raquel.

“ . . . and nothing has really changed. She’s not doing any better, no change in the last four weeks – though at least she is home. Doctors still saying the same thing, she shouldn’t fight again for a long time, if not ever.”

Rocky just nodded grimly. Her long face couldn’t hide the pain at hearing the news, the continued fall out of what had occurred to Lana in the final of the B.A.B.E Championship Tournament at the hands of the Jade Fist.

Liberty continued, “I think it is time we let her fans know, B.A.B.E fans know, that for the foreseeable future Lana Sinclair will not be returning to B.A.B.E.”

“OK Lib, I think . . . hey Mandy, just grab a seat . . . I think we should announce it after this weekend’s fight card, so as not to distract from promotions.”

“I would announce it before the fights Rocky. Close that chapter for now, and then if Ashley and Penelope deliver big wins we can hopefully change the narrative of B.A.B.E from what happened to Lana to the positive energy that is going on with Ashley.”

“OK. I’ll put something out tomorrow after the final promotional press conference. You’re right, let the press have their 24 hours with the latest on Lana, and then hopefully Ashley can re-shift the focus to what is going on inside the ring.” Rocky was anxious to move on from the Jade/Lana affair, not to callously ignore what had happened for she truly cared for Lana’s well being as a person, but to recapture the momentum of what the B.A.B.E. tournament had gathered for her fledgeling league. After the suspect start to the tournament following the duel losses by Sonia Redding and Penelope Primrose, the remaining fights had delivered – none more so than the final 3 bouts: Jade over Rayne, Lana over Ivanna and Jade over Lana. Word of mouth had spread, ratings shot up, and the press coverage had doubled. Lana had been fully promoted as the face of the league entering the final, and her charm and charisma had caught the public’s eye. Of course, her devastating loss had dampered some enthusiasm, coupled with the fact that the first B.A.B.E champion, the Jade Fist, is less than the forthcoming, engaging type; a complete enigma actually.

“Mandy, first off, how did Ashley look this morning in her final tune up for Saturday?” Rocky asked, shifting the meeting away from the Lana Affair.

“Oh my goodness Rock! She is ready! I felt bad for Lisa Simmons who was in there sparring with her. Ashley was bouncing her all over the ring. Ashley was overwhelming her.”

Rocky smiled, “Good to hear – and good for Lisa, hopefully she learned some lessons in there so she can see how much work she has to do to get to that level. So what else do you got for us today?”

Mandy proceeded to fill in Rocky and Liberty on the latest ticket sales, TV ratings, scouting success and failures, and recent news on current fighters and recent signees. The business side of running B.A.B.E, and all things were pointing upwards, the numbers were good – B.A.B.E was off and running.

Rocky had listened intently to all the details, and now alone again in her office her mind drifted to what would happen next in her league. Jade had been clouded in mystery before and during the tournament, but in her bout with Lana she had shown her true colors and they were quite brutal. For B.A.B.E, the scenario, no matter how unfortunate to Lana, had delivered a great storyline for Rocky to market. Ashley, intent on avenging her friend could be cast as a hero striving to bring virtue to the B.A.B.E belt, to dispose of a fighter who had been unmasked as a cruel villain. Rocky was confidant Ashley would be ready for the challenge, but knew the pressure was all on Ashley because the rest of the good girl stable was in disarray. Lisa and Daisy were young and still had a lot to learn, Lana was now gone, and Sonya and Penelope had had recent stumbles that did not promote confidence. Penelope was fighting this weekend, hopefully she could fight herself back into the conversation.

It was fight night in the B.A.B.E arena, and Penelope Primrose could feel the energy in the arena. It had been ten long weeks since her loss to Ivanna Payne, and tonight was her match of redemption, to show Rocky Balboa and the other fighters that Penelope Primrose, former UK champ, was a formidable opponent. For Penelope, she could feel the changed energy in the arena as fans were revved up for tonight’s bouts. For many of the women in B.A.B.E the arena and gym had become rather glum – all the talk being about what Jade had done to Lana. It was on all their minds, for it was a grim reminder of what could happen in the ring.

For Penelope she had lost her closest friend in America with Lana out of the picture, and had also lost her most frequent training partner. Penelope would be lying to herself if she didn’t admit that losing Penelope in the gym had stunted her own training for her bout tonight with Hurricane Hannah. Penelope hadn’t heeded Rocky’s advice, and took the full three weeks of recovery following the Payne fight. She needed it she thought, for she had been quite busy establishing herself in America and felt that rest would be good for mind and body. She knew her body best, therefore she knew what was best for it.

She had gotten some good work in with Lana before Lana fought Jade, and felt good about where she was at. She felt the rest and relaxation tact in conjunction with some aggressive weeks of sparring and lifting would work best. Following her first ever defeat, at the hands of Rayne, she felt she had come back to quickly to training for her title defense against Mace, and felt that this time she would ease back into it and fully recover from what Payne had done to her. There were some strong fighters in B.A.B.E, and Penelope knew she needed to add strength to her punches and movement to her defenses – thus the lifting and sparring. She knew she needed more snap to her punches and to avoid getting hit – something she knew was generally a strength for her. She had rewatched her Payne loss, and felt if she could avoid getting hit, she could keep the momentum, and she was aware that Hannah was no Payne, or Mace or Rayne – Hannah was not champion material and had lost her last bout to the hot newcomer Ashley Powers her last time out. Penelope had become good at convincing herself she was ready.

As for that newcomer, Penelope had controlled her initial indignity at being slighted for the Main Event bout on tonight’s card. Ashley was American after all, and she had since learned that Ashley had been an undefeated champion in two other leagues. Still, as a former UK champ she felt she should have been offered the marquee on the following fight card rather than tonight’s undercard.

Rocky’s stinging critique of her last performance was on Penelope’s mind as she put on her Union Jack fighting gear. She knew she had some pressure tonight. She knew if she wanted that first shot at Jade she would have to overwhelm Hannah, hopefully in two rounds or less to better what Ashley had done against Hannah. That would show Rocky what she was made of. As she put on her robe she reflected on her recent quarrel with Missy Eddington, and feeling the hurt of how Missy herself had been critical of her performance on the airwaves of her home country. She felt betrayed, for Missy had always been her mentor and promoter. And though Missy had called again many times, Penelope felt determined to ignore those calls. She was on her own, and she would prove to them all that she was on top of her game. And as Penelope heard her music, she new it was time to fight.

“. . . And her opponent tonight, fighting out of the blue corner… hailing from London, England… weighing in at 137 pounds … the former UK Foxy Boxing Champion, PENELOPE PRIMROSE!!”

On that queue Penelope strutted to the ring. She reveled in the adoration of the crowd. The arena was sold out, and the arena was huge. She knew she had their support in how they reveled in her sexy, sashaying stride, her golden hair flared out and bouncing at each step. She gave the crowd an all-knowing smirk – she and they knew the beating she was about to put on poor Hurricane Hannah. She glared over at Hannah bouncing around in the red corner and winked, followed quickly by a pirouette and a wave to the crowd. She dropped her robe slowly, and relished the crowds excitement at seeing her familiar Union Jack fighting kit.

Penelope sauntered around the ring for a bit before making her way to the center of the ring for instructions. Hannah held a strong gaze, while Penelope continued in her confidant smirk. Penelope allowed herself to delight at the fact that Rayne or Payne were not looking back at her, and when the instructions to the fight were finished managed a “No worries love, I’ll be quick about it tonight.”

Penelope received final instructions from her own corner and waited for the bell. She went over her game plan: move and jab, move and jab, switch, sides, move and jab some more. And, keep her head moving.

“Ding! Ding!”

The bell sounded for round 1 and both fighters shuffled out and met in the middle of the ring, Hannah unleashed right away and caught air as Penelope slipped left. Hannah pivoted and gave chase, all the while stalking Penelope and looking for an opening, but Penelope was not willing to giver her one.

After a while Hannah stopped chasing and waved Penelope in. Penelope didn’t bite, instead waved back and changed directions. There was a feeling out process going on and both fighters were not keen on allowing the other a quick upper hand. Though the crowd grew a bit restless over the cat and mouse chase going on in the ring, they remained loud, anticipating when the fireworks would begin.

About a minute into round 1, Hannah finally shrunk the ring and dove in with a hook, and for her effort received two sharp jabs to her face from Penelope. Penelope quickly moved right and caught Hannah with a grazing shot to the side of the head. Hannah was undeterred and went on the chase again. Penelope bounced left, then quickly right and caught Hannah coming in again, Hannah did land a counter hook while backing out but it lacked any power.

Hannah was a little frustrated because she liked starting fast, but Penelope was mixing up her movement, something she hadn’t done against Payne. Penelope knew she had to avoid any late round entanglements, and continued to counter with jabs every time Hannah moved forward. Moving left Penelope suddenly stopped, ducked and caught Hannah with a beautiful straight right on the chin which elicited the biggest cheer of the night thus far.

Hannah was momentarily stunned after having her head snapped back, however barreled forward to tie Penelope up before Penelope could follow up. For the final seconds of the round Hannah just leaned her weight on Penelope against the rope, rapping off a couple soft shots to Penelope’s side.

“Ding! Ding!”

The fighters split at the bell, heading to their corners for the one minute reprieve. Penelope strode with confidence and a quick raised fist. She had done what she wanted that first round, and took a couple deep breaths to stem her breathing. She knew she had to keep up the pace to frustrate Hannah. And Hannah was frustrated. She had to find a way to cut off the ring, though in the back of her mind she knew she had to remain patient. Penelope had showed against Payne that she couldn’t keep too torrid a pace without fading, and though Hannah knew she didn’t have the power of Payne to turn the match around on one shot, if she could get in close and work Penelope’s body she could slow the fight down. To those watching at ringside it was clear Penelope had taken the first round. Though the same had held true against Ivanna Payne.

“Ding! Ding”

Hannah burst out of her corner with some urgency, trying to catch Penelope on her heels with her guard done, but Penelope saw the move and threw out a defensive jab and spun to the left. Penelope was back on her horse and she danced left, and than right, and right again. Penelope was intent on mixing up her movement. It was vintage Penelope, from her days as champion in the UK she had used such movement to frustrate and counter her opponents. She was hoping for Hannah to get impatient and careless. For her part, Hannah kept stalking, trying to be the aggressor. She charged in again and connected to Penelope’s shoulder with a right, but took a left in return. She spun back to pursue, or so she thought, but Penelope had held her ground and Hannah ate a right-left combo to her jaw. Penelope shuffled away and the crowd roared. Hannah regrouped, and though she had felt those shots, she comforted herself in the knowledge that she had felt Penelope’s power and it hadn’t been anything close to what Ashley had served her her last time out.

Penelope was feeling good. She felt Hannah was slow and wasn’t worried about getting beaten to the punches in exchanges. She continued to move left, than right and switching up her movement. She watched Hannah stalk in again, and then stumbled when Hannah guessed her move to the right and slammed a hard right into her arms. Hannah tied her up with one hand and peppered some shots to Penelope’s sides again. Those shots hurt more than Penelope had thought they should, but she was more worried by the fact she couldn’t break out of Hannah’s long armed grasp as she was pushed into the ropes near her own corner.

Hannah was clearly the stronger of the two fighters, and Penelope couldn’t afford to be tied up like this. Hannah continued with the short left raps to Penelope’s ribs until Penelope finally was able to pin down Hannah’s assaulting left.

With the break by the referee, Penelope began moving around the ring again. Hannah had just had her best moment, and Penelope didn’t want to get caught in close again. Hannah continued to follow. She felt it was a matter of time before Penelope slowed down, and she had to be ready to strike when that happened. While Hannah was harping on what could happen in the future, Penelope brought her back to the present with a sharp left jab and another right hook that found it’s target on Hannah’s head. Another roar from the crowd and Hannah cursed herself for her loss of concentration. As much as Hannah tried to get inside, Penelope proved elusive and kept feeding left and right jabs to Hannah’s face. With seconds left in the round Penelope let her guard down and Hannah swung wildly. It had been a clever ruse, Penelope ducked and countered with a ripping uppercut to Hannah’s jaw. Penelope put everything into the punch, for she had set it up all fight long, trying to get that second round knockout to one-up Ashley, and while the punch left Hannah dazed and listing, it hadn’t brought the brunette down.

“Ding! Ding!

The crowd roared as Penelope sauntered back to her corner. She was pleased, but slightly discouraged that Hannah hadn’t gone down. She had used that move many times in the UK with great success. She sat on her stool and took more deep breaths and gulped in some water. She had her trainer shake out her legs a bit, for she was feeling the effects of her movement. Hannah, meanwhile, straightened herself out before she got to her corner and with that came the knowledge that she had just lost another round. She sat angrily into her chair, but was soon uplifted by the sight of Penelope’s legs being rubbed out and shaken. It looked like Penelope was already starting to feel the effects of her constant ring shuffling. She had felt Penelope’s power, and felt she could take it, but if Penelope got her again with punches like that last uppercut, and then put it in combination with more punches she may meet the canvas. Somehow Hannah had to turn this into a brawl.

“Ding! Ding!”

To start the 3rd round Hannah came out cautiously, seeing what Penelope would do. Penelope did not surprise, as she closed the gap and then immediately started shuffling and bouncing in front of her. Hannah decided the best thing she could do was up her own temp, test her stamina against Penelope. She started mirroring Penelope’s moves with more urgency and decided to come right on in through Penelope’s jabs. It was risky, for Penelope was accurate, but Hannah felt as if she could withstand those softer Penelope punches and get inside. Meanwhile she was starting to find the range on her own jab a bit better with her faster tempo. A nice left jab to Penelope’s mouth felt good.

Penelope found herself huffing and puffing a little harder midway through the round. She had witnessed Hannah upping her tempo, and Penelope had responded by upping hers and throwing more jabs to keep the charging Hannah at bay. She could feel it having an effect on her, and was slightly discouraged by Hannah walking through her jabs and trying to tie her up. Hannah was successful on a few tie ups, and each time she got tied up Penelope found herself driven into the ropes followed by Hannah leaning on her. Carrying the weight of Hannah was not what Penelope wanted, and it didn’t make for a pretty fight.

Hannah felt she had successfully made the fight ugly. She could feel the sting leaving Penelope’s jab, and though she was taking 3 punches for every one she landed, she felt the fight’s pace was slowing after both fighters had sped up for the first minute and half of round 3. Penelope felt she should abandon the jab and start throwing heavier punches to see if Hannah still tried to bull through those. Hannah dove in and this time was met with a straight right from Penelope and had her head snapped back. Hannah felt that, and decided to ruse Penelope back and exaggerated the effect the punch had had on her. She figured Penelope would try the same thing the next time she dove in. Penelope felt that she had Hannah now. Hannah was being bull-headed and now Penelope felt she could start picking her apart with power punches. And just on queue Hannah came at her again and Penelope fired another right and caught nothing but air. A split second later she felt Hannah’s glove explode into her belly and Penelope felt the wind leave her body as she grunted in pain.

The grunt was music to Hannah’s ears, and it was clear to her that Penelope was hurt by the punch. The bell ringing immediately after was not as welcoming to Hannah though, for she couldn’t follow up..

“Ding! Ding”

Penelope tried her best to straighten up after that last shot to her mid-section, but it was hard. She was hurting and was aware she was staggering somewhat to her corner. She resisted clutching her belly, though she wanted to. She couldn’t give Hannah that satisfaction.

Hannah watched Penelope’s reaction to that last shot. Clearly she had found the weakness in the former UK champion, much as Ivanna had, as Penelope staggered to her corner unconvincingly holding off a grimace. Hannah knew she had to continue the body assault on Penelope, for was Penelope just caught off guard by the punch and hadn’t flexed or had she gone soft in the mid-section? Hannah was intent on finding out. She took some breaths, and knew that she had to turn the fight around, for despite that nice body shot she had probably lost another round.

Penelope struggled for breath on her stool. That shot had caught her off guard, but clearly her tummy couldn’t afford more shots like that. Penelope gulped more water, and took deep breaths. She was tired now, but knew she was winning the fight. Keep to her game plan and she had this, though deep in the back of her mind she was pissed at having to go into a fourth round.

“Ding! Ding!”

The crowd roared at the start of the fourth round. The action had picked up in the 3rd round and they were anxious for more of the same. Hannah came out aggressive, and Penelope began moving left. Penelope soon became aware that Hannah was closing her off more easily now, and Penelope started moving back as much as left and right. Hannah sensed the tiring in Penelope and concentrated on shrinking the ring. Her aim was to corner Penelope and work her body.

Penelope tried again to escape right but Hannah closed her off fast and anticipated Penelope’s back pedal. Penelope’s eyes widened as she saw Hannah pounce forward. Penelope fired off two jabs, but Hannah took them and moved on in catching Penelope with a straight right to her ample chest. Penelope was momentarily put off balance as her legs gave out and she stumbled clumsily backwards into the corner. Hannah had her were she wanted her.

Penelope knew the corner was not her friend. Hannah fired off a series of wide hooks to keep Penelope from slithering away from her.

Hannah didn’t really care where they landed just that they did and Penelope remained trapped. The crowd was loud as Hannah flung punched wildly. Penelope ducked low and tried to get a hold but Hannah’s strength just pushed her back into the corner. Penelope did well to keep her head moving and avoid the big shot.

Hannah intentionally slowed her rapid fire and surveyed the covering up Penelope. Sensing Hannah slowing down, Penelope took stock of her situation and realized she hadn’t taken any serious shots and Hannah must be tiring. This was her chance to fight out of the corner and take the fight back to the center of the ring. Penelope fired off a left hook, striking Hannah in the side of her head. Hannah took the shot without flinch and threw the punch she had been waiting to throw, a short crisp hook counter back to the exposed belly of Penelope Primrose. It met with the same response as the punch that ended the last round; a loud grunt by Penelope. Penelope instincts to the pain made her lift her left leg to protect her mid-section and turn to the side. Her arms stayed up as she cowered, but her right side remained open for the follow up punch by Hannah.

The quick one two had met with stunning impact into Penelope’s gut and she stumbled forward desperately trying to clutch Hannah to wrap her up.

Still quick on her feet, Hannah stepped aside and watched the former UK champ stumble forward onto her knees. Penelope Primrose had gone down!

The crowd was stunned by this quick turn of events for Penelope had seemed to be in such control. Penelope clutched her belly and got to one knee as the count reached ‘4.’ She still had her wits, for she hadn’t taken too many shots to the head in this bout. She planned to take the full ‘9’ to recover.

At ‘9’ she was up on her feet and the referee barked at them to continue. Hannah came charging in, but Penelope shifted to the side and got a hold. Her corner was barking at her that there were 15 seconds left in the round and to hold on. Hannah felt Penelope holding on and pushed Penelope into the corner. Her strength advantage was clearer now than ever. She could feel Penelope’s strength had been seriously compromised, but she couldn’t get her arms loose. She finally got a break but couldn’t mount an assault before the round ended.

“Ding! Ding!”

Lucky for Penelope she didn’t have to go far to get to her stool. When she did she fell into heavily. Her breathing was labored, and she wondered if her ribs were broken, or maybe just some cartilage separation.

In any event, it was hurting to breathe. The fight had turned, and she could sense the nervous excitement and murmurs in the crowd. The words of Rocky and Missy swam in her heads. She couldn’t bear hearing all that again. Penelope Primrose had grown desperate in her corner.

Hannah knew now it was a matter of time. Her patients had paid off. She had her biggest victory of her career in sight. She could see Penelope gasping and wincing across the ring and had felt how empty Penelope was when she was holding on for dear life at the end of the 4th. Hannah had won her first round, and now she was intent on finishing it.

“Ding! Ding!”

Hannah came storming out quickly, she wanted this to end fast as she knew the 5th round was quite foreign to her as well. She could feel her own fatigue. Hannah knew she had to be careful, Penelope still had her wits about her.

Penelope saw Hannah’s intent at coming straight at her, and Penelope willed whatever was left in her legs to move left and than right, then back, then left. She held off the charge for a while, but her legs were gone and they were screaming at her. Penelope scolded herself. She had concentrated on lifting and defense, and it was her cardio that was failing her now.

Hannah bided her time. She could see the labored breathing of Penelope. She feigned an attack and watched Penelope nearly stumble over her own legs in response. Hannah dropped her own guard, almost enticing Penelope to attack. The crowd could see the shift, as the once confidant and strutting Penelope was now watching Hannah take over the role. Hannah snapped a couple jabs and waited, inching closer to Penelope all the time. As she moved in she uttered to Penelope, “Don’t worry love, I’ll make this quick!”

Penelope angered at the taunt. When Penelope saw Hannah drop her gloves she sensed an opportunity. She lunged forward and got off a good shot to Hannah’s left eye. But before she could reset Hannah was on her and delivered a one-two to her jaw. For the first time in the fight Penelope had been dazed and she stumbled back into the ropes and protected.

Hannah charged in and fired off some shots to Penelope’s arms and then a solid hook to Penelope’s ribs. Penelope gutted out a grunt, and watched as Hannah stepped back.

She was hurting, trying not to just take a knee. Penelope stumbled forward off the ropes and Hannah pushed her back into them. As Penelope bounced off, Hannah dove in low for another shot to Penelope’s weakened mid-section.

At the same time Penelope ducked as she flung forward. What followed was a nasty crack that reverberated through the arena as Penelope and Hannah’s heads collided violently with each other.

Penelope stumbled face forward onto the canvas as Hannah dropped onto a knee and into the ropes.

It didn’t take long to see the resulting damage. A large pool of blood instantly formed beneath Penelope where her head lay, and as Hannah sat back off the ropes a large stream of blood poured through her gloves as she clutched her head. Both fighters were dazed and down and hurt. Trainers and doctors jumped into the ring, and without even counselling with the doctors, the referee signaled for the bell to end the fight. It was quickly clear to the crowd what had happened, and that both fighters were in some pain and losing blood.

While Penelope and Hannah were tended to on the canvas, the judges and referee huddled together to figure what was to happen next. The only course of action was to go to the judges score cards. The fight had gone at least four rounds, and the winner would be decided by what the judges had scored. It had taken some time, but the flow of blood on the heads of both fighters had been stemmed. Penelope was raised exhausted from the canvas, half dragged to her stool. Hannah had made it to her stool, head leaned back. With her head pounding and bleeding, Hannah would feel more pain when the decision was announced over the speakers.

“Ladies and gentlemen. The fight has been stopped due to severe cuts caused by a collision of heads. By rule the fight shall be decided by the scorecards following the four completed rounds.

The winner, by technical decision, Penelope Primrose!!”

The crowd applauded, but most were disappointed not to have seen the customary knock out finish. Many, despite their support for Penelope, thought she had escaped another loss when she was on the brink of defeat, and thus conversely felt that Hannah had been robbed out of what was surely going to be her victory.

For her part, Hannah didn’t show any emotion but she was steaming on the inside as she waved away a wheelchair offer. She had this fight won, and instead was walking back down the ramp a loser, but at least she would walk down it. She glared over at the wheel chair sitting Penelope as she waved to the crowd with half her face covered by towels and bandages.

Rocky threw her arms up as she entered her luxury box after visiting the locker room and asked Liberty, “So what do we do with that? She won, but she was not going to win had that fight kept going. Good God, she does not make my life easy. She wilted again. I don’t know what to do with her. She’ll be out for some time with that cut – doctors say 8-10 stitches at least for the pair of them. Deep gashes both. . . .” And then she grunted.

“Well we saw glimpses of the old Penelope tonight tonight. But you’re right, she has got to find herself again. We’ve all hit valleys in our careers . . . well most of us have Rocky . . . she just needs to figure this out. She just has to get in better shape.”

“When?! Not much was different from her last fight . . “

“Rocky, enough! Ashley is coming up next. We can deal with all this later. Enjoy the night, this is what you’ve waited for. I think you’re getting your star tonight! Come on, come sit.”

It had been a long night! Penelope had finally arrived home from the hospital and ran her finger over her 10 stitches above her left eye. Her head pounded as she started to undress. Bed was all she wanted right now. She had won, but she knew she had been lucky tonight. She was all but finished in that ring tonight. And tonight hadn’t been a Rayne or Payne. It had been Hurricane ‘Bleedin’ Hannah. A middle of the pack fighter who had driven her to the brink of collapse. It was a tough pill for the proud Penelope Primrose to swallow.

She had gotten her shirt off, but winced when she bent to take off her yoga pants and immediately clutched her ribs.

“Screw it!” And with that she trudged to the fridge and pulled out two Heinekens. She slowly lowered herself onto her couch and opened the first bottle. She felt her ribs again. The doctors said it was just cartilage separation. It would heal in a couple weeks. She then couldn’t help padding the softness that had invaded her mid-section. Her body had changed, things weren’t easy for her anymore, her support was back in the UK, and she was losing more than winning now. She knew she was a good fighter, but what was happening. She had no answers.

These thoughts swirled in her head and she started questioning her abilities. Had the critics been right? Was she overrated? Had she been protected in the UK because of her popularity? She glanced at her phone and saw all the messages and missed calls. She would deal with that tomorrow. Tonight, despite winning, she was feeling sorry for herself. She knew people would be thinking she got lucky tonight, and what hurt was that they’d be right. Her only hope was that talk about her less than stellar win would be overshadowed by the over-powering first round knock out Ashley Powers had delivered in the Main Event. With those last thoughts she drifted off to sleep . . .

(To Be Continued)