“Look, Inside Out is easily the best Pixar movie.”
“Maybe it’s your ~favorite~. But Toy Story started it all. It’s the most influential, so it’s the best.”
I stared Vanessa down, my face set in a slight half-smile. I could tell that she was a little flustered. Okay, very flustered. Her blue eyes tried to challenge my green ones, but I kept my gaze steady and hers faltered. Her chest rose and fell with every sharp breath she took. She bit her bottom lip in concentration, and I could only smile wider. Inside Out was my favorite, and Toy Story is certainly a respectable choice. But individual tastes aside, this was the most that I had ever heard my usually reserved coworker talk. And since we had both retreated into the cool evening air of the backyard while everyone else was inside watching the game… I wanted more. So, I kept on.
“Toy Story was great, for its time. But if you want a unique world, and amazing characters… Come on, Bing Bo…”
“Don’t say that name, Erin!” She cut me off in a panic, but her eyes shone as she gave me a terrified glare. (Just bringing up that cat-elephant-dolphin made my eyes a little misty. Luckily, she didn’t notice.) Vanessa jumped to her feet and paced, risking glances at me before her eyes darted back to the ground. I could almost see the nervous energy sparking off her body. A light sundress fluttered as it tried to keep up wither her movements, hinting at a thin frame underneath with a chest that just barely curved under the fabric. Her short blonde hair seemed to glow from the light that escaped the windows behind us.
Since when was I so observant?
Vanessa seemed to settle down after a moment, and she moved to stand in front of my seat at the porch stairs. When she spoke again, her voice was hesitant, but not afraid. “I think I know a way to settle our disagreement, and no laughing!” She commanded with another uncharacteristic glare, although her lips were curling into a warm smile as she considered her plan. “When my sister and I would disagree, we would have a thumb war.”
I tried not to; I really did.
She started to turn away, and I stood up quickly with my hands raised in a gesture of peace. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t laughing at you. But I haven’t had a thumb war in years,” I offered in explanation, using the most apologetic tone I could. After all, that smile of hers told me that those were valuable memories. She turned around reluctantly, and I found myself standing almost face to face with her for probably the first time. At 5’5″, I was a little taller than her. As I had chosen to wear a snug tank top over a sports bra and denim shorts on this summer night, my athletic build was more apparent than her own. (Playing tennis though high school and college had been such a blessing) My wavy black hair sucked in the light that her own strands would have reflected. I tried not to loom, but… we were about to go to war, even if our weapon was a single digit. So maybe there was a mini-loom.
Vanessa didn’t shrink away at all, although I could tell there was a slight tremble in her thin shoulders as she set herself opposite me. When a light breeze brushed through the trees that surrounded the backward, I felt a little shiver of my own. I slipped out of my sandals, and Vanessa stepped out of her flats. We looked each other over slowly, purposefully, seeing each other as something other than coworkers and acquaintances. Don’t ask me what we were in that moment, I don’t have a word for it. But I think we both understood.
As a final apology for laughing, I offered my right hand to Vanessa, my fingers in the general shape needed to start this type of battle. With a surprisingly steady gaze, Vanessa reached out a moment later, and thin fingers curled around mine. We both tightened our grips, our thumbs pointing to the sky as anticipation wrapped around us. Vanessa started that familiar chant, and I joined in.
“One, two, three, four.
I declare a thumb war.
Five, six, seven, eight.
Meet me at the starting gate.”
I lunged forward with my thumb, expecting to catch hers in a quick pin against our joined hands. But her thumb darted back, then pressed down on mine with surprising strength. I quickly pulled my own thumb out from under hers, and we shared an intense look as our thumbs bent back after that quick exchange. She tried to press her advantage, leaning forward slightly as her thumb tried to come at mine from the left. I let my feet spread a little wider to hold my ground, the pad of my thumb meeting hers to halt its attack. Her thumb slid up and I heard a slight gasp. I felt an electric thrill as my thumb slid down the side of hers, trying to slip underneath her knuckle. But Vanessa was quick to bring her thumb down, under and around mine. My pin attempt thumped uselessly against our index fingers.
My heart had never beat this fast.
Our war dragged on for minutes, my thumb unable to keep up with her speed and her thumb struggling to control mine. Pins would last no more than a second or two, and I was surprised to realize that we were both grunting. Gasping. I could feel a clamminess on my palm where her other fingers pressed against my grip.
I don’t know who tugged first. Since we didn’t have a stable surface to rest our elbows on, perhaps it was inevitable that we would go outside of accepted norms to win this war. You would think that I’d have an advantage where strength was involved, but Vanessa was a surprisingly fierce competitor. Our feet started to brush over the grass as we tested each other from different angles. She would bend her wrist back to try and draw my thumb closer, then I would bend my elbow to try and overwhelm her. The mood shifted from a fair test of skill when I gave a particularly firm shove that made Vanessa stumble back a step. She looked up at me with a fierce gaze and stepped forward, pushing up at me from underneath and making me stumble back a little as well. I clung to her hand and dragged her with me, our feet sliding over the grass until I caught my footing and gave a little yank that pulled her into me. Her chest bumped into mine, but she didn’t bounce off. Instead, she pressed in, and I felt my cheeks burn as my breasts strained against her own smaller pair.
Thumb wars forgotten, I bent my knees and pushed against the shorter woman. Vanessa bent her knees and resisted. We leaned over locked hands, both of us putting in enough effort that eventually our foreheads brushed, then tapped as our contest spread across our whole bodies. Her face was set in a mask of stubborn determination, and I have no doubt that mine was the same. Our breaths grew deeper as the moments passed, and when she inhaled, I pushed in. I was rewarded with a little gasp when Vanessa started to stumble backwards, and I kept the pressure on her, at least until she tripped over her own feet and slipped off the grass, falling onto her back and pulling me with her.
I landed on her with a heavy thud, and our hands pressed into our stomachs, pushing the wind from both of us. Before I could try to take advantage of having the upper hand (Because what was I supposed to do, be mature and deescalate the situation? Remember, all this was because of Pixar movies), a thin left arm wrapped around my shoulders and fingers curled into my tank top while firm legs wrapped around my midsection. Vanessa was lightning fast to switch our positions, and I found myself underneath my shy coworker. This clearly was unacceptable. My own left arm went around her shoulders as well, but my left hand found only bits of grass clinging to bare skin. Before I knew it, my left hand instead tangled within blonde strands. Her frustrated hiss turned into a surprised yelp as I gave a sharp tug that was intended to change our positions once again.
Vanessa adapted quickly, her hand letting go of my shirt to tangle in my hair as well. I expected a return yank backwards, but instead she tugged my face closer to hers. We tumbled over each other uncontrollably, our bodies mashing together as we tested each other’s full strength. We were both gasping openly by now, but my breaths were shorter and heavier. Our constant tumbling had made my tank top and her dress ride up, and her pale legs were pressing into my tanned skins with a constant pressure. This… was not good. Almost as if she sensed my distress, Vanessa’s legs flexed around me, bringing our tumbling to a quick halt. Our breasts, separated by just layers of fabric, swelled together with every breath.
“L-EH-et… go of me, Va-AH-nessa…” I stammered breathlessly.
“No-hhht a chhhance, Erin…” The other woman panted.
Another squeeze, and I let out a little whimper. Trying to ignore the embarrassment blossoming in my chest, I planted my feet on the ground and arched my body, trying to force my way out of Vanessa’s grip. In return, the smaller blonde arched her body down, trying to push me back into the grass. I was painfully aware that my nipples were straining against my bra. That her breaths were flowing over my skin. That our hips were pressed tightly as we arched against each other. That there was the slightest back-and-forth movements from both of us.
I ached for her.
In a confused panic, my left hand abandoned its grip on blonde strands and raised up into the air, intending to swat at the bottom of Vanessa’s dress. Instead, the sound of skin slapping skin filled the air around us, and I felt my coworker press her face into my neck to mute her surprised squeal. With her attention diverted, however accidentally, I grabbed at her flesh and held her tight so she couldn’t struggle. With a determined grunt, I rolled her onto her back. And, once there, I pressed my knees into the ground. Covering Vanessa’s body with my own.
We were both breathless. Our skin dotted with grass and dirt. Clothes twisted and sweat-damp. And again, that slight movement of hips. That slight press of breasts. My hand lightly curved, molded to her backside while her fingers stayed woven in my hair. I stared down into her eyes as I leaned down into her slightly… Not enough to hurt her, but enough to show her who the stronger woman was. Who was in in charge at this moment. “Do you give up, Vanessa?”
My soft-spoken coworker stared up into my eyes. Her breaths slow and deep as her legs loosened their hold on me, remaining around my body but no longer squeezing. Maybe I felt her own nipples pressing back up against my body, or maybe it was just a lustful delusion. But once again, that slight movement of our hips, that gentle but purposeful dry humping as we lay together in a dark corner of someone else’s backyard. And then… I felt it. Long forgotten, her right hand still held on to mine. And her thumb had mine pinned, for who knows how long. A voice, gentle yet rich with confidence, reached my ears. “Do you give up, Erin?”
I didn’t stop blushing for a month.