I’m just going to be super honest with you right now and admit, that I was nervous. For a lot of reasons, really. First, there were way too many cars on that freeway. Second, there were more than 3 lanes; which left me wondering which one I was even supposed to be in. And third, why were there exits on the left and the right side?! Gah! At least it was pretty there. Oh, and THERE, was Seattle, Washington; the city that was to be my new home.
I say new, because for my entire life, I’d been an east coast girl. The sum total of my living experiences occurring in either the quiet part of Massachusetts for these last 4 years, or Delaware. Neither of which were anything like Seattle, or that terrifying freeway. Half of me wanted to turn off the road, and then turn my car around, if I could have even figured out how. I mean … sure, I had driven almost the entire width of the country in a car filled to the brim and smelling like perfume, makeup, and fast food, but could I really handle everything that was about to be thrown at me?
The only thing that kept me from hitting the abort button was the thought of how long I had been waiting. To have the chance to blaze my own trail in life. To be my own woman. To not have to hide what I wanted, who I was, or to be forced to live by anybody else’s rules but my own. This is when life starts, I told myself, as my fingers tightened around the wheel, and my eyes narrowed in a dramatic focus. All of which was silly, since at that moment I was sitting in wall-to-wall traffic, going about 3 mph, but still — I was committed.
After about an hour and a half, a time I spent either gazing at the beautiful Seattle skyline inching closer, or dodging through busy urban streets, lined with either brand new, beautiful buildings, or old ones being torn down, I had arrived at what was soon to be my new place. The building was tall, brick-made, and covered with bright green vines. Every bit of which made it look so very warm and cozy, when set in contrast with the gray sky above, and the small puddles of fallen rain water that pooled about the city.
After I found and fought for a parking spot, I looked in my rear-view mirror.-There, in that smudged reflection, I adjusted my makeup, blouse, and hair, wanting to be not only ready to meet my agent, but the visitor who was to come after. “Hi! Brooke?” Without warning or expectation, I heard her calling me, before I even set hand to handle.
I wasn’t ready! Or was I? I wasn’t even sure, but it was too late. Time to go, I thought to myself, as I awkwardly opened my car door, and stepped out. I had already signed the lease, but you wouldn’t know that by the sales pitch this lady began to lay on me. Her name was Tammy, I think. She had big blonde hair, tall black heels, and a nasal voice that made me want to plug my ears or run back to my car.
Despite her energetic and hyperbolic descriptions of literally everything, I was still able to lose myself in the excitement of the moment. I can remember the feeling even now — how deeply I loved the look and feel of my new apartment building. No, it wasn’t a house, and yes, it meant I still had neighbors, but it was where I had chosen to live. And what a choice it was, I thought to myself, as Tammy unlocked the door to my top floor apartment.
Brick, wood, and dark steel woven together in clockwork beauty, furnished with cherry red leather furniture, and mahogany tables. I loved it. I wanted it. And it was mine. But now that it was, I needed Tammy to go, and in a hurry.
“As you can see, over here, we have a private staircase up to your own personal rooftop deck, let’s head on u….” She continued on, before rudely, I interrupted her.
“I am so sorry, Tammy, but I actually have a guest coming. I love it. All of it. And thank you so much for helping me.” I said with all the genuine appreciation I could muster, given how quickly my heart was beating.
“Oh, ok. Met a Seattle-boy already, huh?” Tammy asked while reaching out a hand to give me the keys to my first post-college place.
“Something like that….” I answered awkwardly as I took the keys, and ran back to the door to hold it open for her.
“Well, if you ever need anything, you know where to reach me!” The big-haired lady said as she stepped out into the hall, with an excitement that could only be brought about by a hefty commission, and too much espresso.
“I do!” I said in a cute, but rushing tone, just as pressed the door behind her. It was then, and only then, that I could breathe, leaning with my back against the cold, red-metal door, and looking across my new apartment, a wide smile on my face. “Well, Brooke, this is when life star….” Came an overly dramatic and audible recitation of my own thoughts on the day and the matter, until they were suddenly put to pause by a loud knock at the other side of the door.
Guh, Tammy! What does she want, I need her to go awa…. I thought to myself, in part, before I opened the door, with words of rejection hanging on my lips. But there they stayed until retracted, when I found that it was not Tammy, but her: my ‘guest’, Rheena. She stood the same height as me, in red high heels, and a long, black, heavy wool coat, wrapped around her like her favorite blanket on a cold day.
“Expecting someone else?” She asked in a low, seductive voice; one that she let loose as she stepped into my apartment without waiting to be greeted or invited; her shoulder forcefully brushing against mine, in a lingering, teasing way.
“Uh, no…. You were … the one I was w-waiting for….” I stuttered out nervously, while wearing an excited but embarrassed smile, overwhelmed by … well frankly everything at that moment.
“Good.” She said shortly, before turning back to face me, pulling back the edges of her coat, and then with a shrug, guiding its warm contours from her shoulders to the wood floor beneath her. With such a smooth disrobing, she showed me that apart from the coat, an incredible tan, and her gorgeous heels, she was completely nude.
As soon as my eyes landed on her bare skin, hard nipples, and confidently hip-bound hands, I began to regain my composure. Everything about the day was new and unfamiliar, except for this. This I knew. And that is exactly why I found Rheena. You see, and this might weird you out, but I am … a fighter. A catfighter, a sexfighter, a titfighter, and everything that falls in between. Now you might not know what those titles mean, and that’s ok. Because it’s pretty simple. I like to compete with other girls. Competitions of pain and sexuality — my skill, my body, and my will versus theirs.
It was something I fell into, or was pushed into at Penngrove University. A college that was-let’s just say a little different than most. One of those differences was that the faculty taught, supported, and facilitated ambition, competition, and a drive to conquer obstacles, even when those obstacles were other students. At first, I thought it was creepy and dumb, but then, after a match or two, I didn’t. Instead, I fell in love with it. Got addicted to it. Like I can’t even explain how deep into that hole I fell. But, anyway … that’s why she was there. Because she felt the same way. And so to christen my new place, and settle in, I was going to test my womanhood against hers, until one of us came. Until one of our wills broke.
“Ahem.” Rheena cleared her throat, and with widened eyes and a single hand, gestured, reminding me that it was my turn to strip. And strip I then did, quickly tugging the bottom of my white blouse from my skirt, only to then set to unbuttoning it. As each such fastening came undone, more and more of my own tanned upper-half was exposed for her to see, until finally my breasts remained contained by only my lacy black bra.
Though my eyes remain locked on hers, she studied my body closely. Examining every inch of skin as it was bared. Her lower lip finding itself bitten as my shirt fell from my shoulders to the floor, and I began a sexy little shimmy to escape the confines of my short black skirt, using my thumbs to push it down over my hips. Then, in two quick kicks, I threw off my heels, the skirt, and reached behind my back to unclasp my bra. After such a skillful and practiced move, and as my bra fell forward, my straps sliding down my biceps, Rheena’s eyes narrowed, and stance adjusted. I could see it in her. She was — angry isn’t quite the word for it, but surprised…. Surprised by the fact that I had already noticed and dealt with when I examined her pictures online. Our breasts were identical, save for the shade of our tans, hers being natural and mine being purchased and tanning bed-born. The similarities did not stop at their shape and size, but instead continued with our nipples and areolas — each being a mirror image of the others.
As she tried to process that unexpected equality, I stepped towards her, one foot after another, until we stood only inches apart. There, with our breasts hovering so very, very close, daring to meet if even a single step was taken, I paused. At that moment I could feel the heat radiating from her body, and hear her breath quicken and hitch with my every move or expression, no matter how light. Between us, as electricity sparked, and each of us began to dizzy with anticipation, our erect nipples lingered only an eyelash’s width apart, each swaying back and forth with our bodies — each pair wanting to cross and duel so badly that they ached, or at least mine did.
Whereas I was nervous and without focus when Rheena arrived, I could tell that as the moment approached, her impressive confidence was faltering. A feeling that turned to certainty when she demanded in a shaking, breathless voice. “Ta-take off your … p-panties….”
YES! I thought to myself, I’m intimidating her, and we haven’t even touched yet. Time to press the advantage. And press I did, literally, as I stepped forward, and sealed my body against hers. As I did, I lifted my arms, and draped them over her shoulders before I leaned in and whispered in the sultriest voice I could conjure, my lips gently caressing her ear with every word. “You take them off….”
I could feel her body quake in excitement as the sound of my voice trailed off. In reaction to that sensation, I began to gently nibble on her earlobe, meaning to drive her mad with lust. I expected that she would immediately do as I asked — to try to take my panties off — to even the game, at least in terms of wardrobe. But that didn’t happen, however, as instead, and to my surprise, she began to wilt, and grow weak in our soft, sultry clinch.
“Mmmm, did you see how our breasts match…?” I asked softly as I moved my kissing lips from her ear to her jawline, doing so to not only taunt her, but force her to think about the element that I had assumed was turning her on so badly.
“Shuuuu…” Her voice trembled. “…shuuut sh-shut up….” Came breathlessly her response. That was my moment to strike, and knowing that, I began to gently drag my breasts against hers — left and right — back and forth. She, to her credit, began to reciprocate, wrapping her own arms around my back, and setting her upper body to twist. And yet, it began: her soft, plaintiff whimpers of pleasure.
Everything about the way she was responding to my touch told me what she wanted, and I gave it to her. Soft, gentle kisses, that moved from her ear, to her chin, to her soft, dark-hued lips. Those lips I visited with small little pecks, and between each, I pulled back and let her release the sounds of her excitement, before I would dive back in and reward her.
Eventually, I noticed that she had stopped all semblance of response, in our duel of chests, and was beginning to give in to, not just partially, but completely. “Did you just come here for a collar, Rheena?” I teased her, with our lips pressing together, and every word leaving my mouth finding itself spoken directly into hers.
Immediately, I felt her push me back and away from her. Then in her eyes for the first time since I disrobed, I saw fire. Not only that, but in her curling lips I found anger — palpable and intense, as if I had found her most sensitive of triggers. “Fuck you!” She said sternly, as her resolve began to return to her.
I’d tell you that I hadn’t meant to wake her back up, but that would be a lie. I wanted to fight, not just fuck. I wanted this girl to backup all the emails and texts she had sent me for these past few months. Not so that I could experience her talents, but instead, so that she could see that mine were superior. And so when she pushed me, and then cursed, I charged back at her, and when I arrived at an angle, leaving our naked bodies to stand on my left side toe-to-toe and on the right, a foot apart. In that closeness, I latched a single hand on her bare pussy, using my middle finger to press inside and claim her clit. “Mine….” I followed up in a hiss.
At the very moment I dared to touch her sex, the fire within her lit, and driven by as much, she grabbed my panties, and then ripped them down. Then, free to do so, she returned my grab, my dominant pinch, and then spit back at me in words. “When I’m done with you, I’m going to punish you for being such a bitch….” Suddenly I felt her press her breasts into mine again, just as she began to rub my clit.
It was then that our bodies met once again, and this time, at her insistence. Her sudden resurgence caused me to shudder in pleasure. “Oh god….” I exclaimed in a half-moan, half-mutter, as my head tilted back, excited beyond words that Rheena had finally decided to fight back.
“That’s right….” The brunette taunted, as she felt my hand drop from her pussy. “Little, blonde bitch.” Even with her insults, I was at that moment, too turned on, and too desiring of her touch to pull away or fight back. Instead my eyes simply closed, as I let her take full control of my clit, my body, and our battle.
Looking to press her advantage, as I had earlier, Rheena began to slowly walk us both back, my panties falling gently from my ankles down to the floor as we moved. Our journey continued, with her guiding me back, from one room to the next, her hand never ceasing it’s pleasurable assault, until suddenly I felt something soft, press against the back of my thighs. Before I could react to it, or open my eyes to see where she had taken me, I felt her hand withdraw from my velvet folds, and a soft push land on my shoulder. From such gentle impact, I fell backwards and landed on my new, and yet-to-be-used bed, my legs hanging off of it just past my cheeks, and spread. Between them she then dropped to her knees, wrapped her arms around my thighs and pulled my sex to her mouth.
Despite my previous willingness to let Rheena do as she wanted with me, as it dawned on me what she was doing, I began to squirm; wanting to get away from her no doubt dangerous tongue and pull myself further up the bed. That effort, she fought off, by using her grip on my thick thighs to pull me back. A counter she marked with exclamation when she landed a small, stinging slap at the tip of my valley, causing me to yelp in pain, before assenting. “Ok, ok….”
Just as I spoke my unneeded words of allowance, my olive-skinned rival dove in. Not quickly like a rushing frat boy, only interested in rushing me to whatever end might lead us back to pleasing him, but slowly. Softly. Telling me with every lounging stroke that she not only had me, but that she was going to do everything she could to drag me to an unwanted orgasm.
The delicate nature of her first lashings were so smart, she having made them just pleasurable enough to be distracting and entrancing, but not so much that I would again fight her to escape. And so exactly as she wanted, I abandoned my elbow-propped angle, and let myself fall back to the bed, my blonde hair bunching and forming a makeshift pillow behind me.
I know what you’re thinking. ‘If you’re fighting, why would you do that!? Why would you just let her!?’ And the answer to that question is really why sexfights are so exciting to me. Because you’re not only struggling against your rival and her body, but also against the lust she builds within you, and your body’s desire to give in to what it wants. It’s a test of wills. A test of endurance. And so as she held my lips to hers, and began to devour my sex, I set myself to enduring and resisting the pleasure that she was inflicting on me; until I could find the wherewithal to escape her clutches.
At least that was the plan: resisting. Something I did a poor job at, as within only a moment or two, I began to softly moan. I hated it! I hated myself! Even moreso when I could literally feel her smiling in reaction. Bitch! I called her in my head, as my hips started to thrust themselves forward against my wishes, desperate for more of her tongue and talents. Within one or two of those unwanted lunges, I was able to stop, but she already knew. I wanted more.
More she then gave to me, doing all she could to coax my clit to harden and escape its folds. Her tongue sliding beneath it, and then dragging upward; releasing the smallest, hottest little moans she could into my sex. I knew the sounds were only to turn me on, and make her onslaught more intense, but that knowledge did little to stop it from working. Little to stop my clit from coming out to play. And when it did, she used her teeth to catch it, and then her tongue to lash it, back and forth. In an instant I screamed out in pleasure, and my hands flew down to her head, trying to push it and her mouth away.
As those hands approached, she reached out with her own, and there, above my quickly rising and falling stomach, we fought. Her to stop my hands, and mine to push past hers, and to stop her attack. Finally she found a way to lace our fingers, and drag my hands down to my thighs. When she did I felt helpless, only able to scream out, once and then again, her tongue masterfully pulling me towards an orgasm. One that was rushing towards me like a freight train — one that the first waves of which began to lap against my shore when suddenly she pulled back, and taunted me. “Looks you’re the one who came here for a fucking collar, slut.”
Only a blink after she set to dive back in, and finish me off, but a half-blink before she could, I slammed my thighs closed around her head, the inner softness of my thick thighs pressing against her cheeks. With such a hold I held her mouth at bay, inches from my sex. She then tried to pull her hands free, and to use them to push me over the edge, but in our lacing, I held tight. “BITCH!” She screamed at me, as my closed legs kept her stationary, and my building orgasm slowly faded.
I wanted to respond. To taunt her. But I couldn’t. Not yet. And so instead, I just laid there breathing, focusing on keeping her trapped as I recovered. Even as her tongue stretched out, seeking one last moment to drive me wild. Even as her teeth snapped. And neck bent to drive her forward and into me. But finally, when the threat had passed, I, in one fell swoop, released her hands from mine and her head from between my legs, only to scoot back onto the bed as far away from her mouth as I could.
As I expected, in frustration and anger, Rheena came after me; not wasting a second before she stood up and dove onto the ridiculously California king bed. When she did, I sat up, and then brought myself on all fours, like her, ready for our next engagement. One which did not come immediately, as my rival moved to the center of the bed, and then raised up into a kneeling position. A position I mirrored, after moving to meet her.
I knew she was going to make the first move, but in all honestly, I had no idea what she would try. After the way we started, and how close she just had me to defeat, she might try anything. And yet, even that knowledge, did not prepare me for what was to come. For just as our eyes locked together, a flame burning in each, Rheena dove in for what looked like a passionate kiss, but then instead, locked her teeth around my bottom jaw, with her upper teeth clamping down on my lower ones. When she did, my eyes grew wide with not only panic, but anger. An anger which drove me to bite back, bringing my own upper jaw down on her cheek and upper lip. The bites were not hard, or wounding, more meant to secure and hold each other. I can’t say that I had ever done that before that day with Rheena, but god it was hot. That feeling must have been shared by my raven-haired rival, as after we wrapped our arms around each other, and we began to lean into each other, I could literally hear her heart pounding. Her breath catching. And soft and yet feral growl coming from her lips. With that as symphony and soundtrack to our scene, she willingly collapsed back to the bed, allowing me land on top of her.
Once there, with our jaws locked together, our arms wrapped around each other, and our legs tangling, I felt like an animal. And like an animal, each of us began to drool from our mutual bite, as we rolled from one side to the other. In such a tumble we each sought to mount the other and take out our frustration. But as we struggled in parity, that rolling continued, even as our bites softened and turned into wild, passionate kissing.
At that moment I wanted her so bad that even now I can’t put it into words. But thankfully at that moment, no words were needed, as suddenly our rolling came to a stop with me on top of her. It was then that when my bare pubic mound settled on hers, that I could see it in her eyes, as I looked down into them. The moment had come. I knew it. She knew it. And so after taking a deep breath between kisses to ready ourselves, I thrust my hips down into hers, and in unison, we cried out together. When the sound of pleasure faded, I thrust again, and this time, she met me, slapping the tip of her sex into mine. “Fuck….” She said breathlessly. “Shit….” I responded with not a decibel more volume.
It was then, with gazes locked, that we began to grind one another, my arms pulling back from around her to push myself up. “God, our tits. I love them….” I said, not to push her buttons this time, but to admit to her that her feelings and mine were no different on the likeness.
“Mmm hmmm” She mouthed in response, while biting her lower lip. As if she couldn’t take them being separated, my brown-eyed guest lifted her upper body beneath me, and rubbed her tits against mine. The feeling was incredible, and the excitement it drove within me intense. Despite that, I did not let it stop me from thrusting. Even as I reciprocated by beginning to drag my own hanging tits over hers.
The battle seemed so even and calm at that moment, such a far cry from the two extremes it has been at before. One with her melting at my very touch, and the other with me skewered on the tip of her tongue, with only the slimmest chance of escape. In that moment of soft equity we continued for what seemed like an eternity, and a blissful one at that. In it, our moans echoed off the walls of my new apartment, and our eyes, though once locked, were forced to close as we both fought to endure the others delicious onslaught. Breasts and nipples dragging and sliding against each other, each of us looking for any and all contact between them we could find. Our clits and hips dueling, trying to push the other into orgasm and defeat, as we rolled almost freely, neither of us concerned with being top or bottom.
Suddenly however, as I delivered one thrust upward after another, each of us increasing our pace, I heard her scream out in a pleasure she was not ready for. When she did, my eyes shot open, and what seemed to be a long war of attrition and parity, turned into anything but, as I had found it. The angle and the spot. THE SPOT. Not wasting a moment, I followed up with another thrust, wanting to test to make sure my assumption was right. When I did, Rheena not only shuttered, but let loose a wild, traitorous moan, that told me exactly what I had discovered.
“No, no, no….” She muttered, as I quickly rolled her onto her back, and mounted her, making sure not to lose track of her weak spot. Once atop her, I raised up, and brought one of her legs with me. Locking she and I into a trib-scissor, with myself in full control. Immediately she reached her hands up and out, and then with them she tried to push me off of her. But with a single, hard, wet grind of sexs, her shoves became feeble and her lips parted in a desperate cry of ecstasy.
As she reeled, I thrust my hips forward, and drug my clit over the spot I had found, one located just above hers and a hair to the left. In reaction she bucked like a mechanical bull at a bar, trying to get me off of her, but I clung to her leg, and kept my position. Back and forth I ground against her, and finally her violent responses ended, and she grabbed a handful of the comforter, and pulled it up off the bed and to her mouth. Into it she then screamed, her whole body shaking in my grasp.
Into that glorious torture of unwanted pleasure I settled, closing my eyes, and allowing myself to enjoy everything about that moment. Her screams, my victory (which seemed imminent), and how my every thrust seemed to drive her insane. “Mmmm, scream for me….” I taunted, making sure to not slow my pace for even a second.
In response, Rheena tried to speak — tried to threaten, but her words were stolen from her, and she could get out nothing but: “Fu-fu-fuuuuuuuuuuuu….” The sound of her voice breaking at my touch turned me on like no other sound I had ever heard, and drove me to what I assumed would be an orgasm that released shortly after Rheena’s. But just then, as I began to moan along with my seemingly defeated rival, I felt her held-leg adjust, pull away from my grasp and chest, and then slam back into me, sending me falling not only off of her, but also the bed.
In a confused daze, and in a clump on the floor, I tried to figure out what happened. Where was I…? Why weren’t our sexs fused together any longer in a hateful kiss…? Why couldn’t I hear her beautiful screaming anymore…? As those questions swirled in my head, I stood up, on wobbly legs, and suddenly found myself pushed, my right shoulder pinned, and my back pressed against the cool brick wall of my bedroom, by the left side of Rheena’s body.
It was bad. That placement. My state of excitement. How quickly she had turned the tables. And yet all I could do at that moment was look into her eyes, from which tears of pleasure had begun to stream. In them I saw so many different emotions, and like a fool I tried to parse them, attempting to figure out what she was about to do. That is until I felt it — until two fingers from her right hand buried themselves deep into my sex.
The attack drew from me a deep, howling moan, which echoed through the apartment as my eyes closed and my head tilted back. The sound told Rheena exactly how close I was to the edge, and how short a distance she had to traverse to push me over.
“Your first meal in Seattle is going to be my juices, bitch, what do you think about that? Huh…?” As her promises of punishment moved from her lips to my ears, her fingering hit its stride, striking deeper, and moving faster with every second. To be honest, it felt incredible, and I began to wilt on the tip of her fingers. So much so, in fact, that I began to fall forward, her body being the only thing to keep me upright. That fact being known to her, she pressed back into me, our chests and foreheads sealing together as she set to holding me up so she could finish me off. “No, no, no, cum for me, blondie.”
The moment was fast approaching where an orgasm would tear through me. One I hated. One I was ashamed by, and yet it was on the very verge of exploding within me, nonetheless. I knew that right then, I had to do something, or just give in and let her beat me. And so I mustered every ounce of focus I had, and reached for the back of her hair with my right hand, and her attacking wrist with my left. Then I pulled, with both grips, trying to pull her away from me with my tugging of her locks, and her fingers out of my sex with my yanking at her wrist.
Just as my attempt started, Rheena dove in and sealed her lips to mine, kissing me with every bit of passion she had built up over our match. I tried to ignore her kiss, and her tongue searching for mine, and instead focus on prying her fingers out of me. But with equal force and focus she continued to pump them in and out, our limbs shaking with effort, both of us knowing that I was on the very precipice of release. Eventually I began to overpower her, and managed to pull her fingers ¾’s of the way out. But then, deviously, Rheena released a sensual, divinely-delivered moan into my mouth — into our kiss, and when she did, I lost all semblance of control and concentration. It was then that my grip on her wrist loosened, and her fingers drove back into me. When they did, I lost it. Control. The match. And everything that I had used to hold back my orgasm. One which washed over me in wave after wave of pleasure. I screamed, like had never screamed before, howling as she worked me through my orgasm. Draining every last drop of juice from me. There, as my chorus of moans, whimpers, and wails continued, she massaged my soft walls, stroked my hard clit, and when my orgasm began to end, gently played with my soaking folds.
I saw none of this — only feeling it, as my eyes were closed — sealed shut by a cataclysmic orgasm that Rheena had torn from my body against my will. It was always then, at the moment the pleasure ends, that the consequences of losing set it. Shame, embarrassment, disbelief, a desire of for a rematch, and a desperate search for some reason why I had lost flooding into my mind as if a levee had broken. But before any of those could settle in my mind, I felt Rheena pull away, and then a strong tug on my hair. A tug that drug me forward and down to all fours, and without ceasing then forward in a crawl.
“Come on, bitch — time for brunch….” Rheena taunted before dragging me off to my punishment. The black-haired vixen stealing me away from my first day in Seattle to please and worship her for hours on end, until finally, when she was fully satisfied, she left. My tongue tired. My fingers fatigued. And my own clit aching from session after session of release-less tribbing, my conqueror making sure it was only she who found pleasure in her reward.
There, on my own shower floor, as the quickly cooling water rained down upon my ravaged body, I remained. Not moving an inch or speaking a word, as Rheena clothed herself and left my apartment. All the while telling myself, that if I were to have a chance to respond to her victory over me, to get revenge on this olive-skinned beauty, it would not be today.
But that’s the fun of sexfighting, the fire never ebbs, and the need to test yourself once you’ve met the measure, never dims.