Title: Fight for Love

Summary: Bella was one of the top-ranked women in boxing in the world. She was due for a title shot that would make her the very best in the world. She wanted it. She could almost taste it. Then, he walked in and fucked up her whole plan

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Rating:M

Word Count: 9212

DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material are copyrighted to Stephenie Meyer. Original creations, including but not limited to plot and characters, are copyrighted to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.

Fight For Love

Day in and day out, people came into this gym to train. It didn't matter if it was for self-defense, just to maintain their bodies, or if they truly thought they could pursue a boxing career. Bella Swan lived her whole life in this gym. It was her father's before her and his father's before him. They both fought and both went on to be world champions.

Bella was one of the top-ranked women in boxing in the world. She was due for a title shot that would make her the very best in the world. She wanted it. She could almost taste it. Then, he walked in and fucked up her whole plan.

Bella POV

Hitting the bag was cathartic. It made me feel better to train because when my body hurt, my mind and heart didn't. If I was angry, I could use my fists to take all that aggression out. It was a slight problem I had: anger.

My mom was a flake and had left my dad way before he got big into the world of boxing. She thought that he'd follow directly after my Pops and be rolling in the money just because of his name. When that didn't happen, she left, and I stayed behind. She hadn't wanted the fairytale family or love, she just wanted fame and fortune; she made that clear after he passed away.

Hitting the bag a little harder at the thought of her, I knew I had to focus. I couldn't get lost in my thoughts and feelings for this fight. This was the big one. If I won this one, I was a shoe-in for an even bigger one. It would be the one I'd waited for since I was sixteen and started out boxing. Rose Hale was the current champion, and I wanted nothing more than to knock her out and take that belt off her. It wasn't just about the belt when it came to Hale. It was more. To get to Rose Hale, I'd have to go through Leah Clearwater.

I knew Leah. I'd trained with Leah for a while when we started out. She was good, fast, and a good striker. It would be a good fight, but I had no problems believing I would win that fight without my full effort. I've had my eye on the prize for too long.

"Hello? Does anyone work here?" I heard a velvety voice ring out over my blaring headphones.

Unplugging, I made my way to the voice. "In here!" I called, trying to get my gloves off my hands before meeting a potential customer.

When I rounded the corner where the front desk was located, I nearly stopped dead in my tracks. This was a beautiful man. He was tall, really tall, and had this wild hair atop his head, but the kicker was the Clark Kent-like glasses just down the bridge of his nose.

"Um hello?" His hand waved in front of my face, and I knew I'd been caught staring.

"Hi, sorry, yes, I work here.., I'm the owner, Bella Swan. Can I help you?" I rushed out in one breath, completely embarrassed.

"My name is Edward Cullen. I'm with the Seattle Times."

I stopped him right there and didn't let him finish.

"You can leave." I spoke calmly but sternly and started to walk back to the gym floor. Press was not welcome in my gym.

"Please! I...I just want to talk to you. You're Charlie "The Swan"'s daughter, aren't you? And if you win your next fight, you go on to fight Rose Hale, whose father ki-" He reached out as he spoke and grabbed my shoulder to turn me back around.

He didn't even finish his thought before I had flipped him over and locked in a complete submission maneuver. I may not kickbox but I still trained with some of the best, and I knew how to incapacitate someone if I needed to.

"Mention my father again, and you'll be in physical therapy for longer than I'll train for my next three fights because I'll rip your arm out of its socket," I nearly growled, giving another tug to his arm.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. This isn't my normal gig. I usually write about music, but if I didn't take this I was going to be fired. I really need this, Miss Swan." His green, really green, eyes looked up at mine, and I was proud to see that he looked like he might cry.

I let go, dropped him to the floor, and walked back to the gym, trying to forget, but I just couldn't. I wasn't sure if it was those green eyes that haunted me, or if it was the ghost of my father and his legacy.

Edward Cullen came back every day for more than a week. Sometimes, he'd say hey; sometimes, he'd just watch me. I couldn't let it distract me. More importantly, I couldn't let him distract me.

I was three weeks out from my fight with Clearwater when Edward Cullen approached me again. This time we weren't in the gym, we were just getting coffee. He paid for mine, and I had to roll my eyes.

"Just cause you buy me coffee doesn't mean I'm going to give you a story." I give him a sort of flirty smile. He really is handsome.

He gives a shrug and a bit of a crooked grin, "You don't have to talk to me. I can observe and ask people about you. It's working out so far."

My eyebrows knit together, and I'm sort of confused. He's the first reporter to not hound me for the story about "The Swan." We've all had the name as our monikers. There was no float like a butterfly sting like a bee when it came to our training. It was glide like a Swan since that's who we are.

"I would, however, be interested in taking you to dinner-" Edward spoke quietly, his arm brushing against my arm "-off the record of course."

When he touched me, I felt this electricity running through my body, but I chalked it up to the Ugg Boots I was wearing with my work out clothes.

"You shocked me," I said, rubbing the spot.

"Dinner?" He tried again.

"I'm in training. I eat very...religiously." I shrugged and sipped at my coffee.

"I'm okay with that." Edward eyed me carefully.

I couldn't stop myself from saying yes. We made plans for two days later, and I left the coffee shop in a fog. I ended up getting my ass kicked in training and was completely unfocused.

"Bells, this isn't like you," my coach and trainer and adopted father, Billy Black, said as we cooled down after our workout. "Your head isn't in the game. If that was the fight with Clearwater, she would have knocked you out. Hell, Angela almost knocked you out, and she only trains two days a month!"

"I'm sorry. I wasn't...it won't happen again." I refused to say a man distracted me in my training. It never happened before, and I won't let it happen again.

The next day, I was even more distracted when Edward Cullen wasn't sitting at the door to the gym like he had been for the week previous.

I got my ass handed to me again. I hated getting beat on. I'd never lost a fight in my professional career, and I'd be damned if Edward Cullen was going to distract me to the point of losing my chance at getting to Hale.

I stayed late, trying to make up for the abysmal training I'd done the two previous days. I did round after round in the gym, working with the jump rope, doing burpees, hitting the bag, everything until my whole body hurt. I laid out completely on the gym floor, looking at the painting on the wall. My dad and Pops were eternally etched into this place. I hoped one day to join them up there.

I only closed my eyes for a minute before I heard the now familiar voice.

"You didn't lock the door. Do you have a death wish?"

He laid down beside me, and I looked at him with bewilderment. "Are you just passing by to make sure I locked my doors, Cullen?"

"Well, no, Swan. I thought I had a date with a girl, and she stood me up, so I wanted to make sure she was okay." He raised an eyebrow at me, and I immediately felt guilty.

"You didn't come back to the gym after I saw you at the coffee shop," I offered as part of an explanation.

"I worked at home, on the story, your story." Edward's hand reached up and pushed some hair that had fallen out of my ponytail. "I had some inspiration, and I wanted to get it out of my head and on the paper."

"I messed up training since I saw you," I admitted. "I got my ass handed to me by someone who only comes in to get away from her kids a few times a month."

Edward's eyes went wide. "I didn't think I had that effect on you."

"You don't!" I pushed up and stood, trying to move as far away from him as possible.

"Obviously, I do," he said, and I thought I heard a bit of pride behind it.

"Shut up, just...you come in here, and I don't know you, and you're just…" I waved my hands around and began pacing, laying a few punches into the nearby bag.

"So know me. Get to know me. Let me in." He, too, stood and came near me, and I decided to hide behind the punching bag.

"I can't. I have to win this fight." I shook my head and felt the tears already pooling in my eyes. "I need this. You wouldn't understand."

I wanted nothing more than to know him, to learn things about him. It was like my soul called out to his.

"Maybe when the fight's over?" he asked, his voice full of hope.

I just shook my head. "Hale will be next, and I'll be even more focused."

Edward shook his head and shuffled his feet. "I would have been charming you know. You may be one badass chick, but I would have wooed you."

"Wooed me? Who even says that?" I give a watery laugh.

"I do. I'm a writer." He gave me a duh- like face and moved towards the door. "One day, Bella Swan, one day you'll get to know me, and when you do, you won't want to let me go."

Knowing that was probably the truth, I didn't allow myself to think about the possibility. I just lifted my hand up to wave goodbye.

The next day, Edward showed up to the gym in workout clothes, and once I realized who he was, I nearly fell over in shock. I talked to the gym manager, Embry, and asked him what he was doing here.

"Bought a month's membership, Bells. Asked for a personal trainer but only wanted you. I said you don't do that when you're in training. I offered someone else, but he said he'd be fine on his own."

He was doing fine. He'd done this before. You could see it in the way he moved. Who the hell was Edward Cullen?

Edward POV

Writing for the Seattle Times had been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. The print journalism field had died out over the last decade, but for me, it was still my passion. I wanted to write something that mattered, something that brought people to tears, in a good way, something that was just more. That's why when nothing was going on in my usual department and the story about The Swan came up, I was intrigued.

I knew the basics from her file. Father was a boxer, grandfather was a boxer, and she now owned the gym since they were both deceased. I read how she was practically adopted by her father's best friend because her mother skipped town when she was small, and her father had died in a match. It was the same match that The Swan, Bella, was looking to get for herself. Rose Hale's father, Walter, had been in a fight with Charlie Swan, and one wrong punch to his head cause his neck to break, and he was dead before he hit the mat.

That's where Bella entered the story. She was ranked third in the world of boxing. Her next fight was with Leah Clearwater, who was the clear opponent for Hale at the next big fight night. If Bella could knock off Clearwater, she would be up for that spot instead.

In the file had been a picture of her, and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She was beautiful, and I couldn't imagine her taking a punch to those beautiful pouty lips. I had time before the deadline for this piece. They wanted the story to be the big one: Swan vs. Hale II.

I went by her place, The Swan Family Gym, and just watched. I watched for how busy the place was. I watched who came and went. After some research, I realized a lot of the top boxers in the world trained with The Swan. Jacob Black was known for his World Heavyweight Championship defenses. He was flashy and a ladies man, according to what was written in the paper, but he was in the gym religiously, and he also was part of Bella Swan's adopted family. Jasper Whitlock was another well-known fighter in the circuit who trained at SFG. He sat atop the featherweight division. I could sit on the street and watch through the many windows what all was going on inside, but I needed to talk to her.

After two weeks, I finally went inside. The minute she spoke, I couldn't stop staring at her, and when I told her who I was, I thought she was going to rip my arm out of its socket.

Bella Swan was not one to play around. She was tough, really tough, and could kick my ass in two point five seconds. Apparently, she didn't like the press, and as part of the press, she was not impressed with me.

I tried buying her coffee; I tried asking her out on a date, even off the record because I was genuinely into Bella Swan. This wasn't just about the story when it came to her. When she didn't show, I was worried, and then she broke my heart.

I had to go a different path to get Bella Swan to see me and let me into her life. If I ended up getting more information for the story then so be it, but for me, it was already more than that, and I just had to show her. I knew the gym life, the life in the ring, all of it, but I needed to do this with her.

I walked into the gym and found Embry behind the reception area. We had talked a few times without Bella knowing, and he'd let me in on some insider stuff, mostly bragging about Bella and her record, but it was enough to use it in my story.

"Ed? What are you doing? Looking like that?" Embry asked looking me up and down. I had a duffle bag with clothes to change into after if this plan went well. I knew I looked like an Under Armour commercial had exploded on me, but I knew that was one of Bella sponsors.

"Bella does personal training, right? I'd like to sign up." I tried to sound confident.

"You want to train...with The Swan? Ed, come on." He looked down at me from his taller stance. "What are you trying to do?"

"If I'm going to write about her, I need to experience it, and well, I could use it to get into shape on the paper's dime." I let out a laugh, trying to sound casual.

"Well, Bella doesn't do personal training when she's getting ready for a fight. I can get Seth over here if you want?" Embry offered with a raised eyebrow.

"I think I'll be fine on my own, actually. That's what most people do, right?" Embry eyed me up and down before signing me up for a one-month membership.

I knew the moment she stepped through the door. Everyone looked her way because she commanded that kind of response without so much as saying a word. I could feel her eyes on me as she spoke to Embry, and before long, she joined me near the weight bench where I had been curling dumbbells.

"Edward?" Bella's voice called as she waved her hand in front of my face. I had earbuds in my ears with the music down low enough that I could still hear what was happening around me, but I could still enjoy getting pumped into the music. "What are you doing?"

"Working out before I head to the office? Isn't that what a lot of people do?" I gave her a dazzling smile and made sure to flex my bicep where she could see.

"I mean in my gym. You're not going to distract me from this fight I hope you know." Bella's hand went to the small of my back, straightening my posture. "You need to keep your back straight, or you're going to slip a disc."

"I have no desire to distract you, Bella. I just thought I should start taking care of myself a little better and-" I gave a small shrug, dropping the weight to the floor "-it helps to get into my story's life. I like to experience what they go through."

Bella let out a laugh. "So you're like that one actor who really becomes who he's playing?"

Her laugh and smile were wonderful. I could listen to it all the time. Bella moved away from me and began taping her hands up in a fashion I knew very well. It was hard to do on your own.

"Let me help?" I took the tape and began rolling it over her hands and wrists. "I just like to really know how they feel, not how they want people to think. I like the true story, and if I just sit and watch, what am I going to learn?"

"How do you know how to do this?" Bella asked her head tilted to the side with obvious curiosity.

"I was beaten up a lot as a kid. Kind of a nerd." I shrugged and continued with my ministrations. "My dad put me in a self-defense class. That turned into a boxing class or so for a few years."

"Then you know exactly what all this means. You don't need to be here." Bella's voice dropped to a whisper, and I could feel the eyes of the others in the gym on us.

"Yes. I do," I said carefully, my eyes locked on hers.

"Swan! Let's go!" a gruff voice rang out. "You're ten minutes late already."

"I think he forgets I own this gym." Bella rolled her eyes. "I have to go. I...Edward…" she looked like she wanted to say more, but the voice rang out again.

"If you don't get in that ring right now, Swan, I'm going to make you work out to boy bands the rest of the day."

I was frustrated for sure, but I knew this was all part of the process.

For the next two weeks, things went the same way. Sometimes, Bella would work out with me, which was amazing. We'd spot for each other on the weights, and I would hold the bag for her while she laid in her jabs and her right hooks. I would not want to be on the other side of one of those.

"Cullen!" the gruff voice I now knew belonged to Bella's trainer, Billy Black, called. "Suit up. You're getting in the ring with Swan today."

When I didn't say anything or move, he continued. "Unless you've got somewhere to be? Or you're scared of Swan kicking your ass!" This was followed up with a bark of a laugh from his son, Jacob, the heavyweight champion.

I jumped at the chance to mix it up with Bella, in the ring, anywhere. Jacob helped me getting the protective padding ready. I ducked between the second and third rope, and there she was. She didn't have any padding on, and her hair was pulled away from her face in tight braids. She was covered in sweat and had a mouthpiece in her mouth. She was beautiful.

"Now, Cullen, all I want you to do is defend against Bella's strikes. We keep telling her that she's too obvious where her punches are going to land," Billy advised.

Bella was shaking her head, and her eyes were wide, staring at me.

"It'll be fine. I can take anything you've got, Swan." I teased, but I wondered how hard she actually was going to punch me before shoving my own mouthpiece between my lips.

We circled each other in the ring, and she jabbed at me, but I sidestepped her. Bella let out a muffled laugh, and then caught me in the side of the face with her signature right hook, and I fell to the mat. Bella bounced back and forth on her feet as I scrambled up. She came at me with another jab, which I avoided, and this time, I knew better and watched for the hook. I blocked it with ease and saw the frustration burning in her eyes.

Billy was barking orders to her, but Bella and I were locked in our own dance. She went for an uppercut, and it landed right on my jaw. It hurt, even with the padding, and I wondered if that would be her knockout shot.

This went on for what felt like forever and the blink of an eye at the same time. Bella climbed out of the ring first and got her gloves off while Jacob helped me out of the padding. My body was sore, and I knew I'd feel it tomorrow.

"You did good. She's in a good mood." Jacob looked between me and Bella, and his voice lowered. "I don't know what's going on between you two, but she works better when you're here. She's more focused. She can't blow this fight, but I think she needs you."

Bella was talking to Billy while I finished up with Jacob, but then she flashed me a smile.

"Do you have any plans for the rest of the day?" Bella asked, walking us towards the locker rooms. "Or can I have you?"

My eyebrows went up into my hairline, and I sputtered out, "I'm...I'm all yours."

"Good, we're going to go grab something to eat because I'm starving," she said, elongating the word before continuing. "Then we can come back for an evening round in the ring and then maybe…" She trailed off, and I found her cheeks were colored with a light blush.

"Whatever you want. You can come to my place? Check out my article so far, and we can watch a movie or something?" I offered up, leaning against the door to the guys' locker room. "I'll just shower and change and meet you out here?"

"You know, you did really well in there with me, Edward." Bella pushed up on her toes and kissed my cheek. "I really like having you here with me. I thought you'd distract me, but you're different."

We separated and cleaned up from our workout before meeting back up in the lobby of the gym. Bella let Billy know we'd be back in a few hours, and he grumbled out a few orders at her. She rolled her eyes at him and grabbed onto my hand as we walked down the sidewalk in front of the gym.

"What do you feel like? I still have to watch before the weigh-in, but are you in the mood for anything special?" Bella turned and looked at me.

"Nope, whatever you can eat I'm good with." We set off to find food and spent the entire lunch laughing, and I couldn't help but fall for her even more. Not even an hour before, she was brutally kicking my ass in the ring, but now as I looked at her, she looked sweet and innocent and like she couldn't hurt a fly.

We ended up in the park, lying near the lake while we talked some more. I was so glad Bella was letting me become closer to her, and I couldn't help but smile. She laughed across my chest, and I played with her hair.

"Are you scared?" I finally plucked up the courage to ask.

"Of Clearwater? No way. She's almost a walk through. " Bella snorted, unladylike. "Hale. She's the goal. It's not even about the title. It's so much more than that."

"You know she didn't kill your dad, right?" I offered softly. I knew she got touchy when talking about her dad. My shoulder was still sore from the last time I'd brought him up.

"I know that, but," Bella sat up and faced me. "It's like this big thing for everyone else. Do I want a piece of her for myself? Hell, yeah. But everyone will hold me to her until I beat her. It'll always be about Hale v Swan because of our fathers."

There wasn't much I could say because I was proof that that was exactly what people were after. That was my whole job, to focus on the Hale vs. Swan fight.

Back at the gym for another round of training, I was once again brought into the ring. This time, Billy barked at me.

"Cullen, I want you to swing at Swan. She needs to block everything you throw at her." My eyes nearly popped out of the socket.

"I can't hit her!" I spat through the mouthpiece.

"You can and you will, or I'll let Jacob get in there with her. Your choice." He waved his hand matter-of-factly, and I felt myself getting mad.

Bella took out her mouthpiece and placed her gloved hand on my bicep. "It's fine. We'll be fine."

I struggled, and I couldn't do it. I just couldn't, but Billy yelling at Jacob to suit up got me motivated. No way was the men's heavyweight champion going to spar with my girl. I knew they'd done it their whole lives, but I couldn't watch it.

I swung at Bella with my eyes closed, and she sidestepped me but left her ribs open to attack. If she had any weaknesses, I needed to help find them. We, I mean she, was too close to the fight to not be in the game.

I heard the air leave her lungs, and she let out a choking sound. I hoped I didn't hurt her and backed off, gloves up in the air.

"Again," she growled at me, and so we went for what felt like forever and long after the sun had dipped under the horizon.

I felt dirty and wrong and ended up punching the wall in the locker room while I cleaned up again. With my duffle over my shoulder, I exited the locker room in search of Bella. I found her talking to Billy.

"You know we leave in two days."

That was the end of the conversation I heard. I knew Bella had to go to Vegas for the actual fight, but I didn't know what that was about.

I slung my arm over Bella's shoulder and took her duffle, which she gave me a huff about. "So my place then?"

Bella nodded and hugged herself to my side. "You did really well today. I know you didn't like it, but you opened up all my weak spots, and I really think we're going to win this fight."

We climbed into my car, and I drove off towards my place without another word. I wasn't sure what to say, and Bella wasn't overly chatty all the time. She reached across the gear shift and held my hand and I felt the words on the tip of my tongue but they wouldn't come out. I wanted to ask what we were doing, what changed for her?

I felt nervous about bringing Bella to my place, I wasn't a slob or anything, but I knew Bella had money, and I was just a lowly writer. But she didn't seem the type to be judgemental. She held my hand the whole way up the elevator and bounced on the balls of her feet once it opened.

Once inside my apartment, Bella explored, and when she found the kitchen, she let out a squeal. "Can I just live in here from now on?"

I laughed and shook my head at her. "You, Bella, are one of a kind."

Opening my laptop, I found the article I had started about Bella and placed it on the coffee table. "Here, you read. I'm going to wrangle us up something to eat. Let me know what you think."

Without waiting for a response, I left Bella in my living room, reading the words I had so carefully written for her, about her, for everyone to see. I just hoped I hadn't messed it all up.

Bella POV

Edward walked away from me and into the kitchen, and I couldn't help but stare at the screen before me. There were words written about me, for me, but I was still all wrapped up in the day we were having.

Something had changed in the last few weeks. Edward still distracted me but almost in a good way. I tried to show off for him when I knew he was in the gym, but I wasn't even sure he noticed. We worked together sometimes, and when Billy finally invited him to our training today, I almost squealed with excitement. I didn't like hitting him, but he was good; he had raw talent. Even Billy saw it and wondered about training him seriously.

I was trying to find a way to ask Edward to go to Vegas for the fight, not as part of the press but as part of my team. I wanted to. I felt like I almost needed to, but at the same time, I was afraid. What if having Edward in my corner messed up everything?

I heard Edward working in the kitchen. After a few curse words and dropped-pan sounds, I had to laugh. Then the laptop caught my eye again.

Isabella "Bella, The Swan" Swan does not care for members of the press, but I hope she's warming up to me. The first time I met her, she almost broke my arm. She was beautiful to look at but deadly to approach. Would Clearwater face a similar fate? Can Swan get the TKO, or will she fall when the pressure is on? We all know she wants a piece of Hale. Hale herself is the prize, not the Championship. Can Swan keep focused on the task at hand and become the best in the world instead of 'one' of the best? Time can only tell.

I couldn't read anymore, and I knew it wasn't a final draft but the words were there, they were true they were what everyone was going to be saying. I couldn't let anything stop me from getting to Hale, not even the feelings I had for Edward.

Edward. He would still be there after these fights, or maybe if I just got through Clearwater first, I could, no. I couldn't. That was not right. I couldn't do that to him. He was special. Suddenly, the apartment felt very small, like I was suffocating.

Uncurling from my position on the couch, I quietly moved to the front door, grabbing my duffle bag and trying to open the door without making much noise. Then I worked to close it in a similar manner. Once in the elevator, I pulled out my phone and dialed Billy's number.

"Get me on the next flight to Vegas. I'm heading down early. Meet me there when you can." I hung up as traitor tears began to form in my eyes.

I caught a cab home, and luckily, I was mostly packed for the trip to Vegas. I only needed a few comfort items and was in and out of my house in no time flat.

Running didn't solve anything, and I wasn't even sure there was anything to solve when it came to Edward. Did I like him? Hell, yes, I did. Could I see a future with him? More than I ever have with anyone else. Why did he have to show up right now in my life? Why couldn't he have shown up years ago or years in the future after I beat Hale?

With my hood pulled up, I entered Seatac airport to check in, after what felt like the longest cab ride ever. The sooner I could get away from this state, the sooner I could get my head into this fight and away from thinking about Edward. Once the flight took off, I looked out the window once more, demanding I leave my feelings in Washington and only thinking about this fight and nothing else until then.

The next few days passed quietly while we prepped for the fight. Billy and the rest of our team showed up a day after I did. I saw Clearwater in the hotel we were both booked at. She gave me the head nod to say what's up. We both knew this fight wasn't personal, just business.

Weigh-ins came and then the interviews started. I was nearly knocked off my feet when I heard Edward's voice from the back row ask Leah a question.

"Leah, in your opinion what are the odds you beat The Swan? I mean this is Vegas. I'd like to place a bet," he let out a low chuckle, and I reached out to grab onto Billy quickly.

We didn't need to talk about what happened. Billy knew I had to get away, and Billy knew I needed to focus, but I could tell he was worried about me.

Leah looked over at me, and I shrugged my shoulders while I asked Billy how much longer we'd be here.

"I think Bella and I are pretty evenly matched. It could go either way. Would I like to win? Hell, yeah. But it's really going to be down to the last round with us. There's no doubt about that." Clearwater's voice was calm and steady, but she wasn't overly cocky.

"And you, Miss Swan? Do you have any lucky charms or secrets to winning in your back pocket?" Edward's attention turned to me, but he wasn't looking at me.

"I don't believe in luck," I said simply. "And these pants don't have pockets."

With that, I left the room, not caring about the rest of the press or what they had to say about me. I needed to hit a heavy bag, over and over again until my fingers were numb in my gloves or my legs gave out from exhaustion, whichever game first.

I didn't see Edward again before the fight. I was wrought with nerves and threw up at least twice. This was my moment, one that could change everything, and all I wanted was for Edward to be in the locker room with me, helping me tape my gloves, talking to me. But I screwed that up, and I would have to deal with it, later.

I felt like I had whiplash the way my emotions went back and forth. A knock on the door came, and I knew it was time. Billy rubbed my shoulders, and I slipped into my robe, pulling the hood over my head. The back of my robe looked like a Swan, and the wings reached out down the arms. It was beautiful and I felt beautiful, yet deadly in it.

We moved down the hallway and the crowd could be heard behind the closed doors to the arena. Once they opened and my music hit, the crowd roared with cheers. I knew I was well liked and most people were rooting for me tonight, but that sound gave me life.

My feet moved faster than I wanted, and the next moment, we were in the ring. I searched the crowd, trying to find the one person I wanted to see. Instead, I found Rose Hale sitting in the front row, looking like a Hollywood A-lister.

Billy grabbed me and shoved me to my corner away from her. "You need to forget about her. You need to focus on Clearwater. Do you hear me?"

I nodded but my eyes kept searching. Clearwater came out next, and the crowd was just as loud for her as they were for me. My adrenaline pumped through my veins, and I was ready. I had this.

Then I found him. He was seated further back in the middle of a row with the perfect view of the ring. He looked nervous and had his notepad on his lap but was chewing on the end of his pen. I lifted my glove in a wave, and he turned behind himself to look to see who I was waving at. I rolled my eyes and met Clearwater in the middle of the ring to go over the rules with the ref. We bumped gloves and the fight began.

Clearwater stayed on the defensive side for the most part, and I got more than a fair share of punches in. Clearly, I won the first round. Round two wasn't as easy, Leah knew my pattern and was there to block most of what I gave her. She didn't land a single punch and that round ended evenly.

The rounds went on. I was exhausted; Leah was struggling. I searched out Edward and found his seat empty. The bell rang before I could find him, and I danced around Leah, trying to get a feel for where he might have gone. Then I found him, crouched down next to Rose Hale,and she placed a hand on his bicep and threw her head back in a laugh.

I attacked Leah with everything I had in that moment, and she hit the mat, out cold after a clean right hook. The ref started to count, and the crowd roared with my win mostly secure, but my eyes didn't leave Rose Hale and Edward. I wanted to hit something else, someone else, her.

The bell rang and Leah was officially called for a KO, and I climbed out of the ring before my team could come and congratulate me. I grabbed Hale by her fake hair and pulled her close to me, my mouthpiece still placed between my lips. "He's mine, and you need to back the hell off."

The words were muffled, but the statement was clear. I shoved her back into her seat, my hands help up as Billy and the rest descended on me to take me back to the locker room.

"Oh yeah, if he's yours, why's he practically begging to come up to my room tonight?" Hale's voice carried over the roar of the crowd, and in that moment, I snapped.

I broke free of the holds on me and pounced on her, knocking into some other attendees, but I didn't care. I laid punch after punch as I sat across her stomach. She couldn't move but had her hands up to block her unnaturally pretty face.

Edward finally pulled me off and carried me all the way back to the locker room. I tried to spit at Hale and saw her face was covered in blood from her nose.

Once in the locker room and away from everyone, Edward began to unravel my gloves and helped remove my mouthpiece. He didn't speak, but I felt instantly better with him with me.

Finally, once I was finished, he walked away and started to pace. "You...you left my apartment that night. You snuck out and then you want to blow your whole career to lay claim on me? You don't make any sense, Bella Swan!"

I knew I was likely to be suspended, which would then push back the Hale fight, or they may take the Hale fight from me altogether. Only time would tell there.

"Aren't you going to say anything?" He turned his attention back to me.

I clenched my fists back and forth and shook my head. "I...this fight, I told you! It was important, and then you had to go be so charming and wonderful and make me fall for you. I don't know how to deal with that!"

"You act like I did! I cringed every time Leah punched at you tonight. It damn near killed me when I thought she'd knocked you out!" Edward's voice was deep, and you could hear the concern evident.

"I started to read your article, and I just, I couldn't handle losing and knew I'd blame you instead of myself, so I had to take you out of this equation." I fell into the small couch located in the locker room.

"You don't get to decide for me, Bella." He flopped down next to me. "But you fell for me? I told you you would."

I laid my head on Edward's shoulder and took a deep breath. "Now what?"

"Now, I write my story, and then we work on training you for the Hale fight, pending you not being suspended." He lifted my head with his fingers under my chin to look up at him. "But first, first I need to know if kissing you is as good for real as I've been imagining it since I met you."

Our lips met softly, and I knew I was covered in sweat and blood and was absolutely disgusting, but he kissed me anyway and pulled me into his lap. Our lips fought for dominance, and I teased my tongue across his top lip. It was by far the best first kiss I ever experienced, and I knew it was just the beginning of everything.

Edward POV

I was practically giddy to have Bella in my apartment. I really thought everything was going to work itself out. She would let me in; we could get to know each other better; I could write my stories, and she could win her fights. It would all be perfect.

"Bella? What do you think? I've got some chicken to grill and maybe some asparagus? That won't mess with your diet?" I came back into the living room and stopped in my tracks to find my couch vacant.

She fucking left, just left, without a word. I fell into the couch, catching her scent and inhaled softly before turning to my computer. Had something I said set her off? Was it awful?

I gave up for the night and decided not to chase Bella down which turned out to be the biggest mistake I could have made. When I entered the gym the next morning, Embry gave me a sad look, and when I sought out Billy, he had Jacob push me up against a wall.

"What happened to Bella?" Billy's rough voice spat at me. "What did you do to her?"

"Me? She left me without a fucking word. I should be asking you where she is!" I screamed back, and Jacob pushed me a little harder into the wall.

"You need to chill," Jacob warned me with a no-nonsense look to accompany the words.

"She went to Vegas early. Left on the red-eye last night. Wouldn't say anything else." Billy eyed me again. "Got any idea why?"

"No!" I growled out. "We had the best day ever yesterday. I thought she was going to give me a shot, but then she just disappeared while I was making us dinner."

"Look, kid, I like you. Her Pops, he would have liked you too." Billy sighed. "I know you have a press pass for the fight, but Bells had me get this for you-VIP treatment. If you want to see her, you'll have access No one but Bells will keep you out."

With that, Jacob let me go, and I left the gym in a furry. I still had a job to do, and Bella Swan was affecting it, but I would make sure to get it done.

I made my way to Vegas as planned, on my timeline, just in time for Press Day before the fight. She looked tired; she looked worried. I wanted to hug her and grab her and shake her at the same time. I was so in love with her it was ridiculous, but I was also really pissed at her for the way she acted.

After Press Day, where I tried to be nonchalant to her, the fight came. I sat in my press-appointed seat when someone came up to me before the fighters made their entrances.

"You Cullen?" The very large man with muscles on top of muscles asked.

I nodded but didn't say anything.

"Miss Hale would appreciate an audience with you during the last round of the fight," he turned and pointed to an overly set up seat in the front row with small red carpet laid in front of it and what looked like lighting for a photo shoot around it.

"How will I know if it's the last round? Either fighter could TKO at any time." I finally found my voice.

"We all know this is going to the end, Cullen. I'm Emmett, Rose's trainer and husband." He offered his hand to shake. "You with Swan? With her, with her?" He wiggled his eyebrows.

"Where would you get that idea?" I sputtered and tried to refute his claim.

"Rose knows how to mess with Swan, and word around is to get to her, you just need to mess with you." Emmett shrugged and turned to leave. "So you'll see her, Rose that is?"

I gave him a nod and a wave and had no idea what I was doing, but it might benefit my story somehow.

When Bella made her way to the ring, my heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, and although she didn't see me, I saw her eyes darting around, looking, hopefully for me. She had found Hale,that was for sure because Billy pushed her back and stayed between them.

When she waved at me after Clearwater made her way to the ring, I thought maybe someone from the gym was behind me and turned to see, but she meant me, and my heart jumped back into overdrive.

I cringed once the fight began. Every swing of a fist from either boxer and I was terrified for what it meant. Bella looked good but so did Clearwater. They were so even there was no way anyone would be able to decide fairly on the outcome. One of the two women needed to finish this and soon.

As the eleventh round was finishing, I excused myself from my row and attempted to get down to Rose Hale. Security stopped me a few times until they asked my name. Once I stood next to Hale, Emmett nudged her, and she jumped up to hug me.

"Oh, Edward! I've heard such great things about you!"

I couldn't fathom where this woman knew me from, but I couldn't argue that she was beautiful.

"Miss Hale, Emmett here said you wanted to speak with me?" I offered quietly, hoping no one would notice the excitement but knew it was unlikely because of who Rose Hale was.

"Oh sit, sit, I don't have another seat but you can sit next to me," she offered, and I crouched down unsure of what she wanted. "I just wanted to speak to the journalist who stole the Swan's heart! Word is all over how enamored she is with you."

I shook my head. There was no way that was true.

"Don't discount it, Edward." Rose's ice blue eyes met mine, and she grabbed onto my arm. "I hear you've been training with her. That's very brave of you."

The bell rang for the last round, and Bella looked murderous as she went after Clearwater. She spotted me there within fifteen seconds and went wild.

Rose Hale laughed. "Oh, Edward, you're making this far too easy. All I wanted to do was get into her head, but now, now I'm going to destroy her."

Leah hit the mat out cold from one of Bella's punches, and then before I could blink, she was ripping into Hale, landing punch after punch.

Hale screamed and Emmett stood back, which I found odd at first. He gave me a shrug with a 'what can you do?' look and then I finally grabbed for Bella and pulled her off of a bleeding Hale.

She had completely lost it, and I had no idea what was going on. Word within the boxing community was that Bella claimed me, but she ran from me and now Hale used me to get Bella's attention? What kind of world was this sport?

Getting Bella to the locker room took some fight, and then I yelled at her and she yelled at me, and then we were kissing. I had never felt anything like it before, and I never wanted it to end.

Bella was facing a suspension for attacking Hale, and even without a possible suspension, we were waiting on pins and needles to find out when the Hale vs. Swan II fight would be.

"It doesn't matter, Edward." Bella's voice whispered against my neck while she kissed along my pulse point. I didn't even care that she was covered in sweat, in Leah's blood, in Hale's blood. I just needed her to keep touching me.

"What doesn't matter?" I barely breathed out.

"The fight. Hale. All of this." Bella nipped at my earlobe, and I nearly pounced on her.

"You've trained for this your whole life, Bella. You can't..." I was cut off by her lips touching mine again.

"It's time for a new fight. A fight for love." She grabbed my chin and looked into my eyes. "Now, let's get out of here and into your hotel room."

One Year Later

"Isabella, Bella the Swan, Swan is about to have the fight of her life. It's not just about their father's legacy, it's about last year in this same arena where Hale attempted to accost Swan's longtime beau, Edward Cullen, Journalist for the Seattle Times. Swan could have been suspended for her actions after the Clearwater fight, but Hale declared she wanted the fight as soon as possible and didn't want to wait out a suspension for Swan. The date was set months ago for Hale vs. Swan II, but Hale pulled out at the last minute and had to reschedule."

"I don't know that you could call me your longtime beau last year, love." Edward read over my shoulder. "I could have written this article."

"No, you can't, Edward." I laughed and pecked his cheek. "Besides, we like Colin. He and Leah are hitting it off. The Swan Family Gym is turning into the matchmaking capital of the boxing world."

"Are you nervous?" Edward asked, bending down to look me in my eyes, his large hand pushing back my hair out of my face.

"How can I be? You'll be in my corner. I'll be fine." I wouldn't tell him, but I was terrified.

I'd spent the last year training with Edward, trying to talk him into joining the boxing world, falling in love with him, and I literally had everything I wanted. Life was so good, almost too good.

This night would change everything. I either would fail at the goal I've had almost my entire life or I would finally accomplish that goal. There was no in between. I would either be the best in the world, be the champion and avenge my father or I would be beaten, just like my father and hopefully, live to tell about it.

The day passed quickly, quicker than I liked, and then it was time. The crowd was loud, louder than it was when I fought Clearwater. Edward had taped my hands, which made me feel more confident, and had his hand on the small of my back as we walked.

"Edward?" I asked quietly.

"What is it, love?" Edward looked down at me with concern.

"Will you still love me if I lose this fight?" I voiced the question that plagued me for weeks.

"Bella, I would love you if you had never been a fighter, I think if I'd met you anywhere in life, I would have fallen in love with you. You're meant to be mine, and that's just destiny or something." Edward shrugged with a smile.

"Bells!" Billy interrupted. "Remember, don't let her get in your head."

I nodded and the music rang out as the doors to the arena opened for our entrance.

Everything after that seemed to move in slow motion. I remembered banging gloves in the center of the ring; I remembered the bell ringing, and I remembered attacking.

The first few rounds went by slowly as we felt each other out. Hale was fast and had a lot of power behind her punches.

Then she was on the ground, and the crowd went crazy. It was too loud, too much, and then I was in Edward's arms, and his voice was the only thing I understood.

"Marry me?" He asked with his arms wrapped around me as they handed me my new championship belt. I nodded my immediate yes because this was the greatest moment of my life for more than one reason, and I knew my fight for love was over.