A/N: This came out of nowhere.
It's not my playground, just my slide.
I have no beta.
Well, I always knew this time would come. Call it a gut instinct or a women's intuition. Something told me that I would someday have to deal with the Cullens again.
Regardless of how final Edward's words were to me that day in the forest, I just knew I would be forced to see him again. Of all the rotten things that have happened to me in my short time on this earth, I just knew fate would throw him and his family back in my path, obstructing my way.
Three months after they split, I was still an emotional basket case and my dad had enough. He was sick of feeling helpless and having no clue how to help me. So he made a preemptive decision that he was certain would help me gain control of my life while teaching me how to have self-confidence as well as having the added benefit of helping me with my lack of balance. My dad signed me up to take Tang Soo Do in Port Angeles.
Apparently, he was good friends with the owner, Grand Master Min Joon. After discussing my situation with Grand Master Joon, they both agreed that I would benefit greatly from taking Tang Soo Do. After speaking to both, I also agreed. Anything that could help me take control of my own life, work on my dangerous lack of balance, and help me get into shape both physically as well as mentally would be amazing.
There are seven tenants in Tang Soo Do that I learned. They are integrity, concentration, perseverance, respect, obedience, self-control, humility, and indomitable spirit. The two that stood out to me the most were perseverance and indomitable spirit. I needed the reminder that I am in control of my own life and if there's something I want, a goal I want to achieve, then I need to keep pushing on.
Before I met Edward, I was very goal-oriented. I had plans for my future. I let the Cullens interfere with those plans, but not anymore. After only a month into my lessons, I got back on track.
I threw myself into my lessons and loved every second of it. Master Joon pushed me all the time. Sure, I got impatient and annoyed at times. I even flipped out a time or two.
Master Joon was very strict when it came to respect, and I was punished. He had me scrub the studio floor with a toothbrush and Murphy's Oil Soap and water. I was at it for hours, grumbling and complaining the entire time. Each time I bitched, he would throw more mud on the hardwood floors, making me have to work even harder. I finally figured out what he was doing, and I realized what a brat I was. I shut my trap and finished scrubbing the floors. Afterward, I went to him in his office and apologized for my behavior. He gave me a polite nod and went back to his paperwork. He was a man a very few words.
That was a huge turning point for me. I pushed myself and with time I managed to gain several belts. After five years of lessons, I finally became a Yu Dan Cha, a black belt holder. To top all that off, I was now a weapons master. That's right, a weapons master.
The changes in me were very noticeable. I had attained perfect posture as well as impeccable balance. I learned patience and did gain that indomitable spirit that is mentioned in the seven tenants. Overall, I felt like an entirely new person, and I loved it. Let's not forget how hot I became. Yea, my confidence added to my perfect physical condition and made me a very attractive package.
Just as I reached the very pinnacle of my martial arts career, they showed up. Of all the places for them to show their pasty, white mugs, it was at my martial arts competition. I was pissed. For God's sake, we're in Florida, the sunshine state. Of all the places you would think I'd be safe in, it was here. I blame the lousy weather. It's been raining nonstop for two days, and the forecast says it's going to continue for another two days.
This was set to be my final competition at the International Federation Tang Soo Do's World Championship Tournament in Orlando. I had been juggling college and my martial arts for a few years, and it was becoming very taxing. I agreed to compete for one last time before I retired from the competition circuit. Master Joon was disappointed but understood that I had plans for my future, and he didn't want to hold me back.
I had won each of my sparring matches all day. I had only my final sparring match and my weapons competition left to compete in. I felt confident enough that I believed I had a decent chance at winning both.
It was during my final sparring match when I noticed very familiar short, spiky, dark hair in the crowd. I frowned inwardly as my gaze wander around and spotted each member of the Cullen family watching me. That was a tad disturbing. I refused to allow them to distract me, so I shrugged it off and put my all into ending the match with a powerful scorpion kick that connected to my opponent's head. The final point was mine as well as the sparring competition trophy.
I smiled and waved at the cheering crowd, proud that I finished in first place in my final competition. I grabbed a tight hold of my enormous trophy and made why way off the platform and down toward Master Joon. He greeted me with a proud smile and a small nod.
I was so proud of myself for winning the match regardless of the unwanted individuals in the crowd. I knew that if I hadn't taken the martial arts, I would never have learned perseverance and would probably be a blubbering mess right now. However, that was a different Bella. The new me would rather throw them a finger and move on with my life.
But I just knew they were going to approach me sometime this evening. They can't get to me right now, since I am competing. Frankly, there are just way too many people here for them to make a scene.
I made my way over to the side of the arena with the others from my dojang while we all waited for the officials to clear the sparring platform for the weapons competition. The wait was never too long. There were many people to help set the platform up.
While I waited, I reviewed my routine for my competition. I had chosen to put my routine to the music of Requiem For a Tower the Jennifer Thomas arrangement. It was a stunning piece of music, and that particular arrangement has a way of making you feel like you are victorious after a long battle. It's indicative of how I have spent the last five years battling my self-doubt and self-hatred after Eddie left. It's ironic how he and his family are here to witness this. In a way, I feel like I have already won. I've moved on with my life, and that is something vampires have trouble doing.
I glance up as Master Joon approached our group. Turning to me, he said, "You are to be last. That is a good spot for you to see all of your opponents."
I nodded to him in agreement. "That's good. I prefer to be last." Last place was always my favorite position when in competition. It's always good to have an idea of what I am up against. It also helps to spur me on to do my best.
While I waited for my match, I cheered on my friends. So far, the students of our dojang have all done very well. The competition has been fierce in each category of the championships. This has been the most challenging year we have had since I entered the competition arena.
This was the last match before my turn came up. I looked around the arena and caught another glimpse of Alice's spiky hair. The Cullens managed to get seats closer to the front, so they can get a better view. I rolled my eyes. They act like I want to see them. They're in for it. That's all I have to say.
Master Joon signaled for me to take the platform. I grabbed a hold of my bo staff and climbed the few steps to the platform. I walked toward the center and turned my back to the crowd. After bowing to the officials, I took my stance with my bo in my right hand behind my back. I waited for my music to queue up.
This competition was not about combat but more about artistic style and showcasing how my bo and I are one entity. My music began. The tempo was slow, and I gently twirled my staff as I showed off a few slower kicks and spins. As the tempo build, my movements followed along. My speed increased as I spun my bo between my hands, behind my back, and above my head, interspersing the spins with various strikes and blocks.
Finally, at full speed, I threw in a few figure eight spins as well as a helicopter, around the world, and neck spins. I could hear the crowd going crazy. I was well-known for my speed, and I loved to ham it up.
I did a three-sixty kick into a tornado kick then used my bo for a downward strike. The end of my program was coming up, so I was getting into my position. I did another series of spins and kicks, ending the series with my scorpion kick. Spinning my bo above my head in the heel of my right palm, I dropped down into a full split. I then laid back and did a kip-up into a standing position. I finished up my routine with a few aerials into a series of kicks and spins, finishing off with a double roundhouse kick, bringing my bo into a cross strike, and then transitioning it into a down strike as the music ended.
The was an eerie silence for a few seconds then the crowd broke out into thunderous applause. I grinned and bowed to the officials, Master Joon, and then to the crowd. I did a flawless program and was very proud of myself.
I made my way over to Master Joon to await the scores. My teammate, Kim, handed me a bottle of water which I eagerly opened up and drank. I was hot and sweaty, and the water hit the spot. I chucked the empty bottle into the trash while using my sleeve to wipe the sweat off of my brow.
After a few minutes of deliberation, the scores were posted on the board. My dojang won the entire competition with me bringing home the first place trophy. There was laughing, crying, and cheering among our group. This was our best competition to date, and we were proud.
Master Joon ushered us to the locker rooms so that we could change into our street clothes before we hopped on our shuttle bus to head back to our hotel. We were leaving tomorrow afternoon, so I was going to pack my things tonight.
Since there were only two females in our group, we had to wait to take our showers. Master Joon was very strict about male/female interactions and did not allow co-ed showers. It was a rule I had no issues with.
When I finally got to take my shower, I took my time. I was hot and sweaty. I scrubbed down and washed my hair. After rinsing the conditioner out, I turned the temperature down and just stood under the cool water and allowed it to cascade over me. I found it to be very refreshing.
After a minute or so, I shut the water off, grabbed my towel, and dried off. I took longer than I should have, so I needed to hurry up and dress. I wrapped up in a fluffy towel and walked back to my locker.
I quickly put on my shorts and racer back tank top while slipping on my sandals. I ran a comb through my hair and tossed it up in a ponytail. I packed my Dobok and shower items and headed out of the locker room.
That is when all hell broke loose for me. Just as I stepped out, I ran into all of the Cullens. They were clearly standing there waiting for me.
I dropped my duffle bag and crossed my arms over my chest. "What do you want?" I asked in annoyance.
Alice hopped forward with a cheerful grin and said, "We just wanted to congratulate you on your wins. Plus, we missed you."
I narrowed my eyes at her. "Thanks, now if you will excuse me, I have to go out to my ride. They are waiting for me." I bent over and picked up my bag. As I tried to walk past them, Edward stepped in my way the dumb fuck that he is.
"Bella, we all missed you," he said with a pitiful expression on his face.
"Really? I find that difficult to believe since it was your choice to leave," I replied with a quirk of my brow. "And if I remember correctly, you claimed to be bored, I was nothing more than a distraction, and that I was no longer wanted. So I am sure you can understand why I think you're just blowing smoke out of your ass. Now, I really need to go." I tried to push my way past but he refused to let me leave.
"Bella, please, we really did miss you. I really missed you. Can't we please just talk to you?" he nagged.
I opened my mouth to respond, but Alice piped in before I could. "Bella, we did miss you. Our leaving was Edward's idea. We all voted on it. Not all of us wanted to leave. We even had a huge fight over it."
I snorted in disbelief. "I don't doubt for a second that Edward in his self-proclaimed superiority made that demand. I also don't doubt that like always, Carlisle gave in to him. Frankly, I really don't give a flying fuck who voted which way and what reasons Edward gave. The end result is the same. You all left."
"Please, Bella, you must understand. It was dangerous for you to be around us. I was trying to protect you," Edward pleaded.
"No, what you did was try to act like you are my father and had any rights to making decisions for me. You were out of line then just like you are out of line now. You made your choice. I moved on to bigger and better things than trying to tag along with people who lie like it was an extracurricular activity," I said with a sneer. I couldn't believe the audacity of these vampires.
"Bella, it's true. The family just hasn't been the same since we left you," Esme piped in with tears that will never spill.
I rolled my eyes and replied, "With all due respect Esme, you and your family's actions speak a great deal louder than your words."
"But it's true, Bella. No one has been the same," Alice pleaded.
I held my hand up to cut her off. "Again, Alice, that was your choice. It's not my problem. Besides, I don't believe for an instance that Rosalie or Jasper was particularly bothered by me getting dumped, especially Rosalie. Seriously, the amount of times she has rolled her eyes while you and Edward have been begging speaks volumes. Don't get me wrong. I don't like her either, but I do respect the fact that she never pretended to like me or care for me."
The Cullens all gave Rosalie a dirty look that she just shrugged at. That's what I meant. She has no issues with being honest, and I can respect that.
"Rosalie doesn't speak for the rest of us, Bella. She has her own reasons," Carlisle tried to explain.
"I really don't care what she has crammed up her ass. That's her issue," I retorted. Emmett cracked up laughing and was on the receiving end of a vicious glare from his mate.
"What? It was funny," he said with a shrug.
I held back the grin that threatened to show itself. Emmett was such a goofball. "Listen, I have no desire to rehash everything over and over. I have no interest in continuing this conversation at all. You made your decision and must live with it as it were. I have moved on in my life and am past you all."
"Bella, you're my mate. I cannot go on without you by my side," Edward said.
"I'm not so sure about me being your mate. You never treated me like I was your mate. You treated me like I was your wayward child. You tried to rule my life and my choices. That is the highest level of disrespect outside of cheating that you can do. Besides, that is not what you claimed when you dumped me in the middle of the forest. Either way, I want no part of it," I said with an air of finality.
"The idiot is trying to apologize to you. The least you could do is listen to him," Rosalie sneered. I really have no clue how I thought she was intimidating five years ago. Now, she just comes off as a spoiled bitch.
"You really want to go there, blondie? You are the last person to talk about listening when you treat your own mate with disrespect. In fact, you even physically abuse him when he does or says something you don't like or don't agree with. And to clarify, Eddie isn't apologizing. He's making lame-ass excuses. You might want to pick up a Webster's and refresh your memory of the definition of an apology," I mocked her in derision. She sneered at me in reply, and I just winked at her, completely unbothered by her dislike of me. The feeling was quite mutual.
"Bella, please, I saw that you would forgive us and come back to Edward," Alice interjected again.
I looked over at her. She was trying her hand at the innocent puppy dog eyes look, and I didn't fall for it at all. "Bullshit!" I exclaimed angrily. "Don't even try to use your visions to guilt me into doing whatever it is you want me to do. That crap doesn't work with me anymore."
She went to reply, but Jasper interrupted her. "Enough, Alice, you're lying to her, and she doesn't deserve it," he said while giving her a stern look.
I glanced over at the tall blonde. I was surprised he corrected her. I think this is the first time anyone admonished her, at least in front of me.
"Bella, I just wanted to tell you that I was sorry for trying to attack you. It's my fault everything went to hell," Jasper said contritely. The sad look in his eyes caused me to rethink my position on him.
"Jasper, for the record, I never blamed you. You are a vampire. You live off of blood. I was a klutz and put all of you in a very uncomfortable position. Despite what some of you think, I knew what I was getting into when I decided to date Edward. Your response was a typical vampire's response. Besides, I would never ask you to be something you aren't especially in your own home," I clarified for him. "Also, I think it's important to point out that you not only felt your thirst, you felt theirs as well," I said while pointing to the rest of his family.
He nodded in acknowledgment with a look of peace coming over his features. "Thank you, Bella, that is very gracious of you. For the record, I always liked you. I was just concerned about what would happen if you decided you didn't want to deal with our issues. Although, now that we've gotten the actual facts to what happened, I feel we owe you a tremendous apology for believing that you were the one to dump Edward like he initially claimed," he said while giving his brother a dirty look.
"Ah, I see. Edward dumped me in the forest and then ran home whining about how I dumped him," I stated with a shake of my head at his audacity. I sneered at my ex, "Do you really wonder why I don't think I am your mate. You don't treat your mate the way you treated me. My advice is to move on, get laid, and do something. Whatever it is you choose, you need to leave me the hell alone."
"Bella please, I am so sorry for what I did. I just cannot bear to be without you any longer," Edward pleaded while trying to reach out and touch me. I flinched away from not wanting to ever feel his touch again.
"No, you made your choice five years ago when you pulled me into the forest while telling me I was just a distraction and that you never loved me. Now, I am making the choice to walk away from you for good. You are the one that is not good enough for me," I said firmly as I pushed past him only to see Master Joon standing there. He motioned for me to move on.
As I passed him, I heard him say, "You are a fool and never deserved her. It would be in your best interest to forget about her."
Master Joon caught up to me in the parking lot. I wasn't concerned about what he may or may not have heard. I was just thankful that he showed up so that I could get out of there.
"For the record, Bella, you handled that well. I didn't hear the entire conversation, but I did hear you stand up for yourself. The little cygnet has grown into a very powerful Swan," Master Joon said proudly.
I smiled. I did. I really did.
A/N: Bella's decision to forgive Edward all willy-nilly in the books and movies really annoyed the snot out of me. He deliberately hurt her when he dumped her. I don't care what his reasons were. She should have torn him a new one and not taken him back right away.
I haven't come across enough fics that address this issue, so I wrote this one. The bunny was strong here.
I don't study martial arts, but many members of my family have. I have always loved karate.
Dojang- Tang Soo Do school
Dobok- Tang Soo Do uniform
Chloe Bruce is my inspiration for my Bella here. Look her up. She is an insanely gifted martial artist. She's on YouTube.