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The Strength of Love

Summary:
Edward and Bella have been in love since they were kids.Their love of horses brought them together and then later broke them up.Now when a new opportunity at love appears will they take it? Or is it too late? Can love really withstand anything? AU/AH


Notes:
Ok so this idea has been floating around in my head foreeeeeeeeeeeever now I hope you enjoy.


2. All the Pretty Little Ponies

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2381   Review this Chapter

Chapter 1: All the Pretty Little Ponies

BPOV

“Next in the ring is number 13, Isabella Swan, riding Return of the King.” The announcer called from his booth. I clucked my tongue at King and pressed with my heels, encouraging him forward. His ears were perked and I could feel his excitement in the muscles under me.

“No funny business.” I murmured to him as we entered the ring. I walked and trotted for a quick warm-up and then cantered the courtesy circle before beginning. King soared over the first vertical and I immediately looked to the next jump, a white gate. He took it with ease and we took the tight left turn, switching leads, setting us up for the oxer. We took it easily and turned to the next fences, a bounce. I focused on collecting King’s strides as we approached and he easily jumped in and then out. I didn’t take a chance on relaxing as we approached a brush fence. Brush fences were our weakness, but I couldn’t let that get to me. I let King out just a little bit and used my calves to encourage him over the fence. I gave a quick sigh in relief as he cleared it.

We finished the course without any mishaps and I looked to see who was on deck as I gave King’s dappled next a celebratory pat. Edward Cullen.

“A clear round for Ms. Isabella Swan and Return of the King. Now entering the ring, number 14, Edward Cullen riding One Time at Band Camp.” The announcer confirmed what I saw and I rolled my eyes as Edward shot a smug smile in my direction. He thought he had this one in the bag, but my dressage score was higher than his and that pushed King and me into first place. His cross-country score evened us up though so it all came down to the show jumping section. Whoever won this would take first place. I had confidence in King and in myself. We made a great team and I smiled down at him as I let him walk on a long rein back towards the temporary stables.

“Good job Bella.” My trainer, Angela Weber, complimented me as I dismounted by the entrance to the temporary barn.

“Thanks Angela. I thought the brush fence was going to get me though.” Angela and I shared a laugh as I led King to his stall. I slipped his bridle off and hung it on the hook outside his door before undoing the girth on my saddle and slipping it off. I’d have to re-tack for the jump off and the ribbon announcements, but King disserved a break and it was too hot to leave his saddle on.

I stepped out of the barn as the announcer was calling the results for Edward’s round. “And a clear round for Edward Cullen on One Time at Band Camp. Now we have number 16, Mike Newton riding Fuck Me. Wait what the hell excuse me, hect?” The announcer coughed and I snickered. Angela met up with me outside the barn and we walked together to the ring.

Mike Newton’s riding performance is something that you shouldn’t miss. He is an awful rider and seems to take down every jump in the ring and by the end of it his horse gets fed up and throws him off. It happens every time and yet he still comes back and rides again. Now Mike may be an awful rider, but his horse is a gorgeous chestnut thoroughbred.

Angela and I watched as Mike entered the ring, trotted a courtesy circle, though the word circle is used lightly, and turned towards the first jump. As always he was depending to much on his hands and he was sitting with his pelvis titled to block the horse’s movement over it’s back. Fuck Me, I laughed inwardly at the name, swished her tail in annoyance and took down a pole on the first jump, the vertical. He attempted to get her in line for the gate and failed miserably. If Fuck Me wasn’t as athletic as she is he would probably be stuck in the gate. The course continued in much the same way until the brush fence. Fuck Me was pretty pissed off by now so when Mike smacked her with his whip she bolted straight at the fence and then slid to a stop mere inches from it. Mike of course flew over her head and landed in the brush. Angela and I were cracking up, tears running down our faces as Mike stared up at his horse in bewilderment.

Jessica, Mike’s fuck buddy, ran into the ring and dropped dramatically by his side. He started kissing all over his face and asking if he was okay. I pretended to gag as Angela and I walked back towards the makeshift barn.

I walked to King’s stall and pulled a carrot and a hard brush out of my tack trunk before slipping into his stall. He glanced at me and nickered when he saw the carrot. I laughed and gave him his treat before brushing off any sweat left on his body. When he was shiny once again I gave him a pat and then went to see how long it would be until the jump off.

I caught up with Angela at the ring. “How many are left?” I asked as a rider left the ring with four faults.

“Not many.” I nodded and returned to the barn to tack up King. He knew what was coming next and seemed excited for another chance to show what he’s made of. I laughed at his eagerness as I finished tightening the girth and bridling him. He pranced out of the barn with his head held high and I smiled at him as we approached the ring.

“Ok it’s the same course, but the gate and brush are verticals now and everything is raised.” Angela told me as I buckled my helmet and mounted.

“Got it.” I said as we moved towards the ring.

“Your third in and then Edward and then two more riders.” I nodded as the first person entered the ring on their huge bay warmblood. The warmblood looked stiff and choppy as the approached the first fence and yet they managed to clear it. It only got worse as they went through the course and they knocked down a rail on the second to last fence.

The next rider was on another warmblood. They started out beautifully, but half way through the horse took a miss step as they approached a fence and fell to its knees. I waited anxiously as the rider and horse righted themselves and exited the arena. And then it was my turn. I took a deep breath and then let it out slowly, focusing only on the course in front of me. King knew what he was doing and as soon as I turned him towards the first jump he was off. He flew over jump after jump cool and collected. We exited the arena with a clear round. Cheers from the stands surrounded us as we made our way back to Angela. I dismounted and loosened my girth as I waited to see Edward’s round. God I miss him sometimes.

I shook my head to rid it of those thoughts and watched as he entered the ring on his Irish Sport Horse mare. One Time at Band Camp was a beautiful dark bay and King always got excited when she was around. It was funny how our horses sensed what it used to be like between us.

Edward was riding well, but you could see that something was bothering him. He was tense and that was reflecting in his horse’s performance. She took the first jumps easily, but when she got to the raised oxer she faltered for a moment before trying to jump. She almost cleared it, but then her back hoof clipped the top pole and sent it tumbling to the ground. I felt elated and yet awful at the same time. Elated because I knew that would put me into first, but then at the same time, Edward and I used to be close so seeing him disappointed made me feel bad. But then I remembered his smug smile and I immediately felt my sympathy turn to anger. He needed to be knocked off his high horse (no pun intended) every once in a while.

I waited until the other two riders had gone, both knocking down at least one pole, before mounting again. I smiled as Angela as she cheered when we entered the ring.

I took my place in line and smiled as they went backwards through the places stopping when they hit second and first.

“In second place….” The announcer paused for dramatic effect because everyone knew that the scores were closed. “Edward Cullen on One Time at Band Camp, meaning Ms. Isabella Swan on Return of the King is our champion.” I swear if my smile had gotten any bigger it would have cracked my face in half. I led the victory gallop around the ring and then dropped my reins to wrap my arms around King’s neck.

“We did it Buddy. We did it!” I told him happily. He tossed his head and whinnied. I laughed at his silliness and then dismounted to hug Angela. Her boyfriend Ben had shown up at some point and he hugged me too. Ben and I were good friends now and even went to high school together. I take credit for setting Ben and Angela up and now he says he’s going to propose. I sighed happily.

“Great job today.” Angela said as we started back towards the barn. Everything needed to be packed and stowed in the trailer to prepare for the drive back.

“Thanks. You know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.” She smiled at me as I turned to put King away. I grabbed my soft brush and after I took off his bridle and saddle I gave him a good grooming. I dropped a flake of hay into his stall before settling down to pack my tack trunk.

I was half way through when a shadow loomed over me. I looked up into a pair of the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen. “Edward.” I said coolly, turning back to my task.

“Good job today Bella.” He said quietly. This was a different Edward than the one that had turned away from me all these years.

“Thanks. You had a couple of great rides.” I said awkwardly. Honestly I had no idea how to act around him now that he was being civil and nice even.

“Thanks.” He smiled ruefully. “I let the outside world get to me during the jump off.” He said, his voice full of regret.

I shrugged. “It happens.”

I heard his feet shuffle awkwardly behind me as I continued putting stuff back in my trunk. “Um Bella?”

“Yes Edward?” I said, exasperation evident in my voice. If he wasn’t going to say it, I wasn’t going to put up with it.

“I’m sorry.” He said quietly. And then he was gone.

EPOV

I inwardly cursed myself as I walked away from Bella. She had every right to be angry with me and I went about this the wrong way. I growled quietly as I stalked towards the barn. I don’t know how, but somehow my mother had gotten special clearance from the hospital to attend my event. She was not going to be happy that I lost to Bella.

I miss the days when Bella and I could just go out riding in the hills and along the trails without the pressure of competition and my mother’s illness hanging over us. Bella never knew about my mother’s anger problems and even I didn’t really understand them until dad died and they recommended putting her in the hospital. My mother has what is called sudden anger. There is some technical term for it, but I never really learned it.

Sudden anger is where the person is like a thunderstorm on a summer day. They’re calm one minute and the next they explode. People with sudden anger often do or say things they later regret, but at that point it’s too late.

When my mom exploded at the hospital doctors for not taking better care of my father and then attempted to stab one of them with a scalpel, they recommend the psychiatric ward. She goes to counseling and such and is trying to learn to control this anger, but I’m afraid that one day she’s going to hurt herself and possibly someone else.

I walked into the barn only to find my mother asleep in her wheelchair with her nurse standing next to her with a relieved smile. “She had another episode so I had to sedate her.” The nurse explained. I gave her a sympathetic smile and told her that it was alright for her to take her back now.

I sat down on a bale of hay at the edge of the aisle and dropped my head into my hands. I groaned and closed my eyes. Bella really had grown up nicely. She’s beautiful in the way that she doesn’t realize just how beautiful she is. I need to make things right. I thought.

What if it’s too late? The rational side of my brain asked.

Well you’ll never know unless you try. The optimistic side of my brain countered.

“I’m definitely going crazy.” I muttered. I shook my head and then started packing my things for the trailer. When I was finished and everything except Princess, as she was lovingly called around the barn, was loaded I went to talk to my trainer.

Jasper was sitting by the ring, watching one of his students riding, when I walked over.

“Good job today.” He said giving me a smile.

“Try telling that to my mother.” I muttered, settling back in a lawn chair next to him.

He laughed quietly, always watching the girl on the horse. “Good, now change rein.” He called. I settled back in my seat and closed my eyes, enjoying the sunshine on my skin and before I knew it, I was asleep.