Ch 1 This is Sharon

Since I had moved from Oklahoma, I had been to three different gyms. I must have a curse because every one I went to closed. Now the third one was closing too, and I was moving to a fourth. Each time I had to find another gym that was a branch school of Lee's Academy of Tae Kwon Do. I could always take classes at the main school with Master Lee, but I liked having a full fitness center facility. There were several gyms throughout the city that offered Tae Kwon Do classes taught by a Lee's Academy instructor, so I had just needed to figure out which one to join.

I chose the employees' fitness center of a company near my house. I hadn't realized you didn't actually need to be an employee of the company to join, until their Tae Kwon Do instructor, Mr. Jones, had told me. I was casually acquainted with him, as I often saw him at the Lee's Main School during belt tests. In fact, I had only been casually acquainted with any of my Tae Kwon Do contacts, until I joined that particular branch.

That first day at the new branch, I had been confident as I walked into the studio for class. Mr. Jones greeted me and we shook hands, as was traditional. The class was very small, and only three other people were there.

This made me the highest ranking, except for the instructor. My confidence faded a tiny bit as I realized that this meant the others would be looking to me for guidance, as well as perhaps scrutinizing me. Besides Mr. Jones, the only other one I recognized was a first degree black belt. I had seen him a couple of times at belt tests, but never talked to him before, and I didn't know his name.

Despite my worries, they were all nice, although they didn't say too much. At the end of class, Mr. Jones nodded to me and I lead the class through the bowing out procedure. Then he introduced me to the other students.

"This is Sharon," he said as I shook hands with the others. The first degree black belt was Dan. Brad was a blue belt, and his wife, Linda, was a yellow belt.

Over the next several months, the class participants changed a bit. Jennifer, who had been a long time student in her youth, was a regular class attendee and had just been absent on my first day. She had taken a long hiatus to travel, and had been back to Tae Kwon Do for a couple of months. She had spent several years as a Danbo or temporary black belt. We had several others start as white belts, but few of them continued passed yellow belt. We did have one guy, Jake, who had tested to blue belt and seemed to be happy to stay at that level for a long time. Alice and Natalie had joined the class only three months apart, and were moving through the colored belts ranks smoothly.

For some reason, perhaps due to the fact that for the first time I was in a class where women outnumbered men, I talked to my classmates more than I had at previous locations. And I became friends with them, rather than just acquaintances. Once Linda, Alice, and Natalie moved up to the black belt ranks, I started participating even more in the main school activities with them and became friends with several other black belts.

I had seen Rolf at a few belt tests in the past, and then began to see him more often as I increased my participation at black belt class and other Lee's Academy events. After several months, he was familiar to our group and we often talked before and after the belt tests. He was a nice enough man, but not necessarily my type. I usually went for the tanned and buff guys, but Rolf was tall and pale. He actually had a handsome face with sensuous lips and a sexy European accent. Although he was tall and thin, he wasn't scrawny. Instead, his muscles were toned and really fit perfectly on his frame. It was just that he was so pale, and I was used to being in the sun. Ever since I was a kid, I had loved to spend my summer hours at a lake getting a tan and playing in the water. Rolf looked like he never went outside.

It was a shock when he had asked me out on a date, although I couldn't really think of a reason to refuse and we had a great time. Over the next few months, we started spending more time together outside the dojang, and got to know one another. Rolf usually suggested indoor activities for our dates – movies, laser tag, shopping at the mall. Not that he never went into the sun, he just seemed to prefer being indoors.