Chapter One- Jacob

The sky was a brilliant white that ignored the sunrise completely. My patrol shift ended at dawn, so I watched the night sky transform from dark grey to a lighter shade of grey, and now to white.

After running home to shower and let my dad know I was alive, I headed to the Cullens. What I probably should've done was get some sleep, but Renesmee would be waiting, and there was no way my mind could turn off without having seen her in twelve hours.

I opened the Cullen house's front door, not bothering to knock. I don't even remember the last time I knocked. Seth didn't even knock anymore.

"Hello, Jacob." Alice flitted past me, a vase of tall flowers in her hands.

"Hey," I nodded to her. "Is Ness—"

"I'm here," Nessie poked her head down the corner, at the top of the staircase. "Just give me a sec," She flashed me a smile and then disappeared again.

I wandered into the living room, where Jasper had his nose in a book and Emmett was playing Xbox. "Just a heads-up, Jake," Jasper muttered without looking up, "She doesn't really want to go today."

I frowned. Nessie hasn't hunted in almost a week. She likes to go alone, but Edward had asked me to take her today. "Why not?"

He shrugged. "I don't know; she'd never say anything though. She knows Edward wouldn't let her skip it again."

This was true. Edward was adamant on Nessie hunting regularly, and she pretty much does what he asks her to. But I wouldn't—couldn't—make her go. I scratched the back of my head. "So, give her some space?" I half-guessed, and Jasper nodded.

"Good luck." Emmett chuckled.

"Are you hungry, Jacob?" Esme asked me, already headed into the kitchen.

"Starving," I groaned, following her. My answer has never been no.

She pulled a plate out of the oven and held it out to me. I took it, and I must've looked confused, because she smiled and said, "Seth has already been here for breakfast. Yours has been waiting for you since five this morning."

I laughed. That wasn't surprising. For as much as I was tolerated in this household, Seth's presence was genuinely enjoyed.

"Thanks, Esme." I dove into an omelet that took up the entire plate.

"Ready?" Renesmee skipped into the kitchen, dressed like we were headed out into the Arctic tundra. I crunched a piece of bacon and stared at her, and she rolled her big brown eyes up at me. "It's cold outside, Jacob."

"Not sub-zero temperature-cold, Nessie."

She ignored me a wrapped a scarf around her neck. "Bye, Grandma," She kissed Esme's cheek and motioned for me to hurry up. I swallowed the last bite of egg and Esme took the plate out of my hands and opened the door for us.

"Be careful, please." She kissed the side of Nessie's face on our way out.

"We will," Ness promised, flashing her stunning smile again.

It didn't really matter what she said; she could be telling you that she crashed your car, but if she smiled when she said it, you'd believe that everything was perfect.

"Where're your parents?" I asked, as she gripped my arm to keep steady on the icy driveway.

"Home," she shrugged. "I headed to the main house early; they stayed." She let go of me to tuck a curl behind her ear, and her next step resulted in both feet slipping from under her. She let out a little gasp, and I wrapped an arm around her waist and held her upright before she could land on the icy rock surface.

"Thank you," she laughed, flushing pink.

"Don't mention it."

We crossed the long driveway and onto a pathway that would take us deep into the forest; a path we could both follow with our eyes closed.

"It is way too cold for this," She complained, her voice muffled by the scarf wrapped tightly from her neck to her chin.

Tugging her winter hat down so it covered her pink ears, I said, "It isn't that cold." Actually, it was pretty cold. Our warm breath was like clouds in the frigid air.

"Fine," she grumbled, trudging through the snow. "Let's get this over with. Don't phase; I'm making this quick." After gathering her long curls into a mess on top of her head, I watched as she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, waiting for a scent to hit her. When one did, Nessie was a blur of motion. She sprinted through the woods, weaving gracefully around the spruce trees as her leather boots crunch into the snow.

Watching her was mesmerizing. All I could do was stare. Nessie has that effect on people. But I wasn't even staring because she was beautiful, like so many people do. I was staring because she moved like confidence was holding her bones together. She ran like her muscles were lined with gracefulness.

Which is hilarious, considering she tripped twice on the walk out here. She's a Swan that gives the illusion of being a Cullen.

I took my time making my way in her direction, and I stopped the second I spotted her bronze hair through the trees. Jasper usually knows what he's talking about.

Coming up to a herd of deer, she sank slowly into a crouch. As she edged closer, a branch cracked above her and fell to the forest floor. The deer scattered, and she caught nothing.

She cursed loudly and I suppressed a laugh. There was a fawn she could have caught, but Renesmee wouldn't do that. She once explained to me that there's something about killing a baby animal that her human side absolutely prohibits. That sounded a little ridiculous to me, but she gets confused enough about her conflicting genes without my input.

It takes her eleven whole minutes to find another lone deer, eleven minutes that I spend counting squirrels in the nearby trees. She killed it first, and then lowered her deceptively sharp teeth to its neck, and that was about the time I turned my attention back to the squirrels. Not that what she does bothers me, but lately she's been a little self-conscious about it.

When she finished, I heard her footsteps crunch towards me. I walked towards her, subtly searching her for evidence that she just killed a wild animal. As usual, I found none. Her light grey coat was spotless, along with her white scarf and hat. And when she flashed me a smile, I could see that her teeth, too, were as pristine as the snow falling around us.

"That was fast," I commented.

She nodded rapidly, "Yes, because I'm freezing."

I threw an arm around her casually, and she leaned into my warmth. God help me if Edward decided to pop out from behind a tree right about now.

It wouldn't shock me. Since Nessie turned seven, he's been even more of an overprotective spazz.

Rightfully so, because even I see her differently. I can feel the shift. I knew it would happen, but now that it's here, I don't want it as much as I thought I would. No, that isn't right. I do want it, but unless I was positive that Ness does too, then I wouldn't risk even trying. I can wait. I would wait for her for a century if she wanted me to. We don't need to rush anything.

We walked slowly, not bothering to dodge the falling snowflakes. "Embry wanted me to tell you that he finished that book." I said.

"It's about time! What did he think?"

"I don't think he liked it."

She stopped walking and looked at me like I'd just told her I'd killed a man. "What? How could anyone not like Salem's Lot?"

I shrugged. "He said it was the way Stephen King writes."

"Brilliantly, you mean?" She asked in disbelief.

"I liked it," I tried.

"I bet it scared him."

"It scared him so bad that he's pretending he didn't like it." I laughed and she nodded.

We were silent for a while; the only sound was our feet packing the already-packed snow. "I know you're cold," she said eventually, teeth chattering. "Admit it."

I shrugged, comfortable in my t-shirt and jeans. "I don't get cold. Theoretically, you shouldn't get cold, either."

"How do you figure that?"

"Your body almost the same temperature as mine."

She shook her head. "Four degrees makes a big difference."

"Apparently," I smirked, and she suddenly ducked out of my embrace and picked up a handful of snow. Before I had time to react, she reached up and smashed it on top of my head. The ice melted almost immediately, soaking my hair.

"Cold yet?" she laughed, her pink nose scrunching up.

I shook my head and grinned, she was in for it now. I reached down and scooped up my own handful of snow, and she scrambled to beat me to it.

Soon we were pelting each other as quickly as our hands could pack the snow together, which was pretty difficult; it started to melt once it made contact with our skin. She was laughing even harder than I was and her fingers were pale from the cold and her hair was wet, but she didn't complain.

After the next one she launched at me, she began to back away, using trees as her cover as she went. When my snowball hit a tree she was hiding behind, I yelled, "That's cheating!"

"I'm playing to my strengths!" she yelled back, over her shoulder.

Soon we were running through the forest, pelting each other with misshapen lumps of ice. In ten minutes, we were farther away from home, and Renesmee was soaking wet and laughing so hard that I thought she may hyperventilate.

She didn't notice a thick tree branch behind her, so when she backed up to escape my next assault, she ended up on her butt in the snow.

"Ness!" I ran to her, my laughter fading immediately, but she was fine, and when I reached down the help her up, she yanked me down with her.

We lay there together in the snow, trying to catch our breath from running and laughter. I looked over at her, while her eyes were fixed on the white sky above us. The apples of her cheeks were bright pink from the cold, along with the tip of her nose. Her eyes had taken on a golden honey tint in the middle, but they deepened back into chocolate brown around the edges; it happens after she's just hunted. Snow began to fall lightly, and I watched the snowflakes collect in her hair and eyelashes. I was thinking that she had to really be freezing now, but she didn't shiver.

"You know—" she turned to look at me but cut herself off, seeing that I was already staring. We were suddenly very close, and the powdery snow began to fall more steadily. We'd have to dig ourselves out if we didn't get up now, but neither of us moved a muscle.

She drew in a little closer, and I leaned in an inch; our noses just barely brushed. I could hear the sudden rise of her heartbeat, and I was sure she could hear mine. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to kiss her more than I've ever wanted anything in my life.

But I didn't, because if I did and that wasn't what she wanted, I'd ruin everything and never forgive myself. I've done a lot of stupid things in my life, but I would not let myself mess this up.

I waited for her to pull away, or for something like an animal of a cell phone to ruin the moment, but nothing happened. I felt a rush of nervous energy pass through her, and then her lips were on mine. My world momentarily imploded and the only thing I could register was that she smelled amazing and her lips were cold.

When the initial shock wore off, my entire body seemed to be glowing with warmth and I could feel her excitement seep into my bones, and I knew that this was the feeling I'd been waiting for my entire life. Screw taking things slow—this was fantastic.

It wasn't my first kiss, but it might as well have been, because it was hers, and because nothing could ever have compared to this. I didn't know that anything could ever feel this right.

Renesmee pulled away from me with no warning and our eyes opened, hers suddenly wide with realization. She stood up quickly and I watched, perplexed, as the pink of her cheeks turned crimson and she grew more flustered by the second. She blurted, "I'm—Oh my god. I'm sorry," and hid her face in her hands.

I backtracked, trying to think of what I did wrong, if I messed something up, because she sure as hell hadn't. "You—You're sorry?" I stumbled over my words, in disbelief. "Why are you sorry?"

She started at me and blinked, and for the first time, I couldn't place the emotion on her face. And then I realized: She thinks I don't want her that way.

She's my first thought in the morning, and my last thought at night. She's everything. She always has been, and she always will be. And she doesn't know how much I love her? Thinking about her makes me want to write poetry, for god's sake.

I took me a beat to comprehend how she could possibly believe that I didn't want her.

"I love you," Is the only thing I could think of to say. There was so much more, but I needed her to understand that simple, obvious fact first.

She froze, and her heart sped up again. Because she heard the change in my words. The same three words, yet different from the times that I'd said it before. But then she pulled her eyes away from mine. "Jacob," she said softly, squeezing her eyes shut. "You don't have to. I know that the imprint… But that doesn't mean—"

"Renesmee," I cut her off. "I love you." I repeated, my hand on her chin so she'd have to look up at me.

And then the purest form of joy I'd ever seen fell across her entire face. A dazzling smile graced her lips and she said, "I love you, too."

You know that feeling you got when you were in the third grade, and you wrote one of those little notes to your crush that said 'do you like me? check yes or no' and you got the paper back and they had checked the 'yes' ? Multiply that by a million, and that was what I was feeling.

I love you, too. I knew she could hear the shift in her own voice, from the times she had said this to me before. It was no longer a declaration, but a vow.

We had exchanged those words when we loved each other like siblings, and then best friends, and now… whatever this was. I was fine with not knowing what it was. It was better, was all I knew.

Her smile faded a little bit, and she said in a low voice, "I was so scared, Jacob. I thought that I had ruined everything we had."

I shook my head and pulled her into a hug. She had let her damp hair down, and it was now almost frozen. I ran my hand through the icicled curls and promised her, "You made it better." I secretly wished that I had been to one to make the first move, but it didn't really matter, because it happened. My ego would survive.

"Are you sure?" She asked.

"Positive." I muttered into her hair.

She laughed softly into my shirt: this happy, giggly sound that I hadn't heard from her in a long time. "You have no idea how happy I am right now." But then she remembered that she could show me, and the next thing I knew, her hands were on either side of my face and I could see what she meant. Her joy radiated through her fingertips and into my skin, tricking my mind into thinking that her emotions were mine.

Her gift is something that takes me by surprise every time. There's no way to describe it. It's amazing though, to experience things the way she does. Everything seems brighter when it's going through her head first.

"Oh, shit," she said suddenly, pulling out of my grasp.

"What?" I looked around us for her source of panic.

"My dad, Jacob! He's going to kill you."

I laughed, although I was fully aware that she wasn't kidding. Edward knew that this was coming. The idea has to have been on his radar, considering Renesmee's seventh birthday was only months ago. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but he had time to prepare himself for this, so maybe it won't be that bad.

"It'll be okay," I promised her, but she didn't look convinced. "I'll handle it."

She breathed a laugh, "Good luck with that." She grabbed my hand and began walking us home. Again, something that she'd done a hundred times, but now felt impossibly different.

I really wasn't near worried enough about Edward. Maybe it was the aftermath of the kiss, but I was kinda feeling invincible. And it helped that Edward was a slave to his daughter; he ultimately wouldn't forbid anything that she wanted.

We walked slowly through the icy January snow, and I continued to feel her happiness. She was still letting me feel it, through her grip on my hand. It didn't compare to mine.

Nessie stopped suddenly. "Jacob," She said, drawing my attention to her. She was staring at something off to the right, through the trees. I followed her gaze, but I didn't see whatever she saw.

"What?" I asked, and she pulled me forward a foot and then pointed. Then I saw it: a giant spruce tree, lying on its side in the snow. It was snapped at its thick trunk.

Before I could say anything, she was headed towards it. It must've been sixty yards away, but she reached it in seconds. "Was this like this when we passed it the first time?" She called back to me.

"It must've been," I shrugged.

"How do you think this happened?" She murmured, standing back to stare at it. "It's been windy, but that that windy."

"It probably died," I suggested, but she shook her head. She went around it to the trunk.

"No. It was totally healthy inside."

"Maybe the park rangers decided to cut it down for some reason."

She shook her head again. "It isn't a clean cut. And when was the last time you saw a park ranger this far out here?"

I threw my hands up into the air. "Then I dunno, Ness. Does it matter?"

"It's weird, Jake. Three people holding hands couldn't wrap their arms all the way around this tree." She said, and she was right. "Not just anything could have done this."

I gave her my last suggestion. "Maybe Emmett was messing around out here. He's nothing if not mindlessly destructive."

"Maybe," She looked unconvinced. "Let's go home. I'm so cold I stopped feeling cold."

We walked towards the main house and I told her about Seth and this awful date he went on last night, and mid-laugh, she froze.

Her smile faded, and she grabbed my hand instinctively. "Jacob," She whispered fiercely.

"What? What's wrong?" I watched her intently, and I saw the blood drain from her face.

She didn't move. "Do you smell that?"

I immediately froze with her and inhaled the cold air. I caught the scent that she did.

I untangled my fingers from hers and grabbed her wrist instead, pulling her behind me. There was a vampire, and it was close.

Through my teeth, I asked her, "If I told you to run, would you?"

"Not unless you were coming with me." She responded, very calmly.

I put a finger to my lips and we listened. Everything was so silent you could hear the snowflakes landing. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. And then, a twig cracked.

Our heads snapped to the direction it came from, but we saw nothing.

"Jacob," she said, and I could hear the fear in her voice.

"I'm going to phase," I told her quietly and slowly. I pulled her gently by her arm, so she was on my right side. "I'll be right behind you." I promised, and she nodded. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of something. Something moved. That was all I needed.

"Run." I hissed into her ear.

And bless her, she did. She took off like a bullet, and I let myself go. A flash of heat coursed through my bones, and my human body was gone.


AN:

Hey, thanks if you read my first chapter of When the Sun Burns Out. It's been a while since I published anything new, but I have good reasoning.

This entire story, if your planning to follow along with me and not skip out after just this chapter, is already almost entirely written. Yep, I have almost ten chapters of this story done. So I there's no way I'm going to be putting it on hiatus or taking months to get a new chapter posted.

I'm really excited about this story and pretty proud of it.

So please, follow and favorite and review and all of those good things if you like what I have here so far.

Thank you!

Xoxo

Vanessa