A/N: This is a story I wrote, inspired by Twilight. It is based on the idea that the amazing world of Twilight is somehow meshed with the Real World, and my main character, Tessa, gets to walk the fine line between the two! I do not own Twilight, or any of Stephenie Meyer's awesome characters, but I love the books a ton! Enough to write my own book that I hope fits well with the series. I have already finished writing the story, and I will be posting the chapters periodically, so I would love all reviews and comments! I hope you like it!

P.S. I admittedly took a while to introduce my own original characters, so please don't be discouraged that you don't meet the Jacob Black or the Cullens in the first chapter! Give it a chance! I really love all my original characters and I hope you will too!

P.P.S. I cannot write or read without listening to music, so I set up a playlist by chapter that I will post on my profile if you're interested. If you think of any other songs that fit well, please let me know! Ok, enough jabber, on with the story!

Preface

I didn't believe in fate. Fate was for people who weren't strong enough to take responsibility for their own actions. I believed in choice. Choices determined which path my life would take.

So if I didn't believe in fate, how could I explain all the things that had happened to me? Meeting the love of my life, that was fate. There was no other explanation for it. All the events that led me there, they had to be part of fate too. I thought I had been making choices, didn't I? Surprise! Nothing is quite as changeable as I'd like to think.

But this, this was something that I could change. Only me. I was his only hope if he wanted to live, and it didn't matter that I was giving up everything I had ever wanted to save him. Life is more important than love.

Isn't it?

There wasn't exactly enough time to evaluate that now.

The pale figure flew across the space between us, cold hands wrapping around me, and not far away, just behind the shadows of the trees, a heart was beating almost as frantically as my own.

Chapter 1

Wake Up

Sighing with a deep sense of satisfaction, and an edge of lingering thrill, I set the book, Breaking Dawn, down in my lap for what felt like the first time since I'd picked it up. The conclusion of the four-book Twilight saga, of many sleepless nights, many skipped meals, and more than enough literary excitement to last me for a year. And yet…

I couldn't fool myself. I knew darn well that a literary appetite such as mine was not one that would be easily satisfied. Not even close. Questions still flew through my mind, questions that wouldn't be answered on the FAQ page of the author's website. Could love really be like that? Edward and Bella, the perfect romance, untainted by the by the fact that they end up as vampires, as they are able to live happily ever after, forever.

I laughed to myself, a small chuckle. I couldn't think of anyone that I wouldn't get sick of if I literally had to be with them forever. Well, maybe someone… someone I clearly hadn't found yet.

The thing about books is that you can have as many happy endings as you want, yet still always want more. Because you won't find anything in life nearly as gratifying.

It had been days, yet it felt like weeks, since I first picked up the first book of the latest craze that was sweeping my high school. The characters I had just met felt like friends I had known from preschool; Edward, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie, Emmett, Carlisle and Esme; the Cullens, a family of vampires that lived in modern day, not to mention the pack of werewolves that shared their small town; Seth, Leah, Quil, Embry, and most importantly, Jacob, the werewolf who fought a vampire for the heart of a normal human girl, Bella.

I used to consider myself preoccupied in more important matters when I first realized how behind in the happenings of my high school I was, that I was the only one who hadn't yet read the books that were on everyone's minds; In truth though, I was just a little bit oblivious.

Who could blame me though? It wasn't like I didn't have a MILLION things to deal with on a daily basis; I could barely find time to sleep, let alone read a four book series. Books ranging from 498 to 754 pages, no less. I did have a few things on my mind: school, AP courses, five various music ensembles of which I was an important and prominent member, looming college applications, my duties as an upstanding member of the National Honors Society, fighting to be class valedictorian, and a well-behaved daughter…

Let's face it: I had my hands full. I didn't have time to breathe, I wasn't about to start a literary adventure that supposedly would never let me go until the last page.

But what had pushed me over the edge then? What catalyst had launched me into the novels head first, disregarding all my "important matters" that had kept me so busy before? Oh right, I remembered the day…

***

It was a cold Saturday in December, and I was standing outside my empty high school, wrapped up in three layers of jacket on sweatshirt on thermal shirt, bundled to the nose with scarf and hat, and yet still as cold as if I'd jumped into the Atlantic Ocean on a whim, my French Horn sitting sheepishly beside my trembling feet.

The day of the audition. The day I blew my chances of claiming any right to the talent I desperately coveted. I had worked for months, months of constant practicing in every spare minute I could find in the empty school auditorium, working toward one goal: qualify for the district-wide honors orchestra. In the end, I should have known that no amount of practice or confidence would equip me for the inevitable fear and nerves that swept over me when I entered the audition room, faced the same judge who had shot me down the year before, and consequently stumbled through the piece that by all rights, I should have known like the back of my hand. I played like an amateur. That's all I was, with no improvement since the year before.

An entire year, gone to waste.

Not a waste, my inner conscience told me sympathetically.

Shut up, my exterior bad mood grumbled bitterly.

And there my French Horn sat, sheepishly. It knew it was busted. It had promised me so much, and then fallen through as most heroes do in real life. Left me high and dry, and utterly miserable.

I picked up my horn and stomped over to my car, tossed it in the back seat without any sympathy toward the traitor, and drove home with a lead foot.

It wasn't until later, when my brother, John, found me lying curled up on the couch in a fetal position, wrapped in as many blankets as I could find, chewing on some form of comfort food- I believe it was a baguette- that I even considered leaving my self-induced coma of misery.

"Here," he said distractedly as he passed through the room up toward the stairs, stopping to drop a book on the coffee-table in front of me, "Eric borrowed this from his sister for you, he said you were asking about it," and he and Eric continued up the stairs, oblivious of my pain and suffering.

I stared at the book for a good five minutes, and it stared right back at me from the table, a mere foot and a half away, whispering to my sore and aching heart, Come with me, it will be alright. You can forget all about your troubles, forget it all… My world is waiting for you.

I shifted the mountain of blankets on top of me to reach out one hand into the relatively cold air surrounding me, and lifted the book of the table, giving in to the temptation and stealing away with the forbidden fruit. And I let myself forget about my humiliation as I plunged into the world of Twilight; I didn't re-surface.

***

Almost a month later, I breathed what felt like the first breath of undiluted air since that day. The books had been a drug for me, or at least what I would imagine an addiction to drugs would feel like. No movie, song, or painting went through my mind without first going through the Twilight filter that the books installed, free of charge. I read and reread the four books until I had absorbed every word on the pages. The last few weeks of school before winter break had been a distracted blur. I don't think I filed away a single piece of educational information in those last few days. I was zombie-Tessa. No information got in, and none went out.

And here I was, after the bliss of several comfortable weeks in the fictional world where super-attractive vampires and werewolves ran off into the sunset after a simply normal girl. A girl like me. I had somehow just read the most pure and potent love story I had ever witnessed in print, and it had shattered my concept of reality.

Ha! Okay, I made up that last bit. I left the adolescent phase of worshipping fiction behind me in middle school. Or at least I humored myself with that belief.

I set the book down in my lap and gazed at the two windows of my room that had hidden behind sheer purple curtains during my extended period of hibernation. My lapse into fantasy over, it was time to let the light back into my room, time to return to reality. Just in time too, as the first day returning to school after the all-too-short winter break began in less than twenty-four hours.

It was midday I thought, probably somewhere between the hours of noon and three, and I was piled under blankets, as was the norm for winter in New England, in my room, still contemplating this new freedom I had found myself capable of grasping at, now that my hands were no longer chained to the books that had been holding me captive. What a world to ponder, I thought. What a life to be envious of; it was no wonder that half my school had been going crazy with all this in their heads, all through the fall.

I crawled begrudgingly out of my cocoon and crossed the room to the billowy silver curtains, pulling them back to reveal a beautiful day…

Lies. There was no sun shining through my dirty paned windows, only a heavy dark gray that shadowed the entire view. I flipped my head around to gawk at the big red numbers on my digital clock to realize that it was already five o'clock in the evening. I had spent much more time wrapped up in my book than I had thought.

Feeling sufficiently shameful of my laziness, I quickly made my way downstairs to search for the rest of my family whom I had strategically avoided for the majority of the vacation. At the bottom of the stairs I was greeted by the handsomest creature alive, and my one true love: My dog, Hugo, named after the French author Victor Hugo. Hugo joined our family halfway through my freshman year of high school, while I was being forced to read Les Miserables, which coincidentally became one of my favorite books. Hugo was indeed the most good-looking man I knew, if you would go far enough to call a dog a man. He was part Akita and part Chow, with fluffy golden fur the color of peanut butter, a sweet round nose that made him resemble a sleepy bear, and a thick mane of hair around his neck that he loved me to scratch. He had always been the most loyal of loves, and he had never let me down. Always a fair judge of character, Hugo never hesitated to let me know what he thought of the boys I sometimes brought home. He didn't like any of them. I suppose he could be the jealous type, a small price to pay for that kind of love.

As I stepped over the sleeping dog who had curled himself up on his backside against the foot of the last stair, he twitched his neck so that his nose gently bumped my ankle. A small sign of the love we shared.

"Hey baby," I said to my furry friend as I continued down the hall to the kitchen where my mother was standing by the sink, putting the last of the freshly cleaned dishes into the drying rack. "Hey mom, I just finished my book."

"That's great Tessa," she said automatically. No signs of intelligent life.

"So…" I mused, searching for a new topic of conversation to pick up after she shot down the previous one. "When's dinner?"

"Oh, you're father still isn't feeling well, and Johnny went to Eric's after their shopping trip. I guess we're on our own tonight." My brother spent the majority of his time with his best friend Eric, which was slightly mind boggling to me. I couldn't spend two consecutive days with him, let alone every afternoon and evening of every day. However, the two boys were capable of keeping each other occupied for endless amounts of time, and I wasn't going to be the first to reign John in from his many afternoons not bugging me. Now that I thought about it, I should probably thank Eric for the favor.

"Great," I said unenthusiastically. I kept leaning against the kitchen counter, waiting for her to say something, some tidbit about her day, to let me feel less alienated from my family.

After a few moments of uninterrupted awkward silence, my mother looked up from the sink and asked, "Do you need anything honey?"

"Oh, no," I said quietly, caught in my charade of the attentive daughter. She didn't feel the need to talk, so I didn't have to wait around, did I?

I grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge and stole away with a spoon back to my cave. Plopping down on my untidy bed, I ate my dinner too quickly to relish any of it, and stared wistfully around my room. It was a mess, sadly neglected all through vacation while I piled my Christmas gifts and semi-clean clothes and various blankets all over the limited floor space. A humming sound notified me that the portable heater was stirring back to life, ready to raise the frigid room temperature a few degrees temporarily.

A loud and jarring vibration caught my attention as I saw my cell-phone light up and jump around on top of my dresser. A quick glance at the screen told me that I was missing a call from Barney, my "boyfriend." I didn't feel right calling him that. The word implied commitment, and shared feelings, things that I did not have. Sure I felt something for Barney, the kind of love you feel for a good friend, or a brother. How exactly did all that happen? How did I end up as someone he called his girlfriend? It had happened during my month as zombie-Tessa. One minute I was having a good laugh with my friend, the next… we were a couple, and I was completely unaware of when the development took place. Usually there's a warning for these kinds of things! Some kind of sign or turning point where you can say, "Hey! This is NOT what I had planned!" But where had those signs been? I had tried so hard to NOT make Barney like me, in fact, I had never worked so hard to send someone's sentiments in the opposite direction. I knew that he was two years younger than me, that it was just plain wrong to lead on a boy when it felt morally corrupt to take his innocence like that… I thought had been doing a stellar job of keeping our relationship on the strictly-friends level… Suddenly, surprise! I'm dating him! I didn't want that. I didn't want to date anyone. I just wanted to be happy by myself, satisfied by the characters I dreamed up from books and movies without the pressure of being happy with someone else.

Lying back down on my heap of blankets and pillows, I leaned over and hit the play button again on my CD player, and the music brought me back to the wild fantasy of the books that I wasted so much time on, while I let the last few hours of my winter vacation slip away.

I ignored the buzzing phone until it fell silent again. Somehow, I would explain things to him. Later. Tomorrow. Sure I would.

Of course, love couldn't really be like that; it was far too supernatural. Just thinking about it in the aftermath, I was shocked that this was in fact the story I had spent so much time obsessing over. TWILIGHT, the book, the film… the hysteria.