Title: Cold (but I'm still here)

Rating: Mature/for later chapters

Characters: Jacob/VampBella, OCs

Summary: After the tragic death of his wife leaves Jacob completely devastated, he is forced to return to La Push after being gone for over eight years. In tow is his four year -old son Ethan, whom Jacob hopes that, with a change of scenario and the help of family and old friends, both he and Ethan will find a way to make peace with the curveball that life has thrown their way.

Disclaimer: All characters that belong to Stephenie Meyer belong to Stephenie Meyer, I'm just borrowing.

Author's Note: This little brainchild came from itslikenature(livejournal) and I discussing baby names for Jacob's children. It's my first Twilight multi-chapter fic so bear with me. You should know that this story is going to be angst-heavy and I have no idea if it will have a happy ending, so I just suggest that buckle up and enjoy the ride. It's gonna be bumpy. Also, REAL MEN cry, I hope you don't get too turned off by it (I'm thinking the "Dean Winchester" kind of crying). As of now I seem to be beta-less. My beta reader went MIA on me so sorry if this isn't up to par. If she's not interested anymore, I'll find someone else by the time I post the first chapter, but I just want to know people's initial reaction. It helps me immensely.

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Prologue: Home Sweet Home

Jacob wiped away a silent tear that ran down the side of his face. He lay restless on the queen-sized bed as heavy rain pelted down steadily on his small, childhood home.

It felt strange to be back in La Push after being away for such a long time—a bit disconcerting really. Everything in the room looked exactly as he'd left it eight years ago. His oak, dresser drawer was unmoved in the far corner while clothes that he'd left behind hung in the small, cramped closet. Everything was the same—unchanged—yet, everything was so drastically different.

He fixed his gaze on the ceiling above before letting out a heavy sigh.

Correction: he was different.

The funny thing though, was that love always had a habit of doing that to you—to changing you in the most profound ways. This change could be for the good, as well as for the bad. He'd known that first hand at the young age of sixteen, but the love that he'd felt for his late wife, Lily—he didn't know the true meaning of the word until she came into his life.

My Lily… Jacob felt as if his heart had grown claws and was desperately trying to cut its way out of his chest. My sweet, sweet Lily…

He still could not believe that she was truly gone.

He groaned softly in an effort to stifle the pained sob that threatened to escape his lips. The tears, however, flowed freely. Wiping them away felt tiresome and futile because the source of his anguish would never cease. The ache present in his chest was so immense that it hurt to the point of physical pain. He rolled over onto his side, clutching the pillow underneath him. He'd done so, so tightly that he could have sworn he heard the cotton threads ripping apart between his fingers.

She'd been everything to him.

She'd given him six years of blissful happiness and unconditional love that he'd once thought he'd never find, let alone be blessed enough to experience. Also, the precious gift of a healthy, beautiful, baby boy that they'd conceived just months after getting married. It was purest testament of their love for each other.

Oh God no!

Jacob's eyes widened in horror as he felt a thin layer of perspiration form on his tan skin. He took in deep, ample breaths. He needed to calm down, to reign in his emotions, but he could already feel the change gnawing at him from the inside. His body began to jerk involuntarily.

He was close to phasing.

Over the years, he'd learned how to control the shift from man to wolf—how to will it forth and keep it at bay even during times of intense anger—but when Ethan was born, he'd made the decision to stop. He saw no need to continue shifting. He'd yet to run into any vampires in San Diego and he wanted to experience a normal life with his new family. This included aging with them. But what Jacob discovered was with his emotions being so erratic during his time of grief, he was back to square one in terms of controlling the change, or his lack of control regarding it.

He felt angry and lost all the time and the only thing that seemed to help calm him was the peaceful face of his little boy who slept soundlessly beside him. Well… make that the worried face of his little boy who'd woken up when the bed started to shake underneath them.

"Daddy…?" Ethan's sleep laced voice trailed as a flash of lightening cut across the sky. "Daddy are you okay?" He used his little hands to try and wipe the sleep from his eyes.

Jacob bit back a curse as he desperately tried to control his body.

Ethan usually didn't sleep very well during thunderstorms, but Jacob wasn't surprised that the little guy hadn't stirred when the clouds rolled in. He was exhausted. The plane trip from San Diego to Port Angeles was tiring enough, not to mention the hour and half drive they'd taken to get down to La Push.

"It's alright buddy," He reached out a shaky hand, running it over his son's black hair and down the side of his face. His tone was a shade lighter than Jacob's, but rich nonetheless. His eyes, however, were solely inherited from his mother. A shade of crystal blue as brilliant as the waters of the Caribbean Sea. He knew this because he'd taken Lily to Isla Mujeres; an island located just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, for their one year anniversary.

"Daddy's fine," he urged, offering him a smile. "Go back to sleep okay."

The tremors were slowly subsiding.

These days, it seemed like his son was all that kept him together. That was what he desperately needed; to hold it together. He couldn't afford to fall apart—not now—but all the same; he didn't know what to do with himself.

He wanted to be strong; to be there for his son and he was, but it was nights like tonight—when sleep refused to take him—that he was left with his thoughts and with them came a pain that was too much to bear.

Jacob pulled the little boy to him, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead. "It's okay," he soothed, smoothing back his hair. The storm was not going to let up anytime soon so he knew without a doubt that Ethan would have trouble getting back to sleep.

It also helped him to have one of … Lily use to…

"Daddy's here," he swore, cradling him against his bare chest. "I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere."He stroked Ethan's unruly locks until he heard his son's breathing become shallow. Jacob could tell that he'd been fighting it at first. He could only imagine what he looked like in his son's eyes a few minutes ago. It was obvious to him that Ethan was worried about him and that did not sit well with Jacob at all.

His son shouldn't have to do the worrying. As his father, it was suppose to be the other way around.

He'd lost his wife, but Ethan had also lost his mother. His son was young, but Jacob knew he understood the void now present in both their lives.

He needed to be stronger.

Not just for himself, but for the precious little boy sleeping in his arms. He was the greatest treasure Lily had left behind and she entrusted Jacob to do right by him. He could not—would not—fail her.

Not again.

Jacob closed his eyes and allowed his son's steady heartbeat to become his lullaby; to bring forth that soothing wave of calmness that surely sleep could not even evade.

He never allowed his mind to dwell on the sickeningly, sweet scent that saturated the sheets they slept on and filled every inch of the bedroom because with it was the faintest scent of a girl he'd known some odd years ago.

It was the scent of a girl who'd swore to him that when she gave up her life—when her heart stopped beating—it would be done for the sake of love.