If the World is Cold

Disclaimer: Characters are not mine. Just the fanfic.

A/N: First attempt at Twilight. I'm not sure I got it right, but I'll keep trying. I set this kind of around Eclipse, around the time Bella needs 24 hour surveillance.


It was cold.

No, scratch that, it was freezing. My teeth were chattering, I couldn't tell you how many toes I had left at this point, and I could almost swear my breath was crystallizing right in front of me.

I got out of bed, dragging my blankets along with me as I tried to figure out whether there was a draft coming through my window. I groaned as I felt cold air seeping in through the insulation. I really needed to ask Charlie to fix this.

I sighed. I felt kind of bad since he's been so busy lately, what with all the disappearances and everything. I grimaced. I wish I could tell him that it wasn't likely any of those kids were ever going t turn up.

Well, Charlie, they're vampires now. I would say, trying to be flippant about it. And here's the kicker, they all want me dead.

I huffed, my breath fogging up the glass of my window. I peered outside, wondering if I could somehow catch a glimpse of whoever it was that was looking after me and Charlie tonight. But the woods were dark, and it wasn't likely that vampire or wolf was going to just parade around conspicuously around my house.

I felt like such a pain in everyone's butt these days. But I guess I didn't really have a choice. Be a pain in the butt…or be dead.

I grabbed a towel and lined the bottom of the window hoping that would do the trick. I scurried back into bed and jumped back in, rolling myself into a cocoon.

Fifteen minutes of tossing and turning and I still couldn't understand why I wasn't getting warm. I would never get any sleep now.

I shut my eyes. Forcing myself to think of the great big blankness of sleep.

Clink!

I opened one eye. What the—

Clink!

I sat up in bed and listened.

Clink!

The window. I got out of bed and stumbled over towards the window and peered outside. I couldn't help but smile as I saw Jacob standing outside, a handful of pebbles in his palm.

"Bells!" he called out in a loud stage whisper. Yeeeahhh…like Charlie wouldn't hear that.

I pulled the window up. "Hurry! It's cold!" I called back in a smaller whisper. I figure his super wolf ears could hear me just fine.

He grinned at me brilliantly as he tossed the rest of the pebbles away. I smiled back, shaking my head. It was a law of nature that when Jacob smiled, the whole world smiled with him. He just had that kind of smile—the big, enthusiastic, happy kind.

It also happened to be the Law of Non-nature that he never got cold. It had to be below freezing outside, yet there he was in a shirt and a pair of shorts.

"Stand back," he ordered as he catapulted himself through my window by swinging from the tree right outside.

He landed with barely a sound as he beamed triumphantly at me. "Hey, Bella."

"You're getting too good at this," I smiled and craned my head to look up at him as he straightened from his crouch. It never fails to amaze me how big Jake's gotten. It was like, one minute, here was this kid I'd known semi-all my life, and the next he was this impossibly grown up man. When did that happen?

He brushed off some imaginary dirt from his shoulder and shrugged. "What can I say? I'm naturally gifted."

I rolled my eyes at him. "Please, try not to let having super powers go to your head."

He chuckled, this low, rumbling sound from somewhere deep in his chest. I gave him a look and raised my forefinger to my lip, shushing him. "Charlie's gonna hear you."

He gave me a smug look. "Charlie wouldn't mind I was here, I bet."

I rolled my eyes at him. "You've become arrogant. It's not attractive."

He twisted his lips in a smirk. "You like me anyway."

"Taking the 5th on that," I replied. He shook his head at me, but let the subject drop. It was always a touchy subject. He loved me. I knew that. He told me at almost every turn. And even if he never actually would have said the words out loud, I would have been able to see it in his eyes. I would have been able to feel it in the way he held my hand or in the way I fit right in the crook of his arm when he was comforting me. I would have felt it in the way he said my name, or every time he was there when I needed him most.

I would have known he loved me even without words.

But I was with Edward. I loved Edward. And Jake knew that, too.

Sometimes, though, I got confused.

Sometimes, I want to hold Jake's hand all the time. Sometimes, I would find myself wishing that I had his arms wrapped around me. Sometimes, all I wanted was to spend the day with him and laugh. Jake had a way of making me feel like I belong in my own skin, something that never feels right on a daily basis.

Sometimes, I want nothing more than this.

He gave me a look. "You look like a burrito."

I narrowed my eyes and stuck my tongue out at him playfully. "It's cold, if you haven't noticed."

He spread his arms wide, his eyes twinkling, "Can't say I have."

"Ugh, I hate you," I grumbled as I trudged back into bed with my blankets. "Close the window, jerk."

He chuckled as he turned to shut the window. He then slid against the wall and sat down on the floor facing my bed. He rested his arms on his knees and let out a contented sigh.

"So how come you're in…you-form?" I asked as I pulled the blankets tighter around me.

"Why do you think, Bells?" he asked, his eyebrow quirking.

"To get away from the pack?"

He smiled ruefully. "For one thing, yeah."

"Why else?"

He looked at me through dark hooded eyes. And I couldn't help but stare back.

Jacob had this whole dark beauty thing going. His skin was a perfect olive, his dark brown eyes were deep and I swear there were times when I felt like I could just lean in and fall into them. And then there was the fact that he was very quickly shedding the softness of youth from his face. Before I knew it, I was thinking he had a chiseled jaw.

His lips tilted into a slight smirk as if he could read my mind. I saw his gaze drop towards my lips, and his own lips parted slightly before he gritted his teeth so hard I saw a tick on the corner of his jaw.

"Stop it, Jake," I ordered.

"Stop what?"

"Looking at me like that." I sighed.

"Like what?" This time, he was thoroughly amused. I could just see how his brown eyes would be twinkling by now. Even in the dark, I would know Jake.

"Like you're about to…eat me or something."

He was suddenly serious, his face wiped clean of emotion. "You'd never have to worry about that from me, Bella," he murmured. "I'm not him."

I glared at him. "Don't worry, I'll never make that mistake."

"Oh, good," he snapped. "I wouldn't wanna be mistaken for the walking dead."

"That's not fair."

"Whatever."

We sat in taut silence for a moment. He was staring out at the window, watching the pale moon. He was sitting close enough to the window that he was bathed in the soft yellow moonlight.

There was something about the way he held himself. His back was too straight, his jaw too tight. His breathing was too even, too measured. But it was the look on his face that really got me. There was such grief on his face.

So desolate. So…sad.

I felt that familiar twinge in my heart. That little ache that told me that it was because of me that he was so sad. I breathed in deeply, feeling the pain expanding through my heart until I could feel it through every inch of me.

It was the pain that said I was sad, too.

"Jake," I whispered. "I'm sorry."

He gave me a sideways look and a broken smile. "You know why I disobeyed Sam and changed back into human form, Bells."

I pulled the blankets closer around my neck, almost like a shield against the painful truth. I knew. It was always because of me. It was like a weight in my chest knowing that. I cleared my throat to ease the constricted feeling I was having. "I thought you couldn't disobey Sam?" I asked, purposefully changing the subject.

"Well, it wasn't so much as an order as a…strong commentary," he chuckled softly. "He understands. I mean, with Leah in our heads already…he doesn't need my thoughts giving him a pounding headache, too."

I smiled kind of tightly. If Jake was comparing himself to Leah… I looked away from him, feeling too guilty.

"It's okay, Bells," he sighed. "Sam didn't have a choice when he imprinted, y'know. Deep down…and I mean, really deep down…Leah understands."

"Mm-hmm…" I mumbled. But it wasn't Leah I was thinking about. It was Jacob.

It was because I knew I had to let him go. Because I knew I had made my choice. I had to let him go.

But just the thought of a life without Jake…

I whimpered. God, the thought alone hurt all the way down to my very bones. I envisioned a future in which Jake wasn't with me and I simply couldn't. It was like having tunnel vision and someone was covering the end. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, just an endless darkness. That was what life without Jake would be like.

I was beginning to realize I couldn't live without him. It simply wasn't possible.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, yeah…just cold." I half-lied.

"I could help you with that, y'know," he suggested with a crooked smile.

I knew what he meant. I should say no. But suddenly I felt a tingling all over my body. I felt breathless just at the thought. My fingers itched at the thought; my toes curled and I bit my lower lip as I admitted it to myself.

I had never wanted anything more.

I swallowed through the dryness in my throat as I mustered up the courage to ask him.

"Bells? Bella? You know I was just kidding, right?"

I looked at him directly. This is now or never. The way I figure it, I was cold, and he wasn't. It was a simple solution to a simple problem.

"I'm not," I said, my throat tight. I pushed away the blankets, letting them fall open. "Jake? I'm cold."


A/N: I haven't yet decided where to take this fic. But, we'll see. I kind of like where it's at, sort of open-ended.