Disclaimer: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.

Chapter I.

Rachel slipped out through the back door quietly, a feeling of misplaced excitement rushing through her mind - strangely enough, like an adrenaline rush. She often did this when she was young; She and Rebecca would always sneak out while their mother nursed Jacob in the room upstairs, and they would then spend the whole afternoon on the beach, before getting punished by Billy when they got back.

Things were different now.

Her mother was no longer around, and Billy had gotten himself onto a wheelchair as a result of his greatest loss.

Rebecca had married a Hawaiian businessman, and was a thousand miles away from Forks. Effectively, it meant that Rachel had lost another best friend after her mother.

Jacob was undergoing the weirdest phase of puberty ever. He hardly ever came home anymore, and when he did, it was just for a pair of khaki pants. That boy was huge... massive, to be specific. Rachel constantly wondered if those biceps were a result from an overdose of steroids or some sort of growth enhancement pill. In any case, Jacob had changed, and it pained her heart so.

There was nothing worth staying for, apart from an estranged brother and a father who thought that Jacob's alien behavior was normal. This trip back home seemed to be the worst of them all, with memories of her mother evident in all corners of the house, and silent dinners at the table with Billy every evening.

"I really hope you're not doing drugs, Jacob Black," She muttered to herself as she made her way down the steep rocks. "I will move the hell out of Forks and never return if I catch you with nicotine."

The moment her feet touched the sand, an unwilling smile spread across her face. In all honesty, the only thing that will ever keep her rooted to Forks is the sand. It has been four years since she had last returned, and the sand was making it quite worth the while, much to her annoyance.

As she walked along First Beach, she started to remember.

Memories that had been buried long ago surfaced magically in her mind, rewinding itself all the way back to her childhood where false imaginations and fantasies kept her going.

A sudden gust of chilly air swept past her, and she shivered. She hugged Jacob's sweater closer to her body as she continued to walk, watching as her footprints marked the rich brown sand.

"Excuse me!"

Her legs paused in their strides and she turned around, peering through squinted eyes as a result of the strong winds which prevailed. Was that Jacob? No, he didn't sound like Jake. The young man waved his arms, as if to say that he was indeed calling out to her. She waited, surprisingly patient, as he advanced towards her in a jog.

Heavens, it's freezing! She thought, appalled. Who does he think he is, running around shirtless?

When he came into view, he could see him clearly now. No, he was not Jacob. But his physique did resemble her brother's in every way. Like Jacob, he was tall, tan, and broad-shouldered, with muscles that clearly indicated daily work-outs of some sort. His rich brown eyes reminded her of the deep earth in the forest, and they seemed to twinkle slightly in the light. He was incredibly handsome - that she could not deny.

She realized, with a pull of reality, that an entire minute had gone by while she was studying the facial features of this stranger. She also realized that while she was staring at him, he was gazing back at her in a strange way - like a child who has first been introduced to candy.

There was awe, astonishment, and disbelief written in his eyes as they bored down into hers. It was almost like he had found a treasure chest in the middle of nowhere.

"You called me?" She probed, looking at him with large, glassy midnight eyes which caused his heart to race madly.

"Yeah. I was just...I...um...there's a..."

He was not concentrating. His mind was in a whirlpool - a rather insane one to add. She was looking at him with large doe-eyes which seemed to be an endless pit of beauty. Her full pink lips curled upwards, as if she was laughing at his foolishness of not being able to form his sentences properly.


Fucking hell, Lahote! Get yourself together! He yelled at himself mentally, before taking a deep breath to calm his frenzied state of mind. Thankfully for him, she caught none of his self-reproach.

"You should not be out here," He managed to force out the reason to why he stopped her in the first place. "There's going to be a storm."

It was unexpected, but a smile broke forth from her sealed lips. That smile. That smile. It was enchanting. All she did was to dress in an over-sized sweater and denim shorts, and his heart was soaring with affection for this beauty. With her waist-length raven hair let loose and blowing freely in the wind, it took all his strength to look away - just so she did not think that he was being rude.

"Are you a protector of this place, or something?" She asked with a mocking smile, noticing a blush peeking through his brown skin.

He brought his eyes up to hers. "I'm...uh, responsible for getting people to safety."

"Like a lifeguard?"

"Not really."

Now she was confused. Without a second to waste, he held out a hand. "I'm Paul Lahote."

"Rachel Black," She introduced as she shook his hand. "Wow. You're burning up. Are you okay?"

Rachel Black. His already-insane mind echoed her name several times, brain cells basking in utter bliss at the knowledge of knowing her. It was a simple name, yet exquisite at the same time. There was something about her eyes...it was too familiar to be true.



"You didn't answer my question."

You're a bloody idiot, Paul! Jacob's voice dominated his head, sounding like a true Alpha. Paul stumbled back slightly, frowning, before looking back at Rachel. He recognized those eyes now. Jacob's eyes... Billy's eyes.


Yeah, you'd better get your ass back here, you son of a bitch! Jacob bellowed, causing the rest of the wolves to cringe mentally. Even Sam seemed to be at a loss for words.

At this point in time, Rachel was convinced that she had stumbled upon a complete lunatic. Not only was he running a high fever and walking around shirtless, he was cringing as if there was somebody scolding the living lights out of him. With a pained expression, he mumbled something intangible and dashed off, running like a desperate Olympian.

"Thanks for making my visit back home so worthwhile," She muttered sarcastically, before turning back to head for home. "I can't wait to leave this place for good. God help me, I'll die if I stay another day."

When a flash of lightning caused her to stumble back, she tripped over a rock and fell over, groaning in pain and frustration. Just when it seemed as if nothing could get worse, heavy raindrops splattered onto her skin, drenching her within a minute.

A puberty-struck brother, an oddly optimistic father, and now...a handsome stranger who was really just a man who had escaped from the asylum.

"I would rather drown myself in the Atlantic Ocean than to stay in this living hell!" She screamed at nobody in particular, before standing up and limping her way back home.

A/N: Well, this is the first chapter. I'm not sure if it's going to be a one-shot, or a mini series. Reviews would solve my dilemma. ;D And also, "Two Tickets to Paradise" will be put on hold for awhile (I'm having a major writer's block). For that, I apologize profusely. :[