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The Dorothy Factor

Summary:
An unusual storm descends upon Forks, and Bella and Edward are caught in the middle. When the dust settles, nothing is the same …
Chapter Twelve: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
(the last chapter)
The only thing that had changed was Edward himself. He had returned a different man – with a new understanding about the constant ache in his chest and the vacancy he’d always sensed there in the periphery of his life.


Notes:
Inspired by actual events; (see chapter one end notes). An incredibly huge, warm thank you to vnfan – an amazing author and an indispensable asset to me while writing this story. Not only did she help fix all my typos and “dumb blonde” moments (even though I’m a redhead, I still have dumb blonde moments) – but she also helped me get through a couple rough spots. Her response, as well, was encouragement to keep me going. To vnfan – thanks for being my first and most amazing beta ever; I don’t know how I ever lived without you and your help! I had so much fun writing this story. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


2. Chapter Two -- Brainless

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2318   Review this Chapter



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Bella blinked as she opened her eyes and found herself staring at the sky – a very vibrant blue, high and empty of any clouds. She squinted up at the sunlight, the brightness intensifying the colors of everything around her.



“You okay?” a voice called, and a large, dark shadow filled her vision. She blinked again, disoriented. Large, warm hands helped pull her up. She sat staring around her at Charlie’s driveway. Debris lay scattered about haphazardly – leaves and branches and splinters of wood, shingles and car parts and other trash. It looked like the house had survived with only minimal damage, though portions of roofing tiles had been blown off and a tree had fallen through the porch overhang.



“Ow,” she groaned, rubbing the back of her head. She felt her hair matted against her skull and pulled her hand away, looking down at the dried blood on her fingers. Vaguely, she recalled collapsing and hitting her head against the pavement. “The tornado,” she said, remembering the storm. She’d been with Edward, but it had been overcast at the time. She looked up now, to see who had stood over her. Surely Edward wouldn’t risk exposure like this, nor would he leave her lying on the driveway. Why hadn’t he carried her to safety; to Carlisle? When her eyes finally focused on the figure standing over her, she blinked in confusion. “Jacob?” She looked more closely; it was Jacob – but different. He looked smaller, younger … like he did two years ago, when she’d first come to Forks.



“Do you know me?” he said, surprised. He helped pull her to her feet, then grabbed onto her arms as she swayed – steadying herself.



“Of course I do,” she said, swallowing. She closed her eyes and let the dizziness fade away. Then she looked back up at Jake. “You didn’t get a concussion, too, did you?”



He squinted at her. “No … my dad sent me down to get Charlie, though it doesn’t look like he’s home. He’s probably at the police station. That’s where he usually is; he hardly ever comes home. Not that he’s got anything to come home to, anyway.” He shrugged at the sadness of his statement.



“What do you mean?” Bella asked. “I mean, I know I’m not home a lot – but he’s got me to come home to.”



Recognition flared in his face. “You’re Bella,” he said. “I didn’t recognize you … you look kinda different.”



“What do you mean, different?”



“Well, it’s been, like, five years or something … I’m surprised you even recognized me. I was just a little kid last time I saw you.”



“Jake, I saw you three weeks ago!”



He stared at her, one eyebrow rising higher than the other. “I think you might have hit your head a little harder than you think,” he said. “I haven’t seen you since the last time you came to Forks. I’m surprised I didn’t know you were coming this time; Charlie usually gushes about it to my dad.”



Bella shook her head, trying to sort things out. This was not the Jacob she’d last seen, broken and hurt in his bed after the fight with the newborns. This was a younger Jake; a more innocent Jake – a completely non-werewolf Jake. And he hardly knew her; he was not in love with her. “So … you just came to see Charlie?”



Jake shrugged. “We got hit pretty bad. My dad wanted me to check on Charlie and then see if he could come help us out. A tree crashed through our roof. I drove down in my dad’s truck.” He nodded with his head towards a very familiar, ancient red truck parked along the curb. “That’s when I found you. When did you get into town?”



Bella looked around her, surveying the scene. Everything looked the same, even if Jake had driven down in her truck. “About two years ago,” she muttered. She ignored the quizzical expression that spread across Jake’s face. Instead, she headed to the porch. “I’m gonna go get cleaned up. You want to wait for Charlie inside?”



Jake shrugged and followed her. She reached up under the eaves for the key, but pulled her hand away empty. “That’s weird,” she said, and reached up again – this time stretching up on her tip toes. Her hand fluttered, searching for the key – but it was not there.



“Charlie doesn’t leave the key there,” Jake said. He pushed past her and dug his fingers into a flower pot just next to the front door. From the loose dirt he pulled out the spare key. He wiped it off on his jeans, then unlocked the door and pushed it open for Bella.



“Er, thanks,” she said, stepping past him. He followed her and shut the door behind them.



The house was the same, though dirtier than she remembered leaving it that morning. She was certain she’d cleaned before heading out with Edward. Bella shrugged and trumped up the stairs to her room. The door creaked more loudly than usual as she pushed it open. She startled as she looked in on the dingy, dimly lit space. The bed was still pushed to one corner, covered in the yellow blanket, but a fine layer of dust had settled over it – the same with the dresser and the rocking chair. The rest of the room was empty. None of her things were there; it was as if she’d never moved here. It was the way she’d left it ages ago, when she’d refused to visit Charlie in Forks anymore. Back before her self-imposed exile.



Bella crossed to the closet and pulled open the bifold doors, pleased to find her emergency stash of clothes still piled neatly in the Rubbermaid bin. She rummaged through the pile, finding a clean pair of jeans that would still fit and a wrinkled button-down that might not fit. She grabbed a T-shirt and some clean socks and underwear and turned to Jake. “Wait here,” she commanded, and traipsed out the hall and into the bathroom.



She flipped down the toilet seat and sat down, trying to think. Something had happened during the storm. That, or she was completely off her rocker. Bella decided her first theory was more tolerable. She just couldn’t figure out exactly what had happened. It was almost as if she’d gone back in time; but even that didn’t seem quite right.



Bella turned and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked the same as she had that morning, albeit a little worse for wear since the tornado. She hadn’t grown younger, like Jake had. It was as if she’d awoken in another version of reality, but she was still the same old Bella. Everything had changed except for her.



Sighing, she turned to the shower. None of her bath things were there, so she had to make do with Charlie’s generic-brand shampoo and soap – all of it smelling unremarkably like baby powder. She scrubbed at her scalp, washing away the dried blood and dirt – her fingers prodding for any abnormally large bumps or gashes, but she felt only a small welt where her head had met the pavement. That, she knew from past experience, would fade. She satisfied herself by washing away the rest of the dirt and grime from the day, then dried off and tugged on her clean clothes. She hadn’t worn these items in many years and though she had not gained much weight, she had grown taller and curvier. The jeans were a tight fit, but she hoped they would stretch out as she wore them; denim often did. She was right about the button down – the buttons wouldn’t meet across her more grown-up chest. For the sake of warmth (it was still Forks, after all) she wore it open over the T-shirt. She ran Charlie’s comb through her hair, then pulled it into a messy knot at the back of her head with a hair band she’d left in her dirty jeans from that morning.



“Small miracles,” she sighed to herself, before emerging and returning to her room, where Jake sat on the bed, waiting patiently. She bundled up her dirty clothes and stuffed them in the back of the closet and closed the door. If what Jake said was true – if she really hadn’t been to Forks in years – than Charlie would flip if he found her clothes. Or any indication that she’d been there, really. She decided it would be best to leave. She had to figure out what was going on; what had happened during the storm.



Bella stood and marched out of the bedroom, Jake following silently at her heels as she shut the door and walked back outside into the sunlight. “Where are you going?” he asked.



“I have to find Edward,” she replied, determined. She traipsed down the street, her feet stumbling along on the mud and gravel that lined the side of the road. Forks didn’t really have proper sidewalks. She was careful not to fall down; she’d already suffered one bloody head and she was out of clean clothes.



“Wait, who?” Jake called, running to catch up with her.



“Edward. My fiancée, remember?”



Jake threw up his hands. “Of course not – I haven’t seen you in ages. And you’re engaged? Aren’t you, like, only 17?”



“18 – so?”



“Whatever,” he said. “Who’s this Edward guy, anyway?”



“You know,” Bella said. “Edward Cullen.”



Jake stopped, his feet skidding on the loose rocks. “I think that’s a bad idea.”



Something in the tone of his voice made Bella stop and turn. He didn’t sound like the young, innocent Jake she’d spent the last hour with. He didn’t sound like the Jake she’d met two years ago. He didn’t sound like her Jake at all. He sounded like Sam’s Jake. He was just smaller – not as looming and massive; probably not a werewolf yet. But he was Sam’s Jake. “Why do you think that’s a bad idea?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.



Jake avoided her gaze, instead focusing on the ground as his feet kicked at the rocks.



“I know he’s a vampire,” Bella said. “And I know you’re a werewolf. We’ve been through all this, remember?”



Jake’s head shot back up and he walked towards her, taking long strides to get there more quickly. He clamped his large, warm hand over her mouth. “You shut up,” he said. “We’re not supposed to talk about that.”



Bella smacked his hand away. “Why, ‘cause Sam said so?”



“Yeah, ‘cause Sam said so.”



“Where’s your brain?” Bella asked, shoving him hard in the chest. He faltered, but his footing did not betray him.



“I do what Sam says. And that’s another thing – how do you know about Sam?”



“I just do,” Bella said, deciding it was easier to lie than try and explain what had happened during the storm. Bella, herself, wasn’t even sure what had happened. Just that, somehow, she had crossed over into another version of reality. “And why are you listening to Sam? Tell him to shove off – you’re supposed to be the Pack leader, anyway.”



“How do you know about this?”



“How come you let Sam tell you what to do?”



They stared at each other stubbornly for a long time before Jake finally answered. “Sam is the brains. I’m just along for the ride. I haven’t even transformed yet. I’m not even showing the signs of it.”



“No fever yet?”



Jake’s eyes widened as Bella revealed just how much she knew about him. He answered reluctantly, “No, no fever.”



Bella nodded, watching him carefully. Her eyes flickered over his frame, smaller and more slight than when she’d last seen him – back in her Forks. “I have to find Edward,” she said, turning and walking again down the road, towards his family’s house. “I have to get home.”



“Back to Arizona?” Jake said, traipsing after her.



“No, back to my Forks. Back to where I was before the storm.”



“Huh?”



“Something happened during the tornado,” Bella said, finally deciding to explain what had happened to Jake. Or to try to explain, at least. “I blacked out and when I woke up, I was here – but everything is different. In my Forks you were already a werewolf – you’d been one for a while. You were bigger. And technically, you were Pack leader – but you let Sam tell you what to do then, too. But at least you broke the rules a little bit. For me. Anyway, I have to get back. I have to find Edward – maybe he’ll know what to do.”

Jake stood silent for a long moment, watching Bella stumble down the sidewalk. After several minutes had passed and after Bella had avoided a few near-tumbles, Jake threw up his hands, growled in frustration and returned to his truck. The engine roared to life as he turned the key in the ignition. He turned out onto the street and pulled up alongside Bella. “Get in,” he said, waiting. She stared up at him petulantly. Jake sighed and rolled his eyes. “Come on, just get in. It’s a long walk to Edward Cullen’s place. Let me drive you.”



Bella’s mouth twisted as she contemplated his offer. He was right, of course. It was a long walk to the Cullens’ big white house. And she wasn’t exactly the image of grace on her own two feet. Especially on a rocky, uneven pathway on the side of the 101. “Oh, alright,” she said, grumbling as she climbed into the truck. Jake grinned at her annoyance – a glimmer of the Jake that Bella remembered from her Forks – and sped off down the street.



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