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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.


3. Chapter Three -- Tinman

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1997   Review this Chapter



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Jake pulled the truck to a stop at the end of the long driveway that led to the Cullens’ home, tucked away deep in the woods, along the Sol Duc River. The drive had been silent, but now he turned to Bella. “End of the line,” he said. He leaned across her and pushed the door open for her.



Bella looked at the open car door and the winding driveway beyond it, before turning back to Jake. “You’re not coming with me?”



“To visit a bloodsucker?” he said disparagingly. “I don’t think so. If you want to hang out with Edward Cullen, I’m out. You’re on your own.”



Bella sighed, rolled her eyes and climbed out of the truck.



“Wait,” Jake called, a slight edge of panic creeping into his voice. “You’re going then?”



“I told you,” Bella said, sighing. Apparently the jealously between Jake and Edward – between werewolf and vampire – was just as potent in this version of Forks. “He’s my fiancée. I have to get home. Edward can help.”



“Are you so sure?”



Bella shrugged. “It beats giving Charlie a heart attack. Or being stuck here.”



Jake looked wounded. “Being stuck here with me is that bad, huh?”



Bella shook her head and rolled her eyes again as she turned to start her long trek up the driveway. “Been there, done that,” she said. “I told you – I’ve got my own life to get back to.”



“Sure, sure,” Jake said, his tone belying the fact that he didn’t quite believe her – despite the fact that she’d appeared in Forks without warning and knew things about his tribe that she shouldn’t. “You come see me when you get your head on straight,” he said, before pulling the door shut and driving away.



Bella sighed and continued up the driveway. It was more overgrown than she remembered, the bramble creeping across the roadway – though not enough to obscure it completely. One set of tire tracks were still worn indelibly into the mud beneath her feet. She followed these marks to the clearing, where the white house still stood, majestic and warm in the shadow of the trees. Her eyes darted over to the garage, where the Cullens kept their cars – all sleek and fast. Only one car was there today, but it was the only one that mattered: a shiny, silver Volvo. Bella breathed a sigh of relief; releasing the breath she had been holding unaware.

Bella walked more easily to the house, stepping lightly up to the front porch. Her hand clasped the doorknob, but she hesitated – not sure, in this alternate Forks, if she should just walk in as usual … or knock. Someone else decided for her, when the doorknob was wrenched away from her fingers and the door pulled open swiftly.



“What are you doing here?” The voice was so familiar … yet so different. It still rang like velvet, but the softness – the affection that Bella had grown accustomed to hearing was gone. The voice was cold – the tone hard. It rang with a kind of constant anger, the type that never abated – not the passionate anger that sometimes flared in the person she had grown to love. Bella looked up at Edward hesitantly, his visage so foreign, despite its familiarity. Like his voice – he looked hard, cold. Uncaring.

“E-Edward?”



He looked at her warily, his eyes narrowing. His nostrils flared and his jaw tightened; he had stopped breathing. “What’s wrong with you?” The muscles in his face flexed.



“Please don’t bite me,” she said softly. Because in his reaction, she realized – nothing was the same here. Not just Jake and Charlie … everything was different. Including Edward. . This wasn’t her Edward … this was another Edward. He did not know her, did not recognize her – and couldn’t understand why her thoughts were silent to him. He was waging a war against his own nature to not attack her. His eyes had darkened and his body stiffened just like that day back in Biology class. But this was still Edward, she told herself. Just as Jake seemed to show some affection for her, surely Edward would feel it, too.



“My name is Bella Swan,” she said. “And I … I need your help. It’s a very long story, but something happened to me during the tornado and I need to get back home.”



“Maybe you should try the local police department.”



“No,” Bella said, throwing out an arm to stop him from shutting the door in her face. “You don’t understand …” Vaguely and not very eloquently, Bella explained – as best she could – what had happened during the storm. The concussion and waking up in this alternate reality. She told him about the Edward in her Forks – about their love and their life together. About everything they had been through and fought against just to be together. She told him what he’d promised her and what she’d promised in return. And when she had finished, he just stared at her – his eyes like coal.



Finally, he spoke. “I can’t help you.”



“But surely –.”



“No,” he said, stepping close to her face. His voice was venomous. “I don’t help people.”

“Maybe Carlisle …”



“Carlisle doesn’t live here,” he spat. “No one lives here but me. My ‘family,’ as you call them, is somewhere else. I avoid them. They sicken me, with their love and their feelings. There’s too much heart in them for anyone to stand.”



“You can’t mean that. You have just as much heart as –”



“I don’t have a heart,” he said, ice dripping from every word. His tone lacked emotion; it was only venom. “I cut it out so I would not feel anything. So I couldn’t love. So no one could break my heart.”

Bella gasped and stumbled backwards at this revelation. “But ... but I love you. And you love me.”

Edward's ebony eyes were hard and icy as he looked down at her, his body frozen like marble. “I don't love anything,” he said coldly. “Especially little girls like you. That's all you are – a little girl.”

His words stung like frostbite. Bella gasped again, struggling for air. Her hand flew to her mouth, but she did not see Edward’s reaction – the flare of recognition in his eyes. She was too consumed with her own horror. She felt the tear in her heart opening again, and she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to hold herself together – just as she had when Edward had left her before. This was worse, she decided. Much, much worse. Because even though she had not realized it, before, deep down, part of her had always known that Edward loved her. But now, he was heartless and loveless. He cared nothing for her. Hatred would have been better. That, at least, would mean he felt something towards her. But this cold indifference was intolerable. Hot tears fell down her cheeks and there was nothing she could do to control them. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ll go.”



She turned to walk down the porch steps, but his voice, calling after her, halted her movements. “Where did you get that?”



She turned back to him slowly. “Get what?”



He glided to her and yanked her wrist up to eye level. “Where did you get this ring?” He shoved her hand into her face, pointing to the gold and diamonds wrapped around her finger. It was her engagement ring.



Bella sniffled and looked up to meet Edward’s eyes – dark and hollow as they were. “You gave it to me,” she said. “You said you loved me and you asked me to marry you, and when I said ‘yes,’ you gave me your mother’s ring.”



His eyes narrowed. He let her wrist fall and stepped back from her, his nostrils still pulled taught. “How do you know about my mother?”



“I already told you.”



He shook his head, exasperated. “Right. The other world that you claim to live in. The one you left behind during a tornado. Did you find some ruby slippers on your way here, as well?”



A scathing remark flew to Bella’s lips, but she bit back the words before she could speak them, instead choking on her own saliva.



Edward’s jaw tightened. He looked down at her impassively. “Stupid humans.” He yanked the front door shut and breezed past her. He walked down the porch, to the garage without glancing back at her. When he reached the Volvo, he stopped, inclining his head just to the side, so he could peer at her from his peripheral vision. “Are you coming or not?”

Stunned into silence only for a moment, Bella sniffled and wiped her hand across her nose. She took in a deep, gasping breath and then stumbled after him, her feet dragging across the ground as she ran to his side.



He waited for her impatiently. She knew her slowness and clumsiness – the trappings of her human body – frustrated him; they had always frustrated him. But he did not disguise his annoyance now. Nor did he seem to find any of it endearing, as he had before. As he had in her Forks.

“I didn't think you were going to help me,” she said finally, climbing into the car. “I didn’t think you believed me.” The engine roared to life as he peeled out and sped down the driveway.

He shrugged, the movement so subtle she barely noticed the slight rise and fall of his shoulders. “You have my mother’s ring. Besides, if I help you, you'll go away,” he replied. “And if you go away, you'll leave me alone.”

Bella bristled at his words, but fought back a retort. She knew arguing with him would be pointless; worse, it would risk angering him and sending him away. This was not the Edward she had left in that other Forks. His patience was not endless. He seemed quick to temper and intolerant of her human traits. Part of her wanted him to go away. She was frustrated and angry with his temperament; and she was hurt by his coldness. But she needed his help if she had any hope of fixing things; of getting back to the Forks she'd left behind in the tornado. She let the conversation die, as he turned out onto the 101 and sped west.



When he pulled onto the ferry across Puget Sound, she finally spoke. “Seattle?”



His jaw tightened. “We have to go to Seattle to keep going north.”



“We’re going north?”



“We’re going to Denali. That’s where my family is.”



* * *



The visitors watched Edward Cullen and the clumsy human girl get into the Volvo and drive away. When they had gone, the strangers emerged from their well-concealed hiding place in the woods and stood in the clearing, watching after the driveway where the car had sped off.



“Such a strange scene,” the man mused. He was average height, slight with light brown hair and, though beautiful, his features were rather nondescript. In fact, his only distinguishing feature was his dark, red-rimmed eyes – the characteristic sign of a human-fed vampire.



He was accompanied by an intolerably beautiful siren with flame-red hair and wild eyes of the same black-red that flickered and darted as she looked around her, each glance deliberate. “He didn’t eat her,” she said, incredulous. “She smelled like that and he didn’t eat her. I would think even he would break his ridiculous diet for someone as delicious as that.”



James turned to the woman. “Perhaps, my darling Victoria, we should track him down and convince him to share the feast.”



Victoria grinned back, her white teeth glistening against her pale skin. “Only if we can stop for a snack on the way.”

* * *