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The Dorothy Factor

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.

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.

4. Chapter Four -- The Emerald City & Beyond

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1218   Review this Chapter

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As the ferry finished crossing Puget Sound, Bella noticed the sign on shore: “Welcome to Seattle – The Emerald City.” She snorted. Edward glanced at her irritably, but she did not explain. She knew he was annoyed by the silence of her thoughts, but she felt no desire to share them with him at that moment. He was being rather rude, after all. So she stayed silent and he continued glaring out the windshield.

Once onshore, Edward maneuvered the silver Volvo through several unsavory back streets of Seattle – a shortcut, Bella suspected, to avoid traffic – and into the shopping district. When he stopped outside of a department store with a reputation for high-class products and even higher-class price tags, Bella’s curiosity got the better of her.

“What are we doing here?”

Edward rolled his eyes in annoyance. “I don’t suppose you have a passport, do you?” Bella shook her head. “Then I’m going to have to convince the Border Patrol to let us cross into Canada without passports – and then let us cross back into the United States at the Alaskan border, also without passports. To do that, I need you to look as inhumanly beautiful as possible.” His eyes flickered over her and he shook his head, unsatisfied. “You’re probably a lost cause, but a decent outfit and some help for your hair and makeup will at least put us ahead of where we are now.”

He dragged her into the store reluctantly and paid several sales people handsomely to do something with her. She complained only once about the expense, but he’d snapped at her disparagingly, asking if she’d rather find some way to pay for it all herself, seeing as she had pretty much nothing of value except his mother’s ring. In silence, she let the employees dress her and fix her makeup and comb through her tangled hair.

When she’d been made as presentable as possible, they returned to the car and Edward sped north once again, his foot pressing the gas pedal to the floor of the car. He stopped again only once, just south of the border. He pulled off at an abandoned rest stop, tucked away from the freeway and obscured by overgrown trees and bramble.

“I’ll be back,” Edward said and climbed from the car. He walked to the woods and was gone, disappearing into the brush.

He reemerged about forty-five minutes later and climbed back into the car silently, pulling back onto the road.

“Where did you go?” Bella asked.

“I had to hunt,” he replied, without meeting her gaze – his eyes still fixed pointedly on the road.

”Oh. I didn’t think you were that hungry. Your eyes weren’t …”

“I wasn’t hungry until you showed up on my porch,” he said. “Your blood … I couldn’t sit in this car smelling you any longer. I had to hunt.”

And that’s when Bella knew; her blood still sang to him, as it had in her Forks. That much, at least, had not changed and it was one detail that comforted her. “I’m your singer back at my home, too,” she said.

“My singer?”

La tua cantate,” she said. “I know about that, too. And the Volturi. I know about a lot of things.”

“You probably know too much,” he said. “Now shut up and let me do the talking.” Ahead, was the border crossing into Canada.

Bella watched him focus, his eyes darting from station to station – gauging which Border Agent would be most easily persuaded. He had not used these words, but Bella knew he would use his powers to dazzle someone into letting them cross without passports or papers. She could tell from his concentration that he was reaching out, reading their minds to make his decision. When he had, he pulled into line behind three other cars and waited.

At the gate, a lovely young woman with long blond hair pulled into a loose braid bent down to Edward’s window. She was the type of woman who dressed down her beauty for work because of her profession, but her elegance still shone through the militaristic uniform. Bella didn’t pay much attention to what Edward said to the woman or what she said in return; their voices turned into a low buzz as he convinced the woman to bend the rules and let them pass. In another moment, they were driving away – into Canada.

Bella sat silently as Edward followed the signs north and west towards Alaska, fidgeting in her new clothes. After about an hour of awkward silence, Edward finally let out an exasperated breath and turned to her. “If you knew I’d find your blood irresistible why did you even come to see me?” He was angry again. Had he ever stopped being angry? Bella wondered.

She shrugged, hoping if she answered he might be less cross towards her. “I didn’t know where else to go,” she began hesitantly. “Besides, we made it work back at home.”

“You made it work?!” he yelled in disbelief.

Bella shrugged again. “Yeah, we made it work. You got used to my smell. And you told me you’d decided you could never bring yourself to kill me, anyway, because you knew what a world without me was like. And you said you never wanted to feel that way again.”

“So, what?” he continued, still sounding skeptical. “I was just going to live with you until you got old and died? Then what?!”

Bella rolled her eyes. “That’s what you wanted to do, at first. But we made a deal. I agreed to marry you and you … you agreed to change me.”

“I would never do that,” he said stubbornly.

“Actually, you told me that if you were being entirely selfish, you would turn me into a vampire. But you were always so stubborn about not changing me, because you had this silly notion that you’d be taking away my soul.”

“That’s exactly what I would be doing!”

Bella narrowed her eyes, looking over at this other Edward more closely. His face was harder and the muscles drawn more tightly, but she still saw a softness there, just behind his eyes. He was bitter and angry and heartless (literally, heartless) … but he was still good. He drank only the blood of animals; he didn’t kill humans. And he still believed he’d lost his soul. “I never thought so,” Bella said softly. “I trust you … I love you.”

“Then you’re even stupider than I thought.”

Bella knew arguing with this Edward would be pointless, so she let the conversation die. He was still just as irritable as when they’d left Forks. She was silent for the rest of the drive.

* * *

Sometime soon after Bella and Edward had crossed from Washington into British Columbia, the very same Border Agent that let them through let another couple slip past without papers. Somehow, she failed to notice their red-rimmed eyes or the license plate of their black BMW coupe. If she had, she’d have recognized the vanity plate “2HOT4U” from the APB sent out by the Washington State Patrol just hours earlier about a car stolen out of SeaTac and a dead body drained of blood.

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