Note: Long time coming... I'm sorry to say the chapters will be fewer and far between for a while. This is so I can concentrate on finishing my other story and since I have a working end for that one in mind I'm afraid this one will have to suffer for now.

Disclaimer: I own nothing Twilight. I merely play with the characters for entertainment. No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter 43

The Messengers

By the end of the week, I was relieved to be getting things back on track at school. We were starting to hit a routine again, albeit at the very beginning stages, but I could feel a calming sensation come over. That maybe things would be all right. At least for a while.

And another part of me was anxious because I knew that the visitors would be coming. I shouldn't have been nervous, but I was. I would be meeting more vampires, though friendly ones, but my experience with vampires, other than the familiar Cullens had been unpleasant ones. And I remembered the way Esme had prefaced their coming with some nervousness.

I had meant to speak to Edward about it, but I never found the time. No, that wasn't true. I could've cornered him any time and demanded he tell me, but frankly, I was not willing to go looking for bad news. So often it came looking for me. Edward had not offered more information and I had not pressed.

That day started off with a little event. When we came to school, Edward, Alice, and I were making our way to the front entrance. When we reached the bike rack outside the double doors, they slowed down and so did I.

And then I noticed Dave standing by the few bikes parked at the rack looking uncomfortably our way, his gaze shifting back and forth and down.

We had seen Dave around school prior to this, of course. And I didn't know if Edward ever spoke to him or not, I didn't ask, but I knew Dave was scared either way. He always avoided us in the hallways when he could, or when he couldn't he would pretend to be interested in something not in our direction, never looking at any of us directly.

Whether Edward threatened him, told him what he knew from me or just plainly read his mind, I didn't want to know. Dave never appeared with visible bruises so I was satisfied with that.

Though physically unharmed, he looked quite distressed today. When the three of us had stopped before him, I looked questioningly at Edward, but he merely gave me a reaffirming nod and a hand on my back then left me standing there with Dave as he entered the school with Alice.

I looked bewildered after them, then at Dave after they disappeared behind the double doors.

"I'm so sorry, Bella," Dave said nervously. "For everything. I'm so sorry."

"Okay," I said suspiciously at him.

"This bike," he pointed to a new, expensive looking one, "is to replace the one I," he cleared his throat, "accidentally wrecked." He looked down remorsefully.

"I see," I said slowly as I drew this all in. "And can I ask what brought about this change of heart?" I couldn't help myself.

He cleared his throat again and paused before he spoke again. He sounded a bit more annoyed this time. "I guess I saw the error of my ways and I'm trying to make amends. And, uh, karma's a bitch."

Now we were getting to the heart of things. "Karma?" I raised my brows in expectant curiosity.

"My car," he stated begrudgingly at my making him bring it up.

I was forced to remember how he had tried to feel me up in his truck. "Your car?" I said trying to get some details.

"Yeah, my truck getting smashed?" he said surprised at my ignorance.

"Your car got smashed?" I said slowly realizing what had brought on his benevolent change. And I was starting to feel I was being perceived as stupid as I only seemed capable of mimicking speech. "What happened to it?" Although I had a pretty good idea of who happened to it.

"Tree fell on it."

"A tree?"

"Yeah, a huge one by my driveway. Didn't even know it was sick, but there must've been some heavy winds in that storm the other night. Anyway, I realized what it must have felt like for you," he looked at me with a hint of spite, "and I wanted to make it up to you. Here's the key." He held out a set of small keys and he dropped them in my proffered hand. He then quickly turned about face and headed into the school. I followed a few seconds behind.

At lunchtime, I was finally able to speak to Edward. "So Dave got me a new bike."

"I know," he said as Alice looked on.

"And would you also know anything about the tree that demolished his truck?"

"I might."

"Did you have anything to do with that tree falling down?" I inquired.

He was quiet. I was feeling disappointed in him when I heard, "He didn't do anything to the schmuck's car." Alice had decided to come to her brother's defense. "But he's too honorable to give anyone up."

"Was it you, Alice?"

"I wish I thought of it first. Well, I kind of did," she chuckled. Psychic humor. "But alas, it wasn't me who was meant to carry out retribution."

"Emmett," I stated the only other reasonable culprit. I figured him as a protective older brother figure.

"Nope," she corrected cheerfully.

"Jasper?" I asked thinking maybe it was the southern gentleman in him.

She shook her head.

Then my mind was reeling because that only left Esme and Carlisle and I would be completely surprised if it was either one of them. Sweet, motherly Esme or calm and collected Carlisle? Couldn't be. I was shaking my head unconsciously when Alice's and Edward's laughter knocked me out of my own personal shock.

"You're not thinking of Carlise, are you?" said Alice between her laughter.

"Or Esme?" joined Edward. And then they had another hearty laugh.

I pouted at them with my frown. I had to stop being so predictable. "I don't understand. Was it really just an accident? An act of nature?"

"Oh, it was a force of nature, all right," Alice bemused.

My mind searched for an answer. "Rose-" and that's when the bell rang to mark the end of lunch. I searched my companions for some semblance of answers on their faces, but none came. "You better explain when we get home," I mumbled to Edward as we made our way out of the cafeteria.

At the end of the school day, we packed my new bike into the trunk of Emmett's SUV which we unexpectedly took today, the driving of which I understood now was for this purpose. Sneaky Edward.

He drove me to work and I was left wondering while I finished my shift. When he picked me up after, we drove in relative silence.

Close to the house, he said, "They're here."

I looked to him questioningly at first, but then realized he meant his 'cousins.' I would finally have the pleasure of meeting Tanya Denali.