School was out but it didn’t feel like summer. A clap of thunder drew her attention to the rain splashed window. This cold, wet weather reminded Luna more of winter in Louisiana than summer anywhere.
The state loomed large in her dreams and her nightmares. It was both the site of some of the happiest days (and nights) of her life and some of the worst, most frightening and painful experiences she ever endured. Even after her long, slow recovery and learning to consciously control her skin walking, Louisiana remained the one place she both wanted desperately and was terrified to go.
Dropping the blinds to limit her view of another gray day, Luna tried to focus on the teacher evaluations she was writing up. She’d been hired as an outside consultant to analyze and suggest solutions to some challenges facing the tribal schools. The work had been welcome. It made her feel useful and as if she were giving something back to the people who had stepped up and literally saved her life. She’d even begun to think of some members of the Pawnee tribe as family.
As much as she loved them, however, they couldn’t replace Emma. Nothing would ever replace her daughter.
Luna swiped angrily at a tear racing down her cheek. Emma’s absence in her life was an ache nothing could fill. She didn’t just miss her little girl. Not having her here, with her, was like not having a hand, or a leg or maybe a lung. She just didn’t move or breathe the same.
Lately, she begun to wonder if she dared make a trip to Louisiana. She couldn’t go to Bon Temps, of course. But just being in the same state as her baby would be a relief.
Of course, there was no guarantee Emma was still in Louisiana. Sam might have moved them out of state. He didn’t have any local family, after all. Martha would have thrown a fit but maybe she would have gone with them. She would have been unwilling to leave a wolf alone in the world, even with another shifter. And Sam could probably use the help with a girl child fast becoming a teenager.
The thought made Luna smile, though tears still stung her eyes. Emma would be 12 now, on the brink of becoming a young lady. Luna would love to see that but not if it meant endangering her daughter in any way.