She shifted before crossing the state line into Louisiana. Even though she was pretty sure everyone who might recognize her thought she was long dead, there was no point in taking any more unnecessary risks than she already was just be making this trip. It would take her longer to get to Bon Temps on four legs rather than two in a car but Luna felt safer and less conspicuous this way.
She picked the form of a border collie, but not just any collie. She deliberately chose the one Sam preferred hoping that if anyone noticed there was a shifter around they would mistake her for him. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The edge of the Long Tooth Pack’s territory was better marked than the state line.
Luna paused and sniffed. Lots of familiar scents here. Alcide’s was the most prominent which probably meant he was still Alpha and Pack Leader. Luna thought that was a good thing. He seemed like a good man and that would be good for the Pack, including Emma and Martha. Lord knew she and Martha had had their differences but in the years she’d been away, Luna had acquired more empathy for her mother-in-law. She’d also come to realize the choices she’d made regarding the role of Marcus and his family in their daughter’s life had been partially to blame for the bad blood between herself and Martha. The two women had begun to mend fences when everything blew up and Luna had been forced to vanish. Somehow she doubted Martha would accept that as an explanation. She couldn’t say she blamed her.
Avoiding the trails the Pack used, Luna made her way towards Martha’s farm. Though she’d entrusted Emma to Sam, she knew first hand how hard being a single parent could be. Besides, Sam had a business to run. A bar was no place for a child. The logical babysitter was Martha, so it only made sense that Emma would be at Martha’s. She couldn’t see her mother-in-law and a spirited pre-teen enjoying spending many evenings in Sam’s office or trailer.
Luna knew something wasn’t right as soon as she arrived on the farm. Martha and Emma’s scents were all over the place but they were old. Other, newer scents had been laid over them. Not enough to wipe them out…yet; but enough to panic Luna.
She couldn’t imagine what could have driven Martha from her home unless…could Martha have died? She’d been in good health the last time Luna had seen her but as Luna’s own shooting showed: being two-natured was dangerous. Maybe something had happened. What and when was another question.
There was only one place Luna could think of where she might find some answers: Merlotte’s.
Luna raced towards town as fast as her four feet could carry her. If anyone knew what had happened and where Emma was, it would be Sam. If something fatal had befallen Martha, Sam was the next thing to family to Emma. Certainly he’d take her in. The Pack wouldn’t object. How could they?
She only slowed down when she approached the back parking lot. Things didn’t look as though they had changed much. Sam’s trailer was still parked perpendicular to the bar. All the lights were off inside meaning he was working. Luna edged closer, sniffing. Sam’s warm scent was everywhere. It wrapped around her like a much-needed hug. There was no trace of Martha or Emma, although she thought some of the Pack, maybe Alcide? had paid Sam a visit not too long ago.
She lifted her head and wailed.
Her daughter wasn’t here.