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       Maya paced back and forth in Emily’s kitchen, chewing on a hang nail. All the other women in the house seemed to know how to handle their anxiety but Maya didn’t. They had all been present when other threats came to La Push. Even the sweet little 5 year old girl didn’t seem concerned by all the ladies gathering under one roof, she was used to it.
        Maya, however, hadn’t been here years before when hostile vampires threatened the tribe. Maya had been living with her mother then, all the way in Nevada and far from the Quileute spirit warriors of her father’s people. When her mother had died and she was forced to live on the reservation with her father, she thought her life was over. But that was the same summer she had met him. She had never had a closer, kinder friend in her life. Someone to help her grieve her mother’s passing. Someone who understood the pain of losing a parent suddenly. He always seemed to know how to comfort her, when to speak and when to let her simply cry in his arms. When the grief finally began to dull and she thought she could continue with her life, that was when she began to see him as more than a friend. She still had the same comfortable feeling of them sitting together and watching sitcoms on her couch; but now she had so much more than that. A friend, a lover, and a partner. It was then that he told her the legends of their tribe, for she was as much a part of it now as he was. And after the stories came the confirmation that they were all true, which took some getting used to but a demonstration of a werewolf transformation certainly helped make the whole story more plausible. Then he told her exactly what she meant to him and she felt her own heart echo his statement word for word.
        All the women in the house, meant just as much to one of the members of the pack. Emily, Kim, Rachel, Rosemary, Wendy and even little Claire. They all had a counterpart in the pack. Only one imprint had not been asked to stay in Emily’s house, which was closely guarded by the younger members of the pack, and that was because apparently she was quite adept at protecting herself. Everyone in the house were all so calm; reading books, softly listening to music or playing a simple game of peek-a-boo with Claire.
       Finally Emily came into the kitchen to fix dinner and interrupted Maya’s pacing.
       “You should try your best to relax, Maya. This is what the pack does, protect the tribe. It’s in their blood.”
       Maya sighed long and hard through her nose. “I know, I know. I’m trying. It's just, why would they ask us all here if it’s nothing to worry about?”
       “Having all us together in one place, keeps them from worrying about us unnecessarily. Lets them focus fully on the task at hand.” Emily smiled ruefully. “They would collect us here all day, every day, if they thought they could get away with it, you know.”
       Maya chuckled in response. It was the first laugh she let out in hours, but returned to chewing her finger nail nervously within seconds. “But why didn’t they recognize the scent? Not a vampire but definitely not human right? What if it's not something the pack is prepared to fight?”
       Emily’s hand came to rest on the younger woman’s shoulder. “Whatever it is they know how to keep themselves and each other safe. They’re brothers and sisters and they will do everything in their power to bring their whole family home safe and sound.” Emily turned to her cabinet and began pulling out pots and pans. “Now why don’t you help me make something to eat. Claire is demanding ‘pasghetti’’.
Grateful for the distraction, Maya nodded and began helping with the meal prep.
       Dinner was a strangely subdued affair. Not like the lively, raucous meals normally shared under this roof. Wendy and Kim tried to keep up an easy, light hearted conversation and Emily pitched in occasionally, but it didn’t do much to lift Maya’s spirits. Her heart just wasn’t in it. After a hearty meal of pasta and meatballs, most of the household was pretty groggy. Claire could barely keep her eyes open and had fallen asleep on her kitchen chair. No one wanted to disturb the sleepy and possibly cranky child so they let her drool on the kitchen table. Kim and Wendy had gone upstairs to lie down, while Rachel and Rosemary were dozing off to some romcom on the television. It had been many hours since the pack had left for their hunt and Emily had ventured out into the forest to request a status update from Collin. Maya was washing up the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, when she heard Emily walk through the patio door behind her.
       Maya spoke softly so as not to disturb the sleeping child, “Any news?” Emily looked strangely concerned when she glanced at Maya. She opened her mouth, then shut it again with a frown. Finally she answered, “I couldn’t find Collin. I called for him but he didn’t come.” Maya almost dropped the bowl she was washing. “What does that mean? Are they in trouble? Did he get called in to fight?” Emily was quick to reassure her, “I’m not sure, it’s possible he just fell asleep and didn’t hear me. I know Kim had been texting Jared earlier, I’m going to go see when was the last time she heard from him.” Maya nodded absentmindedly as Emily turned and headed upstairs.
       Maya stared out the window above the sink, wondering and worrying. Why was this taking so long? Was it really worse than they originally thought? And if so, why did no one come to notify the house? Was someone injured? Were they all busy rushing their fallen brother to a doctor? Was it Seth? Her mind raced and she was so distracted she hadn’t noticed she had been washing the same plate over and over. Hadn’t noticed anyone else leaving the room she was in, until she heard the patio door slam shut. She turned, expecting that one of the wolves had returned to finally bring some news, but the kitchen was empty. Confused, she walked to the door and looked through the screen. The lawn was clear but at the far edge of the trees she saw a little girl, no longer asleep, walking with purpose into the heart of the woods. Maya didn’t even stop to cry out before she was bolting through the door, dish towel discarded on the kitchen floor in her wake.