A/N: Okay, let's try this one more time lol

.

CH 39

My Mothers

.

.

Lux sat quietly in the back seat of Lana's car. She had dozed off at some point during the drive and when she opened her eyes the car had stopped. Lux slowly sat up and glanced out the window to see the familiar dirt road just outside of her cottage home. She blinked a couple of times until the sleepiness left her eyes and turned her attention to Lana who sat on the driver's side, hands gripping the wheel tightly. Her eyes were ahead on the road in front of them, hard and unwavering as if she was battling a wave of emotions.

Lux looked from Lana back out the window where she saw her home. Jude was inside waiting for her but a strange feeling overcame the child and instead of running out the car calling out to her mother, she sat back. Lux hadn't wanted to leave her birth mother's home in New York. The visit had felt too short and even though Lana had spoiled the child rotten for two and a half days, it was her company that Lux enjoyed the most.

Lana hadn't heard the child stir from her slumber. She had been talking about the animals at the zoo when she suddenly began to lull her head and doze off. Lana didn't bother waking her. The drive back to Salem would be a long one and she wanted the girl to get some rest before she dropped her back off with Jude. Every mile closer to Salem tore a seam in Lana's heart. She knew the weekend wouldn't last forever but she had not prepared herself for the panicked feeling in the pit of her stomach that was trying everything in its power to persuade Lana to push the gas and return to New York with the child.

Lana tightly gripped the steering wheel, forcing herself to see reason. Telling herself that kidnapping was not something she was going to add to her record of bad habits. No matter how hard her heart cried out for the small child in the back seat, Lana knew she belonged in Salem with the woman that had raised her.

"Mommy?" Her soft little voice came from the back seat. She had such a sweet voice and Lana would miss hearing it throughout her home. That giant house would feel so empty without her.

Lana slowly let go of the wheel and fought back the crack in her voice. "Yes?"

How she loved to hear that name. She loved it even more when it was Lux who called to her when she said it.

"What's wrong?"

Lana quickly wiped the fresh tears away and turned around to see the little girl sitting there. Oliver would be so proud of her. "Nothing, darling. Are you ready?"

Lux looked out the window again, feeling strange. She missed Lana's house but she nodded.

Lana exited the car and opened the back door for Lux. She took the little girl's hand and walked her up to the cottage.

They were halfway to the porch when Lana stopped. Lux stopped at her side and looked up at Lana. Lana knelt down to be at eye level with the child, placing her hand on Lux's little waist. She wore a pair or red corduroy overalls that Lana had purchased her. She knew Jude wouldn't mind them much. "Did you have fun?" She asked, forcing herself to smile through the aching she felt.

Lux smiled from ear to ear. "Yeah."

Lana sniffled, "Good. Listen, Lux, I want you to know something."

Lux tilted her head to the side, "What is it?"

Lana tried to collect herself the best she could. "I want you to know that wherever I go, however far away I am, I'll always be thinking of you." She gave her hand a small kiss, "Do you understand?"

Lux nodded firmly but saddened at the thought of Lana leaving. "Ya don't gotta go. Ya can stay in my room with me. We-we can share my bed."

Lana's heart broke even more. "That's okay, Love. I'll come visit whenever I can and maybe...maybe your Mama will let you come see me in New York again."

Lux's little face fell with sadness. "Will ya miss me?" She always wondered if Lana did.

Lana laughed lightly; her innocence always lightened up her mood, "Yes, I will."

"How much?" Lux asked with a growing smile.

"So much. So very much." Lana hugged her.

"I'll miss you too." Lux hugged her back.

Lana held her tightly, never wanting to let go but she forced herself to do so and stand to her feet. She looked down at Lux and gently caressed her cheek. "Come on, your mother's waiting."

.

Jude's heart burst at the sight of the little girl standing on her porch once more. The look on her bright eyed little face was enough to drown her eyes with tears of joy and relief. A paranoid part of her thought the reporter wouldn't bring her back but Lana had been a woman of her word. And sure enough, there was her smart mouthed little angel back in her arms.

"I hope she was no trouble." Jude commented.

Lana collected herself. She had gotten Lux's things out of the car while mother and daughter reunited. "Oh, no. Not at all." Lana caressed the back of Lux's hair where her hair curled. "She was very well behaved."

"That's good to hear." Jude sighed softly, "Thank ya for bringin' her back. I sure did miss her."

Lux glanced up, looking from Jude to Lana.

"No need to thank me. This is her home." Lana confirmed.

Lux clutched herself to Jude like a baby Koala, happy to be back in the comfort of her arms. And even though she was glad to be back with Jude, Lux grew anxious when Lana said her goodbyes and gave her one last kiss on the cheek before she got into her car and left. A heavy feeling fell to the pit of her stomach and Lux suddenly felt as lost as she did the day Jude told her she was adopted.

Lana drove the car back to New York that very evening. She couldn't stand to say goodbye to Lux and knew it would be harder the longer she stayed. She asked Jude to say hello to Kit and the children and went on her way.

The drive back to New York was one of the loneliest Lana had ever experienced. She forced herself not to look back when she left the old Salem road in fear that the look on Lux's face would break her. Leaving the girl had become harder and harder every single time and the remorse was even crueler than the cosmos that mocked her from above.

When Lana arrived home some time past midnight, she wandered into Lux's room and felt her absence grow heavy in the air. She meandered around picking up things Lux had left behind or had played with at some point during her stay. She had left multiple drawings upon the little tea table left unfinished and Lana hoped that she would return to finish them soon.