As she wrote, she wondered again if Lily was really gone. As the words of her thesis hit the page, she wondered if there was any way that she would ever come back.

She was glad that Dr. Drefuss's associate had convinced her to go back to college. What was his nameā€¦? Oh yes, Dr. Andrews. Annabelle remembered her as the bright, cheery woman who had her brown hair in a ponytail, not knowing her that well. The last time they had met had been the third.

"You don't have a college degree?" Katherine (that was her first name- she insisted that the family call her that.) had said at the little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. They had met there, just to get to know each other. They had been talking about financial issues, and how Annabelle was having trouble finding a job.

"You really should get one," Katherine had continued, grabbing some more cream for herself. "Almost all good jobs require one, nowadays."

That was what had led to Annabelle, up at nearly midnight, writing a paper. She had gotten in, and had immediately been assigned a writing project.

A noise sounded, startling her. She spun around automatically, prepared for the worst. After all, that was what Mama had done to her- made her jumpy as hell. She didn't even need coffee anymore; just Lucas or Victoria shaking her awake was enough. She didn't understand how those two slept at night.

She relaxed when she saw just a moth, fluttering around the kitchen. However, her relief was soon replaced by sadness, at Lily's absence and at Victoria's depression as the aftermath of their encounter with Mama on that cliff. Annabelle knew something had happened with Lily- she probably had something of herself out there. Somewhere.

She saw movement besides the moth, and tensed up, but it wasn't a ghost- it was just Victoria.

Wait. Victoria?

"Hey honey, what're you doing up so late?" Annabelle said, smiling tiredly. She may have been jumpy, but that just made her more exhausted.

"I couldn't sleep," Victoria said, her eyes drifting towards being shut. They snapped open at the last moment, some image that flashed behind her eyelids making her prefer not to see them. "Could I sleep with you and Lucas?"

Thoughts rushed through Annabelle's head like a flood as her fingers stilled on the keyboard. Thoughts like, Should I? and What would Lucas want?

Memories resurfaced, of Victoria pushing both of them away, of avoiding them, of shutting out the world. Memories of her wanting to stay with Mama, wanting to scare Annabelle and Lucas away from caring for them. Of Victoria, saying simply, Go away.

Annabelle smiled, saved her document, and closed the computer. Getting up, she reached out her hand to the young girl, nearly a teenager.

"Of course, Victoria," she said, waiting for the younger of the two. Victoria hesitated, obviously thinking along the same lines as Annabelle just had.

"Thanks," she said, grasping Annabelle's hand firmly. Annabelle grinned in delight.

"Let's go off to bed, then!" she said, leading them away.

As they went off to the bedroom for two, tonight three, people, the moon came out from behind a cloud. It cast a light through the windows, onto the stray moth that had attracted Annabelle's attention in the first place.

On the wall and floor opposite, as the small nocturnal insect danced through the air, a shadow was cast.

The shadow of a small girl, obviously no older than 6, dancing in the moonlight cast around the kitchen.