She owed it to her father.
To her home.
Not your home.
She had to remind herself of that. There was no place for her here. Not anymore. All she had to do was step in for the next three months and then she could leave with a lighter conscience.
Dr. Pearson, the OB/GYN who was finishing his rotation in Wolf’s Harbor, would be waiting for her at the town’s clinic, where he’d hand over the keys to the clinic, and the furnished apartment they used during rotation, and would show her around before he drove back to Juneau.
The plane landed with a bump on the small gravel airstrip and the props slowed down as the Cessna taxied to the terminal. When it had come to a stop and shut down, the pilot hopped into gear, opening the door as the ground crew pushed over the stairwell, and Evelyn could feel the hatches being opened to unload the cargo.
The two other occupants—both men—grabbed their duffel bags and headed off the plane.
Evelyn took a deep breath. You got this.
She slung her laptop bag over her shoulder and unbuckled. When she stepped out of the Cessna she was hit by the scent of salt water, rain and damp. There was a clanging from the buoys out on the mist-shrouded water. It hadn’t changed.
Evelyn closed her eyes to stop the tears that were threatening.
“Come here, Evie.”
Her father held open his arms and she ran to him, pressing her face against the soft flannel jacket he wore.
“I love you, Daddy.”
Her dad kissed the top of her head and smiled, his blue-gray eyes twinkling.
“I love you, too, Evie.”
“Do you need help, miss?”
Evelyn shook the memory away and glanced down to see the pilot, in a flannel jacket that was similar to the one her father had used to wear, holding out his hand to her.
She straightened her spine and beamed brightly at him, taking his hand as he helped her down onto the Tarmac.
“Do you need help with your luggage?” the pilot asked.
“No, thank you. I’m okay.” Evelyn shifted the weight of her carry-on bag on her shoulder as she walked onto the chip-sealed portion of the airstrip. She picked up her suitcase from outside the plane, where it had been unloaded, and popped up the handle to roll it.
A gust of wind tossed her hair in her face and she cursed herself for not tying it back before she headed for the small terminal.
I wonder if anyone will remember who I am?
A knot formed in her stomach—because it had been twenty years since she had been taken away…twenty years since her father died. She remembered some faces, but she was sure most folks were long gone.
Like her maternal grandmother.
And her classmates at the small village school wouldn’t remember her.
It was for the best that they didn’t.
It was her fault her father had left that night in the rain and died. She should have stopped him.
She’d taken away Wolf’s Harbor’s finest doctor. Now she was here to make it right.
Or as right as she could in the limited amount of time she was here.
The terminal was quiet. Everyone was dealing with cargo, rather than the few passengers. The other two who had been on her plane were long gone. They had somewhere to go. Loved ones to see.
She had no one.
“Can I help you?”
Evelyn turned to the young woman who was manning the counter at the Wolf’s Harbor terminal.
“I’m looking for directions to the town clinic.”
The young woman smiled brightly. “It’s about a fifteen-minute walk from here. Do you want me to call you a taxi?”
“That would be great. Thank you,” Evelyn said, smiling back.
The young woman nodded, but didn’t pick up the phone. Instead she got up off her stool, and Evelyn saw the round belly of a pregnant woman under her hoodie.
The young woman opened the back door and shouted. “I have a fare for you!”
Evelyn’s pulse kicked up a notch, and she couldn’t help but wonder if it would be her Uncle Yazzie.
His had been the only taxi cab in town twenty years ago. When her father had been working endless hours at the clinic, or in Juneau at the hospital, Uncle Yazzie would come and pick her up every day in his taxi cab and take her to school. She’d often stay with him and her grandmother. Her mother’s people.
A young man of about twenty, who looked very familiar, came out from the back.
He beamed at her and held out his hand. “Can I take you someplace, miss?”
She didn’t answer as she racked her brain for how she knew this man.
“Are you okay, miss?” he asked, appearing slightly uncomfortable with her staring.
“Sorry, you look so familiar,” she said, before catching herself.
“Really? I look like my dad—or so they tell me.”
“Then it must be jet lag messing with me.” She rubbed her eyes. “I didn’t mean to gawk at you. Just déjà vu.”