Dakota woke at her usual time the next day; just as the sun was starting to warm the land instead of illuminating it with its cool misty light. She lay for a moment, looking up at the ceiling of her trailer. Then, as she rolled out of bed, she glanced at the empty bed beside her. A flicker of something like longing crossed her face, but then she shook it from her thoughts and stood. Time for breakfast.
As she ate, she wondered if Cassidy would manage to get up earlier than usual so that she could learn to read and write. Although Cassidy was a good girl, early mornings were not her thing. But just as she finished her breakfast, there was a small knock on her trailer. Dakota stood, put her plate down and opened the door.
Cassidy stood, her face eager, on the step with one of her journals.
"I thought I could use this to write on." She said, gesturing to it.
"You won't be needing that for a while." Dakota replied, picking up a slate and some chalk. "We'll use this so that you don't ruin your precious journal." She came out of her cabin and closed the door. Then she wlkaed silently over to the horses and heard Cassidy following.
As she treated Apollo to a carrot, Dakota handed Cassidy the writing instruments. She could tell Cassidy was impatient to learn, but rushing in to things was never good. So she gave Apollo a quick talk before eventually turning to Cassidy. She held out her hand and was handed back the slate and chalk.
"This," She said as she drew the letter A and the smaller version next to it, "is the letter A. The big one, is a capital, and is used at the start of sentences and names. This little one is used in the other circumstances." She didn't tell Cassidy yet about nouns and adjectives and verbs. That would come later.
Cassidy nodded and the lesson continued. They got through half of the alphabet before others of the circus began to move around, and Dakota handed Cassidy the slate.
"Practice the alphabet through in order on this, then tomorrow you can show me and if you've got it right I'll show you the other half."
Cassidy eagerly took the slate and thanked her, but Dakota only smiled and waved her away. She still never expressed too much of her love for Cassidy. She couldn't in case something happened. If something happened, and she had loved Cassidy as her own, she would never recover. She knew that. At least if she kept her emotions down and didn't show them, no one else would know she suffered. No one but Apollo of course.