Dakota shook her head at Cassidy's retreating back. What she couldn't know is that Alianna had asked the children before they left if they had wanted to come with them. Dakota had calmed down after her initial fury at the father's drunkeness and told her to find out. And the answer had been yes.

Alianna would teach her Italian, and she would teach the children English. Everything would be fine. She glanced across at the children who were peering round the side of the wagon and smiled. She would never have left those children with their father. They had no mother, their father was always drunk... his behaviour had reminded Dakota too much of the past, and she was not leaving them there. Nothing could stop her.

Not even Cassidy.

As she gave the children their meals for the night, they smiled at her. She was shocked out of her normal stance and grinned back, before letting it slip from her face and returning to her normal countenance. She then sat next to them and stared in to the fire. It was only minutes later that she felt Amira  bury her head in her arm. She glanced down and saw her eyes were shut. Carlos' eyes were also drooping. Silently, she removed herself from the group, picking up Amira and taking Carlos by the hand. She took them to her trailer and lay them down on the spare bed.

At last there was a use for it.

As she watched their sleeping faces, she thought of times past. Of Cassidy, and how she had once slept here, and Dakota had mothered her. Of Cassius, who had refused to be mothered and instead wanted to be a big man and look after himself- only his father wouldn't let him and kept him on a tight leash.

She winced when she thought of Bartholomew, and the way he...

She shook her head and laid it down on the pillow. The past was the past.

No need to dwell on the past.

The End

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