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After Will kisses both kids, they ride back to the stables. It isn't goodbye, not really; she'll be home in a few weeks for end of season and there's always telephone or riding over.

"You're sure you're not mad?" Will asks, as they swing into the stables. "I swear, this doesn't mean we're seperated or anything. I just... I can't perform. But I want you to be able to."

"I'm not mad." Carlotta says, reaching over to squeeze his shoulder. "It took courage to be honest. And one day, I hope you'll be able to tell me the whole story."

He'd sat down with her, once he was sober, and explained what he told Teja. How he'd been forced, in the war, to fire on the German civilians, and how he'd had to march through the streets of Germany after, with the accusing eyes. He'd explained that he had a tremor in his right hand that only stopped when he'd had a drink, and was preventing him practicing. And, for the first time, admitted...

They dropped off their stuff and set off to the hall. She would come with him the first time, the rest would depend on whether she was in riding distance.

As his turn arrived, he stood up, holding the trembling hand in his pocket.

"Hallo... I'm Will... and I am an alcoholic..."

He didn't manage to say much in the first session. But Carlotta got the feeling he was in safe hands. It was hard to leave him, and she held him close, but she knew he was where he needed to be.

She arrived back at the circus alone, later that day, and called a meeting.

"As you know, Will has gone back home, to the stables we live in during the winter. He asked me to tell you that he's sorry for any trouble he caused, and that he has realised he needs professional help, better obtained not moving around.

We will be recruiting a new handyman for next season if he isn't well enough to come with us in March. In the meantime, Fred has kindly agreed to take back the role on top of being Security.

Does anyone have any questions?"


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Carlotta Francis (nee Brown)

February 2014

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