"Slugger, can you manage for a bit while I pop into town?" Dora shouted through to the kitchen from the hallway. She was half way out of the front door, pulling on her coat, when Slugger appeared. "Ain't you gonna wait for me to answer then?" he said. Dora smiled. "I knew you wouldn't mind Sluggs." she said. "Well, as it happens, I do mind. I got supper to get ready, horses to look out for and Ron to keep in check, while you and Steve are out gallivanting." "Steve's gone out - where to?" Dora asked. "I dunno - he don't tell me where he's going... but it musta been somewhere special cause he was really done up and he stunk of aftershave." "Oh! He didn't say anything to me either." said Dora, with a puzzled frown. How often did Steve dress up, she thought, and how often did he wear aftershave! She looked at Slugger with pleading eyes. "Please Sluggs, it's important or I wouldn't ask you. I'll only be an hour... promise." How could he resist? Slugger smiled and Dora knew he had relented. "D'you want me to get Ron to drop you off?" Slugger asked her as she went out of the door. "No!" exclaimed Dora quickly. "I'll ride Copper - he can stay with the blacksmith while I do my shopping." and she was gone before Slugger could say another word.
After leaving Copper with Tom the Smithy, like she had done many times before on her quick trips into town, she walked towards the shops, well one shop in particular, the newsagents. The window glass was covered in red hearts and teddies, and chocolates, ribbons and balloons were strategically placed to lure customers in. Dora entered and went straight to the cards. She spent some minutes looking through the large array on offer until finally she found just the thing she was looking for. This'll give Ron a nice surprise on Valentine's day, she thought and grinned to herself.
As she was walking back to the fetch Copper, she heard a commotion across the road. She looked over towards the King's Head pub and she stopped in her tracks at the sight that met her eyesl. There, coming out of the pub, or, more accurately, falling out of the pub, was Steve, laughing very loudly. Dora could see that he was drunk. She could also see the person hanging onto his arm, her long blonde hair falling into Steve's face as she tried to straighten him up. She was laughing too! Dora stared for what seemed an age... and then she ran as the tears started to roll down her face. She ran and ran and didn't look back. If she had, she would have seen Wendy staring after her.