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                “Come on Buster!” Laura Marshall was too tired to be bothered with errant dogs, Buster was an overweight Boxer dog that LOVED diving in water - stream, sea or puddle, he wasn’t bothered. Normally Laura embraced that, but today she wasn’t in the mood. Fortunately Marco the poodle, Chardonnay the unfit and overweight Golden Retriever and Peachy the pampered mongrel were all behaving well.  Laura dragged the Boxer out of the puddle, his latest source of water, and bundled the animals into the back of her van.

Winding around the country roads she distributed the animals back to their owners providing them with a drink and following each owner’s individual instruction.  It took almost an hour, but then she still had a couple of hours before her afternoon dog walking session. Climbing back in her van she drove to the coastal town that she called home.

Ben smiled as she entered the Early Bird cafe, it was quiet, but then it was still early in the season. In another few weeks the town would be inundated with tourists. If the weather was good it wouldn’t just be the hotels and holiday cottages that were full, there were dozens of campsites that surrounded the town too. It was in these early months that they prepared for the onslaught of June to September.

                “How were the mutts?”

She shrugged, “it pays my bills Ben!”

His eyes widened, and he paused from restocking the shelves behind the counter, he’d known Laura a long time, and she loved animals, and she was the perfect person to run a dog walking service.  He’d never seen her curse the job.

                “What’s up Marshall? You’re not your usual cheery self!”

She merely scowled, “what’s the forecast?”

He shook his head, “flat as a pancake mate, I’d get some food and chill out, no surf today!”

Groaning she cut through the back of the shop and climbed the stairs to the living quarters that she shared with Ben and his girlfriend Alana.

She’d lived in this Welsh coastal village since graduating from University seven years earlier. During her time in the Cardiff college she’d rediscovered a childhood love of surfing, mainly through the surfing guru and addict that was her housemate Ben. Having lived in London she loved the proximity to the coast, and Ben had been more than happy to corrupt her.

Once they’d graduated, Ben had headed to Hawaii to try and compete in some of the amateur competitions, he’d done quite well, but a knee injury forced him home. He’d bought this building overlooking one of the best surf spots on the west coast afterwards. At the time Laura had been working in the local pub, surfing as much as she could, but as soon as Ben returned, she moved in and helped him run his cafe and surf school.

Laura flopped down onto her bed, burying her face in the pillow. There was only one thing that would quash her free spirit like this - her father. He’d sent her a message earlier in the day and it had set her nerves on edge.

Rolling on to her back, she dug her phone out of her pocket and opened the text message.

                “Are you coming home for your mother’s birthday? I want to talk to you and I can’t travel that far west to see you. I’m too busy.”

She knew what ‘talk’ meant, his disproval of her lifestyle was the topic of every Christmas, holiday or family occasion, she had the fact that she was ruining her life, throwing away her education, or embarrassing him, all rammed down her throat on a regular basis.

How could a successful businessman like her father understand that she hated the thought of a nine to five job? They were so different in so many ways. Not that she hadn’t had a privileged upbringing, private schooling, amazing holidays, everything a girl could ask for. But surely that didn’t mean that she owed her father her life did it? She wasn’t the same as him, and hell her mother had been a model! That was not exactly a career to broadcast, was it?

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