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I return to my story I started a few weeks back. This is Lexie’s POV again.
“Good morning, Zoe,” one of the staff members said as she came through the door. “How are you?”
“Good morning,” her daughter replied enthusiastically. “Is Ranger Jesse here?”
A smile spread on the staff member’s face. “Yes, he is. And he’s waiting for you to help him feed the joey and the kittens.”
Eyes wide, Zoe said, “Can I go through?”
“You most certainly can.”
And as if Lexie wasn’t there, Zoe rushed off leaving her mother behind. “Good morning, Julie,” she finally acknowledged the young woman.
“How are you, Lexie? Would you like to go through as well to help?”
“Oh, I think I’d be the third wheel in there. I have a feeling my girl has not only fallen in love with the animals, but also has a crush on Jesse,” she replied, hoping to sound as casual as possible, as well as appropriate as possible.
Julie chuckled. “She’s not the only one. The kindergarten groups stop by on a regular basis and I often wonder whether it’s for the benefit of the children or if the teachers need another fix of Jesse.”
Lexie tried to smile, but the damn jealousy returned. It was ridiculous. Again, she told herself that she didn’t even know him. “I can only imagine,” she finally responded. Then she looked around. The couple of old chairs in the corner next to a small table stacked with animal magazines didn’t tickle her fancy and Julie seemed to have picked up on it.
“Come on through. I’ll prepare a small bottle for you to feed the kittens. There are eight, I’m sure your daughter lets you help with at least one of them.”
“Eight?” Lexie repeated with some surprise as she followed Julie.
“Yes. I’m afraid so. We found them near the supermarket dumpster.”
“Dumpster?” Stunned by the information, Lexie’s voice went up a notch.
Julie nodded. “The mother probably is a family cat, but nobody made sure she was fixed up. There’s always the excitement about the family pet having babies, but once they’re born, the work and care is too much for most.”
“I understand, but that’s no reason to leave them next to the dumpster.”
“Sometimes we even find them inside one of them.”
The sound of Jesse’s voice startled her and she shot around. The concern on his face was just as sexy as the smile that followed when he lifted the doughnut and coffee. “By the way, thanks for these.”
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