“I’m sure, Mom.” I pick up my bag and kiss my dad on the cheek before giving my mom another hug. I yell, “Love you, guys,” over my shoulder as I rush out of their house.
I drive twenty minutes to my house across town. I live in a yellow, three-bedroom, ranch-style home with a huge front porch that sits two rocking chairs. Even though my house is in town, the houses in my neighborhood are all spread out, each of us on my block having around one-acre lots.
I shut down my car in my driveway, not bothering to park in the garage since I would have to crawl out my trunk, and grab my bag before making my way up to my front porch. I grab my mail from the mailbox next to my door before making my way inside, quickly closing the door behind me so that Juice doesn’t have a chance to escape.
“Hey, big guy.” I drop my mail and bag on the entryway table and pick up Juice when he jumps up, making the contents of the table rattle. “What have you been doing?” I rub my face into the soft fur of his neck and smile when he begins to purr. “I think it’s going to be an early night,” I tell him as I walk back to my bedroom and toe off my shoes in my closet before dumping Juice onto the bed.
He walks around in circles for a moment before curling himself up into a ball and closing his eyes. I shake my head, wishing I could fall asleep as easily as he does. I always find it hard to sleep after work. My body is normally exhausted, but my mind is in a constant state of worry. I’m always wondering if I missed something, or if I should have done something differently with one of the animals in my care. I slip off my clothes, pull on a pair of cut-off sweats that are now shorts, find a tank top, and put that on before making my way into the kitchen.
“Hey, Taser,” I say as I go to the cage that is now on a stand near the double doors that lead to my back deck. His little bird head turns towards me, and I check to make sure he has enough water and food before placing a sheet over the top of his cage. Since the day I brought him home, Taser has been improving, but judging by the way his small wing still hangs awkwardly, I don’t think he will ever be free again.
I fix myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich and a glass of milk then carry both back to my bedroom, turn on the TV, and get into bed. I make myself comfortable while flipping through channels until I find one of my favorite shows, Ancient Aliens. I lean back and pick up my sandwich, taking a large bite before moaning at its perfection, and then wash it down with a gulp of milk. After I’m done eating, I take my dishes back to the kitchen then go handle my nightly routine before getting back into bed. I make sure I hold back the covers for Juice, who, like always, curves himself against my stomach as I watch the supposable hidden secrets of an ancient alien race until I fall asleep.
I look at my receptionist, Kayan, and feel my eyebrows pull together when she taps franticly on the glass and waves her hand at me. “I’ll be right back,” I tell my patient’s family, and follow Kayan out of the exam room and down the hall towards the waiting area. “What happened?” I ask her, and she pauses just around the corner and points. I look around to where she’s pointing, instantly regretting it when I see the profile of the man I wished I would never see again standing near the reception desk. “What did he want?” I whisper, taking Hot Biker Dude in, in all his jeans-and-leather glory.
“He said he wants to adopt a dog. I sat there staring at him for five minutes, not able to even speak, and I could tell he was becoming pissed off, so I figured you could help him.”
“Do you remember when I told you about the bikers who chased me down a couple weeks ago?”
“Yeah,” she mutters dreamily.
“He’s the one I tasered,” I tell her, watching as her eyes get big and her mouth form an O.
“No,” she whispers, looking around the corner at him.
“Yes.” I nod then pat her shoulder. “Good luck.”
“No…please.” She shakes her head franticly, grabbing onto my hand.
“He’s not that scary.” I frown.
“No, he’s scary hot.” She shakes her head again. “I could deal with him if he was just hot, but no, he’s scary and hot. That is a no-go for me. You know this.”
“Fine.” I stand at my full height, which is only five-four, and adjust my shirt, pressing my boobs up a little higher, which makes no sense, because I’m wearing scrubs. “Can you go make sure the Thompsons have the supplies they need for Tutu?”
“Of course.” She breathes a sigh of relief, and I inhale a huge breath before stepping around the corner.
“Hi, Kayan told me you were interested in adopting?” I say, pretending like I have no idea who he is. His head turns toward me, his gaze locking with mine, and my heart stutters in my chest. Everything I remembered about him was wrong. He is way hotter than I recalled, the scruff darker, his lips fuller, and his eyes greener.
“You,” he mutters as his eyes travel over the length of my hair, the tops of my breasts, down to my waist, and then slowly slide back up, making every inch of me feel exposed. “July,” he says when his eyes meet mine again.
“How do you know my name?” I ask, feeling completely baffled.
His head dips towards my chest and I look down, seeing my nametag attached to my top. “Oh,” I say, feeling like an idiot, my hand going to my chest to cover the piece of plastic.
“Wes.” He smirks.
“Pardon?” I blink, wishing I had forced Kayan to do her damn job.
“Cool name,” I mutter, and then wish I had grown up with a filter that worked properly when I see his smirk turn into a smile. “So you want to adopt?” I ask him, knowing that if he says yes, his hotness points are going to increase tenfold.
“Thinking about it.” He shrugs, shoving his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, forcing the well-worn black shirt he has on to stretch across his chest and abs. I swallow and mentally kick my ass around in my head until I pull myself together enough to speak again.
“Well…” I clear my throat, and then narrow my eyes when I see he’s smiling at how uncomfortable I am. “Follow me,” I snap, and stomp down the hall in front of him then push through the double doors at the end of the hall that leads to the kennels out back. I hear him chuckle, but I ignore him. “Those are dogs. Those are cats.” I wave my hand back and forth. “Come back up front when you’re done.” I start to storm past him, but his hand shoots out, wrapping around my bicep stopping me in my tracks and sending a zip of electricity up my arm.