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Chapter Twelve

‘It’s a bit muddy, butthere are boots in the back.’ Pulling the handbrake up, Wendy nodded to the two bags sitting on the floor behind the driver’s seat.

‘Great. Thanks. That hadn’t occurred to me.’ Jessie looked through the gate at the large farmhouse and huge barns. This was Chris’s sanctuary? It looked a lot bigger than she’d thought it would. And more farm-like. She shook her head. Of course, it would look like a farm. They rescued farm animals. Itwouldbe a farm. The difference would be that the animals would be loved and cared for despite their age and health. That, and they wouldn’t have the terrifying ending normal farm animals had. ‘What will happen when all the guests arrive? Will we need to get a large roll of carpet or something?’

‘The barn we’ll be using for the wedding is at the back of the sanctuary. Guests will be able to park in the same field and if the weather carries on like this, we’ll be fine. If it doesn’t, then Chris has said he can sort something out.’

‘That’s good then. Are Claire and Callum meeting us down at the barn or here?’

‘They’ll meet us at the barn, and we’ll drive round there to meet them. There’re just a couple of things I need to speak to Chris about before we go and meet them.’ Wendy swapped her shoes for a pair of bright pink wellies.

Sitting on the back seat, Jessie copied Wendy and pulled on a pair of green wellies.

‘They might be a bit big for you, I’m afraid. They’re Connor’s, but they’ll be better than ruining your sandals.’

‘Thanks. They’ll be just fine.’ Standing up, Jessie grinned at the wellies. She wriggled her toes. They were nowhere near the end.

‘Wendy, hi.’ A woman swung the gate open and strode towards Wendy, bringing her in for a tight hug before looking across at Jessie. ‘Hi, you must be Jessie? Lovely to meet you. I’m Freya.’

‘Hi, nice to meet you, Freya.’ Jessie grinned as Freya hugged her.

‘Are you here to see Chris before meeting Claire and Callum at the barn?’

‘Yes, we just need to go over a few details.’ Wendy pulled her clipboard from the car.

‘I thought I heard voices. Hey, Wendy. Hi, Jessie. Good to meet you. I’m Chris.’ Chris held up two empty buckets in a welcoming gesture. ‘Come on in. I’ll just pop these away, then I’ll be right with you.’

‘Wow, this place looks amazing. What animals have you got here?’ Jessie looked across at the large barns standing to the left of them.

‘They’re the sheep barns. Most of the animals we rescue are sheep, but we have a few pigs, hens, cats, pigeons, guinea pigs, a rabbit and a cow, too.’ Freya grinned. ‘Do you want me to show you around? Have you got the time?’

‘We’ve got about half an hour before we need to meet Claire and Callum.’ Wendy checked her watch.

‘Great. Enough time then. Is that okay if I steal Jessie away while you go over things with Chris?’ Freya grinned and looked back at Jessie. ‘If you’d like a tour, obviously.’

‘Yes, that’d be great, thanks.’ Jessie nodded. She’d never been to a sanctuary that specialised in farm animals before.

‘Bril. Chris usually loves showing people around so we’ll sneak off before he realises as I know he’s got to talk about weddings.’ Freya laughed as she began walking towards another gate leading to the huge barns.

‘Are you going to be offering the barn as a wedding venue from now on or is this a one-off?’

‘It’s supposed to be a one-off, but I’m trying to persuade Chris to let it out on a regular basis. If it all goes well and the couple recommends it, of course. I think it could be a nice little earner to raise funds for the sanctuary.’

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