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Broken Rider(5)

By´╝ÜSasha Stark

“I’m sure Christine wouldn’t mind some free labor in the least.” Cindy began gathering the hoses and headed towards the main office. “Well, we might as well go ask Christine what she thinks of your wild plan. Are you ready to go?”

“I feel like I’ve been ready for years, Cindy. Let’s go.”

The two women, so different, yet so alike, began the walk towards the main office. The rest of the group were congregated near some picnic tables and Erin could see Dina pecking away on her IPhone while she drank a can of diet coke. Erin smiled and wondered what it would take to jar her friend awake and save her from the social-media haze that she lived in. Then again, at least in the eyes of Erin, Dina was a fairly happy woman and perhaps didn’t need to be “saved” from anything. Just because Erin thought a certain lifestyle choice was bad, didn’t mean it was. And who knows, maybe Dina was right and Erin was the crazy one. Maybe.

“Cindy, do you really think the cabin can work as a bed and breakfast? Better yet, do you think I can make a sustainable living by running it?”

Cindy stopped, placed her hands on her hips and looked Erin square in the face. “Well, I will be honest with you sweetie. You’re not going to get rich running a bed and breakfast in North Dakota, but you can probably make a living doing it. And if this oil thing shakes out, well who knows how much that property will be worth. Of course, there are no guarantees in life and when people open their own business; well they tend to find that out the hard way. With all that being said, yes I do think you can earn a sustainable living by running a B&B in that cabin. If it wasn’t for Christine’s dad being so sick, I reckon that’s what the two of us would be doing right now.”

“Thanks Cindy." Erin sort of felt bad about swooping in, taking the cabin from out underneath the two women and ruining their own plans for a B&B. On the other hand, Cindy did say the two really needed the money, so perhaps Erin was doing them a favor of sorts. One thing was for sure, Erin was nervous as hell as they entered the barn and walked up to the makeshift office within. There was a petite woman sitting behind a computer and pecking away at a keyboard, briefly looking from keyboard to screen to confirm each of her strokes. If the cabin fails, Erin thought, I can just be a secretary for these two. It must take that poor woman three days to type a paragraph.

“Christine,” Cindy said, “I have somebody I would like you to meet.”

Christine turned around and took notice of her guest. "Well, c'mon in then." She stood from behind the desk and walked over to greet Erin. She was probably a shade over five feet tall and couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds. Her face showed some miles on it, but they were gentle miles and perhaps magnified by the woman’s recent struggles with her dad’s health. She stuck out a tan hand and smiled. “I’m Christine Simpson, it’s nice to meet you.”

Erin took the woman’s calloused hand in her own. “I’m Erin Rose, and the pleasure is all mine.”

“Did you enjoy your ride out there today?” Christine asked. “The weather sure was great, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was amazing out there today." Erin began to feel a little nervous about the whole ordeal and looked over to Cindy for a little help.

Cindy stepped forward and said to Christine, “Erin here was asking some questions about the Reardon cabin. Sounds like she might be interested in purchasing it as a matter of fact.” The shock on Christine’s face was obvious and she looked at Erin again to confirm that she was indeed looking at a pretty white girl, from the city, whom was indeed interested in buying a cabin in the middle of North Dakota.

“Is that right?” Christine asked.

Erin couldn’t recall the last time she was this nervous. Talking to Cindy and Dina about her idea had been easy enough. She knew Dina was going to mock her anyway, so telling her was easy. As for Cindy, she had a calm, motherly presence about her than made talking about things easy. Christine, on the other hand, was a different matter altogether. She didn't look mean, just less likely to tolerate nonsense of any sort.

“Yes Christine, that’s right.”

“Well you don’t sound too confident about it. Have you changed your mind already?” Christine’s voice wasn’t sharp, but it wasn’t overly friendly, either. Erin doubted this woman had taken an ounce of gruff in her life and had little patience for fools. She decided it was best to take a deep breath and tell her the same thing she told Cindy. If the woman believed Erin's intentions, then great; If not, then she would go home to Chicago and find another way to make her dream work. One thing was for sure, Erin felt at home and she didn’t plan to give up on her dream anytime soon. She steadied herself and looked at Cindy for a last dose of courage. Cindy smiled back at her, but Erin could notice the tension in her face as well. If the two women were lovers, as Erin expected, it was obvious who wore the pants in the relationship.