“No, Ms. Engle I have not changed my mind. In fact, as each minute goes by my resolve only strengthens. I wish to purchase your cabin and turn it into a bed and breakfast, just as you intended. I know you look at me and see a silly girl from the big city with a wild dream in her head, but I assure you, this isn’t some whim I hope you take me serious enough to allow me to make an offer, but if you don’t, I understand and there are no hard feelings.”
Christine eyed Erin with curiosity then turned her gaze on Cindy. “Telling everyone about our grand plans again, I see.” Her tone didn’t suggest anger, just the undertones of mild annoyance with her partner, developed after years of being in close confines with each other. Cindy threw up her hands in protest.
“It’s just such a great idea, Chris. And since we can’t follow through with it ourselves, I don’t see the harm in talking about it with a guest. It’s not like I expected this firecracker over here would get it in her head to want to do the same thing.”
Erin watched as the two women interacted with each other and felt a pang of jealousy. The pair was obviously in love with each other and Erin longed for the days when her and a man could share the same closeness.
“All right, settle down,” Christine said and sat back in her office chair. She motioned for Erin to take a seat as well. “Well how about you tell me your plans for the cabin, and if I like what I hear I will make you an offer?
“Fair enough.” Erin wasn’t prepared for a sales pitch, of course, and as she eyed Christine she suspected that was perhaps the woman’s intent. She decided the best course of action was to simply speak from the heart and let the chips fall where they may. “Well, I would like to purchase the cabin from you, make the required renovations and re-open it as a bed and breakfast. I think this land is peaceful and the cabin looks like a very inviting place. I plan on making as many bedrooms as possible and also living in the cabin myself. With the ongoing oil boom, business should increase all across the state, and when there’s more money to be spent, more people will be looking for weekend getaways. I don’t see why the local Holiday Inn should get all the business, while that beautiful cabin sits empty out on the prairie.”
Erin watched as the other two women exchanged glances. She was sure the two were carrying on some sort of silent conversation with their eyes which caused her to shift in her chair and wonder what they were thinking Had her sales pitch worked and they would be willing to sell? Or would Christine be the latest person to tell her that her dreams were crazy and she was better off taking a more traditional career route.
Christine leaned forward in her chair and looked Erin square in the eye. “While I think you are overlooking the amount of work that will be required to get the cabin up and running, I like your general ideas about the place. So I am willing to make you this offer and I hope you accept these terms because they’re the only ones I am comfortable with. Okay?"
Erin nodded and Christine continued. “We will sell you 51% of the cabin, provided you promise, in writing, to accept any advice Cindy and I may offer you on the place. Now, in the end the decisions will be up to you, however I hope you realize how difficult of a journey this will be for and you take advantage of our experience out here. We have both been out here a long while, and while we’ve never run a B&B, we have both run a successful business for over a decade now. What do you do for work currently, Erin?”
“I work for the postal service.”
Christine raised her eyebrows and chuckled. “Well, I can see why you want a career change. Anyway, in return for listening to our advice about the B&B, we will find you some work around the ranch to set you up with some income while we renovate the cabin. That way, if things don’t work out with the cabin, you won’t starve to death on the prairie and I won’t have to call your people back home and tell them I let you perish on the cold plains of North Dakota.”
Erin was delighted with the terms but felt it was best to at least appear like she was mulling the offer. While having two business partners meant a reduced upside on the deal, it also meant less money out of her pocket, and truth be told, Erin was more interested in getting out of Chicago and her dead-end job than anything else. Even if the cabin failed, she could easily envision herself working around the ranch with the two women. The pay would probably suck, but she doubted she would require much salary to survive on. Plus, three brains were always better than one, especially when one belonged to Christine Engle, who Erin suspected was one sharp cookie.