“Everything looks good,” Greg said and handed the papers to Erin. “As your attorney I can recommend you sign this contract. The interest rate is fair and there is nothing tricky about the language contained within. If you sign these papers you will own 51% of the old Reardon cabin, Christine Engle will own 25% and Cindy Toomey will own 25%. The contract stipulates that while final decisions about the cabin will lie in your hands, you must inform the other two parties of any major changes to the property. Now, from what I understand you intend to turn the cabin into a bed and breakfast. If you go that route and create a new business we will need to draw up a contract for that as well. This contract only covers the property, ok?”
“I understand,” Erin said. She wasn’t particularly worried about the two other women. She’d been staying at the ranch for the past week and had come to not only like the pair, but respect them as well. They both worked brutally hard to make their own business a success and Erin felt she was fortunate to have them as business partners. She took the contract from her lawyer and began initialing where indicated and signing her name when asked for it.
“What happened to the days when you could sign your name once and be down with it?” she asked.
“Lawyers happened,” Wilson said and the three of them laughed. Erin came to the last page of the loan agreement and paused. This was it. With one stroke of the pen, Erin’s life would be forever changed. She hesitated and bit down on her lip. Here goes nothing, she thought and with a steady hand signed her name. Her new life had just started.
“And that’s a wrap,” Mr. Coleman said. Erin handed him the loan agreement and he called his secretary in and instructed her to make two copies. He looked at Erin and smiled. “So Ms. Campbell, how does it feel to be a property owner?”
She smiled. “I feel the same as I did about an hour ago, to be honest. Except now I owe your bank a lot of money.”
The banker laughed and then asked Wilson some benign question regarding some town matter. Erin used the opportunity to begin making a mental checklist of what needed to be done around the cabin. First and foremost she had the issue of Cindy’s cousin Jack to deal with. While she didn’t want to throw the man out on the street, she wasn’t entirely thrilled with sharing a roof with a biker either. She hadn’t met him yet, and while both Cindy and Christine had described him as a gentle man with a big heart, Erin was reserving judgment. Apparently he’d been living in the cabin for close to three years now, ever since his wife had died in a car accident and left him a bachelor. Erin was worried he would be a broken man, but Christine told him he was fine and just really enjoyed his solitude on in the cabin. Erin felt bad she was bringing drastic change to the man’s life, but what else was she going to do?
The secretary returned and handed her and Wilson copies of the loan agreement. Wilson did a quick look over the document to verify it was the original and nodded to Erin to indicate everything was kosher. The banker stood and extended his hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you Ms. Campbell and I wish you the best of luck.” Erin shook the man's hand and thanked him for his service. Her and Wilson left the office and when they were outside he extended his hand and thanked Erin for her business.
“I wish you the best of luck, although I doubt you will need it. Something tells me this business is going to succeed one way or another.”
“I certainly hope so, because if it doesn’t you might find me pumping your gas in a few months.”
The man chuckled and was on his way. Barely able to contain her enthusiasm, Erin took out her phone and called her mother to let her know the good news. Her mother was expecting the call and answered on the first ring.
“Mom, you’re now speaking to the proud owner of a cabin in North Dakota!”
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Cindy and Erin pulled up in front of a large strip mall. They were in town gathering supplies for the cabin and the first stop was the local gun shop. Erin had protested at the idea of owning a firearm, but Cindy had convinced her of the necessity. She’d explained how it could take the police hours to make it your property—days even if there was a serious storm—and when you lived so far off the grid it was better to be safe than sorry. Still, the idea did not sit well with Erin.
“Do I really need to own a gun? Can’t I just call you guys if something goes wrong?”
Cindy laughed. “Sure, and I suppose if a wild bear is trying to break into the cabin he will just wait patiently until we arrive to shoot at him.”
“I see what you mean,” Erin replied. “It’s just as a girl who grew up in the inner city, I have seen the damage firearms can do and am worried about having one under the same roof as me.”