“The house has been stocked, and firewood has been delivered already. We have enough food to last us about a month or so. After that, we’ll need to drive into town to get supplies,” Mr. Anderson finally said out of nowhere. It was the first sound slicing the silence, and I nearly jolted out of my seat when he said the words.
“All right,” I said softly, not sure if I should say more or ask some of the questions I still had. “I guess I should have asked this before, but is there electricity in the cabin? Are we going to be roughing it?”
“That’s a good question. There is power there provided by a generator. I will need it for my computer. You will need it for cooking and cleaning, but we won’t use it for much more than that. I prefer to heat the house with the fireplace and the gas stoves we’ll have in our bedrooms. I also prefer to use candlelight in the evenings. I need a break from the bright light of my computer all day, and it helps rest my mind.” He looked away from the road a moment to stare at me. “There is no television up there or any electronics. But the job will keep you pretty occupied.”
“I’m looking forward to this, Mr. Anderson,” I confessed. “It sounds like a nice break from the day-to-day madness we all endure in the city.”
“You can call me Price. We will be living together, so my first name is appropriate unless, of course, we are in a situation of reprimand and correction. In which case, I will expect you to show me the respect of calling me ‘sir.’”
I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond to his words. They came out so proper and formal, and I also didn’t think I would be in a situation where I would disappoint him. I was going to work my ass off to impress the man.
“I know I already asked you if you read novels, and you said no. What is the reason for that?”
I swallowed hard, uncomfortable with the question. I wasn’t sure if I should answer him honestly or try to come up with some reason that didn’t make me sound like an uneducated, white trash idiot.
“I’m not sure. I was brought up learning how to survive and hustle. Going to school was only a necessity so Child Services stayed away from my mother and me. I don’t even think I owned a book, to be honest. Ever.”
“That’s a shame,” Price said, though not in a way that made me feel judged. He was simply stating a fact.
“Yeah, my entire childhood was pretty much a shame.” My heart skipped as I said the last sentence, instantly regretting telling him too much. He was my employer, not my counselor. I needed to remember that my issues were not his, and the last thing he needed or wanted in his life was a big case of walking drama… which I was known to be at times. “But I can read, and I’m a fast learner. I hope you don’t think I can’t do the job.”
“If I thought you couldn’t do the job,” he began, “I wouldn’t have hired you. Part of the reason I hired you is that you were different than the arrogant literary types who were applying for this job. Everyone wanted to be Price Anderson’s assistant. The fame aspect, I suppose. Not to mention how pretty and shiny it would look on their bullshit resumes. Not one of them really understood what I wanted in this job. I didn’t want a cowriter. I didn’t want an editor. I sure as hell didn’t want a fan or groupie. I guess I liked that you had no idea who I was or what I even write.”
Price turned the corner and had to slam on the brakes as a deer darted out of the trees. His arm instinctively shot out in front of me in protection, holding me back against the seat. The deer stopped in the middle of the road and just stared at us for several moments. I had never seen a live deer so close before.
“Sorry about that,” he said, turning to look at me with worry in his eyes. “Are you all right?”
I nodded. “Just fine.” I kept staring at the deer. “She’s so pretty.”
“You’re going to see a lot of them up at the cabin. They come out in the yard almost every day.” Price honked his horn, scaring the deer back to the safety of the woods. “There’s a lot of wildlife up there. Deer, black bears, rattlesnakes, raccoons, an occasional mountain lion, and the pesky skunk. There’re also some beautiful birds, and if you’re really lucky, you might get to see a bald eagle.”