Violet pecked away at her laptop, trying to wrestle the numbers into agreement with her budget. They weren’t cooperating. How could she be so far over budget with her expenses? She was always very, very careful with every single expenditure.
She frowned at the screen with the Blue Heron Cottages budget and its taunting red negative numbers. Disappointment in the numbers on the screen and in herself surged through her. That couldn’t be right, could it?
“Having problems, sis?”
She glanced up, annoyed at the interruption. Rob stood beside the table, staring at her with his ever-questioning eyes. Why did he always show up when she was having a problem? A problem she’d rather he not know anything about.
She ignored the question and stated the obvious. “Hey, you’re back from your honeymoon.”
“Yes, we’re back. Got in late last night.”
“Did you have a wonderful time?”
“We did, but it was great to get back home, too. Although Evelyn left early this morning to head to the cafe. She couldn’t wait to check in and get back to her baking. She really loves her cafe.” Rob sank onto the chair across from her. “Now, tell me what’s wrong. I saw that big scowl on your face.”
“It’s nothing.” She snapped the lid closed. No way she was admitting her problem to her big brother. She wanted him to think she was a great businesswoman. And prior to running this morning’s numbers, she had just begun to believe that herself.
He snatched the laptop from her and opened it. “Ah, your budget.”
“Hey, I didn’t say you could look at that.” She glared at him.
“Are you sure this is right?” He pored over the numbers. “It shows you’re losing money.”
She let out a long sigh. “Yes, that’s what it says. I thought I was doing so well. But the numbers never lie, do they?”
He tapped around on the computer keys. “Sometimes they do.” He spun the laptop to face her.
She stared at the screen, which now showed a respectable profit. “How’d you do that?”
“You doubled two different expense categories. See, right there.” He pointed to the screen.
Relief spread through her. “Oh, that’s great. I mean, it’s not great that I made that mistake, but it’s great I’m making a profit. I’ve been so careful with expenses.”
“I told you that you should let me keep doing the books for you. I don’t mind.” Rob shook his head and gave her a patient smile. A smile that annoyed her.
“No, I want to learn how to do them myself. But I am glad you found the mistake.” Two of them, actually. How could she have done that?
“We could get you set up on a better reservation system with a hotel management software. Then all this would be done for you. You wouldn’t have to be manually pulling in spreadsheet numbers.”
“I don’t know. Techie stuff is not my forte.”
“I could set it up for you and show you how to run it. And Aspen seems techie. I’m sure she’ll help. She was a great hire.”
He was probably right. And that annoyed her, too. He was almost always right with his suggestions. And his suggestions were many…
“I’ll research some options. How about that?” He leaned over and shut the laptop. “Let me at least do that for you.”
“Okay, okay.” She placed her palms on the table and pushed up.
“Anything else you need me to help you with? Any repairs?”
“No, I’m good.” There was that one ceiling light in the mint green cottage that flickered, and she hadn’t been able to fix it. Exasperating, but not an emergency. She’d replaced the lightbulb, but that hadn’t helped.
“Vi? What is it you need my help with?” He pinned her with a tell-me-now stare.
“I don’t—” She sighed again. “It’s a flickering light in the mint green cottage.”
“Is the cottage empty now?”
“Okay, I’ll go look at it. You know, I do like to feel like I’m needed.” He winked at her and got up from his seat.
“Oh, well, if it makes you feel needed, by all means, go look at it.”
He brushed past her and out the door, calling back, “You need me. Just admit it.”
She grinned at his retreating back. She’d never admit it, but she did kind of like that he was so handy at fixing things and at numbers, it appeared. Anyway, it was a relief to see she was making money. Not a lot, but still, she was making a profit. Hopefully, that would grow with a few weddings that were scheduled this fall and then the busy season this winter.
She glanced at her watch. Time to take over the front desk so Aspen could go to a shift at Jimmy’s. That woman worked harder and longer than anyone she knew. She’d been lucky to find her. Rob was right about that. Right about something yet again.
Now that the numbers were sorted out, if things kept going the way they were, she’d be able to give Aspen a bonus by Christmas.
Tara Bodine pushed back a lock of her unruly hair. Why couldn’t she have been born with hair that could be tamed? Even a little. Like stay back in a ponytail when she pulled it back, or remain braided in one of those stylish French braids. Or even just stay out of her eyes. She didn’t ask much.
She glanced across the crowded restaurant. They’d been packed with customers tonight at her father’s restaurant, Jimmy’s on the Wharf. Which was good, ...
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