All of the guys were already sitting at the table with the exception of Rodney, who was standing off to the side with his arms crossed and wearing the same blank face as he was this morning. Nikki didn’t know enough about him to think whether he was a good guy or not but she knew he definitely wasn’t trying to make the handful of people he didn’t know feel any better about their decision to drive with him into the woods. Nikki quickly took her seat next to Jenna, in between two of the guys that they hadn’t met yet and across from Ian who smiled.
“Let’s begin.” Rodney came closer to the table. “You’ve seen your rooms. The assignments are permanent and mandatory. You want to get to know the other gender be considerate and do it somewhere else on your own time and not in this cabin.”
Nikki and Jenna discreetly shared a look. Suddenly it was very awkward been the only girls on this trip.
“The bathroom is right behind me.” He gestured vaguely over his right shoulder with one hand and she saw there was a clipboard in the other. “There’s only one. One toilet, one sink, one shower. This,” he raised the clipboard. “Is the shower schedule. There are four shifts in the morning before breakfast at 8 a.m. and four after dinner at 9 p.m.. Thirty minutes each. If you need longer than that, at least sign up to go last. We’re adults. I’m not going to come knocking at the door asking you to please come out. Sign up and pass it on.”
He sat the clipboard down and slid it toward the guy to Jenna’s right. He quickly jotted his name down and passed it over to her and Jenna did the same just as quick. Nikki took it and wrote her name in the second to last spot right above Jenna’s. If Jenna was anything it wasn’t a morning person but she knew that Nikki was. As an unspoken agreement Jenna could have Nikki’s extra time and not be seen as taking up too much time from anyone else.
“As far as the work day goes,” Rodney continued. “Our breakfast is from 8 to 9. After that, we detect until 1. We’ll have break from 1 to 3 which includes lunch and then we detect some more until it gets too dark to see. There’s no bedtime because, once again, we are adults. This schedule doesn’t change except on Fridays and Saturdays I make a run into a city 30 mins away. It was…recommended…” Rodney gave a sideways glance at his wife who only smiled up at him from where she was seated next to him. “That I offer you all a ride in to town as an extracurricular. I will leave here at 8 pm sharp and I will leave there by no later than 12 am. You may find somewhere to buy yourselves dinner in that time or you can eat leftovers when you get back.”
He started to go over what kind of equipment that they would be using but said that they would go over more of that tomorrow morning when they took them out for a practice run. At this time, Rodney stepped back and let Sylvia take over.
“Now we want to cover as much ground as possible but we want to stay safe.” Sylvia said. “So what we’re going to do is match you off into pairs and we’ll switch every week just to make it fun! Now I’ll pull out two names at a time from this basket here and that will be a pair and then again and so on until we all have partners.”
She picked up a small wicker bowl with her hand covering the top and gave it a little shake. One by one everyone was paired off and Nikki was a little disappointed when her name wasn’t called after Jenna’s. It felt like getting a group project in class and then not being paired with your best friend. Funny how that kind of thing never leaves you.
“Nikki,” Sylvia said, and hearing her name shocked her out of her thoughts. She raised her hand as the others had done. “and… Ian.”
She looked at Ian and he smiled at her. It looked like she would be getting to know their new friend a little better. He wasn’t Jenna, but he still like he’d be ok.