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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

A Gathering of Storm Clouds


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Mature Content: Probably not, maybe some lingo.

With: Marshalls McNue & Cook, possible others
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: Mid July 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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Town Marshal Speed Guyer sat at his desk in his office ruminating about the new he had received from Hector Wigfall and from Jacob Lutz. Tom Love was just one man, and he knew nothing of him, or his abilities as a gunman, but Case Steelgrave was another matter altogether. He knew plenty about him and the crowd he ran with. The gang he ran was more like it. The town of Whitefish had allowed him to run them almost in the open. But with no County Sheriff, nothing was ever brought to trail about him or his men. The Storm of '75 ended that, wiping out Whitefish, his stronghold. And they had been on the move for the most part ever since.

 

True, they had had their chance to convict Case, but a big city lawyer had ended that hope winning an acquittal.  Would they come to Kalispell? The Evergreen? Their hideout? Anywhere else and any direction? The choices were all his, so combining to the two, Love and Steelgrave, well, that just made things all that much worse, and no Pronto Pike to stand with him.

 

He did not hear or see them ride up to the hitch rail in the front of the Municiple Building, and until the opened the front down and stated for the office he hadn't heard them, however their jingling spurs announced their arrival long before they opened the door and stepped inside..

 

"Whatcha cogitatin' on Guyer? Somepan got ya treed?" Cook asked.

 

"You boys ever hear of a Tom Love? Supposed to be a gun hand of some repute."

 

"Yep." McNue said flatly. "I ain't real sure how much of a gun hand he is, killed him a few, ain't too sure any was a stand up fight."

 

"Bad as that Wallace Oldham! Back shootin' son of a buck!" Cook was shaking his head. "Find him around the minin' camps over't Butte, Wise River, that area. Why?"

 

"Well, while you two were out sight seeing, got word both are headed this way. Tom Love, Case Steelgrave, with maybe a dozen hard cases, with him. They ain't together."

 

"Oh, now we heard about Steelgrave and that crooked lawyer that got him off. Might make ya feel some better ta know  he was killed. Caught cheatin' at cards up in Helena. Sad thing that, he shoulda know'd better." McNue recited.

 

"Too bad. He was slick alright. So, now you've heard the bad news. And that would be plenty of it. Depends on where the Steelgrave outfit is headed and what plans he might have for this place. Tom Love? Can't say."

 

"You reckon Case'd throw in with his pa over this hospital fiasco?" Cook asked. It ell quiet for a moment.

 

"That? I don't know." Speed replied. "Count on you boys to stick around?"

 

McNue and Cook exchanged looks then both nodded that they would.

 

"Guess I best tell Miss Steelgrave, and her men." Speed informed them as he got to his feet, then he did something new for him, he opened the bottom desk drawer and took out a gun belt and holster, a left hand holster and strapped in on over his right hand rig,  Lastly he took out another Colt, four and three quarter inch barrel, front sight removed, and dropped it into the holster. "Man outta be prepared."

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           Cook                   McNue

 

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As Speed left the office and headed for Leah Steelgraves residence on East Oregon Street the weight of the extra gun gave him pause to consider what may lie ahead. Tom Love was an unknown and that made him almost more dangerous than Case and his men. A dozen, if not more of the dregs of Montana. Warning her was the sensible thing to do, her and her men. It dawned on him, with Cook and McNue, that would be six against twelve or more.

                                                                                  ~0~

At the office to two men sat a long moment, each with his ow thoughts about what might be coming when John Cook said, "Gettin' a mite long in the tooth for this sortta thing, but, I guess we got it to do, eh Bill.

 

McNue nodded as he looked at his long time partner. Been in some scrape, you an me, guess one more ain't gonna make much difference. Guyer, he just strapped on another iron, like it was all in a days work. Damn!"

 

"That cushy job in Helena sortta took us outta that day to day doins of bein' a lawman." Cook related.

 

"Hell John, this'll be fun. They don't know it's you an' me they're up agin. By doggies!" McNue stated.

                                                                                   ~0~

They sat across the street where he would expect them to be. Bannister, McKinney and Santee, each nodded to him as he walked up to the door of the clapboard house, thinking how it really was not where one would expect to find her. He rapped lightly.

 

Leah, almost surprised at the knock rose from the settee and went to the door, opening it see Marshal Guyer, which gave her cause to smile. "Marshal, do come in." She offered. "A pleasant surprise, indeed. I have water on for tea if you'd like a cup."

 

"I'm afraid this isn't a social call, but yes that sounds fine." He replied almost hesitantly. "I'm afraid I've word that your brother, Case, is headed back this way and he has a number of men with him."

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"Is that so? Not that I doubt you Marshal, not at all, I guess it's just a reaction to here we go again." She remarked. "I wondered if he might decide at some point to come back this way. And he has his minions with him. How many, do you know?"

 

"I've been told a dozen, but I really can't say for sure, although I tend to believe the man who said he saw them." Speed commented, he was just going off of Jacob Lutz's story, which he had no reason to doubt. "He was described accurately."

 

"Well then I would assume he would be heading for the back country where he has a place. If the law is after him, well, with no State authorities, they can do very little. Have you heard anything from any other lawmen?"

 

"No, not to this point, there was something about Big Flat, a mining camp to the south where there was trouble, and your brother was there, but all of it is unclear and hearsay. Now, if there is anything that happens up here, I am authorized to assume the duties of the County Sheriff, and, I have two Marshals from the Governors service at my disposal." Speed detailed for her.

 

"And your man Pike, he's still away?" She asked.

 

"Yes, last I knew he was in San Francisco, a bit far to rush back here, and how do we know Case will try anything here? We don't."

 

"Ah, San Francisco, yes." Leah smiled. "He hates you Speed Guyer, hates you with a passion." Her tone was matter of fact. "He will want to kill you, but he will be the one that comes for you not any of his lackeys. It will be face to face, you can rely on that."

 

Speed, standing hat in hand also smiled. "I assumed it would be that way. It's what his men might decide to do that concerns me. Case and I, a matter of accuracy, when it comes to that. I doubt that will be the first thing he's planning."

 

"And you could be right. Let me get that tea, the water is boiling."

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

"And the Hospital? You have a plot to build on as yet?" Speed asked.

 

"I'm afraid not, and I am considering moving the idea to Columbia Falls. I suppose that will mean losing Doctor Danforth, if that is what I do, but dealing with Wentworth and the rest of the Town Council has grown wearisome. Leah explained. "They have more land available than people to settle it, but they simply cannot seem to make a decision."

 

"Columbia falls is quite a distance, some twenty miles, unless I miss my guess. Be sad that Kalispell wouldn't benefit from the hospital and the orphanage, Seems like the town will eventually benefit from the railroad you worked so hard to get for them. And, they give nothing in return."

 

"Yes, I'm well aware of that, and yes, it is sad. The people here deserve better, but I just can't squat on a piece of ground and start building, maybe back a dozen years, but not now." She sounded tired of the fight to give the town something that appeared to be undeliverable. "Matt Wentworth never had an answer when I asked him about the property. Just frustrating, Speed, frustrating."

 

"The last thing I would ask of you after all this is to try and be patient." He said, "And, with Case headed this way, well, it just maybe one too many fights to contend with."

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She laughed out loud at the suggestion, "He may be a whole lot of things, Speed, but Case would never lay hand to a woman, or see it done."

 

"Good to know, and I expect that goes for a sister as well?" He smiled at his own statement. "Not meaning to make light of it. Things here just aren't what they were, and not that far back neither, just since Richard Orr and the fire. Folks just don't seem to care much anymore."

 

"About contending with fights, Might be one with my father, another with the town, but there won't be one with Case." She said firmly. "And Speed, I'll be patient a bit longer, maybe give them time to reach a decision."

 

He set his cup on the fine china saucer and stood. "Good. I'll count on that." He donned his hat and stepped to the door, thanks for the tea." That was followed by a smile. He opened the door and stepped out onto the porch where he paused and considered the men across the street. Tough as they come, they had proved that, Leah was safe so long as those men were alive.

 

He had a call to make.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

To anyone that was watching, it was far from unusual for Leah to call one or all of her men into her residence. On this occasion she beckoned Bannister inside. He was more or less 'the Captain of her guards.

 

"Yes Ma'am?" He asked stepping inside, removing his hat and closing the door behind him.

 

"I have an offer from Columbia Falls to take the hospital project there, and I am fully considering doing just that. Kalispell's powers that be have been playing games with me over this for far too long. Now, Marshal Guyer has gone to see Matthew Wentworth, and I assume to see Judge Robinson as well."

 

"Yes Ma'am, That would surely be logical." Bannister agreed.

 

"The last thing I want to do is leave here, but I believe that building a hospital, wherever it will be allowed is more important than  continuing to play these silly power games with men who have no foresight past the end of their noses."  She railed. "That being said, somewhere in the woodpile is my father, I can just sense it!"

 

"You think he is the cause of these delays?"

 

Not wholly perhaps, but I see his hand in this somehow. Anyway, I believe we should be prepared for two outcomes, more delays and a move to Columbia Falls, or, we begin construction here and be prepared for a fight."

 

"Either way," Bannister began, "Miss Steelgrave, we're ready for whatever comes next." Perhaps an understatement, but a fact.

 

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Bannister had left, Leah sat, her tea had turned lukewarm, but tea was far from what she wanted.  She wanted answers, answers that had been  withheld for whatever reason. The property was to be given to her, that had been the decision, not that their was not another plan in place, but unfortunately for his family, Orr had burned to death. A horrible way to die, even if she detested the man, she felt for his families agony.

 

Now, Guyer had left, hopefully he would get an answer. But sitting and waiting was just not for her, so, she took up[ a shawl and a parasol and steeped out of the house. I t would be a short walk to Doctor Jonah Danforth's residence and office. She had not seen him for some time, and she would admit that she was at fault. He was a busy man now that Doc Boone was gone to Columbia Falls.

 

Of couse her men were following at a respectable distance as he reached his street and went to the house. She reached the door and knocked. It would be good to see Jonah if only as a distraction to her problems with the town.

@Bongo

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It was one of those rare, nice days, when Jonah didn't have many patients, and the appointments had all been early in the day, so he had the rest of his time free, barring any emergencies.  Mrs. Harris had left for the day, but had left him some beef stew, biscuits and fresh baked cinnamon rolls...he'd marry that woman if she wasn't old enough to be his mother...and she was less acerbic...and didn't have sixteen kids...and...

 

At the knock on the door, he sighed and set aside his coffee, hoping that this wasn't an emergency, or anything that was going to take a lot of time. 

 

He broke into a smile when he opened the door to reveal Miss Leah Steelgrave standing there.  "Good day!  I trust you are well?"  She didn't seem to be in any distress, but then, knowing the young woman, she'd have to be in a great deal of distress to show it.

 

"Please, come in."

 

@Flip

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"Hello Jonah." She said with a smile as she stepped inside. "How are you? You look well. I must admit that I've missed our time together. But I would imagine that with Doc Boone up in Columbia Falls you're quite busy these days."

 

"I've come with some news about the hospital which I think you won't be happy about." She began, "The land that the town was to provide for the projects has not materialized as they had promised. Through Doc Boone I have received an offer from Columbia Falls to move the projects there. That the land would be available to me upon my selection. Seems an easier, less complicated solution to seeing it completed." There was a pause, "Marshal Guyer is looking into it. But, I have little faith he'll be able to get anything done about it."

@Bongo

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"Columbia Falls?"  Jonah shrugged, motioning for her to sit at the table, then pouring coffee for them both before sitting.  "Well, if that's the way Kalispell wants it...I've no specific ties here, I can sell this place and move."  He shrugged, offering her some of the cinnamon rolls.  "Mrs. Harris baked those, so they are safe."

 

Grinning, he took one for himself, then commented, "All the more loss for Kalispell, although I suppose you could give it one last shot in the paper to garner public outrage at losing the facility here."

 

Maybe, if there was enough outcry, the town council would give in?

 

@Flip

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Grinning, he took one for himself, then commented, "All the more loss for Kalispell, although I suppose you could give it one last shot in the paper to garner public outrage at losing the facility here."

 

"Oh, sure Phinas would be only to happy to scald the Town Council, or whoever is holding up the property release. I'd swear that my father has his hands in this." She said. "I can't for the life of me understand why the property transfer has become so difficult. That makes Columbia Falls all that much more attractive!"

 

Maybe, if there was enough outcry, the town council would give in?

 

"My thoughts have been to take the project to Columbia Falls because of all this unnecessary fighting to get something done for the community." She added. "Now this cinnamon  role, it is delicious! Almost like what I can get from Emeline, wish she were back." She smiled then, "I just wanted to stop by and vent about all this unnecessary struggle and, to let you know about my options. And maybe you're right about Mister McVay and the Union."

@Bongo

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"Well, it's my pleasure to be of service to you," Jonah commented with a chuckle.  "At least you're one customer who will be satisfied, and there's nothing like a good cinnamon roll to cure what ails you...at least in the moment."

 

While Jonah wasn't the 'activist' sort, he earnestly wished, for Leah's sake, that this damned hospital thing would work out, one way or another, and take all this worry away from her, and let her get on with planning and organizing...and being happy.

 

Kalispell's loss will be Columbia Falls' gain, of course, and a hospital closer than Helena is certainly warranted," he observed, "although Kalispell is more centrally located and has more businesses to support a hospital."

 

But, in the end, there would be a hospital, somewhere.

 

"But then..." a little fly in the ointment, "if your father is to blame, won't he cause trouble regardless of where you decide to build?"

 

@Flip

 

 

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"You mean, if he isn't already, somehow." She put forward. "It's like I can feel him in this charade by the Town Council, not that are likely to blame, but somehow, someway, either one or more of them is involved in this conspiracy, and it is a conspiracy ."

 

She smiled, "Yes Jonah, I have always been able to count on you, and I have to say the cinnamon role is delicious, as well. I doubt that the idea of a move to Columbia Falls was not something anyone thought of, let alone the conspirators." She nodded lightly, "Having an option was not in whatever plans they might have had. By now though, it is known. I know Speed Guyer went to Matt Wentworth, and I'll bet they went either to Judge Robertson, or some other members of the Council. Bannister had seen that much."

@Bongo

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"Do you think the town council has been bribed?"  Or worse..."Or threatened?"

 

That was pretty severe just to block a hospital because of the primary backer, but he knew that Elias Steelgrave was neither honorable or altruistic, and if he felt that he had been crossed, he'd take whatever measures he cared to to reach his goals.

 

"So, how long are you going to give this before you decide to give up on Kalispell and move your efforts to Columbia Falls?  Perhaps I could speak to Mr. McVey about the importance of a proper hospital in town, to help sway public pressure."

 

He could emphasize, from personal experience (or a bit of creative elaboration), the need for a hospital here, and not miles away, and appeal to the good women of the area, who were the ones with the real power!

 

@Flip

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"First, I'm looking at the end of the week. That is perhaps giving them too much time, but time is slipping away. It's already mid-July." She began, a bit dejectedly. It seemed clear that perhaps she felt beaten. Moving men and materials will take time, and the added distance to Columbia Falls will just eat up more time that we haven't got."

 

It was true, that it would be a late start, even if construction began in Kalispell time for good weather was slipping away, and there were no guarantees about a mild fall either.  It had been a long fight, a long tiring fight to get the Town Councils approval, only to be stymied again.

 

"My thought is to give the Marshal a little more time, he has been so supportive since the start, just as you have. I don't know what he's up too, and Matthew, I can't believe that he is involved in this deception, no. I am hopeful they will get something moving, and put an end to this misery. Kalispell deserves better," Then, "I deserve better!" A marked change in her voice as spoke. "I refuse to allow these spineless men to kowtow to whoever or whatever is guiding them!"

@Bongo

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"Indeed, you do deserve better," Jonah agreed, "anyone who has this much concern for the community does, and it's unconscionable that you are being so stymied."  He truly didn't understand why there were people trying to block Leah's efforts, but there was a lot he didn't understand, especially where politics was involved.

 

"Come with me."  Suddenly, Jonah stood and moved to pull out her chair.  "I need your help with something, if you don't mind."

 

@Flip

 

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"Mind? of course not, Jonah. I'd be happy to help." She agreed with a smile, as she rose she continued, "It's not so much that I deserve better, I could have done that quite well in Helena, or great Falls, even west to San Francisco. This is about the people of Kalispell and the surrounding area. But I'm glad you seem to think I deserve better."

 

"So, what is this you need my help with, Jonah?" Hopefully it was actually something she could do. She had missed their time together, not that it was constant. "Didn't you have a nurse here, a Miss Rundle, wasn't it? Seems she would be quite a help."

@Bongo

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"Oh, it's nothing so complicated that it needs a nurse."  Jonah shook his head as he led the way toward the front door, then around the side of the big house.  The yard had been recently landscaped with beds that had been tilled, and some of them were already sporting flowers, one of the many forms of 'payment' that Jonah accepted.

 

There was a large tree that provided shade in the afternoons, and one of the branches had a swing hanging from it, a simple affair of ropes and a polished plank.

 

"Mr. Murray made this...for children who are bored, or need to be put at ease, but I've yet to test it."  He was starting to think that this was a bad idea, but it was too late now.

 

"Anyway, would you like to give it a try?"

 

@Flip

 

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"A swing, how grand! First I must say that you have come up in the world from your former office and residence. Now about the swing, I would be thrilled, but only if you push, Jonah, there's no sense trying to swing by myself." Of course being corseted in, as she was, would help make such movements a bit more uncomfortable.

 

She slipped onto the smooth wooden seat and gripped the ropes. "What a pleasant surprise to find this here. I know they have at least one at the school, but that you have one for the children, well, it bodes well for your character." Then she laughed, possibly more of a release than anything else. "I am ready when you are."

@Bongo

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Jonah was relieved that she hadn't flat-out laughed at him, and indeed, the change in her demeanor as she settled on the swing was what he had intended.  Yes, this was childish foolishness, but that was the point.

 

"Of course I can push you," he commented, moving around behind her and grasping the ropes where they met the seat.  "Excuse me..."  Well, the proximity was a bit close!  

 

Pulling her back a couple feet, he warned, "Hang on and keep your feet up!"  Then he let her go, giving her a bit of a push, before taking a step back, so that when she 'returned' he was able to give her a more vigorous push.  He'd use her reaction to judge how high to push her, hoping only to make her smile for a moment.

 

@Flip

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"And this, this is how life should be, carefree as a child on a swing!" She exclaimed, feeling the exhilaration of something she had not done since she was a child. She was thoroughly enjoying the simple back and forth motion, gaining height with each push. For the moment she was free of everything.

 

"Wonderful!" She exclaimed. Absolutely wonderful!" Slipping the bonds of worry and responsibility if only for a few moments was, as she had exclaimed, wonderful. It was at that moment she saw Speed Guyer ride up, and she giggle like a schoolgirl, being caught on a swing.

 

He reined in and stepped down, ground hitching his horse. "Sorry to interrupt, I have news." He began, "Hello Jonah, good to see you." He greeted coming up to them, a perfect picture. "I hate to interrupt but I believe you will want to hear this, tomorrow at nine am, you meet with everyone to sign the exchange agreement and put an end to this situation and get the building started!"

 

Leah starred at him as the swing came to a halt.

 

"Really? How, how did you do that?" She asked, completely at a loss.

 

"No matter, Matt and I had a talk with Ben Robertson, he'll arrange it." Was Guyers explanation.

@Bongo

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It was just the reaction he was hoping for, and Jonah hoped that a few minutes of carefree fun would help Leah refocus, or at least some joy in her life.

 

Then Speed approached, and Jonah grabbed the ropes again, helping to bring the swing to quick stop by digging in his heels.  He hoped that Leah wasn't embarrassed at being 'caught', but then, Speed wasn't the sort to judge.

 

"Good news, Marshal!" Jonah exclaimed, smiling.  "Maybe we should have tried the swing out sooner!"

 

Seemed like Leah's plans were finally going to get started, and here in Kalispell, where she really wanted to be.  "Congratulations, Miss Steelgrave!"

 

@Flip

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"Finally." Leah said. "We can get a good deal completed in the time we have left."

 

"Yes Ma'am, a good deal of it. Well, I'll leave you two to enjoying the rest of the day" Speed said touching the brim of his hat. "Miss Steelgrave, Doctor." Being formal with the two made hims smile. "See you at nine then. With that he walked to his horse and climbed aboard.

 

"Thank you Marshal!" Leah called after him. Then to Jonah, "How exciting! I can call for the builders and the supplies to get them started on the foundation." She turned excitedly, "Will you go with me in the morning? I mean you are a big part of all of this, from the very beginning."

@Bongo

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"Of course!"  Jonah grinned widely, glad that this was finally coming to an end, and even more happy that Leah was happy.  "I've been at it this long, I'd hate to miss the best part!"

 

As much as it was a relief for her, it was for him as well, he was happy for the chance to move on with the project, even though that put him closer to having to figure out how to organize and operate something more than a simple clinic.

 

"I'd say a celebration is in order, but we've already had tea and cinnamon rolls, and the swing..."  He shrugged.  "Not sure what's left!"

 

@Flip

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She smiled at Jonah as Guyer rode off. Oh, I don't know, but I'm thinking you are most certainly correct, a celebration is in order. Tomorrow will be a banner day!" She announced triumphantly, "Not just me  or you, but for the County and the good people of Kalispell. Whether they like me or not, it matters not at all at this point. Signing the agreement, that is what is important for all of us!"

 

It somehow never occurred to Leah that she was about to have another setback, yet it would be one with a solution. A definite change in how this would all play out.

 

"I do believe a dinner at the Belle-St. Regis this evening is most assuredly in order!" She declared. She was happier than she could remember. At last it appeared that her struggle was almost over, that in fact the Town Council would honor their word to her. A dinner complete with their finest Champaign!"

@Bongo

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