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    • "Where would we put it?"  Emeline grinned as she started to sit beside him, but just at that moment the train's brakes engaged for the first time, sending her sprawling across Barnabas' lap.   "Goodness!"  She started laughing as she looked up at him.  "I'm afraid my husband isn't going to like this!" she giggled.  "He's very jealous, you know, so you'd best kiss me while you can!"   @Flip
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    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
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    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!

Strictly Business


Jonah Danforth
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Mature Content: No

Author: Jonah Danforth

With: Leah Steelgrave
Location: Town
When: September / 1875
Time of Day: Evening

 

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The rain had finally let up, and the skies were clear now, with the stars starting to twinkle brightly against the darkening purple of dusk, and it was quite lovely, if one bothered to look.  But Jonah was too busy concentrating on staying on the planks that someone had generously laid over the mud crossing the side streets to help keep pedestrians out of the thick muck.  After all the hassle of drying out after his earlier adventures, he didn't want to have to start over, especially since his shoes were actually still damp.

 

Finally, he made it to the hotel and stepped inside, grateful for the warmth as he looked to see if Leah was waiting or if he was going to ask the clerk to send her a message.

 

@Flip

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1646524572_1leahsteelgrave.jpg.ba1c69f5c72ea4cd13ccf06033a083e1.jpglarge.Bannister.jpg.aecdccccee8932cce6740c6edc305d35.jpglarge.Santee.jpg.94847727987a9a96e3b8bb128a4ef05d.jpgLeah was at the staircase and saw Jonah when he entered the hotel lobby. She was talking with Santee and Bannister, and by their expressions the conversation was serious.

 

It was no secret that the two were her security when she was away from the Evergreen, and it was not uncommon to see them talking with  their charge. She was alternating talking with the men and watching the door, so when Jonah entered she saw him a held up her hand.

 

Looking to Santee she said; "If you're riding back to the Evergreen, you can tell my father I have business here and will not be returning any time soon, if not, my offer stands."

 

"Yes Ma'am, I'll not be heading back, and I believe I'll accept your offer." Santee said. Bannister smiled.

 

"Good. I have a dinner engagement, so, as I said, I'll need to speak with the man I mentioned." She explained.

 

"Yes Ma'am. I'll, uh, we'll see to it." Bannister stated. Leah smiled and stepped away.

 

"Jonah." She said with a wide smile.  "Business I'm afraid. Seems my father is demanding my return to the Evergreen." She laughed lightly. "Too much to do here to be running back to the ranch any time Elias snaps his fingers. So, shall we?" She crooked her arm, as the two gunmen walked out into the night.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"It would be my pleasure."   Jonah took her arm, heading for the door behind the men.  He found it a bit unusual that a lady in these parts would have body guards, but then, from the rumors he'd heard of Leah's family, particularly her father, it wasn't a surprise.  And at least they weren't going to be tailing her to dinner...at least he didn't think so!

 

"I'm pleased to hear you won't be leaving soon," he added, again, finding it unusual that she would defy the man in her life, even if it was her father.  Besides, from what he was learning of Leah Steelgrave, she had her own mind, and she had the strength and intelligence to make good use of it.

 

"I'm sorry you didn't get to see more of the house today than the entry and kitchen."  Jonah chuckled.  "Hopefully, we'll get a chance to get to that.  Where are we headed this evening?"

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

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"It would be my pleasure."   Jonah took her arm, heading for the door behind the men.  He found it a bit unusual that a lady in these parts would have body guards, but then, from the rumors he'd heard of Leah's family, particularly her father, it wasn't a surprise.  And at least they weren't going to be tailing her to dinner...at least he didn't think so! “Where are we headed this evening?”


She stopped and looked at him. “Other than right here, all that would be available would be the stew at the saloon, that’s where Santee and Bannister were going.” She chided. “Had we started earlier we could have tried the café, but I’m afraid it’s a bit late for that, so I believe this is it.”
 

"I'm pleased to hear you won't be leaving soon," he added, again, finding it unusual that she would defy the man in her life, even if it was her father.  Besides, from what he was learning of Leah Steelgrave, she had her own mind, and she had the strength and intelligence to make good use of it.


She guided him to a table as he spoke and waited for him to pull out the chair for her. “Well, not to the Evergreen. But I may need to leave for the state house in Helena. I’ve contacts there and we will need support for our endeavors but that’s not tonight, nor tomorrow.”

 

"I'm sorry you didn't get to see more of the house today than the entry and kitchen."  Jonah chuckled.  "Hopefully, we'll get a chance to get to that."

 

“Yes, I’m sorry as well. But the rain has stopped, but tomorrow’s another day, fortunately.” She smiled, “There is just so much to do early on with these projects.” Purposely not mentioning what they were, as the were a few people in the dining room that she didn’t recognize and one that she did. A direct line to her father, though she was sure no one else in town knew that. She leaned forward. “We should keep our voices down about exactly what we are doing, don’t you think?”

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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"Yes, perhaps we can get a table that is away from others?"  Jonah wasn't sure why they needed to be secretive about such beneficial projects, but then, he supposed, there were people who might seek to undermine them simply because it was a Steelgrave who was involved, which was really a sad thing to consider, especially since he couldn't think of any ulterior motives Leah might have.

 

At their table, Jonah held the chair for her then settled across from her.  "At least if you can look over the property, you'd have a better idea of what to tell any investors," he suggested, "and maybe we can talk to the local eateries about providing meals?"

 

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At their table, Jonah held the chair for her then settled across from her.  "At least if you can look over the property, you'd have a better idea of what to tell any investors," he suggested, "and maybe we can talk to the local eateries about providing meals?"

 

"Of course, that has to be a priority in the morning." She stated. "And checking with the eateries about meals as well. But you have not said what you would like to see in all of this. The hospital of course,  and the orphanage to be sure, but you. How about you?"

 

Leah looked at him, wondering exactly what she had asked him, and wondering if she had met a man unlike her father,  unlike her brothers. Her world was changing rapidly.

 

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"Me see out of this?"  Wasn't that obvious?  "Of course, a modern facility for caring for patients. This territory is growing and there will be an increasing demand."  He frowned and shook his head...he'd never thought of himself as being in charge of anything, much the less something as large and important as a hospital, but if Leah was going to be involved, it was worth it!

 

"And, of course, the stray children can certainly use a safe place to stay, a place where they are fed and clothed, and they can attend school."  His tone was uncertain, although he was smiling.  Again, not something he would normally pay attention to.  Not that he was cold enough to just walk by a waif on the street, but it was easy enough to ignore after handing the child a coin or an apple, and go on his way, telling himself that they would be just fine now.  No, he was a selfish man, looking only to himself,

 

"I suppose it will be an investment in the community, I hadn't necessarily thought to settle her for the long-term, but maybe..."

 

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"Me see out of this?"  Wasn't that obvious?  "Of course, a modern facility for caring for patients. This territory is growing and there will be an increasing demand."  He frowned and shook his head...he'd never thought of himself as being in charge of anything, much the less something as large and important as a hospital, but if Leah was going to be involved, it was worth it!


“Yes Jonah, a modern hospital, with room to grow, of course, that would be in the future as the area grows, which it will.” She interjected. “And the orphanage, we shouldn’t forget that.”
 

"And, of course, the stray children can certainly use a safe place to stay, a place where they are fed and clothed, and they can attend school."  His tone was uncertain, although he was smiling.  


“Oh, but of course. Not only will all those things you have just mentioned happen as a result. There will be jobs, steady jobs, not dependant on the weather, or crops, or even finances, as there are ways to fund this project.” She added.
 

"I suppose it will be an investment in the community, I hadn't necessarily thought to settle here for the long-term, but maybe..."


“A grand investment in Kalispell, but Jonah, I don’t want to have to begin a search for a new medical director. It would be most difficult to run the hospital if you were not here.” She pointed out. “I must warn you, there will be trouble along the way. There will be those that want to stop what we’ve planned, and may go to any lengths to see plan prevail.” She paused, “I am taking precautions to that end. Not to worry, just understand that there are those who would not want these things in Kalispell, or anywhere close for that matter.”

 

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Jonah nodded, knowing that this was his time to gracefully back out, and as much as part of him was screaming to take it, the foolish part of him wanted to stay and help her, because..

 

Well, because it was for a good cause, right?  But then, when had Jonah ever thought of anything other than himself as a good cause? 

 

"I've dealt with detractors before, and honestly it just makes me dig in my heels and try all the harder."  Jonah looked at her evenly.  "I can't imagine how anyone would oppose either a hospital or an orphanage, unless it's because of your name, and that is ludicrous.  And we can't hide your involvement, so I say we just press on and defy the odds."

 

@Flip

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Leah actually laughed out loud. "Ludicrous is the perfect word. But Jonah, I don't want you to worry about a thing at this stage. There are problems associated with an new venture, it's to be expected." She paused, looking directly at him. "I have contingencies for whatever may happen, believe me. I have thought this out."

 

She had not quite thought out every aspect, but security, she was two thirds there already, and the final third would be approached soon. "We need plans, and then lumber, windows and doors, beds and bedding. I have a plan, the one that will get all of this, plus your medical equipment.For now, you just need to care for your patients and manage your barn yard full of payments." She smiled. "Now, about dinner."

 

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"Well, I certainly must defer to your knowledge on starting projects...or seeing them through, for that matter."  Jonah smiled.  "The most I have ever done was set up my own business, and that is completely different than this sort of thing.  I'm intrigued, though, I'd love to be in on the process, at least know what you are doing?"

 

He looked over the menu, then commented, "I believe I'd like to try the roasted capon with fried sweet potatoes."  It was a change from the regular stew or scrambled eggs, and he may as well enjoy the meal as much as the company...or nearly as much!

 

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 "Well, I certainly must defer to your knowledge on starting projects...or seeing them through, for that matter."  Jonah smiled.  "The most I have ever done was set up my own business, and that is completely different than this sort of thing.  I'm intrigued, though, I'd love to be in on the process, at least know what you are doing?"


“Well, the last thing I would want is to leave you out of what I’m doing, Jonah.” She said, taking up a menu. “So, once we have ordered then I can tell you what I will be doing.  Some things will be us together, some will be me, and still others will be you, though those will not be a lot. So, let’s see what looks good.”
 

He looked over the menu, then commented, "I believe I'd like to try the roasted capon with fried sweet potatoes."  It was a change from the regular stew or scrambled eggs, and he may as well enjoy the meal as much as the company...or nearly as much!
 

“I believe I’ll have the steak, pared down of course. I doubt I could handles a slab of beef that covers the entire plate. So, good.” Leah held up her arm to attract the waiter so that they could place their order.


Once that was done and the wine was brought to the table Leah leaned forward. “I will get funding to build the hospital, and the orphanage while in Helena, rest assured of that.” She grinned. “I do have my own connections, Jonah. And those of my father, which will be put to good use I can assure you.”

 

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"I imagine you have very good connections," Jonah commented, suddenly realizing how that sounded and stopping short of adding, 'and you know how to use them'.  There was nothing about her that would lead him to believe she got her advantages in any way other then her skill at manipulation, something most women possessed but ignored because of tainted mores.  "The house can give us a temporary start, but we can look at properties, or just extend what is there?"

 

He wasn't really sure what her vision was, but then, that was the reason for these meetings, right?  "Do you think both institutions should be on the same property?  Or perhaps the orphanage closer to the school?"  He was just beginning to realize that there was a lot more to this.

 

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“Part of being a Steelgrave is the family connections.” She could see that the sentence had made Jonah uncomfortable. “And yes, I was taught how to use them. That actually should be of comfort, as I will have the upper hand going in.” Then she added soberly, “I also know what has been said of me, and how much of that is actually true.

 
He wasn't really sure what her vision was, but then, that was the reason for these meetings, right?  "Do you think both institutions should be on the same property?  Or perhaps the orphanage closer to the school?"  He was just beginning to realize that there was a lot more to this.


“Those are choices we will certainly have to make, and in the not to distant future. I seriously doubt that I will be in the capitol more than two weeks at the very most.” She explained, “So, while I am here we can certainly browse the area for locations suitable, not that your property isn’t, we just might see a need to be bigger than the current plan.” The smile returned, “and we need to put that plan to paper so we know what we are looking at initially."

 

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"In all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to having a hospital and orphanage in my private home," Jonah chuckled.  "I don't mind it like it is now, with the clinic downstairs and my rooms up, but all of the hustle of a full hospital..."  He shook his head.  "Not what I want as a home!"

 

He took a sip of wine, then commented, "Provided it doesn't pour rain again tomorrow, would you like to look at properties?  Then we can work on the paper part?"  They'd have to have some sort of idea on what they were looking at for a location, he figured, to start laying out plans.  "Have you seen an orphanage?  I really don't know what it would entail besides a large house and a larger-hearted matron."

 

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“Oh no, no, no.”Leah proclaimed. “The orphanage will come n time, once the facility is built. I would not expect you to attempt housing more than your clinic as you do now. The hospital will be constructed before there is any expectation of receiving patients.” Somehow she had failed to explain that part of the plan and was embarrassed by the slip.
 

He took a sip of wine, then commented, "Provided it doesn't pour rain again tomorrow, would you like to look at properties?  Then we can work on the paper part?"  They'd have to have some sort of idea on what they were looking at for a location, he figured, to start laying out plans.  "Have you seen an orphanage?  I really don't know what it would entail besides a large house and a larger-hearted matron."

 

“Absolutely, Jonah, absolutely.” She confirmed. “I admit I have not seen an orphanage, but, my intention while in Helena is to see if they have one, and investigate it thoroughly.” She took a breath and continued, “If not there, then I will see where there is one or one I might contact for information. I shan’t do this haphazardly. We will have a proper orphanage, and a proper hospital, I promise you.”

 

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( St. Joseph's Orphans Home was established in Helena on October 8, 1893 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in Helena. It is the oldest, but hey, this is fiction right?)

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"Well, we do have time to research, make certain we have it right," Jonah commented, "especially where children are involved, certainly not my field of expertise, unless they have a fever!"  He chuckled.  "I do suppose, though, we may need to confer with the city council, after all, a number of children needing the services of the school and such will change the needs."  Bringing in several children might put a toll on the schools, and maybe other areas as well, he had no idea, really. 

 

"At least medical care will be provided!"  That was one aspect they wouldn't have to worry about, although this was getting to be pretty complicated.  But at least Leah seemed to have plans on where and how to start, and it wasn't going to happen overnight.  "And there will be plenty of fresh produce and milk!"  That would be something to do with all the 'payment' he got!

 

@Flip

 

(So, we're just ahead of Helena!)

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"At least medical care will be provided!"  That was one aspect they wouldn't have to worry about, although this was getting to be pretty complicated.  But at least Leah seemed to have plans on where and how to start, and it wasn't going to happen overnight.  "And there will be plenty of fresh produce and milk!"  That would be something to do with all the 'payment' he got!


“Meeting with the council is on the agenda, but, there are a few things I need to ferret out beforehand. When we approach them with the ideas we need to be ready to proceed.” Leah advised. “So that means we have to have the backing that will be required for each project. So, my trip to the capitol is really a requirement to get the ball rolling, so to say.”


She had no doubt she could garner support for either project. What she wanted was inside information on the route the railroad favored. She also doubted that she would have any trouble getting it, and getting it well in advance, but that information could wait.


“I would hope you realize Jonah, you will be compensated in you new position. It would certainly be difficult to operate a first rate hospital with volunteers and payments of livestock and food stuffs.” At that moment their dinner arrived.

 

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Jonah chuckled, he couldn't help it.   "I never thought I'd be paid to be in charge of anything other than my own clinic, and I'm not sure now that I can trust your judgment!"  He gave her  quick wink, then smiled as their supper was set in front of them.  "This smells wonderful!  I'm afraid I'm going to be spoiled by the time we are though with this."

 

He took a bite of the squab, savoring the wonderful flavors.  "It's amazing how the right application of ingredients can change something that is mundane and dull to something superb.  But I suppose that applies to just about anything, doesn't it?  Good ingredients are wasted without good use and vice versa?"  Did that somehow apply to him?  Likely the opposite!

 

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Leah smiled at his statement about being paid to be in charge of the hospital, “But Jonah, you’re a doctor, it’s a hospital, our hospital. Who else would we have run it?” The smile never wavered, “Of course there will be other doctors, but it will be you that is the Medical Director.” the statement about being spoiled made her laugh. “Yes I suppose you will, and in time, you’ll be spoiling yourself.”
 

He took a bite of the squab, savoring the wonderful flavors.  "It's amazing how the right application of ingredients can change something that is mundane and dull to something superb.  But I suppose that applies to just about anything, doesn't it?  Good ingredients are wasted without good use and vice versa?"  Did that somehow apply to him?  Likely the opposite!


“Exactly my point, Doctor Danforth. You sir are the proper ingredient to make this hospital work, I have nothing but confidence in your abilities. It maybe rocky at first, but I have no doubt that you are the man for the job!”

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"Medical director?"  Jonah chuckled.  "Never thought of myself as anything like that, but I do like the way it sounds."  So he said, but there seemed to be a bit more permanence to it than he cared for, and that actually frightened him in a way, although he supposed he could look on it as a challenge to live up to a commitment.  But then, he liked neither challenges nor commitments!  And he certainly didn't want anyone to have confidence in him whatsoever, be it his skill nor his commitment, but then, he was in it this far, and he really didn't want to disappoint the lady.

 

"And I suppose I can't argue with a bit of luxury now and then, although I'd prefer it didn't come with hard work!"  He chuckled, but there was more than a jigger of truth to the statement.  "What about you?" he asked impulsively, "What do you get from all this?"  Altruism could only go so far.

 

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"And I suppose I can't argue with a bit of luxury now and then, although I'd prefer it didn't come with hard work!"  He chuckled, but there was more than a jigger of truth to the statement.  "What about you?" he asked impulsively, "What do you get from all this?"  Altruism could only go so far.

 

“What about me you ask, simple, a certain measure of revenge.” She said coldly, then, “And being able to do some good in the process. Yes, you heard me right. The Steelgrave name is synonymous evil doings, lying, cheating and stealing. Well, if I am able to do something good, where I benefit not at all, then I’ve truly accomplished something...well, something unheard of.”

 

She smiled as she spoke, but the words were in earnest. It was what she wanted to do, and with her fathers money to top it off. The risks were substantial for her, she had no doubt Elias Steelgrave would treat her actions as the worst form of betrayal. That could cost Leah her life, she had no doubt of that.

 

“So, we will have the hospital, and in time the orphanage. I promise you that you will have the luxuries you dream off, with almost no real work. Might not happen all at once, but soon after it’s built and then on going.”

 

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"Ah, so you are going to defy the family and do the good thing?"  Well, he had to admire that, and the fact that she cared to make better of herself than what her family expected.  It couldn't be easy, even if your family was as bad as the Steelgraves appeared to be.  "I'm more than happy to help you in that venture."  At least until she was in a place where he wasn't as necessary to her goals.  Funny, though, that her effort to remove herself from her family's taint, he was violating his own self-serving tenets.

 

"I suppose my luxuries would mean good for the community, since we'd have a hospital."  He laughed and raised his wine glass.  "Here's to my luxury and your revenge!"

 

@Flip

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“Jonah, the venture is not about revenge, or defiance, it’s about filling a very real need. In order to do that I must defy my family as they could care less about this town or it’s people.” His cavalier attitude stuck a chord. “And no Jonah, your luxuries will be in the way you live, the money in your pocket, along with the satisfaction of running a hospital, and not just a clinic.”

 

She paused and then resumed, “if you would rather not, that’s fine, I can bring someone to run the hospital and you can either run your clinic or be on staff. That is up to you, but there will be a hospital in Kalispell, and hopefully on it’s heals an orphanage.”

 

Seeing her mother had upset her and she realized she may have misjudged what he had said, or misinterpreted the tone. Of course she would be in defiance of her family and that came with substantial risk to life and limb, of that she was sure.

 

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"Forgive me, I didn't mean to imply that your motivations were less than noble, and I'm more than honored to help you in these projects.  I just had never thought of doing anything like this.  And I don't expect to become wealthy at it, after all, it seems that there will be a good deal charity work, especially if we have trouble from investors."

 

After all, there would still be patients paying in the form of critters and foods, and an orphanage could hardly turn down children in need, even if they didn't have the resources, so it didn't seem to be propositions that would lead to wealth.  But there was no harm in seeing what it was all about.

 

"Just tell me what you need from me, and I'll do the best I can, considering I have no experience in any aspect of this!"

 

@Flip

 

 

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