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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.

Meeting Two Brothers


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Mature Content: No

With: Hannah Cory, Mike and Sam Wentworth
Location: Lost Lake Ranch
When: Early October 1875
Time of Day: Mid-morning

 

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As Mike made his way from the bunkhouse to the barn, he thought about how things had been going so far.  It had been over a month since he, Sam and Charlie had started working here and they were getting used to the ways things were done here.  Shade, had been pleased with the work they had been doing and had made their jobs permanent.  They were all beginning to form good friendships with the people they worked for and the people they worked with.  All except for Charlie, who was still having problems with Clara but that was going to be a work in progress for some time to come.

 

Just as he neared the barn, he caught the sight of a rider approaching.  Not being told to expect someone, Mike thought of who it could.  From this distance, he couldn't tell if the person was friend or foe, so just to be certain, he touched the gun in his holster in an act of readiness.  Prepared, he waited for the rider to come near.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Hannah Cory looked around as she approached the bunkhouse and barn area of Lost Lake Ranch. She had always felt that this area was meant to serve as a guardhouse for passage to the main lodge. As if the trail along the gorge, Ishmael's Pass, wasn't deterrent enough! Hannah spotted a man she did not know heading toward the barn and slowed Jingo, her splotchy marked roan, down to a slow trot and then to a walk.


The man seemed at ease, so maybe he was a new hand? Truthfully, Hannah had not been out to the ranch since shortly after Shade's return. He was tall and lean with dark hair and even handsome features. Definitely not someone that Hannah had seen around. Of course, Lost Lake's men were usually only in town on weekends because of the long ride.


Bringing Jingo to a stop near the man, Hannah pushed her hat back and let it hang by its strings on her back. She dropped to the ground and faced the stranger with a friendly-enough smile, "Howdy," Hannah greeted the man. She knew the badge on her vest was easy to see, so she did not bother with the whole deputy marshal spiel. "I'm Hannah Cory, brought copies of the latest wanted posters out for the ranch. Shade and Quentin like to have them to make sure whoever they are hiring is on the up-and-up."

 

@JulieS

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Mike nodded, "Shade told me that someone would be around eventually to deliver these.  I'm glad it was you and not the marshal."

 

He knew that the Kalispell deputy was a woman but this was the first time that he had seen her.  In over the month or so he had been here, he had only been town a few times, mainly on the weekend which was usually spent with Matt and his brothers as they all got to know each other again.  Learning his new job, the men he had working for him and how things worked here had taken up the majority of his time.  Now that he was getting on top of things, he would have more time for other things like meeting the deputy.

 

He smiled, "Sorry, I haven't properly introduced myself.  My name is Mike Wentworth.  I'm the day foreman."

 

@Stormwolfe

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"Oh, you're one of Matt's brothers!" Hannah exclaimed in surprise. "He told me that you would be arriving when we had lunch sometime back. It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wentworth."


Hannah and Matt had followed up their lunch with a Sunday afternoon of visits so she could introduce him around the area. It had been pleasant, and she had enjoyed his company. Her instincts had told her not to get too vested in the man's interest. He was likely simply being friendly and polite. Hannah had run into him off and on in town since then, so he was a bit surprised that he hadn't mentioned that his brothers had settled at Lost Lake Ranch.


"I had heard that the ranch hired a new foreman to replace Ezra Hale," Hannah added. "Welcome to Kalispell."

 

@JulieS

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14 hours ago, Hannah Cory said:

"Oh, you're one of Matt's brothers!" Hannah exclaimed in surprise. "He told me that you would be arriving when we had lunch sometime back. It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wentworth."

 

Mike raised his eyebrow.  In a way, it didn't seem odd that Matt failed to mention knowing the deputy as he was the owner of the town's only hotel, so it made sense that he would have lunch with her.  It was her exclamation of surprise that intrigued him.  She seemed to be very impressed with Matt.

 

"It's a pleasure to meet you ma'am," he answered back.

15 hours ago, Hannah Cory said:

"I had heard that the ranch hired a new foreman to replace Ezra Hale," Hannah added. "Welcome to Kalispell."

 

"Thanks for the welcome.  I've spent most of my time here on the ranch, learning the ropes.  When I've been in town, I've been spending time with Matt as it's been a while since we've all been together.  There's been a lot of catching up to do."

 

He paused briefly to assess the deputy.  Her clothes did nothing to give away anything about how much of a woman she really was as her buckskin jacket hid a lot. Her hair was long and messy, probably from the ride here but there was one he was sure of.  If brother Matt had taken the time to have lunch with her, then there must be something.

 

"Now, that I've met you, I'll make sure to come and say hello the next time I'm in town.  Maybe we can have lunch and I can ask you any questions about these flyers after I've taken good look at them."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Hannah nodded, "I am there almost every day," she told Mike with a bit of a cheeky grin. "Lunch would be good too. By then, I should also have any recall notices to pass along as well." She turned back toward Jingo, reached up to grab the handhold on the bareback pad and vaulted onto his back, reining him back a few steps as he tossed his head. She did not want the fractious mustang to take his sometimes evil temper out on the ranch's foreman.

 

"Take care, Mr. Wentworth. Keep Shade Thornton in line if you can," Hannah could not resist the subtle dig where the ranch's owner was concerned. She had actually put aside any lingering hatred she felt over her humiliation when Shade left her all those years ago. It didn't mean she wouldn't add a dig here and there. "Have a good day," she added as Mike touch his hat in acknowledgement. She backed Jingo up rapidly, then whirled him about and set off at a canter. Hannah's thoughts were rather in a whirl as she wondered if all of the Wentworth brothers were so handsome and well-spoken?

 

 ~*~ An Hour or So Later ~*~

 

They were a little more than halfway back to Kalispell when Jingo suddenly stumbled hard and slowed from his easy canter to a limping walk. Hannah pulled the reins back, "Whoa, Jingo." The horse tossed his head and tugged at the reins. He knew which way was home and he wanted to get back to the barn. "You stubborn cayuse," Hannah said in annoyance and vaulted from the saddle to the ground, putting more of her weight against the reins in her hand. Jingo reluctantly stopped his forward motion. Hannah kneeled and ran her hands along Jingo's right foreleg which he was holding slightly off the ground. It was immediately apparent that the horse had cast his shoe. Standing up, Hannah dropped the reins leaving the horse ground-tied while she looked around, finally locating the horseshoe on the side of the trail. She was still in a quandary. She had ridden off without a spare shoe, horseshoe nails and her farrier's hammer. Besides, Jingo seemed too tender for tacking the shoe back on immediately. He must have stepped on a rock.

 

Hannah used her hoof pick to do what she could for her horse, scraping away a few bits of rock and grit from the frog. She set his hoof back down, noting that Jingo was still favoring it. He would probably need a few days rest before she had him shod again. Hannah patted the horse's shoulder, "Come on, boy. We have quite a long walk ahead of us if we are going to make it home by nightfall."

 

With that, she set off along the road with the horse in tow.

 

@JulieS

 

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Sam had been checking the fence lines nearest to town for some hours.  It was not that exciting in the scheme of things but it was something that needed to be done.  Each hand took a turn at checking them in various parts of the ranch and today just happened to be his turn on this side.

 

Over the last month, he had been gradually getting to know the men he was working with including those who had returned from the cattle drive.  Mike was doing a good leading them and Shade Thornton had been impressed enough to keep all of them around, which was a good thing as he didn't relish the idea of working for Matt or making a long trip south.

 

He was about to set off back to the bunkhouse when he spied in the distance someone walking their horse along the main road back to town.  For the rider to be walking meant that the horse had a problem.  Kalispell was still a long way off but the rider was closer to town than the ranch house.  Of course, there was no question that he was going to help the person, which meant a ride into town.  By the time, they got there it might be too late to return and he liked the idea of that.

 

After guiding his horse down the hill they had been on, it only took a few minutes to catch up the rider.  As he got closer, he noticed that the horse was favouring one leg and that there was something odd about the rider.  The rider was not walking the way most men would.  That confused him a little and as he slowed his own horse down, he decided to make his presence known and hopefully not scare the poor man.

 

"Howdy."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Hannah had set an easy pace for Jingo's sake. It would mean not reaching town until after dark, but there was no sense in hurting the horse worse. She had been walking for quite a while when she heard the sound of hoofbeats behind her. Expecting the rider to come abreast of her or even pass her if they were not inclined to stop, Hannah felt her shoulder blades tense up with they stopped behind her.


"Howdy."


The man's voice was friendly, a bit startling, and not one known to her. She carefully removed the strap from her six-gun and turned around slowly. Hannah raised her cat-like blue-green eyes up to peruse the rider taking in his blond, boy-next-door good looks and noting that he sat at ease on his horse. Since he was apparently not an immediate threat, she moved her hand away from her six-gun and nodded pleasantly.


"Hello," she replied, making sure that she turned so that the badge on her vest was readily apparent. 

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Sam got off his horse and made his way over.  He could now see that she was a woman and that she was also a deputy.  It was no secret that Kalispell had a female deputy and he had already a couple of men bad mouthing her the few times he had been in town before getting the job at Lost Lake and since.  Even though it was hard to comprehend why someone, let alone a woman would want the thankless job of deputy, it still respected those that chose the profession and the same would be for the woman standing in front of him.

 

"I see that you're having troubles with your horse.  Is there anything I can do to help?"

 

Remembering that he hadn't introduce himself, he tipped his hat, "By the way, the name's Sam Wentworth."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Hannah stared at the tall, good-looking brother and then grinned, "Another Wentworth!" She laughed and held her hand out toward him, "I know your brother, Matt and I just met your other brother, Mike at the ranch. I was dropping off this month's batch of wanted posters." 

 

"It's a pleasure to meet you. I am Hannah Cory. As to your question about old Jingo here," she patted the horse's neck gently, "He cast a shoe and seems to have gotten stone-bruised in the process. I appreciate that you stopped. Sadly, I'll just have to take it easy walking Jingo to town."

 

Hannah had to admit to being impressed by the three brothers she had met so far. All of them were polite, well-spoken men. It was a pleasant turn from the ones she normally encountered.

 

@JulieS

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On 4/16/2020 at 3:31 AM, Hannah Cory said:

Hannah stared at the tall, good-looking brother and then grinned, "Another Wentworth!" She laughed and held her hand out toward him, "I know your brother, Matt and I just met your other brother, Mike at the ranch. I was dropping off this month's batch of wanted posters." 

Sam smiled, "I'm afraid there's still one more you haven't met yet but I'm guessing you probably will one of these days."

 

On 4/16/2020 at 3:31 AM, Hannah Cory said:

"It's a pleasure to meet you. I am Hannah Cory. As to your question about old Jingo here," she patted the horse's neck gently, "He cast a shoe and seems to have gotten stone-bruised in the process. I appreciate that you stopped. Sadly, I'll just have to take it easy walking Jingo to town."

"You've still got a while to go before you reach town and at the pace, you're going you won't make it there until after dark." 

 

Considering that she was a damsel in distress and considering that he was the type to help, he decided to offer it.  Being a deputy, she was probably fairly independent so there was a good chance that she would refuse him.  However, his conscience wouldn't allow him to let any woman, no matter how brave she thought she was, walk back to town by herself.  Besides, there might be more to her than meets the eye and he was curious enough to find out.

 

"Look, how 'bout me taking you back into town on my horse?  I haven't had Finn for long, but I can guarantee that he is strong enough to carry us both."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Hannah looked from the man to his horse and then over at Jingo, who stood with his head hanging. She was small and light enough that Wentworth's horse could easily carry the extra weight. On the other hand, she could not simply abandon her horse either. The splotchy-colored roan had been with her for a long time. Of course, they were still on Lost Lake property, and she could leave Jingo to graze and come back for him. Most folks on the ranch would recognize the horse. She could stash her rig behind that nearby outcropping of rocks. Worst case, one of the hands would find it and take Jingo and the bareback rig back to one of the barns. In fact...Hannah almost kicked herself for not thinking of that!


"I sure don't relish hoofing it for more than five miles," Hannah told Sam with a diffident smile. "Could I impose on you to take Jingo and my rig back to one of the barns on your way back if someone else hasn't by the time you head this way again?"


If Sam Wentworth did not mind seeing to her horse and saddle...such as it was...she would happily accept the lift into town. She offered a smile, "I can throw in a home-cooked meal when we get to town. I'll have to feed Pa when I get home."

 

@JulieS

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Sam smiled, "A home cook meal sounds great.  There's only so much a bunk house cook can make so I will welcome having something different."

 

Looking over at the horse, Sam noted that it wouldn't last much longer especially with the saddle still on.  Glancing over at Hannah, he also saw that she was starting to show signs of how hard the walk had been so far.  She might have to pretend to be tough in order to carry out her duties as a deputy sheriff but she was still a woman and he knew that they could be fragile creatures at times.

 

"I think we should unsaddle your horse and leave your gear in a safe place as it doesn't look like he can handle much more.  You can leave a note saying that I'll be back later to take of it."

 

He smiled reassuringly at her, "It's a good thing I was checking fence lines today as it would have been a shame to have a pretty girl like you trudge all the way back to town on your own."

 

Hannah's lips twitched at the compliment, "You Wentworth men sure know how to flatter a gal," she said. Reaching into her vest pocket, she pulled out a small notepad that she used to take complaint notes on. Using a short stub of a pencil that she also carried for the same reason, Hannah quickly jotted a note stating who the gear and horse belonged to. Hannah then unbuckled and removed the bareback pad and bridle. Pulling a halter from the saddlebags, she slipped it over Jingo's head and then gave him a pat on the rump, sending him limping to a clump of meadow grass. It only took a few more moments to tuck her gear behind a small clump of boulders.

 

"Guess that about does it," Hannah said and walked back toward Sam Wentworth and his mount. "I'm ready if you are."

 

Sam looked over where she had stored her gear and was satisfied that she had picked a good spot. "Ready," he answered.

 

After he had climbed up on his horse, he helped Hannah up to sit behind him.  He shifted to make himself more comfortable, "Try and get as close to me as you can and hold on tight."

 

Hannah scooted up as close to the cantle of the saddle as she could. Moving her lower legs forward to grip the horse's sides rather than its flanks. Leaning forward, she wrapped her arms firmly around Sam's waist, "Ready when you are. Our place is just east of Kalispell, stay straight on Main Street. We're barely outside the town limits."

 

Sam nudged his horse gently and they began a steady pace towards Kalispell.  To help pass some of the time, Sam decided to ask Hannah a question, "Can you please tell me how someone like you got into a such an unlikely line of work?"

 

"It's only unlikely if you're a woman," Hannah replied lightly. She had been asked that question often enough, but usually in a derisive or derogatory manner. Sam's voice indicated nothing more than genuine curiosity so she answered honestly. "My father was a town marshal for almost my entire life. When my mother passed away, he was determined to raise me and be a good father. I spent alot of hours at the marshal's office or with the deputies and their families when my father couldn't be home or something. It just seemed inevitable that I would go into law enforcement. I started by helping keep the office and jail clean, file and rotate out wanted posters. Then one day I made a citizen's arrest of a man trying to rough up one of the town's painted cats."

 

Hannah's voice trailed off, "I don't know what's next though. My father has retired and is running for mayor. Not sure I can keep on working as a deputy marshal if he is elected. Might not look right, you know? I mean, right now, I'm considered enough of an oddity but the town's long-time residents are used to me." She shook her head. Hannah had said almost the same things to Sam's older brother.

 

Turning his head slightly to look back at Hannah as she spoke, he thought about what she was saying.  He wondered if her mother had lived where would she be right now.  It most likely wouldn't here and in way that him sad.  She wouldn't be here now if it weren't for her father and he was the same.  "Your father sound likes he's a kind and understanding man.  No pressure to become what he wants you to be.  Unfortunately, all fathers aren't like that."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Something in Sam's voice got Hannah's attention. She shook her head slightly, "No, not all fathers are like Scott Cory. I've been lucky. What about you? I'm guessing your father doesn't live in Kalispell?" She wanted to allow him to tell her a bit about himself. Other than the other deputies, Hannah did not have many friends. She hoped that, in time, she would be able to count the Wentworth brothers in that category.

 

"Thankfully, my father doesn't live in Kalispell.  He lives in Washington," Sam replied, "That's one thing all four of us are glad of.  You'll probably get to meet him sometime during the spring as we expect he'll be paying us a visit.  Charlie was his last chance and he's not going to take it lightly."

 

"I'm sorry," was Hannah's immediate response, not pity, but compassion laced her voice. "A friend of mine had issues with his father growing up. It eventually drove him away. He's back now and you work for him," she informed Sam. True, her pride still smarted over Shade Thornton leaving her at the alter, even if it was only at a planned rendezvous so they could elope, but despite that, they would always be friends.

 

By now, they had made it through town and Hannah directed Sam around the town square on the east end. After another mile, she pointed off to the right at a gate and just beyond it, a modest, but nice single story farmhouse, "That's our place," she told him. "If you don't want to try to make it back to Lost Lake after dinner, we have a small bunkhouse you can stay over in, head back at first light." Hannah slipped from the horse's back, "It's a long ride back, even just to the ranch's main operations area."

 

Sam got off his horse and quickly checked him.  "You know I think that may be a good idea to stay for the night. Finn could probably do with the rest considering that we've been out for most of the day."  He smiled, "Besides, I can't think of anything more better than having dinner with a beautiful woman...and of course, her father."

 

Hannah blushed slightly, "Thank you although with the trail dust and six-gun, I am probably less than beautiful right now. If you want to put Finn in the barn, I'll let Papa know we have a guest and get cleaned up. Come on in when ready."

 

Sam smiled, "Yes, ma'am."

 

After she had left, he took Finn to the barn and unsaddled him.  He made sure that the horse had plenty of feed before taking his stuff over to the bunkhouse.   For the next few minutes he got himself clean and tidy.  He didn't have any extra clothes with him as he hadn't expected something like this to happen, so he just settled for taking off his shirt and shaking it out before putting back on.  When he was ready, he made his way to the house.

 

Hannah had made quick work of washing up and changing out of her work clothes into one of her nicer dresses. Little could be done with her wild mane, so she settled for pulling it back at the nape of her neck. She found her father in his study and let him know what had happened and that they would be having a guest for dinner. In the kitchen, she found that her father had already started dinner. A thick beef stew simmered on the stove, ready to be ladled into a skillet and baked into a crust. She donned a clean apron and prepared to start work. "Shepherd's Pie it is then," Hannah murmured. A knock at the front door sent her off to open it and welcome Sam inside.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sam stepped inside and as he took off his hat, he could smell the food cooking.  It smelled mighty good to him and definitely better than Dan was capable of doing in the bunkhouse.  He turned to look at Hannah to say something and that's when he noticed that she was wearing a dress.  It confirmed what he already said earlier about her being beautiful.  Now that she was looking more like a woman, he was beginning to have other thoughts.

 

Mentally he shook his head.  Now was not the time to go down that track, especially when her father was probably nearby, so he decided to go back to his first thought.  "I haven't smelled cooking like this in ages.  My compliments to the chef," he remarked as he gave her a wide smile.

 

"You will have to pass the compliment on at dinner. Papa started the stew. I'm just putting it all together in a shepherd's pie," Hannah replied with a lighthearted note in her voice. "Since he retired from the Marshal's office, he's become quite a cook. Could all change if he wins the election." She sighed softly, "Lots of things will change then, I guess."

 

"Maybe a change is a good thing.  It might give you time to do other things like travel or think about what you would really like to do. If I had stayed on the course originally planned for me, I wouldn't be here right now," Sam smiled, "Sometimes you make the changes and sometimes they just happen.  Just see it as an opportunity and you'll be fine."

 

"Opportunities...I like the sound of that," Hannah replied, "Come on back to the kitchen while I finish up. I can get you a cold drink...tea or lemonade. Papa will be out in a few minutes." She led the way back to the kitchen so that she could finish up and put the meal into the oven for the crust to brown.

 

"A lemonade will be fine," Sam replied.  Sitting down in one of the chairs, Sam took a quick look around the room and then returned his gaze to Hannah.  "I'm guessing that your Pa finds plenty of time to cook now that he's retired.  It must be hard a man who's been in a busy job like a town marshal to slow down and take things easy."

 

"Very difficult after almost a lifetime in law enforcement. He's ready for the next thing though. Running for mayor and taking an interest in building this place up a bit. In fact, he's finishing up some work on his campaign speech and will be in soon," Hannah set a glass of lemonade on the table for Sam. After putting the shepherd's pie into the oven so the crust could brown, she poured herself a glass of tea and sat down also. "Right now, I feel like I am trying to ride two horses...future mayor's daughter and deputy marshal." Hannah shook her head and smiled, "I'm enjoying the challenges."

 

Sam took a sip of the lemonade and smiled, "Personally, I think I would rather you be a future mayor's daughter.  It would have less complications."

 

"Complications?" Hannah asked and raised her eyebrows in question, unsure of what he was referring to.

 

Smiling, Sam leaned forward, "It would be far easier to court you if you were a future mayor's daughter and not the deputy marshal of Kalispell.  But since you are deputy marshal, I guess I will just have to find a way to overcome them."

 

@Stormwolfe

 

[OOC: After we get a tad further in their convo, I'll do a new Hannah reply 👍 and have "Dad" come in. - Dad can come in maybe after Hannah learns the reasons why Sam is interested in courting her.]

 

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