Tink, tink, tink, BAM! Tink, tink, tink, BAM! The sounds of the progressing railroad followed Cullen Bohannon as he climbed his way out of the cut. As foreman for Mr. Durant, Cullen was to keep the men working, pushing towards the seemingly elusive goal of forty miles of usable railroad. He hadn't been much of a railroad man until the Civil War began, and then only so he could learn how to best blow them up.
The war had ended not long ago, his Confederate brethren sullen and angry in their defeat. He had not exactly enjoyed the war, but had taken a sense of satisfaction in the battles they had won. Finally he had been doing something right. Until the official Confederate surrender at Appomattox.
Mary had not wanted him to join the army, but Cullen felt the pressure to defend his homeland. After the surrender, he had looked forward to seeing her and his boy, the two things in life that he had not failed at yet.
Coming home to find his wife raped and hung, the woman who raised him burned to a crisp in the hayloft of the destroyed barn, her arms around his boy as if protecting him from the fire, had flipped a switch in Cullen. Gone was the kind man who had loved his wife and son, replaced by the angry, driven killer obsessed with finding the men who had murdered his family.
The railroad was not a job he loved, or liked even. It was a means to the end; the end being hunting the last of the murderers and punishing them by taking their lives. Since beginning the job, he had been accused of a murder he had not committed, even though he would have committed it had Elam not done it himself, rescued the "fair haired maiden of the west" Mrs. Lily Bell, and taken down the band of Indians that had massacred a group of men including Robert Bell.
Sensing his attraction to her, Cullen had done his best to put as much distance between him and Lily, using his usually intimidating appearance and gruff manner to drive her away. Despite all his efforts however, Lily hadn't taken his hints and had only wormed her way into his life and mind.
As if his thoughts called her, Cullen turned to see Lily and Mr. Durant standing at the far edge of the cut, Durant attempting to keep the lovely lady from the working men's attention. Sighing, Cullen made his way through the sweaty men, a mix of black and white thanks to the Union's victory, to the pair.
"Mr. Durant. Mrs. Bell." His drawl seemed to float over them, ceasing the conversation they had been having.
Obviously annoyed at having Lily's attention diverted away from himself, Durant glared at Cullen. "Mister Bo-hannon."
Durant seemed to enjoy rubbing in his southern heritage, despite his abusing the South during the war, smuggling cotton out and reaping the profits of the limited product. Lily nodded at him, her small smile giving him a rush of warmth.
"How goes the progress, Mr. Bohannon?" she asked, grammar impeccable as always.
Careful to keep his feelings out of his voice, Cullen chuckled before responding. "Well, it seems to be going fine."
Lily laughed, her face lighting up and her eyes sparkling with mirth. "Full of information as always, Mr. Bohannon."
"Well…" Cullen looked back toward the men. "I guess I will see you around Mrs. Bell." He glanced toward Durant and slightly tipped his hat. "Durant."
Watching his long hair swing under the brim of his hat as he walked, Lily sighed in frustration. "That man is full of mysteries, is he not, Mr. Durant?"
Durant, still glaring at Cullen as he left, sucked in a deep breath before turning his sappy smile on her. "Yes. Yes he is."