Bohannon Dubbed Temporary RR Baron?
*Fall of 1866, Nebraska Territory*
He stood in his boss's railcar, summoned by the bed stricken and dying man to hear some order he supposed. The man looked paler than normal, sweat poured from his chubby face. His normally ginger curls were matted and wet. The pain of the bullet he received, lodged by his spine, a day prior was agonizing. Sitting by the wounded man's beside was the 'Fair Haired Maiden of the West' and checking on the wound was Mrs. Eva Toole. Eva had volunteered to be a nurse for the railroad baron but instead she was told she'd receive proper pay. Cullen, though, was curious on what a man near death wanted him for. Shouldn't the man be getting on his way to Chicago for that intense and badly needed life saying operation?
Mr. Durant opened his mouth and said in a shaken voice,"Mr. Bohannon, while I'm gone you're in charge of my railroad."
"Thomas!" Lily Bell shrieked in protest. The blonde clad in khaki pants, crisp white shirt, caramel hued vest and jacket, was shocked that Thomas her business partner and bed partner was giving control of the railroad to Mr. Bohannon. She had thought that she was going to stay behind to run things. "Thomas, I am perfectly capable of running it in your absence."
Cullen just stood silently and watched the exchange of words take place between Durant and Lily.
"No, Lily, Mr. Bohannan shall be in charge while I'm gone. You will stay behind but just to help conduct payroll, maybe take on some secretarial work." The ailing man mustered up enough strength to tell his mistress. The man didn't want her doing the work, truthfully he was selfish and wanted her to come to Chicago wit him.
Lily's nostril's flared up, her blood boiled, and she was insulted by her sudden 'demotion'. "Help conduct payroll, some secretarial work, but I am your partner and should be in charge!"
Durant's sweaty, chubby, hand grabbed ahold of Lily's as he told her in a pain stricken voice, "Lily, it's decided, Mr. Bohannon shall be in charge. The men listen to him."
"And you're saying they don't listen to me?" Lily piped up, not intending to give in and give up her point in the fight of wanting to run the railroad in her lover's absence.
Eva wrung out a wet rag and slapped it onto Durant's forehead. She turned around, her sights locked onto the bratty woman, and spoke up in defense of the ill man. "You heard him, maybe you should respect his wishes and stop fightin'. He's weak, needs his strength up for the trip."
With Eva having silenced Lily for a mere second Cullen took that as his cue to accept Durant's promotion and try get leave. "I'll look after your railroad, have a safe trip." Cullen said, nodding and placing his hat back on his head.
But As Bohannon tried to turn to leave Durant's voice stopped him with a faint "Mr. Bohannon." Cullen turned around to hear what else his boss had to say. "I sent a Western Union to pardon Dr. Whitehead. I need him with me, not hanging on a tree for doing his duty as a doctor-sadly to the wrong men."
Cullen nodded his head and let out a slight smile, "Thank you, I'll get him for you." Cullen left the train car in a hurry to get Doc and to tell him that he was being pardoned in order to be Durant's personal doctor.
Lily stared out the window, watching Cullen leave and sighed. She was upset that Cullen was going to be incharge, the man that had left the railroad to return to Meridian Mississippi only to get hooked up with a train robbing gang. She honestly didn't want to work alongside and take orders from the man that had turned her down last spring. Absolutely not.
"Lily." Durant called, causing the blonde to take her attention from the window to him.
"Yes, Thomas, what is it?" She asked with a soft tone in her voice.
"Come to Chicago with me." He begged, sweat dripping from his hair.
"But your wife, I had Cullen wire her and tell her to meet you there. You'll have your wife."
"I need you, Lily, my wife hates me. We have a marriage only in name."
"But, Thomas, I'm needed here…with the railroad."
"No, Bohannon can mind my railroad, I need you with me." Durant said as he started having a coughing fit.
"Calm down, Thomas, calm down." Lily patted the man's hand in an effort to calm in. "I'll travel to Chicago with you but I'll stay with my in-laws while you're in the hospital. I will not stay in the same hotel as your wife." She told him, giving into his wishes.
Cullen ran into the rail office where Doc was packing up his bags, preparing to flee, and blurted out to his friend,"Doc, Durant needs you to travel to Chicago with him."
Doc just shook his head and sighed while closing his bag. "I don't understand why, I can't help him none."
"He said he's wired for your pardon; wants you as his personal doctor."
"Then I must go tend to my patient." Doc grabbed his bag, prepared to leave and go see to his patient until Cullen's words stopped him.
Cullen announced in an emotionless manner, "I'm in charge of the railroad while he's gone."
"With the blonde?" Doc asked, having sensed tension between her and his friend whenever he saw them together the day prior.
"No, I doubt he's leaving his bed-mate here to tempt me." Cullen shook his head, clenching his fists to his sides, as a pang of jealously filled him. He thought that Lily had fancied him back in Iowa, or did he just read her signals wrong.
"Don't worry," Doc placed a much need hand on the younger man's shoulder, "In time, Cullen your heart will heal and you'll find somebody to love and settle down with. Don't worry, the good Lord will send you somebody special when the time is right."
Cullen looked at Doc, like a lost puppy might, and then rolled his eyes. He just pointed to the door and said, "You better get going, Doc."
Cullen sat in the rail office's front desk chair, looking out the window, feigning to be looking over paperwork while glancing at the train leaving down the way. He sighed knowing that with Durant gone it was up to him, Elam, and Mr. Toole to keep everything running smoothing. He also knew that Elam and Mr. Toole had a problem, a problem being the love interest of Miss Eva.