Hands in his pockets, McIntyre watched the sisters stroll around the large, empty room. Attempting to take his mind off their feminine curves, he tried to guess what they might see in this empty room. Could they imagine dining room tables covered with red-check table cloths, politely chatting customers, the sound of klinking silverware? Hugging the far right wall, L-shaped stairs led to the second floor. He could envision the hotel desk sitting right below the landing, a few red velvet chairs and a settee gathered to create a small lobby. At least that was how he imagined it in a few years. To get started, they would have to be satisfied with log benches and mismatched furniture gathered up from everyone in town who owed him money. [WHICH IS EVERYBODY.]
“Were you raised by wolves, Mr. McIntyre?” Naomi’s haughty tone and impatient glare perplexed him, until he realized she was looking at his hat. Memories of being chastised by his mother bombarded him and he snatched the Stetson off his head. Huffing, Naomi went back to surveying the new real estate. [HATES THE WORLD, DOESN’T SHE.]
The group made their way back to the apartment in the rear, but McIntyre saw Naomi consider the marshal who had stayed by the front door, arms folded across his chest as if he was standing guard. He was impressed with her awareness of her surroundings, a skill he’d learned to appreciate during the war. The marshal had been ordered to keep an eye out for trouble as McIntyre wasn’t completely convinced O’Banion was through sulking over his humiliation. McIntyre suspected, though, that if the annoying little Leprechaun tangled with Naomi again, the outcome would be the same. [HONESTLY, THIS IS A PLACE WHERE I WAS THINKING O’BANION WOULD BE A REAL HEAVY. TURNS OUT, HE JUST PLAYED IT DIFFERENTLY THAN I WAS PLANNING AT THIS POINT AND I FOUND MY COMPASSION FOR HIM.]
Naomi stepped into the small back room and McIntyre heard a sigh of disappointment. He joined her in the doorway and watched as she and her sisters assessed the dirty, dusty little room. Barely larger than a generous parlor, it had one small buck stove anchored against the back wall, a cot shoved up against the far wall, a few cabinets hung entirely too high on the left wall and a dry sink situated underneath them. Pretty much nothing in it was usable for a commercial kitchen. [I’M FASCINATED BY DRY SINKS. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW HARD IT WAS BACK THEN TO DO SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS WASH DISHES?]
After the girls spent a few minutes inspecting the apartment, however, he decided it was time to spell out their next steps. Burning daylight was not something he ever did on purpose. “My architect, Ian Donoghue, has the finished blueprints for the hotel. I’ll send him over tomorrow. Feel free to make changes as you see fit.” Naomi crossed her arms and tapped her foot. Ignoring the message her stance screamed at him, McIntyre casually rocked on his heels and addressed her sisters. “All the carpenters in town work for me, of course.”
“Of course,” Naomi echoed under her breath.
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