“Fire & Ice: A Love Story”, Ch. 1-2: Meeting Again, 6/01/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #198)
An Original Story Copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace
(all rights reserved)
[I will illustrate my story with images of actors representing my ‘dream cast’–including Richard Armitage and Anne Hathaway for the lead characters of Thomas and Caroline, respectively, as noted in the image credits.]
[(1) Fire & Ice story logo left]
Author’s Note: “Fire & Ice” is a romantic thriller. As such there will be some passages involving heartfelt love scenes and some passages involving intrigue and some violence. I will label those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings I provide, then please don’t read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Romantic love is undeniably about passion and trust. The former cannot exist without the latter. For when you have love without trust, love soon withers and dies by its own doubts. The fires of deeply felt love betrayed dwindle and its embers turn cold, hard, and brittle. Yet just as fire can melt ice into its life giving liquid form, so too can a spark reignite cold embers of love in the hope of rekindling the fire of passion within them again. And finding and nurturing true love for one’s lifetime is a delicate dance of two souls learning to trust in each other as much as–or more than–they passionately love each other.
“Fire & Ice”, Chapter 1: Lost Lovers Meet Again
Thomas Kane has the intense commanding presence of a driven seasoned intelligence community professional with his eighteen years of experience in the field and at the ‘home office’ in increasingly more responsible leadership positions—and for the last year and a half as a Division Chief [(2) right]. Thomas’ hair is only slightly gray at his temples—but it is barely noticeable. His handsomeness is undeniable to all but himself. Thomas does not care that some think him handsome—he does not think about himself much particularly–though his six foot two inch toned and muscular body is always well groomed and attired.
Thomas recently learned that his old flame—the love of his life really–Caroline Walters [(3) right], will be joining his Division as a Senior Analyst after the search committee he formed selected her to be hired. He had last seen her almost four years ago when their long and loving relationship ended after a brief tumultuous period of interference from others. Thomas and Caroline had an acrimonious split—due to vicious lies, that he believed. However, Thomas now knows that Caroline was not unfaithful to him, even though his supposed best friend Paul Foster had sworn to him that she was. Thomas believed that she had betrayed him with another–partially because he could not believe that someone as lovely and wonderful as she could love him. And in their sphere of work, trust is everything. And even though Caroline had tried to contact Thomas several times in the months after their break-up to tell her side of the story, Thomas had rebuffed her at the time because he felt hurt—not knowing the truth then. After a while, Caroline stopped trying to reach Thomas, because she also felt hurt—by his mistrust in her and by Thomas’ betrayal of their love.
Thomas later found out that his now former best friend, Paul, had designs on Caroline himself and had lied about Caroline. But, that was over a year after the breakup and Thomas did not attempt to contact Caroline at that point. For Caroline, working with Thomas again is something she has both dreaded and longed for. She is past the point of trying to make Thomas believe that she was not unfaithful to him. But Caroline is deeply hurt that Thomas did not trust her—and she still anguishes over their lost love. As a consequence, Caroline has not been able to trust and love another man since Thomas. The only man in Caroline’s life these days is her forty one month old son, Trevor [(4) right]. And Trevor is the reason that she is joining Thomas’ Division—partly for the increased pay to help support her son, and partly so that she can be home and not be out in the field. Caroline hopes that she and Thomas can keep their working relationship professional, despite their past history as failed lovers.
It is 7:00pm on a Friday evening in mid May (the 20th), 2011. After Caroline Walters completes her hiring and insurance paperwork at Human Resources, she walks into her new position’s Division suite of offices this end of the work day before her scheduled arrival on the job on Monday—only to find her former lover, Thomas Kane [(5) right], by himself reviewing documents online and on his desk in the center office space in the large open floor plan suite of offices. Thomas is working late as usual after everyone else has gone home to their families, but he does not expect a visitor. Upon seeing Thomas there, Caroline freezes–realizing that she might not be ready to see him today after all. So, she starts to turn and leave.
Thomas: But Thomas looks up and sees her and smiles [(6) right]. “Caroline! I wasn’t expecting you today. You’re due to start on Monday.” He stands out of courtesy. Thomas realizes that he is glad to see Caroline as his pulse races again as it used to when they were dating—when they were lovers–and he would see her after a brief separation due to differing assignments. Though it may be awkward for the two of them to work together again, Thomas had approved her transfer to his division because she was too qualified for the post he was filling not to hire her. The search committee recommended her to him not knowing of their prior history and Thomas saw no logical reason to overturn their choice.
Caroline: Trying to maintain an aloof exterior, she says “Oh, I’m sorry Thomas. I didn’t mean to disturb you. I thought that I would just come in early to get the lay of the land—and I had to fill out some hiring and insurance paperwork at Human Resources. They didn’t tell me downstairs that anyone was still up here.” She stands at the doorway awkwardly, not knowing if she should look for her office space or find a chair nearby and sit down.
Thomas: “No, that’s alright.” He smiles at her amiably. Thomas thinks if he just keeps the conversation neutral, then neither he nor Caroline will bring up the sore subject of their breakup. “Actually, I think we’ve assigned you to this office space over here.” He points to an empty cubicle office space that is adjacent to his office space—which acts like a central hub to the senior analyst office spaces in order to facilitate a more collaborative communication between the staff.
Caroline: Still trying to maintain an air of disinterestedness–despite the painful history that she and Thomas share—Caroline walks over to the office space that Thomas points to and sits down at her spacious desk. “This should do nicely.” She says benignly with her back to Thomas.
Thomas notices that Caroline still looks as youthful and as beautiful as ever [(7) right]—she’s now almost in her mid thirties. And memories of how the two of them were together as a loving couple come flooding back to Thomas and he turns away from her so she can’t see him blush. Thomas always fancied Caroline and her curvy five foot eight inch frame–she was not so small, but feisty, he used to tell her—but he could still wrap his arms around her and envelope her in his love, as the six foot two inch tall man he was and is. Though Caroline has her brunette hair done up in a twist today—looking very professional, Thomas thinks—her hair is probably still at least shoulder length. Thomas remembers that he used to love to stroke her long silky hair when they were cuddling in their past life as lovers.
But, Caroline seems to have a touch of reserve about her that Thomas does not remember in her before–from when they were together. He wonders if their break up caused that—and he suspects that it probably contributed to it. Indeed, Thomas, himself, has not returned to the dating scene because of his pain over their breakup—which he now realizes was his fault entirely. Thomas looks over at Caroline again and he sees her putting out some personal objects on her desk—her nameplate, a business card holder with some business cards in it provided to her by Human Resources, and a picture in a small frame.
Thomas: Thomas walks up behind Caroline and stands at her office space’s opening and asks her. “So, how have you been?”
Caroline: She gasps because she did not realize that Thomas was right behind her. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you walk over here. I guess your stealthy field habit skills are still with you.” She says benignly as she pushes the small picture frame back behind the phone as she also moves the other items around on her desk—misdirection is her goal so that Thomas does not notice the picture of her son [(8) right] in the frame. Of course, if Caroline did not want Thomas to know that she has a son, she should not have brought his picture in for her desk.
Thomas: Thomas is not quite sure if Caroline is complimenting him, or disparaging him. But, he continues speaking off handedly and cordially to her. “It’s the carpeting in here. It has really good padding for sound proofing and such, but it also gives off a lot of static electricity—see?”
Thomas puts his hand out to shake her hand. And Caroline somewhat hesitantly, but cordially puts her hand out to shake his hand and it does create a spark before their hands can actually touch. Though, Thomas and Caroline each wonder privately if they have a real spark between them anymore–to recapture their romance anew. But neither of them betrays their thoughts to the other.
Caroline: “Ouch! I’ll have to remember that.”
Thomas: “Well, I guess I’ll try once more. How have you been?”
Caroline: Continuing with her detached but civil tone, she says “I assume you read my file before you approved the transfer. So, that gives you most of the details.” Thomas nods wearily, realizing that Caroline is not going to share anything personal about herself with him. Caroline has become a very private person out of necessity and she does not want to reveal too much personal information—especially to Thomas. So, she turns the tables on him. “But, being your subordinate, I don’t have the same luxury of information access. So, what’s new with you, Thomas?” Caroline maintains her disinterested tone—as a mask for her true feelings. She wonders, has he moved on–though she has not been able to? Does he have a new lover? Maybe even a wife? She chastises herself privately for even wondering about Thomas being in a relationship. She did not take this position only to give herself heartache again. She took it to support her son. Or at least, that is what she tells herself.
Thomas: “Well Caroline, let me first say that everyone who works here is part of the team. So, I hope that you won’t feel that you or anyone here is a subordinate.” Caroline tilts her head and raises her eyebrow as if to acquiesce the point. “And, if you’re wondering, your transfer was approved because I felt that your expertise will fill a gap that we have.” He wants her to know that she earned this job on her own merits, not because of her prior association with him—nor that he was hoping to rekindle their romance. At least, he did not let himself consider his history with her as part of the equation in approving her transfer to his Division after the search committee recommended her. “So, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m still all about the work. It’s demanding and challenging, but also rewarding.”
Caroline: “Yes, I can see that. A Division Chief before you’re forty years old. That’s quite a coup.” No pun intended.
All of a sudden the ceiling lights go out in the Division Office Suite. All that remains are the emergency exit lights and a small lamp that Thomas has turned on in his office cubicle.
Thomas: In the soft glow from his office lamp across from her office space, Thomas can see the concern on Caroline’s face about the lights going out and he says. “Ah. I guess the cleaning crew must be done with this area. They shut the lights off as they finish each area. It lets their supervisors know that they’re finished in a particular area. But, it is a little disconcerting for those of us left behind working late at our desks—hence, my lamp.” Thomas smiles mirthfully and gestures to his softly lit cubicle. “So much for being the Division Chief.” Thomas laughs, hoping to lighten the atmosphere between he and Caroline. “I have no pull whatsoever with maintenance.”
Caroline: Caroline stands up from her office chair. “Well, it’s getting late and I have to get home to my…” She lets the thought trail off—not wanting to reveal information about her son to him.
Then as Caroline starts to walk to the Division offices suite entrance—trying to navigate this unfamiliar layout for her in the dark—she trips over a trash can that a maintenance worker had inadvertently left sitting out a bit from one of the office spaces. But Thomas catches her from falling to the floor because he is right behind her.
Thomas: “I’ve got you.” He says as he grabs Caroline by her waist and pulls her back to him. But, Caroline bangs the back of her left hand on the wall edge of a nearby office space as she starts to fall.
Caroline: “Oww!” She pulls her injured hand up to her face.
The pain of her injury—at least, initially—distracts her from having Thomas’ arms around her again after so long. But for Thomas, he does not have the distraction of being in pain. He realizes that it feels so right to have Caroline in his arms again–and he does still have feelings for Caroline. After an awkward pause—with Thomas holding Caroline from behind–Thomas releases her as she stands upright again and he says.
Thomas: “I’m so sorry about the trash can.” For tripping her, of course. “You stay here and let me turn the lights back on.”
He does so and now both he and Caroline can see that she is bleeding–quite a lot actually.
Thomas: “Oh, that looks nasty. Let’s go into the break room to clean that up. We’ve got a first aid kit in there.”
To be continued with Chapter 2
“Fire & Ice”, Chapter 2: Thomas Tends to Caroline’s Wounds
As, Thomas and Caroline walk into the Division employees’ break room just outside their Division office suite, he grabs some paper towels to stem some of the blood.
Thomas: “Caroline, sit down at the table here and we’ll take a look at your wound. Hopefully, we can get you fixed up in no time.”
She sits at the table. Thomas is all business as he pulls out the first aid supplies kit–like a boy scout trying to earn a badge. Actually, Thomas had earned the rank of Eagle Scout, of course, when he was a teenager. Thomas sits down next to Caroline and gets to work.
Caroline: “Hhhh!” Caroline gasps in pain as Thomas quickly cleans the wound on her left hand with some alcohol and a gauze pad. “Careful there,Thomas.” She winces in pain. “We’re not out in the field anymore where we have to do things fast and on the fly.”
Thomas: Thomas looks at her apologetically [(9) right]. “Sorry Caroline. It’s been awhile since I had to do this. Maybe I should let you finish cleaning your wound.” He hands her the gauze pad. And Caroline more gently cleans her wound. Thomas leans in toward Caroline looking at her hand. “It doesn’t look so bad. I don’t think you’ll need stitches. But, you might want to make sure that your tetanus shot is up to date, just in case. You’re already on the company insurance plan. So, just bill us for your medical expenses.” Thomas suggests helpfully. He can’t help but think that Caroline hurting herself at work is not a good omen for their potential in working together–or any other potential. But for now, Thomas quietly watches Caroline carefully cleaning her wound.
Caroline is quiet while she continues to clean her wound—now with a new gauze pad. And, she just keeps focusing on her hand when Thomas leans toward her just now. She realizes that though she may be able to pull off seeming disinterested in Thomas to him, she cannot fool herself. But, their break up had been such a hurtful one for her, that Caroline has no illusions about she and Thomas getting back together–even though her little boy might welcome getting to know his father someday. Since Caroline never had the chance to tell Thomas he has a son—because Thomas would not call her back after they broke up—Caroline feels that it’s probably too late to tell him now, because Thomas will only think that she has purposely kept it a secret from him. But, she leaves that possibility open in her mind of telling Thomas someday–that he has a son.
Caroline: “Thanks. If you could just put that bandage on me then I’ll be on my way home. I’m really late.”
Thomas: Thomas obligingly bandages her wound. “There you go. Try moving your fingers a bit, Caroline. We want to make sure that you didn’t break something.”
Caroline wiggles her fingers gingerly, but her hand is giving her a lot of pain due to the bruising and swelling she is experiencing and she realizes that she can’t use her hand to drive herself home.
Caroline: “Oww! Damn. I don’t think I broke it, but it’s certainly sprained and bruised. …” She looks up at him. “Hhhhh! Thomas, I don’t think I can drive my car home tonight with my hand like this.” She looks up at him and says with some hesitation. “I’d ask you to call me a taxi to take me home, but I need my car.” She leaves her unspoken request for him to drive her home hanging in the air.
Thomas: “Not a problem, Caroline. I was heading out anyway. Driving you home is the least I can do since you’ve injured yourself on the job—and you’re not even in the field—and then I’ll get a taxi back to retrieve my car.”
Thomas and Caroline both look at each other and nod their heads, recognizing the practicality of what Thomas suggests. But in the back of each of their minds is the lingering question about whether they might be able to rekindle their lost love.
To be continued with Chapter 3
(1) Fire & Ice Story Logo is a composite of MSOffice Clip Art images:
fire (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=fire&ctt=1#ai:MP900438774|mt:2| ); block of ice (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=ice&ctt=1#ai:MP900402236|mt:2| ); and a heart (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=heart&ctt=1#ai:MP900399589|mt:2| ), 5/13/12grati
(2) Image representing Thomas Kane is that of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back Series 1 (2010 on Sky 1), episode 3 (pix 1) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_001.html
(3) Image representing Caroline Walters is that of Anne Hathaway from December 2010 and was found at Contact Music blog at http://images.contactmusic.com/newsimages/anne_hathaway_1191017.jpg
(4) Image representing Trevor is a stock photo of a young boy with pumpkins (cropped to head) found at MS Office Clip Art at
(5) Image representing Thomas Kane is that of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back Series 1 (2010 on Sky 1), episode 3 (pix 9) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_009.html
(6) Image representing Thomas Kane is that of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back Series 1 (2010 on Sky 1), episode 3 (pix 8) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_008.html
(7) Image representing Caroline Walters is that of Anne Hathaway and was found at “beauty about com” at
(8) Image representing Trevor is a stock photo of a young boy with pumpkins found at MS Office Clip Art at
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=boy&ctt=1#ai:MP900178919|mt:2|; frame was added via Photoshop Elements effects.
(9) [Image representing Thomas Kane is that of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back Series 1 (2010 on Sky 1), episode 3 (pix 12) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_012.html]