“Fire & Ice: A Love Story”, Ch. 29-30: Caroline’s and Thomas’ Monday Continues, 7/02/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #221rev)
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. There are also images of Doris Roberts for Mrs. Burns, Tim Gamble for Peter Wendt, Brian Protheroe for Martin, Mary McDonnell for Mary, Seth Green for Todd, Raven Symone for Fiona, and Logan Lerman for Allen. The images representing Thomas are stock photos from MS Office Clip Art.]
[(1) Fire & Ice story logo left]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Fire & Ice” is a romantic thriller. As such there will be some passages in this story 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.
Author’s Story Recap: Caroline’s introduction to the Division went smoothly. And the revelation of she and Thomas having a prior relationship that is now rekindled was handled with finesse. However, the specter of their nemesis and one of the other Division Chiefs, Paul Foster, looms large in their future.
“Fire & Ice”, Ch. 29: Thomas has Caroline Shadowing Todd on Monday; Trevor plays in the park with Mrs. Burns
Thomas [(2) right] returns to his desk space to review some intelligence reports and satellite photos for a current project after the Director Peter Wendt leaves the Division Suite after introducing Caroline to the Team this morning.
Meanwhile, Todd is busily showing Caroline the ropes in terms of the procedures and process of their Division.
Todd: “Okay Caroline. I’m sure that you have a whole host of questions about how we do our work.” She nods. “So, let me give you a brief overview and then we’ll work through some examples.”
Caroline: “That sounds like a good plan.” She says nodding.
Todd: “Our Division usually has several long term analysis projects as well as emerging projects based on exigent world events. All of the SA’s–as we all call ourselves—pride ourselves on knowing not only data and information, but how they are interconnected and influence each other. So, we are all broadly interested with narrow focuses on key areas. We work very collaboratively. That is Thomas’ contribution as our Division Chief. He’s broken down the old notion of silos of information in favor of creating greater understanding and immediacy in suggesting possible constructive resolutions. However, what can sometimes be frustrating is the fast paced–or conversely, the dreadfully slow paced–change that occurs in exigent situations.” Todd [(3) right] is being both straightforward in the information his shares with Caroline, as well as being, clearing admiring of his colleague and Division Chief, Thomas Kane.
Caroline: “Thanks Todd.” She nods her head. “So, not to change the subject, but what’s your take on ‘the elephant’?”
Todd: Laughing he says. “Ha! Like Fiona said, the fact that Thomas is getting a personal life is what is most shocking to all of us.” Then he gets more serious. “But, rest assured, that knowing the difficulties you and Thomas had before with Foster, none of us will let him breach our Team’s cohesiveness. We’ve all worked too hard together to let him do that.”
Caroline: “Thanks Todd. I appreciate that.” Caroline [(4) right] smiles at him sincerely. Having a team of colleagues on her and Thomas’ side widens Caroline’s security net for her. And she and Thomas will need them in the future.
The welcome lunch out for Caroline consists of the SA’s, their two clerical workers June and April, and their techno geek Bernie. After going through the Mandarin Lanterns restaurant’s [(5) right] Chinese food buffet line—with Thomas helping Caroline balance her plate of food—they all sit down in a private dining room reserved for them.
Thomas: “I’m glad that we all have a chance to take a break and welcome Caroline to our Division as our newest SA.” They all clap for her. “Caroline, in case you haven’t had a chance to meet them yet, these ladies are our linchpin administrative staff…” They’re clerical workers, but no one calls them that these days. “June and April.” He nods at them.
June and April: “Hello.” They say in unison. Caroline sees that they are ladies in their fifties who have lived some—in other words, they look like they have tanned and smoked a bit much given their older appearance–but who still have bubbly personalities.
June: “Oh and Caroline, if you’re wondering, our names are nicknames based on our birth months.”
April: “Because we both happen to have the same first name—Susan.”
Caroline: “Oh, I get it. They’re kind of like code names—but with the added benefit that no one forgets to honor you on your birthdays.”
Thomas: “That’s right.” He smiles. “We do take people out to lunch as a group on their birthdays. … Ladies, did you choose your nicknames for that reason?” He asks amusingly.
June and April: “Hmmm.” They both say teasingly and everyone laughs.
Thomas: “And, the final member of our team is Bernie here who handles all of our technology questions for computers, medicine, industry, satellites, weapons, etc. You name it, he knows about it.” Caroline sees that Bernie is a bit disheveled with holes in his sweater and his clean hair is a bit shaggy and in need of a haircut as a thirty something guy. But, that belies his cutting edge knowledge on all things technological.
Bernie: “Thanks Thomas, but you’re going to make Caroline think that I know everything—and that’s your job.” He laughs and everyone laughs with him.
Caroline: “Well, I’m delighted to meet you three now and everyone else this morning.”
They all go on to have a lovely lunch. Thomas has told Caroline privately that he will speak to April, June, and Bernie about ‘the elephant’ this afternoon. That way, everyone on his division’s team will be up to speed—and wary of Paul Foster.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Burns and Trevor also have a yummy lunch of bologna and cheese sandwiches, chips, apple sauce, carrots, and apple juice–your basic kid’s meal. Then they walk across the road from their apartment building to the park and playground–with Mrs. Burns being very careful to hold onto Trevor’s hand so he doesn’t dart out into traffic.
Mrs. Burns: Sitting on the bench near the sandbox, Mrs. Burns reminds Trevor some does and don’ts. “Now Trevor, remember to let the other children play with the sand castle building shape blocks, too.”
Trevor: Trevor [(6) right] rolls his eyes, because he is a big boy of almost 3 and a half years old. “I know, Mrs. Burns. I’ll be good.”
Mrs. Burns: “Yes, you’re always a good little boy, Trevor.” She pats his cheek before he runs to the sand box five feet away.
Trevor plays in the sand for about ten minutes, making a sand castle tower while Mrs. Burns claps at his accomplishment. It is a bright and sunny day. So there are a lot of parents and kids at the playground–as well as other people enjoying the park’s walking pathways, she notices. Then Trevor runs back over to her.
Mrs. Burns: “I did, Trevor. I think you’re going to be an architect when you grow up.” Mrs. Burns [(7) right] strokes his little chin and smiles.
Trevor: “What’s an archiek?”
Mrs. Burns: “That’s ar-chi-tect.” She says the word slowly for him. “They design buildings, like the apartment where we live.” She gestures behind her while glancing over her shoulder. She notices a man in a gray sweat suit suddenly look away from her direction and walk over toward the flower beds. But she thinks nothing of it. “Now! What do you want to do next?”
Trevor: “The swings! I want to swing!” He says cheerfully swinging her arms back and forth.
She puts her kid wipes, apple juice box, and water bottle back into her satchel. Then she and Trevor walk twenty feet over to the swings [(8) right] and she sits on another bench.
Trevor: “Come and swing with me, Mrs. Burns.” He pleads cutely.
Mrs. Burns: “Goodness! I haven’t gone swinging in years! But I will for you.” She says with a smile.
Trevor: “Yippee!” He skips over to the swings.
Mrs. Burns: Mrs. Burns sets her Trevor bag and her purse next to her swing seat and she and Trevor begin swinging. “Oh this is fun! I feel like a kid again.” She says getting into the swing of swinging.
Trevor: “I could swing all day long.”
Mrs. Burns: “Really?”
Trevor: “Yup! Except when I want to play something else.”
Mrs. Burns: “Ha ha ha!” Mrs. Burns laughs and turns her head to her left to smile at Trevor. He smiles hard back at her.
But out of the corner of her eye, she sees the man in a gray sweat suit again that she had noticed earlier. And she wonders why if he is out running for exercise, why he isn’t running?
Trevor: Observant as he is sometimes, he asks. “What’s wrong, Mrs. Burns?”
Mrs. Burns: Not wanting to alarm him, she snaps her fingers. “I forgot to call my dentist’s office to check on my appointment. I’m going to sit over there on the bench and make a quick call while you’re swinging.”
Trevor: “Okay!” He pumps his feet to keep himself swinging.
Once sitting on the bench near the swinging Trevor, Mrs. Burns settles her Trevor bag and her purse on the bench next to her–on the side facing the man she is curious about. She pulls out her flip cell phone and pretends to make a call to her doctor’s office as she speaks into the speaker phone while holding her cell phone in front of her.
Mrs. Burns: “Oh hi. This is Althea Burns. I’m just checking on my teeth cleaning time.” She smiles and takes a photo of the man in the gray sweat suit outfit with her phone. “Oh? It’s tomorrow at 3:00pm? That’s great.”
Trevor: Little Trevor skips over to where Mrs. Burns is sitting. “What’s at 3:00pm?” He asks innocently.
Mrs. Burns: She closes her flip cell phone. “My teeth cleaning.” She smiles hard showing him her teeth.
Trevor: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Trevor giggles. “You’re so funny, Mrs. B.”
Mrs. Burns: “I’m so glad you think so. Now my back is starting to hurt me with these hard wooden benches.” She fibs–she really wants to get Trevor back into their security building. “Would you mind if we went back home and played indoors?”
Trevor: “No. That would be okay, too.” He says agreeably–though he would really like to play outside some more.
So, Trevor and Mrs. Burns turn and clasp hands and walk to the park exit. And Trevor notices that someone else is walking in their direction–and he is dressed in gray sweat pants and top. Trevor and Mrs. Burns wait patiently at the cross walk for the lights to change and traffic to stop. Then they walk across the street and up the sidewalk to their apartment building. The man in the gray sweat suit does not follow them across the street, but stands there watching them for a minute, then changes direction and jogs away. Once safely inside their security apartment building, Mrs. Burns feels sheepish for being so suspicious. She thinks that the man in the gray sweat suit was probably just resting before continuing jogging. So, she doesn’t contact Caroline about it–not wanting to worry her unduly. Mrs. Burns and Trevor go on to play some board games, and then watch a kid’s movie until his parents come home for the day.
To be continued with Chapter 30
“Fire & Ice”, Chapter 30: At Home Monday Evening with the Walters-Kane Family turns Ominous
It is a long Monday for Caroline’s first day on the Job May 23rd, 2011–as Mondays usually are—and Caroline and Thomas don’t get home until around 7:00pm. Thomas even brings some materials home with him that he’ll read later in order for them to get home earlier. Since he and Caroline are carpooling and living together, he has to adjust his work schedule—but happily so for him. Thomas and Caroline pick up Trevor from Mrs. Burns as they walk to their apartment and then they walk into their own apartment.
Trevor: “We’re home!” He says loudly to no one in particular—as if the apartment is a person that needs greeting.
Caroline: “Trevor, let’s get dinner started and you can tell us about your day. Would Daddy like to pour us all drinks while we chat?”
Thomas: “Sure. Juices all around?” He asks cheerfully and everyone nods. So, Thomas sets about to pour out the fruit juices–with Trevor having his drink in a sippy cup. Caroline was never much of an alcohol drinker and that became nonexistent after she became pregnant with Trevor. Caroline not drinking alcohol is a good thing–because though she doesn’t know it yet, she is pregnant.
Caroline: Opening up the freezer, she looks at their choices and says. “Well, we have a twenty minute pizza option, or we can brown some hamburger and make sloppy joes.”
Thomas: “Caroline, it has been a long day–and you need to rest and ice your arm.” She nods. “Why don’t we bake the pizza—since it cooks itself and we don’t have to stand over it? Then, we can try to get home earlier tomorrow and I’ll make us sloppy joes.”
Caroline: “Works for me.”
Trevor: “Me too, Mommy and Daddy!
So, they make their salads and chat and snuggle on the couch while their pizza cooks.
Caroline: “So Trevor, what did you do with Mrs. Burns today?” She runs her fingers through her little boy’s hair.
Trevor: “Oh, we went to the park. But we didn’t stay long because she said that she was getting tired and her back hurt her.”
Caroline: “Oh, that’s too bad. Trevor, you know that Mrs. Burns is a little older and she needs her rest sometimes.” She brushes his hair from her forehead and caresses his cheek.
Trevor: “I know. But, I think we left because there was a man watching us and she didn’t like that.” He says offhandedly while sipping his juice.
Both Thomas and Caroline freeze, worried for their little son’s safety—given their concerns about Paul Foster. But, neither of them thought that they would have to defend their little family against Paul so soon.
Thomas: “Well, I’m sure that Mrs. Burns knows best. You know, I haven’t had a chance to really thank her for watching you today.” Thomas says benignly while smiling at Trevor. “So, I’ll just pop over to her apartment briefly to do that.” Thomas looks at Caroline and she nods at him.
Thomas walks briskly out of his and Caroline’s apartment and walks across and down the hall to speak to Mrs. Burns. He knocks on her door. When she opens it, she seems relieved to see him and invites him in.
Mrs. Burns: “Thomas, I’m so glad that I have a chance to chat with either you or Caroline privately. Something odd and a bit disturbing happened today that I wanted to tell you about.” Thomas notices how worried Mrs. Burns [(9) right] looks.
Thomas: He nods his head and says. “I know. Trevor said just now that there was a man watching you in the park.”
Mrs. Burns: “Oh, I’m sorry that he noticed that. I tried to distract Trevor by saying I was tired and my back hurt. I hope that he wasn’t frightened. But that is what I wanted to talk to you about.” She motions for Thomas to sit on the couch and they do.
Thomas: “Describe to me what happened.” He says like the trained professional he is.
Mrs. Burns: “Well, as I say, it was odd. Since Trevor and I go to the park frequently, we tend to know who we’ll see there—mostly other kids that he plays with and their parents. You see, adults there always have a child that they’re connected to.”
Thomas: “And this man wasn’t with a child and that’s what disturbed you?”
Mrs. Burns: “Yes. And I wondered if he was in the park to jog, why wasn’t he jogging? He just seemed to be standing around. I may have been blowing things out of proportion, but you can’t be too careful with little ones and their safety. You hear such terrible stories on the news these days.” Thomas nods soberly.
Thomas: “Can you describe what the man looked like to me and what he did exactly?” Thomas [(10) right] asks in an even tone so as not to alarm her.
Mrs. Burns: “I’m afraid that I can do that one better.” Mrs. Burns winces at Thomas sheepishly. “I probably shouldn’t have done this, but my late husband was ex-military and had surveillance gadgets around the house from his service days.” Thomas looks at her quizzically. “So, my husband was always cautioning me about protection for our own little ones and then our grandkids. So today, I’m afraid that I pretended to be talking on my cell phone to my dentist’s office and then I took the man’s picture. Did I do the right thing?”
Thomas: “Yes you did! Can you show me the picture?” He asks eagerly.
Mrs. Burns: She takes her cell phone out of her purse and calls up the picture. “Here it is.”
Thomas: “Hmmm. I don’t know him.” It wasn’t Foster, but that doesn’t mean anything. It could be somebody working for Foster. “But, I’ll need you to email me this picture so that I can check into him. Does your cell phone have internet?”
Mrs. Burns: “Yes, but I’ve not used it. I really only know how to take pictures with my cell phone and use my phone to talk to people. I don’t know how to use the internet on it.” She shrugs her shoulders.
Thomas: “Will you allow me to email this picture to my cell phone?” He holds out his hand
Mrs. Burns: “Of course.” And she hands him her cell phone.
Thomas: Thomas quickly emails himself the picture—both to his cell phone and to his office desktop. Then Thomas pulls out his cell phone and checks to make sure that he received the file and opens it up and the picture is there. “Thank you Mrs. Burns. Caroline and I appreciate your careful watch over Trevor’s safety.”
Mrs. Burns: “Is this something we should be worried about?” She now looks very concerned.
Thomas: “I think we have to treat it as a possible threat.” Mrs. Burns eyes widen in fear. “With Caroline and I both working for the government, …” Though Thomas and Caroline have not told her exactly what they do. “… we have learned to be cautious about people upset with us. We and IRS employees have that in common. Ha!” Thomas laughs trying to lighten the mood. “But, Caroline and I will ask you to not take Trevor outside the building tomorrow—and don’t answer your door or phone to anyone other than us. If you have someone coming to you claiming to be us—or claiming that we sent them–they might be trying to kidnap Trevor.”
Mrs. Burns: “Oh my god! Why would anyone want to kidnap such a wonderful little boy?” She is now quite scared for Trevor.
Thomas: “As I said Mrs. Burns. Not everyone likes the government—as your late husband obviously was aware of.” He says trying to bring in a familiar reference for her. “So, Caroline and I will talk to our superiors tonight and it may be that we’ll be lining up security protection for Trevor and you for the time being. We’re sorry that you’ve been caught up in something that we did not expect.” At least, not so soon, he thinks.
Mrs. Burns: “Oh no. If there is anything I can do, let me know. I’d give my life before I would let anyone harm a hair on little Trevor’s head.” And she means it.
Thomas: But Thomas hopes that it doesn’t come to that. “Thank you. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Caroline and I will make some calls tonight and then we’ll let you know in the morning what we find out.”
Mrs. Burns: “Certainly. Thomas, I’m so glad that you are back in Caroline and Trevor’ lives. I can see how happy they are. I hope that everything works out alright for you and your family.”
Thomas: “Thank you Mrs. Burns.” He shakes her hand warmly and then he uncharacteristically leans in and gives her a quick hug.
Then, Thomas leaves and returns to his and Caroline’s apartment. Thomas thinks that he and Caroline will have much to do tonight to insure the safety of their family. But their Monday evening will end surprisingly–and not in a good way.
To be continued with Chapter 31
(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 9) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_009.html
(3) Image representing Todd is that of American Actor Seth Green and was found at
(4) Image representing Caroline Walters is that of Anne Hathaway and was found at “beauty about com” at
(5) Row of Chinese Lanterns representing the Chinese Buffet restaurant, Mandarin Lanterns, that Thomas’ Division likes to frequent is an MSOffice Clip Art image found at
(6) Image representing Trevor is a stock photo titled “Young boy with apple on his head” found at MS Office Clip Art at
(7) Image for Mrs. Burns is of actress Doris Roberts and found at http://images.wikia.com/desperate/images/1/17/DorisRoberts.jpg
(8) Playground swing set is an MS Office Clip Art image and was found at
(9) Image for Mrs. Burns is of Doris Roberts and found at
(10)Image (cropped and brightened) 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 37) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_037.html
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