“Fire & Ice: A Love Story”, Ch. 38: Seeking Sanctuary in the Montana ‘Wilderness’, 7/23/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #237)
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 Blair Brown for Amanda Pritchett Holder and Sam Elliott for Jake Holder; Brian Protheroe for Martin, Mary McDonnell for Mary, Seth Green for Todd, Raven Symone for Fiona, and Logan Lerman for Allen. The images representing Trevor 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: Thomas’ Division Team back at the Company may have stumbled onto a possible reason for the killings of Mrs. Burns and the special forces team–as well as the continuing threat against Thomas and Caroline’s lives–embezzlement of billions of dollars in U.S. and UN aid to Kamirastan from some of its top government officials. Thomas and Todd had been about to divulge their suspicions when the troubles started. Wednesday morning, Martin and Todd now plan to notify the State Department in the hope to diffuse the situation and save Thomas and Caroline and their son Trevor. Meanwhile, Thomas and Caroline and Trevor, know nothing about what his Division Team is doing as they change their travel plans to put anyone off their trail and they get off the Northwest Limited train in East Glacier Park, Montana–well before their original destination of Seattle, Washington.
“Fire & Ice”, Chapter 38: Wednesday morning brings the ‘Johnson Family’ to a sleepy Montana town seeking sanctuary
Wednesday morning–on day two of the train journey to escape with their lives–Thomas and Caroline and their little son Trevor find themselves and the Northwest Limited train they are traveling in stopping at East Glacier Park, Montana [(2) right] where the open air and unspoiled lands present a calm oasis for them, as they debark from the train with Trevor–after changing their tickets with the conductor to reflect a week’s stay.
After asking the train station attendant for lodging suggestions–to put anyone off their trail that they had traveled here purposely–Thomas and Caroline choose the Bison Creek Ranch. Thomas has a retired company contact at the Bison Creek Ranch where they can stay hidden amongst the other tourists. But they don’t call ahead, they just take the resort’s open air shuttle bus trolley as its lone occupants, but for the driver, for the 20 minute scenic drive to the resort.
Trevor/Billy: “Mommy, the hills are so big here!” Trevor looks around in amazement.
Caroline/Julia: “These are mountains. Do you want to try to spell that, Billy?” She asks trying to stay in her routine of mothering her child despite their uncertain circumstances.
Trevor: “Will Daddy help me? Words with more than two sounds are hard.” He cutely squinches up his little face. How could Thomas say no?
Thomas/Kevin: “Okay Billy, mountain is spelled m-o-u-n-t-a-i-n. Now you try.” He says encouragingly.
Trevor/Billy: “M-o-w-t-i-n. Did I get it right?” He asks excitedly.
CowboyDriverJake: “Young fella, you’re just usin’ mowtin spelling. That’s all.” Jake says warmly. His weatherbeaten 64 year old face [(3) right] cracks a smile at Trevor that is not discernable from under the wide brush of his full gray moustache that covers his upper lip.
Trevor: “Mister, Are you a real cowboy?” Trevor asks in wonderment. He has never met a real cowboy before.
Caroline/Julia: “Now Billy, let the man drive. We wouldn’t want an accident.” Not on the twisting roads of this mountain, she thinks.
CowboyDriverJake: “I am, little feller. The name’s, Jake Holder.” He says looking forward as he drives to make the missus feel better.
Thomas/Kevin: Interceding before Trevor forgets their game and reveals their real names, he says. “We’re the Johnson’s. I’m Kevin, this is my wife Julia, and this is our son Billy.
Cowby DriverJake: “Nice to meet you. And not to worry Missus, I’ve been driving these roads nigh on 50 years–before they were paved nor even marked as roads.
Thomas/Kevin: “So you’ve been in the area a long time. What can you tell us about Bison Creek Ranch? I hear from the Train Station attendant that the proprietor is a woman.” He asks interestedly, but also keeping up his façade of being a tourist.
Cowboy Jake: “That’ll be Missy Mandy. A right fine woman even if she did transplant to these parts ten years ago.”
Caroline/Julia: “Oh? And how long does it take to be considered a native of the area?”
Cowboy Jake: “Beggin’ yer pardon maam, but my people ‘round here are kind a sensitive ‘bout that word. Some locals might call us indignant peoples.” Jake flashes a look over at Thomas who smiles at Jake’s intentional malapropism of the phrase indigenous peoples. “But they’re just ignorant and needing reeducation.” He says with a wry smile and a wink that he uses when he gently corrects people. “We prefer Native American or American Indian.”
Thomas/Kevin: “Quite so.” Thomas nods and Jake nods in return. “And Miss Mandy?”
Trevor: “Is she a cowgirl?” He asks wide eyed looking up at the only cowboy he has ever met.
Cowboy Jake: “In a manner of speaking. She’s my girl filly–up and married her two years ago, since women are scarce round here.” He admits by way of explanation of their connection that belies the real tender affection they feel for each other.
Caroline/Julia: “Oh! Congratulations! Is this your first marriage?” She asks a bit personally, but Jake intrigues her and his friendly folksy way sets her and ease and helps her take her mind off their troubles.
Cowboy Jake: “Well, the first one that I cottoned to with making it legal after my wife died 15 years ago. My Miss Mandy girl was kinda funny about that being from the East and all–us having to be married by a preacher that is. She was hoity toity when she came, but she’s right friendly now.” He raises his eyebrow knowingly at Thomas/Kevin. “And it gets mighty cold in the Winters here, so we keep each other warm ‘n cozy at night.” He winks with a decidedly saucy twinkle in his eye.
Thomas/Kevin: “Kkkhh!” He coughs, remembering his female colleague Amanda Pritchett as being somewhat prim. In actual fact, almost nun like due to her privileged East Coast upbringing. “Indeed.” Thomas smiles over a Caroline and she smiles back.
Trevor/Billy: “Do you and Miss Mandy have kids?” Trevor hasn’t yet learned about the birds and the bees and that younger people tend to have kids.
Cowboy Jake: “Well, my boy Red Sky–his ma died when he were in his teens–Mandy’s taken to quite nicely.” He smiles with a father’s pride, but Caroline notices a tinge of sadness there.
Caroline/Julia: “And how old is your son?”
Cowboy Jake: “We figure he’s about 28. Never bothered keeping track till Mandy came along. And it’s kinda hard to tell by his teeth like you can with a horse. Ha ha ha ha ha!” He laughs at his own jest. “And here we are.” He says as they pull into the Bison Creek Ranch resort [(4) right]. It is a lushly green resort surrounded by thick forest woods on three sides. There is only one road into the resort–a plus Thomas thinks strategically in terms of their defense.
Trevor/Billy: “Ooh Mommy and Daddy! Are there horsies for me to ride?” He asks pointing to the horses galloping around a large fenced in meadow area as they drive past.
Cowboy Jake: “If yer Ma and Pa don’t mind, you can.” Then he turns to Thomas and Caroline to set their minds at ease. “We have several small ponies for the kids his size to ride.”
Thomas/Kevin: “That sounds nice. When we check in, we’ll find out about the recreational activities you have.” Thomas nods his head at Caroline.
Caroline/Julia: “Yes, Billy will like that.” She smiles at Trevor who claps his hands with glee.
Trevor/Billy: “I’ve never been on a real pony.” He hops up and down, swinging his daddy’s hand. Then Trevor rushes over and hugs his Mommy’s legs looking up at her adoringly. She rubs his back and kisses the top of his head. Thomas and Caroline exchange a look–as if to say, if this trip could only be just a vacation and not them fleeing for their lives, they would be so grateful.
Cowboy Jake: “I’ll drop you at one of our available family Bed and Breakfast cabins–they have small kitchenettes in them for when you want to be on yer own. But the lodge has a nice restaurant. Then you can walk over to the lodge and check in with Miss Mandy as well as have lunch. Mandy’s making stew today–my favorite! Tch!” He clicks his tongue and twitches his cheek for emphasis.
Jake helps Thomas and Caroline and Trevor move their few bags into the cabin [(5) right]–then leaves them to get settled in. After ascertaining they have internet access in their cabin–though they don’t have a computer device to access the net at present–they walk the 20 yards up the road to the lodge.
Thomas is bracing to see his colleague Amanda Pritchett Holder after a 10 year separation. Thomas knows that Amanda won’t blow their cover. But he also hopes that she will be willing to help them despite her feelings about their work–since the reason she retired was to get away from crises like the one they now find themselves in.
To be continued with Chapter 39
(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) Mountains image is of East Glacier Park and was found at East Glacier Park, MT sites– http://www.eastglacierparkmontana.com/
(3) Image representing Jake Holder is that of actor Sam Elliott and was found at http://www.automatedculture.com/sam_elliott/
(4) Image (green color enhanced) is an aerial view of the very real and breathtakingly Bison Creek Ranch in East Glacier Park, MT found at http://www.bisoncreekranch.com/
(5) Image of Bison Creek Ranch Cabins in East Glacier Park, MT was found at http://www.bisoncreekranch.com/
(6) Nota Bene: For some initial information about American Indian and Alaska Native peoples please visit the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs at http://www.bia.gov/index.htm
Previous “Fire & Ice” Story Link