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[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: After disembarking from the Northwest Limited train at East Glacier Park, Thomas and Caroline find themselves at the Bison Creek Ranch resort. Thomas hopes to find his former colleague Amanda who might be able to help them.
“Fire & Ice”, Ch. 39–Thomas and Caroline Brace to Meet his Former Colleague Amanda
Jake Holder [(2) right] leans against the Bison Creek lodge reception counter of an ancient rough hewn but polished wood plank–no cheesy laminate countertop here–chatting cordially with his wife Miss Mandy while they wait for the Johnson’s to check in. He brushes the bangs out of her eyes and they smile at each other. They might both be in their early sixties–when some might think passions have waned–but theirs is a true love match and they are newlyweds of only two years.
Jake: “Missy Mandy darlin’, I think you’ll like the little family I brought us today.” He offers as if the Johnson’s are a present for her. But his colloquial way of speaking always charms her.
Amanda: “Oh? I’m sure that they’ll be very nice if you like them, Jake dear. You have an astutely keen perception about people. What are they like?”
Jake: “Young. Late twenties, to early thirties. The husband and wife seem very devoted to each other. And their youngun is a little whippersnapper of a boy child–eager and full of questions. Reminds me of Red Sky as a boy–before he took off.” His face clouds over.
Amanda: Embracing him comfortingly, Amanda [(3) right] says. “Now now, Red was only striking out on his own by going to the naval academy like you did as a young man. You cannot fault him for that.” She looks at him plaintively, knowing that logic doesn’t always work with a father’s broken heart.
Jake: “No. I ‘spose I can’t. I just didn’t want him to put himself in danger like I was years ago.” He looks misty eyed. “I can’t help but worry. I guess I know now how his ma felt when I was deployed on missions.” He admits ruefully. “I think it’s what killed her spirit–the not knowing if I was dead or alive due to communication blackouts.”
Amanda: “Jake, you and I each lived lives that were not our own when we served our country.” He nods his head, but cannot speak–holding back the tears for his late first wife, Red’s mother. “I don’t regret that sacrifice, nor should you. But our lives are different now. Out here in the wilderness, the only danger we face is from the mosquitos–and a bear or two.” She smiles impishly.
Jake: “Grrrrrr.” He growls suggestively as he takes her into his arms and kisses her soundly. Then his kisses move down her neck. “I almost wish we didn’t have paying guests today. I’d take you right here.”
Amanda: Looking at him with her best prim face, she ask. “What? Right here on the counter?” Then her eyebrow rises coquettishly, challenging him.
Jake: “Well, I know you like yer comfort. So that leather couch over there is looking mighty enticing.” He mischievously tilts his head toward the seating area by the great stone fireplace in the Lodge’s reception area.
Amanda: “Jake Holder, you are incorrigible!” She smiles mock exasperatedly at him.
Jake: “Miss Mandy, I’ll take that as a yes–for later.” He says huskily as he kisses her hand and she blushes to think of their loving evening ahead of them.
Then Jake spots the Johnson’s walking into the airy two story lodge reception area arm in arm and he releases his wife from his tender embrace and changes to a more professional tone now that they are no longer alone as husband and wife.
Jake: “Miss Mandy darling, here come the folks I was telling you about–the Johnson’s.” Jake gestures in their direction as they walk up to the reception counter– with Thomas maintaining eye contact with Amanda the whole way.
Amanda registers an almost imperceptible eye brown flash, recognizing Thomas instantly. But she does not recognize the woman he is with, nor the young boy. It has been 10 years since they saw each other and Amanda had not been aware of Thomas’ relationship with Caroline or any one. This is because Amanda new Thomas before his relationship with Caroline.
Thomas/Kevin: “Yes. Miss Amanda.” Thomas [(4) right] cocks his head to one side. “I’m Kevin and this is my wife Julia and our son Billy.” He nods at her knowing she remembers him.
Trevor/Billy: “Hi!” He waves brightly. “Are you a real cowgirl?” He asks excitedly. The sights and sounds and people he is meeting in his young life–now that his Daddy is with him–more than makes up for their long trip.
Caroline/Julia: “Billy dear, there will be time for questions later.”
Amanda: “Well, it’s lovely to have you with us. We’re still in the off season for another two weeks, so there aren’t many families around yet.” She telegraphs this important tidbit to Thomas. “Please sign our guest registry.” She turns the book toward them and Thomas signs it with their aliases.
Jake: “And how long might you be staying with us?” He asks inquisitively, thinking that this family is just on a regular vacation.
Thomas/Kevin: “It depends–perhaps a week.” He doesn’t want to give too much away–even if Amanda is married to this fellow named Jake.
Amanda: Though she knows that the answer Thomas gave them might be a ruse, she continues with her hotel proprietor welcome as she hands Thomas and Caroline some brochures. “Well, here are some brochures listing our recreational activities for you to enjoy. It also has a map of the property should you wish to do any hiking or fishing.” She points out helpfully. “There are some particularly good vistas around here.” She points to the bay window at the side of the lodge that has a breathtaking view of Dancing Lady Mountain [(5) right].
Trevor/Billy: “Look at the horsies, Mommy!” He points to the pictures of kids riding ponies in the brochure his Mommy is looking at.
Caroline/Julia: “It looks like they do have some small ponies your size, Tre …” She almost slips with getting caught up in Trevor’s glee. “I mean, it would be a real treat for you.”
Thomas tilts his head at Caroline. Amanda maintains a pleasant placid smile. And Jake looks back and forth at the other three adults, beginning to wonder if something is amiss.
Trevor/Billy: “Oh Mommy and Daddy, I’m going to have so much to tell Mrs. B when we get home to Chicago!” He claps his hands with glee.
Thomas winces at Trevor mentioning his murdered baby sitter–of course Trevor doesn’t know that she is dead–and where they used to live in front of Jake. Then Thomas looks over at Caroline and he sees her lower lip trembling. Caroline is close to breaking down about Mrs. Burns being killed–but she knows that she can’t give anything away if they are to protect Trevor.
Thomas/Kevin: Putting his arm around Caroline, Thomas says gently. “We’ve had a long trip being cooped up on the train. Why don’t we have some lunch and then we can take a tour of the resort. Hmmm?” He kisses her forehead. Caroline nods, her face nestled into his chest, but she doesn’t speak.
Jake tries to lighten the somber mood that has descended on the five of them.
Jake: “Little feller, we’ve got a book over here with pictures of our riding ponies that you can look through and pick the one you like best.” He smiles warmly at him and he walks over to the seating area by the fireplace.
Trevor/Billy: “Oh Mommy, please help me pick out a pony to ride.” Trevor [(6) right] asks so sweetly, how can she say no?
Trevor gently tugs on his Mommy’s arm and she walks the ten feet over to the seating area where the horse scrapbook is. This leaves Thomas and Amanda standing alone at the reception desk–each wondering who will break the ice on what is going on.
Thomas/Kevin: “I noticed that our cabin has wifi, but we didn’t bring our laptop with us this trip.”
Amanda: “Yes, the net is a bit intermittent up here–if the wind knocks down the wires. But we do have computers that guests may check out for the duration of their stay. I have a selection back in my office if you would like to pick one out before lunch.” She tilts her head knowingly.
Caroline/Julia: “Alright. Don’t be too long.” Caroline [(7) right]smiles, but she is still a little leery of people she doesn’t know–like Jake.
Amanda: “We won’t be but a few minutes.” She and Thomas turn to go to her office behind the Reception Desk area while Jake, Caroline, and Trevor walk into the restaurant.
To be continued with Chapter 40
(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 Jake Holder is that of actor Sam Elliott and was found http://silverfoxes.provocateuse.com/show/sam_elliot
(3) Image of Amanda Pritchett Holder is that of actress Blair Brown and was found at http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1221823
(4) Image representing Thomas Kane is that of Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks (BBC 2009) series 8, episode 1 (pix 21) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode1/slides/ep1_021.html
(5) Image is of Dancing Lady Mountain near Bison Creek Ranch in East Glacier Park, MT and was found at http://www.bisoncreekranch.com/
(6) Image representing Trevor is a stock photo titled “Young boy with apple on his head” found at MS Office Clip Art at
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