“Fire & Ice: A Love Story”, Ch. 41 End & Epilogue: Deadly Consequences & New Beginnings, 8/13/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #250)

 “Fire & Ice:  A Love Story”, Ch. 41 End & Epilogue:  Deadly Consequences & New Beginnings,  8/13/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #250)

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:   After seeing the news of Karmirastan’s government embezzlement scandal spashed across the news after lunch, Thomas and Caroline feel a little more hopeful.  Thomas’ Division Team has obviously been busy and Amanda goes to check on some sources on the web while the Johnson family (Thomas/Kevin, Caroline, Julia, and Trevor/Billy) visits the ponies with Jake before they put Trevor/Billy down for an afternoon nap.  But this afternoon will turn out to be not as peaceful as they all hope.  But, hope they will still find.

“Fire & Ice”, Ch. 41 (End)–Wednesday Afternoon Ponies, Passions, and Possible Leads Turn Deadly [R rated for sexual situations and violence]

Trevor is itching to see his pony, Firelight, and he drags on his parents’ arms as Jake leads them to the outdoor corrals.   Of course, Thomas and Caroline are not too keen on the pony’s name and hope that he will be a gentle ride for Trevor after his nap.  Jake fills them in on some pony riding details.

Jake:  “Now just to set yer minds at rest, our ponies that the kids ride are all gentle.”  But before Jake can continue, he is interrupted.

Trevor/Billy:   “That’s no fun!   I want to go fast!”   He skips and gallops toward the outdoor pony corral just a few yards away.

Caroline/Julia:  “Be careful, Billy!”  She calls after him.  She looks around and notices the wide open spaces and worries.

Thomas/Trevor:  Seeing the worry etched on Caroline’s face, he tries to comfort her as he rubs her shoulders.  “I’m sure it will be alright.”

Jake:  “Your husband’s right, Maam.  If I can speak out of turn.  We have the little ones practice their riding in the corral before we go on the trails.  And we have helmets and other padding gear for safety.

Thomas/Kevin:  “That’s nice.”  Then voicing Caroline’s unspoken concern, he asks.  “Are there many trails into the resort?

Jake:  No fool he–having noticed the seemingly special interaction between his wife and Kevin.  “Kevin, is it?”  Jake [(2) right] raises his eyebrow as if to say, I have an inkling all is not what it seems.  It is the ex Navy Seals in him coming out.  “Only a mountain man like myself could find their way here from the surrounding forest.  There are only two ways in and out of here–the road you came in on, and the lake.”  He narrows his eyes and nods at Thomas in that familiar government agent sort of way–not a secret handshake or code word, but almost.

Trevor:  “Can I pet the ponies!”  He asks excitedly–breaking the adults focus on other issues.

Caroline:  “I don’t know.”

Jake:  “He’ll be alright.  See?”  He says as the reach the corral.  “Firelight.”  Jake beckons the pony to come to him.  “Come here filly girl.”  The small pony lopes over to Jake and nuzzles his outstretched hand.  Lifting Trevor/Billy up only the corral’s wooden rails, he says.  “Now you try little feller.”  Thomas and Caroline hold their breaths.

Trevor:  Gleefully holding out his hand and Firelight gives it a lick, he giggles.  “That tickles!”  Then Jake hands Trevor a bucket of grain and Trevor [(3) right] feeds the pony.   “Oh Mommy and Daddy.   May we take him home with us?”  Little ones are precious, if not practical.

Thomas/Kevin:  “Uh.  We don’t have any room.”  He says hating to disappointment him.

Caroline/Julia:  “Our apartment building doesn’t allow pets.”  She smiles with a twinkle in her eye that Thomas catches.

Thomas/Kevin:  “And ponies need wide open spaces.”

Trevor/Billy:  “But we have parks next to our real home and our vacation home.”  He looks up at them, pouting pleadingly.

Jake:  “Ffftt!”  He whistles.  “Two homes?   You folks sound blessed.”  He nods at them.

Caroline:   “Yes.”  She nods, not wanting to go into details.  “Billy, it’s better if the pony stays here.”

Trevor/Billy:  “Oh Mommy, I’m tired of our game.  Can’t you call me T….”  But Caroline stops him before he speaks his real name by gently covering his mouth.

Thomas/Kevin:  “I think you’re tired and need your nap.  Then we can go riding after.  Hmmm?”  He lifts Trevor into his arms.

Trevor/Billy:  “Okay.”  He nods sleepily and starts to doze off in his Daddy’s arms.

Jake:  Purposely ignoring the little boy’s almost slip–now knowing that this family might be using aliases–he says.  “And noticing that you traveled here kind of light …” Meaning only two small suitcases. “…we have nice gift shop where visitors may pick up outdoor clothing wear and such for their stay–at reasonable prices, too.  We don’t try to gouge our guests like some places do.  We’ll give you about two hours for his nap and then Miss Mandy will send over a selection of clothes for you.”

Caroline/Julia:  “Thank you.  Kevin, shall we?” She tilts her head toward their cabin.

Thomas/Kevin:   “Yes.  Thank you Jake.”

Trevor/Billy:   Lifting his sleepy head up he says.  “Thank you Jake.”  Then patting Thomas’ face he says before laying his head back down to sleep.  “My Daddy.”  Thomas and Caroline both smile.

Jake:   “We’ll see you later.”  Everyone nods and waves and heads in separate directions.

***

After making sure Trevor pees before they lay him down for his nap in the small bedroom of their two bedroom cabin, Thomas and Caroline go into their bedroom to discuss their situation and rest themselves.

Caroline:  Falling into Thomas’ arms, she tears up.  “Thomas, this place is so idyllic!   But I still don’t feel safe yet.”

Thomas:  “I know.  Neither do I.   But we have a little more help than just Amanda.”

Caroline:  “The Division?  Have they found out something?”

Thomas:  “Not just them.  It’s Jake.  Amanda says that he’s ex Navy Seals–she knew and worked with him in DC before coming here.”

Caroline:  “You’re kidding me!”  She looks at him in astonishment.

Thomas:  “Ha!  That was my reaction, too.   But Amanda says that he will help, and I trust her.”

Caroline:  “But can we trust anybody–especially for Trevor’s sake?”  She repeats her earlier concern–before they had to flee for their lives.

Thomas:  “I know Caroline.  But we have to trust someone.  And Amanda is a good choice.  She gave me this satellite internet laptop that is untraceable.  So let’s see what the Division has found out.”  Caroline nods as Thomas turns on the lap top.

Caroline:  “Could they have discovered anything so soon?”

Thomas:  “Remember the $10 billion Kamirastan embezzlement scandal on the news after lunch?”

Caroline:  “Yes.”  She says with growing dread as she looks at him questioningly.

Thomas:  “That’s what I was working on just before we had to go undercover on Monday.  I had told Peter Wendt about it and we were going to call the State Department the next day.”

Caroline:  “Hhhhh!”  She gasps.  “You mean, this is all about money?”

Thomas:  “I think so.  The fact that it hit the news has got to be a leak from the Division–in hope of bringing the perpetrators to light so they can’t hide.”

Caroline:  “But that would be a breach of national security!   Would Martin do that?”

Thomas:  “Not normally.  But if he felt that it might call off the attack squads, he would.  He’s retired once and he has nothing to lose if he’s discovered.”

Caroline:  “Except go to jail.”

Thomas:  “Not necessarily.”  He perks up an eyebrow and smiles at her.

Caroline:  “Why?  What do you mean?”

Thomas:  “There!”  Thomas points to the screen where photos of both Wendt and Foster are posted on the Company website as missing and presumed armed and dangerous.

Caroline:  “Thomas!  You shouldn’t have gone to the Company web site.  They could track us!”  She tenses up.

Thomas:  “Not likely.  This is Bertha.”  He points to the lap top.  “Untraceable per Amanda.  And Martin is one cagey operative–old school.   Leak the information and let the chips fall where they may.  Bernie and Allen would have to have helped him leak the information.”  Thomas smiles at his Division Team’s loyalty toward him in trying to help him out.  “The more people that know about this, the less likely any one person will be made to take the fall for the leak.  And it means that Foster and Wendt and their collaborators can’t hide.”  Then Thomas accesses their Division’s email server and finds a coded message from Martin.

Martin’s Message that Thomas reads aloud:   “Fearless Leader.”

Thomas:  “Martin did always like to poke fun at what we do.” He says as an aside and they smile at each other.

Martin’s Message that Thomas reads aloud:   “All parties informed, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are still missing–and presumed headed your way.  Their wives were most informative.  Both men might be involved given money trail evidence.  Watch out!”

Caroline:  “Oh no!  Peter, too?”  She looks at Thomas incredulously.

Thomas:  “I can’t believe it!  Paul Foster maybe.  But even if Peter Wendt someone did have a monetary entanglement in the embezzlement, I can’t believe that he would have us killed.  He saved my life!”  Thomas is strident.

Caroline:  “Remember Thomas, in our line of work, people are guilty until proven innocent.  Should we reply to Martin?”

Thomas:  “No need.  Martin will see that the email has been read and know that I saw it.”  Thomas closes the lap top part way and sets it on a nearby table, still turned on.

They have been so fearful for their lives that they need a reminder about what it is they are saving.  Four people have died–including their much loved Mrs. Burns.   But with being in the protective cocoon of Thomas’ former colleague’s resort–and their Division colleagues and the State Department making headway–they both feel a peaceful calm about their situation, that it will be resolved without they or anyone else being hurt or killed.  It is a hopeful wish, but maybe not a realistic one.  However, if they are to continue on the path of saving their lives–and returning to a life for Trevor’s sake–then they must have hope.

Caroline:  “What do we do now?”  She looks up at him soulfully.

Thomas:  “Hmmm.”  He smiles lustily at her.  “I say we rest up for our horse ride and take a nap.”

Caroline:  “Rest?”  Her smile perks up at the corners of her mouth as she caresses his face.

Thomas:  Leaning in to kiss her as he gently lays her back on the bed.  “Well.  Not …  just … yet.”   [(4) right]

Thomas kisses Caroline as he pulls her into his loving embrace.  She responds to him with the fervor of one who has faced death and yet still clings to life.   They both want a life together and with their son Trevor.  And though they do not know it yet, Caroline is pregnant with their first daughter.  So they have four lives they need to save.  But for now, they quickly remove their clothing and kiss and caress each others’ naked bodies with tenderness and eagerness.  Thomas marvels as Caroline’s beautiful curves as his eyes, his hands, and then his mouth leave an unbroken trail of love that leaves her whimpering in pleasure and wanting him completely as she returns his kisses.  Inflamed by Caroline’s reactions to his loving ministrations, Thomas pulls her to caress him and he tenses with the pleasure she is giving him.   When neither of them can delay their loving lust’s needs, they join their bodies together with a fierce coupling as waves of ecstatic pleasure engulfs their senses and leaves them both spent as they fall asleep in each others’ loving arms.

***

Thomas and Caroline shift only slightly as they nap, bringing the sheet to cover them from the chill of the room as they lie naked spooning with each other in their lovers’ embrace–peaceful, contented, and hopeful in their future.  Their sleep is undisturbed until a little visitor joins them.

Trevor:  Climbing up onto the bed next to his Mommy, he pats her face and rubs his eyes. Her sleepy eyes flutter open.  “Mommy, Someone’s at the door.”

Caroline:  Then Caroline hears the knocking.  Instantly alert, she leans back into Thomas again and touches his face to awaken him.  “Thomas!   Someone’s at the door.”

Thomas:  Also waking up quickly, he jumps out of bed and puts on his jeans.  “I’m on it.”  He grabs his gun.  There is another knock.

Trevor:  “Daddy, you forgot your underpants.”  Trevor points out.

Thomas:  Thomas looks sheepishly at Trevor.  “Caroline, get dressed quickly.”  He says urgently as he heads to the sitting room to answer the door, with his gun’s safety latch off.

Amanda:  Knocking at their cabin door again, she says seeing Thomas come toward her through the front window.  “Thomas it’s just me.  I have some clothes for you.”  She holds them up in the window for Thomas to see.

Thomas:  Relieved, he puts the safety latch on his gun and sticks it in his jeans at the back then opens the cabin door.  “Sorry Amanda.  I’m a bit twitchy.”  He takes the bag of clothes that she hands him.

Amanda: “That’s understandable.  Put these on for your ride into the forest.”  Thomas nods.  Amanda [(5) right] hesitates.  “I just found out that a private plane touched down at the airport and two men got off.  It could be Wendt and Foster.  I filled Jake in about everything.   So in 5 minutes, Jake is taking you to a secluded trapper’s cabin by a stream deep in the forest that we converted for the resort.  Stay there until you hear more from me.”

Thomas:  “But what about you?  We don’t know if both Foster and Wendt are involved.”  He says in concern.

Amanda:  “Not to worry.  I have also alerted the Park authorities and police.  They’re on their way over to the Lodge–should Foster and Wendt prove difficult.  Besides, she lifts up her outer blouse to reveal a gun and holster.   “I have my own ways of persuasion.”  She smiles.  “Now go!  Keep your family safe!”  Thomas nods as she departs.

Thomas:  Rushing into their bedroom, he says.  “Caroline, Amanda dropped off some clothes for us to wear.  We have to leave on our pony ride in 5 minutes.  So everyone get pottied, too.”

Trevor:  “Pony!”  He claps his hands together with glee.

***

It takes 10 minutes to get everyone pottied and dressed, but they set out on their pony ride into the forest with Jake.

Trevor:  “Yippee!”

Trevor bounces along happily on his pony ride with his mommy on her horse beside him.

Caroline/Julia:  “Now take it nice and slow, Billy.”

Jake and Thomas ride behind them

Jake:  “Thomas, Little Trevor looks like he’s enjoying himself.”  Jake says in a low voice as he looks over at Thomas.

Thomas:  Thomas’ eyes widen at Jake using their real names.    Then he nods.  “Amanda said she told you everything.”

Jake:  “Yes.  I guess Miss Mandy and I having 10 years without our pasts catching up with us is pretty good.”  He says alluding to the possible confrontation to come.

Thomas:  “We’re really sorry.  Will Amanda be alright by herself?”  He asks worriedly.

Jake:  “She won’t be by herself.  I’m dropping you at the trapper’s cabin and then heading back to her at the Lodge.”

Thomas:  “I’m coming with you!”

Jake:  “Your place is with your family.”

Thomas:  “My place is keeping my family safe.   I’m coming with you.”

Jake: “Alright!”  He allows grudgingly.

When they reach the Trappers family cabin, they tether their horses and Jake shows them around.  There are provisions in the refrigerator for a week if need be.  Then Thomas breaks the bad news to Caroline as Trevor plays with some kid toys also placed there.

Thomas:  “Caroline, Jake and I are going back to make a stand with Amanda while we wait for Wendt and Foster to show up.”

Caroline:  “Thomas no!  It’s dangerous.   I don’t want to lose you.”

Thomas:  “You won’t.  But with three of us we have a better chance.  And Amanda has called the authorities.  So we’ll let the Mounties take care of anything.  You keep you and Trevor safe.”

Jake:  “Beggin’ yer pardon.  But the Mounties are in Canada.  They don’t cross territories–except on poker night.  Tch!”  He smiles and winks as he makes a clicking noise with his mouth.  Folksiness is ingrained in Jake–especially to insert a little humor in a tense situation.

Caroline:  “I know I can’t stop you.  But come back to us.”  Thomas and Caroline embrace and kiss tenderly.  Then Thomas picks up Trevor and hugs and kisses him.

Thomas:  “I love you Trevor.”

Trevor:  Patting his Daddy’s face, he kisses his other cheek contentedly.  “My Daddy.”

Jake:  “Maam,  We’ll be back in time to collect you for dinner at 6pm.  We’re grilling steaks outside tonight–my specialty.”  He smiles warmly at her as if to say, everything will be alright in his usual calm demeanor.

Then Thomas and Jake mount their horses and ride back to the Resort Lodge, not knowing what they will find.

***

Once back at the Lodge, Amanda, Jake, and Thomas do not have to wait long for visitors.

Peter Wendt and Paul Foster walk into the Lodge–with Wendt holding a gun on Foster.   Amanda, Jake, and Thomas also have their guns drawn.  It rather looks like a shoot ‘em up Western movie–except for the woman with a gun amongst the group.

Peter:   Nodding his head.  “Thomas, Amanda, good to see you.   And who is this?”  Peter Wendt [(6) right] motions imperiously toward Jake.

Amanda:  “My husband Jake.”  She doesn’t feel the need to reveal that he is Navy Seals just now.  Jake nods his head.

Thomas:  “Peter what is going on?”

Paul:  “Don’t believe a word he says.  Thomas …”  But Wendt cold cocks Paul Foster [(7) right] over the head with the gun before he can say anything else and Foster falls to the stone floor only partially unconscious.

Peter:  “I should have left him with the authorities, but I wanted you to hear his confession directly yourself.”  He says disdainfully as he looks down at Foster–pushing on him with his shoe for good measure.

Thomas:   “Peter, was this really all about money?”  Thomas takes a tentative step forward, though Wendt still has his gun drawn.

Peter:  “I’m afraid so.  Pesky business embezzling government aid funds.   The Kamirastan Defense Minister thought he could get away scot free, but he needed help on the inside.”

Paul:  “Which you provided.”  He manages to spit out from the floor before Wendt kicks him into silence again.  “Kkkkh!”

Peter:  “Criminals will do anything to escape discovery, Thomas–even falsely accusing an innocent man.”

Thomas:  Thomas now looks at Wendt suspiciously.   “The way I hear tell it, both of you have unexplained bank transactions.”

Peter:  Trying to seem surprised, he says.  “Oh?  So Foster tried to plant evidence against me?  Typical.   Maybe I should just shoot him now and save the government the trouble.”  He aims his gun at the collapsed Foster.

Jake:  “Now why would you do that?”   He asks taking a step forward.   “Unless you’re the guilty party?”  His eyes narrow as he looks at him.

Peter:  “Me?  Of course not!   I’m here trying to save the day.”    He blusters.

But Thomas, Jake, and Amanda are beginning to question Wendt’s motives.   And Wendt hasn’t noticed is that Foster has come awake again lying on the floor and he almost imperceptibly shakes his head at Thomas

Amanda:   “Or are you just trying to save your own neck?”  She asks accusatorially.

At that moment, Foster moves to tackle Wendt and knocks him off of his feet and a scuffle ensues with Wendt’s gun falling just out of reach of both of them.   They hear a commotion outside with police sirens headed their way.

Jake:  “Whatever is going on, we’ll let the authorities sort it out.”  He nods toward the lodge’s front entrance.

Peter:  “No!  We have to settle this here and now!”  He says in a slightly crazed voice that unnerves Thomas.  He grabs his gun and stands up.  Foster also stands up–next to Thomas.

Thomas:  With a dawning realization of his former boss’ complicity in the embezzlement, Thomas now knows that Peter Wendt is the guilty party.  But Thomas tries to placate him, since Wendt has a gun pointed at the four of them.  “Peter, whatever happened we can work through this.”

Peter:  “Too late!”  He shoots toward Thomas, but Foster lunges in front of him and takes the bullet in his chest.

Amanda:  “Wendt!”  Meanwhile, Amanda aims and shoots Wendt in the hand, knocking the gun to the ground.

Then Jake overpowers Wendt and quickly trusses him up like a calf at a rodeo with a nearby window blind pull cord.

Thomas:  Thomas kneels at Foster’s side and calls over to Amanda. “Call for an ambulance!”

At that moment the police arrive and information is exchanged.  Caroline and Trevor also show up.  The paramedics finally arrive and tend to Foster.  But he has lost too much blood for there to be any real hope.  Foster motions to Thomas and Caroline to come near before they take him outside to the waiting chopper.

Thomas:  “Paul, why did you do it?  Take the bullet for me?”  He looks questioningly at the man who has been his mortal enemy for four years.

Paul:  “For you and Caroline, and Trevor.  I’m sorry, I failed to keep you safe.”

Caroline:  “But why did you do that?  You broke us apart.”  She looks at him bitterly.

Paul:  “No.  Yes, I loved you Caroline.  But I always knew you belonged to Thomas.”  He looks at her soulfully.  “I am so sorry.   Wendt spread the rumors to me about you being  unfaithful to Thomas–knowing that I would tell them to Thomas.  He wanted to not only break you two up, but to break up Thomas and my friendship–to sever our alliance and keep us off balance.   Then Wendt made it sound like it had all been my idea and he helped you rebuild your life so that you would be beholden to him.”

Thomas:  “Why didn’t you ever explain it to me?”  He asks quietly, stunned by this revelation.

Paul:  “You never…  Kkkhhh” A fit of coughing interrupts him as blood spews out of his mouth.  “You never gave me the chance.”  He sighs.

Caroline:  “Sounds familiar.”  Caroline looks at Thomas, remembering that he would never answer her calls after they parted.

Thomas:  “And the man in the park stalking Trevor and Mrs. Burns.?”

Paul:  “Watching over them.  I put you and Trevor  under surveillance for your protection as soon as I learned Caroline was hired–after I suspected what Wendt was up to.   But when you called Wendt Monday night to tell him about the stalkers and implicating me, he thought he had the perfect chance to pin all the embezzlement crap on me.  Wendt called in his own people who killed Mrs. Burns trying to silence you–he also had The Grissom Gang and my guy killed.”

Paramedic:  “Sir, we have to get him loaded in the chopper if we’re to get him to the hospital and save his life.”  The paramedic interrupts them stridently.

Thomas:  “I’m coming with you.”  He turns to the paramedic.  “Paul and I are the same blood type.  And he’s going to need a lot of blood.”   The paramedic nods.

Caroline:   “Thomas!”  They embrace and kiss, and Thomas hugs little Trevor.

Thomas:  “I love you both.  Stay here with Amanda and Jake and I’ll come back for you.

Caroline:  She nods as Amanda puts a caring arm around her shoulders.  “We love you.”

Trevor:  “Bye Daddy.”  He waves as Thomas from his mother’s arms follows the paramedics outside and into the waiting chopper.

***

Three hours later, Thomas is dropped off at the Bison Creek Ranch Resort and slowly walks up to the Lodge.  His sleeves are rolled up and a bandage is on his arm.  It is about 7:00pm and he walks through the Lodge to the back patio where he finds Amanda, Jake, Caroline, Trevor, and a few other resort guests enjoying their evening meal courtesy of Jake grilling out steaks on the barbecue.  Caroline jumps up when she sees Thomas and runs over to him.  Trevor toddles after her.

Caroline:  “Thomas!”  Caroline rushes forward and embraces him and kisses him adoringly and Thomas responds in kind.

Trevor:  “Daddy!”  Trevor also runs to his father and falls at Thomas feet, hugging his tall Daddy’s legs.

Jake:  “How’s yer friend?”  He asks getting right to the point.  Amanda looks at Thomas hopefully.

Thomas:  Shaking his head sadly, he says.  “He didn’t make it.”

Caroline:  “Oh Thomas, no!”  She wails and buries her head in Thomas’ neck.

Thomas:  “I gave my blood and they had other blood on supply, but they couldn’t get his bleeding stopped and Paul died on the operating room table an hour ago.  I contacted Martin and he will let Foster’s family know.”  Thomas says with tears brimming his eyes.  “I’ve been so blind!  Not trusting Caroline, and my best friend.”  he anguishes.

Amanda:  “Ours is a tough business.  Trust is hard to come by.”  She says putting her arm around her husband Jake’s waist as he rests his arm on her shoulders.

Jake:  “And treachery is everywhere.  Wendt had 6 people killed, for what?  For money.  Stupid!”  He shakes his head.

Trevor:  “Mommy, what is trechy?”  He asks innocently.

Caroline:   “That’s treachery.  It means betrayal.”

Trevor:  “Huh?”  He looks up at both of his parents.

Thomas:  “Something that we hope that you never have to experience.”  He says as he picks Trevor up into his arms and hugs him tightly.

Amanda:  “I say, your family deserves a rest after all of this.  Stay with us for a while as you sort things out.”  She says encouragingly to Thomas and Caroline.

Thomas:  “Well Caroline, They can do without us for a while at the Division.  Why don’t we make it our honeymoon trip?”

Caroline:  “Get married?  Here?”  She smiles up at him adoringly.

Jake:  “Have I mentioned that I’m also a Justice of the Peace?  And Miss Mandy here gives special rates for newlyweds on pony rides and such.”

Trevor:  “Ponies!”  He claps his hands together with glee.

Amanda:  “And tonight is a beautiful night.”  She smiles.

Then just after midnight–under the expansive canopy of stars in the crystal clear night time sky of East Glacier Park, Montana–Thomas and Caroline are wed by Jake, with Amanda and another resort guest serving as witnesses.    This is a moment of pure joy for Thomas and Caroline as they commit their lives to each other and their little son Trevor sleeping in a chair nearby.  No matter, they will have a reception tomorrow when he is awake to enjoy it–and with many more pony rides for Trevor in the days to come.    But tonight is theirs–Thomas’ and Caroline’s–finally becoming the loving couple they were always meant to be.

***

Thomas, Caroline, and Trevor–the now legally and lovingly bound Walters-Kane family–spend a month at the Bison Creek Resort, just relaxing and being a family together  with Amanda and Jake before heading to DC for a two week period to testify at a preliminary hearing for the government’s case against Peter Wendt.  Eventually, they return home to Chicago, opting to live in Thomas’ apartment until they can buy a home with a yard–since the heartbreak of Mrs. Burns’ death is too present in Caroline’s apartment building.

So a week after returning home to Chicago–7 weeks after they met again–Thomas and Caroline start work again fresh this Monday morning with a staff meeting.  Thomas has catered a hot and cold breakfast spread for everyone to enjoy as they sit in the conference room noshing their meals and reconnecting with each other.    Though Caroline just chooses some fruit and toast since her stomach is upset a bit–all the excitement Thomas reasons.

Martin:  “Well Thomas and Caroline, On behalf of the Division Team, we are glad to see you back!”  The other Senior Analysts [(8) above] claps and chimes in with their well wishes.

Thomas:  “Thanks everyone.  Caroline and I are delighted to be back.”  Caroline nods also. “Our grateful thanks, to all of you.  You saved our lives.”  Thomas [(9) right] says with a heartfelt voice.

Mary:  “Well, we’re glad that everything turned out alright.”

Caroline:  “We just wish so many innocent lives hadn’t been lost.”  She thinks of Mrs. Burns, Paul Foster, Foster’s watcher, and The Grissom Gang.

Todd:  “And I guess that we’re celebrating something else.  Martin said that he’s retiring again.”

All eyes turn to Martin.

Thomas:  “Is this true?”  He asks disappointedly.

Martin:  “Well.  Not retiring, per se.”  He looks pointedly over at Todd and smiles cryptically.  “I’m just moving to a new office.”

Allen:   “Oh!  Are you taking over Foster’s old Division?  I hear that it is up for grabs.”  He says cheekily.

Martin:  “No.”  He shares a smile with Mary.

Thomas:  “So?  Where are you going?”

Fiona:   “Well the only other position open is that of Director.”  She says voicing what is on everyone’s mind.

Mary:  “Martin?”  She looks at him quizzically, because he hadn’t even told her.

Martin:  Leaning down and kissing the top of Mary’s head, he says.  “Yes, my dear.  I must confess.  Though I did refuse the first two times they asked me to be Director, I finally accepted on their third try.”  He says nonchalantly.  “Can’t figure out what they want in an old man of my age.  I’m practically in the tomb.”

Thomas:  “My guess it’s your experience, intelligence and integrity.”  Thomas says sincerely.  “I couldn’t be happier for you, Martin.”  Thomas shakes Martin’s hand warmly.

Martin:  “Thank you Thomas–and everyone.”  He smiles.  “Now let’s eat before we have to get back to whatever crisis is threatening the world this week.”

Todd:  “Thomas, this breakfast spread is really great!  I especially love the bacon.”  He smiles holding the bacon slice up before he chomps down on it.

Everyone smiles, but Caroline.  She turns green from the bacon smell and dashes out of the conference room and throws up in the plastic lined basket around the corner–next to Todd’s cubicle.   Thomas goes to see to her and then they walk back into the conference room when she has recovered.

Martin:  “Are you alright Caroline dear?”  He looks at Caroline in concern.

Caroline:  “Sorry.”  She says sheepishly as she swigs some orange juice to cleanse her palate.  “I’ll be alright.  I’ll get over this ….”  Then she turns to Thomas and smiles.  “…. in a couple of weeks.”

Thomas [(10) right]  looks at Caroline quizzically.  Mary’s and Fiona’s eyebrows raise.  Martin coughs in realization.  Allen doesn’t have clue.  But Todd fills in the gaps.

Todd:  Unintentionally waving another bacon slice at her, he says.  “You’re pregnant!”

Thomas:  “Caroline?”  He takes her in his arms and looks at her in wonder.

Caroline:  “Surprise!”  Caroline [(11) right] smiles joyfully as Thomas kisses her adoringly, again, and again, and again, and again as their colleagues and friends give them their well wishes.

The End

Epilogue:
For Thomas and Caroline, they have healed the rift that had torn their lives in two four years ago.  They now know the truth–about everyone.  But mostly, they now know the truth about themselves–that they are meant to be together as lovers, as a family, and as colleagues–and that nothing and no one will ever keep them apart again.  The cold chill of Thomas and Caroline’s heartbreaking four year separation is left behind them–melted by the fires of their love and their passions for each other.  Their future together is hopeful and joyous–and filled with love.

Author’s Note:

Dear Readers,

Thank you for reading my original story, “Fire & Ice:  A Love Story”.  I have enjoyed sharing it with you.  This was a very different love story tale for me–in that the story involved elements of intrigue and violence.    However some stories just write themselves and I had to let the story of Thomas and Caroline play itself out.  But of course, this tale closes with the characteristic happy ending that most of my stories have.    And fittingly for reaching this milestone, my 250th post is a story post.

Cheers!   Gratiana Lovelace  ;->

References

(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 at http://www.automatedculture.com/sam_elliott/

(3)      Image  representing Trevor Thomas Walters Kane with a pony is a stock photo of a young boy feeding a pony found at MS Office Clip Art at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=pony&ex=2#ai:MP900262287%7Cmt:2%7C

(4)     Image representing Thomas Kane and Caroline Walters kissing is that of Richard Armitage portraying John Porter and Shelly Conn portraying Danni  in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back Series 1 (2010 on Sky 1), episode 5 (pix 34) was found at  http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode5/slides/ep5_034.html

(5)     Image representing Amanda Pritchett Holder is that of actress Blair Brown and was found at http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1221823

(6)     Image representing Director Peter Wendt is that of American actor Tim Gamble and was found at http://earthcirclefilms.com/notebook/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/tim-gamble-farmer1.jpg

(7)     Image representing other Division Chief Paul Foster is that of American actor Andrew May and was found at http://www.cleveland.com/onstage/index.ssf/2009/12/cleveland_theater_legend_andre.html

(8)     Image of Thomas’ Division Team is comprised of the following actor portraits: ;
Image representing Martin is that of British actor Brian Protheroe and was found at http://www.brianprotheroe.co.uk/Brian_Protheroe/Brian_Protheroe.html;

Image representing Mary is that of American Actress Mary McDonnell portraying Laura on Battlestar Galactica and was found at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lz9THa5gdMk/TWmtypjKBCI/AAAAAAAAWJc/KUWTvZfn3NU/s400/laura_l.jpg;

Image representing Todd is that of American Actor Seth Green and was found at

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/NtfT2NiitiJ/Premiere+Walt+Disney+Pictures+Mars+Needs+Moms/7kpMZbC3Bp6/Seth+Green;

Image representing Fiona is that of American Actress Raven Symone and was found at http://images.wikia.com/suitelife/images/2/23/Galleria.jpg;

and Image representing Allen is that of actor Logan Lerman and was found at http://www.zimbio.com/Logan+Lerman

(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 8) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/slides/ep3_008.html

(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

(11)  Image representing Caroline Walters is that of Anne Hathaway and was found at the Online Movielists blog at

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VWKqzveBS8s/TwBK1OIx1FI/AAAAAAAAA1k/vCIg3YRigLI/s1600/anne-hathaway.jpg

 

 

Previous “Fire & Ice” Story Links

 

Ch. 40:  https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/fire-ice-ch-40-a-former-colleague-becomes-an-ally-80612-gratiana-lovelace-post-246/

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Ch. 1:  https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/fire-ice-a-love-story-ch-1-2-meeting-again-60112-gratiana-lovelace-post-198/

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About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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9 Responses to “Fire & Ice: A Love Story”, Ch. 41 End & Epilogue: Deadly Consequences & New Beginnings, 8/13/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #250)

  1. Fabi says:

    Hi Grati,
    First of all, congratulations for the 250th post milestone! Keep up the good work.
    Yes, it was a different story, but no less enjoyable, and the very cute little Trevor a relief to the tension. Do you intend to bring another story soon?

    Like

    • Hi Fabi,
      Thanks for your kind words about my story “Fire & Ice”.

      I do have other stories percolating in the queue:
      1) One of my two older woman younger man tales, “The Boy Next Door”;
      2) A short story expansion of my ficlet “Guy & Marian: Shelter in My Arms” that just needs one more chapter written;
      3) The sequel to “Guy’s Rose” that has a good start–focusing on the Guy and Archer brother relationship–but it is not finished. I confess that I would like to be further along in this story before I start serializing it.
      4) “Mending Hearts”–about a 40 year old man whose duty to family, and a secret love, has made him have to forgo love and marriage until his life changes forever. Think John Standring meets John Thornton. Again, this is not completed, but far enough along to begin serializing it.
      5) Another mature (40’s) relationship love story??????

      So! Just as a general idea of my reader’s preferences on what story of mine that I serialize next, please “vote”. Though I might override that vote in terms of which story I feel is best “ready to go”. Ha!

      Cheers! Grati ;->

      P.S. Wednesday could possibly be the start of my serializing my next story. But given that I would like some feedback from my regular readers/subscribers–and you know who you are, Ha!–about which story you might like to see, Friday is more likely.

      However, I am also cRAzily entertaining the notion of serializing two stories at once–one that posts on Wednesdays, and one that posts on Mondays. I am eager to get my stories “out there” and since I keep coming up with new story ideas and starting writing them almost daily–I am not kidding, I can’t turn my brain off, Ha!–I need to get cracking. Ha!

      But since I am now also posting my stories on Wattpad, having to build two stories two times–and in different formats–might be too time consuming. I do have to work. Dang it. Ha!

      P.S. Of course next week is Richard Armitage’s birthday week. And I am participating in the KRA 2012 celebrations. So there will be a special post next week for that as well.

      Like

  2. AJ Daisy says:

    Hi Grati I really enjoyed this story. You are a very clever writer.Crikey you will be busy with all your fan fiction. But bring it on I say can’t wait. Thank You

    Like

    • Hi AJ Daisy,
      Thanks for your very kind note! I’m glad that you’re enjoying my stories.
      So, do you have a love story genre preference for me to share next from among the story choices in my response to Fabi?
      Cheers! Grati ;->
      P.S. I am busy. Ha! But I love storytelling. I just need to find a way to do it full time. But I’m way to young to retire from my current job. Ha!

      Like

  3. Ania says:

    Hi Grati,
    Thank you for sharing this story. I liked to read it (I must also admit that this story has enriched my vocabulary).:) Congratulations for the 250th post! It is such a pleasure to look at your blog.

    Like

    • Hi Ania,
      Thanks for your lovely note! I’m glad you enjoyed this story. And thanks for your well wishes about my 250th post. It’s hard to believe that I have written that many in almost a year’s time. But I have. Ha!
      Thanks to you and other gals for being such faithful readers and commenters.
      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  4. 8/13/12

    Dear Readers,
    About 93 visitors ago today, my blog ticked over to 70,000 visitors. I am truly overwhelmed and feel very blessed that people visit my “little” blog! I appreciate your readership and your comments–the comments that aren’t spam anyway. Ha!

    I will reach my one year anniversary of launching this blog in 12 days. And I would never have guessed that I would be at this point. But I’m loving my blogging and will continue sharing with you a mix of my original essays, humor, love, graphics, and stories, etc.

    Cheers! Grati ;->

    Like

  5. Brooke says:

    Congratulations on your 250th post. I would like to see #4. I haven’t read anything like that before and it sounds very interesting.
    In addition, it’s your writing and your blog, so choose what you want.
    I won’t mind if you choose another over my preference.

    Like

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