Continuing with The Posture of Innocence through the "Community Garden" freewrite ... in the first 10 days of the story, Captain Lee of the Big Loft police department has reopened the Soames murder case, found out along with one of his division's lieutenants that the chief witness was lying, and found out yesterday from renowned private investigator Jetson Black that not only has the chief witness been lying for 25 years, but people inside the Big Loft police department not only have been lying for 25 years, but harbored the true murderer. Captain Lee gets into a cold rage about this ... but then, two minutes into that, along comes Ms. Thornton from the commissioner's office to pick up the information and take it to the commissioner. Their brief public interaction is in yesterday's "Peak" freewrite, but today's freewrite is built around Ms. Thornton's viewpoint of the interaction.
If you have followed my freewrites, you know that Captain Lee and Ms. Thornton live in the same apartment building and go (sometimes) to the same church, and that outside of work, a friendship has developed that wants to bud into romance, but, cool Captain Lee will not cross that working relationship line. Ms. Thornton respects and appreciates that ... and just finds a way to love him anyway (and gets loved back), as things are, in her first appearance in The Posture of Innocence.
Now to get TOTALLY caught up on The Posture of Innocence, here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, and day 7.5, day 8, day 9, day 9.5, day 10, and day 10.5!
It was a brief interaction …
“Hello, Ms. Thornton, how are you? … please take this to Commissioner Scott ...”
… but to a woman looking at the man she loved, there was so much packed into it …
Ms. Magdalena Thornton had first seen Captain Lee one day in the late spring, as she was walking through the Downtown Community Garden … a day when she was grieving her late husband, Greg Thornton, and grieving the loss of men of character in her circle, because the Big Loft police department was a corrupt mess.
Then, she saw hope … a child's face was wet with tears but no longer crying because a tall man had stopped what he was doing to get a kite down from a tree that was not so high for him. The officer was at least a colonel, heavily decorated, and wearing a green beret – perhaps coming from a Reserve Weekend, because it was Sunday evening, and he looked very tired – but there was deep happiness in his smile as he took the kite down and presented it to the little boy, who embraced him and kissed his cheek before running off home – almost.
“Wait a moment, young man,” said the officer. “Where do you live? It is getting dark and you do not need to go home alone.”
“Way up there,” the little boy said. “Momma's not back from work, so I have to always be by myself.”
“Not today,” the officer said. “If it is a long way, that is good; I will teach you how to march like a soldier as we go.”
“Oh, it's a long, long way – but will you really teach me how to march?”
“Yes, I will. Let's start!”
And off they went. Mrs. Thornton was still sitting and reading under a garden lamp when the officer returned, two whole hours later, looking completely exhausted, but laughing as he looked up at the tree that had cost him all that time. He was as handsome and fit as he wanted to be, as he appeared under the lamp lights in passing … and gone … but he had left hope behind that all was not lost in terms of good men in the world.
That was Ms. Thornton's first sighting of Colonel Lee, long before she realized he was working in the same messed-up place as she was.
Only Colonel Lee, as a police captain, wasn't having the nonsense. He stood and he fought back – and Ms. Thornton had six new bosses in half as many weeks, because Captain Lee wasn't having it. Yet she knew … the mighty warrior had a heart, and it was hurting just like hers, because things were BAD.
“No, I'm not fine at the moment, because there has been a great, great miscarriage of justice, but it will soon be set right, Lord willing … .”
Captain Lee was going to fight on against the corruption. It just wasn't in him to let it go on when he could stop it … and it wasn't in him to overlook Ms. Thornton's deep concern for him.
“Thank you for doing your part … .”
He didn't know the half of it, but he could sense it, somehow.
“Stay untroubled, dear heart.”
How tender the word from him!
“Please drink some of that wonderful mint limeade you make,” she said softly.
“Yes, I will drink some mint limeade in a minute.”
“You're not alone, Captain – a lot of us are fighting along with you,” she said very softly, and then clasped his hand, ever so gently. “Keep fighting.”
His mouth added, silently, “I will, not just for me, but all of us.”
He squeezed back, and then, just for a moment, covered her with the sunshine of his smile, and she smiled back. Then, back to work, each having received strength from the love of the other.