Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 46

Love Apart never attained the same sort of ratings as sit-coms like Friends or Seinfeld, but it did gain enough popularity that it stayed on-air for three seasons.  They had been hoping for a run of at least five years, but there are no guarantees in the entertainment world.

The studio execs gave the producers enough notice that they were able to bring the series to a logical conclusion.  In the final episode, the script called for all the characters to be together for the first time.  Robert and Patricia (the two main characters) had appeared on screen together a few times, but in this episode, their “families” would all get together as well to celebrate Christmas.  The climax of the episode was to be Robert proposing to Patricia at the very end of the show.

Bertha, who played Robert’s sister, Renata, was in her place on set, acting her part.  The cameras were rolling as she was helping all of the other characters decorate the Christmas Tree.  Even though she was sad that they were filming the final episode of the show, she was a professional and held her composure.  She knew that in just a few moments, when the tree looked practically perfect, Robert was going to say to Patricia, “here’s one more ornament.  Can you hang it for me?”  The “ornament” was, of course, going to be the engagement ring, and Patricia was going to break down and say, “YES!!”.

Bertha was expecting the call to “CUT!” come at any moment, as Robert completely missed his cue, but the director kept silent, and the film kept rolling.  She did her best to keep acting, knowing that sometimes the director liked to catch a bit of improv.  Finally, she heard the expected words, “Here’s one more ornament.  Can you hang it for me?”  But the voice was wrong!  She turned and saw Thorson, down on one knee, holding up a ring to her!  It took half a moment for Bertha to realize that this was not a script error, but was, in fact, something that Thord had worked out with the director.  This was not mere acting…this was the REAL THING!

She looked around and saw that all the other actors and actresses were staring at her with huge smiles on their faces.  They were all in on it.  She looked from face to face, then finally looked back at Thorson.  He was smiling his adorable crooked grin, and she could tell that he was more nervous than she had ever seen him before.  Bertha completely broke character at that point.  Tears began spilling down her face as she said, “Yes, Thorson, I will.  YES!!  I love you!!”  The entire cast and crew burst into applause as the two of them shared their first kiss as an engaged couple.  A few moments later, Bertha felt arms around her, and looked up to see Mr. and Mrs. The Third were there too…and so was her mom!

~~

They were married near the end of April.  They chose to hold a rather small wedding, as much out of the Hollywood spotlight as possible.  They didn’t live “Happily Ever After”, for that’s not real life.  They had their ups and downs and disagreements like every couple does.  Despite those minor problems, though, they were mostly happy, as they were committed to, and loved each other very much.

After about two years of marriage, Bertha told Thord, “I think I’m pregnant.”  His face lit up with joy at the thought of being a dad.  Roughly nine months after that, the two of them were in a hospital room, and Thord was gazing down at the new-born.  A nurse walked in at that point and said, “Do you have a name for him yet?”

Bertha looked up at the nurse, smiled, and said, “Yes.  His name is Thorson Thorkelson The Third, the Second”

~~

THE END

a big THANK YOU to those of you who have been following this story from the beginning, especially those of you who encouraged me to write more when I got frustrated and wanted to quit.

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 45

Thorson couldn’t wait to call his parents, and Bertha understood his impatience.  It wasn’t every day that a boy like Thord got asked to play a part in a sit-com.  He couldn’t believe that he hadn’t even had to audition for the part!  For a moment, he was worried that Bertha would be jealous…after all she was an actress…but she had had to work hard in order to land the parts she had played.  One look at her beaming face, however, and Thord could tell that she was just as excited for him as he was.

When his parents answered the phone, he talked, as casually as he could, about his day so far, but held off on the most exciting news of all.  After talking for about five minutes, however, he couldn’t wait any longer.  So as non-chalantly as he could, he said, “Oh.  I almost forgot, I’ve been asked to be an actor in Bertha’s sit-com.”  Of course, his parents thought that he was just kidding at first, but when they finally realized that he was serious, they were speechless.  When his dad finally was able to speak again, he said, “As long as you don’t go crazy like a lot of kid actors have.”  It may not have been an outright “Yes”, but Thorson knew his dad, and knew that this was his way of giving permission.  His mom was a lot more reluctant, but even she couldn’t say “no” to such an amazing opportunity.

~~

When the show finally went into production, it was decided to change the name of the show from “Absence Makes The Heart a Wonder” (which everyone agreed sounded hokey) to “Love Apart”.  The studio found an acting coach who lived in Saskatoon, SK who could help Thorson develop his acting skills, and he surprised everyone, especially himself, with his ability.  As had been predicted, Thorson’s role became more and more important, and shortly after he graduated from high school, the studio approached the The Third family and suggested that, “perhaps it’s time to rent a place in Hollywood.”  They were, at first, reluctant to do so, but when they stopped to consider that Thorson was bringing in an income that was greater than the combined income of both of his parents, they finally decided it might be the best.  They sold their home in Armpit, figuring that they could always buy another place if and when the time came to move back home.  Finally, almost five years after meeting, Thorson and Bertha were living in the same community.

~~to be continued~~

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 44

This trip was certainly turning out to be more than Thorson had bargained for.  The plan had been to spend a couple of weeks with Bertha in the state of Washington, but now he was flying even further…down to California!  When he had called his parents to make sure it was OK to take this “detour”, and had assured them that Bertha’s mom was coming too, they had quickly given their consent.  Before too long, Bertha and Thorson were smiling at each other as they felt the wheels of the plane touch down on the LAX tarmac.

Upon exiting the plane, they followed Bertha’s mom out of the secure area.  They were all discussing how they were going to find the studio, but were surprised to see a sharply dressed chauffeur holding a small placard that said “VonEngel Party”.  With relief, they introduced themselves and quickly found themselves on the way to Bertha’s meeting.

When they arrived at the studio, the chauffeur took them to where Bertha’s meeting was, and then offered to take Thorson and Bertha’s mom on a tour, as Bertha’s meeting would last for a while.  They enjoyed seeing some of the houses of celebrities, but Thorson was really looking forward to touring around with Bertha instead of her mom.  About 2 hours later, the chauffeur received a call to return to the studio.

When they got back, they were expecting to see Bertha waiting for them, but the chauffeur just said, “follow me.”  They walked down a corridor and entered a conference room where Bertha and the rest of the cast were still wrapping up.  The director was speaking as Thord and Bertha’s mom entered the room and took some seats in the back corner.  He looked up and gave them a smile…then his face took on a look of shock.  Finally, beaming, he said to all assembled, “I do believe that John has just arrived.”

Thorson, of course, had no idea what was happening, but the cast did.  The director had been discussing that he had not yet found the right person to play a character named “John”.  John was to play a close friend of Rob (the male lead).  It would be a minor role…only appearing in about 2 or 3 episodes each season, but still a crucial role.  The director had definite ideas of what this character should look like, but had not yet found the right “fit”.  But now, the eyes of everyone turned to look at…Thorson.  It took a while for the director to explain to Thorson what he was implying, and Thorson quickly objected, saying, “I’m not an actor.”  The director, however would simply not take “no” for an answer, and before too long, Thorson was starting to believe that just maybe he could act.

“There’s no way that I can move down to California, though,” Thorson objected.

The director assured him that, “as your character does not appear in each episode, that won’t be a problem, we’ll simply fly you down to California whenever we need you.  If the show is successful, however, your role may increase.  But we can discuss that in the future.”

After being told, “talk it over with your parents, but get back to me within the next couple of days,” Thorson walked out of the studio with Bertha and her mom.  He didn’t feel like he was walking, though…he felt more like floating, and his head was spinning…but in a good way.

~~to be continued~~

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 43

“So…will you have to re-locate?”

This was the first thing that Thorson said to Bertha the next morning.  He was staying in the guest room at the VonEngle house.  Bertha was already up, sitting on the couch in the living-room reading a book.  She was leaning on the arm-rest with her legs folded neatly beside her.  As usual, Thorson felt that she looked amazing!

“What?”

“Your sit-com…are you going to have to move to be a part of it?”

“Most likely.  Even though the show is based on a long-distance relationship, it’s just easier for the directors and producers if everyone can work out of the same studio.  Mom’s actually thinking of putting this place on the market.  The biggest problem, though, is that there’s not much in our price-range available in the Los Angeles area, so we’d most likely have to rent an apartment.  The lack of space would take some getting used to!”

Somehow, Thorson had pictured Bertha moving to Hollywood and buying the kind of mansion that actors always seemed to have, and he had to remind himself that, although Bertha was getting increasingly more well-known, his girl-friend was still a relative new-comer to the acting scene, especially when compared to a lot of actors and actresses.  She simply wasn’t pulling in the same kind of income as the big-name stars.

Bertha continued, “I’m trying to convince Mom to keep this place, though.  I like Washington, and when this whole TV show is over, it would be nice to have someplace to come back to!”

Even though the distance  that Bertha would be moving hardly mattered…it wouldn’t be much more difficult for them to visit each other, and Skype would be exactly the same, Thord couldn’t help but think to himself, “California?  But then we’ll be even further apart!”

“Hey!  I’ve got a surprise for you!”

Thorson liked surprises, so he was excited about what Bertha had to say.  He wasn’t disappointed

“The director asked us all to be at the studio the day after tomorrow.  I told him that my boyfriend was in town and asked if it would be possible to delay the meeting by a couple of weeks.  He said, ‘I wish that I could, but this meeting is imperative as we need to flesh out a few details so that our writers can get started…but if it makes things easier for you, we’ll pay for an extra plane ticket for you to give your boyfriend.’  So…you want to fly to Hollywood with me tomorrow?”

~~to be continued~~

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 42

Bertha and Thord took the elevator down from the Space Needle and walked to where Bertha had parked her car.  Thorson slid into the passenger seat and felt suddenly tired.  It had been a busy day…flying to Seattle, touring the city with Bertha’s friend Samantha, and then spending the last few minutes with Bertha.  He felt comfortable with Bertha…as if they saw each other every day, rather than communicating almost entirely by text or Skype.  Now that he was sitting in her car, he realized that this was the first time that he had been truly able to relax since he had gotten up that morning.

~~

Bertha started the engine, and they started driving down the street.  She began chatting as she navigated traffic, but noticed that Thord was being unusually quite.  She glanced over and smiled as she saw that her boyfriend had fallen asleep.  She knew what it was like to have a long day, so she just turned the radio on and kept driving towards the restaurant.

~~

Thorson hadn’t intended to fall asleep.  He thought that it would be rude to lose consciousness so quickly after getting back together with Bertha, but his eyes were lead weights.  He began to dream that he and Bertha were just acting a script…that they weren’t, in fact, truly in love with each other, but just playing parts.  He knew that he loved her, but wished that she felt the same.  Perhaps his dream was a result of hearing about the TV series that Bertha was going to be in about a long distance relationship.  The dream gave him a sense of despair.  This feeling of unrequited love was about the worst feeling in the world, and it caused him to wake up rather suddenly.  When he looked over at Bertha, his mind was still partially stuck in his dream, and he experienced a moment of profound sadness, but then realized that reality was not what he had just experienced, and as quickly as it had sprung upon him, the sadness was replaced by contentment.

~~

Bertha took Thord to a small Italian food restaurant.  The food was good, the atmosphere was warm and friendly, the waiter was attentive.  In short, as far as dining experiences go, they couldn’t have asked for more.  Neither Bertha nor Thord really noticed the meal though.  Each was basking in the presence of the other.  They were young.  They were in love.  For only the second time since they had met, they were together, and everything else paled in comparison.

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 41

Despite the fact that Samantha was not the girl that he ideally wanted to be with, Thorson was enjoying himself.  He was glad to be getting to know Bertha’s friend…but he was still looking forward to seeing Bertha again.

After a few hours of touring, Samantha parked near the one Seattle landmark that Thorson had already heard of…the Space Needle.  He began protesting that he had been planning on coming here with Bertha, but Samantha said, “Bertha asked me to bring you here.”  At that point, Thorson was fairly certain that this was to be the rendezvous point, and when they got up to the observation area, he found that he was not disappointed.  Samantha grinned and said, “It was nice to finally meet you in person, but I think that you will enjoy having a different tour guide now.”  Thorson thanked her for showing him around, said goodbye, and gave Bertha a big hug.  He hardly knew what to say, but for the time being, that seemed to be OK for both of them, as their embrace, and then holding hands seemed to be all the communication that they needed for the time being.

Finally, Bertha broke the silence and said, “I’m glad that you’re here.  I’ve missed you sooo much!”  Thorson indicated that the feeling was mutual (if not in those exact words), but then said, “Sam said something had come up…can you tell me what?”

Bertha smiled and said, “I’ve got a job!  I auditioned for a role a few months ago.  I didn’t tell you then, because, if I got it, I wanted it to be a surprise.  I found out just yesterday that I got the part, and I had a tele-conference today with the producer and the other cast members!”

“Cool!  What kind of movie is it?”  Thorson knew that, despite having two movies under her belt, Bertha had been going through a bit of a dry spell.  Either the movie script was not something that she felt was right for her, or she had not been what the director was looking for, so Thorson was glad to hear that she had finally gotten another part.

“Actually, it’s not a movie…it’s a TV series!  When I heard the premise of this show, I just had to try out!”

“What’s it about?”

“The show is tentatively being called ‘Absense Makes the Heart A Wonder’.  They haven’t settled on that name yet, but for now, it’s the working title.  It’s a sit-com based on a dating couple that live a long distance apart.  I figured that based on our experiences, the part was right for me.”

Thorson smiled and said, “so…who’s your boyfriend in this show?”

“Actually, I’m not the main girl in this one.  I’m playing the sister of the love-struck boy.  I’ve made a three year commitment to the show.  That’s based, of course, on the show’s success, but I’m hopeful that this’ll provide me with a steady job for a while.”

“Congratulations!  I think that we should do something to celebrate…do we already have dinner plans, or can I take you out somewhere?”

“The evening is ours.  Mom figured I’d want to have you all to myself for the rest of the day.  You have someplace in mind?”

“Well…this is my first time in Seattle, so I’ll let you pick.”

Bertha grinned.  There was a new restaurant that she wanted to check out, and she figured that it should be within Thord’s budget, so she said, “OK, I know just the place!”

~~to be continued~~

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 37

Thorson was bored.  It had been 3 weeks since Bertha had gone home.  School was starting up again in just a few days.  Thorson would be starting Grade 11.  He wasn’t really excited about going back to school, but even education would be better than the boredom he faced right now.  He had picked up The Fellowship of the Ring earlier that day, but couldn’t get into it, even though The Lord of the Rings was his all-time favourite set of books.  He had already read through the whole thing half a dozen times, but this time it wasn’t doing anything for him.

He put a game into his 3DS, but after a few minutes, decided that this wasn’t what he wanted either.

Everything he did felt empty, and he knew why too.  He wanted to do something, anything with Bertha.  It really sucked that she lived so far away.

He decided, on a whim, to try skyping with Bertha, but as he suspected, she wasn’t by her computer.  She was probably out working or spending time with her friends, so he sent her a text:

“just met a girl named Ann.  She’s super cute, and I think she’s into me.”

It wasn’t even remotely true, and maybe a bit cruel, but he was just bored enough to try to get a reaction out of his girlfriend.

20 seconds later, there was a reply, “you kiss her yet?”

“Well…she started it…”

He suspected that Bertha knew he was just trying to string her along, and her next text to her proved it…

“As long as she started it, I guess that’s OK…especially since she’s cute.  luv u!”

Thorson replied, “luv u 2…miss u.  i’m so bored!!”

They texted back and forth for a while, and it helped Thorson’s mood, but he still desperately missed her.

When they were done texting, Thorson went to see what his dad was up to.  He found his dad in the back yard looking intently at the birch tree.  “What are you doing?”  His dad looked at his with a rather startled look and said, “trying to communicate, of course!”

“With the tree?”

“Yes.  I’m fairly certain that they can communicate telepathically.”

“Any success?”

“Some, but everything they say is rather sappy.”

Thorson groaned at his dad’s lame attempt at humour, but then said, “Dad, can I get a job?”

“Hmmm…school starts in a few days, rather late for a summer job isn’t it?”

“I was thinking I could work evenings and weekends.”

“I’ll talk it over with your mom, but if you can keep your grades up, maybe you could have a job.  What do you want a job for, anyway?”

Thorson figured that if he could save up a bit, then maybe he could afford to fly down to Washington once in a while instead of relying on Bertha’s acting income to fund all of their visits, but he wasn’t sure that he wanted to tell his dad that…at least not yet, so he said, “I’d like to have a bit of spending cash without bugging you and mom all the time.”

“Good idea!”  his dad said, “especially since plane tickets are rather pricey.”

Once again, his dad had read him like a book, but it was good to have parents who understood him so well.

~~to be continued~~

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 36

As soon as Thorson left the airport, he pulled out his new smart-phone.  Up until he and Bertha finally met for the first time, he had joked that he was one of the last 10 people on the planet who didn’t have a cell phone.  He even tried to convince Bertha not to buy him the new gadget, but she wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  “I want to be able to text with you like normal people do!”

Thorson wasn’t entirely sure that something was “normal” just because it was the modern craze, but he had to admit he enjoyed the instant-anywhere communication…not to mention that he could check facebook or send tweets even when he didn’t have computer access.

He sent a short text message, smiled, and put his phone back in his pocket.  Then he opened the back door of the car and climbed in.  His mom turned and asked him, “you OK?”  Thorson missed Bertha more than he ever had before, but he said, “Yeah, I’m OK.  Let’s go home.”

Thord and Bertha had gone a lot of places together while she had been in Saskatchewan, but every place they had gone, they had left together too.  He wished that she had climbed into the car with him, instead of a plane leaving the country.  He still wanted to do things with his favourite girl.

~~

Samantha’s phone beeped.  She smiled when she saw that it was from Thorson.  She had been expecting this text.

She’d been surprised the first time that her best friend’s boyfriend had texted her.  Turns out he had snuck a peak at Bertha’s phone’s address book when Bertha had left it unattended at a restaurant.  That first text had asked her if she would do him a favour.  “You Canadians and your extraneous u’s…of course I’ll do you a favor!”  Doing him a favor was easy, especially since he was doing most of the arrangements…besides, he was doing this for her friend too!  This text simply gave the arrival time of Bertha’s plane to the airport in Seattle.

~~

When Bertha’s plane landed, she was tired, but woke up fully when she left the secure area and saw her friend Sam waiting for her.  Beside Samantha was a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Thorson, holding a very real bouquet of flowers.

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 35

Despite her sorrow at having to go home and say good-bye to Thord, Bertha couldn’t help but smile as she thought back on the things that she and Thord had done together.

One Saturday morning, when she had been able to spend the weekend at the Thorkelson house, she came down to breakfast to find Thorson waiting for her with his goofy, lopsided grin lighting up his face.  Before she could ask what he was up to, he said,

“I have an idea for a really fun time
whatever we say, we say it in rhyme.”

She hadn’t been sure of his idea, but had decided to give it a try.  At first, they both found it challenging, but before long, they both got into the spirit of things.  It helped that Thorson’s mom and dad joined in on the fun.

At lunch time, Thorson took Bertha out to McDonald’s.  She wasn’t sure if the game applied to public settings, so she let Thorson order first.  He walked up to the counter and said,

“Dear sir, I confess I do wish
to sample your Filet O’Fish.
I tell you no lies
when I request your large fries.
And in case I start to choke
please pour me a large cup of Coke.”

The guy behind the cash register looked at Thorson as if he was crazy, so Thorson just grinned at the employee.

After he had placed his order, Bertha had gone up the the counter and said,

You may think my boyfriend is a crack,
but please excuse the dear.
I would like a Big Mac
and a tall cold glass of root beer.
And don’t let it be a surprise,
that I also would like a large fries.

They had hardly been able to eat because they’d been laughing so hard.

Of course, one of the highlights of the day had been at supper, when Thorson’s dad spouted off a petrarchan sonnet because he wanted something passed

‘Tis still a bit of space left on my plate
Upon which I could place a bit of food
I see this void and think it rather crude
For I will still be hungry when it’s late
.
I look around this table at you all
And see that you have something that I lack
I feel that I have fallen through a crack
There’s such a very long long way to fall
.
There is a solution that I perceive
If you’ll indulge me for a little bit
Excitement fills me from my head to toes
Just bend your ear and soon you will believe
If you but listen to my stellar wit
Would you please pass me the mashed potatoes?

Bertha didn’t notice how much the memory of that wonderful day was affecting her until the stewardess tapped her on the shoulder.  “Miss, are you alright?”

That’s when Bertha realized that her shoulders were shaking from a combination of her tears of sadness and her laughter.  She looked up at the stewardess, smiled, and said, “Thanks.  I think I’ll be alright.”  As the stewardess walked away, Bertha whispered under her breath, “as we fly on this flight.”

Thorson Thorkelson The Thord – Part 34

Most indi films are seen by relatively few people.  Occasionally, however, an indi film manages to garner enough attention to cross over into the main-stream.  Bruce and Juliette was one of those rare gems.

Bertha had been limited to the indi market for the simple reason that major studios didn’t like her name.  She had been told on more than one occasion, “Get a name change, or at least adopt a stage-name, then come back.”  With the success of Bruce and Juliette, however, her name was no longer an obstacle.  Major studios were now asking Bertha to audition for their upcoming movies.  She wasn’t exactly a household name, but she certainly wasn’t an unknown anymore either.

After her first movie, she had received precisely one piece of fan-mail.  This one letter had launched her relationship with Thorson.  After Bruce and Juliette, the letters began pouring in by the hundreds.  As much as she had desired that attention after her first movie, she reflected that she would probably never have met Thorson if she had had more success with The Disaster.

After the Canadian premiere of Bruce and Juliette, she was able to stay a full month in Saskatchewan.  Much of this time was spent doing publicity tours, but she was also able to spend a fair bit of time with Thorson and his family.  It was wonderful to be with the boy that she had grown to love, but the time passed all too quickly.

It was with a lot of tears on both Bertha’s and Thorson’s part when the time came for Bertha to board the airplane that would take her back to the US.  They knew that they already had a relationship that had started as long distance, and they knew that they could sustain it, but the time spent together made the distance seem that much more extreme.  They were both thankful that with the income that Bertha was receiving from the box-office and from Blu-Ray sales it was going to be possible for them to get together at least a few times a year, but still…Bertha was getting on a plane, and Thorson wasn’t.

With a final hug and kiss, Bertha turned to walk through the security gate.  Despite the glare of the airport lights, Thorson’s world felt awfully dark.

~~to be continued~~