Summary: Lee and Amanda's past comes back to haunt them.
Archive: Please let me know where.
Feedback: Yes, lots
Time Frame: About six months after the series ended
Notes: Their marriage and jobs are still secrets. This is a sequel to Innocence Lost, but I don't think you really have to read that one to get the plot.
Billy Melrose was in a good mood as he entered his office. It was a crisp, clear winter morning in DC and there was not much going on that required the attention of the Agency. What he didn't know, was that his peaceful existence was about to be shattered.
Billy began reading his morning reports when a name caught his eye: Elliot Crandall. "Great. Just great," he said aloud. Then he picked up his phone.
When the phone rang, Lee Stetson was just sitting down at the desk with his coffee. He picked up the receiver and cheerily said, "Stetson here."
At his end, Billy smiled. Lee had been a different man ever since the Stemwinder fiasco last year; it didn't take a senior agent to figure out why. "Is Amanda in yet, Lee?"
"Not yet. She said she might be a little late today, but she should be here soon. Why? What's up?"
"I'd rather tell you about it together. So, as soon as she gets in, come straight down here."
"Alright Billy, see ya soon."
It was barely ten minutes later when Lee and Amanda knocked on
the door. As they walked in, Billy had to hide his smirk. "Uh,
Lee, you seem to have some lipstick on your..." he said as he pointed to
his own mouth.
Lee muttered an embarrassed thanks and wiped his face with Amanda's help. Amanda was slightly red faced when she turned to Billy and asked, "So, sir, what's up?"
"Have a seat, both of you." Billy knew it would not be easy for either of them to hear this. "I have some news you two need to know about. It seems that Elliot Crandall escaped from prison last night."
"WHAT!" Lee was immediately on his feet. Then, he paused and looked at his wife. She was sitting, staring at the floor. He sat back down next to her and put his arm around her. She leaned into his embrace and tried not to cry. Her mind was occupied with thoughts from two years ago.
She'd been falling in love with a wonderful man, Ken Davis, and
he was in love with her too. When she first met him and they started
dating, she didn't know how emotionally involved she would become.
It seemed that she had been attracted to Lee for so long, she couldn't
imagine letting another man into her heart, but Lee had never shown any
sign of returning her feelings. In fact, he always gave her that
"we're just friends talk". So, she decided to go for it with Ken.
She was surprised to find herself
falling for him so completely. She'd even told him about the Agency. Not long after that though, Elliot Crandall had his brother, Derek, kill Ken to get to Lee and herself. They'd been closing in on his attempt to sell confidential weapons plans and he wanted to give them something else to think about.
At Elliot's sentencing, Amanda had been sitting in the back of the courtroom. She watched stone-faced as he was promised life in prison for conspiracy to commit treason. When it was over, she left the courthouse and put Elliot and Derek Crandall out of her mind and heart forever, or so she thought.
Now, her emotions were in turmoil again. She and Lee had been secretly married for almost a year now, but she had not talked with him about Ken since the day of his funeral. Today though, she was leaning on his shoulder, fighting back tears over her dead lover. Lee's voice brought her back to reality, "What happened Billy? How could he possibly get out?"
"Apparently he had inside help. Another convict and two guards are also missing."
"What about my family sir? Are they safe?" They were the first words Amanda had spoken.
"I sent a team to the house and one to the school as soon as I heard about this," Billy assured her. "We don't have any reason to believe he'd come back here though. If he's smart, he'll leave the country and never return."
"What about Derek, Billy? You didn't mention him."
To the surprise of both men, Amanda answered Lee's question, "He died in prison a few months ago." At the looks on their faces, she continued, "I've kept track of them." It wasn't something she'd admit to, in fact it made her feel guilty, but the day she found out about Derek's death, she'd been very happy.
"Alright, so now what?" Lee asked without taking his eyes off Amanda. He was worried about her.
"Well, I've got to get a team on this right away. I was thinking of Francine and Michaels."
"I want to take this one, Billy," Amanda almost whispered it.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Amanda," Billy started.
Lee quickly agreed, "Yeah, I think we should take a few days off, maybe take the boys out of town." Billy noticed Lee's use of the word "we", but didn't respond.
"Why? Do you know something I don't? Is he after our children? Now is not the time to hold out on me Lee Stetson! You'd better tell me what you know!" She ranted.
"Honestly, Amanda, I don't know anything else. I just thought it'd be a good time to get away with people who love you."
Billy sat silently, watching this exchange. They seemed to have forgotten he was in the room. Again, he caught the use of a plural pronoun; Amanda had called her boys "our children". Billy decided that he and Lee needed to have a talk, soon. For now though, it was time to interrupt, he cleared his throat loudly. Both Lee and Amanda looked at him as if he'd suddenly grown a third eye on his forehead. It worked, he had their attention.
"I agree with Lee, Amanda. I'm sorry, I know you want on this, but I'll make it an order if I have to. You and Lee take off the rest of week and this weekend. Take your mother and the kids for a little trip. I want you two together though (somehow he didn't think that would be a problem), just in case."
"But, sir...." She started.
"No buts Amanda. Go upstairs, clean up your desks, but I want you both out of here by lunch today and I want you out of town by lunch tomorrow. Got that?"
"Yes sir," Amanda responded dejectedly. Lee, on the other hand, looked relieved. Amanda was a good agent, one of the best, but he didn't want her to have to deal with that dirtbag Crandall ever again.
Elliot Crandall and his cohorts were making their way to DC. His partners in crime wanted nothing to do with going there, but they'd been promised a lot of money and Elliot said that before they got a dime, they had to help him take care of something. He'd planned on staying in jail the rest of his life, living off the taxpayers, until Derek died. Now he was angry. He blamed Stetson and Mrs. King for his brother's death. Sure, he was a moron, but he was also Elliot's only family. His thoughts had been of little else beyond revenge since the day Derek was put in the ground of the prison graveyard. He wanted to hurt them in the same way. Unfortunately, Stetson had no family, but he knew that Mrs. King had two sons, and word among his contacts on the street was that Scarecrow and Mrs. King had become very friendly lately. He could kill two birds with one stone. He smiled to himself; he'd always loved that phrase.
That afternoon, Amanda sat at her kitchen table staring out into the back yard. Dotty was worried about her daughter; first, she came home from work early (something she almost never did). Then, she'd said that they were all leaving in the morning for a trip and that Lee was going too. At first, Dotty thought maybe they were finally going to get married and this was their way of surprising the family. But her daughter did not look like a happy woman; in fact, she looked lost and alone. But, Dotty didn't push her. She'd said that Lee would be over for dinner that night and they'd discuss it all then.
Amanda hardly said two words all through dinner. They hadn't even mentioned the mystery trip once. Finally, after the boys cleared the table, Lee asked them to sit down. He began to tell them the story that he and Amanda had agreed on.
"Your mom and I are being sent to Colorado for work and we decided to take everybody. The skiing is great right now, plus they have a winter festival going on in the little town we'll be staying in."
"But what about school?" Jamie chimed in.
"Who cares, dufus!" Phillip responded.
"Phillip, don't call your brother names. Your mom and I already spoke to your principal and explained the situation. The time off has been approved, but you both will have to write a report about the state's historical significance. It shouldn't be too bad." Lee smiled. It hadn't been easy to convince the principal to allow the boys to go. They ended up having to tell her an edited version of the truth, that a man that had once stalked Amanda had escaped from jail and that she was concerned for the boys safety.
"How long will this trip be, dear?" Dotty spoke up, looking straight at Amanda.
"We're not sure yet. A few days most likely, a week at the most," Lee answered.
Soon after that, the boys were excused to go pack. Dotty didn't want to start anything in front of the children, but now that they were gone she had to ask, "Lee, you know how much the boys and I love you. You're family. But would you please leave now so I can talk to my daughter in private?"
Lee looked at Amanda. She had not opened her mouth to speak all through the discussion. He nodded to Dotty, then went to his wife. He whispered in her ear, "I love you, Mrs. Stetson." Louder he said, "Call me if you need anything." With that she smiled at him for the first time since that morning and they kissed goodnight.
Elliot sat in his stolen car and watched as Lee Stetson emerged from the house on Maplewood. He grinned an evil grin after Stetson got in his shiny Corvette and drove away. He looked into the backseat with disgust. The guards who had helped him escape in exchange for money were both sound asleep. Martin Rogers was in debt up to his ears thanks to a nasty little gambling habit. As for Brian Newell, he simply liked the idea of retiring to a warm island with bikini clad women. After looking at the dashboard clock he decided it was time to go. Randy Jarrett, his fellow convict, had been out earlier robbing gas stations to get them enough money for a cheap room and some fast food. They would need to sleep tonight because tomorrow would be a busy day. Elliot started the engine, and smiling one last time at the house, whispered, "Goodnight Mrs. King".
Dawn came quickly. The King household was up by six so that they had time to get ready before their flight left at noon. First down the stairs after Amanda was Jamie. "What are you doing up so early, sweetheart," she asked of her youngest son.
"I almost forgot, I promised Mrs. Orben that I would help her
after school today. She needs to move some old furniture to her attic
to make room for the new stuff she bought. If I leave without helping
her, she won't be able to get it done." Amanda knew that Mrs. Orben
was a kind widow a few blocks away. Her boys were always helping
the old woman with some chore
or another. She smiled at her son.
"Alright, but don't be long, we have a lot to do today." Jamie was out the door before she finished her sentence. As Amanda sat sipping her coffee she thought about the conversation her mother had tried to force her into the night before. It had taken some doing, and she probably still didn't believe her, but Amanda had finally convinced her mother that nothing was wrong except she had a terrible headache and really just wanted to go to bed early. "I'm really getting tired of all this lying," Amanda thought to herself. It had been a point of contention between she and Lee for a few months now. Usually though, he was the one wanting to come clean, about their relationship at least. He was tired of being a part-time husband and he wanted the boys to know him as a stepdad, not just their mom's boyfriend. They had gone back and forth with the pros and cons of telling everyone about their marriage until they were both blue in the face. No one ever won those arguments, they were just put off until another day. "Maybe he's right," she thought, "it's time we let it all come out. I really could have used him here last night. It was terribly lonely in that big bed. Oh well. Maybe when this thing is over we'll talk about it again."
She was roused from her thoughts by the sight of her husband coming in the back door. She looked up and smiled at him. "That's more like it," he thought. He came over and kissed her. They were still kissing (they had both missed each other the night before apparently) when her mother and Phillip came into the room. Soon, they were all bustling about getting breakfast and talking over the plans. Before they knew it, it was after 8:00. Amanda decided to call Mrs. Orben and find out when Jamie would be done.
"Hello," she heard the small frail woman answer the phone.
"Hi Mrs. Orben, its Amanda King. Is Jamie available?"
"Oh my, Mrs. King, actually he left here at least half an hour ago. He rushed through what I asked him to do saying that he had to hurry home because you were all going out of town for a while."
"I see. Thank you Mrs. Orben, sorry to have bothered you." Amanda hung up without waiting for the other woman's goodbye. She turned to Lee, "Jamie left there half an hour ago. Where could he be? It's only a ten-minute walk, more like five minutes by bike, which is what he took. What could've happened to him?" She asked the question, but she was afraid she already knew the answer.
"Now Amanda, don't worry, he probably just stopped somewhere along the way," Lee tried to sound sure of himself, but he was worried too.
"He wouldn't have stopped Lee. He told Mrs. Orben that he had to hurry home because we were leaving this morning. Besides, his friends are all in school today. Where is he?"
"Amanda, stay calm. Keep your mother and Phillip occupied, I'm going to call Billy." He already had the phone in his hand.
"You haven't heard anything new? Come on Billy, there's got to be something you know. At least if he was headed this way when he got out."
"Lee, you know I'd tell you. Are you sure he didn't just stop off to goof off? He is a teenage boy after all....okay, okay. I get the point. I'll have Francine check out the streets, but it may be awhile before we hear anything, you know that. Try to keep Amanda at home. If it is Elliot, and if he wants her attention, that's where he'll look for her."
"Right Billy, bye."
Jamie King was scared. He didn't know who the guys were who had grabbed him, or why they wanted him, but he knew that they didn't look like cub scouts. He'd been tied up and gagged and thrown into a smelly closet of a smelly hotel room. He wasn't even sure how they had gotten him. It had all happened so fast. One second, he was riding his bike home, anxious about seeing Colorado, and the next second, he was being forced into the back of a car by two very large men. He hadn't even had time to yell for help. The worst part was, he could see his house from where they grabbed him. He was almost home.
Later that morning there was a knock at the door. Lee answered it. Amanda had gotten her mother and Phillip settled down after they realized that Jamie was missing, and he didn't want any of them to be disturbed. Billy had a team of agents swarming the streets between Amanda's house and the one Jamie had been at earlier that morning. So far they had nothing except Jamie's bike which had been thrown into some bushes.
When Lee opened the door, there was no one there. He looked
down and saw an envelope. He picked it up carefully and opened it.
Inside was an instant photo of Jamie bound and gagged. There was
also a note:
You killed my brother, now I will kill your son. Fair trade,
say? The only catch is, I had to watch my brother die. So, too, shall
you watch when I lower the hammer on your baby.
Lee was furious. How had this gotten here without anyone seeing a delivery? He was out the door instantly demanding answers from the agents outside. However, no one had seen a thing. They had been searching the block for clues of Jamie's disappearance, and not noticed anyone at the door of the King house.
Lee took the message back into the house. He knew Amanda had to see it. He didn't want to show her the pictures, but he knew she'd want to see those too. First he called Billy and told him to get to the house immediately. Then, he found Amanda sitting on the sofa, one arm around Phillip while he slept. At first, he thought that she was also asleep, but when he walked in she looked up at him. She had heard the knock at the door too.
He sat down on the table in front of her and held her free hand. She looked at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Is he..."
"He's alive for now Amanda, but Crandall has promised to kill him. He wants us to watch though. That may be our only break. Billy's on his way over."
She nodded in understanding and said softly, "I have to tell them Lee. I have to tell them everything. They have a right to know why their lives are in jeopardy."
"I know honey. Let me help you." She nodded and he went to get Dotty before Billy arrived.
Phillip was awake now and he and Dotty were sitting together on the sofa while Lee and Amanda were sitting together in front of them. They looked so somber, Dotty thought that something truly terrible must have happened to Jamie. "They must have found his body already," she thought.
`"Mother, Phillip, there is something that Lee and I need to tell you about. First of all, please believe that we've wanted to tell you for a long time, but couldn't. But now you have to know this. It relates to what has happened to Jamie. Lee and I don't work for a film company. We work for a government intelligence organization known as the Agency. An old enemy, someone we put in prison two years ago, has escaped. He's the one that took Jamie today. He wants to have revenge against us."
Disbelief registered on Dotty's face first, then anger and betrayal. "Are you telling me that my grandson is missing, maybe worse, because you two had to go out and play spy? How long has this been going on? How many other times have you put all of our lives in danger because of your selfish behavior?"
Amanda knew she deserved that, and so much worse, but it still stung worse than any slap in the face. "I've been doing this for five years now. It happened by accident, but that doesn't really matter now. Lee and I are partners. The children have never been in danger before. We had no way to know this would happen now either."
"Don't tell me that. When you play with fire, eventually you'll get burned. I can't believe the irresponsibility of you two. Is that all, what about your lives? Have you risked your children being left without a mother?"
"Please, mother, can we not get into all the details right now. It doesn't matter at this point. The past is the past and I can't change it. Right now all that matters is getting Jamie back. But we had to tell you. There is a little more, but you won't like it either I'm sure."
"You might as well tell me now, because I don't think I could get any madder."
"Lee and I have been married for almost a year now. We kept it secret to help protect the family. Unfortunately, the man who has Jamie is after both of us. Our marriage being public wouldn't have made any difference to him."
With that, Dotty left the room. Amanda had never seen her so mad. She looked at Phillip. He hadn't said anything yet. He looked back and forth between Lee and his mom. "Do you love my mom?"
"More than anything in the world."
"Then why would you let her do this?" And Phillip also left the room.
Meanwhile, in the dingy room of the Tate's Hotel, Elliot and Randy were figuring out their next move. They could hear the kid crying off and on during the afternoon. Eventually, Elliot had given in to Marty and Brian's requests and let them go out to get the brat something to eat. Now, the three of them were sitting in the small bathroom with the door closed so they could eat without disturbing Elliot.
Randy said, "I think we should set it up for tomorrow night, around six, at the park."
"Because, there's a big open field there, we'd be able to see if they were planning anything. Plus, there's about ten different ways to get out of the park grounds, and once out, you're right on the main road. It'll be easy to get lost in evening traffic."
"I gotta admit, that sounds like a good idea." Elliot was glad he'd brought Randy in on things; he was smarter than most crooks, and he didn't mind doing the dirty work. The guards were another story. Ever since they found out kidnapping was involved, they'd been getting less and less cooperative. Since he didn't have the money he'd promised them, Elliot knew he'd have to kill them anyway, but it'd be nice if they'd be helpful first.
Billy showed up with some news. It wasn't much, but it was a start. "We have videotape of Randy Jarrett, the other con with Crandall, robbing several gas stations and overnight stores in the area for the past two days."
"That's good news; Billy you'd better sit down, Amanda and I need to talk to you. We have some news of our own."
Billy looked at each of his agents in turn, trying to guess what they needed to tell him. He decided to just listen and see. As he sat down, he suddenly felt very old. "Is this good news, or bad?"
"That depends on your perspective," Lee answered cryptically. "There's no easy way to say it except to say it. Billy, we've been married for almost a year." Lee smiled as he said it, protectively holding Amanda's hand.
A slow grin came across Billy's face. "Congratulations. Why the mystery?"
"We thought it would be safer for the boys. We just told Dotty and Phillip a little while ago. We also told them about the Agency. Needless to say, they're not very happy with us at the moment."
"Don't worry you two, we'll get your son back and get Elliot Crandall too."
"For how long?" Amanda spoke up. "How long until he escapes again? I don't think I can do this anymore. My family hates me, I've lied to them about everything for years, and now it may cost my son his life. I thought I was helping make the world a better place for my children to live in, but all I've done is make them targets. Well, that's it. When this is over I quit. No more! I want to have a normal life again and forget I ever knew about this underside to the world." With that, she got up and went to her room. She didn't know that her mother had been listening at the top of the stairs.
Lee started to go to her. Billy stood also and said, "Don't
she'll come around once this is behind her."
"I don't know about that, and I don't think she's wrong.
Maybe I'll turn
in my resignation too." Lee headed up the stairs to be with his wife.
It was after 9:00 that night when the phone rang. Amanda
jumped for the
receiver. She had been expecting a call from Crandall, so when she heard
Joe's voice on the other end, she almost didn't know who it was.
"Hi sweetheart. Sorry it took me so long to get back to
you. Lee called
me early this morning and said you guys needed to talk to me, but my
secretary is out sick and I was in meetings all day. I just now got the
message. What's so important?"
"Joe, you need to come over here right away."
"What's wrong Amanda. You sound terrible. Is it the
kids? Are they
"Please Joe, just come over and I'll tell you everything that's
going on (for the past five years, she thought)."
"I'm on my way."
The next morning found a scattering around the usually peaceful
Joe was finally asleep on the couch, Lee was in the kitchen, Amanda was in
her room, although not sleeping, and her mother and Phillip were together
in the backyard. Lee almost jumped out of his skin when he heard the
knock at the door.
Billy came in wearing the same clothes he had worn yesterday holding
piece of paper in his hands. "Morning Lee. Did you sleep at all?"
"About as much as you, I'm sure. What have you got?"
"This is a message sent to the Agency offices at six this morning.
a request for a meet. They want to do it at 6:00 p.m. at the soccer field
in the neighborhood park. What do you think?"
"I think it's a set-up. There's no cover there, the traffic
park will be terrible, and all they really want is to kill Jamie in front
of us so we have to watch. I also think that we won't have another chance.
I'm sure that whether or not we go, he'll do what he plans on doing. I'm
sure that Crandall got over his aversion to violence in prison."
"I agree," Amanda said coming down the stairs. "We have
to go and be as
prepared as possible. I don't think he'll come out any other way and we
have to be ready to help Jamie."
"Okay then, that's what I expected you both to say. So let's
Despite her anger the day before, Dotty helped out all day
coffee on hand and food ready whenever someone wanted any. She stayed out
of the way with Phillip, but close enough to hear what was going on. It
amazed her to see her daughter like this. She'd always known that Amanda
was smart, but this was a side of her she'd never imagined. She sounded so
calm and professional talking with Lee and Billy and the half dozen other
agents that came and went throughout the day. She knew what she was
doing, and no matter what else happened, Dotty was proud of the woman her
little girl had become, especially after hearing her speech the night before.
The plans had been made. The very best the Agency had to
including Lee and Amanda, would be involved in the rescue attempt. They had
marked the area of the park well, and had closed off all the exits except one.
Crandall and his goons would not get out of this. The only problem was,
how to cover the ground between the agents and Crandall before he could
harm Jamie. The field was wide open, there were no places to hide. They had
sharpshooters as close as they could get, but Amanda had given strict
orders that no one was to fire unless absolutely certain that it would take
Crandall out. She didn't want him to still be able to fire a gun.
They were getting ready to head over to the park themselves when
came into the room. Everyone else quietly left the mother and daughter
alone for a few minutes. "I wanted to tell you that I'm proud of you Amanda.
I know what I said last night, and I did mean some of it, but that doesn't
change the fact that you are obviously very good at what you do. Those
other agents seem to have a great deal of respect for both you and Lee. I
appreciate what you tried to do by not telling us sooner, but when this is
done we have to have a really long talk."
"Oh mother, thank you," Amanda cried as she held her mother tightly.
"You have no idea what it means to me that you feel that way. Believe me,
I've spent plenty of time over the past five years wondering if I was doing
the right thing. I still don't know if I did, but at least now I don't
have to lie anymore." After their embrace ended, Amanda picked up her gun
and began checking her clips. They needed to go soon.
"What on earth are you doing with that thing!"
"Mother, I don't like them much either, and so far, thank God,
had to fire one at another person, but believe me it's a necessary part of
the job. And if it came down me shooting the bad guy or someone innocent
getting hurt, I'd shoot. I'm sorry mother, I promise we'll talk more
soon, but I've really got to go now." Lee had just poked his head into the
room to gather Amanda up, and Dotty noticed the holster he was wearing as
well. She didn't know if she could get used to this.
Marty and Brian had put Jamie between them in the car. Elliot
that he was taking the kid for a trade. Randy had smirked at that and
almost laughed out loud. They drove in silence to the park Jamie knew well.
He'd spent a lot of time here playing baseball and basketball and just
horsing around. He didn't know why he was here now. Then he saw the
Crandall had pulled the car into the field parking area, but left
engine on. He got out and motioned for Marty to let Jamie out too. Randy
slid over to the driver seat to be ready to go the minute it was over.
Alone, Crandall and Jamie walked out to the field. They stopped about a third
of the way across. That's when Lee and Amanda approached from the
opposite side. They walked slowly, trying to gauge whether or not Crandall had a
gun to Jamie yet, it didn't look like it. They exchanged a glance and
kept walking. "That's far enough," Crandall shouted. "I think you can see
us just fine from there." With that remark he reached around behind him
to pull the gun from the waistband of his pants. This was the only shot
they would get, he was unarmed and defenseless.
"GET DOWN!" Amanda screamed to Jamie, at the same time pulling
weapon out. Lee had his out too. They both began to fire the instant
Jamie was in the dirt. So did the sharp shooters.
Crandall looked like a piece of tissue paper in the wind.
He was hit
repeatedly from different angles. He collapsed to the ground with his hand
still holding his useless gun.
Randy had tried to take off, but before he got the car into reverse,
was surrounded. Marty and Brian in the backseat were dumbstruck. They had
no idea what had just happened. "What idiots," thought Randy as they were
each being handcuffed.
Amanda was on top of Jamie the second the firing stopped.
He lay on the
ground, dirty and covered in Crandall's blood. But he was alive.
Physically, he would be fine. When she reached him, she pulled him up in the
opposite direction of where he would have to see Crandall. She buried his
face in her shoulder and rocked him like a baby. He just held onto her in
shock and disbelief. Had his mother really fired a gun? Soon, Lee was
there too. The three of them sat that way for a long time. Finally, Lee
said simply, "Let's go home."
When they arrived at the house, Jamie was astounded. His
home was filled with people, all of whom seemed to know his mom and Lee.
His grandma and dad gathered him into their arms before he could even make
it in the door. When they noticed the blood, Dotty cried out, "Oh my
gosh, Jamie, are you okay?"
"I'm fine grandma. But the guy who took me isn't."
He let himself be
led into the den by his dad and he was even grateful to see Phillip.
Dotty turned to her daughter and son-in-law with a question in
"I don't know mother, he was shot by at least four different weapons. I
don't even know if I hit him at all. I don't think I want to know. All
that's important is that Jamie's okay now."
Lee knew that Amanda had indeed hit Crandall, several times.
was not information she needed to know. It never got easier to kill
someone, and he thought she'd never forgive herself if she knew she had done it.
He made a mental note to have the coroner's report and ballistics report
cleared through himself or Billy. She never needed to know which bullet
Together the three of them walked into the den to hear Jamie tell
tale. The Agency transcriptionist was there, and Billy had sworn Jamie in
before he began, so hopefully this would count as his debriefing and he
wouldn't have to go through it again.
One Week Later:
"Alright Amanda, you and Lee have put this conversation off long
Dotty said after dinner. "We all deserve some answers."
"You're right Mother, you do." With that, Lee, Amanda, her
both boys moved into the den to talk about the other side of Amanda's life.
First, Lee and Amanda told them the usual speech about national
and need to know. Next, they opened the discussion to questions.
The obvious one about how Amanda got involved was answered first.
came the harder ones about the danger and guns and things of that nature.
They had decided to not give any details of the danger they'd both been in
over their careers. Instead, they stressed that they were always careful.
Lee talked a little about their training so that everyone would be
confident in his and Amanda's abilities. Then, he looked at Phillip and said,
"You asked me how I could let your mother do this work if I love her.
First, let me say that I do love her, more than I ever imagined I could love
anyone, and because of that I would never ask her to give up something that
she is so very good at and loves doing. Your mom is one of the best
agents I've ever worked with. She has saved a lot of lives over the past 5
years, including most of Arlington at least once." Amanda blushed slightly
at the compliments, but only a little. She knew she was good at her job,
and she always appreciated hearing Lee recognize her work.
"Now that I've said that, let me also say that both of us have
past week considering leaving our jobs. We hope that it will be okay with
you guys for me to move in here sometime soon, but no matter what we don't
want to subject our family to anymore danger than we already have."
There was silence for a few minutes, and then Jamie looked at
"Do you really like your job?"
"Sweetheart I've loved doing this job, and I thought I was doing
the right reasons. I wanted to make the world a better, safer place for
you guys and for everybody else. But since Lee and I have been married I've
wondered if I was doing the right thing for my family. I just don't know
anymore. After everything last week, I think it's time I quit. I
couldn't stand it if anything happened to you because of my job." She was
thinking again about Ken's death. Lee saw the look of loss that passed over her
face and he squeezed her hand.
"Well, I for one think it's wonderful that you have the courage
determination to do this sort of work. I don't think I could do it." It was a
surprising statement from Dotty. Amanda knew that her mother had softened
a little since last week's confrontation, but this almost sounded like an
endorsement. "I wouldn't blame you for returning to the job you both were
cut out for. I'm not saying that I wouldn't worry, but I would
understand. I am still pretty upset about being lied to for so long, but Mr.
Melrose told me last week that he ordered you not to inform your family of your
involvement. Him, I don't like."
By now the boys had started smiling. They both looked at
Lee and Amanda
and Phillip spoke up, "I don't know about Jamie, but I would like to see
your badges." They both pulled out their federal id's and proudly
displayed them for their family. The boys were excited, even Jamie. It had been
a rough week for him. The scene that had played out before him that day
at the park would probably repeat in his mind everyday for a long time, but
at the end of it his mom and Lee were always there holding him, saying
they loved him, and that everything would be okay. He had begun to believe
"You don't have to quit your jobs on our account mom. We
want you to be
happy." Amanda leaned forward and hugged her son. He was no longer her
baby. Jamie continued, "and if it's okay with Phillip, Lee, you can move
in whenever you're ready. I've thought it'd be great if you were our
stepdad for a long time now."
Lee moved in the following weekend, and he and Amanda went back
Three Weeks Later:
Lee snuck up behind his wife and grabbed her around the waist.
jumped a little, but recovered quickly and turned for their traditional good
morning kiss. Now that they lived together they didn't have to continue
this particular tradition in the Q bureau, but they did anyway. It was their
only secret meeting place now, and nothing would take that away from them.
"Good morning again to you Mrs. Stetson."
"Good morning again yourself Mr. Stetson. Now let's get
to work. We
need to get busy today. I have to leave early to take Jamie to his therapy
"Is that still going well?"
"As well as can be expected. Dr. Pfaff said last week that it's
sign that the nightmares have stopped. And he feels much safer now, knowing
that you are there to help protect him. Have I told you how glad I am we
decided to stay at the Agency? I don't think he would've opened up to
another doctor as quickly, but knowing that the doctor has access to all of
the files pertaining to what happened makes it easier to start talking I
think. Besides, I really do love my job. And I really do love you."
"I love you too. But, you're right, let's get going on this
and maybe I can scoot out of here early too." He looked down and saw on his
desk the report he'd been waiting for. There had been the standard delay
of two weeks while the review board determined justifiable homicide, and
then it had taken it another two weeks of trickling down the chain of
command to finally land on Lee Stetson's desk. He was glad that Amanda hadn't
started the paperwork without him today. He silently opened the folder
and began reading. The ballistics report confirmed that any number of
bullets could have killed Crandall, but the one that was removed from his heart
had come from Amanda's gun. Lee nodded, quickly signed his name to the
report, and made some excuse to go downstairs. He took the folder with him.
He handed it straight to Billy and told him, "I don't want her to ever see
this." Then he went back upstairs to his wife.