Summary: Lee and Amanda take the family on a Christmas Vacation
Timeline: This is after Lee and Amanda has told the family of their marriage.
Disclaimer: The main characters belong to Shoot the Moon and Warner Brothers Production. The story is my creation.
“Good morning, Mr. Stetson.” She smiled at him. She couldn’t believe in the change in him since he started working with Amanda.
“Lee, just the man that I was looking for.” Larry Weldon said as he walked into IFF. He took his badge from Mrs. Marston and put his hand Lee’s shoulder. “This is your lucky day.”
“Oh?” Lee said. “It is?”
“I have a log cabin that I rented for two weeks during Christmas and New Year. Now we can’t use it. It’s by Shenandoah National Park. Lee, I could let you have it for half of what it cost me. What do you say?”
“Why can’t you use it?” Lee asked.
“I rent the cabin every year. Well, this year my wife is pregnant and she is due any day. I can’t take her that far away.”
“Let me think about it.” Lee started up the stairs to the Q-bureau.
“Thanks.” Larry walked into the closet and closed the door.
Lee was working at his desk in the Q-bureau when Amanda came in. He smiled at her.
“Morning.” She came up behind him and put her arms around his neck. She kissed his ear.
“I’m trying to work.” Lee smiled. “I thought you were going to type this report for me.”
“I was but I thought you would appreciate me more if I let you do one or two on your own.” Amanda laughed.
Lee turned and pulled her down on his lap. “I appreciate you for more that just the typing.”
“Oh yeah.” Lee kissed her as his phone rang. Amanda answered it.
“IFF. May I help you?” Amanda stood up. “Hi, Joe.”
Lee made a face. He liked Joe but he wished he wasn’t in their life so much.
“I understand. I’m sure the boys will.” Amanda threw Lee a kiss and he pretended to catch it. “Yes, Joe, you have a good Christmas. Give my love to Carrie. Bye.”
“What was that about?” Lee asked.
“Carrie, wants to spend the holiday with her family but they live in Vermont. Joe won’t be able to spend Christmas with the boys.”
“They will be disappointed.” Lee said. “Amanda, why we do something special with them.”
“Like what?” She said on the edge of his desk.
“Like a cabin just outside of Shenandoah National Park. I can get it for two weeks. Larry’s wife is due any day and he can’t use it. There are lots of winter sports in the area.”
“Can we take the time off?” Amanda asked.
“Let me go and talk to Billy. I think the boys will love it.” Lee kissed her. “If you would finish my report I’ll see what I can do.”
Lee knocked on Billy’s door.
“Come.” Billy answered.
“Morning, Billy.” Lee smiled.
“What is it?” Billy asked looking up from the papers on his desk. Lee was too cheery for this early in the morning.
“Billy, what are the odds of Amanda & I taking off between Christmas and New Year?”
“Both of you?”
“Is there something I should know?” Billy stood.
“I think you already do.”
Billy walked around his desk. He rubbed his chin and shook his head. “Lee, do you know what the agency has to say about this situation?”
“I’m sure I know what it is.”
“Good. Just in case Dr. Smyth finds out. Now for what I think,” Billy looked at Lee sternly trying to hide a smile. He shook hands with Lee and broke out in a smile, “Congratulations, Lee. I’m so happy for the two of you.”
“What about vacation? Larry can’t use his cabin and we thought we would take the boys.”
“I’ll work it out somehow.” Billy said. “Have a good time.”
“Thanks.” Lee took off out of his office. Billy smiled he liked seeing Lee care about someone so much.
Lee took the stairs to the Q-bureau two at a time. When he got to the door of his office he stopped and took a breath. He opened the door and walked in quietly. Amanda was finishing up his report.
“All done. How did you…” She stopped when she saw his face. “Couldn’t get it?”
“I told Billy about us. Amanda, he already knew.”
”What did he say?”
“He said Dr. Smyth would not be happy.”
Lee crossed the room to Amanda and took her hand. He leaned for a kiss, “Billy told me to give you this.” He kissed her. “He said to have a Merry Christmas.” Lee smiled.
Amanda stood and returned Lee’s kiss.
“I hope that kiss was for me and not Billy.” Lee said.
“What do you think?” She said as she kissed him again.
Amanda was finishing dinner when Lee came home.
“Is that Walter’s car out front?” Lee asked.
“Yes, mother is going with him to a concert tonight.” Amanda smiled.
Lee put his arms around Amanda’s waist. “Dinner smells wonderful. I’m starved.”
Amanda turned to Lee, “Do you ever miss eating out every night?”
Lee made believe he was thinking about it. Then he said, “No. The company is a lot pretty here.” Lee kissed her as the pasta water boiled over. They shut it off and Amanda drained it. Dotty and Walter walked in.
Lee shook hands with Walter, “Hi, Walter.”
“How are you, Lee?”
“Mother, would you like dinner before you go?”
“No, we are going to the new Greek restaurant, Neptune’s Daughter. Bye.” She took Walter’s hand and they left.
Amanda went to the stairs and called Jamie and Philip. They came down the stairs slowly. Jamie plopped on the chair in the dining room. “I’m not hungry.”
“Neither am I,” Philip said.
“Your father called?” Amanda asked.
“Yeah.” Philip answered.
“Well, I’m sorry he has disappointed you but Lee has a surprise.”
“What?” Jamie asked.
“I have a chance to rent a cabin for the two weeks you have for Christmas vacation.”
“A cabin in the woods? Can we ski?”
“Cross country or down hill or both.” Lee smiled. The boys sat up and started talking at once.
“This will be great. Lee, have you ever gone snowboarding?” Philip asked.
“No but I do ski. I understand there is a small pond outside the cabin where we can ice skate. So what do you say?”
“Sure. When do we leave?” The boys asked.
“Let me call Larry.” Lee picked up the phone and dialed. After a short conversation he retuned to the table.
“We have it the three days before Christmas till the three days after New Years.” Lee said.
“ALL RIGHT!!” The boys gave each other the hi-sign.
Everyone was excited when they arrived at the cabin. The boys helped Lee unpack the car while Dotty and Amanda put the things away in the kitchen. They had a quick sandwich for lunch and the boys went out to explore the surrounding area. Lee brought wood in and started a fire then he stood out on the porch admiring the view. It was snowing lightly and the ground was already covered with snow. The pond was frozen over and he thought they could rent some skates later. Amanda came out and put her arms around him.
“A penny for your thoughts.” She said.
“I was thinking that this is heaven. Listen. What do you hear?” He asked.
“Precisely. I think you can almost hear the snow falling.”
“It is beautiful. Thank you, Lee.” They hugged. Lee kissed Amanda as something cold and wet hit the back of his head.
“What the??” He turned to see the boys drop back behind some trees.
“This is war.” He yelled. “Come on, Amanda. We have to protect the home front.”
Lee grabbed her hand and they jumped off the porch and ran around the other side for protection. The snowballs started flying but no one was hit. Jamie tried to cross the yard and was bombarded. Lee jumped over the fence and came up behind Philip and hit him with a snowball.
“Got you.” Lee laughed. Philip ran out to the yard with Lee following. Lee tripped and the boys pounced on him.
“Amanda, help.” She was laughing too hard to help.
Dotty came out to announced that dinner was ready.
After dinner they made popcorn and everyone played board games including Lee. The boys and Dotty called it a night leaving Lee and Amanda sitting on the couch by the fire. Lee poured Amanda a glass of wine and then he sat beside her and put his arm around her. Amanda laid her head on Lee’s shoulder.
“The perfect ending to a perfect day.” He said.
The next couple of days went about the same. In the morning Lee took the boys down hill skiing and snow boarding and in the afternoon they all went cross-country skiing or ice-skating. They decided to decorate the small pine tree in the front yard instead of cutting down one. Amanda and Dotty went shopping for Christmas dinner and they picked up some cranberries. Christmas eve they decorated the tree with popcorn and cranberries. The birds enjoyed it.
“Is everyone ready?” Amanda asked.
“Coming, Mom.” They boys came down the stairs. “I thought we were on vacation.”
“You are.” Amanda said.
“Then why do we have to go to church?” Jamie asked.
“Vacation or no vacation we go to church at Christmas. Out.” They all got into the car and drove to town to attend Christmas Eve service.
After church they came home to open presents.
Lee said, “Before we open our presents I want to say something. I have been part of this family for a little over three years but I feel like I have always been part of it. Amanda, Dotty, Philip and Jamie this is the best Christmas I have ever had. I can’t tell you how happy you have made me. Thank you.”
“Lee, you’re a pretty cool guy. We like having you around.” Jamie said and Philip agreed. After they all finished opening their gifts Amanda said that there was one more.
It was a small box wrapped in white paper with light yellow and light green ribbon. The tag on the package read ‘To Lee’. Amanda handed the package to Lee.
“Who’s it from?” Lee asked. No one would admit to it. Lee carefully pulled the ribbon off the package. He pulled the paper back slowly and carefully took the top off the box. Inside there was a bunch of tissues paper. Lee removed the tissue paper and in the bottom of the box was a pair of knitted booties. Lee picked the booties and looked at them.
“What is this?” Lee asked. Amanda smiled and so did Dotty.
Philip asked, “Mom, does that mean what I think it means.” Amanda nodded.
“Alright!!” He said. Lee looked from Amanda to Dotty to Philip then Jamie and back to the booties. He put the booties back in the box and walked over to Amanda. He knelt beside her. He leaned in to kissed her.
“This is the best present anyone ever gave me. Thank you.”
Lee was chopping wood for the fire and Philip was stacking it. Lee couldn’t believe that he was enjoying it so much. He couldn’t believe life had turned out so good for him after such a rotten start. All it took was a mother from Virginia with two small boys, her mother and a mortgage. Lee was happy.
“I’ll take some of the wood and put it in the fire.” He told Philip. As Lee entered the cabin he saw Amanda hugging Jamie. She kissed him on top of the head and he ran outside.
“Jamie is a little worried.” Amanda said to Lee.
“About what?” Lee asked as he arranged the logs in the fire.
“Don’t let on that I told you but he’s worried about the baby.”
“Why?” Lee said as he stood up. He took Amanda arm, “Are you feeling alright?”
“I’m fine.” She smiled. “It’s not me he’s worried about. It’s you.”
“Yes, he’s afraid that your relationship will change after the baby comes. Now you treat him like a son, he’s afraid that will change.”
“I see. Almost like loosing a father. I can understand that. He doesn’t need to worry. I love the boys like they were my own. I know now that the more you give your love the more love you have to give. Does that make sense?”
“Yes and the more love you get in return. You’re wonderful.”
“Yeah,” He said as he pulled her close, “You’re not too bad yourself.” He kissed her. Lee went out to finish the wood with the boys and Amanda came on the porch to watch.
A little while later Dottie came out with the phone. “Lee, it’s for you.” She said.
Jamie took the log from Lee. “I’ll finish for you.” He said.
Lee swung a make-believe punch at his stomach, “Thanks.” Jamie beamed.
Lee took the phone and started to talk. Suddenly his voice got very loud.
“What?? When did this happen.” Lee looked around. Everyone had stopped what they were doing. Lee walked off closer to the pond.
“Billy, how did this happen. No, no, I don’t want her to know. Keep me informed. Yeah, Happy New Year.” Lee hung up the phone and put it in his pocket. He picked up some stones and tossed them into the pond but they just slid across the ice.
“What’s wrong?” Amanda asked. Lee didn’t hear her come up behind him.
“Nothing.” He said without turning around.
“Amanda, you don’t need to know.”
“Lee, I have clearance.”
Lee was quiet for a few minutes and then said, “You don’t want to know.”
“Lee, look at me.” He turned but avoided her eyes. “Lee!”
“Addie Birol escaped.” Lee said quietly.
“What?” Amanda wasn’t sure she had heard him right.
“Addie Birol escaped.” Lee repeated a little louder.
“No.” Amanda shouted. Lee tried to pull her close as she kept punching him in the chest.
“No, no.” She shouted, as he was able to put him arms around her and pull her close. She laid her head on his chest as tears were running down her cheek. He rocked back and forth trying to comfort her without letting her go.
“How could this happen?” She asked.
“A laundry truck or something. They’re not sure. Amanda, he doesn’t know we’re here. No one is going to tell him. Come on let’s go to the lodge and go skiing. I don’t want him to ruin our vacation. Come on.” They walked up to the cabin.
“Come on, guys. Let’s go skiing.” They all pilled into the
car. A pair of eyes watched as it pulled out of the driveway and
headed toward the lodge.
The next two days passed without any talk of Birol. Lee kept a constant watch for him without letting Amanda know. After she went to bed he called Billy for an update.
“Anything new?” He asked.
“Lee, they found Madga and her sister dead in her shop.” Lee took a deep breath. Billy continued, “Did you tell Amanda?”
“She overheard me the other day. She took it really bad.”
“Lee, I sent a few agents to keep an eye on things by you.” Normally Lee would have argued but this time he didn’t. Billy wasn’t prepared for that.
“Thanks, Billy. Hey, guess what I got for Christmas?” Lee said changing the subject.
“I’m going to be a father.” Lee answered.
“Congratulations.” Billy said, “How do you feel about it?”
“Mixed. I’m scared, happy and excited. I still can’t believe it.”
“You’ll love it. Talk to you later.”
Lee hung up the phone. He didn’t see the eyes that were peering in the window at him. Lee checked the doors and the windows again. He turned off the lights and went up to bed.
It had snowed early in the evening but not during the night and the morning was fresh and clear. Lee went out to get some wood. Something caught his eye. Something he thought he had noticed a few days earlier. There were footsteps outside the window. The boys could have made the prints but the impression was too deep. The person who made these had to weigh close to 20 pounds more than either of the boys. Lee walked to the pond and called Billy. There were still no sign of Birol.
Lee picked up the wood and went back into the house. Something was wrong. Dottie and Amanda were sitting at the table. The door behind Lee slammed shut. Lee spun around to face Addie Birol.
“Don’t stop on my account.” He said. “Put the wood in the fire, Mr. Stetson.”
Lee stared at him. “Now.” Birol shouted. Lee walked to the fireplace and added a couple of logs. He stood and faced Birol.
“You have a very nice family. Where are the boys?”
“They went to the lodge with some friends.” Lee said hopping he could get Birol out of here before they came back.
“I wouldn’t do anything stupid if you care about them.” He motioned to Lee.
“Against the wall.” Lee obeyed. Birol searched him and removed Lee’s gun from his leg holster and the phone.
“Put your hands behind your back.” He handcuffed Lee behind his back and then pushed him onto the couch.
“Do you know that if I retuned home after you botched my mission I would have been killed?” Lee didn’t answer. “Of course you do. Now I need to do something big. If I was to return with the Agency’s top agent, the famous Scarecrow, all will be forgiven.”
Birol crossed to Amanda. He rubbed his gun along her cheek.
“I’ve been checking on you two. I would never believe that Scarecrow would ever marry. Now he has a family. He has a very pretty wife, a very sexy wife.” Lee stood.
“Don’t move.” Birol pointed the gun at Amanda’s head. Lee sat back down. Just then the boys came back into the cabin. Birol grabbed Philip. Jamie saw the gun and took off out the door. Birol push Philip to the floor and started out the door after Jamie.
“Let him go. Your fight is with me not him.” Lee stood and started to cross to Birol.
“You’re right, Scarecrow. I can’t take your whole family with us and I can’t leave them behind to identify me.” He then forced them all into a closet under the stairs. He locked the door and put a small cabinet in front of the door. Then he took off after Jamie.
“Lee, he’ll kill him.” Amanda shouted.
“Not if I can help it. Amanda, get these cuffs off of me.” Lee shouted.
“How can she do that?” Dotty asked. Amanda’s eyes were adjusting to the dark but it was still too dark to see what she was doing. She was glad that Leatherneck had insisted that she practice in the dark. Amanda felt for Lee’s collar. She removed his lock pick.
“Turn around,” She said. After a few seconds Lee was free.
“Amanda, how did you do that?” Dotty asked.
“Philip, when I tell you, kick the door with all your strength. Now.” They did it a few times before the panel on the door broke. Lee reached through and unlocked the door. They pushed and were able to move the cabinet and get out of the closet.
Lee grabbed his gun. He opened the kitchen cabinet and took out some bullets.
“Amanda, do you have your gun?” He asked.
“Good.” He tossed the phone to her. “Call Billy and fill him in.” Lee crossed to the door. “Lock this door behind me.”
“I’m going with you.” She interrupted.
“What do you mean, no?”
“No. Amanda, I can’t worry about you and do my job.”
“Lee, I’m a trained agent.”
“Good, stay here and protect your mother and Philip. I will take care of Jamie. I promise.”
“Lee, be careful.”
He nodded. “Lock this door.” She did.
Lee was able to follow the footsteps in the new snow. Jamie had headed in the wrong direction toward the cliff. Birol was right behind him. When Lee caught up with them Jamie was by the edge of the cliff and Birol was at the beginning of the clearing. He saw Lee and ducked down. They exchanged gunfire as Lee ran closer to Jamie. A bullet caught Lee in his arm, he went down and his gun went flying. Jamie stepped back and fell; he was able to grab the edge of a rock.
“Lee!!” The boy shouted as he looked down. There was a fifty-foot drop unto some rocks. “Lee, help me.”
“Hang on.” Lee said as he grabbed Jamie’s arm. “I’ll pull
Lee held Jamie’s hand tight. He knew if Jamie slipped he would fall to his death in the canyon below.
“Let him go.” Addie Birol shouted as he shot just above Lee’s head missing it by inches. Lee ignored his command. He held onto Jamie.
“Let go of him or you will both die.” Addie Birol shouted to Lee as he tried to pull Jamie up. Lee heard a shot and felt the pain in his shoulder. He let Jamie slip down a little. “Lee!” Jamie shouted. “I’m sorry.” Lee answered. “When I pull you push yourself up.”
Lee gave it all his remaining strength and pulled Jamie up.
“Jamie, get down on the ground and don’t move until I tell you.” Lee then turned his attention to Birol. He knew Birol would kill Jamie first so he could watch. He would do it slowly and painfully; Lee couldn’t let that happen. He lunged for Birol.
Lee didn’t hear the shot but he felt the pain in his leg as he fell to the ground. Birol shook his head.
“Maybe I will let the boy watch you die.” Lee watch as Birol approached Jamie. Lee moved and Birol pointed his gun at Jamie.
“I’ll shoot him if you move.” Lee remained where he had fallen.
As Birol pulled Jamie off the ground by his arm, he brought his knee up and hit Birol just below his stomach. Birol screamed in pain and relaxed his grip on Jamie enough for him to escape. Jamie ran toward the woods as Birol pointed his gun at him. Lee heard the shots and Jamie fell. Birol tuned and pointed his gun at Lee, and then he collapsed to the ground. Lee turned to the direction the shots came from; Amanda stood there still holding her gun. Lee was glad that she never learned to obey an order. Philip stood a few steps behind his mother. Everyone seemed to be frozen for a few moments. Lee reached Birol and he felt for a pulse. There was none. He started for Amanda but fell to his knees. She ran to him and took him in her arms.
“Jamie?” Lee asked.
“I’m OK, Lee.” The boy answered.
Then he asked Amanda, “Are you alright?”
“Yes.” She answered as Lee leaned back in her arms and closed his eyes. His blood had started to stain the snow around him.
“Philip, can you get back to the cabin and call for help.”
“Sure, mom.” Philip started to run when a helicopter appeared over the trees and landed in the clearing. Billy, Francine and Dotty jumped out and ran over to Amanda and Lee.
“Lee’s been shot!” Amanda said holding Lee unconscious in her arms.
“Let’s get him into the chopper and to the hospital.” Billy said. Billy and pilot got Lee into the chopper without him regaining consciousness. Amanda climbed in and put his head on her lap.
“Amanda, don’t worry about the boys and your mother, I’ll stay here with them.” Billy said.
“Thank You.” Amanda shouted to Billy as the chopper took off.
“Billy,” Francine called, “It’s Birol. He’s dead.”
“Mom shot him.” Philip said.
“Your mother?” Billy asked.
“Yes, my mom saved Lee and me.” Jamie boasted.
Billy smiled at the boys. “Your mother is really something. Isn’t she?”
Lee opened his eyes. The room was dark except for a dim light above his bed. He could hear voices someone talking in a whisper.
“Amanda, I need to get back call me Lee wakes up. He’ll be fine.”
“I know, Billy.”
He stretched his leg and the pain reminded him what had happened.
“Amanda,” He said aloud.
“Lee, I’m here.” Amanda said as she sat on the bed next to him.
“Lee, good to see you awake.” Billy came around to the other side of the bed.
“The boys, Jamie is he alright?” Lee asked.
“Yes, he’s fine.”
“And you?” Lee took her hand.
“I’m fine, too.” She smiled at him.
“No, I mean …” She cut him off.
“I know what you mean. You were right. I needed to face my fears. I never feared or hated anyone so much in my life.”
“You had no choice. It was him or us.” Lee kissed her hand. “Amanda, it’s what we do. These guys don’t care about anyone. We have to protect the ones who can’t protect themselves.”
“Lee, I just wanted to let you know that we rounded up three of Birol’s soldiers in town. I guess he had them watching you for a while. That’s how he knew just where you were. Amanda, that was good work. I’ll see you two in a couple of days. Oh, I guess I owe you congratulations twice.” Billy kissed her on the cheek and left as the nurse came in.
“Well, you are awake.” She opened the curtains. It was daytime. “How are you feeling today, Mr. Stetson?”
“That is to be expected. The doctor is making rounds. I will tell him you’re awake.” She left.
“How long have I been out?” Lee asked.
“About twelve hours. It’s New Years Day.” Amanda said.
Lee smiled, “Well, we now have a normal Christmas Eve but we need to work on New Years Eve.”
There was a knock on the door and Jamie, Philip and Dotty came in.
“The nurse said we could come in for a few minutes.”
Dotty smiled at Lee, “You look at lot better than you did yesterday. Amanda, there is one thing I want to know, how did you know how to pick that lock?”
“Well…” Amanda was interrupted by Jamie.
“Lee, you saved my life. You were almost killed.” Jamie said.
“Jamie, I want you to know that I love you and Philip as if you were my own sons. I would have given my life in order to save yours.” Lee smiled at him.
Jamie returned the smile. “I know.” He reached over and hugged Lee. “I love you, too.”