Disclaimers: Characters of Scarecrow and Mrs King belong to Shoot the Moon Productions. Babylon 5, characters, names, and all related indicia are trademarks of Time Warner Entertainment Co. Typical lines, situations, clichés, etc are borrowed from SMK.
Author's Notes: This isn't a real crossover story, I'm just having fun with the names, after all the real American president of the early 80's wasn't a hunk. This story combines two stories, originally posted as 'Taxi Dance' and 'The President and Mrs King'.
Time Frame: First season, inspired by the taxi scene in the opening credits.
Amanda King was walking back from the grocery store with some groceries, and an umbrella. It wasn't raining very hard, but she didn't want to get any wetter than necessary. She looked both ways before crossing the street, there was a taxi coming, but it was far enough back, and would have to stop at this corner anyway.
"Amanda!" The driver shouted to her when she was halfway across the street. Amanda turned, startled, towards the familiar voice. She slipped on the wet pavement, dropping her groceries and falling to her knees, but managing to keep the umbrella over her head.
"Lee!" She smiled at him, shaking her head and laughing, "I wish you wouldn't keep doing that to me!"
"Sorry," Lee laughed back at her through the open window of the cab, as he shifted into park and got out to help her. "Why are you out grocery shopping in the rain, anyway?"
"The wagon's in the shop," Amanda launched into a lengthy description of how Jamie had bounced a baseball off the hood and through the windshield at last night's Bombers' game. "At least it was the winning run!" she finished breathlessly, sliding across the front seat of the cab to the passenger side. Lee handed her her groceries, tossed the umbrella into the back seat, and climbed behind the wheel. "What are you doing here? Why are you driving a taxi?"
"Oh, I was doing some surveillance at the airport, and managed to lure
one of the suspects into my cab for a ride home. You know people talk to
cabbies almost as much as they do to bartenders! I found out... never mind,
you don't 'need to know' that," Lee shook his head, how did she do that
to him? Somehow he always found himself telling her far more details about
case than was necessary. And she didn't even need to know anything about this case, it didn't involve her at all.
"Anyway," he continued, "I was just a few blocks away, and realized that I need to ask you a favor." Amanda looked up from checking over her groceries and smiled encouragingly, curious about what Lee could want from her. "I have to attend a reception at the White House tonight, working security, you know... and my date cancelled on me. Debbi's got a toothache."
"Why don't you just go alone?"
"Meet the President, on a Friday night, without a date? Do you know how pathetic that is?"
Amanda rolled her eyes. Of course she would go with him, how often did a suburban lady from Arlington get to attend a reception for the president? "OK, sure, what time?"
"Thanks, Amanda! You're a pal! Why don't you meet me at the IFF parking lot around 8?" Lee pulled up in front of Amanda's house and parked the cab. He grabbed her umbrella, then walked around the taxi to open the door for her. He held the umbrella over her head with one hand, and reached with the other to open the gate, and walked her up the sidewalk to her front door.
"See you later," Lee grinned at Amanda, shoved the umbrella into her hand, and dashed back through the rain to his taxi, as the door started to open.
"Amanda, darling! Why are you taking a taxi from the grocery store? That's so extravagant, couldn't you have caught the bus?" Dotty asked.
Amanda turned in a daze, impressed as always with the way Lee managed
to disappear whenever anybody else showed up. "Oh... Mother, I was at the
store, and suddenly remembered that I have a dinner engagement tonight,
I just thought a taxi would be a lot quicker. The Princess of Zaquir is
in town again and asked me to join her, and it wouldn't be polite to keep
waiting, right? The taxi was right there, and you just never know how long it's going to take a bus to show up. Did the mechanic drop off the wagon yet?"
* * *
Amanda gazed in surprise into the President's friendly hazel eyes. She'd been nervous about meeting the most powerful man in the free world, but for some reason she felt completely comfortable with him. It wasn't just that he was handsome, though he certainly was that. There was something else... She barely heard Lee's introductions.
"President John Sheridan... Mrs Amanda King..."
"Mrs King," The President smiled warmly as he took her hand. Not Agent Stetson's usual type, he reflected, but he recognized the name.
"Mr President," Amanda smiled, returning his handshake.
"My wife, Delenn," The President continued the introductions.
"Pleased to meet you," She nodded at Lee and Amanda, exchanging handshakes. They responded in kind, then proceeded to their table, The President had many people to meet and greet tonight, as usual.
"Lee," Amanda said distractedly, "Does the President remind you of anybody?"
"Amanda! He's the President!" Lee responded in irritation. Amanda heard him emphasize the last syllable of her name so that it sounded to her like 'Duh'.
"Well, I know that!" She protested in defense, "But I've never met him before, and I feel like I already know him."
"He's a politician, Amanda! It's his job to make people feel like they know him." Lee rolled his eyes. Women! They were always swooning over a man with power. He should have realized that Amanda would be out of her league here.
"No, there's something more," Amanda started, but then decided to drop it. Lee never listened to her anyway. She nodded coolly as she took the seat he offered, Lee sat next to her. Immediately a ditzy-looking blond appeared.
"Lee Stetsman!" she cooed, "I haven't seen you in ages! Where have you been keeping yourself?" She put a hand on his arm.
"Oh, Cindi, hi," Lee responded politely. "Cindi, this is Amanda. Amanda, Cindi." He introduced them perfunctorily. Cindi dismissed Amanda with barely a glance.
Amanda smiled politely. If I did see Lee socially, I'd have to change my name to 'Mandi', she thought to herself, a small giggle escaping her at the very idea. She quickly covered with a cough when they glanced at her quizzically, then took a sip of her drink.
Lee got rid of Cindi with an "I'll call you."
"Can't we at least dance?" Amanda asked Lee.
"This isn't a date, Amanda," Lee replied, "I'm here to work! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to check in with the others."
"Sure." Amanda watched Lee cross the room. That man has the worst manners, she thought. Why do I keep agreeing to attend these things with him? He was always leaving her to 'mingle' while he took care of business. Like it would kill him to dance with her even once???
She smiled to herself as the band started a familiar tune. At a nearby table, the President whispered something to his wife who smiled and nodded.
"Mrs King? I believe this is your song, may I?" Amanda was startled to find the President standing beside her, holding out his hand.
"You are good with names, Mr President" she laughed, taking his hand as she stood up. They moved onto the dance floor and began to sway in time to the music.
"Call me John. Word association," he continued, "Plus I've always been a fan of Waylon Jennings' music."
"Amanda," she replied and they laughed together.
"Actually, I have heard of you. Civilian auxiliary with the Agency, you've been working with Mr Stetson for several months now."
"And I'm impressed. How in the world did a suburban housewife get involved in the 'spy' business?"
"Well, it's kind of a long story," Amanda grinned at the President. "But I'll try to keep it to the length of the song. Mr Stetson sort of recruited me..."
"Omigod!" Francine exclaimed, grabbing Lee's arm. "Would you look who Amanda's dancing with, now!"
"I'm almost afraid to," Lee groaned.
Amanda had the uncanny ability to hook up with the most unlikely men.
Time and again when he left her alone at these functions, he would return
to find her dancing with whomever he was investigating. She had some kind
of spooky radar for it. He turned around just in time to catch Amanda and
the President looking in his direction. Amanda said something, gesturing
towards her head, the President laughed, and they twirled out of sight.
"Had you ever flown a whirlybird before?" President John Sheridan asked his dance partner, Amanda King.
"Nope, but Lee... Mr Stetson helped me, he told me exactly what to do."
'In a rather loud way,' Amanda added to herself.
The song came to an end, the President and Amanda stopped dancing and applauded along with the rest of the crowd.
"I'd better return you to your date," The President told Amanda, "Mr Stetson's been keeping an eye on us the whole time!" John offered his arm to Amanda, to escort her back to her table.
"Oh, it's not a real date, Mr President... John," Amanda corrected herself at his look, "Lee's working tonight, I'm just part of his cover."
"Of course, Stetson's the consummate professional. He would never let a woman, no matter how beautiful," Sheridan smiled warmly at Amanda as she blushed in response to the compliment, "interfere with his duties."
They arrived back at the table where Lee Stetson and Francine Desmond were waiting. Francine had managed to compose herself so that she was no longer gaping at the two. Lee was unconsciously clenching his fists, but nobody could see that under the table. He relaxed and stood up at their approach.
"Amanda, thank you for the dance. Stetson, thank you for letting me borrow your 'date'" the President shook hands with them in turn, winking at Amanda when she smiled at the term.
"Mr President," was Lee's only response as he returned the handshake. He didn't know what else to say. He couldn't believe he actually felt like decking the President of the United States. 'This is ridiculous,' he told himself, 'what do I care who Amanda dances with?' But their obvious rapport set his teeth on edge.
"Ms Desmond, always a pleasure." Francine smiled brilliantly in response as the President took his leave.
"Well?" Delenn asked her husband as he returned to their table. She was beginning to feel a little like decking Amanda...
John gave his wife a brief, but loving, kiss. "Mrs King is a charming woman. I can see what Melrose and Stetson see in her. I think he wanted to take my head off!"
"Don't be silly, John, Mr Stetson always leaves his dates to mingle at these things." Delenn laughed at the very idea of Stetson being bothered by a simple dance, forgetting her own irritation. Now that John was back at her side, she was more than reassured by the love she saw glowing in his eyes.
"What were you two talking and laughing about?" Lee demanded of Amanda, as he held a chair for her.
"Oh, I was just telling him about how you and I met," Amanda replied, taking the proffered seat.
"That's classified!" Lee protested.
"Lee! Duh, he's the President! I figured HE was cleared."
This was getting nowhere, Francine though impatiently. "C'mon, Amanda, I have to go powder my nose!" Francine grabbed Amanda's arm, hoping for a little 'girl talk', a little dishing over the dish of a President. Amanda glanced back over her shoulder at Lee, shrugging helplessly as she was dragged off to the Ladies Room.
Now it was Lee's turn to feel abandoned. He mentally shook himself, the party was winding down and there was still work to be done. Security 'clean-up' as it were. He rose to make the rounds, circling the room and checking in with the other agents on duty. He smiled when he noticed the President and First Lady in a loving embrace, silently enjoying the last dance of the evening.
Lee returned to his table to find Amanda and Francine had returned. Francine was annoyed because she couldn't get anything out of Amanda besides that the President has 'beautiful, beautiful eyes', she'd really been hoping for a little better gossip than that.
"I guess we can go now, everything seems to be under control here. Good-night, Francine." Lee offered Amanda his arm, and escorted her from the room.
Lee and Amanda were silent in the Porsche as he drove back to IFF, each
lost in their own thoughts of the evening. He pulled into his usual space,
and even though it was right next to Amanda's car, parked and came around
to help her out of the car. Amanda's taffeta skirt rustled quietly as she
was assisted out of the Porsche. Lee took her car keys, unlocked the door,
and held it open for her.
"Amanda," Lee said, as he handed her keys back to her, "I don't know why you hate this dress, you look great in blue!"
Amanda glanced up in surprise from fastening her seat belt, "How did you... I mean, thank you. That's very sweet of you to say."
She smiled, when would she cease to be amazed at his knowledge of the tiniest details of her life? 'We have our ways,' his statement from that first dance echoed in her mind. And he really did have impeccable manners.
Seeing she was safely settled, he shut the door to her car, and returned to his own. They simultaneously started their cars, smiled and waved to each other, mouthing silent 'good night's. Lee followed Amanda to the parking exit, she turned right, he turned left and they took off into the night, each sparing glances at the other's taillights until they were out of sight.