***DISCLAIMERS Scarecrow and Mrs. King is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Production Company. Quantum Leap is copyrighted to Bellisarius Productions. The story is copyrighted to the author. This story is for entertainment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without the permission of the author. Some dialogue and situations have been taken from "Three Little Spies", story by Tom Chehak
Title: Three Little Spies and a Leaper
Date: May 2001 - September 2001
Synopsis/Author's Notes: This is a SMK/Quantum Leap Crossover story (of course this makes it an AU story). I have received permission from Ceeg to build on what she has already written in her SMK/QL crossover stories. If you haven't already read them, please read her stories, "Scarecrow Leap", "A Leap for Byron", and "Never Happened" since this story follows them. In this story, Sam takes another leap into Amanda's life. Feedback welcome, of course.
Archive: Yahoo group SMK fanfic site.
Many thanks to Dix who beta read this for me.
Entering the room in a blue aura of light, Sam Beckett suddenly found himself in the family room of what appeared to be a typical suburban home. He looked around and realized that he appeared to be alone.
'Whew, at least I have a chance to figure out where and who I am before I wind up in the middle of some strange situation.' he thought to himself.
He wandered around the downstairs of the house, looking for a mirror so he would at least know the face of the person he had leaped into. Somehow, the house looked strangely familiar, but with the way he leapt around, and the "swiss cheese" effect that often hampered his memory, this wasn't too surprising. He often had a strange sense of deja' vu when he started a leap.
Finally, he found a bathroom, with a mirror over the sink. As he saw the face looking back at him from the mirror, his hands inadvertently went up to his face.
"Oh boy!" he exclaimed, as he saw Amanda King's familiar face reflected back at him.
Sam made a brief stop in the kitchen to pour himself a glass of milk, then returned to the family room. He was sitting on the couch fervently hoping that Al would show up soon to let him know what he was doing here. He was beginning to think he had some sort of cosmic connection to Amanda King. He had already leapt into people and situations around her on four separate occasions, something highly unusual in his experience. While he waited, he glanced at the paper to find out the date, and what was going on in the world around him. He realized that all the leaps he had taken into Amanda's life were in the past.
Suddenly, he heard a tapping at the window, and looked up to see Lee Stetson's familiar face smile in greeting. He crossed over to the door and opened it, hoping he wouldn't say or do the wrong thing. The last time he was here, Lee seemed to know Amanda pretty well, and he didn't know if he would be able to fool him.
"Hi, are you ready to go?" he asked, flashing his winning smile.
"Go? Oh, sure," Sam answered. "Just let me get my purse."
He had spotted it in the foyer earlier, and quickly retrieved it.
"Amanda, where's your suitcase?" Lee asked.
"Suitcase? Oh yeah, suitcase. I guess I should have brought that with me too. I'll be right back."
Lee looked at her oddly, wondering why she seemed to be so distracted. After all, he had called earlier, and she knew that he was here to pick her up for their trip to California.
As Amanda/Sam went to grab the gray suitcase at the base of the stairs, Lee followed him and said, "Here, let me get that for you." They both reached down for the handle at the same time, and their eyes locked for a moment.
At first, Sam saw amusement and familiarity in his gaze, but then Lee's face changed to that of a hardened government operative. Lee's hands shifted quickly, and grabbed Sam firmly by both wrists.
"Who are you, and what have you done with Amanda!" he asked, his voice barely concealing the anger and frustration behind his question.
Sam wondered how he was going to get out of this one. He wasn't supposed to reveal who he was, but Lee knew that he wasn't Amanda. He was obviously here to help one of them, and he wouldn't be able to help anybody if he was locked up in an agency holding cell.
Almost on cue, a bright doorway opened and Al Calavicci, or more appropriately, his hologram, came through the door and greeted him. Al was Sam's only connection to his own time, and he and Ziggy, the computer with the egocentric personality that Al received information from using his hand link, filled Sam in on what they thought he was supposed to be doing during each leap.
"Well I see you've gotten into trouble already with Mr. Personality here." he said, waving his cigar in Lee's direction. "I told you I had problems with him in the waiting room that time you leapt into him."
"Al, he knows I'm not Amanda."
"I'll say you're not. I've just had a lovely visit with her in the waiting room. It seems she's always wanted to meet yours truly. She's one in a million, that one."
"I know that Al, but what do I tell him?"
"Who are you talking to?" Lee asked through clenched teeth. "Are you wearing a wire, or is the house bugged? I swear, if you've hurt Amanda in any way, you'll have me to answer to."
"Tell him the truth. Maybe it'll jog his memory about the waiting room, and he'll actually believe you." Al suggested. "I know, I know, it's against the rules, but it's starting to feel like old home week with these two, and between the two of them, they could probably put the whole story together anyway. We might as well get his cooperation."
"OK," said Sam. To himself, he wondered if Lee would believe him. After all, he didn't have any proof, and Lee looked pretty upset. "Lee, I'm not wearing a wire, and the house isn't bugged, but you're right, I'm not Amanda. My name is Dr. Sam Beckett, and I come from the future." With that, Sam started the long narrative describing project Quantum Leap, and all the times he had already leapt into people surrounding Amanda, even into Lee himself that first time.
Lee listened, at first doubting, and then amazed. This person seemed to know things about Amanda, Byron Jordan, and even Amanda's old boyfriend Dean that she should have no way of knowing. She even described in great detail her rescue on the cruise ship and the things they talked about afterwards. It was as though she had actually been in the room with him. But this was too weird. He didn't know what to think.
"Sam, tell him about me, about the waiting room, and how we called Amanda. If you mention it to him it should bring back the memory." Al suggested.
Sam did as Al recommended and suddenly saw a light of recognition dawn on Lee's face. Almost as quickly, Lee released Sam's wrists.
"I can't believe this. I do remember that room now. And I remember that little weasel, Al. He wanted me to settle down, when all I wanted to know was where you were, I mean, where Amanda was. But then he called her, and told her what was going on. What did you say your name was again?"
"Dr. Sam Beckett. I know I look like Amanda to you, and most people can't even detect that there's someone else here, but you and Amanda both seem to be able to see right through me. It must have something to do with a connection the two of you share."
"Well, you can ramble almost as well as Amanda," Lee said begrudgingly. He then recalled, "Those times that you mentioned do ring a bell. I can remember that Amanda called me `Sam' on the plane coming home from the cruise. And she called Byron `Sam' after she was shot. You must be telling the truth. But why are you here, and where is Amanda?"
"I don't know why I'm here yet, that's what Al's popped in to tell me, I'm sure. As for Amanda, she's in the waiting room, just as you were, but considerably calmer than you, I'd imagine."
He turned away from Lee, toward the area where Al had paced over to, and asked, "Al, why am I here?"
Sam caught Lee looking over at him strangely. Well a lot of people did that when he seemed to be talking to open space. This whole thing must seem strange to him.
"Sam, that's the weird thing," Al began. "We know that Amanda's going to die in a few days if you don't stop it, but her government file is closed and sealed, so we can't find out exactly what happened. I've spoken to her in the waiting room. She and lover boy here are going on a mission to find some nuclear detonators along with the Soviets and the Chinese. Sounds like a real picnic. But that's all she knows. It doesn't exactly help a whole lot."
"Lee, if we don't figure out what happened, and find a way to change history, I mean the future, Amanda's going to die in a few days."
Sam knew the look of desperation in Lee's eyes matched his own, and he knew that together, they would have to find a way to change the timeline.
"What happens that we have to change?" Lee asked.
"We don't know, her government file is sealed, and we can't find out what happened."
"Well, that settles it then. I told Billy that this mission was too dangerous for her. Those other agents will turn on you in a heartbeat. You're not going, and then Amanda will be safe." he said triumphantly.
Al punched some buttons on his hand held link and then shook his head. "Sam, tell Secret Agent Man here that Amanda staying here isn't an option. Ziggy says the future changed all right. Apparently, if Amanda doesn't go on this mission, the detonators get through, and World War III gets started. Oh, and by the way, before I left, Amanda told me to tell you, or both of you if I could, to be careful."
Sam related this to Lee, and resignedly, they both left the house for the airport. On the way, conversation was strained between them. Sam was always uncomfortable whenever he leapt into a woman. Besides, he knew Amanda, and somehow felt that he was spying on her. And Lee, finally believing the incredible story he had just been told, didn't know how to act around this stranger sitting beside him who looked so much like his partner, but wasn't. Also, knowing that Sam wasn't even a woman, when he could see Amanda's delicate frame so clearly, was making him very uncomfortable.
Finally, Sam tried to break the ice.
"By the way, are you two an item yet? When I leap into someone, I can sense some of their residual feelings, and I know she has feelings for you. I also know that you've had feelings for her for a long time now, almost two years if I'm remembering the time line correctly."
"Well, I don't really think that's any of your business." Lee told him, glancing over angrily. This person seemed to know more about him and Amanda than anyone had a right to. He and Amanda had been getting much closer lately, and he thought that it wouldn't be long before they crossed the line from friendship to something more. The kiss they had shared the other night was more like a peck, but he knew that if her family hadn't gotten back home when they had, it would have gone further than that. But he sure didn't want to share that with the stranger sitting next to him.
"Look, I know Amanda's a very special woman, and I just want, you know, what's best for her." Sam was beginning to feel a bit angry himself. By his calculations, Amanda had known Lee for almost three years, and he didn't know why she would be sitting around waiting for Lee to decide whether or not he wanted a relationship with her.
"Well, she's a grown woman. I think she can decide for herself what's best." Lee shot back at him angrily. He knew that Sam was only here temporarily, but the fact that he had a special link with Amanda, and had popped into her life so many times made him feel a bit jealous.
The rest of the ride to the airport was characterized by a heavy silence. Finally, as they pulled up to the parking lot, Lee looked over and let out a huge sigh.
"Look Sam, I know you're just concerned about her, but so am I. I would never let anyone hurt her, not even me. There's no way I can act like you're really Amanda, but if it looks like we're not even speaking to one another, Billy and Francine will know something is wrong. Truce?" he said, holding out his had to strike the deal.
Sam held out his hand to shake with Lee. "Truce. We'll be completely professional in front of your co-workers."
They shook hands and then exited the car. `If I hadn't realized something was wrong before, I would have then.' Lee thought to himself. `I didn't feel anything when we shook hands just now. I guess that's because it's not Amanda even though it looks like her.'
Lee walked into the portion of the plane containing the flying command post. Francine was busy briefing Amanda/Sam on the various parts of the L-7 system.
"OK, we have scrambler phones on red apple frequency, satellite hookups for audio and video on 12 megahertz, computer inputs, chemical and data analysis lab, and intelligence library patch cells." Amanda parroted back, referring to her notes and pointing to the various components of the system.
Francine nodded, surprised that the housewife turned spy had caught on to everything so quickly. Sure, she had gained a lot of respect for Amanda in the past year or so, but after all this wasn't a new dishwasher or washing machine she was explaining to the housewife turned spy.
Behind them, Lee was taking in the scene, looking puzzled that the pseudo-Amanda seemed to understand all the complexities of the flying command post. After all, at least Amanda had had some dealings with some of these systems before. It seemed that at least Sam knew what he was doing.
Before long, the agents from the Soviet Union and China entered the room. Issak Petrovitch introduced his associate Nadine, who spoke only Russian while Xan Chiang introduced Jen Su, who spoke Russian and English as well as several other languages.
Before Billy and Francine left the plane, Billy took Sam/Amanda aside and warned her of the importance of the mission, and that it would be up to her to keep Scarecrow on an even keel.
`Great,' Sam thought to himself. `I've just barely earned Lee's trust, he probably feels like he doesn't really know me, and I'm supposed to keep him levelheaded.' He had no doubt that Amanda would be able to do that, but he wasn't sure just how he was going to manage it.
As their trip across the country progressed, Al once again appeared, walking through his holographic doorway, Sam quickly excused himself and found a private part of the plane in which he could carry out a conversation with him.
"Ok Al, what have you been able to find out? This is a really tricky situation I'm in here, and I don't think I'm cut out for all this cloak and dagger stuff. So I think the sooner I can get out of here, the better." Sam told him, whispering quietly after he closed the door to the restroom.
"You know, that's kind of cute, Sam. You seem to have picked up Amanda's rambling after leaping into her."
"It's not funny, Al. I have Lee who's not really sure about me, Soviet and Chinese spies crawling all over the place, and I'm supposed to keep things from disintegrating and save Amanda at the same time. This is not a good situation."
"Well look Sam, this is what I've been able to come up with so far. We still don't know why Amanda's records were sealed, but I have been able to find out who sealed them." Al told him, all the while waving his cigar.
"Well don't keep me in suspense, who?" Sam asked, completely bewildered at this point.
"It was lover boy out there." Al replied, his head gesturing toward the part of the plane where Lee was currently sitting. "It seems that right after her death he had the records sealed, and the only person who can remove the lockout on the file now, all these years later, is him. In our time, he seems to have climbed up to the top rungs of the Agency. It's going to be pretty hard to reach him, much less get him to unseal those records. Even our clearances don't give us access to Agency information, much less records sealed with a code vermilion."
"Well, do the best you can, and I'll try not to slip up here. I know we're not supposed to tell anyone what's going on, but when you do reach him, maybe if you explain the situation, he'll give you the information we need. I'd better get back now. Be sure to contact me when you get any more information."
"Okay Sam, you be careful now. We don't want Amanda to have any injuries when she leaps back into her body."
"Of course I'll be careful. You just get me that information. . . . . please!" Sam said as he fluffed his hair, then exited the bathroom.
It was the night before the Food for Flight convoy was scheduled to take place, Sam had stowed away in the warehouse before it was locked up for the night and had let the other spies in to search for the missing detonators. While Lee, Petrovitch, and Chiang had searched the warehouse with Geiger counters, Sam had tried to make himself as unobtrusive as possible. He was getting worried. He knew that Amanda was in grave danger, and they had still not been able to find out what had caused her death. Al had had no luck tracking down Lee Stetson in their own time and every time he thought he had a lead, all he seemed to find was another dead end. These spies were a cagey lot, and when they didn't want to be found, it was extremely difficult to get through their defenses. On this end of the timeline, he had managed to keep the three spies from killing each other so far, and hoped he could continue to help keep the peace on this mission.
Suddenly, he heard a sound. As he turned around he saw a light coming from a partitioned off section of the warehouse, presumably someone's office. After seeing Petrovitch leaving, he went in himself and found a bomb scheduled to go off at 8:00 the next morning. He quickly removed it, hid it inside of his jacket, turned off the light, and exited the office. The search was soon finished and none of the detonators had been found.
When they arrived back at the flying command post, he found a way to get Lee alone and produced the bomb he had sneaked out of the warehouse. Lee quickly disarmed it and thanked him for keeping an eye on the others, then quickly started berating him in a harsh whisper.
"Sam, you're not to be taking any chances with Amanda now, do you understand?" Lee growled, running his hand through his hair in frustration. "What if Petrovitch had caught you? That could have been what happened to her."
"He was already gone when I went in. He didn't see me, Lee." Sam whispered back, his eyes flashing with anger. "Look, I don't want anything to happen to her either, or myself. I was being careful."
"Yeah, I guess so. Sorry. Have you heard back from Al yet?" Lee asked. It was obvious that the strain of the last few days was beginning to wear him down.
Sam had already briefed Lee on the lockout on Amanda's file and that his future self was the only one who would be able to help them. "No, and I'm starting to worry. I need you to think now. If you were trying to avoid contact with someone, what would you do? What can he say to get through to you in the future so we can explain the situation?"
"I don't know. But I do know that if I've been avoiding Al for days like this, I probably have an eye on his every move myself. I could be watching him, trying to figure out what he's really after." Lee said, the desperation he was feeling beginning to show in his features.
"Hold on Sam, I've got it, he can send a message to me with information only Amanda and I would know about. Let me put something together now." He quickly took out paper and pen, and began writing out a message, pausing every so often to think. After he was finished, he handed it over to Sam and watched while he read it. Sam looked over the note in his hands.
The man in the red hat has an urgent delivery to make to Scarecrow. I have information that I need to discuss with you. Do you remember when Amanda told you that you had to be patient when it came to love? When you made soup and salad for her while sailing the Mata Hari back to its slip, and how you were so rattled that you almost tripped and dropped the serving bowl when you saw her in the warm glow of the candles on the table? When she asked you to take her to have tea at Buckingham Palace?
I know that you think she's been dead for years, but these are things that only the two of you knew about. Please, if you ever loved her respond to Admiral Calavicci's request and make contact. It's a matter of life and death.
Sam looked over at Lee, bewildered. "You love her? Why didn't you tell me that when I asked about your relationship days ago?" He knew that he would never be able to have a real relationship with Amanda King, but he still felt a pang of jealousy and loss knowing that someone else would hold that special place in her life.
"Well, I didn't think it was any of your business. Yes, I love her, but I haven't gotten up the courage to tell her. We're not really even dating yet. I guess I've been too scared to move our relationship forward. But this. . . . knowing that if we don't do something soon, I could lose her forever. Well, I'm the only one who knows the things in this note, and if this doesn't get my future self's attention, I don't know what will."
Fortuitously, at that moment, Al appeared. He took down the message word for word and prepared to leave. "I hope this works." he said. "I'm about out of things to try, but this evening we found a way to get a message to him, some mutual contact, and maybe when he sees this he'll contact me."
"Al," Lee called out, although he wasn't able to see him. "Are you still here?"
Al turned around as Sam answered, "He's still here, Lee."
"Al, what's in that note is very private. Please don't let Amanda see it. She deserves to hear it in person, not see it in a note. But tell her. . . . tell her that I'm going to keep anything bad from happening to her. Tell her. . . . tell her I'm going to hold her to her promise of a night out together when this mission is over." He looked down as if searching for something more meaningful to say. "Just tell her that I miss her." He looked up again and called across the room, "Thanks, Al." As he glanced upward, the look of desperation on his face was almost heart-rending.
"I'll tell her." said Al, looking up sympathetically at Lee, then walking away from them, the luminescent doorway disappearing after him.
Stallion's Gate, New Mexico - April 7, 1998 - 7:00 am
Al Calavicci exited the secret building complex that housed Project Quantum Leap. This had been a very stressful leap for everyone involved. He didn't dare go home right now because he was hoping to hear from Lee Stetson at any time. On the other hand, sitting around waiting for that contact had him going stir crazy. So, he figured he'd just take a quick walk around the grounds to burn off some of his nervous energy.
Just as he passed an outcropping of rock, he felt an arm go around his neck, and quickly felt his own arm being twisted behind his back. "OK pal, I know you're the joker who's been trying to get information about Amanda King. Who are you, and why are you trying to have her file unsealed?" rasped the deep voice only inches from his ear.
"Lee, is that you?" Al asked, struggling inwardly to remain still. "How'd you get past the guards?"
"Never mind that right now. You just tell me why you're trying to get information about Amanda!" asked the angry voice, his arm encircling his captor's neck a little more tightly.
"Look," said Al, "I'll be glad to tell you anything you want to know. I've been trying to reach you, after all. Just let me go, and we can sit right here where I can tell you everything."
"OK, but don't try any funny business. I'm armed, and I can take you out and disappear into the surroundings before any of your so-called guards will be able to help you."
With that, Lee released Al and turned him around so he could see the gun pointed right at him, at very close range.
"Alright, alright," Al muttered. `Some people' he thought. `I've just been trying to reach the guy, and he's ready to take me out. Something must have hit a nerve with him.' The Lee Stetson who stood before him was 12 years older than the one he had just seen hours ago, but there were lines of worry and sorrow on his face that he thought had nothing to do with the passage of time.
"For starters, I've got to let you know that the Project Quantum Leap, the grounds of which you've just invaded, and everything to do with it, are a top secret government project. None of your secret agent clearances give you access to the information on this project." Lee nodded as he replied, "I know. When you tried to reach me I did a little research myself and found I couldn't get any information on it or on you except for your name, rank, and serial number. It was only through our mutual contact that I was able to track you back here myself."
"That's right." said Al. "But because of the special circumstances involved, you do have a need to know. You understand that all of this is to be kept in the strictest confidence?"
"Of course I understand. The concept of `need to know' didn't start with research projects." he answered testily.
"Alright, as long as we understand one another." Al responded. With that, he began to explain Project Quantum Leap to Lee and enumerated all the times Sam had intruded upon Lee or Amanda's reality. It seemed that the description of all these events seemed to trigger something in Lee Stetson's brain. He began to remember the incidents mentioned and seemed to believe Al's story, as wild as it sounded on the surface.
As Al wound up his explanation, Lee interrupted him impatiently. "Do you mean that where, or rather when, Dr. Beckett jumped, Amanda's still alive? That he could keep her from dying in the first place?" he asked Al, his excitement evident on his face.
"Yes, but we have to find out how she died and when so that Sam can set things right. With her records sealed like they are, we've had no way to access that information."
"I can give you all the information you need. It's still as clear to me today as when it happened all those years ago." he spoke woodenly, almost as if he was in a trance, his eyes glazing over slightly as if he was seeing the events of that day unfolding again before his eyes. "Amanda and Nadine stayed at the airport to look for Pam Jentry. When the crowd had dispersed, they drove toward the airport to meet up with us. On their way, they spotted Pam. Amanda backed into some barrels blocking Pam's exit route, but also blocking Nadine from getting out of the car immediately. Pam Jentry came at her with a knife and stabbed her. Nadine was finally able to get out of the car and disarmed Pam, then called us to let us know that Amanda was down, and that we were looking for truck number 52. Petrovich and Chang took care of Pam Jentry's accomplice, and I raced back to the overpass where Nadine and Amanda were."
"When I got there, I saw our backup team hauling Pam Jentry away. The ambulance was coming from the other direction, and Nadine was by Amanda's side, trying to staunch the flow of blood. I knelt beside them and called for Amanda. I begged her not to leave me. She opened her eyes one last time and told me that she loved me. Then she said, `Look after the boys for me.' It was the last thing I ever heard her say." Lee paused for a moment, overwhelmed by the vivid memories he had just relived. Memories of events that had changed his life forever.
"You know, I never did get a chance to tell her how I felt about her, Al." he said, his eyes misting over. " But I've honored her memory all these years. I've watched after the boys, even though they didn't know it. I had her file sealed so no one would be able to get information on her or the boys, so they'd be safe."
"So that's why you sealed it." Al was truly affected by the story he had just heard, and knew that he would do everything in his power to change the events that had just been described to him.
"Yeah, but if you could change things. . . . well, if you could change things it would mean more to me than you'll ever know."
"Oh, I think I know pal, I think I know." he replied, remembering himself how different his own life would have been if his only true love had been there for him. "Let me get to work. You gave me just the information we'll need. We'll keep her safe now. Count on it."
With that, he left Lee and made his way back to the imaging chamber to contact Sam.
By the time Al reached Sam, he and Nadine were already on their way to the airport. They spotted Pam Jentry just as Lee had predicted, but this time, Sam knew what to look for. When Pam came at him with the knife, he quickly dodged, disarmed her with a crescent kick, and then trapped her arm behind her back. Nadine soon appeared with a pair of hand cuffs.
"Self Defense course." Sam told Nadine, as she looked at him in a puzzled manner.
They called Lee by radio and told him of Pam's capture and that the detonators were in truck #52. Al was holographically cheering from the sidelines.
After Lee had finished with Pam's accomplice, he rushed to Sam's location. The local police, acting as back-up, were hauling Pam Jentry away. He pulled Sam off to the side, and he quickly asked for details on what had happened.
After he gave Lee the whole story, he continued, "You know Lee, usually I leap right after I change whatever I was supposed to change."
Lee nodded. Sam had explained all of this to him already. "So why haven't you?" he asked.
"I don't know. But I really wanted to tell you, even though you'll probably think it's out of line, that if you feel as strongly about Amanda as you say, you've got to tell her. I know I was here to change things this time, but with the line of work you two are in, something could happen to either one of you any time and, you know, life's too short not to act when you find someone you really care about."
"I know Sam, and I promise you, as soon as she's back, I'm through with beating around the bush."
"Good I'm glad to hear it." With that, he stuck out his hand so they could shake on it.
As soon as their hands touched, a blue aura enveloped him, and suddenly Lee was standing there with the real Amanda.
She swayed slightly on her feet, and Lee caught her, holding her up in a fierce embrace. He knew that it was really her, his Amanda. He knew that they had been given another chance, and he whispered as he looked heavenward, "Thank you, Sam."
The spies were on their way back to Washington, D.C. toasting their success. The Russian and Chinese couples went over to different sitting areas, and soon began laughing and enjoying themselves, finally able to relax after their stressful week.
Lee found himself staring at Amanda. It was so good to have her back. He hadn't realized how very much he could miss her. Every one of her features was now somehow more precious to him.
No, he wouldn't waste this opportunity. He would let her know, and soon, just how much she meant to him. He would somehow find a way to let her know how much he wanted to get to know her better, outside of work.
Suddenly, she looked over at him. She had caught him staring at her.
"What?" she asked.
"No, really. What?"
"Nothing." he replied, knowing that this was neither the time nor place to reveal his thoughts on the matter.
"What?" she asked again, not to be put off by him. He had been acting awfully strange since earlier in the day, almost as if he thought she would break. Sure, she had felt a little dizzy after her encounter with Pam Jentry, but she was fine now.
Knowing that she just wasn't going to let it go, he finally gave her features one last intense look and replied, "You've got a cute nose."
"What?!" she exclaimed, surprised by his answer.