Summary: Lee has a present for Amanda. Part of the Alphabet Challenge
Feedback: Yeah, sure, I guess.
Disclaimer: I neither own nor assert any rights to Scarecrow
and Mrs King, which is the property of Shoot the Moon Production Company
and Warner Brothers. This story, insofar as it stands alone from
the series, is mine, however. Please do not redistribute or reproduce,
in like or in kind, without my permission.
"So, you're finally takin' the big step, huh?" The grizzly man shouted to be heard over the key grinding equipment he was operating. "I kin tell; you've got that look."
"Excuse me?" Lee shifted his weight awkwardly, as he watched tiny sparks fly from the machine.
"Givin' a key to yer girl," he answered, and Lee noticed the older man seemed to be missing a few of his teeth, creating a crooked smile that mirrored a key's rough edges. "It makes the relationship serious. It's not jist the keys to your place yer givin' her, y'know. It's lot more than that." He pulled the keys off, and scrutinized his handiwork carefully, before handing them over. "Good luck," he offered.
"Thanks." Lee took the finished product wondering when key grinders had become amateur psychologists.
"What's this?" Amanda plucked the tiny box from her desk, and shook it gently.
"It's for you. Go ahead; and open it."
He watched her pull off the ribbon, a smile lighting her face like a child on her birthday. When she lifted the box top off, however, a line of confusion knit her brow. "It's . . . a key." She seemed neither angry, nor disappointed, rather, simply nonplussed.
"To my apartment," he answered her unasked question. "I thought it was about time you stopped using a lock pick to get in."
A flicker of understanding passed through Amanda's eyes. "A key to your apartment," she repeated, turning it over in her hand and running a fingertip over its ridges. "You know, I kinda liked picking your lock. It was good practice."
"Amanda. . ." He crossed to where she sat perched on the edge of her desk, and lay his hand atop hers closing her fingers around the key. "It's important to me that you have this."
"You really sure you want me to be able to drop in at any time?" Their hands were still clasped, and she studied his face as though committing the features she already knew, to heart once again.
He squeezed her hand gently before answering. "Amanda, your door was open to me long before we . . . well, it's been open for a long time, and I realized when you were helping me this week that it's about time I opened mine."
Amanda opened her hand and lowered the key to the desktop with a soft clack before wrapping her arms around his neck. "Thank you, Scarecrow," she whispered and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. "That's just what I needed."
"You're welcome," he responded, a smile tugging at his lips in memory of the sage conversation with the key grinder.
"What are you thinking?" she asked tracing the lines of his smile.
"Oh . . ." His grin grew a little broader. "Just something the man who made the key said to me."
"What's that?" she asked, pretending to be less interested than she actually was.
"That it's a pretty big step when you give your house-key to your girl. That's all."
"So I'm your girl, huh?" She played with his tie.
"Yeah . . . yeah, I'd say so," he answered, smiling at the realization.
She returned the smile, the corners of her eyes crinkling in delight. "Good," she responded and brought her lips to his.