Lost and Found

Author:  Fletcher Stanton

Rating:  PG

Summary:  How did Dotty *really* end up with Lee's sock?

Disclaimer:  I do not own any of the S&MK universe.  I am writing for entertainment purposes only I don't make any
money from this.  Any copyright infringement is unintentional.

Archive:  Yes, please

Feedback:  Always appreciated - good, bad, or otherwise

Timeline: 4th season, somewhere between "Mission of Gold" and "A Matter of Choice"


"Amanda, dear, I'm home!"

"Oh no!"  Amanda jumped out of her bed and quickly ran to close her bedroom door.

Lee sat up, a slight look of panic on his handsome features.  "I thought you said she was flying off with Captain Kurt for the
weekend!"

"She was.  The storm must have grounded them."  She shot a nervous glance toward the door.  "What are we going to do?"

He shrugged as he got out of bed.  "Well, we could say I came over for dinner-"

"And ended up in my bedroom?  I don't think so, buster."  She rushed around the room, grabbing clothes to either put on or
toss to Lee, depending on what she found.  He caught his blue boxers in mid-air and stepped into them, then reached for his
pants.

"Well then, what do you suggest?" he wondered.  She looked away, and he stopped getting dressed long enough to follow her
gaze to the window.  He slowly shook his head as he answered her unspoken suggestion.  "No way, Amanda - not the trellis.
The last time I was on it, it broke."

"That's because we were both on it," she countered, pulling her shirt over her head.  "It's been fixed since then.  Good as new -
better than new, even."

Lee walked over and, pulling the drapes back, saw rain trickling down the glass.  "Amanda, in case you haven't noticed, the storm that kept your mother from flying is still here.  I don't want to climb down that thing in the rain."  He waited a moment for a response, then moved to pick up his shirt from where it had landed on the bed and put it on, all the while glaring at the window.

She contemplated putting on the shoe she'd picked up, then decided to toss it into the closet instead.  "You've done it before.
Please, Lee.  I promise, I'll make it up to you."

That had possibilities.  He stopped for a moment to contemplate them, but was jarred back to reality by an elbow to the ribs.
"Hey, that hurt!"  He spoke a little louder than he'd meant to, and Amanda lightly slapped his arm.

"Shh!  Quit daydreaming, and finish getting dressed.  Mother will be up here any minute!"  Now completely clothed, Amanda
turned her attention to straightening the very unmade bed.

He scanned the floor, then knelt down to look under the bed.

"What are you doing?" Amanda asked, nearly tripping over him in her efforts to remove any evidence of their earlier activities.

Lee continued his search.  "I can't find my sock."

"What do you mean you can't find your sock?"

He sat back on his heels to face his wife.  "I mean I can't find one of them.  It's not here."

"It has to be here."  She quickly glanced around the bedroom, but had no better luck than her husband.  "Your shoes are here," she pointed out.

He stood up and retrieved his shoes.  "But my sock isn't."

"Well, then, you'll just have to leave without it.  I'm sure I'll find it after you leave."  At the sound of footsteps on the stairs, she added, "Which you need to do *now*."

He hopped around as he tried to put a dress shoe on his bare foot.  "All right, all right, I'm going.  But you owe me big for this, Amanda Stetson."

"I know.  Now go on, before it's too late.  I'll try and come over later, after Mother's asleep."  She reached up and gave him a
peck on the lips.  "I love you."

"I love you, too."  He gave the trellis a dubious look, then climbed out the window.  Amanda heard him grumbling about the
stupidity of a mystery marriage, and what he'd like to do to the person who came up with the idea in the first place, as he made
his way down.

She closed the window most of the way, then gave the room one last check before opening the door to greet her mother.

"Hello, Mother.  Is everything all right with Captain Kurt?  I didn't expect you home so soon.  You didn't have a fight, did you?"

"He's fine, and no, we didn't have a fight.  The storm just got too bad for us to be able to fly, so Kurt took me to dinner in town, and then dropped me off.  We're going to try again tomorrow, if the weather's any better."  She decided to fish around a little.  "I'm surprised you're home, Amanda - I thought you and Lee might have plans."

"No, no plans.  Just thought I'd spend a quiet evening at home."  It was partially true - she and Lee hadn't had any specific plans, other than being alone together at the house.

"I see.  So you're here by yourself."

"Of course I am, Mother.  Why do you ask?"

"No reason, Amanda."  She shook her head, realizing she wasn't going to get any information from her daughter.  "Well, it's been a long day, and I'm tired.  I think I'll go to bed.  You look tired yourself, Amanda - maybe you should try and get some sleep too."

"That sounds like a good idea," Amanda said with barely disguised relief.  It looked like she'd made it through another one
of her mother's question and answer sessions unscathed.  "Good night, Mother."

"Good night, dear."

Dotty shook her head as she walked toward her room, amused by her daughter's nervous behavior.  Reaching into her jacket
pocket, she pulled out a man's sock.  She'd found it on the floor as she'd neared Amanda's bedroom, and would bet a month's
flying lessons that it belonged to Lee Stetson.  She was certain she'd heard his voice through the closed door, though she hadn't
seen any sign of him when Amanda had come out of her bedroom.  Smiling to herself, she put the sock back in her pocket, sure she'd find just the right time to return it.

Several weeks later, the opportunity presented itself.  Lee was coming over to see Amanda.  She'd gone to run a few errands,
and Dotty had promised to entertain Lee if he arrived before she got back.  If Amanda had seen the devilish grin that had
accompanied that statement, she never would have left the house.  As it was, she didn't notice, and so Dotty was free to set
up her ambush.  She had everything in place when she heard the knock on the door.

Lee smiled brightly as she opened the door.  "Hello, Mrs. West."

"Well, hello, Lee.  And it's Dotty, remember?"

He nodded.  "Dotty."

She smiled as she let him in.  "Come in, come in.  Amanda should be home from the store any minute."

Lee followed Dotty into the kitchen.

"I was just sorting some laundry.  You don't mind if I continue while we talk, do you, Lee?"

"Of course not, Dotty.  And you don't have to bother with me if you're busy.  I can wait for Amanda in the other room."
Considering the not-so subtle hints Amanda had said her mother was dropping lately, Lee wasn't sure if time alone with
Dotty was a safe idea.

"Nonsense.  I'd appreciate the company."  She gave him an odd look, but before he could ask her about it, she continued talking.

"Let me ask you a question.  Are you familiar with the fourth dimension theory in laundry?"

He sighed inwardly in relief - that was not the kind of question he'd expected to be asked.  "No, I can't say that I am."

"Well, you know, you put a pair of socks in the dryer and when you take the clothes out, one sock is missing."

At the mention of a missing sock, alarm bells started going off in Lee's head.  He nodded, hoping he was wrong about where this conversation was heading.  "Hmm."

Dotty kept going, seemingly oblivious to Lee's growing discomfort.  "My theory is that they disappear into the fourth dimension, and they reappear in somebody else's dryer."

She pulled out the sock, and Lee's eyes widened momentarily.  How had she ended up with it?  He quickly regained his
composure, hoping his mother-in-law had missed the momentary lapse.

"Now you take this sock, for instance.  This man's sock appeared in a load of Amanda's things."  She looked Lee straight in the eye, not willing to give him any leeway.

He gave her a noncommittal smile.  "Huh."  He'd wanted to say more, but couldn't get any words around the lump that had
formed in his throat.  He coughed to try and clear the passageway as Dotty spoke again.

"Imagine.  Beautiful sock... expensive... argyle..." she trailed off, curious to see what Lee would say.

He had no idea how to answer her.  It was obvious that she knew whose sock it was, but he couldn't bring himself to confirm
her suspicions.  "What a coincidence," was his weak reply.

She smiled knowingly at the flustered man.  "Isn't it though."  Hearing the car door, she said, "Ah, there's Amanda," then
picked up the laundry basket.  "Okay, well, I'll leave you two together."

"Uh..." Lee was tongue-tied, trying to decide whether or not to ask for the sock.  Dotty saved him the trouble, dangling it in front of him as she walked by, then dropping it into his hand as he reached for it.

"Hmm.  You three," she finished.  And at that she left the room, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

Author's Note:  The 'missing sock' scene between Lee and Dotty is taken directly from the episode "A Matter of Choice".