My Love, My Life

Author Jenny

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to people who have way more power than I, so I want them happy. I think that would be Shoot the Moon and Warner Brothers.

Rating: pg13

Timeline: shortly after series ends

Archive: Please, yes!

Synopsis: Lee and Amanda have married. They have kept it hidden for 6 months. They realize they will have to come clean when Amanda realizes that she is three months pregnant. They only have one minor case to wrap up; then they will announce their marriage and baby to Billy and then the boys. Dotty is the only one who knows about their marriage. They felt it was important for her to know the truth. Sounds simple, huh? Not in their world.

"Lee, when we get home tonight I want us to tell the boys together. They are both crazy about you and I think they will take it better from both of us."

"Okay. No arguments from me. I have been waiting for this moment for months. I only hope they will be as happy as you seem to think they will be."

"Why wouldn't they be?" asked Amanda.

"Well, they are in for several surprises, a new stepfather, a baby brother or sister, and a new male in their environment." Lee's voice betrayed his nerves about the transition.

"It is way past time for them to have a steady male in their lives. Joe had done better this year but they need someone constant. They need you." Amanda was certain that Lee was exactly what her boys needed on their lives at this point. The teenage years could be very difficult and they needed a strong male role model and in her eyes Lee was perfect.

"Well, sometimes I think I need them much more than they will ever need me. I already have more now than I ever thought I would have in you and in our love. I just hope that we don't push them too hard with this."

Amanda stood and came around the corner of her desk in the Q bureau. She wrapped her arms around her beloved husband and kissed him softly on the lips. He crushed her to his chest and vowed silently to never let her go out of his life. Reluctantly, he let her go and said,

"We have to go now. The meet is in 30 minutes. Do you have everything you need for the drop?"

"Yes, I have the bag for the disk. I have the password memorized and I have my best backup, you."

"Do you have your weapon?" He looked at her hard.

"Yes, but you don't really think I need it do you?" Amanda's eyes were large in her face at the thought of having to fire the gun Lee insisted she carry and practice with at least three times weekly. She was a fairly good shot but the thought of having to shoot someone was more than she could bear.

"You don't think I would let you do this if I thought there was any real danger? Especially now with the baby, my baby that you are carrying? D.C. is a known contact and we are going to be in a very public place. I am not really worried at all."

"Then why did you ask if I had the thing?" She asked with exasperation in her voice. "I know you don't like it Amanda, but you need to keep it with you at all times, especially now that we are about to go public. We need to be able to protect our family at all times."

With that last comment, they started out the door and to the assigned drop point to meet the informant at the correct time. The drop was to take place at the public zoo in the ladies restroom, hence the need for Amanda to make the pickup instead of Lee. The plan was simple really. She was to go in the first stall, pick up the canvas bag with the disk in it, leave the empty one she carried and walk out. There would be no real contact with D.C. for Amanda or Lee at this time. There would be a call the next day to verify receipt of the list of projected targets of the communist community in the USA that was encoded on the disk. Not a thrilling mission but a potentially important one if the information was real.

The couple proceeded to the designated facility and Amanda walked in alone. Lee waited for 5 minutes before he began to worry. Slowly he opened the door of the restroom just to peek in for a reassuring glimpse of his wife and to see if the holdup was serious. When he did not see her, he opened the door wider only to be thrown back by the blast that filled the room with smoke and flames. He stood quickly, calling for backup in the wire that he had worn mostly out of habit, rather than the need for security on what was supposed to be milk run.

Desperately he called her name. "AMANDA!" He ran to the door of the burning building, trying to peer inside. When he saw flames obstructing the doorway, he ran into the smoke anyway. He had to find his wife. He would be lost without her. The backup team arrived and put out the flames and pulled the nearly smoke overcome Scarecrow out of the building to a waiting Billy.

'Scarecrow, what happened? Where is Amanda?" He led Lee away from the ruins when he would have gone back in to look some more. "Stop man and tell me what happened." Billy demanded.

"God Billy, she went in to make the pickup. She went in there and I have to go get her! I always go get her!" He surged to his feet and ran to the destroyed building. He was stopped at the door by a fireman exiting the building. "Sir, you can't go in there. It's NOT safe."

An angry Lee shook off the man's hold on his arm. "My wife is in there you idiot."

" No sir we have searched the whole place. There is no one in there."

A devastated Lee sat down hard on the nearby bench and looked at Billy in a daze. She was not there. Where did she go? " I was right outside the door the whole time. There was no way to get by me."

Billy sat down next to Lee. "We will find her, but first maybe you better repeat what you just said to that man. Did I hear you say your wife was in there?"

Amanda woke up to feel herself being transported to an unknown destination, probably in the back of a car. She was blindfolded and her hands and feet were bound. She had no idea how long she had been unconscious. She began to feel panic set in as she remembered the events of the day. It was supposed to be the beginning of their public life together. Now here she was, held captive by some faceless person, not knowing if she would ever see her husband again. The thought of him brought tears to her eyes. She knew he would be worried sick at not knowing where she was or if she was okay. Silently she laid her hand over their child lying protected in her womb and sent him a mental message, "I am ok for now but I sure hope you come get us soon. Lee, I love you."

Suddenly she felt the car stop. The back door opened and she was pulled out with a rough tug to her arms. As she struggled to find her balance the blindfold was removed from behind.

She blinked several times and began to look around for clues as to where she might be and how she might free herself or get a message to the Agency. She was in the courtyard of a very large home. It appeared to be very old and not occupied at this time. She turned slowly and came face to face with her captor.

"Who are you? Why am I here? What do you want?" She spoke in fast, angry tone.

"Not so fast Mrs. Stetson. All will be revealed in time. For now let us get you inside to a more comfortable area. You have had a long trip."

Amanda retorted, "How would I know. I was knocked out from behind as soon as I walked into the restroom back at the zoo. How long have we been driving?"

The unidentified man only smiled and said "Nice try. You really are almost as good as your husband. You would like for me to tell how long we have been driving so you could estimate how far we are from your expected rescue. Well don't count on that rescue coming very soon. You see I am very smart myself and I have very strong motivation to keep you as my guest for now." With that she was lead to the house and the door opened to reveal a large foyer and a uniformed maid. She was taken to a large bedroom on the third floor and left alone. After rubbing the feeling back into her recently freed hands and feet she went to the door to find it locked securely from the outside. A voice from the other side of the door suggested that she rest for a while. There was a guard posted in the hall. The windows were locked as well as having security bars in place that were quite new and strong.

She was beginning to feel the effects of her day and thinking of the child she carried she did lie down on the featherbed and sleep. She dreamed of Lee and her boys.

Lee woke from a fitful sleep on the sofa in Billy's office. "Amanda! Where are you?"

He looked around wildly. Billy rose from his desk where he had been waiting for Lee to wake. "Easy Lee, we will find her."

"I swear I heard her speak to me. She said she was ok but for me to hurry and come get them." He buried his face in his hands and groaned. "I can't live without her Billy. She is my life. What am I going to tell Dotty?"

"Lee, you said you had to get them and earlier you said that your wife was in that burning building. I think it is time for you to tell me the whole story, Scarecrow."

"We were going to tonight at the debriefing. We are tired of hiding. I married Amanda six months ago at a private ceremony in the mountains. No one knows but Dotty. We felt the boys would be safer if no one else knew."

Billy smiled and said, "It is about time man. I was beginning to think you were stupid to let her get away from you. She is the best thing I have seen happen to you in a long time. But why were you coming clean tonight? Did something happen? Was your cover story blown somehow?"

With a tired smile Lee shook his head and replied. "Not yet but soon it would have been. Amanda is pregnant. A little over three months. She just told me a few days ago. It was what made me decide to 'fess up. I did not want to spend any more nights without her. I want my family all the time and for everyone to see."

Billy reached out and hugged Lee. "Congratulations, son. Now I know why you said you had to get them not just her. And we will get her soon. Just hang on and don't so anything rash."

At that moment Francine rushed in with her hand full of papers and coffee. She handed the coffee to Lee. "Here. You look like you need this more than me. I guess our little housewife really managed to mess things up this time. A simple little pickup and she manages to get herself captured by Caris Saeed . How she does it I will never know."

Lee approached Francine with a menacing growl. "Shut up Francine. She did everything right. Why are you talking about Caris? He is in Siberia. We traded him for high- ranking officers months ago on the grounds he would be held in Siberia until the Russians tried him for the crimes against their government. He was small potatoes here but they really wanted him. They would not have let him free this soon."

All of this was said at the top of his voice while glaring down at Francine with eyes filled with rage. "Have you lost your mind, Lee? You have really gotten weird about Amanda lately.

She is even weirder about you if that is possible. I told her she shouldn't take dating you so seriously, I guess I should have had that talk with you instead. I knew this was coming. It was just a matter of time before she got herself in trouble again."

Billy decided to intervene at that point. "That is enough from both of you. We all know that Amanda can be impulsive at times. She follows her instincts, and that is not always bad. Besides most of the times she has been taken it was in an effort to get to Lee. Not something that she did wrong or impulsively. Lee maybe you should explain to Francine what you just told me."

He did so briefly then demanded to know what information she had on Caris Saeed. A dazed Francine handed over the papers she had brought in earlier to Billy. An eye- witness had reported seeing a woman matching Amanda's description being led to a car parked in the zoos underground parking area. The witness had gotten the plates because she said that the men were almost carrying the woman and she appeared disoriented. It just looked wrong to the zoo employee and she reported it to the authorities after the fire was extinguished. Francine began to talk, "The car was seen leaving the zoo and heading south on the interstate. The plates are registered to corporation called Trandair oil. They are based out of Lybia and the mother company is owned by one Jahir Saeed. Cousin to Caris Saeed. And long time supporter of the faction that Caris swore loyalty to."

Lee slammed a hand down on the desk. "This is it Billy. He wants revenge on Amanda and me for putting him away. She played a big part on that case and he saw her with me many times. But I still do not know how he got her out of that building without me seeing!" Francine spoke again this time in a voice a bit stronger and less dazed. " It seems that that building was recently renovated into a restroom. It used to house the fish aquariams and had a trap door in the floor that was used to access the tanks for routine cleaning and it leads to the underground parking area."

"Okay Francine good work. I am sorry for yelling at you but I am sure that you understand why now. I have to get my wife and partner back. Now, where was the car headed? Where do we start looking?" Lee felt the first glimmer of hope since he had realized that Amanda was gone.

"I am sorry Lee. The car seemed to just disappear when it left the zoo. There are no sightings or reports of a matching car anywhere." Francine couldn't meet his eyes.

Lee felt the hope die in his heart and he left to break the news to Dotty. He and Amanda had promised her they would not keep any more secrets from her and he intended to keep that promise.

Lee walked into the kitchen of the home in Arlington where only recently had he been able to come and go openly as Amanda's steady date. The boys were accepting him more everyday and Dotty called him son just last night when he had left after a family dinner in the kitchen.

Dotty knew of their marriage and appeared to be very approving of the match. How on earth was he going to be able to tell her that Amanda was missing? He didn't even know if she suspected Amanda was carrying his child.

"Dotty! Are you here?" He began to walk through the house he was hoping to call home very soon.

"Yes, Lee I am right here in the den cleaning the bookshelves. What on earth are you doing here this time of day? Where is Amanda?"

Lee cleared his throat his roughly. This was not going to be easy. "Sit down Dotty. I have to tell you something that is very hard to say."

"Oh God, Lee what has happened? What is wrong with my daughter? Where is she?" Her voice was high pitched with fear and her eyes began to fill with tears. Lee gently reached out and took her hands in his and said, "We had a very simple job to so this morning but something went wrong. There was an explosion and . . . "

Dotty interrupted at that point and cried out, "Are you telling me that my baby is dead?"

"No, no, no but she is missing. We have everybody on it. And I am going back now to work on this myself. I am going to find her. I will bring her home."

Dotty stood up, with flames in her eyes and tears on her face, and said, "You better. This is all your fault. She would never have been there if it was not for you. You have put her life in danger too often. You don't deserve her!"

Lee could only hang his head and agree. Hadn't he said all those things and more to himself on the way here? "I know Dotty. I don't deserve her. But I do love her more than life itself and I will bring her back to you. I am going now. I'll let you know anything I know as soon as I know. I promise." Dotty only looked at him with reddened eyes and nodded. Lee silently walked out the back door and to his car.

Meanwhile at the manor house in North Carolina where Amanda was being held two dark men were having a joyous celebration of the success of their plan. They did not know that their escape had been witnessed by a sharp-eyed zoo employee. The first man spoke with a heavy accented voice. "Jahir my cousin you have done very well. The kidnapping went exactly as I planned. Soon I will have Scarecrow exactly where I want him. Going crazy worrying about his lovely wife and partner. Not to mention his having to deal with her distraught mother and children. It is so much more satisfying than I ever dreamed!"

"How long to you plan to keep her here, Caris? The house is not used very often and will need to be staffed for along stay."

"I think that you had better do that then my cousin. I hope to see Scarecrow twist in the wind for many weeks before I allow him to find us and witness the murder of our guest. However I want her healthy until then. I will not have a weak female mar my plans. Find a suitable staff to care for her. We will have to dispose of them all when this is over."

Three weeks later at the IFF head quarters, Billy's office. . .

"Lee, you have to rest! This nonstop pace is not going to get Amanda back. It is only going to make it harder for you to recognize the break when we finally get it."

"Billy I can't stop. Don't you see? This is my fault. I let her go in there and by all indications this a plan to get me. These notes that Caris is sending are taunting me. He is trying to get revenge by slowly driving me crazy with helplessness."

"And I would say it is working, Lee. Look at yourself. You aren't eating, sleeping, or taking care of yourself in any way. I think you should go home and clean up. Rest awhile and then go check on Mrs. West and the boys. They need you now."

With a resigned sigh, Lee left the office and went to his apartment to clean up before heading out to Arlington. There was no way he could rest or eat after reading the note that had arrived this morning by courier. The lock of Amanda's hair in the envelope had nearly been his undoing. The forensics team had taken it to verify it was really hers but he could have told them it was. It felt just like her and it had smelled of her as well. The words of the note hung in his mind like a ghost message. SHE IS WELL FOR NOW BUT SO LONLEY I HEAR HER CRY AT NIGHT FOR YOU HOW LONG WILL YOU MAKE HER WAIT BEFORE YOU COME FOR HER? I WONDER WHY SHE LOVES YOU SO WHEN YOU SO OBVIOUSLY SO NOT CARE . SHE WONDERS AS WELL. Lee sent Amanda a message of love and hope in his mind. For some reason he always felt she could hear him and sometimes he felt he could hear her too.

He had arrives at the big white house where he had so many memories of Amanda and their times together. He walked slowly up the walk and around to the back patio where he could hear voices and the sounds of a basketball game. At the sound of his footsteps Phillip and Jaimie stopped the half-hearted game and looked at him expectantly. He could only pat them on the back and shake his head negatively. To his surprise Jaimie grabbed him in a quick embrace and said, "We know you are doing your best, Lee." Phillips nod of agreement was followed by an equally surprising comment. "We know you love her and will bring her home as soon as you can."

Lee could only swallow hard around the lump in his throat and nod his head. He proceeded into the house when the boys had informed him that their grandmother was inside. Before he went into the house he looked around to make sure that the Agency van that was protecting his family was in place at the end of the block. It was, so he went to find Dotty. He answered her silent question with a single word. "Nothing" She held out her hand and began to speak in s serious voice. "I want to apologize for the way I have been treating you. I can see that this is very hard on you. And that you are doing your best. I think at first I did not realize how much you love her. Or how much she loves you. But I found something this morning while I was cleaning her room." She held out a silver framed portrait she had found in her daughter's bedside table. It was a wedding portrait taken by the minister's wife after they had said their vows. The love they shared shone from their eyes and was easy to see. Lee could almost feel her in his arms as he had when he kissed her after the ceremony.

Dotty continues in a strained voice, "I want to put this out for the boys to see. I think it will make them feel closer to their mother and their stepfather. They deserve to know that they have you in their lives now when they need you most."

When he agreed, they called the boys in and told them that not only were Lee and Amanda partners in a very dangerous job but that they were married. Lee was their stepfather. They took the news very well. They were almost relieved to know that they would not be left without a parent anymore. After spending a few minutes answering what questions he could,

Lee promised to come back tonight and spend the night so that the boys would not be so lonely.

As he walked back into the bullpen, Billy stormed out of his office and roared for someone to trace the call and picked up the phone line blinking red on Francine's desk.

"Melrose here. Scarecrow is not available at this time. May I help you?" At that moment he noticed Lee running toward him and said, "Wait a minute, here he is." Briefly he explained to Lee that the call came in just a few minutes ago and that the woman on the other end claimed to know where Amanda was being held. Lee grabbed the phone and spoke "Scarecrow here. Who is this?"

The woman spoke quickly, "It is Carlotta Devay, Scarecrow. I have seen your lady partner. She is a captive in the house where my niece works. I filled in for her today and I saw Amanda in the upstairs bedroom. I have convinced my niece to take another day off tomorrow and I will try to contact her. I must go now. He is coming."

Lee shouted into the phone, "Wait ! Where are you?" He slammed the phone down in disgust. "She hung up. Dammit, Billy did we get the trace? Where did Carlotta call from?" "We got it Lee. It is from a provencial area in South Carolina. They are making an exact determination now. Who was that woman? Do you trust her?"

"Yes, I trust her. That was Miguel Devay's widow. She has been part of my Family ever since he was shot. Miguel was a damn good agent and a good friend. She said she wanted to continue his work by helping me if she could. She seems to have stumbled onto Amanda by accident while helping out her niece today at some job. She will try to contact her tomorrow and call back. If we get a location I am not waiting here until then. I am going tonight with or without you."

Billy threw up his hands and said, "Of course we are going with you tonight as soon as we get confirmation of the address. Amanda is a damn good agent and we all want her back safe and sound. Now go inform her mother of the break and I will get that address from Francine. She should have it by now.

Twenty minutes later, Lee and Billy were racing down the highway toward Pointville, South Carolina. The exact location was an old plantation house found in the countryside surrounding the small city. Billy had directed that all calls be forwarded to his car phone. They did not want to risk missing any contact made by Carlotta until they had set up a temporary command post outside of the estate. They pulled up to the crew that had been sent ahead when the first general location had been discovered just as the sun rose over the trees. Lee silently vowed to have Amanda home and in his arms before night fell again. Inside the plantation home Amanda awoke with a jerk and cried out for Lee. She had heard his voice again telling her he was coming and that he loved her. She crept out of bed and went to the window looking out over the courtyard and began to cry. She would have lost all hope had it not been for those silent messages from Lee. She just knew he was close now and would come for her anytime. She turned quickly when she heard the door open. Caris Saeed's form filled the doorway.

"My dear Amanda, you are already awake. Surely you are not pining for that fool Stetson again. I had hoped that you would have realized that he has no further use for you now that you are captured. He does not love you. He never did." He smiled and tried to touch her face.

Amanda jerked away and said, "I am not your dear and Lee does love me and he will be here soon. You will be sorry you ever left Russia when he is through with you"

Caris snarled in anger at the spirit and loyalty to Scarecrow that she continued to show despite his efforts to break their bond with time and distance. He grabbed her and struck her across the cheek with his hand. A bright red mark showed immediately on her pale face. As she fell across the bed, he stormed out of the room with instructions to the maid outside to make sure that their guest was made presentable for he had a new plan in mind.

As Caris left the room the defiant look on Amanda's face crumpled into one of despair. She held her throbbing face and sobbed aloud. The maid quickly entered the room and crossed to the bed. "Come my dear let's get you into the tub so you can eat breakfast. You will feel much better then." She led the sobbing Amanda by the hand to the bath next door. She sat the disconsolate agent in the chair in front of the vanity and turned on the bath water full force.

She closed the door and kneeled in front of Amanda and spoke softly. "My name is Carlotta Devay. Your Lee is a very good friend of mine. He likes to call friends like me his Family." She paused as she waited for what she had just told Amanda to penetrate the fog surrounding her mind. When Amanda's grew wide with recognition she continued, "I spoke with Lee last night. I suspect he is on his way here now even as we speak. I am sure he traced my call to the Agency. You must hold on. Be strong." Amanda replied with s strong hug and a whispered "Thank you. Can you get in touch with him again? Did you tell him where we are?" Carlotta shook her head in the negative. "I was fearful of being discovered. But do not underestimate Scarecrow. He will find you and all will be well. Now let me help you into the tub. If today is the day you want to be ready for anything. A hot bath and a good meal together will help clear your mind." She turned to the tub to adjust the water temperature and turned in time to see Amanda hold both hands over a now slightly protruding lower abdomen.

Carlotta gasped and said, "I see now why Lee is so very frantic to have you back. I could hear it in his voice on the phone. He was terrified for you and now I see why. How far along are you ?" Amanda answered with a tired smile "Almost five months now. It is a good thing I do not get very big or Caris would have another weapon at his disposal to taunt Lee with. We were so excited about the baby and telling everyone the truth. We married about six months ago and no one knows at home. I don't know how Caris found out."

"Well that is only one more reason for you to be careful and not anger him again. H could do more than bruise your face next time." With that advice Carlotta left the room and went down the stairs to see Caris and Jahir walk out the door and drive away together in the same car that had brought Amanda three weeks before. That left only the guard outside the bedroom and the two patrolling the grounds. She felt it was safe enough to try and contact Lee once more. The loyal maid crept into the study to use the only phone once more. Outside in the surveillance van nearly half mile away the phone connected to the Agency line rang. Lee snatched it up and barked, "Scarecrow ."

He nearly dropped to his knees in relief when he heard Carlotta say, "Did you trace the call last night? Are you here?"

Lee answered, "We are about one half mile away from an old plantation estate in Pointville. Are we in the right place?"

Carlotta breathed in relief. "Yes. We are inside the house. Amanda is being kept in the upstairs bedroom. The third floor, in the back corner. You must hurry. She angers him by not betraying you. I fear for her safety." A sudden crash was heard and then the phone line went dead.

Lee looked up at an expectant Billy. "This is it. She is on the third floor. But we were cut off. I think Carlotta may have been discovered."

Indeed that was just the case. The maid had been found by the returning Caris and Jahir. A flat tire had forced them to return to the house and they had caught the woman in the study. Now a gun was to her head and she was being forced to give the pair the number to contact Lee. She was then tied to a chair and gagged. Jahir went to the third floor to bring down their reluctant guest. Amanda had barely dressed and left the bathroom to eat the breakfast the cook had sent when he entered the room and dragged her down the stairs. It was the first time she had been out of the bedroom since they had taken her from the zoo.

Once in the study with Caris, she saw Carlotta and tried to go to her aid but was roughly jerked back by Jahir. Caris smiled cruelly and said "So the rescue is thwarted before it even begins. I am very surprised that he even attempted to rescue you, my love. Perhaps his feelings run deeper than I supposed. But that is even better. The more he loves you the more pain he will feel when you betray him with me."

"I would never betray him for you or anyone else and he knows it. You will never convince him." She sounded much braver than she really was. She had no way of knowing how close Lee was. And the capture of the brave maid who had been so kind to her had taken the small glimmer of hope so recently seen.

"We will see about that. With those words he crossed the room to her and ripped off her jacket revealing the sleeveless shift beneath. He forced her to put her arms around him and then cruelly kissed her lips. She did not protest for fear he would harm the baby she already cherished. She became aware of a camera flashing away across the room. He was taking pictures! Jahir had a camera with a zoom lens attached taking pictures of the apparently passionate embrace. "Now we will see if Scarecrow remains steadfast in his devotion when he sees that you have taken comfort in my arms over his apparent desertion." He roughly pushed her away and left the room. The guard tied her arms and legs and left her lying on the floor next to Carlotta.

Two hours later a frustrated Lee paced the confined space of the surveillance van. He of course wanted to go barging in and shoot his way out again if he had to. To be this close and not be able to do anything was terrible. But Billy would not let him of course. He insisted on waiting for more back up to arrive from the closest Federal agency, FBI in South Carolina.

They had no way of knowing how many guards were posted or how much information had been forced out of Carlotta assuming she had been captured as well. Billy appeared at the door of the van to get Lee's attention. He held a photo in his hand. "Lee. . . This just came over the facsimile machine in the communication center. It was forwarded from D.C. There is another note as well."

He handed the two papers over to Lee and then waited for the explosion he knew would come. A few minutes later he was surprised to hear a low laugh from the agent. "Amanda loves me Billy. There is no way I would ever believe this. I don't know how he did this but I will make him regret the day he put his hands on her."

He threw the papers in the trash where they belonged. "If this was forwarded from D.C. then he doesn't know we are here. We still have the element of surprise. Billy I have to get her out of there, now."

Billy appeared to consider this carefully. "Maybe you are right. We may have a better chance of getting in there without the extra people. Let's get ready to go. We head in as soon as Francine is here to monitor us with the sound equipment. I will order her to call out the troops at the first sign of trouble."

Lee nodded his agreement. In his heart he knew this was personal. And that he was the best person suited for the job, no matter how involved he was. Caris Saeed wanted him and Amanda to pay. But they were going to show him that together they were unstoppable. They would make him wish he had stayed in Russia to take whatever punishment the government handed down because it would not have been nearly what he would have before Lee was through with him.

Amanda and Carlotta had been taken to the upstairs bedroom once again. Their hands remained bound and they were tied to chairs that were back to back. "Carlotta, hold your hands as far apart as you can get them. I am going to try to untie you so that you can free yourself then try to contact Lee after you get out of this house."

"No Amanda. I won't leave you. Besides Scarecrow should be here very soon. I spoke to him before I was discovered. They are right outside the estate. He may even be in the house by now. Caris and the others think he is still in D.C. They will not be expecting him so soon.

By that time Amanda had managed to free the other woman's hands. Carlotta freed her arms and legs and rapidly untied Amanda. The two stood together in the center of the room. Amanda said in a worried tone, "That was too easy. They may be setting up some sort of trap."

Carlotta said "Or maybe they are just too confident in their scheme and too forgetful of the skills you have learned." A scuffle in the hall outside reminded them of the guards roaming the halls of the house. "Well we are free but still trapped in this room." Amanda was very frustrated at not being able to somehow signal Lee where they were. She began to pace the room. The door flew open and Caris walked quickly to Amanda. He looked briefly at the ropes that were lying useless on the floor. "I really must stop underestimating you." He grabbed her and as she was being taken to the first floor she resisted briefly in the hopes of buying enough time to run out of the house but stopped when she felt him grip her around the stomach tightly. She could not breath and was terrified that he would harm her pregnancy in some way. "It would seem I have underestimated Scarecrow and the Agency as well. They are here and will not show themselves. But I think I can convince him to cooperate."

In the open courtyard, Caris held Amanda tightly against him and said loudly "Scarecrow! Please come and join us. Your wife would like to tell you something. It seems she has decided to find love in a real man. Not one who would leave her alone for so long. Tell him my dear. Tell him who your new love is."

He held a gun against the side of her head and shook her hard. "Call to him, dammit! He will come out for you." Amanda looked at him and shook her head. He had a wild look in his eyes. He had really gone around the bend. He shook her again and held the gun to her stomach. "Call him or I will take not only him from you but also his child." When her eyes showed her shock at his knowledge of the baby he laughed. 'Of course I know my dear. I know all there is to know about you two. I hate you with every fiber of my being. Now call him or he and the child will die and you will be left all alone."

She knew by the look on his face he was serious. So to save the life of their unborn child she called to him. "Lee! Lee! Where are you?"

"Now tell him that you do not love him and that you will be leaving with me." Caris' face was wet with sweat and his eyes filled with rage and enjoyment. He was thrilled to be watching her suffer like this. "Say it now!" He shoved the gun hard into her stomach. Her voice broke as she said words out loud she never she thought she would say. "Lee I don't love you anymore and I am leaving with him."

"Do you hear that Scarecrow? She does not love you. You have nothing. Just as you left me with nothing. I have taken everything from you, your wife, your child, you once told me that without her love you would have no life. Well, now you have neither. I am leaving now and if you try to stop me I will kill her and then I will kill you. But not before you see her die." He began to drag Amanda toward the car. The next few minutes were a blur of running men and bullets as Lee dropped down from the tree branches after yelling at Amanda to run.

As he subdued Caris Saeed and Billy and the backup team swarmed the house, Amanda sank to the ground behind the tree Lee had been hiding in. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself and watched. When she saw that Lee was not going to stop beating the man even after he was down she rushed to him and grabbed his arm. "Lee, stop it! Stop! It won't do any good. You can't change what happened." Lee threw the man away from him and grabbed Amanda and held her in his arms. He kissed her lips right there in front of everybody. He held her against his body and felt the shaking of her body. Or was it his body shaking?

As he held her tighter he could feel the protrusion of her abdomen and dropped to his knees and put his head against her shirt. He finally spoke in a shaken voice. "I thought you were gone. I thought I would never hold you or our child again. I love you. You are my life." He stood up and picked her up and carried her to the waiting ambulance. "Lee, wait! What about Carlotta? We have to make sure she's okay."

Billy came around the corner then with Carlotta in tow. "I am here Amanda. I am okay." The two women embrace quickly before Amanda is lifted into the back of the ambulance by her husband. The doors close and it drives away from her prison of the last three weeks.

Lee sits on the side of the bed in the house in Arlington. He is watching her sleep. She was seen at a nearby hospital and released into her husbands care. He insisted she also be checked by Dr. McJohn at the Agency. After a thorough exam both Amanda and their unborn child were declared healthy but exhausted. She was then ordered home to bed for two weeks.

Lee placed her there himself and was watching to make sure she stayed there. She had wanted to go immediately to the safehouse where their family had been moved when Lee had left to come and rescue her. But Lee had sent a car for them instead. They would be home in a couple of hours and he meant for her to stay in bed until then.

When his gaze swept down her body and rested on the rounded curve of their child he could not resist laying his large hand over it. She moved restlessly when she felt his touch and opened her eyes to see tears rolling down his face. "Lee, I love you so much. I never thought I would have to say to you the things I said today. Please tell me you know just how much you mean to me. I would never leave you."

Lee leaned over and gathered her in his arms and held her in his lap. "I know. I never believed any of the terrible things he said to me about you. You are the one constant in my life. You and the boys and our family."

Amanda smiled and placed her hand over his as it rested protectively over his child. "Don't forget our daughter." Lee looked up and said, "Do you think it is a girl?" He looked so hopeful she chuckled. "No. . . . . . I know it is. Dr. McJohn insisted on an ultrasound at the hospital and he said he was 99 percent sure it was a girl!"

Lee kissed her tenderly and said, "It really doesn't matter. As long as it is healthy and looks like you." She leaned in and kissed him again. The kiss became more urgent and she let her hands roam over his chest and around to his back. She moaned low in her throat as he gently cupped her breast in his hand. He caressed her face and throat and kissed his way down tothe open neck of her gown. He pulled back suddenly and said in a rough voice "Is this safe for the baby and you? I won't take a chance on losing you again."

Her answer was to pull him down to her and kiss him breathless. "I guess that is a yes." He quickly stands and removes his clothes then helps her out of her gown. He leans over and places a quick kiss on her abdomen and whispers "I love you baby girl Stetson." As he makes love to his wife he counts his blessings and prays that he will never be without her again.

A few hours later he wakens her gently, and says "Hey gorgeous. There are three people downstairs who are going to murder me if you don't make an appearance soon." She stands and dresses and starts to walk down the hall only to be picked up in his strong arms. "Oh no you don't. Bed rest is what the doc. said and if you won't stay in bed I will just have to carry you for the next four and a half months."

She only shook her head and burrowed closer to his chest. It just felt to good to argue about it. Downstairs she was greeted with hugs and kisses from all and the welcome news that the boys already knew about their stepfather and had readily accepted him. They were equally excited about the news of a new sister in a few months. Dotty was overjoyed at the thought of a granddaughter to dress up and spoil. Lee stood back and enjoyed the sight of his family. When Amanda looked up and caught his eye she held out her hand and he went to join his love and his life. . . .finally.

THE END
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