Disclaimer - I do not own nor do I profit from this story. Any and all references to Scarecrow and Mrs. King belong to WB and Shoot the Moon Productions. This story is written for entertainment purposes only and because I love the characters and the show.
Timeline - Follows after my last story, Some Things Never Change.
Synopsis - The title tells it all.
Comments - Yes please.
Special thanks to great Betas - Debby, Pam, and Jean - Thanks for helping me get it right.
The party at the French Embassy was in full swing as the two tall, dark haired men stood quietly talking. They were surrounded by many of Washington's elite. Wearing black tuxedos, they were swallowed in the crowd of formally dressed guests. Across the room a stunningly beautiful woman in a black-sequined ball gown laughed, patted the arm of her companion, and started to move in the direction of the men on the other side of the hall. As she moved through the crowd, she paused occasionally to make small talk with the other partygoers. Taking a glass of champagne off a waiter's tray, she stood with her back to the two men.
"Did you get the items I asked for?" she whispered as she sipped her champagne.
"Yeah." The first man answered back quietly. "It waddn't easy. The Agency's kept a tight lid on this."
"Whatever. . ." She looked out across the room and sighed. With a look of boredom on her face she emptied her glass. "There's an address and instructions on this cocktail napkin. Be there tomorrow at noon. I want both of you there with the merchandise." She set her champagne glass on the table and walked away without looking back.
Both men looked over at the table, hesitant to pick up the napkin. "That's one scary broad," the tallest of the men said as he reached over and picked up their instructions. "Good thing Augie got us hooked up with the right people."
"Lee, I am going into work with you today." Amanda's third attempt at standing up was finally successful. "I'm bored to death sitting around here all day, besides the Doctor didn't say I had to stay in bed all the time. He just said I needed to get more rest than I was managing. I haven't had this much energy since before I found out I was pregnant. The nursery is ready, I've packed my bag for the hospital, all the laundry is done, and yesterday I even managed to get a little of the spring cleaning I missed doing last spring, done."
Lee sighed and turned toward his very pregnant wife. "'Amanda. . ."
"No, Lee, you're not going to talk me out of it." Changing tactics she reached out and put her arms around his neck and looked him straight in the eye. "Sweetheart, I'm going stir crazy." She said with a pout on her lips. "I promise I'll sit at my desk and not get into any trouble."
"Oh, Amanda. You telling me you'll stay at your desk is like you saying you'll stay in the car." Knowing she was going to do what she wanted to, whether he agreed or not, he sighed. With a look of resignation, he reached down and placed a soft kiss on the tip of her nose. "Do you realize how much I've been missing you during the day? It's been different without you there, too quiet."
Playing with the hair at the back of his neck, Amanda flirted with her husband. "What, Francine and the typing pool girls not keeping you entertained?"
"No one entertains me like my wife, Mrs. Stetson." He smiled and kissed her again as if to prove his last statement. Then with a deep sigh he continued. "Well at least this way I can make sure you take it easy. Let me grab a warmer suit jacket. If I'm going to have to sit in an icebox all day, I want some protection. Who would have ever thought that one tiny little being could turn you into a human furnace?"
"This furnace is keeping your child cozy and warm, Mr. Stetson." Walking toward the door, she turned and shared a secret smile with him. "I seem to remember you enjoying cuddling with me, just recently."
A short time later Amanda and Lee walked into the Georgetown Foyer. Looking up with a polite smile on her face the Agency receptionist nodded a greeting as she said, "It's good to see you, Mrs. Stetson. Good morning Mr. Stetson."
"Good Morning, Mrs. Marsten." Amanda said with a happy grin. "It just so happens I know the codeword today, its watermelon. Actually it was pretty easy for me to remember, . . ." She looked down at her protruding stomach and gently caressed her unborn child. With a contented look on her face, she looked back up and continued, "considering. Do you think they had me in mind when they came up with that codeword?"
With a negative shake of her head Mrs. Marsten replied, "No, I really don't think so, ma'am." She reached out and handed each agent a badge, then turned toward Lee. "I understand Mr. Melrose is looking for you. He has called me twice to see if you had come in yet."
Sighing, Lee turned toward the elevator. "Amanda, I'm going to run down to the bullpen and see what Billy wants." Abruptly he stopped and turned back to his wife. "Will you be all right?"
"Yes, Lee, I'll be fine." Amanda gave him an indulgent smile.
"Okay, I'll meet you up in the Q Bureau as soon as I can." As the door opened, he moved the coats and stepped inside. "I shouldn't be long." He said, as he turned back toward Amanda and gave her a quick wave before vanishing behind the rapidly closing doors.
Staring at the closed elevator doors and shaking her head, Amanda turned back and smiled at Mrs. Marsten. "He's worse now than when Mr. Melrose started sending me out on assignments without him." With a shrug of her shoulders she smiled down at the receptionist. "Well, Mrs. Marsten, guess I'd better tackle those stairs now." Before she could start up the stairs, a swift tightness moved across Amanda's back. With a grimace, Amanda put her hand on her back, took a deep breath and headed up toward the Q Bureau. ' I wasn't able to get comfortable all night. I hope it's not what I think it is. Maybe I'd better give the doctor a call. Oh my gosh, the baby's not due for another three weeks.'
"Word on the street is that there's something big going down on Friday." Billy looked up from the file he was reading. He glanced over at Francine and then back to Lee. "Scarecrow, I need you to go to New York and meet with an informer."
"Billy, NO, I'm not going out of town with Amanda's due date so close." Lee said with a frown toward his boss. Jumping up from his seat, Lee started to pace back and forth in front of Billy's Desk "Can't you send Francine or Mayfield or how about one of the new guys?"
Pushing away from her position against the glass window, Francine taunted with a smirk on her face, "Lee, you'll only be gone for eight hours, ten tops. It's not like you're newlyweds anymore, surely you can be separated from the little wife for that long?"
Abruptly, Lee's pacing stopped. The angry look he shot at Francine wiped all the expression from her face. With a grimace she moved around Lee and sat down, quickly opening the case file she held in her hand.
Billy shot a warning look at Francine and cleared his throat. "Scarecrow, if there was any way to send someone else, I would. The informant's name is Augie Swan . . ."
"Augie Swan! He's one of my informants. Anyone should be able to meet with him." Lee insisted.
"Scarecrow I'm sorry but he says that he'll only talk to you. Says he can't trust anyone else. You know that since Amanda's been pregnant, I've kept you close to home. I understand how you're feeling but this time, I don't have a choice." Extending the file in his hand toward Lee, he looked up with an apologetic glance. "First, I need you to check in with Catherine Nielson at the New York office. She needs to talk with you before you meet with the informant. You're flight leaves National in an hour and half." Billy hesitated then said, "Lee, Amanda will understand."
"All right. I'll go but I'm not happy about it." With a resigned sigh Lee turned toward the door. "I need to run upstairs to the Q Bureau and let Amanda know." As he opened the door to leave the office, he hesitated, then turned and looked back at Billy. "Could you make sure she gets home all right? She's not moving so well these days and she has trouble getting out of chairs. She doesn't rest enough; maybe you could see that she goes home early."
"I'll take care of her, Lee. The sooner you leave, the sooner you get back home." Billy said as Lee walked out the door. He shook his head and laughed to himself remembering how he had felt when Jeannie was getting ready to deliver the first time. The smile left his face as he turned toward Francine. "Desmond, I think you have work to do. This office isn't a lounge."
As Lee walked into the Q Bureau, Amanda was steadily typing. When she looked up, she knew immediately something wasn't right. "What's wrong, sweetheart?" Amanda sent a concerned look to Lee.
"I have to fly up to the New York office and question an informant." Lee sat down behind his desk, ran his fingers through his hair and asked, "Guess who?"
With a questioning shrug, Amanda pushed her chair back from the desk and turned toward him. "Would you believe Augie Swan?" Lee asked as he fiddled with the files on his desk.
"Augie, the owner of mud wrestling bar?" Amanda asked.
"Yeap, he's the one. Somehow he's gotten mixed up with something in New York. Billy says he won't talk to anyone else. He claims it's not safe. I've never known him to be this cryptic." With a sigh of resignation, he continued, " I really tried to get out of going. I swear I'm going to kill Augie if this is a false alarm," he said almost to himself as he jumped up and started pacing.
Watching as an agitated Lee walked back and forth in front of her desk, Amanda leaned forward and firmly said. "Lee, I'll be fine. Look, I have a lot of work to do here," she said as she waved her hand over her desk, "I have a good bit of typing to get done and then some filing. It will keep me busy most of the day." Amanda slowly eased herself up from the chair and stood in front of him. Reaching up to put her arms around his neck, she placed a lingering kiss on his lips. As she raised her head, she looked into his eyes and murmured. "There's a lot more of that waiting for you when you come home."
Wrapping her tightly in his arms, he looked down at her. "Billy said he would take you home when you're ready. I tried to get an Agency car but there were none available, so I'll have to take the Wagoneer to the airport with me. My flight leaves in a little over an hour." Lee gave her an apologetic shrug before, bringing his forehead down to a rest on her shoulder. Quietly he whispered in her ear, "I don't want to leave you right now."
"I know, sweetheart. I'll be all right. Now, go on and don't forget to call me when you get there." With a quick squeeze, she released him and bit her bottom lip. "I love you, Pal."
"I love you, too." With a quick smile, he turned and left.
Amanda rubbed her back and grimaced again. The backache was getting uncomfortable.
Frankie and Simon pulled the gray cargo van to a slow stop. Without the tuxedos, they looked like the street thugs that they were. Cautiously, they stepped down from the van and walked around back to open the cargo doors. They pulled out a brown crate marked US ARMY TOP SECRET and struggled to lower it to the ground from the van. "Man, this thing is heavy," Frankie, moaned. "Ain't no wonder Augie didn't bother to show up."
"Just shut up and stop yer whining, Frankie. Real soon you're gonna be rich enough to pay somebody to carry things for ya." With a faraway look in his eyes, Simon impatiently wrestled his end of the box up. "Let's get moving. I don't wanna be late."
Struggling with the heavy wooden box, they arrived at the meeting spot and set it down as gently as possible. Frankie frowned as he looked around. Not for the first time, he noticed how isolated it was. "Simon, I don't like this, man. I think we'd better get outta here."
"Don't be a fool. I want my part of that money. If you wanna leave . . . nothin's keepin' ya here." Simon turned at the sound of rustling leaves. There, standing not ten feet away was their client. Her beauty still surprised him. This time, however, a very large man accompanied her. He stood off to the side, watching everything that was going on. "Everything is just like ya wanted it." Simon said as he rocked back and forth on his heels.
"Open the box. I want to see the merchandise," she replied coldly. As the men turned to pry the lid off the box, she calmly reached into her pocket, pulled out a handgun. Unnoticed, she held it hidden down at her side.
"Everyting's here. Just like you wanted, ma'am. I don't think they'll miss any of it for at least a couple of days." Frankie proudly stood aside to show her the prize.
She raised the gun and motioned with it for them to move to the side. Reaching down to look through the box, a satisfied smile crossed her face without quite making it to her eyes. Finally she looked up at the two nervous men standing in front of her. "Gentlemen, you have done a surprisingly thorough job." Handing them a brown briefcase, " I believe that this will see you well compensated for you troubles. This is my. . .associate. . .he'll see you back to your van. It was a pleasure doing business with you."
A chill passed over Frankie, as they turned to walk toward the van. Before following them, the large man walked over and looked down at his employer. "What do you want me to do with them, boss?"
"There can be no witnesses to tie us to the theft, Jerry." She said as she looked down at her carefully manicured fingernails. "Find out for sure that there was no one else involved, then make certain no one finds them. . . for a very long time."
The man hiding in the tree saw and heard everything that had just occurred. He knew it was only a matter of time before that woman found out about him. He was in big trouble and there was only one person he knew who could get him out of it. He had to find Lee Stetson. 'I just hope he's forgotten about me offering his wife a job at my mud-wrestling bar.'
Amanda lowered herself back into the desk chair and tried without success to find a comfortable position. Her backache was getting worse. It had been an hour since Lee had left. She had finally admitted something wasn't quite right and called the doctor. He told her she needed to come into his office. As she was picking up the phone to call down to the bullpen, Francine walked through the door engrossed in a case. "Amanda do you have that file on the Mendalsen. . ." Looking up for the first time since entering the room, Francine stopped short at the scene that was playing out in front of her. "Amanda, are you all right?"
Pale and trying to breathe through an exceptionally painful back spasm, Amanda said breathlessly, "I don't think so . . . the doctor wants me . . . to come into his office . . . right now." Rubbing her back, she continued with a grimace, " Lee had to take the Jeep when he went to the airport and I need to get a ride home to meet my mother. She's said she'd take me but she's at her Garden Club meeting on the other side of town and it'll be faster to meet her at home. Thank heavens Lee was able to convince her to get her own car. If I can just. . ."
"Amanda . . . whoa, just slow down . . . let me call Billy." Francine picked up the telephone receiver on Lee's desk and quickly dialed. "Billy, Amanda has to go to the Doctor's office and needs someone to take her home to meet her mother . . . what . . . yes, I can do It . . . but she doesn't look so good. . ." Francine glanced warily over at her as if to confirm her last statement.
Amanda, having stood up, was gathering her things to go home when the sudden gush of fluid stopped her progress. As she glanced down, a look of surprise appeared on her face. Looking up, she stared helplessly over at Francine.
Pulling the phone away from her ear, Francine turned a panicked look toward Amanda, "What???"
"Francine, we need to find Lee, now." With a look of astonishment on her face, she continued. "The baby's coming."
"What do you mean?" Francine said with a nervous laugh, trying very hard to ignore the obvious.
"Francine, my water just broke, the baby is coming now and I have to get to the hospital. I need to find Lee." With that statement made, calmness settled over her and she started to mumble out loud. "I need to call the doctor, then mother. She can bring my suitcase and the boys to the hospital. I'll have to call Joe and Carrie. They're to take the boys to their house while I'm in the hospital. . .I have to call Ragmop to bring me something up to clean the floor before I leave. . ." Amanda turned back toward her desk and started calmly making telephone calls.
"Francine, what is going on up there?" Billy stood up and shouted into the telephone.
"Amanda's in labor." Turning her back to Amanda she frantically whispered, "Get up here, Billy, NOW." Francine slammed the receiver down, took a deep breath, and then picked it back up. Putting on what she hoped was a calm look on her face she turned and said "Amanda, I'm going to try to reach Lee on his car phone. . ." Turning back around she said quietly to herself, "Come on Lee, pick up. . .pick up. . . shoot, no answer." Turning back toward Amanda with a forced smile, "I'll call the New York office. They can have him call as soon as he gets there."
Within minutes, the door to the Q Bureau burst open and Billy rushed in. Walking quickly over to Amanda, he patted her arm and said. "Don't worry Amanda. I've had a call put in to New York and as soon as Lee arrives they are going to send him back to the airport and the Army is going to fly him back. He can be back here in forty-five minutes. Now, let's get you to the hospital."
"Sir I have to . . ." Reaching back to hold onto her desk, she took a deep breath and slowly let it out, "Oh . . . oh my gosh . . . I forgot . . . how this . . . felt." She carefully inhaled and exhaled through the worsening back pain. Looking up worriedly, Amanda whispered. "Sir, It's too soon."
Billy looked at her and calmly said, "Amanda, this is Lee's child. Did you really expect him or her to follow the rules?"
With an agent on each side of her, Amanda was helped out of the office. As the door closed behind them, they didn't hear the telephone begin to ring. There was no one there to answer the call from the soon to be father still trapped at National Airport.
Tapping his fingers on his thigh, Lee slammed the receiver into the cradle of the pay phone. 'I knew she wouldn't stay at her desk like she promised.' Lee thought as he picked up the receiver of the pay phone again, this time to call the New York office. He had a worried frown on his face as he looked down at his watch and sighed. Greeting the secretary when she picked up the line on the other end. "Hi, Melanie, Lee Stetson, my plane is having engine problems and I'm stuck here at National. It was supposed to leave ninety minutes ago. Last time I asked they still didn't have any idea when we would be leaving. It looks like I'm going to be late getting there and I've got a meeting with Catherine Neilson."
"Yes, Scarecrow, she's expecting you. Oh, wait, there's a message here from Mr. Melrose. The receptionist said it was alpha one priority when she gave it to me. He called about twenty minutes ago. Where did I put it now . . . oh, here it is." The secretary read him the note.
Running his hand through his hair, Lee yelled through the telephone at the startled secretary. "Damn! I knew I never should have left her."
Catherine Neilson walked out of her office. Seeing the expression on her secretary's face she asked. "What's going on out here?"
"It's Lee Stetson, Ms. Neilson. He . . ." Cut off before she could explain what was going on, Melanie turned toward her boss with a stunned expression.
"Oh, it's Scarecrow, I should have known, he's the only agent I know who can totally disrupt my whole area by just calling on the telephone." With a snort she added, "Let me talk to him." Taking the phone from the sputtering secretary, she spoke quickly into the phone. When are you due to arrive? I'll have a someone drive out to meet you." Although she smiled, her eyes remained cold.
"No, Catherine, I'm not coming," Lee said apologetically. "Billy called and left a message that my wife's gone into labor, and I have to go to the hospital immediately."
"Oh, well . . . that's okay, the informant, a Mr. Augie Swan, has disappeared. I had arranged a meet last night to bring him in to a safe house until you could get here, but he was a no show." Catherine told Lee, but it was obvious his thoughts were far from the case.
"Well, someone else is going to have to come up there and sort this out. I'll have Billy get back in touch with you. Look I've got to go." Hanging up the phone, Lee turned and hurried out of the terminal. He wasn't there to see the frown on the beautiful section chief's face; he didn't hear the pencil she was holding break in two. His mind was totally on getting to Amanda. His Amanda. She needed him and he wasn't there. Pausing only long enough to pay the parking attendant, he jumped in the jeep and pulled into traffic heading toward the hospital.
At the same time inside the New York office, perfectly manicured fingernails were tapping rhythmically on her desk. She picked up the telephone, switched on the scrambler, and carefully punched in a phone number. "There's a problem. Stetson's not coming to my office, he's still in D.C. You need to get down there and follow him. Let me know if Swan makes contact with him. If he does, they both need to disappear. I'll meet you in D.C. as soon as I can get away." Calmly she hung up the phone and stared, expressionless, across the room. Then with the speed of a snake striking its prey, her arm flew across the desk and she flung the phone against the wall.
Fighting traffic and mad taxi drivers, Lee pulled out onto the expressway. As the jeep headed toward the hospital, his thoughts were with Amanda. There had been no time to talk to her. A quick call on the car phone to Galilee General had confirmed that she had indeed been admitted to labor and delivery, but the doctor had not been in to see her yet and Dotty had no news to give him. "Lee, darling, calm down. Amanda's been though this twice before. She did great then, she'll do great now. Take you time and drive carefully getting here." Dotty had said calmly. The conversation had done little to calm Lee's already overloaded nerves.
The rest of the trip to Galilee General was made without incident and soon Lee was hurrying through the doors of the Labor and Delivery unit. Running up to the nurse's station, he cornered the first person he came upon. "My name's Stetson. My wife was brought in here about three hours ago."
"Yes, sir, she's in labor room 5. . .go to the end of the hall and turn right. . .it's the first door on your left."
Rushing down the corridor, he followed the nurse's directions and ended up standing in front of the door. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then put on his agent's face and walked into the room. What he saw nearly made him loose his nerve. Amanda was lying in a bed bathed in sweat. There was a belt around her belly and a washrag around the back of her neck. Dotty stood beside her and was holding her hand. "Here comes another one Amanda. Remember your breathing exercise, sweetheart . . . that's right . . . blow through it . . . almost over . . . deep cleansing breath . . . done, you did great." When Dotty looked up, she saw her son-in-law and gave a sigh of relief. "Oh, Lee, darling, thank heavens you're here."
The relief Lee felt at finally getting to his wife was obvious as he took a deep breath and moved quickly across the room toward Amanda. His dimples were showing as he wiggled his eyebrows and teasingly asked, "Hi ya toots, I got a couple of tickets to the Kennedy tonight, are you in the mood for some Verde?" As he looked down at his wife and caressed her forehead, the play of emotions Lee was feeling was clearly shown on his face.
"Lee . . ." Amanda laughed with relief. "I'm a little busy right now, maybe I could have a rain check?" A look of concern passed over her face as she went on, "Oh my gosh, I don't think Francine is ever going to be the same. She was in the Q Bureau when everything started happening, then she called Mr. Melrose and he came up and they both helped me out to the car. Dr. Stevens said he wants to do a sonogram. He went to get the portable." Taking a breath, Amanda reached out and grabbed her husband's hand, "Lee, I'm worried." Biting down on her lower lip she continued. "This isn't supposed to be happening for another three weeks."
Looking confident and self-assured while feeling scared spitless was something Lee had mastered over the years of being an agent. As he looked down at his wife, he squeezed her hand and looked deeply into her eyes. "Amanda. . .I love you so much . . ." A look of amazement passed over his face. "We're having a baby," He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. Looking up, he glanced over at the monitor, a puzzled expression passing over his face as he asked, "Amanda, what does it mean when the monitor starts drawing little mountains? Amanda?"
"Here comes another one." Dotty answered for her daughter.
"What?" The sudden death grip on Lee's hand turned his fingers white. "Oh, ooh, breathe . . . 'Amanda . . . slow deep breaths . . . breathe in . . . let it out . . . breathe in . . . let it out . . . it's almost over . . . almost over . . . done, deep cleansing breath. Great, you did great." As Lee was shaking his hand to try to restore the circulation, he was thanking God for Lamaze classes.
"Lee, now that you're here, I'm going to go let the boys and Joe know what's going on." Dotty turned and walked over to the door. "Oh, excuse me." She murmured as the door opened and an orderly walked in carrying a cup of ice. "Thank heavens you finally brought that ice. My daughter has only been waiting twenty minutes. I am going to have to write someone about this." With that remark she turned and left the room.
The orderly noisily walked up next to Lee and said, "Uh . . . here's your ice chips, ma'am."
Recognizing the voice, Lee looked up and groaned, "Augie, what are you doing here?‚Ä®
"Lee, I've gotta talk to you. I'm in big trouble and I need your help." The words rushed out of Augie Swan's mouth.
Throwing up his hands, Lee started to push Augie toward the door. "I don't have time for this. Get out of here, Augie. Can't you see that my wife is in labor? I can't help you now." Lee all but yelled the last sentence.
"But Lee, if she finds me, I'm as good as dead. Oh, hi ya, Mrs. Stetson! Marriage really agrees with you. You look great, even pregnant."
"Oh, Augie . . . thanks." She shook her head as she turned to look at her husband with a weak smile. "It's okay, Lee, go ahead and listen to what he has to say. Oh, wait . . . here comes another one. Lee . . ."
As Lee helped her breathe through the contraction, Augie moved discreetly out of the way. As soon as Amanda was comfortable again, Lee looked over at him and threatened. "This had better be good."
"Well, I helped out these two guys who were friends of a friend. It was supposed to be easy money. The limousine business has been a little slow lately, ya know." Augie shrugged his shoulders and continued. "They were looking for information on an old friend of yours, Austin Smyth. It was something to do with an old Army incident. They asked for old files that were stored in the Federal Army Intelligence building in New York City. So I hooked them up with a friend of a friend. Only they couldn't pay until after the delivery, so I tagged along and hid in a tree to make sure they didn't run off with the money. No one saw me, I'm sure of it." Augie shook his head and continued. "This woman and her gorilla showed up and took the merchandise. I thought it was going pretty well until I heard the lady tell the big guy, Jerry was his name, that she didn't want any witnesses. I got scared and left messages for you everywhere. Well, the next thing I know the New York branch of the Agency is contacting me to meet you at this old secluded warehouse. It just didn't feel right. So, I got there first and hid out and who should show up? It was the same woman and her pal, Frankenstein. I knew I'd been set up. As soon as it was safe to leave the warehouse, I hustled it back to D.C. and found out you were here." Finally running out of breath, Augie fell back against the wall with a thump.
"Could you identify this woman? I can have Francine take you downtown to look at some mug shots," Lee asked with a frown on his face.
Augie stiffened and pulled away from the wall. "Lee, I think that lady is Agency. That's the only way she could have known about the meet. Besides Frankie and Simon, no one else knew I was involved. It wasn't until I tried to contact you that she came after me on the guise of a meet with the Agency," Augie said, rocking back and forth nervously.
"All right, all right. We'll keep this quiet. I'll get Francine to bring the books here." Lee said as he turned toward Amanda.
"Lee, another one's coming." Amanda reached out her hand to her husband as he rushed across the room. After the contraction was over, Lee reached over and grabbed the telephone.
"Augie, I'll call and have someone down here within the next twenty minutes." Picking up the telephone beside Amanda's bed, he quickly dialed the Agency's number. "Billy . . . Scarecrow, can you and Francine come down to the hospital . . . no, Amanda's fine, it's about the New York situation . . . uh, we'll need at least two teams here, too . . . Yeah, thanks. I'll tell her. Bye now." Lee hung up the phone and looked over at Augie. "Okay, there's someone on the way that I trust. Be back here in twenty-five minutes."
"Cool! You're a pal, Lee. See ya later, Mrs. Stetson." Augie said as he turned to leave.
With an exasperated look on her face Amanda replied, "Good bye Augie. Lee, do you think we'll ever do anything uninterrupted the way normal people do?"
As Augie was slipping out the door, Lee opened his mouth to answer her when in rolled the portable ultrasound machine and Dr. Stevens.
"Mr. Stetson, glad you could join us. I want to do a quick sonogram. There's something unusual I need to investigate." The doctor said as he set up the ultrasound apparatus, squeezed the cold gel on Amanda's belly and started to move the wand around.
"Is there a problem, Doctor? Are my wife and the baby all right?" Lee questioned, frantically running his fingers through his hair.
"Let's see here . . . uh . . . well, well, well . . . there's the reason why your labor started early. Do you see that Mr. Stetson?"
Lee leaned closer to the ultrasound monitor. "Is that a third arm? Are you telling me my child has three arms?" Lee turned a stunned look at the doctor.
"No, it's not an arm, but it is an extra leg and if you look a little closer . . . right . . . there, I believe you'll see it goes along with that second head sneaking a peek from behind that leg there," The doctor announced matter-of-factly.
Lee's mouth dropped open, momentarily speechless. "Wha . . ." Lee cleared his throat and finally made his mouth move. "What are you saying?" He stammered as he slumped against Amanda's hospital bed.
"Sweetheart, please, calm down and let Dr. Stevens talk. Are you saying what I think you're saying?" Amanda asked, looking bewildered.
"Mr. and Mrs. Stetson, you are about to be the parents of twins. Now one of the babies is in the breech position." Lee reached for Amanda hand and squeezed it reassuringly. "That means he is headed out in the wrong direction. If it was just one we could wait and see if it turned around but it looks like it's headed down toward the birth canal first. I would feel better if we delivered you by c-section and right now. I'll have my nurse come in to prep you for the surgery, Amanda. Mr. Stetson, come with me and I'll show where you can change your clothes."
The doctor pulled Lee out in the hallway. "I won't lie to you, Mr. Stetson. I am as surprised as you are to find two babies in there and I'm a little worried about the breech baby. Every time your wife has a contraction, the baby's heart rate is dropping. We'll do everything we can. Now go down to the nurse's station and they'll get you some scrubs." With that the doctor turned and hurried away, leaving a dazed Lee to stare after him.
It was a minute before he realized that he wasn't alone and that Dotty was standing beside him, worriedly asking questions.
"It's two babies; that's why she's so early and that's why she's had all the back labor. One baby's heart rate is dropping each time she has a contraction so they're going to do an emergency c-section." Lee stared ahead with panic in his eyes.
"Two babies? Twins? Oh my . . ." A look of concern passed over Dotty's face before she erased it away. Reaching up, she took Lee's face between her two hands and firmly said, "Lee, look at me. Amanda and the babies going to be fine."
Taking a deep breath, "You're right." Lee gave himself a small shake as he looked down at his mother-in-law and asked. "Where are Philip and Jamie? I'd like to be the one to tell them about this."
"They're in the waiting room with Joe. You get changed and I'll bring them to Amanda's room. Now hurry." Dotty headed off toward the waiting room muttering to her self as Lee was handed a set of surgical scrubs and shown where to change.
"When you're done changing, just go back to Mrs. Stetson's room and we'll come get you as soon as it's time," the nurse told him with a smile.
"Thanks." Only a couple of minutes later, Lee was sitting in front of the boys telling them they would be getting two siblings instead of just one. As he started to say more, the nurse stuck her head in the room and told him it was time. "I'll come let you all know something as soon as I can." Lee said as he turned to hurry after the nurse.
"Lee?" Phillip grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Tell Mom . . . we love her and the babies."
He pulled both boys into a quick embrace and quickly left the room. As he walked toward the operating room a lone tear slid down his face. He reached up and wiped it off then took a deep breath and walked into the storm.
The man and woman were deeply engrossed in conversation as they sat in a dark corner of the out of the way Italian restaurant in D. C. "It's a brilliant plan, Ms. Nielson. The Agency will never know what hit them and when it's finished Dr. Smyth's career will be over. Plus he'll be in jail for life on treason charges." Jerry shook his head as he drank deeply from a frosted mug of beer and leaned across the table toward her.
'It's amazing how easy some things are,' Catherine thought with a satisfied smile. 'Oh, Austin, did you really think you could keep this buried forever?' "I think when the ladies and gentlemen on Capitol Hill find out that the current head of the Agency was involved in a plot to sell arms to the North Vietnamese during the war . . . tsk, tsk, tsk. . ." With a shake of her head and a deep sigh she continued. "Too bad all the evidence to prove his innocence is no longer . . . available." 'Poor Austin, that will teach him to make enemies so freely. No one makes a fool out of Catherine Nielson and gets away with it.'
"Ms. Nielson, Anonymous telephone interviews can be set up with the Intruder and the USA Crier. You can use the scrambler and the calls will never be traced back." Jerry raised his eyebrows and slyly grinned, digging into the plate of spaghetti in front of him.
"Good! But we need to be patient." Satisfied that her plan was foolproof, Catherine daintily picked at her plate of lasagna as she continued. "I want him to know what's missing and I want him to know he's going down and can't stop it." Catherine sneered. "One anonymous tip and the break in will be discovered tomorrow morning. I made the pay off for the theft from one of Smyth's own accounts. The altered documents will be located in a dumpster two blocks from his house and the trap will be set. It will look like he wanted the documents destroyed and paid to have them stolen. By the end of the week, Dr. Smyth will be finished." She snickered as she reached for her wine glass and took a sip.
"Of course, Ms. Nielson, your branch will head the investigation and discover the . . . 'cover up'. The plot and Dr. Smyth's involvement will be uncovered. You'll be a hero." Taking a bite off his plate Jerry proudly continued. "Imagine, the head of the Agency, a man with the ear of the President, charged with selling arms to the enemy in Nam, covering it up and then trying to destroy the evidence. . .I spent fifteen years in jail because of that arms deal and that double crossing rhyme spouter." Jerry pushed his food away as he shoved his chair back from the table, no longer hungry.
"Have you found Stetson yet?" Seeing the affirmative shake of his head she continued. "It's a good chance you'll find Swan then." Reaching a hand over to touch the big man's arm, Catherine said quietly, "Patience my friend . . . soon Dr. Smyth's good name will be a memory. When I get done with him. . .all the king's horses and all the king's men won't be able to put Dr. Smyth back together again." A small laugh started and continued until it overtook her and tears ran down her face.
The next thirty-five minutes in the Stetsons' life was a blur of activity. Lee was placed on a stool by Amanda's head. He held his face down next to Amanda's and looked into her eyes. Very gently, he tucked an errant piece of hair back under the light blue surgical cap. His fingers gently caressed her face. No words were needed as they looked into each other's eyes.
"Okay Mrs. Stetson, we're going to get those babies out," Dr Stevens said as he went to work. It wasn't long before the first baby was delivered and a loud wail could be heard throughout the delivery suite. "Congratulations. It's a . . . girl." As the doctor held her up for a second before passing her on to the neonatal team standing by, he said, "Her color looks good. She sure does have a good set of lungs." As the doctor turned back to deliver the next baby, Lee looked down at Amanda and kissed her forehead.
A nurse walked over holding a squirming bundle up for the new parent to see and said with a smile, "Here she is, baby A is five pounds exactly and is nineteen inches long."
"Here comes the next one. . .it's a. . .girl too." This time, however, there was only a faint whimper. She was passed immediately to the second neonatal team who began to work quickly. Within moments a second loud cry was heard and everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief.
Another nurse walked over holding the second new Stetson. "Here you go mom and dad, Baby B is four pounds twelve ounces and is eighteen and half inches long. Her color has really improved and right now as you both can see, she's trying to scream louder than her sister."
With a look of awe on his face, Lee stared down at Amanda. "Thank you. I don't know how to say what I'm feeling . . . What's wrong?"
Tears slowly ran down her face as Amanda looked up and with trepidation in her eyes. "Oh my gosh, Lee," she sniffled. "I'm just so happy and I don't know anything about raising girls."
"Oh, Amanda . . . I guess that will make us even. We'll learn together," Lee said with a smile of relief.
"Okay folks, we're almost done." Dr Stevens was talking as he was finished the operation. "You did fine, Mrs. Stetson. You'll be in recovery for an hour and then someone will take you back to your room. Because of the type of anesthesia we used, you'll need to lay flat for the next ten hours. But I expect you to be up and around very soon. We're going to take the babies down to the NICU, just as a precaution. If all goes well, and I don't see a reason why it shouldn't, they'll bring the babies out to you in the morning. Do you have any questions?" Dr Stevens exchanged glances with both new parents.
"The second baby, she didn't cry well at first. Will she be okay?" Amanda asked.
"She had her cord around her neck. That's why the heart rate was dropping with your contractions. She has pinked up and seems to be responding very nicely. Her second apgar score was a nine and that's good."
As the doctor finished his work, the happy new parents talked quietly making plans, and discussing the future. Soon it was time for Amanda to be moved to the recovery room. "Thank you, Dr. Stevens," a grateful Lee said a smile growing on his face. "Amanda, while you're in the recovery room, I'm going to go out and tell your Mother and the boys." Lee promised to be back as soon as they let him and headed down the hall toward the waiting room.
As he rounded the corner and stood, unobserved, watching his family, he felt a sense of rightness in the world. Taking a deep breath he walked into the room and the multitude of questions that awaited him. Jamie was the first person to notice Lee standing in the doorway. He looked at his stepfather hesitantly until he noticed the smile break out on Lee's face. Not waiting to be invited he flew across the waiting room and into Lee's waiting arms.
"Hey, sport." Lee said with a tired smile.
Looking up, Jamie shot questions at him one right after the other. "How's Mom? How're the babies? When can we see Mom and the babies? Lee, are you all right? You're looking kinda bad." Taking a breath, Jamie looked over at his brother and grandmother who had both come to stand beside him.
"Yeah, Lee, is everything okay?" Phillip asked. "Worm brain's right, you look terrible."
Without thinking Lee responded, "Philip, don't call your brother worm brain." Realizing what he had just said, Lee chuckled, "Yeah chief, everything's fine. . .Well fellas, you now have two very tiny. . . sisters. Your Mom's in the recovery room and they said they would come get us as soon as they move her back to her room. She's tired but doing great." Pausing only a second to take a breath, Lee looked up and smiled. "Dotty, I only got to see them for a second but they're beautiful. They look just like Amanda."
Joe walked up and put his arms on the boys' shoulders. "How are you holding up, Lee?"
"I tell you Joe, I've had an easier time chasing down the KG. . ..um. . .filming the cagey. . ..oh hell. . .I don't know how I am." Lee said exasperatedly.
Dotty slipped her arm around Lee and gave him a motherly hug. "Darling, maybe you should sit down before you fall down. When's the last time you ate something?"
"I'm really not hungry, but I sure could use a cup of coffee." Lee said as he sunk into the uncomfortable waiting room couch and put his head in his hands.
Dotty looked over at Joe; and both knew that Lee needed some time alone. "Boys," Joe called, "let's go down to the cafeteria and grab Lee some coffee and a sandwich. How do you drink your coffee, Lee?
"Just cream, Dad, Lee doesn't like sugar in it," Philip spoke up.
"Okay, let's go." Joe said with a thoughtful look toward Lee, as he turned and guided the boys out of the small waiting room.
Dotty sat down next to Lee and looked at him with concern. "Lee, are you okay?" She reached over gently and rubbed his back. "Amanda and the babies are just fine."
"I know. It's just . . . well; it brought back a lot of memories of California. Things I've been trying hard to forget," Lee said as he stood up and walked over to the window, staring blindly out at the parking lot below. Closing his eyes, he rested his head against the cool glass.
An hour later, Dotty and the boys passed Lee as they left Amanda's room. Walking over to his wife's hospital bed, he felt like he was walking on air. He had just spent the last twenty minutes holding his new daughters. He couldn't wait to tell her how gorgeous they were. "Amanda, I was just in the Nursery and the babies are doing fine. They have ten fingers and ten toes each . . . they're beautiful . . . they look just like their you." Lee looked at her with amazement. "They said that soon I'd be able to take your mother and the boys in . . . Amanda?"
"Yes, sweetheart." Amanda gave him a tired smile, barely able to keep her eyes open.
"I know I've told you this before but, Amanda Stetson, you're the best, the bravest, the smartest, most beautiful woman I've ever known." Lee reached down and took hold of her hand. Leaning down, he placed a soft kiss on her lips and said, "There aren't words to describe how I'm feeling at this moment."
With a smile, Amanda squeezed his hand. "I know. Let's enjoy this quiet while we can. We're not going to be alone again for a long time." With a yawn Amanda looked over at Lee, "I'm really tired. Can you sit with me for a while?"
"Forever . . ." Lee whispered as he settled into the chair next to her bed, stifling a yawn of his own. The last thing Amanda heard before she drifted off to sleep was, "I love you Mrs. Stetson."
"That's her. I'd know her anywhere by those cold eyes." Augie said as he pointed to a picture of Catherine Nielson and looked up as Lee entered the room.
It had taken two hours for Augie to pick out the male accomplice and less than ten minutes to pick out Catherine Neilson. Sitting at the table in the nurse's break room, Billy asked with a deepening frown as he pushed the pictures back across the table, "Are you sure, Mr. Swan? Please take another look just to be certain."
Pushing back from the table Augie looked at Billy. "Look, Mr. Melrose, I'm sure it's her and that man there is the one she calls Jerry. Lee. . .?"
"Augie, it's important you're one hundred percent positive." Lee said distractedly as he walked over to the table and pulled out a chair and sat down. "Do you have any idea what was in those files?"
"When I was hiding in the warehouse, I heard 'em talking about the Vietnam War and some kind of an arms deal gone bad. That guy Jerry sure hates Dr. Smyth." As Augie watched, Lee jumped up and started to pace the room again. Squirming in his chair and starting to feel very nervous, he looked back to the table and questioned. "Hey, can't a guy get a cup of coffee around here?"
Billy rubbed his hand over his face and took a deep breath as he stood up. "I have to leave for a while. This is Ms. Desmond; she will stay here with you. Lee, your family is waiting for you."
As Billy and Lee were leaving the room they heard Augie say to Francine. "Hey babe, I got an opening at my bar. Ever mud-wrestled before?"
Standing outside the door, both Lee and Billy were speechless. Catherine Nielson was a respected agent with twenty years of service; she was a section head, just like Billy. They had both known her for years. Now here was an informant telling them she was stealing government files and killing people. Also that she had somehow become involved with a known weapons dealer named Jerry Grant. It just didn't make sense.
"Lee, I need to put in a call to Dr. Smyth. Hopefully, he can shed some light on what's going on." Billy looked up and frowned. "I don't like this. I don't like this at all."
"It's going to be touchy. Dr. Smyth isn't going to react well to being threatened. Plus, we need to get Augie into a safe house. The fewer people who know he's here the better," Lee said.
"I'll send Mayfield up to the Federal Building in New York right away. No one there knows him. Then. . ." Billy paused as Dotty approached.
"Lee, someone from the nursery just came to the waiting room and said that the babies are doing great and we can all go see them now. I thought you would want to know right away. Darling, the boys want you to go with us." Dotty went on with barely contained excitement. "I just can't wait to see those babies. I was just in to check on Amanda and she's finally sleeping."
"I know, I stayed with her until I was sure she was asleep, Dotty." Looking over toward his boss, he grinned and handed him a cigar. "Billy, I'll have to catch up with you later." Lee said as he put his arm around his mother in law.
Twirling the cigar between his fingers Billy smiled and said, "go. . .if I need you, I know where you are." He didn't have to tell Lee twice before he turned headed to the waiting room and the rest of his family.
No one paid any attention to the large priest standing by the men's room. A smile broke out on his face as whispered, "Gottcha!"
Augie was nervously roaming the nurse's break room. All the while he was wondering why that lady agent was so mad at him. She hadn't spoken to him once, just kept looking at him like he had a contagious disease. As he passed the door that opened into the nurse's station, a movement caught his eye. He quickly stepped back and pressed himself against the wall. 'Oh, man, that priest is Frankenstein. I gotta get out of here and warn Lee'. "Ms. Desmond, I need to use the can. I'll be right back."
"There's one on the other side of the back door in the doctor's dictating room. Don't be long." Francine ordered with a look of barely contained distaste on her face.
Easing around the corner, he bypassed the men's room and headed toward Mrs. Stetson's room. Sneaking into a supply closet, he reappeared minutes later in a set of surgical scrubs with a blue surgical cap over his hair and a mask covering his lower face. Keeping his eyes open, he nonchalantly walked down the hallway and slipped unnoticed into Amanda's room. He pulled down the surgical mask and looked down at Mrs. Stetson. She appeared to be sleeping soundly and he hated to wake her up but this was life or death he reasoned.
"Pssst." Augie whispered as he got down on his knees and hid next to the bed. "Psssst, Mrs. Stetson. It's me, Augie."
"Lee? Who?" Amanda asked half asleep.
"It's me, Augie. I saw that big guy out in the hallway snooping around the nurse's station. He's dressed up like a priest. It was only a matter of time before he found me there. Can you get Lee for me?" Augie pleaded.
"Augie, do you realize that I just recently came out of surgery where I gave birth to not one but TWO babies? And the worst part of the whole thing is that I have seen more of you than my babies." Amanda said with exasperation.
"Look, Mrs. Stetson, I wouldn't ask you, but it's a matter of life and death. Please, call Lee . . . please."
With a sigh, Amanda reached for the call button. "I never could say no to a man in trouble. Make sure that door's closed and stay out of sight. Can you fit in that closet over there?"
"You bet," Augie replied as he quickly closed the door to Amanda's room and then wedged himself into the clothes closet and shut its door.
"Yes, Mrs. Stetson," the nurse said as she peeked her head into the room, "what can we do for you?"
"Uh. . .can you find my husband, I need to get a message to him right away." Quickly trying to come up with a clue that would let Lee know why she wanted him, she said the first thing that came to her mind. "Tell him. . .tell him that my mud wrestling injury is acting up and I need him to call my chiropractor." Using the back of her menu, she wrote a short note, folded it, and handed to the nurse." Here's his phone number." Amanda's face turned beet red as she thought. 'I can't believe I just said that. What these nurses must think of me.'
"Uh . . . sure ma'am." The nurse said quietly as she took the note and headed for the door.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Stetson/King family was in the nursery dressed in yellow paper gowns oohing over the new additions. Philip and Jamie each held a baby as a proud Lee peered over their shoulders.
"Lee, I think this one looks like Aunt Lillian after she's drank half the pitcher of Gramma's eggnog last Christmas. We have to make this one Jennifer Lillian." Philip said seriously as he stared at his tiny new sister.
"I do believe you're right chief." Lee shook his head in agreement. "We'll have to make sure it's all right with your Mom first, though. How about the one you're holding, sport?"
"I think this one looks like you the time Philip adjusted the fuel injector on the Vette." Jamie laughed as he squished up his face and did a credible impression of Lee having a hissy fit. "If we use our name on that one, what are we gonna call this one? It took all nine months for us to come up with Jennifer Lillian."
"I still like the name Madonna Stetson." Philip offered. "We could hang my poster up over her bed, then everyone wouldn't have to ask her name."
"We already discussed that name Philip, your Mom said it just didn't flow right with Stetson," Lee said with a smile as he thought of all the dinner conversations they had had trying to come up with names for the new addition. "Maybe we could just call her baby B for a while . . ."
"Mr. Stetson, your wife asked me to give you this. She said something about a. . .mud-wrestling injury bothering her? She said that you should call her chiropractor. Here's the note with his phone number," the nurse said with a funny look on her face.
With a puzzled expression on his face, Lee looked down and read the note:
L, Frankenstein in bldg. Seen by nurse's station dressed like priest. A.S. safe in my closet. Get help and come right away, I AM TIRED. Be careful Love, A
"Uh. . .
boys, I've got to go check on your Mom. Why don't you all stay here and visit with the girls, I shouldn't be too long." Lee said as he turned and walked out of the nursery door. 'Augie, if you woke her up, I'll hand you over to the killers myself.'
At a pay phone by the elevators, Jerry quickly called Catherine. "I got him. I can take care of that creep Swan and meet you back in New York by tomorrow morning."
"Be careful. Scarecrow is one of the best the Agency has. You need to keep a sharp eye on him."
"He's so distracted by his wife having her baby that he's walked right past me twice. I'm not worried about him at all. Now go on back home. I'll take care of everything here." He said again with confidence. He heard the click on the line of his boss hanging up right before he felt the tip of the gun push into his back.
"I guess the third time really is a charm. Now hands up on the wall and spread your legs. You're under arrest." Lee said as he patted him down and put the handcuffs on him. As Lee reached up to grab his arm, Jerry threw a quick elbow jab into Lee's stomach and turned to flee, only to find himself surrounded by two teams of agents, all with guns drawn. "I want a lawyer." Jerry said defiantly.
"I guess you do." Lee said holding his side. "Francine, isn't there a pole in the doctors dictating room? Let's take our new friend there and see that he enjoys our hospitality. Then I'll call Billy and get him back down here." Lee said as he pulled a struggling Jerry along with him.
Within twenty minutes, Billy was back at the hospital. This time, however, he wasn't alone.
"Excuse me, sir." The nurse called to the tall, older man with the cigarette in his mouth. "This is a non-smoking floor. I am afraid you'll have to put that out or leave."
"Madam, I'm only here for a short jaunt, please don't rain on my parade."
"Rules are rules sir. The cigarette or the door." She said sternly.
Putting the cigarette out but keeping the holder in his mouth, Dr Smyth followed Billy into the doctors dictating room where the assailant was being held. Bending down he looked at the man closely as recognition sprang in his eyes.
"Ah, Jerry Grant, my dear old friend from Vietnam. I had heard that your days as a jailbird were over. I also understand you have some things that belong to me. What trying to make me the latest coffee and croissant gossip? Tsk, tsk, tsk, didn't you learn anything from 'Nam?" Dr Smyth questioned.
Straightening up and turning toward his agents, Dr. Smyth gestured with his head for Billy, Lee and Francine to follow him out of the room.
"In 1973, I took a little trip to 'Nam. One of the bases was having a supply problem; guns, hand grenades, things like that missing. They had an idea who the culprits were and needed someone to go in and join the fun. I was chosen. Your friend, Jerry, was the supply sergeant and leader of the pack. Went in, did my job, got out. No namby, pamby stuff. No involvement." Dr Smyth said as he turned disdainful eyes back toward the doctor's dictation room. "It was important back then to not blow my cover, so I was arrested and taken in with the rest of the gang members. "
Lee looked up with a look of understanding on his face. "Billy, with the right documents, they could make it look like Dr. Smyth was a real member of that gang. Imagine what the ramifications would be, the head of the Agency accused of treason."
"Francine, what have you gotten out of him about Catherine Nielson?" Billy asked as he leaned against the wall.
"Catherine Nielson is involved in this?" The cigarette holder fell out of Dr. Smyth's mouth as he turned around quickly toward Lee and Billy. "Melrose, you didn't mention that she was involved. That woman hates me like Hatfields hate McCoys. A couple of years ago, we were. . .. involved. . .lady got possessive. . .I moved on. Nuff said."
"This is all starting to make sense. A spurned woman hooks up with a prisoner just out of jail, both with a vendetta against the same man . . . I've got an idea." Lee walked over to Billy and quietly asked, "What if our friend Jerry thought we had Catherine in custody and that she was trying to make a deal to plea bargain by putting the blame for everything on him? It could loosen his lips."
"Good idea, Scarecrow. You and Francine, do it." Billy said as he pushed himself away from the wall and headed for the telephone. " In the meantime, I'll put a APB out on Ms. Nielson and suspend her ISP. Dr. Smyth, why don't you go back to your office and let us handle things from here? If we don't find her soon, we will have to make it a Dl." Pausing and turning around, Billy looked at Lee. "By the way, where did you say that witness was?"
"Oh, man! He's hiding in the closet in Amanda's room. As soon as we're done with Mr. Grant, I'll go get him out." Lee said with a grimace. "Amanda's never going to let me forget this one."
After an argument on who was going get to be the bad cop, Lee and Francine walked into the room. Francine looked at the handcuffed man and said, "I hope you've enjoyed your time out of jail because now that your partner is in custody it only a matter of time until you move back into your old cell." She walked over and slammed her hand on the pole by his head making the sullen man jump.
"Francine, calm down, just because Ms. Nielson is trying to plea bargain doesn't mean she would sell out her partner here." Lee said sympathetically.
"Oh, come on. You know Catherine; she's never taken the blame for anything she's done. Always passes the buck down to one of her subordinates. That's why no one ever stays in that office long. I hear that she's ready to spill her guts about old Jerry there, that he was threatening to kill her family if she didn't help him get him the information he wanted. This is your one and only chance to come clean, if you don't, then we just have to believe whatever Ms. Nielson tells us."
Jerry's head snapped up at Francine's last statement. "Now wait just a minute, that's not how it happened. She's been behind it all. She hates Smyth because he dumped her. She somehow found out about the incident in Nam when they were seeing each other. When he stopped seeing her, she got angry and had the files pulled. That's how she found me. She contacted me right after I got out of jail. She said we could destroy his reputation and get him throw in jail for life on treason charges. Look, I'm not taking the fall for this. Do you hear?" Jerry said as he laid his head on the pole in front of him.
Lee looked over at Francine with a satisfied look on his face. "Someone will be in to take your statement shortly. Come on Francine, let's go share this information with Billy."
Walking out of the room Lee spied Billy standing over by the pay phones. As they approached him both agents had satisfied smiles on their faces. Francine was the first to speak. "He caved. Told us the entire story. We need to get someone in there to take his statement."
"Good. I just got a call; they picked Catherine Nielson up at the turnpike tollbooth going between Maryland and Delaware. Good work people. Francine, get in there and help with that statement." Billy turned toward Lee with a smile and held out his hand. "In all of this mess, I never got to tell you congratulations. How are Amanda and the babies doing?"
"They're doing great. Imagine two tiny, beautiful girls that look just like their mother." A proud Lee beamed.
"You deserve the happiness man. I hope that now you'll give some consideration to that job offer from state. You have a wife and four kids now." Billy said.
"Yeah, I know what you're talking about. I've been meaning to talk to you about it for the last couple of weeks; Amanda and I have already been discussing it. Amanda. . .Oh no, Augie is still in her closet. Excuse me I need to go get him out. I'll send him out to meet you at the nurse's station . . . Billy . . . Thanks for getting Amanda here to the hospital."
"Lee, Amanda is a special woman. I saw it the first time I met her. Now go spend time with you new family, they don't stay little long." Billy pushed him toward Amanda's room. As he watched his friend eagerly walk away he was congratulating himself on a job well done.
It was finally quiet in Amanda's hospital room. It had taken three people to get Augie out of the closet. As he left the room, he was trying to make a deal with Billy for the Agency to use his limousine service. Dotty and the boys had stayed until Amanda started yawning again. They had been gone about an hour. After the day's events, Lee had decided to stay the night with his wife; the fear still lingered after the day's events. He was sitting next to her bed with their hands intertwined.
"Amanda, did you want to shoot those Shriners today? I mean if it weren't for them you wouldn't have had to go through this whole fiasco today. You would probably be married to Dan the weatherman now and having his baby wouldn't have involved a threat to national security." Lee said as he stood up, never letting go of her hand, and gazed down at his wife with a sheepish look on his face.
"Oh, sweetheart, if it wasn't for all those men in red hats, I would have missed the ride of my life. Because of them I met you and that's something I will never regret." Reaching out to put her other hand on his cheek, she went on. "The Augies, Sackers, and Birols of the world will never change that." Smiling reassuringly, "I love you, Lee Stetson."
"When Dr. Stevens said he was going to do an emergency c-section . . . all I could think about was 'Here we go again'. Once more I've put her in danger." Lee said with a shudder.
"Lee, stop it. I wanted these babies as much as you. I seem to remember the night they came about." With a sly grin on her face Amanda wiggled her eyebrows and went on. "I was the one who bought that special bottle of wine and little outfit from Rebecca's Fantasies. Do you remember it? Black lace, a couple of strategically placed flowers. . ."
"All right, all right. You've made your point." With a smile Lee leaned down to place a lingering kiss on her lips. When he raised his head both of them were flushed. Smiling down at her, he gently brushed the hair away from her eyes. "We still need to come up with a name for the other baby. Philip wants Madonna and Jamie; he thinks it should be after that rock singer with the purple hair.
Amanda smiled up at her husband as she said. "While the boys' suggestions have been interesting, I've sort of been thinking. How about Emily Dorothea?"
"Emily Dorothea. . .Jen and Em. . .I like it. I think that's a great name, though I was kind of getting used to calling her B."
Looking at Lee with a grin, Amanda asked quietly. "Lee. . .do you think we'll ever do anything like a normal family?"
Lee leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose before answering. "Not a chance, Mrs. Stetson. Not a chance!"