Disclaimer - I don’t own nor do I profit from any characters or story lines from Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I just enjoy spending time with some very special fictional characters.
Rated G for everyone
Title - Lee’s California.
Timeline - After they have been married about 6 months, everything’s still a secret at work. Joe, Dotty, and the boys know.
Synopsis - Lee is shot while on a family outing (happy ending).
Any comments are greatly appreciated.
As Billy hurried into the hospital from the parking garage the smell hit him as soon as he entered the building. All hospitals seem to have the same smell, he thought. How he hated this part of the job, even more now because the agent in trouble was a good friend. As he turned the corner into the surgical waiting room, he saw Amanda standing. She was staring out a window. He stopped and took a deep breath before he walked into the room. She didn’t acknowledge him right away but continued to stare off into space. Billy reached out to touch her arm, “Amanda?”
“It was just supposed to be a family outing, sir. A trip to the Science Center for Jamie to look at the photography exhibit. They came out of nowhere. They were shooting at this kid, people were screaming and diving for cover. They just turned and left. If I hadn’t tripped and bumped into him…” a sob almost came out but she held it together. Lee would need her now more than ever. She had to be strong.
“Have the doctors told you anything?” Billy asked?
“No, but it’s bad. There was so much blood. He called for me and when he saw the boys and I were alright he passed out and never regained consciousness.”
“Amanda could you recognize the shooter?”
Before she could answer Dr Scardelli, the trauma surgeon with N.E.S.T., came into the room. “Mrs. Stetson?”
Amanda jumped to her feet. “Yes?”
“Your husband made it through the surgery but the next 24 hours are going to be critical. He has a collapsed left lung. We had to put in a chest tube. Also one of the bullets hit his spleen and we had to remove it. That’s why he seemed to be bleeding so much.” It’s lucky he was so close to the Shocktrauma unit.”
“When can I see him?” Amanda asked. She just needed to touch him. Feel the warmness of his skin. Convince her-self he was alive.
“He’s going to be in recovery for at least an hour. Then they are going to move him to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. I remember what a rotten patient your husband was the last time he was hospitalized, so I’ve decided to bend the rules and allow you to stay with him as much as you want.”
“Thank you Dr. Scardelli.” Amanda thought to herself that although he would never admit it out loud he was very frightened by hospitals and doctors.
“I’ll send a nurse out to get you as soon as he’s settled,” reaching out to squeeze Amanda’s hand, Dr. Scardelli continued, “He’s a fighter Mrs. Stetson, if he wasn’t he would not be alive right now,” Dr Scardelli dropped Amanda’s hand as she turned and walked back toward the recovery room.
Amanda let out the breath she had been holding for the last six hours and sunk into the chair behind her. She had missed the look Billy had given her when the Doctor called her Mrs. Stetson and she had answered immediately. She just didn’t have the strength or the time to pretend. She was just so tired.
“Amanda, how long have you and Lee been married?”
“About six months. At first no one knew but three months ago we told Mother and the boys, then Joe. Lee’s been living with us since then. We were going to tell you soon. I just found out I am pregnant. Lee is…oh my gosh…what am I going to do if…”
“Stop Amanda you heard what the doctor said. By the way where are the boys?”
“I sent them down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. Jamie is taking this pretty hard. He’s blaming himself because he wanted to see the exhibit.”
“Now we need to get you some clean clothes and something to eat. Lee would be the first one telling you to take care of yourself.” Billy was worried. Amanda looked pale and exhausted.
“My mother is bringing me clothes. Mother loves Lee almost as much as me,” Amanda whispered.
“Okay then lets just get you something to eat and we can talk about what happened.”
“Wait I want to check in with the nurse’s station first. Sir do you think Lee needs a guard. When whoever did this finds out Lee’s not dead, what if he decides to come and finish what he started. We have been through this before and that time he wasn’t unconscious and was almost killed.”
“I think you are quite right Amanda. Let me go call Francine. She’ll get a team here and then we’ll go down to the cafeteria…uh…Amanda?”
“I’ve already told you and Lee that your relationship is fine with me. You should have come and told me.”
“We didn’t want to be split up Sir. Lee needs me to watch his back. When I’m not there he’s not as careful,” taking a deep breath to hold back her tears Amanda continued, “I am his partner. He needs me.”
“Well it’s all water under the bridge now. I’m going to make that call. I’ll be right back.” Billy said as he turned and walked toward the payphone by the elevators. He couldn’t wait to see Francine’s face when she found out the news.
Billy got to the elevators just in time to see Dotty West come charging off. “Oh, Mr. Melrose, do you know where Amanda is?”
“Just turn left and go straight down the hall. The surgical waiting room is there.”
“Amanda! How’s Lee, have you seen the Doctor, Joe says not to worry he can come and get the boys. How did this happen sweetheart? Where are the boys?”
One look at her mother and the tears Amanda had been holding in started to flow. “Mother what am I going to do if…?”
“Amanda Stetson, you stop this right now. Lee is strong. He will fight his way back to you and our family. That man loves you. I could tell the first time I saw you together. The look that comes into his eyes when he looks at you still amazes me. Now lets go get you changed into clean clothes. Alright?” Dotty said as she pulled Amanda in to a big hug.
It was a quiet group who returned to the waiting room forty-five minutes later. As they sat to wait for the nurse to come find them, each were thinking of their injured friend. Joe had arrived right after they got back from the cafeteria but neither of the boys were willing to leave.
“Mrs. Stetson”, the nurse called.
“Yes, that’s me, is everything ok, can I see my husband now?” Amanda hurried to her.
“Yes, come right this way. He’s in S.I.C.U number three. He’s holding his own right now,” the nurse put her hand up, “First before we go in. He’s on a machine that’s helping him breathe. He has a tube in his chest. It’s draining a bloody fluid but that’s okay it’s also helping him to breathe. Are you ready?” the nurse asked.
Amanda took a deep breath and followed the nurse. The first sight of Lee in that bed almost made her knees buckle. There seemed to be tubes everywhere and she didn’t think she had ever seen him so pale. She took a deep breath, wiped a tear that had escaped from her left eye and went to the bed. She gently reached down and ran her hand threw his hair. “Lee, I love you,” she whispered in his ear, “I’m here and I am not going to leave you until you wake up. Please stay with me. I need you. The boys need you. The boys are here. They won’t leave you either. I called Joe to come pick them up but they said you would stay with them and they’re staying with you. They love you too.”
“Mrs. Stetson, here’s a chair. My name is Kathy and I am going to be your husband’s nurse for the next 12 hours. If you need anything just hit the call light and someone will be right in.”
As the nurse started to leave the room, Amanda stopped her. “Excuse me, Kathy, could I ask a favor?”
“Sure, what can I do for you?”
“Could you make a note on the chart that there needs to be a light on in the room at all times. My husband doesn’t like the dark.”
“Of course Mrs. Stetson. I’ll see that it’s taken care of. Call if you need anything else.”
As Amanda set holding onto Lee’s hand, she knew now a bit of how Lee had felt in California. It must have been a hundred times worse for him because he had yet to realize just how much a part of her family he had become. She started talking. “Lee do you remember that first day at the train station? There I was in my nightgown when this incredibly handsome man grabs me, shoves a package in my hand and begs for my help. Right, like I am someone that could ever happen to. I still don’t know why you picked me that day. I only know that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. When we were in that swamp, being chased by Peter Sacker and his men, you kept trying to apologize for choosing me. All I wanted to do was tell you how much I loved you. I tried to but then I chickened out at the last minute. It seemed like the whole world was against us for a while. Every time we got close someone would interrupt us. By the time you got around to kissing me the first time, I was about ready to explode. Even then we had to lock the door to kept Billy and Francine out. If I would have known how much grief you would give me because you said you loved me first, though I still don’t think telling someone you love them over the phone counts, I would have told you sooner. It was such a relief telling Mother and the boys. I love waking up in the morning and watching you sleep. I love arguing with you and especially making up. I love that you love my, no our boys. I..”
“Mom, can I come in?” Jamie asked shyly.
“Sure sweetheart. I’m just talking to Lee”
Jamie went to the other side of the bed and took Lee’s hand in his, “Lee, it’s Jamie. I’m sorry about this. I know it’s my fault. I never should have asked to go to that show.”
“Wait Jamie. This is not your fault. Lee has grown to love photography as much as you. All four of us had something we wanted to do at the Inner Harbor.”
At that second an astonished Jamie cried, “MOM, he just squeezed my hand.”
Amanda looked up in time to see those hazel eyes looking back at her full of love. They slowly moved over to Jamie as he squeezed his hand again.
“Oh sweetheart,” tears sprang to Amanda’s eyes, “Jamie, I am going to go get the nurse. Keep talking to him okay? I’ll be right back,” Amanda called over her shoulder as she quickly left the room and scanned the hallway.
Jamie looked at Lee and quietly said, “thank you for waking up. I don’t know what we would do without you now. Please Lee, please don’t leave us.”
Once again Jamie felt a strong squeeze on his hand. Lee’s eyes seemed to be saying to him - never.
Twenty-four hours later, Lee was wide-awake. The doctor had come in late last night after he woke up and took out the breathing tube. The nurses had told him he would probably be able to get the chest tube out in another 24 hours. Man, he felt like a tank had hit him. He lovingly looked over to see his wife sleeping in the reclining chair the nurse had brought in for her. She had held tightly onto his hand all night as if it was a lifeline between them. The boys were sleeping on the sofa in his room after refusing to go home with Joe. Dotty had gone home but promised to come back that evening. There was an agency guard posted at the door now. A little overkill Lee thought but Amanda had insisted. The Baltimore city police had sent over a detective with some mug shots and both Amanda and he had picked out the same guy. The shooter had been a small time drug dealer out for revenge. It had been a simple random act of violence.
While laying there watching his wife and step-sons sleep, he thought he was about the luckiest man in the world. For the first time in many years, he had a real family. He would thank God every day for the rest of his life that Amanda hadn’t given up on him when he was being stupid. He should have known he was going to love her. From almost the first there had been a connection between them. He remembered the first time he had looked into her eyes. In about ten seconds a bond had been formed that grew stronger with each passing day. One he had never had with anyone else. Billy saw it right from the beginning. He never missed the opportunity to remind me of it either. When he was in the morning…,” his thoughts were interrupted when there was a quiet knock at the door.
It opened as his nurse whispered, “I just wanted to see if you needed anything for the pain Mr. Stetson?”
“No thanks, just having my family here is all I need.”
“Ok, I have got to tell you, after what Dr. Scardelli told us, we expected a much worse patient.”
At this point, Amanda joined into the conversation and said, “you haven’t seen anything yet. He is the biggest complainer you ever met.” The nurse was smiling as she left the room and said, “call me if you need anything.”
“There is something I need.” Lee pouted and tried to sound as pitiful as he could.
“What is that sweetheart”
“My wife,” He patted the side of his hospital bed. “I love you Mrs. Stetson”
“Not half as much as I love you Mr. Stetson. This has been the worst 48 hours of my life.”
“Now you know how I felt in California. They wouldn’t let me in to see you, except fifteen minutes every two hours. It was horrible. I was angry, confused, and, worse, I was feeling really guilty. There were times I felt like I was dying myself.”
As Amanda leaned down to hold him she quietly said, “I know now exactly how you felt. Don’t try this again buster. Oh by the way the cat is out of the bag you know. The nurse called me Mrs. Stetson in front of Billy and it didn’t take him long to figure out our secret. He was really upset that we didn’t tell him. He said he would have done whatever he could to keep us together. He also said if we let him be godfather he will forgive us both. Oh yeah,” she laughed, “He says he wants to be there when we tell Francine.”
Before she could say anything else the boys woke up and came to the side of the bed. As Amanda and the boys were all talking at once, Lee lay there and smiled. Yep he was the luckiest man in the world. Not only did he have a beautiful wife but two fine stepsons. He had a mother-in-law whom he loved and a home. More importantly he had something he had only had briefly before in his life, a family. He was going to be just fine. What was that Paul used to say to him? Oh, yeah, “I hope one day you get a brain boy.” He had been reckless and a loner, acting impulsively and not always thinking before acting. Trouble had always seemed to find him. But then the scarecrow had made the trip to Oz. While he was there, he met the wizard, lost Dorothy, but somehow with Amanda’s help found the courage to use his brain and risk his heart again. No he sure wasn’t in Kansas anymore but somewhere far, far better.