Disclaimer – I do not own the characters 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 wish it wouldn’t have ended so soon.
Timeframe - Starts shortly after my previous story The Scarecrow and the Blackbird.
Synopsis – My theory on how the secret would have been let out.
Comments – Yes, please
Special Thanks to my betas who help me get things right: Daphne, Eman and Skittles.
P.S. Pop Tarts were introduced in 1964 and for all of you who asked for the sequel to my last story I hope this works!
The railroad terminal was mobbed with travelers as the couple picked their
way toward the platform. Slowly shuffling forward, the haggard man reached up
and wiped the snow from his face. As he watched his companion moving stiffly
ahead of him, he grimaced and stopped abruptly.
“Damn it! Wait.” He called quietly as he moved to catch up with his companion. He clinched his fists at his side as he glanced down at his companion’s back. “I’m sorry. It’s just I don’t want to argue with you any more. You have to go. I have friends in D.C that I can still trust. They’ll take care of you until it’s safe.”
Closing her eyes, the disheveled woman sighed. “I don’t need anybody to take care of me. I’m an agent too; you just can’t shut me out like this.”
“Please, we’ve been over this a hundred times. It’s too dangerous.” He insisted as he pulled a wrinkled letter out of his pocket and shoved it forward. “Here take this letter. I’ve written directions on the front. You have to follow them precisely and…” Pausing, he pulled her back against him, “please, promise me, you’ll go directly there.”
Hearing the fear in his usually steady voice, she turned and grabbed his lapels. “I don’t want to leave you all alone. You need me to watch your back.”
Swallowing, he gazed down at her and grimaced. “You can’t stay with me this time. I have to do this on my own and if I have to worry about you…” Reaching out to take her face gently between his two hands, he leaned down and placed a tender kiss on her forehead. “Abby, please, we don’t have a lot of time. I need you to get on that train. Both of our lives depend on it. I swear I’ll come get you as soon as I can. Believe me, nothing is going to keep us apart this time.”
Straightening up, he dropped his hands down to the sides of her arms. “Stay as far from the agency as you can until you get that letter to T.P. He’s a good friend and he’ll know what to do with it. It’s the only way I can keep you safe until this thing is over. Now please, get on the train.”
As the reality of what he was saying began to sink in, tears started to trickle down her cheeks. “All right …” she said with a sniff.
Their eyes met and held for a moment before a sad smile spread across her face. “Straighten your hair, Postman. I’m not even gone yet and already you’re falling apart.” Running a gentle caress down his cheek, she sighed. “I love you, David.”
Smiling tenderly, he pulled her into his arms. “I love you too. Now hurry baby, I’ve already been here too long.”
After another desperate kiss, they broke apart. She turned abruptly and hurried toward the passenger car. Blending in with the crowd, she boarded the train and moved to take her seat.
A cold shiver passed over her as she sat down and turned toward the window. Reaching up to wipe the condensation away, she peered out at the bustling crowd on the platform. She knew that he would be long gone but was unable to stop herself from trying to get one last glimpse.
Resting her head on the cool glass, she closed her eyes and sighed. ‘How did things get so bad, so fast? I sure hope that Mr. Aquinis can help. It’s going to take a miracle to get us out of this one.’
Standing at the window of the Q-Bureau, Amanda chewed on a stick of licorice
and watched as wet snow fell onto the street below, melting as soon as it hit
the ground. The storm had slowly worked its way up the east coast and while the
frozen precipitation was unusual this early, it was not unheard of.
With only two weeks until Christmas, Amanda was busy shuffling work and home responsibilities. It was doubly hard this year because every time she set down, she fell asleep. It had been the same way with both of the boys and it was getting harder and harder to keep their secret, especially from her mother.
She jumped when arms wrapped around her from behind, “Hi ya, toots.” Lee whispered in her ear. “How’s my favorite momma to be?”
Leaning back into his embrace, she sighed. “Hi, yourself. Are you ready for tonight?”
Leaning his head down to nibble her ear lobe, he murmured, “You bet. I’ll be glad to have our secret out. I don’t know how many more ways your mother could hint to me about marrying you.” Lee said with a laugh.
Turning around in his arms, Amanda reached up and placed her hands on his shoulders. “She likes you, you know.”
Snorting, Lee rested his forehead down on hers. “Oh, Yeah? She liked Dan too!”
“His name was Dean and you’re just lucky a certain waiter came along and swept me off my feet when he did.” She chuckled, placing a quick kiss on the tip of his nose.
As she turned to gather up her things, he reached out and stopped her. “It’s my understanding that the waiter in question considers that the smartest thing he ever did.”
Laughing softly, Amanda shook her head. “I love you! Now can we please go home?”
Picking up her purse and brief case, she hurried to the door and grabbed the knob. Turning, Amanda grinned playfully. “Last one to the car gets to tell mother …” Wiggling her finger at him as she swung open the door, “I’m pregnant!” Stopping abruptly when she came face to face with a shocked Francine.
“Uh … Francine. We were … that is I was … um, did you need us for something?” Amanda blurted out with a guilty expression on her face.
Lee moved to stand behind his wife. “Francine? Was there something you needed?”
Nodding, she looked thoughtfully from one agent to the other before moving into the Q-Bureau. As she strolled over to the vault, her voice finally returned. “Internal Affairs wants to re-open the Volkoff case.”
“Postman’s been trying to get them to reopen that for the last five years. What brought about the Agency’s change of heart?” Lee asked.
“There’s rumors in the morning news hinting that Postman and his partner might have changed sides. Evidently they were seen making contact with Volkoff a week ago in Madrid.” She tossed over her shoulder as she walked into the vault.
Giving Amanda a reassuring smile, Lee mouthed ‘she didn’t hear a thing!’ before responding to Francine’s statement about the old case. “No, way. Volkoff went underground and hasn’t been seen for years and David … he’s as honest as they come. While I’ll admit we’re not the best of friends …”
“Wow, that’s an understatement. You and Postman can’t be in the same room together with out arguing.” Francine laughed from the vault.
Amanda’s face was thoughtful. “I think I remember reading about that case in one of Beaman’s classes. There were two agents killed within a twenty-four hour period. The suspect disappeared … Lee, isn’t that when…”
Lee’s face paled slightly before he cleared his throat and shook his head. “Yeah, Postman and I both lost our partners.”
Amanda jumped as Lee slammed his hand down on his desk. “Damn it, it just never made sense.”
Francine grimaced as she wandered out of the vault and stopped next to Lee. “It didn’t sit well with anyone. Things just never added up. Key evidence would mysteriously disappear. Witnesses would just vanish. Postman spent years trying to find out what really happened … without much success.”
Quietly, Lee looked over at Amanda. “We always thought whoever was behind the killings was high up. We just couldn’t prove anything.” Turning abruptly, Lee started to pace.
Amanda’s eyes followed Lee’s frustrated stride. Biting down on her lower lip, she frowned. “Why would they be dredging this all up now? Unless…”
Lee stopped abruptly. “… Postman found Volkoff and is close to figuring it out. You know how I dealt with losing my partner…”
“Refused anyone else’s help, charged into dangerous situations alone…” Amanda answered.
“Yeah, well, Postman was different, very methodical. He’s the kind of guy who never has a hair out of place or a smudge on his shoes, never late, always by the book. The man thinks he knows everything. He became almost obsessed after the murders, like Joe Friday on speed.”
Francine glanced between the two unlikely partners. “Lee, for heavens sake, you were stuck at Station One and Postman was in England. There was nothing either of you could have done to prevent what happened.”
“I’ve been telling myself that for years ... I’ve just never believed it.”
“I’m sorry, Lee. I know how hard this is for you.” Reaching out and giving his arm a reassuring squeeze, Francine turned toward the door. “I have to get this dossier down to Billy. I’ll pass on your thoughts and see you both tomorrow.”
As she walked by Amanda a look of pity flashed across her face as she whispered, “I want to talk to you tomorrow.”
Amanda shook her head and mouthed, “All right,” as Francine threw a disgusted glance toward Scarecrow and left the room.
Walking over to her husband, Amanda placed her index finger under his chin and brought his face up to meet hers. “Sweetheart, Francine’s right. I read the case file. No one could have predicted what happened that night.”
“Damn it, Amanda, I was the one who was supposed to go on that meet. If I hadn’t been sent to Station One when Fred broke his ankle on the rope drop … he was driving my car and wearing one of my jackets. When someone takes a bullet in the head that was meant for you, it’s hard to tell yourself it not your fault.” He paused and looked at Amanda. “It was just supposed to be a simple meet and swap.” Lee whispered painfully.
“Lee, every agent knows that nothing is simple. He knew the risks.” Yawning, Amanda rubbed her eyes.
“Look, let’s just go home. I’m starved and you’re going to fall asleep standing there.” Smiling for the first time since Francine had come into the Q-Bureau, Lee shook his head. “Did you see her face when you opened that door?”
“Yeah, it was great … just great. We’ve spent a lot of time making her believe we’re not an item anymore.” She spit out distastefully. “And now she might have heard I’m pregnant.” Cringing, she closed her eyes. “Oh, Lee, she must think I’m going to be an unwed mother…”
“Calm down. As soon as we get a chance to tell your family tonight, we’ll come in and fess up to Billy and Francine. Besides the truth is much more boring than what she’s already thinking.”
Grabbing Lee by the tie, Amanda pulled him down and brushed a quick kiss across his lips. “All right buster but I don’t want to wait too long. In this case the truth isn’t going to set you free.”
The ride to Arlington took longer than normal due to the light snow. Finally
Lee pulled the jeep into the driveway and eased to a stop. Looking over and
seeing his sleeping wife, he smiled to himself and whispered as he shook her
arm. “Hey, do you want me to carry you or can you walk?”
Eyes still closed, a dreamy smile appeared on Amanda’s face. “I love it when you carry me…” opening her eyes, she looked up and shrugged, “though I think this time I can manage on my own.”
Touching the tip of her nose, he chuckled. “How about a rain check?”
“You’re on. Now let’s get inside. I’m anxious to tell everyone our news.”
“Me, too.” Lee said as he came around and draped his arm lightly around Amanda’s shoulders.
Walking up to the front door they both jumped as the door swung open and Dottie grabbed their arms and pulled them into the house. “Where have you two been? I was getting really worried, what with the bad weather and all. Dinner’s ready … BOYS, DINNER’S READY!” Leaving Lee and Amanda standing in the entranceway, she walked off toward the kitchen. “You’ll never believe what the Ferguson’s dog did to Mrs. Treadway’s Christmas decorations … BOYS … chewed the nose right off Rudolph…”
The sound of the boys barreling down the stairs, drowned out Dottie’s voice. “Hey, Mom, Lee. I’m starved!” Philip said as he hurried past them toward the dinner table.
“Mom, tell Philip that he needs to give me back my math homework. He took it and then called me a dork face.” Jamie complained as he also breezed by.
Bemused, Amanda looked up at Lee. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Wrapping his arms around his wife, he leaned down and gave her a quick kiss, “Let’s go eat. My family’s waiting.”
“Oh, yuck, they’re kissing again.” Philip whined comically.
Laughing, Lee dropped his arms and walked toward his oldest stepson. “Sorry about that Chief. What’s that I smell … pot roast?”
As everyone settled down at the table, bowls were passed and the conversation flowed easily. Picking up her fork, Amanda looked over at her husband and watched the animated discussion he was involved in with the boys.
Feeling her gaze on him, Lee looked over at his wife and then down to the plate filled with pot roast, mashed potatoes, and succotash. Clearing his throat, he grabbed Amanda’s hand as he stood up. “Can I have everyone’s attention please? I have something I need to say.”
The silence grew as four sets of eyes focused on Lee. “A few years ago I was totally alone. The only family I had was my uncle and with him being in the army, well, we were never close. Being in the film business didn’t give me much chance to settle down, it seemed I was always traveling from one country to another to do the next documentary. Then I met a special woman…”
“Mom; right Lee?” Jamie asked quietly.
“Right Sport. She was different from anyone I had ever met. She refused to let me push her away. And she believed in me like no one in my life ever had.” Taking a deep breath, Lee turned and pulled Amanda to him. “It took me a long time to realize that … well, that I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.”
“YES!” Dottie squealed as she jumped up and clasped her hands together. “It’s about time you two. You’re getting married right? I can’t wait to call…”
“Mother, that was ten months ago. But we had a problem, you and the boys really didn’t know, Lee. I thought we should give you all a chance to get to know him…”
“But I couldn’t wait.” Lee interrupted, “What I’m … we’re trying to tell you all is that … uh…”
“We’re married.” They both said in unison.
For thirty seconds, no one spoke or moved. Then as if coming to life the noise erupted and everyone started talking at once.
“Oh my gosh, that’s wonderful.” Dottie beamed.
“Cool, does that mean you’re going to live with us now?” Philip asked. “Do you think you could drive me to school in the Vette?”
“I’m sorry we waited so long to tell you but the time just had to be right.” Amanda said as she hugged Dottie then Philip.
Standing quietly at his chair, Jamie watched the pandemonium thoughtfully. Slowly he walked over to Lee and reached out his hand. “I think it’s great, Lee. You don’t have to worry, we’ll never let you be alone again.”
As a slow smile spread across his youngest stepson’s face, Lee let out the breath he’d been unconsciously holding and grasped Jamie’s hand. “Thanks, Sport.” He said with a grin. “That means more to me than you’ll ever know.”
Amanda smiled contentedly as she stifled a yawn and watched the byplay between her husband and youngest son. Smiling she wrapped her arms around her abdomen and sighed.
“You know, there’s only been two other times I know when you were this tired all the time. Is there anything else you two wanted to tell us?” Dottie asked as she wrapped her arm around her daughter’s waist and glanced over at Lee.
Sheepishly, Amanda looked over at her mother and shook her head. “I think it would be a good idea to stock up on the strawberry licorice.”
Dottie looked like she was going to cry as she pulled her daughter into her arms for a hug. “I’m so happy for you both. I just love babies.”
“Babies? What’s Grandma talking about Mom?” Jamie asked.
Shaking his head superiorly, Phillip answered. “I think Mom and Lee are going to have a baby, stupid.”
“Please don’t call your brother stupid, Phillip.” Amanda corrected as she pulled the boys into her arms. “Yes, we’re going to have a baby. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop loving either one of you. I think you both know that. It just means that we’re all going to have someone new to love.”
Nodding his head, Phillip offered enthusiastically. “It has been kinda cool having Lee around and now he’ll be here all the time. Besides, all the guys on the baseball team think he’s really cool.”
Jamie looked over at Lee thoughtfully. “I hope it’s gonna be a boy.”
Lee walked over and put his arm around Jamie’s shoulder. “I was sorta hoping for a girl, sport. I’ve already got the two of you to do guy stuff with.”
Amanda looked up and gazed at her husband as he launched into a conversation with the boys, amazed at how much he had learned about parenting in the last nine months. Smiling as she remembered how nervous he had first been being around her sons.
The sudden shrill of the telephone interrupted her thoughts as Amanda looked up to find Lee staring over at her. She sent him a private smile and then walked over and picked up the offending object. “Hello?”
“Amanda, it’s T.P. Is Lee with you?”
“Tell Lee that my cousin David sent me a package. It’s a copy of the documentary he’s been working on about the post office. Tell him the box was all wet but at least it arrived in one piece. I think Lee will want to see this.”
Lowering her voice, Amanda turned away from the table and asked. “Where are you?”
“Home but I could meet you both at Lee’s in an hour.”
“Okay, we’ll see you soon. Bye.” Amanda hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and turned toward the noisy table attempting to smile.
Walking over she stood next to Lee and said. “Lee, that was T.P. It seems that his cousin David sent him a package. He says it’s about that documentary you’re directing on the Post Office. He wants to meet us at your apartment in an hour.”
“Damn! Amanda, I didn’t want anything to interfere tonight.” Lee said quietly.
“Me neither but it can’t be helped. At least we have time to finish dinner. I just love pot roast and succotash.”
The elevator swished open and Lee and Amanda stepped off. “You think this has
something to do with the Volkoff case, don’t you?”
“Yes and I’ll bet the package is Pop Tart.”
“Postman’s partner, Abigail Tarelton, Pop Tart. He came up with her code name the first day they worked together. Postman was assigned to work with her right after he was transferred to the Los Angeles office. Imagine Joe Friday working with Julie from the Love Boat.”
“Yeah, Postman threatened to quit about ten times before he finally agreed to be her partner.”
“Kind of like the mighty Scarecrow getting stuck with a housewife from Arlington?”
“I guess you could say that.” Lee said with a chuckle as they arrived at the door to the apartment. “From the rumors I’ve heard, she’s kind of grown on him too.” Putting the key in the lock and opening the door, Lee motioned with his head. “Let’s go see how we can help.”
Throwing his keys on the entrance table, they walked into the room and came face to face with T.P. Aquinas and a small young woman who closely resembled a drowned rat.
“T.P.” Lee and Amanda both spoke at the same time
“Greetings, her arrival came as quite the shock to me too. It seems that Postman thought I was the only one he could trust to pass on his message.” Rubbing his hands together in front of the fireplace, he sat down and smiled.
Lee walked over and offered his hand. “Long time no see. This is my partner, Amanda King.”
“Hi, Abby Tarelton.” She said automatically. “Scarecrow, it’s been awful since David got that notebook. He said if this goes down the wrong way…” Reaching up to wipe away the single tear that ran down her cheek, she shuddered. “He told me the last time this case was open two good men died. That they were on to him …knew that he had finally figured out who the mole was. Scarecrow, please, you have to help.”
“Of course, we’ll help but first let’s get you dried off. You won’t do anyone any good if you get sick.” Amanda said gently. “We’ll be right back gentlemen.” She said as she took Abby’s arm and led her out of sight.
“Sorry, Lee, but I knew I couldn’t protect her without help. And I know from personal experience that you just can’t handle some things alone. David obviously hasn’t figured that out yet. I knew you would want to help on this one. So, I called here first. When I didn’t get an answer, I tried Amanda’s. I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.”
“It couldn’t be helped.” Lee sighed running his hand through his hair.
“From what I could get from the letter he sent and the girl, Postman’s in a lot of trouble. Kind of reminds me of when you and Amanda got mixed up with that Macarov fellow. Only this time, I don’t think your adversary is Russian.” T.P. said as he picked up his cup of tea and sipped. “Would you like some? I took the liberty of brewing a pot when we got here.”
“No, thanks. Did you bring the letter?” Lee asked, reaching out and taking it when T.P. pulled it out of his inside jacket pocket. “Hm … do you realize what this is saying?”
“No, that’s why I brought it to you.”
“I’ll kill him with my bare hands. A lot of things make sense now. He tried hard to have me discredited. Even suspended me a couple of times.” Lee said dropping down on the sofa. The tick in his cheek the only thing revealing the depth of his anger.
Amanda chose that moment to walk into the room. The look on Lee’s face told her that something was definitely wrong. “Lee, what is it?” She asked as she dropped a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Postman knows who the mole is and now so do I.” Lee growled.
The alarm clock read 3:32 am when the phone beside the bed rang. “Melrose…”
“Mind you manors, Billy. Write down these number groups – ten groups of seven.”
Billy sat up in bed and quickly jotted down the codes. The click of the phone as Scarecrow hung up was loud in his ear. Moving to the kitchen he shuffled through the cookbooks before finding the one he was looking for. It took him only a short time before the message was decoded. When it became clear what his best agent was attempting to tell him, he put his elbows on the table and rested his head in his hands. ‘Man, this could get ugly quick,’ he thought worriedly.
Standing up he sighed and walked back to the bedroom to get dressed since it didn’t look like he was going to get anymore sleep. There was a lot to do and the sooner this was over the better.
Back at Lee’s apartment, T.P. had gone home and Amanda was dozing on the sofa. Putting the receiver down, Lee walked around the couch and covered Amanda with her favorite afghan. Sitting down on the empty side, Lee leaned back and yawned.
“All right, Billy’s been told and the ball’s rolling. T.P. is going to get a message to Postman and then meet us here in the morning. You’ll go with him to meet David while Amanda and I go to the Agency.”
“But…” Popping up quickly, the table next to the chair tipped and the teacup fell to the carpeted floor. “Rats. I’m sorry. I’m just so clumsy. Let me clean it up.”
Lee picked up the empty cup and righted the table. “That’s okay, Abby. Here … see, all cleaned up. It’s going to be all right.”
“He was so adamant about me staying out of it. He said he’d already lost one partner to that maniac and he wasn’t losing me. I couldn’t talk him out of sending me away. Then he wouldn’t tell me what he was going to do or where he would be. I guess he realized if I knew where he was, I’d just come back as soon as I delivered the message. But if I know Postman, he’s not far away. He’s a little over protective.”
Chuckling, Amanda now awake looked over at her. “Sounds like someone else I know. A little while ago, a Russian agent framed Lee and turned the whole agency against him…”
“Everyone that is except my partner.” Lee chimed in. “I tried to go underground but …”
“You see he had fallen in love and hadn’t told her yet…”
“I just had to see her one more time, to explain...” Lee reminisced “As usual she refused to follow orders and let me handle it on my own. She insisted on tagging along. In hindsight I know now that I would never have made it without her…”
“And working together, we caught the bad guys.” Amanda sighed as she gazed lovingly into Lee’s eyes. “It was a scary time but it made us finally admit how important we were to each other.”
“Wow.” Abby replied quietly. “Scarecrow?”
“Yeah.” Lee answered, without taking his eyes off Amanda.
Drawing in a deep breath, she cleared her throat, “Postman’s that important to me.”
“Don’t worry, Abby, we’ll find a way to get you back with him.” Amanda said as she smiled reassuringly.
Lee stood and stretched. “Now’s the time you have to fall back on your agency training. You know the plan. Follow it exactly. A little acting, a little luck and I think we might just be able to keep us all alive and rid the Agency of a big scum ball.”
“Thanks, you two. David says Lee’s the best … after him of course.”
“He would.” Lee said with a laugh, “why don’t we try to get a couple hours of sleep, it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow.”
The sun was just peeking over the horizon as the Vette pulled into the Agency
parking garage. Within minutes, Lee and Amanda were walking into Billy’s office.
Greeting them with a nod of his head, he stood up and walked over to the blinds. Taking his time closing them before turning to his agents and passing them a note that read: ‘No eyes, only ears.’ “Good morning you two. What’s up?”
Nodding his head, Lee quickly jotted down a reply. ‘Postman’s in, everything set.’ “I got a strange call last night from Pop Tart. Postman wants to meet me in Rock Creek Park at 1400 hours by the covered bridge. She says he has information on the Volkoff case but that he would only talk to me about it. He said I have to come alone.”
“No, Lee, your too close on this one, I’d rather send Francine or Mayfield …”
Just then the door flew open and the hint of cigarette smoke drifted into the room. “Howdy, boys and girls. I was perusing the morning news and there’s a blurb about an old friend of ours who now resides in movie land. It hints that he was the mole who turned information over to Sergi Volkoff and caused the deaths of Milkman and Pocketwatch. I also understand from I.A. that he’s playing hide-n-seek. Well, Postman has delivered his last letter for this Agency. I want him caught and brought in. Yesterday if possible.”
Lee’s face-hardened as he turned toward Dr. Smythe. “I understand that Postman was seen coming through Dulles late yesterday.”
“Yes, I heard that too. By the way, while on my morning stroll up Pennsylvania Avenue, I heard that D.C.P.D. found Sergi Volkoff taking a swim face down in the Potomac River last night. The coroner says he’d only been dead a couple hours. I find it amazing that someone can disappear for years then just turn up floating. I believe that makes it Killer 3, Agency 0. I want this taken care of quickly children.”
Frowning, Billy moved to sit down behind his desk. “We’ll do everything we can to find out the truth.”
“See that you do. Now, I’m late for a very important date. Ta-Ta kiddies.”
The three were silent for a moment before Billy spoke up. “Lee, I don’t want you taking matters into your own hands. I know how angry you were about losing Pocketwatch.”
“I think Billy’s right. Maybe you should let Francine handle this.” Amanda said.
“No way are you pulling me off this now. If the rumors are true, Postman killed my partner and his own. It’s high time he paid for what he did and I’m just the man to see that it happens!” Lee roared as he stormed over to the door and slammed out.
“Lee, wait.” Amanda frowned wringing her hands. “I’m sorry, Sir, I’m really worried about Lee. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so angry.”
Leaning back in his chair, Billy picked up a thin folder and scowled. “Try to keep a lid on him. You seem to be the only one who can.”
“I’ll try but you know he’s going to insist on going out there alone.” Amanda groused.
Tapping the folder on the desk, Billy shook his head. “Postman’s not dumb. If we try to put a team on the meet, he’ll know and not show. Lee going alone is the only way.”
“I know but I don’t like it.” Shrugging her shoulders, Amanda turned toward the door. “I’ll just follow him. He’s going to need back up.”
The buzzing of the intercom stopped Billy from responding further. “Yes … What … yes, thank you, Mrs. Marsden. I’ll tell her.” Sighing, he dropped the folder and looked over at Amanda. “He’s gone. He said to tell you he’d meet up with you later and for you not to follow him. He said for you to go home and he’d call you as soon as he needed help.”
“All right,” Amanda exhaled noisily. “But I don’t like the idea of him being out there all alone, Sir.” Amanda said as she looked back at him. Smiling as she noticed the sign Billy held that said: ‘Oscar winning performances, Amanda. See you all at the rendezvous.’
As she left the office, she looked up to see Francine frantically waving at her from across the room. Taking a deep breath, Amanda waved back and pointed to her watch. She mouthed, ‘gotta run’ and hurried out of the bullpen leaving a disappointed Francine standing alone by the doorway.
Just before two, Lee strolled toward the covered bridge. Dressed in jeans and
blue leather jacket, his tall figure moved unnoticed among the park benchwarmers
relaxing in the quiet of the late afternoon. Birds dived down and snatched up
left over food as two senior volunteers ambled by with plastic bags picking up
trash left by picnickers in their hurry to return to work.
Lee watched carefully as he approached the meeting sight.
“Lee…” a voice whispered in his ear, “Everyone can still see you. Move under the bridge. The fish has already taken the bate.”
As he steadily moved within the cover of the bridge, a movement by the trashcan caught his attention. Sliding his gun from behind his back, Lee called out. “Postman, I know it’s you. They say you killed my partner. You have sixty seconds to explain before I finish what you started.”
“Come on, Scarecrow, you and I both know I didn’t kill our partners. If you were thinking clearly, you would know I’m being framed.” David growled.
“No, I listened to you six years ago and it only let a guilty man go free.” Lee snarled back as he brought his gun up and pointed it his old friend.
“Lee, I’ve got proof.” David said, as he reached toward his pocket.
“Don’t move … Freeze …” Lee commanded as the man opposite him continued to reach into his coat. Seeing the reflection of sun off metal, Lee pulled the trigger sending the other agent flying backward on to the ground.
Hurrying over, Lee quickly bent over and frisked the front of Postman’s jacket. Pulling the weapon out of his still hand and a small spiral notebook out of his jacket pocket, Lee started to rise.
“Hold it right there, Scarecrow. Slowly drop both guns on the ground beside you.” A foot quickly kicked them away from Lee and a hand was shoved in front of his face. “I’ll take that notebook.” A familiar voice rang out behind him.
Stiffening, Lee growled, “Dirk Fredericks … what are you doing here?”
Pressing his gun to Lee’s back, Dirk sneered. “Put your hands on the back of your head and get down on your knees. Let’s make this as painless as possible.”
“Painless for whom?” Lee tossed back cockily.
“Once again the quarterback drops the ball. By the way, thanks for taking care of Postman for me. Now all I have to do is get rid of you and all the loose ends are handled.” Snorting, the head of Internal Affairs shoved his gun deeper into Lee’s ribs. “You don’t get it do you? If you had left well enough alone, you and Postman would have been fine … but no. You both had to keep poking you nose into things that didn’t involve you.”
“When does killing a man’s partner and best friend not involve them?”
“When it interferes with my business.”
Shaking his head, Lee voice was saddened when he responded. “Is that what you call business these days? Murder?”
“I used Volkoff for a couple of little errands. Nothing big … just a little information every now and then … pocket change. Having a young wife isn’t cheap. Only that stupid, Volkoff, got greedy and wanted more. He kept a log and thought he could blackmail me. When I wouldn’t cooperate he set up a late night tête-à-tête with Milkman.”
Laughing to himself, Dirk eyes stared vacantly ahead as he relived the telephone call from the cocky Russian. “I’ve arranged to meet with one of your boys tonight. I’m going to tell him everything. I’ve got it all written down in red, white and blue. If I was you I’d be making arrangements to get out of, how do you Americans say it, Oh, yeah, get out of Dodge as quickly as possible.”
“He thought I was going to let him get away with squeezing me dry. So I waited for Milkman to come home after the meet and tied up that loose end. Only he didn’t have the book. So I figured that since Pocketwatch had been working with him that last week, he had it, only it wasn’t with him either. By then the whole Agency was involved, Volkoff had gone underground, and it was clear that the notebook was missing. I figured that I would deal with the log when or if it ever showed up again. So there does that satisfy your curiosity?”
“Yeah, I say that just about covers it all. What are you going to do? You just can’t shoot me here in broad daylight.”
“No, you’re right, but I know just the perfect spot. You’re going to write a little note saying how despondent you feel after shooting a fellow agent. Now, stand up slowly, we’re going to take a little walk.” Dirk said as he jerked Lee to his feet.
Out of the corner of his eye Lee watched as Amanda quietly worked her way behind Dirk. As she moved, Lee kept up a string of annoying dialogue. With a shake of her head that everyone was in place, Lee tilted his head toward the agent on the ground. He grinned as he watched the horror on Dirk’s face as Postman set up and smiled eerily.
As Dirk whipped his gun toward Postman, Amanda reached up and thrust her gun between the back of his shoulder blades. “Don’t move. Even I can’t miss this close.” With those words, the former head of Internal Affairs dropped his weapon and groaned.
Within minutes, two teams of agents came out of hiding and quickly moved to secure the scene.
“Pop Tart, did you get it all on tape?” Lee asked as Abby popped up out of the trashcan and lifted the tape recorder.
“Loud and clear.” She beamed as her partner lifted her up and out of the receptacle.
“Good work team.” Billy stated proudly as he looked at Dirk with a scowl. “It looks like you’re going to have a lot of time on your hands from now on old friend. This tape should dispel any doubts as to who was responsible for the three murders.”
Knowing he was beaten, Dirk stood silently as Lee moved behind him and slipped on the handcuffs.
Holding up the tiny notebook, Postman sneered at his former work mate. “Is this what you were looking for? You made Volkoff’s life so miserable that he was only too happy to give it to me.”
Lee handed Dirk over to Mayfield and turned toward Postman. “I’d say that my plan was perfect and I saved your butt again.”
“Your plan … it was my idea to use this bridge. It was the perfect cover. Without it your plan wouldn’t have worked.” Postman offered nonchalantly.
Billy exchanged bemused looks with both Amanda and Abby as the two best Agents who had ever worked for him ambled off playfully arguing. “Do you see why Postman is in California and Scarecrow is in D.C.?”
“Was it always that way?” Amanda asked giggling.
“No, it was worse. Why don’t you two go separate them before they get into another spitting contest and no, don’t ask what happened the last time.” Billy laughed as he waved them toward the waiting vehicles. “Let’s get back to the Agency. I have a shock to deliver to Dr. Smythe.”
“You wanted to see me?” Francine asked as she joined Lee and Amanda in
Billy’s office. “You know it was good to have Postman here again. That man sure
Amanda shook her head. “You can say that again. He came up to the Q-Bureau and within twenty minutes had a detailed procedure for reorganizing it. I thought it was pretty amazing that…”
“Am..an..da.” Lee growled. “He sure has some nerve. I’d forgotten what a pain in the rear he could be. I think that the Q-bureau is running the best it’s ever been. Really, I don’t see anything wrong with … what?”
Biting down on her lip to keep from laughing, Amanda crossed her arms across her waist. “You sure were right, sir. They can’t even be in the same room with out arguing. Not only did they argue about the Q-Bureau, but the color of Lee’s car, the type of pen that Postman uses, which office was busier, who had been shot the most, how many times a week they go to the gym.”
“I heard them arguing about the Oliveti case and it’s been closed for ten years.” Francine said with a flabbergasted huff.
“In the five years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him act that way, Sir.” Amanda said then quickly pursed her lips together.
“Could you all stop talking about me like I’m not here? The man is a major know it all. I just don’t see why I’m the only one who can see it.”
All at once Billy, Francine and Amanda could hold it in no longer and burst out laughing.
“Not to change the subject but I heard from Grace in personnel that Postman and Pop Tart are getting married. Can you imagine a more odd couple? That would be like hearing that the two of you were getting married.” Francine blurted out with a snicker.
Silence filled the room as everyone turned to stare at the blonde.
“What?” Francine asked.
“Why don’t you two tell Francine what you just told me?” Billy said as he folded his arms and sat back in his chair.
Reaching out and pulling Amanda to his side, Lee looked over at Francine. Without saying a word he stretched out his left hand and smiled. As the florescent light flashed off his gold ring, Francine’s mouth dropped open.
Sputtering, she exchanged quick glances with everyone in the room. “I … that is … you two … I know that … but married … uh …”
“I think congratulations is what you’re trying to say.” Billy said with grin.
“Yeah, I … uh … I’ve got to go.” Francine said absentmindedly as she walked out of the office.
“I think that went well.” Lee said shaking his head.
“Lee, she was rendered speechless and muttering like an crazy person. Maybe I’d better go talk to her.” Amanda said as she glanced worriedly at the door.
“No, I think she needs a moment to herself. But I think it might be a good idea to have Doc Kelford here when you tell her about the baby.” Billy said seriously before the laughter he had been holding back spilled out and spread to everyone in the room.