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
Any comments are appreciated.
Timeline - The fifth season that we never got. (Stupid secret) Marriage is common knowledge. After my story, Lee’s California.
It was a warm June evening in Arlington Virginia. Amanda was sitting on the sofa reading one of her mother’s romance novels. There was stillness in the house that was rare. Lee had called to say he would be late. It was his second day back to work and he was only supposed to be doing paperwork. Amanda knew he would over do it. It’s just he had been so bored at home. She would just have to insist he only go into work when she was there at least until he got off light duty. The boys had left earlier that day to spend the weekend with Joe camping and her mother was out on a date. Just three weeks ago the doctor had give them the news. The rabbit had died. Lee was still walking around with a goofy smile on his face. While she was very happy with the news, mostly she just felt tired. She wondered if this was because of her age. Amanda decided to use this quiet time to catch up on her reading. She had first noticed this book when her mother was reading it. The picture on the cover had reminded her of Lee. Not so much the man himself but his eyes. They had caught her attention immediately. As she read her eyes kept getting heavier and heavier. Soon the book fell from her fingers and her head dropped to the back of the couch.
She found herself standing in front of a boarding house. The boys were in school. She was so angry. How could Joe have done this to her? This stupid war had already lasted two years longer than he had said it would. Just a couple months sweetheart then I’ll be back home. Yeah she laughed to herself, famous last words. He had ridden off with his unit looking sharp and handsome in that blue uniform. It didn’t matter that she would be left on her own with two small boys to support right next door to the enemy. She felt so confused. Amanda didn’t know who the enemy was anymore. She didn’t believe in slavery but many of her old neighbors had chosen the confederate side. It was hard; the people who had once been her friends now wouldn’t speak to her. The confederate government had burned her house and Joe wasn’t coming back. He had been killed in the first major battle in a place called Manassas. She was a widow now and responsible for the boys and her mother. They had been living at Mrs. Garrett’s boarding house for the last two years. She was working as a nurse at a hospital on Connecticut Ave. She worked long hours but still made time to spend with the boys. Phillip was thirteen and already asking when he could join up. All she could think of was never if she had anything to do with it. “Oh my gosh,” she thought to herself, “if I don’t hurry up I’m going to be late.”
She arrived at the hospital a short ten minutes later. The smell of the place still bothered her. She walked over to get her assignment and found out she would doing patient care today. The orderly in charge sent her over to a group of patients who were new from last night. They were injured rebel soldiers. The men were dirty and malnourished. These poor men she thought sadly. She set about her task of changing bandages, offering water, and writing letters home. She went to the men one by one. When she walked up to him a chill went down her spine. He was frowning and wouldn’t look at her. His right arm was missing from the elbow down. But what she noticed about him the most was his eyes. They were a beautiful hazel and very intense.
“Hi,” she said brightly, “it’s a beautiful day outside. I am going to change your dressing right now. After that if you would like I could write a letter for you. I have two little boys. Their names are Phillip and Jamie. My husband died at the first battle of Manassas.”
“Miss, if you don’t mind I would really like to be left alone,” the man asked so quietly she could barely hear.
“Now Mr.…what was your name again?”
The man sighed and stared at her for a moment before he replied, “Colonel Lee Stedman, CSA. Now can you just move on and leave me alone please.” He dismissed her at that moment and turned his head. As she moved onto the next man, she couldn’t help but feel something wasn’t quite right. He didn’t look as bad as the others and, rats, she didn’t get a chance to change his dressing before he pushed her away. She would have to make plans to come back to him before she went home. The rest of the day passed in a busy blur of activity. Little did she know that a pair of hazel eyes followed her all day as she worked? It was dark before she got back to Col. Stedman. Most of the men had fallen asleep by the time she approached his cot. She reached out to gently shake his left shoulder when suddenly his hand shot out and pulled her to him.
“Shhh,” he quietly whispered into her ear, “is there somewhere we can go and talk privately?” He had asked around today about her and found out she was a trustworthy, honest person who would do what ever she could to help a soldier. He had found out she was a widow with two small boys and her mother to support. He knew where she lived and that she was well liked and respected by all, federal and rebel alike. There was something about her. Somehow he knew instinctively that he could trust her. He was taking a big chance but he needed help and he needed it quick.
“Yes, we can go to the operating room. No one’s there now,” she whispered curiously, then in a louder voice she said, “Colonel Stedman why don’t I take you into the other room where there’s more light so I can see to properly flush out you wound and redress it. Let me help you up.” She said as she slid her arm around him and helped him into the other room.
“Listen, we only have a few minutes and its imperative I get a message to Federal Army headquarters,” Lee said forcefully. Gone was the sickly man with the slow southern accent and in his place stood a man with a mission.
“I am not going to do anything until you tell me who you are and what you’re doing,” she said stubbornly.
“My name is Major Matthew Lee Stetson, US Army Intelligence. I was assigned here to try and find out where and when General Lee and the Rebs were going to strike again. There have been rumors of a large rebel force heading toward Pennsylvania. I have learned that this is true. I don’t know exactly where yet but I need to get a message to headquarters so that they can send out scouts to recon the area. Please, Mrs. King, please, I need you help.” He looked pleadingly into her eyes.
She felt an electric shock run through her. At that second she would have done what ever he asked. “Okay, I’ll do it. Do you have something written down or do you need help.”
“Here, I’ve disguised it like a letter home. Just put it in your pocket and go directly to Army Headquarters. Tell them that the scarecrow sent you and that the night is warm but seasonally so. Repeat it back to me, you must say it exactly.”
“The night is warm but seasonally so, the night is warm but seasonally so. The Scarecrow sent me.”
“Good, now hurry and put a clean bandage on my arm. We have spent too much time in here already.”
“Major. Stetson? Do you have any family? Are you married? I could write to them and let them know you’re all right. Oh my gosh, there’s nothing wrong with your arm…it’s totally healed.”
“That’s why I couldn’t let you change it out with the other men. It’s a present from the last time the rebs tried to come north.” A look of sadness passed over his face as he said, “I am sorry, Mrs. King, there’s no need for you to write anyone on my behalf, my family is dead. And no I am not married. Never met anyone who would put up with me. By the way please could you call me Lee?”
“Alright Major. Stet…Lee, let me help you back to the cot and then I’ll be on my way. Oh, my given name is Amanda. I would be honored if you called me that.”
She had her arm around him again and soon was ready to guide him back to his sleeping area.
“Amanda, please don’t think me forward but… this war has taught me to reach for what I want.” He quickly reached down and kissed her. It was a tentative kiss at first. He drew back and looked down into her eyes. He saw that she was as caught up in the moment as him and he once again settled his lips over hers. This time the kiss was deep and passionate. When he finally lifted his head, they were both breathless. Before either one could say anything they heard someone walking toward the operating room. They quickly pulled apart just as Dr. Efram Beeman walked in.
“Mrs. King, what is going on?” he asked curiously
“I was just changing this soldier’s dressing. I needed more light and didn’t want to disturb the other men. Now if you’ll excuse us, I am going to get him settled back in his cot and go on home. Goodnight Doctor,” she said as she walked quickly away from him.
They made it back to his sleeping area without incident. As she helped him settle in she spoke quietly, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she smiled then brushed the hair off his forehead and turned to leave. He reached out and grabbed her hand and gave it alittle squeeze. The bittersweet smile on his face almost made her turn and go back to him. But he dismissed her with a quiet, “God go with you Mrs. King,” and released her hand reluctantly.
She quickly walked out of the hospital and walked in the direction of the boarding house only to take a couple of turns to insure no one was following her before she headed toward Army headquarters. She reached into her pocket and to make sure the letter was still there. She noticed then there were two. How odd he only mentioned one. Well she would deal with that when she got to her destination. Over and over she kept repeating to herself…the night is warm but seasonally so…over and over. Finally after what seemed like hours but was in reality only about ten minutes she walked up to the door and knocked. A solder came and opened it. She looked at him and said the code word for word as she had been told. He ushered her into the building and told her to wait in the study. It wasn’t long before she heard the door open. As she turned and pulled the message out of her pocket, she was shocked to see whom the man was standing in front of her. It was Abraham Lincoln himself. “I understand you have a message from one of my boys.”
“Mr. President…Uh…yes sir, here it is sir. Sir, if I could tell you something. I am worried about Mr. Stetson. I don’t think he’s very safe in that hospital. The hospital personnel think he’s a rebel and treat him badly and if those rebel prisoners find out he’s not one of them…I don’t want to think what will happen to him.”
“At this very second, Major Stetson is being taken out of that hospital. As soon as you gave the code phase, intelligence operatives were sent to the hospital disguised as guards and will take him out of there. They will “drag” him out of there and it will look to everyone like he is on his way to prison camp. Don’t worry madam; he can take care of himself. You are a very brave woman. You have performed a great service to your country. By passing this information on hopefully we can stop this dreadful war and save some lives.”
“Oh…uh…Mrs. King, I believe this second letter is for you,” the President said as he handed it to her.
“Thank you sir. If it’s alright with you I’ll just go home now.”
“Let me get one of my officers to see you home. It’s not safe for a woman out at night by herself, Mrs. Lincoln would have me horse whipped if she found out I let you walk home alone.” He poked his head out the door and called, “Sergeant Melrose, could you see Mrs. King home please.
“Thank you sir. It was an honor to meet you. It’s too bad I can’t ever tell anyone I met you. My boys would be so impressed. I have two of them Phillip and Jamie…oh sorry, I’ll leave now.” She turned and walked away with the sergeant.
Soon she was home. She checked first on the boys, then her mother. Everyone was sleeping peacefully. No one aware of the intrigue she had been a part of tonight. As she lit the kerosene lantern and settled into the chair, her hands shook. What could be in this note? What couldn’t he wait to tell me tomorrow? It was soon evident that she would not be seeing him again tomorrow.
Thank you for being so brave. By the time you read this I will be out of that dreadful hospital and headed toward Pennsylvania. I will remember the short time we spent together. It’s funny I feel like I’ve known you forever not just one short day. Hopefully, next time I get back to the capital I can see you. Take care of yourself. I will carry your kiss with me until the next time we meet.
The letter fell from her hands as tears ran down her face. Lee, oh Lee she called….
“Sweetheart… Amanda… wake up Hon, you were dreaming. I’m right here.”
“Lee, Oh Lee I am so glad to see you. I was dreaming you were a solder and were leaving to go to Gettysburg and fight the rebels and I might never see you again and I didn’t get a chance to tell you I loved you. You wrote me this really beautiful letter,” Amanda rambled on with tears starting to fall down her face.
Lee pulled her into his arms and held her, “You are going to have to stop reading these books if they upset you this much. Your hormones have been so mixed up since you’ve been pregnant. Come on sweetheart, we’re all alone, lets go up stairs and you can show me just how much you love me.” As the couple stood up the book fell silently to the floor. Forgotten for the moment. Her love’s spying eyes were looking down on her tenderly as he lifted her into his arms and carried her up the stairs.