Summary: [Third Season, after Wrong Way Home.] Lee remembers the night he seriously reflected on his developing relationship with Amanda.
Author's Notes: Thank you a thousand times to my regal friends for all your encouragement and valuable suggestions with this piece. I am constantly and humbly amazed at your insights and talent.
I remember that it was a Saturday night and I was home alone. Amanda had been due back from her vacation any time. Why, I wondered, would I think of Amanda at such a moment? I went over to my desk and opened it up.
Pulling out one of a set of four small books, I opened the first and thumbed through the well-worn pages.
Darcy Freers. . . Yvonne Friedman. . . Sandi Fielding. . . Lori Fiddler. . . Nora Granger. . .
Realizing that not one of them appealed to me anymore, I closed Volume One and tossed it on top of the other three. They looked out of place, as if they hadn't really ever been mine at all.
I knew in that moment, that those books belonged in my past, not my
present, and certainly not my future. It just took a great deal of
self-scrutiny that night to realize the fact.
Even though I was alone, I cringed at the memory of confessing to Amanda that I had four black books. I hadn't wanted her to know about them, but the disclosure was necessary to the case we were working on. The look she gave me embarrassed me to the core.
Closing the desk with a sigh, I wondered when my lifestyle had begun to bore me. I wandered over to the bar and poured myself a glass of wine.
My mind drifted again to my partner and friend, Amanda King, and a mood I was unable to clearly define swept over me. I have felt attraction to women before. What I felt for Amanda, I realized was . . . somehow beyond, above and past attraction.
Not to say that I wasn't attracted to her as a woman. I had been physically attracted to her for a long, long time. But I had been able to resist that, to channel it into other outlets. This was much different, I realized.
Unable to help myself, I thought about how I would find myself holding
her hand at every opportunity. Sometimes, I hadn't even noticed that
I'd picked it up. It was almost like we were drawn to one another,
two parts of a whole, and subconsciously we would establish that contact,
becoming complete. It was the most natural feeling in the world to
have that physical
connection with her.
I remembered how, on another occasion, Amanda and I had been walking along hand in hand, and I glanced down at our entwined fingers. The strangest sensation surged through me, and I wanted to stop her, turn her towards me, and take her into my arms. Before I could act on the impulse, however, I remembered whom I was with and held back.
Why? Because she was my partner, my friend, and *Amanda*. There was no other way to put it. I believed that I shouldn't feel anything towards her but friendship and respect. It had taken me long enough to even feel those things in relation to her. I didn't know *how* to feel any other way towards her.
And yet, with all these reservations and doubts, I would automatically reach for her hand, time and again. Amanda seemed to take it in stride, reaching for my hand even as I reached for hers. I knew her so well, and I suspected that her feelings for me ran as deep as mine did for her. How deep? The answer was there, but I was hesitant to find it.
With Amanda's hand in mine, I always felt at ease. Her touch calmed me in a way I didn't understand.
I had been going through my black books, reading names and picturing faces. Had one of those women ever roused such tender, fragile feelings in me, even for a moment? I asked myself.
The simple act of holding my partner's hand was more pleasurable than doing anything with anyone else. This realization scared and confused me. What did it mean?
I looked down at my hand. My palm tingled with the recalled memory of how her soft skin felt against mine. I literally ached to touch her in that moment.
I found myself wondering, if holding her hand brought out such feelings, how would it feel to hold her against me? What would happen if I just kissed her?
I dared not imagine anything beyond a kiss, but the very thought had already imbedded itself in my mind, and I began to anticipate the dreams my sleep would produce.
I couldn't help but wonder why I missed her so badly when we were apart. I had no idea when she had become so important to me - such a part of me.
I remembered that she would be back home that evening from her camping trip. I guessed that she had already probably unpacked and was at that moment doing laundry, putting away camping gear.
I planned to drive over to her house later that evening and see how she was doing. That was another habit I'd picked up. Rather than call for a Friday or Saturday night date, I stayed at home. I would count the hours until her mother and sons had gone to bed so that I could knock on her back door.
I recalled one time that I had wound up on her back doorstep. I had lifted my hand to tap on the glass but stopped as I spied Amanda deep in conversation with her ex-husband, Joe. Common sense and courtesy had told me to walk away, but I found that my feet were filled with lead and I couldn't move.
I stood there watching them; they seemed so at ease together. I had a feeling that Joe King wanted to pick up where he left off with Amanda. Watching him, he seemed to still be half in love with her, and I felt oddly threatened. Amanda was not mine, yet in that moment, I felt strongly possessive of her.
I knew that she was not mine, that I had no claim to her. I just felt that Joe King didn't deserve her. He had failed to realize what he had, when he had it. I told myself that she deserved better than him, fearing at the same time that she also deserved better than me.
But even as I rationalized this to myself, I knew that there was more to it, that it went deeper. It didn't make any sense, and it drove me out of my mind to think about it too much.
In fact, I realized, I wasn't able to stand it when any other man showed interest in her, and I would end up unfairly aggravated with her. As if she could control the fact than men found her irresistible. *I* found her irresistible.
The question was what was, I going to do about it?
The answer was, I surmised after much thought, that I would keep holding her hand, and keep hoping that some day, I would figure out why she affected me the way she did. Then, I would know what to do about the way I felt.
I still love to hold Amanda's hand, protectively lacing my fingers through hers. Resting my palm against hers. Running my thumb over her fingers. The simple yet intimate contact never fails to send currents of electricity coursing through my veins.
I'm watching my wife now, marveling at how passionately I still react to her. I'm glad every day that I didn't cheat myself out of her love. I took the chance. I risked my heart and came out a winner.
She looks up at me now, from her desk across the Q-Bureau. She smiles, having felt my eyes adoring her. I love this woman more than anything, more than anyone, more than life itself. She is my life, and it all started by holding her hand.