Summary:Another follow-up short story to Jealous
Partner Syndrome and jealousy. Amanda get talked into being a participant
up for bid at a date auction for charity.
Disclaimer:The recognizable characters belong to Shoot the Moon and Warner Brothers Productions. No enfringement intended.
Francine Desmond strode quickly down the hall to Q-Bureau. Knocking, she entered to find Lee and Amanda in the middle of an argument.
Both of them looked over as she entered the office, and immediately fell silent. "Don't stop on my account," she remarked. "After all, I could hear you all the way down the hall, so what's the difference?"
Two pairs of frosty eyes stared at her, and she backed out of the office. "Fine, proceed."
The door closed behind Francine. "This is unreal," Amanda picked up where she'd left off. You have no right to dictate what I can and can't do, outside the Agency!"
"Amanda," Lee argued. "Anything you do can affect the Agency. It could be dangerous for you to...to..."
"Be auctioned for a date? For charity? Look Lee. I didn't want to do this. I was talked into it a couple months ago by a friend. Now that it's here, I regret it. But I'm going to go through with it because I gave my word and it's for a good cause. Trust me. No gun-toting freaks will be at an auction for a children's hospital!"
"I can't believe this," Lee continued. "What if some sicko bids the highest on you, huh?"
"Do you think they'd let 'some sicko' even get into the building? It's invitation only. You have to have an invitation. You have to be a previous supporter of the charity! Now, I have to go. Goodbye."
Amanda walked through the door, without waiting for a response from Lee. Lee sat down at his desk and dug out the phone book. After making a decent donation and securing a last-minute invitation to the event, Lee felt remarkably better.
Snapping his fingers, he said aloud, "Cindy!" He'd forgotten his date. Dialing her number, he left a message cancelling on her.
Amanda stood in her bedroom, surveying her new outfit which met the requirements of the auction. It was not her normal attire, but she had to admit she looked...pretty good!
She was wearing a black dress that came above her knee by a good three inches, jet black nylons with high sling-back pumps and a black bolero jacket. Gold jewlery accentuated the black ensemble, and her hair was smoothed down around her shoulders in big, loose curls.
Even Amanda's makeup was more dramatic than usual, and she felt pleased with the results she'd achieved.
As Lee tied on his necktie, he wondered what Amanda would look like and what response she'd get from the bidders. For some reason, he had this image of her on the runway in a plain skirt, low pumps and a cardgian. He chuckled to himself. Amanda was attractive, but not, to his mind, date auction material!
Lee found a table near the stage. He wanted to gauge Amanda's reaction to his presence.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," the emcee announced. "As you know, we have a lot of single, rich men in this town, and we intend to take advantage of that fact tonight!"
Laughter and applause broke out among the audience. Lee noticed that two 'bidders' were seated at his table. He looked down at his own brochure, wondering if he would have the nerve to bid on a date himself.
The emcee continued. "Tonight, we have several good-nature and might I add, beautiful young women, who have agreed or been coerced to participate in tonight's auction. Without further ado, we'll get this show on the road. Remember that the minimum bid is three hundred dollars."
More applause erupted. The man on Lee's right leaned over and said confidentially, "I've already got one picked out. I saw her backstage, and she's absolutely charming."
Lee nodded. The first 'lady for bid', as she was called, came onto the stage. She was introduced as Maria. Maria netted much applause from the audience as a brief bio was given on her.
Several bids were made, each rising by fifty dollars, and finally Maria was 'acquired' by a middle-aged man at the back of the room.
Maria was followed by Tess, then Barbara, Melody, Susan, Erin, Pamela, Georgia. The man at Lee's side had not bid once. All of the women were around the same age, and looked very lovely. Although tempted to bid on several of them, Lee held off. He was getting nervous about the "charming" lady the joker next to him had seen back stage.
A break followed the acquisition of Georgia. DInner was served, and wine was poured. A band played a few numbers while the guests enjoyed prime rib. Lee studied his dinner companions. Fred had just bid on and secured a date with Erin. An elderly couple were obviously there for their daughter, who was in the show. Yet another man, Bob, had bid on several of the women, but never above four hundred dollars. Poor Bob couldn't catch a break.
But Sam, as he learned the man on his right was called, was a very wealthy looking man. He was also, Lee noted with chagrin, something of a Robert Redford look-alike. He chatted amiably enough with Lee. After the dishes were cleared and dessert and coffee were served, the auction resumed.
"Next up, gentlemen, is a gorgeous divorcee. Amanda is the mother of two small boys."
Amanda elicited much applause from the appreciative male audience. Lee was dumb-founded by her. He had never imagined that Amanda could look that...stunning, gorgeous, beautiful, ravishing, lovely, desirable...yes, that was it. She was desirable.
"Let the bidding begin. Do I have three hundred?" the emcee asked enthusiastically. Amanda twirled and smiled for the audience.
To his chagrin, Sam raised his paddle in a bid. "Three hundred! Do I hear three-fifty?" Several paddles went up, including Lee's. He almost didn't even realize he was doing it. All he knew was he did not want Amanda being bid on, acquired, or taken out by any of these men! Especially Sam.
Amanda spotted Lee with his paddle raised, looking agitatedly at the man next to him. She didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. What was he doing here?
Her mind frantically raced. Lee was the last person she expected or wanted to see here tonight, especially in view of how he flet about the auction and their argument.
While her mind was reeling, trying to sort out what was happening, the bid had risen considerably. The man beside Lee would not stop bidding! Frustrated, Lee realized that much more of this and he'd have to sell his car. So he leaned over to Sam and said, "That's *my* wife, not ex. My wife. If you bid on her one more time, I'm going to kill you!"
Sam looked frightened. This man was nuts! His face was menacing and his jaw and fist were clenched. Sam knew when he was beaten. "Okay, whatever. I didn't know," he apologized.
The emcee beamed. "The highest bid of the evening! Amanda goes to," he paused, checking his guest roster,"Mr. Stetson!"
Amanda was in shock. She retreated from the stage in a daze to be greeted by the other women back-stage in a flurry of congratulations. "What a hunk!" "The highest bid from the cutest guy!" "I am so jealous. Did you see the bozo that got me?"
Amanda waited for the rest of the auction to end, and beyond. She was desperately hoping that Lee had gone home. All the other women had gone out to meet the men who bid the highest for the honor of a date with them.
Finally, she walked out with as much dignity as she could muster under the circumstances. Lee was waiting there for her, looking sheepish.
"Hi," he said. He swallowed his nervousness. She looked even more lovely... desireable...up close.
"Hi," she reluctantly said back.
"So I guess I get to take you out on a date, huh?" he joked.
"Yeah, I guess. Look Lee, I don't know why you did what you did. Whether you were trying to prove a point or whatever. Anyway, don't think you have to take me out. You actually did me a favor. I fulfilled my obligation and don't have to go out with a stranger, so..." she started to walk away from him.
"Hey! Wait a minute! Speaking of obligations, you now have one to me! I get you for an entire evening!"
With a sigh, Amanda nodded. "Okay, very funny, Lee. Why did you do this?"
Lee thought for a moment. "For charity."
"Liar." Amanda slapped his arm.
"You look fabulous tonight," Lee complimented her.
She was about to call him a liar again, but stopped herself at the sincere look in huis eyes. Her eyelids fluttered down in embarassment and she mumbled a thank you.
"So is tomorrow night okay?" Lee asked, embarassed himself.
Amanda's eyes widened. "Tomorrow?! Isn't that kind of soon?"
"No," Lee shook his head. Cindy! He'd have to reschedule again...oh, well.
"Well...okay," Amanda said with a half-smile. "You are full of surprises, Stetson."
"Yeah, I know," he agreed. "I'll pick you up at seven."
They shook on it. Lee walked Amanda to her car. They passed Sam on the way.
"Hey, look. I really am sorry, again. Really. I didn't know...I though all the women in the show were single and available," he explained.
Lee ignored him, placed his hand on the small of Amanda's back and sped up. "What...what was that all about?" Amanda asked, looking back at the handsome man. "Didn't he bid on me, too?"
"Yeah, I think so," Lee shrugged nervously. "Maybe he had a little too much to drink," he offered lamely.
"He seemed perfectly lucid to me," Amanda replied. "What was he talking about?" she asked again.
"I discouraged him from bidding on you," Lee confessed.
"I didn't like the look of him," Lee was blushing.
"He looked pretty good to me," Amanda said, trying to hide her smile.
"Amanda, I am a trained agent. I had a suspicion about that guy!" Lee was getting very defensive. Too defensive.
"So you told him...what?" Amanda prodded.
"I told him you were my wife," Lee said guiltily.
He opened Amanda's car door and she got in. "Oh," she said simply.
"Are you mad?" he asked, curious at her lack of comment.
"No," she said.
"Good," Lee said with relief. "So I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Wouldn't miss a date with my *husband* for the world!" Amanda closed her car door, gave Lee a devastating smile and drove away.
Lee stood, staring speechlessly after her retreating car.
She is something else, he grinned to himself, and realized that he was
very much looking forward to his 'date' with her!