Summary:Follow-up to The Auction. Lee has won a date with Amanda in a charity auction.
Disclaimer:The characters belong to Shoot the Moon and Warner Brothers. The story is a product of my imagination.
Amanda looked nervously for the tenth time at her watch. It was six o'clock, and Lee was due to pick her up at seven!
Jamie's baseball game had gone into extra innings. They were now in the top of the fifteenth, and they saw no end in sight. Amanda walked over to the other coaches and said, "What are we going to do? I've never seen such a long game!"
Charlie Lewis shrugged. "Maybe it'll wrap itself up soon."
"I have a date tonight," Amanda told him.
"We were supposed to go see a play," Mike Parker added.
After another at-bat, it was all over. Jamie's team won by a series of errors on the other side; the kids were too tired to chase the ball, so the batter went home on a line drive up third base.
Amanda pulled into the drive at six-fifty. Lee was waiting inside his car across the street, but Amanda didn't see him. He watched her as she rushed into the house. She was wearing a pair of grey sweat shorts, a little league baseball coach jersey, baseball cap, and high top sneakers. Her hair was escaping from inside the cap.
She looked so cute! Lee could not recall the last time he found a woman attired in anything other than designer labels so attractive! He marvelled at how Amanda could manage to look great in whatever she wore.
Knowing she hadn't seen him, he went around back to the kitchen door and watched her for a moment. She was quickly throwing sandwiches together for the boys. She had pulled off her cap, revealing wild locks of hair, and she had pulled off her sneakers.
He smiled at the sight. There was nowhere on earth he'd rather be at this moment than standing outside Amanda's kitchen door. Finally, he knocked.
Amanda skid in her socks to the fridge and put the mayonaisse away, then skittered over to the door and opened it, blowing a stray lock of hair off her face.
"You look ravishing," Lee said, half meaning it.
"Oh, my gosh, Lee! You wouldn't believe it. The game took fifteen innings, and I just got home, and mother's in a bubble bath reading a book. I had to get the boys some dinner, and I'm such a mess. And if you want to cancel or reschedule or whatever, I'll understand, really." All of this she said in a breathless rush that caused a grin to spread slowly over Lee's face as she spoke.
Amanda looked at him expectantly, then looked away from the grin, embarassed.
"No, no. Take your time. The reservations aren't until 8:30, the best I could get on short notice. So I'll wait for you in the car, okay?"
Amanda smiled, surprised that he wasn't annoyed with her. He must be in a decent mood, she thought. "Well, okay. I'll be out there as soon as I can. I'm sorry I can't invite you in."
"No problem," Lee smiled, admiring her outfit again secretly.
Amanda closed the door and took the sandwiches to the Phillip and Jamie. "As soon as you eat, I want you to take showers. Then you can watch television until your grandmother says go to bed."
Amanda flew upstairs, threw her clothes in a heap on the floor, and got into the shower.
Lee sat in his car, thinking about Amanda. What was it about her that he had her on his mind all the time lately, anyway? They were getting to be very good friends, he admitted to himself. But Francine was his friend, too, and he didn't obsess over her. He turned on the radio, and leaned his chair back.
Don't over-analyze this, Stetson, a part of his brain warned him. He tried instead to think of Cindy, the woman who he had now cancelled on twice in favor of time spent with Amanda. Cindy was exciting, sexy, funny...just like all the other women Lee had dated for years off and on. Just like all the others...
That's it! He thought to himself. Amanda is nothing like the other women I date. Not that I'm 'dating' her. Yeah, this is a date, but not a 'date date'. If it was going to be a 'date date', the evening would wind up a lot differently than it will with Amanda.
His mind wandered, and he imagined taking Amanda out on such a 'date date', as he thought of it. They'd go back to his place, he put on some music, light some candles, kiss her neck...
"It's getting really hot in here," Lee said aloud, rolling down the window and forcing himself to think of something else. The thing was, Lee hadn't felt inclined to have too many 'date dates' lately. Am I getting old? he wondered.
Lost in his thoughts, Lee had lost track of time. He heard Amanda's front door open and saw her step outside. A breathy sound escaped Lee, something akin to, "Agh!" at the sight of her.
Amanda was wearing a simple red dress, but it was the way the dress looked on her that caught and held Lee's rapt attention. It was off the shoulder with long slender sleeves, very clingy but not tight, and stopped just above the knees. She wore the same sling-back black pumps she had on the night before. Her hair was in a french twist with several curly ringlets escaping around her neck.
As she neared Lee's car, Amanda noted the look on Lee's face, and she self-consciously gathered her black wrap around her shoulders.
"Hi, sorry it took me so long," Amanda said, glancing at her watch as she got into the car.
Lee was in shell-shock, staring at Amanda's legs as she situated herself and put her seatbelt on.
"Lee," Amanda interrupted into his thoughts, "Are you okay? I was asking if we'll be too late for the reservations?"
"Oh, ahhhh," Lee looked at his watch, then at Amanda's face. Time stood still for him again, and he swallowed hard. "No, it'll be okay, it's only eight ten," he choked out.
"Are you feeling okay?" Amanda reached over and pressed a cool hand to his forehead. Her touch just about sent him over the edge.
He reached up quickly and pulled her hand away in his, but kept hold of it. "I feel fine," he assured her.
"You seem a little jumpy and...flushed," Amanda noted. She was too observant for Lee's liking. He let go of her hand and turned away from her before she was able to make any other observations.
"No, no. I'm fine," Lee repeated.
They drove to the restaurant in silence. Amanda was wondering if Lee really wanted to be taking her out. They'd been out together before, as friends. Mostly for lunch, or after work. But this was...felt like...a date.
Well, silly, that's what it is, she told herself. She still couldn't figure out why Lee showed up at the auction and bid on her the way he did. That he didn't like the look of the other guy was a flimsy excuse, and didn't explain why he felt the need to show up in the first place.
It didn't even occur to Amanda that the real reason was that he was quickly losing a battle he was having with himself. Even his continued sideways glances at her didn't faze her. She knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he didn't have those kind of feelings for her. And why should he? She asked herself. He has a haram of women who are at his beck and call. He doesn't want a divorced housewife with two kids.
Lee was having the same discussion with himself. Even as he shifted his eyes to the right to see Amanda, he argued with himself. I don't need a housewife who has two little boys and a live-in mother! Amanda is not the type of woman I go for!
Still, he couldn't stop thinking about her, and her perfume was making him want to lean closer to her, touch her bare shoulder, trail a finger along her jawline...
Lee took a deep breath, which made Amanda look at him quizzically. "Here we are," Lee announced as he pulled into a parking space. He came around to her side and opened the door. He offered her his hand and she accepted it, stepping gracefully out of the car.
They walked into the Greek restaurant, Lee's hand on Amanda's back. They were seated at a corner table, somewhat secluded from the others.
Lee ordered a bottle of wine and the maitre'd disappeared. Amanda opened a menu and stifled a distressed cry when she glanced the prices. It made her distinctly uncomfortable that Lee expected her to order something off such a menu.
Clearing her throat, she asked him, "Do you eat here a lot?"
"Once in a while," Lee nodded, studying his own menu.
"Oh," Amanda replied. "I'm not all that familiar with Greek food, would you mind ordering for me?"
Lee looked at her and smiled. "Okay! They have this chicken, feta and tomato pasta you're going to love!"
"Sounds fabulous," Amanda smiled back at him.
Their eyes met and held for a moment. Neither spoke, smiled or moved. In that moment, neither had any thoughts. They were aware only of each other.
The waiter broke the silence. "Ah, lovers! Are you sure you want to order dinner tonight?" He asked in a Greek accent.
"Oh, we're not lovers," Lee exclaimed.
"We're just friends," Amanda said at the same time.
The waiter nodded condescendingly and muttered under his breath, "Lovers in denial," before saying, "Forgive me. What would you like tonight? Do you care to start with an appetizer?"
Lee ordered for them, and the waiter disappeared into the kitchen.
Glancing over at Amanda, Lee noticed that she was blushing and looking uncomfortabe as she concentrated on her wine glass. They had both heard the waiters under-the-breath remark, and both chose to ignore it.
Lee desperately sought for a safe topic of conversation. "So how was the little league game today?"
Grateful to have something safe to discuss, Amanda filled Lee in on the progression of the longest game in history. Lee loved how animated Amanda could be when telling a story.
Their salads and bread arrived, and they busied themselves eating for a moment. "Isn't this the best salad you've ever had?" Lee asked.
"It's great," Amanda agreed.
The conversation turned to work, and they discussed their most recent case together for a few minutes.
Amanda looked up and saw that Lee had a tiny piece of olive in the corner of his mouth.
"You have a..." she gestured at her own mouth.
Lee wiped with his napkin but missed it. Amanda reached up and rubbed his mouth lightly, and their eyes locked again. "There...got it," Amanda said, not taking her eyes off Lee. "Thanks," Lee muttered.
The waiter reappeared with their meals, and after setting them down, asked, "Can I get you anything else right now? More wine? Water? Oil and vinegar? Dose of reality?"
They both broke contact and looked at the waiter. Lee smiled sheepishly. "No, ahhh, this looks good," he said.
"Did he say 'dose of reality'?" Amanda asked. "What did he mean by that?"
Lee shrugged. "Beats me," he mumbled. He looked up to see the waiter gesturing toward their table, and moments later, a trio of musicians strolled over and began playing 'Isn't It Romantic', Greek style.
Amanda and Lee listened politely, each very embarassed and avoiding each other's eyes. When they'd gone, Lee broke the awkward moment by saying, "Dig in!"
They ate in relative silence for a few minutes. Lee stole a glance at Amanda. She was taking extremely small bites of food, something he knew she did when she was nervous.
How do I know her so well? He asked himself.
"Do you like it?" he asked her.
"Oh, it's delicious," she smiled.
"Good," he nodded in satisfaction.
Eventually, they finished their meals, and the waiter checked back on them, bringing a dessert cart. Lee ordered a rich looking dessert for them to share, and the waiter winked and gave Lee a knowing smile.
After delivering their dessert, the waiter went over to the trio again, and then announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. My friends are going to play a special song. It's tradition that when you hear the cymbals ring, you kiss your dinner companion. Do not offend us by not participating, eh? Have fun, all of you!"
The music began, and the trio played and danced around the room. Amanda was amazed they didn't knock into tables or the waiters and waitresses. Suddenly, a cymbal clang, and Lee leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. Surprised, Amanda laughed nervously. Lee smiled. She was so adorable.
The music played on and the cymbals clang again. "Your turn," Lee told her, tilting his face. Amanda hesitated, then leaned over and kissed Lee on the cheek.
The cymbals clashed a few more times, and each time they took turns kissing each other on the cheek. All the guests were having fun, clapping along, kissing and shouting out when the cymbals were hit.
As the music wrapped up, the loud clanging sounded once more, and Lee kissed Amanda squarely on the lips for a good five seconds. Stunned, Amanda picked up her wine glass and gulped down the remaining contents of her glass. No big deal, she thought. It was the music, he was supposed to kiss me.
Lee wanted to kiss Amanda again. Wanted it desperately. What am I doing? he asked himself, as he watched her down her wine. Did I upset her?
Amanda looked at Lee and smiled. "You better eat some dessert," she said. "Oh," Lee said, somewhat bewildered. I just kissed her, and all she can say is 'you better eat some dessert'?
The drive home was a quiet one, each of them lost in their own thoughts. Lee didn't want the night to end.
Once he had her back home, he walked her to her door. The house was dark and still.
"Well, thank you for dinner, Lee," Amanda said quietly.
"It was my pleasure," he told her sincerely as he stood on hr porch like an awkward teenager. Suddenly, he pulled her to him and kissed her lips lightly. Then he let her go.
At the look on Amanda's face, Lee thought fast. "Well, I couldn't end the date on a handshake, could I?" he said with a nervous smile.
"No...I guess not," Amanda agreed. "Well, goodnight," she turned and unlocked the front door.
"Goodnight, Amanda. You're worth every penny," he said, referring to the auction.
"Thanks," she said shyly, and closed the door. Once the door was closed, Amanda leaned against it, her knees weak. Oh, my gosh! was the only thought she could put into words.
Lee walked back to his car, lost in thought, remembering
that kiss. Well, you've done it now, Scarecrow. You're a goner, he acknowledged