Summary: Immediately prior to All the World's A Stage. Lee is learning to deal with his burgeoning feelings for Amanda.
Rating: PG to PG13, for wordplay.
Lee stepped out of Billy's office and glanced around for Amanda. Catching sight of her talking with Peter Fellows, he felt a jolt of unreasonable jealousy. Fists clenched at his sides, he resolutely made his way towards them.
"Hi, Lee," Betsy Flakes cooed as she sidled up to him.
He barely noticed, his attention focused on his partner. "Hi, Betty," he replied in an off-handed tone.
"Betsy!" she corrected him, and flounced away indignantly.
Amanda was laughing now, and Peter's chest was swelling like a warbler. "That's a good one," Amanda told him.
As Lee approached, he overheard Peter asking Amanda about her plans for the evening.
"Oh, um," Amanda paused and cleared her throat. "I really hadn't thought about it."
"Yeah? Well, would you think about going to dinner with me? I've been craving Italian," he informed her.
`Craving,' Lee thought. `You're craving Amanda, not Italian.'
He stepped up to Amanda's side and placed an arm around her shoulder. "Hiya, Peter," he grinned. He looked more like a wolf stalking a rabbit than a friendly co-worker.
"Oh, uh," Peter stammered, noting Lee's arm. "Hi, Scarecrow."
Lee didn't answer, but kept his eyes steely, and stepped closer to Amanda.
"I don't think I can make it tonight, Peter," Amanda told him with a small shrug.
Again, Lee tightened his possessive grip, moving his hand down on her arm. He found that he couldn't help himself. Amanda was *his* and his alone.
He was slightly surprised that she didn't pull away. `Maybe she wants to be possessed by me,' he thought, and immediately chastised himself for his macho male chauvinism.
"Yeah, well," Peter backed away from Lee's piercing gaze. "Maybe some other time. . .or not. Bye, Amanda. Later, Stetson."
Peter spun on his heel and quickly made his retreat out of the Bullpen. Glancing back, he saw that Lee was still giving him the evil eye. He offered a nervous smile and continued on his way.
"Good morning," Amanda patted Lee's arm.
"Good morning," he groused. She appeared not to even have noticed his caveman antics. Didn't she see how crazy for her he was?
"What's up for today?" she asked, blinking innocently at him.
"Craving," Lee blurted out. `Oh, Geez, where did that come from?' he asked himself, panicking.
"Excuse me?" Amanda asked, a spark of amusement twinkling in her brown eyes.
"Ah," Lee floundered. "Saving. We, uh, have to save some American citizens, like we do every day. You know."
"Oh," she replied, and nodded as if he made perfect sense.
Billy came over to the pair. "Do you two know if anyone brought in doughnuts today? I'm positively hankering after a glazed jelly."
"I don't know, Sir," Amanda shrugged. "I haven't seen any doughnuts around."
`Hankering, craving!' Lee's mind shouted. `What is going on with me?'
Billy pursed his lips and went on his way, in serious search for pink pastry boxes.
Amanda turned, and her skirt swished about her legs. Lee glanced down and noted that she wore a shorter skirt than usual today. It fell to slightly above her knees. He enjoyed the sight of her shapely calves as she gathered up some files.
She turned back to him, but his gaze remained focused on her legs. `Talk about a hankering,' he mused to himself.
"Lee?" Amanda queried for the third time. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, fine," he remarked, finally shifting his eyes upward to meet hers. "Why?"
"You seem a little preoccupied, is all," she told him. "Why don't we head up to the Q-Bureau so I can file these and then we can get on with whatever else we need to do."
In Lee's hazy mind, her words were translated into Stetsonese, and he heard something much different. He stared at her, knowing he'd misheard, not sure of how to respond.
"Lee," she laughed. "Maybe you should go back home and to bed."
`Oh, boy,' he thought nervously. "Amanda, I'll be right back!"
He turned from her and about sprinted to the nearest restroom. On his way, he overheard bits and pieces of conversation.
". . .What I *want* is. . ."
". . .Whatever your little heart *desires*. . ."
". . .I'm just *yearning* for. . ."
Pushing his way into the restroom, Lee rushed over to a sink and splashed cold water on his face. `Okay, Stetson,' he silently lectured. `You have *got* to tell her, and you have got to tell her soon!'
Thus resolved and feeling better for it, Lee headed back out to meet Amanda. She eyed him quizzically as he approached her.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah," he assured her, smiling. "I'm fine, now."
***** Two days later *****
Lee slowly pulled away from Amanda, having really kissed her for the first time. No case, no cover, no excuses.
Speechless, he simply stared into her eyes as they both absorbed the reality of their actions. They had crossed a previously erected boundary.
They had been building up to this for the longest time - really, ever since that first time at the train station.
Fleetingly, Lee wondered where he would have been had he grabbed some other civilian and pleaded for help. Knowing it didn't matter, he cast the thought aside, and leaned in to capture her lips again. Lips he'd been yearning for - for a very long time.