Time Line: End of the 4th Season
Rating: PG-13 for a little sex and violence
Disclaimer: The characters of Lee, Amanda, and other familiar faces belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot The Moon Enterprises. The story is mine; however, there are scenes which are paraphrased from the original series. I am making no money; just having a little fun.
Notes: The character of Gregory is a Russian spy who appeared
in two episodes of Season 3. This time he’s back, with a surprising
partner, and some damaging information about our heroes.
We see a warehouse in an apparently abandoned neighborhood. Inside,
in a makeshift “office”, is Gregory. He is speaking on thephone,
but we don’t know to whom.
Gregory: You’re certain that morning
is the best time to strike?
Voice: Absolutely. My source is impeccable. This is the time when they are the most vulnerable. Our orders are to go ahead as soon as preparations are complete.
Gregory: Then, it’s a go. We’re ready. They’ll be in our hands today.
Voice: Excellent. Our source will be most pleased.
Stetson apartment, approximately the same time
The sun is just coming up, and in the half-shadows, we can see 2 figures snuggled close together in bed – Lee and Amanda. Lee’s eyes open – he blinks, looks down at Amanda, and a mischievous grin crosses his face. His arms already around her, he tightens his grip. She moans and smiles slightly, but remains asleep. His eyebrows shoot up.
“A few months of marriage and already she’s ignoring me? We’ll just see about that”
He pulls her hair back from her face and kisses her cheek, moving down to her jaw and then her neck. We see (but he doesn’t) Amanda’s eyes pop open and her smile. She’s enjoying this sneak attack, and pretends to remain sleeping.
“OK, Amanda, now I mean business”
Lee kisses her shoulder and begins to turn her over towards him. Suddenly, Amanda grabs his hand and pushes him over onto his back, so she is lying on top of him, her hands entwined with his.
Amanda speaks in her most serious agent tone “OK, Stetson, what’s the meaning of this? Molesting a federal officer in her sleep? That’s a serious crime.” She leans over and kisses him on the nose.
Lee smiles “What are you going to do with me, ma’am?”
Amanda raises an eyebrow, trying to maintain her tough demeanor. “Good question, big fella. I’m thinking a heavy sentence....say, 50 or 60 years under house arrest with the toughest warden in town. She’s the mother of two teenagers – you won’t get away with much. Of course, she’s taken quite a liking to you, so I doubt she’ll ever let you go.”
Lee’s voice is husky as he whispers “She better not.”
Their hands still clasped together, he leans up and she leans down, and they kiss deeply. He brushes her hair away from her face and traces her cheekbone with his hand. She smiles and lowers herself to him for another kiss. He takes the opportunity to turn her back over onto her back, and smiles a wicked smile as he leans in.....
Later that morning....
Amanda and Lee are both now in robes, rooting around in the kitchen. He is making coffee as she sighs while examining the contents of his refrigerator.
“Lee, this is ridiculous. You still have a bachelor kitchen. What kind of breakfast can I make with wine and olives?”
Lee pretends to think this over. Suddenly, he seems struck by a great idea “Um...continental?”
“Very cute, Scarecrow. None too helpful, but cute.”
Lee puts his arms around her waist from behind, and buries his face in her hair. “I don’t need any breakfast; I don’t need anything but you, here in my arms. This is the happiest I have ever been”
She smiles and reaches up to touch his face with her hand “Me too”
They begin to kiss when both the kitchen window and door are broken in at once. Lee and Amanda find themselves facing two armed men in black clothing and ski masks. They exchange a worried look, as their attackers wordlessly push them out of the kitchen. Without warning, both Lee and Amanda are hit over the head with the guns. They fall to the floor, almost simultaneously.
Georgetown Entrance, IFF, 9:00 AM
Francine walks in, dressed to the nines as usual. She shows her ID to Mrs. Marsden and says “Eggplant”
Mrs. Marsden rolls her eyes “And a cheery good morning to you too, Francine”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Mrs. Marsden. I have a rather strange case that’s been preoccupying my mind. Actually, I was hoping Lee could give me some ideas. Is he upstairs?”
“No. I haven’t seen either Lee or Amanda since early yesterday. Maybe they have the day off.”
It’s Francine’s turn to roll her eyes. “Probably. They’ve both been so...distracted lately. I’ll check with Billy.” She heads for the elevator without another word.
Mrs. Marsden sighs and returns to her work.
Billy Melrose’s Office, IFF, 9:10 AM
Billy is pacing the office like an expectant father. “No, Francine, they don’t have the day off. I was hoping you knew where they were. They missed their 8:00 AM check in, and it’s not like either one of them to be so irresponsible. I’m going to call Lee right now and get them in here to explain themselves.
He dials and waits, growing more exasperated. Finally, he slams the phone down. Francine looks a bit worried “No answer?”
Billy shakes his head. “Nothing. Why don’t you call Amanda’s mother and see if she knows anything. If I call, she’ll just get mad at me as usual.”
Francine smiles “With your charming personality?” Billy’s face changes her mind about that remark. “Sorry, sir.” She picks up the phone and dials. We see Dotty at Amanda’s house. She answers the ringing telephone. “Hello?” Francine adopts her sweetest voice. “Hello, Mrs. West, this is Francine Desmond from IFF. Is Amanda there, please?”
Dotty looks upset. “No, Miss Desmond, she’s not. But you should know that. She’s off on location with Lee.....isn’t she?”
Francine is clearly taken aback. “Oh...oh, of course she is, Mrs. West. it’s just that the phones at our location aren’t working, and I thought maybe she’d come home early.
Dotty sighs. “Not lately, Miss Desmond, not lately. But when and if I do see my daughter, I’ll ask her to call you.
After thanking Dotty, Francine hangs up the phone. “Well, Billy, according to Amanda’s mother, she and Lee are on location again. Now what?”
Billy wipes his brow and hesitates only briefly before speaking. “Let’s get over to Lee’s apartment. Something’s not quite right.
They both exit in a hurry.
Warehouse Interior, 10:10 AM
Amanda, handcuffed and blindfolded, lies on her side, unconscious. She begins to stir, and pulls herself into a half-seated position. As she instinctively raises her hands to her head to rub the bump there, she realizes she has been captured. And she remembers. “Lee?” she cries. “Lee!”
Gregory comes up to her, smiling wickedly. “Now, now, Mrs. King, Lee’s not here. I won’t be foolish again. The two of you can’t be left together.”
Amanda knows the voice is familiar, but she is not sure why. “Hello? Listen, I don’t know who you are, or what you want, but...”
He interrupts her “What I want? Well, that’s simple, Mrs. King – or should I call you by your true name, Mrs. Stetson?”
Amanda’s head snaps up in shock and fear. She’s trying desperately to hold it together. “I....I don’t understand...”
Gregory smirks “Oh, I think you do. But I’ll make it crystal clear for you. You tell me what I want to know, and I won’t make you watch your husband die.”
**NOOOO! NOT LEE! OK, THINK, AMANDA, THINK. GO ALONG, BUY SOME TIME.**
Amanda nods. “OK. If I can help you, I will...but please...where’s Lee?”
“Not just yet. Let’s get started, shall we? The first question is easy. How did it start?”
**MAYBE IT’S THE BUMP ON MY HEAD, BUT I DON’T GET THIS**
“How did what start?” she asks
Gregory slaps her, hard. “Don’t play dumb with me, Mrs. Stetson. You and Scarecrow – HOW DID IT START?” The slap is too much for Amanda. She drifts off and tells her story, only in her own mind.
**HOW DID IT START? GOOD QUESTION. I’M NOT REALLY SURE MYSELF. I COULD TELL YOU WHERE I MET HIM, BUT SOMEHOW I THINK IT STARTED BEFORE THAT. I’VE NEVER REALLY UNDERSTOOD WHY HE CHOSE ME, OR BETTER YET, WHY I WENT ALONG WITH IT**
She remembers the train station. Clad only in her pajamas and an overcoat, she is suddenly grabbed by a handsome man in a waiter’s outfit. She tries to protest, but he looks at her desperately, and says, “Please. I’m in trouble. PLEASE.”
**MAYBE THAT’S WHERE “IT” STARTED, THAT ONE MOMENT WHEN OUR EYES MET. I JUST COULDN’T RESIST HIS EYES, EVEN THEN, BEFORE THEY OPENED UP TO ME. HE HAS SUCH INCREDIBLE EYES**
Warehouse Interior, In Another Room
Lee’s eyes are slowly adjusting to the dark. He’s been conscious for a few minutes, but remained silent, not knowing quite what he’s gotten into. And he’s looking everywhere, but he can’t find Amanda. He begins to struggle to his feet when he hears the sound of a gun cocking.
“Not so fast, Scarecrow” says a muffled voice from the dark. “She’s not here, and she won’t be breathing for long if you move again. Your wife, I mean. Now don’t look so shocked. You knew you couldn’t keep the secret much longer anyway. I’ll make you a deal – you’re fond of those. Tell me about you and your wife, and perhaps I’ll make her death a quick one. When exactly did you fall in love with her?”
Lee is stunned into silence by the terrifying thought of Amanda in pain. He’s got to get to her – but how? By sheer force of will and years of training, he draws into himself, not feeling the kicks and punches now being rained upon him by his captor.
**WHEN DID I FALL IN LOVE WITH HER? I SUPPOSE YOU COULD SAY BEFORE I EVEN KNEW SHE EXISTED. THERE WAS AN EMPTY SPACE IN MY HEART WITH HER NAME ON IT – SHE WAS IN BEFORE I KNEW IT, AND LONG BEFORE I COULD ADMIT IT**
Lee is taken back in time, almost to the beginning of their relationship. At his request, Amanda was pretending to be socialite Victoria Greenwich, and during the course of the case, she had been poisoned and left unconscious. He picked her up, and easily carried her down a flight of stairs into the parlor, interrupting the opera diva’s entertainment of Washington’s elite. He remembers feeling fiercely protective of her, but he didn’t know why....then.
Stetson Apartment, 10:00 AM
Billy and Francine, getting no response to their repeated knocking, let themselves in. Immediately, it is clear something is very wrong. The apartment is a disaster. They exchange a look and draw their guns. Each slides into a different room. They meet back in the living room.
Billy is grim. “The kitchen window’s been broken in, and there’s blood on the dining room carpet. This does not look good, Francine.”
Francine blushes slightly “The...the bed’s unmade, and well, sir...”
“Spit it out, Francine!”
“It’s obvious Lee did not sleep alone”
He is staring at her, stunned, when he notices something behind her. “Dammit!”
“Billy?” Francine asks, unsure which part of this is bothering him.
He points to the sofa. “I think that’s Amanda’s purse.” He crosses and begins to open it to check, when he notices something protruding. His eyes bulge. “Oh....oh, no....” He picks it up. A picture – Lee and Amanda’s one and only wedding picture. As he holds it up for Francine to stare at, bug-eyed, he realizes there is something written on the back.
One lonely scarecrow
Quite hard to catch
Meets the spy of his dreams
A perfect match
Two happy Scarecrows
Easy to snatch
If you ever want your Mr. and Mrs. Scarecrow back alive, wait at the Agency. You will be contacted.
Without a word, Francine and Billy head out the door.
Warehouse Interior, 10:40 AM
Amanda, still in her reverie, is smiling. Gregory is screaming at her and sporadically slapping her, with no effect.
**IT DOESN’T EVEN HURT ANYMORE, LEE.** now she hears his voice
“Oh, sweetheart, I’m sorry you have to go through this. I’m ok, and we will get out of this, whatever it is. Just think about the fun we’ve had, and hold on for me. Just hold on...Smile for me...”
Amanda’s mind is reeling. As always, Lee has given her strength. She starts remembering how often she has been able to make this seemingly stoic man laugh, albeit not always intentionally.
The groceries and the cab.
“For this, you don’t have to know how to hit”
“Who else do I know whose last words would be Oh My Gosh?”
And all the times he smiled or laughed just for her, not because he found her funny, but just because he was happy. **I MAKE HIM HAPPY** and she’s smiling.....
Not far away, Lee’s captor his given up on him. Lee is lost in the recesses of his mind.
**AMANDA, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? I WISH I COULD SEE YOU**
“But you can, Lee. Whenever you want. I was thinking, actually, that I owed you an apology.” **AN APOLOGY? FOR WHAT?** “You were right all along, Lee. I should have stayed in the car.”
Lee is now laughing, drawing further abuse from his captor. But he can’t feel it – he’s remembering all the times Amanda didn’t stay in the car, and thanking fate for that quality of hers which had saved his life so often. And for all the other qualities that had saved his future.
Dotty paces the kitchen. She stops to once again re-read Amanda’s note.
Had to take a quick overnight location
trip with Lee. We’ll be back by noon tomorrow.
Kiss the boys for me. My love to you all.
Dotty starts talking to herself. “She’s been so distracted lately...she and Lee probably just lost track of the time. Nothing new and different. So why is my heart going a mile a minute? Please, let my girl be OK”
She starts to softly sob, though she couldn’t tell you why.
Billy’s Office, IFF, 2:30 PM
Billy hangs up the phone. “Well, that’s it, Francine – our last hope. None of Lee’s family have any idea where they are. And they know nothing about any marriage.”
Francine, too, is just finishing a call. “Well, sir, the marriage is a fact. I just spoke to the justice of the peace in Marion. They were married on February 13th. Friday, February 13th. Oddly appropriate, don’t you think?”
Billy silences her with a look. Suddenly, the dates hit him and he jumps up out of his chair. “You realize, Francine, this means that the trip to California where Amanda was shot wasn’t their separate vacations – it was their honeymoon! No wonder Lee sounded like he did. Why the hell didn’t he just tell us?”
Francine contemplates “Sir...how long is it before Amanda gets her full agent status?”
Billy thinks for a minute. “Just about another month. In fact, Lee and I have been planning a big party for her.” He smiles.
“Well, sir, maybe that’s it. Once Amanda’s full-fledged, Dr. Smythe can’t fire her for breaking the fraternization rule, especially if she and Lee are already married. Lee and Amanda were probably waiting for her job to be secure before telling anyone.”
“Of course!” Billy cries. “Smythe has never been a member of their fan club, but between their success rate and Amanda’s new status, he couldn’t touch them then. One thing bothers me though – if they were able to keep this big a secret from us, and apparently from Amanda’s family, who knew?”
Francine shrugs. “I guess if we know that, we’ll know who’s got them.”
“Exactly” Billy sighs, “Francine, get back on the phone with that justice of the peace and find out if anyone else has been asking questions about Stetson and Ki...well, and Stetson, I guess.”
“Yes, sir.” She pauses. “Sir – my instincts must be off. There were signs all along, don’t you think?”
“Absolutely, Francine. Had we looked closer, the signs were all there.”
They remember a number of times where Lee and Amanda would hold hands for no apparent reason, where Lee would “direct” Amanda through the bullpen with his hand on the small of her back, and mostly, when Lee would go to any lengths, even treason, to protect Amanda.
Billy and Francine both speak at once, in something of a joint epiphany. “Nightcrawler!”
Warehouse Interior, 3:20 PM
Lee sits propped up against a concrete wall. His hands are bound behind him with tape. The room is still dark, but his eyes have adjusted and he is able to make out a man’s shadow in front of him and to his right. The person is unfamiliar to him, and yet his inner alarm is sounding. He suspects Amanda is being interrogated about the same topic he is – their personal relationship. A thought strikes him, **This entire situation is ironic. I fought so hard to deny my feelings, and now that I’ve finally admitted it, and married Amanda, I may have to hide it again – not to protect me, but her.**
He remembers all the times he tried to tell Amanda that their chemistry was all work-related.
-Their first kiss, at their faux wedding in San Angelo – the physical spark he felt when kissing her stunned him, and he tried so hard to downplay their already strong connection
-The Sacker case, when they had come so close to a kiss, only to be interrupted (as usual). It was just one of so many near misses for them, frustrating them both, scared as they were.
Lee can’t help but smile as he recalls Amanda’s saucy answer to his
usual litany of “just two people, trying to stay warm, blah, blah, blah.”
She grinned at him and said as she strode away, “Not exactly.” Lee
chuckled to himself
**Not exactly, my love. If ever I doubted that you were the brains and the heart of this outfit, that proved it once and for all. What a fool I was, thinking I could hide how I felt from you, who has always known my heart better than anyone. Thank goodness you hung in and put up with me long enough that I could apologize for my, what did you call it?, “attitude problem.” And I plan to spend every day of the rest of my life showing you just how much my “attitude” has changed, and just how much I love you. We will get out of this, whatever this is. If only to be able to hold you again, I will find a way, Amanda.**
Meanwhile, in another room, Amanda is thinking along the same lines. Her fears are much the same as Lee’s – they had thought it would be impossible for anyone to discover their secret marriage. Amanda, still blindfolded, is unable to see who is holding her prisoner, but she knows the voice is familiar, and if she can just figure out who, then maybe she’ll know why. And her thoughts, as always, are on the safety of her husband and her family.
**Oh, Lee, I pray that you’re safe. I keep thinking, if they know about us, do they know about my family too? And if Billy knows we’re missing, which he must, will he think to protect Mother and the boys without you to remind him? Did I ever tell you how much it meant to me that you have always looked to keep them safe? Joe is their father, but you have been more protective and loving of them without their knowledge than he ever was, even when he was a part of their daily lives. When you rescue us, as you always do, I promise to show you how much a part of my family life you really are. And I
Rough hands grab Amanda’s shoulders and force her to her feet. “Let’s go, Mrs. Stetson. Time to move to the next phase. Let’s see how tough you and your partner really are.”
Fear winds itself around Amanda’s heart. **Next phase? What now? Lee!**
In an office across town, an unseen figure, hidden by a huge leather chair, listens to a voice on the phone.
Voice – “We’re moving on now, sir. Phase 2 is about to begin, as per your instructions. I will contact you with the results.”
The figure in the chair says, barely audible, “Good.” As the phone
is hung up, a slight click can be heard, and a tendril of smoke rises above
Francine bursts in to find Billy with his head in his hands. He looks up in annoyed surprise. “Doesn’t anyone ever knock around here?”
Francine, almost involuntarily, takes a step back. “Sir, I’m sorry to disturb you, but..”
“Did you get the security team over to Amanda’s?”
“Yes, of course, sir, but there’s something else I think you should know...” She hesitates for a moment, wondering if perhaps she should have made someone else be the bad tidings bearer for a change.
Billy loses it. “Spit it out, Francine!”
She gulps. “OK, here’s the deal. We sent a couple of local agents over to the Marion justice of the peace. They took two books of mug shots – one with photos of the various enemy agents, terrorists, etc., who Lee and/or Amanda had a hand in arresting. The other had photo of Lee and Amanda’s known associates – family, friends, colleagues, including everyone affiliated with the Agency.
Billy sighs in exasperation. “Thanks for the exposition, Francine, now can you get to THE POINT!!”
“Yes, sir. The clerk identified two people. One from each book.”
Billy’s jaw drops open. “Who?”
She takes a breath. “Gregory, the Soviet agent, was identified
from the first book. From the second, it was
King House, 4:15 PM
“Mom! Grandma!” The thundering herd approaches, shaking the earth around them. You’d never guess it was just two adolescent boys making their daily homecoming.
Dotty smiles. “Philip, Jamie, I’m in the kitchen.”
The boys, sensing a snack in their immediate future, rush in. They begin speaking simultaneously, at a breakneck speed.
“Can I have some ice cream?”
“I got a B in Algebra!”
“We had a good soccer practice, I had an assist!”
“Is there any soda?”
“Can we make nachos?”
“Are Mom and Lee back yet?”
“Where are the marshmallows – I want hot chocolate!”
Dotty shakes her head in disbelief. “Boys, boys! Silence!” **I don’t know where they get this case of jabberjaw from** “OK, if memory serves, in order,”
“On her way, not until after dinner, good for you, Philip, way to go, Jamie, Yes, No, not yet, and only your mother knows for sure. Now, go upstairs and get started on your homework, and we’ll eat as soon as your mother gets here, OK?”
“OK,” they answer in unison, and run to grab sodas before barreling back out of the kitchen and storming up the stairs.
Dotty leans back against the fridge, exhausted. “Those two need to switch to decaf. As soon as Amanda gets home, I’ll talk to her about cutting back their sweets.” She walks to the front window and looks out, sighing. “As soon as she gets home.”
Dotty smiles to herself as she recalls some standard scenes of Philip and Jamie chaos. Amanda running around with laundry and sneakers and lunches and homework, they boys and their various school projects, little league adventures, holidays. **I wonder if she knows how much I admire the way she’s raising these boys? I’ll have to tell her – as soon as she gets home**
Warehouse Interior, 4:20 PM
Amanda, meanwhile, is wishing she was home. Really, she is wishing she was anywhere; the dentist, the gynecologist, doing her taxes; anywhere but here. She has been dragged into the same room as Lee, and shoved rather ungraciously to the floor. She can feel Lee’s presence in the room, but she is still handcuffed and blindfolded, and she is afraid to speak, not wishing to draw any more physical abuse. **Lee, I know you’re here. Please, let me know if you’re all right**
“Amanda.” His voice is such a relief that tears spring unbidden to her eyes. Her moment of joy is short-lived, however, when she hears the distinctive thud of fist on flesh, followed by Lee’s pained grunt.
“Shut up, Scarecrow, or the next one will be for your pretty wife.”
Lee flinches. “Ah, I see, you don’t want her bruised up. Well, good, then I expect you’ll tell me what I want to know. Let’s start with an easy one – what active cases are you involved in?”
Amanda lets out a slight cry as she is slapped. Now she’s mad. “Neither of us will tell you anything, no matter what.” She draws back as their captor crouches in front of her, just inches from her face. A rough hand traces her jaw. “Oh, Mrs. Stetson, I think there are a few things I could do to you that would make your husband tell me things I don’t want to know.”
Lee, now also blindfolded, cannot see what is being done to his wife, but he knows it can’t be anything he can stand. It takes every ounce of his restraint not to jump this bozo, whether or not he can win. A thought occurs to him – a way to stall for time. He and Amanda have been missing all day; someone has to be looking for them. “OK,” he says, to their captors’ shock and Amanda’s dismay. “Why don’t I tell you about the Farnsworth case?”
**The Farnsworth case? What on earth is he talking about? There’s no such thing as the Farnsworth case** Amanda suddenly sees the light. **Of course, my brilliant husband. Let’s play along until we can figure something out.**
“Farnsworth is the name of a missile currently in development by the United Kingdom.” Lee continues, “Top secret, with new distance and pinpointing capabilities. We discovered a plot to steal the plans about a month ago, right, Amanda?” **Come one, baby, give us a good ramble. I need a black-belt confuser right now like you can’t believe**
Amanda picks up the cue. “No, Lee, you’re wrong, it was six weeks ago. I remember because I had just started my class in interrogation techniques and you were helping me with Option C, and that’s when we got that telex from London, remember?”
Lee has to fight the urge to smile. **Option C, my sweet, pure, wife, is certainly not something to be discussed in mixed company**
Amanda’s still going. “You were saying how these telex machines are too noisy, and I was reminding you about how lucky we are to have this new technology, because you have to admit, whoever thought that up was pretty creative, and that’s when we started working on finding out who was trying to steal the Farnsworth plans. Although, we may have had lunch first – was that the day we went to Nedlinger’s or did we order in? Anyway...”
Gregory, sitting in the shadows, has had quite enough of this. He has seen Mrs. King’s distraction “technique” take out more experienced agents than the Neanderthal he has for an assistant. He is about to take the violence up a notch, heading towards Amanda with a leather strap, when the phone rings.
Voice: “Gregory, stop what you’re doing and call me from
a secure line.”
Voice: “Right now. We have a problem – our source is in danger of discovery.”
Gregory: “I’ll get back to you in 5 minutes”
He hangs up the phone and nods to his henchman. “I have urgent matters to attend to. We’ll get back to the Stetsons shortly. For now, guard the door. I’ll be back.”
Both men exit the room.
Interrogation Room, IFF, 4:30 PM
A figure, whose face is not visible, sits at the table. Francine and Billy are both livid, pacing wildly around the room.
Francine speaks first, “How on earth could you have thought this was just a regular assignment? You’re not part of our security team – you don’t do background checks!”
Billy joins in “And, you would NEVER be asked to check out fellow agents unless I knew about it. So, now, tell me, who told you to do this?”
Efraim Beaman, clearly shaken, answers slowly. “I – I can’t tell you, Mr. Melrose. It’s a m-m-matter of national security.”
Francine and Billy come to a sudden, if not wholly shocking, realization.
They stare at each other, realizing now what they and the Stetsons are
Dotty, busily preparing dinner, keeps checking her watch every few seconds. Finally, she sighs and puts down the spoon she’s been stirring with. Turning the heat down under her famous spaghetti sauce, she heads to the phone with a determined look. She dials the “special number” Amanda gave her.
At IFF, the phone on Amanda’s desk in the Q Bureau rings, but no one is there to answer it. After several rings, it is forwarded to Francine’s desk, where she sits surrounded by papers and files. She glances up to see who is bothering her, and, distracted, answers, “Q Bureau.”
“What?” Dotty says. “Haven’t I reached IFF?”
“Oh, yes, ma’am.” Francine recovers quickly. “May I help you?”
“I most certainly hope so. This is Dorothea West, and it’s urgent that I reach my daughter, Amanda King.”
Francine sighs. “If you could hold the line, Mrs. West.” She presses the hold button, despite Dotty’s rather loud protests, and picks up another line to call Billy, when the phone rings again.
She hears Billy’s all-too-familiar bark. “Francine, get in my office right away. We’ve got a line on where Lee and Amanda are being held.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll be right there.” She grabs her jacket and purse, and runs out the door, completely forgetting about Dotty.
Warehouse Interior, 5:00 PM
After Gregory and the guard leave, Lee and Amanda exchange a look.
Lee speaks first, “Let’s not be waiting here when he gets back.”
“Good plan,” Amanda agrees. “Let me just get out of these handcuffs and we’re on our way.”
“Listen to you! You’re just going to “get out” of those handcuffs, no problem, huh? Not that I doubt your skills, it’s just that I remember what you’re wearing under that robe, and there’s no place to hide a lock pick.” Lee is giving Amanda quite a bemused look.
She rolls her eyes at him. “Lee, does the word underwire mean anything to you?”
“Well, it’s about to. This particular teddy has underwire cups and if I can get one of the wires out, we’re outta here.”
Lee gives her a look of utter confusion. “Just what are they teaching you in escape classes anyway? And what are you doing?”
“The underwire is in the bra part, Lee. I have to get it out.” Amanda is trying desperately to remove the wire with her handcuffed hands, and from an outside perspective, it looks an awful lot like she’s feeling herself up.
Lee is now biting his lip to keep from laughing. “Need any help, honey?”
Amanda shoots him that wifely “Don’t mess with me” look, and then smiles. “Maybe I should let you. After all, if Francine and Billy are going to rescue us, they’d be sure to show up when you have your hands in my bra. Wait a minute, I think I’ve got it....Yes!” She proudly holds up a curved thin wire with tapered ends. Lee watches in amazement as she uses it to pick the lock on her handcuffs. She walks over and begins working on the tape binding Lee’s hands. When he’s freed, he smiles at her.
“Amanda, I will get us out of this if you promise to show me that trick later.”
A moment later, the guard outside the door is surprised to hear the Stetson woman screaming. “HELP! HELP!” He figures he better get in there and shut her up before Gregory gets back. He sighs, then opens the door and pokes his head in to tell her to be quiet. Just as he does so, the door slams on his head, and Lee pulls him into the room and punches him squarely in the face. The guard slumps to the floor, unconscious. Lee uses Amanda’s handcuffs to secure him, then looks up at her and smiles. “We still got it.”
She laughs delightedly and runs to kneel next to him and throw her arms around him. “Oh, yeah, we got it. And when we get out of here, I’m gonna remind you what to do with it!”
“Amanda Stetson, I am shocked!” he raises his eyebrows.
“Oh, no, you’re not.”
“You’re right – I’m not.” He leans in to kiss her when the door bursts open, causing them both to attempt to jump back. Unfortunately, since they were kneeling, this effort simply knocks them to the floor in a heap with the guard. They both wince, expecting to hear gunshots or screaming, or both. What they do hear shocks them.
“Oh, look, Billy, they found time for romance even in captivity. How sweet!” Francine rolls her eyes, but can’t help smiling with relief. Billy, gun drawn, comes up to her side and joins her in a smile. “Well, well, Scarecrow, I’ll have to remember to ask you about this later” he says, “but right now, let’s get you two out of here and back to the Agency.”
Amanda and Lee exchange a look of confusion, then he hops up and helps
her to her feet. “Sounds like a plan, Billy.” The foursome
departs as other agents enter to take the guard into custody.
Doc McJohn’s Office, IFF, 6:15 PM
Amanda is talking on the phone, holding an icebag to the other side of her face. “Mother, I know that you worry, there was just no way to get to a phone. They took the film equipment, and left us with a flat tire.”
“Darling, are you and Lee OK?”
“We’re fine, Mother, just a little banged up in the robbery. I need to go now, though. My boss has a lot of questions.”
Dotty lets out a sigh. “Amanda, I have a lot of questions.”
“Oh, I know you do, Mother, and Lee and I will answer them when he brings me home. I love you. Bye-bye.” Across the room, Lee’s head pops up at the sound of his name. Billy tries to suppress a laugh, and fails. “Welcome to marriage, Scarecrow.” Lee gives him a withering look.
Francine pipes up, “Amanda, really. A gang of roving camera thieves. Does your mother actually buy this stuff?”
Amanda sighs. “I don’t know, Francine, but since I can’t tell her what really happened, it’s the best I can do. I, however, would like to know what happened. Sir?” she looks at Billy.
Just then, the door opens and Dr. Smythe enters. “Howdy, kids. Doc, how are they doing?” Doc McJohn, who’s been tending to Lee, looks up. “They’ll be fine, sir. No concussions or permanent damage.”
“Glad to hear it. We wouldn’t want our crack agent and our crack soccer mom out of the field, now would we?” He inhales from his cigarette and laughs, not noticing the two agents that have entered the room and are standing behind him.
Billy smiles. “Dr. Smythe, you are under arrest for the kidnapping of Lee and Amanda Stetson, not to mention treason. We’ll see you at trial. Ciao!”
The two agents remove a stunned Dr. Smythe from the room as Lee and Amanda try to pick their jaws up off the floor. They speak simultaneously. “DR. SMYTHE?!?”
Billy nods. “Yes. He wanted to prove that your partnership should be terminated – he’s wanted that since the Addi Birol case. He’s been monitoring all public records for the names Stetson and King. When he saw the marriage certificate, he sent Beaman to confirm it. He knew he couldn’t use any Agency people to kidnap you, so he threw in with Gregory, promising leniency next time we capture a Soviet agent. Of course, now he and Gregory will be sharing a jail cell.”
Amanda interrupts, puzzled. “But how did he convince Efraim to help him? I mean, I know he’s not a fan of my, um, unconventional style, but I can’t imagine Efraim would want to hurt me or Lee.”
Francine answers. “Amanda, Efraim is only dangerous once a year, and that involves his libido. Smythe convinced him that your marriage was related to a case, involving national security. He’s a desk jockey, looking for a chance at field work. He believed it because he wanted to.”
Lee snorts, “Great. It took Smythe one shot to get Beaman to commit treason. So, what’s going to happen to him?”
Billy shakes his head. “He’s a good teacher, and a good man, but he’ll be demoted and under severe restrictions for a while. He also is more than a little nervous about running into you in the halls, Lee,”
Lee interrupts. “As well he should be.”
“And so,” Billy continues, “he’ll be working in our New York office. I expect we won’t be throwing him a going-away party.”
“Not likely” Francine says with a smirk. “At least from now on, I won’t have to wear full body armor to the Christmas party.”
Amanda laughs. “I know you’re thrilled about that, Francine, but this presents me with a problem. Efraim was supposed to certify me as a full agent next month. Now what do I do?”
“A-ha!” Billy grins “Now I get to deliver some good news. You were close enough to full status anyway, and considering you withstood the interrogation of professionals without revealing any, uh, classified information, I have been cleared to certify you today. Congratulations, Amanda!”
Lee jumps up and hugs her. “Way to go! Now we’re full partners.”
Francine gives a wicked smile. “Ah, yes, speaking of which – you may be a full agent, Amanda, but you’re in a lot of trouble.” At Amanda’s shocked look, she continues. “Word has gotten around about your marriage, and all the Agency employees are pretty steamed at you. The women, for taking Lee off the market, and the men, because they didn’t get to watch the Scarecrow fall.”
“Oh, they’ll get their chance.” Lee smiles
“What!?” Amanda says
Lee puts his hands on her shoulders. “I think we’ve learned today that a secret marriage doesn’t make us any safer. Once the boys are ready, we can have a real wedding and invite everyone. What do you say, Amanda? Will you marry me again?”
Amanda laughs. “Oh, why not? Third time’s the charm.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Amanda.” Francine interjects. “Number 2 was legally binding. I checked.”
Billy, exasperated, interrupts. “Can it, Francine. Congratulations, you two. I knew it all along.” he grins to himself “But we still have a piece of business to conduct. Amanda, now that you’re a full agent, you’ll need a code name. Mrs. King is apparently no longer accurate, and Mrs. Stetson might be too confusing, so...any ideas what you want it to be?”
Lee grins. “I know – I have it picked out already. With your permission, Billy, and if you like it, Amanda – what do you think about Ruby?”
“Ruby?” Amanda questions. “Where did that come from?”
Lee leans in to whisper in her ear. “The movie – the ruby slippers were the way home. Right in plain sight all along. And that’s you – my way home.”
She smiles and kisses his cheek. “I love it. Sir?”
Billy agrees. “It’s perfect.”
Lee whispers again. “Perfect. Just like us.” He kisses Amanda lightly.
Francine, meanwhile, is going for the roll your eyes Olympic gold. “Oh, man, is this gonna get old quick.”
Billy, Lee, and Amanda exchange an amused glance before speaking in unison. “Can it, Francine!”
“Oh, come on,” she protests. “Give me a little credit. I haven’t said one word about Amanda’s, er, attire.”
Lee and Amanda look at each other, and can’t control their laughter,
as Billy and Francine join in.
King House, later that evening
Lee and Amanda are sitting on the couch in the den, snuggled close together, looking worn out. Unfortunately for them, Dotty waited up, and they were forced to endure quite an interrogation. She now knows that they are “engaged”, and that they will tell the boys as soon as they think they’re ready to hear it.
Lee absently caresses Amanda’s upper arm with his thumb. “Gregory should take a lesson from your mother. She’s got quite a gift.”
“Mmm-hmm” Amanda sighs “Runs in the family.”
He grins and kisses her lightly. “I’m glad to finally have everything out in the open. Now we can have a real wedding and start living like a real family.”
“Oh, yeah, we’re Ward and June Cleaver reincarnate.”
“Nah, you’re cuter than June. Besides, I’m serious. We’ll all be safer under one roof, and I’m looking forward to waking up with you every morning.”
“Me, too. It’s a big relief to have laid all our cards on the table. Let’s make a deal, OK? No more secrets.” Amanda offers up her pinky for swearing purposes.
Lee locks pinkies with her and kisses her nose for good measure. “No more secrets.”
“Amanda,” Dotty’s voice is heard from upstairs.
“What’s a Q Bureau?”
Lee and Amanda cover their mouths to suppress their laughter and Amanda
whispers to Lee, “Well, OK, one secret.”