S is for 'Surprise'

By:  Kristin

Rating:  PG-13

Timeline:  Fall, 1991.  Lee and Amanda’s marriage is a public and open fact.  They are living in the house in Arlington.

Feedback:  Please!

Disclaimer:  The characters of Lee, Amanda, and other familiar faces belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot The Moon.  I promise to return them unharmed.

Summary:  Well, then, it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?

Author's Notes:  OK, so basically I cheated.  This is definitely more than a 5-minute read, but I figured since it was a romantic Lee and Amanda story, the protests wouldn’t be TOO vehement.

Fall, 1991

Amanda smiled as she watched her husband and sons through the window.  Whenever Philip came home from college for the weekend, her “fellas” had a tendency to go in for high-testosterone activities.  Today, they were playing football, and looking for all the world like they expected the Redskins in the backyard.  She watched, amused, as Jamie gamely went out for another pass from Lee, while Philip tried his best to block it.

The teams were a little uneven today.  Normally, she would have been out there with them, despite having lost her height advantage on her sons.  But today; well, for the past few weeks, really, she was feeling sort of blah, and had begged off wide receiver duty.

She sighed.  She hated missing out on playing with her boys, no matter that they were men now.  But her disappointment was forgotten as she observed the easy rapport between the 3 men in her life.  After a rocky start, Philip and Jamie had grown to love Lee as much as he loved them.  It had been great for them to have a man living with them day-to-day, and Amanda knew Lee was getting a chance to heal the wounds from his childhood by helping to raise her sons in a loving home.

She giggled to herself as the thought of the cool and detached Scarecrow she first met, and what he would have done had someone been able to tell him his future.  She was certain he would have run screaming from the room in horror.  Who could have guessed what a wonderful husband and father he would turn out to be?

She smiled.  “I could have guessed.  I DID guess.”  She was in the middle of congratulating herself on her astute judgment when a wave of fatigue rolled through her.  She moved with difficulty to the kitchen table and sat down, suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion.

Though she hadn’t mentioned it to Lee, who, she had discovered could be a real nudnik when she was sick, she was beginning to be just a little concerned about how tired she was feeling.  Initially, she had blamed it on the adjustment to her new job.  She and Lee had both been reassigned as supervising agents.  While she was grateful for the promotion, and the reduction of danger in their lives, the paperwork quotient had tripled.  And as much as she loved and respected Lee, no one would accuse her partner of organization, so a good deal of the daily tasks were falling on her shoulders.  Additionally, since her mother had married Captain Curt and moved into her own new home, both she and Lee had more responsibilities around the house.

But she couldn’t really believe that either the Agency work or the housework were causing this problem anymore.  As the thought it over, something occurred to her.  PMS!  That had to be it.  She always felt a little tired before her time of the month, which was due to happen on...

* * * * *

The sound of breaking glass brought Lee and the boys into the kitchen at a dead run.  They found Amanda sitting at the table, staring blankly at the shattered sugar bowl on the floor.  “I must have knocked it over,” she said weakly.  “Sorry.”

“Geez, Mom, what a klutz.” offered Jamie with a grin.  He and Philip went back outside, but Amanda grabbed Lee’s hand and pulled him close to her.

“What is it, Amanda?  Are you okay?”  He was puzzled.  She looked so...far away.

“I have an assignment for you, Scarecrow.  Covert operations.”

He smiled and wiggled his eyebrows.  “Oh, really?  And what is it you want of me, Mrs. Stetson?”

“I want you to go to the drugstore – NOW.”

* * * * *

They sat, side by side, on the bed, holding hands and trying to think of something to say.  Lee, who had possibly set the land speed record for a drugstore run, was elated, but he hesitated to express this to a wife who looked – well, stunned.  Early in their marriage, they had seriously considered this possibility, but when it hadn’t happened, they had sort of pushed it aside and focused their energies on the demands of raising the two sons they did have.  Now, in their early forties and moving ahead in their careers, he didn’t know how Amanda felt about this.  He only knew that from the moment she told him her suspicions, a part of his heart had started dancing.

He leaned over and kissed her cheek, then whispered, “I love you, Mrs. Stetson.”  To his amazement, she began to laugh, almost uncontrollably.

“AMANDA!”  He was shocked.  “What’s funny about that?”

She looked up at him, trying, and failing, to stop.  “Nothing’s funny about it.  That’s what got us into this, isn’t it?”

He grinned.  “Yes, I guess it is.  But why are you laughing?”

She spoke in a choked voice.  “The irony.  Labor Day.”

As he stared at his wife, tears forming in her eyes from the force of her outburst, realization struck Lee, and he and Amanda fell back on the bed, shaking with laughter.

Labor Day, 1991

It had been a long day, but Amanda was finally on her.  She had hoped to spend this holiday with Lee, quietly, but The Agency had other ideas.  A case she’d been working on had gone haywire, and she had to run in to help straighten out the mess.

As she pulled into the driveway, she felt herself begin to relax.  Home.  What a nice word.

She stepped into the house to total silence, a rare luxury.  Jamie and Philip were spending this weekend fishing with Joe and Carrie, so the quiet didn’t surprise her.  What did were the candles; seemingly hundreds of them, sending flickers of light in every direction.  As she contemplated the scene before her, she gasped in shock as she felt strong arms encircle her waist from behind, and her husband’s warm body pressed up to her back.

“I love that I can still sneak up on you.”  Lee admitted as he nuzzled her neck.

“I know it,” she said with a smile, as she ran her hands along his arms.  “You take a very wicked delight in startling me, Stetson.”

“True, but I have other wicked delights in mind for tonight.”  He turned her around to face him and pulled her close.  Their lips met, and Amanda felt, as always, surprise that his kiss could still cause her knees to tremble.  Lee was none too steady on his feet either by the time they came up for air.

His hands moved tantalizingly slowly as he unbuttoned her blouse and pushed it gently off her shoulders.  She buried her hands in his hair and kissed him, softly at first, then with more intent.  “I love you, Lee.” she breathed.

“I love you, Amanda.”  He stepped back slightly to admire her.  “You’re beautiful.”

She smiled sweetly and responded in kind, as she began to remove his shirt.  “You’re handsome.”

He gave her his best wolfish grin.  “Then what do you say, ma’am?  Will you give me a little of your time?”

“Just a little?” She raised her eyebrows in mock horror.  “I think we’ll need longer than that.”

“Well, then,” he chuckled, as he swept her up in his arms and headed for the stairs.  “We better get started right away.”

 * * * * *

Their laughter was beginning to subside, but they remained lying on the bed – it seemed appropriate under the circumstances.  As Lee begin to catch his breath, he looked over at Amanda, and a sense of pure joy filled his heart.  Quietly, gently, he laid his hand on her abdomen and began to caress it, tears in his eyes.  She looked over at his touch, and covered his large hand with her smaller one as their eyes met.  The reality of their situation sunk in, and two of the silliest grins ever seen lit up their faces as they lay together, staring into each other’s eyes.

From the bathroom came the shrill ring of the kitchen timer Lee had spirited upstairs along with the “covert” drugstore package.

Two of the country’s most respected agents clasped hands tightly, and practically skipped into the bathroom.  For a moment, there was total silence.  Then, they exclaimed in unison,


* * * * *

Epilogue, June, 1992

His palms were sweaty, so much so that the bouquet of sweetheart roses he carried were slipping.  He paused just outside the elevator doors to wipe his hands off and collect himself before heading down the hall.

He had thought he knew what love was.  He loved Amanda with everything he had; he loved Philip, Jamie, Dotty and Curt, even his uncle.  But the sense of overwhelming love he’d been feeling for the past 24 hours was unbelievable.  His heart was beating so fast he thought it would explode.

She’d proven once again just who the tough guy was in this family.  He’d been horrified at the pain she was in, and watched, amazed, as she struggled with it, then emerged, victorious and joyous, presenting him with the greatest gift he had ever received.  Neither of them had stopped smiling since.  He’d thought he couldn’t possibly love her more than he already did – he’d been wrong.

He grinned at the sight of her as he stepped into her room.  Surrounded by their family, a beatific smile on her gorgeous face, holding in her arms the product of their love, friendship, and partnership.

“Well, well, well,” he said, laughing.  “If it isn’t Miss Jennifer Leigh Stetson and her stunning Mommy.”

“Hi, Daddy.” Amanda said, waving Jenny’s tiny hand.  He leaned in to kiss his wife quickly, but couldn’t resist lingering for a more passionate moment.

“Oh, for God’s sake.” came Philip’s voice.  “Can’t you two cut it out for a minute?  We’re just getting used to you old folks having Jenny – don’t start working on the next one!”

Jamie and Dotty giggled at the blushes on both Lee and Amanda’s faces.

As he put his arms around his stepsons and gazed at his beautiful wife and daughter, a thought struck Lee.  He’d taken the long road, maybe not the easiest road, but he’d finally found the place he belonged.  Never in a million years would he have guessed it was in a house with a white picket fence and an owner with the biggest heart in the world.  What a surprise.