Title: R is for Renewal
Disclaimer: Scarecrow and
Mrs. King and all it's characters belong to Warner
Bros. and Shoot The Moon Enterprises Ltd.
I'm just borrowing them, since THEY
won't do anything with them anymore, for
my pleasure and hopefully yours! The
story is completely my own. Any
resemblance to any other fanfic or one of the
episodes is entirely unintentional except
for references to
'The First Time', written by Eugenie Ross-Leming
and Brad Buckner; 'Over the Limit', written by Tom Roplewski; and a few
paraphrased lines from 'The Eyes
Have it', written by Lynne Kelsey; 'Nightcrawler',
written by George Geiger;
and 'Stemwinder I & II', written by Robert W.
Gilmer and George Geiger.
"How Do I Live" written by Diane Warren, sung by Trisha Yearwood, and "Shameless" by Billy Joel. No infringement intended.
Summary: A time for renewal. Total fluff.
Timeline: August 13, 1989-Two years and six months after the secret marriage. Marriage has been public knowledge for eight months. Everyone knows everything. Well, as much as you can in a *need to know* world. Fits into my *Where've You Been* Universe.
Feedback: Sure, constructive criticism accepted with a very open mind, on list or off, I could use the help. Flames will be used to light my husband's cigarettes as he is always losing his lighters. (If I don't get many flames maybe he'll quit!)
Thanks: Huge thanks and cyber-chocolate to my friend and beta, Kathy. Your support, brainstorming, and correction have been and will continue to be priceless and unquestionably the reason this part of my little tale is so much better than it started out. It has been an absolutely incredible *working* relationship. You have my undying gratitude. (Could I throw in my last-born, too?!)
Notes: Just another moment in my version of Lee and Amanda's life. Hopefully when I'm all done with these they fit together believably. Oh, I took some creative license with the backyard/gazebo. Heaven knows the original writers did.
********* Represents a shift back in time.
Archive: SMKfiction, FF.net and SMKfanfiction.
Written by: MusicBox a.k.a., Momm2five, Laura
4:00 PM-- August 13, 1989--4247 Maplewood Drive--Arlington, VA
Lee Stetson stood under the tree in his backyard, shifting his weight from foot to foot. He barely registered the dozen or so people who were standing a few feet away. 'Why am I so nervous?' Lee thought with a slight shake of his head. 'It's not like I haven't done this before.' Soft music started and he looked toward the house as Dotty began walking toward him. She was fidgeting with her flowers and smiling anxiously at the guests. 'She's as nervous as I am' Lee smiled. The thought comforted him somehow; although he doubted it was for the same reasons. His mother-in-law had been fretting over details for the last six months and he knew she wanted everything to be perfect today.
Dotty stopped in front of
Lee with a smile, leaned up on tiptoe to kiss him
on the cheek, and proceeded to her place
near the small arbor they had set up
beneath the tree house. The music changed
and Lee once again found his eyes
drawn to the rear of the house. He wiped his
hands restlessly on the legs of
his tuxedo pants as the rest of the guests
turned to watch his wife, escorted
by Phillip and Jamie, walk toward him.
About eight months earlier they had decided it was time to come clean about their mystery marriage and secret life. Lee had never felt so relieved. Some radical French-Canadians in Quebec had held him hostage for almost a week, and both he and Amanda had thought they'd never see each other again. After his release from a hospital in Montreal, and their return to DC, they had gathered Amanda's family, Billy and Jeannie, and Francine to make their announcement. Now here they were renewing their vows in front of their friends and family. And it had been his idea. Amanda had been fine with simply telling everyone and moving on with their new life. Lee, on the other hand, wanted everyone to know how serious he was about this woman and her family -- their family. He had surprised Amanda and delighted Dotty with his idea.
"Amanda," Lee sighed quietly, "I don't think you understand. I didn't suggest it because I thought it was what you wanted." He looked across the kitchen table and met her gaze with the same intensity as the day he had asked her to help him at the train station. "Believe it or not, this is something I want to do."
Dotty was fairly bouncing in her seat at his admission. Lee knew his mother-in-law; she wasn't about to let her daughter ruin the last chance she had at arranging a wedding. His thoughts were confirmed when she joined in their conversation.
"Darling, I think the man has a point here. You really should listen to him, you know. It's a wonderful idea." She walked up behind her daughter and patted her shoulder. "I like his way of thinking."
"Mo-ther," Amanda groaned, dropping her head into her hands. Lee smiled, knowing his wife, pretending to be irritated with him, would confront him later. He and Dotty had formed somewhat of an alliance when it came to Amanda. She had reprimanded him more than once for *ganging up* on her with Dotty, but he knew how happy she was that he and her mother got along so well.
After a moment, Amanda looked up and locked eyes with him. "Lee, you don't have anything to prove." She reached across the table and covered his hand with her own. "We've been married for over two years. I really think you've made your point and shown that you're serious about me . . ." she looked around the kitchen briefly and gestured toward the stairs. "About us."
"Amanda," he sighed. "I know how I feel. You know how I feel. So do the boys, your mother, and Billy. But no one else really does. They think they know how Scarecrow feels." He glanced down at their joined hands and sighed again, looking back up at her. "I want everyone to know how Lee Stetson feels." He turned his hand over and entwined his fingers with hers. "Last time it was just the two of us. No one else heard our promises to each other. I want to make those promises in front of witnesses this time." His eyes had never left Amanda's as he lifted her hand to his lips.
Out of the corner of his eye, Lee saw Dotty dabbing at her eyes with a napkin. She sighed and said, "Well, if I didn't know before, I sure do now. Oh, Amanda, how can you deny this poor man the pleasure of showing everyone how much he loves you?" Amanda rolled her eyes and shook her head, a small smile coming to her lips. With a sigh, she leaned over the table and brought her face within centimeters of her husband's.
"I think a wedding is a wonderful idea. Not every woman gets to marry the man of her dreams twice." With a wink she leaned closer to him and touched her lips to his briefly before turning and heading for the den.
And so he had won. How, he didn't know. It must have been Dotty.
Lee looked down at Amanda and smiled. "You look beautiful," he whispered, taking her hands in his. He could barely resist the urge to kiss her, but he knew it was too soon in the ceremony, so he settled for lifting her hands to his lips and kissing the back of first one hand and then the other. His gaze traveled down to her dress and he smiled in recognition. She had made it from
the same pattern as the black dress Lee had admired years ago; the only difference was the color. This dress was white, with glittering rhinestones on the straps instead of the pearl buttons that adorned the original. The fact that it was the same dress was not lost on Lee. It had been an integral part of his realization that his feelings for his partner ran deeper than simple friendship.
Amanda and Dotty had
managed to keep the wedding dress a
secret until this moment. He simply
stared at Amanda through the beginning of
the ceremony, lost in his memories,
nearly failing to catch what the minister
was saying. Somewhere in the fog his mind
registered the question posed to
"Do you, Lee, take Amanda to be your wife?"
Lee broke into a huge, dimpled grin. "I sure do," he breathed.
A few of their guests chuckled and he watched as Dotty dabbed at her eyes with a wadded up Kleenex.
"And do you, Amanda, take Lee to be your husband?"
"I do." Amanda answered with a smile.
The minister looked to the guests and said, "Lee and Amanda have prepared their own vows for this ceremony and they'd like to share them with you now." He nodded to Lee and stepped back.
Lee cleared his throat nervously and shifted his weight from his left foot to his right. Taking a deep breath, he looked down at his feet and closed his eyes. After a moment, he looked into Amanda's eyes, smiled, and squeezed her hands.
"I love you, Amanda," he started slowly. "You're my world, my heart, my soul. You've given me something I have wanted, needed, since I was a little boy. Something I had buried the need for so deep within me that I convinced myself I had forgotten about it. You wound your love around my heart and had the patience to wait for me to slowly realize it."
Lee shook his head slightly and gave a short laugh. "So very, very slowly." Smiling, he looked into Amanda's eyes, squeezed her hands, and continued, speaking so quietly the guests had to strain to hear his words. "You wore down the defenses I worked so hard to keep up. You were my best friend, my strongest ally, and finally, my life. I fought it so hard. I didn't want to need you . . . didn't want to admit what I felt every time I looked in your eyes or took your hand. I've never in my life found anything I couldn't resist. I could walk away from anyone and everything I've ever known. But not you. I couldn't walk away from you. For the first time in my life, I had no control over my emotions."
smiled again as she reached up and wiped
away the tear that had escaped and
was trailing down his cheek. "I gave you my
heart years ago. Unfortunately, I
didn't tell you I had." He shook his head slowly
before continuing. "Thank
God for your patience, your friendship, your
loyalty," he paused for a moment
and winked at her, "your stubbornness."
"Amanda Stetson, you are the best, the bravest, the smartest, most beautiful woman I have ever known." Lee smiled as he saw the recognition of his words in her eyes. "Two years ago I promised to love you, honor you, and cherish you. But I did it all wrong." Amanda opened her mouth to speak but Lee wasn't about to let her interrupt him. He placed a finger over her lips and shook his head. "No" he whispered, then took a deep breath and continued. "The last eight months have been better than I ever dreamed my life could be. You've given me a family, a home, a reason to be careful, a reason to be alive. The promise I made you then isn't enough this time. This time I want everyone to know how I feel about you, and your family. I promise to love, to protect, and to cherish your family as my own. I promise to be your biggest fan and your best friend. And I promise to love you, Amanda, with everything I am, as long as my heart is beating."
Lee kissed Amanda softly on the forehead and smiled against her skin as he heard Dotty sniffle loudly. Lowering his forehead to rest on hers, he whispered to his wife, "Your turn."
"Wow, I don't think I can top that one," Amanda whispered in reply, looking up to him with misty eyes and a tender smile. She cleared her throat, never taking her eyes off of the man to whom she owed her very life.
"Lee, you are my best friend, my love, and my life. You make me feel like the only woman in the world. There were times I thought you'd never feel the same way I had begun to feel and times I was sure you did, even if you didn't want me or anyone else to know. For a while there, you sure kept me guessing. There were times I never believed I'd be lucky enough to capture your heart and soul the way you captured mine. Your devotion and support still take me by surprise. You have helped me become the woman I am today, and you've helped our sons become confident young men, putting all of our needs before your own. We're the luckiest two people on the face of the earth." Amanda's voice broke slightly as she saw Lee's smile widen, his eyes brimming with tears.
"The first time I looked in your eyes, there on the platform at the train station, I knew I'd never be able to say no to you. I felt a connection with you at that very moment. Oh, you frustrated me something fierce for most of the first two years we knew each other, but I knew," she reached out with one hand and placed it on his heart. "I knew deep down inside, behind that wall you'd built up, somewhere, Lee was hiding." Amanda's eyes still had not left his. She smiled again as Lee reached up and covered her hand with his. "We're meant to be together. To share the rest of our lives with each other . . .the good and the not so good. I'd be lost if I lost you. All those times you questioned whether or not you were right to involve me in your life," she closed her eyes and shook her head. "It wasn't your choice. It wasn't even mine. We were brought together to complete each other. I love you, Lee Stetson, with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul. I promise to comfort you, care for you, stand by you, and love you for the rest of my life."
The minister cleared his throat and stepped back up to Lee and Amanda.
"By the power vested in me by the commonwealth of Virginia, I pronounce you husband and wife . . . again," he said with a grin. He tipped his head toward Lee and winked. "You may kiss the bride."
Lee let go of Amanda's hand and took her face in his hands, brushing away the tear that rolled silently down her cheek. He tilted her chin up and smiled at her softly. "I love you Mrs. Stetson. Always," he whispered, as he leaned in and kissed her. As they deepened the kiss, Lee slid one arm around her waist and pulled her closer. He vaguely heard snickering over his left shoulder and felt a tap, tap, tap on his right. Breaking off the kiss, he realized they had forgotten about their audience. Amanda blushed and Lee turned sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders at the small group of family and friends.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mrs. Lee Stetson." The minister announced.
A cheer and applause rose from the backyard as Lee took Amanda's hand and led her back up the aisle through a shower of rice toward the house. Pulling her in the back door, Lee turned around and closed the door, locking it as he pressed Amanda between himself and the wall.
Lee leaned on the wall, one hand on each side of Amanda and whispered huskily, "What do you say we skip the reception and get an early start on our honeymoon? You know, I was deprived of a real honeymoon last time."
Amanda smiled as she slid out from under his arms and stepped away from him. She turned around to see Lee drop his head dejectedly to his chest and push himself off the wall. He turned to face her and sighed.
"And I was deprived of a real wedding reception last time, Mr. Stetson," she said with a wink, brushing grains of rice out of her hair. "We need to stay and eat and mingle with our guests. Then we can leave." Amanda took a slow step toward her husband and placed her hands on his chest. "You'll get your honeymoon this time." She leaned up and kissed him, pulling back just as he began to respond. "I promise." She grabbed his hand and gave a slight tug as she turned toward the door. With a grin, she glanced over her shoulder at him and said, "Come on, our guests will wonder what we're doing."
With a snort, he tightened his grip on her hand and pulled her back to him, her back pressed up against his chest. Dropping his head to her shoulder, he whispered in her ear. "No, Mrs. Stetson, I think they'll know exactly what we're up to." He felt her relax in his arms as he trailed kisses up her neck to just behind her ear, then groaned as she pulled away and turned to face him again, not letting go of his hand. He took a step toward her but she pressed a finger against his chest to keep him from advancing on her further. He squeezed his eyes closed and ran his free hand through his hair. "Amanda . . . " He pleaded, her name sounding more like a groan.
She smiled mischievously as she interrupted him. "You owe me a wedding reception, Stetson, and I intend to collect. Right now." Amanda had moved another step back toward the door. "Come on, big fella. Let's get this show on the road." Lee watched her as she reached back, unlocked the door, and pulled him out into the bright sunshine to join their guests in the celebration. He was glad she hadn't taken him seriously. There was still a surprise or two waiting for her this evening and to throw her off, he needed to act as 'normal' as possible.
He pulled the door shut behind him, glancing at his watch in the process. "You have three hours, that's it. Not one second longer. And then you're mine for the next week." As a group of well wishers approached, she turned around to face him, running a hand slowly up the front of his white tuxedo jacket. He took a deep breath and prepared himself for what he knew was coming. She had been trying to get their destination out of him for weeks.
Standing on tiptoe, she whispered in his ear. "I don't suppose you're going to tell me where we're going yet?"
Lee tried to suppress the shiver that ran down his spine at the feel of her breath on his ear. He grinned at her and shook his head. "Not a chance. Unless, of course, you intend to take me back in the house and interrogate me . . . "
Amanda laughed up at him. "Not a chance." She responded with a wink.
4:55PM--August 13, 1989--4247 Maplewood Drive--Arlington, VA
Lee took in the scene before him with contentment. Friends and family surrounded them, and the woman at his side, holding his hand as if she would never let go, was finally, publicly his wife. A slow smile spread across his face as he accepted hugs and words of congratulations. This was how it should have been all along. No secrets, no lying, and no mystery.
Sliding his arm around Amanda's waist, he drew her close against his side. "When are we going to eat?" he whispered in her ear. "I'm starving."
Amanda looked up at him with a brilliant smile. "Whenever you're ready, Mother and Francine have the food set up in the gazebo. And, being the guests of honor, we get to eat first."
"Does that mean we get to leave first, too?" Lee raised an eyebrow at Amanda and leaned in for a slow, deep kiss.
After a moment, Amanda reluctantly pulled away. The small group of guests had broken into a round of applause at their kiss and Amanda blushed, ducking her head. "Let's go eat, Stetson."
After everyone had finished eating, the tables were cleared and rearranged to create a small dance floor.
The guests had settled in and were talking amongst themselves when Billy stood and cleared his throat. "I know I wasn't one of the best men, but they came to me and asked if I would take care of the toast." He smiled and nodded in Philip and Jamie's direction. "I told them I'd be honored." As everyone refilled their champagne glasses, Billy moved to the middle of the dance floor.
"Lee, Amanda," he started with a huge smile, "this toast has been almost six years in the making." Amanda looked up at her husband and smiled, as Dotty reached for the box of Kleenex that had been placed at her seat. Billy grinned at the 'newlyweds' again and continued. "I, unlike most of you," he gestured to the rest of the crowd, "have had the pleasure of watching this relationship grow from strangers and reluctant associates, to friends and partners, and finally, this. Lee, I knew you just needed the right woman. I'm so glad you found her. I'm so glad I thought of putting you two together!" He let out a hearty laugh, which Lee and Amanda joined.
"Amanda." He shook his head and gave her a warm smile. "What can I say about you? You never gave up on Lee; never let him give up on himself. You're the reason he is a better person. And that was no small feat. The two of you have gone through so much in the last five years to get to this point, I don't know of anyone who deserves this day more than you do. We're all so happy for you. Congratulations!" Billy raised his glass and everyone followed suit with a chorus of "Hear, hears" ringing through the backyard along with the sound of clinking glasses.
Lee stood, and, after
hugging Billy, turned to the rest of the guests. "I
just wanted to thank all of you for being
here to share today with us. I know
it has been a strange situation, to say
the least, and I know I speak for
both of us when I say your support and
acceptance means everything to Amanda
and me." He glanced over at his wife who
nodded her agreement. "Thank you,
everyone." He looked at her again and smiled softly. "And now, I'd like to dance with my wife."
His eyes never left hers as he called out, "Guys?"
The boys had set up Philip's stereo in the gazebo and were going to serve as DJ's for the reception. It had been their gift to Lee and Amanda, who made them promise not to play anything unrecognizable. Jamie had agreed.
"We're on it Lee," Phillip answered.
"My I have this dance, Mrs. Stetson?" Lee lowered his voice to a husky whisper as he held out his hand to her.
"The pleasure's mine." Amanda stood as she placed her hand in his.
He grinned at her and brought her left hand up to his lips, kissing it just above her wedding ring. "No . . . it's not." He caught a sparkle in her eyes and felt the now familiar tightening around his heart. He knew for as long as he lived, he'd never tire of the feelings she evoked in him. Lee slid his arm around Amanda's waist and drew her as close to him as possible. Their attention was drawn from each other as Jamie stepped forward and began to speak.
"Mom, Phillip and I got some songs together for the two of you. But before we play those, Lee wanted us to start with this one. He said he wanted a little bit of *adult* music tonight, too." Jamie blushed as the crowd snickered.
Lee winked at his stepson and continued for him. "I was worried about our ability to dance to what the boys had picked and I was looking for something to play for our *first* dance. I knew Billy Joel was safe." Amanda smiled as her sons rolled their eyes and groaned at Lee. "But as I was listening, I found this one. This song is from me to you, Amanda. It's my life, in a nutshell. And how you've changed it." He nodded at Phillip who pushed the button on the cassette deck.
Amanda shivered as Lee laid his cheek against hers and began to sing softly with the song that was playing.
Well I'm shameless
When it comes to loving you
I'd do anything you want me to
I'd do anything at all
And I'm standing
Here for all the world to see
There ain't that much left of me
That has very far to fall
"Well, Dotty, I have to say, you were right." The elderly woman glanced at her sister. "This time."
"What in the world are you talking about, Lillian?"
Lillian gestured at the couple slowly dancing before them. "He certainly is in love with her. You can see it all over his face! And those vows . . . " she fanned herself with her free hand. "Are you sure he wrote them himself?"
Dotty put her hand on her sister's arm and smiled. "Trust me, Lillian, we went through a whole box of Kleenex for those vows." She smiled even bigger as her sister's eyes widened.
"You mean to tell me that he let you read them before today?" she gaped.
"Let me read them?" She looked around and lowered her voice. "He came to me to make sure they didn't sound . . . now, how did he put it? Oh, yes, *too mushy* was his exactly wording. Can you believe it? *Too mushy*, indeed. I knew there was more to it than just an employee - boss relationship. I'm telling you, Lillian, he's been looking at her like that for years . . . "
You know I'm not a man who has ever been
Insecure about the world I've been living in
I don't break easy, I have my pride
But if you need to be satisfied
Baby I don't have a prayer
Anytime I see you standing there
I go down upon my knees
And I'm changing,
I swore I'd never compromise
But you convinced me otherwise
I'll do anything you please
"Do you really think he'll do it, honey?" Jeannie Melrose smiled at her husband.
"Well, I wasn't sure, but lately he's been talking more and more about getting out of the field. After that fiasco in Montreal it doesn't surprise me. With my promotion, there's an opening just waiting for him. Before Amanda, I thought he'd never settle down. Look at him now." A huge grin spread across the Agency Director's face as he took in his best team. "It's time and he knows it." He turned to look at his wife and took her hand. "I know exactly how he feels. Amanda would never ask him to quit, but . . . "
"But he'll do it for her anyway." Jeannie finished for him, leaning over and kissing him on the cheek. "They're very lucky."
"Yes, they are."
You see in all my life
I've never found
What I couldn't resist, what I couldn't turn down
I could walk away from anyone I ever knew
But I can't walk away from you
I have never let anything have this much control over me
Cause I worked too hard to call my life my own
Yes I made myself a world and it worked so perfectly
But it's your world now,
I can't refuse
I never had so much to lose
"You know, I still can't believe it sometimes. I look at him --with her—and it still just doesn't make any sense. It's obvious they belong together, and that he's completely in love with her, but . . . " Francine accepted the glass of champagne Leatherneck handed her.
"He's found his soul mate." Leatherneck took a sip from the frosty mug of beer he held and winked at Francine over the rim. "You know, it's kinda like finding' the right car . . . or the right gun . . . "
Francine rolled her eyes at him. "Seriously. What is it about her? What does she have that none of those other women had, that a glamorous, exciting career and lifestyle doesn't have?" She shook her head, taking a sip of the bubbly drink. "Maybe it's not her I'm having the problem with. Maybe it's Lee. We were so much alike. We both knew exactly what we wanted out of life
and none of that matters to him anymore. He gave it all up for her. Not that I don't like her, of course. She's definitely come a long way in the last few years . . . she's become an excellent agent and a friend but I still have a hard time . . . "
"Francine," Leatherneck cut in with a grin. "You're starting' to sound like her." He leaned in closer to her and whispered, "trust me, the right woman can make the wrong man a new man. I mean, look at us. Who would've ever thought, huh?"
Francine scooted away and glared at him over the top of her champagne glass. "This is just two co-workers who didn't have dates, attending the wedding of two close friends together." She paused for a moment and punctuated her next words with a jab to his chest. "Nothing else. Got it?"
"Oh yeah, I got it . . . "
You know it should be easy for a man who's strong
To say he's sorry or admit when he's wrong
I've never lost anything I ever missed
But I've never been in love like this...
It's out of my hands
I don't have the power now
But don't want it anyhow
So I've got to let it go
I'm shameless, shameless as a man can be
You can make a total fool of me
I just wanted you to know
I am shameless
"I meant everything I've said today, Amanda. I'm happier today than I ever thought I could be. Even happier than our first wedding day." Lee smiled down at his wife as she looked up at him.
"Mother was right." She smiled as Lee gave her a confused look. "She once told me you were the best thing that had ever happened to me."