Authors Note: response to song challenge, I hope I got it right. This is my first fanfiction and would love feedback, constructive only.
Time: After Utopia Now before ATWAS, some liberty with canon because of song titile.
Story Based on song “Whenever You Come Around” -Vince Gill
Lee had been driving, just driving after he had left Amanda’s. His thoughts and emotions all in a jumble and he was experiencing sensations he didn’t think he had ever felt before. He felt like he was suffocating, like he couldn’t get enough air into his lungs. His stomach felt queasy, it didn’t seem as though it would take much for him to toss his cookies. His head was whirling , he tightened his grip on the steering wheel til his knuckles were nearly white. For the first few minutes he had tried to convince himself that he was coming down with something ........yeah that was it, it was the flu....... he was just coming down with the flu. Still he kept driving out of the suburbs and into the less populated outskirts just driving. He hadn’t even noticed the music on the radio until a burst of static then silence followed by staccato bursts of dj prattle followed by staticky music. He had been summarily jerked out of his whirling thoughts and emotions with the change in auditory feedback registering in his brain.
“Damn”! .......He cursed in frustration as he bent forward to adjust to a new station, having obviously driven out of the antenna range of the other one. As his fingers reached for the seek button of his stereo he heard the DJ say the call letters of a “country” station. Lee grimaced he didn’t listen to country music. He just couldn’t get into it. He couldn’t relate it to his life it all seemed to be about trucks and cheating and well things having to do with the country or farms or something. It seemed cliche and depressing always about who done who wrong. His fingers reached for the seek button to search for a station he felt like listening to. Just as his finger neared the stereo controls he hit a bump that he hadn’t seen and hit the volume button by mistake. The static laced music got louder. Lee slowed down and successfully punched the seek button.
.......”The face of an angel, pretty eyes that shine.” Lee’s eyes had shifted to the road which was unfamiliar and bumpy, when the words registered in his head. He had been reaching to change the station for another. The words and the melody stopped him. He paused momentarily but then reached again to change the station. “Lie awake at night, wishing you were mine.” Everything froze except his hand steering the car and his eyes scanning the road and the surroundings just enough to guide the car not registering what he was seeing.
“Standing here holding the biggest heartache in town. Whenever you come around.”
His mind and heart froze listening to the words , the slow easy beat of the song easing their way into his body and brain.
“I get weak in the knees and I lose my breath.
Oh I try to speak the words won’t come, I’m so scared to death.
When you smile that smile, the world turns upside down.
Whenever you come around.”
He was barely breathing now as he just listened to the words he felt he could have written. The words struck a nerve describing exactly what he hadn‘t quite been able to put a finger on.
“I feel so helpless, I feel just like a kid.
What is it about you makes me keep my feelings hid.”
He couldn’t even concentrate on driving anymore and he pulled the car into a small turnout and just sat there listening.
The song was conveying exactly what he had been feeling now. His feelings and thoughts when it came to Amanda were driving him over the edge.
“I wish I could tell you but the words can’t be found.
Whenever you come around.”
“Wish I could tell you.............Those words repeated in his head. God that was what his internal battle was about. There was a part of him that just wanted to drive back to her house and knock on her front door, in plain sight for everyone to see, then to pull her into his arms, to press his lips to hers, her face, her throat and then to tell her how much he......... His heart began to pound in his chest. Wished he could tell her what............ He had been fighting with himself for a long time now denying that he was......... was in........... His breath escaped through pursed lips in a long almost agonized exhalation. He ..... was..... in..... love...... with Amanda!
“I wish I could tell you, but the words can’t be found”
Those words of the song echoed in his head as the tension that had kept him on edge for months began to break apart. He finally acknowledged to himself that he was in love with Amanda and that was what his fight was about. He was torn his newer self, the one that had been resurrected by the housewife from Arlington wanted to rush back to her and pull her in his arms and tell her and then never let her go. The panicked part of him wanted to run like hell, to push her away. That part of him wanted to still be in denial. It couldn’t be that the mighty “Scarecrow” had fallen for.....fallen for anybody say nothing about having fallen for Amanda King divorced suburban mother of two with a live in mother. No Scarecrow didn’t get personally of deeply involved with anyone. With the exception of Billy Melrose and Harry Thornton, Scarecrow had no deep personal ties. It was easier that way, safer, uncomplicated and it was........it was awfully lonely he realized. He had been realizing that for awhile now.
A part of Lee Stetson had been looking all his life for what he would define as “home”. It wasn’t a place but a feeling, and the more water that had flowed under the bridge of his life without finding it, the more he had come to lock away that part of him that would even recognize it if he found it. The more he had come to believe it was nothing more than the broken hearted wish of a five year old boy whose mom and dad had died and left him without a home.
That part of him had begun to have that feeling when he was with Amanda, he had tried to ignore it, deny it, hell he guessed he had even tried to destroy it pushing her away, ignoring her, hurting her feelings. It was too frightnening to feel it, to hope for it and then to be terrified of losing it all in a single instant just as he had before, more times than he cared to count.
“I try to speak the words won’t come, ...........I’m so scared to death”
He was scared to death alright he could not put himself out there, make himself vulnerable only to be rejected. He thought over the last several months in his mind as his feelings had been harder and harder to bury, to deny, to push away and his desire to.........to pull her into his arms and hold her had become stronger almost weekly. If he thought about it Amanda had seemed at least a little different too. She never seemed to mind when he took her hand even just when they were walking from one place to another. He had thought when they had first begun working together that she had had a crush on him, then over time her feelings and emotions seemed less obvious, or if anything as though she often thought him arrogant, rude and out of touch with the real world. He knew she enjoyed the work that they did together and that their friendship had grown over the years. Now that he thought back over those times when he felt like he had been so longsuffering to put up with working with a suburban housewife she had been just as longsuffering working with his rudeness, his thinly disguised patronizing and his shallow “charm them out of their clothing” attitude. They had both changed a lot since then. He let out a sigh of relief that she had tolerated him long enough to change him and get to know the real man under the personae he presented to the world. He smiled to himself to realize how much she had changed him and how grateful he was.
He shook himself again out of his reveries of the past three years of working together. He wasn’t sure what Amanda felt. She had changed a lot too. She was more able to disguise her feelings to put on a mask for the rest of the world to see. She had learned that from him, how to hold back emotions, to not let them show. He knew in part she had needed those skills to do this job and often her safety and his had depended on it, but she had also learned to carry that skill into her personal life as well. It seemed she was especially adept at deploying that skill around him. He wasn’t very proud of that. He realized he had left her with no real option there. So what did she feel. He just couldn’t trust his reading of her cues and signals, they seemed so confusing lately. Granted he had only himself to blame, he had been on such an emotional roller coaster trying to sort himself out and alternately letting himself start to think about what he felt for her and almost letting it show, then becoming terrified and denying any of it. That had made it impossible to process what he thought he saw from Amanda. In his own need to run, deny, ignore and no consistent follow through on any of his feelings he had been giving her maddeningly mixed and confusing signals himself. No wonder this was such a mess.
“What is it about you......Makes me keep my feelings hid?”
What was it about her? He knew suddenly. She did....she gave him that feeling of home, the feeling he had been looking for all his life, but he wasn’t a kid, he was a man and “home” meant something different to him now. Most of his adult life he had been in search of sex as a substitute. He knew how to read those cues, almost even without his eyes being open. He had always been able to tell when a woman wanted to be with him, he could always read those signals and get it right. No problem. There was no commitment, no deep feelings. He had always cared about the women he had been intimate with but he had not been in love with anyone, with the exception of Dorothy and Eva. The others had all been someone who for the most part wanted just what he wanted, some had wanted to tame the “scarecrow” as a feather in their cap. Some had wanted more, he had been gentle and clear. He never promised more than he intended to deliver just to get a woman in his bed, or him into hers. He had felt his behavior ok before, before Amanda. Now it seemed all so shallow and such woefully inadequate preparation for what he wanted now. This wasn’t about sleeping with Amanda, although god did he want that too. In some ways he had already been able to admit to himself that he had wanted that. He had let himself believe it was merely his libido, a little lust, a lot of hormones. After all he had come to very much appreciate that Amanda was a beautiful, desirable woman and he had always enjoyed sleeping with desirable, beautiful women. Why would Amanda be any different, but she was. It was very different because it was Amanda. He had never really entertained the idea that in reality he would act on those feelings toward Amanda. You just didn’t go there with Amanda.
What was it that was clawing at his gut, that was causing his heart to beat erratically. ......Did Amanda love him? He didn’t know how to the signals and cues she was giving him. He suspected she was being very careful, very cautious about the “non-verbal” information she was giving. He had no one to blame but himself. How many times had he given her “the speech”. “It was only part of the cover, part of the job“......yadda, yadda, yadda.
What would he do now, now that he had finally admitted to himself that he loved her and that he desperately wanted her to love him back. What was he ready to do with this new knowledge, with that intense desire to go to her house and tell her.
“I try to speak, the words won’t come.......I’m so scared to death.”
He felt “that” definitely. He knew he couldn’t go to her yet. He WAS scared to death and he knew the words would not come when he needed them, not yet. He realized the song was long since over and playing now only in his head. Some other song was playing now. He became suddenly aware of how emotionally and physically drained he felt after the internal battle he had been fighting for what seemed like hours now. He needed to go home and try to get some sleep.
The next song on the radio began to assault his ears and his auditory processing centers- he couldn’t take any more sensory input right now. He reached over and snapped off the radio as he started his car and maneuvered it back onto the road heading back to his apartment. He drove in silence the whole time and let his thoughts lightly review the whole evening. At his apartment he parked the ’vette and slowly pulled his long frame out of his car. Damn! he felt like he had run a marathon or something. he quickly let himself into the apartment went straight to his room and undressed, crawling into bed, hoping his whirling thoughts would slow enough to let his exhausted body and mind sleep. He reached over to set his alarm since morning was not far away. He lay back hoping it would not be long before sleep overtook him. He there for a few minutes trying to relax, trying to breathe slow and deep. So far nothing. Then as an unusual impulse came over him he leaned over and turned on the radio on his nightstand. He began tuning to a station, the song started playing and he frowned moving to another station, another song, another frown. He went from station to station, running his hands through his hair in growing exasperation, he was running out of stations. Then the next station, a smile crossed his face.....
..........”pretty eyes that shine........Lie awake at night wishing you were mine.....”
He was already asleep and tonight it not only awake but in his dreams that he wished she were his.