Summary: Continuation of the tag from “Playing for Keeps”
Disclaimer: These great characters are the property of Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions, they don’t belong to me, nor will I get one dime for writing this story.
Author’s notes: Anybody who has seen the tag of “Playing for Keeps” knows that what we saw could not have been the end of the story. This is my take on the continuation of Lee and Amanda’s conversation, and what might have followed. This is slightly out of canon, but not too far out. This is my first story, hope you like it—if you don’t, oh, well, life is hard...
Lee and Francine had finally wrapped up the Tina Thomerson case at the Shenandoah Country Club tennis tournament. Francine said goodbye to Tina and her husband, while Lee chatted idly with Amanda about the case by phone. Francine had started talking to Lee before he indicated that he was on the phone. The blond agent wanted Lee to stay with her at the country club and party awhile, but he was having none of it. She realized then that the person on the other end of the phone line must be Amanda, and she promptly shook her head and stalked away.
Lee continued chatting with Amanda. He went into a convoluted list of reasons why it was “different” working with Francine and not with Amanda. “you know...the whole potpourri of personality.”
Amanda just smiled into the phone and responded, “I missed you, too.”
He smiled broadly, chuckling softly, knowing full well that he was ‘busted’. “Can’t fool you, can I?”
“With a line like that? I don’t think so.” Her smile was a little obvious too, even across the phone lines.
“So, are you feeling better? Could you use a little company? ”
“Well, I am feeling a little better, what with all of Mother’s tea and toast and strictly enforced bed rest, but it has been a little boring, so I suppose I’d be glad of a little company – just depends on the company.”
There was a lilt in her voice when she said it and Lee couldn’t stop himself grinning. And then he remembered the other contingencies they always had to consider. “How about your mother and the boys?”
“Joe picked up the boys this morning – they’ll be with him until tomorrow night. And Mother has a dinner date this evening. She’ll be leaving around 6:30.”
“Okay then, how about if I hit the video store on the way and pick up a pizza or something? I’ll try for around 7:00 – sound okay?”
“Sure. That’ll be great. See you then.”
“Count on it.”
Of course, you know the old cliché about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Getting Francine moving and out of the Shenandoah and back to the Agency and at least going through the motions of “wrapping things up” on the Tina Thomerson case (enough to satisfy Francine that he was actually working), naturally took longer than Lee had anticipated. It was close to 8:00 by the time he turned the Corvette onto Maplewood Drive.
Amanda, patient soul that she was, had only just started fussing about in the kitchen, pulling out dishes and glasses and silverware, when she heard the gentle tapping on the French doors in the family room. She opened the doors for Lee, as he looked to be burdened down with a large pizza box and a full bag of videos.
“Hi,” Lee said softly, with a sheepish grin.
“Hi, yourself. Problems?”
He shook his head slightly, and rolled his eyes as he lay the pizza box down on the island in the kitchen.
“You have no idea. First, she wanted me to stick around and party with her at the Shenandoah. When I declined and told her I really needed to get back to DC, she finally relented, but she took another hour to get ready to leave. Then since I’d told her I needed to wrap things up on the case, I couldn’t just drop her off in the Agency parking garage, I had to at least give the appearance of going in and doing some work. But anyway, I’m sorry, Amanda. Is pepperoni okay?”
She had to smile at his rambling. She must be rubbing off on him. “Oh, sure, pepperoni is fine. Here. Let me just put the pizza on the plates, and if you could take our drinks into the family room...by the way, why so many movies?”
As they made their way to the family room, and situated themselves on the sofa, Lee answered, “Well, to tell the truth, since this is the first time we’ve done this, I really wasn’t sure what you’d like. So I brought one action-adventure, one suspense thriller, and a couple of romantic comedies for you to choose from.”
“That’s really very sweet of you, Lee, but really any one of these would have been just fine.” Amanda couldn’t get over his new ‘we aim to please’ attitude, but she certainly didn’t object.
In between bites of pizza, Lee interjected, “By the way, Amanda, I hope you didn’t buy any of that line that Francine was giving you on the phone...I mean, about us dancing and all. It never happened. I don’t know what it is about her, why she has to be that way with you...”
“Oh, Lee, that’s not so hard to figure out. She’s just jealous.”
“Yeah. Jealous of our close friendship, that I get to work with you most of the time. That we matter to each other. Maybe she doesn’t have that kind of relationship with anyone right now. It doesn’t make me like it, but I can understand.”
“Well then, you’re a lot more understanding than I am! There were times on this last assignment when I wouldv’e gladly decked her. But you know, I have to admit that it wasn’t just that I didn’t like working with Francine.”
“No. I guess I kept imagining how different it would have been if you were there...”
“You mean, to watch your back—“
“Well, yeah, and you know, the two of us being comfortable with each other, understanding each other. With you there, we’d have probably wrapped the case sooner...I’ll just bet you would have caught on to Donna Clayton’s tricks even faster if you’d been there. Sometimes I think you have a built-in lie detector. You’re so good at the ‘people’ side of this job.”
“Oh, Lee, thank you. You know, you’re not so bad yourself.”
“Yeah, well I’ve had this really great teacher for the last two and a half years—“
“Mm-hm?” Amanda smiled, and then suddenly winced in pain.
Lee noticed Amanda’s sudden discomfort, and asked, “Something wrong?”
“Oh, no, really. Just a little cramp (reaching back to indicate the area between her right shoulder and her neck). It’s just that quite a bit of that ‘forced bed rest’ I told you about happened right here on the sofa, and I probably didn’t sleep as comfortably as I would have upstairs, so...”
“Come here.” Amanda had the good sense to do as she was told (this time). “Just sit with your back to me, and let’s see what the famous Stetson ‘magic fingers’ can do for you.”
“I’ll tell you more some other time. Just relax.”
As Lee proceeded to massage her neck and shoulder, Amanda felt herself relaxing under his touch. She became so relaxed, in fact, that Lee had a bit of a hard time getting through to her. “...Earth to Amanda! Feel better?”
“Hmm? Oh yeah. You really are good at this.” Turning to face him, she continued, “Ever thought of hiring out by the day?”
“Nah. I think I’ll keep the day job,” Lee responded, with a wink and a smile.
Amanda chuckled as she took the plates back to the kitchen. She turned back to ask Lee, “Can I get you anything else – coffee, or I have some chocolate cake here...”
“Oh, no, I’m fine. Maybe later. So, which movie will it be?”
They settled on The Jagged Edge with Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close, and Lee popped the tape into the VCR. They sat close together on the sofa, with Lee’s left arm casually draped across Amanda’s shoulders. The two of them watched the movie in companionable silence. While the movie’s two main characters were making love, Lee gently stroked Amanda’s arm, and they seemed to take turns stealing glances at one another, and quickly looking back to the screen. When Glenn Close’s character found the one piece of evidence that could prove her client/lover guilty, Amanda gasped, and Lee pulled her closer to his side. At the movie’s climax, Amanda and Lee turned to each other. This time, their eyes locked. Lee’s dimpled grin started, and his eyes tilted down toward Amanda’s lips. She closed her eyes, and he tenderly pressed his lips to hers. Lee pulled back slightly, to look into her beautiful brown eyes and check her reaction to his kiss. Amanda smiled sweetly, and Lee kissed her again, this time more fervently. They gave themselves up to the moment, and neither of them noticed when the VCR tape ran out and the TV’s picture turned to snow.