I Prefer the Moonlight

Author: Rita (dittypiddler)

Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs. King belong to Shoot the Moon Productions and Warner Brothers. No infringement intended.

Archive: Yes, this list.

Feedback: Always.

Summary: A glimpse into Lee's home life.

Timeframe: Post fourth season. Marriage is public.

Thanks to my super beta, Miriam, for helping to make this ditty so much better than it was.

Rating: PG

"Hey, buddy, are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Lee Stetson brushed off his jacket, feeling the hard square of the disc in his pocket. He nodded curtly to the dark- haired man who had pretended to bump into him.

Good. The drop went according to plan. Lee only had to wait a few minutes, until his contact cleared the crowded nightclub. He glanced at his watch. Eight-thirty. With daylight savings time, he could still be home before dark.

He stepped up to the bar and ordered a Scotch on the rocks. `Uh- oh.' The petite blonde across the room was giving him the eye ever since he walked into this place. Now she sauntered over and sat down on the stool next to him. `The old come-on.'

The woman wore a low-cut black dress that left little to the imagination. She crossed her legs, displaying an ample amount of thigh under the short skirt, and gave him a provocative smile. The strong fragrance of her expensive perfume---"Opium"? "Poison"?--- assaulted his senses.

Lee cleared his throat and edged away from her, definitely not tempted. Too much experience with this type of woman left him unimpressed by her charms.

The blonde leaned close to him and placed one perfectly-manicured hand on his shoulder. "Hi, you're new here, aren't you? I haven't seen you around before. I would have remembered a handsome fella like you," she purred. "I'm Sonia." She gave him a coquettish smile. "And you are . . . ?"

Lee held up his left hand, displaying the gleaming gold wedding band adorning his third finger. "Married." It felt good to say that out loud, for the entire world to hear. The mystery marriage had been a nightmare.

Apparently Sonia wasn't fazed by his declaration. She slipped her other arm around his neck and moved closer. "Well, honey, that doesn't bother me one bit. We could still have a little fun." She batted her false eyelashes. "It never hurts to have a little fun . . . maybe even a little loving, hmmm?"

Lee disentangled her arms from around his neck. "No thanks. I have all the loving I'll ever need, waiting for me at home."

"Humph! Well, suit yourself, honey. You don't know what you're missing." The blonde flounced away and immediately approached another man seated farther down the bar.

`Oh, yes, I do.' Lee chuckled and shook his head at the irony of those words. `I'm not missing one damn thing.' There was a time when he would have been more than tempted, but that was pre-Amanda. These days, the flirtatious blonde simply reminded him of a cheap call-girl, as did most of the women who had sailed through his life, leaving only momentary pleasure in their wake.

He looked around the glittery nightclub, with its harsh strobe lights and throbbing glam rock music, and decided it was safe to leave. A lifetime ago he frequented places like this on a regular basis. Tonight he paid his bill and headed home to his wife.


Lee guided the car up the winding drive leading to the old two-story farmhouse. He and Amanda purchased the property the previous year, after going public with their marriage. It took them several months to find just what they wanted. Lee had an image of the perfect house in his mind and was unwilling to settle for less.

He parked the `Vette and climbed the stone steps to the wide veranda. Pausing for a moment, he looked out at the broad expanse of lawn. His eyes lingered on Amanda's prized flower garden, then moved on to the stable, housing the horses he bought shortly after the renovations were completed.

Inhaling the fresh country air, he squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and then opened them again. Smiling broadly, he nodded his head in satisfaction. It was all still there. Sometimes it felt like a dream.

Yes, his life had come full circle: from a lonely man who never knew a real home since his parents were killed, to a fulfilled man with a home and with a family he loved and was loved by in return. He felt overwhelmed by his good fortune. `If it is a dream, please, God, don't ever let me wake up.'

Shaking himself out of his reverie, Lee entered his house, shrugged off his jacket, and hung it in the hall closet. This simple act was becoming a habit. There was a time when his clothes ended up wherever he tossed them, but that sloppiness was also pre-Amanda. He considered this change in himself with a wry smile. She was definitely a good influence on him, in more ways than one. `The best influence any man could ever have.'

"Amanda?" he called, and headed to the kitchen, where he knew she would be preparing dinner. "I'm home." `Home. God, how I love that word.'

She turned from the stove to greet him. "Hi there, big fella." After wiping her hands, she lifted her lips for a kiss.

Lee happily obliged, kissing her deeply. Hugging her close, he inhaled the subtle layers of her light, fresh scent: strawberry shampoo, baby powder, and cookies. The scent that was uniquely Amanda. "Mmmm. You smell good, Mrs. Stetson." He caressed her back and shoulders. "You feel even better." Moving his lips up her graceful neck, he kissed her cheek and nibbled her ear. "And you taste best of all." Grinning, he wiggled his eyebrows.

Amanda swatted his arm. "Hey, none of that now!" She laughed. "Dinner's almost ready, and the boys will be in any minute. So you're just going to have to control yourself . . . for now." She winked at him and began to set the table.

"Aw, shucks." Lee pouted in mock disappointment. "Okay, I guess I can wait a little while." He slipped his hands around her waist. "A *very* little while." He nuzzled her ear and laughed when Amanda gave him another swat. "All right. All right. I'll be good." Holding up his hands in defeat, he leaned against the counter, watching her as she moved around the table.

"So how did the assignment go?" She set the last plate on the table and turned to face him. "Everything okay?"

"Oh, yeah. Just as planned. Pretty routine, though I did get hit on by a blonde looking for some action." He flashed a smile. "I guess I haven't lost all the old Stetson charm." With a slow wink, he squared his shoulders. He knew Amanda realized he was teasing, but she always played along.

Amanda placed her hands on her hips and glared at him. "Why am I not surprised to hear that?" She gave an unladylike snort and shook her finger at him in pretended annoyance. "Just remember, Stetson. You are *taken.* Well and truly *taken.*"

Lee pulled her into his arms and kissed her thoroughly. "Indeed I am, my love. Indeed I am. And, believe me, I know *just* how lucky I am." He drew her closer and buried his face in her hair. "I love you, Amanda. Never doubt that for one second."

He felt her fingers brush through his hair. "I don't doubt it, Lee," she whispered. "I love you, too, and I always will."

After several moments, he pulled back and held her gaze with his own, lost in the depths of her luminous brown eyes.

"Mom! Lee!" Phillip and Jamie erupted into the kitchen with all the finesse of a hurricane. "Is dinner ready?" "Yeah, I'm starved."

Amanda sighed and moved out of his embrace. "Yes, fellas, dinner is ready. Could you possibly enter a room a little more quietly, please? Now wash up and call your grandma."

Pushing and shoving, the boys stampeded from the room. "Sure, Mom," Phillip called over his shoulder. "We'll let you and Lee get back to . . . uh . . . whatever you were doing." Their peals of laughter echoed down the staircase.

"I swear, Lee, Phillip acts more like you every day."

He laughed at her rueful expression. "Is that a bad thing?"

"Well," Amanda arched her eyebrows, "that depends on how you look at it. If he turns out to be half the husband you are, then it's a very good thing." She kissed him lightly. "Of course, I hope he doesn't go through the . . . ummm . . . shall we say . . . the *transition* you went through."

"Amen to that. I hope he doesn't waste half his life like I did." He sighed and turned to stare out the window.

The sight of moonlight glinting on a glassy surface immediately raised his spirits, and he turned back to her with a smile. "Hey, what do you say we go down to the lake after dinner? Just the two of us?" The small lake was an added bonus to the property.

"Well . . ."

"Come on, it's a beautiful evening. We can lay out under the stars, look at the moon, and just be together for a while."

"Sounds like a plan, Stetson." She smiled back at him. "Now go wash up for dinner."

"Yes, ma'am!" He bounded up the stairs, two at a time. ~~~~~~

"That was wonderful." Lee put down his napkin. A few years ago, he would have laughed at the thought of preferring meatloaf at home to Chateaubriand in a French restaurant, but no more.

"Thank you." Amanda smiled at him, then tilted her head and looked from Phillip to Jamie. "All right, fellas. Whose turn to do the dishes?"

"I did it last time."

"Yeah, but you owe me one!"

"Never mind." Amanda waved her hands to dispel their protests. "Phillip, you wash, and, Jamie, you dry. No arguments. Lee and I are going out for a little while, so behave yourselves and don't disturb your grandma. Maybe her headache will clear up and she'll eat something later."

"Sure, Mom," Jamie answered.

Obviously resigned to their task, both boys began to gather up the dirty dishes.

"You two have fun!" Phillip snickered and winked at Lee.

He winked back.

"Phil-lip!" Amanda shook her head vigorously as Lee led her through the door. "I told you so. He acts more and more like you."

Lee put his arm around her and drew her close as they strolled toward the lake. "Well, I can't say I mind. After all, they're the sons I never thought I'd have." He kissed her forehead.

"Yeah, I know." Amanda laid her head against his shoulder. "I said it isn't necessarily a bad thing." She smiled up at him. "In fact, I'd say it was definitely a very *good* thing. They certainly couldn't have a better stepfather or a better role model."

"Thank you, sweetheart." Lee swallowed the lump in his throat. "That means a lot."

When they reached the lake, a gentle breeze stirred the warm night air and ruffled the shimmering surface of the water. Lee lay on his back and pulled Amanda down beside him. Holding her in his arms, he looked up at the full moon. The lapping of the water and the soothing sounds of night birds made a gentle melody, just for the two of them.

As his Amanda snuggled closer to him, he thought he'd never known such contentment. He stroked her hair and sighed quietly.

"What are you thinking, Lee?"

He remembered the noisy, crowded nightclub he left a few short hours ago. The loud music and designer-clad women seemed part of another world, a world no longer his own. The bright lights there were a stark contrast to the soft moonlight bathing the lovely face of the woman beside him. "I was just thinking that I prefer the moonlight." He tightened his arms around his wife and kissed the top of her head. It was good to be home.