Summary: A very simple assignment
Disclaimer: Charlie stole fizzy lifting drinks, he was supposed to get nothing. I hold no rights to the characters of this story. Scarecrow and Mrs. King are the property of Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises.
Timeline: Mid to late season 3
Feedback: Much appreciated
"In here." Amanda's voice called from the other room.
Jamie King followed the sound and found his mother in the hall closet. He could only see her legs; the ladder on which she stood and the door facing above which she disappeared, hiding the rest. Fortunately, talking to legs didn't bother Jamie. "Mom, where are my cleats?"
Amanda sighed, but didn't come down off the ladder. "You know, we've been over this before. If you would put them in the same place every time you would"
"always know where to find them." Jamie finished.
"Did you look in your bag?"
"They're not there."
"How about your room?"
"Did you look by the front door?"
Jamie turned around and spotted the shoes lying against the wall. "Hm. Guess I dropped them there when I got home yesterday."
Amanda grunted in exasperation. "Hm. I guess you did."
A car honk outside stopped any other comment about a boy's organization skills.
"There's Mrs. Marler. Tell her thanks for the ride and don't forget to take your homework with you when you head to practice. Have a good day at school."
Jamie was already headed out the door, bags and shoes in hand. "I will, I won't. Bye, Mom. Love you." His last shout was cut short by the slamming door.
Amanda continued her work inside the closet and didn't see Lee walking in from the kitchen. He smiled as he stopped at the ladder and looked up. The fleeting thought that it was too bad she was wearing jeans, not a dress crossed his mind, and he quickly darted away from that dangerous line of thinking.
"Can that kid ever go anywhere without running?"
For the first time Amanda's head popped below the top door facing. "How long have you been in here? Jamie could have seen you and what if Mother and Philip had been home?"
Lee smiled impishly, "I was careful and I heard enough to know he couldn't find his cleats. Oh, and your Mother left with Philip thirty minutes ago."
"You certainly have been keeping tabs on this house."
"Someone has to, do you know the kind of trouble you can get yourself into?"
Amanda rolled her eyes and went back to her repair job.
Lee lay a hand against her leg to steady her on the ladder. "What are you doing up there anyway?"
"Oh, the light needed changing, but the bulb was stuck."
"Need a hand?"
"No." she started down the ladder. "It's finished. Did you need something, or did you stop by to tell me you're watching the house?" Lee hadn't moved when she came off the ladder and they were now standing in the proximity that always made Amanda slightly giddy. Part of her wished he'd back up a step, of course the other half was fine with the situation.
Lee looked as if he wanted to give a different answer to her question. "You're scheduled on the shooting range today, aren't you?"
"I could use some help if you can postpone."
Amanda smiled, "The shooting range is not my favorite training exercise, but I probably need the practice."
"I know, but don't you think your surveillance needs some work?"
Amanda knew full well that surveillance was probably the one area in which she didn't need practice, she had years of field experience there. "Yes, I probably do."
"Great." Lee leaned forward and looked up at the light Amanda had just installed. The move brought his shoulder up against hers and pinned her against the ladder while his arm circled around her and braced his weight against the ladder. He turned his head and looked her in the eye, their noses nearly touching. "Nice work."
Amanda smiled, sure that he really had little interest in her light bulb. "Thanks." She reached out and slowly brushed his shoulder. Little opportunities to touch him usually set him off balance and she wasn't disappointed. Her grin grew and she dropped her voice slightly, "dusty in here." Ducking, she slipped under his arm and stepped out of the closet. "Take the ladder out to the garage and I'll grab my jacket."
Shaking his head, Lee did as he was told. A few minutes later they were driving away in his car.
"So, what's the case?"
"There are a couple of Lebanese agents in town. We're not really sure why, so you and I are going to find out what they're up to."
Amanda grinned and nodded casually. "Sounds fairly simple. Why did Billy give a case like that to you? No rookies around?"
Lee shrugged, but his off-hand manner was clearly feigned. "It could turn out to be something. Besides, you are a rookie."
Amanda nodded but didn't respond, she was glad Lee had maneuvered the schedule so they could spend the day together, so why discuss it. She stole a look at him as he steered the car around the corner. It had been days since they had worked together and it was nice just to be sitting next to him, knowing that it was going to last more than a few moments.
Taking in his jeans and denim shirt it occurred to her that she didn't know where they were going. "Obviously, they aren't staying at the Ritz, where are we headed?"
"Our contact tells us they've been spending every day this week at the Park. My guess is they are waiting for a contact. I packed us a picnic lunch. We'll hang around and hopefully something will happen."
Amanda looked closely, but couldn't tell for sure that he was talking about the Lebanese. "Great."
They rode the rest of the way in silence, not needing to fill the empty space with talk and just enjoying the time together. Lee parked and jumped out, grabbing a basket and blanket from behind his seat. Amanda leaned across and took the keys out of the ignition. Getting out as Lee opened her door, she dropped the keys into his hand.
Amanda rolled her eyes. "You always act like you didn't remember them." Getting down to business, she scanned the park. "Where to?"
Lee held out his arm. "Why don't we just stroll around awhile. It's still early and we don't know exactly where they will be. Besides," he said grinning, "it's a beautiful day."
They walked into the park arm in arm, closer probably than they really needed to present the image of a couple out for a simple picnic. "How was the conference?" Amanda asked turning the conversation to the reason for their recent separation.
Lee grimaced. "Boring. Visiting dignitaries don't have a sense of humor and rarely want to hear the reason why their ideas won't work. I spent all my time trying to diplomatically say, 'that won't work' to a bunch of stuffed European shirts."
"Goes with the job, I guess. After all you are an expert, and they wanted your opinion."
"Yeah, I'm just not good at that sort of thing." He shifted the basket to the arm she was holding and placed his free hand on hers. "It would have been easier with you there, you're much better at it than I am."
Amanda smiled, "You couldn't come up with a good reason why someone with my security clearance was at a top-level advisory meeting. Besides, I had my own work to do."
Lee nodded. "I know, but I missed having you there."
"Good." Something caught her eye and she quickly changed the subject before he could respond. "That looks like our guys." She bobbed her head to the left so she didn't have to let go of his arm, "Over by the goldfish pond."
With a practiced casual glance Lee spotted their targets. Two men stood awkwardly at the pond, they seemed to be feeding the fish, but they weren't very convincing, they weren't even bothering to look at the fish. He snorted at the amateur attempt, "Could they be more obvious?"
"Maybe they're new."
"Let's go on ahead a bit. We'll circle back after we have a good look around."
Amanda nodded and they continued on, leaving their quarry nervously tossing bits of grain into the water for lazy koi.
A complete circuit around the park didn't turn up anything interesting, so they headed back to the pond. Choosing a shady spot under a tree, Lee spread the blanket and invited Amanda to seat herself.
Amanda noted the two men had run out of fish food, now they didn't seem to know what to do. They were talking quietly and nervously watching those around them.
"Lee, they don't look like they have a clue about what they are doing."
He seated himself next to her on the blanket. "Maybe you were right. Might be their first assignment."
"Maybe, seem awfully nervous though."
"You were pretty nervous on your first assignment."
"I was not." She retorted, leaning back and resting on her elbows. "I was mad."
"Yeah, mad. Some guy just grabbed me on the platform and told me to get on the train. Then when I did, everyone looked like my contact."
Lee chuckled and shifted onto his side so that he was lying next to her. "You know, only you could get on a train looking for a man in a red hat and find a fez convention."
Amanda swatted his arm playfully, "It was your fault."
She trailed her hand down his arm and left her hand on his. Lee automatically held her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze as he did so. "Maybe it was my fault." He admitted, "but, it worked out all right."
He smiled, causing her to meet his gaze. Her eyes meant he smiled even more, "Don't mention it." They sat for a moment paying much more attention to one another than the targets by the pond. Finally, Lee cleared his throat nervously, "How about some lunch?"
Amanda tried to hide her smile, these triumphant moments were coming more and more often lately and she thoroughly enjoyed the feeling. There were things she could see that Lee wasn't quite ready to admit, but she was patient and would wait. She watched as he busied himself with unpacking his basket.
"Pretty impressive lunch."
Lee shrugged, "Just a little something I whipped up."
They were just repacking the basket when Lee spotted something he didn't like. "What's he doing here?"
"Who?" Amanda asked scanning the area.
"Over there, the man in the ballcap, that's Harry Compton."
Amanda looked and then asked with exaggerated calm, "Who's Harry Compton?"
"He's FBI, not one of their better, not that that means much."
"Be nice", Amanda chided gently. "We're on the same team. Think he's watching our guys?"
"No." Lee said in exasperation. "I think he's their contact, look."
The two men were quickly approaching Compton with looks of relief on their nervous faces. Compton led them to a bench and the three sat and began what was obviously an information exchange. Lee and Amanda watched as the Lebanese passed a packet to Compton who in return gave the men what appeared to be money and instructions.
"Even I could make that less conspicuous." Amanda admitted.
"Like I said, he's not one of their better agents."
The men they had been watching stood and quickly made their way out of the park.
"Do we follow?" Amanda asked, already sure what the answer would be.
Lee shook his head. "No, let's talk to that bumbler first. I have a feeling we've wasted our day."
They came up behind Compton as he clumsily tried to stroll away from the bench.
"Harry, you need more practice. That was the lamest meeting I've ever witnessed."
Compton turned, obviously surprised to find someone speaking to him. "Stetson, what are you doing here!"
"Apparently wasting my time. Did those two belong to you?"
"They work for me, what's it to you." He demanded, obviously not liking Lee's attitude.
"Did it ever occur to you that you should enter them in the database? They sent flags up all over town when they came through airport security."
The other agent looked sheepish. "Guess I forgot to do that. Damn."
"What were they passing, anyway?" Lee asked.
Compton's face turned wary, "Never mind, Scarecrow. It's my case not yours. Mind your own business."
Lee snorted, "Typical FBI paranoia. Keep the case, Compton I have enough of my own." Turning he grabbed Amanda's hand, "Come on, I've had enough."
Amanda followed Lee across the park pausing long enough to snatch up their basket and blanket as Lee stomped past their picnic spot.
As they neared the car she had had enough. "Lee! Stop."
Lee turned resting his back against his car. "Sorry, that guy always rubs me the wrong way. I never have liked him."
"I figured that out." She stepped closer, trying to calm him by getting his mind off the other man.
Lee smiled, already beginning to relax. Reaching out he pushed a lock of hair off her shoulder and helped it settle against her back. "The day wasn't a total waste, was it."
Amanda smiled. "No. I enjoyed myself."
Lee took her hand in his. "Busy tonight?"
She shook her head. "The boys and I had the last several nights out together, I think tonight we're just staying home."
Lee took on that same lost little boy look he had so often. Amanda wondered when he would stop fearing she would turn down his requests.
"I thought we might have dinner. We haven't done that in over a week."
Amanda smiled again, she couldn't help it, his dimples did a number on her every time. "Thought you'd never ask."
Lee gave her hand a squeeze and let go to open the door for her. "Why don't I take you home. I'll head to the office and file our report and then pick you up around 6:00."
It was fairly late, but Amanda couldn't seem to get in the mood for bed. Restless, she paced absently around the living room picking up items the boys had left lying around, or straitening this nic-nac or that. As it did most of the time when she was alone, her mind turned to Lee.
Dinner had been another wonderful evening with wine and candlelight. She wondered how much longer they could continue without someone noticing. She wasn't sure Mother was still buying her line about Lee just being a working partner. She knew she didn't believe that any longer. The problem was, she didn't know what Lee thought.
When she heard the tap she realized that's what she'd been waiting for, she'd known he was coming back.
She smiled as she stepped outside. "Hi."
She almost laughed as he tried to find an excuse for being back just twenty minutes after he'd dropped her off.
"I remembered I forgot to tell you something." Reaching out he took her hand and brought it to his lips. "I'm your shooting instructor tomorrow."