“True Fortune”
by shel
© july 2001

disclaimer: lee stetson, amanda king, and the rest of the cast of characters we’ve come to know and love belong to warner bros. and shoot the moon productions and possible other copyright holders. i intended no true infringement on their copyrights; i only wanted to borrow these marvelous characters for a short time in my own scenarios and hopefully return them no worse for wear; the only things i’ve gained from this story are the satisfaction and pleasure of having written it and in knowing that others may have enjoyed it too…
rating: “pg”
summary: amanda’s fortune is told at a fall carnival…
timeline: september 1971
notes: just a spur-of-the-moment tale….please let me know if you enjoyed it and why and, if not, why not…and, please, don’t bother wasting your time or mine by sending any flames…

September ~ 1971

“I just love a carnival, don’t you, Joe?” Amanda asked as she held Joe’s hand and walked down the arcade.

“Sure do,” was his quiet reply.

Amanda didn’t notice his distraction and pulled him towards the gypsy’s tent. “C’mon, Joe, let’s have our fortunes told.”

“Thought you didn’t believe in that stuff,” Joe asked as he raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t,” Amanda agreed, “but it’ll be fun.”

“All right,” Joe said with a smile, “let’s go.”

But, as they were about to enter the tent, a woman stepped out and stopped them. Dressed in a peasant’s dress with a colorful scarf covering her long dark hair, she told them, “Only she may enter.” The couple stared at her in surprise but she repeated, “What I have to say is for her ears only.” She stepped back inside the tent.

Amanda looked at Joe and shrugged with a smile, “I’ll be right back.”

“You’re going in?” he asked in surprise.

“Why not?”

“Because she was weird, that’s why.”

“It’s all part of the show.” Amanda kissed him lightly on the cheek, “Don’t look so worried, Joe, I’ll be right back.”

“So, what’d she say?” Joe asked when Amanda re-joined him.

She smiled, “Nothing earth shattering. I’m sure she tells the same stuff to every girl she sees.”

“I guess,” Joe answered skeptically as they held hands and started walking again down the arcade together.

“You hungry? How ‘bout we check out the food court for something more filling than junk?” When he didn’t answer, Amanda stopped walking and turned to face him, “Joe?” Joe had a distant look on his face and she grew concerned. “Joe, what’s wrong?”

Suddenly, Joe focused on Amanda, “I’m sorry, sweetheart, did you say something?”

“Are you all right? Is it the gypsy? It really was just for fun. You don’t have to be upset about it.”

“I’m not upset,” Joe said defensively, “I was thinking about something else.”

“I guess you’ve been distracted all morning,” Amanda commented. “We can go if you want. I thought it would be fun for us because we didn’t see each other much this week. I mean, I know I’ve gone to the carnival every year for the past six years but it’s always the same and I guess that’s part of the charm and why I enjoy going every year because I know what to expect but, Joe, if you wanted to go someplace else, we can because I don’t have to stay. I know you had a tough week and if you’d rather --”

Joe silenced his girlfriend’s nervous rambling the way he discovered was best and most fun, with a kiss. It was a cotton-candy sweet-filled kiss but before he got carried away he broke contact and stepped back from Amanda. “Amanda, we have to talk.”

Amanda’s mood quickly changed from happy, and just slightly dazed, to anxious and worried. “Something’s wrong isn’t it,” she quietly acknowledged. “You’ve been so quiet today. You probably didn’t think I noticed but I did. I can read people, especially those I care about, so I did notice. But I thought you were just tired from the week, I mean between school and work, you’re exhausted, but, now that I really think about it, you haven’t been yourself for a while now. Something’s wrong. It’s us, isn’t it? You’re not happy, are you?”

Joe shook his head in amazement at the rapid-fire way her mind worked. “Amanda, you are amazing.”

Amanda put her hands in her jeans pockets and looked down, “But?”

“But what?”

“I’m amazing,” Amanda began as she slowly looked in Joe’s eyes, “but, what? I’m not really what you’re looking for? We had a year of wonderful times but you’ve had enough?”

“No!” Joe exclaimed as he grabbed Amanda’s arms. “No, I haven’t had enough. I want more. I want so much more.”

“Then what is it?” Amanda implored, “Why do you want to break up with me?”

“Break up?” Joe suddenly pulled her close and kissed her deeply. After a moment, he felt her relax as her hands move up around his neck. Removing his lips from hers, he breathed, “Who said anything about break up?” before he kissed her again.

As they broke away for air, Amanda stood back slightly and hugged herself, “I don’t understand, Joe. What do you want?”

Joe knelt in front of her and tugged at her hands. Taking them in his, he stated, “I want you to marry me.”

Stunned, Amanda whispered, “Marry you?”

Joe nodded, “I love you, Amanda West. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

Her eyes shimmered, her head nodded up and down, and she excitedly answered as she fell into his arms, “Yes, oh yes, I’ll marry you!”

Her sudden movement knocked him off balance and Joe toppled over bringing Amanda down with him. They laughed at their tangled mess before Joe brushed some crushed leaves from Amanda’s hair and seriously told her, “I love you.”

“Oh, Joe, I love you, too,” was Amanda’s answer before she pulled him close for a tender kiss.

Joe’s arm was around Amanda’s shoulders as they strolled close together towards the entrance of the carnival. “Who do you think will be more surprised, your mother or mine?”

Amanda laughed, “Knowing Mother, her first words will be, ‘I was beginning to think he’d never see the light.’”

Joe stopped and Amanda looked at him quizzically. “I’m sorry, this wasn’t exactly how I planned on asking you, Amanda. I wanted it to be special.”

Amanda caressed his cheek, “It is special, Joe, just because you asked me. I don’t need any fancy arrangements. I just need you.”

Joe gently brought her hand to his lips before he hugged her. “I love you so much,” he whispered before he pulled back slightly. “And I want you to know that I do have a ring for you but I still have one more payment to make before I can pick it up.” “Joe,” she whispered.

He continued to explain, “That’s why I’ve been so pre-occupied lately. Between worrying about how to ask you, I’ve been putting in extra hours to help make payments on the ring. Think you can wait?”

“I would wait for you forever, Joe King,” Amanda answered with a smile.

Joe laughed pleasantly, “Not forever, sweetheart, just ‘til next week. Think we should wait to announce our plans until then?”

Amanda looked at him and laughed, “Not unless you want to end up….” Amanda’s voice trailed off and she stared at her fiancé.

“Amanda, what is it?”

“Your hat….”

Joe reached up, pulled off his baseball cap, and looked at it. “What about it?” he asked as he turned it over.

“It’s red,” Amanda answered, still stunned.


“So she said…She said…Oh my gosh, how did she know?”

Confused, Joe asked, “Who? Know what? The gypsy? Is this about the gypsy? What did she tell you, Amanda?”

Amanda smiled as she quickly hugged Joe tight, “She said the man in the red hat would change my life forever.”

the end…
but we know better, don’t we…
: )