Disclaimer: "Scarecrow & Mrs. King" is the property of Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises LTD. Use of these characters is strictly for entertainment purposes. I can only dream about one day getting paid to do this. Do not redistribute without express permission from the author.
Summary: Some advice for Amanda becomes a walk down memory lane for Billy.
First Posted: 7/25/02
Timeframe: Summer 1987 -- post fourth season -- the marriage is not common knowledge, but the relationship is. (I know, I know -- but it works!)
Feedback: Expected, please!
Archive: Permission granted to post at smkfanfic.net and fanfiction.net -- any others, please ask permission before posting or linking. Thanks!
Author's Notes: This is my title challenge story. Leave it to me to get something . . . interesting! Apologies for the late submission. Do I get marks off for that? Thanks to Fling and Wendy for their feedback and beta skills. You guys are the bomb!
Amanda King timidly knocked on Billy Melorse's office door. It was late in the day, and the Section Chief was straightening up his things, preparing to leave. He looked up to see Amanda peeking through the blinds at him and smiled. With a nod to her, she slowly opened the door and just as quietly closed it behind her.
"Sir," she said tentatively. "I'm sorry to bother you so late in the day, but . . ." she hesitated, looking down at her intertwined fingers. "Well . . . I need to talk to you about something personal."
Billy sat back in his chair and regarded the woman standing before him. She'd come a long way since he'd first laid eyes on her. He prided himself on being an expert at reading people, and he'd seen Amanda for what she was right away, something he'd pointed out to Lee Stetson on as many occasions as possible.
"Have a seat," Billy offered. "I was getting ready to leave, but I can wait." Her expression was somewhat pained as she sat down across from him. "Is everything alright?"
"Sir - -" she started.
"Call me Billy, please?" he interrupted.
Amanda smiled warmly and seemed to relax. "Billy," she began again, "I feel a little funny coming to you about this, but I think you'd be the best person to talk to about this, because I really think you'll understand." She looked up at him, her eyes wide. "Can I be frank with you?"
Wondering where the conversation was heading, Billy nodded. "Of course."
"I'm having issues with mixing work and family," she explained. "You see, Lee and I are trying to make this work, but it's hard with two teenage boys. I'm worried about what they should know and what they shouldn't." She paused, considering her words. "I don't want them to get the wrongimpression, but I don't want to glorify what I do, either." Her eyebrows raised in question. "Does that make sense?"
Billy nodded. "You're wondering how Jeannie and I handled it, is that it?" Amanda nodded and he smiled. "It wasn't an easy decision," he admitted, "And it will help if you know the full story." He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "I've never told anyone this, not even Lee, so you'rein for a treat." He looked down at his desk as the memories swam into focus . . .
"It was a typical summer Friday evening, 1965. The Silver Sax, a jazz joint downtown, was swinging that night. The small club was standing room only, and the air was think and heavy with the haze of cigarette smoke. I sat on my stool, center stage, with my band mates on either side. Ibrought my axe to my lips and began to play.
"I had been hand picked by the C.I.A. to sit in the local dives and keep an eye out for anything suspicious. My supervisor knew about my sax and thought I'd be able to blend in. It worked. I was able to work and play at the same time. How many people can say that?
"As I played, I watched the crowd, noting the comings and goings of the regulars and keeping track of the newcomers. There was one man in particular, a young man with a bushy mustache who kept catching my eye. He'd been coming in at the same time for several weeks, each time meetingwith someone new. The conversations he'd been having seemed to be of a business nature, which was strange for that atmosphere.
"That night, he was sitting at the end of the bar, glancing at the entrance every few minutes, then down at his watch. Whoever he was supposed to meet seemed to be running late.
"I finished my set and stood, bowing to the applause. I waved at the crowd, placed my sax on the stand, and stepped down from the stage. I had to get closer to that man. He was still seated at the bar, but was clearly getting impatient as the time wore on. Finally, with a flick of his wrist,he tossed some bills onto the bar, got up, and started to push his way through the crowd.
"Without a second thought, I began to follow. The man definitely fit the profile of the type I was supposed to keep tabs on. I made my way through the crowd and to the street in time to see him rounding a corner half a block away. I glanced around, saw that no one was paying attention, andcontinued.
"I was able to tail him for several blocks - - without being noticed, I thought. Then, as I neared a corner, I heard what sounded like a scuffle. I pressed myself against the brink wall and peeked around. What I saw shocked me. The man I'd been following was struggling with one of D.C.'smost wanted foreign operatives, Janus Gromyko.
"I charged forward, rushing both the man and his apparent attacker. I tackled Gromyko, knocking the wind out of him and throwing him to the ground. I quickly handcuffed him and took a step back.
"'Pretty impressive, kid,' the man said, and I took a step back against the wall. We were alone in the alley and I felt very exposed. 'Aren't you the kid from the club?' he asked me. 'Little Boy Bluenote?'
"I nodded, still on guard. 'I prefer Billy Bluenote,' I corrected him. The man smiled and held out his hand. 'Name's Harry,' his deep voice boomed, 'Harry Thornton.' He eyed me up and down, grinning as he did. 'I've been looking for a few men like you,' he continued, taking littlenotice of the now groaning Russian lying face down in the alley.
"'Is that so,' I replied. 'How's that?'
"'You work for the C.I.A.' Harry said, as if he were discussing the weather. 'I'm the new director of the Agency and I'd like you to be on my team.' He paused, allowing me to absorb this information. 'So, Billy Bluenote, are you interested?'"
"Harry recruited you?" Amanda interrupted. "I never knew that."
Her question brought him back to the present. "He gets around," Billy said, chuckling at the memory. "That was a long time ago."
"I appreciate you telling me this," she said, "But I don't see what it has to do with my situation."
Billy nodded and leaned back in his chair. "Simple," he explained. "I was twenty-eight when I was recruited by Harry -- a young man, yes, but I was not so young that I didn't already have a family, much like you do now." He picked up a pencil and began to twirl it between his fingers. "Imarried Jeannie when I was twenty-five. Our first daughter, Rose, was two years old when I joined the Agency. Jeannie knew what I was doing, but we had Rose to worry about."
"What did you do?" Amanda asked, absorbing every word.
"I kept the truth from Rose and her sister, Ginny," Billy said. "I have to this day, and if I have any control over it, they'll never know exactly what I do. They'd worry too much. It's enough for Jeannie to worry about me day in and day out."
Amanda nodded. "Jamie would be a wreck if he knew," she said. "Phillip, however, would probably think it was cool." She shook her head, adding, "I don't know which would be worse."
Billy laughed. "Just remember that everyone is different," he said. "There may come a day when you feel they're ready to know and they'd be able to understand. You'll know when . . . or if . . . that day comes. Until then, trust your instincts. They haven't let you down yet."
Amanda smiled and stood. "Thank you, Sir . . ." she smiled. "I mean . . . Billy," she said as she walked to the door. "I do feel better now."
"Glad I could help," he replied, watching as she opened the door and walked through the still bustling Bullpen to the elevator. He glanced at his watch and jumped up, grabbing his keys, thoughts of Jeannie's pot roast filling his mind and setting his stomach growling. If there was one thinghe could count on in this crazy world, it was his family.
As he stepped out into the Bullpen, following the same path Amanda had just taken, he hoped she and Lee would be able to find the balance between work and family he'd been lucky enough to find for himself. His own finely tuned instincts told him that was a certainty.