Author: Toto (email@example.com)
Timeline: Post Season 4
Summary: Sometimes, products purchased elsewhere aren't quite up to American standards....
Disclaimer: You know the drill: SMK belongs to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. The story is mine, and for entertainment purposes only. Please do not distribute without my permission.
Amanda King went into her bathroom, shut the door, and turned the lock. Taking a deep breath, she bent down and dug deeply in the cupboard below the sink.
"Gotcha," she whispered, as she removed a thin box. Looking in the mirror, she shook her head at the expression on her face. "Oh, well," she told herself, "better just get on with it."
She opened the box, and pulled out the directions and the wrapped stick. Carefully, slowly, and methodically, as if the fate of the free world depended upon it, she read the directions. Finally satisfied, she put the sheet of paper beside the sink and tore at the paper covering the white stick.
"Amanda," Lee Stetson whispered into her neck.
Exhaustion, pleasant exhaustion, was claiming her quickly. "Hmm?"
"I have a, um... well, I have a question."
Amanda forced herself to roll over and face her husband. She was surprised that he was picking this moment to have a conversation. "What?" She kissed his shoulder, tasting the salty sweat that had not yet dried.
"I'm not complaining or anything, and God knows we haven't had any time together since our little jungle rendezvous... but the timing of this," Lee hesitated, unsure of how to proceed. "Well, it's just that you're usually pretty regular and...."
"Oh my gosh!" Amanda sat up in bed, lethargy gone. "I'm late."
"Guess that answers my question." Lee looked into his wife's face. "What now?"
"What now?" she asked herself as she recapped the stick and turned it so she would not watch it obsessively for the next five minutes. Amanda couldn't leave the room while she waited; what if someone came in the bathroom and saw the test? She could, of course, take everything with her, but her mother was home and in a questioning mood. It had been bad enough to have been greeted with a cup of coffee as she had snuck back in earlier in the morning.
In the small bathroom she paced, a bad habit picked up from Lee. Finally she looked at her watch. Three more minutes. An eternity in one hundred and eighty seconds. Everything could change or nothing. "Oh, Mother," she could almost picture the conversation, "Lee and I forgot to tell you that we eloped in February and I'm pregnant." Nope, that wasn't exactly how she wanted to spring it on them. Guatemala... she shook her head and laughed softly.
"What are you doing here?" Amanda exclaimed as her husband helped her off the very small and very old airplane. The pilot handed her a large duffle and a camera bag.
"Collins got appendicitis. They airlifted him out yesterday and Billy sent me in. You were out of range," Lee told her as he pointed to the portable radio slung on her back. "Thought it would make a nice surprise." He grinned and she grinned back.
She lifted the camera bag onto her other arm. It had served its purpose well, maintaining her cover as a photojournalist from Washington. Now, however, the radio was the more important piece of equipment. "Very nice surprise." Amanda laughed and remembered. "I'm glad you finally made it to Guatemala, Stetson."
Lee joined in the laughter as he, too, remembered the comment from years ago. "Yeah, well, I just didn't want to be sent here alone is all." He took her duffle bag and slung it over his shoulder. "Come on, let me show you our posh digs for the evening."
Amanda shook her head. "Hey, I've been sleeping on a half inch mattress in a tent in the mountains for a week and a half. Anything better than that and I'm going to be in heaven."
"Well, we've got a small room at the local inn." Seeing Amanda's face, he clarified, "Actually, it's the local bar and restaurant, and they happened to have a spare room. I'm not exactly sure how you and Collins would have worked it out, but there's only one bed."
"I would have given Collins my tent." Amanda smiled as she took Lee's hand. "I think that you and I can work out something a little more satisfactory."
Amanda looked at her watch. Two more minutes. Time couldn't truly be moving this slowly, could it?
Of course, time had seemed to stand still that night in the jungle as condom after condom was opened and discarded as defective. She remembered laughing as they looked at the floor, frustrated and aroused and utterly unprotected. Never again would Lee Stetson use the pharmacy counter at the Guatemala City airport, he exclaimed. Amanda had been touched that he had even realized that she wouldn't have packed her diaphragm. But then they looked into each other's eyes and caution joined the discarded condoms.
And now here she sat, ninety seconds to go, waiting for a stupid line to form or not form. She knew that Lee was at his apartment, waiting for her to call, frustrated that he could not be there with her. "Maybe," she mused, "it won't be that terrible. It could serve as an excuse to stop this awful hide and sneak game we've been playing." She shook her head, torn between the desire to live openly with her husband and the fear of explaining this situation to her mother and sons.
"It'll be okay," Lee told her as he stroked her hair. "Whatever way this turns out, it'll be okay."
"You're so calm," Amanda told him in amazement. "How can you be so calm?"
"Well, it's not like it wasn't a possibility. It's not like it's something we haven't talked about."
"We haven't talked a lot about it, Lee. A baby would change so much."
"Yeah, it would," he agreed. "Things might get tougher." He saw Amanda nod. "On the other hand, it's been pretty tough lately."
She turned to face him, looking into his eyes and trying to read his mind. "The secrecy," she whispered.
"It's gotten old, Amanda," he sighed. "I don't like sleeping alone... kissing you goodnight and walking away... I want my wife."
"I'm scared," she confessed. "I don't know if I'm ready to do it all over again."
"Were you ready before?" From their previous conversations, Lee didn't think she had been.
"No," Amanda sighed. "I wonder if anyone ever is."
"You won't be in it alone," Lee reminded her. "I'm not going anywhere." He turned slightly, making sure their gazes were locked. "And even if you're not pregnant, maybe we need to figure out once and for all if you want to be, if we want you to be."
Amanda nodded. "Yeah, we probably do." She turned to kiss her husband.
That little kiss had spun out of control, and Amanda ended up home later than planned and greeted by Dotty instead of a quiet house. Luckily the boys weren't up yet, and she had fled upstairs pleading the need for a shower.
She looked at her watch again. Thirty seconds... twenty-nine... twenty-eight. Impatience won out and she turned the stick around. Small square: blue line. That meant the test worked. Large square...oh... my... gosh....
Amanda grabbed the test stick, the paperwork, everything she could and shoved it into the box. She shoved the box into her pocket, checked herself in the mirror, and ran downstairs, almost knocking into Dotty at the bottom landing.
"I'm sorry, Mother," Amanda rambled. "I've got to run out. I'll be back soon."
"You didn't even shower or change yet, dear. And you didn't have any breakfast. Did you at least drink your coffee?"
"No," Amanda answered as she tried to remember where she had tossed her keys. They weren't in her purse. "The cup is upstairs. I'll get it later." Coffeepot! There they were, lying next to the coffeepot. She grabbed the keys and ran out the door.
Dotty stood watching, shaking her head as "Hurricane Amanda" ran out. "Time to wake the boys," she said to herself as she made her way up the stairs. She stopped at the bathroom to get Amanda's coffee. It should still be warm, Dotty reasoned, and she was going to need it this morning. As she reached for the cup her hand stopped and her breath caught in her throat. A small rectangle piece of cardboard was on the counter of the sink next to the cup. It had been hastily ripped off and forgotten.
Dotty read the words once, and then twice. "Clear Blue Easy." A smile slowly came to her face, and then she began to laugh. "It's about time," she thought to herself. "Now they're going to have to stop all that sneaking around! Editing room, my foot!" She took the torn box-top and put it into her pocket. Taking a sip of the coffee, she went to wake her grandsons.