Disclaimer: "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. We retain rights to the plot, but not the characters. this story is meant for enjoyment purposes only. No infringement is intended.
Author's Note: There have been many stories written about how Lee and Amanda's secret marriage might have been revealed, some that I've written myself. This is another take that has been rattling around in my brain for a while, but I had yet to put to words. Takes place in late June 1987 about 4 months after the secret wedding.
On a Sunday evening, June 21st, Lee Stetson was in his apartment on the phone with his wife listening to her explain for the umpteenth time in recent weeks why she had to cancel the plans they had made. He'd been so excited because for the first time in their marriage they were going to get to spend a whole week together at once. The kids were supposed to be spending the first week of their summer vacation with their father, but Joe had unceremoniously dropped them off at the house after only a day with them. He and Amanda had been there together kissing feverishly since the moment she'd walked in the door and had started working their way toward the bedroom when she got a call from her mother that she was needed at home. They hadn't even had ten minutes together before he'd been once again left alone with just his memories of her. That was an hour ago and now he was getting more irritated by the minute that they were having yet another conversation about why they couldn't have some alone husband and wife time.
"I just can't leave Jamie with the stomach flu," Amanda said apologetically. "He needs someone to take care of him."
"Is that why Joe just dumped the kids back on you?"Lee said in aggravation at Joe King's lack of parental responsibility. "Why couldn't Joe take care of him?"
"Lee, I'm his mother-"she began but Lee's voice stopped her.
"And he's his father. Would it kill him to do his fatherly duty once in awhile? He could take care of him just as easily as you can if he'd just make the effort. And while you're taking care of Jamie, who's going to take care of me?" He ran his hands through his hair the way he often did when he was frustrated.
"You're a grown-up, Lee. You don't need as much care as a sick eleven-year-old."
"Who says I don't? Damn it, Amanda, I miss my wife."
"I know," she said sadly. "I miss you too. I'm really sorry, Sweetheart."
'Not as sorry as I am," he said as he slammed the phone down and walked toward his bathroom to take yet another cold shower. He sighed as he stripped out of his clothes down to just his boxers. This wasn't how he had imagined getting undressed for the night. He had pictured Amanda being the one undressing him slowly, the way she liked to do, undoing each button on his shirt one at a time, pausing between them to plant soft kisses on each patch of skin she exposed. God, he missed that. He didn't think he would ever tire of the feel of her lips on his bare skin. Once she was done with the shirt, she'd move her hands to his belt. Stop it! He admonished himself. Fantasizing about it only made matters worse when it couldn't be a reality.
He couldn't begrudge Amanda for taking care of her sick child. She was a responsible, caring mother, after all. However, he wanted to thrash Joe King within an inch of his life. He knew it had happened, but he still couldn't picture Amanda married to such a self-centered bastard. He'd never been there for his kids when they were growing up because he'd always been traveling. Lee had thought that would change now that he was stateside again and it had for a while, but ever since he had remarried a month or so ago, he'd started up his old habits of neglecting his responsibility to his children. Lee couldn't understand it either. They were great kids. He would consider himself damn lucky to have kids as amazing as them, especially with Amanda as their mother. He'd never thought of himself as the fatherly type, but since he'd married Amanda and had begun to spend more time with Phillip and Jamie, he'd been thinking more and more about it. He'd come to the realization that he would love to have a child of his own someday, but who was he kidding? He and Amanda didn't even have a normal marriage. How could they ever have a child together? Besides, you had to make love to make a baby and they hadn't done so in a month, not since they'd made up after their fight about each other's quirks when he'd made that stupid list. He didn't know how much longer he could last being married, but living apart. He couldn't stand this secret life, lying to their friends and family, sneaking around and feeling guilty just for wanting to spend a few quiet moments alone with his wife when a man shouldn't have to feel guilty about loving his wife.. Something had to be done about it.
He walked to the closet to hand up the shirt and pants he'd just removed and felt a stab of pain seeing the clothes that Amanda kept at his hanging next to his. She didn't have much there, a couple of blouses and skirts hanging in the closet. The streak white suit she'd worn on their wedding day that had never hung in her own closet for fear that her mother may asked too many questions as she was prone to do. He recalled perfectly how he'd felt the first second he saw her in it, how beautiful she looked, how nervous he felt, but also excited because he knew that in just a few minutes, she was going to be his wife. He also recalled later that night, after the slow-as-molasses chambermaid had finally left their room, how he'd helped her out of it before they'd consummated their marriage.
That had been four months ago and yet he still didn't feel married, not really. He glanced down at the gold band on his left hand. He didn't get to wear it very often, but he'd put it on tonight knowing that Amanda was going to be there with him. He had wanted to wear it for her as a sign of his commitment to her, but everything went to hell again as usual; He tugged it off his finger, placed it back in its velvet-covered box replacing it in the lockbox that he kept all the evidence of their marriage except for Amanda's rings which she wore on a long chain around her neck. She'd told him once that she did that to keep them out of sight, but still keep them close to her heart. As he put the ring box away, his eyes fell on the photographs that had been taken on their wedding day. He looked longingly at the one on top that Mrs. Bowman had taken shortly after he'd kissed her for the first time as her husband. He took in all the details of it, they way that their hands were locked together. The glow in Amanda's eyes as she gazed at him, the smiles plastered on both of their faces. He felt the sharp sting of tears in his eyes as he stared at the photo and found he couldn't look at it anymore. It hurt too much. He slammed the lid of the box closed locking it quickly and shoving it under his bed, their bed, he mentally corrected himself.
"No, not this time," he said echoing words he'd said to her over a year ago when he'd locked the door to the office they shared and had kissed her, really kissed her for the first time with no distractions and no interruptions. They'd shared a few little peck here and there prior to that and there had been many near misses, but that day had been the turning point in their relationship where no words were needed to define what they felt for each other. They both just understood that they were on a different level with each other. It was funny that he had felt closer to her then than he did right now when they were husband and wife. That's about to change. He quickly dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, grabbed his keys and headed for the door.
Amanda fell into bed feeling defeated after round after round with Jamie in the bathroom, helping him slowly sip some Gatorade and chicken broth to keep him hydrated since he couldn't keep anything down. He was finally asleep, for a while anyway, with the stomach flu you just never knew when it would flare up again. She had decided to take advantage of the temporary respite to get a little rest herself. As soon as she got comfortable, she realized that her agitated mind wouldn't let her exhausted body rest. Her thoughts kept jumping back to Lee and how angry he'd been on the phone. He had to understand that she was a mother first. He didn't seem to consider that she was just as disappointed as he was that they wouldn't be able to keep the plans they had made, but it's not like it had been the first time. If it wasn't something going on with the boys, it was something going on at work always ruining their plans. It was like fate was trying to test them to see just how much they could survive together before reaching their breaking point.
She recalled walking into his place and glancing at the lit candles, the roaming fire, the chilled champagne. Lee had gone all out to rekindle their romance. She'd thought that they'd take time to talk, cuddle a little on the couch, and sip a little champagne before going to bed. That all changed when he emerged from the bedroom wearing the blue oxford shirt that she loved to see him in. In that moment all she could think about was her fierce desire for him and had flown into his waiting arms pouring her whole heart into their fiery kisses, pressing herself as close to him as she could get. God, how she loved the way he kissed, they way he held her tightly when they kissed, the low, throaty moans that let her know that he enjoyed it too. Without ever letting go of her or breaking their kiss, he had started to back up toward the bedroom with her in his arms his hands tugging at the back of her shirt to explore the bare skin underneath. She remembered herself moaning into his mouth at how good it felt. They had almost made it to the bedroom when the damned phone had rung breaking the spell.
Damn you, Joe! she thought violently. She wondered sometimes how she could ever have loved him enough to marry him. She'd thought at the time he'd be a good husband and father. After all, he'd worked diligently through law school to graduate with honors. She thought that was a good sign that he was ready to take on the responsibility of a family, but she was wrong and she'd wasted a decade of her life before she realized her mistake. The only good thing to come out of it was her children. She was sad for them though that their father put them last on his list. That was what made her all the more determined to put them first. They had to know that at least one parent would always be there for them. Her thoughts turned back to Lee and how easily he'd adapted to his new role as a stepfather to them. The kids may not know he was their stepfather, but they were at least getting the benefit of a dependable make role model. Every time that she saw him interacting with her sons, it made her long for the day that she could give him a child of his own. He'd be such an amazing father. Who am I kidding, she thought. That would never happen. You couldn't raise a family together when you didn't even live together, aside from the fact that you had to be able at least spend a night together once in a while to conceive a child. NO, the two children she had would be it, not that she was ungrateful for them, but now that she was someone who she knew would be a dedicated family man and not fly off and leave her to raise the children by herself, she desperately wanted that. She sighed again and told herself to stop daydreaming. There would be no babies in her future. She knew that neither of them was ready to give up their careers with The Agency. There was still too much important work to be done. By the time it would safe enough to live openly together, it would be too late. Her child-bearing days would be over, because she was already thirty-seven. It was unfair that a man could have a child at any age, but a woman couldn't.
She would love more than anything to be openly married to Lee, to be able to come home to him every night. She was living three lives that didn't blend well, agent, mother and wife. She sometimes forgot which role she was playing at any given moment of the day, occasionally letting things slip about her job at home and having to cover her mistakes with her mother, once in awhile gazing a little too long at her husband in a morning briefing then having to force herself to look away. Francine had caught on to that a couple of times, but fortunately the lies that Francine believed about a non-existent break-up was enough to cover that particular faux pas. It just made Francine believe that she was pining for a man she couldn't have. She'd then insist that they have lunch together and Amanda would be forced to endure yet one of the other agent's tired tirades about Lee and his relationship habits, how he was commitment-phobic and would never settle down. That part she could handle okay because she knew it wasn't true, but when Francine would give her those looks of solemn pity, it took all the strength she had not to blurt out the truth then and there just to stop her dead in her tracks. She'd love to see the reaction on Francine's face if she ever found out that not only was Lee not commitment-phobic, but that they'd been in an exclusive relationship for over a year and had been married for four months. Sadly, she' never get to see that. It was impossible As painful as it was, their marriage had to stay a secret. That was the decision they had made to protect the boys and that was the way it had to stay.
Her train of thought was derailed by the scraping sound of her bedroom window being raised. She glanced over to see her husband peeking in from his perch on the trellis. She quickly closed and locked her bedroom door then rushed to the window to help him through it. When he had safely landed on his feet, he reached for her and without saying a word, pulled her into a passionate embrace.