Chapter 14-This Isn't a Date

"Dead Ringer"

"Now, I will find you a cab," Lee said.

Amanda looked at Lee, horrified, "Are we going home?"she said in disappointment.

"Well, this isn't a date," Lee said then cleared his throat as he realized that had come out a lot harsher than he'd intended. He looked around nervously.

Both chuckled nervously and Amanda said, "I k now this isn't a date. Of course, this isn't a date."

"Alright," Lee said but couldn't help wondering what it would be like to actually date Amanda, especially now that she'd finally dumped the annoying weatherman.

"I was just wondering what I was going to tell my mother when I get back to the house half an hour after I left for a party. That's all," Amanda said as she turned and walked away from him.

Lee didn't let her get very far. He clasped her arm and said, "Just what the hell is the matter with you?" He looked around again, once more realizing that he was being louder than he intended to be. His hand still firmly on Amanda's arm, he ushered her into the coatroom where they could talk in private.

Once Lee had closed the door behind them, Amanda wrenched her arm from his grasp and said, "What do you mean what the hell is the matter with me. I would think it would be obvious!"

"Obvious? What's supposed to be obvious? We are here on a job, nothing more! I'm sorry if you thought there was more to it."

"Oh, so if we're just here on a job, then I suppose you're going home too," Amanda fired back.

"What? Why should I?"

"Well, if we were only her for a job, then your job is done too. Your job was to m make sure that I did my job, so there's no reason for you to stay here either..." she said pointedly. "...Unless, you're just trying to get rid of me so you can go running after...what was her name...Phyllis?"

"Phyllis? What does she have to do with this?"

"Oh, I don't know, she seemed awfully eager to let you know that she was back from Gstaad and to remind you that you normally send her flowers," Amanda hissed at him like a scalded cat.

Lee chuckled in amusement, smirked at her as he took a step closer to her and said, "Jealous?"

Amanda, infuriated by the smug look on his face, ruffled by his nearness, stammered, "J-j-jealous? Me? Mm-mm." She shook her head as she backed away from him and soon realized what a bad idea that was as she had backed herself into a corner as he continued to approach her. "I...Um...I just..." she stumbled for what to say. "I just think it' unprofessional of you to...ditch your partner for a casual fling."

Lee chuckled, stepped close enough to her to whisper in her ear, "Amanda King, you are jealous." He lightly pushed her think curls away from her face and said, "You have no reason to be. I'm not having a casual fling with Phyllis." He stepped back from her to look her in the eye, sliding his hands to her waist and said, "You'll notice it took me a second to even remember her name and that I let her know I was with you for the evening."

Amanda pushed on his chest to push him away, his touch unbearably unnerving to her when she was angry with him. "You did no such thing; you told her I had Dengue fever which I do not find funny!"

"I only said that to get rid of her," Lee protested. "She showed up at really ba-"his words were cut off by Amanda continuing her rant.

"As for the evening, you made it clear that it's already over, so that argument falls flat too. And just so we're clear, I'm not the jealous one here," she said as she jabbed a finger into his chest.

Lee's smile faded. He grabbed her hand and said, "ME? I'm not jealous. What on earth do I have to be jealous about?

"You're not jealous?"She said disbelievingly.

"No," Lee said firmly.


"Mm-mm," Lee said with a shake of his head, eyes flaring as he stared at her.

"Then explain to me why it was that every time I tried to mingle, which, in case you've forgotten, was what you told me to do, you were right there, acting as if I were somehow cheating on you by talking to people?"

"People? Men, you mean.'

"Jealous?" she fired at him echoing his earlier smart-alecky tone.

"No. Just because every guy in the place was hitting on you tonight and you were just lapping it up like a starving alley cat, why would that make me jealous? I know some of these guys and I...I was merely trying to protect you. that's what a partner does. You don't know the reputation that some of these guys have."

"Oh? Is that right? Trying to protect me, Huh? From the guys with bad reputations, hmm? Anything like the one that you have?"She said challengingly. It struck her that he may very well have been trying to protect her from them, but who was going to protect her from him, from the magnetic pull of his beautiful eyes, eyes that even now bored into hers.

"That's right," Lee said in a softer tone stepping closer to her again, closing the gap between them. "You know that you can be a little naive when it comes to trusting people and I didn't want to see you getting hurt."

"Naive, am I?" She questioned. "Huh. I don't recall you ever thinking that I was naive all the times that we..."

"All the times that we what?" Lee said wanting to know how she thought of their repeated liaisons. When Amanda looked away from him and didn't answer, he leaned into her pressing her back against the wall, his hands sliding to her waist again. "You mean this," he said as placed kiss to her exposed collarbone, "Or maybe you mean this," he cupped her bottom and pushed against her wanting her to know how their verbal foreplay had excited him.

"Oh," Amanda let out the tiniest of gasps as feeling his arousal pressed against her.

"Maybe you mean this," he said as ran one hand up her leg, slipping it under the hem of her dress, caressing her thigh until he reached her hip. Not giving her a chance to respond, he crushed his mouth against hers, probing at her lips with his tongue, willing them to part for him.

"Mmm," Amanda moaned into his mouth, opening her own against his demanding kisses, sliding her leg along his, needing to be as close to him as she could. She whimpered when Lee broke their kiss, but her whimper was replaced by a squeal when he lifted her up with both hands, hooking her legs on either side of his, and then lowered her mouth to her neck, suckling on it greedily. "Lee," she gasped as she tugged at his tuxedo jacket to open it.

"Amanda," he murmured against her skin as he felt her hands, slipping into his pants to free him, her touch a contradiction as she gripped him firmly, yet stroked him slowly, only increasing his excitement. Pulling his lips from her neck, he growled into her ear, "I need to be inside you."

Amanda linked her free hand behind his neck, nipped at his earlobe and in a hoarse whisper, said, "I need you to be inside me."

No further words were spoken between them, consent already given on both sides, as Lee shifted her panties just enough to help her guide his erection into her, both moaning at the sensations created by their renewed connection. Lifting her up higher, Lee pushed himself into her as deep as he could go, causing her to cry out his name again, while she pressed her back firmly against the wall to push her hips against his, both needing to be as connected as possible.

They stayed still like that for a long moment, gazing into one another's eyes, the unspoken truth burning between them, but neither having the courage to acknowledge it. Amanda wrapped both arms around the back of his head, burying her face in his neck unable to bear the intensity of his searing look penetrating her just as he was penetrating her body. She clamped her mouth down on his neck, nipping and suckling at his skin, pushing against him with all her might to urge him to continue what had been started, desperate for feeling of completion that only he could give her.

Lee, following her lead, relishing the feeling of her warm, wet lips on his tender skin, did the same, suckling her neck greedily as they began the age-old dance. He withdrew nearly completely from her only to plunge back into her again, holding tightly to her hips to draw her down to meet him, her impossible wetness drawing him in again and again. He kept his movements slow and hard for as long as he could, wanting it to last, needing to be within her warm, welcoming body for as long as humanly possible, but when she let out a strangled cry against his skin, he found that the need for completion, overrode his need to make it last. In a last-ditch effort to maintain some self-control, he pulled her head from his neck, forcing her to look at him.

Amanda, seeing her lover's passion-glazed eyes searing hers, questioning what she wanted, she gave the only answer she could, locking her lips to his and pushing her hips against his to spur him on, her need for him overtaking her.

Lee complied with her silent request and gave into her fiery kiss, plunging into her repeatedly, no longer slow and hard, but fast and frenzied. The jealousy that he denied that he felt over the men who'd hit on her tonight only fueled his fire for her, driving him to make her remember how good they were together and to make her forget that any man existed except him. He pulled his lips from hers, staring intently into her eyes as he felt her tightening around him, her body shaking against his. At seeing her close her eyes as she reached her peak, he grasped the back of her head, and growled, "Look at me, Amanda," as he pushed into her again, gratified when her eyes fluttered open and he saw the depth of her desire for him. He continued to drive into her until he reached his own release, erupting within her, never taking his eyes from hers as the waves of pleasure crashed over him. His breath coming in ragged pants as he came down from his high, he found himself lost in the deep, chocolate eyes staring back at him. "Amanda, I-" his words were cut off by the sound of voices out in the entryway. "Shit," he groaned as he released her, slipping out of her in the process as they both scrambled to straighten their clothing before they could be caught.

An awkward silence filled the room as they waited to see if they would be interrupted. When they heard the voices pass on by, Amanda broke the silence by stammering nervously, " should go...Um, straighten myself up a know...before I go home." She bent to retrieve her fallen clutch.

"I'll wait for you," Lee said. "Instead of getting you a cab, I''ve give you a ride myself." He cringed a little as he realized how that sounded after the ride he'd just given her.

"No, that's not necessary."

"I insist. You go do what you need to do and I'll get our coats," He said.

"Okay," she said with a slight smile before she exited the room, making her way back to the same ladies room in which she'd delivered her message to Magda.

Amanda was just finishing making herself presentable and was about to leave the room when she nearly ran headlong into Phyllis as she entered. "Oh, excuse me," she said.

Phyllis gave her an awkward smile and said, "Oh, no, don't worry about it. It's my fault. I was a little distracted since I just saw Lee out the foyer."

The other woman's simpering smile and syrupy voice getting on her last nerve, Amanda smiled and said serenely, "Oh, yes. He's waiting for me. We're going home now. This party is something of a bust because there's not really anyone interesting here to talk to. If you'll excuse me, I really shouldn't keep him waiting any longer." She then brushed past Phyllis and out of the room to find Lee waiting for her, already wearing his coat.

Without a word, he helped her into hers, placed the hand on the small of her back and guided her to the exit. He smiled at her for a beat, then said, "So, at least you won't being going home half an hour after you left. We managed to kill a little time, didn't we?"

Amanda couldn't help but laugh and said, "Yes, yes we did."


When Amanda entered her home, she found her mother banging around in the kitchen as if looking for something.

"Hello, Mother," Amanda said greeting her with a kiss to her cheek then said, "What's going on?"

"Good question," Dotty said as she stared at her daughter, a flurry of thoughts running through her head as she vividly recalled the break-up argument she'd had with Dean and how she'd told him about some mystery man that she'd been supposedly sleeping with and how she'd later denied it, unconvincingly, of course. What she couldn't figure out is if her daughter cared for this man enough to sleep with him for months, why wouldn't she tell her anything about it or bring him around to the house to meet the family?

"I...uh...I don't know what you mean, Mother," Amanda said guiltily.

"Well, you left here just an hour ago for a party and now you're home already. It just makes me wonder if the excuse you used to end your relationship with Dean was more than that," Dotty replied as she continued her search for the missing vitamin C.

Amanda sighed and sank onto a stool at the island and said, "Mother, I already told you, I just wanted to make him understand that there was never going to be a future between us and that seemed like the only way to do it."

"Okay," her mother replied skeptically. "It's your life, Amanda. If you want to throw it away on some meaningless affair when you had a man who loved you and wanted to marry you that is your business. So, I am just going to keep my mouth shut and hope that you learn something from this experience."

"Mother, I am not throwing my life away on some meaningless affair," Amanda protested. As seeing her mother rooting through cabinets and drawers, she asked, "What are you looking for?"

"The vitamin C," Dotty snapped, her anger at her daughter and her frustration at not finding what she was looking for pushing her over the edge.

"We should talk about this," Amanda said, knowing that her mother's ire had nothing to do with her search.

"I have absolutely nothing to say on the subject.

"You're angry," Amanda said.

"I am not angry," Dotty's muffled voice came from a lower cabinet as her search continued. She banged the cabinet shut and said, "Do you know where the vitamin C is?"

"Upstairs in the medicine cabinet," Amanda answered.

"No, it's not," Dotty sniped, her irritation growing. "I looked there first. I wish people wouldn't move things." She then began rooting through the kitchen drawers again.

"You're angry because I won't tell you who I went out with tonight," Amanda aid pointedly.

Dotty glanced up at her for a moment and said in a softer tone, "I'm not angry, Dear," then returned to her hunt.

"Well, then you're hurt and that's even worse." Amanda let out a deep sigh, and then said, "Mother, I know that I've lied to you before. In the past, I have, but I don't wanna' do it anymore because it makes me feel just...awful."

"Of course it does, it's totally against your nature. I mean, you were never a secretive child," Dotty said as she pointed an accusing finger at her and then turned to the cabinets across the room from where Amanda said. "You always came to me with your little confidences and I always understood."

Amanda looked down and said, "I don't think you'd understand this one."

"Oho, but I already do," Dotty said as she turned back to her daughter and leaned slightly against the island countertop. "I mean, he is married to an impossible woman. They have not lived under the same roof for at least eight months." When Amanda looked at her in surprise, she said, "Bud Marcher," hoping to get her daughter to confess.

"Bud Marcher," Amanda said the shock evident in her voice as her mother moved her search to the lower cabinets right nest to where she was seated. "Mother, Bud Marcher is a married man. Do you think I went out with a married man? Besides that, this wasn't a date, this was business!" When her mother rose and glared at her expectantly she added nervously, "And I can't say anything else about it."

"Amanda, I am not pressing you, am I? I mean, that's just not my way. If you say it's business, it's business," she said firmly though her voice smacked of distrust.

"I never dreamed things would get so complicated," Amanda said softly.

"Well, they usually do," Dotty said. The conversation continued for another minute with Dotty deciding to boil a grapefruit and Amanda going off to bed. Dotty shook her head after Amanda left and said, "Business? What kind of business is she in that she can't tell me about?"

The following night, after Amanda had left for yet another mysterious evening out and she was left alone wither her thoughts, she began to really ponder the events of the past two days. She was beginning to think that the wild affair theory made more sense that her having some job that she couldn't tell her about. Something had to explain her daughter's sudden secrecy over the past few months and all the wild stories she'd been telling her about her sudden disappearances, her repeatedly ruined clothing and the damage done to her car. Her suspicions were further confirmed when Amanda once again arrived home an hour after she'd left and went straight to bed.

Amanda fell asleep that night, a smile on her face that at least Lee had attempted to make things up to her by taking her to the party. She reflected back on his words to her, these things sometimes go on for hours. The seductive tone in which he'd said it, the twinkle in his eyes and the dimpled smile on his face letting her know that he wasn't talking about just the party.

Lee fell into bed, a smile on his face in spite of fighting the burgeoning cold clouding his head. He reflected back on his brief date with Amanda and the flirty conversation they'd had, how beautiful she'd looked on his arm, the stunning, almost backless blue dress making him crazy. She looked amazing in blue. His smile faded though as he thought about his cowardice in telling her that he'd taken her there to make up for their hurried departure from the earlier party and for all she'd had to put up with from Magda. He mentally kicked himself for his words to her of the previous night; This isn't a date. He sighed as he realized that their evening together tonight hadn't really been a date either, not if he hadn't told her that he thought of it that way. Not a date, he thought in frustration at his lack of courage when it came to her, unable to figure out how he could be so brave in the face of flying bullets, but so terrified in her presence.