Remember all the things we wanted
Now all our memories, they're haunted
We were always meant to say goodbye
"Sounds like we're on track for wrapping up the security set up for the Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Mexican Embassy in time. Even with the drama surrounding former Ambassador Monsanto." Billy gave Amanda a reassuring smile. "Great job Amanda, Willie, and Lee."
"Thank you, Sir." Amanda replied warmly.
"Thanks, Billy," Lee winked at Amanda.
Willie simply nodded his appreciation.
"Okay, People. That's it for today. Be careful out there."
Lee watched as the other agents filed out of the conference room, and called out to Amanda just as she reached the door. "Amanda?"
She turned and raised an eyebrow in question.
"Sure. Just give me a minute. I'll meet you in the lobby?"
He nodded and gathered the reports spread out in front of him.
"Well, well, well . . ." Francine sashayed over to where he was sitting and leaned her hip against the table. "Aren't you two chummy again? And so quickly, Scarecrow."
"Knock it off, Francine. It's just lunch." He slipped the papers into the file folder and stood to make his escape before she got into full 'spy' mode.
"Just lunch? You two have been inseparable since you got back," she gave him a knowing glare.
"We're partners, Francine. Partners enjoy each other's company." He moved toward the exit but she blocked his way with her arm across the doorway.
"I think Willie may have something to say about that. After all, they are officially assigned as partners. And if you think no one is catching those little looks the two of you are giving each other from across the room, you're delusional."
"Willie and I? He's not my type, Francine," he deadpanned.
"Sure. Go ahead and joke, Stetson." She poked her index finger into his chest. "You hurt her again and you'll have me to deal with. You got that?" Her steely blue eyes glowered at him.
"Ow! Yeah." He rubbed his chest and wrinkled his nose. "Yeah, I got it."
Not wanting to keep Amanda waiting any longer, he moved quickly to the outside elevators and as he pressed the button, the doors opened to reveal his partner.
"I was getting worried. What took so long?" She moved the hanging coats to allow him to enter.
"One word," he sighed.
"One word?" her brow creased.
"Francine," he stated matter-of-factly.
She let out a sigh. "Now what?"
"She made it clear she's onto us." He reached for her hand and they both instinctively glanced at the video camera in the corner of the closet elevator.
"So, she grilled you on what you're doing to your reputation dating me?" She rolled her eyes.
"Oh, quite the contrary, Mrs. King." At her surprise he continued. "It seems she's grown quite fond of you. You know, she actually threatened me with bodily harm if I hurt you again." He absently rubbed his chest.
"Well, that's sweet of her, but totally unnecessary -"
"That's what I told her!" He interrupted just as the elevator indicated it had reached the lobby.
Amanda continued undeterred as the doors opened. "If you hurt me again, I'll kill you myself," she affirmed and then walked out of the small space, leaving Lee staring dumbfounded.
The roar of the Mariachi band could be heard as they glided into the lobby of the embassy. Lee took his and Amanda's coats and checked them. When he returned, he took a moment to run his fingers lightly down the large keyhole opening down the back of her dress. Smiling inwardly when he felt the goose bumps that appeared immediately on her bare arms. She really did look amazing in the navy colored floor length gown. The modest slit showing just enough of her long, trim leg as she walked. Lee squeezed her hip and pulled her closer to him as they entered the ballroom.
"Lee, have you forgotten this ballroom is filled with our co-workers and superiors?"
"Of course not, Amanda."
"Then we should probably put some space between us or Francine won't be the only one onto us."
"Not a chance." She didn't think it was possible but he actually pulled her even closer to him as they made their way to the bar. "If I let you go, some lothario is going to swoop in and try and take you away from me. Nope, I'm not going to risk it." He leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "Besides, I don't care if the entire intelligence community knows that I love you." He released her but took her hand instead as they saw their friends at the bar. "I'm tired of hiding and living half a life, Amanda."
She looked up at him unsure if he was being serious.
"Lee! Amanda! Come join us." Billy held out two glasses of champagne to them. "We were just about to toast to a successful event."
"Are you trying to jinx us, Billy?" Lee joked and took both glasses, handing one to Amanda.
"You have to think positively, Scarecrow." Their superior laughed. "I have all the faith in the world in my team."
"Thanks, Mr. Melrose," Willie replied.
"I only wish my team was staying together a bit longer," Billy commiserated.
"What?" Amanda's focus flipped between her superior and Willie, waiting for an answer.
"Sorry, Matthews. I thought you'd already told her." Billy said guiltily.
"Come on, Amanda." Willie grabbed her hand. "Let's dance."
She handed her glass to Lee and allowed Willie to pull her to the dance floor before Lee could protest.
Willie pulled her to him and she pulled back immediately to look him in the eye. "What was Mr. Melrose talking about?"
"Amanda . . . I accepted a position in the San Diego office. It'll mean I'll be able to see my sister and –"
"Your nieces," she finished for him. She grinned. "I'm really happy for you. I know how much you've missed having your family nearby, Willie.
"Yeah." He pulled her back to him to finish their dance. "I'll miss you, Partner but I think I'm leaving you in good hands."
Amanda pulled back and placed a sweet kiss on his cheek. "Thank you for everything," she smiled.
Lee watched eagle-eyed, his fist clenched at his side. "What is it with that guy?" He took a sip of his champagne and nearly choked on it when he watched her kiss her dance partner.
Francine turned to look at what Lee was focused on. "Who? Willie?"
"He's always touching her," he grunted, his eyes never leaving the dancing couple.
"Well, they are dancing, Lee. That's usually how it's done," she chuckled at his obvious jealousy. Taking the glass from his hand, she placed it on a waiter's tray as it passed by. "Come on, let's dance."
"Fran-cine . . ." Lee sighed and followed her onto the dance floor.
"Oh, hush. Unlike you, your girlfriend won't be jealous if you dance with a friend." She raised a brow at him daring him to deny it.
"First of all, I'm not jealous. I just don't like him –"
"Anyone," she corrected.
" . . . Touching her," he finished with a sneer as the song ended and a new one began.
"They're just friends, Lee."
Lee snorted, not comfortable in the other images flitting in his head. He twirled her around to scan the dance floor, but didn't see the other couple.
"Just like we're friends."
He pulled back to give her a horrifying look.
"Oh, no. Not just like us," she back peddled. "She's not his type, Lee. I assure you."
"What is your problem with Amanda, Francine? You've always made her out to be some frumpy housewife. She's a very beautiful, sexy –"
"Lee! I know that. I mean she's REALLY not his type." She nudged her head toward the bar, "Take a look for yourself."
He turned expecting to see Willie and Amanda, but instead saw Willie talking with another man who appeared to be around the same age as Willie. They were talking animatedly and Willie placed his hand on the other man's arm in an intimate manner and smiled. At Lee's look of confusion Francine whispered, "Like I said, she's not his type."
Lee stood with his mouth agape.
"And for the record, I don't have anything against Amanda. Over the past few months I've come to realize why you fell in love with her."
Lee couldn't help the look of surprise on his face at the blonde's declaration. Was he more shocked that she finally appreciated all that was Amanda King or that she knew that he in fact loved his partner?
"Don't look so shocked, Scarecrow. It's obvious to anyone who cares to look that the two of you only have eyes for each other." As the song came to an end she added one last parting shot. "I meant what I said before. Don't hurt her, Lee or you'll have me to answer to. Thanks for the dance," and with a wink she was off.
As the night began to wind down, Lee and Amanda were finally able to dance together. It was liberating to hold her in his arms and not care who might see them. She was his and he was hers. That thought warmed his soul and he pulled her more tightly to him as the soft sounds of the song wafted over them. Lee closed his eyes as she played with his hair at the base of his neck.
"You're driving me crazy, Amanda," he whispered in her ear and nipped it in the process. Turnabout was fair play after all.
She moaned ever so slightly causing Lee to swallow hard.
"Why don't we get some air, huh?" He was guiding her to the small Juliet balcony off to the side of the room before he even finished his question.
She nodded. "Sounds good."
He closed the French doors behind them and then took off his jacket and placed it over her shoulders to fight off the cool spring air. The music and conversations trickled through the doors creating a comforting hum. "So . . . it sounds like you're going to be needing a partner again."
She sighed into the night as she looked down at the garden below. "Looks like."
"Are you taking applications?" He slid his hand around her waist and pulled her close, waiting for her answer.
"Mmmm. I have to warn you, it's a long application process." She giggled when his lips began a trail from behind her ear down the column of her neck.
"Oh, I'm not worried about that."
He paused his ministrations. "Uh uh. See, I'm in this for the long haul."
She inhaled and bit her lip. "Well I'm glad to hear it. This process will take up a lot of my attention."
"I'm looking forward to it, Mrs. King."
"So am I, Mr. Stetson." She crushed her lips to his as she grabbed fistfuls of his shirt to pull him closer. "So am I," she whispered when they came up for much-needed air.
"Hmmm," he gave her a perplexing look.
"What's wrong?" she questioned as she glanced around the small area.
"Something just doesn't sound right." He pretended to be contemplating something important.
"What doesn't sound right, Lee?"
"Mrs. King," he repeated.
"What?" she half laughed and half wondered.
"Your name. 'Mrs. King' just doesn't seem . . . right." He wrinkled his nose and then reached into his pocket and pulled out the very familiar black velvet box. Bending on one knee he opened the small box and held it out to her. "Someone once told me that there are moments in one's life when you can actually pinpoint the moment you realize that you'll love someone for the rest of your life."
With glistening eyes, she bit her bottom lip and let out a nervous laugh.
"That moment for me was in the back of an ambulance as I watched this smart, beautiful, very brave woman fight for her life after being poisoned. No matter how scary the situation, she always overcame it and was ready to take on the world."
He smiled up at her. "Amanda King, will you do me the honor of being my wife?"
She nodded her head as she sniffed and wiped at the tears that had escaped. "Yes. Yes!"
Lee stood and with shaking hands, slipped the ring onto her left hand one last time. This time it would stay there for all to see. He pulled her into a passionate kiss and then hugged her fiercely. "We better get back inside, Amanda." He kissed her temple and they moved toward the doors.
He glanced down to see her sliding the ring off her hand before they reentered the room. "What are you doing?"
She looked up at him and stopped what she was doing. "Don't worry, I'm just taking it off before we go in. Francine will spot this in a second."
He was shaking his head before she even finished her statement. "No, Amanda. It stays. We're not hiding our relationship anymore. We're doing it right this time." He slid her ring back in place and then took her right hand in his left and opened the doors. They smiled up at each other, both realizing that they really did have 'it' this time.
A/N: Thanks for reading and your wonderful feedback! I hope you enjoyed it! -Tj