Lee was relaxing in his living room with a hot toddy, thinking about his upcoming trip to the Turks and Caicos in the warm, su

Setting: I like in the third season, but you can choose your own.

Rating: PG 13

"Baby, it's Cold Outside"

Disclaimer: Don't own the characters, the story idea is mine. No copyright infringement intended, for amusement only.

I don't know if the songs quoted were around at the time but I like them so they are included. No copyright infringement meant to the artists.

FEEDBACK WELCOME: This is my first attempt so be kind. I tried to keep it PG13 (had to edit the first version quite a bit) but let me know what you think. Thanks to Trenton for her encouragement.

Lee was relaxing in his living room with a hot toddy, thinking about his upcoming trip to the Turks and Calicos in the warm, sunny, SOUTHERN islands. His flight left at Noon tomorrow and he had not even begun to pack. He was looking forward to getting away from the snow and ice in DC. It seemed like every case he and Amanda had been on for the past 3 weeks involved sitting in a cold car, running through the blowing snow or slipping on a sheet of ice, falling in the process most of the time. He had bruises on top of bruises and suspected that Amanda suffered from the same condition, judging from the gingerly way she had moved around the office in the last few days.

Of course, she would never admit it to him. Oh, no, not Amanda, she was still determined to prove that she was just as good, just as tough as more seasoned agents. Francine most particularly still made her feel inadequate. Lee shook his head. Amanda needed to realize that no one expected her to be Francine. He most defiantly did NOT want Amanda to become another Francine. He relied on her to be just what she was, the soft to his hard, the insight to his impulse, the warm to his cold.

" Whoa, Stetson, " Lee dragged his thoughts away from that direction. He knew danger when he felt it creeping up on him. And more and more often, he got that danger feeling when he began thinking about Amanda other that related directly to their current case. If he just refused to think about her then there wouldn't be a problem. He took along swig of the toddy, feeling the alcohol rushing through his system as he settled deeper into the couch and closed his eyes, drifting off to a pleasant land where it was warm. In this land he didn't have to think, only drift. Lee felt himself drifting towards a figure in the distance, a woman, in a bikini. A very beautiful, curvy woman, warm, inviting calling his name " Lee, Lee…Lee I know you are in there, open the door, it's cold out here, LEE!!"

Waking from his semi stupor with a jerk, Lee realized that the voice was coming from outside his door and the voice was Amanda. He sighed, not even allowed a simple dream, always jerked back to reality by something. Repressing the nagging feeling that there was some connection he had missed between the figure in his dreams and the voice calling to be let in, he rose and threw open the door.

" Amanda, what are you doing here, " he began in an irratitated tone, then seeing she was shivering with the cold and loaded with packages, he pulled her inside and unloaded her arms. " You are frozen. What did you do, walk here from the agency? Come in, come in, sit." All of this was said as he pulled her into the apartment, wrapped her in a throw cover he had picked up on assignment to Germany when they had been there last year, rubbing her arms as she put her face in her hands, shivering.

" Well, it is hard to find parking around here, so I had to park two blocks over and I didn't realize it was so cold and the wind just cut me in half, oh, Lee, it's so warm in here!! But I couldn't let you leave without giving you your Christmas present, Lee I am so cold, could I have some coffee? " Chattered Amanda through her chattering teeth and shivering.

Settling Amanda on the couch, Lee tuned to the kitchen, intent on warming her up. He quickly returned with a hot toddy for them both. Handing Amanda the mug he settled in beside her, as she sipped the drink. " Wow, this is not coffee, Lee." She proclaimed the obvious as she continued to drink.

"Well, it's what I had ready at the time and I thought that you needed something hot as quick as possible. I've got coffee brewing, it will be ready soon. Drink up, Uncle Lee's special toddy is guaranteed to warm you from head to toe." They drank in silence for several minutes, neither allowing conscious thoughts to intrude on the rare moment of silence between them.

" So, Amanda, what is so important that you have to risk frostbite tonight? " Lee asked, taking Amanda's mug and placing it alongside his on the coffee table, turning back to her with the last word.

" Oh, Lee, well, you are leaving tomorrow and I knew that you would miss the Agency Christmas Party, well, not that you will miss going because you don't like them anyway. You know I just cannot understand how anyone cannot love Christmas; it is the most special time of year, all the music, and the decorations. Lee, " she exclaimed, " you put up a tree!!!"

Lee shrugged, not admitting that she played any part in his pitiful attempt at a Christmas tree. It sat on the desk by the window, slightly crooked, lopsided with bows that were the only decoration besides the blinking white lights. Just then, the coffee announced it was ready with a loud beep, making them both jump. " Would you like that coffee now, are you still cold, Amanda? " he asked.

" Yes, please, I am still a bit cold, thank you, Lee." Lee headed to the kitchen, taking his time to set the coffee tray with matching cups and saucers, good silverware and recalling the box he helped unload from Amanda's arms, a couple of dessert plates and a knife. Carrying the loaded tray, he returned to the living room to find soft Christmas music playing on the radio, and the Christmas tree which minutes earlier had looked so forlorn, glowing with beauty in the dimly lit room. In moments, Amanda had transformed his common living room into a place of magic and Christmas.

Placing the tray on the coffee table, he walked up behind her as she stood gazing at the reflection of the tree in the window and the blowing snow beyond. Without a word, he took Amanda's hands in his looking at them closely. Slowly he shook his head, raising each hand to his mouth and bestowing a gentle kiss in homage on each palm.

"What?" Amanda asked. "It just amazes me the amount of magic in these two little hands. You take something lopsided and pitiful and transform it with a simple touch." he replied. " It must be magic, that's all I can believe."

" Oh, Lee, it's just practice, you know that. I've decorating trees forever. Really, you could do it too if you would just take the time to try."

"Nope, it is a special Amanda magic that no one else can ever achieve. " he whispered in her ear. Amanda felt a tingle course through her body at Lee's nearness, his touch. It was something that happened more and more often when he was near her. It was something she fought against, knowing that there was no intent in his action. He was just being the Scarecrow with his four black books, who could have any woman he wanted, the one the gossips around the office never tired of discussing. And they made sure she heard as much detail as they knew.

"Dance with me, " he whispered to her. Taking her silence as consent Lee pulled her into his arms, moving slowly to the seductive strains of Eartha Kitt's classic "Santa Baby". They moved in harmony, avoiding the furniture in the room, feeling as if they had been moving together in harmony forever.

When the song ended, Lee was reluctant to loosen his hold, Amanda in his arms was so right. He wondered at the marvel he always felt when close to her. And he found himself making excuses to be near her, to touch her, to hold her hand or stroke her soft lustrous brown hair. She always smelled of some fragrance he could not put his finger on but he knew that it was uniquely Amanda. Pulling back from her he began to open his mouth to speak but she was shivered in his arms. Cursing himself for his thoughtlessness, Lee spoke" I'm sorry, you must still be cold. Let's have that coffee." He led her to the couch and poured.

Amanda took the coffee with a shiver that owed nothing to the chill she had felt when she arrived at the apartment. That chill had dissipated when Lee took her in his arms to dance. Now she was flushed with heat, a heat generated by Lee's closeness, the way they moved together, the unconscious way his whole body moved against hers, inciting her nerves no matter how she tried to explain to herself that Lee was just being Lee, that she meant nothing special to him in that way. Still, she couldn't help but shiver at the feelings he aroused in her during their dance, a shiver he mistook for cold. Still she could only be grateful for the distraction of the coffee and the distance it put between them.

" So what did bring you over here this cold snowy evening? You never did tell me?" Lee asked as they sipped their hot coffee, sitting close to each other, shoulders touching. Amanda leaned forward and set her cup down as she spoke.

"Well I knew that you were leaving town before the party and I just wanted to give you a little token, really , and some cookies for the trip." Amanda turned to the table behind the couch, reaching for the packages Lee had deposited there when she had arrived. When she turned back, Amanda came face to face with Lee, their lips were an inch apart and as Amanda gazed into his eyes she felt his potent brand of magic filling her soul. She closed her eyes as their mouths drifted closer and closer together. Lee's breath caught in his throat, he could no more have resisted those lips that he could stop his heart from beating, maybe less. He wasn't sure if his heart was still beating, all he knew was that a wild magic was flowing through his veins and he had to touch Amanda's lips. As the distance between them closed to a millimeter, there was a knock on the door. Jumping apart, Lee cursed under his breath, Amanda let out a breath she didn't know she has been holding as disappointment laced with relief flooded through her.

Lee stood and crossed over to the door , opening it with the intention of giving the rough edge of his tongue to the person on the other side. It was Billy, covered in snow, holding one of his wife Jeanine's infamous fruitcakes in his hands.

"Lee, sorry to interrupt but Jeanine wanted …" his voice trailed off as he took in the intimate scene in front of him.

"Hello, sir," called Amanda as she rose from the couch. "Can I get you some coffee?" Without waiting for a reply, she fled to the kitchen, away from Lee. How could she have acted like that? What must he think of her, practically begging him to kiss her? And Lee, ever the gentleman, ( a little voice in her head scoffed at the thought of Scarecrow as a gentleman, but she shushed it quickly) what could he do but reply? Her cheeks flamed as she put more coffee on, forgetful of the fact that there was a nearly full carafe in the living room.

"Sorry, Scarecrow, if I came at a bad time. I just wanted to wish you a Happy holiday and Jeanine insisted I deliver this to you before you leave," Billy said.

"No, not at all, Amanda just brought me some cookies with the same thought," Lee replied. " Join us for some coffee." Even as Billy was opening his mouth to accept the doorbell rang. Mentally throwing up his hands, he answered the door to find Francine followed by Leatherneck and Beaman invading his home. For the next 15 minutes there was an ongoing stream of people arriving at Lee's door, to wish him Happy Holidays, Ramandan, Hanakkuh, or Kawanzza. Everyone seemed to have the same excuse, they all "Just had to wish him seasons greeting before he left on his trip." Amanda stayed in the kitchen brewing up coffee and hot toddies for the crowd while one of the steno pool passed around Amanda's cookies and Jeanine's fruitcake to the well wishers. As soon as Lee could get away from the girls in the steno pool he headed to the kitchen to help Amanda and to apologize for the interruption. As he was entering, Amanda was exiting and they avoided a collision by Lee grabbing Amanda's arms and swinging around. When they came to a stop, both starting to mutter"Are you ok? " They heard Francine loudly say.

" Well, well, look who's under the mistletoe!!" The whole room began to chant, "Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss" Lee looked at Amanda as Francine took the coffee out of her hands and pushed them together.

" Come on, Lee, Amanda, you know the rules, you've gotta kiss," she smirked, anticipating Amanda embarrassment and Lee's reaction to having to kiss a "mere" housewife.

Lee took Amanda in his arms and whispered, "I'm sorry, it really is better than the alternative." He lowered his lips to her's, barely brushing them as he gently held her at a safe distance away from his, trying to minimize her embarrassment. He drew back after a quick, soft brush of the lips. Amanda stood stunned. " How dare he? " she fumed. "How could he treat her like he would rather be holding a live snake in his arms. On second thought, given some of the women he had dated, he had shown more passion with those snakes." Utterly humiliated, Amanda stiffened her back and smiled bitterly.

"No worries, mate," she spoke just loud enough for the closest agents to hear. " I know, you really need to recharge those batteries if that is all you can muster." With those words, Amanda turned and walked away from Lee, trying to ignore the whispers going around the room. Hearing the doorbell, she answered it with her smile firmly glued in place. It was Dr. Smyth making an unexpected appearance. Inviting him in, she pointed out Lee by the kitchen with Leatherneck. She could not hear the words but judging from the slap Leatherneck laid on Lee's back and the look of discomfort on his face, she would say her comeback had been effective.

As she collected empty cups she overheard Alyssa, the steno pool tramp chortling to Francine. " Well, what did you expect he to do? After all, she is just a housewife, not Lee's type at all. Now if I get a chance with him, we'll see if I can ignite a spark from those batteries." She and Francine laughed as Amanda blindly headed to the kitchen. The kitchen, where she felt at home. It was typical of the gulf between Lee and her. She was the kitchen, he was the ballroom. Amanda stayed in the kitchen as long as she could but knew that she had to go back out and face the crowd.

She emerged to find Beaman trying to corner Francine under the mistletoe and feeling spiteful, Amanda blocked Francine's line of retreat allowing Beaman to catch her so he could claim a kiss. With the room chanting, Francine had no choice but to submit gracefully. Lee materizlied beside Amanda.

"That was mean, Amanda King." He said with a grin in his voice. " Poor Francine, Beaman always tries to catch her at the office party and she avoids him. And you ambushed her. Good move," he whispered. Gently taking her arm, Lee led her into the kitchen. "Amanda, I'm sorry about earlier, hell, I'm sorry that all these people showed to ruin our evening. I just didn't want to give them anything to rag you about. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings."

Amanda felt ashamed at her catty comment after Lee's kiss and tears came to her eyes. Lee lifted her chin and softly wiped them away with his lop sided grin. "Hey, I've got big shoulders. Let them talk about me, it's nothing new with THAT topic around the watercooler. Are you OK?"

Amanda nodded, touched that he took time to explain to her. She vowed that she would show them all that she could give as good as the Scarecrow could take. She began plotting. The next time she saw Lee disappear into the kitchen she counted to 10 and headed in that direction. Sure enough, he was emerging just as she arrived and they once again met under the mistletoe. Sure enough, the chant began, " Kiss, kiss, kiss"

This time Amanda took matters into her own hands and reaching up captured Lee's face in her hands, pulling him down as she stood on tiptoe. Lee's arms closed loosely around her but he was content to let her take the lead this time. She came close to his lips, pausing just below them. Breathing shakily, Amanda began to nibble his lower lip, using her teeth to tease them apart. As Lee's mouth opened in response, Amanda darted her tongue out to stroke where she was moments earlier been nibbling. She felt Lee stiffen in shock but didn't stop. There were two thoughts chasing around in Amanda head. The first was how much she wanted to rub Francine and every other female agents nose in the was she was kissing Lee. The second was that she never wanted this kiss to end, that she wanted to be alone with Lee and see what his reaction was to her aggressiveness . She had never touched him so boldly, she fought to hold herself in check as she felt his body stiffen against her. She could feel him straining to hold back, to follow her lead in this. What she wouldn't give to throw those restraints away and just feel with him. Amanda's breath began to quicken in time to Lee's as she continued her teasing attack on his lips. She heard a subliminal moan escape him and moved on the next step, secure that she was in control.

Amanda's tongue coaxed its way into Lee's mouth. He opened for her as she explored his depths. He was holding back, a firm grip on his emotions, knowing that Amanda needed to prove to the skeptics that she was not the innocent they thought she was. Only he knew that she was innocent, she had to be. She could not possibly know what her kiss was doing to him. He wanted to sweep her up in his arms, to take her to his bed and … God, no, he had to get a grip. But if she kept this up Lee was going to loose the battle he was fighting. Without giving any outward sign, Lee began to meet Amanda's thrusting tongue with his own. He captured her and began to suck. He felt a shiver of desire shake him to the core and knew that he had to stop this before he did lost control and said to hell with the audience.

Amanda felt the tremble go through Lee. When he turned the tables and captured her tongue Amanda thought she would have fainted , the sensations were so intense. Gradually, she became aware that the watching crowd was clapping. Slowly, she lowered her hands from Lee's face, attempted to withdraw from his embrace only to find that her knees were weak and she could only cling to him at the moment. Stealing another moment, she looked up at Lee's face only to see reflected there a glazed look she had never encountered from him. Lee's looking down at her, mouthed "WOW!" before releasing her to the applause and cat calls of the crowd.

Francine was put out. It looked like that housewife had more to her that it appeared. Absently, she gathered up the used cups around her and headed to the kitchen with them. Lost in thought as she emerged, she didn't see Dr. Smyth until she collided with him. Reaching out to steady her, Dr. Smyth remarked slyly" Well, looks like our little housewife turned spy has hidden depths, eh, Desmond?" Before Francine could answer the cry went up, begun by Amanda. "Kiss, kiss, kiss!" Looking up Francine and Dr. Smyth saw they were under the mistletoe. Francine shrugged. It couldn't be worse than Beaman.

Expecting a quick peck on the cheek, Francine was shocked to find herself locked in Dr. Smyth's arms and bent backwards as his lips descended on hers. Masterfully, he applied a skillful technique and pressure resulting in Francine's mouth opening under the onslaught. She was helpless in his arms as he plundered her mouth. Francine tried to maintain she distance but was rapidly losing the battle. "God, where did that man learn to kiss like this?" was her last coherent thought until he began to pull away from her, while someone in the crowd muttered under their breath, "Gee, get a room already, folks. "

Smyth stood her up straight, smoothed her hair back in place, turned and took a bow. He headed out the door with a sarcastic" Hope everyone enjoyed the show, TA, TA, kiddies. We'll see you bright and early in the morning." Those were his last words as he left Francine standing stunned. Amanda barely able to contain her glee at Francine's discomfort scurried around helping sort out coat and hats as Dr. Smyth's departure broke up the party.

Billy was the last to take his leave. "Amanda, shall I walk you to you car?" he offered. He was not surprised when she declined, saying she would help Lee clean up the mess. Lee assured Billy that he would see Amanda safely to her car and on the way home. Billy knew that he would indeed keep that promise, what he did not know was how much later it would be before that happened. He smiled to himself as he left. Scarecrow was heading down a path he had never approached before, the path of Love. And it was about time in Billy's opinion.

Lee and Amanda worked together to straighten the mess and as Lee took the trash out, Amanda attacked the small mountain of dishes. She had almost finished by the time Lee returned, covered in snow.

"Lee, what did you do, fall in a snowdrift or get hit by fall out from a plow?" she laughed as Lee swept the snow off onto the floor. " Lee, " squealed Amanda. " Go in the bathroom and shake that off, not all over the kitchen floor." She turned to mop up the melting snow, missing the mischievous look he shot her. Employing his best stealth mode, Lee snuck up behind Amanda and rained snow upon her head as she yelled in protest. "Lee, oh, no fair. Lee, that's COLD. Lee," this last was muffled as he rubbed snow directly in her face.

Seeing her standing there, almost as covered in snow as he was, Lee felt a glee fill him at the thought of helping her dry off. Shaking his head at his folly, he ducked into the bedroom and emerged with a dry towel for each of them. Wrapping his around his shoulders, Lee began drying the melting snow from Amanda's face and hair. As he reached her shoulders and started down, Amanda suddenly took the towel from his hands, pushing him away.

"Dry yourself, " she commanded, then stopped. " On second thought, just go get out of those wet clothes while I fix you a hot drink. "

Shaking his head at the thought that this was where the evening had begun, Lee headed to the bedroom to change. When he emerged, smoothing his sweater down, he found Amanda sitting on the couch with a hot toddy. Closing his eyes, Lee couldn't help but think that the evening had come full circle, only the roles were reversed.

" I'm sorry, your guests seem to have drunk all the coffee. This is the only thing hot I could find." Amanda began to speak as she handed him the steaming cup.

"That's ok. You know, that snow is really coming down, looks like we might be in for a blizzard. It's a good thing the party broke up when it did or we all might be snowed in here." Lee replied as he took a cautious sip.

" Lee, I am so sorry about this evening. It's all my fault."

"How could it be your fault, Amanda? " Lee questioned.

"Well, I mentioned to Mr. Melrose that I was going to drop off the cookies and looks like everyone decided to tag along. I'm really sorry that everyone invaded your privacy."

"Amanda, it's OK. I am really glad you came. And I really had a good time tonight. Did you see the look on Francine's face when Smyth kissed her? She looked like she had touched a live wire?"

" Lee, that was the funniest thing I have ever seen!!! I should feel sorry for her but I just cannot seem to feel any pity. She is always trying to make me feel inadequate. I know she has more experience and training, but…."

Lee placed his fingers across Amanda's mouth. "You have better instincts in your little finger that Francine has in her body. She is a good agent but you… well, you,… Amanda King. You are just gifted. At getting into trouble and getting out of it. Francine is just jealous of you. Anyway, you really gave them something to think about with your actions tonight."

Amanda ducked her head as those actions came back to her. She could not believe she had kissed Lee so blatantly, so …"Well, face it , King," she chided herself silently, " so seductively. " There she had admitted it to herself. She had wanted to seduce Scarecrow. No, that was quite true, she had wanted to seduce Lee. The part of him that was the Scarecrow was sexy as a centerfold in Playgirl but that wasn't what she wanted. She wanted the Lee that was hidden underneath. The one that popped out when they were alone, the one that he took such pains to hide from the world. The Lee that was capable of gentleness and caring and love. And she wanted that love. Wanted it tonight more that she had ever desired anything in her life.

Amanda knew that she would give Lee anything he wanted from her, she knew that it was time to leave before she lost control of herself. She cast her mind around for a graceful way to leave when she felt Lee stroke her face.

"Hey, you never did get to tell me why you came by? " he questioned, looking for a way to keep the conversation from drying up. " Cookies, was it? Well, they sure came in handy tonight. Even Jeanine's fruitcake disappeared, thank heavens. But I'm sure the cookies would have kept until I returned."

"Oh, " exclaimed Amanda. "I almost forgot in all the crowd. I have a gift for you. " She turned to retrieve the package that had been sitting on the table only to find it had disappeared. " Oh, where can it have gotten to? " Amanda stood and began to search the room. Lee quickly joined in the hunt and they discovered the package under the small tree on the desk. Lee picked up the other package and handed it to Amanda.

"Well, good, because I got you something ,too. But I was going to drop it by your house in the morning on my way to the airport. "

"Lee, I'm touched. And its too small to be a scarf," Amanda joked at Lee's preference for giving everyone the "One size fits All, everyone can use a scarf," attitude he had displayed the first year she had known him.

" Well.." he murmured, blushing, " Only select people rate with me. Anyway, you are one of a kind, Mrs. King. You deserve unique."

They both began opening their gifts. Lee ripped the paper off like a kid, eager to see what Amanda had thought he would like. As he opened the box, he burst out laughing with delight. Amanda looked up at the sound, a joyous sound she had never heard from him before. Still grinning, Lee lifted the miniature Red Fez ornament that was nestled in the tissue paper.

" Amanda, it's perfect, where did you find it? No, wait.." he hushed her as she began to explain. "Tell me later. Right now open your gift."

Amanda carefully undid the tape and opened the paper. Opening the box in her hands, she echoed Lee's laugh of delight as she extracted a red baseball cap from its depths.

Looking at each other and the gifts they began laughing and gasping. "Great minds…" "Think alike" Neither know who began or finished the phrase, they were laughing too hard to care.

Minutes passed as they tried to contain their mirth. Each time one of they would calm down and take a deep breath, they would steal a glance at the other and burst out again. Laughing so hard, they were in tears, Lee and Amanda finally calmed themselves and took a deep breath at the same time.

" Well, I guess we were thinking the same thought this year." Lee said. "I just want you to know that the day there were too many red hats was the luckiest day of my life. It brought you into my life."

"Mine too, I never really liked the Shriners before that, never could understand those little red hats" Amanda reached out and set the Fez swinging. " Now, I am their biggest supporter."

"Well, " Amanda began. " If the snow is really coming down that bad, I guess I'd best hit the road or I won't make it home tonight."

Lee felt a hot flash rush though him at the thought of being snowed in with Amanda. He chided himself for his actions earlier in the evening. He knew that Amanda had been hurt and he needed to make amends.

Lee reached out to Amanda, " Dance with me, my Amanda, " he whispered in her ear. They melted into each other's arms as the quiet settled over them, unbroken except for the soft Christmas music playing over the radio.

" I really can't stay.

Baby, it's cold outside.

I've got to go 'way,

But baby, it's cold outside.

The evening has been,

I was hoping that you'd dropped in.

So very nice.

I'll hold your hands; they're just like ice.

My mother will start to worry,"

The words to the romantic duet were not lost on Amanda. She was the one always having to rush off for her family. Lee, too, was caught up in the song. " How closely it describes our relationship, " he thought as the song played on, each lost in their own musings.

"Maybe I'd better hurry, well, maybe just a half a drink more."

The music swirled around them as Lee guided Amanda around the obstacle of the furnishings. She felt so natural in his arms, like they had been together in another life. Fleetingly, he wondered if there was any truth in past lives theory. The words began again, distracting him.

" I simply must go,

Baby, it's cold outside.

The answer is NO.

Baby, it's cold outside.

The welcome has been, so nice and warm

Look out the window at that storm."

Lee wondered when Amanda would notice the time, it was close to midnight. Usually she was making noises about leaving when it got this late. He knew that he wasn't letting her out in the storm, no matter what excuse she made. She'd never be able to make it home to Arlington in the middle of a blizzard.

Amanda noticed the time but firmly put it from her mind. This moment was too good to abandon. She had dreamed of being in Lee's arms like this for so long. Just the two of them, a nice quiet room, candlelight, music, wine and no interruptions!! But in her dreams things usually progressed faster than this evening had done so far. After all, was this not the famed Ladies Man "Scarecrow"? At times like these, she didn't care if she was not the first in his life. She tried not to delude herself that she would be the last in his life either. Tonight, she didn't care even though she knew she would in the morning.

"I've got to get home,

Baby you'll freeze out there.

Say, lend me a comb,

It's up to your knees out there,"

Amanda, feeling her breath catching in her throat and her pulse race debated the wisdom of her actions. His arms felt so right around her. Remembering their close call before Billy arrived at the door, she was sure Lee was going to kiss her. Then, memory fast forwarding, she remembered their next two kisses. The one where Lee was so strangely withdrawn and her hurt. Finally, her face flamed as she remembered how she had attacked him under the mistletoe the second time.

Watching her face, Lee could see where her mind was going. He knew that he had to say something to reassure her. "Amanda, about earlier.." he stopped trying to gather his scattered thoughts. Amanda's face ducked down and pressed to his chest. He knew that she was bright red , she was so easy to read. But that was not what he wanted. He wanted to assure her he understood, that it was OK. So he lifted her chin and gazed into her arms. " Hey, I understand. I overheard my share of those remarks too. Francine made a point of needling me."

Relieved, Amanda spoke. "Oh, Lee, she made me so mad. I just had to prove to here that she was wrong. She said that it was no wonder you barely pecked me, after all , what could a "Mere" housewife know about passion or how to inflame a man like the Scarecrow. " Taking a deep breath, she went on. " She acted like I didn't even know what passion is, like I had never felt desire. The truth is, Lee.." she paused again, unsure of where to go with this conversation.

When Amanda paused, Lee held his breath. He couldn't rush he, he had to let her do this her was, as he had let her guide their kiss earlier. He wanted to tell her she knew how to inflame him, how to inspire passion that he wanted to quench with her, tonight, this very minute. Above all, he wanted to worship her with his love, now and forever.

Now it was Lee's turn to catch his breath. "Did I really say love, even to myself?" He knew that Amanda inspired feelings in him he had never let himself feel with any other woman. Lee had experienced passion many times in the past with different women. But none of them had ever been able to rouse him to the depths of desire he felt with Amanda even with the relatively innocent kisses they had shared. He knew that, given the chance, with Amanda, he could experience a world he had never known before. He had thought before tonight that he would be the teacher in their passion, she the student. But judging from her actions earlier this evening, he wondered if there were depths to Amanda he didn't know about.

" The truth, Lee.." Amanda shyly went on, " is that you rouse feelings in me I have never felt before and I am a little overwhelmed. When I kissed you, there was no one in the room but you and me. I could have lost myself in you, I would have been lost in you if you had done anymore that you did. Lee, oh, Lee.." Amanda's voice dropped to a whisper as her heart pounded so hard it made her faint. Lee strained his ears to hear her. "Lee, I want to stay with you, Lee, make…" The last words were lost as Lee covered her mouth with his.

He couldn't believe she was here, in his arms, asking him to make love to her, baring her soul to him in the timid yet bold way she had. He wanted so much to take her up on the offer. He swept her into his arms, glad he lifted weights as part of his Physical training. It was so much more effective than leading her. He wanted to hold Amanda, to protect her from the world, from any pain. She was as light as a feather in his arms as he laid her on the couch, never breaking contact with her mouth. He covered her body with his as his mouth played with hers, nibbling her lips as she had done him earlier. He could feel her trembling, he pulled on her lips, urging them to open for him. With a gasp, Amanda opened her mouth, Lee's tongue invading her.

The feelings she had experienced during her earlier kiss rushed through her body. She was aware of nothing but Lee, his mouth, his hands. Dear god, his hands, stroking her body through her clothes, caressing her curves, teasing her breasts, she was drowning in him, his touch was her only lifeline. Shuddering in his embrace Amanda gave herself over to the sensations he was creating in her.

Lee was as lost in Amanda as she was in him. His senses were on overload. He wanted all of her. He had to touch her, to feel that satin skin under his hands. To kiss and stroke every part of her, Lee no longer knew where he ended and Amanda began. They were one body , one soul, halves destined to be together. He wanted to fit himself into her, to complete the magic. Lee felt Amanda's hands under his sweater, caressing his skin, running her nails ever so lightly up and down. The feel of her touching him drove all logical thought from Lee's mind. His hands pushed her sweater up and he touched her skin.

Amanda couldn't breath. Lee was touching her, she ached for his hands, she ached for his lips. She knew that she needed him to fill her as she had never needed any man in her life. She whimpered as Lee's mouth left hers, only to gasp in delight as his mouth began to trace the path his hands had followed moments earlier. When his mouth closed over her breast, Amanda arched her back with an inarticulate plea for more.

Lee found that Amanda's skin was softer than satin, smoother than silk. He stroked her body until he had to taste her. Stroking her breast, covered by a satiny cup, he heard her plea. Inflamed, he reached for the clasp, he felt, he fumbled, damnit, where was that blasted thing?? Frustrated beyond belief, Lee took the bra in his hands and pulled.

Amanda felt Lee 's fingers fumbling but could not connect why until she heard the ripping of her bra. Apparently, the simple front opening clasp eluded the famous Scarecrow. A chuckle began in her throat only to die as she felt his mouth on her bare skin. As he alternated sides Amanda could only gasp. She felt desire shooting through her. She felt waves of pleasure roll through her body. Mindless with passion, Amanda could only feel, only react to the sensations he was creating in her.

Lee's knew he had lost it when he couldn't even unhook a simple bra. As he heard it rip, he felt a surge of power and possessiveness that he had never known. This woman was his and, by god, he was going to make sure she knew it. When he was finished with her, she would never want anyone but him to touch her. He applied himself to the task of pleasing her. He could feel her body reacting to his ministrations. Each time he touched her Lee could feel her body tensing, her hips unconsciously moving against him. Breaking off, he heard her cry of despair.

"Lee," she moaned. " Dear God, don't stop, Lee" Amanda felt him scoop her up in his arms. She opened her eyes to see his face, flushed with passion, hair mussed where she had run her hands through it, his sweater falling back to cover his chest. Lee carried her to the bedroom and laid her on the bed. He took a deep breath and took his hands away from her, exerting every ounce of self-control he still possessed as he knelt on the floor beside her.

"Amanda, can you hear me?" Lee watched her slowly coming back to reality. He had to do this, had to let the choice be hers. He could not live with himself if he took advantage of his Amanda, influencing her with physical sensations. He had to know that she wanted this as much and as consciously as he did.

Amanda looked at Lee, kneeling beside her. He was so intense, she could see him trembling. Was she the cause of this? Could she bring a powerful passionate man like Lee to his knees? She smiled at the thought, fleeting wondering what Francine would say if she ever knew about this scene. Dismissing that thought, she turned to Lee, secure in his love, even if he had not said the words. "Yes, Lee?"

Swallowing hard, Lee looked at the woman he loved more than life, wondering how he had ever thought he could live with out her ? He knew he had to tell her but he didn't want to blurt it out right now. She might think he was using the words to seduce her. He couldn't cheapen those word, nor his feelings like that. He could only show her with his actions how he loved her.

"Amanda, I want to make love to you. But I know that you are not a person who takes this kind of thing lightly." He paused, unsure how to continue. "Amanda, I know what they say about me. I know you have heard stories of "The Scarecrow" and his women. But I have never felt this way with any woman in my life. I haven't been with anyone since before Randi. I don't want anyone in my life but you. I don't want make love with anyone but you. But you have only to say the word and I will stop right now and I will sleep on the couch. There is no way you can get home in this storm but I won't force you into something you don't want to do. Amanda, the decision is yours."

Having said that Lee gazed into Amanda eyes then lowered his head, waiting for her decision. He felt more exposed than he ever had in his life. He knew that every word he spoke was true but he knew if Amanda chose to stop and go back to the way things had been that he would work day and night until he could convince her to give him another chance. He would win her love if it was the last thing he ever did in his life.

Amanda listened with her heart and soul as Lee made his confession. She knew without a doubt that he was being truthful with her. All those other woman didn't matter anymore. She knew Lee loved her. If he could let her make this decision then she knew that she could trust him with her soul. She already trusted him with her life. He would declare his love when he was able.

"Lee, I trust you with my life. I trust you with my soul. I trust you with my heart. I don't take this lightly. But I want you. I need you, make love to me tonight."

"You're sure, Amanda?" Lee had to ask once more. "What about your family?"

"The boys are with their father, Mother is off to visit my brother in California. No one is expecting me home tonight. I am at loose ends for the next few days."

"The next few days, eh? Well, let me see if I can occupy your time."

The End ????