Author: Taya Johnston (tjsmklvr)
Disclaimer: "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and the characters of Lee and Amanda are the property of Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises. The story belongs to me and is for entertainment purposes only.
Timeline: Post Fourth Season
Feedback: Yes, please, on list or off.
Summary: Will an old flame come between Lee and Amanda?
Author's Notes: A heartfelt "thank you" to my beta team (Bubba, Miranda, Chris, Cheryl and Miriam). You each enhanced this story in your own special way.
"An Affair to Remember"
Amanda Stetson hesitantly walked into the bar of the hotel. Drinking might not help the matter at hand, but it couldn't hurt. It had been an excruciatingly long and difficult day. Today she and her partner and husband, Lee Stetson, not only wrapped up a tough case but also had a huge argument that tested their marriage.
The case seemed straightforward when Billy first had explained it to them . . .
"Okay, you two, listen up. Senator Derick Hennesy was found dead this morning in his Georgetown apartment. It looks like foul play. His aide found him in bed, the victim of an apparent heart attack." At their looks of confusion he explained further. "I say 'apparent' because the preliminary ME's report says he had needle marks on his arm. We're still waiting for the toxicology report about any foreign substances in his bloodstream."
"Any idea who wanted him dead, sir?" Amanda looked to Billy and then Lee.
"From everything that I've read about him, he was just a moderate Republican," Lee said.
"Hardly anything to be killed over," Amanda added.
"The police are questioning Hennesy's girlfriend . . ." Billy glanced at the file in front of him. " . . . Ms. Elizabeth Conrad. Whether or not she's involved--that's for the two of you to figure out."
Amanda looked over at Lee. He looked strange--upset, perhaps, or uncomfortable. When she caught his eye, the expression quickly disappeared, replaced by what she mentally termed "the Scarecrow facade." When he stood and offered her his hand, she walked with him into the bullpen.
On their way to the elevator, she placed her hand on his arm. "Anything wrong? You seemed a million miles away in there."
"Huh? Oh, no. I was just thinking. I'm not sure, but I think I know our suspect."
"Yeah, I'm not sure but it could be an old . . ."
"Girlfriend? Is there anyone you haven't dated, Stetson?" She laughed, shaking her head as she pressed the elevator button. She was amazed he was able to get any work done with all the dating he did back then.
Inside their office she stretched to grab the ringing phone.
"Film Library, Amanda Stetson speaking."
"Yes, may I please speak to L . . . Lee Stetson?" the shaky voice replied.
"May I ask who is calling?"
With a little more confidence, the caller answered, "Elizabeth Conrad."
"One moment, please. Lee, it's Elizabeth Conrad on line one."
Amanda looked down at her reports on her desk, trying to appear nonchalant.
"Hi, Liz. Yeah, it has been a long time."
"Just take it easy. My partner and I will be there in a few minutes. Which station house do they have you at? Okay, don't worry; we'll get this whole thing cleared up."
As Lee hung up the phone he caught Amanda's eye. "I guess I do know her," he told her shyly.
"So I gathered." She smiled.
He walked over to her desk and perched on the corner. "Amanda, she's just an old friend. I haven't seen her in years."
"I know that. I trust you." She leaned forward and gave him a soft kiss, then grabbed her purse and headed toward the door.
"Are you coming, sweetheart?"
"Uh, yeah, right behind you."
While Lee learned all he could about the case from Detective Montez, Amanda sat in an interview room waiting for Elizabeth.
Upon hearing someone enter the room, Amanda looked up to see a tall blonde being escorted in by a female officer. Elizabeth had shoulder length-hair and blue eyes and wore what appeared to be a very expensive black Armani suit. The slender beauty looked like she should be strutting down a runway rather than sitting in a musty office answering questions about a murder.
"So, you're Mrs. Stetson? I didn't believe it when I heard that he had married. I mean, someone actually snagged Lee Stetson! What a coup."
"Yes, well he has changed a lot over the past four years." Amanda cleared her throat. "Elizabeth, how do you know Senator Hennesy?"
"I'm sorry, I made you uncomfortable, didn't I?" Amanda could hear the sarcasm dripping from her voice but stayed focused. "Lee and I dated for a while a few years ago, as I'm sure he told you. He was such a tiger back then . . . well, as you said, he's changed."
Amanda wondered how seriously Elizabeth was taking the murder of her boyfriend if she was so concerned with the life of a former boyfriend and his wife. "About Senator Hennesey?"
"I met Derick at a charity event several months ago. I was working with a non-profit organization to develop stricter laws for patient rights. He was there as a favor to some constituents. It seems to help their cause when they have big names attend. We struck up a conversation, had a few dances, and, as they say, the rest is history. We saw each other practically every day from that night on. Derick is such a caring man, well . . . I mean . . . he was." She grabbed a tissue and dabbed her eyes.
Amanda nodded, understanding the confusion Elizabeth must feel. Her boyfriend was alive and well one moment and dead the next. Yet she didn't get the feeling that Elizabeth was really distraught. It was just a hunch, but her hunches were usually on target.
Just as Amanda was about to ask Elizabeth another question, Lee walked in and greeted them. "Hi, Liz. It's been a long time." He held out his hand but she bypassed it and wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him into an embrace.
"Lee, it's been way too long."
"Well, how about we get out of here and get you home, huh?" He gave his wife a quick wink and escorted the two of them out of the room.
Walking up to Elizabeth's brownstone in Georgetown, Amanda was captivated by the building's beauty. The architecture, with its long columns and eighteenth-century moldings, was quite impressive. Ms. Conrad must be very well paid to afford housing here.
As they entered the foryer, Elizabeth broke the silence. "You know, I really do appreciate you getting me out of there so quickly, Lee." She glanced at Amanda. "You too, Mrs. Stetson. Of course."
"Liz, why don't you start from the beginning and tell us how you met the Senator?"
"As I told Mrs. Stetson, we met at a charity event several months ago. We struck up a conversation, and ever since then we've been seeing each other."
Elizabeth motioned for the couple to have a seat as she entered the kitchen. "I'll just go make some tea. Make yourselves at home."
She began to shake as she poured the hot water into the cups on the coffee table. Lee helped her to return the kettle to the tray.
"Ms. Conrad, when was the last time you saw Senator Hennesy?" Amanda began a mental inspection of the living room, noting the Faberge' Egg collection in a display case and what appeared to be an original Renoir above the mantel.
Lee finished pouring the water, placing the tea bags in the cups, and handed one to Amanda and then Elizabeth.
"As I told the police earlier, we had a date last night. Derick asked me to stay the night, but . . . " From the look on her face, she was obviously remembering the outcome of her decision.
"Why did you decide to leave that night, rather than stay? Was that something that you normally did, stay over?" Amanda asked.
"Yes, most nights. But I had an early morning appointment that I needed to prepare for. He said he understood, and I left him shortly after midnight. The doorman can confirm that." She looked to Lee, who nodded.
"Liz, did he mention feeling ill before you left?"
"Not that I remember. He's in great shape, he works . . . worked out a couple times a week. He was only forty-three. I just don't understand how this could have happened to him." She placed her teacup on the table and looked thoughtful. "Wait, when I arrived at his place Friday night, he looked winded. I asked him if he was all right, but he just shook it off."
"Did he mention any enemies? Anyone he was afraid of?" Lee continued.
"Not to me. I would imagine he ticked off someone along the way. You may want to ask his assistant, Talbert, um, Edward Talbert."
Amanda studied the other woman's face. There was nothing obviously wrong in her answers, but she thought the woman was concealing something. The way her hands were shaking, her quavering voice, was so much more prevalent than at the police station only an hour ago. It was as if she was putting on an act for Lee's benefit. Lee's face showed nothing but concern, however, so she pushed the feeling away and finished her tea.
After Lee assured Elizabeth they would do everything they could to get to the bottom of things, Amanda walked with him out the brownstone.
Amanda sat down at the bar and motioned for the bartender.
"What can I get you, Miss?"
She paused for a moment. "Scotch, please".
After what seemed like an eternity, the bartender delivered her drink. "Here you go, enjoy."
She took a big gulp of the amber liquid and nearly choked. The fiery substance burned all the way down her throat. How did Lee drink this stuff?
The sight of apparently happy couples seated around the room only made her more depressed. Why weren't she and Lee enjoying each other's company right now? How did this case get so out of hand?
They walked to their car hand-in-hand after leaving Elizabeth. "I think the first thing we need to do is check her alibi." Amanda said, breaking the silence.
"Are you serious? We need to head over to Hennesy's apartment to see if the police missed anything," Lee said, obviously irritated.
"Lee, you can't possibly believe her story! I mean, it seems so . . . so . . . convoluted."
"Convoluted? You've never heard of someone leaving their lover's apartment in the middle of the night because they had to get home early? Hell, Amanda, you of all people should understand that."
She pulled her hand away. "This isn't about our 'mystery marriage.' That's ancient history. This is about a case."
"Oh, come on. I'm just saying that it's plausible that she left because she had an early appointment."
"And all I'm saying is, let's contact her office. See who this appointment was with. If, in fact, there was an appointment."
Lee rolled his eyes. "Fine, let's go."
A call from the Q Bureau to Elizabeth's secretary established that her calendar was clear for the morning.
With a sinking feeling in his stomach, Lee got up from his desk and began to pace. "So, she had an appointment that wasn't scheduled through her secretary."
Amanda glared at him. "I think she's lying." She crossed her arms on her chest. "Why are you so positive that she's innocent? Are you feeling a little regret about breaking things off with her?"
He knew she was upset, perhaps more about his past relationship than about the current case. "Look, she was going through a rough spot in her marriage. I'd just lost my partner. We were both looking for something to hang on to. But it was over almost before it began, Amanda." He noted the disappointment in her eyes when he mentioned that Liz was married at the time of their "encounter." "It's not something that I'm proud of, and I'd just like to forget about the whole affair.
Amanda's expression softened. "No regrets about ending things?"
He leaned down to wrap his arms around her and planted kisses down her neck. "I'm quite happy with my beautiful wife."
"Mmm-hmm, sure. You're a pretty smooth talker, Stetson."
"Nope, just telling it like it is, Mrs. Stetson." Reluctantly, Lee pulled away. "Why don't you get started on contacting Hennesy's staff and I'll head over to his apartment to see if Metro missed anything."
"Sounds good. I'll bet I find out more than you."
Lee rolled his eyes as he gave Amanda a peck on the cheek. "I'll meet you back here at 4:30. Then we can head home for dinner with the family," he threw over his shoulder as he walked out of the office.
"That's when it all went wrong," Amanda muttered to herself, staring into her drink. After signaling to the bartender for another, she slumped back into her seat and thought about the past day's events.
Amanda stopped in front of the desk of the plump receptionist. "Hello, I'm Amanda Stetson, from the Agency. I'm looking for Mr. Talbert. I phoned earlier."
"Yes, of course." The woman smiled. "He's expecting you. Just go straight ahead, into Mr. Hennesy's office."
As she waited for Talbert, Amanda rifled through the Senator's desk while keeping one eye on the door. The last drawer she opened seemed shallower than it appeared from the outside. After sliding it out, she found a false bottom. She quickly gathered the few papers inside, but when she heard a voice outside the door, she placed them in her briefcase and hurried around the desk to a chair.
"Mrs. Stetson? I'm Edward Talbert." The man extended his hand, and Amanda stood and shook it.
Edward Talbert looked surprisingly young, perhaps in his early twenties. He was tall, with dark hair and eyes so green she knew they must be enhanced by contacts.
"As I stated on the phone, I'm interested in anything you can tell me about your former boss's affairs. Any information you can give me, personal or professional. Even a small detail could prove important."
"Of course Mrs. Stetson. I'm anxious to help, any way I can, to bring Senator Hennesy's murderer to justice."
"So you think he was murdered? Not a victim of a heart attack?"
"Yes, definitely." Talbert nodded. "Senator Hennesy ran five miles a day. He never smoked, and he only drank socially. There's no way he had a heart attack."
"And he was in good health?"
"He had annual check-ups. I know because I scheduled them myself. And he was a young man. No, ma'am, he was murdered."
"Do you have any idea who may have wanted to see Mr. Hennesy dead?"
"He never mentioned any enemies to me, but that doesn't surprise me. He was a very private man. I do know he had a girlfriend. I met her on several occasions. They were practically inseparable."
"I'm curious. Why did you mention her when I asked about the Senator's possible enemies?"
"His whole demeanor changed after he met her."
"Well, he started coming in later, seeming more distracted. Right before he died he seemed kind of," he hesitated as if searching for the perfect word, "depressed."
"Did he say what was bothering him?"
"I asked if there was anything I could do to help. He said he 'dug the hole' so it was his responsibility to get himself out." The young man shrugged. "I'm not sure what he meant. I never got a chance to ask him. He got a phone call from Ms. Conrad and rushed off."
"When was that?"
"Yesterday afternoon, around 2:30, I think."
"Was that kind of response unusual?"
"Ms. Conrad," his lip curled with distaste, "was very involved with his personal and professional calendar. Mr. Hennesy told me to provide Ms. Conrad with his schedule and any changes to it daily. She would contact me and dictate what he was and was not going to be attending. He followed it to the letter." Talbert's voice dripped with sarcasm.
"Was there any pattern to the type of events she wanted him to attend?"
He grabbed the desk calendar and leafed though it. "Mostly charity events. Several of them were hosted by a tobacco company, Albert & Ross Industries. Along with other companies and non-profit agencies."
"I'd like a copy of that calendar sent to my office as soon as possible."
"Of course. I'll see to it myself."
"Mr. Talbert, when you saw the senator and Ms. Conrad together, did they seem happy?"
"Well, I guess so. That is, up until about last week. Then Ms. Conrad seemed less interested in Mr. Hennesy romantically, like they were business associates rather than lovers. I don't know, it sounds silly but . . . she didn't even seem to like him anymore. Does that make sense?"
Amanda looked up from her note taking to smile and nod. "Perfect sense."
"You know he didn't seem as taken with her as he once had been, either."
"Is there anything else? Did Mr. Hennesy have financial problems, for example?"
"Not that I was aware of."
Amanda stood up. "Well, I really appreciate you answering my questions."
"I'd do anything to help Senator Hennesy. And I guess it's all I can do for him now," Talbert said with a frown.
"If you remember anything else, anything at all, please call me." Amanda handed him her card.
Amanda stared down at the papers from Hennesy's false drawer, spread out on her desk at the Q Bureau. "So, that's why you were killed. You decided to go to the authorities rather than be compromised and vote no on the upcoming tobacco industry sanctions bill. But how does Elizabeth Conrad fit into all of this?"
"She doesn't fit into this, Amanda."
At the sound of Lee's emphatic voice, she jumped. "I didn't hear you come in."
"I'm a spy. You're not supposed to." Lee dropped into the chair behind his desk.
Sensing the tension in the room, Amanda tried to change the subject. "So, what did you find at Hennesy's apartment?"
"Not a thing. I guess the boys downtown are getting better at their jobs. It was clean as a whistle. What'd you come up with at Hennesy's office?"
Amanda walked over to Lee's desk and pushed aside enough files to give her room to sit down. "Well, as a matter of fact, it was pretty interesting. His chief aide said Elizabeth spent every minute with him since their first meeting. She had his ear when it came to his personal and professional life, all in a matter of a few months." She raised an eyebrow and waited for his response.
"So, he likes, 'liked,'" he corrected himself, "spending time with her and used her as a sounding board. That doesn't mean she killed him. Honestly, Amanda, I'm starting to think you just don't like Liz because of her history with me."
Amanda bit her lip and mentally counted to ten. "Lee, don't you think it's odd that a senator would allow another person to dictate his professional life the way she did?"
"Okay, how about this? I found a false bottom drawer in his desk. Inside were some compromising pictures of Hennesy. Along with a note saying he either does what's asked of him or the photos go public. Plus, there was another note telling him how to vote on the upcoming 'Tobacco Industry Sanctions' bill."
"So, you think he decided to stop playing their game and they killed him to get him out of the way?"
"That's what it looks like."
"Nice work. Billy gave me this on my way up." He motioned to the folder in his hand. "It's the toxicology report from the ME's office. He was drugged with some experimental drug that causes the heart to stop within a matter of seconds." Lee glanced
at his watch, noticing the time and decided to call it a day. "Let's try and have a pleasant evening with our family. We'll see what we can do about finding out who sent those notes in the morning."
"Sounds good to me." Amanda grabbed her purse and preceded Lee out the door.
"Fellas, we're home," Amanda called, as she came through the back door with Lee right behind her.
A second later, Phillip and Jamie clattered down the stairs. "Hey, Mom, hey Lee!"
"What's for dinner? I'm starved." Philip rubbed his stomach for emphasis.
"Yeah, me too."
Amanda and Lee looked at each other and shook their heads. As the boys continued to grow into young men, they found it harder and harder to satisfy their appetites.
Amanda began to prepare their dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, while Lee fixed garlic bread and a salad.
After dinner was eaten and the table was cleared, the boys went to their rooms to finish their homework. Lee and Amanda found their usual spot on the sofa in the den and curled up together.
"You know, you never did tell me how you met Elizabeth."
"Well, there's not much to tell. Elizabeth was a lobbyist, and I happened to be assigned to a case that revolved around a senator and some of his illegal activities. We just happened to be at the same party and struck up a conversation." Lee seemed to find the upholstery pattern fascinating.
"A conversation, huh? I'll just bet you conversed." Amanda giggled.
"All right, I deserve that. But you have to admit I'm a changed man."
"Oh, I never said you weren't." She leaned over and kissed his neck.
Lee pulled Amanda's arms above her head and began planting feather-light kisses on her jawbone and neck. She began to squirm under the weight of her husband and his ministrations. She'd need to move if she was going to gain the upper hand.
She somehow maneuvered herself on top of her much larger husband and pinned him down. After a quick kiss, she jumped up and headed to the stairs. She stopped and called over her shoulder, "Last one to the shower has to teach Philip how to drive." When Lee shrugged, she added, "Using their own vehicle." She had to stifle a laugh at the look of horror on her husband's face. But she quickly recovered and shot up the stairs and into their bedroom, with Lee hot on her trail.