DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters copyrighted by Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without permission from the author. I retain the rights to the plot, not the characters. No infringement is intended.
SYNOPSIS: Set late first season. Lee isn't impressed with Amanda's latest attempt at helping him.
THE BEST INTENTIONS
"What did I say to you, Amanda, huh?" Lee Stetson angrily asked the dark-haired woman who was standing unhappily in front of him. "I told you to stay in the car."
Amanda King looked contrite. "I'm sorry," she replied earnestly. "I was going to, but one of the other agents said you were hurt and I wanted to see how you were."
"Well, I wasn't hurt. Not until you showed up that is!" he accused, pointing to the cut rapidly being lifted by the purple and yellow lump forming on his forehead.
"I said I was sorry, Lee," she repeated with a touch of annoyance. "How was I to know it was you coming through the door? I thought it was one of the bad guys."
"Bad guys?" he repeated in a sarcastic tone. "No, all the 'bad guys', Amanda, were already handcuffed and being taken away. There were only us 'good guys' left and we figured that it would be pretty safe to walk around since our work here was done." He paused to snatch the bag Amanda was clutching from her hands then added caustically, "Little did I know that a housewife was waiting behind a door to hit me over the head with her purse." He held the bag up and waved it in front of her face for emphasis before shoving it back into her hands.
She tried to defend herself. "Look, I'm sorry, I know it's my fault, I should have waited to see who it was first before I…"
"No, Amanda," Lee interrupted fiercely. "What you should have done was wait in the car like I told you!"
Amanda went quiet not knowing what to say to the angry man in front of her lest she enrage him further. He had a right to be upset. The metal clasp of her purse had caught the side of his forehead full on and caused a nasty cut. She glanced at the wound and eyed a little trickle of blood that was working its way down his face, making her feel even worse.
"Here," she said placatingly and pulled a tissue out of her pocket, "let me have a look at that." She leaned forward to dab the blood away and accidentally touched a sore spot.
"Ow!" he yelped and knocked her arm away. Grimacing, he put a hand up to his forehead and wished the throbbing pain would ease. "Just leave me alone, Amanda, OK?" he bit out through clenched teeth.
She pulled her hand away, remorse written all over her face. She was about to offer another apology when Lee held up his hand to stop her. "And don't say sorry again, all right?"
Momentarily taken aback at his vehemence, Amanda took a couple of steps back. "OK, I'm sor…" She stopped herself short when Lee glared at her menacingly and quickly placed her forefinger over her lips to signal silence.
"Just go home, Amanda," he ordered, effectively dismissing her. With a look that told her not to disobey him, he then turned on his heel and stalked out of the room.
Embarrassment like she'd never known filled every part of her body as the silence in the room became deafening. She became aware that they hadn't been alone during their argument and glanced over at the two agents standing quietly nearby. Fervently wishing that a large hole would appear to swallow her up, she mustered as much dignity as she could, then held her head high and walked quickly from the room.
She exited the building in time to see one of the Agency cars speed past her with Lee at the wheel.
Amanda sighed and walked over to her own car. Once settled inside, she started the engine and slowly moved off. She drove to the end of the side road where she'd parked, then pulled out into the mainstream traffic, her mind wandering over the day's events.
It had started off quietly enough. The boys had gone to school and her mother had gone to meet an old friend for lunch so she'd spent the morning baking a cake and some cookies for a treat. Then Lee had rung and asked if she could come in and type up some urgent transcripts. She had agreed and driven straight to the Agency.
She hadn't even had time to park her car when Lee had come running up to her and jumped into the passenger seat. He told her to drive to a warehouse on the other side of town where there was an illegal art deal going down.
Gordon Morris, who ran an international art forgery operation, was about to make a sale and the Agency had just found out. When Amanda had asked where his Porsche was, Lee informed her dryly that it was in the shop again.
Following three other Agency cars, she stopped a few yards down the street from the warehouse. Lee pulled out his gun and got out of the car. Before joining the other agents, he had leaned back inside and told her to stay where she was and wait for him to return.
Amanda had felt her usual concern for Lee's safety as she watched him run off. Not for the first time, she wished he would let her go with him. She had sat in the car for fifteen minutes before she suddenly heard gunfire. Shortly afterwards an agent came running out of the building towards his vehicle.
Seeing the agent, Amanda automatically grabbed her bag and got out of the car then ran over to him intent on finding out what had happened in the warehouse. The agent told her that they had two men down. He explained that one agent, a man called Matthews, had been hit and that Lee had also been shot when he had tried to pull Matthews to safety.
Amanda shivered as she recalled the dread she felt at the news of Lee being hurt…or worse. That's why, without giving it a second thought, she had raced off to the building ignoring the agent's yells for her to stop.
She had entered the building cautiously and made her way down a long corridor, listening intently for any sound. At the end of the hallway she'd seen a door. Upon trying the handle, it had opened to reveal a small room with a door directly opposite. She entered the room with the intention of exiting through the other door when suddenly, she had heard footsteps and muffled voices approaching from the other side. She had flattened herself against the wall so that if the door was opened, it would conceal her from the person coming through.
After a few seconds the door had indeed swung open and a man had walked through. It wasn't until her bag made contact with the man's head that she belatedly realised it was a very healthy-looking Lee.
His loud curse at the impact brought two other agents into the room prepared for trouble. They soon relaxed when they realised what had happened. Fighting to keep smiles from breaking out, they watched as Lee put his hand to his head and staggered slightly before spinning around to confront his assailant.
She cringed inwardly as she recalled the look on Lee's face when he realised who'd hit him. Shock had turned fleetingly into resignation, which was rapidly replaced with anger. She had tried to apologise but the more she spoke the more infuriated he became.
'Anyone would think I'd done it on purpose,' she thought indignantly to herself. Slowing to a stop at a red traffic light, Amanda glanced to her left. If she took that turning she knew she'd be at Lee's apartment in five minutes. She looked away as her momentary flash of resentment gave way to guilt…and trepidation. What if Lee had finally had enough of her? What if she'd made one too many mistakes this time?
The thought knocked her back; she'd only ever had the best of intentions when it came to helping him. As she sat and waited for the light to change, she vividly recalled the way he had coldly dismissed her just a short time ago and uneasiness took hold.
He'd never been that harsh with her before. Something in his eyes had told her that he was dangerously close to the end of his tether where she was concerned. The thought frightened her to her core. She couldn't imagine life without both Lee or the Agency now.
She glanced left again and wondered if he were at home. Maybe if they could just talk about the incident calmly and rationally, Lee might realise that she'd only acted out of concern for him, the same as any person would for a close friend.
Lost in her own world, she didn't notice the traffic light change and was brought back to earth with a resounding thump when a car horn blared behind her. She raised her hand in a gesture of apology and hastily pressed the gas pedal. Praying that he hadn't gone straight to the Agency, Amanda pulled on her steering wheel and turned left.
END CHAPTER 1