A Time to be Silent, and a Time to Speak

DISCLAIMER: The characters here belong to Warner Brother & Shoot the Moon Production; this story is copywrited by the author. Please do not distribute without permission. No infringement is intended, and this story is not for commercial gain but rather for entertainment only.

Summary: Reality intrudes on Lee and Amanda's secret life. Early June, 1987.

Scene One: Lee's apartment, early Sunday morning

Lee felt the sun on his face and reached over for his wife. Nothing. Opening one eye, he noticed that he was alone in the bed, and sitting up, he saw that her robe was hanging on the closet door. He rubbed his eyes, and had a vague memory of the phone ringing during the wee hours of the morning, and Amanda quietly getting it.

Pulling on his robe, he wandered into the kitchen, and saw an almost full pot of coffee, with a note taped to the handle of the carafe.

"Lee -
Mother called and sounded upset.
Sorry to head out, but come by for breakfast.
I love you - A."

He looked at the clock: 7:45. Rubbing his still sleepy eyes, he figured he could easily make it over there by nine. He grabbed a mug, filled it with coffee, and headed toward the shower. "So much for a leisurely Sunday morning with Amanda," he thought to himself. "Wonder what's up with Dotty . . . "

Scene Two: Amanda's house, later that morning.

Lee pulled up in front of the house on Maplewood Drive and smiled. It was so much easier to park right out front and walk up to the front door these days. For so long he would park around the corner, and sneak to the kitchen window to get Amanda's attention. He sighed, not really missing that, but feeling slightly nostalgic for the element of excitement it had held. Not that everything was out in the open just yet, but he was no longer nervous going up to the front door either.

He knocked a second time, frustrated. "Amanda? Come on, open up!"

Lee took his keys out, and was about to let himself in, when he saw a curtain move. He caught a quick glimpse of Phillip looking through the window at him, then heard the deadbolt snap open. He stepped in, seeing Phillip's retreating form.

He closed the door and walked past the stairs into the living room, shaking his head. "Hey guys, what's up? Where's your mom?" Lee asked. Phillip and Jamie were sitting on the couch looking uneasy. They raised their heads when Lee walked in.

"No, she, um, left me a message that your grandmother wanted to talk with her about something but to come by this morning." Lee looked at the boys again. "Weren't you supposed to be with your dad until this evening?"

"Yeah," said Jamie, "but he had to head to New York early. He dropped us off about an hour ago."

"With no one here?" Lee wondered what Joe was thinking.

"Well," answered Phillip, "the door was open, the car was in the driveway, and he was running late. We didn't know that no one was around."

"The door was open?" Lee started getting worried. "Did anything look out of place?" How do you ask two kids if it looked like their house had been searched or their mother kidnapped. He shuddered at the thought, remembering Birol, and offered up a silent prayer that Amanda was okay.

"Everything looked fine, but yeah, the front door was open about half-way. We figured that Mom and Grandma had to be out in the yard somewhere. Then we thought that they might be at one of the neighbors', although I don't think they would leave the door open. We locked the door, and were trying to figure out if we should call the police. Then you showed up."

Lee had to smile. Jamie's answer was probably longer than any conversation the two of them had ever had. They still had a tenuous relationship, but it had been improving this past month. Nothing like a little adversity . . . .

"Okay, guys, here's what I think we should do", Lee began. "Why don't you both go upstairs, unpack your stuff from your dad's and pack another bag to take over to my place for a while? I'll make a couple of phone calls and see if I can find out what's going on."

"You think you might know where they are?" Phillip asked hopefully.

"Not exactly, but I have a few places to start."

Scene Three: Amanda's house

The boys went upstairs slowly, and Lee sighed. Running his fingers through his hair, he went over to the kitchen phone. Got to stay calm, he kept telling himself. They can't see that I'm worried. Amanda and Dotty were who knows where and Joe was out of town. "Guess I'm what they've got right now," he thought to himself as he dialed Billy's direct line at home.

"Melrose here," Billy answered.

"Hey Billy, it's Lee."

"Scarecrow? What the heck are you doing calling me on a Sunday morning?"

"I'm at Amanda's, and there's a problem," Lee began. He turned, as he heard footsteps behind him. Covering the phone with his hand, he turned to the boys and tossed his keys to Phillip. "Put your stuff in the car and I'll be with you guys in a minute . . . your mom's car, not mine" he clarified, squelching the look of anticipation on Phillip's face.

"He has keys to Mom's car?" Lee heard Jamie ask Phillip, but he didn't hear the answer. He turned his mind back to Billy.

"Scarecrow - what's going on there?" Billy wanted to know. He had heard the exchange with the boys.

"I don't know Billy. Just that Amanda isn't around, and the boys came home this morning early to an empty house with the car in the driveway and the front door open."

"They called you?" Billy wanted to know.

"Um, no, I was stopping by to, um, pick up something."

"Sure you were," Billy said half smiling. But he heard the worry in Lee's voice. "Do you know anything else?"

"Nope, everything around here looks clean, although there might be prints or something. Amanda was meeting Dotty to talk about something, and neither one of them was here this morning. Joe just dropped the boys off at the curb and headed to the airport" Billy heard the disgust in Lee's voice.

"Now Lee," he began, only to be cut off.

"I'm taking them back to my place so you can get a team in here. Can you reroute the phone from here to my apartment in case anyone calls?" Lee asked.

At that point, Phillip and Jamie came back in and were watching Lee closely. He continued his conversation with Billy, using mostly one word answers.

"Okay, Lee, guess the boys are back there," Billy said, "Get back to your place and I'll give you a call as soon as we know something. You know you probably have to find out where Joe is and give him a call."

"Yeah, I'll handle that," Lee answered and he hung up.

"Okay, guys, let's head over to my apartment."

"Are the police coming by?" Phillip wanted to know. "When do we get a chance to talk to them?"

"Listen guys, I've already passed on what you told me. It'll be okay," Lee answered, as he avoided the question of whom it was he had been speaking to on the phone. He looked over at Jamie.

"Why do we have to go over to your place?" Jamie wanted to know. "Wouldn't it be better to wait here?"

"Listen, we don't know what happened here. There are going to be some investigators coming around. I think it will be easier if we're not in their way." Lee didn't think the boys needed to see an Agency team going over their house looking for clues.

Jamie was silent for a moment. "Lee," he began, "Are they okay?"

"Your mom can take very good care of herself," Lee answered.

"What about Grandma?"

"Well, your mom can take very good care of other people too." Lee realized just how true that was. Amanda had turned into a very good agent, and was nothing if not resourceful. If only Dotty would listen to her daughter, Lee thought. As long as they are okay . . .

Scene Four: Lee's apartment, lunchtime Sunday

Lee was staring into the refrigerator, taking a mental inventory: left over Chinese from last night with Amanda, two bottles of wine, one of which was still unopened, one milk carton with a date from two weeks prior . . . . He shook his head and thought to himself, "Four months of marriage and my refrigerator is probably the only thing left around here that hasn't changed very much." He turned and looked at the boys who were eating their burgers and fries in the dining room. Good thing they got large sizes. Too bad he didn't even have anything for them to drink around here.

"Um, guys," he started.


"Water okay with you?"

Phillip laughed. "Now I know why you're always eating at our house, Lee." Jamie just scowled.

"All right, listen I'll head out to the store a bit later and get some food. Make me a list of some stuff you want for the next few days."

"Days?" asked Jamie. "What are we going to do around here for days? What about Mom?"

"Listen," Lee began, "I hope it won't take us that long, but if it does you both are welcome here for as long as necessary. It's probably safer than your house, and given your dad is out of town . . ."

"We could probably stay with friends," Phillip said, but he didn't look convinced.

"I think I'd rather you be somewhere where I can keep an eye on you," Lee responded. "Until we know what we are dealing with."

"What are we dealing with?" Jamie wanted to know. "Why would anyone take Mom and Grandma?"

"Long story guys, and I guess it's time to tell you it," Lee admitted, "but first, do you have a number to reach your dad?"

"Yeah," answered Phillip, as he dug Joe's business card from his pocket, "he wrote the hotel information on the back. I think he said the flight would be getting in by eleven."

"Okay, thanks," answered Lee, as he took the card and picked up his phone to dial Joe in New York.

"Joseph King's room please," Lee asked into the phone, "Yes, I'll hold."

"Joe, Lee Stetson here." There was a pause. "No, the boys are fine. It's Amanda." Lee held the phone away from his head, as Joe let out a rather loud curse. Phillip shook his head, and Jamie looked uncomfortable. They knew their dad and Lee weren't close, and neither were comfortable with the veiled references made by their father about Lee.

"Listen, she wasn't there when you dropped off the boys this morning . . . no, not Dotty either . . . no, I don't know where they are . . . . No, Joe, she wasn't . . . . Why is it always my fault?" Lee was getting exasperated, hearing yet again how he dragged Amanda into a dangerous lifestyle. He felt guilty as it was, but he truly couldn't think of any open case that would put either Amanda or Dotty in jeopardy on this type of a personal level.

"Joe, listen, the boys are at my place for a few days. How long will you be gone? No, they're fine here . . . yes, we are . . . yes, he's on it . . . Joe, you know we're doing our best . . . Fine, fine . . . ," and Lee handed the phone to Phillip.

"Hey Dad . . . ," Phillip began, "no, we're fine. Well, a little worried . . . No, Lee's being great . . . we'll see you on Wednesday then. I'll tell him. Bye." Phillip hung up.

"He'll be back Wednesday," he told Lee.

Lee shook his head. Some priorities. The mother and grandmother of his boys were missing and he'd be back Wednesday. He looked at Phillip and Jamie. Jamie looked down. Putting his arms around their shoulders he led them toward the couch and sat them down. It was time.

"Guys, your mom really can take care of herself. Let me tell you a story about a package, and a man in a red hat . . . " and Lee began to tell them about Amanda's other life.

Scene Five: A basement somewhere in the District, Sunday evening

"Amanda? Amanda, come on! Wake up!" Dotty was shaking her daughter. Amanda didn't move. Dotty sighed. She had loosened the ties on her legs enough that she had been able to move herself across the room to her daughter. Amanda had been out cold since they were grabbed in Arlington. One of the masked men had hit her on the head right after . . . had her daughter really tried to get the gun away from the man who was holding it to Dotty?

"Amanda?" Dotty tried again, and heard a groan.

"Lee?" Amanda whispered. "My head . . . "

"Amanda? Are you awake?"

"Mother? What the . . . what happened? Where are we?"

"It's all so strange, Amanda, almost like something out of a movie or a television show. I came downstairs early this morning and heard someone in the kitchen. I went in, thinking it was you, but not sure because I know you were out with Lee last night, and then there was this man, Amanda, with a gun!"

"How early, Mother? Was that when you called me at Lee's?" Amanda asked.

"Yes, he told me he wanted to talk to you, and that you needed to come home. I didn't realize you weren't home before that. Amanda, you really should let me know where you are you know. It's a good thing Lee's number is up by the phone."

"Mother, I'm an adult and the boys are with Joe for the weekend. Why did he want to talk to me?"

"I don't know. After I heard your car, I wanted to warn you, but I couldn't figure out how. Then you walked in. How in heaven's name did you think you could get that gun away from him, dear? What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that there was someone in my house with a gun pointed at my mother!" Amanda sighed with exasperation. Her arms were beginning to regain feeling, and she realized then that although they were behind her, the cuffs felt fairly lose. Dotty's hands were tied, not cuffed, and in front.

"Amateurs," Amanda thought, not realizing that she had muttered the word aloud.

"What did you say dear?" Dotty asked

"Hmm, Mother, can you get that clip out of your hair and hand it to me please?"

"What are you going to do with it Amanda?" Dotty asked, as she placed the open clip into Amanda's hand. "Pick the locks?"

"That was the idea."

"How are you going to do that? I'm sure it's much harder than they show on TV, dear. Although I don't know for the life of me what to . . . "

"Done," Amanda interrupted. "Let's get us untied now."

Dotty just shook her head. She was even more confused than before. Why were they here? How did her daughter just know what to do? And what about that incident at the house when she tried to get the gun away?

"Now listen, Mother. I'm going to loosen your ropes so you can move, and so if you need to you can get out of them. But it needs to look like we are still tied up. We don't know why we are here, or what they want from us." Amanda said in a very business like manner as she loosened the knots, but didn't remove the ropes from her mother.

Dotty was speechless. This was a side of her daughter she hadn't ever seen. Cool, calm, almost as if she had done this before.

Amanda sighed. It really was much easier to escape when Lee was helping. She looked to her mother, trying to decide how much to explain. Just enough to get us out of here, she decided. And not one iota more. Not until they were safe.

Scene Six: The basement, late Sunday

As Amanda was scooting back to her original position, she heard footsteps. She glanced at her mother with a warning glance. Dotty shrugged, and the door opened.

"Well, well, it looks as if you are awake Mrs. King," said a voice muffled by a black ski mask. "I think it's time for some questions about your husband."

"Excuse me?" asked Amanda. Who was this man, and how could he know about Lee?

"We know he is in New York, and the papers aren't at his apartment. While we still haven't searched his hotel room, I doubt we will find them there. Where are they Mrs. King?"

Amanda thought about what he just said, "New York? Joe? My ex-husband?" Relief flooded through her. Not Lee. But what had Joe gotten himself into now? She hadn't talked to him since he picked up the boys Thursday night for their long weekend. Oh my gosh, she thought, the boys!

"You are very friendly with your ex Mrs. King. And given your line of work, it is not inconceivable that he has confided in you."

"What line of work?" Dotty wanted to know. "She's a film producer!"

"I see we keep our secrets well, don't we Mrs. King? I'll give you some time to think what's more important: your secrets or her life." He motioned toward Dotty, and turned and left the room.

"Amanda, do you think there is anything you need to tell me?"

"Oh Mother!" Amanda sighed. It seemed, to her at least, that secrets about the agency weren't so very important. More important were Joe's secrets. And he hadn't confided to her in a very long time - not since he saw how serious she and Lee were getting.

"The issue here is Joe, Mother. You know he doesn't tell me anything! Has he said anything to you when he's come by for the boys?"

"No dear. He always asks how you are, if you are working, if you and Lee are still seeing each other. You know, Amanda, despite being engaged to Carrie, it seems as if he is having trouble adjusting to you dating again." She took a breath, "Specifically you dating Lee Stetson, although I don't understand why."

"I know, Mother"

"And what could he possibly be doing that would be worth this?" asked Dotty, gesturing around her. "Kidnapping us? That's as silly as your job being dangerous."

"Mother, let me tell you a short story," Amanda began, "about a man in a red hat . . . . "

Scene Seven: Billy's office at the Agency, late Monday afternoon

Scarecrow and Francine were sitting in Billy's office as they waited for him to return. They had been out most of the day, checking in with the team at Amanda's house and going over Lee and Amanda's current cases. They were tired, and frustrated, and had no leads.

The door opened, and Billy walked in.

"I think we finally may have something!" he exclaimed, as he handed Lee several pink message slips. "Joe has been trying to reach you all over town. Messages from Amanda's line on your machine, messages here for you, even one on your phone. I just spoke to him."

"Has he heard anything?" Lee wanted to know, jumping from his chair.

"No. He wanted to know how the boys were, or so he said at first."

"They're fine Billy. They're at school, and are heading over to friends afterwards. I've got two agents watching them from a safe distance."

Francine looked at Lee. "How did you explain that one to them?" she wanted to know.

Lee sighed. "I told them the truth," he admitted. As he caught Billy's eye, he amended, "About what their mother does for a living. They're old enough, and this time it seemed like they needed to know."

"Lee, they're little boys!" Francine exclaimed. "And it's not like it's your call. Amanda's going to kill you."

"It was my call!" Lee answered angrily. "They're not that little anymore, and they took it pretty well. I think in some sense they were relieved to know both how long we've known each other as well as to know that I think Amanda can handle a potentially rough situation . . . and Francine," Lee paused and ran his hand through his hair, "they needed to know and they needed to know from me."

Lee turned to Billy and asked "Now what about Joe?"

"Well, once I convinced him that you had the boys being watched closely, he managed to tell me that his hotel room was broken into today. He said he didn't know what they were looking for, but it leads me to think that this whole thing is more tied to what Joe might be working on than anything related to the Agency."

"And what is Joe working on lately?" Lee wanted to know. "I really don't think Amanda would know anything. Things have been a bit, well, strained between them." Looking at Francine, Lee stopped.

Billy seemed to guess that Lee didn't want to elaborate with Francine present, so he told what he knew about Joe's current work. "Estocia. Joe has been back in contact with the Prime Minister, as well as one of his former EAO associates. Looks like what happened in Estocia is still going on in some of the other African nations. We thought we cleaned house at EAO last year, but apparently there is still someone there with his hand in the till."

"Francine," Billy said turning to her, "Joe was going to fax a list of contacts to the Q bureau. Go up there and start making phone calls. See who is and who isn't around and why."

"Yes sir," answered Francine. She turned to Lee. "Good luck."

After she left, there was silence for a while. Billy finally spoke. "How much do the boys really know, Lee?"

"How and when Amanda started here, a little bit about her training so they'd feel more secure in her abilities, what happened with Joe when he came back from Africa . . . " Lee paused, stood up and turned away from Billy, "Why I have keys to her house and car, why her stuff is all over my apartment."

"Lee, the two of you are adults. I'm sure the boys know how much you love their mother." Billy didn't know what else to say.

"That I'm their stepfather," Lee finished as he turned back toward Billy.

"Oh," was the only reply.

Scene Eight: Lee's apartment, Tuesday evening.

Lee and the boys were having dinner and discussing where things stood. For all that had happened, it was in an odd way relaxing. With no more secrets standing in their way, Lee was able to tell the boys what was being done to find Amanda and Dotty. Phillip and Jamie both appeared calm and trusting. Lee also found it surreal. He knew it wasn't the way Amanda envisioned telling them about him, but he knew she'd be proud of how well they were handling it. He was proud of them.

Then, the doorbell rang, and they fell silent. Lee got up and peered through the peephole. He turned toward the boys and told them, "It's your dad." He waved Joe in, without saying anything.

"Tomorrow's meetings fell through," Joe began, "so I caught a flight back tonight. I haven't gone home yet - I called Mr. Melrose when I landed, and he gave me the address over here."

"Hey Dad!" yelled Phillip, as he and Jamie ran over to hug their father.

"How are you guys doing?" Joe wanted to know.

"We're okay," Jamie answered, "Lee said everyone is looking around the clock for Mom and Grandma, and we should get a break soon."

Joe threw a questioning glance toward Lee, not knowing how much the boys knew, and not knowing that they knew even more than he did.

"Hey guys," Lee said turning to Phillip and Jamie, "Let me fill your dad in while you clean up the dinner dishes." The boys turned and went back to the dining room. Joe remained standing, looking puzzled.

"You seem to have them pretty controlled," he said to Lee. Lee motioned to Joe to have a seat, and sat in the chair across from him.

"It's been a rough few days here, Joe, I won't kid you. But they've been really brave. That's not to say they're not scared, but they're handling everything with an amazing amount of maturity." Lee smiled. "There's a lot of their mother in them, you know."

"I feel as if I don't really know my own family anymore," Joe began. He saw the glare on Lee's face. "I know Amanda and I aren't married anymore. But it's more than that. She's so different from when I left, and the boys are so much older. It's hard to connect with them. I was hoping that this past year would start to bridge the distance, but you know, I don't think it's me they'd run to anymore if they were in trouble." He paused. "You know, they didn't even ask me to come back early once they were settled in here."

"I'm sorry," said Lee, "but I think they've been safer here. It's been an educational three days for all of us."

"What do they know?" Joe asked.

"Right now, probably more than you do," Lee admitted, "and I'm sorry but it's going to stay that way. They needed to know some things about their mother, and her job. Things Amanda would want them to know, would want me to tell them. Things that she has to tell you herself though."

Getting up, and pacing a bit, Joe silently took in what Lee said. He felt awkward and guilty for initially blaming Lee for the danger that he had now brought upon his sons a second time. He sat back down in the chair he had just vacated.

"I was thinking as I flew back," Joe began, "that I've been missing something with what I've told the Agency and faxed over yesterday. There is somewhere in the back of my mind, and I'm not sure what it is, but I feel as if it might be the key."

At that moment, the boys came back into the living room.

"We're done putting everything in the dishwasher, Lee. It doesn't look too bad in there, but probably not as good as Mom could have done." Phillip said.

Lee laughed, "But it's probably better than I could have done. Do you have any homework you need to do for tomorrow?"

They groaned, and looked at each other. "You know," Jamie said, "you're getting a little too good at all this parent stuff . . . ," and he was cut off as Phillip punched him. Jamie looked up and felt the stare coming from Lee. He realized that maybe his Dad didn't know everything about Mom and Lee, and maybe he should change the subject. "I have an astronomy report that I'd better get started on. Dad lent me a few books over the weekend, and was drawing some star charts. I haven't had a chance to get back to them, though. Guess I need to."

"Wait!" Joe jumped off the couch. "The star charts - the scrap paper . . . Jamie, get me those pages!"

Jamie brought in the book, and pulled out the star charts. They were really scraps of paper, many with notes on the back. Joe went through them one at a time, until he found the one he was looking for.

"Canal and N, Southwest," Joe read. "That's it. I was talking to the Prime Minister on Friday, and he mentioned a warehouse address that didn't seem to match any of the known storage facilities for the embassy. He was wondering if it was being used as a front for anything, and was surprised when the rent payment for the same address showed up for two other embassies as well. He was going to fax me over the details, and I told him I'd look into it, except I ended up leaving early because Amanda was dropping the boys off at the house, and it slipped my mind."

Lee picked up the phone and called Billy. When he got off the phone, he turned to Joe and the boys. "Okay, I'm heading down there. You all wait here until you hear anything. There's an agent outside the door, and two more in cars outside. Don't go anywhere, don't answer the phones, don't do anything!"

"I'm going," Joe insisted.

"Us too!" said Phillip and Jamie. "We'll stay out of trouble. You know we can't just wait here."

Lee sighed. He was tired and frustrated, and antsy to find Amanda. It had been a long three days of pretending to be strong and unafraid. He knew it was best for the boys, but it had worn thin quickly. "You get this from your mother don't you?" he asked, not really wanting or expecting an answer. "Let me call Billy back and see what he says. If he approves this, and that's a pretty big if, then all three of you sit tight in the van until it's over, however long that takes."

He walked back over to the phone, and hit the redial button.

Scene Nine: Southwest D.C., Tuesday night.

Lee got out of his car as he saw the Agency van pull up. He went to the window and peered in. "Stay put, and let us do our jobs," he said, and turned quickly and walked away. He buried his emotions down deep, and checked his gun as he ran to meet the rest of the team who were silently surrounding the building in question.

"Looks like another old apartment building to me," Francine stated. "Who would pay commercial rent on this?" she wondered out loud.

"Let's just hope that whoever is using it has already cleaned out the locals," Lee stated as he looked around the neighborhood. Anacostia was no place to be after dark, armed or not. The team split up, with Francine and Lee taking the main door. Quietly, they entered.

Scene Ten: Basement, Tuesday night.

"Amanda, how much more of this can you take?" Dotty asked with tears in her eyes. She looked at her daughter and shook her head.

"Now Mother," Amanda sighed, "It's not as bad as it must look. It hardly hurts at all - really."

"Right. One black eye, a swollen jaw, and your arm!"

"It's not broken. I'm pretty sure it's only a sprain." Amanda answered. "I just wish I knew who these guys are working for and what they want. I'm glad they've left you alone. I hope the boys are okay."

She felt her eyes tearing up as she thought of Phillip and Jamie. She hoped that they were safe with Joe and away from this. She began to think of Lee, hoping he was coming soon. It wasn't as bad as with Birol, she told herself. This time it wasn't personal, and the goons were amateurs - squeamish ones at that. They seemed to hesitate to hurt her when they were ordered to, and had left Dotty unharmed. They had never even noticed that she was able to slip in and out of her cuffs. But that hadn't helped her try to find a way out. The room was completely sealed up from the outside.

"Lee will find us Mother, that's what he does."

It was quiet then, but Amanda thought she heard footsteps. No, she knew she heard footsteps, and muffled yelling, and then the sound of gunfire. She backed herself away from the door, and huddled closer to her mother. "Just hang on," she whispered, "I think the cavalry is coming!"

"Amanda, I just don't understand how you can joke around . . . "

Dotty was cut off by the door breaking open, and Francine and Lee coming in with flashlights.

"Lee!" Amanda yelled out. "Oh thank God!"

"It's over," he said as he hugged her tightly and stroked her hair. "It's over." He pulled her face away, and for the first time saw her bruises. "Oh, Amanda!" he began, searching for the words to tell her how brave she was. "Francine, let's get them out of here!".

Francine helped Dotty up, and removed her bindings. As they walked out of the room, Lee lifted Amanda up and began to carry her out. "My hero," she whispered to him with just the slightest laugh. "What took you so long?"

"Well, I had quite an entourage with me. In fact, they're all waiting outside," he told her. Amanda shook her head in disbelief. "Well," Lee started to explain, "at least they're staying in the car, unlike someone else I know."

Scene Eleven: Amanda's house at dinnertime, Wednesday

Dinner was finishing up, and the boys began to clear the table without being asked. Dotty and Amanda exchanged looks of surprise, and Lee laughed.

"Why do you look so surprised? They've been doing this since Sunday at my place."

"Without being asked?" Amanda wanted to know.

"Well, no," Lee admitted, "I just kind of suggested that maybe I needed to catch you all up on our last three days. I think they thought that kitchen duty was easier."

Dotty looked at Lee and Amanda and waited. Amanda had been out at work all day. They hadn't spoken, really, since they'd been rescued the night before. While Dotty was still a bit sore, and her wrists and ankles were chafed, she couldn't help worry about the bruises on Amanda's face, and the sling on her arm. But she had to admit that Amanda looked absolutely radiant despite it all.

"What am I missing?" she asked aloud.

"Mother," Amanda began, "I want to introduce someone to you."

"Who now? More spies? I don't think I can take much more of this. I can't believe you've been doing this for more than four years!"

"No, Mother, not another spy, although we don't use that word. I'd like you to meet your son-in-law." Amanda reached for Lee's hand across the table.

Dotty sat there, utterly speechless. Finally, she slowly got up and walked over to Lee and put her arms around him. "Welcome to the family, even if it's a bit late." She turned to her daughter. "This I didn't need to know?" she asked.

At that point, Jamie and Phillip came in from the kitchen and leaned against the dining room wall.

"Should we bring his bags in?" Phillip asked.

"Guess we should," answered Jamie, and they turned and headed out to the car.

Epilogue: Amanda's living room after Dotty and the boys have gone to bed

"You know what Mrs. Stetson?" Lee began.

"What?" Amanda asked.

"I think I'm going to enjoy not being kicked out late at night anymore!"

Amanda snuggled in Lee's gentle embrace, and sighed. "But I think we're done with the easy part," she began.

"I know," he replied, "Billy has a lot of questions for us, now that the formal debriefing is over. Not to mention the whole Agency regulation garbage."

"Maybe that won't be too bad. I have a feeling Billy will go to bat for us. Even Francine seemed uncharacteristically gentle yesterday."

"Then there's Joe," Lee brought up.

"He called me today," Amanda told him. "Said he'd like to come by and thank you in person for all you did for the boys. He doesn't know we're married, does he?"

"No. I told the boys, but didn't quite know how to tell him," Lee admitted. "He already knew about the Agency, so I led him to believe that I was just filling the boys in on that. Still, he knows there's something else."

"Okay. . . I'll make you a deal, Scarecrow."

"What's that?"

"I'll talk to Joe. I'll meet him for lunch tomorrow or Friday and I'll spill it all. We can't wait much longer or he's going to figure it out, and I don't want him to find out that way. But then it's your turn."

"My turn?"

"Dinner. Friday night. Just you and me and candlelight and dancing and no one else in the world."

"Mrs. Stetson, you've got yourself a deal."