Disclaimer: Scarecrow &
Mrs. King is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot The Moon Production
Company. This story, however, is copyrighted to the author. It is for entertainment
purposes only and I ask that it not be redistributed or archived without
Author's Note: I'd like to thank
a group I affectionately call the BeST (Beta Swat Team) -- you know who
you are! -- for their help on this story. Particularly, I'd like to express
appreciation to Pam Marquard and Ghostwriter for their input, support,
and occasional (okay, okay… more than occasional) butt-kicking.
Ready or Not
Amanda King had just replaced the preliminary
report on the Kimberlain case back in the security files of the vault when
two strong arms came around her, pulling her back into the firm chest and
strong embrace of her partner, Lee Stetson. She fought off her first instinctive
reaction… a gasp of surprise. She was getting very good at catching herself
before she responded to one of Scarecrow's surprise attacks. At first it
had been keeping her heart from lodging in her throat when he'd pop up
in her kitchen window or behind her suddenly on the street. But these days,
since their relationship had gone from professional partners to romantic
partners, the encounters had become decidedly more physical.
"Lee," she sighed softly, feeling his
lips tickle her neck, his warm breath traveling up to stir the hair near
"It had better be me," Lee chuckled,
whispering in her ear. "Are there any other men in your life that do this?"
His lips dropped to nibble on the tender column of her neck.
"Ah, well…" She smiled, enjoying being
held in his strong embrace.
"Ah, well what?" Lee turned her in
his arms, his look softening as he caught her teasing smile. "The correct
answer to that question, Mrs. King, should have been an immediate 'no'.
Now I can see that this requires a more… in-depth… investigation."
Lee's hands crept up her back, pulling
Amanda into what she knew would be much more than a Class C Interrogation.
As his eyes dropped closed and his lips opened for her kiss, she took a
step back, pressing a hand against his chest to keep him at arm's length.
At his smoldering look, she shot him her best "try it, buster, and lose
a finger" look. Brown and hazel eyes dueled with one another for a few
more moments before Lee finally took a step back, acknowledging, albeit
"What has gotten into you?" Amanda
laughed, straightening the collar of her blouse and fluffing her hair.
"Hey, can you blame me? How can any
man be expected to resist you?" Lee said, raising an eyebrow and giving
her his best devilish grin.
"Well, you did a pretty fair job of
resisting me for three years," Amanda quipped, managing to wipe the grin
off his handsome face. She swept past him, giving him a wide berth just
in case he wasn't finished with his fun and games.
Lee turned on his heels and followed
her out of the vault, watching as she composed herself and sat down at
her desk. Pulling a few files from her "in" box, she went about studiously
avoiding him. He couldn't suppress a smile as he walked over to sit on
the corner of her desk.
"You know," he smirked, "since you
became an agent candidate you've started getting awfully cheeky."
"Do you mind?" Amanda asked, fighting
back a smile. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. "You know,
some of us actually have work to do."
"Hey, I'm sorry," Lee chuckled. At
her skeptical look, he continued, "Really, I am. It's just I find it very
hard to keep my hands off you."
"Thank you," Amanda gave him a small
smile in return for the compliment. "But, Lee, when we're at the office
we should act like we're at the office. Anyone could have walked in and
found us in there. What would they have thought?" She'd placed the files
down and was now giving her partner a serious look.
"Amanda, it's late. All the normal
people have gone home for the night." She glanced up, raising an eyebrow
at his meager excuse. "I know, you're right," Lee countered sheepishly.
"It's just that this," he gestured between the two of them, "…us, it's
all so new to me. It's hard to explain, because I know we've known each
other for over three years now… but when I'm around you I just can't help
but want to touch you and hold you."
Amanda smiled at his earnest tone.
"I know," she sighed. "I feel the same way, it's just…"
"Just what?" Lee prompted, reaching
over to grasp her hand.
She looked up into his eyes. "It's
just so new to me, too. I feel like I'm getting to know my best friend
all over again. I mean, I know you… but I don't. Does that make any sense?"
He smiled, squeezing her hand. "Of
course it does. I guess that's my point, Amanda. I know you as my partner
and as my friend. Now I'm just eager to get to know you on another level.
You know, you could cut me a little slack here. I'm not used to being in
Lee's words melted Amanda's resolve
and she squeezed his fingers, telling him without words that she understood
and that she felt the same way. The love she saw shining in his eyes never
ceased to cause her heart to flip-flop in her chest. Amanda dipped her
head shyly as she remembered his voice on T.P.'s briefcase phone the day
that the Stemwinder war games had fallen apart. In those chaotic hours
they'd come close to losing everything they held dear. Yet somehow they
managed to hang on and not only to beat Alexi at his own game but also
to walk away with a priceless gift. After over three years of one zigging
while the other was zagging, of wasted opportunities and near misses, they'd
finally both let their guard down and admitted, to themselves and each
other, that they were in love.
Now, more than a month later, they
were trying to figure out exactly what that meant.
Looking down into Amanda's eyes, Lee's
thoughts raced along a similar path. The words 'I love you' had been shared,
but the tangle of feelings and the repercussions those feelings would have
on both their lives were still a puzzle to him. It wasn't that he wasn't
secure in Amanda's feelings for him. He knew she loved him. He'd known
it long before he'd spoken the words aloud and she'd returned them. In
fact, the burden of that knowledge was what had kept him from addressing
his burgeoning affection for his partner for so long. The thought of someone
loving him, and worse yet, of his loving someone in return, scared the
hell out of him. In many ways, it still did. Emotional entanglements on
any level were something he'd worked hard to avoid.
Until now. Until he'd opened his life
and his heart to Amanda King.
Now what? That was the question that
had been keeping Scarecrow awake at night. Now what? How do you live with
a feeling you haven't fully defined in your life? He knew in his soul that
he needed Amanda as he needed air to breath, food to eat… but in daily
terms what did it mean? He'd had so little experience with this. And if
there was one thing Lee Stetson hated and feared, it was being a rookie…
at anything. He didn't like not knowing the answers, not being in complete
and total control of any situation he faced.
At this point, all he knew for sure
was that he loved her and that he wanted her in his life and in
his bed. It was, in his mind, the next logical step. When he'd talked with
Amanda about it, she'd been very clear… she wanted to take the next step,
too, but she wanted to take it slow. Amanda had suggested they take their
time - what was the rush? Lee had innocently inquired as to how much time
she was talking about. Amanda countered that they'd both know when the
time was right. Lee volleyed back with there being no time like the present.
The teasing had somehow helped them forge their way through this tender
discussion, although it had done nothing to help them resolve when, exactly,
would be a good time… the right time… for them to take that next step.
Ultimately, Lee had supported her decision
to wait. He didn't mind waiting, and he knew that it meant a lot to Amanda.
So, he tried to keep his natural urges, and his hands, to himself. However,
it was a battle he didn't often win. He'd spent three years on the edges
of her life, never allowing himself to show exactly how he felt about her.
Now he wanted to make up for all that lost time. He did his best trying
to walk the fine line between showing the woman he loved exactly how much
he loved her and pressuring her for more than she was ready to give. The
fact that Amanda seemed to bloom and sparkle with every sign of his affection
didn't make things any easier. The line seemed to bend and turn at odd
moments and he was finding that he was having a hard time navigating this
Lee placed a tender kiss on Amanda's
cheek and went over to his desk. She noticed the tension in his shoulders
and the pensive look on his face as he thumbed through his daytimer. A
small frown pulled at the corners of her mouth. Something was troubling
him, but she couldn't figure out what it was. At first she'd thought it
was her decision to wait a while before being intimate. However, after
some playful teasing and cajoling, he'd agreed with her in that decision
Not that she herself hadn't had second
thoughts on the matter. Lee Stetson was one of the most romantic, sexy
men Amanda had ever met. If she hadn't known that before, the last few
weeks had proved it to her. Not a single day had gone by without Lee showering
her with attention, presents, surprises, and kisses… lots and lots of kisses.
His lips didn't seem to be satisfied unless they were nestled against their
favorite spot, the nape of her neck… although it was not unusual for them
to wander hither and yon in search of even more sensitive flesh. To Amanda's
amazement, however, it was the simple, almost careless caresses that most
nearly melted her resolve to wait to make love. His hand seemed always
to find hers, whether it was helping her from a car, steering her through
the sidewalk traffic of Georgetown, or clandestinely toying with her fingers
under the table during staff meetings. These natural, guileless contacts
never failed to quicken her heart and deepen her love for this man.
If Lee only knew how many times she'd
fantasized about him and how hard it was now for her to hold things between
them to a slow simmer. It wasn't too long after they'd met and started
working together that she'd begun to envision him in her arms… and in her
bed. Of course, it had been so much easier when she'd thought it was just
a fantasy; a wonderful, romantic dream that would never come true. Only
it did come true. Lee Stetson, her partner, her best friend, and the star
of some very steamy erotic fantasies, loved her and wanted to make love
She, too, had found it nearly impossible
to keep from being near him, from touching him. The smell of his after-shave
made her knees weak and the warmth of his hands on any part of her made
a shiver run down her spine and caused her stomach to flip excitedly. He
had a way about him… of looking at her with such passion and love and longing…
she found her eyes captured by his time and time again. Then he would smile
and those incredible dimples would appear. It simply wasn't fair for one
man to be so gosh-darned appealing. How was she supposed to resist six
foot two inches of well-muscled, sexy charm? Why should she resist? That
was a good question… all she knew was that her most heartfelt desire and
ultimate fantasy was becoming reality and that she needed time to adjust
and feel more secure before sleeping with him. Looking over at him, head
bent to the task of jotting a note on his calendar, she couldn't help but
think he needed time too.
Her eyes focused back on her own work,
but her mind refused to follow and stayed with the man she loved. His ego,
of course, would never let him admit it, but she could tell that they both
had some issues to work out before taking their relationship to the next
step. She just wished he'd open up to her, talk to her about what he was
"Amanda, would you like to go with
me?" Lee's voice cut through her wandering thoughts.
"Hmmm??" She looked back over at him,
willing her mind to focus on his words and not just the shape of his mouth
or the slight day's growth of beard that shadowed his usually smooth chin
and cheeks. She ached to run her hand across the roughness and she briefly
thought about how it would feel against… Don't go there, Amanda!
"The Crystal Ball? Would you like to
go with me?" Lee asked, getting up to once again perch on the edge of her
"Ahh, weren't you assigned to work
that function?" Amanda inquired, blinking to clear her thoughts, and then
watching as Lee's fingers found hers and slowly stroked the back of her
"Amanda," he chided her, "I just told
you, they reassigned Cooper to the security detail. I thought it might
be nice if we actually attended one of these affairs for pleasure instead
of business. What do you say? I'll pick you up at 7:30 tomorrow night?"
"7:30 would be fine. I'll be ready,"
Lee leaned down to place a kiss near
the corner of her mouth. "I'm counting on it," he murmured, his lips lingering
on the sweet spot, a twinkle in his eyes.
She watched as he hopped off the corner
of her desk, grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair, and sauntered
from the office. She shook her head, wondering if she'd ever be ready for
what was headed her way.
Out of breath from the last few twirling
steps of the dance, Amanda came to a stop, her hands clasped tightly by
Lee's. The air in the ballroom fairly crackled with excitement as the band
moved into another 40's swing number. Amanda and Lee looked out over the
dance floor, watching dozens of other couples swing and sway in flashes
of tuxedo and taffeta, wing tips and satin slippers. Everyone was bedecked
and bejeweled in their finest, and the Crystal Ball was, at only ten o'clock,
turning out to be THE social event of the season.
Lee turned and looked down into Amanda's
eyes, immersed in their sparkling brown depths. She started to pull away,
but he held fast to her hands and pulled her just a bit closer to him.
"Hey, those were some fancy dance steps
there, Ginger," he smiled down at her.
"Well, you're not so bad yourself,
Fred." Amanda smiled back at him in that way she had that never failed
to cause a shiver of excitement to run down Lee's spine. This time was
no exception. Again Amanda went to pull free from his grasp, but this time
Lee pulled her away from the crowd, toward the colonnade that ran along
the side of the ballroom, near the doors to the terrace.
"Come here," he beckoned her, drawing
her deeper into the shadows.
Confused, Amanda glanced around; then,
perplexed, she looked up into Lee's eyes. Her questioning shrug was cut
off as Lee smoothly moved up against her, pressing her body back against
the pillar, pinning her between the smoothness of the marble and the hardness
of his chest. Before she could utter a protest, his mouth captured hers,
pushing her slightly off balance. She reached for his shoulders to steady
herself and found herself instead pulling him deeper into the sensuous
kiss. Lee loomed over her, his fingers twining in her hair, which had begun
to fall from its upswept chignon. His mouth ravished the softness of her
own as his body molded to hers.
Vaguely, in the deep recesses of her
mind, Amanda knew she should push him away. She'd made a promise to herself
to take things at a slow pace. Hadn't she? A promise? Yes, a promise.
Now what was that promise again? Try as she might to focus her thoughts,
the feeling of Lee's body pressed to hers bombarded her senses and she
finally surrendered to the undeniable passion between them.
Lee felt Amanda's body relax against
him. He smiled even as he kissed her, and like the good soldier he was,
he pressed his advantage. Now he was on familiar territory. This was a
part of the game Lee Stetson knew best, where he felt at home. In this
he was the expert and the rules… well, the rules be damned… he always played
his hand best when he made them up as he went along. Why worry about tomorrow
when the here and now was so much more enjoyable? He continued his soft
assault of Amanda's mouth, moving his hands to the pillar, supporting his
weight so as not to crush her. Her hands caressed his shoulders and it
took all his willpower not to sweep her up into his arms and charge from
the room with her.
Amanda moaned softly as his tongue
swirled about hers in an intimate, timeless dance that needed only the
music of their passion for each other. She pulled against his shoulders,
clinging to him as if he were her only support in a world that was careening
out of control. Slowly Lee moved his body down hers, his mouth traveling
along the sweetness of her cheek and nibbling at her jaw, then nipping
gently at her earlobe. Amanda sighed and moved her head back, allowing
him access to the softness of her neck.
By now her hair had tumbled completely
out of its pins and combs and was a mass of chestnut curls flowing about
her shoulders. Lee reached to brush the tousled strands back, the heady
smell of her perfume pulling him like a honeybee into the folds of a fragrant
flower. His hand snaked through the lengths of her hair, then dropped to
caress her shoulder. Hooking a finger under the strap of her gown and slowly
lowering it so his lips could feast on the creamy flesh of her shoulder.
His lips moved lower, pausing on the curve of her breast where the burgundy
satin bodice of her gown drew a line of defense against further onslaught.
Amanda's head was resting against the
pillar, her eyelids at half-mast. Lee pulled her even closer into his body,
making his need for her clear, even through the layers of her taffeta gown.
He could feel her breasts pressed to his chest, her breathing ragged and
shallow. While one hand held fast to her upper arm, a finger still looped
in the strap of her gown, his other hand dipped lower to caress her hip.
"Lee," Amanda's husky voice sent another
shiver down his spine, her breath warm on his neck. It wasn't a question.
"Hmmmm," Lee growled, his insistent
lips gently pushing at the fabric that hid Amanda's breasts from his view.
It wasn't an answer.
The terrace behind them was dark and
deserted, its usual appeal lost in the late fall chill. Lee stepped back,
deftly opening one side of the French doors and pulling Amanda with him
into the shadows of the terrace, shutting the door behind them.
Amanda took the moment to adjust her
dress and try to smooth her hair. She felt him come up behind her, feeling
the warmth of his body even before he touched her. She could see the mist
of his breath over her shoulder and it mingled with her own. Ever so slowly,
he lifted her hair from where it had fallen and placed a gentle kiss on
the nape of her neck. She could not stop the moan that escaped her lips
or keep her head from falling back against his chest.
His hands rested lightly against her
waist, his thumbs gently caressing her ribs. His long, slender fingers
held her fast, and the power in those hands sent what felt like bursts
of electric current coursing downward, into her stomach. Her knees went
weak and she felt his arms wrap about her waist, his forearms tightening
about her, supporting her against his body. He snuggled his hips against
her buttocks, his arousal very evident. Amanda again felt a weakness in
her limbs at the thought that he might be ready, willing, and able to take
her right there in the shadows, against the terrace railing. Her resolve
melted in the passion between them. She loved Lee and knew his love for
her was real. She could feel it in his hands, see it in his eyes. Questions
lingered, but they were not loud enough to rise about the steady beat of
his heart against her back.
"Let's go back to the apartment, "
Lee whispered into her ear, his hands lingering below her breasts. His
voice was husky, the sound seeming to come from deep within his chest.