DISCLAIMER: The characters here belong to Warner Brother & Shoot the Moon Production; this story is copyrighted 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: This story fills in the time period just before the Epilogue in "To Accept the Things We Cannot Change" and begins in May of 1988. Many thanks to my beta readers.
Scene One: Billy Melrose's Office, Monday Morning, May 1988
"Amanda?" Billy spoke into the intercom. "Can you come in here for a minute?"
"Yes sir, coming."
Amanda entered the office and took a seat by the desk. "What is it?" she asked.
"I just got off the phone with the British Embassy. Seems our security detail is ruffling feathers about the reception tomorrow night."
"Oh, no," Amanda sighed. Who had Lee offended now, she wondered to herself.
Billy gave her a half smile, and continued. "Can you go over there and get him to behave himself? We don't want anything to go wrong tomorrow, even if it is just an intimate dinner between old friends. The President would like it pulled off without a hitch."
"Yes sir, on my way." With that, Amanda walked out of the Section Chief's office, grabbed her purse from her desk, and headed to the garage.
Scene Two: British Embassy, Monday late morning
Amanda stood waiting in the foyer for whoever it was she was supposed to see. The Agency guard outside told her Lee had left a little while earlier. That's probably a good thing, she thought. It would let her find out exactly what had happened before she had to deal with him.
"Amanda!" came a familiar voice from down the hall.
"Emily! Oh my gosh, I didn't know you were in town. It is so good to see you!" exclaimed Amanda as she gave Emily Farnsworth a big hug.
"I hear congratulations are in order for you and Lee. I'm sorry that I haven't been in touch about that sooner, my dear. I've been doing quite a bit of traveling over the past year!"
"I'd love to hear about it, if you can tell me," Amanda said.
"We can talk all about it over lunch." Emily replied.
"I'd love to, but I'm here on business," Amanda began.
"You're here for lunch. Billy Melrose owed me one, and I'm here to have lunch with two of my favorite people. Come, my car is waiting and Lee is already at the restaurant." Amanda shook her head as Emily escorted her from the embassy.
Scene Three: Monday, Lunchtime
"Would you like to see the dessert cart?" the waiter asked.
"No thank you," Lee replied. He looked to Amanda and Emily. "Just coffee for all of us."
Amanda stole a glance at her watch. "Oh my goodness! None for me. I didn't realize how late it had gotten." She looked apologetically at Emily. "I wish I could stay, but I need to get back to the office so I can get Jamie to his game on time this evening. Lee," she reminded him, "you said you'd try to make it this time."
"I'll be there. Promise." He stood up, smiling, to pull out Amanda's chair.
She walked over and gave Emily a hug. "We'll see you tomorrow night won't we?" Emily asked.
"Of course! I love a good excuse to dress up and go out with my husband!" Amanda smiled.
Lee remained standing, watching his wife walk from the restaurant. He realized how closely Emily was watching him, and he sat down embarrassed.
"Lee Stetson, a happily married man," Emily mused. She watched Lee blush. "It suits you, you know. Amanda suits you."
"Yes she does, Emily."
"So how has it all been going? A difficult adjustment?"
"Parts of it," he admitted. "Amanda's family found out in less than ideal circumstances. Then the Agency found out while Amanda was in Berlin."
"I heard parts of that one through the grapevine, Scarecrow. You two are lucky you still have jobs."
"I know. But both of those were bearable. What's been more difficult is Phillip, Amanda's oldest son."
Emily raised an eyebrow. "How old is he now, Lee? Isn't he in high school?"
Lee nodded. "Just turned fifteen. He had a rough first semester. Some drinking problems. A bad car accident. His girlfriend and her sister were killed."
"Oh my," was Emily's response.
"It's getting better. I think we're finally starting to have some stability at home now. Amanda needs some time to catch her breath."
"You sound like a father, Lee," Emily told him.
"I'm feeling like one lately," he replied. "Who would have expected me to utter those words?" he asked, shaking his head.
Emily smiled. "As I said before, it suits you. Lee Stetson, you've grown into a remarkable man." She paused, and then decided to dive right in. "So when are you two going to have your own children?"
Lee choked on his coffee. "What?"
"You know I don't like to beat around the bush, Scarecrow!" Emily laughed.
Lee laughed once he caught his breath. "Obviously not! Seriously, though, we haven't talked about it. I don't know if Amanda wants to go through all of that again. This father stuff is nothing compared to what she does right now. She's a wonderful mother," he said smiling. A baby, he thought to himself, I'd like that. Coming back to reality, he continued. "During all of the trouble with Phillip, she made the comment that she didn't think she could handle it if she had anything else to deal with."
"But you said things are better now."
"And they are," he admitted. "Working as Billy's assistant has been good for her. For a while, she thought about quitting. We're past that now, and I think I'm just afraid to rock the boat."
"I can picture you rocking a baby much more easily," laughed Emily. "But I'll be quiet on this." She took a sip of coffee. "For now."
Scene Four: British Embassy, Tuesday evening
"So what were you and Emily talking about yesterday after I left?" Amanda wanted to know. "She's been giving us funny looks all night long!"
"Oh, I was just catching her up on the last several months." Lee answered. After all, it wasn't really a lie if you just left out part of the conversation, was it?
"I'm not buying it, Stetson." He held her closer, as they continued to dance. "But you're not going to tell me anything more, are you?"
"Nope," he admitted. "Let's just enjoy the party. Security is fine, the band is marvelous, my wife is beautiful. Let's just dance."
Scene Five: Late July 1988
Amanda was fixing dinner when the phone rang. Wiping her hands on a towel, she answered it and heard the clicking that told her it was either squirrels chewing on the wires, or an international call.
"Lee?" Amanda asked into the phone, hoping it wasn't squirrels.
Dotty had been about to enter the kitchen, but she turned to go when she heard her daughter. She hoped that Lee would be home soon. After a long stretch of almost no travel, the Vincennes incident had put him on the road for most of the past month. It would be good for all of them to have him back.
"When are you coming home?" Amanda wanted to know. She sighed as she heard him explain that it would still be a few more weeks. Then her expression brightened. "You're bringing someone back with you? Not an old girlfriend, I hope Stetson." In the other room, Phillip and Jamie got quiet as they tried to figure out if their mother was joking or upset. They relaxed when they heard her laugh.
"Give her my love. I can't wait to see both of you. Should I pick you up from the airport?" Amanda was reaching for a pad and pencil to write the flight information. "Okay. I'll see you then.... I love you too.... I will.... Bye."
"All right, spy family, in here now!" Amanda yelled into the living room, knowing they had all been listening.
Phillip, Jamie, and Dotty walked in smiling.
"Is he on his way home?" Jamie wanted to know.
"A few more weeks. But he's run into an old friend: Emily Farnsworth. You remember meeting her, don't you Mother?" Amanda saw her mother nod, and guessed she was remembering the decorating debacle in the dining room. "She'll be coming back on the same flight as Lee, and wants to come by the house."
"Amanda! Whatever will we serve? She's a Lady for goodness sake." Dotty was getting excited, planning an elaborate party in her head.
"I suspect there's nothing Emily would like better than to grill some steaks and relax," Amanda told her mother. "Nothing fancy. She gets enough of that."
Dotty shook her head, not believing her daughter for a minute.
"Mother," Amanda said in a warning tone.
"All right, all right, Amanda. I won't do anything special."
"Well, you could do one of your special deserts..." Amanda conceded. She laughed as she saw Dotty grabbing cookbooks and heading to the living room. The next two weeks might end up dangerously fattening as she sampled her mother's ideas. Two weeks, she sighed to herself, I'm tempted to just go to Dulles and get on the next flight to London myself. But Amanda knew that was out of the question. The boys needed her, and so did Billy. She smiled, thinking she had almost turned down the job as his assistant. She knew that she was less experienced than Francine, but somehow it was working. Amanda didn't feel out of the loop, and she knew that Lee was much more comfortable than if she had stayed in the field partnered with another agent. As Lee would say, she thought to herself, that's why they pay Mr. Melrose the big bucks.
Scene Six: Arlington, Mid August 1988
Amanda and Lee sat comfortably in the living room with Emily. The boys were cleaning up after dinner, and Dotty had gone upstairs to call her sister and brag about their houseguest.
"The embassy car will be here in a few minutes," Emily said to them. "I want to thank you for having me these past two days. It's been a nice change of pace." Seeing them smile, she continued. "You have a wonderful family here. Thank you for sharing it."
"Emily," Lee began, "you know you're part of it. You are welcome here anytime." She acknowledged his compliment, and smiled as she thought of how Lee Stetson had matured since she first met him as a young and impetuous agent.
"Besides," interrupted Amanda, "who else tells such wonderful stories about Lee?" She laughed as he poked her gently in the ribs. "No secrets, Scarecrow!" Amanda laughed.
Lee grimaced as he remembered a particularly painful episode of closet cleaning with Amanda shortly before they were married. Who knew how many items had gotten stuffed into the back of his closets? But that was a lifetime ago, or so it seemed.
The doorbell interrupted his thoughts. "Emily, that must be for you." Lee told her as he got up to answer it.
"Tell the driver I'll be out in a minute. Amanda, where are my bags?"
"Lee put them right by the door. I'm sure he'll take them out to the car for you."
"Exactly what I'm doing," Lee answered, as he took the two bags out to the waiting limousine. From outside, he looked up and smiled at Dotty who was watching from her window upstairs.
After saying good-bye to the boys and Dotty, Amanda escorted Emily outside. Lee met them on the walkway, and the three friends stopped a few feet from the car.
"Thank you for making sure he got home in one piece, Emily," Amanda teased.
Emily smiled and gave Amanda a hug, whispering into her ear as she did, "Now you remember what I told you."
Lee held out his hand, but Emily hugged him as well. "Take care of her, Lee," she admonished. "I expect another invitation soon, you know." She climbed into the car and opened the window. "I just love to bring presents to growing families," she laughed as the car drove away.
Lee and Amanda looked at each other, mouths open.
"What have you been telling her?" Amanda asked him.
"Is there something you want to tell me?" Lee asked at the same time. Amanda shook her head, and Lee took her hands. "Maybe it's time we did some talking about it."
"It?" Amanda asked, her voice cracking.
"Having a child of our own," Lee replied. "Are you interested?"
"Am I interested? I can't believe you're asking me that question." She paused. "I guess I didn't think you would be," Amanda admitted.
"Oh, I'm interested all right. But unless you want the neighbors to see how just how interested I am, we should probably go inside." Amanda laughed, acknowledging that the presence of the limousine probably had more people than just her mother looking out their windows.
Scene Seven: Arlington, Early morning, November 1988
Amanda lay in bed with her eyes shut tight. She could hear Lee's rhythmic breathing next to her, telling her he was still asleep. She opened one eye, and read the clock: 5:33 a.m. She closed her eye again, hoping the bed would stop spinning. Finally, after acknowledging that it wasn't likely to happen, she quietly got up and went into the bathroom.
Lee heard his wife get up, and waited for her to come back. It was still early, he reasoned, and no one else in the house was awake yet.... After several minutes, he sat up. It had been quiet in the bathroom for the last couple of minutes, but the light shone from under the door. Quietly, he got up and walked over to the door, but it was locked.
He knocked softly, "Amanda? Is everything okay?"
"Uh, yeah," she answered, opening the door. She held a long white plastic stick in her hand. Lee just looked at it, and then looked at her face. She gave him a small smile.
"It's positive?" he asked. He had suspected she was pregnant. Her behavior the past several days had been very un-Amanda-like: skipping breakfast, keeping away from the kitchen in general, falling asleep at the drop of a hat. Dotty had been dropping enough hints that he knew she suspected as well.
"Yup, seems so Scarecrow. You're about to be a dad."
He hugged his wife tightly, unable to say anything at all for several seconds. Finally he swung her in a small circle and let out a loud whoop.
"Lee, you're going to wake everyone up and if you don't put me down I'm going to be sick!"
He put her down quickly. "I don't want that, but as far as waking everyone up goes..." he smiled as he put on his robe, opened their door and began pounding on the other bedroom doors.
"Lee!" Amanda admonished him, "Do you know what time it is?"
"Yes, and I don't care, and neither will anyone else. Come on, wake up!" he yelled, "We've got some news!"
Phillip and Jamie each came out of their rooms, looking puzzled. Phillip looked about to complain, when Dotty walked out of her room and hushed him. "So?" she asked, "I hope this is what I think it is or the two of you are going to be in a lot of trouble for waking us all up this early!"
Lee smiled, and swung his mother-in-law around in a circle. "Good morning Grandma," he teased. Amanda stood against the wall, watching her entire family go insane. Phillip and Jamie both let out what sounded like shouts of happiness. Dotty and Lee were dancing in the hallway. It wasn't even six a.m. yet. Finally, it seemed, they noticed her and all at once she had four people hugging her.
"Gee, if I thought I'd get this much attention we should have done this sooner," she stated. She looked at Lee, who was unable to wipe the silly grin from his face. "You know, Stetson, if you show up at work looking like that people are going to talk!"
"Let them," Lee laughed as he embraced his wife.
Scene Eight: Billy's office, December 21, 1988
"Damn!" Billy Melrose swore as he hung up the phone. Just as everyone had been starting to relax, the threat had materialized. He walked out of his office, and looked over the bullpen. The holidays were about to look a whole lot less pleasant, but he knew there was no choice.
"All right people, listen up," he began, and waited for quiet. "About thirty minutes ago, at 7:02 PM local time, Pan Am flight 103 went down over Lockerbie, Scotland." He glanced at his notes. "It left London Heathrow at 6:25 PM, twenty-five minutes behind schedule, and had reached cruising altitude before going down. I know you have all seen the FAA warning, so start making some phone calls. It's going to be a late night, and a long week ahead."
"Amanda?" he turned to her.
"In my office, now."
She came in quickly, and he began to explain before she had a chance to sit down. "It looks like it originated in Frankfurt." When he looked up, he noticed her lack of color. "Are you okay?"
"Yes sir, I'm okay." While she and Lee had decided to wait before informing anyone of her pregnancy, it had been hard to hide the morning sickness from her boss. Luckily thus far it had been relatively minor. "Sir, if it originated in Frankfurt," she began.
"Then we have to look seriously at the terrorist angle," Billy finished up. "It's the same airline, and point of origin as mentioned in the tip we got."
Amanda nodded. "I'll call in Lee and his team. What time to do you want to meet with them?"
Billy looked at his watch, "How about seven thirty? After you get that set up, start coordinating the paperwork as it comes in. Some items will be faxed over, but the more sensitive documents will come by courier. It's going to a long night." Billy leaned back in his chair.
"Yes sir," replied Amanda as she walked toward the door to pull Lee in from the field.
A few hours later, Amanda was staring at the latest fax that had come in. Billy had a copy as well, and was about a page ahead of her. He was looking very solemn, and she began to worry. When she first heard about the plane crash, her thoughts were for all of the families of the passengers. Now here she was, having a first look at the list of exactly who was on board. She noticed the name of the CIA Section Chief in Beirut. This was going to be a full-fledged scramble, she realized.
Billy interrupted her thoughts. "It's not complete yet, Amanda, but it's a first cut. Obviously, we're going to be involved in the investigation."
"Lee's going to have to go over to Scotland, you mean."
"Yes. Sorry about the timing and all," Billy paused. "I know this won't be easy for him."
"The first class list is at the end, Amanda. It's the most complete portion." Billy sighed and looked to the ceiling. He knew this was going to be tough on her as well, but he also knew how strong Amanda really was, and knew she needed to read it herself.
"Oh my gosh, Emily," Amanda's voice cracked. "No."
"You need to tell Lee." Billy said. "I don't want him reading it on a report somewhere, or seeing it on the news once the list is public."
"Yes sir. Can I go now?"
"Please." Billy sat back in his chair. Even though it was early, everything pointed to a bomb. It would, of course, take months at the very least to sort through everything. He knew Lee was going to take this hard. He hoped Amanda could help.
Scene Nine: Jefferson Memorial, early evening
"Amanda, isn't it a little chilly for a walk? It's getting dark. I thought Billy wanted us all to meet soon." Lee was wondering why she had driven him here. "Come on, spill it."
Amanda couldn't meet his eyes. She knew that he knew she was hiding something. She knew though that she couldn't tell him at the Agency. "Let's sit down for a minute."
She pulled the fax from her pocket. It was folded, and Lee couldn't tell what it was, other than something official. "Billy wants you to lead up the Agency team on the Pan Am 103 investigation," she began.
"You've already told me that. It makes sense."
"We got a first cut at the passenger list a little while ago. There's still a news blackout on it." Lee nodded, and she continued. "Lee," she began, but stopped to take a deep breath. A tear formed in the corner of her eye, and she willed it away, but it began to trail slowly down her face.
"Who?" he wanted to know.
"Emily." It was barely a whisper.
"Oh, God!" he groaned, and hugged Amanda to him. They sat that way for a while, not noticing that the wind was picking up and the temperature dropping. One of the guards began to approach them, but changed his mind. He recognized the couple, and knew they were locals who came to the Memorial quite often.
Slowly, Lee pulled back slightly and put his hand into the inner pocket of his blazer. "This was in the mail this morning," he said, as he handed Amanda a card. It was still sealed, but she recognized the handwriting.
"It's from Emily." Amanda stated, as she slowly opened it. "It's a Christmas card," she said, stating the obvious. "Shall I read it?" she asked Lee.
He nodded, and she began:
"Dear Lee and Amanda,
I hope that this Christmas finds you and your family well. I will be coming to the States for the holidays and hope to see you. It's been too long. I've enclosed two tickets for the Ambassador's Christmas reception. I do hope you can make it. It's a time for new beginnings, and new memories, and of course, old friends.
Amanda looked at the tickets, and sighed. No, they wouldn't be used this year. It would be too sad. She looked up at Lee. "It would have been a perfect time to tell her about the baby."
He put a hand on his wife's stomach and nodded. "It's almost as if she knew," he said, pointing to the note. Amanda nodded. "I really wanted this year to be different," he began slowly, "special. Phillip has come so far in the past year. He and Jamie are getting along, and they're both looking forward to this baby. I wanted us all together," he said shaking his head, "and now, this."
"I know," Amanda replied, "but somehow the world gets in the way. The CIA Section Chief from Beirut was also on the flight. Billy needs you to go over there, Lee." She stroked his face.
"Yeah, I know," he answered her. It was remarkable, he thought as he looked at his wife, how well she had adjusted to her role as Billy's assistant. She knew just how much pressure to apply, and when to stop. Word had gotten out that when someone was asked by Mrs. Stetson to take on an assignment, it was virtually impossible to say no. Billy used it to his advantage quite often. Lee shook his head, trying to clear his mind a bit. "I know that I don't have a choice here," he began, "but I do want to do this. For Emily, and for all of the families of the passengers. We need to find out who did it, and why, and how to not let it happen again. And if I can help do that..."
"You can. That's why you're on the top of the list to go to Scotland."
"When does he want me to go?" Lee asked.
"I don't know. I left after he showed me the passenger list. I don't think the details were worked out just yet."
They sat there for a bit longer, and slowly Amanda stood. "Shall we head back?" she asked him.
"You go. I want to sit here for a bit longer." He saw the concern in her eyes. "I'm okay. I just need some space to think. She was a mentor and a friend in a business without many close friends. Emily was a rare one, you know? She let me know, gently of course, that it was okay to have friends: Billy, Francine, you." He reached up to stroke her face. "I just need some time alone. I'll grab a cab back. Tell Billy that I'm just running a little late."
"He'll understand. I'll see you later, though, okay?" Amanda bent down and kissed her husband on his forehead, and then walked to her car.
Alone, on the drive back to the office, she let the tears come. Emily Farnsworth, she thought, there are an awful lot of people who are going to miss you, and we're only two of them. You were mighty special to us though, thought Amanda as she remembered the conversation the two of them had at the end of summer.
"Have you thought about having a baby, Amanda?" Emily asked.
"What?" Amanda was surprised. The events of the past year were still fresh on her mind. She was starting to be comfortable in her job, and both Phillip and Jamie were comfortable with Lee's role in their life. "No," she admitted, "the timing hasn't seemed to be right."
"Amanda," Emily began, taking the younger woman's hand in hers, "if you wait for the right time, you may miss it altogether. The right time finds us, sometimes. Look at how you and Lee met: an accident of fate."
"I don't even know if Lee wants more children," Amanda began, "the boys have been quite a handful."
"And look how he loves them. Think how much he'd love a child the two of you had together. Don't wait, my dear."
"I guess we should discuss it."
"I don't think you'll end up discussing much," Emily laughed as Amanda blushed. "Besides, I've always wanted to see what a little Lee Stetson would look like!"
Amanda hugged the older woman. "You know, we don't see you very often, but whenever we do it seems it's always to put us back on track. Thank you."
Scene Ten: Arlington that night
Amanda walked into the house quietly. In the living room, Dotty and the boys had the news on. As expected, the crash of Pan Am flight 103 was the lead story.
"Oh, Amanda," Dotty began, "did you hear? All those people!"
"Yes, Mother, I heard."
Dotty shook her head. Of course Amanda had heard. It was a silly thing to say. No doubt that was why her daughter was so late, and Lee hadn't gotten home yet. Still, it was so awful. She couldn't imagine what the families must be going through. "Are you or Lee going to be involved in the investigation at all?"
"Lee will be. He'll be looking at the terrorist angle."
"So it was a bomb?" Phillip asked.
"Nothing official yet," Amanda answered, "and you know I couldn't tell you anything anyway, sweetheart."
"I know." He looked at his mother. "You look tired. Are you okay?"
"No, not really." She sat down on the couch with them. "Do you remember my friend Emily Farnsworth?"
"Lady Farnsworth?" Dotty asked. "Of course we remember her. You and Lee had her over for dinner at the end of the summer."
Amanda nodded, and saw a look of understanding pass over her mother's face. "Yes. She was on the plane. We just got a card from her today." Amanda paused, and spoke quietly, almost to herself. "With all that she has done and seen, it just doesn't seem like this is how it should all end."
"What do you mean, Mom?" Jamie wanted to know. "Was Mrs. Farnsworth a spy?"
"Jamie, you know I can't answer that," replied Amanda, which Jamie knew was an answer in itself. He mulled over the meaning of that for a few seconds. "It's all random isn't it?" he wanted to know.
"Yeah, I think it is." Amanda put an arm around each of her sons. "I know you worry about what Lee and I do, but look at what happened today. A completely random, and tragic event. Children trying to come home for the holidays, people wanting to see their loved ones. It's over so quickly."
"How long will Lee be gone?" Dotty wanted to know. "Are you okay? The baby?"
"I'll be fine, Mother. I don't know how long he'll be gone. We're still working out the details of when he's leaving. It's rough right now for him - Emily has been a friend of his for a long time."
Phillip was quiet. His mother amazed him, he realized. She had an infinite capacity to bend, it seemed. Yes, she'd get angry and yell, or sad and cry. But she always pulled it together; always thought of who else was in trouble. Trying to lighten the mood, he thought of something. "Hey Mom, isn't Lady Farnsworth the one who helped you redecorate the dining room in gray?"
Amanda started to laugh. "Yes. It's pretty funny - I can't believe we never got around to painting it back."
"What happened?" Phillip prodded. Amanda looked at her watch. The boys should be in bed, she thought, and I need to get a change of clothes and head back. She sighed, and decided to take the extra few minutes to answer Phillip's question. After all, it was no longer classified information. Leaning back on the couch, with an arm around each of her sons, she told them the story of Emily in her dining room, dressed as a KGB colonel.
Scene Eleven: Arlington, late March 1989
"Amanda, did you get the mail?" Lee asked as he came through the front door.
"Yes," she answered from the living room.
He walked in and saw her sitting on the couch, holding a letter. Coming closer, he noticed the letterhead of the hospital laboratory. "Is everything okay?"
"Fine," she answered looking up at him. There were tears in Amanda's eyes. "It's just the formal report on the amnio."
"Then why are you crying?" Lee wanted to know. "I thought the doctor had phoned last week and said everything was fine."
"It's a girl," she answered.
Lee sat down. A daughter, he thought, we're going to have a daughter. "And everything is okay?" he asked again.
"Yes, everything is fine."
"You scared me there for a minute. I know it's been a stressful last few months. The investigation... my traveling. I would hate to think any of it would impact our baby."
"But it has," Amanda answered, smiling through her tears. "Don't you see? It's a girl."
Lee was quiet, and then he understood. "Emily."
"Emily," Amanda agreed rubbing her stomach. "Emily Jennifer Stetson."
"I love you," Lee told his wife, as they sat on the couch together and waited to tell the boys the news.