**DISCLAIMER** "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. I retain rights to the plot, but not the characters. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only. No infringement is intended.
SYNOPSIS: My version of why Amanda may have broken up with Dean.
TIMELINE: First Season with minor spoilers for episode, "I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been…A Spy."
A HARD DECISION
The silver Porsche rolled to a stop in the quiet suburban street and the driver turned off the engine. Practically all the houses were in darkness and even with the soft glow of the street lights, the road still managed to take on an eerie feel.
Inside the car, Lee Stetson glanced at his watch and sighed. Eleven o'clock. He hadn't expected to be out this late. "I'm sorry, Amanda," he apologised to the brunette who sat in the passenger seat next to him. "I honestly thought, I'd get you home on time or at least earlier than this."
"Oh, that's alright, Lee," she replied with a forgiving smile. "I've learned that bad guys don't care what time it is or whether you have a personal life."
"That's true," he allowed wryly. He glanced at her again then sat back and adopted a nonchalant air. "I hope Dan wasn't too upset…you know, what with you missing your date and all."
Amanda rolled her eyes and sighed at Lee's usual trait of getting her boyfriend's name wrong. "Don't worry, I spoke to Dean earlier and we're going out tomorrow night instead."
"Oh, well, that's great then," he replied curtly then suddenly leaned forward and turned the key in the ignition. As the engine roared into life he added, "It's getting late, you'd better go in."
"Oh, yeah," Amanda agreed and opened the door. "I've got to get the boys up early tomorrow. They've got a field trip."
She got out then bent down and looked back in, bidding him goodnight before shutting the door behind her and walking a little way down the road to her house.
Lee waited until he saw she was safely inside and then drove off into the night.
Two days later, Lee entered the bullpen and immediately headed for Amanda who was sat at a desk, typing.
"Amanda, about that Barnes report…" he began as he came to a halt by her chair.
"All done," she replied and handed him a slim folder from the top of the pile stacked neatly next to her computer.
"Thanks, I'll give it a quick check over," he said, taking it from her. He was about to walk away when he snapped his fingers and turned back. "Oh, Amanda, are you free for some surveillance work tonight?"
Her face brightened at the prospect. "Yes, I've nothing planned this evening."
"That's great, thanks," he replied with a smile. "I've got a date tonight and can't make it but I told Francine that you probably wouldn't mind helping her instead."
Amanda's face fell a little but she covered her disappointment well. "Sure, I…I'd love to."
"I'll tell her to pick you up around seven, OK?"
"Fine," she replied and resumed her work as Lee walked away with a grateful smile.
Francine hurried through the corridor towards Field Section with a huge grin on her face. The guards held open the doors and she entered the bullpen, her gaze immediately going to Lee's desk. Her grin widened even more as she saw the brown-haired agent. He was reclining back on two legs of his chair with his feet braced up on the desk for balance as he read a file.
"Have I got the best news for you," she exclaimed as she approached her colleague excitedly.
Lee glanced up in amusement. "Wait, don't tell me. Billy's giving me two weeks off so that I can fly somewhere and relax in the sun, all expenses paid?"
Francine shook her head. "No, something much better than that. Amanda's getting married!"
Lee let his feet drop to the floor and his chair rocked forward onto all four legs with a loud thump. "She's what?" he questioned in a shocked tone.
"Getting married," she repeated gleefully. "She told me last night while we were on surveillance. Well, actually, she said that he'd asked but she hadn't given him an answer yet, but she'd be crazy not to, right? I mean it's not like men are beating their way to her door or anything."
"Wait, wait…the best part was when she said that when she and…whatever his name is…set a date, she'd have to leave the Agency." Francine could hardly contain her joy as she chuckled, "You can bet I told her that I hoped they set the date very soon."
Lee stared at the blonde in front of him, then hurriedly shut his mouth as he realised it was still hanging open in shock.
"Well, aren't you pleased?" Francine asked, her smile fading somewhat at the less than enthusiastic reaction she received to her news. "I thought you'd be happy to see the last of her considering the trouble she keeps getting into."
Lee pulled himself together and managed a winning smile. "I am. You've just surprised me that's all. I didn't think things were that serious between her and Dan," he covered.
Francine's grin returned in full force. "Just think of it as one of life's unexpected pleasures," she replied then let out a sigh of anticipation. "When she leaves there'll be no more having to listen to all the interesting news from the Mother's Den or PTA meetings or stuff about the Blue Jays…"
"You never did that anyway, Francine," Lee pointed out dryly.
"I know, I'm talking about you," she laughed and was about to say more when she heard their boss, Billy Melrose, yell out her name from across the bullpen. "I'd better go."
Lee sat back in his chair and watched his friend enter Billy's office. He looked at the file he still held in his hand and slapped it down on his desk with a snort of disgust. He didn't know why, but the whole Amanda getting married thing bothered him…a lot.
In all honesty, after the Polo De Gregorio affair when Amanda got amnesia and couldn't remember Dean, he had thought that things between the two of them would fizzle out. Obviously, he'd been wrong. It appeared to have had the opposite affect.
He had to admit that he'd gotten used to having her around and couldn't help the pang of disappointment he felt at the sudden turn of events. Still, she hadn't said yes yet…
He got up suddenly and headed over to a free computer terminal where he sat down and began to type. Perhaps if he dug a little deeper than he already had into Maguire's background, then he'd come up with something to…
Lee paused, his finger hovering over the enter button. 'What the hell am I doing?' he asked himself in shock. He moved his hand and hit the delete button instead and the screen went blank.
"Good morning, Lee," came a cheerful voice from behind him.
He froze and pasted a smile on his face before turning around. "Amanda, hi. I didn't know you were in today," he remarked casually.
"Oh, well, Mr. Melrose called and asked me to come in and I've got something I need to discuss with him anyway…"
"Oh yeah, I hear congratulations are in order," he replied as he stood up and sidled around her. "I hope you and Dan will be very happy."
"Thanks, but we…"
"Don't forget to send me a wedding invite, huh?" Lee cut in then added quickly. "I'd better go and finish reading the Wiltshire file. I'll catch up with you later."
With that, he walked off back to his desk and sat down. Picking up a file, he pretended to read it, all the while surreptitiously watching Amanda settle down to work at the terminal he'd just left.
'That was close,' he thought to himself in relief. He felt extremely glad that he didn't have to try and explain to Amanda just why he was doing a background check on her fiancé. He shook his head in disbelief - he couldn't even explain it to himself.
END CHAPTER ONE