Disclaimers: Scarecrow and Mrs. King is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Production Company. This story, however, is copyrighted to the mentioned author. This story is for entertainment purposes ONLY. If you would like to add it to an archive, please just let me know.
Summary: This is a tag extension for the episode "Sour Grapes."
Time Frame: Third Season, picking up immediately where the episode "Sour Grapes" left off.
Author's Notes: As usual, this story wouldn't be what it is if it weren't for my partner in crime and wonderful beta, Jan. The episode "Sour Grapes" was written by Lee Maddox. This scene extension is based on a challenge posted by Cheryl on the Wicky site to write a scene extension, one or two pages or even half a page, of what you think happened after Dotty interrupted the almost kiss. Did Lee leave? Did he stay? Did he try to kiss her again? Or do you want to write it from Dotty's POV. Did she pull Amanda into the house and read her the riot act? Or did she get a glimpse of Lee's face and want to know who the strange man was? How about Buck? Did he come looking for his mask? Or you can combine any and all options. Here's what I came up with…but before it starts, I would just like to say that any similarity to the tag that Tiff wrote, that's part of her Tagalogues, is purely coincidental. I haven't read her tags in a very long time, and so my apologies if mine appears close to hers in any way.
Grapes to Wine
By Amy Firestine
Dotty stared at the checkerboard and shook her head. "What is Edna Gilstrap doing?" She glanced towards the kitchen window where the echoes of laughter and gaiety could be heard and flashing lights bounced off the glass from the block party their neighbor Buck had organized. "I've never heard her laugh like that. Actually," she looked at her daughter, "I've never heard her laugh."
Amanda smiled. "You got to give it to Buck, he got them out of their rocking chairs."
Dotty looked mischievously at her daughter. "Sounds like fun, doesn't it?"
Amanda grinned impishly at her mother. "Want to go see?"
Dotty almost bounced excitedly off the couch as she smiled at her daughter. "All right, except, let's swallow our pride and do it with class. I've got a sequined black dress that would put Mae West to shame."
Amanda smiled at her mother. "Mother, W.C. Fields would be proud."
"I'll be back in a minute." Dotty rose from the couch and made her way towards the stairs.
"I'll just clean these up." Amanda nodded and began cleaning up the checkers. She hadn't gotten very far when she heard a knock on the patio door. Looking up, she saw a man in a green jacket, wearing a W.C. Fields mask waving at her and motioning her outside. Shaking her head slightly, she rose from the floor and made her way towards the door. "Okay, Buck." Opening the door, she sighed resignedly, "you win." Her eyes flashed in amazement as the man removed his mask, letting it lie flat on top of his head.
"Hi." Lee smiled and laughed as he watched the confusion turn to happiness on Amanda's face.
Amanda closed the door behind her and moved out on to the patio. "What are you doing here? Did you go to that crazy party?"
Lee stepped forward and stood in front of Amanda. "Well it was the only way I could get in…this place is surrounded by crazy people. I've been to calmer parties during the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong." He pointed to the mask on top of his head. "I borrowed this mask from a guy who was bobbing for apples in a hot tub."
Amanda nodded in understanding. "Oh, see that would be Buck."
Lee glanced curiously at Amanda. "Buck?" Then, when she nodded again, he just smiled as he took her at her word. He'd known Amanda long enough now that he could accept her explanation for something based on one single word, knowing full well that she wasn't going to elaborate any further. "Oh, Buck. Well, anyway, the reason I came over here was, I dropped in to see Penny and she's doing fine."
Amanda sighed with relief. "Oh good."
"She's going back to school and she asked me to give you something personally." Lee softened his voice and moved a little closer to Amanda. "She made me promise." When Amanda smiled almost expectantly, he smiled, knowing that she was almost as eager for him to fulfill his promise as he was looking forward to fulfilling it. He leaned forward, ready to capture her waiting lips, when the French door Amanda had walked through only moments before, opened.
"Amanda, have you seen…?" Dotty, holding up a pair of black shoes, looked with astonishment at the scene in front of her.
Amanda breathed a quick sigh of relief when she noticed that Lee, who she still had her arm around, had managed to get the mask down. The relief was short lived however, as she realized exactly how this looked to her mother.
"Amanda?" Dotty stared incredulously at her daughter standing next to a man who she could only assume was their neighbor. "Buck?"
Lee shook his head vigorously as he slowly disengaged himself from Amanda's arm and began to back away.
Amanda let out a silent moan of regret and narrowed her eyes slightly at the cowardice of one of the county's supposedly bravest and greatest spies. "Mother, this…" Noticing that Lee was already near the opening of the back gate, she rolled her eyes. "That wasn't Buck."
Dotty stood with her arms crossed just inside the doorway. "That wasn't Buck?" Her tone of voice indicated that she had no intention of letting her daughter off the hook. "Then who exactly was that and why did you have your arms wrapped around him like I interrupted a romantic moment?"
Amanda mentally grimaced. 'Because, Mother, you did interrupt a very romantic moment,' she thought to herself. Moving forward, she gently pushed her mother back inside the house. She had a sneaky suspicion that Lee was hiding just outside the gate, waiting to hear how she explained him to her mother, and since he was being a chicken, he didn't deserve to hear it for himself.
As she followed her mother inside, Amanda glanced towards the kitchen window, wondering if Lee had snuck back inside her yard and was now hiding beneath it, squatting in her mother's flower bed, a place he'd spent a lot of time before. She shook her head and sighed regretfully; Lee had almost kissed her. She wondered if he was really acting on a promise he'd made to Penny, or if he was just using that as an excuse. They'd been growing closer the last few months, she'd sensed that. She'd even noticed that Lee didn't seem to be dating as much as he used to, or even at all, for that matter, since he seemed to spend most of his free time finding excuses to stop by her backyard, which, in her opinion, didn't leave much time for dating.
"Amanda?" Dotty tried once more to break through her daughter's apparent reverie. "Amanda," she said a little louder and let out a groan when her daughter finally looked at her. "If that wasn't Buck, are you going to tell me who it was?"
Amanda shook her head to clear her thoughts away. "Oh, Mother, what?" Then as she realized what her mother had said, she bit her lip thoughtfully. "Oh, you mean that man?"
Dotty nodded. "Yes, that man. You and Buck." She shook her head in disbelief. "I just don't believe it."
Amanda rolled her eyes. "Mother, I promise you that wasn't Buck." She let out a little laugh; as if Lee could ever be compared to Buck. Lee was handsome, well-built…and Buck, well Buck didn't even come close. "If you don't believe me, you can ask him yourself when we go and join the party." She noticed the black shoes dangling from her mother's fingers, and decided a bit if diversion was in order. "What happened to the black dress? I thought you were going to put Mae West to shame?"
Dotty shook her head and let out an ironic laugh. "Nice try, Amanda, but that isn't going to work." She sat down on the couch and stared up at her daughter. "I want to know who that man on the patio was and," she raised her finger in the air, "I'll accept that it wasn't Buck, since the more I think about it, the more I realize that he had a much nicer body than that of our neighbor, but I think I deserve to know who it was that I almost caught my daughter kissing."
Amanda sighed. Realizing that her mother wasn't going to settle for anything remotely close to a lie she settled on a variation of the truth. "He was a man from work… a friend, actually. Things have been a little complicated between us at work, and I think he's interested in dating me. The problem is…I'm not sure I feel the same way about him. Anyway, he had just said something sweet, and I guess I was caught up in the moment. I'm glad you walked out when you did. If I had let him kiss me that might have given him the very wrong signal." Even if that last comment wasn't even close to the truth, she couldn't deny the fact that a small part of her felt that her mother's untimely interruption had been right on time. If Lee had kissed her, how would that have changed their current relationship?
"And you really don't want to go out with him?" Dotty shook her head in disappointment and sighed when her daughter shrugged her shoulders slightly. "What am I going to do with you, Amanda? Ever since Dean, I've been convinced that you've had someone at work that caught your eye, and for a brief second, I thought you were going to tell me that that man on the patio was him." As she watched her daughter's face, she knew that Amanda wasn't being completely honest, and that thought hurt her. She didn't think she'd ever have to worry about her daughter lying to her again, especially not after what had happened when Amanda had hidden Debbie Ann Macabie in their attic. She and Amanda had always had such an open line of communication between them after that incident, sharing their thoughts and feelings, but it seemed to her that in the past year or two, her daughter was sharing less and less, and becoming more and more evasive.
Amanda felt a sudden feeling of guilt rush through her. She hated lying to her mother, but until she knew for sure what her feelings for Lee were, and his for her, she wasn't going to admit anything to her mother. "Oh, Mother…I wish you would stop worrying about me. I'm happy, very happy, right now. I've got you and the boys, and that's enough for me."
Dotty let out a sigh. "I'll take your word for it, Amanda, but I want you to know that I don't fully believe you. I'm only letting you off the hook for now, because I have a very strong feeling that I'm not going to get anything more out of you." Rising from the couch, she started walking back towards the stairs. "I guess I'll go take another look in my closet for that dress. That's why I came down here, you know, to see if you knew where it was."
Amanda looked at the shoes and then her eyes grew wide. "Oh, it's in my closet, Mother. Remember, you had torn the strap and asked me to fix it. I fixed it one night when I couldn't sleep, and didn't want to wake you just to put it away in your closet." She watched as her mother nodded and turned to leave the room. "I think I'll just head outside, maybe head over to the party. I don't feel like getting dressed up and I could use a little fresh air right now. Unless you want me to wait for you?"
Dotty waved the hand holding the shoes in the air. "Doesn't matter to me one way or another," she commented then stepped up onto the landing and headed upstairs to get changed.
Amanda made her way towards the French patio doors, and while a small part of her hoped Lee was waiting outside, another part hoped he wasn't. She really felt like she needed some time alone, to think about what had almost happened.
Opening the door, Amanda glanced around and sighed when she didn't see any sign of Lee. Making her way towards the gazebo, she shook her head at the sounds of laughter echoing from the party. Only a few minutes ago, she was excited and looking forward to joining in the revelry, but now, she really didn't feel like partying. Too many thoughts were running through her head. The most prevalent one being that Lee had almost kissed her. He had said that he was only acting on a promise that he'd made to Penny, but she'd seen something in his eyes, something that told her that that really was just an excuse.
Walking into the gazebo, Amanda sat down on the bench and leaning her head against the lattice, stared up at the night sky. She watched the stars twinkling brightly and realized just how peaceful it must be to be a heavenly body like that. No worries, no cares, just sitting back and watching the universe take shape. If only life were that simple. She thought back to what she'd told her mother, and though she was perfectly happy with her two boys and her mother, a small part of her yearned for something more. In fact, she had to admit to herself, she'd been yearning for it more and more lately. Every time Lee placed his hand at the small of her back, or took her hand in his, gestures that were both familiar and comfortable, done without thought to the consequences, she realized that she wanted more from their relationship.
The bigger question Amanda asked herself was, was their friendship ready for that? If they did move on from friendship to something more, how would that affect their working relationship? More importantly was Lee ready for something more, and if he was, exactly what would that more be? Did he want a casual thing or would he be willing to have a long, committed relationship with her? Realizing that she wasn't going to get any answers tonight, and that, if she really wanted something more with Lee, she was just going to have to let nature take its course. Taking a deep breath, she let out a long sigh.
"Was that a happy sound or a sad sound?"
Amanda quickly turned her head and laughed. "One of these days you're going to have to teach me how you do that." She patted the bench beside her, inviting him to join her. "I thought you'd left?"
Lee shook his head and sat down beside Amanda. "I wove my way back through that crazy party, trying to find the guy I borrowed this from," he commented, pointing to the mask, resting, once again, on top of his head, "but I couldn't find him. I was going to just leave it on a table, and head home, but I decided that I really didn't want to head home just yet."
A nervous shiver ran through Amanda's body. "You didn't want to go home?"
Lee stared into Amanda's eyes. "Unh-uh. I had some unfinished business."
"Business, huh?" Amanda asked in a quiet voice, filled with anticipation.
Lee nodded his head "Had to do with a promise." He leaned forward and placed a tender kiss on Amanda's lips. As their lips connected, he felt a spark ignite, and when she placed a hand gently on his arm, every ounce of his being wanted to deepen the kiss; however, common sense reminded him that this was Amanda, not one of his past flames. Amanda meant more to him, and he had every intention of taking things very slowly with her, assuming that she wanted things to move forward. Reluctantly he pulled away and the look he saw in her eyes, confirmed that she wanted to move to the next level almost as much as he did. "Amanda…"
Amanda closed her eyes and slowly looked away, preparing herself for Lee's standard line, denying what had just happened. "So…you've fulfilled your promise, guess you'll be heading home now."
Lee could hear the disappointment in her voice and suddenly a hundred excuses echoed through his head and he realized how many times something like this had happened and he had brushed it aside. Reaching over, he placed his finger under her chin, and turned her head towards him. "Only if you want me to leave."
Amanda looked into Lee's eyes and saw the longing in them. "Not particularly."
Lee smiled. "Good, because now that I've fulfilled my promise to Penny, I want to give you something from me." He leaned forward and had barely touched her lips with his when he caught the sound of Amanda's back door opening.
"Amanda, are you out here?"
Lee grimaced as he pulled back and looked over at Amanda, who was doing her best to stifle a chuckle.
'Never fails.' Amanda mouthed as she smiled apologetically at Lee. "Yes, Mother." She quickly stood up and walked swiftly out of the gazebo.
"I wondered where you went off to. I was calling you from upstairs for a good five minutes. Then I remembered that you said you were going outside, and might go to the party. I was hoping that you hadn't I need you to zip me the rest of the way up…" Dotty paused mid-sentence as she moved out onto the patio. Catching sight of her daughter's slightly flushed cheeks, she looked at Amanda quizzically. "Why aren't you at the party?"
Amanda moved closer to her mother, effectively keeping her from getting too close to the gazebo and discovering Lee. "I changed my mind. It's a beautiful night so I decided to sit and do some thinking."
Dotty glanced around the yard and then looked back at her daughter speculatively, once again noting the flushed coloring of Amanda's cheeks. "You sure you weren't having a secret rendezvous with Buck?"
Amanda's eyes grew wide and she stared at her mother with a flabbergasted expression. "Mother, it wasn't Buck…"
Dotty laughed. "I'm sorry Amanda, I'm just having a little fun. I've already told you that I wasn't going to question you further. If you want to continue that story about your co-worker, that's fine. I'll take your word for it."
"But you don't believe me. Mother…" Amanda sighed with exasperation, "you can't seriously believe that I'm having some kind of thing with Buck."
"Well…" Dotty started to comment but was interrupted by the sound of knocking on the lattice at the side of the house. She quickly turned around and pointed for her daughter to finish zipping her dress.
"Amanda? Dotty? Are you back here?" Buck called out as he poked his head around the lattice framework. Catching sight of the two women he smiled. "Oh good, you're here. How come you aren't at the party?"
"Hey Buck," Amanda smiled in return as she finished fastening her mother's dress, "we were actually just getting ready to join you."
"That's cool, you're missing a great party." Buck nodded and then glanced between Amanda and Dotty. "Hey, you didn't by chance see a guy come back here, wearing a W.C. Fields mask, did you? Some guy came along, took it off my head when I was bobbing for apples and Edna Gilstrap swore she saw him heading towards your backyard."
Amanda did her best to avoid looking towards the gazebo where Lee was still hiding and, suppressing a grin, whispered in her mother's ear, "See I told you it wasn't Buck."