Author's Chapter Notes:

Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs King belong to Shoot The Moon Productions and Warner Brothers, and not to me. No copyright infringement is intended. All other original characters, situations, ect.are the property of the Author.

Thanks to Anne Riener (lookoutwife) and Ermintrude for their help with this.

Chapter One--A Little Scare

Friday, August 9, 2003

8:30 PM

"Jenna I don't want to hear it," Amanda said as she gathered up the
supper dishes and put them in the sink. "It doesn't matter what you
say because the answer is still no."

"But Mom-" Jenna said, a pleading tone in her voice.

"In the first place you're too young-" Amanda began.

"That's not true!" Jenna said. "All of my friends will be going."

"-and in the second place you're still grounded," Amanda said as she
filled the sink with warm water and suds. "For a week and that week
includes Saturday. And don't tell me again that all of your friends
are going because I spoke to Lisa's mother and I know for a fact that
she's not going either."

"Well we'll practically be the only ones," Jenna said. Amanda said
nothing in reply, just started scrubbing and rinsing the plates. Maybe
if she just ignored her Jenna would give it up, Amanda thought to
herself. That faint hope was dashed with her daughter's next words.

"Mom please-Moby's going to be there, The Blue Man Group, David Bowie,
even The Avalanches. Please?"

"I said no," Amanda said.

"I promise I'll do anything you want," Jenna said. "I'll vacuum the
house-I'll even dust. Ple-a-se?" The last please' was drawn out into
three syllables. Amanda sighed, wishing that Lee was here with her
instead of out of town for the night.

"The answer is no," Amanda said. "Now one more argument and I'll
ground you for another week-is that clear?"

"Yes," Jenna said, looking down at her feet, "but it's still not fair."

"Jenna Stetson," Amanda said. "I want you to go upstairs, take a
shower and get into your pajamas. I'll make us some popcorn and when
you're ready you can come down and we can watch those movies we
rented. Okay?"

"I don't feel like watching movies," Jenna grumbled. "We rented silly
ones anyway."

"Fine," Amanda said. "Then I'll watch the movies and you can go
straight to bed. It's your choice."

The expression in Jenna's dark eyes was venomous. Without another word
she whirled around and stomped up the stairs.

"And don't slam the-" Amanda called out as the thud seemed to shake
the entire house.

"Door," she sighed.


"Amanda it's not the first teenager you've raised," Dotty said. "They
all go through stages, you know that. Remember when Philip licked the
flagpole at school because one of the other boys triple-dog-dared him?
Middle of winter and we had to call the paramedics to get his tongue
unstuck. And he was 13 at the time."

"I know, Mother," Amanda sighed, holding the cordless to her ear as
she put away the last of the dishes. "It just seems different with
Jenna. I mean, I know the boys went through their stages but it wasn't
like this."

"Daughters are different," Dotty said. "I remember some times I went
through with you."

"Mother I was never like that!" Amanda said. "Was I?"

"Well I remember one time when your Grandmother stayed for a week,"
Dotty said, "And one night you wanted to watch The Rat Patrol but she
wanted to watch The Roger Miller Show and you-"

"I threatened to run away to Debbie Ann's forever," Amanda said,
wincing slightly at the recollection. "I remember now." She froze as
the sound of Jenna's piercing scream filled the house.

"Amanda what was that?" Dotty asked.

"I don't know," Amanda said. "Mother I have to go-I'll call you right
back." She pressed the cancel button on the phone, leaving it on the
coffee table. Her heart racing, Amanda dashed up the stairs, taking
two at a time. The scream came again-it was from the bathroom.

"Jenna?" Amanda called. There was no reply. Amanda opened the bathroom
door. Jenna was standing in the middle of the floor, her hair dripping
wet, naked except for a towel. Her face was pale and her eyes were
brimming with tears.

"What is it, sweetheart?" Amanda said. "Why did you scream?"

"There-" Jenna said, pointing towards the window with a shaking
finger. "I just got out of the shower and there was a –a sound outside
the window-I opened the shade to see what it was and there-there was-"

Amanda could see that Jenna was shivering . Thinking fast, she
grabbed Lee's white terrycloth robe that was hanging on a hook and
wrapped her daughter in it.

"Sweetheart it's okay," Amanda said, holding Jenna by the shoulders.
"You're safe. Just please tell me what you saw."

"A man," Jenna said "He was right outside the window-he smiled at me
and said Hey'. I screamed and he disappeared."

Amanda looked outside the window and into the night-she couldn't see
anything now, but that didn't mean there hadn't been someone there. What should
she do? Amanda's mind was racing.

"I wish dad was here," Jenna said.

"I know," Amanda pulled her still-trembling daughter into a tight hug.
"I know you're scared, Jenna, but you're safe."

"But what if it was Gary?" Jenna said.

"Sweetheart Gary Johnston is still in prison," Amanda said, giving a
inward shudder at the thought of that man and what he'd tried to do.
"He'll never hurt you again, I promise."

"He could've escaped." Jenna said. "What if he did?"

"Someone would've told us," Amanda said, putting a lot more confidence
than she actually felt into her voice. Her arm still around Jenna, she
led her back to her bedroom, making sure the shades on Jenna's windows
were drawn.

Just then the doorbell rang.

Jenna's eyes widened in fear.

"Sweetheart, I'll just go answer the door," Amanda said.

"Mom you can't," Jenna said. "What if it's the man?"

"I don't think he'd ring the doorbell," Amanda said. "It's probably
one of the neighbors who saw something. Stay here, shut the door and
I'll be right back-I promise."

"Okay," Jenna whispered.

The doorbell rang again as Amanda came downstairs. "I'm coming!" she
called out. Amanda unlocked the front door and opened it, peering out
in the night. At first she couldn't see anyone.

A little late for neighborhood kids to be playing a prank, she thought.

"Pssstt!" The sound came from the bushes. Amanda went outside, coming
face to face with the dark haired man who was crouching behind them.

"Augie?" she said, noticing that that the informant's clothes were
caked with mud and that his face was scratched. "Just what do you
think you're doing?"

"Is Lee around?" Augie said. "I have some information for him."

Amanda shook her head. "He's out of town," she said, crossing her
arms. "Care to tell me why you were peeking through my bathroom window?"

Augie's tone became defensive. "Hey I wasn't trying to peek on
anyone!" He said. "I was just trying to find a way to tell Lee the
information you know, quietly-without causing a scene."

"Well you definitely failed there," Amanda said. "Do you know that my
daughter is up in her bedroom absolutely terrified?"

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Stetson," Augie said. "But I had the ladder up to
the window and was trying to push it open when all the sudden the
shade opens and there's this girl-I mean, your daughter. I tried to talk
but she started screaming at me-if the ground wouldn't have been muddy
I might've really hurt myself when that ladder fell, you know?"

Amanda shook her head in exasperation. "Never mind," she said. "What
did you want to tell Lee anyway?"

"It really needs to be told to Lee directly," Augie said. "Plus I
might need some help-I'm opening a new mud-wrestling bar so I'm a
little short of money at the moment. Unless you'd care to help out?"

Amanda shook her head. "No that's all right," she said. "I'll tell Lee
you want to see him. Goodnight, Augie."

"Goodnight, Mrs. Stetson," Augie said. "Oh and tell your daughter I'm
really sorry." Amanda stood and watched as the informant vanished
into the night, and then she went back inside.

"Jenna?" She called out as she went up the stairs. "Everything's okay
now-you can come out." Amanda knocked on the door of Jenna's
bedroom-when she didn't receive a reply she pushed the door open.
Jenna was lying curled up on the bed, still wearing Lee's robe but now
wearing the Garfield nightshirt underneath. In her arms she held her
Scarecrow doll.

"Hey," Amanda said, sitting on the bed beside her daughter, rubbing
her back the way she used to do when Jenna was a baby. "It really is
all right."

"What about the man at the window?" Jenna said.

"He was an - associate of your father's," Amanda said. An associate
that Lee would probably slaughter once he heard what Augie had done,
she added silently. "He just wanted to give him some information,
that's all. He didn't mean to scare you."

Jenna sat up slowly, putting the Scarecrow doll back on the bed and
wiping her eyes. "That's a pretty strange way to give information."
she said.

"Well he's a pretty strange man," Amanda said.

"Mom, about earlier," Jenna said. "What I said about the concert and
everything and the way I acted-I'm really sorry. It was stupid to get
upset over something like that. If anything had happened tonight-"

"Sweetheart, I really do understand," Amanda said, pulling Jenna into
another hug. "And I want you to know that I love you."

"Even when I'm being impossible?" Jenna said.

"Especially when you're being impossible," Amanda said. Pulling out of
the embrace, she looked into her daughter's eyes. "I'll always love
you, Jenna-no matter what."

"I love you too," Jenna said. "Mom- do you still want to watch those
movies we rented?"

Amanda smiled and stood. "Come on then- I'll make the popcorn."

"And root beer floats?" Jenna said.

"Why not?" Amanda said. "After tonight I think we deserve a treat."