No More Secrets. No More Lies: Dotty's Interrogation (Part II of II)
Sequel to No More Secrets. No More Lies.
Author's Note: This can make sense as a stand alone story, but should really be read after reading Part I: No More Secrets. No More Lies.
Lee woke up. For a moment he had no idea where he was. He mind was in a fog….He sat up on the bed and looked down. Next to him was Amanda and they were in her room. Slowly the events of the past few days came back to Lee. As did the events of last night with Amanda. He looked down again at her and smiled and slowly traced a heart with his finger on her arm. He couldn't believe that he was here with her and that it was okay. They knew. Everyone knew. Well except for the boys, that was definitely going to be a topic of discussion today with Dotty. But for now he was going to just concentrate on waking up his wife. Just then Amanda, still half asleep, turned towards Lee. Something told Lee that she too was still in a fog. Before the memories woke her up completely, Lee bent down to kiss her with the specific purpose of "distracting" her for a little while longer…..
Amanda slowly opened her eyes. Her thought went to Lee and last night and their early morning tryst. She turned to him to find him lying next to her, staring at the ceiling in deep thought. Lee was so engrossed in his thoughts; he didn't even feel Amanda stir.
"Penny for your thoughts". Amanda murmured.
Lee sighed. "Just wondering what the rest of today, this week and this month are going to be like. We've been living this secret for so long now, I am not sure what to do now."
"I'll tell you what Lee, why don't you jump in the shower and freshen up. I'll meet you downstairs. Its' 10:30am, and I have a feeling that mother has been waiting for us since the crack of dawn".
Lee looked at Amanda….his eyes asking her if she really wanted to go see her mother alone.
She knew what he was thinking. "I need to talk to her Lee….alone….for a little while. You had your chance Wednesday, now I need to explain. I'll see you in a few". With that she kissed him gently on the lips and turned to walk away. Lee just lay there staring at the ceiling a little while longer.
Amanda got dressed and walked out into the hall. She was surprised to find a bag with Lee's clothes. Her mother left a note. "I hope you don't mind, but I called Mr. Melrose early this morning and asked if he could swing by Lee's place to pick up some clothes for him. He was more that happy to help out. I'll be downstairs when you are ready ".
Amanda smiled. Things were definitely going to be different now. She placed the clothes in the room and was surprised to find Lee had already jumped in the shower. She had a feeling that he was as anxious as she was to have their long over due discussions with their family. Amanda slowly walked down the stairs and as she suspected, Dotty was sitting on the couch drinking her coffee. Amanda could only guess how long she had been waiting.
"Good morning Amanda. Did you and Lee sleep well"? Dotty asked with a smile.
For some reason, Amanda felt her cheeks flush with embarrassment as her mind quickly replayed her and Lee's reunion last night and early this morning. She did not answer and just looked away to the floor….yes things were definitely going to be different.
Dotty smiled to herself and began pouring some coffee for Amanda pretending not to notice her daughters' obvious discomfort. "So, will Lee be joining us too"?
"Yes. He's um…. in the shower now". This was harder than Amanda thought it would be.
Dotty was enjoying the control she was exerting over her daughter. She could sense Amanda was unsure of what was going to happen next. Dotty didn't sleep much the night before, just reliving the events of the last few days. She had come to terms with her daughter's secrets but still wanted to know more. Dotty decided to drag out the drama for Amanda a bit, a way to even out the scores so to speak. She took her time in getting the coffee and some Danishes ready for Amanda and Lee. After what seemed like forever to Amanda, Dotty finally spoke, "So, Amanda, where should we begin"?
Amanda just shrugged her shoulders.
Dotty took the shrug as her cue. "Okay…why don't I start? About you and Lee, I really think I should know how long exactly have you and Lee known each other and how soon after you met did you two start seeing each other on a more personal nature"?
"We met over five years ago. But it's really been only two years since we have been together…as a couple." Amanda's reply was very matter of fact, as if she were being interrogated.
"I see". Dotty said, noting Amanda's tone. "Look, Amanda, everything is out now. I want you to relax and just talk to me. I know how much Lee loves you, that is pretty oblivious, but I need to know how you feel about him, how he treats you, how he treated you before….."
Amanda wondered what Dotty meant about knowing how much Lee loved her. Amanda tried to relax and let her guard down. But Lee was right, after living with the secret for so long, she wasn't sure how to act or what to do. "Well, mother. Lee makes me happy. I can't explain in words but it's like, before, there was a part of me that wasn't completely filled".
Dotty nodded, urging Amanda to continue.
Amanda took a sip of coffee "Even early on in my marriage to Joe and when I had the kids. Something was missing, I just didn't know what. Until I met Lee. At first, it was strange, because I couldn't put my finger on it, I didn't know what it was. And even when I realized I was falling in love with him, I didn't understand it. I couldn't understand it. I mean I was a divorced mother of two falling for a spy. It was surreal - almost like it was out of a novel".
Amanda paused for a moment to gather her thoughts. "And by the time I was ready to admit it to myself, we were such good friends. He was my best friend. I was afraid to mess things up. I wasn't sure how he felt about me either. I had a guess, but I was scared to go there. It was only when we finally confronted how we felt about each other this that void suddenly felt filled. I think it was a combination of finding my true love and finding myself. For the first time, I had figured out who I really was….and Lee had to be a part of it in order for me to feel whole. "
Dotty looked at her daughter…..her words echoed Lee's sentiments that he had confessed to Dotty a few days ago. "How exactly did you and Lee meet'?" Dotty finally asked.
"Well, let me explain that". Lee's voice bellowed from the door way. He had walked in a few minutes ago, but did not want to interrupt Amanda. He was touched by her comments and knew that they were always meant to be together.
Lee took his cup from Dotty and sat down next to the two women. They talked for over three hours, replaying their lives together, telling Dotty what they thought she needed to know, but not anything that would compromise the agency in any way.
"Well". Dotty said finally after listening to her daughter and son-in-law's life for the past five years. It was as if she were watching a movie or reading a novel. " I guess that explains why my azaleas never looked healthy. This whole time I was blaming the Ferguson's dog". Amanda and Lee both let out a muffled laugh.
Dotty's eyes widened as she started to remember flashes of the last few years. "Amanda, I just thought of something…that time I walked out and in on your and Buck…."
Amanda blushed slightly,"well …. it wasn't really Buck…"
Dotty looked at Lee. Lee nodded. "But I don't understand, I thought your relationship didn't begin until after that Perusian Play. When I caught you and Buck, it was some time before that and Lee, you were in a very intimate embrace with Amanda..."
Amanda was searching for the right words to explain their numerous "almost kisses" over the years, but was interrupted by Lee.
"Bricks, Dotty. Bricks. There were a lot of bricks. "Lee stated simply and just winked at Dotty.
"Ah, I see". Dotty nodded in complete understanding to Lee. Amanda stared at them at a complete lost. "Bricks???" was all Amanda could ask.
"Yes. Bricks darling" her mother replied gently patting her hand as if she were a three year old asking the simplest question in the world.
"I'll explain later, Lee added"
"Oh no you won't Lee!" Dotty chimed in. I think I am entitled to have a few secrets from my daughter as well….aren't I?
Lee thought about it for a minute and nodded in complete agreement. He and Dotty laughed at the look on Amanda's face.
Amanda looked up at Lee. Their glances locked for a minute, communicating in silence. Dotty noticed the transaction between them. She was amazed at how well Amanda and Lee seemed to click. "Lee", Dotty began. "Why did you marry Amanda"?
Lee and Amanda broke their trance and Lee stared at Dotty. "What do you mean, why did I marry her…I love her".
"Well yes, I know that. But it's not like you had to. I mean you married each other knowing that no one else would know. Knowing that you couldn't or wouldn't share it with your family and friends. What I mean is that you were basically dating each other throughout your marriage, which I can imagine was rather difficult." Dotty saw the confused looks on both their faces. "Why didn't you just wait to get married until you were able to share it with the people you care about you".
Lee and Amanda looked back at each other. Lee took a breath and turned towards Dotty. He grabbed her hand in his. "When I first asked Amanda to marry me, I had every intention of announcing it to the world. I was mentally planning our wedding already. At first I wanted to wait for just a little bit. I hadn't officially been introduced to you or the boys yet. So we knew we'd have to wait for everyone to get use to me and Amanda dating. I couldn't just show up, tell you my name and announce I was going to marry your daughter. The other thing was Amanda's job. She was just promoted to an agent and was going through the training program. I didn't want to get in the way of that. So we figured we'd give it six to eight months, have a quick engagement and get married within the year".
Dotty nodded her head. It made sense. "But what happened? Obviously you didn't follow the plan""
Lee shook his head. "No. Unfortunately we didn't. Believe me Dotty, if I could take it back, I would have just stuck to my guns and followed are original idea. But you see, something happened on a case. One of our associate's sons was kidnapped. They were using the boy as a way to get him to commit treason. He had to fake his own death to try to save his family and not betray his country. His wife and children thought he was dead. I thought he was dead. In the end it worked out, but it got me thinking that it could one day happen to us. Someone could try to use our boys against us. Someone could try to hurt them or worse. I just got scared".
Dotty smiled when she heard Lee refer to Jamie and Phillip as "our boys". She shrugged her shoulders to let him know she was trying to understand what he was trying to say.
"So", Lee continued. "I came up with the idea to keep our marriage a secret…a mystery marriage. Now I know we could have just continued as we were. But I wanted Amanda to be my wife more than anything else in the world and I didn't want to wait. I had waited my whole life for her and I wasn't going to give that up for anything. I needed Amanda to know that I needed her and that I was committed to us forever." Lee cringed before looking up at Dotty again. "You see, I have had a very, um "active" social life before Amanda came along – I was too afraid to commit to anyone or anything. And I guess in my heart I knew that marrying Amanda would seal our bond forever that she would know my life belonged to no one else but her". Lee looked up at Amanda and smiled. "Keeping our marriage a secret seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time. But in retrospect, I feel that we should have just taken our chances".
Dotty stared at them. "I am really trying to understand what you did and why you did it. But don't other spies you work with have families? Mr. Melrose mentioned his wife and daughters when he tried to convince me to go to this safe camp. "
"I know." Lee answered. "Its just when Amanda and I first started working together, I doubt that either one of us had any clue as to where it would lead us. And once we had traveled down that road for so long, it was hard to go back and start over again".
"You know Mother", Amanda patted her mother's knee. "I hated the lies, not being able to tell you what was really going on. I wanted to tell the whole world that I was in love with Lee. But everything that happened that led us to each other happened for a reason. There were so many times I wanted to tell you about my work and about Lee. Even before we were dating. I needed to talk to someone, talk to you, but I couldn't. I mean what was I going to say….hey mother, I have been living two lives. I am a housewife and mother of two in one life and a federal agent in another? It just got to difficult to explain. I couldn't just tell you that I was falling in love with a spy or that I was a spy".
"No…but you did try once". Amanda and Lee stared blankly at Dotty. She continued as the memory of that day came back to her. "Don't you remember? You wanted me to get out of town. I wouldn't bite. So you told me that you were a spy and that there was some type of nuclear bomb set to explode. But I didn't believe you…. Dotty's eyes widened as she realized what she was saying. "Amanda, was there really a nuclear bomb?!"
Lee and Amanda looked at each other and shrugged. Their body language answered her question. "You know what", Dotty waved her hand. "Forget it, I don't think I want to know." She cupped her face with her hands. "I don't know how I am going to stop worrying about you two every time you leave the house".
Amanda took a deep breath. "Mother, you are going to have to trust that we know what we are doing. And you are going to have to understand that I won't be able to tell you much and that there may be a lie or two that will be told."
Lee chimed in. "It's the nature of the job that we do. And believe me; I worry about Amanda a lot. But trust me when I tell you that she is good at what she does. She has saved my life more than just once.
Dotty placed her hands on her knees. "Well, I do appreciate you telling what you could. This is still going to take some adjustment for me and I guess for the both of you too. But there is one more thing we really need to discuss." Lee and Amanda looked at each other as Dotty continued. "Lee, I think it would be time for you to consider moving in permanently with your wife and with your family…it's where you belong. I think it is where you have always belonged."
Amanda nodded in agreement. "What are we going to do about the boys"? She asked.
Lee looked at Amanda. He hadn't had a chance to tell her his idea. It was actually what he was going to propose to her way back when after they were interrupted from their conversation at the Q-Bureau…."Well I have a suggestion.…"
*** Four days later….Monday afternoon ***
"Mom! We're home"! The boys beamed and they ran into the house. They talked about the cool camp that their father had taken them and thanked Amanda for letting them skip school to spend time with him.
Lee was watching them from the kitchen. He shook Joe's hand and gave him a quick nod. Amanda called Joe the night before to let him know what they had decided. He was pleased with their decision. Dotty had been kind enough to stay at her friends house after their long talk. She wanted to give Amanda and Lee some time to be alone, which Lee appreciated more than words could say. She did come by one day for dinner and to further discuss their plan for the boys. Lee was enjoying his new relationship with his mother-in-law. It was definitely different to be alone with Amanda in their home, without fearing that they would be discovered. He was beginning to get a sense of what normal would be like. And, he liked it, he liked it very much.
After Joe left, Lee went into the den with the boys. They were playing a video game. "Mind if I join you"? Lee asked. They had played before and Lee won the last time, so he knew they would want the opportunity to best him. After a few games Lee, decided it was time to put the plan in to action. "Ah, Phillip, Jamie, can we talk for a minute?"
The boys looked at each and put the game down. "Sure". They said in unison.
As Lee sat there looking at his step sons, he began to nervously wonder what was he thinking when he came up with this idea. He took a deep breath. "Well, I just wanted to talk to you guys about me and your mother. Of course you must know by now how I feel about her". The boys nodded in agreement. "And of course, you know that I do enjoy the time we spend together, just the three of us." The boys nodded again. "Well what I am trying to say….
"Yes." Phillip piped in.
"Yes what?"…Lee said….I hasn't really asked you anything yet".
"Yes. It's okay with us if you and Mom get married". Phillip stared at the look on Lee's face and smiled. He and Jamie had spent many hours talking about the possibility of Lee marrying their mother. He repeated his words to Lee again…to reinforce it "Lee, it really is okay with us". He simply added.
Lee looked from Phillip to Jamie then back to Phillip again. "How did you know that I was going to ask you that"?
"Well, we figured it was coming up. You've been hanging around the house more and more lately, especially over the last few months. And we knew that mom would never have introduced you to us in the first place unless it was a serious possibility. Phillip continued. "Matter of fact, we were just talking about this at the camp this past weekend".
"Yea", Jamie added. "Dad overheard us talking about you and mom while we were camping. He started asking how we felt about you". Jamie smiled to himself. He had grown to like Lee and always looked forward to spending time with him. Although he knew it would be a little hard to see his mother marry another man, he was glad that it was going to be Lee.
"What did he tell you"? Lee asked, interrupting Jamie's thoughts. Lee wasn't sure if he wanted to hear the answer.
"Dad said that he had a feeling things were getting serious between you and mom and that he was okay with you two getting married if it happened. He said that he would always love mom, but he wanted her to have the chance to be as happy as he and Carrie are. We think that is why he took us on the camping trip…to talk".
"What did he say about me?" Lee asked, the curiosity getting the better of him. Then he caught himself. "If, of course you don't mind me asking?"
Jamie looked at Lee. "He said he liked you and he liked that you made mom happy. Even happier than when she was with him. I think that part was a little hard for him to admit. He also said that if anyone was going to help take care of us, he was glad it was you. "
Yea, Phillip piped in, he said you wouldn't let us get away with anything"!
"Well. How do you feel about all of this"? Lee asked nervously.
"We're cool with it. We see how happy mom is now". Philip said with conviction.
Lee turned to Jamie…"and you Jamie"?
"Well…to be honest with you, for a long time there was a part of me that always wanted Mom and Dad to get back together. But, I know that won't happen…..and we would rather have you as our step dad than anyone else….."
Lee took that as a huge compliment and a smile came to his face. He reminded himself to thank Joe the next time he saw him.
"Of course I have one condition"…Jamie added.
"What"? Lee held his breath
"When you ask Mom to marry you, can I video tape it"? It would be cool to addition to our family videos! And I haven't had a chance to really use the video camera you gave me last month". Lee smiled.
"Yes! Of course…" he grabbed his step sons in a big bear hug then laughed as they lost their balance and fell to the floor.
*** That next weekend ***
Amanda, you are the smartest, bravest, most beautiful woman I know…..he smiled knowingly at Amanda.
"I love you". Amanda repeated trying not to look behind her into the "hidden" camera crew in the kitchen.
"Then will you marry me?" …."Again?" Lee mouthed the last question softly to her so only she could hear.
"Will I marry you? Yes….of course I'll marry you"….. She whispered back to him, "Again and again and again". Then in a louder voice she added, "We're the luckiest two people on the face of this earth." Lee pulled out her wedding ring and placed it on her finger where it belonged. He looked up and smiled back at her, knowing that she would never have to hide the ring again.
And with that she heard a loud cheer from the kitchen and turned around to see her sons and mother beaming down at them….