Dreams and Flashbacks
a continuation of A Boy's Best Friend is His Mother
*DISCLAIMER** Scarecrow & Mrs. King is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot The Moon Production Company. The original portions of this story, however, are copyrighted to the author. This story is for entertainment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without the permission of the author. It is a labor of love. If you want to put it on your site, please email me, I would like to thank you for the high compliment. No infringement of copyright is intended.
A Boy's Best Friend is His Mother was supposed to be a one-off—a short story with a few cute twists, evoking several emotions—meant as a short entertainment and little more. Then the Wicky ladies got ahold of it—and they forced me to look at it again—and thus this work resulted. Yet another deep foray into Lee Stetson's head. And what a twisted and convoluted place it is.
AN—A Boy's Best Friend was set between Over the Limit and Utopia Now. This continuation is AU and even though it starts immediately after A Boy's Best Friend, it takes place late 3rd season, so I can draw on everything there—except All the World's a Stage. AU means I get to bend the laws of time and space, so there. Live with it—or don't read it. Your choice.
Thanks go to Sue, Rita and Charlie—and as always Jennifer who helps keep me on the right track. And the rest of the Gutter Girls… You guys rock!
Amanda arrived at home after her day and night in the terrorist hideout. She had planned on being home the previous morning, but she and Lee had been kidnapped from an overnight stakeout and brought to a remote rural house. The terrorists had tied them up, and injected Lee with a truth serum—then accidentally blown themselves and the van they came in to kingdom come.
Amanda had gotten herself free—and Lee had a bad reaction to the drug—he'd been delirious with fever and Amanda had to take care of him. They stayed that night to make sure Lee was out of the woods, and then had returned to DC. Now it was afternoon, and Amanda had been debriefed and was back at home.
"Hello mother, I'm home!" Amanda called cheerily as she came through the back door.
Dotty was sitting at the kitchen island with a cup of coffee and a sandwich, reading the paper. She looked at her daughter warily. "Amanda—I understand you have to work. And the boys and I really appreciate your dedication to your job. But why is it so all-fired important to document the mating habits of the Eastern White-tailed Deer? And why can't you plan this sort of thing beforehand? I've been without a car for a day and a half. It wasn't easy with the boys. Doesn't that film company you work for ever plan for this sort of thing ahead of time? Don't they understand you have a family and obligations to keep? You missed the PTA meeting last night. Madge Blake dropped off some folder for you—I hope they didn't stick you with the refreshment booth at the science fair again."
Amanda hung her head and prepared for some world-class lying to her mother. 'It would be a whole lot easier if I could just tell her the truth—we were kidnapped and tied up and we didn't manage to get out of there until this morning… On second thought—I guess lying about it is easier after all.' She took a deep breath. "Well mother—originally I was scheduled for another assignment altogether—but then the crew assigned to film the deer got sick and so we all had to scramble to make up for the missing people—so I ended up being assigned to go out into the foothills and film the deer mating. It was all arranged and set up so we just went out there and sat around all night filming…"
"I see." Dotty said dryly in a tone that indicated she wasn't impressed. "So tell me—how was the mating—did you learn anything? Did you get any good footage?"
"Ahhhh. Yeah…they did their…thing…and we got it on film." She smiled brightly, hoping her mother would drop the subject now.
"Was it exciting? How does the buck express his desire for the doe? Do deer have any courtship rituals? Or was it more of a slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am sort of thing?" Dotty had a perfectly straight face as she asked.
Amanda wondered where her mother came up with this sort of stuff. She certainly hadn't been like that when Amanda was little. Or maybe she had, but they'd kept if from Amanda.
She blushed at the innuendo and forged ahead. "Well mother—the male deer fight to see who gets to mate with the doe. They charge at each other and use their antlers to fight—it sounds loud—antlers crashing together. That's how hunters attract bucks—they bang antlers together and any buck that hears it is attracted to the sound and wants to engage in the fight."
"So far, that sounds about normal. Go on." She folded her arms in expectation of more.
Amanda took a deep breath. "So when the buck who wins is finally victorious—and the other bucks have run off—then he—ah—mounts the doe and that's about it."
"And the poor doe just stands there and watches it all. No candy—no flowers—no romance—just 'I'm the victor—come here and do it, woman?' " Dotty looked aggrieved on behalf of the poor doe.
Amanda shrugged. "They're deer, mother. For all I know the doe is happy it goes the way it does. She didn't seem to object or be in pain or anything…"
"I see. Well, I'm sure that fascinating bit of footage will win you an Oscar for sure."
"We don't tend to go after those sort of awards mother—we're a government film company. We produce films for the government."
"I see. Do you plan to go off into the foothills again for more of this fascinating footage that will help our government run more smoothly?"
"I think we're finished filming that one."
"Now comes the editing process—and then the premiere."
Amanda smiled. "You're sure getting the hang of the film business, mother." She ran upstairs quickly to avoid any more questions. She needed to shower and change her clothes.
Lee Stetson arrived at his Georgetown apartment after his debriefing and medical checkup. He rubbed his rear end where he had been given an antibiotic injection just in case the truth serum he'd been injected with had been contaminated. 'Stupid doctors think I'm a pincushion. I've never been so poked and prodded since the last physical I had before going overseas with the colonel…'
He went into his bedroom and undressed, throwing his clothes on the floor. 'I'll pick it up later—right now, I need a shower and a nap. Yesterday must've taken more out of me than I realized. Good thing Amanda was there to keep me cool.'
As he showered, he thought back to the day before. He remembered the ride to the hideout—being tied up and injected—he even remembered the crude comments and threats they had made about saving Amanda 'for later.' He thought he could remember something of trying to get free—and maybe the explosion—but after that there was nothing really concrete until he awoke in the late afternoon—feeling hot, sweaty and miserable. He'd had a massive headache and was sore in every bone and joint in his body.
He could barely muster the strength to shuffle off to take a tepid shower, but he'd managed, using the sting of possible embarrassment to goad him onward. It just wouldn't do to have to have Amanda help him take a shower, when he was too weak to manage himself. Now taking a shower with Amanda when he was fit and healthy—that was another proposition entirely. He mused on how it would feel running his soapy hands all over her slim, sweet, wet, naked body. He closed his eyes and imagined what he could do with his partner—whoa! He opened his eyes again and turned the tap to cold.
'Amanda is my partner—nothing more.' He allowed the cold water to calm his racing thoughts. 'Face it Stetson, you've got a thing for your partner. But Amanda isn't the type to do a quick hot affair—and you're not the type to go for anything else. And it wouldn't be fair to her—she's a woman who expects some sort of commitment before she allows a man to make love to her. And I'm not a commitment sort of guy. At all. No way. That's not for me. So she's off limits. Period.'
He shut off the tap and dried himself off. He donned a pair of clean blue boxers and a t-shirt. He put his dirty clothes in the hamper, 'gotta do laundry soon,' and crawled into bed. As he drifted off to sleep, he wondered again what had happened while he was delirious. Amanda had said a few things, but he had the nagging feeling there was more to it than she had let on…
Little Lee was hiding out in the treehouse in Amanda's backyard. He knew it was just a matter of time before they found him—but he had his trusty Tombstone Fanner with him—and three rolls of caps—so he knew he was ready for those Injuns. He was a famous cowboy and had been ambushed by Injuns while he was driving cattle to market. He'd been chased for days and was now holed up in this hideout—awaiting the braves who were after his scalp. Well he'd show them. He's shoot them down—no matter how many there were.
He flattened himself to the floor and peered cautiously down. They'd be there soon—he could hear them sneaking up on him.
"Quiet, doofus!" That was Philip. "He's gotta be here somewhere."
"I know—he ran back here—" that was Jamie. Silence. A scuffling. "He's not in the gazebo."
"Yeah." More silence—then he saw his brothers move into his field of vision. "Hey scarecrow—we see you up there." Philip taunted and they raised their 'bows and arrows': sticks with string that wouldn't harm anything.
"Don't call me scarecrow—wormbrain!" Lee taunted back.
"You're so small and scrawny—we'll call you scarecrow because that's what you are. And you don't even have a brain—so I guess a wormbrain is better than no brain—brainless!" Jamie was getting into the spirit of the game.
"Yeah—you'd better get out of here" —Lee fired a couple of warning shots above their heads—"I'll blast you so full of holes, you'll leak when you drink a glass of water."
"It's two against one brainless—you haven't got a chance." Philip drew himself up to his greater height.
Lee knew it was a bluff. He possessed the superior position and better armament. "Doesn't matter how many of you Injuns there are—my trusty Tombstone Fanner will mow you all down—I've got loads of ammunition!" He stood and fired multiple rounds at the hapless Injuns standing below. "Take that you stinkin' redskins!"
Jamie and Philip 'fired' arrows up at him, but they failed miserably to come anywhere near him. Lee continued to fire off lethal shots and soon Philip and Jamie were groaning and writhing on the ground, yelling "Y'got me!" and "I'm hit—I'm hit bad!" and other similar cheesy TV dialogue.
All too soon, Lee realized he had run through his roll of caps, and he knelt to re-load while his brothers continued to yell about dying and bleeding while still writhing on the ground in pretend agony.
"What the sam-hill is going on out here?" The boys all froze as their mother's voice carried out to the back yard. A moment later she appeared—in her white apron and flowered dress. "Philip, Jamie—get up off the ground. You're filthy! Go inside and wash up and change." The two older boys ran into the house. "Lee!" Her eyes tracked and spotted him in the treehouse. "Get down from there and hand me that gun. Right now!" She held out her hand and tapped her foot impatiently.
"We were just playing cowboys and Indians…" He trailed off as he climbed down and held his automatic pistol protectively against his chest.
"You know how I feel about guns. I especially don't want any guns in my house! Hand it over!" She held out her hand and looked sternly at him.
"Lee—don't argue—give me that gun right now!" Reluctantly he handed over his beloved firearm.
Amanda took his automatic pistol and placed it in the pocket of her white apron, after engaging the safety and popping out the clip. "Now go upstairs with your brothers. Get cleaned up and change your clothes. Dinner will be ready once you're all finished." She gave him a smile and tousled his hair as he sped past.
Lee ran upstairs. Philip and Jamie were already in the bathroom. He was the youngest—so he was almost always last. But he had gotten them this time. 'Just goes to show strategy and tactics count more than age or experience.' He thought smugly.
Then the scene changed and the family was sitting at the dinner table. Amanda had made meat loaf with mashed potatoes—his favorite. He made a mountain—first he used the generous slab of meatloaf as a base, then he topped it with a generous portion of mashed potatoes, then smothered the whole thing with brown gravy. He even poured gravy over his green beans. Philip and Jamie didn't like green beans much—but he thought they tasted good—especially with a lot of gravy on top.
Once his food was arranged to his liking—he determinedly ate his way through the 'mountain' of food. It tasted really good, too. As he was eating his green beans, Philip kicked him under the table. Lee stuck his tongue out at Philip. Then he caught a trace of movement out of the corner of his eye—Jamie was trying to put his green beans onto Lee's plate. Lee turned and glared at his brother, and Jamie replaced the beans back on his own plate. Lee liked green beans—but he didn't feel like helping his brothers out—at least not right now anyhow.
"Philip, Jamie—eat your beans. See how nicely Lee has cleaned his plate? He ate every bite. No beans—no dessert." Amanda smiled at Lee for his good appetite.
Philip kicked Lee again under the table and Lee smirked at him.
"Show off." Jamie muttered right before he shoved a load of green beans into his mouth.
Lee thought back to the time he was living with his grandma Clayton. He went to live with her right after his mum and dad died. At first it was hard—but his grandma had encouraged him to talk about his mum and dad. They had a nice if somewhat isolated life. Grandma had a big old stone house in the country—it used to be a farm but she only kept chickens now. She rented the land to neighbors who farmed it. Lee made friends with most of the neighbor kids. One family had horses and Lee was allowed to ride occasionally with their kids if his chores were done.
Then Lee was back in Amanda's cheery kitchen. His tummy was full—he'd eaten all he wanted of the good meatloaf and mashed potatoes—the green beans—and then pie for dessert. Amanda was a real good cook. So was Grandma Dotty. Mum was a real good cook, too. Grandma Clayton was pretty good also. Then he remembered how it was with grandma at the end.
The last few months he lived with Grandma Clayton she was feeling poorly. Some afternoons when Lee returned from school—he'd find she was still in her bed. Those nights it was up to him to make supper for the both of them. He got real good at heating soup from a can and making sandwiches. Or toast.
He would sit with grandma and they would talk. Grandma told him what a good boy he was—how smart and resourceful he was to be able to keep the both of them fed, and the chickens going and collect the eggs. They would talk about his parents—Lee loved the stories about his dad when he was a boy living on the farm just like him.
The last few weeks school was out and Lee did all the cooking and chores. He knew what to do with the chickens. Lee gathered the eggs and placed those they didn't eat in the fridge for the egg man who came every week. Grandma made good money from selling those eggs. Lee made scrambled eggs for breakfast—he couldn't manage to flip the fried ones—they always broke apart anyway. He'd make soup and toast for lunch, and soup and sandwiches for dinner. But there wasn't always enough. Grandma didn't eat much—he'd give her her portion—and if she didn't finish it—he'd finish it for her. She never ate that much anyhow. But Lee knew the stock of cans was dwindling in the larder—so he had to ration them—otherwise they would run out of food. Lee was pretty hungry that last month—he hadn't been hungry like that ever before in his life, and he didn't like it. But he knew his grandma depended on him—so he endured.
Grandma told Lee about when she was a girl and a Great Depression. That was a time when everybody was poor and sometimes her family didn't have enough to eat and they had to skip meals. Lee figured a least he had three meals a day—even if they weren't real big meals…
Lee Stetson awoke with a start in his bedroom in his Georgetown apartment. His body was bathed in sweat and his head was pounding. 'Where the hell did all that come from? I haven't thought about grandma in years… And what the hell was that with Philip and Jamie? And Amanda—in an apron—a white apron—my mum's apron?!?' His head throbbed more as he made the connection with the apron and his mother.
He glanced at the clock—4:17pm—his stomach rumbled. He got out of bed with a sigh and stripped off the t-shirt and shorts. After a quick shower he dressed in clean clothes and debated what he'd do for dinner. 'I wonder what Amanda's making for her boys…' He quickly censored his wayward thoughts, shuffled through his carry-out menus and ordered up Chinese to be delivered.
At 9pm he drew up a few doors past Amanda's white house. He shut off the 'Vette and sat a few moments gauging the neighborhood. Everything was quiet in the new night. A few houses had their lights on—families watching TV before going to bed on a weekday night. He slipped out of his car and made his way to Amanda's backyard. He looked carefully before he sat in the back of the gazebo in the shadows. His mind drifted back to his dreams and he looked up at the treehouse—it had been so real—so vivid—he could almost feel the boards as he lay in wait for his 'brothers'.
"Hey—you made it!" Amanda called softly as she sat beside him. "You feelin' OK? You looked like you were a million miles away."
"Yeah, I'm OK. How are you? Did your mother ask about the deer?"
Amanda blushed at the memory. "Oh yeah—good thing I remembered a few things when Leatherneck talked about deer hunting last fall…"
Lee chuckled. Then he got quiet. "Ah—Amanda? What did I talk about when I was delirious?"
Amanda shifted. "I told you—you talked about digging up the garden looking to see where the rabbit hole led…"
"You told me about that."
Amanda looked questioningly at him.
"Did I say anything about… about my…my mum?"
She fidgeted a bit. Then she met his eyes. "You thought I was your mother. You were delirious. I just let you babble and sponged you off. You really didn't say a whole lot more except you wanted milk and cookies…"
Lee nodded. "Um…Amanda…you really can't put too much stock in whatever I said…I was delirious after all…"
She smiled and started to reply—then she caught his look—haunted and wary. "Lee?" She asked softly, "what is it—are you OK—really OK?"
"Oh yeah," he tried to sound dismissive and didn't make it. "I…ah…just…''
"Amanda!" Dotty's voice carried outside from the back door.
"Yes mother," Amanda answered as she rose to go back in the house.
"Would you believe we have meat loaf left over?"
"I'll wrap it up—we can make sandwiches tomorrow." She turned, "Goodnight, Lee," she said in a soft voice. Then the sight of his partner was cut off as the back door closed behind her.
Lee let out the breath he had been holding. 'Meatloaf—and we ate meatloaf in my dream… Maybe I'm having some sort of delayed reaction to that drug after all…' He slipped quietly into the night and drove home.
That night Lee dreamt of Amanda tucking him into bed and reading him a bedtime story: Treasure Island. He loved the pirates' life in that book. He felt all warm and snuggly in his small bed, with her sitting on the edge reading to him. Philip and Jamie were too big for bedtime stories—but he still loved them. He wished she'd never stop reading to him—even when he was all grown up. He remembered she had kissed him goodnight. He wondered if she'd kiss him for real someday…