This story was written over 7 years ago, but for some reason, I was
having a horrible time polishing it, and in particular, fixing some
POV problems it contained. Well, 2 years ago, I finally went back to it, and I
think I fixed most of the problems at that time. I published it on the Yahoo

SMK fanfic site at that time, but for some reason, did not get around to publishing it here.

It is completed, and I'll be posting in sections over the next week or so.

I hope you enjoy it!

Dottie

***DISCLAIMER*** Scarecrow and Mrs. King is copyrighted to Warner
Brothers and Shoot the Moon Production Company. The story is
copyrighted to the author. This story is for entertainment purposes
only and cannot be redistributed without the permission of the
author.

Title: An Easy Mark

Author: Dottie

Date Written: March 2002 – June 2002 (but polished up in 2007)

Rating: PG

Synopsis: What if Amanda decided she wanted more than friendship
with Lee? Or are things as they seem? AU

Author's Note: This story follows my own little universe of "A Long
New Year's Eve" and "Out of Delirium". While it does stand by
itself, some of Lee's thoughts in Part 2 might be better understood
if you've already read these. They are archived at
and (the list archive). For purposes of this story,
I'm going to assume that the time frame is after "Delirious on
Arrival", even though it takes place a few weeks before (hey, since
this is AU, I thought I'd play with the sequence of episodes a bit
too). Many thanks to both Ceeg and Dix who beta'd this several
years ago. Any remaining errors are of course mine.

Feedback: Please! I love to know when people like a story (or not,
as the case may be).

Archive: At . Anyone else, please ask first.

An Easy Mark

Part 1

She sat in her car as she watched the brunette woman exit the
building. It was about 3:00 pm, and she had been sitting there all
day after following her target to this location. She observed her
getting into her car, and exiting the parking lot.

`One down, one to go,' she thought to herself. The day had been
deadly dull, but she knew how to be patient. If she just waited a
bit longer, her real quarry just might be coming along. After
another two hours, the door opened, and he exited the building. As
he turned the other way, toward the parking lot, she left her car,
smoothed out her skirt and hair, then ran to catch up with him.

***

"Lee! Wait up!" she shouted to the man in front of her.

"Amanda, what are you doing here?" he questioned, as he stopped and
turned around. "I thought you left a couple of hours ago."

"I did." she replied. "But mother had an errand out this way, and
I asked her to drop me off. I was hoping to catch you before you
left."

"You got here just in time. I decided to call it a day. I've been
following too many dead-end paper trails today," he sighed, running
his left hand through his hair. "I thought that maybe if I took a
break, I'd be able to get a better handle on it tomorrow."

"Well, in that case, maybe we could go out for a drink. You know,
try to get your mind off of work for a bit."

"Sure, sure, that sounds like a great idea." he said agreeably, as
they continued toward the car. "But why were you looking for me,
anyway?" He asked, a slightly puzzled look on his face. After all,
he had seen her earlier in the day, and nothing had seemed unusual
then. As they reached his car, he opened the passenger side door
and helped her into her seat.

"Oh, I don't know," she answered, her eyes darting downward. "I
just wanted to have a chance to talk to you . . . you know, outside
of work, for a change."

"Alright," he answered, as he quickly crossed the to the driver side
and settled himself into his seat.

"Where to? Is Monk's OK?" he asked as he revved up the engine.

"Oh, no," she answered, a little too quickly. "I thought maybe
someplace else. I've heard the Radburn Hotel has a nice live band
playing on Thursdays. Maybe we could go there, just for a change of
pace."

"Okay," he answered, as he turned the corner in the direction of the
Radburn. He glanced at her sideways for a moment, then
asked, "Amanda, is something wrong?"

"No, why would you ask that?" she questioned nervously.

"I don't know. Something just seems different about you this
evening, like you're on edge about something. Has Francine been
hassling you at work again? Is that what you wanted to talk to me
about?" he asked, giving her an understanding look. Amanda usually
managed to handle the senior agent without any problem, but he knew
very well how trying Francine could be sometimes. Maybe Amanda had
finally reached her breaking point with her.

"No, it doesn't have anything to do with Francine, Lee," she
answered.

He couldn't put his finger on it, but something was definitely
different about Amanda this evening. Maybe the reality of the
danger she had been in on the Retzig case the previous week had
finally caught up with her. Lee knew from experience that sometimes
these things could have a delayed reaction. If he could help her by
lending her his ear for the evening, well that would be a small
price to pay, considering all the help she had been to him recently.

The rest of the drive was uncharacteristically silent as they drove
across town. `Something really must be bothering her.' he
thought. 'She's not even rambling about the boys' latest exploits.'

Finally, they arrived at their destination, and quickly secured a
quiet table toward the back of the room.

"Lee, could you order me a glass of white wine? I just need to make
a quick stop in the Ladies Room."

"Sure, Amanda. It should be here by the time you get back," he
smiled reassuringly at her as she got up from her seat.

He watched her walking away, still wondering what was so different
about her tonight.

***

Lee stood up as she arrived back at their table, helping her into
her chair.

"Thank you, Lee," she said, smiling, as she lifted her glass in a
toast. "To friends," she said.

"To friends," he answered, reaching over to touch his glass to hers
in response. The instruments played in the background, the sound of
mellow big band tunes permeating the air.

She sipped her wine, looking around the room, everywhere but at Lee.

"Amanda, I can tell something's bothering you tonight," he said,
reaching out to cover her hand with his own. "Can't you tell me
what it is?" he queried. His look was probing, as if this alone
would cause her to open up to him. Unconsciously, he gently stroked
the back of her hand with his fingertips. "After all, you're the
one always telling me that I shouldn't keep everything bottled up
inside. Maybe you should take your own advice?" He sought to meet
her eyes with his own, but she still wouldn't look directly at him.

She took a large gulp of wine as she began to answer him. "I guess
I am sort of frazzled tonight, Lee. It's just that, everyone seems
to have a role for me, that I'm expected to play." She let out a
big sigh as she quickly downed the rest of her wine and reached for
the bottle to replenish her glass. "I'm supposed to be the dutiful
daughter, super-mom, getting involved in all of the boys'
activities, super-volunteer at school, and that's just in my off
time." She took another few sips of wine, her eyes seeming
inordinately interested in his hand stroking her own, concentrating
on that instead of the face before her. It seemed to hold all of
her attention as she turned her hand over, caressing the palm of
Lee's hand in turn. "I'm also supposed to bring home a paycheck
while taking care of all these other things," she went on. She
continued drinking as she caressed him, finally asking, "And when is
there supposed to be anything left for me?" She finally looked up
at him, with a sad look, something in her expression seeming almost
dead. "When am I supposed to recharge and get what I need?"

She replenished her glass again, immediately taking a few more sips.

"Amanda - ," Lee started to interrupt.

"No, I'm not finished yet." she said. She shifted her gaze, staring
down at the table again. Her hand left his, and began making small
pleats in the tablecloth along the edge of the table. "I'm Mom, and
daughter, and co-worker, and maybe even friend," she said looking up
again at his face. "But does anybody really see me? Does anybody
really know me?" She finished off her glass of wine and reached for
the bottle again.

"Hey," Lee said, his voice taking on a joking quality. "Don't you
think you've had enough for now?" he asked, grinning, concerned by
how much wine she had consumed in such a short time. He reached to
take the bottle away from her.

Stubbornly, she pulled the bottle back, and refilled her
glass. "No, not nearly enough. You know, I can't even tell anybody
what I really do for a living!"

"Amanda," he gently answered her. "You're all of those people that
you're talking about. You're a great mom and daughter. And you're
a pretty terrific friend, too, you know. But sometimes you have to
be happy with letting people see just that side of you that they're
used to seeing. Your mom would just be too upset to know what you
do for a living, and it would be too dangerous to tell her or anyone
else." He reached for her hand again as he was speaking, quieting
her nervous motion.

"Lee, don't you ever get lonely?" she asked, a plaintive tone to
her voice, as she continued drinking. "Don't you ever get tired of
not being able to let people know who you really are?"

Somehow, the conversation had just drifted into a direction in which
he was unwilling to go.

"Amanda, this isn't about me, and you know it. This is about you,
and what's bothering you tonight."

"But that's part of what's bothering me. You're the only friend I
have that I can tell about work, but sometimes I think you see me
as `just an associate'. You're the person who at least knows about
all these balls I'm supposed to be juggling, and sometimes I think
you don't really know me at all."

Just then, the band began to play "Moonlight Serenade", and she
grabbed his hand, standing up as she asked, "Will you dance with me?"

"Of course, Amanda," he said as he too rose from the table and led
her to the dance floor.

He was thoroughly puzzled by her behavior this evening. He held her
in his arms and moved rhythmically with her to the music's familiar
strains, all the while wondering if he should recommend a trip to
the Agency shrink.

As the song ended, the band immediately launched into another slow
tune. He began to draw away from her, but she pulled him closer,
and whispered into his ear, "Please, I don't want to sit down just
yet. Dance with me again, please?" she questioned.

"Okay," he answered, as he once again began to sway, holding her
protectively in his arms.

This time as they danced, she moved her body closer to his, and
began to caress the hair at the nape of his neck. Then she started
to rub her cheek against the side of his face as she sighed softly,
her voice no more than a soft moan. He inhaled sharply, confused by
her actions.

"Amanda, what are you doing?" he asked her in a hoarse whisper, his
arms stiffening, trying to put some distance between them without
offending her. He swallowed hard to try to alleviate the suddenly
dry feeling in his throat.

"Don't you know?" she asked, her sultry voice reverberating in his
ear. "I asked you before whether or not you ever get lonely. Well
I do get lonely. Do you know how long it's been since I've been
held? Since I've been kissed? Since a man has looked at me as a
woman, and not as the mom of one of their kid's friends, or as a
fellow volunteer, or even as a friend? Can you tell me you don't
feel anything right now, Lee?"

He didn't answer her. His expression mirrored that of a deer caught
in the headlights. He seemed too caught up in the feelings she was
inciting by her touch to move. She pressed her advantage, and drew
her head slightly away from his, her gaze falling on his mouth
before her lids closed and her questing lips sought his out. He
moaned as their kiss deepened, and they came to a standstill on the
dance floor.

Their kiss was interrupted by the sounds of clapping as the band
finished their set. She backed away from him and took his hand,
leading him back to the table. As they sat down, she leaned over to
kiss him again, this time caressing his chest through the crisp
material of his shirt, beneath his jacket.

"We could get a room, you know," she whispered to him. "Or go back
to your place if you'd rather. Either is fine with me."

"Amanda," a thoroughly shocked Lee began, as he struggled to voice
his objections. He placed his hands over hers, and gently removed
them from his chest, slowly backing away from her at the same time.

"Shhh," she interrupted him. "Don't turn me down, Lee. Not
tonight. I need you tonight."

"Amanda, you're not thinking straight tonight. You've had too much
to drink, and you're confused," he began, struggling to find a way
to explain his feelings without insulting her. "You're my friend,
my partner," he told her sincerely. "I can't take advantage of you
like this. And besides, it would change everything. You'd probably
hate me tomorrow, and that's the last thing I want. The last thing
either one of us wants. Please, let me take you home now, and we
can talk about this tomorrow when we're both thinking more clearly."

"No! If that's how you really feel, then this whole thing was a
mistake anyway. Obviously I can't talk to you about this, can't
tell you how I'm feeling." Rapidly pushing her chair back, she rose
from the table, and turned away from him. In a haughty voice, she
said as she turned her face back toward him, "I'm catching a cab
home. And since you don't want to talk about it now, please don't
bring it up ever again. I'd like to pretend it never happened.
Goodnight Lee."

Quickly she stormed out of the room.

****TO BE CONTINUED****