The Grabber

By rankamateur

Scarecrow and Mrs. King belong to Warner Bros. and Shoot The Moon Enterpises Ltd.

In "Welcome To America Mr. Brand", by Robert Gilmer, Amanda says something to Lee about - '...no more grabbers...' So who was that grabber and what did he......

Early Third Season

AU - obviously

G-rated I think

This is in response to a challange from Katie the Continuity Queen, which was seconded by barnstorm.

Thanks to rb for error checking. The remaining mistakes are all mine.

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Amanda rearranged the clothes in the little closet elevator and then turned and started walking down the hall towards the Bullpen. She had just returned from an abbreviated lunch hour. After working more than half the day on transcribing surveillance tapes, she just had to get out for a bit. A nice salad, a little ice tea and most of all, some fresh air, and she was ready to go back and try to finish. Her eyes lit up as she saw Lee Stetson come through the door, heading in her direction. It was the first time today she had seen him, well, except for stealing glances at him through the blinds that covered the windows of Mr. Melrose's office.

Lee was smiling as he walked toward her.

"Hi Lee. Haven't had a chance to...."

"Hi, Amanda," his smiled broadened and his dimples deepened, as he cut her off. "Listen," he took her hand in his, "I've got a favor to ask."

A favor? When he looked at her like that and held her hand, how could she refuse?

"Well, actually, it's a favor for Billy."

Hmm. Well, that was all right too. Mr. Melrose was her boss and probably her biggest booster at the Agency. She couldn't refuse him either. "Sure, what is it?"

"Umm, you know about *Inter-Agency cooperation* and well, we - that is Billy and I and Francine- are all tied up with this Broadmoor thing and there's this guy in town that we really have to entertain."


"So, who is he - what is he?"

"He's with Interpol, in their Paris office. His name's Marcel Empoigner."

"Do you know him?"

"No, not personally. But I've heard about him....good things. He's worked on some very important cases and he's helped our guys out more than once."

"So we - The Agency - owes him."

"Yup. Will you do it? Will you go to dinner with him tonight?"

"OK. Umm where....," she started but Lee cut her off again.

"Good." He seemed somewhat relieved. "We'll send a limo to pick you up at your house about 7:45. It'll take you to *Le Trianon* and Marcel will be waiting for you. Now, you've been there before so you know it's a very nice place."

"Right. *Le Trianon*. Sounds wonderful. I'll be ready," she smiled tentatively. She wished it were Lee she would be meeting for dinner at eight.

"Great. Amanda, you're a great sport."

"Wait a minute. It takes a *great sport* to go out with this guy?"

"No, no. That was just a figure of speech. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time." One more dimpled grin and he turned and escorted her into the Bullpen. He went back into Billy's office and she returned to her desk and, after a moment, began typing.

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Mr. Empoigner stood outside the International terminal at Dulles Airport and hailed a taxi. He loved Washington. Not that it could really hold a candle to his native city of Paris. But he loved the way he was treated when he came here on these little vacations. His American hosts always managed to show him a reasonably good time. And if they didn't... Well he knew more than one of the ladies employed by the French Embassy.
Marcel was a fairly successful agent, in his twelfth year with Interpol. He was thirty-nine this year. Come to think of it - he was thirty-nine last year too. Ahh, time is relative, he had always thought. He stood six feet, one inch but weighed only about a hundred and fifty-five pounds. He had dark hair and, truth be told, a somewhat receding hairline. His gray eyes generally were hidden behind glasses. He had a thin mustache and a rather protuberant Adam's-apple. Several years ago his wife had left him for some nobody, a low-level employee of the Belgian Embassy in Paris. He was always sure that she had got just what she deserved: a meager existence in a less than desirable neighborhood.

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Marcel completed the finishing touches to his attire and then admired himself in the mirror. He was pleased with what he saw. The man who smiled back reminded him of... what was his name ...a very popular actor in French films. Oh well, no matter. Perhaps this....this Mrs. King, despite her provincial provenance - Arlington wasn't it? Perhaps she would be sufficiently well acquainted with the European cinema to recognize the famous - and handsome - person he resembled.

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Amanda bounded into the kitchen of her Arlington home and went directly to the sink for a calming glass of water.

"Amanda, dear you look lovely. That white dress is so becoming. Where did you say you were going?" Dotty asked, again.

"Mother, I told you. There is someone from one of IFF's corresponding companies who's here in Washington and my boss is tied up for the evening so he asked me to go to dinner with this man and just keep him company for the evening."

"Aha. Where are you going to eat? Where is he from? Is he going to be in Washington long? Is he..."

"Mother - I swear. I don't know how you can get so many questions in on one breath! We're going to *Le Trianon*. He's from Paris. I don't know how long he'll be in town. And I *don't* know if he's married or not."

"Thank you dear. That seems to cover everything. I do hope you have a good time. If he's nice, why don't you invite him in for coffee when you get back?"

"We'll see, mother."

"Mom," Philip asked, "have you ever read *The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow*?"

"Ohh, a long time ago, I think. Why?"

"Well, we're supposed to do a book report on it. Do you think we could maybe rent the video?"

"I think if your teacher wants a *book* report - she wants you to read the book."

"But it's *boring*!" He made an appropriate face.

Amanda had to smile. She didn't care much for *Ichabod Crane* or the *Headless Horseman* either.

"Mom," Philip called from the living room, "there's a big, long car pulling up out front of our house."

"Thanks, sweetheart. That would be my ride."

Dotty ran to the window and stood beside Philip. "A limo, Amanda? Oh my gosh!"

"Yes, mother. My boss arranged for it. Boys, come and kiss me goodnight."

Philip and Jamie did just that. "Good night, mom, have a good time," they said almost in unison.

"Thank you both. Now you go to bed when your grandmother tells you to - hear?"

"Yes, mom," they chorused.

"Have a lovely evening, dear," Dotty called from her position at the window."

"I'll try, mother. See ya later."

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Arriving at the restaurant shortly after eight, Amanda was led by the maitre d' to a small table in rather dark corner of the room. A tall, thin man in a dark suit stood and extended his hand.

'Oh my gosh,' Amanda was struck by the resemblance between her host and Ichabod Crane. She shook her head. Maybe she was just imagining it, her perceptions influenced by Philip's mentioning that particular story.

"Mrs. King," Marcel took the hand Amanda held out and brought it to his lips for a long kiss - a little too long in Amanda's opinion.

Rationally, Amanda knew that having her stomach pumped after eating the drugged sandwich that had been meant for Lee, was the worst experience of her life. But she had a terrible feeling that tonight might end up running that unhappy occasion, a close second.

After Marcel had ordered for both them, he had insisted on ordering for both of them, he made small talk about his work, punctuated with questions about Amanda's life, which he never let her finish answering. He also looked at her - long, leering looks that made her more than a little uncomfortable. All of a sudden, she was aware of his knee pressing against hers. She moved her leg as far away as was possible at this very small table. The next thing she knew, he had his hand on her leg, just above her knee. With a tight-lipped little smile, she reached under the table and shoved his hand off her thigh. He continued to smile, leer and make small talk. Amanda was becoming more and more uncomfortable.
This man was a guest in her country, a guest of The Agency, her employer. What would Billy do, what would Lee do if she simply decked him and walked out of the restaurant? She decided to make the best of a bad situation. At least for the moment.

Dinner arrived and Marcel's hands were occupied with the food and the wine. He still continued to give her those longing looks, which seemed to hold a promise of worse things to come.

Finally, mercifully, dinner was over. Marcel took care of the check and they made their way to the front door. The limo was waiting just down the street and the driver pulled up as soon as he saw them standing at the curb.
Now began the longest ride home Amanda had ever had in her life.

Amanda moved to the far corner of the back seat. Marcel moved over too, as close as he could get, and put his arm around her.

"Umm, Mr. Umm, Empoigner," (which Amanda, having heard how the French feel about pronouncing things properly, deliberately MISpronounced as *Em-pog'-ner*), "could you move over just a bit. I'm, ahh, I need some air, a little breathing room."

Marcel moved about two and one half centimeters. Not what she was hoping for.
The entire twenty-five minute journey was filled with Marcel's hands straying to off-limits portions of Amanda's anatomy while she struggled to remove those hands and redirect them to Marcel's own lap. The man just didn't seem to get the message. She couldn't believe that this person, an intelligence operative, a top man in his field, didn't seem to have the intelligence to figure out that his attentions were completely unwanted!
When they finally pulled up in front of 4247 Maplewood Drive, Amanda let out a sigh of relief - which, of course - Marcel took for a sigh of something else. Pulling her close to his chest he started to try, again, to kiss her. Amanda had had enough. At this point, she just didn't care what Lee or Billy or the whole United States Government would think about her actions. And if she crippled Franco-American relations for the next century - so be it. She bit his lip.

"Oowwww!"

"Goodnight, Mr......" 'Grabber - Mr. Grabber,' she thought angrily. She literally ran up the walk to her front door, fumbling the keys out of her purse as she moved. She put the key in the lock and was inside - safe - in just a minute.
'Never again,' she vowed to herself. 'I don't care if the *head* of *any* intelligence agency needs to be entertained. They can just get someone else!'

"Amanda, honey, is that you?" Dotty called from the family room.

"Yes mother. It's me." Amanda started walking into the family room where her mother was sitting, watching TV.

"Sweetheart, your face is all flushed. Are you OK?"

Amanda hadn't realized that her embarrassment showed in her reddened cheeks. "I'm fine. It was just a little too warm in the limo."

"How was your evening? Did you ask your friend to come in?"

"The food was very good and no, I didn't ask him in. He was too tired after the long flight today."

"Oh. Well, maybe some other time, if he's still in town," Dotty smiled at the thought of her daughter, out for an elegant evening with a dashing Frenchman. She sighed. One of these days - or nights - Amanda would be bringing someone handsome and dashing and wonderful home to meet her. She just knew it.

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TAG

"Good morning Mrs. King," Mrs. Marsden greeted her cheerfully. Mrs. M. never showed favoritism, but she really did like Amanda better than most of the Agency's personnel.

"Hello, Mrs. Marsden. I think the word for today is *blueskies*."

"That's right. Here's your badge and Mr. Stetson said he'd like to talk to you as soon as you came in. He's up in the Q-Bureau."

"Thank you." Amanda pinned on her badge and started up the stairs. 'Oh-oh, what could Lee want?' She wondered if Marcel had reported her to her superiors. Maybe she had acted a bit hastily. On the other hand, she hadn't had a night like that since she dated Harley Mansman, All-City Running Back, in her junior year in high school. Harley had at least eight arms too. She could feel her face getting red and warm at just the thought of how she felt that night. How dare Billy and Lee send her out with this...this creature?! Regret, embarrassment, anger. In the horse race of emotions she was feeling, Anger pulled out in front by a nose!

She threw open the door to the Q-Bureau - "Lee,.........."

"Amanda. Good morning."

How could he be so cheerful? He wasn't even a morning person.

"Well, I hear that last night went just great. Marcel referred to you as *very charming company*. I guess you both had a wonderful time. But, I have some bad news."

"Bad news," she asked, feeling very uncomfortable about what must be coming.

"Yeah. Seems that he's not going to need us to entertain him anymore. He has an old friend, a secretary at the French Embassy, and they will be spending the rest of his time in DC together. I hope you're not too disappointed." He smiled and leaned back in his chair, clasping his hands behind his head.

"Disappointed? DISAPPOINTED? No, I am *not* disappointed. The fact that Ichabod The Octopus will have somebody else to grab onto does not disappoint me in the least!!!" With that, she turned on her heel and was out the door in a trice.

Lee pushed his chair away from the desk. "Amanda, Amanda, wait... Ichabod The Octopus? What the...." Getting up and running over the door, he stepped into the hall and called after Amanda's retreating form - "Hey, Amanda, wait. What do ya mean *Ichabod*.....who's Ichabod? Grab onto...what? What's goin' on?"

She stopped her descent and looked up at him with flashing eyes. "Never again, Stetson!" She turned and continued down the stairs.

Lee was at a loss. "Never *what* again? A-MAN-DA!"

end