"Night at the Cumberland"

By Paintergirl



Disclaimer: "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and all its characters are the property of Shoot the Moon Productions and Warner Brothers Entertainment. No infringement is intended and no profit is made. My story is for enjoyment only. It is based on situations from "Weekend" written by Rudolph Borchert, and contains a short reference to "Filming Raoul". The rest of that night is the product of my imagination.

Summary: Filler for "Weekend". I figured that Lee was way too happy for having spent the night in a closet. Here's why.

Rating: PG-13

Feedback: Yes Please to Paintergirl@smkfans.com =)

Author's Notes (6/2002): Thank you all for the feedback and the constructive criticism. I fixed some of the errors. NO offense to ANY suggestions, how else am I supposed to learn? Since this is my first story I have yet to figure out what is appreciated, what I can get by with, and what is not good. I hope I will find time some day to really go over this, with the help of a beta, and get a version of this story I can stand behind fully. What I really need to do right now is NOT look at it for a while to regain objectivity. I have decided to leave it up, so in the meantime, this is what you get, love it or leave it. Enjoy!

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Lee was mad. Or, rather he was frustrated. It was way too early for something to happen, and he was sleepy and would have appreciated a couple of hours of peaceful rest. But instead he was sitting in the closet across from Mr. Bosca's room, observing a closed door and an empty hallway. He gazed at his watch. Only twenty minutes had passed since he had started his observation, and it seemed like an eternity.

He had been mad at Amanda, at first, but his anger was fading. After all, she didn't force him to leave. He could have stayed and let her read for a while… nah. She needed her rest, too.

Trying to make the best of his current situation, he tried to think of other things to pass the time. Like this case. The facts told him that Mr. Bosca was the one he should be watching. Yet his instincts told him otherwise. He was having the uneasy feeling that he didn't need to be where he was, which only added to his frustration. Carefully stretching his cramped legs a little, he kept watching the door and moved on to happier thoughts. On Amanda King he didn't waste another thought.



* * *

It wasn't exactly comfortable but he had been worse. The closet was not very large but large enough. Lee leaned back and closed his eyes for a moment. That felt good, they had started to burn a little. After all, he was tired. But- he had been worse.

What was that? He opened his eyes again and listened closely. Footsteps. They were coming in his direction. Fast.

The next thing he knew was that the door was pulled wide open, and he was looking straight into the startled eyes of a young Mexican chambermaid.

Reacting quickly and getting rid of the dumbfounded expression on his face, all he could say was "Hi" while he was giving her one of his irresistible grins.



* * *

Now Lee was really mad at himself. He frowned as he walked back to his room. He could already imagine Amanda's mocking comment. And a fine agent he made. Caught like a rookie. He could only hope that the maid had bought his lame excuse of being a sleepwalker. It was the best thing he had been able to come up with so quickly.

At first he had played with the thought of sticking around and sneaking back in, but he immediately had been discouraged by the look she had given him. So Lee decided it would be better to return to their room for as while, and – well, sit on the couch and read, if nothing else.

Quietly he opened the door. "Amanda?" he whispered, not wanting to wake her up if she was already sleeping. There was no response. The room was only dimly lit by the fading daylight. He closed the door as soundlessly as he could and turned around.

It took his eyes a few seconds to adjust, and he thought about what to do now. The darkness reminded him of how tired he was, and he quickly dismissed the idea of reading.

Carefully he walked over to the bed, opened the drawer of the nightstand, and took out the small candle he had placed there earlier. Then he put it on top of the nightstand and lit it.

Immediately the room was cast in a cozy, very soft golden light.

Amanda was sound asleep, stretched out on the bed, still dressed. 'Poor thing, she must have been tired,' Lee thought. He gave the couch an annoyed glance. How much worse could this day get?

He stood still, pondering the thought that had suddenly crossed his mind. How much worse could it get? She was fast asleep, half of the bed still empty. The day was shot, he'd about had it. At that point he didn't care if she woke up and got mad at him. The couch was not an option. 'Selflessness has to stop somewhere,' he reasoned, as he weighted his options. She wouldn't even know; it wasn't as if he was going to make a move on her. Just a few hours of good sleep and everybody would be happy. With a content smirk crossing his face, Lee Stetson crawled into his side of the bed.

Amanda didn't even stir when he took his place next to her, and he smiled at the peaceful expression on her face. He felt a little guilty, but since it didn't seem to bother her… Lee turned on his back, took a deep breath, and closed his eyes.

But, contrary to what he had expected, he didn't fall asleep immediately. Instead, he listened to the silence of the room, to the sound of Amanda's breaths. It was having a soothing effect on him. Calm, quiet, peaceful. But his sleepiness was gone.

In the quiet and the darkness, it seemed like the rest of the world was far away, and he became very aware of Amanda being very close to him. He felt the overwhelming effect that had on him, the way he felt on those rare occasions when she had let her guard down and really played along when a case or situation had demanded it. Only this time it wasn't a show for somebody. They were alone. Heck, she wasn't even doing something. But she was there.

Very, very close.

He opened his eyes again, slowly turned his head, and looked at her. Her hair, shimmering in many different shades of gold and brown brought out by the light of the candle. Her face, relaxed in her sleep, with just the hint of a smile in the corners of her mouth. Her dark eyes closed, eyes that held such a spark of joy and life, eyes that were so… beautiful. More beautiful than any other eyes he had ever seen.

Vaguely aware that his breath had gone shallow, and that his heart was beating way too fast, Lee just gazed at her, taking in every inch of her, fully seizing the undisturbed moment. He became aware of the faint smell of her perfume, mixed with the almost undetectable scent of her that made it so unmistakably Amanda. So faint a smell that he barely consciously noticed it, but one that he knew he liked very much.

She was so close. Her hand almost touched him, almost touched his chest. Lee was both glad and sorry that he hadn't taken his shirt off. He wanted that sensation of her touch. He could still feel his right cheek tingle, where she had caressed it in the car, weeks ago. He didn't know how many times he had wished that stupid police car had stayed just a little bit longer, maybe pulled over…

Lee closed his eyes again and pushed his head deeper into the pillow. It took all he had not to reach over and touch her, not to pull her into a close embrace and hold her tight, really tight. If she were any other woman, things would be differently. But she wasn't…

Deep in his mind he knew, if she was any other woman, he would have gotten what he wanted, and she would have left him again a long time ago. But by behaving the way she did, she was forcing him to take her seriously. Her unwillingness to adore the great Scarecrow was pulling him back to the ground.

Did she know what she was doing? Or did she not do it on purpose? Did she even know what she wanted? Her behavior confused him – he was almost sure she was at least somewhat attracted to him, and yet she fought him off. It wasn't that she was shy, either, he'd seen her flirt with other men. But when it came to him… the slap on his fingers earlier had really hurt him. He had just been playful, having a good time. It was just meaningless flirting, no obligations, no invitation she couldn't easily have turned down… why couldn't she just take it easy?

What was her point? Why was she refusing to let him close to her? He wouldn't touch her if she didn't want, and sharing a bed could still be harmless…

'Harmless, yeah… except that I can't sleep now…' Before he could finish the thought and come to the logical conclusion, he heard Amanda mumble something, and she rolled over, closer to him.

Her face came to rest on his arm, snuggling into it to find a comfortable position, and she lazily wrapped her left arm around his chest, briefly stroking his other arm before relaxing again. She then let out a contented "hmmmmmm".

Lee didn't dare move a finger. Suddenly it was very warm in the room. He remembered to breathe, and swallowed. Glancing down at her, his last coherent thought was, 'this is too much…'

He carefully shifted a little bit, trying to relax. It didn't help. It only had the result that Amanda, trying to keep her position, buried her face a little deeper into his arm, pulled her left arm back a little so that her hand rested on his chest, and curled her fingers.

It was way too much. He had to think of a joke he had heard, that the difference is it is possible to sleep with a light on… NOT FUNNY.

Yet he enjoyed the situation immensely. It felt so good to hold her. He could feel her body, comfortable for once against his… and there was this warm feeling in his stomach, a feeling of comfort almost forgotten… if only he could sleep now…

Why did it feel so right, like this? The feeling of guilt crept back into his mind. She wouldn't do this if she were awake. Or, would she? She would be mad at him for stealing this moment. Or wouldn't she? Fragments of conversations, situations, happy and sad moments raced through his mind as he tried to analyze. But he just wasn't sure.

One thing he knew. He wouldn't willingly do anything to hurt her. Playful banter, ok, and she was very adept in defending herself. But do something she really didn't want – no.

His partner, his friend. Even though sometimes this was the last thing he'd admit.

He decided that he'd had too much fun already. It was probably time to return to his closet. He'd face a dozen chambermaids with less of a problem than he faced Amanda King. Maybe it would even help to save his deep-fried brain that had given up on thinking.

Very reluctantly he started to move out from under her, tenderly taking her arm off his chest. She mumbled something, and he paused.

"No, mother… nothing out there…" her face turned into a smile, and then, an almost embarrassed –or impish?- expression. "partner… most wonderful man… gorgeous eyes…" She sighed. "No… nothing serious… too good…"

Smiling, Lee continued to pull away.

"So perfect… if he only knew… like… very much…"

'Uh-huh. Now you're telling.' Gently he pulled his legs over the side of the bed and stood up.

She smiled. "Best…kiss…"

"Gotcha, partner." Lee bent over and placed a gentle and almost lingering kiss on her forehead. Then he pulled away. "Sweet dreams."

He wished so much he could have stayed, now that he knew it would have been ok with her. His whole body was aching to go back. But he couldn't.

Smiling as he thought of the next morning, and all the possibilities, he turned around and blew out the candle.