Lee Stetson, aka Scarecrow, sat, or rather, half-lay on the floor propped up against bags of rice and flour in the basement of the huge country estate contemplating what to do next. He tried to loosen the bindings on his wrists but to no avail. His mind ran though scenario after scenario, he knew he was outnumbered, knew there was no back-up, knew he'd only bought himself minutes at the most with that lame Operation Pinocchio story. Unless something extraordinary happened within those few minutes, he couldn't see a way out of his predicament.
Ten minutes later the door to the small room was thrown open and an older woman, whom Lee gauged to be in her early 60's, stepped in.
"Mr. Stetson, I presume?" she eyed him through thick glasses.
Lee bit back a chuckle at her words and a haughty, defiant look was his only reply.
Still looking at him she said, "Take him out in the helicopter and dump his body."
With that she turned on her heel and he watched her form disappear into the darkness of the basement beyond.
Lee felt a knot begin to form in the pit of his stomach. It was soon to be now or never, and, though he was usually optimistic, he was beginning to think "never" was the more likely of the two. He let himself be led out of the room and up the stairs into the bright, Virginia afternoon sun. He was summarily marched across the lawn to the waiting helicopter where he heard the old woman speak two seemingly incongruous sentences.
"Get these files into the basement," was the command she issued to her subordinate.
"Goodbye, Mr. Stetson," to him, as she sent him off to what she knew would be his death.
Lee watched the two cross the lawn back to the drive. As he looked his eyes were drawn to the car parked there. He couldn't believe what he saw. It was nothing. Lee's mind tried to wrap around this idea. Wasn't there supposed to be something there by the car? Someone? What, or whom, Lee couldn't remember, it just seemed wrong to see nothing. He stared so long the helicopter pilot turned to look. Seeing nothing himself the pilot forced Lee into the cockpit, shut the door, then ran around and got into his own seat.
Lee was stunned, but he didn't know why. Why would he have expected something different? No one knew he was here, he was expecting no one to come to his aid, but somehow the fact that no one was there felt so incredibly wrong that it terrified him more than facing his imminent death. He began to panic. He had never panicked before, even as a rookie. His fear began to take control of his mind and his breathing became more rapid. This couldn't be happening. He was going to die. His body would probably never be found. Whatever operation the KGB was running here would not be stopped. Other agents were going to die. His heart was pounding wildly now and Lee feared it might burst through his ribcage at any moment.
Suddenly everything went black, or that's what he thought at first. Then, as his mind acclimated itself back to reality, he realized he was lying in a bed. He could feel the cool sheets around his body. He sighed and his breathing slowed. His heart rate returned to normal. It was only a dream.
Lee turned to reach out to the beautiful woman he knew was lying next to him in his bed. He chuckled to himself remembering the truism in the office that Scarecrow took a beautiful woman home every night, but his laugh faltered as he realized he was in bed alone. Turning to switch on the bedside lamp to have more light than the small nightlight in the bathroom offered, he jumped out of bed at the same time and grabbed his robe off the chair near the bed. Not bothering to tie it, he walked to the door. He hesitated a moment. The dream still fresh in his mind, his adrenaline had returned to breakneck speed and he contemplated grabbing his gun out of the nightstand. Shaking his head he opened the door and walked out into the hallway.
The first room he looked into was the room where he found her. He let out a slow breath and berated himself internally for jumping to conclusions. Leaning against the door jam, he allowed himself to take in the beauty of the scene. His lovely wife was stretched out on the twin bed, their two-year old son, Matthew, curled up in a ball under his cowboy blanket, next to her. Lee smiled a contented smile that barely a few years ago he had never known. Slowly he walked over to the bed, leaned over, and pressed his lips first to Matthew's forehead, then to Amanda's. She stirred and opened her eyes.
"Lee?" she looked around, then smiled at him. "Matthew had a bad dream. I came in to help him get back to sleep and I guess I went back to sleep myself."
As Lee watched, Amanda slowly extricated herself from their son's bed, careful not to wake him, and Lee couldn't help but admire her as she took such care, all the while keeping a loving eye on the sleeping boy. He wondered briefly if his own mother had ever done the same and as quickly as that a sadness threatened to overtake him, but suddenly Amanda was before him, turning his face to hers. The look in her eyes told him that she knew what he'd been thinking. She placed a gentle kiss on his lips and took his hand to lead him back to their bedroom.
Amanda shut the door then put her arms around him. They held each other tightly and Lee felt himself, as always, begin to calm in her presence, with her touch. How she did that, he would never know. She pulled away to ask him what he was doing awake.
Lee looked at her and sheepishly admitted, "I had a bad dream."
Amanda's eyes grew dark with concern and Lee almost regretted his honesty. They'd been through this once before, three years ago when they'd found out they were expecting Matthew. Lee sighed and took a small step back from his wife slightly so he could look at her quickly expanding belly. Before Lee could say anything, Amanda touched his face and turned his eyes to meet hers.
"It's going to be OK, Lee," she assured him. "We'll all be OK. It was just a dream. "
"Amanda," Lee sighed. "It wasn't like that, it was..."
He couldn't finish it. He couldn't tell her what he'd seen, or how he'd felt. Instead he leaned in to kiss her. He shouldn't have, he knew in his state of mind his kisses would become possessive. This had happened last time too. His emotions would overwhelm him and he'd have to make love to her just to stave off the fear. She didn't like it when he was like this and usually she would pull away and help him through his feelings, but tonight she didn't. Tonight she returned his kisses with equal fervor.
Lee bent and put his arm under her knees to lift her into his arms, then carried across the room to lay her on their bed. He straddled her, careful not to put too much pressure on her abdomen. His kisses trailed down her neck to that spot just behind her ear. He smiled as he heard her groan in pleasure. And his smile brought him back to his senses. He took a deep breath then gently kissed his way back to her mouth.
"Amanda," Lee spoke softly. "I'm sorry we fought earlier."
"Lee," Amanda began to interrupt, but Lee put a finger to her lips to quiet her.
He paused briefly to pull his thoughts together while he stared into her deep brown eyes that were filled with concern and love.
"I didn't dream what you think," he continued. "It was worse."
Amanda's concerned look took on a new depth, and Lee hurried on so as to relieve her worry.
"I shouldn't have asked you to leave the field, and I shouldn't have suggested I leave either," he got out quickly. "Amanda, we have always been there for each other from the beginning. If you hadn't, I wouldn't be here. If I hadn't, well, I wouldn't be here then either. I guess what I'm trying to say is..."
Amanda interrupted with a smirk, "You don't want me to stay in the car."
Lee looked taken aback for a moment, then he grinned, "Yeah, I don't want you to stay in the car."
He turned over onto his back, pulling her on top of himself. Burying his face in her hair, he kissed her temple and said, "I guess I'm always worried that if you go out there with me, you might not come back. But I forget that if I go out there without you, I might not come back."
Amanda held him tighter. Slowly they both relaxed and Lee was almost ready to suggest they get more comfortable so they could get some sleep when he felt Amanda begin to move her lips up his chest. He groaned with deep pleasure. There would be no sleep for either of them tonight.
In the wake of their passion, they lay entwined as they caressed. Lee kissed the top of Amanda's head and said, "Please, don't stay in the car. I want to come home to the most beautiful woman every night."