Paul was restless at dinner. He tried his best to make small talk with the couples that had been seated with them at their table. Lee had not returned since leaving to find Hanna. Amanda worried about him and what kind of situations he might be finding himself in; this included situations of both the dangerous and romantic varieties. As Janet Johnston wandered around mingling, she managed to stop over to Amanda and tell her the latest piece of gossip that she happened to pick up. Amanda pretended to be interested, but honestly could not have cared less.
"What time is it?" Amanda asked Paul as she noticed him checking his watch for the umpteenth time this evening.
"8:37…time to make sure that Lee's back up is in place."
"Do you think the meeting is a set up?"
"Yes I do- 100%"
"Hanna seemed genuinely scared when Janet brought up Max in conversation earlier today. Is it possible that she is not working for him?"
"Oh, I am sure she was plenty scared. Max Kahn is a vicious killer and if he thought for a moment that Hanna betrayed him, she would be dead-and he would make it as painful as possible."
"oohhhhh" Amanda said as she sunk back into her chair. Her thoughts immediately went to Lee. She hoped that he knew he was walking into a set up.
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Patience was never one of Lee's strong suits. He paced back and forth at the rendezvous spot. He felt like an animal being served up for slaughter. All of his sense became hypersensitive. Every acorn that fell made him flinch, every zephyr through the trees had him reaching for his gun.
"Hurry up, damn it! Let's get this over with!" He muttered to himself.
Just then, he saw a figure approaching him…he placed his hand on his weapon and tried to make out the person ahead of him.
"Robert?" Hanna's voice called out.
"Yes, honey! It's me!"
Hanna looked at Lee for a moment and then jumped into his arms, kissing him passionately. Lee kissed her back out of necessity.
"Robert, I don't know where to start. I thought you were dead! I was so frightened….I ran…I left Paris and never went back."
"It's ok! We can talk all about it. Why don't we go back up to my room where we can have some privacy?" Lee took her by the hand and attempted to lead her out of this dimly lit garden.
"NO!" she cried as she pulled her hand away from him and firmly planted her feet to the ground. "No…we must stay here."
"OK….OK…whatever you want. Let's sit down on the bench and talk for a spell."
Lee knew that he had to get out of there fast, for every moment he stayed, he was a sitting duck. But he also knew that he needed to get the information from Hanna on Kahn.
"Where did you go after Paris, Hanna?"
"I went back home to Germany. I had no choice."
"What do you mean you had no choice?"
Hanna looked down at the ground. Tears began to fill her eyes.
"Don't cry, honey…just talk to me. Why did you have no choice? Was someone after you?"
Hanna stood up from the bench and began to walk. With her back to him, she softly spoke.
"Yes, someone was after me…..and they still are."
Hanna turned around and pointed a gun at Lee, her hand trembling. Lee immediately stood up and tried to calm her.
"Whoa, little Darlin'! What's this all about? Put that gun down or you might hurt someone….namely me!"
"I cannot. If I don't kill you, he will kill me."
"Who will kill you? Kahn? Is Kahn the one that has this hold on you?"
Hanna's eyes widened at the sound of his name. Her face became frightened.
"How do you know about him?"
"Hanna, just give me the gun and we can talk. I can protect you. Just tell me where he is and what he is planning."
As Lee took a step closer to Hanna, the sound of a gun being fired with a silencer could barely be heard. Hanna crumpled to the ground clutching her chest. Lee quickly knelt down beside her, his weapon drawn.
"See, I told you he was watching me. I am sorry….."
"Hanna, you're going to be ok", Lee lied to her as he watched the blood pour from her wound.
"No, I am not…but before I die I must do one thing."
"What? What do you need to do?"
"This" she said as she fired her gun point blank at Lee's chest, sending him flying across the patio landing on his back.
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Amanda hated to be left behind. Paul left her at dinner while he went to check on Lee. Sitting alone at the table was equivalent to being left in the car. Amanda placed her napkin on the table and excused herself. She walked cautiously out of the tent and into the night air. There was no sign of Francine, Paul or Lee. Lots of other party guests mingled on the lawn under the twinkling lights that had been placed in the trees. Some of these party guests could be agency…..Amanda had no way of knowing on way or the other. She thought it would be best to just use her instincts. She headed down the path towards the rendezvous sight-or at least the path that she thought was the correct one. Her instincts had not been correct this time. As she walked further down the path, the garden became thicker and the shrubbery became higher. Realizing that she was not in the right place, she thought it best to turn around and head back to the tent. This area of the garden was very sparsely lit and it was difficult to see the path. Amanda headed for the more well lit area of the garden. As she rounded the tall hedge, she was thrown to the ground by another person running very quickly in the opposite direction. He fell to the ground, too.
"Oh my gosh! Are you alright?" Amanda said as she tried to help him up. She walked over to the man that rested in a pool of light from an overhead lamp. The man moved to a half sitting position and shook the daze out of his head. Their eyes locked and Amanda gasped. Before her she saw the same ice blue eyes that she had seen in the agency conference room this morning.
"MAX!" she exclaimed before she could help herself.
Max's face quickly turned terrifying with rage. He reached for his gun to shoot Amanda, only to discover that it had been dropped when they collided. Suddenly, a gun shot rang out in the night not far from where Amanda stood. It startled them both. Realizing that he had no weapon, Max got up and ran into the darkness. Amanda heard Francine's voice through the bushes.
"Lee? Lee? Speak to me, Lee!" Francine grabbed her walkie talkie and spoke into it. "Agent down! Repeat! Agent down!"
Panic began to set into Amanda. She charged through the bushed towards Francine's voice. The scene before her stopped her heart for a moment. Paul was standing over Hanna's bloody body-her eyes frozen open. Opposite her was Lee lying motionless on the ground with Francine standing over him.
"Lee!" Amanda shouted as she rushed to his side.
"Amanda, wait!" Francine cried.
Amanda ignored her and pushed her way through the other agents to Lee. She grabbed his still warm hand and began to talk to him.
"Lee? Wake up, Lee. Lee? Can you hear me? It's Amanda! Wake up!"
Lee began to squeeze her hand-very faintly at first. Then suddenly, Lee let out a primal scream and sat up clutching his chest.
"AAAARRRGGGGGGGGG! DAMN IT! DAMN IT THAT FUCKING HURTS!"
Amanda sat back on her heels with wide eyes as Lee screamed and thrashed. Tears began to well up in her eyes. Paul immediately rushed over to Lee and ripped open his shirt-he had worn his bullet proof vest! The dent in the middle of the vest showed that the shot would have been fatal had it been delivered with no vest….or had the gun been of a larger caliber.
"Scarecrow….calm down. Just breathe! Scarecrow!"
Lee looked at Paul with the eyes of a mad man. He was obviously in so much pain. Lee grabbed onto Paul's arm as he look in shallow, labored breaths.
"That's it….in and out…..slowly."
Francine quickly went to work removing the vest so they could get a better look at his chest. There on his sternum, a large red and purple welt appeared.
"You're gonna have one hell of a bruise, Scarecrow. But you will live to tell the tale." Paul assured him.
"What about, Hanna?" Lee asked
"She's dead. She was already dead by the time we got here." Francine reported. "Why did you shoot her?"
"I didn't. Someone else did. I'm not sure if they were trying to shut her up or if they missed and shot her instead of me. Whichever it was, she was shot before I got anything out of her."
"Damn! That means we are no closer to finding out where Kahn is than we were two days ago." Paul said.
"That's not exactly true." Amanda added as she gestured to the adjacent path. "I just ran into him on the next path over right before I heard the gun shot."
All eyes were on Amanda as she spoke.
"Are you sure it was him, Amanda?" Francine questioned.
"Positive. We ran into each other and knocked each other down. I went over to help him up and saw those same cold, ice blue eyes that I saw this morning in the agency conference room. I think I knocked his gun out of his hand, too. I am pretty sure he would have shot me if he found it. Instead, he ran off when he heard your voices."
"Damn it, Amanda! You could have been killed! What were you doing on that path anyway?" Lee said to her as he struggled to stand. Amanda helped him to his feet. She felt the need to be close to him at this moment.
"Well, I thought I could be of some help so I went to the garden…I guess I chose the wrong path."
"You guess you chose the wrong path? You ran smack into Max Kahn, literally. I would definitely say you chose the wrong path! Why can't you just do what you're told, Amanda? You really…uh! Damn!" Lee said as he winced in pain.
"Calm down, Lee. Amanda may have just given us our first break in this case. We know Kahn IS here and can therefore surmise that 'M. Lincoln Saturday' is in his plans for tomorrow-right here." Paul stated. "Amanda, why don't you help Lee up to his room and Francine and I will talk to Billy and plan our next move. Meet you up in our room in an hour."
Lee began to protest but then thought better of it. He nodded and put his arm around Amanda for support.
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Amanda insisted that Lee lie down on the bed. He argued with her for a moment and then realized that she was right.
"Stay right there. I am going across the hall to get you some ice. We have some in our room." Amanda said.
"Pfftt. Our room? It should have been OUR room, Amanda. Yours and mine. Not yours and Paul's." Lee muttered to himself.
"Did you say something?" Amanda said returning to Lee's room.
"No, just griping about the pain."
Amanda sat gently on the edge of the bed beside Lee and smiled warmly. Lee felt a wave of comfort wash over him.
"Let me take a look" she said as she opened up his shirt. "Oh, Lee! That looks awful!"
"Well it doesn't feel too great either!"
"Here, let's take off this tie and open your shirt up a little more so I can put some ice on it."
Lee and Amanda both reached for the bolo tie at the same time, both fumbling to loosen it from his neck.
"I'll do it. You just rest." Amanda said in her best mothering tone.
She slid the small cord out from his collar and handed him the tie as she unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt.
"Damn!" Lee exclaimed.
"What?" a startled Amanda answered back.
"This was my favorite bolo and look at it! One end got shot off!"
"THAT'S what you are worried about right now? I should know better than to really worry about you." Amanda said with a laughing lilt to her voice as she gently applied the ice to Lee's bruised chest. Lee smiled at her as she laughed at him. He looked up at her beautiful face from the bed studying her delicate features. He raised a hand up to her face to brush a stray wisp of hair away from her eyes. His hand then rested on her face, cupping her jaw. She looked up at him and smiled warmly as their eyes gazed deeply into one another. Lee gently began pulling Amanda down to him. He so wanted to taste her lips on his. He was ready to finally claim her for his own. Slowly the two moved towards each other; the kiss was going to happen this time!
Suddenly, Lee jerked back and grunted in pain.
"Oh, Lee! I'm sorry! Are you alright?"
"Yes! I am fine….." he said angrily. "I'm….I'm fine." He said more calmly as he looking into Amanda's concerned face.
"Think someone is trying to tell us something?" She asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it seems the timing is never right, if you know what I mean. Something always gets in our way."
Lee looked up at Amanda. She wasn't wrong but he refused to believe that a shared kiss between them wasn't meant to be. He took her hand in his and began running his thumb over her the back of her hand.
"Well, maybe THIS time it's not right….with me here all bruised. But I promise you, there will come a time, very soon, when it will be right. And I don't intend to let anything stand in our way. Understand?"
"Yeah" Amanda said quietly with a huge smile on her face. The two of them sat quietly for a little while holding hands and staring at each other. Lee's eye lids began to feel heavy and he was finding it difficult to keep them open.
"Manda…I'm just going to close my eyes for a few minutes, OK?" He said with a sleepy voice.
"You go ahead and get some rest. I will be right here when you wake up." She said as she softly stroked his hair. A sleepy smile spread across Lee's face. She felt his grip on her hand relax-she knew he was asleep. Amanda carefully stood up from the bed, trying not to disturb Lee's sleep. Grabbing a throw blanket that was folded over the arm chair in the corner, she gently covered Lee's sleeping body so that he wouldn't get cold and kissed his forehead.
Amanda heard noises from across the hall. She opened the door and saw that Paul and Francine had returned. Closing Lee's door behind her, she met them inside her own room.
"How's Lee?" Francine asked.
"Resting. Pretty awful bruise but I think he will be fine. What did you guys find out?"
"We searched Hanna's room and found some coded messages. Our men are working on decoding them now. I hope they can break the code in time." Francine informed her.
"Amanda, are you absolutely positive that it was Kahn you saw?" Paul asked.
"Yes! 100% positive. I will never forget those eyes. His head had no hair like in the picture and he had no beard, but it was definitely him."
Paul took out his walkie and spoke. "The package is bare, repeat the package is bare"
Amanda looked at Francine with a puzzled look.
"That means that Kahn has no hair- we are looking for a bald man."
"Ahhhh, OK. You know it really would be helpful if I could have a list of all these codes to study for the future." Amanda stated.
"Duly noted" Francine said back to her.
"I'm going out looking again, I can't just sit here and do NOTHING!" Paul stated. "You two stay here and look through these files again. There has to be something that we missed!"
"Uh, what about Lee?" Amanda asked.
"What about him?" Paul shot back.
"Shouldn't we have someone watching him? Seems he was the target before. Probably will be again."
"She's right, Paul. We should post an agent outside his room while Amanda and I look through these files.
"Yeah….you're right. I'll get Carter on it ASAP." With that, Paul grabbed some extra clips for his gun and headed out the door.
"Alright, Amanda…..let's get to work. The answer has GOT to be in here somewhere."
The two women pored over the files for the next few hours but to no avail. Amanda stood up to give her aching back a stretch and looked out the window. The sun was cresting over the horizon.
"Oh my gosh! What time is it?"
Francine looked at her watch. "5:45AM…we've been at this for hours and still no clues. Amanda, I have cracked much harder cases than this with much less information to go on! What are we missing?"
"I wish I knew, Francine. It almost seems like we are completely barking up the wrong tree. I think we both need a few minutes break from these papers. The words are all starting to blur together."
"I know! I know! I just….hhuuuuhhhhhhhh! This is so frustrating!" Francine stood up and starting pacing around the room.
Both women froze and stared at the door as it swung open. In walked Lee.
"Lee! How are you feeling?" Amanda said rushing over to him.
"I am sore as hell, but I think a little better. What did we find out."
"Almost nothing! Paul and I searched Hanna's room and found some coded messages that our team is working on decoding right now, but that's it. Amanda and I have going over every word, every sentence in these files and again…..nothing."
"Come on, Francine! There's got to be SOMETHING. We've solved harder cases with less." Lee replied.
"That is exactly what I just said to Amanda."
Lee carefully sat down in the arm chair and asked where Paul was.
"He's out looking for Kahn", Francine replied.
Amanda stood by the window and looked out at the morning sun shining upon the rose garden.
"Too bad Mother isn't here. She would absolutely go crazy for Mrs. Johnston's roses. Mother has a real green thumb. She can make anything grow. Especially her rose garden. She loves yellow roses…Graham Thomas is her favorite."
"Who the hell is Graham Thomas?" Lee asked in an annoyed tone. "I thought you were talking about roses."
Amanda turned around and looked at him.
"I am talking about roses. Graham Thomas is the name of a particular type of yellow rose."
"Roses have names? Don't they just call them yellow? Red?" Lee remarked sarcastically.
"No, no they don't. It's very interesting actually. Each color rose has many different varieties and different name. Many of them are named after specific people. For example, Graham Thomas is one of the more popular yellow roses, the Abraham Darby is this really beautiful pink rose-it almost looks like there are two roses in each blossom….."
Francine and Lee exchanged eye rolls as they listened to Amanda ramble on.
Amanda continued to look out the window and point to her favorites. "Oh, but one of my favorite roses are those red rose over there called the Mr. Lincoln. It is…." Amanda froze and her face completely lit up. "Francine! Give me that guest list again. Quickly."
"Amanda, we've gone over and over the guest list." She said handing the papers to Amanda.
Amanda quickly scanned the pages.
"She's not on here. How could she not be on here?" Amanda stated not looking up from the pages.
"Who, Amanda? Who is not on there?" Francine stated in a very annoyed tone.
"The First Lady….Mrs. Reagan. She's not on here." Amanda said excitedly.
"Why would Mrs. Reagan be on that list, Amanda?" Lee barked.
"Yesterday, Janet-Senator Johnston's wife, told me that Mrs. Reagan was coming here this morning to look at her rose garden. Said she had planted some new roses and invited Mrs. Reagan to come see them. Said it was very hush hush because she was only staying for an hour or so and didn't want a lot of fuss. I just assumed that the agency would know about her arrival."
"That's Secret Service's department not ours. What does this have to do with M. Lincoln Saturday?" Lee barked again.
"Don't you see? They are going to be walking through the rose garden right past those Mr. Lincoln roses…THIS MORNING! Kahn is known for his explosives, isn't he? Wouldn't that be a perfect spot to plant a bomb and blow up the First Lady?" Amanda said with more and more agitation to her voice.
Lee and Francine dashed to the window. The earth looked as if it had been freshly turned over near the red roses.
"Lee, I think she could be right!" Francine said. She sprinted across the room and out the door.
Lee grabbed Francine's walkie talkie.
"Scarecrow to Wizard….it's the rose garden! The red roses in the rose garden! There's a bomb. Get that area evacuated now!"
"What? Are you sure?" Paul's voice asked through the speaker.
"Yes! And Mrs. B is an expected visitor this morning! Visiting the rose garden." Lee yelled into the walkie.
Amanda watched a half dozen agents including Paul swarm the rose garden. They carefully swept the dirt off the mound of freshly turned earth and revealed a hefty amount of explosives. Amanda couldn't see exactly what they were doing, but within 30 seconds, she heard Paul's voice come through the speaker as he gave them a thumbs up.
"All clear. The bomb has been defused. Good work, Scarecrow."
"This one was all Amanda. Scarecrow out."
"Lee, who is Mrs. B? And what about Max?" Amanda asked.
"Well, Mrs. B is Mrs. Reagan."
"Why not call her Mrs. R?"
"Well…..we call President Reagan Bonzo….you know….."Bed Time for Bonzo"? So it makes sense that Mrs. Reagan would be Mrs. B."
"Ahh, I see…and Max?"
"Well, I don't know. Depends on if they can find him or not. We may have another run in with him some day. Hope not, but that is the reality."
"I hope not, too. This was a tough case."
"And thanks to you, we solved it."
Lee wrapped his arms around Amanda and held her tight.
"Great work, partner!"
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"You know, Paul, you don't need to bring me to the Doc. I am fine. I just want to go home!" Lee complained.
"Well, I'm sure that's true but never hurts to be safe. Besides, I promised Amanda that I would walk you there myself. She wouldn't get out of the car unless I promised….and I always keep my promises." Paul smirked.
"Is that so?"
"Yeah, and if you don't go, I'm going to pay you back for this!" Paul said pointing to his lip.
"Uh…..about that. Look, I am…"
"Save it, Scarecrow. I know exactly why you slugged me and if I had been in your shoes, I probably would have done the same thing."
"Yeah, I just can't believe I didn't see it before."
"How in love you are with Amanda."
"Paul, I'm not…."
"And how in love she is with you, too."
Lee suddenly felt like a 15 year old boy asking his first girl to the dance.
"Yeah, she is. I just don't get it why you two don't do anything about it. We only live once. And you and I both know how quickly life can be taken away."
"Yeah….I know. Soon….it will be soon."
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Amanda had barely been home 15 minutes when the doorbell rang. She opened the door to find a flower delivery boy standing there with a huge bouquet of red roses.
"Are you Amanda King?" he said.
"Uh, yes, yes I am."
"Then these are for you!"
He handed her the flowers.
"Wait a minute! I forgot to give you a tip" she called after him.
"It's already been taken care of! Have a great day!"
Amanda shut the door and brought the flowers into the kitchen. Placing them on the counter, she opened the envelope and pulled out the card inside.
"Great work today, Partner. And remember, the right time is coming very soon. XOXO"
"I sure hope so, Lee…..I sure hope so." Amanda said softly to herself as she held the card close to her heart and sighed a happy sigh.