Having It All by cgbear
A further continuation of A Morning After, Rings and Plausible Deniability
As well as the July Challenge using the words – JULY, SNOW, HEAT, FIREWORKS, SANTA and the Prompt Line "No time like the present."
Please remember all the usual disclaimers for writing for these characters. I don't own them but they are awesome to play with on occasion.
Thank you to Jennifer for being a great beta.
4th Season – Dotty, Billy and Francine know about the marriage.
"Do we have everything?" Amanda looked over the table covered with plates of eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage and toast.
Lee came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He looked over her shoulder and kissed her neck. "I'm not sure how we could put any more food on this table. Are you sure this is going to work? Is this really the best way to talk to the boys?" Lee had arrived earlier than usual this morning to help Amanda cook breakfast. "Do you really think they are ready to tell them, Amanda? I mean we can wait a while longer."
Amanda turned to look at him. "Wait? We can't wait. Mother knows, Mr. Melrose and Francine know." She took his face in her hands. "I said this before, I will say it again. I want you here with me and your family. I feel selfish saying this. I want to have it all, Lee, you, my mother, my children and my job." She leaned over and kissed him.
You don't sound selfish, Amanda. You know what you want and you have it within reach." He sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm just feeling nervous about talking to Phillip and Jamie." He smiled wistfully. "Here we are, two highly trained intelligence operatives and we can't tell two teenagers that we are married."
Amanda slapped her hand over Lee's mouth and looked around for the Phillip and Jamie. She felt him pressing a kiss against her hand. She smiled and whispered. "With our luck the past few days, the boys would have walked right in when you said that. Then they would've known everything."
At that moment, Jamie came bounding down the stairs. He looked at Amanda standing in the den with her hand over Lee's mouth and his arms around her. He just shook his head. "I could smell breakfast all the way upstairs. Is it ready?"
Amanda removed her hand from Lee's mouth and moved into the kitchen. "It's all ready. Where's your brother?"
Jamie snorted. "Where he always is, in front of the mirror. Getting ready for his movie date with Linda."
"Movie date? When did that happen?" Amanda's heart sank a little.
Jamie shrugged his shoulders as he piled food on his plate. "I don't know. They set it up for when we got home. Last I heard before he shut the door was that they wanted to go see the first matinee. I think he's going to ask you for a ride. This looks great, Mom. Lee, what are you doing here so early?"
Lee cleared his throat. "I…uh…came to help your mom cook and then I thought we could all do something together today. The four of us."
"It's okay with me." Jamie voice was muffled around a bite of pancakes. "I think Phillip has plans. What are we going to do?"
"Let's get Phillip down here first." Amanda said walking to the foot of the stairs. "Phillip! Breakfast!"
"Ok, Mom!" Came the muffled shout from behind the bathroom door. She shook her head. 'Fourteen years old,' she thought. 'I can't believe he is fourteen. He is growing up so fast.' A small ache lodged in her chest. 'He is going to be leaving for college before too long.' She felt Lee's arms wrap around her from behind. She stroked his hand as he kissed the side of her neck.
"You okay?" Lee asked.
"You need to be a part of their lives, before they get too old to enjoy having you as a stepfather. It's not fair to them to wait any longer." Amanda whispered as she rested her head on his shoulder.
"It's okay, Amanda. I understand." Lee hugged her more tightly. "We'll tell them today after we get back from UVA."
Phillip came barreling down the stairs and stopped abruptly when he saw the two them in an embrace. "Geez you two, don't you ever get tired of hanging all over each other?"
"Never." Lee smiled at Amanda.
Amanda disentangled herself from Lee. "Sweetheart, breakfast is on the table. Go eat while it's still hot."
Lee led her back into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee for both of them. They joined the boys and sat around the table. The boys looked up from the breakfast expectantly.
"What?" Amanda asked with her coffee cup poised at her lips.
Phillip looked at Jamie, Jamie looked back. Jamie finally ventured. "Well, Mom, you've been acting kinda strange the last couple of days, since we got home from Aunt Lillian's house. Are you okay?"
Amanda's answer was interrupted by her mother walking into the room. "Good morning everyone! Isn't it a beautiful day? I love autumn. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Everyone is beginning to get in the holiday mood. It will be wonderful to have the whole family together for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year." She stared at Lee keenly. "I'm sure Santa will be dropping off your presents here, dear."
Lee seemed to snap to attention. "Uh, yes. The holidays will be great. You know snow and all." Amanda wished he could put more conviction in his voice when talking about Christmas.
Dotty wrapped a while silk scarf around her neck and pulled on her leather coat. "Well, I'm off. Captain Curt and I are going to get some flying time in today. He said I'm a very promising student. What are you all doing today?"
Lee spoke up. "I have four tickets to the UVA game today. Then I think we'll order pizza tonight."
Phillip looked up. "Tickets for UVA? That's awesome! They're a game away from an undefeated home season. This is the UNC game!"
Jamie had a strange look on his face. "Mom? You don't really like football. Are you going to come with us?"
"Yes. I wanted to spend some time with all my fellas." Amanda reached over and placed her hand on Lee's hand.
Her mother smiled serenely. "Well, have a wonderful time, darlings. I may be home for dinner." And she was gone in a whirlwind of white silk and leather.
Lee sighed into the silence left by the closing of the door. "I don't know where your mother gets her energy."
A small laugh escaped Amanda's lips. "I know. She's incredible." A wave of melancholy suddenly washed over her for a moment. "Excuse me." She murmured as left the table.
Lightly running up the stairs, she entered her room and braced her back against the door. She had no idea what just came over her. She suddenly felt the deep absence of her mother in a big part of her life and Lee's absence in another. 'What is the matter with me? I don't usually get all emotional like this.'
A soft knock came from behind her. "Amanda?" Lee's voice was soft and concerned. Not answering immediately, she moved to her bed and sat down. The door opened and Lee looked around the door. The look on his face broke her heart. He looked lost and confused, but she couldn't find up the energy to comfort him.
Lee sat on the bed next to her and took her in his arms. "Amanda, what happened?"
"I don't know. All of a sudden I was overtaken with sadness. It was like a feeling of emptiness suddenly overwhelming me. I had to get away."
"Do you want to postpone telling the boys?" Lee asked his hand making broad strokes up and down her back as she relaxed into his arms.
"No! They have to know. They have to know that it's okay to come to you if they need you when I'm not around." A small noise in the hall caught her attention. She tilted her head to listen. When it didn't reoccur, she shook her head and took her husband's hand. "I think it just hit me that we have all been losing out on what should be a wonderful time of our lives." She distracted herself by playing with his fingers. "I don't think I totally understand it myself." She smiled sheepishly and kissed him. "I'm really sorry if I scared you, sweetheart. I didn't mean to."
Lee chuckled. "You couldn't believe the scenarios going through my head as I walked up the stairs. I was almost afraid that you had changed your mind about the whole thing."
"Never." She took a deep breath. "Let's go eat."
They walked down the stairs and back into the kitchen hand in hand. Lee pulled out her chair for her and sat back down next to her.
Jamie looked at her then looked down, his fork making patterns in his syrup. Phillip spoke up. "What time is the game today?"
"One o'clock. So we have some time before we have to leave."
Jamie spoke up. "Phillip, weren't you going on a date this afternoon?"
"Oh, that. No, not really. Linda and I talked about going to see either Hello Again or Russkies, but she didn't finish a project for school so her parents are making her stay home."
Amanda's voice was firm. "I think I would have preferred that you come with us today anyway. We haven't seen much of each other this past week."
"That's fine with me." He took a bite of his bacon and looked at Lee. "Linda is getting clingy and I really didn't want to see either of those movies. I was going to ask you what I should do. " He looked over at Amanda. "Later."
Amanda began to smile but tamped it down seeing that Phillip was seriously asking for Lee's advice on a personal matter. Her heart stuttered a little at the acceptance of her husband's place in her sons' lives.
Lee nodded his head in understanding "No problem, later."
"Do you wanna go shoot some hoops before we have to go?" Phillip asked.
"Amanda?" Lee looked at her.
"Go ahead. I have some things to do around here first."
"Jamie?" Lee asked.
"Uh, no thanks. I think I'll stay here with mom."
"You sure Sweetheart?" Amanda asked
"I'm sure" Jamie replied quietly.
Amanda looked at him for a moment quietly assessing his mood. "Okay then. We should leave around 11:30 so we can see the marching bands."
Phillip picked up his plate and put it in the sink. "C'mon Lee. Let's go."
"Let me change my clothes." Lee moved to the door to get his travel case out of the car. They decided that he would pack a few things in case the boys accepted their marriage right away and he could spend the night with his wife and family.
Amanda waited at the foot of the stairs for him to come back in. "Why don't you use my bedroom?"
He leaned in and whispered "Are you coming upstairs to help me change?" He nibbled lightly on her lower lip and put his arms around her.
She stifled a giggle. "Not quite yet. But if we are successful today, I'll help you get undressed later."
His voice got even softer as a private smile flicked across his lips. "Hmmm…promises, promises, Mrs. Stetson."
She moved her arms up his back, lightly scratching around his spine. "And don't I always keep my promises, Mr. Stetson?" She felt his light shudder at her ministrations.
"Always. I can't wait."
She let her arms drop away from him. "You get upstairs and change. Try not to play too hard. I don't think you want another shower today," Lee started to say something but Amanda cut in quickly. "Especially if I can't be the one washing you."
Lee smiled. "Hmmm… there's a thought to keep me going."
"I'll start the dishes and clean up around here so that we can get to the game on time."
"Okay, I love you." Lee leaned in to kiss her.
"Love you too."
Amanda admired the view as he ran up the stairs to her bedroom. 'That man certainly can fill out a pair of jeans.' She thought happily as she turned away to go into the kitchen.
As she walked into the kitchen she saw Jamie at the sink rinsing the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher. "Jamie, thank you for helping but you don't have to do that."
Jamie turned and pushed his glasses up on his nose. "I thought I could help. You look tired, Mom. Maybe you should rest."
Amanda looked at Jamie. "I'm fine, Sweetheart, really. I'll take over. Why don't you get your camera and some film ready for the game?"
"Are you sure? I really don't mind helping."
She gave him a hug. "I'm sure." She watched as he walked out of the kitchen.
She heard "Bye, Mom," from Phillip and a slamming of the front door.
She let out a sigh and let her head drop forward. She was tired. After four nights of being warmed by the heat of her husband's body, she had slept alone the past two nights and hadn't slept well. She missed Lee. She missed the way he always touched her at night as if to assure himself of her presence. She missed the way he snuggled up to her, holding her into the curve of his body. Each night she felt his erection along her bottom and his hand possessively on her breast. A flush slowly worked its way up her face and she was suddenly warm. Maybe she would lie down for a few minutes when she got the dishes finished, she needed to get her libido under control.
Once her chores were done she made her way up to her room, where Lee had left his clothes on the bed. The hominess of picking up his clothes and folding them neatly made her long for the day to be over and for everyone to know about them. Laying his clothes on the corner of the bed, she looked at his shirt. It was one of her favorites, a blue chambray with a corduroy collar washed to pliant softness. She loved what the blue did to his eyes. He had worn it the time they almost kissed in that swamp. It was hard to believe that it had been over a year since that incident. They had danced around each other for so long, neither of them willing to admit anything deeper than friendship and partnership. Bringing the shirt to her face she inhaled his fragrance. It was the very essence of Lee, masculine and spicy. She smiled. It was the smell that seemed to circumvent her brain when he was with her. Her smile widened, she was sure it was why he could talk her into so much when they were together. As Amanda lay down on her bed, she held the shirt close. Her eyelids began to droop and she relaxed into sleep.
"Mom?" she heard Jamie's voice in her dream. "Mom, wake up. Lee and Phillip are back."
"Shhh, Sweetheart, you're going to wake me up. I'm dancing." Amanda murmured to Lee as they danced at an Embassy ball.
Lee's husky baritone invaded her dream as well. "That's okay, Jamie, I'll just sneak through and take a quick shower. I'll wake her up after I'm dressed."
"Hmmm…dressed." Amanda repeated. Lee was in his tuxedo holding her in a Burgundy velvet dress. "No, you may not cut in. I'm Mrs. Stetson." She whispered her voice muffled by a pillow and Lee's shirt.
She heard Jamie's voice and looked down to see him tugging at her dress, but she couldn't make out what he was asking her.
Lee's voice came through clear. "I don't know. I couldn't make out what she said. Anyway she's dreaming. Why don't you go get changed for the game?"
Lee's voice faded as they continued to dance.
She woke slowly to the feel of her face and hair being gently caressed. She stretched languorously. Soft lips pressed hers. Strong hands held her hands. "Amanda? Time to wake up, Sleeping Beauty." His tone held a hint of amusement and a little mischief.
"Yes, My Prince." She said quietly opening her eyes to see Lee dressed and ready to go.
"We need to go." He looked searchingly at her. "You were sleeping hard. Are you okay?"
"Fine." She replied sitting up gingerly. "I just haven't been sleeping well the last few nights." She reached out and ran a finger down the front of his shirt. "I've missed you."
Lee leaned forward and braced his hands on the bed by Amanda's hips. "I missed you too."
Rubbing her face as she stretched to get her muscles and blood flowing again, Amanda moved off the bed and into the bathroom.
Ten minutes later they were on the road to the football game. The boys and Lee were enthusiastic over the Hoos' chances over the Tar Heels. Amanda was excited about getting to spend the afternoon with all her men.
The game was fantastic even Amanda thought so. The Hoos scored two touchdowns in the last five minutes to win the game. The boys kept repeating Phil Thomas' stats on the car ride home.
"What was it 19 solo tackles?" Jamie asked.
"No, it was 16 solo tackles and 19 total. Man, did you see him take that running back down? That was great!" Phillip replied.
"Don't forget the interception." Lee reminded them both.
Amanda sat back and watched Lee rehash the game while maneuvering the Cherokee through the streets of Arlington back to the house. She loved him with every fiber of her being. He belonged with her and the boys.
Amanda cut across the fourth reiteration of the interception with, "Should we order pizza when we get home?"
"Yeah!" Came the chorus of agreement from the rest of the car.
The rest of the evening was a haze of pizza, jokes, football and a very nice cabernet which Lee had stashed at her house. Sitting next to each other on the couch, Amanda looked over at Lee and asked, "When should we do this?"
Lee looked at his watch and then at the boys and answered "Well, no time like the present."
Amanda took a deep breath. "Fellas," she started. "Sit down here for a minute."
"Mom," Phillip interrupted, "Can we go rent a video? Crocodile Dundee is out."
"Not right now, Phillip. We need to talk to you."
Jamie sat down, looked at her and paled visibly. Lee looked at Amanda then looked at Jamie. "Hey Jamie," he leaned forward and placed his hand on Jamie's clenched hands, "Are you okay?"
He nodded wordlessly.
Amanda took a deep breath. "You know that I love you very much, right? And that I would never do anything to hurt you. Hopefully now, you know that Lee feels the same way."
The boys looked back at her blankly.
"It's time that we," she indicated Lee and herself, "told you a little more about our jobs and lives."
"Is this where you tell us that you work for the FBI or the CIA or something like that?" Phillip asked.
"I beg your pardon?" Amanda replied, shocked. Lee reached over and took her hand.
Phillip rolled his eyes and continued. "Well, we're not blind. We saw Lee beat up that guy in the gym when Dad came home. We saw him beat up that other guy on the stage. And he wasn't put in jail. We figured he wasn't really a director when he didn't know anything about film. So we figured it had to be something else."
Jamie chimed in. "Also it's hard to miss the sound of the Corvette."
Lee cut in. "Have you talked about this with anyone else?"
Jamie answered. "Only Dad and he said we had to ask you."
Amanda's curiosity was aroused. "Why didn't you?"
Phillip shrugged. "We never found the right time to ask. I thought about asking Lee today while we were shooting hoops, but it didn't come up."
Lee smirked. "Was that because that girl, Lauren, came up to talk to you?"
Phillip looked slightly abashed. "Kinda."
Lee continued. Amanda watched him look at each boy straight in the eye. "What we're going to tell you can't go beyond the house. Your grandmother knows what we do, so does your father. But that is it." Amanda warned. "You can't tell anyone else. Not your friends or your teachers. No one. Do you understand?"
Both boys nodded solemnly.
Amanda picked up. "Do you want us to continue knowing that you can't say anything except to the people we have already mentioned?"
Phillip nodded and looked at Jamie. Jamie paused for a moment as if to consider the options and nodded. A flash of pride coursed through her at the maturity of her younger son.
"Okay, you're right. We're not documentary filmmakers. We're federal agents."
Jamie spoke up. "What does that mean?"
Lee picked up the thread. "We can't tell you everything about what we do. Most of it is classified and you guys are just going to have to accept that. We work for an organization called The Agency."
"Fellas," Amanda continued, "Remember last July, when I wanted you to go visit Aunt Lillian with your Grandmother suddenly?" The boys nodded. "We were on a case that could have impacted you guys. Understand, Lee and I have always just wanted to keep you safe, so we kept you in the dark about our jobs and …" her voice trailed off.
Lee squeezed her hand. "Our relationship." Jamie let out a noisy breath that he hadn't even noticed he was holding.
Amanda looked at him puzzled. "Sweetheart, what's wrong? You've been acting strangely around me all day."
"Mom, are you going to tell us that you're sick?"
"Sick? Of course not, Jamie! What in the world would make you think that?"
"Well, Tommy Henderson's mother had to get a kidney from her boyfriend because hers didn't work anymore and before they told him about the operation they treated Tommy really well. Took him places and gave him things. And his mother was tired and slept a lot." He looked down at his shoes. "I also overheard you telling Lee that we may need him if you aren't here." He looked up at her. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop, I just wanted to check on you."
Amanda took Jamie into a hug and smiled at her son. "Sweetheart, if it was something like that you would have known immediately."
"I thought maybe it had to do with you getting shot."
Amanda sobered quickly. "No Sweetheart. I'm not hurt and I'm all healed from California. What we have to tell you has to deals with why we were in California in the first place."
Phillip asked "Were you on a mission?"
"No," she paused to slow down her heart rate, "we were on our honeymoon." She searched their faces for any reaction. There was silence from the boys.
Lee continued. "Guys, your mom and I got married in February."
Phillip looked stunned. "You did? Why?"
Amanda smiled took Lee's hand again. "Because we are in love."
Jamie looked appalled. "You didn't tell us. You didn't want us to know. Didn't you want to be with us?"
Lee took over. "We wanted to tell you. We want to be a family but you didn't know me well then. We thought our jobs were too dangerous for anyone to know. So, we kept it a secret from everyone."
"Now our jobs aren't any less dangerous then they were before," she continued. "But we just got some sound advice from a friend. The entire family will have to make some adjustments now that you know. There is a class for families of agents on awareness, safety and self-defense. We are going to have a security alarm installed in the house."
"Why didn't we have this before?" Phillip asked.
"Well, I was an agent trainee. Now, I am almost fully certified and Lee is a full agent."
"Does that mean you are going to move in?" Jamie asked Lee.
Amanda held her breath.
"Yes, I'd like to, right away. But if you guys aren't ready for that. I mean if you need time to process this information. I understand." Lee admitted reluctantly.
"Nah, I'm okay with it." Phillip said as he nudged his brother. "What about you, Junior?"
"Don't call me that!" Jamie exclaimed shoving his brother. "I'm okay."
Phillip stood up and looked Lee in the eye. "Just keep my mom happy, okay? I remember what things were like with my dad."
Lee held out his hand. "It's a deal."
Phillip shook it. "Now can we go get a video?" Phillip asked Amanda.
Amanda didn't answer. She was looking a Jamie. Jamie, who had been so jealous of Lee earlier this year only to warm up to him later as they found some common ground.
"I'm glad my mom has someone. I thought she was too lonely. I'm glad it's you. I remember what it was like too." He held out his hand to Lee.
Lee shook it. "Thank you, Jamie."
"Are we done with the mushy stuff?" Phillip asked. "Can we go get a video?"
A door slamming accompanied her mother coming through the doorway in a whirlwind. "That was so much fun. What did I miss here?"
"Phillip and I are going to the video store. Jamie, do you want to come too?"
"Sure. I guess we can have some guy time." Jamie said.
"And Lee's is moving in," Phillip added.
Amanda stood up. "Fellas, wait a minute." She hugged them both. "I love you guys."
Her mother looked up at her with an eyebrow cocked. "So, how'd it go?"
Amanda sat down next to her mother and put an arm around her. "It was a good day. The boys seemed fine with everything. It's strange. We built it up in our minds. I guess teenagers are more resilient. Would you like a glass of wine?"
Her mother smiled at her. "That would be lovely. But Amanda, don't count your chickens before they move in. Lee could say one thing to set off those resilient teenagers then there'll be fireworks."
Amanda thought for a moment then nodded her head "Oh yeah. Poor Lee."
Her mother clapped her hands together "So, let's talk about a wedding."
Amanda was speechless.
Later that night:
Walking up the stairs hand in hand, Amanda paused at the bedroom door. "You ready for this, Big Fella?"
He looked at her. "Ready for what?"
Put Amanda smiled and put her arms around his neck. "Family, respectability, stability, forever."
He leaned down to kiss her. "Forever?" he asked his voice husky.
"Forever." She saw her life reflected in his beautiful eyes. "Just over that threshold."
"Then allow me." He picked her up and walked into her…their room.
"I love you, Lee."
"I love you too, Amanda." He put her down and closed the door.
"This feels strange. We've been hiding for so long." His hands were in her hair, taking out the clips, letting it fall. She closed her eyes in ecstasy. "Mmm…that feels so good."
"So will this." He whispered as his mouth kissed the side of her neck and jaw line. Her fingers were busy unbuttoning his shirt.
He began to pull her shirt out of her pants. She stilled his hands. "You know we don't have to rush anything." She dropped her voice. "We have all night, morning and afternoon. We have forever."
Lee stepped back and gave her a brilliant smile. "That's right, we do."
"So, why don't you go get a couple of glasses of wine? I'll start a bath and we can take our time and relax." Amanda kissed him lightly.
"Hmm, I do seem to remember, Mrs. Stetson, something about helping me to undress if everything goes well."
"Well, I started already" She said as she pulled him closer to her. "So why, Mr. Stetson, are you standing around here?" Amanda asked trailing a finger down his chest.
She turned and sashayed into the bathroom.
Just as she was coming out of the bathroom to get her robe, she saw Lee with the phone in his hand. "Tonight? But Billy, Amanda and I …okay… I know…yeah… ha ha ha very funny. You'll always know where to find us." He looked up and made eye contact. "Okay, got it. We'll be right in." He hung up the phone. "I'm so sorry, Amanda. The Santiago thing is about to take off. He wants to make a buy of guns."
Amanda buttoned up her blouse and went to her nightstand table, opened it to reveal her gun safe. "Am I going to need to be armed?"
"Probably a good idea." She opened the gun safe and pulled out her .38 revolver.
"Okay, Scarecrow. Let's go to work."
"After you, Mrs. Stetson."