Have really appreciated everyone reading this and taking the time to write a review - it makes all the differnce for us writers to realise that not only do people read what we've written they're prepared to take the time to write a review and let us know. There are a couple of other stories in the pipeline but this was my first SAMK one and I wasn't sure how welll it would be received. Will work on them and get them up when November's over as I'm completing NaNoWriMo. I promise to post it completed - would have done the same with this but my computer started playing up. Thankfully have now got it repaired. Thank you all again.

Chapter 9 - and finished.

I'd finally realised that Amanda was someone I wanted to become involved with but opportunities seemed slow to present themselves. We would cuddle and I was very protective of her but I had never said that I wanted to get to know her better or even to go out with her nor had I declared myself or my feelings. I'd even tried when we were on the Theatre Case and Amanda and I were rehearsing in the Q-Bureau except that Francine interrupted us. Much as I like and respect Francine as a colleague that's one of the few times I could have quite happily throttled her. Amanda and I were involved with a plot to extract information from a Dr von Klausen. I managed to underestimate Amanda (again) especially when we were both handcuffed in the car. Mischa, Krutiov's chauffeur had injected me with something pretty potent and he accosted Amanda after she'd changed and come down the street to meet me. He handcuffed her and then forced her into the car next to me. I woke up about three hours later and Amanda asked if I had a half-rake, I replied that I had a double-diamond in my collar stay but it was no use because I'd been handcuffed so tightly that my hands were numb. She just replied that luckily she'd got the seven percent of bad guys who didn't cuff you behind your back, pulled the lock-pick from my collar and then proceeded to extricate both of us from our shackles. She is one amazing lady.

Even today I wonder how it took me so long to recognise my feelings for Amanda, but after that case when I finally decided that I wanted things to be more serious was the best day of my life. Billy nearly caught us but I finally decided that I wanted to show Amanda how I felt. It had taken me so long and the joy in her face when she realised that I wanted to take our relationship to another level was a wonder. I remember smiling down into her face as she put her hands on my shoulders, she'd done it before but it had never felt quite the same. I bent my head and kissed her properly. Then when we parted we stood looking at one another for a long moment and I said the only words I could think of, "My Amanda."