PART SIX – WHEN TEMPERS FLARE
And so, what started out as a perfectly civilised evening transforms into something completely different. Having discovered that Amanda doesn’t actually have the package with her, Lee’s temper fairly erupts as they enter the garage where he’s parked his car. There is no one around to hear them argue – which is probably a good thing considering that Lee is absolutely livid.
It’s rather like a pendulum that has swung from one direction to another at rapid speed, their dance now a forgotten memory in the wake of Amanda’s revelation.
“You knew I wanted the package! Why didn’t you bring it with you?” He can’t believe that she would even think not to bring the thing with her. After all, why on earth why would he ask her to meet him so urgently?
When Amanda tells him she left it at home for insurance because she had no idea what was going on or in fact who he was, it cuts no ice with Lee. “That’s how your mind works!” How on earth could she even think he was a gangster who might hurt her to get the package? He’s spent all his adult life trying to protect civilians like Amanda from that sort of person! “Most people would be happy to get rid of the damn thing in the first place!”
He may be frustrated but Amanda is equally so and doesn’t shrink back from airing her own grievances. One act of kindness in agreeing to take the package for him at the train station has now plunged her headlong into conflict and she’s certainly not happy!
In Amanda, Lee is beginning to realise that he has found no demure housewife whom he can talk to in any way he chooses, but instead a strong, determined woman who is ready to stand up for herself and give as good as she gets. It seems that for both of them there is a kind of freedom in the way they react to each other. They can move from dancing to shouting in the blink of an eye.
Amanda, having drawn to the end of her rant suddenly draws to an abrupt halt. “Where are we?”
Any semblance of control which Lee was holding onto completely evaporates. Before he can stop himself, he launches into an entirely unnecessary diatribe about his car and the fact that he wouldn’t think of letting the valets park it for him.
It’s only when he notices Amanda’s somewhat bemused expression that he pauses, stumbling over his words. How he feels about his car isn’t the issue and he knows it. He’s allowed himself to become completely unfocussed. He quickly realises he needs to calm down and recover some sort of equilibrium if they are going to commence with any sort of communication at all.
He takes a brief moment and a deep breath before offering Amanda both an apology and an explanation. Amanda accepts his apology and tries to lighten the mood a little.
“Let’s just be glad that we’re finally going to get the whole thing straightened out,” she says with a smile. After all, they have both made their point and now that that’s done they can move on.
Lee’s not entirely convinced that it’s going to be that easy. After all, it hasn’t been up to now. As he goes to walk away from her towards his car, it is Amanda’s soft laughter which causes him to pause and turn back to her.
“What?” he asks, to some extent sounding like he dreads the answer she’s going to give him. Except that she only shakes her head. He tries again. “What is it?”
Amanda’s “I almost did the dumbest thing with your package,” isn’t very comforting.
He questions her as to what that might have been, but Amanda is shaking her head and laughing still.
“You’d just laugh.”
He doesn’t quite know what to make of her answer and he finds himself with no time to question it further because suddenly there is a screech of tyres as a car comes into the garage. As Lee looks round to see what’s going on he quickly surmises that this isn’t something good and grabs Amanda, forcing her to run with him for the cover of the cars before they can be spotted.
For Amanda, this is all completely new territory. She has no idea who the men who appear to be looking for them are. Yet where others might be thoroughly alarmed by it all, Amanda adopts a surprisingly calm approach as Lee leads her stealthily amongst the cars, keeping them both out of sight. She doesn’t question what Lee plans to do to get them out of there, but simply trusts him to guide her.
For Lee, the one overwhelming thing is to make sure he keeps both himself and Amanda safe. He certainly cannot let anything happen to her which might result in her children being left without a mother. After all, he is only too painfully aware of what that feels like.
When he spots a cleaning cart he knows that this might be their only means of escape, although it means that as soon as they make a run for it they’ll probably be seen. His only hope is to try and out-run the men (not easy in a cart when they have a car!). Clasping hold of Amanda still, he makes a run for the cart and jumps in, telling Amanda to do the same before making off as fast as it will carry them in the direction of the exit. Just as he initially surmised, the bad guys quickly spot them and are on their tail in an instant and giving chase.
Erstwhile so cool in the face of danger, Amanda is more than a little unsettled by what is happening, especially as they are being shot at and being chased at high speed! Now, more than ever, she is forced to rely on Lee to get them out of there in one piece.
With the bad guys gaining, they hurtle down a seemingly endless spiral towards the exit, only to find themselves, upon finally making it out into the street, nearly colliding with a limousine. The near miss forces the car into a water main which promptly starts spewing water, soaking them both to the skin but also, thankfully, forcing the bad guys to back off…for the time being at least.