PART SEVEN – SPY AMONGST THE TULIPS
Having found herself soaked to the skin after the unfortunate incident with the burst water main, Amanda goes home, only to find herself having to come up fast with what will sound like a plausible explanation for the state of her appearance to Dotty – after all, she can’t tell her mother what she was really doing, much less that hidden in the bushes outside listening to everything that is being said is Lee!
In fact, Amanda is now keeping secrets, just as Lee does. She has unconsciously allowed him a little further into her life by bringing him home, even if it is to consign him to the flowerbeds outside. Yet she doesn’t feel at all comfortable with Lee on the other side of the window while her mother is in the room with her and may possibly spot him.
After all, how do you explain a soaking wet spy crouched in the shadows amongst your flowers?
Thankfully Dotty is busy making a hot drink for herself so she doesn’t appear to witness Amanda furtively feeding yards of kitchen towel through the open kitchen to Lee outside.
For Lee too, his unexpected involvement with Amanda also puts him on a collision course with a world he has little or no experience of. He is drawn inexorably into the goings on of Amanda’s family life, having to listen and wait while she tries to deal with Dotty’s questions and chatter. He finds himself standing on the outskirts of her life, looking in on it, watching the domesticity that is playing out before him. It is a million times removed from the life he knows.
Amanda, of course, is only intent on one thing: to grab the package she has left out and to find a way to get it to Lee so that her whole involvement in the situation can come to an end. However, things turn out not to be as clear cut as she thinks because when she finally goes to retrieve it she finds, to her horror, that the package isn’t actually where she left it. Maybe her mother’s moved it?
Dotty’s response is a complication that neither Lee, upon hearing every word, or Amanda are quite prepared for. In fact Amanda is so preoccupied with what has happened to the package that the fact that Dean has called goes completely over her head. Hearing himself what Dotty has done leaves Lee utterly dumbstruck too. After all, how could asking a simple favour of someone lead to so much stress and difficulty??
Amanda, in light of her mother’s unwelcome revelation, knows that she’s going to have to face Lee. She is well aware that he has heard for himself what’s happened but that doesn’t make it any easier. Her only hope is to try and explain what led to all this happening in the first place.
Her attempt to explain is interrupted by Dotty coming back into the room briefly. Lee is forced to dart back down into his hiding place, although Dotty herself is completely oblivious to what is going on with her daughter – in fact, she’s feeling a little put out that Amanda doesn’t seem particularly grateful to her for doing her a favour! As Dotty leaves the room again, Amanda prepares herself for what must inevitably come. After all, her mother’s actions have made everything a whole lot more complicated!
Lee, silenced by the enormity of the problem of seeing the package drift beyond his grasp, along with the vital information it contains, doesn’t start shouting as Amanda turns to see him looking at her through the kitchen window. He just stares at her, her words to him in the garage earlier now beginning to make a lot more sense.
Amanda, remembering too what she said, merely nods. The trouble is that he’s not laughing….