Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes – There Goes the Neighbourhood (Pt5)

NIGHT MANOEUVRES

Later, with Lee having reassured himself that the coast is clear, he and Amanda set off to search the Bodine house.  It’s not the first time that Amanda has accompanied Lee on a break-in, although on that occasion they were letting themselves into an impersonal Post Office to find a parcel rather than breaking into somebody’s actual home.

Having got into the house, as they come through the french windows, Amanda’s first instinct is to shine her torch around the room to see if she can spot anything.  However this only earns her a whispered hiss from Lee to keep her light down, even as his hand reaches out to push it downwards.  The last thing they need is for someone noticing an unexplained light in a supposedly empty house!  The gloom of the darkened room and the whole fact of what they are doing certainly doesn’t make Amanda feel particularly comfortable!

Spying

“This gives me the creeps,” she whispers.

“This way,” Lee announces, having done a quick scan of the room and decided on where they should head first.  Amanda doesn’t question it and merely follows in his wake; after all, she is sure he knows what he’s doing being the experienced spy that he is. What’s more she’s going to stay as close to him as possible!

Staying Close

“We’re looking for letters, diaries, phone numbers, anything unusual,” he tells her, although as he turns to find her right behind him – and far too close for his liking – he decides on another track.  “I’ll check upstairs.”

He’s not about to have her follow him so when she asks him what she should do he tells her to just check around.  That should keep her occupied and to his mind she’ll be perfectly safe downstairs on her own, especially as they’re the only ones in the house let alone awake!

LeftBehind

Reluctantly, Amanda watches Lee head for the stairs.  She’d much rather go with him but if he wants her to check the downstairs then that’s what she’s going to have to do. But where to start?

within

She flashes her torch around and spots a closed door.  Perhaps she should check to see what’s behind it?  Stealthily she creeps towards it and even though she knows there’s no one at home she gives the door a brief knock before tentatively entering.

HairdryerHazzrds

It leads her into the bathroom – the surfaces strewn with a whole host of beauty products and, upon closer inspection, a rather blackened hairdryer.  She picks it up thoughtfully and gives it a sniff.  It smells as though it’s burnt out.

Noises in the Darkness

As she puts it down she hears the sudden startled sound of a cat.  She really isn’t comfortable with the situation and decides it’s high time to try and find Lee.  Surely he isn’t far away?  When she calls out to him, however, she gets no response.  Maybe he didn’t hear her? Venturing back into the main room she hears another noise – this time seeming slightly more ominous as though glass has been broken – and in the eerie gloom she calls out nervously to Lee again.  Fear starts to swell; something is definitely not right!  The worst thing is that there seems to be absolutely no sign of Lee.

What Lies in Wait

Keeping a wary eye out and more than a little unnerved she heads towards the kitchen, not quite knowing where she should start looking for Lee, when suddenly she feels something seize her leg.  She lets out a scream, utterly terrified, although as she sharply spins about and peers down she sees Frank Bodine lying on the floor!

When all is wrong

His very presence in the house is a shock to her.  He isn’t supposed to here at all but rather staying with Harriet and her husband for the night!  That was the whole reason why they came to check the house for clues!

“Oh! Mr Bodine!” she cries, instinctively crouching down to help him, only to find the horrifying sight of blood on her hands from a wound Frank has received after obviously being attacked.  Had it happened while she was in the other room? Is that what those noises she heard were linked to?

The Assailant in the Shadows

When she looks up after hearing the back door open behind her she finds herself confronted by a masked figure lurking menacingly in the doorway.  Alone with only a dying man in her arms, she has no way of defending herself, no weapon to use if this person should try to attack her too so she does the only thing she can – she screams at the top of her voice for Lee, praying this time that he will hear her, a move which mercifully sends the intruder running.  “Lee, they’re getting away!”

Call out to me

From the garden Lee hears Amanda’s stark cry of warning.  His first reaction is to get to her as quickly as possible; he has no idea whether she’s in danger.  He slows, however, his instincts anticipating something, reaching for his gun to protect himself as he moves towards the house.

danger-copy

The sound of a car’s engine and then, in the next second, a van coming crashing through the garage doors forces him to abandon trying to fire at the speeding vehicle when it heads straight for him. He can do nothing else but run as fast as he can to try and escape the van which seems hellbent on hitting him.

UnderThreatnew

Desperate to avoid being struck he throws himself out of its path into the shrubbery, although in the next moment, with the van having ground to a halt, someone bears over him seemingly intent on finishing him off.

deadly

Quickly reacting, he narrowly avoids being staked by a pink flamingo. He kick outs and knocks his assailant off his feet, taking advantage of the fact by scrambling to his feet and reaching for the nearest weapon to hand – another plastic flamingo!

Flamingos

He has little time to dwell on the suitability of such a weapon; the bad guy is quick to continue his attack upon him, giving Lee little option but to fight back as best he can. Flamingos clash, no longer ornaments of the garden but potentially deadly weapons.

Left for Deadnew

It is only when the van once more comes back to try and mow Lee down that he is compelled to leap aside while his assailant gets into the van before driving off into the night.

When Danger Passes

Left alone his mind switches back to Amanda.  Is she all right?  He hasn’t heard anything more from her since he heard her scream out to him.  Retrieving his gun from the ground where he dropped it earlier, he bolts for the house not knowing what to expect.

To Wherever you are

What he finds is Amanda, seemingly and mercifully unharmed, sitting on the kitchen floor with Frank Bodine cradled in her lap.

He rushes over to her and crouches down beside her.  What was supposed to be a simple break-in to find some evidence has now yielded something far more than he originally bargained for – a dying man who, even though he is beginning to fade as the life ebbs from him, has only one thing he needs to say.

As Death Stalks Suburbia

“Hairdryer.” Frank Bodine murmurs as he draws his last breath and dies.

Look to You

In absolute silence Amanda and Lee turn to each other.  Betty Bodine spoke about hairdryers before being found dead and now it seems that her husband has gone exactly the same way….

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes – There Goes the Neighbourhood (Pt4)

SO…WHO GETS THE BED?

With all their guests having departed, Lee and Amanda are left to wait for an opportunity to search the Bodine house in the hopes of finding any clues as to why Betty Bodine was targeted.  Sitting alone in the living room Amanda realises that Lee is going to need her help, although when he pops his head around the bathroom door, having heard her speaking her thoughts aloud, she quickly covers it and asks for his thoughts on her taking the job as a Connie Beth representative.  Lee thinks this is actually a great idea – after all, she’ll have access to every house in the neighbourhood!

“Yeah, I’ll have the blisters to prove it too,” she responds before turning her attentions to more immediate matters.

Just two people

She has already had to call Dotty more than once to say she’s running late and she’s adamant that she’s not going to do it again.  After all, how long can a rummage sale go on for?  She can see the time ticking away and would rather get on with the search they need to do rather than wait any longer.

Going to Bed

However, any idea of leaving any time soon seems scuppered by Lee emerging from the bathroom casually unbuttoning his shirt and getting ready to go to bed. She really doesn’t need to hear that he is going to take a nap. After all, surely they can go and do their searching now?  Frank Bodine isn’t home, having gone to the Rosemonts for the night so the house is completely empty.

When Opinions Collide

“I don’t want anyone up to watch us break in,” Lee responds, making it all sound perfectly feasible that they should wait until gone three in the morning until they take any action.  He is, after all, the agent. “Now, are you coming?”  he continues, gesturing towards the stairs.

proposition

Amanda can’t believe what she’s hearing.  “No!” she cries, horrified that if Lee has his way she will end up spending almost the entire night with him – and that’s something she certainly hasn’t accounted for!  The fact that she will feel like she’s lying and cheating cuts no ice with Lee however.  In fact he couldn’t be less understanding of her situation.

lying

“No!” She has to try and make him understand how she feels.  This is, after all, all new to her.  She hasn’t had to pretend to be married before, much less wait until the coast is supposedly clear with a handsome spy whose inviting her to get some rest in the same bed as him!

noone

And what about Dean?

guilty

If she stays here she will feel guilty and even though she knows nothing is going to happen it doesn’t stop her feeling as though she’s having a thing, although when she finds herself trying to explain this to Lee he merely looks at her with a somewhat indulgent smile.

Charmed in progress

“A thing?”  he repeats softly, knowing precisely what she’s talking about even if she hasn’t used the word “affair”

integrity

“Yes,” Amanda clarifies, attempting to emphasise her point in order to fully drive it home to him.  “You know. A thing.”

Like an affair

For the briefest moment he looks at her with a smile before, in the next moment, cutting any thought of such an idea to the quick. “Well you’re not,” he informs her briskly before proceeding to get back to the matter at hand.

He really needs to get his mind back on the case.  After all, this really shouldn’t be any different to any other assignment he’s had with a female agent in the past although there’s no getting away from the fact that it is – however hard he tries to gloss over the fact.  That doesn’t stop him from carrying on as if they haven’t just had the conversation they have though. “Now, do you like a window open at night?”  It seems like a perfectly reasonable question in his mind.

Boyfriend in the Background

Has he actually been listening to what she’s been trying to say to him?  She has to think about Dean even if he won’t.  “I have to consider Dean,” she tells him, trying to put her point across as succinctly as she can.  Surely she can get him to understand how all this might look?  She has a boyfriend and here she is standing in front of an open-shirted Lee who thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to expect her to spend what will end up being virtually the whole night in his company.  She knew she would be posing as his wife for this assignment but staying with him until the wee hours of the morning was not something she envisaged.

“Ok.  How does he feel about windows?” Lee replies unhelpfully to her words.

wish

Amanda is losing patience fast.  It seems that there’s no way she’s going to be able to make him understand how she feels about all this.  But Lee has his own ideas of what he understands and it doesn’t include worrying about what Dean might or might not think.

onjob

Nothing Between Us-new

She can only but agree that the situation between them is indeed business and having established that Lee continues on, telling her that they both need to get some rest to be able to do their job properly and if that means one of them getting the bed and the other the couch then he really doesn’t care!  “You tend to get killed less often that way,” he concludes.

Lessons in Espionage

And that’s the end of the matter as far as he’s concerned.  He’s said his piece and now he’s going to bed.

The Burning Question

“Who gets the bed?” Amanda calls after him as she watches him make his way up the stairs, already knowing the answer.

Senior Agent Always Gets the Bed

If they are going to go down the route of one of them getting the bed and one of them the couch, for Lee there is only one response.  Amanda merely responds with a knowing sideways look.

Gutter

Lee turns to head up to bed alone as Amanda rolls her eyes irritably and marches back into the living room to sit out the time until they can go and break into the Bodine house.

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes – There Goes the Neighbourhood (Pt3)

ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY

And so Amanda finds herself faced with the prospect of posing as Lee’s wife.  For Lee too, this is something new – he’s never had to play house with a real housewife before, particularly with one who brings props for the house they will be using as their pretend home with her.

Rummage Sale

The buffalo’s head brings it home to him that, unlike for him, this assignment is something new for Amanda.  She’s had to continue to lie about where she is going and what she is up to to her mother, having fallen back on her previous invention of her new “club” to explain why she’ll be absent for at least the day.

Unchartered Territory

She throws herself into the assignment almost as soon as they arrive, telling Lee that she’s going to check that the removal men know where to put everything.  Lee can only stand there and stare after her as she goes sprinting towards the house.  Surely she’s getting a bit too involved in all this?  It’s not as though it’s even remotely real!  Certainly he’s never had to worry about what piece of furniture goes where or how everything is arranged.  That’s not his job.  Nor should it really be Amanda’s but she’s quickly taken it upon herself to sort it all, keeping busy, her own natural instincts shining through.

Suburban Adventure

Already the whole assignment is feeling a bit different from any other he has worked on before and he doesn’t like it.  He reluctantly retrieves Dotty’s offering to follow her into the house.  It’s going to be a long three days.

Not going to like this

Amanda busies herself with all the jobs that need doing to turn the house into what will be their “home” for the next few days – unpacking boxes, putting the shelf paper down, arranging flowers and washing glasses.  It might not be their real home but that doesn’t mean that it can’t look nice.

Domesticity

Lee, meanwhile, dedicates himself to the task of nailing Dotty’s buffalo’s head to the living room wall.

Messy and you look so good

As Amanda comes into the room to put a vase of flowers down on the coffee table, she notices that Lee still looks like he did when they first arrived.  Surely he’s done something while she’s been sorting things out?  She glances round but can’t really see any evidence to suggest it.

Have you done anything

Lee is surprised she’s even asked.  “Are you kidding?” he responds, pointing to his handiwork.

“Maybe you ought to take a break,” Amanda quips.  After all, she doesn’t want him getting too exhausted from the sheer exertion of it all!

Lee merely shoots her a look before going to pour himself a drink, even as Amanda assesses the furniture and furnishings.  “Who picked this stuff?” she asks, even though Lee doesn’t appear particularly bothered by any of it.

“That’s Government Issue Suburban Grouping,” he tells her. “We do this kind of thing a lot, you know.  This stuff’s been used before.”

Watching You

When Amanda discovers a mark on one of the sofa cushions she looks pointedly over at him.  He’s certainly right about that.  “Cigarette burn?”

“Bullet hole,” he tells her.

Knowing the suburbs

As Amanda absorbs this rather disturbing fact, Lee turns his thoughts to how they can get to know the people in the street.

Not that Amanda is worried about having to meet anyone.  This is suburbia after all.  As if on cue, the doorbell rings.

“That’s probably the welcome wagon now,” she says brightly, handing him the offending cushion and heading to the door.  As Lee quickly rearranges the sofa cushion and grabs his drink, forcing a pleasant smile to his lips, a whole host of people start piling into their living room.  It seems that Amanda was right – here on their doorstep are the very neighbours they need to get to know!

Visitors at the Door

They’ve bought everything for an impromptu party with them, plunging Lee and Amanda into their domestic cover head on.  Amanda quickly assumes the role of hostess to the unexpected gathering even as Lee plants himself firmly in the kitchen mixing up strawberry daiquiris.

Priorities

Somehow, however, he has to try to contrive a way to have a chat with Harriet Rosemont whose name was on the gunrunner’s body.  The question is how? He’s not going to be able to achieve very much standing in the kitchen whipping up daiquiris. He’s not enjoying himself at all, even though he sees Amanda making the best of it and being her usual friendly self.

divorce (2)

If this is what life in suburbia is like then he doesn’t want any part of it!  It’s definitely not for him!  Not that Amanda seems to be paying much attention to how he’s feeling. She wants him to light the barbecue when he’s finished mixing the drinks.

Discontent

Webp.net-gifmaker

“You’re really doing very well,” she tells him encouragingly.  “Really.”

He turns and glares at her, at which point she beats a hasty retreat back to the party. She’s not going to linger any longer in the kitchen, especially if he’s getting annoyed with her.

Disgruntled Host

Having come to the conclusion that it’s best to let him stew alone for a while she goes to offer more chips to the neighbours and give them their drinks. If Lee won’t get a chance to come out of the kitchen to talk to people any time soon then maybe she can somehow do some investigating of her own?  After all, she might be able to find out something useful that would help him with the case.

Invitations and Irritations

As Amanda goes about seeing to her guests she finds herself chatting to one of the neighbours whose more than happy to make small talk about her and Lee’s life “together” before being approached and accosted by Judy Wainwright who decides she needs rescuing.

Meeting Harriet

Excusing herself and following Judy across the room, she is introduced Karen and Harriet.  Alarm bells blare through her mind.  Harriet is the woman Lee mentioned about needing to speak to just now.

Also it appears that Lee, without her knowledge, has already had a chance to tell Judy that she is keen to get involved with the neighbourhood.  There’s no mention of Lee being as eager, of course.  By his own admission he has absolutely no idea about everyday life nor, it seems, any real willingness to embrace it.

“Well, you know, I am very anxious to become involved with the neighbourhood and I’d like to get to know everybody,” she tells them, not wanting to seem unfriendly. “But unfortunately I am looking for work.”

She notices Judy’s eyes light up at this.  She has the perfect solution: join the troupe of Connie Beth girls!

Connie Beth Girl

Harriet seems a little reserved at the suggestion, but Judy thinks Amanda would be perfect even though Amanda isn’t quite sure what that actually means.

revelations

The ring of the doorbell, however, heralds an abrupt end to the party proceedings when Lee opens the door – expecting to see yet another party guest – and finds a policeman standing there looking for Frank Bodine.

As Lee calls Frank over he listens to what’s being said, hoping that it might have some bearing on the case.

When Trouble Looms

It does…..the body of Betty Bodine has been discovered and it’s not good news.

Complications of a Double Life (1)

I thought it might be fun to also write some notes about all the excuses Amanda gives Dotty about her whereabouts and why she is coming and going at odd  times of the day. So to start it off, here’s the first excuse of them all – Amanda’s club to save the clams.

INVENTING A CLUB (THE FIRST TIME)

The minute Amanda agrees to take the package for Lee at the train station she immediately finds herself embroiled in a situation which is the polar opposite of her normal, safe, everyday life.  Certainly, the fact that things go completely pear-shaped by her being unable to deliver the package sends her into a whole new world of secrets and intrigue.  And that means she finds herself having to come up with an excuse to her family – more particularly her mother – as to why she suddenly has to start leaving the house without warning to go and keep her meeting with Lee.

MyClub1 copy

The fact that Dotty is engrossed in following a cookery programme led by Mrs Welch on TV means that maybe she can just casually say she’s popping out for a while and won’t be questioned on it.  The trouble is that Jamie notices that his mother looks much prettier than usual. “You look great, mom.”

Rumbled

That draws Dotty’s attention towards her.  As she peers at Amanda, she notices that there is indeed something different about her daughter. Amanda plays it down, casually dismissing her appearance and the fact that she has made an effort for her meeting with Lee in the hopes of shutting down any further questions.

“No TV until they do their homework,” she tells her mother, veering the conversation in another direction as she gathers up her purse and readies to leave the house. She is stopped in her tracks by Dotty asking where she’ll be if Dean asks.  After all, he’s going to be there at six and if she’s not back….

Then it strikes Dotty that Amanda hasn’t actually mentioned anything before about going out.

Questions

“Where will you be?” she queries, frowning.

Plan

For a split second Amanda stands there, a little caught off-guard by this one seemingly innocent question, before seizing upon the first thing that enters her head. “At my club.”  And with that she scoots for the door to avoid any further questioning and leaving Dotty looking completely confused.

Confused

“What club?”

She is pretty sure that Amanda hasn’t mentioned anything to her about joining any new club recently.

Complications and Clams

The fact that a few hours later Amanda, with Lee in tow and hiding in the shadows beneath the kitchen window, comes home soaked to the skin is not lost on Dotty.  In fact, she doesn’t hold back in telling Amanda just how untoward it all looks.

Dotty's disbelief

“Marine life, Mother. To save the clams,” Amanda tells her, seemingly vocalising the first thing that comes into her head, even as she furtively feeds yards of kitchen paper through the open window to Lee while her mother’s back is turned.

Endangered Species

Dotty, blissfully unaware of what is going on while her back is turned, finds it all very odd indeed.  After all, surely clams aren’t endangered?

I mailed it

Amanda doesn’t respond but merely smiles before rushing off into the dining room to get the package – only to find that her mother has mailed it!  And what’s even worse is that she can’t even tell her why she wishes she hadn’t done her the favour of posting it without mentioning her association with Lee.

Dont drive

Dotty isn’t particularly pleased by Amanda’s lack of gratitude either.  She abruptly walks from the room leaving Amanda with not only the realisation that she’s annoyed her mother but that Lee, having heard every word skulking outside in the bushes, will almost certainly be angry with her too for having lost the package.

Furthermore for Amanda, trying to juggle her secret meetings with Lee and her family life doesn’t get any easier either especially when, having learnt that Lee might well be in danger she decides to go to his rescue.

Messages

Unfortunately, she has her Cub Scout group with her.  She has already taken them to the TV station, trying to keep them entertained by practising knots while she tries to get hold of Lee – all to no avail – on the telephone.

She knows she certainly can’t take the boys off on her little mission to find Lee but is thankfully saved by her mother coming to help out just as she’s leaving the studio with the scouts.  That, at least, gives her the perfect opportunity to leave her mother in charge.

Favour

“Mother, something’s come up.  Now I need you to take the boys home for me all right?”

Dotty, for her part, can’t imagine what on earth would have Amanda running off like this – besides, Dean is coming for dinner!

Emergency

Well, it’s not a complete lie as Amanda does have an emergency in that she needs to get to Lee as fast as she can if she has any hope of helping him.  With that, she heads off, not giving her mother a chance to question her further as to what sort of emergency would have her bolting off in such a fashion.

Clams again

Dotty, meanwhile, is left standing there watching after her, a frown on her face.  She can’t work it out.  After all, what exactly is this clam club Amanda is a part of which causes her to just up and leave her Cub Scout Group in such an abrupt manner?

 

 

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes – There Goes the Neighbourhood (Pt2)

PART TWO – A NEW ROLE

And that’s that or that’s how it seems as Amanda heads off for an interview with Honeycutt Typewriters.  She’s almost resigned herself to the fact that perhaps this is what she might have to accept, seeing as the Agency – or more particularly, Lee – doesn’t seem to have any work for her.

Interrupted

However, everything is completely blown to the wind by the appearance of Lee gate-crashing the interview she’s come for.

Slyboots

Amanda is completely unprepared for his sudden appearance and not only that but for some reason that completely eludes her, he has assumed the role of her husband and has invented three children into the bargain!  It’s a complete u-turn compared to his earlier behaviour when he really couldn’t get rid of her fast enough!  In the blink of an eye he’s gone from coolly detached to attentively admonishing.

eager

For his part he can’t afford to fail with this particular little mission so he makes sure that he keeps talking, not allowing Amanda to get a word in edgeways for fear she’ll start asking questions and blow his cover completely.

deception2

If  Amanda is confused then Warren Davenport, who had been happy in the knowledge that she was safely divorced, is even more perplexed by the sudden appearance of the man claiming to be her husband.  He even starts to check his notes to see where he missed some vital piece of information.

leavewithyou

Wasting no time Lee propels Amanda to the door, effectively calling a halt to the interview.  Amanda is left not knowing quite what to say to Davenport as she’s ushered out, although she will certainly have a few choice words to say to Lee once they are clear of the office!

Only once they are alone does Amanda let rip. She is furious with Lee for not only seeing fit to interrupt her interview – which he himself previously thought was such a good idea – but for ruining any chance she might have had of being offered the job.

Samhill

She expects him to tell her precisely why he’s dragged her out of the interview, although his answer is certainly not what she’s expecting to hear.

We're Getting Married

He makes it sound so natural – as though he’s telling her they are going to the supermarket for groceries.

Unexpected Proposal

“That’s asking too much,” Amanda replies without even a second’s hesitation, deciding to cut and run. He wanted to be rid of her – well now she’s more than happy to oblige!  She has absolutely no intention of becoming his wife, real or otherwise!

Wife speech

She’s still not tempted and again she tries to bolt and again Lee grabs her by the arm and pulls her back.

Find Someone Else

There is no way he is going to allow her to walk away, not when he’s been told in no uncertain terms by Billy to get her help.  And he’s not going to lie to her; after all, he would be far happier if she weren’t partnered with him!

She realises immediately that it’s highly unlikely that Lee thinks they work well together. After all, he’s done nothing but push her away since the moment they met.  “Someone. Not you,” she responds, seeing no reason to pretend this isn’t the case.

An Order from Billy

“Billy,” he states, completely quashing any last thought she might be harbouring that he wants her involvement. “He ordered – he suggested that we enlist your services for this case, especially since it is right up your alley.”

“How so?” she asks, curious.

Lee proceeds to tell her exactly what’s going on in Central America while Amanda merely looks at him, a little confused.  She cannot for the life of her see what she would have in common with people like that!

Guns and Groceries

“Oh that sounds right up my alley,” she responds sarcastically.

The World Between Us

Lee shoots her a look, annoyed. She certainly isn’t afraid to make her point – although he should know this by now having worked with her on the Welch case.  He tells her that Billy thought it would be a good idea for them to pose as an average suburban couple in an attempt to see what’s going on and having Amanda as one part of that couple would, of course, add to the realism needed.

Authentic

He glares at her, irritated by her remark.  Without even thinking about it, he promptly regales her with the fact that the reason he’s not just a regular suburbanite is because he’s spent years travelling all over the world working. After all, the life of a spy is definitely not the life of suburbia.

Globe trotting speech

Amanda listens quietly, taking in all he’s relating to her.  These brief glimpses of his life have so far been fleeting and few, although she’s not about to tell him that she thinks it’s impressive; her curious quirk of an eyebrow is all he gets from her.

“So will you do it?” he asks, hoping that he won’t have to go back to Billy and tell him she has refused to help him.

He’s relieved when she tells him she will, although not before making sure she gets time off to see her children during the three days she will be working with him.

“And when this is all over you will never have to see me again,” he concludes.  After all, he’s certainly not planning on this being a permanent arrangement!

Not one word

He can’t help but drum home the fact that she can’t discuss anything about the case with anyone, although not being able to share the details with her family isn’t  high on Amanda’s list of priorities.

Orientation Manual

 Lee really doesn’t see why she thinks she needs any sort of special training.  It’s not going to be difficult for her to pose as a housewife when she does that every day. Besides….

Nothing bad ever happens in the suburbs

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes – There Goes The Neighbourhood (Pt1)

PART ONE – A NEW CASE, A FAMILIAR FACE

Hot on the heels of cookery guru, Mrs Welch – and her rather unpleasant side business of disposing of agents – comes the problem of vigilantes running around Central America with US-made guns.  Despite what he said when Amanda was last at the Agency telling them all about escaping in the helicopter, Billy hands over this new case over to Lee with absolutely no mention of her assisting him with it.

suburbia copy

As for the case, there appears to be something going on in suburbia, although Lee can’t quite believe it.  After all, as he points out to Billy, it’s hardly a hotbed of intrigue.  Add to that the fact that he’s had his own brief glimpse into suburban life watching Amanda and her mother interact during his last case.  If they are indicative of all suburbanites then they’re certainly not the sort to be supplying gunrunners with arms!

Whether the Betsy Ross Estates is indeed harbouring intrigue of a more alarming nature is what the Agency have to determine and while Francine is swiftly dispatched to the bowels of suburbia to try and get some answers, Lee is left with his own little “mission” – and it has nothing to do with his latest assignment!

As for you, Scarecrow, you have a visitor

Lee has a “visitor”!  This seems odd to him because, despite what Billy tells him, he knows he’s not expecting anybody.  So who on earth is it?  Billy merely smiles knowingly, saying nothing, but pointing towards the monitors on the wall as Lee looks towards him questioningly.

bemuse

Seeing the amused gleam in his boss’s eyes he duly turns to the monitors only to discover the answer to the question flitting through his mind: Amanda King!  His heart drops in an instant.  This is the last thing he needs!  He really doesn’t want the bother of having to go and speak to her, especially when he’s just about to start on a new case.

Unwelcome Complication

“Oh no,” he murmurs, turning back to Billy.

Surely there’s someone else in the Agency who could go and see what she wants?  But one look at Billy and he knows he’s sunk. There’s no way Billy will allow him to wriggle out of this particular meeting, however hard he tries.  The only thing he can do is get the whole interview over and done with as quickly as he possibly can.  After all, he doesn’t want to get any more involved with her than he already has been.  The Welch case was a one-off and he’s certainly got no desire to repeat it!

Amanda’s reading through the file she’s brought with her when Lee suddenly appears in the doorway of what looks suspiciously like a closet, his upbeat “Hi!” making her jump.

Hi

She smiles, little knowing that he will develop a habit of creeping up on her later on down the line.

See You Again

As it is, she’s just happy to see him, particularly as she hopes that her work with the Agency will be with him.  The last case they were on was certainly an eye opener and she’s ready and willing to build on what she learnt from that.

Anticipation

Lee, however, is not about to turn their impromptu meeting into a social reunion and immediately tells her that he has other things to be doing, hoping that that will give her enough of a prod to get to the point as to why she’s dropped by.

Im sort of busy

Amanda, duly noting that her time with him appears limited, proceeds to launch into a lengthy and rather rambling account, attempting as she does so to give Lee the file she has with her, although he makes absolutely no move to take it.

give (2)

Like the time they met in the shadows so Amanda could tell him about what Phillip had found in the music box, Lee can’t deny her enthusiasm but still he seeks to trample all over it, determined to quash any sort of spy fantasy she might be harbouring.

fluke

He completely bypasses the fact that he was the one who instigated this one in a million event when he picked her out of the crowds at the train station.  As far as he’s concerned, that’s not relevant.  His total rejection of her claim that they worked together puts a dent in Amanda’s bright demeanour.  Even though she knows that Billy can see how useful she will be to the Agency,  she still finds herself confronted by Lee’s very obvious resistance.  Although she’s not going to let that deter her.  With a bright smile, she bulldozes over Lee’s less than enthusiastic response.

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For Lee, alarm bells are ringing. The fact that she’s been put on a probationary period tells him that Billy is completely serious about getting her to help out from time to time and that’s really not good!  He certainly doesn’t want her trailing around after him while he’s trying to work, however handy her input was during the Welch case.

Do you need me

No, he doesn’t need her.  Hasn’t he already told her he doesn’t work with anyone?  And definitely not someone who is completely untrained!

Amanda’s smile fades.  It’s not the answer she’s hoping for. Maybe she should try a different tact?  “I guess I’m free to consider other others,” she says. “Very attractive offers.”

Lee’s enthusiastic “Sure!” is hardly encouraging.  Further suggesting that she should perhaps give Warren Davenport of Honeycutt Typewriters a call to follow up the possibility of another job, seems to have the complete opposite effect to the one she’s looking for.  Lee seems even more delighted for her!

rej

Lee himself sees this as the perfect opportunity to terminate their meeting and having completely dented all Amanda’s hopes he blithely tells her that Billy would no doubt give her a reference if she needs one.

“That won’t be necessary,” she tells him.  “My skills speak for themselves. I type 90 words a minute.”

happy

He’s done everything he can to discourage and dishearten her and she knows it. He’s not even tried to hide his determination to keep her away from him and the Agency. What’s more, she’s had enough of it!  She’s determined that she’ll be the one to have the last word though. Walking over to where Lee is standing at the door of the elevator she pokes her file into his chest, forcing him to retreat backwards before shutting the door in his face, the last thing she sees being his stunned expression.

espionage

Besides, they don’t even pay overtime!

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes (Pt11)

A NEW PARTNER

The next day as Amanda enthusiastically regales the team at the Agency with what happened at the Welch mansion and her not inconsiderable part in it, Billy sits attentively listening and realises pretty quickly that there is something rather special about her.

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Lee, however, paces impatiently back and forth wishing that Amanda would hurry up and get to the end of her rather extensive monologue. For the first time in his career he has found himself having been rescued from a nasty fate by a housewife from Arlington and that’s really not something he wants to dwell on!

Making an Impression

When, finally, Amanda comes to the end of her ramble, Lee is quick to cross over to her and help her out of her seat.  “We’ve gotta go, Billy,” he says, hoping to cut off any chance of any further discussion on the case or Amanda’s part in it.

But Billy’s not done. “If there’s a need, I trust we can count on your help upon occasion?” he asks Amanda.

“What?” Lee just stares at Billy.  Surely he isn’t thinking of letting Amanda get more involved with the Agency’s work?  It goes against everything he’s been trying to do – namely to get rid of her – since he first gave her the package at the train station!

Amanda is thrilled by the offer of helping out.  After all, she’s been looking for work and if she can be of any help whatsoever she is willing to do it.

Shes young, idealistic

“Well, Lee, we do use civilians from time to time,” Billy justifies, not mentioning that this is the second time that Lee has called upon a civilian to help him out.  “She’s anonymous, idealistic, responsible…”

A Partnership with promise-blog size

He has also deduced from what he has heard just how well Amanda seems to be able to handle Lee and that isn’t something that he is willing to ignore.  Maybe she’s just what he needs to stop him from sending himself to an early grave.

More Careful

Lee finds everything going from bad to worse when, having finally managed to hustle Amanda out of the room before anything further can be discussed about a potential job, Billy tells him that they may have just found him a new partner.

Finally found you a Partner

For Lee it’s a step too far.  He’s not even going to entertain that idea! “Knock it off, Billy,” he warns.

Billy just smiles. After all, he knows best. Francine can’t resist a little dig of her own, having listened to and observed the pair of them together.

She knits or something

Having left the Agency,  Lee and Amanda walk briskly along side by side in the rain. Amanda, with the prospect of a paid job before her, is already working out ways to juggle her new life as a “spy” with her home life.

Everything will change

“So, if I work here, does that mean I work with you?  I mean, that’s what you do isn’t it? You have partners?  But, you know, I might need some special training.  I’m not sure I have the right skills.  I mean I type, I don’t shoot, you know?  But I do love this area.  Oh, I’m crazy about it.  All the fresh vegetables come in here and besides that the boys’ dentist is right around the block, so what I could do is, I could drop them off at the dentist, then I could go into spy headquarters and then I could pick up a fresh melon all at the same time.”  She pauses, still thinking of all the opportunities before her.

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Lee can only turn and stare at her.  Did she really just ask him that?  What sort of course did he set himself upon when he gave her that package?  Whatever it is, it’s not going to be so easy to shake her with Billy on her side – although she can forget about being his partner.  He works alone and that’s that!

As Amanda smiles expectantly back at him waiting for his answer, he realises that his life will never be the same again….

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes (Pt10)

AMANDA TO THE RESCUE

Even after meeting Lee under the cover of darkness and being told not to get involved, Amanda is still thinking about the case as well as what was written on the card Phillip found.  It’s while she’s doing the housework that a sudden thought hits her.  Following her hunch, she pours through her mother’s numerous cookery books looking for the recipes for Mrs Welch of TV cookery fame.

The Quest for Answers

Finally, she finds a couple of recipe cards and when she sits down with her mother to watch the show – which Dotty remembered to tape earlier that day – she knows she is on to something.

When Time Is Running Out

She knows that she cannot keep what she’s found from Lee.  This, surely, is far too important a connection to remain silent about, even though he’s already made it very clear that he doesn’t want her involved in the case? The only problem is that when she tries to get hold of Lee on the phone, she finds that he’s not there to speak to.

Into the Path of Danger

Perhaps she could do a little further investigation on her own while she waits to speak to him?  It seems like a good idea as it would add further weight to her discovery.  She duly heads to the TV station with the names of the dishes to get the dates of the programmes, taking her entire Cub Scout group with her under the guise of them getting a new badge, even as she tries to get hold of Lee again without success.

Mulit Tasking

Worst of all, upon double checking the programme dates against the murders, she is suddenly struck by the terrifying realisation that they do indeed match and that Lee may well be next: “Pilgrim’s Peach Puff today.  Lee has a mission today.”

Worst Fears Confirmed

She knows it is none of her business, but she can’t help herself.  She doesn’t want Lee to come to any harm and if she can prevent it she’ll find a way.  However, there is the small matter of what do with the children. Right on cue her mother arrives to help out just as Amanda is heading outside and after, grappling for an excuse by saying she has an emergency at her club she leaves her mother to babysit.

ihaveanemergency

Going to Lee’s aid is very much new territory for Amanda – a complete leap from the day to day life she knows so well.  She has never had to do anything like this before, much less had any training concerning how to handle herself in such situations … especially when she has absolutely no idea what she might be walking into!

When she finds the house she approaches it cautiously.  The desire to help Lee has propelled her here and now she has to decide how to go about finding him, if he is indeed here at all.  It just seemed the most logical place to look first, although she soon spots a man making a delivery of fruit and vegetables whom she needs to get past before she can do anything else.

Unchartered Territory

When she spots a rogue melon on the ground she picks it up, knowing that it was no doubt dropped by the delivery man who has conveniently opened the cellar door to take the stuff down into.  That, she realises, has to be her way in – if she can get past him…

Improvisation

“I hope I can look back on this one day and laugh.”  Certainly a few days ago she would never have contemplated doing something like this for someone who is, in effect, a complete stranger.  She takes a deep breath and approaches the man under the guise of returning the melon and selling cookies.

Excuse Me

The vegetable man doesn’t prove particularly friendly or interested and so, realising that he might not move far enough away from the cellar, she causes a distraction by tipping over a box of oranges and sending them flying across the ground.

Create a Distraction

That seems to get his attention and she quickly bolts down the cellar steps before he can see her, although it isn’t long before he comes rattling after her.

“Cub Scout lady!” he calls out as Amanda quickly hides so that he won’t spot her.  Deciding that maybe she isn’t down in the cellar after all, he heads back upstairs after a moment or two, shouting out for her all the while, leaving Amanda feeling only a sense of relief at the near miss.  What has she gotten herself into??

hideandseek

Left to look for Lee but ever conscious of running into trouble, she ventures along the cellar corridor.  Perhaps she should have told someone at the Agency what she found out rather than come herself after all?  There again, she’s here now and has to continue.  As she comes upon one particular door she suddenly finds it opening and is forced to move quickly out of sight.  However, she can hear whoever opened the door talking to another man inside – Lee!  He’s alive!

anoverheardconversation

Now she knows he’s here all she has to do is figure out a way to get him out.  However, before she can think about how to go about this the service lift she has inadvertently stepped into suddenly whisks her upward.  When it grounds to a halt Amanda finds herself peering into the kitchen where Mrs Welch is giving a private cookery class to someone. Francine!  What is clear to Amanda is that this is no ordinary lesson – Francine has been drugged and is divulging the movements of an agent that Mrs Welch has designs on eliminating.

A Shocking Revelation

For Lee, time seems to have run out.  He hasn’t managed to buy himself enough time to get himself out of the mess he’s in and instead finds himself being led to a waiting helicopter by the bad guys and Mrs Welch.  Amanda gets upstairs in time to see this happening and only knows that she has to do something.  But what?  She spies a bag of sugar sitting on top of a box of fruit and suddenly an idea comes to her.  It may not be something that a real agent would do but there again she has to do what she thinks might help…

The Need for a Plan

Having dealt with the sugar, Amanda positions herself behind a parked car.  She has a clear view of Lee and it isn’t long before she realises that he’s spotted her crouching there.  He can’t believe his eyes when he realises it’s her.  Didn’t he tell her that she should stay away from everything?  That it was dangerous?  Surely she doesn’t think that she can mount her own rescue of him without any sort of back up?  What’s more if she’s spotted he doesn’t even want to contemplate what might happen!

Peering Back at Me

The bad guy notices something in Lee’s face because he turns to peer curiously in Amanda’s direction, causing her to duck out of sight before he has a chance to see her, although when he turns back to Lee she decides to take a chance.  It’s now or never!

Freeze

Her sudden appearance is enough to cause a distraction and Lee, seizing his opportunity, reacts with a swift, decisive kick which sends the bad guy reeling to the ground.  Amanda’s only thought is to get to Lee and quickly she runs towards him, forgetting that she is putting herself at risk by being seen.

“Freeze. That’s what you say isn’t it?” she yells at him above the sound of the helicopter noise.

“Yeah.  Usually when you’re armed,” Lee shouts back. “Untie me.”  If she can extract him from his ties then he can at least do something to get them out alive.

Amanda’s heart sinks the minute she sees the knot.  She has absolutely no idea how to undo it!

Oh Lord

Unable to release Lee from his bindings and now having been spotted, Lee yells at her to get into the helicopter.  He immediately starts barking orders at her, telling her what to do.  Amanda finds herself with very little time to react, mechanically following what he tells her.

“Feet on the pedals!  Right hand on the stick!  Left hand down on the throttle!”

She turns to him, suddenly uncertain. “Why?”

We're Flying

When she set out to find Lee this is the last thing she expected to have to do!  She’s never flown a helicopter before, let alone one which is being fired upon by bad guys!  With Lee barking instructions at her all the while, she finally manages to get the helicopter in the air although it seems at one point as though she starts to fly it back towards the house and the people they are trying to escape.  The one saving grace, however, is that the bad guys’ car seems to have broken down.

“It’s lucky their car coughed out,” Lee muses, happy for at least one small silver lining, especially as his life is now in the very inexperienced hands of a housewife from Arlington!

“Lucky nothing!” Amanda responds, proving that even though she may not have any agency training she can still improvise when she needs to.  “I put sugar in the gas tank.  Phillip did it once to Dean’s car.  It’s never been the same!”

Flying Without Wings

Lee’s so unsettled by Amanda’s flying that he just shuts his eyes and prays – something she certainly doesn’t appreciate!  After all, he’s the one who told her she had to fly the helicopter!

Open Your Eyes

As Amanda does her best to keep them in the air  Lee suddenly looks at her and finds himself unable to help wonder out loud what the hell she thinks she’s wearing.  Amanda can’t believe it!  Why would he care about that??  And at a time like this??

What are you wearing

The stress of their situation makes them both edgy, their raised voices at the other belying the danger they both know they are in.  And yet,  despite making all kinds of weird manoeuvres, Amanda manages to somehow force the car carrying Mrs Welch and her sidekick into a ditch and save the day.

We did it!

Her euphoria proves short-lived though as Lee apologises about her car now currently residing in the ditch.  For Amanda, this is very much the downside of victory…

What am I going to do

As far as Lee is concerned, he’ll just be happy to be back on solid ground again.

Lee & Amanda Relationship Progression Notes (Pt9)

A Secret Rendezvous

And so for Amanda it seems that her little escapade into the world of spies and intrigue is at an end.  Dean returns from his trip away and brings a little present home  – bookends!  Of course, he has absolutely no idea about the secret life she’s been living while he’s been away and she isn’t about to tell him either. It is only when Philip confesses that he opened the package Dotty later mailed and saw what was inside that Amanda decides that the information is perhaps far too valuable to keep to herself.  That means getting in touch with Lee – after all, she still has his card.

Having made the necessary arrangements, she goes to meet Lee once darkness has fallen upon the city.  After all, meeting in dark, secret places is what spies do isn’t it?

Watching from the Shadows

The first to arrive, she positions herself behind a statue to await his arrival and when she spots him she immediately seeks to attract his attention.

A Whisper in the Darkness

Lee turns, catching sight of her standing there in her belted trench coat and he cannot help but smile.  Even after the seeming finality of their last encounter and its sombre conclusion, she is back again – presumably with some vital information.  He certainly cannot fault her enthusiasm or her tenacity, however hard he tries.

Under the Cover of Night

“You sure know the hotspots,” he quips, glancing around at their somewhat deserted surroundings.

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“Well we couldn’t exactly meet at the grocery store could we?” she fires back.  And anyway….

Isnt this where you guys meet

“Only when we wear trenchcoats,” Lee responds, unable to stop himself from having a little dig at her attire.

Trenchcoats and Teasing

Amanda catches the amusement in his voice and swiftly dismisses his comment, moving on to the matter in hand, duly taking the note she has brought with her out of her pocket to read to him.

Duck a la Nathan Hale

Lee, having agreed to meet her in the hope that she might have the much coveted information he needs to crack the case, listens attentively to what turns out to be a just a random list of weird names.  Amanda, in her innocence, thinks it will mean something to him but it turns out that they mean absolutely nothing.  Her disappointment is palpable and Lee, for once, is gracious enough to acknowledge that she took the time to let him know. That is until, in the next breath, he puts his foot in his mouth and effectively seeks to push her away once more.

You ought to stay away from all this

To be told that she could muck everything up is like putting a flame to dry wood.  After all, she’s had to make up an excuse at home to come and meet him!  For his part, Lee is not expecting her to react quite so vehemently and is again forced to listen to her, just as he did during their heated argument after the party.  She’s certainly not prepared to have him put her down without venting her own feelings on the matter.

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He quickly puts her mind at rest regarding his job and Amanda, immediately softening, is surprised but glad – after all, that is what she hoped would happen.  Then he drops another bombshell – there’s been another murder.

Disbelief

Amanda can’t believe it, although it seems that Lee is going to be assigned a new case in the morning.  That must mean that the case she has been helping him with is no longer something he will be involved in – which in turn means that any slim chance that he might involve her again has been completely snuffed out.  After all, he’s not likely to seek her out to help him when he’s just made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t think she should be involved in his world.

For Amanda it’s like being left at the monument again – except that this time she doesn’t seek to ask him if their paths will ever cross again.  If it hadn’t been for Philip opening the package she wouldn’t be standing here with Lee now and although things haven’t gone quite as she hoped, she knows she has to accept that this is probably the end of her brief but eventful association with him.  She forces a smile to her lips and seeks to confirm that he will take care of himself.

You will be careful wont you

He flashes her the brightest smile.  Yeah, of course he’ll look after himself. After all, he’s got his job back and, even better, he’s back to working solo again.  His unexpected and frustrating interlude with the housewife from Arlington is well and truly over….