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.
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!
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.
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.
“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.
She smiles, little knowing that he will develop a habit of creeping up on her later on down the line.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
Besides, they don’t even pay overtime!