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.

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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 (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!

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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.

clandestinemeeting

“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….

 

Lee & Amanda Relationship Progression Notes (Pt8)

TO SAY GOODBYE

The following day Lee, having found himself both suspended by Billy and busted with Amanda for breaking into the Post Office in an attempt to recover the package, takes Amanda for a walk with only one thought in mind – to ditch her.

Another Life

As they mount the steps towards the memorial it starts to dawn on Amanda that this is it – that Lee is saying goodbye.  She, as he wastes no time in reminding her, has another life to get back to.  One that doesn’t include packages or spies.

Dont you have another life to get back to

That’s all very well for him to say, but what about him?  What is his life beyond what little she knows of him?  When she asks he gives little away:

“Not so you’d notice.”

She presses further: “So no Mrs Spy? No little spies? No girlfriends? No buddies?”  Surely there must be someone in his life?

But no, he’s a loner.  What’s more, he likes things that way!

The Distance Between Us

His little declaration still doesn’t deter her, however. Perhaps recalling the two women who approached him at the party the night before, Amanda doesn’t hold back in giving him the benefit of her advice.

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The trouble is, the sort of “nice girl” Amanda is thinking of would probably mean commitment and a relationship consisting of more than one night of fun and at this point in his life Lee Stetson is definitely not interested in that.

“Look, don’t worry about it okay?” he tells her, swinging round to face her, trying to remain pleasant despite his irritation that this woman whom he barely knows sees fit to offer him advice on his love life!

However, Amanda isn’t finished and offers him an invitation to her family’s Thanksgiving celebrations. “Do you have some place to go Thanksgiving?”

An Invitation Offered and Rejected-new

Lee finds himself getting ever more exasperated.  He doesn’t want to discuss his plans for Thanksgiving, particularly when the only thing on his mind is off-loading her and getting on with his life!  And surely she realises that he likes to operate alone?

Too busy working together

For Lee, denial is quick to surface when Amanda blithely mentions the fact that they have worked together.  Nope, they weren’t partners!  No way was Amanda his partner!!

You were not a partner

In his determination to let her know precisely what a partner is and without even realising he’s done it until it is too late, Lee blurts out exactly how he feels about having a partner – and its tragic consequences.

apartner1

He shocks even himself in having spoken so freely.

Gone too far

The pain that steals across his face in the aftermath more than portrays the sadness and guilt he still carries in knowing that he was the one his partner sacrificed his life for. Amanda, for her part, certainly wasn’t expecting him to speak so candidly and can only stare at him in stunned silence.

Past Regrets

Lee, still reeling from compulsively blurting out how badly his last partnership ended,  turns away from Amanda and takes a moment to try and pull himself together.

Soliloquy

In that moment it is as though he has exposed the wounded, sensitive man he is so determined to hide and even though he studiously continues to resist it, he can see that Amanda is more than willing to offer her friendship to him.  Yet he refuses to be drawn, both in the physical sense by further stepping away from her and in the metaphorical sense by closing his mind to the possibility of accepting any overture of friendship.  After what happened to his partner, he certainly doesn’t want to work with anyone else again – and certainly not with someone as raw and as inexperienced as a housewife from Arlington.

Where Memories Clamour

When Amanda tries to talk to him about his partner he makes sure his barriers are firmly in place.  He may have let his guard slip once but he’s not going to allow that to happen again.

Friends for very long

It is enough.  Amanda can only respect his wish not to talk any further on the matter, although he doesn’t give her any time to really think about it as he makes his move to leave her.

“Goodbye, Amanda.”

To Say Goodbye (2)

“Will I see you again?”

His answer is pretty succinct, allowing no room for possibilities.  “No.”

Amanda doesn’t even attempt to hide her disappointment.  She has no choice but to accept that it’s over.  It seems that he is determined to leave her life just as quickly as he entered it.

What will you do

With that Lee says his final goodbyes to her before leaving her standing there alone.

goodbye5

Turning, Amanda watches his retreating figure, unable to resist one last call goodbye.

Walk Away

Lee merely offers her a rather half-hearted wave, seemingly determined not to look fully back at her, before disappearing down the steps and out of sight.  As far as he is concerned, he will never see Amanda again.  He might have involved her in the whole business with the package far more than he had originally anticipated, but all that’s over now.  He can go back to his life and she can go back to hers.

abittersweetgoodbye

For Amanda the moment is bittersweet. On the one hand she is now free to return to the life she was living before that morning at the train station; on the other, she has had a small but seductive taste of excitement.  Even though it was brief, she stepped beyond the realms of mother and housewife and experienced a little of the adventure that would normally be confined to her TV screen at home.  Lee has inadvertently made her more aware of what lies beyond the confines of her white picket fence. There is also no doubt that Lee sorely needs a friend, but it seems that he has taken the chance of her ever being that away with him too…

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes (Pt7)

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!

Sneaking Around

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.

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After all, how do you explain a soaking wet spy crouched in the shadows amongst your flowers?

Off the Tulips

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.

Caught Between Two Worlds

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?

Package

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??

Unwelcome Complications

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.

Nice safe 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!

Watching from the shadows

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.

Dumb thing

Amanda, remembering too what she said, merely nods.  The trouble is that he’s not laughing….

Lee & Amanda Relationship Progression Notes (Pt6)

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.

Just One of Those Moments

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.

The Shifting Sands Beneath Our Feet

“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!

Would you mind not yelling at me

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.

Fast Cars and Frustrations

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.

Regret

Pressure

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.

It hasn't been my best day either

“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.

Doubt and Dubiety

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.

Super Sexy Spy

“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.

Laughter

“You’d just laugh.”

Danger of Discovery

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.

Hide and Seek

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.

Getaway

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.

Escape

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.

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes (Pt5)

PART FIVE – THE SPY IN A TUX

At five o’clock that same afternoon, having found herself having to be inventive and dream up an excuse to give her mother, Amanda walks into a fancy dress party which Lee has completely neglected to tell her about!

Unexpected2

As Expectation Turns to Realisation

As she takes in the scene before her, she comes to the conclusion that maybe it might be better if she just heads for the door and leaves. However, a rather determined coat lady stalls her actions and rather than tell the woman that she is actually leaving, Amanda allows her to take her coat away rather than create a fuss. For the time being at least it seems that she is stuck where she is – certainly until she has spoken to Lee. If she can find him that is. She tries to espy him amongst the crowd but to no avail.

Lee, however, has spotted Amanda.  Decked out in a tux and well aware of just how good he looks, he has positioned himself on the stairs waiting for the moment when Amanda’s eyes find him. However, she doesn’t think to look in his direction so he is forced to gain her attention himself.

“Mrs King!”

Sexy and he knows it

Amanda immediately responds to the call of her name, instinctively turning to look up to find Lee standing there.

AndWhenILookUp

He gives her just enough time to take in his appearance before coming to greet her properly.  It is the last thing Amanda is expecting, of course: a handsome man in a tux, just radiating confidence and attractiveness, his eyes smiling down at her.  It is a little overwhelming and she can’t help but hide the shy smile that crosses her lips as he reaches her.

“Hello, Mr Steton.”

“Lee,” he corrects her, doing away with any sort of formality.

Call me Lee

thehousewifeandthespy

He’s in full-on charm mode, presenting her with the confident and suave Scarecrow persona he wears so well.  He is confident in this guise and the effect it can have – particularly on women.  There is no hint of the desperate waiter or stroppy pirate of their previous encounters.  In fact, he is completely relaxed and genial.  Putting his arm loosely around her waist, much as he did at the train station, Lee leads her into the party, watching her with a smile as she takes it all in.

Among Friends

As Amanda pauses to take in the people gathered before her, Lee takes a moment to look at the woman beside him – so naturally pretty and normally attired. Compared to the women around them, she could not look more different nor more attractive.

The Friends You Keep

“These people are your friends?”  She can’t help but ask.

“Yes,” Lee nods.

As they walk further into the room, Amanda glances back over her shoulder, wondering, even now, whether she really wants to be there.

As at the train station, Lee cannot seem to resist wrapping his arm around Amanda’s waist to guide her through the milling crowds.  It is as though he needs to have some sort of physical contact with her.  In her turn, Amanda accepts the gesture without any degree of awkwardness.  It’s almost as if he’s been putting his arm around her for years, so comfortable and natural is the giving and acceptance of the gesture.

When a woman approaches him, Lee is flattered enough to let his attention stray from Amanda for a moment, although she isn’t prepared to stand there watching him eye every woman in the room whilst blithely ignoring her!

Distractions

“Excuse me!” Amanda’s sharp intonation has the effect of bringing Lee out of his ruminations about the brunette in the red dress who has just shown such a blatant interest in him. She’s certainly not about to be left standing there like a spare part. “I’m expecting a very important phone call, so could you just tell me whatever it is you had to tell me?”  After all, he was the one who made such a point of her coming to meet him.

Again Lee reaches out to her, seeking to re-establish the physical connection between them.

We Do have a lot to talk about

No sooner are the words out of his mouth than they are interrupted again – this time by one Celeste van Kreswinkle, a statuesque blonde with bobble antennas on her head.

Unwelcome Interruption

Her sultry “Hi, Lee. Wanna dance?” causes Amanda to grimace and cast Lee a quick “give me strength” look. It doesn’t appear to matter that she might be interrupting them, but there again perhaps this is the way the women in Lee’s life behave – blatantly vying for his attention.  Lee is all charm and civility, although he does have the good sense to decline Celeste’s offer.  After all, he’s already had Amanda abandon him abruptly at Moby’s Dock so he’s not about to risk that happening again. Instead he makes a point of introducing Amanda, who manages to force a smile and say hello. Celeste, having done a critical scan of Amanda (no doubt to see whether she is any sort of competition worth worrying about) promptly proceeds to take a stab at what she’s wearing.

You came dressed as a housewife

It’s not exactly what Amanda wants to hear.  After all, she wouldn’t have dressed in normal clothes if Lee had actually told her they were going to a party. The awkwardness of the situation is not lost on Lee and he quickly takes the chivalrous route (even though he is actually responsible for Amanda feeling awkward) to avoid any further interaction and potential discomfort between the two women.

“Would you like to dance?”

The Start of Something Good

“Yes.”  Amanda doesn’t hesitate, grateful for the excuse to extract herself from Celeste.

And so dance they do.  There on the dance floor Lee Stetson draws Amanda King towards him, appreciating not only the fact that he has a beautiful woman in his arms, but also how good it feels.  From the moment they start to dance, his eyes are focussed solely upon her.  It’s as though Amanda is the only woman in the room and although she returns his look with a shy smile, she cannot help but feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer nearness of him.  As he leads her through the dance, he holds her very closely, effectively sweeping her along in the moment with him.

Dance

Amanda’s smile is radiant as they move to the music.  It is all so unexpected. She would never have guessed that this was what her afternoon would be like: dancing in the arms of a suave and charming stranger.

For Lee their dance offers a interlude to let everything  fade away. It is a moment of perfect peace as he lays his cheek against Amanda’s. On some unconscious level it seems that they find a connection with the other, although it isn’t realised or acknowledged.

In the Arms of a Stranger

Not that the contented silence between them lasts for long.  Amanda, perhaps seeking to deflect her attention from Lee’s nearness, pulls slightly away from him to ask how on earth he managed to find her.

How did you find me

Amanda laughs at the casualness of his reply – which tells her absolutely nothing at all.  “I thought only Nazis and spies said that,” she says.

Lee’s response, however, is definitely not what she is expecting.  “Well, I’m not a Nazi.”

Revelations-New

Does that mean what she thinks it does?

Lee’s revelation has the effect of pouring ice cold water on the moment, effectively catapulting Amanda into completely unchartered territory.  Suddenly everything has taken a rather unexpected turn and she is struggling to keep up.

So youre a spy

“Actually we don’t say “spy”, Lee replies.

That hardly helps. Surely a spy is a spy?  Mind you, the thought has already crossed Amanda’s mind that he might be a gangster. Her admission causes Lee to give a little laugh of amusement, although you have to wonder how many women he has told about this particular part of his life.  In telling Amanda who he really is he cuts straight to the very heart of the world that has helped shape him over the years: a world where secrets are the norm and walking into dangerous situations is an everyday occurrence.  It is also the moment when he allows Amanda to walk further into his professional and personal life without even realising it, something that, unbeknownst to him, began at the train station when he gave her the package.

A lot of his lack of reticence is fuelled by the necessity to help Amanda understand the situation and the possibility of danger, of course.  How else can he explain his obsession with getting the package back?  He knows that he needs to tread carefully and measure his words – after all, the last thing he wants to do is to scare her witless.

And then there’s the issue of secrecy…

Not mentioning to anyone

He is asking her to keep secrets (secrets he shares) in order to keep her family safe – something she is already doing to some extent by having to fabricate the story of being a member of a Clam Club.

“Boyfriend,” Amanda corrects Lee in response to his assumption of her marital status, although elaborates no further. There is, after all, no need to bring Dean into any of this. If he was her husband it might be different, but he’s not. At this point in time, whether she is married or not is pretty irrelevant to Lee. His focus is the package.  He’s not expecting to see her again once she’s handed it over, despite enjoying their little turn on the dance floor.

Lee telling her that if her family don’t know anything then they can’t be targets doesn’t really answer the question that immediately springs to Amanda’s mind, however.

What about me

He’s not going to answer that and tries to distract Amanda with the offer of more champagne.  After all, how can he tell her that she may already be a target to the people who are after the package?  She’s just a suburban mother who has no notion of the sort of people he has to deal with on a daily basis.  Amanda is left to draw her own conclusion – and it’s not a very comforting one!

However, she does have a confession of her own to make about the package Lee wants so badly and it is about to send their whole evening into orbit…

There is one little problem

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes (Pt2)

PART TWO – IN THE AFTERMATH

AMANDA

And so, for Amanda, having kindly agreed to help the man in the waiter’s uniform at the station, the morning has taken a rather different turn to the one she might have been expecting. She’s already had to get on a train she had no real desire to only to be faced with a carriage full of Shriners.  And, to top it all off, she’s had to explain to the ticket inspector just why she didn’t have a ticket – after all, who would willingly take a train journey in their nightgown?

Under this coat

Having returned home a dilemma now faces her.  What on earth should she do with the package?

Dilemma-Amanda

It’s hardly as though she even knows how to get in touch with the man who gave it to her and after seeing him being set upon by the men at the station, she doesn’t have any idea if he is even all right.

So who was he?  And what was he doing with the package she has now found herself the unexpected custodian of?  All she knows is that the desperation in his eyes was too compelling to ignore, in spite of his curtness towards her.  Also, if it is really a matter of life and death – what does that mean for her??

 

LEE

Lee, meanwhile, finally makes it back to the agency, having managed to get away from the bad guys and keep the package from them.  However, he soon learns that Gudfrie, the agent who was supposed to get the package from the woman at the station has since turned up dead and package-less.  This unwelcome fact only serves to fuel Lee’s frustration.  What was supposed to be a simple mission has become rather more complicated.  What’s more, the doctor who attended Gudfrie confirms that he saw no-one before he died!  That means that something must have happened to prevent the lady he approached at the station from carrying out his instructions.

A New Reality

Has he put her in danger, having asked for her help?  When he thrust the package into her hand he hadn’t been thinking of her safety or the risk she was taking.  If the people who were after the package got to Gudfrie then they could possibly also have gotten to her too – or at least have her under surveillance.

A Life

Where Impulse leads

Dirk, the non-too-happy Head of Internal Affairs, is decidedly incensed that Lee broke all agency protocols by handing sensitive information to a civilian, whereas Lee immediate superior, Billy Melrose, is altogether calmer.  He just wants to know who the woman is.

Who is this woman Lee

Not that Lee can tell him.  He has no idea who she is either.  She was just a pretty face in the crowd who he, although he knows he can never explain why, found himself drawn to.

Consequences

With the package now seemingly gone astray, he knows he needs to find her.  The trouble is, he has nothing to go on – not even her name.

Lee & Amanda: Relationship Progression Notes (Pt1)

PART ONE – A FATEFUL ENCOUNTER

3rd October 1983.  Two people, completely unknown to each other, are busy living their lives.  Lee Stetson – code-named Scarecrow (he looks nothing like one!!) – is a suave, charming and successful spy who lives a life filled with danger, excitement and more than enough women to fill his evenings while Amanda King, on the other hand, is a newly divorced housewife with a live-in mother, two children and a boyfriend who wants to marry her.

Lee and Amanda couldn’t be more different and it appears unlikely that they would ever have cause to meet, but that’s all about to change because fate has its own plans for this unlikely pair – well, fate and Amanda’s boyfriend, Dean, who unwittingly plays his part by getting Amanda to drop him at the train station on this particular October morning solely because he doesn’t want to leave his car out in the rain (and being a weatherman he has predicted that there is a chance of rain).

Before We Met

Having fended off both her mother earlier in the morning remarking about how good it will be when she gets married and Dean telling her, even though he knows she is looking for a job, that he only hires people who marry him (!!), Amanda blithely waves Dean on his way at the station.

A Wave to the Past

Lee, also in the near vicinity, is in a bit of predicament. The night before he took possession of a very important package which ultimately got his co-agent killed and now he has two rather unsavoury characters on his tail, determined to get hold of him and the package.  He has now wound up at the station with a view to handing over the package to another agent, but things are getting desperate.

The Hunted

When he endeavours to push his way onto a train he finds that his fellow passengers are not too keen on him doing so and they block his way, preventing him from boarding. That, of course, leaves him in a real dilemma.  If he can’t get on the train, what can he do? After all, his mission depends on keeping the package safe.

Running

As he stands there, frantically debating his next move, his attention is drawn towards the people walking along the platform towards him, one of them a pretty young woman.

Beautiful Stranger

She looks sensible, approachable…

The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face

Acting purely on the impulse of the moment, he moves towards her, grabs her and spins her about to walk back in the direction she’s just come.

Just Walk With Me

As introductions go, it is pretty original (note that he doesn’t even bother to say hello first – something which will soon show itself to be a bit of a trait with him in the future lol), but it’s also not quite what Amanda is expecting.

Where Fate Leads

She’s definitely not happy about finding herself being manhandled by a strange man (even if he is rather attractive) when she was merely minding her own business.  She tries to bolt, deciding that she really doesn’t want anything to do with him.

Oh no I have to go

For Lee, maybe it is pure instinct that makes him go after her again and stop her in her tracks, knowing that maybe she is his last hope of off-loading the package before the bad guys catch up with him.

One moment please

He has no choice but to try and persuade her to hear what he has to say, to plead with her if he has to. His gaze fixes desperately on her as though he is seeking to connect with her on a deeper level. He has to make her stay long enough to listen.

Help me please

Amanda is really not sure what to think.  What was it about her that made him think that she might be able to do something for him? Why did he choose to pick her out of the numbers of people walking by?  She notices them pass, no doubt wishing she was one of them rather than staring into the eyes of this man who seems so anxious for her to help him.  His desperation is certainly compelling and palpable.

Her desire to run starts to waiver.  He’s certainly persuasive.  His entire focus is on her, his eyes transfixed to hers as he begs her.  In this moment they both unwittingly stand on the cusp of change, although neither of them, of course, realises what this will mean for their futures.

A Single Decision

“All right,” she says, resigning herself to doing the decent thing and offering to help him.  “What is it that you want me to do?”

An expression akin to relief crosses Lee’s face with her disclosure, his lips curving into an all but brief smile.

To Have Found You

There in that all too transient moment we catch a glimpse of the softness which lurks beneath his agent’s mask, even though it is very quickly eclipsed.

And so the dye of change is cast.  Here is where their lives collide and connect. Not that either of them have the time or the inclination to consider what this means as Lee hands Amanda the package and issues her with instructions concerning what to do with it.

Nothing Will Ever Be the Same

“Just take this.  Get on the train.  It’s a matter of life and death,” he tells her. Having got her to agree to do this one thing for him, he is now back in full-on agent mode.  He has no inclination to make small-talk – after all, he knows that time is of the essence even if Amanda is completely unaware of it – and doesn’t allow the possibility to even rear it’s head.

While they are walking he has his arm draped across her back, keeping her close to him.  It’s almost as though she is both his metaphorical and physical lifeline. In fact, he’s barely let go of her since accosting her.

Hold You

For Amanda the instructions Lee issues her with are clear and uncompromising. It also seems far-fetched and she can’t help but question it.  “Is this for real?”

Lee won’t be side-tracked, however.  He’s got to get through to her just how important her getting on the train and meeting his contact is.

Hand it to the man in the red hat

He is aware of the bad guys getting closer and as they reach a door leading onto the train he leaves Amanda standing there staring in dismay after him, even as he waves emphatically at her to just board the train.  After all, he doesn’t want the bad guys knowing that he’s given the package to her and for them to go after her instead.

To Watch you Disappear

Amanda, now on board a train she had no intention of getting in the first place, is curious enough to peer out of the train window as it’s pulling away, searching the platform to see if she can spot Lee at all.  What she sees, however, is him being pursued and then caught up with by two rather burly men who then proceed to attack him!  His words now about it all being a matter of life and death appear not to be so far off the mark after all.

A Shocking Discovery

She cannot do anything to help Lee out of the situation he is in on the platform, but she knows that she can do what he has asked of her, namely to give the package to the man on the train.

There’s just one tiny little problem….there is more than one man in a red hat on the train!

Give it to the man in the red hat

So now what’s she supposed to do?