For personal use and select distribution only © February 2002 by Amber Stockton
One Flew East - tagalogue
Written by David Brown (excerpts from the episode belong to him)
Amanda opened the door to the backyard patio, then leaned against the doorjamb, watching Lee show Jamie his very advanced camera. With the click of a switch, the view could change from telephoto to wide-angle. Amanda smiled at the knowledge that Lee had found something of interest to Jamie.
"That's neat, but how does the picture get onto the film?" Jamie asked, experimenting with the various adjustments on the camera.
She saw Lee take a breath to reply, then realize he didn't have an answer. He glanced up and she threw him a look that said, "So, how are you going to answer this one?"
He turned his attention back to Jamie. "Uh..." he began, "to tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure." His hands were clasped in front of him, and he rocked back on his heels, giving Jamie a nervous smile.
"Would it be in the encyclopedia?" Jamie asked, looking up at Lee, not showing any sign that he thought less of Lee for not knowing.
Lee sighed. "Yeah, there's a good chance of that." He gave Jamie's shoulder a brief touch and gestured towards the house. "Why don't you go on in and get started and I'll be along."
"All right," Jamie replied, taking the camera and heading for the back door.
Lee gave Amanda a look of relief, and she turned her attention to her son. "Hi, sweetheart," she said with a smile, giving his back a loving pat.
"Hello," Jamie mumbled as he walked past.
She turned to face Lee as he approached to stand directly in front of her. "Well!" she exclaimed with a smile, showing him she was pleased with his progress.
Lee glanced over her shoulder into the kitchen, then placed his hands at her elbows and lowered his voice. "I think I am finally on the right track."
"Yeah!" she agreed, lifting her face for a quick kiss. "Get in," she whispered, tilting her head towards the kitchen. Lee stepped past her. She turned to follow him and closed the door behind them.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
"Dottie, that was a delicious dinner!" Lee leaned back in his chair and smoothed his hand over his full stomach.
"Why thank you, Lee!"
"You oughtta know! You had two full helpings!" Philip remarked before he had a chance to think about how his words would sound.
His comment wasn't taken too lightly by his grandmother, though. "Philip, that was definitely uncalled for. Now, apologize to Mr. Stetson," she reprimanded.
Philip looked duly chagrined and bowed his head. "Sorry, Mr. Stetson," he mumbled.
"You're just jealous because he was able to eat more than you!" Jamie threw out, tossing his brother a smug glare.
"Am not!" Philip rebutted, a look of competition leaping into his eyes.
"Are, too!" Jamie taunted.
"Boys, boys!" Amanda interrupted them. "That is enough." Her tone brooked no argument, and she softened it before continuing. "Now, why don't you clear the table, then head upstairs to finish your homework." Although it was stated like a suggestion, it was an obvious command meant to be obeyed.
"Sure, Mom," Philip replied.
"All right," Jamie added.
They both began to do as their mother bid. The three adults rose from their seats to help them. Once the dishes were all in the sink, the boys headed upstairs to their rooms. Dotty began putting away the leftovers. Lee and Amanda stood at the sink.
"I'll wash. You dry," Amanda dictated.
"Yes, ma'am." Lee spoke low and gave Amanda a teasing wink.
"Oh, honestly! I can't remember the last time those two have been at each other's throats so much!" Dotty exclaimed turning towards them both. "Lee, I'm sorry. They aren't usually like this."
"No, Mother, sometimes, they're worse," Amanda replied with a laugh.
Dotty smiled and shook her head. "Oh, Amanda, you know that's not true," she refuted, then raised her hands in concession. "All right, I will admit that they can be a bit exasperating, but..."
"Boys will be boys," Lee chimed in, turning slightly away from the sink to glance at Dotty as he dried the plate he held.
"Exactly!" Dotty agreed, opening the refrigerator to place the two containers of leftovers inside.
"Well, no harm done," he assured her, taking the next plate from Amanda. "So, you don't have to apologize for them."
Dotty closed the door and turned toward the counter, giving it a final wipe with the towel. "Thank you, Lee." She folded the towel and placed it on the counter then sighed. "Well, I think I'm going to take advantage of the early evening and catch up on some reading I've been wanting to do." She walked towards the stairs, then turned back around. "You two will make certain the house is locked up and the lights are off?"
"Yes, Mother," Amanda replied, without turning around.
"Good night, Amanda. Good night, Lee."
"Good night," they replied in unison.
Lee watched Dotty's reflection in the window above the sink. She started to step up from the living room, then snapped her fingers and pivoted in place to return to the living room. Turning his head slightly, he continued to watch her movements out of the corner of his eye as she walked over to the coffee table to retrieve a novel she had left there. When she turned back towards the stairs, she paused and looked at them. He couldn't be sure without turning to look at her, but he thought he caught an approving smile before she crept towards the stairs again to ascend to her room.
"Mmm, I thought she'd never leave," Lee exclaimed in a soft whisper as soon as he was sure Dotty was gone. "Now, we finally have some time alone." He leaned down and placed a kiss the hairline above her left cheekbone.
Amanda handed Lee a cup to dry. "Well, you know Mother."
"Yeah." Lee took the cup from her. "She wants to make sure her daughter is safe with the likes of me!" he said with a laugh.
"Oh, you know that's not true!" she refuted, turning to look at him.
"No? Well, you didn't see her come back into the living room after she said goodnight, pretending she forgot her book just so she could watch us a little more."
"What?" Amanda exclaimed, surprised. "How do you know? You weren't even turned around." She handed him the last pan, then took a towel for herself and began drying the silverware. Turning to lean back against the counter, she gave him a look of disbelief.
Lee nodded at the window behind the sink. "I saw her reflection."
Amanda turned as if she expected to see her mother peeking around the corner, then sighed. "She means well."
"Yep. She loves you and wants what's best for you." He set down the pan he had finished drying and draped the towel over his shoulder, then loosely clasped her elbows with his hands and leaned forward. "Just like I do," he whispered, giving her a tender kiss. He pulled back and stood straight, then helped her put away the dishes they had just dried. "So? Are we finished here?" he asked, giving the kitchen a once-over glance before turning to face Amanda.
She closed the silverware drawer, reached for his towel and took hers together with his to place them on the handle to the oven. "Yep," she replied with a satisfied smile.
"Good," he stated, reaching out his hand to turn her towards the living room. "Now, we can enjoy the evening."
Amanda stopped them both. "Almost." She turned away from Lee's questioning gaze and reached for a box on the counter by the stove. He tried to look over her shoulder to see what she had, but she kept it concealed. "Go on." She nudged him towards the living room.
Reluctantly, he obeyed, and she followed behind, joining him on the couch as soon as he sat. "So, you gonna share some of whatever you got in that box?" He leaned towards her. "Or am I gonna have to make you talk?" he whispered, his lips close to her ear.
Amanda shivered and smiled. "Well, as pleasant as that prospect is, I think I'm going to have to pass for the time being."
"Aww, shucks," he teased, then leaned away a little.
"Besides, what I have is for us to share," she continued, ignoring his remark as she brought the box around front and opened the lid.
Lee peered inside at the two pieces sitting on a tin tray, crumbs leaving evidence of other pieces already eaten. "Mmm, chocolate cake. You know, if this is the reward I get for giving up our day off to work on a case for Billy, I'll do it more often!"
Amanda smiled and shook her head, then broke off a piece and lifted it to Lee's lips, holding the box under her hand. "You're hopeless, you know that?"
His only response was a grin as he opened his mouth and took the cake from her. When he finished, he did the same for her, holding his other hand underneath to catch any fallen crumbs. Amanda handed him a fork and they ate the remainder of their cake in peaceful silence, occasionally smiling at each other as they ate. When the last crumb was eaten, Amanda took the box and placed it on the coffee table.
Lee sighed and leaned back against the couch, partially reclining, before extending his left arm across the back of the couch and silently inviting Amanda to recline next to him. Once she was nestled against him, he placed his arm around her and his chin on top of her head. "You know, I could really get used to this," he murmured.
She sighed. "Mmm, me too."
He felt her relax in his arms, and they enjoyed the peace and quiet of the night. "Dinner sure was interesting tonight," Lee said after several moments. "Tell me, Amanada. Are all family meals like that?"
She chuckled. "No, only the ones where you're present."
"Very funny," he retorted, giving her waist a loving pinch.
She squirmed then laughed. "You know, I thought you were going to choke on your water when Jamie asked if you were going to marry me."
He chuckled with a little bit of reservation. "Yeah, but it wasn't too funny when he asked. Wonder what they would have said if we had told them we already were."
Amanda popped up so fast, Lee's arm was knocked away. "You weren't actually considering that, were you?" she asked, concern etched across her face. Before he could answer, though, she relaxed and a small grin formed on her lips. Settling back against him, she laughed. "That's something I know I'm going to enjoy seeing ... when we tell them."
"Me too," Lee replied, then lowered his voice to a husky timbre. "So, are we heading to my place tonight? You know, make up for the day we lost by Billy's interruption?" He ran his hand up and down her arm tenderly.
"Mmm, I'll either have to tell Mother and the boys that we got called into work or make certain I'm back before they wake up tomorrow morning," she pointed out.
"Ohh, I think we can arrange something," he replied with a teasing lilt to his voice.
"Let's just stay here a little while longer, though," she murmured against his shirt, her voice already showing signs of drowsiness.
Lee smiled and tightened his hold, then gave her a loving hug. He leaned his head back against the couch and closed his eyes, thinking just how lucky he truly was to have Amanda in his life.