Screen Captures Courtesy of Swoopes
For personal use and select distribution only © April 2002 by Amber Stockton
The Times, They Are a Changin' - tagalogue
Written by Bill Froehlich and Mark Lisson (excerpts from the episode belong to them)
"Could I ask you one question?"
Lee shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah."
"How did you rig it so that I would pick the right coffee can off of the right shelf at the right time?"
He gave her a smug smile. "Uhh, you didn't."
"No, we did."
"Oh, you remember the boxboy dropping the can that rolled under the counter? Well, he switched it with a contest can. See, we know what brand of coffee you buy, so we had a substitute can ready."
"You mean the boxboy is an agent?"
Lee casually placed his hands in his pockets. "And the cashier."
"Gosh, it used to be a simple neighborhood grocery store." She sighed. "Well, look, would you do me a favor?" He nodded. "Would you not put any more winning contest tickets in my coffee cans?
"You've got a deal."
"Thank you very much."
She started to turn away, but turned back to face him when he continued to talk. "But, I'd keep my eye open for the breakfast cereal boxes." He smiled, then released a full-fledged laugh.
She rolled her eyes and gave him a look that said she didn't find his sense of humor overly funny. However, she did manage a small grin, so he felt a bit better.
"Look, I should get back to Mother and they boys. I already had to explain to her why I didn't come back to the room last night and why I didn't call. Just now, I told her I was going to take some pictures. I suppose I should, so I don't have to lie anymore. I really do hate to lie to her, but sometimes, I can't think of anything else to say. Then, she gives me these looks, and I really feel guilty, and I..."
Lee interrupted her. "Amanda!"
He shook his head at her innocent expression and smiled. "Go on back and enjoy the rest of your vacation." He paused as he tried to think of what to say next. There was a small part of him that wished he could go with her and enjoy touring some of the local attractions. He had been here several times and seen so much of Munich, but seeing them with Amanda held a certain appeal. No time to think about that right now, though. "I'll ... uh ... see you back in the States," he finally managed.
"Yeah." He thought he detected a slight note of wistfulness in her voice, but before he could ascertain the actual existence, she continued. "Oh, Lee? One other question."
"How did you always know which numbers in my tourist handbook went with which attraction? Each time I was supposed to meet you somewhere, and I didn't know what it was, you stated the number. Have you been here that often that you've memorized the tour book?"
"I've been here enough." He pointed. "For instance, number seventeen is down that street about three blocks, and number four is around the clock tower and across the bridge over there." He pointed over his shoulder to the left to designate the general area, then turned back around to face her, only she wasn't there. A look of confusion crossed his face as he looked to his left and right to see if he could spot her. He even glanced over at the café where her family was, but she wasn't there either. "How did she do that?"
"It's easy!" She appeared suddenly to his right and almost succeeded in making him jump.
"Hey! You're not the one who's supposed to do that. I am. Where'd you learn how to do that, anyway?"
She grinned. "I had a good teacher. After all the times you've snuck up on me out of nowhere or grabbed a hold of me, I figured you were due for a taste of your own medicine."
"You're pretty good. Guess that means I did a good job in demonstrating the technique." He grinned and threw back his shoulders, then reached up to straighten his tie in mock self-assurance.
"Not bad," she retorted.
He raised one eyebrow. "Not bad?"
"Yeah, not bad," she repeated, then pointed over to his left. "You know, I think that young lady over there is trying to get your attention."
"Where?" He turned to look in the direction Amanda had pointed, but no sooner had he taken his eyes off of her, he had a feeling it was just a ruse. Sure enough, when he turned back around, she was gone.
He shook his head and chuckled, then looked over at the Campari café. Amanda had just made it back to her table, so he decided he would find himself a table. He easily stayed out of her view and found a table in the shade of an umbrella right behind them. Making certain his back was to them, he told himself he was only there to enjoy a nice meal al fresco, but he couldn't deny being curious to see if he could hear part of their conversation. He was rewarded when he heard Dotty start with the questions.
"So, did you get any good pictures?"
"Yes, Mother, a couple. They'll make a nice addition to the ones we already have on this roll."
"Who was that man you were talking to?"
"Philip, please don't play with your food." She paused. "What man?"
Lee could hear the nervousness in her voice, and he smiled as he listened. How was she going to get herself out of this one?
"The man in the suit. He was standing right next to you, and you looked like you were talking to him."
"Oh, that man!" She chuckled. "He was a tourist, but he's been here several other times, and he was telling me about some of the places to be sure to visit." Without taking a break, she scolded one of her boys. "Jamie, don't hit your brother!"
Lee grinned. She didn't miss a beat between answering her mother and correcting her boys' behavior. As for describing him ... well ... that wasn't too far from the truth.
"He certainly didn't look like just a tourist, dressed in suit," Dotty remarked.
"Maybe he's here on business, Mother. He could have had a meeting or something to attend, or he could have just come from a meeting."
"Yes, I suppose you're right." She sighed. "Did he have any good information to share about any other tourist attractions?"
"I think tomorrow, we should head into the mountains and visit Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. They're the two castles built by King Ludwig II, and I'm sure we could get some great pictures!"
"Castles? Cool!" Jamie exclaimed.
"Yeah!" Philip agreed. "Castles are chock full of all sorts of creepy hiding places and old ghosts!"
"Jamie, don't talk with your mouth full, and Philip, we'll be on a tour, so we most likely won't get the chance to explore on our own," Amanda forewarned him.
"Well, what does the tour book say?" Dotty asked.
"Umm, I don't know, Mother. Let me look." Amanda rustled a few pages, then stopped. "Hidden in the seclusion of the mountains King Ludwig II built two of his dream castles: Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. This excursion shows you two extraordinary castles, both testifying to the vision of Bavaria's fairytale King. Short shopping stop in Oberammergau. Approximately four hours time to visit Neuschwanstein and for lunch." She paused. "Looks like I was wrong. It's going to give us a fair time to explore and also provide some history on the castles. However, that doesn't mean you boys will be roaming free. I'll expect you to be on your best behavior. If all goes well tomorrow, I promise one final trip to the Glachenspiel before we have to go back home."
"Yay!" both boys chorused.
"Well, I think we've found a winner!" Dotty exclaimed and clapped her hands together. "Castles, here we come!"
"All right, now let's finish our lunch and then go check out Olympic Park. It was where the main ceremonies for the summer Olympics in 1972 took place. That's the summer before you were born, Philip."
Lee didn't hear either of the boys reply, so he just assumed they were stuffing their faces with food, eager to get moving again. He didn't know much about boys from an adult's perspective, but he was one once, and he knew how anxious he'd always been to stay active. Even his limited memories before his parents were killed were full of him constantly getting into trouble of all kinds. From what Amanda had told him about her boys, they weren't too different.
The waitress brought his own food, and he ate as he continued to listen. However, his thoughts soon turned solely to Amanda. He was sure there were many things she would like to see without them, and it was obvious she was planning most of their trip around things the boys would enjoy. If only she hadn't come with her family. He could have been her guide and shown her a lot of the sights, some that most tourists don't even know. She would most likely enjoy visiting places like the Nymphenburg Palace, Theatiner Church, House of Arts, and the Bavarian National Museum. They could take a walk down the elegant Maximilian Street which offered a view of the Deutsches Museum, Royal Palace and the Opera House.
These were places he'd visited before, but he was certain that seeing them with Amanda would help him see them in ways he would never think to view them. As a special treat, they could enjoy an evening at the famous Hofbräuhaus, where they would be treated to an evening Bavarian style with music, show and dinner. If they had a few days to explore, he would be certain to take her up to Rothenburg and Frankfurt, where they could visit Dinkelsbuhl, Nordlingen and Donauworth, famous for their high gabled houses and cobbled streets. That's something that seemed to be right up Amanda's alley, and along they way, they could get some excellent shots of the picturesque and spectacular Spessart Mountains.
What was he thinking? To spend time like that together, they'd have to be here together, and that certainly wasn't going to happen anytime soon. So, why did he find himself thinking about her and picturing what they would do if they were here together? When he thought back over the past few days, the first thing that came to mind was Amanda's, "By now, you should trust me." She was right, too. She certainly didn't seem to have any trouble trusting him, so why did have trouble trusting her with vital information when a case was involved?
They'd been working together for just about a year, and she had more than proven herself. It certainly wasn't that he didn't trust her. He just couldn't bring himself to admit how much he relied on her, how much he had come to count on her to help them when they needed it ... help him when he needed it. In return, he always tried to be there for her and make certain she and her family were safe at all times. He grinned a little when he remembered how pleased she was at the knowledge that he was looking after her and her family. It gave him a very good feeling to know he could be there for her and feel needed.
It was very similar to how he felt when they worked together or when she grabbed a hold of his arm to reassure herself. Even now, he remembered how well they got into the rhythm of scooting their chairs over to the pedestal to knock over the vase so they could escape, not to mention the feel of her arms around his waist as they rode the motorbike through the streets of Munich towards the Glachenspiel to apprehend the baron. She had hopped behind him without a second thought, and even though he had one goal in mind, reaching the baron, his thoughts weren't fully concentrated on that task.
Shaking his head to clear his mind, he realized he needed to stop this train of thought and get focused back on why he was in Munich. The case was wrapped up, but there was still debriefing to think about once they returned to the States, and there were a couple of loose ends to tie before they could close the book on this one. He needed a clear head, and thinking about Amanda right now was not going to help. Their relationship was strictly professional, and he had to keep it that way. He simply couldn't allow himself to entertain thoughts to the contrary.
Satisfied that he had settled that matter in his mind, he delved into his meal that would soon be cold if he didn't eat it. He heard the chairs scooting back on the concrete behind him and knew Amanda and her family were leaving. A part of him wanted to turn around, but he knew he couldn't risk the chances of Dotty seeing him or recognizing him in any way. It would raise too much suspicion.
He was so lost in his thoughts, he didn't even know she was standing behind him until she spoke. "If you wanted to know all about our conversation, you could have just asked me later. You really need to work on your eavesdropping skills. Perhaps you should take a refresher course when you get back to the States." He heard the teasing note in her voice and had to fight not to turn around and look at her. When he had waited a moment to give them all a chance to leave, he risked a glance over his shoulder and caught her leaving the café. She glanced back at him with a smile and an almost imperceptible wave.
He grinned. She may have the potential to make a good agent after all. Someday.