Miles to Go Before I Sleep
Lee Stetson looked down at the woman he held in his arms and was horrified by the bright crimson stain of her blood on his hands. ~Amanda! No not his Amanda!~ his mind screamed in silent protest. "Somebody call an ambulance!" he bellowed.
"They're already on the way, son." Billy's voice sounded quietly beside him. The older man knelt down and his eyes were filled with sorrow and fear.
"I can't lose her, Billy." Lee told him softly as he looked up into the man's face. "Not her too."
"You won't" Billy reassured him quietly, although the older man wasn't altogether sure of that fact himself. "You won't," he murmured again and looked down into Amanda's still, pale face.
Lee leaned forward, the action pulling the woman closer to his body, and pressed his lips to the delicate shell of her ear. He breathed in the sweet scent of her hair and he was not at all surprised to find tears in his eyes as he whispered softly into her ear. "Amanda, don't leave me. I need you too much."
In the distance Scarecrow suddenly became aware of the piercing wail of sirens. "Hang on, Amanda."
As the wail of sirens drew nearer, Lee pulled her even closer to the sheltering protection of his body in the hope, perhaps futilely, that the strength of his arms and sheer determination would stop death from taking her away.
Lee paced the length of the small waiting room, worry and sheer nervous energy making him unable to sit still for very long. Amanda had been in surgery for several hours and the waiting was unbearable.
"Gentlemen," the doctor's voice sounded quietly from behind him and Lee spun around to face him.
"Doctor. How is she?" Lee asked as Francine and Billy came to stand beside him.
"I'm sorry, but the damage caused by the bullet was too extensive and the internal bleeding was massive. Mrs. King died on the operating table 20 minutes ago. I'm sorry." the doctor finished compassionately.
Lee clamped down on his grief and blocked out Francine and Billy's equally grief stricken responses. "May I see her?" he asked softly.
"Of course," the doctor responded. "Just follow me."
Lee turned his head to look at Billy. "Go ahead Scarecrow," the older man said through his tears. "We'll wait here."
Lee followed the doctor down the hall. "She's in here." he stated and pointed into the small room just off the operating theaters. "Take all the time you need."
Lee listened to the doctor's retreating footsteps before stepping through the open door and into the room. His gut clenched as he made his way to the gurney and looked down at Amanda's still face.
"Amanda?" he whispered softly and reached out to tenderly brush back her hair. Leaning down he drew her body against his and the grief that he had been holding at bay welled up inside him. Throwing back his head, he released a scream of pure rage and grief. "AMANDA!"
A soft coaxing voice and gentle hands brought Lee out of his nightmare. He opened his eyes, focusing on Amanda's delicate features and concern-filled brown eyes. "Lee?" she questioned softly.
"Amanda?" he murmured in a tentative whisper.
"Yes, it's me. You had another nightmare. Are you okay?" she asked quietly as her hand tenderly caressed his chest.
"Yes, I'm fine." Lee threw off the last vestiges of the nightmare.
"Are you sure?" Her fingers idly stroked along his ribs.
"I'm sure." Lee finished with a soft smile as he stilled her hand and brought it to his lips.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," he stated softly. "Not right now." He amended quietly and then rolled onto his side to face her.
"Maybe later." Tenderly he brushed back her hair and then drew her close against him.
Lee smiled softly when through the soft material of Amanda's nightgown he could feel the restless fluttering movements of their children where her gravid belly pressed against him.
"Did you sleep well?" His hand slipped between the close press of their bodies to caress the swell of her abdomen.
"As well as can be expected. The twins were restless most of the night. When one slept the other was awake and vice versa," she told him softly. Lee gave her a sympathetic smile and pressed a kiss to the tip of her nose.
"Then go back to sleep," he murmured softly. "When you wake up I'll have breakfast ready."
"Ooooh he cooks too!" Amanda crooned playfully. Lee chuckled and leaned down to kiss her softly. "Sleep," he murmured against her lips. Amanda watched him with a tender smile as he slipped from the bed and moved to the bathroom. She rolled over and tried to go back to sleep but she soon realized that the effort was futile.
Getting out of bed, she moved quietly to the bathroom and opened the door. Seeing her husband's silhouette through the frosted glass of the shower door, Amanda grinned. She closed the door, keeping the heat and steam from the shower in the room. Pulling her nightgown over her head she dropped it to the floor, then hooked her fingers into the waistband of the skimpy lace panties she wore and slid them down her slender legs. She padded softly to the tub and quietly slid back the shower door.
"Hey there, big guy," she drawled seductively. "Care to show a fat, pregnant, lady a good time?"
Lee turned around from beneath the hot spray of water, and when he saw his wife standing naked before him, he smiled and held out his hand to her. She slipped her hand into the warmth of his and he guided her into the tub. Sliding the door closed behind her, Amanda stepped into his embrace as he pulled her under the spray of water with him.
Amanda stood up from where she sat behind her desk in the Q Bureau and moved to the vault to collect some files. Since her pregnancy had advanced to the point where it was no longer safe for her to be out in the field, she'd been placed on temporary desk duty and her partner, her husband, was now partnered with Francine.
She hated not being there to watch his back, but knew that Francine would do her best to keep the father of her children safe. As though they sensed her thoughts she felt the twins shift restlessly in her belly.
"I'm sure papa's just fine loves," she cooed, brushing a hand down her abdomen as she turned and stepped out of the vault. The phone rang just as she drew close to the desk.
"International Federal Films, Amanda Stetson speaking."
"Hey gorgeous, ready for lunch?" Lee's smooth voice caressed her ear.
"With you?" She teased playfully.
"Okay. I have a few errands to run first. I'll meet you at Ned's in about 45 minutes."
" 'kay," Lee replied and Amanda could hear the smile in his voice. "I love you."
"Love you too." she responded. "See you soon." She ended then hung up the phone and grabbed her purse from the back of her chair. After locking up she headed downstairs and stopped in front of Mrs Marston to hand in her ID badge. "Going out for lunch Mrs. Marston. If anyone asks Lee and I will be at Ned's."
"Very well Mrs. Stetson." the older woman smiled. "How are the twins today?"
"Restless." Amanda replied with a soft smile. "Anxious to get out I think. Phillip and Jamie weren't quite this eager to greet the world."
The older woman chuckled. "T'was the same with both my girls.”
Amanda left IFF and stepped out into the warm DC sun. Crossing to her car she unlocked it and slid behind the wheel. She made a quick stop at the pharmacy before heading to the bank. She found a parking space out front and pulled into it, then got out and headed inside.
Amanda was just finishing up with her transaction, several minutes later, when the door burst open to admit four men in masks and carrying weapons. "Everybody down on the floor! This is a hold up!" The man who was obviously in charge barked. "Now!" he yelled again and everyone quickly complied.
As she was now an official agent with the Agency, Amanda was licensed to carry a weapon and her hand brushed against the little snub nosed pistol in her purse, welcoming its comforting presence. It would be suicide to use it with four heavily armed thieves but she was comforted by the fact that it was there.
"You!" the man in charge barked and swung his weapon towards her. "Hand out of the purse. Now!"
Amanda obeyed, slowly slipping her hand out and raising it up to show him that she had nothing in her hands.
"Hand it over." He ordered with a gesture of his hand.
Reluctantly Amanda slipped the purse strap from off her shoulder and held it out. Cautiously the thief stepped forward and took it from her outstretched fingers.
"Now down on the floor!"
"I don't mean to be difficult," Amanda stated coldly. "But in my condition that isn't possible!"
The thief looked at her and noticed for the first time her pregnant state. He turned his head to the young man lying face down on the floor just beside where Amanda stood. "You," he said brusquely and pointed to him. "Get the lady a chair!"
The young man nodded and slowly got to his feet. He was back a few minutes later with an office chair. "Here you are," he told Amanda quietly as he pushed it behind her and helped her to sit.
"Thank you." She gave him a smile and he nodded before sinking to a sitting position near her chair.
"Now." The man said as he opened Amanda's purse. "Let's see what was so interesting in here." He began to look through the hand bag.
"Well, well what do we have here?" he mumbled as he pulled out the pistol. "Not very smart."
He tucked the little gun into his waistband and then rummaged through her purse and Amanda held her breath when he found her ID.
"Well, well, well what do we have here... a spook. Well Mrs. Amanda Stetson you don't look much like a Fed to me," he said and flashed her an evil grin that filled her with dread.
"Looks can be deceiving," she muttered.
"Apparently so, so let me say this. Make any sort of move on me and my men and I won't hesitate to start shooting."
"I'm hardly capable in my current state," she remarked snidely.
"Good." He quipped and walked away.
Lee had just parked the car in front of Nedlinger's Bar and Grill when a call came over the radio.
"Attention all units in the vicinity of Wisconsin Avenue & K Street. Silent alarm triggered at the Bank of Georgetown. Robbery in progress."
Lee frowned. That was the bank that he and Amanda used and every instinct he had was telling him to check this one out. He turned and glanced over at his partner. "I know it's not our jurisdiction but I've got a funny feeling about this Francine."
"Want to go and check it out?"
"Yah," Lee replied as he started the 'Vette again and headed for the bank.
When they arrived minutes later the SWAT team and several police cars had already arrived.
Lee and Francine leaped from the car and rushed over to the officer in charge.
"What have we got?" Lee asked and flashed the officer his official government ID.
"We don't know much Agent Stetson. A witness says she saw four armed robbers enter the bank about 15 minutes ago. We don't have any idea how many hostages are inside. We've been waiting for the hostage negotiator to arrive before contacting them."
Lee nodded and then turned when his partner touched him on the shoulder.
"Francine, what is it?"
The woman had a worried look on her face when she replied, "Look," and pointed to the Wagoneer parked in front of the bank. "That’s Amanda’s car, isn’t it?"
Lee paled "Amanda" he whispered then turned and started towards the bank. Francine quickly intervened, grabbing her partner by the arm to hold him back.
"Don't, Lee," she said quietly. "You rush in there and you could make things worse."
Lee turned to look at Francine and for the first time in a very long time she saw real fear in the man's eyes. It wasn't fear for himself but it was fear for Amanda. Fear that she could be taken from him and he'd be alone again.
"Amanda will be okay," she said reassuringly, although she wasn't altogether sure of the fact herself.
"We've got company!" the robber on watch at the door hollered back.
"Cops?" The man in charge asked as he crossed to the door.
"Yah, looks like they've got us surrounded."
"All right," he said and turned back to the others. "Have you got it all?"
"We got it." One called back to him.
"Good," the leader responded and then turned around. "Now, for a little insurance so we can get out of here in one piece, each of you grab a hostage." He crossed over to where Amanda was sitting. "You're mine." He pulled Amanda from the chair.
The young man sitting on the floor beside her rose to protest. "No you can't!"
The leader didn't even blink as he lashed out and hit the man with the side of his gun and he slid bonelessly to the floor unconscious.
"Let's go!" he told Amanda and roughly tugged on her arm.
All of them met at the main doors and each one had a hostage.
"Once we reach the car we let everyone go, except Mrs. Stetson. We keep her for a little extra insurance. Let's go, one at a time," he said and positioned himself at the head of the group. He pulled Amanda in front of him and wrapped an arm around her neck, pulling her back against him.
"They're coming out!" The officer in charge called out when he saw the bank doors open.
"Hold your fire! They've got hostages!" he bellowed and held up his hand and the first masked robber eased out of the door with Amanda pulled tight against him, his gun never wavering from her temple.
"Amanda!" Lee called out and started moving towards them.
"Back off!" the man said as he pressed the muzzle of his gun tighter against Amanda's head.
"Back off or she's dead!" he threatened again.
"All right." Lee stopped and held up his hands.
"Let's go." The robber tugged on Amanda to get her to follow him.
"You hurt her and I swear to God I will hunt you down." Lee spoke to him and his voice was hard and cold. “And don’t doubt that I will find you… anywhere you go. And when I do find you, you will pay and you will pray for death before the end!”
Amanda felt the robber tense at Lee's words then start to back away without a response. He moved towards the alley, always keeping Amanda between him and the police. Once they reached the alley they moved quickly to the car. When they reached the car, he opened the door to the front seat.
"In!" he ordered and Amanda obeyed quickly sliding into the front passenger seat.
The other robbers were seconds behind them and when they reached the car, each of them released their hostages and jumped into the back seat. Before anyone could react the car was speeding away.
Lee waited anxiously as he watched the hostages emerge, one-by-one, from the alley. His gut clenched when he saw that Amanda wasn't among them. Crossing quickly over to the group of hostages he questioned one of them.
"Where's Amanda? Mrs. Stetson?"
"You mean the pregnant woman?" A woman asked her voice still shaky from her ordeal.
"I'm sorry, but I think they took her with them. I heard the leader say that they wanted to keep her as extra insurance."
"Thank you," Lee murmured. He didn't even pause as he turned around and headed back to his car.
Francine called after her partner as he started the engine and sped away.