Summary/Genre: Pure fluff, set four days after the tag in ‘J. Edgars Ghost.’ This is my version of what could have possibly happened during dinner at Spencer’s. Warning: This does break canon, throwing off the timing of their first real kiss.
Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs. King is copyrighted to WB and Shoot The Moon Production Company. No infringement is intended.
*I’d like to give a special thanks to my Betas, Raizelinplaid and Lanie, who took time out of their busy schedule to help me make the story the best it could be!*
Chapter 1: How do you explain a woman like Amanda?
It had been four days since Amanda King cornered me in my office with a little piece of blackmail from the Francine Desmond file. At that moment, I was shocked with her little escapade. Not for the deceit, but for the import of her words. Why did she feel I needed to be provided a reason to take her out to dinner? It wasn’t like I was lost without a map for directions on how to ask a woman out, after all. How many times had I done that successfully without even needing a guide in the first place?
How do I describe Amanda King? At first, I considered her a simply an emergency. She was a frustrating nuisance to my job, and the furthest thing I ever wanted or dreamed about for my future with a woman. She was a divorced mother of two young boys with a mother, station wagon and a mortgage. Definitely not my type at all. Despite being honest, loyal and dependable, she was also pigged-headed and stubborn. Although I had to begrudgingly admit that I was as stubborn as she was. We were pretty equally matched in that department.
Sure, she was attractive. I was reminded of that fact often during our first two years of being thrown together by Billy during various cases. Taking one good long look into those enchanting big, wide, naïve, milk-chocolate brown eyes or seeing that beguiling smile of hers being aimed at me, I would momentarily lose myself. It didn’t matter whether she wore an elegant evening gown or simply jeans and a sweatshirt. My mind would go blank and I couldn’t respond to her. Then, I would leave her for no more than a few minutes at a party, and I would return to find some man trying to hit on her or see her dancing with some other guy. It seemed they were drawn to her inner beauty, grace, and kindness. I couldn’t fathom why that even bothered me so much at the time either. Amanda even called me on it a few times. Of course, I never would have admitted that to anyone, least of all myself. I chalked it up to my protective nature because I was the reason she ended up in this business in the first place. Then, she seemed to have this uncanny knack for getting into trouble, even during the simplest of assignments. Someone needed to watch out for her and her family.
However, over the course of three years, I’d come to depend on her and her instincts. Billy kept throwing us together on assignments, and slowly we became associates, good friends, partners and now something more. I can’t even remember when or how it happened because it was a gradual process. It did happen, though. Something deeper began to flourish. Eventually, I found I couldn’t wait until she arrived each day at work, just to see her smile. Her pleasant, upbeat cheerfulness always put me in a good mood, and I found myself smiling back no matter how grumpy I felt. At least that’s what I told myself for the longest time. I knew the scent of her perfume well, and I began longing for that scent even when I wasn’t around her. I found myself taking long, thoughtful looks in her direction. Then, my thoughts began treading into dangerous territory that I’d stifled on several occasions. I began dreaming of her more often, and my imagination was growing increasingly vivid. I knew I wanted to get to know her much better, but I was looking for a road map of how to get there because, for the first time, I was completely lost without any directions to follow. I knew I wanted to kiss her for real. Not under the guise of just some cover kiss or some contrived scenario. I just couldn’t imagine the perfect path in order to accomplish that act. Our relationship was teetering on the edge of a cliff, and I was simply too chicken to go down that untrodden road with Amanda, for fear of falling into the abyss if the road gave way. Yes, we were moving in the right direction, but at a snail’s pace.
Until I sat back and contemplated our current situation, I never would have realized the changes she had made in me. Before Amanda, I was an impulsive hot-head flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. My patience had grown in leaps and bounds with her which included our relationship. I always found myself reaching for her hand, putting my hand in the small of her back or on her elbow to guide and protect her. I would attribute my actions to wanting to provide her safety, security, and to let her know I was there for her, but my continual denials couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I have feelings for her. Lately, I’ve noticed a palpable sense of anticipation when we are together. And now, I believe she does for me as well with her latest little blackmail scheme. At least, I hope she does or my situation could become quite awkward. Regardless, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take at this juncture in our relationship.
Chapter 2: Butterflies are flying
Tonight is the night! It has been four long days, and soon the wait will be over. I purposely set it up for tonight for a few reasons. I wanted time to find any scrap of information necessary to put my plan into motion, enjoy the flirtatiousness of each encounter with Amanda leading up to the date, and hopefully spend the weekend enjoying the results of my fantasy. An agent always has to contemplate his strategy in any given situation and be prepared for the unexpected.
It took persistence and hard work to pull off my little charade, but I’m quite happy with the results. I noticed something else as well; I’m actually nervous. I have been acting like an excited teenager preparing for his first date. So much so, that not only do I have butterflies in my stomach, but my palms are damp. I find it astounding that this woman can make me feel this way. I’m a grown man with more than my fair share of experience in the female department. Maybe it’s because Amanda is not just an ordinary female. She’s my partner, friend and much more. She deserves not only my respect, but my honesty. No other woman has ever made me feel the way that she does.
Staring at my reflection in the mirror, I let the ‘L’ word linger in my mind. I watched as a small smile appeared, and I knew it was true. I do love her. What do I do with that thought? Hopefully, tonight will move things a little closer in the right direction. I’m nowhere near ready to voice that one four letter word to her. I need her to know, though, that I not only want her in my life but I need her. I know I need to tell her soon because I don’t want to lose her. I’ve waited too long already.
Chapter 3: Appraisals
Pulling up to the curb in front of her home, I waited for a beat. I took a few reassuring breaths before exiting my Vette. It only took a dozen or so long strides to make it toward the familiar white door. I took one last breath before knocking. On the third knock, the door slowly opened. I smelled the scent of her perfume before I got a glimpse of her. It reminded me of vanilla beans, moonlit nights and warm tropical breezes, all wrapped up in one. I was intoxicated. Then, I saw her. Dressed in a red dress with spaghetti straps, fitted waist, and just a bit shorter than her work attire, she was a goddess in front of me. My eyes lingered on the sequins that adorned the front of her gown, making it shimmer. Her lips were ruby red, and her hair was pulled up at the sides. She had red matching high heels adorning her feet. I wasn’t very subtle when my eyes raked down over her form, lingering before moving back up to meet her eyes. She was blushing at my appraisal. She simply was gorgeous. My mouth became dry and I swallowed before attempting to speak. Luckily for me, she cleared her throat to gain my attention.
“Amanda, wow, you look gorgeous!” I smiled wide, searching for her reaction. ‘That was smooth, Stetson.’
“Lee, thank you,” she said in a breathy tone.
“Are you ready to go?” I asked, offering her my arm.
She nodded, placing her matching red purse on her other arm as she stepped out the door closing it behind her.
The ride to Spencer’s was a quiet and slightly awkward one. I was deep in thought about my earlier musings regarding our relationship. Each one of us would steal a sideways glance from time to time. There was a humming, electric current buzzing around in the small confines of the car that made my heart speed up and breathing increase. My attempts at conversation were a bit stilted but I had to break the silence. I wonder if she was aware of how nervous I really was. It didn’t stop her from freely and easily responding to me.
“Uh, Amanda,” I began, turning a curious eye in her direction. “Did I mention how beautiful you look tonight?”
She gently glided the fingertips of her left hand on my forearm, and I felt a shudder move through me. “Oh, thank you, Lee.” Her tone was soft and breathy. “You look very handsome yourself,” she added.
My arm tingled where her fingertips had just touched, and I marveled in the reaction she was able to elicit from me with just a touch. I wondered if it was the same for her.
Something about her demeanor still had me a bit off balance. ‘Oh, God, what if she isn’t expecting anything more than dinner, and I push her too far, too fast?’ he worried silently, but then another more hopeful voice argued, ‘She did say we’ll start with dinner and take it from there. What did she mean by that if not moving forward?’
I think the reason for her calm demeanor was that I held expectations for tonight that she was unaware of yet. I reached for her hand that had just touched me earlier and held it in mine while I drove, rubbing my thumb absently over her palm. She had the softest hands, and I needed to touch her.
Once we arrived, I opened the door for her and led her into the establishment. Spencer’s was a small, welcoming restaurant that offered gourmet cuisine wrapped up in a quiet, rustic atmosphere with warm wood tones and crisp linens. Once again, I was reminded of how beautiful a woman she really was. Scanning the room as we walked to our table, I watched several sets of male eyes openly admire her from head to toe. I wrapped an arm around her waist possessively, clenched my teeth as my jaw muscles unconsciously twitched, took a deep breath, and reminded myself that she was here with me tonight.
Chapter 4: Dinner
Dinner was fabulous. We both had small salads for appetizers. I ordered the steak and baked potato, and Amanda ordered the veal parmesan. The Cabernet Sauvignon was a good vintage. Throughout the meal, I tried not to stare as the candlelight reflected off the little gold specks in her nutty-brown eyes as we talked. I noticed how they were almost the same color as the tones of the restaurant. Her cheeks were slightly flushed from the heat of the fire we had been seated next to. After the waiter poured our second glass of spirits, I thought it was time to put my plan into motion. I mustered up my courage and began leading the conversation in my direction.
“So, Amanda, you never did tell me why Francine gave you that picture the other day?” I asked nonchalantly.
When she raised her head from her meal to look at me, it was with a deer-in-the-headlights expression. Mentally patting myself on the back, I couldn’t help gloatingly smiling at her reaction to my question.
“Oh, you know…” she began, waving her hand in the air. She really became animated in conversation when she was reaching for a response. “She just volunteered to show me some of her own personal files similar to J. Edgar’s after we discussed the case. I guess the nature of it reminded her of the ammunition she had stored over the years in case of an emergency,” she replied with a coquettish smile.
She seemed genuinely pleased with her response. I simply nodded my understanding as my grin widened. “Is that so?”
“Oh, Lee, come on now, you know Francine. She always likes to play practical jokes on you,” she continued. Something about the way she said my name did strange things to me. When she drew out the vowels, it made my heartbeat speed up.
Pretending to let the topic slide for a moment, I took a deep breath. Putting on my poker face, I stared directly into her eyes. It appeared as if her breathing sped up a bit, too. I liked that a lot. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out a plain white envelope. Mimicking her movements from earlier in the week, I began swinging the envelope between my fingers as I watched for her reaction.
Initially, I saw curiosity with a trace of fear in her eyes. She masked it well. “What’s that?” she asked, tilting her head slightly to the side.
“Care to take a guess?” I asked coyly.
Amanda nodded towards the envelope and continued to question me. “Is that a new case?”
“Nope, want another stab at it?” I asked knowing this game would be eating at her.
“A thank you note from Agnes?” she tried again.
“Not even close. Tell you what, third time usually is the charm.”
I could tell I was getting under her skin, as she took a moment before saying, “Well, it is in the shape of a ticket. Are we going somewhere?”
I smiled devilishly at her last attempt at feigned innocence. “So this,” looking at the envelope as I waved it as a fan for dramatic effect, “is not a thank you note, a case, or tickets,” I informed her bluntly.
“Are you going to tell me what it is?” she asked with obvious annoyance in her voice. I knew her curiosity would be piqued.
“Just a little something from the Amanda West file.” I narrowed my eyes and watched a myriad of emotions pass over her features. First apprehension, confusion, awareness and what was that actual…fear? Her eyes widened at the implication of my statement.
She really was going to be a great agent. She tried her best to bluff, but I wasn’t buying it one bit. “If you’re suggesting that you have something about me in that envelope, you must be mistaken,” she stated flatly. Her tone was straightforward, but her expression gave her away.
“Oh, I’m not suggesting, Mrs. King. I have definitive evidence,” I stated, my smirk apparent. “Shall we say something from your Kappa days?” I teased her a bit more.
I watched as her eyes told a story. She was running through her past, stopping every now and then to decide if a particular memory was going to get her in trouble. I continued to smile, knowingly. My eyes still narrowed waiting for her response as I enjoyed seeing reminiscence of her youth play across her face.
“What do you have, Lee?” I saw trepidation in her eyes and could hear it in her tone. I didn’t intend to make her uncomfortable. I simply wanted to play the game she began earlier in the week.
I opened the envelope and reached for the photograph. Holding it out to her, I gave her a nice long glance before turning it back towards my eyes. My smug look grew as I heard her intake of breath. She reached for her wine glass and took a healthy sip. “Um, Lee, that’s not what you think. I, um….,” She faltered, trying to explain.
“Go ahead, Amanda, I’m listening,” I stated raising an eyebrow and folding my arms across my chest in anticipation of her explanation. Sitting there waiting, all I could do was grin from ear to ear thinking to myself that two could play this game.
“I was a cheerleader, and I lost a silly bet is all. I had to wear that as a dare. I never even knew there was a picture taken. I’ve never even seen that before,” she protested.
“Oh, I see. That’s very interesting. Sounds just like that picture of me with that silly fruit basket on my head. I had lost a bet too.” I let that thought hang for a minute before continuing, “You know, Amanda, this is a whole new side of you that I never knew,” I said looking at the photograph with obvious admiration. “Hmm, and you know, the Agency didn’t even find this on your last review. I know because I checked,” I admitted, staring longingly at the photo.
She let out a deep defeated breath before speaking again. “Ok, you got me. What do you want for it?” I could see her smirk which told me she caught up with my game.
“Oh this…nothing, It’s free of charge,” I said placing the picture next to her glass of wine. “It’s the negative that’s going to cost you,” I imitated her tone.
“What do you want?” she asked in a deep, throaty tone leaning over the table towards me. I could feel the heat from the blush on my cheeks. Her overt sexuality caught me completely off guard.
I took a moment to collect myself before I responded. “Well, I provided dinner. . . . Sooooo,” I drawled slowly to taunt her. “I thought it only fitting that you provide . . . “I paused for a beat to draw out the suspense as I felt my dimples deepening with the grin I was wearing. “ . . .Dessert?” I asked nonchalantly and as calmly as I could.
I watched her eyes widen as she contemplated my suggestion. “What do you want for dessert?” she inquired cautiously with obvious apprehension as well as to what my answer might be.
Standing from the table, I reached for her hand. “Come dance with me and I’ll tell you my request.” My voice sounded deep and grainy, even to my own ears.
I watched her eyes widen again briefly before she really looked up at me. She took a deep breath, placed her soft warm hand in mine, and nodded as she stood to join me.
Chapter 5: Just dance with me
Once on the dance floor, I took her into my arms. We swayed gently to the soft jazz playing in the background. The feel of her body pressed to mine and the fragrance on her skin began to cloud my mind. I inhaled her scent, lost in the waves of desire and excitement that she elicited in me, just from holding her on the dance floor. Her body seemed to sense my reaction and she molded herself even more snugly to me. As the song ended, nervous anticipation nearly rendered speech impossible.
“Amanda,” I breathed against her ear. My chest rose and fell heavily awaiting her response.
“Yes,” she breathed, pulling her head back slightly to look at me quizzically.
“Dessert,” I whispered, looking deeply in her eyes. She blinked, and appeared unsure of my gentle demand.
I smiled as I slowly leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. She stiffened momentarily, and I hesitated. As I felt her relax, I claimed her lips again hearing her gasp as I did. It was as if I’d never really kissed a woman before. Every nerve ending in my entire body was focused on the connection, and I wanted more. I dreamed of kissing her for so long, but they all paled in comparison to the real thing. I pressed my tongue gently along her bottom lip until she opened her mouth and invited me in. As I clung to her for dear life, I vaguely remembered in the recesses of my mind where we were, and what we were doing. I could have easily lost control in the middle of that dance floor. Kissing Amanda in public was simply a dangerous thing for me to do. She was too responsive to me, and I to her.
Breaking apart from her was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. It seemed to go against nature, made even more difficult when a whimper escaped her as I nipped at her lower lip.
Pulling back, my gaze roamed over her face, searching for any sign that she hadn’t enjoyed the kiss as much as I did. What I found was mesmerizing. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes sparkling amber, and her chest rose and fell rapidly.
She looked embarrassed when the kiss ended. “I’m sorry,” I stammered, “I didn’t mean to attack you on the dance floor like that,” I said awkwardly like I was some school boy who just had his first kiss.
She placed a gentle hand on my cheek, and took a deep breath before replying, “I’ve waited so long for you to do that.”
“We do have a lot to talk about,” I assured her. There was no denying us or that kiss any longer. “but not here and not now,” I added.
She nodded and smiled then, her breathing finally evening out like my own. “I didn’t know if you were going to enjoy my idea for dessert as much as you did,” I confessed.
Leave it to Amanda to lighten the mood at exactly the right time. “I remember the very first time you kissed me. The coach asked if I enjoyed my work. Do you remember my reply?” she asked.
I exploded in laughter drawing a few eyes in our direction. “Yeah, you said, ‘yes, very much.’” And with that, I gently glided her off the dance floor.
“We really should get going, Lee. It’s awfully late and we both have to be in early tomorrow.” Amanda stated as we returned to our table.
I nodded in agreement while signaling the waiter for the check.
Chapter 6: First Steps
As I led her into the back yard, I once again pulled her into my arms? “Any dessert leftover for seconds?” I wiggled my eyebrows suggestively at her.
She smiled up at me and placed her palm against my face again. Her touch was mesmerizing. “There’s plenty more where that came from,” she whispered, placing a gentle kiss on my lips. I hugged her then, and breathed in her scent once more.
“Are you free again tomorrow evening?” I murmured against her ear.
She pulled back and looked at me. Trust and something else I couldn’t quite decipher in her eyes. “I can be for you,” she said without hesitation.
“Good. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
She smiled shyly as a slight blush crept upon her cheeks that were visible in the moonlight. “Night, Lee. I had a wonderful time,” she said and then disappeared quickly inside as her mother began calling for her. I could tell she meant it. As I turned to leave, it made my heart swell knowing that we both took our first steps down the same path together.