"You're sounding like a jealous person!" Amanda King accused the obviously angry secret agent, Lee Stetson, who stood in front of her.
Lee couldn't believe his ears. "I am not j…" he began indignantly.
"You have no right to act like a jealous person!" Amanda interrupted in no mood to hear his denial. Her own anger was fast rising with each second and Lee looked at her in astonishment as she suddenly grabbed the bugged brooch from his hand and took the microphone out.
"What are you.." was all he managed to get out before the microphone was shoved back into his hand and Amanda, continuing her tirade said, "Here. Look. You just take this little thing, get it out of my life! Go back in your truck and do whatever you're doing and don't eavesdrop on me!"
Lee looked down at the microphone in his hand in bewilderment and turned away from her in an effort to compose himself. "Now, wait a minute. Just…" he had tried to cut in, but Amanda, having touched up her hair, reattached the now 'debugged' brooch and walked angrily out of the door leaving him on his own.
Not realising that Amanda had gone, Lee turned around and said her name in a last ditch effort to get her attention. He stopped in surprise when he saw a strange woman staring at him with her mouth open and looking extremely worried. Almost immediately, Lee recovered and made up an excuse for him being in the ladies' room. "This isn't the kitchen!" he exclaimed in mock surprise. "I've been duped! I demand to see the chef! Excuse me, please." He then hurriedly brushed passed the astounded woman and out of the room.
As soon as he reached the main restaurant, he saw Amanda. She had just sat down opposite James Delano, the man who she was supposed to be diverting for the evening so that the Agency could check out his house for incriminating information.
Lee's eyes narrowed as he saw Delano reach over and take hold of Amanda's hand then raise it slowly to his lips. Amanda's smile for Delano faltered as she suddenly noticed Lee watching her across the room. Angry eyes clashed as they held each others gaze until Delano said something to Amanda which made her look back at him and smile again.
Lee's jaw tightened in aggravation and he strode rapidly out of the restaurant and over to the stakeout van across the street. He yanked open the door and jumped inside then slammed it behind him.
"Of all the stubborn, frustrating, troublesome women…," he raged to the other agent who had been awaiting his return. "…I have to get stuck with her."
Lee threw the microphone down on the small makeshift table next to the sound equipment and raked his fingers roughly through his hair. "You heard all that I suppose?" he asked his colleague. The agent nodded.
"I mean, all I was trying to do was give her a piece of valuable agenting advice about getting too close to the job, right?" Lee asked looking at his colleague. The other agent quietly nodded his agreement.
"It's one of the first things we're taught, right?" Lee again looked for a response and the agent nodded silently.
"So, tell me, why, after all my friendly words of caution, did she blow up like that and walk off like I'm the one in the wrong here?"
The other agent sighed and got up from his seat to make his way into the front cab of the van in preparation to drive off. As he passed Lee, he patted him consolingly on the shoulder and, unable to keep the grin off of his face any longer, he replied, "Perhaps it's because you sounded like a jealous person, Scarecrow."
Lee glared at the other man and angrily shrugged off his arm. "Very funny, Parkes," he said disdainfully, the other man's laughter grating on his nerves even more. "Just get us out of here."
Parkes started the van and they drove back to Amanda's, 'Victoria Greenwich' house. Once there, Lee went into the lounge and poured himself a drink. He wandered around the room with the glass in his hand, looking at the different pictures and ornaments then finally sat down to wait for Amanda's return.
The wait gave him plenty of time to reflect, not only on his row with Amanda but about his whole treatment of her during this case. With a pang of guilt, he realised that he hadn't been the nicest person to her. Right from the beginning he just couldn't believe that Delano would actually be interested in Amanda. She was 'just' a homemaker after all, not someone who mixed in Delano's circles and certainly not someone to engage the attentions of a notorious playboy.
Delano had proved him wrong however and although it had surprised him, it hadn't surprised his superior, Billy Melrose. As he idly swirled the contents of his glass, Lee thought it strange that both Billy and Delano could easily see what he, although working closely with Amanda, had somehow missed. No not missed, he amended, just ignored. Amanda was, in fact, a very attractive, intelligent and caring woman. Why wouldn't Delano want to see her again? Lee certainly had, for all his outward objections to Billy. There was something about Amanda that intrigued him from the first.
Lee took a sip from his glass and leaned back further into his chair wondering what was going on at the restaurant. No doubt, Delano was continuing to flatter Amanda, trying to win her over. 'Can't she see through the guy for heaven's sake? Hell, I had better lines than that in kindergarten,' he thought to himself derisively and took another sip of his drink.
The picture of Delano kissing Amanda's hand flashed into his mind and he was surprised at the force of anger that accompanied the image. Shifting uncomfortably in his chair, Amanda's words came back to haunt him, "You're sounding like a jealous person."
The accusation, he realised now, had hit far too close to the mark for his liking. He knew that he hadn't liked the way Delano had come on to Amanda but, he had convinced himself that was only because he didn't want her to get involved with a suspect.
Feelings could get an agent killed quicker than anything else and he didn't want to see her get into any trouble. He was responsible for her and that's all he felt - responsible. Nevertheless, her accusation had startled him and although he had denied it then, a little piece of him now acknowledged that he'd been lying to himself as well as her.
But jealousy meant feelings and feelings meant complications. That wasn't good. Best thing for him was to carry on treating her as just an acquaintance. Don’t let the guard fall and be too nice, just keep her at arms length. Indifference. ‘That’s it,’ he thought determindly, ‘just be indifferent to her from now on. She’s not going to stay around much longer anyway. Once the novelty of being a 'spy' has worn off and she's come into contact with some of the nastier elements in the business, she’s going to leave the Agency.’ He frowned. ‘And me,’ he added as an afterthought.
A sudden emptiness filled him and, unwilling to acknowledge it, he stood up to stretch his legs, trying to think of something…anything, else to fill the void. As he took another sip of his drink, he heard the sound of a car pulling up outside. He went to the window and pulled back the curtains slightly to look outside. It was Delano's limo.
Lee stood there trying to see what was happening. "Come on, come on," he mumbled out loud. "What's taking you so long?" The thought struck that they were probably kissing. It was the usual way to end a date and it bothered him like hell. "Stupid tinted windows," he moaned, not at all happy that he couldn’t see into the car.
The limo door finally opened and Amanda got out. Lee watched as she climbed the steps and paused, turning to look at the limo, then turning back and entering the house. He stepped back from the window and hesitated before going out into the hallway. He heard Mary and Frederick, the two undercover agents, asking for the jewellery back and Amanda's uncertain voice replying as she complied. He walked over to the doorway and stood there unnoticed by her as she handed over the brooch and signed the form that Frederick held out for her.
As he watched her, he couldn’t stop a tender smile forming on his face. Mary and Frederick walked away and Lee said the first thing that entered his head as he looked at her lovely, yet lonely figure. "It’s way after midnight, Cinderella."
He saw her jump in surprise, then smile and ask what he was doing there. He couldn’t help but chuckle at himself as he walked over to her, knowing he wouldn’t be able to leave until he knew exactly what had happened between Delano and her that evening. So much for avoiding complications, he’d start being indifferent tomorrow.
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