The True Season of Love (Part 2)
Author: Ilana and Kathy
Summary: Lee and Amanda's first anniversary and a renewal of their wedding vows
Timeline: Season 5
Ilana's Notes: I would like to thank my two partners in crime, Kathy and Jenny for all of their support and feedback. I could not have done this without all of their help and friendship! YOU GALS ARE THE BEST!!! I would also like to thank my wonderful beta readers Shelly and Sybil for making this episode a work of art. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow SMK5 team members for all of their encouragement and support. This is the best project that I have ever worked on and I could not have done it without them.
Kathy's Notes: First, I would like to thank my partner, Ilana. I could not have done this without her encouragement, patience and friendship. I would also like to send a special thank you to Jenny, Shelly, Sybil and Emma. You were always there when I needed some feedback or advice and you have helped make this story what it is. Lastly, but certainly not least, are our fellow SMK5 team members. You have made this project a joy to be a part of.
Other Notes: There is a slight timeline deviation in this part. It was to use a song that really fit the circumstances and we hope you'll agree. The song is "Taking You Home" by Don Henley. Also, you have to pretend that it's an unseasonably warm February in Washington.
You will also note that the Judge from Marion has been named Judge Thompson.
Disclaimers: This story is meant for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended on any of the following items, including Scarecrow and Mrs. King, the various poems, songs, and ceremony text listed below.
"Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and its characters are owned by Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. We retain the right to the plot.
The poem, "The True Season of Love", was written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The beginning poem in the wedding ceremony
is "Always Love Each Other" written by Larry S. Chengges. This poem can be found
on Wendy's Home Page at
I would recommend this site to anyone who enjoys poetry.
I would like to acknowledge the section regarding the exchanging of the wedding rings was found at http://www.foothillschapel.com.
The Apache Wedding Prayer whose author is unknown was found at http://www.yourweddingplan.com.
"Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" was written by James P. Dunne and Pamela Phillips. It was performed by Whitney Houston and Jermaine Jackson on her album, "Whitney Houston"
"Taking You Home" was written by Don Henley, Stan Lynch and Stuart Brawley. It was performed by Don Henley and appears on his album, "Inside Job".
"Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You" was written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin. It was performed by Glenn Medieros on his self-titled album.
Feedback: Is welcome, encouraged, and appreciated. We're more than willing to hear what others have to say about this episode in order to improve - thanks.
Any comments, suggestions, etc. regarding the Season 5 project can be made by joining the Yahoo Group, SMK5Comments, or by sending an email to SMK5@smkfans.com. Thank you.
Maplewood Drive - Thursday morning
"Boys, your ride will be here soon. Come eat your breakfast," Amanda called from the kitchen.
Phillip and Jamie came downstairs and sat down at the kitchen table. As they were quickly eating their cereal, Amanda, rushing upstairs to get ready for work, reminded them, "And fellas, don't forget that Lee's going to pick you up after school so you can go pick up your tuxedo's."
Phillip and Jamie just rolled their eyes and shook their heads.
Lee, who was sitting across from them at the table, saw their reaction and said, "Don't be too hard on your mother. She just wants everything to be perfect for Saturday."
"We know," Phillip responded, "but, she may drive us crazy by then." The three men in her life all shared a laugh.
Maplewood Drive - late Thursday evening
"Lee, there's something that I need to ask you," Amanda said reluctantly.
"What is it?" Lee asked as he walked back into the living room.
"I think you know from our wedding plans,
that following tradition is very important to Mother and to me."
"Of course, I do." Lee returned to his seat beside Amanda on the sofa.
"It's very difficult for me to ask this of you, especially after all we've been through to get to this point but......would you mind spending tomorrow night at Billy's?" Amanda couldn't look him in the eye.
Lee looked sympathetically at her, knowing how hard it was for her to ask that question. He smiled and raised her chin with his right hand, so she'd be forced to look him in the eye. "Amanda, you know I'd do anything in the world for you, but you have to make me a promise first."
"What's that, Sweetheart?"
"You have to promise me that this will be the last time that we'll be apart ever again," Lee said seriously.
"Believe me, I don't *want* to be apart from
you, either, so, of course, I promise!" Amanda replied happily. "Thank you."
Lee pulled Amanda into a warm embrace and kissed her. As the intensity of their kisses increased, Lee suddenly pulled away and said passionately, "Well, if this is my last night with you until our wedding night, I'm going to make it count." Lee stood and swept Amanda up into his arms. He carried Amanda up the stairs and into their bedroom where, as always, they succumbed to their undying passion for one another.
Maplewood Drive - Friday night at 11:30 p.m.
Amanda had gone to bed early, trying to get a good night's rest before her 'big' day tomorrow. She just lay there trying with all her might to fall asleep, but it was difficult without her husband lying beside her. After tossing and turning for an hour, she finally fell into a deep sleep.
Suddenly, there was a familiar noise outside the window. Lee knew how Amanda liked to keep the window open just a crack, so he was sure that he could 'sneak' into their bedroom.
He put his hand through the opening and pushed up on the window.
Amanda awoke suddenly to the creaking of the window opening. She was startled, until she saw Lee reflected in the moonlight.
"Lee," Amanda spoke in a whisper, "what are
you doing here?"
"What's it look like? I'm trying to get in the window!" Lee responded as he continued straining to climb into the room.
Amanda rose from the bed, and walked over to the window to help pull Lee in.
"Lee," Amanda pleaded, "you can't see me
before the wedding."
He took Amanda into his arms and said, "Amanda, look at the clock, it's still the night before our wedding."
Seeing that he was right, she relaxed into his embrace.
"I still don't understand why you're here, but I'm glad to see you. It's been torture trying to sleep without you lying next to me," she responded as she ran her hands up his back.
He stepped away from her and led her over the bed to sit down.
"Amanda, there is something that I wanted to give you," Lee said as he knelt on the floor next to her.
Amanda stroked the side of his face. "Lee, you've already given me everything I've ever dreamed of."
"No, Amanda," Lee solemnly replied. "It's
you that have given me everything...and more."
For a brief moment, they just continued looking in each other's eyes. No words were necessary to express the love they felt for one another.
Lee reached into his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. He handed the box to Amanda. She slowly opened it and gasped at what she saw inside.
"Oh, my gosh, Lee, they're beautiful...and, they match my necklace!" Amanda responded as she pulled the earrings from the box. "Where did you get them?"
"I had them made especially for you," Lee
explained. "Fortunately, one of my 'family' is a jeweler." Lee hesitated for a
moment, "Consider them a gift from me and your father."
Amanda got teary-eyed as she recalled the Christmas her father gave her the necklace. "How'd you know?"
He reached up and brushed away the stray
tear that rolled down her cheek. "I asked your mother. I told her that I wanted
to have matching earrings made for you and wanted to get her opinion first. She
told me that the necklace was a gift from your father the Christmas before he
died, and that the earrings would mean a lot to you."
"Oh, Darling, they do mean a lot to me 'cause they're from you...and Daddy." Amanda leaned down and softly kissed him. "When Daddy gave me the necklace, he said that whenever I wore it, I was to remember how much he loved me. Now, I'll think of both of the men I love!"
Lee pulled her into his arms and hugged her. He whispered in her ear, "I was hoping that you could use these as your 'something new' for our wedding tomorrow."
She tightened her hold of him and responded, "I love you so much, Sweetheart!"
"I love you too, Amanda...more than anything!" Lee kissed her tenderly, and then, looked at his watch, "I've gotta get outta here. It's almost midnight!" Lee stood to leave.
Amanda walked with him to the window. "I wish you didn't have to leave."
"I do too, Amanda," he said as he started out the window and onto the trellis, "but like you said, it is tradition and who couldn't use all the good luck they could get, huh?"
"I know, but I'll miss you," Amanda said as she gave him one more kiss.
Lee smiled, "I'll miss you too, but after tomorrow, we'll never be apart again."
Amanda watched from the window as Lee climbed down the trellis and was gone. She whispered, "Until tomorrow, my Love."
Maplewood Drive - Saturday morning
The brilliance of the early morning sun cascaded through the window of Amanda's bedroom, awakening its sole occupant.
Amanda yawned and rubbed the remnants of sleep from her eyes. She smiled as she replayed in her mind the prior night's late rendezvous with Lee, and the excitement of what was to take place today.
"Amanda!" Dotty called from outside the bedroom door, breaking into her sweet reverie. "Time to get up, Dear."
"Coming, Mother." Amanda stretched as she got out of bed and put on her robe. She opened the door for her mother, and ushered her into the room.
Dotty observed her daughter before sitting on the bed. "You look radiant, Dear, simply radiant."
"Thank you, Mother," Amanda returned with a shy smile as she sat down next to her.
"So how is my son-in-law doing?" Dotty asked nonchalantly.
Amanda looked at her mother in confusion. "Whatever do you mean, Mother? I haven't seen Lee since dinner, yesterday."
Dotty chuckled. "When I went out to get the newspaper this morning, I noticed that one of the bushes by the trellis was a bit damaged, and the footprints just happen to be from a rather tall man. There is only one tall man that I know and love," Dotty said looking at her daughter with a teasing grin. "Now, don't give me the excuse that the Ferguson's dog got loose again because I'm not buying it."
"Mother, I..." Amanda said, flustered as a slight blush formed on her cheeks.
"Amanda, I think that Lee is a very romantic man. He obviously missed you last night. I do hope; however, that he left before midnight. We don't need any bad luck today," she admitted.
"I'll plant a new bush for you when we return from our honeymoon," Amanda offered in surrender.
"No need, Sweetheart," she said laying a gentle hand on Amanda's arm. "I can see it written all over your face how much you love him. I remember the day you married Joe. You were so nervous. I don't see that today, Amanda. You seem much more confident, and happier than I have ever seen you."
"What's there not to be happy about? I'm marrying the man I love more than anything in the world," Amanda said honestly. "He completes me, Mother, and when he's not with me, I feel empty inside."
"Not to mention that he is the most handsome man that I have ever met," Dotty added.
"Mother?" Amanda gasped in surprise.
"I have eyes, Amanda. It's hard not to
notice how handsome he is. He has the most amazing eyes and those dimples."
Dotty placed a hand over her heart and closed her eyes. "With just one smile, I
would do whatever he wanted," Dotty's voice trailed off as she realized where
she was heading. Collecting her thoughts she added, "You've definitely picked
yourself a winner, Amanda."
Amanda smiled. "Well, I seem to recall you saying the same thing about Dean."
"I was definitely wrong about Dean," Dotty returned confidentially. "Sure, Dean loved you and the boys, but I never saw you look at Dean the way you look at Lee. He loves you, so much, Amanda, and the boys are crazy about him. You can see it by the way he looks at you. I used to look at your father that way." Dotty looked away from her daughter and into her memories.
Amanda put her arm around her mother and held her. "I love you, Mother!"
"I love you, too, Darling!" Dotty broke the embrace and reached into her pocket. She pulled out an antique hairpin and held it for Amanda to see. "Amanda, my mother gave this to me when I married your father, and I would like you to wear it today."
Amanda took the pin from her mother's hand and embraced her again. "Mother, it's lovely. Thank you."
"You're welcome, Sweetheart." Dotty pulled from her embrace and stood up from the bed. Taking Amanda's hand she led her towards the door. "Now, how about we go downstairs before the boys tear up the kitchen."
Amanda nodded and followed her mother downstairs.
Melrose Residence - Saturday Morning
"Rise and shine, Lee!" Billy called from outside the bedroom where Lee had spent the night.
Lee turned in his sleep, draping his arm over the side of the bed that his wife normally slept on. He awoke upon hearing Billy's growling voice and realized that his arm was touching dead air. He chuckled to himself as he realized how much Amanda was a part of him now, and how empty he felt when she wasn't around.
Billy knocked on Lee's door when he didn't show himself.
"Hold on, Billy," Lee answered as he got out of bed and put on his robe. "Come in," he announced to his boss and good friend.
"Good morning, Lee!" Billy greeted as he entered the room.
"Morning, Billy!" Lee returned as he sat down on the bed.
"How did you sleep?" Billy asked curiously.
"As well as I could without my wife," he replied honestly. "I never realized how used to having Amanda sleep beside me I was until she wasn't there, Billy."
Billy chuckled and gave Lee a glowing smile as he sat down next to him. "I never thought I would ever see the day that you were so committed to one woman, Scarecrow."
"I just needed to meet the right woman, Billy."
"I knew Amanda was the right woman for you the minute I saw you two together. She is your equal, Lee," Billy admitted.
"Thanks, Billy, for everything." Lee leaned over and gave him a friendly hug. When they parted he added, "I don't know what I would've done without you all of those years before Amanda came into my life. You've been like a father to me, Billy."
Billy stood up and headed towards the door. "Come on, let's get downstairs before Jeannie sends out the militia." Billy Melrose was not a very emotional man by any standards, but Lee's words touched him a great deal.
"I'm right behind you, Billy." Lee said as he followed him out the door.
Maplewood Drive - Saturday afternoon
Amanda was in the bathroom, trying to fix her hair, when there was a knock at her bedroom door. The door opened slightly, "Amanda?"
"Come in, Francine," Amanda called.
Francine entered the room and walked towards Amanda's voice.
"I was going to ask what I could help you with, but now I can see for myself," Francine said with a slight laugh as she walked into the bathroom.
"Oh, please! My hair just won't cooperate - today of all days," Amanda replied, exasperated.
Francine reached for Amanda's brush, "Don't
worry, Amanda. I'll help you."
Thirty minutes later, with Francine's help, her hair and makeup were perfect.
As they walked into the bedroom, Francine
pointed to the corner of the room. "Amanda, I meant to ask you when I came in,
what is *that* doing in your bedroom?"
"Oh, Francine," Amanda laughed, "Lee gave that to me."
"Lee? You've got to be kidding!" Francine replied in disbelief.
"No, I'm not. But it isn't like he won it for me at the carnival, Francine." Amanda chuckled and continued the story. "It was shortly after we met. We were watching a Russian boy, Alexi, while we searched for his kidnapped parents."
Francine searched her memory, "Oh, yeah. I remember him."
"Well, Lee was trying to make friends with Alexi, so he bought him all kinds of toys and video games. One of the things he bought was that panda bear. I remember telling Lee that he could buy my affections with it 'cause he was just gorgeous.' After the case was over, I was having dinner with my boyfriend, Dean, when the doorbell rang. When I opened the front door that li'l fella was sitting on my front porch, and I heard a car speeding away. I never said anything to Lee about it."
Francine was astonished. "My God, Amanda. Lee was a different person with you, even back then."
Amanda looked Francine in the eye. "You
know, there wasn't anything between us back then. As a matter of fact, Lee
treated me pretty badly in those early days."
"Yeah, he did, but look at you now."
"I know, Francine. I can hardly believe it myself."
Francine decided to bare her soul to her friend. "Amanda, I was really jealous of you when you started at the Agency. I mean, you were a civilian with no training, and you started working with our best agent, just like that. " She snapped her fingers in midair to indicate how she felt. "I was pretty angry in the beginning. But you've really become a good agent...and a good friend. Lee is lucky to have found you."
Amanda embraced her friend. "Thank you,
Francine. That means so much to me."
At that moment, Emily and Penny appeared at the doorway. Emily spoke, "So, Amanda, are you ready to get dressed?"
Amanda turned to Emily and simply replied, "Absolutely!"
As the trio started helping Amanda into her gown, Penny asked, "So, Amanda, do you have your something old, new, borrowed, and blue for luck?"
Amanda turned her head to look at Penny,
"Well, let's see. I have the necklace my father gave me for the old, the
earrings Lee had made for me for the new, and I have a hairpin that my mother
loaned to me, but I don't have anything blue."
"Oh, I took care of that for you." Francine went to her purse and pulled out a blue garter.
Francine handed the garter to Amanda. As Amanda twirled the garter on her finger, she smiled and stated, "It looks like we've got it covered now. Thanks, Francine."
"You're welcome, Amanda. Now, let's get you into that gown."
Forty-five minutes later, Emily, Penny, and Francine admired the bride.
"Amanda, you look just beautiful," Emily said, and Penny and Francine concurred.
Penny looked at her watch. "It's almost time." She looked to Emily and Francine and said, "We should leave Amanda alone for a few minutes."
As they turned to leave the room, Amanda spoke, "Thank you, so much, for everything."
They all smiled and Emily replied, "We'll
see you downstairs."
Amanda walked to the mirror, and was lost in her thoughts for a few moments, when there was a knock at the door.
"Come in," Amanda replied.
The door opened and Phillip and Jamie entered the room. Phillip was the first to speak, "Oh, Mom, you look incredible."
Jamie quickly interjected, "Yeah, Mom, just great."
Amanda walked over to her sons, "Thanks, fellas. Is it time?"
"Almost," Phillip said. "Jamie and I wanted to talk to you for a minute, first."
"What is it, boys?" Amanda curiously replied.
Phillip began, "Well, Mom, we just wanted to tell you that we're happy that you and Lee found each other. We can see how happy you are."
Jamie continued, "And, Mom, we're really glad that Lee's a part of our family."
Amanda was fighting tears with this outpouring of love from her sons. She put her arms around them, "I love you both, so much!"
Phillip and Jamie replied in unison, "We love you, too, Mom."
The guests had all been seated, and Judge Thompson took his position under the latticework arch covered with lilies that had been built especially for the ceremony. There were also vases of lilies placed on small tables on either side of the arch.
Lee, with Billy by his side, took his position to the right of the Judge. The men were both dressed in black tuxedos with a red carnation on their lapel.
As the music began, Francine stepped from the house, and with her bouquet of lilies, began the walk down the red carpet that had been laid down the aisle. As she walked, she recalled how Amanda had asked that her matron of honor and bridesmaids choose a dress in a soft red hue in whatever style they preferred. Fortunately, she had just purchased a new designer gown that was perfect for the occasion.
As Francine reached her destination, she gave Lee a bright smile, and took her position to the left of the arch.
Penny started walking down the aisle, and as she did so, she recalled when she first met Lee and Amanda. She remembered 'accusing' Amanda of having a 'thing' with Lee. Penny thought, 'they may not have been having a relationship then, but look at them now'. As she reached the makeshift altar, she, too, flashed a smile to Lee and took her position beside Francine.
As Emily began walking down the aisle, she thought of the escapades that she had shared with Lee and Amanda, and how she knew they belonged together. 'It does my heart good to see them as happy as Charles and I are.' As she arrived at the altar, she reached her hand to Lee and gave his hand a squeeze before assuming her place next to Penny.
Phillip and Jamie, followed by Amanda, descended the stairs and walked through the living room to the patio doors. Phillip and Jamie opened the doors, and Amanda took in the transformation of the backyard.
As Lee heard the wedding march begin, he looked up the aisle and what he saw literally look his breath away. Amanda was looking directly into his eyes, and she just positively beamed with happiness.
As Lee continued to gaze at her, he said under his breath, loud enough for Billy to hear, "How did she get it?" Out of the corner of his left eye, he saw a small grin appear on Billy's face.
Wednesday, February 3, 1988
Amanda walked through the bullpen and knocked on her boss's door.
Billy motioned for her to enter his office.
Amanda opened the door and asked, "Sir,
can I speak to you for a moment?"
Billy motioned to the chair in front of his desk and replied, "Of course, Amanda. Please, sit down." When she was comfortably seated, he continued, "What can I do for you?"
"Well, Sir, I need your help with something for my wedding."
Billy got up and walked to the front of his desk, "Amanda, you know I think of you and Lee as family, so I'll do anything I can to help you both."
"Do you remember when Lee and I went on that honeymoon cruise and pretended to get married in San Angelo a few years ago?"
Billy looked at Amanda, admittedly a little confused, but said, "Yes, I do. Why?"
Amanda continued, "The gown I wore was
purchased by the Agency, but it was torn during the case 'cause I had to jump
out of a car wearing it. I know Lee and I brought it back with us, but do you
know if the Agency kept it?"
"Yeah, I believe so, Amanda." Billy replied, realizing what she wanted. "You want to have the dress for your wedding, right?"
"Yes, Sir," Amanda replied hopefully. "I don't know exactly how to explain it. When we had to get 'married' and shared a kiss, there was something between us at that moment. I guess for me, that was one of the first times that I really realized that I had feelings for Lee, and I'd like to wear that dress."
Billy smiled at her, "Honestly, Amanda,
you don't have to explain anything to me. I knew from the first time I saw you
both together, that there could be something special between you, if you'd just
let it happen."
"I know, Sir. I'm just glad it finally did," Amanda responded with a smile.
"Me, too," Billy replied. "Let me make a
phone call, Amanda."
Amanda remained seated, and daydreamed about her upcoming wedding, while Billy called about the dress.
He wasn't on the phone long. He looked to her and said, "Amanda, the dress was kept. It was repaired by a local seamstress and has been in storage ever since. Just go see Leatherneck and he'll get it for you."
Amanda jumped from the chair and embraced her boss, "Oh, thank you, Sir!"
Billy pulled back from her embrace, grinned at her, and replied, "You're welcome, Amanda. Just consider it a gift from your Agency family."
Lee watched as Phillip and Jamie slowly escorted their mother down the aisle and stopped just short of where he was standing.
Judge Thompson then began the ceremony. "We are gathered here today to celebrate love, and to witness the joyous union of Lee and Amanda in marriage. If there is anyone who has cause why this couple should not be united in marriage, they must speak now or forever hold their peace."
The guests remained completely silent.
The Judge continued, "Who is it that brings this woman to this man?"
Phillip and Jamie responded simultaneously, "We do." Amanda leaned down, gave each of her sons a kiss and whispered, "I love you."
Lee took Amanda's hand and led her forward, to his side, as Phillip and Jamie took their place beside Billy.
They turned to face the Judge, "Lee and Amanda, I found a poem that I thought would be appropriate for you on this day. It is entitled, "Always Love Each Other". If you can always be as close and happy as today, yet be secure enough to grow and change along the way. If you can keep for you alone your love as man and wife, yet find the time to share your joy with others in your life. If you can be as one and walk through marriage hand in hand, yet still support the goals and dreams that each of you have planned. If you can dare to always go your separate ways together, then all the wonder of today will stay with you forever."
The Judge turned to Lee. "Lee, do you take Amanda to be your wife? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her?"
Lee turned to look at Amanda. "You bet I do." They grinned at one another.
The Judge looked to Amanda. "Amanda, do you take Lee to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect him, forsaking all others and holding only unto him?"
Amanda turned to Lee and with a brilliant smile responded, "I do."
"Lee and Amanda also wanted to say something special to each other." Amanda turned to hand her bouquet of lilies to Emily, as the Judge nodded for Lee to begin.
Lee turned to face Amanda and took a hold of her hands. "Amanda, you came into my life, shall I say, a little unexpectedly," Lee grinned as he briefly recalled the day they met. "Slowly, you became an important part of my life and, now, you *are* my life. You've given me a real home, and a family that I haven't had in a very long time. I promise to love and cherish you and our family for all the days of my life."
Amanda smiled, tightened her grip on Lee's
hands, and began, "Lee, we had a rocky start to our relationship." Lee nodded
his acknowledgement. "But there was something in your eyes that constantly drew
me to you. It took us both a long time to realize our feelings for one another,
but the day you told me you loved me was the happiest day of my life - until we
got married, of course." They smiled at each other. "I know that you are truly
my soul mate and that we were meant to be together - forever."
They had previously decided that they would alternate reading the verses of the poem Dotty told them about, with Lee going first.
"That is the true season of love."
"When we believe that we alone can love."
"That no one could ever have loved so before us."
"And that no one will ever love in the same
way after us."
As they finished their vows to one another, the soloist began the song they selected.
Like a candle
Love is glowing in your eyes
A flame to light our way
That burns brighter everyday
But now I have you
Nobody loves me like you do
Like a leaf
Upon the wind
I could find a place to land
I dream the hours away
And wonder everyday
Do dreams come true
Nobody loves me like you do
What if I never met you
Where would I be right now
Funny how life just falls in place somehow
Ooh you touched my heart in places
That I never even knew
Cuz nobody loves me like you do
Mm I was words without a tune
I was a song still unsung
Poem with no rhyme
A dancer out of time
But now there's you
Nobody loves me like you do
What if I never met you
Where would I be right now
Funny how life just falls in place somehow
Ooh you touched my heart in places
That I never even knew
Nobody loves me like you do
Nobody loves me
Nobody loves me like you do
There were no dry eyes among the guests as the song ended. Lee looked at Amanda and saw tears falling down her cheeks. With the palm of his hand, he wiped the tears from her delicate face before they faced the Judge.
The Judge continued the ceremony. "Wedding rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love, for they have no beginning, or end."
Billy pulled Amanda's ring from his pocket and handed it to Lee. Lee then turned to Amanda and took her left hand. He placed the ring on her finger, "I, Lee, take thee Amanda, to be my Wife. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise my love to you and only you."
Amanda turned to get Lee's ring from Emily. She took Lee's left hand and placed the ring on his finger, "I, Amanda, take thee Lee, to be my Husband. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise my love to you and only you."
They held hands as they looked towards the Judge. "Lee and Amanda, the rings you have given to one another are symbols of your commitment to one another, but they are also more. For today, you are also making a commitment to Phillip and Jamie. Today you are pledging your love to them as well, committing to them that you will create a family together. Let the perfect circle of the wedding ring embrace Phillip and Jamie, as well as, the two of you. For our children are gifts entrusted to us."
"Lee and Amanda asked me to close their ceremony with the Apache Wedding Prayer. Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your togetherness. And may your days be good and long upon the earth."
"By the power vested in me, by the Commonwealth of Virginia, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Lee, you may now kiss your bride."
"With pleasure," Lee said happily as he took his wife into his arms, and gave her the most passionate kiss he had ever given her. When they finally came up for air, they were both breathless.
Lee and Amanda shook hands with the Judge before turning towards their guests.
"It is my honor to present, Mr. & Mrs. Lee Stetson," the Judge announced, causing thunderous applause to erupt from the guests.
Amanda turned towards her sons and hugged them both, while Lee shook hands with Billy.
When Amanda pulled away from the boys, Lee hugged both boys, while Amanda hugged Billy.
Lee and Amanda started to walk back up the aisle, arm in arm, but first they stopped at the front row where Dotty, Colonel Clayton, and Barney were seated together. After exchanging hugs and kisses with their family, they proceeded to walk up the aisle followed closely by Phillip and Jamie.
I had a good life
Before you came
I had my friends and my freedom
I had my name
Still there was sorrow and emptiness
'Til you made me glad
Oh and this love I've found strength I never knew I had
And this love
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love
I'm taking you home
Taking you home
There were days, lonely days
When the world wouldn't throw me a crumb
But I kept on believin'
That this day would come
And this love
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love
I'm taking you home
I'm taking you home
Where we can be with the ones who really care
Home, where we can grow together
Keep you in my heart forever
And this love
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand love
I'm taking you home
I'm taking you home
Yes I am
Taking you home
Taking you home, baby
I'm taking you home
As they approached the patio doors, Lee swept Amanda up into his arms to carry her over the threshold and into their home.
Once across the threshold, Lee gave her a squeeze and reluctantly placed her feet back down on the floor. They turned and motioned for Phillip and Jamie to join them. There, in the living room of their home, the four of them shared a warm family embrace, looking forward to the life they were going to share together.
"Alone at last!" Lee announced happily to his beautiful wife who was wrapped in his loving arms as they sat on their bed.
"We're hardly alone, Lee." Amanda pointed out, turning her attention towards the sound of activity coming from downstairs. "Everyone we know is waiting for us," she added matter-of-factly.
Lee took Amanda's hands into his rather large ones and looked into her sparkling brown eyes. "Let them wait!" he whispered huskily as he brought his lips towards hers. "Trust me, Amanda, we are very much alone," Lee added as their lips met.
Mmm..."Amanda sighed as she melted into Lee's kiss. "WOW!" she exclaimed as they parted. "You are something else, Scarecrow. Here you are with a houseful of guests, and all you can think about is satisfying your urges. We have all night, ya know." Throwing him a reproachful glance, she left the security of his arms and walked into the bathroom.
Lee rose from the bed and joined his wife, who was touching up her makeup. Enveloping his arms around her, he trailed tiny kisses down her neck.
Amanda turned in his embrace and gave him a sultry look. "You seem to only have one thing on your mind today, big boy," she chided as she patted his chest. "As much as I would love to act on your advances, we really should be getting downstairs."
"Hey, I'm a married man, and as far as I'm concerned, you are fair game," Lee defended with a determined look upon his handsome face.
"I've heard better excuses than that, Stetson," she countered as she extricated herself from his arms and headed back into the bedroom.
Lee walked over to where Amanda was standing and led her over to their bed. Sitting her down gently, he proceeded to kneel down on the floor in front of her and took both of her hands into his. "I can't help myself, Amanda," he said looking directly into her eyes. "You are the most exciting, the most beautiful, the sexiest woman I have ever known. No one ever made me feel the way that you do. Just looking into those sparkling eyes of yours, I feel complete. I love you so much, Mrs. Stetson!"
Amanda looked at her husband with tears welling up in her eyes. "Oh, Lee...I love you, too. More than I have ever loved anyone." Pulling him towards her, she added, "You're the man I never thought I would meet," before catching his lips in a passionate kiss that caused enough electricity to light up Washington on a stormy day.
"Mom! Lee!" Jamie called impatiently from the other side of their bedroom door, breaking Lee and Amanda's intense kiss.
"It sounds like the natives are restless," Lee groaned when they parted.
"We'll be right there, Sweetheart," Amanda called back to her youngest son.
"As Lee helped Amanda to her feet, he added enthusiastically, "the sooner we go downstairs, the sooner we can get started on our honeymoon!"
"I like the way you think, Mr. Stetson," Amanda agreed as she quickly composed herself. Taking Lee's offered hand, the newlyweds headed downstairs.
The party was in full swing by the time Lee and Amanda made their entrance. Music could be heard from a band that was set up in the living room, and the aroma of food coming from the kitchen permeated the air.
All of the guests applauded as Lee and Amanda walked into the crowded living room.
"OH, MY GOSH!" Amanda gasped in surprise as she took in the transformation that had taken over her house.
Lee smiled at his wife's reaction as he led her into the room. After mingling with their friends, Lee led Amanda over to Dotty who was having a lively discussion with Lee's uncle, the Colonel.
"I remember when Lee was 10 years old..." Robert Clayton was saying to Dotty as Lee and Amanda joined them.
"There you are!" Dotty said in elation as she hugged her daughter.
"Sorry we took so long, Mother," Amanda said when they parted. "We were just freshening up." Amanda rolled her eyes at Lee who in return, flashed her his million-dollar smile.
"Well, Skip, I must say that I'm very proud of you," the Colonel to Lee as he shook his hand. Taking a hold of Amanda's hand, he added, "You definitely picked yourself a winner. I couldn't be happier!"
Lee stared at his uncle in wide-eyed shock. Even as a child, Lee was never praised so highly by him.
"Thanks, Colonel Clayton!" Amanda acknowledged as she hugged him.
"Amanda, we're family," he chastised as he returned her hug. "Please, call me Robert."
"Okay, thanks Robert," she replied.
"That's much better," he confirmed. Turning towards Lee, he added, "You're good for my boy, Amanda. It's about time he opened his eyes and discovered what was right in front of him."
"I knew what was in front of me, Sir. I just needed the encouragement to face my feelings for her. Telling Amanda that I loved her was the hardest and most exhilarating thing that I've ever done," Lee admitted.
"As well as the smartest," the Colonel added.
"Definitely, sir!" Lee amended. "Amanda and I appreciate you coming and sharing this day with us," he added.
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world!" the Colonel said happily.
Amanda looked over at her husband who was slightly uncomfortable at his uncle's admission to him. She knew that Lee was not used to hearing such comments from the Colonel. Lee had once told her stories of how he was always left alone with some nurse, or Barney, while his uncle went off to battle or to train some new recruits. He never received any praise or love from his uncle, and Amanda could see that Lee was shocked by the comments he was now hearing.
"If you will excuse us, Sir," Amanda addressed the Colonel, "Lee and I should see to our other guests." Taking her husband's hand, Amanda led Lee out of the living room.
Lee smiled at his wife in thanks, silently grateful for the reprieve. As much as he loved his uncle, Lee was not used to hearing such praise from him and felt uncomfortable in his presence. He was happy that Amanda could sense how he was feeling, and knew enough to lead him to safe ground.
Lee and Amanda headed towards the den, where Aunt Lillian had cornered the boys.
Phillip and Jamie sighed in relief as they spotted their mother and stepfather walking towards them. Breaking away from their aunt's clutches, the two boys quickly headed over to them.
"Mom! Lee! Thank goodness!" Phillip and Jamie exclaimed to the couple. Amanda hugged both boys, inhaling the scent of their aunt's jasmine perfume in the boys' hair. Releasing both boys, she held them at arm's length.
"Fellas, give your Aunt Lillian a break, huh? She hasn't seen the two of you for a while. She's just so happy to see you guys. Be nice," Amanda said to her sons as she tousled their hair.
"I know, Mom, but, it's embarrassing," Phillip returned in a whiny voice.
"Yeah, Mom!" Jamie agreed.
"Come on, guys, she can't be that bad," Lee added his two cents.
As if on cue, Lillian spotted Lee and Amanda, and headed right towards them. Phillip and Jamie took the opportunity to quickly head towards the kitchen.
"Amanda!" Lillian said in surprise as she pulled her into a tight hug, almost cutting off her circulation.
"Aunt Lillian! It's so good to see you," Amanda said hoarsely when Lillian released her from her chokehold.
"There's my handsome man," Lillian squealed in excitement as she kissed Lee's cheek, then, she took his cheeks between her fingers, and squeezed them.
"We're so happy to have you here with us, Aunt Lillian." Lee said sincerely when Lillian released his cheeks, flashing her his brilliant smile.
"Don't let this one get away, Amanda," Lillian whispered in Amanda's direction. "If only I was 30 years younger..." she sighed as she looked over at Lee.
Amanda rolled her eyes at her husband as Lillian continued on with her rambling. "I don't plan on it, Aunt Lillian." Taking Lee's hand, Amanda added, "If you will excuse us, we should see to our other guests."
"I completely understand, Dear," Lillian confirmed. Looking around curiously, she added, "Now, where did those boys of yours get to?"
"I think they went upstairs," Lee supplied happily.
"Thanks, Lee. Congratulations!" Lillian smiled at the couple before retreating up the stairs.
Lee and Amanda smiled at each other as they spied their boys in the kitchen, making themselves at home.
"May I have this dance, Mrs. Stetson?" Lee bowed to his wife as the band started to play a slow song.
"I thought you'd never ask, Mr. Stetson," she replied with a smile.
As they walked to the makeshift dance floor, they spotted Francine in the corner talking to T. P. Lee whispered, "She must be trying to hide from Beeman." They both laughed.
When they arrived at the dance floor, Lee tenderly placed his arms around her waist, and led her into a gently sway in time with the rhythm of the music.
"If I had to live my life without you near me, the days would all be empty, the nights would seem so long. With you I see forever, oh, so clearly, I might have been in love before, but it never felt this strong. Our dreams are young and we both know, they'll take us where we want to go. Hold me, now, touch me, now, I don't want to live without you.
Nothing's gonna change my love for you. You ought to know by now how much I love you. One thing you can be sure of, I'll never ask for more than your love. Nothing's gonna change my love for you. You ought to know by now how much I love you. The one who changed my whole life through cause nothing's gonna change my love for you.
If the road ahead is not so easy, our love will lead a way for us, like a guiding star. I'll be there for you, if you should need me. You don't have to change a thing. I love you just the way you are. So come with me and share the view. I'll help you see forever with you. Hold me, now, touch me, now, I don't want to live without you.
Nothing's gonna change my love for you. You ought to know by now how much I love you. One thing you can be sure of, I'll never ask for more than your love. Nothing's gonna change my love for you. You ought to know by now how much I love you. The one who changed my whole life through cause nothing's gonna change my love for you."
Amanda intertwined her fingers with Lee's, relaxing into his strong arms. She lost herself in the melody of the slow song, and Lee's close proximity. Listening to the words of the song, Amanda thought to herself how the words described the love she felt for Lee.
Lee relaxed in his wife's embrace as he also listened to the words of the song. The words of the beautiful song expressed the way he felt for 'his' Amanda. The love he felt for this wonderful woman who brought so much joy into his life, grew stronger every day. He cherished that love more than anything else in the world.
As the song ended, and Lee and Amanda came back to earth, they noticed that everyone in the room was staring at them. Lee looked over at Amanda who was trying to hide the flush that had quickly spread to her cheeks.
Lee broke the silence by addressing the curious on-lookers, which grew around them. "Now that we have your undivided attention," Lee called out in a teasing tone, "Amanda and I would like to thank all of you for joining us on our special day. It means a great deal to us to have you here to witness our love for each other. Please enjoy yourselves."
Lee looked over at his normally talkative wife, and noticed that she was rendered utterly speechless. He walked over to her and drew her into his arms and led her out of the room.
The Colonel looked on with pride as Lee and Amanda danced. He noticed the changes that had taken place in his nephew and thanked the stars above for bringing such a wonderful woman into Lee's lonely life. Feeling rest-assured that his nephew was finally where he belonged, in the arms of the woman he loved with all of his heart, the Colonel quickly slipped out of the front door.
Billy Melrose stood in front of the band, tapping the side of a glass with a spoon to try to silence the festive crowd.
"Ah, em!" Billy said, clearing his voice. "As some of you know, I'm not great at giving speeches." Some of the field agents laughed at this particular comment, knowing how close to the truth that was. "However," Billy said raising his voice to silence the laughing agents, "I will make an exception in the case of Lee and Amanda. I know that I speak for everyone when I say, it's about time!"
Billy walked over to where Lee and Amanda were standing, and put his hand on Lee's shoulder. "Lee, you and I have known each other for a long time. I remember the first time I met you, how young and stubborn you were. Well," Billy hesitated, "you're definitely not young anymore, but you're still as stubborn as ever. You were so intent on conquering the world and being a confirmed bachelor for the rest of your life."
Billy looked over at Amanda, and smiled before turning back to Lee. "Now, I see before me, a man very much in love, and much more responsible than I've ever seen you before. Amanda brings out the best in you, Lee. I sensed it the first time I saw you together. I knew if anyone could break down the walls that you'd erected around yourself, Amanda could. Seeing the both of you married is a dream come true for me."
Lee smiled at Billy and hugged his friend and mentor as Amanda's eyes watered at the display of affection that Lee was showing towards Billy.
Quickly composing himself, Billy turned towards Amanda. "I knew when I met you, Amanda, that you were someone very special. Putting you and Lee together was the best idea that I've ever had. I figured that your kindness towards others, and zest for life would rub off on Lee, and make him a more responsible person. Well, you exceeded my expectations. I've never seen Lee happier or more content, and it's all because of you. Thank you, Amanda, for coming into our lives."
Tears were running down Amanda's face as she hugged Billy. When they parted, Lee took Amanda's hand and pulled her into his arms, wiping away her tears.
"Congratulations!" Billy said happily as he raised his glass in a toast.
Emily had some words for the happy couple as the matron of honor and a friend to them both.
"Lee and Amanda, I've never seen anyone as much in love as the two of you. It shows in the way that you work together, and the way that you both look at each other. You two are soul mates in every sense. I'm so proud of the two of you for finding each other. Being married as many years and Charles and I have, I can tell when two people belong together, and you two definitely belong together. You both have come a long way from being co-workers, to friends, and now husband and wife. I wish you all the best for a long, lasting marriage. I love you both very much! Congratulations!"
Amanda and Lee went over to Emily, hugged her, and thanked her for being a part of their special day.
The next person to take the floor was Harry who had some words of advice for Lee.
"Lee," Harry said as he stood in front of Lee and Amanda, "as long as I have known you, this is by far the smartest thing you have ever done. I saw you hide your feelings for Amanda for so long, and I saw the relief that was all over your face when you finally told Amanda that you loved her. I knew the minute you told me how beautiful Amanda was, and how you'd follow her through a blizzard at midnight, that she was the woman for you. I'm thrilled for the both of you and know you will have a long and happy life together. I wish you all the best!"
Lee went over to Harry and hugged him while Amanda looked on with pride. She knew how much Lee loved and respected his dear friend, and how touched Lee was by his words.
After the speeches were finished, Dotty took a position in the living room and said to all in attendance, "Everyone, Phillip, Jamie and I have something special that we'd like to give to Lee and Amanda." She glanced over to them, "Would you both please come over here?"
As they walked towards Dotty, they were now able to see that there was something hanging on the wall with wrapping paper over it. They looked at each other curiously.
Dotty looked at Amanda, "Darling, I found this in your bedroom after you and Lee left for England a few weeks ago. The boys and I just loved it and wanted to surprise you today." Dotty turned to the boys, and nodded.
As the boys removed the paper, Lee and Amanda looked to each other, and grinned. There, with all the other family pictures, was the sketch that Emily had done of them three years ago.
Amanda walked to her mother's side and
embraced her, "Mother, thank you. We had planned on getting it framed when we
returned from England, but I guess we forgot by the time we got back."
Lee walked over to Dotty and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Dotty, thank you for making me feel like a part of the family."
Dotty embraced him, "Oh, Lee, Darling, you *are* family. We're all happy to have you in our lives."
As Lee and Amanda stood for a moment looking at the sketch, recalling the escapades of that trip, Dotty quickly wheeled the table with the wedding cake into the living room.
Sounds of approval came from the guests as they saw the elaborate wedding cake. Dotty had created a three-tiered cake with flowers adorning each tier. At the top of the cake was a small statue of a bride and groom.
As the band started playing "the bride cuts the cake", Amanda took the knife in her hand. Lee placed his hand over hers, and together they cut a slice.
While Dotty was shoveling the piece of cake onto a dish, Lee whispered into Amanda's ear, "we'll have to steal two pieces later on for dessert."
"Sounds good to me," Amanda whispered back with a knowing smile. Taking the piece of cake from her mother, Amanda fed a piece to Lee.
Lee in turn, fed Amanda a piece, but unfortunately for her, the piece was bigger than Amanda's mouth and some frosting landed on her nose.
"Oops!" Lee said innocently as he licked the frosting from her nose.
"Uh huh! Very funny, Stetson!" Amanda muttered as she took some frosting and spread it over Lee's handsome face.
"You're looking for a fight, Mrs. Stetson!" Lee teased with a twinkle in his eye.
The couple kissed passionately causing the icing to ooze onto both of their faces. All of their guests broke out into uncontrollable laughter at the sight before them. The band took the opportunity to play a slow song, which brought all of the couples to the dance floor.
Joe was intently watching Lee and his ex-wife. He thought back to the day that he married Amanda. Although they were both happy and in love, he realized that the love they had once shared never compared to the love Amanda now shared with Lee.
"There you are, Sweetheart!" Carrie said to her husband, breaking Joe from his reverie. "I've been looking all over for you."
"Well, you've found me," Joe smiled as he took his wife into his arms. "May I have this dance?" He asked the woman who now had his heart.
"I would love to dance with you." Carrie replied enthusiastically as Joe led her towards the crowded dance floor.
The time had finally come for Lee and Amanda to say good-bye to their family and friends.
After changing their clothes, Lee loaded up the car while Amanda relayed some last minute instructions to Dotty.
"Have fun, you two!" Billy called out as Lee came back into the house and took his place next to Amanda.
"Thanks, Billy!" Lee returned. "See you in two weeks."
"And not a minute sooner," Billy teased, which brought a smile to Lee and Amanda's faces.
"You take care of my baby," Dotty said to Lee.
"Don't worry, Dotty," Lee acknowledged. "She's in good hands," Lee smiled as Dotty hugged him.
Amanda had tears in her eyes as she hugged Dotty. "I'm so proud of you, Sweetheart," Dotty said to her daughter. "He's one in a million. You two take care of each other."
"We will, Mother." Turning towards the boys, she took them into her arms. "You two, mind your grandmother," she said in a motherly tone of voice.
"We will!" Phillip and Jamie promised. "Have a great time!"
Jamie went up to Lee and shook his hand. "I'm glad you married my mom," he said quickly before making a fast getaway.
Lee looked at Amanda and smiled. Taking her hand, Lee led Amanda to the front door.
Before Lee could open the door, Phillip stopped him. "Welcome to the family, Lee," Phillip said as he shook Lee's hand.
"Thanks, Phillip," Lee smiled.
As Lee opened the front door, flying rice pelted the couple. Making a run for it, Lee and Amanda quickly headed towards their car. He opened the door for his wife, and made sure she was comfortably inside before closing the door. Heading towards the other side of the car, Lee brushed some rice from his jacket as he entered the car. Lee and Amanda shared one last kiss as he started the car. As they slowly pulled away from the curb, Amanda and Lee waved to their family and friends before driving into the night, and towards the new life that was awaiting them.
To be continued...March 5, 2001