The True Season of Love (Part 3)
Author: Ilana and Kathy
Summary: Lee and Amanda's first anniversary is approaching. Anything more will spoil the surprise.
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 Sybil, Kris and Kim. Without you, this story would be full of errors. You helped me to become a better writer by sharing your talent with me. Thanks! Finally, I would like to thank my fellow SMK5 team members for all of their support. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful team.
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 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.
Disclaimer: "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and its characters are owned by Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. We retain the right to the plot. This story is meant for entertainment purposes only. No infringement is intended. Any resemblance to the story, "Through the Glass, Darkly" by Mary is purely coincidental.
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.
Saturday, February 13, 1988
Amanda Stetson surveyed the cars around her Grand Wagoneer. A smile crept to her face as she recalled the events that had taken place earlier that day. How handsome Lee looked and how everything was perfect. Looking down at her left hand she watched her rings glisten in the sunlight. She sighed in contentment at the fact that she was now officially Lee's wife, not only in their hearts but also in the eyes of the world.
"A penny for your thoughts," her husband said, bringing Amanda out of her reverie.
"Huh...? Oh sorry, Sweetheart. What did you say?"
Lee put his hand over Amanda's. "I was wondering what you were thinking about," he said curiously. "You were in another world."
"I was just thinking about how perfect today was and how happy I am right now. This was the best day of my life, Lee." The sincerity of her words could not be denied; her love was shining in her eyes.
"Me too," he returned enthusiastically, touch by his wife's words.
"So, you never told me where we are going," she said nonchalantly.
"You're right, I didn't say," he teased happily.
"Oh come on Lee. Can't you give me just one clue?" Amanda said, batting her eyes.
"No, Amanda. I told you it's a surprise. You're just going to have to wait."
Amanda moved closer to Lee and put her hand on his leg. "You know, there are ways to make you talk," she suggested in a sultry voice, running her hand up his leg.
"Amanda…" he moaned as his body began to react to his wife's ministrations.
"Hmm?" She responded sweetly as she began other explorations.
"Amanda, I've been interrogated by the best that the KGB has. There is no way that you are going to get anything out of me," he said with a determined look on his face.
"You don't say. Well Scarecrow, as your wife, I happen to know how to push your buttons," she teased as she began nibbling on his ear.
"Amanda, if you don't stop, I'm going to pull this car over and have my way with you," he warned.
"Okay, okay, I'll be good, Stetson." She released her hold of her husband and returned to her side of the car. "For now," she added under her breath.
Lee chuckled as he concentrated on his driving. He knew how frustrated Amanda was in not knowing his surprise but decided that it would be worth it just to see the look on her face. Lee sped up the car in anticipation of the night ahead.
Amanda stared out the car window watching the trees dancing in the wind. The terrain they were driving through seemed very familiar to her but she could not put a clear picture together in her mind. The reason she was distracted had to do with the very man sitting next to her.
Lee Stetson was an enigma, in every sense of the word. It had taken her awhile to break down the walls that he had put up around himself but she had gotten through them one by one until she discovered a very loving man who put his family before everything else. Unlike Joe, Lee wouldn't choose his job over his family. Glancing over at her husband, Amanda realized just how lucky she was to have him in her and her children's lives.
"We're here," Lee announced, breaking Amanda from her thoughts.
Amanda looked over at Lee. "Are you going to tell me where here is or is that on a need to know basis, Stetson?" Amanda teased.
Lee laughed. "Don't you recognize where we are?"
Amanda took in her surroundings. "Should I?…OH MY GOSH!!! Lee, tell me I'm dreaming?" She realized that they were at the Crystal Springs Inn where they spent their wedding night.
"Does this feel like a dream, Mrs. Stetson?" Lee reached out for her and delivered a deep kiss.
"A dream come true," she replied when they parted.
Lee dangled a key in front of Amanda. "I got the same room and this time I made sure the room was already made up." After gathering their bags from the trunk, he helped Amanda out of the car and they made their way to their room.
"Sounds like you're prepared for everything and anything this time around, Scarecrow," she teased.
Lee had a big smile on his face. "I even paid the clerk at the front desk to make sure that we would not be disturbed and took the phone off the hook. No one we know even knows where we are. It is just you and me, Mrs. Stetson!"
Amanda looked at her husband in amazement. "I can't believe you did all of this, Lee."
Lee looked back at Amanda with tenderness and love. "I did all of this for you, Amanda." Reaching the room, he put their bags down and opened the door. However, before Amanda could take another step, Lee picked her up and to her surprise, carried her over the threshold.
"I've been wanting to do this for a long time, Amanda." He carried her over to the bed and gently put her down.
Amanda stood speechless as she took in her surroundings. Lee had arranged for the Manager of the Inn to place numerous candles around the room and to light them before their arrival. The flickering lights and the fragrance permeating from the candles cast a sensual ambiance to the room.
Lee smiled as he watched his normally talkative wife become speechless in response to what he had done for her. Without a moment's hesitation, he took her into his arms and lowered his lips to hers. "Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Stetson. I love you!" Lee murmured through their kiss.
"Happy Anniversary, Lee. I love you so much!" Amanda whispered, as she responded heatedly to his kiss. Gasping as they parted, Lee trailed tiny kisses down her neck, causing Amanda to sigh in ecstasy.
"Oh, Amanda!" Lee muttered as his mouth went even lower, while his hands searched for the zipper on her dress.
"Lee, I want you so much!"
"You're wish is my command," Lee returned as they surrendered their bodies and souls to the love that they felt for one another.
A couple passing by Lee and Amanda's room heard a voice from inside say "Wow!" Smiling at each other, they continued on to their room.
Sunday, February 14, 1988
Lee awoke the next morning, wrapped in the loving arms of his wife. Seeing that she was soundly sleeping, he closed his arms tighter around her warm body.
Feeling Amanda snuggling closer to him in her sleep, Lee decided that going back to sleep was the furthest thing from his mind. He let his hands roam down her back and trailed tiny kisses up and down her neck.
Amanda opened her eyes, now fully awake by her husband's ministrations. Feigning sleep for a little while longer, she closed her eyes again and relaxed in his embrace, luxuriating in Lee's touch.
Lee felt Amanda snuggle in his arms and realized that she was playing with him. Deciding to go along with her little game, he ran his hands further down her body, knowing which areas would push her buttons.
Falling prey to her husband's charms, Amanda surrendered herself to the feelings that Lee was stirring within her. It was another hour until Lee came to his senses and realized that they needed to get a move on or they were going to miss his next surprise.
Amanda smiled the whole way to Dulles Airport, happier than she had been in a long time. Being with Lee so openly was a dream come true.
"Here we are!" Lee announced as he pulled into the long-term parking area at Dulles Airport. After locking up their car, they took a shuttle to the terminal. Amanda waited with the bags while he checked in at the ticket counter.
As he was waiting in line, Lee glanced over at Amanda, who was distracted by the comings and goings at the busy airport. Feeling the tickets in his left pocket, he smiled at the adrenaline rush he was feeling in giving his wife the honeymoon that he had always dreamed about, with the woman that he loved more than anything, by his side.
After checking in, Lee re-joined his wife and patiently waited for their flight to be called.
"Where are we going?" She asked curiously, looking around the terminal for clues.
"You'll find out soon enough," Lee replied to his impatient wife.
"NOW BOARDING FLIGHT 532, NONSTOP TO MIAMI, FLORIDA," the loudspeaker blared.
A very surprised Amanda stared at her husband in amazement. "We're going to Florida!" Amanda repeated.
"Surprise!" Lee called out with a broad smile as he reached into his coat pocket and produced two cruise tickets. "Happy Anniversary, Amanda!"
"Oh my Gosh!" Amanda exclaimed as she flew into his arms and delivered a hard, passionate kiss.
"WOW!" Lee whispered when they parted, as he tried to catch his breath. "I guess I should surprise you more often," he admitted with a grin.
"You sure know how to show a girl a good time," she teased with a southern drawl.
"Anything for you, Amanda," he returned with a twinkle in his eye as they made their way to the plane.
They walked down the aisle of the plane and towards their seats. "Your mother was a great help to me in planning this honeymoon." Lee explained, as he put their carry-on bags into the overhead compartment.
"You must have put on the Stetson charm to get her to help you," she teased with wide-eyed amusement. "Those dimples of yours can melt even the coldest person," Amanda added as she caressed his face.
"Can I help it if she is enamored by my charms?" Lee chided with a gleam in his eye. He helped Amanda to her seat next to the window and proceeded to sit in the aisle seat next to her.
After they were seated comfortably, Amanda turned to Lee, who had just started to read the newspaper he brought with him on the plane.
She leaned closer to him and ran her fingers through his silky hair. "Scarecrow...?" She whispered in his ear. "How about telling me more about the wonderful cruise you have in store for us," she smiled, raising her eyebrows mischievously.
Lee felt his body betraying him, feeling his wife's hot breath tickling his ear. Mustering what little strength he had left, he took a deep breath and pulled himself away from her grip. "You're a little vixen, you know that?" he teased.
"Well a girl has to try," she smiled sweetly. Amanda leaned back against her seat sighing. "Okay, you win!"
Lee chuckled at his wife's persistence. "I assure you that you will have the best time you possibly can," he stressed as he caressed her delicate face.
"I will have the best possible time I can have just because I'm with you," she said with much conviction.
"I won't let you down, Amanda," he promised.
"You haven't yet, Sweetheart!" she returned.
"As an added bonus," Lee added, "I arranged for your mother and the boys to meet us at one of the resorts in Disney World after our cruise."
"Oh Lee..." Amanda sighed.
Lee silenced Amanda's gasp with a finger to her lips. "I figured you and I could spend some quality time together, and then we can spend the remainder of our honeymoon with our family."
"Quality time, huh? I like the way you think." Amanda smiled, with a twinkle in her eye.
"A week alone with my wife, miles from everyone we know, is what I call quality time. Plus the fact that we don't even have to leave the cabin," he added huskily and he nuzzled her neck.
"You truly are one in a million, Lee Stetson." Amanda smiled as she put her arms around his neck. Looking deeply into his eyes, she saw a love for her and her family that touched her in a way that she never felt before. "I love you so much!" Amanda added with sincerity.
"I love you too, Mrs. Stetson!"
Amanda leaned into her husband, at least as much as the constricting airplane seat would allow, and captured his soft lips. Deepening the kiss, Amanda conveyed all of the love she felt for this man. Everything melted away with that one kiss, as Lee and Amanda tuned out everything but what they were sharing at that very moment.
"WELCOME ABOARD FLIGHT 532, NONSTOP TO MIAMI, FLORIDA. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SEATBELT IS SECURELY FASTENED..."
As the Flight Attendant began the pre-flight preparations, one passenger was intently watching the couple seated several rows in front of her.
'I'd know that handsome man anywhere,' she thought to herself. 'That is definitely Lee Stetson and the woman he is passionately kissing is none other than his assistant, Amanda King.'
"This is going to be a long flight," Leslie sighed, as the plane taxied down the runway and into the clear blue sky.
Leslie stared intently at the colorful rainbow that the rays of the sun had reflected onto the ceiling of the plane. Her mind was reminiscing on the times that she spent with Lee Stetson and a jealousy spread through her body as she thought about the woman who had now captured his heart.
Leslie had liked Amanda since the first time they met at Lee's apartment. They had clicked immediately. They were similar not only in their looks but in their personalities as well. 'That's probably what drew Lee to me in the first place,' Leslie realized.
She had even gone as far as inviting Amanda to dinner to get to know her better and also to discover everything there was to know about the mysterious Lee. She had suspected even then that Lee had feelings for Amanda. Just by the way they were arguing in the hallway, one could tell that there was already a close bond between them.
Even after Amanda left and Leslie put on the dress that Lee had bought for her, she could still feel Amanda's presence. She couldn't help but notice Lee's slip of the tongue as she came into the room. He accidentally called her Amanda, which in her mind meant that he was thinking about Amanda. That was when Leslie knew that she and Lee would not have a future together.
When Leslie brought up Amanda's name, she couldn't help but notice how Lee's face would light up. He even admitted to her, out right, that Amanda was very special. Even when they got intimate, Leslie suspected that Lee was thinking about Amanda by the way he kissed her. Usually Lee was very passionate when they kissed but after Amanda left, his kisses were lukewarm at best.
Seeing the way that Lee was now kissing Amanda, she could tell that they were very much in love. In the light of that obvious happiness, Leslie decided that making herself known to them would be a bad idea. She sat back in her seat and distracted herself with the latest issue of her fashion magazine as the plane headed towards its destination.
"WELCOME TO MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT" The loudspeaker blared as Lee and Amanda's plane landed. Since their cruise didn't leave until the next day, after departing the plane, Lee and Amanda hailed a taxi to the Radisson Plaza Hotel.
Arriving at the hotel, they paid their fare and made their way into the hotel. As they walked up to the front desk to check in, Amanda spotted a familiar face.
"Leslie?" Amanda asked hesitantly when she reached the front desk.
"Shoot!" Leslie muttered to herself. "Amanda! Lee!" Leslie returned with a pasted smile.
"Hello, Leslie," Lee said awkwardly.
Leslie smiled casually. "Hello Lee! It's been awhile."
Lee rolled his eyes at Amanda. "It certainly has."
"What brings you both to Florida?" Leslie asked nonchalantly. "Are you here on business or pleasure?"
"This is definitely pleasure!" Lee replied, smiling broadly. "Amanda and I are on our honeymoon," he announced proudly.
"Congratulations!" Leslie said casually. "I always knew there was something between you two," she admitted.
"Thanks, Leslie," Amanda returned as she raised her eyebrows at Lee. Turning her eyes towards Leslie, she added, "Actually, Lee and I were good friends back then. There was nothing…"
"Leslie's right, Amanda," Lee interrupted, taking his wife's hand and looking into her sparkling brown eyes. "There was something between you and I but I was just too stubborn to admit it to you. After you left, I couldn't stop thinking about you. I think that was when I truly accepted that I was falling in love with you." Amanda smiled at Lee's touching words and their eyes locked. They were brought back down to earth when Leslie cleared her voice.
"So, what brings you here, Leslie?" Lee asked curiously reluctantly prying his eyes away from his wife's and releasing her hands as he turned back towards Leslie.
"I'm attending a convention in the hotel," Leslie confirmed, smiling pleasantly as she looked at both Lee and Amanda. "Well I must be running along now." Leslie said in a rushed tone, trying to make a clean getaway. Before leaving she added, "I hope the two of you have a wonderful honeymoon!" Taking her key from the clerk, Leslie proceeded to her room.
"It was nice running into you, Leslie," Amanda called out. "Not exactly," Amanda muttered under her breath.
Lee ran his fingers through this hair and chuckled. "That was awkward," he added, breathing a sigh of relief. Taking his wife's hand, he headed towards their room.
Leslie breathed a sigh of relief as she walked into the elevator. Seeing Lee again was very awkward and Amanda being there didn't help. She realized, as the elevator climbed to her floor, that Lee was no longer the man that she remembered. Although his appearance hadn't changed, in her opinion he looked as handsome as ever, the man inside was very different. Lee was more content and happier than she had ever seen him, which was no doubt due to Amanda's presence in his life.
As she walked to her room, Leslie realized that she was jealous of them. Not of their relationship per se, but of the bond that they shared. Lee had never felt that way about her, actually no man ever had. Leslie wanted to be loved and cherished the same way that Amanda was by Lee.
Seeing Lee again had stirred up memories that Leslie had repressed years ago. Feeling lonelier than she ever had before, she retreated to the solace of her room.
Meanwhile, on another floor of the same hotel, Lee and Amanda were enjoying some quiet time together in the privacy of their room.
"Oh Amanda..." Lee signed, wrapping his arms contentedly around his wife in the afterglow of their love. "You wore me out!"
"You must be getting old, Stetson. I thought you had a healthy sex drive," she teased.
"I do. Let me catch my breath and I'll show you just how healthy my sex drive is," he returned in a sensual voice. "Seriously, I don't think we can top that. You are an amazing woman, Amanda and you're all mine," he said, tightening his hold.
"On a scale of one through ten, how would you rate me?" Amanda asked curiously, with her eyebrows raised.
Lee smiled. "I would definitely give you an 11," he returned confidently with a twinkle in his eye.
"That's exactly one more than what my mother rated you. What about Leslie?" Amanda inquired, looking into Lee's eyes.
"Amanda..." Lee said in a stern voice. "Leslie is my past. You are my future. If anything, seeing Leslie again proved to me what I don't want and that what I have right in front of me is what I do want. You are the best thing that ever happened to me, Amanda and I love you very much," he said with much conviction.
"I love you too, Sweetheart," Amanda smiled and pulled him closer to her. "Would you care to elaborate on that, Scarecrow?" she asked mischievously.
"Yes Ma'am!" Lee replied as his lips moved towards Amanda's.
Monday, February 15, 1988
The morning sun cascaded rays of light around the room, illuminating everything it touched. Lee had his arms tightly around his wife, savoring the closeness he shared only with her.
Feeling the love of his life stir, he caressed her silky hair and kissed the nape of her neck. Amanda sighed in contentment as she awoke to the sensation of her husband's arms around her and his warm breath on her neck.
"Morning, stranger!" Amanda turned into her husband's handsome face, which came to life when he gazed into his wife's eyes.
"Morning, beautiful!" Lee leaned into her, capturing her sweet lips.
Amanda moaned, pouring her heart and soul into their passionate kiss. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, causing them to break off their kiss.
Amanda groaned. "Lee, tell me you put out the 'DO NOT DISTURB' sign last night."
Lee ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "I forgot," he confessed. "We were kind of busy last night," he added, causing Amanda to turn two shades of red. "I'll get rid of her," Lee said kissing Amanda on the lips before heading to the door.
Amanda laughed as she thought about all of the distractions they had to endure as a couple. If it wasn't someone at work, it was her mother or the boys, and now it was another irritating maid!
Lee returned to their bed, bringing Amanda away from her thoughts. "Now where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?" Lee whispered as he lowered himself onto the bed, pulling Amanda close to him.
"I think we were right here," Amanda replied as she reached out for him.
Later in the morning, Lee came to his senses and realized that if they didn't get out of bed, which was getting harder and harder to do, they were going to miss their boat.
As they were paying their bill, Lee looked around surreptitiously for Leslie, hoping that they wouldn't run into her again. He wanted Amanda to enjoy their honeymoon without having to run into any of his old girlfriends.
Lee was not proud of his past and unexpected reunions with past flames was very awkward for him, especially when Amanda was with him. Lee wanted to put as much of his past behind him and get on with his life.
Taking Amanda's hand, Lee led her out of the hotel and hailed a cab to take them to the Port of Miami where their ship was leaving.
As the cab pulled in front of the ship's docking area, Amanda gasped in surprise. "Oh Lee…It's magnificent!"
"The best is yet to come, Mrs. Stetson!" Lee said as he paid for their cab. Taking Amanda's hand in his, he brought it to his lips, giving it a gentle kiss as they headed towards the gangplank.
The photographer exclaimed, "SMILE!!!" as Lee and Amanda boarded the ship.
After their picture was taken, Lee and Amanda followed their fellow passengers onto the main deck.
Amanda looked around in wide-eyed amazement at the décor of the luxury liner. Since it was the day after Valentines Day, there were hearts strewn everywhere. The elevators were even lit up with pink light bulbs, which cast a soft and romantic glow.
Leaving their bags in the hands of a young cabin steward, who was given a generous tip by Lee to take them to their cabin, Lee and Amanda decided to explore the ship.
On a ship as grand as the Majestic, passengers were treated like royalty. Lee had done extensive research into finding the perfect ship for their honeymoon. The Majestic had exceeded all of Lee's expectations. It may have cost him a small fortune, but he wanted to give Amanda only the best that he could offer her.
Unlike his former girlfriends who were materialistic, Amanda had done without material things and had raised the boys without any help from Joe, who had chosen his job over his family. Lee had decided a week before the first wedding when he had been injected with PD-2, that he would do everything in his power to make sure that Amanda and the boys were provided for. Not only did he want Amanda to be provided for, but he intended for her to be pampered as well.
"Lee?" Amanda's soft voice called out to him.
"Hmmm?" Lee responded distractedly.
"You were a million miles away, Sweetheart. Care to share?"
Lee smiled. "I was thinking about you." Taking Amanda's hand, they strolled around one of the decks.
Amanda stopped at a scenic overlook and took in the Miami skyline.
"I've never seen anything so beautiful," Amanda commented.
"I'm looking at the most incredible sight that I have ever seen right now," Lee whispered looking directly at Amanda.
Tears welled up in Amanda's eyes at Lee's touching words. Lee could always touch her in a way that no man ever could or ever would again.
Leaning into his strong arms, she took possession of his lips in a kiss that showed all of the love that she felt for her husband. Lee eagerly returned the kiss, softly at first but then building up in intensity until the blare of a horn, signaling the ships departure, made both of them jump apart.
Lee cursed out loud to the offending horn.
"Lee," Amanda chided, "it's just an inanimate object".
"I know, Amanda, but these interruptions are driving me crazy," Lee admitted as he ran his fingers through his hair.
Amanda caressed the side of Lee's face. "Come on, Sweetheart, let's watch the ship leave the Port. We can continue this conversation later," she offered. "Much later…" Amanda added in a seductive tone.
"I always said you had great ideas, Mrs. Stetson," Lee returned, giving her a quick kiss. He took her hand and led her out to the middle of the deck. Reaching just the right spot, Amanda leaned with her back against Lee's chest as they watched the skyline of Miami slowly disappear.
"Whoever designed these cabins didn't think much about closet space," Amanda complained as she emptied out her suitcase onto the bed.
Lee laughed at his wife's astuteness. "Maybe they didn't think that anyone would bring their whole closet with them," he pointed out tersely, eyeing the big pile of clothes that Amanda managed to fit into her small suitcase.
"Lee, you never know what the weather will be like. It could be cold or rainy…" Her remaining thoughts trailed off as Lee suddenly walked over to where she was standing and captured her lips in a passionate kiss.
"It could also be hot too," Amanda added, when they parted. Bending down, she took a pile of clothes from the bed and walked over to the closet.
"Oh, I am definitely hot," Lee supplied.
Amanda retrieved an extra pillow that was in the closet and threw it at Lee who was watching her from across the room, almost hitting him in the face.
"You're aim's a little off, dear. Perhaps you need some training from a qualified agent," Lee suggested.
"What kind of training?"
"Oh, I was thinking about intensive one-on-one training," Lee returned as he took her in her arms and trailed kisses down her neck.
Amanda smiled devilishly. "Now that's the kind of training that I like!" Amanda quickly pushed him away so she could put her remaining clothes away. Returning to her husband's side, she put her arms around his neck. "Care to demonstrate, Scarecrow?"
"It would be my pleasure, Mrs. Stetson."
Wrapped in her husband's loving arms, Amanda listened to the lapping waves hitting the side of their ship. The peacefulness of the moment was momentarily interrupted by an announcement from the loudspeaker in the hallway that they were now serving dinner for those passengers with main seating.
Knowing that they had late seating for all of their meals, Amanda remained in Lee's arms for a little while longer before retreating to the shower.
While Amanda was in the shower, Lee walked up a deck to the gift shop to purchase some flowers as a surprise for his wife. Lee hid the flowers just as Amanda was getting out of the shower.
Lee quickly went to take a shower while Amanda changed into a formal dress for the Captain's Gala.
"That shower was…Wow!" Lee's thoughts trailed off as he saw how stunning Amanda looked. Her black dress fit her in all of the right places and her hair was piled on top of her head with a few tendrils cascading down her face.
"Cat got your tongue, Stetson?" Amanda asked innocently.
Lee took a hold of her hands. "You look incredible, Amanda. I have never seen anyone look more beautiful," he confessed, looking deeply into her sparkling eyes.
"Thank you," Amanda smiled at Lee's compliment. "I personally would like for you to wear that towel but you would probably draw a lot of attention at the Captain's Gala," she teased.
Lee chucked. "If you're good, I'll give you a sneak preview later, but for the Gala, I think a tuxedo is more appropriate."
"I'll be good," she promised as she put the finishing touches on her makeup and Lee dressed in his tuxedo. As Amanda turned away from the mirror, she felt weak in the knees at the sight before her. No one had ever looked more handsome than Lee and the tuxedo only made him more appealing. In his hand, he held the flowers that he had purchased earlier for her.
Amanda walked over to him and accepted the flowers. Finding a vase on the counter, she filled it with water and put the flowers on her night table. She then walked back to where Lee was standing and put her arms around his neck. Seeing that his tie wasn't straight, she automatically straightened it, while Lee trailed kisses down her neck.
"Mmm…Oh Lee!" Amanda sighed.
Lee pulled Amanda into his arms and began exploring her body.
"Lee, we can't."
"Yes we can. We're legally married, Amanda."
"That's not what I mean, Lee. We're going to be late for the Gala."
"Amanda, this is our honeymoon and I plan to take advantage of you, every chance I get. The Gala can wait." As Lee moved his kisses lower down her body, Amanda surrendered herself to her husband's ministrations, causing them to be an hour late to the Captain's Gala.
All eyes were on Lee and Amanda when they entered the Grand Ballroom. Lee looked very handsome in his tuxedo and Amanda was stunning in her black dress. They were the talk of the Gala.
One young woman had her eyes on Lee from the moment he entered the ballroom.
"Randi, what are you looking so intently at?" A blond girl in a sequined top nudged her in the elbow.
"Just someone I used to know," Randi replied nonchalantly. Looking at Lee, she couldn't believe how handsome he looked after all of these years. The woman accompanying him looked very familiar to her but she couldn't remember from where. "Probably another one of his conquests," she thought to herself.
As Randi watched them dance, she thought back to her relationship with Lee. They had dated on and off for a couple of months, but she ended their relationship when she saw him with another woman. Looking at Lee's companion, Randi realized that she was the 'other' woman, the one who had caused their breakup. She noticed how happy they were, so obviously very much in love. She'd never seen Lee Stetson look that way before. He'd never looked at her with that intensity, that much was certain.
Deciding that it was better to keep her distance, she turned away from them. Looking across the room, she noticed a handsome man who was very much alone. Fixing up her makeup and hair, she sauntered her way over to him.
The band was playing a slow song as Lee and Amanda gently swayed to the music. Amanda had her head on her husband's shoulder, enjoying the feel of his arms wrapped around her. Her thoughts went back to the first time they danced together. It was at a party much like this one and she was the only one not formally dressed. As angry as she had been with Lee for using her as a prop, she enjoyed dancing with him. Lee had brought fun, adventure and excitement into her rather dull life.
At the time that they met she had just gone through a divorce. Sure she had Dean, but Dean was stable and dependable, not fun and exciting like Lee and certainly not as handsome. She was also not in love with Dean. The minute that Amanda saw Lee come down the stairway at the ball in a tuxedo, she knew that he was the man for her.
"Amanda?" Lee looked at her curiously, breaking into her thoughts.
"Huh?" Amanda replied with embarrassment.
"Are you tired? Do you need to sit down?"
"No, I'm fine, Sweetheart. I was just thinking about our first dance together and how handsome you looked then, just like you look right now."
Lee smiled at the compliment. "I was just thinking the same thing about you and how much I want to take you back to our cabin and have my way with you." Amanda recognized the knowing look that Lee gave her.
"Lee, as much as I would love to take you up on that offer, I would really like to grab something to eat. We could, however, have dessert back in our cabin," she smiled mischievously.
"What are we waiting for?" Lee said enthusiastically. Putting his hand on the small of Amanda's back, he led her out of the ballroom.
After having a very enjoyable dinner at their own private table, Lee and Amanda decided to spend some money at the casino. Most of their time was spent at the Roulette table after Lee remembered how great Amanda was at the game. After winning almost $200, they decided to take a moonlight stroll on deck before returning to their cabin.
"It's such a beautiful night. Don't you agree, Lee?" Amanda looked at her husband who was intently looking at the stars.
"It sure is, Amanda," Lee replied as he guided her over to the railing. "This is definitely a far cry from the last cruise we took together," Lee admitted.
"You can say that again. I was in love with you even then, but you didn't feel that way about me."
Lee looked at her curiously. "Do you know that for a fact, Amanda? As a matter of record, I had some feelings for you, especially after that kiss." Lee smiled as he recalled the tender kiss they'd shared when they were having their fake wedding on the island of San Angelo.
"You did?" Amanda asked in surprise.
Lee nodded. "It was basically after Leslie that I realized that you were the only woman I wanted to be with." He looked out at the vast ocean, looking lost and forlorn as he remembered his previous lifestyle. Turning back to her, he said, "I'm sorry it took me so long to realize that, Amanda." Lee looked down in shame.
Amanda picked up his chin with her finger. "Sweetheart, it doesn't matter how long it took you to realize your true feelings for me. What matters is how you feel about me now. When I met you, you had lost so many loved ones in your life. All you wanted was to be left alone to wallow in your own self-pity. It hurt me so much to see you so alone. I couldn't let you do that to yourself. That's why I never gave up on you. I knew that inside of you, there was a man who wanted to be loved."
"Oh Amanda…" Lee sighed, pulling her closer to him. He looked into her hypnotic eyes. "I don't know what I would do without you. You are the most amazing woman I have ever known. Whether you realize it or not, you changed me. You helped me to realize that there is more to life than sitting at home with guacamole dip and watching a good football game. You complete me, Amanda." Lee stopped, trying to get his emotions under control.
"Lee…" Amanda interjected.
"Amanda, hear me out," he continued, taking both of her hands. "You stood by me when no one else would. Even when I slapped you by accident, which to this day still haunts me, you forgave me. I hurt you so many times, Amanda and yet you never left my side. Why did you stick by me when all I did was push you away?" Lee looked up at his wife with tears in his eyes.
"Sweetheart," she began, wiping the tears from his eyes, "I never gave up on you because I was very much in love with you. I saw how many people hurt you in your life and I didn't want to hurt you too, Lee. You had all of these walls built up around yourself and you were angry at the world. Underneath all of that, I saw a man who was very protective of me and cared a lot about me, even though you never wanted to admit it. I feel truly blessed to have you in my life. Lee you are truly a wonderful man." Caressing his face, she looked deeply into his hazel eyes. "Lee, I love you more than I have ever loved anyone."
Lee looked up at the night sky and thanked his lucky stars that he had this wonderful woman in his life. He lowered his lips to Amanda's and kissed her tenderly and deeply.
Returning to their cabin after their walk on deck, Amanda changed into 'something more comfortable,' as she told Lee. Lee chuckled as he noticed that their cabin steward had turned down their bed and put mints on their pillows. 'Well at least we didn't have to watch the Cabin Steward,' Lee thought to himself as he recalled the year before when they had to watch the maid painfully prepare the room.
"Amanda," he called to his wife, "you should see what…" his voice trailed off as he was rendered speechless by the vision before his eyes.
Standing outside the bathroom door was Amanda in a long black lace nightgown that accented her hair and eyes.
"Amanda…you look incredible," Lee stammered.
"Why Scarecrow, I do believe you are actually blushing," Amanda teased.
"Where did you get such an exquisite gown?" Lee asked curiously as his eyes never left her body.
"Oh, I have my secrets," she teased.
"Well, Mrs. Stetson, as much as I love it on you, I would much rather see it off." Taking her into his arms, he began nibbling on her neck.
Amanda smiled. "I think you're overdressed, Stetson." She moved her neck to give him better access, sighing as he stirred her to the core.
Lee turned out the light, illuminating the cabin with moonlight as the lovers undressed each other, giving their bodies and souls fully to one another.
The waves of the blue green sea crashed against the sides of the huge ship, causing a spray of water to shower the passengers disembarking onto the tiny island of St. Thomas.
Amanda had awakened to the sound of their fellow passengers walking down the hallway just outside of their door. Rather than going back to sleep, she snuggled into the embrace of her husband who remained sound asleep.
Watching the man she loved sleep, she saw how peaceful and content he was, a far cry from the man who had suffered so much heartache in his lifetime. This was the man that she had fallen in love with. The man who protected her from evil and loved her unconditionally. He rarely showed this side of himself, always keeping it hidden, even from those who knew him well.
Even in his sleep, Lee felt his wife's eyes observing him. He opened his eyes to the woman that he loved more than anything in the world.
"Morning, sleepyhead!" Amanda said cheerfully.
"Good morning, Mrs. Stetson!" Lee lowered his lips to Amanda's, kissing her tenderly.
The rumbling of Amanda's stomach broke them from their kiss.
"Sounds like someone's hungry," Lee pointed out.
"I'm starving!" Amanda gave Lee one last kiss before leaving the comfort of their bed. "Any chance of getting you to eat something?" Amanda asked curiously, knowing what his answer was going to be.
"Well, I did work up quite an appetite," Lee admitted as he got out of bed, pulling Amanda into his arms.
"I'll have to make sure that you workout more often, if that's what it takes to get you to eat something," Amanda said in a teasing voice as she kissed him on the lips.
Feeling the heat building up between them as they kissed, Lee swept Amanda into his arms and carried her to the bed. Laying her gently down, he quickly joined her.
"I think I need to workout a little more," he admitted as he kissed his way down her delicate body.
"I could use a workout myself," she returned as she devoted herself to her husband fully.
Later in the morning, after Lee and Amanda had partaken of breakfast, they took the launch to the island to do some sightseeing. After a cab ride around to the scenic spots of the island, they decided to do some shopping before returning to their ship.
Lee and Amanda returned to the cabin after their excursion in St. Thomas. They brought with them the souvenirs that they'd bought her Mother and the boys. They also found some souvenirs for Billy, Francine and even T.P. Feeling tired from their long day and the events of last night catching up with them, Lee and Amanda took a nap.
Waking up a couple of hours later and feeling rejuvenated, they decided to take a swim in the ship's pool.
While Amanda was in the bathroom, Lee took it upon himself to choose a swimsuit for his wife.
"You want me to wear this?" Amanda stood in front of Lee with a disturbed look on her face.
"I happen to like it on you," he admitted smugly, wiggling his eyes in appreciation. The suit that Lee was holding was a form fitting, skintight swimsuit with a plunging neckline.
"I bought it to wear for you when we are alone. Not for the whole ship to be gawking at me."
"They would only gawk at you because you happen to be a very beautiful woman, Amanda." Lee pointed out as he pulled her into his arms.
"I also packed my red one. I'll go change into this suit while you ogle this one a little while longer," she teased.
Not a minute later, Amanda came out of the bathroom in a one-piece red bathing suit that complemented her long legs and fair complexion. "Okay, I'm ready!" Amanda announced.
"WOW!!!" Lee exclaimed as he took in the sight before him. "I take it all back, I definitely like this suit."
"Glad to hear it, big fella," she returned with a smile. "Now, if you'll get changed, we might be able to get in some swimming before the sun goes down."
Lee changed into his blue suit, which accented his muscular chest and long legs.
Amanda couldn't take her eyes off of her husband as they proceeded hand in hand to the pool.
The playful laughter of children had permeated the air at the crowded pool. Every now and then, a parent would look up from their recliner to check on their child before relaxing in the hot Caribbean sun.
Lee and Amanda walked into the busy pool area and found two empty lounge chairs. Putting their towels on the chairs, they then headed towards the oblong shaped pool.
Stepping into the lukewarm water, Amanda sighed as she relaxed her overheated body. "Ah! This is exactly what I needed."
Lee pulled Amanda into his arms. "This is what I need," he confirmed, nuzzling her neck. Enjoying the coolness of the water and the proximity of her husband, Amanda relaxed into his loving arms.
After spending some time in the pool, swimming and frolicking with each other, they decided to move on to the Jacuzzi. Seeing that the Jacuzzi at the pool was crowded, they remembered that they had jets in their bathtub and decided to retreat to the privacy of their cabin.
Upon returning to their cabin, Lee ordered some champagne from room service while Amanda turned on the jets in the bathtub. Hearing her husband speaking to the cabin steward, Amanda stepped into the bathtub and waited anxiously for Lee.
"Amanda!" Lee called out after signing for the champagne.
"In here, Lee!"
Lee opened the bathroom door to find his wife waiting for him in the tub. To his delight, he discovered that she wasn't wearing her bathing suit.
Smiling devilishly, Lee took off his bathrobe and stepped fully naked into the bubbling water, to Amanda's delight. Pulling Amanda into his eager arms, he kissed her passionately. When they parted, Lee poured them some champagne and they toasted their honeymoon. With the bubbles of the bathtub's jets, coupled with the after effects of the champagne they'd consumed, Lee and Amanda soon lost themselves in each other and the magic of their love.
Lee and Amanda spent the remaining days of their honeymoon on the Majestic enjoying the ports of call and spending quality time as man and wife.
As the Majestic sailed into Miami, Lee and Amanda took one last walk on deck before leaving the ship that had been their home for the last seven days.
They took with them the luggage they boarded with in addition to the many souvenirs that they'd purchased and the countless memories that they would cherish forever.
Taking one last look at the glorious Majestic, Lee and Amanda got into a cab that would take them back to the airport and to their destination.
The hustle and bustle of a busy airport was readily recognizable, as the taxicab carrying Lee and Amanda pulled up to the congested terminal. After paying their fare, they gathered up their belongings and headed inside.
After checking in, they looked for the departure board to confirm that their flight to Orlando was departing on time. After confirming that it was, they headed to the gate.
Upon arrival in Orlando, one hour later, Lee and Amanda hailed a taxi to the Caribbean Beach Resort in Walt Disney World where their family was anxiously awaiting their arrival.
"Amanda!" Dotty called out excitedly, spying her daughter and son-in-law entering the hotel.
"Mother!" Amanda returned happily, walking over to where Dotty and the boys were standing. She gave her mother a hug.
"Hello Lee!" Dotty greeted enthusiastically, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
"Nice to see you Dotty!" Lee returned with a smile.
"Mom!" Phillip and Jamie called out together, giving her a hug and then greeting Lee with a firm handshake.
Amanda held on tightly to the two boys until they complained in typical teenage fashion. "I missed you boys so much!" she admitted when they parted.
"We missed you too, Mom," Jamie acknowledged.
"Mom, you should see this hotel," Phillip said enthusiastically. "It's totally awesome."
Amanda and Lee looked at each other and chuckled at their son's vocabulary.
"Wow! Great tan, Mom!" Jamie observed, looking at his mother's burnt shoulders.
"Amanda, look at you!" Dotty scolded. "I told you a thousand times to cover up when you are in the sun. I bet you didn't even use suntan lotion."
"Mother…" Amanda sighed in exasperation.
Lee observed his wife and mother-in-law with amusement. Not wanting to have them angry with each other for the entire week, Lee decided to intervene. "I don't know about all of you, but I have been looking forward to spending time with my new family. Let's not waste another minute." Lee took Amanda's hand and led her towards the reception desk.
After checking in and bringing their bags to their room, Lee and Amanda met their family downstairs before departing for Disney World.
Lee was in awe as he took in the ambiance of the crowded theme park. The Magic Kingdom was truly a magical place in Lee's eyes. As a child, he never got to do things that other children his age were experiencing. His childhood was spent moving from one military base to another with his uncle, the Colonel, who didn't have time to pay much attention to Lee. Being with Phillip and Jamie, Lee got the chance to live out some of his childhood fantasies and experience what life was all about through their eyes.
"Come on, Lee," Jamie called out impatiently, bringing Lee out of his thoughts.
He looked up to see that he had lagged behind the rest of the family and they were now way ahead of him.
Amanda turned around and headed back in his direction. "I'm sorry, Lee. I was talking to Mother and didn't look back to see that you were still with us. Getting slow in your old age, huh, Stetson," Amanda teased, egging him on.
"I'm worn out from our cruise. I wonder why," Lee whispered to Amanda with a mischievous grin, making her blush.
"Mom! Lee!" Phillip said loudly. "Let's go!" The impatient boys were giving Lee and their mother disturbed looks as they waited for them to catch up to them.
"You'd think after seven days on a cruise, those two would've had enough of each other," Phillip joked to his younger brother.
Jamie laughed at his older brother. "I agree, Phillip. How can they still stand each other? If I'd been with you for a solid week, I wouldn't be able to wait to get away from you."
"It's gross!!!" Phillip exclaimed. "They're way too old to be acting that way."
After exchanging several more barbs pointed at the oblivious couple, Jamie looked at his older brother with a serious statement on his face. "Look how happy she is, Phillip. I don't think even Dad made her this happy."
"I know, Jamie. We should probably cut them some slack. I mean this is their honeymoon that they are sharing with us and Lee did spring this great trip on us. We can tease them about it when we get home."
"For once I agree with you, Phillip."
"What rides do you want to go on first?" Lee asked curiously when they were all back together.
Phillip and Jamie looked at each other. "Space Mountain!" The boys said in unison.
Lee had a confused look on his face. "What is Space Mountain?"
Phillip and Jamie broke out in uncontrolled laughter at Lee's ignorance. "Lee, come on, it's only the best roller coaster ride in all of Disney. It's rad." Phillip explained excitedly.
Lee looked over at Amanda, who shrugged her shoulders.
"Please, Lee. It'll be fun," Jamie pleaded.
Lee felt defenseless against the two boys. Like their Mother, they sure knew how to get what they wanted. Yearning to be the best stepfather he could be, he decided that the only way to do that was to spend as much time with them as possible.
"Okay, you win," Lee said as he raised his arms in defeat. Looking at Amanda, he added. "On one condition."
"What's that?" Phillip asked curiously.
"That your Mother joins us," Lee returned, smiling broadly.
"Oh no, Lee! I don't do roller coasters. I'll stay with Mother," Amanda offered.
"Please Mom!" Phillip and Jamie pleaded with sad looking faces.
Lee took his wife's hands and looked into her eyes. "Where's your sense of adventure, Amanda? You're usually the most adventurous woman that I know."
Amanda felt herself weakening under Lee's intense gaze and the boy's sad faces. "Oh, all right."
"Yes!" Phillip and Jamie yelled out.
"I promise you, you won't be sorry," Lee said smiling as he led his family towards the end of the long line. "I'll make it up to you later, Mrs. Stetson," he whispered.
"Oh you can bet on that, Stetson," she hissed back, as they walked towards the ride.
"Oh my gosh!" Amanda exclaimed as her space ship took a steep hill at a fast rate of speed. She leaned back into the protective arms of her husband who was next to her.
Lee felt his wife tense up at every twist and turn. He tightened his hold of her, luxuriating in the feel of her body and the exhilaration of the ride.
Observing the excitement of his two stepsons sitting directly in front of him, he recalled a conversation that took place earlier that day.
"I don't think I've ever had so much fun," Lee commented as the three men sat at a table at a crowded restaurant.
"Boy, you'd think you've never been to an amusement park before," Phillip teased sarcastically.
"I haven't been to one before," Lee admitted to the two boys. "My parents died when I was five and I was raised by my uncle who was a strict military man. He never had time to take me to amusement parks." He explained.
Phillip looked at Lee in embarrassment. "Oh man, Lee. I didn't know. I'm so sorry."
"Good going, dufus," Jamie snickered to his brother.
"Shut up Jamie!" Phillip returned in anger.
"Cut it out, you two," Lee scolded. He put his hand on Phillip's shoulder and looked at him with compassion. "It's okay, Phillip. You didn't know. The only other person I shared this with was your Mother."
"Your secret is safe with me, Lee," Phillip confided, shaking his hand to seal the deal.
"Me too," Jamie returned with a smile.
Lee stood up and patted both boys on the back. "That means a lot to me guys, thanks." He looked out over the crowds of people trying to locate his wife and mother-in-law who had gone to a nearby snack stand. "I wonder what's taking your Mother and Grandmother so long."
Jamie looked at his brother for confirmation before addressing Lee. "I think I can speak for Phillip when I tell you that we are very happy that you're our step-father." Jamie said sincerely before looking away shyly. Taking a deep breath, he walked over to Lee. Putting his hand on his shoulder he said, "I'm sorry that I treated you so badly when I first got to know you."
"Jamie…" Lee interrupted.
"Hear me out, Lee." Jamie returned quickly before Lee could say another word in edgewise. "I learned a lot from you. How to use a camera properly, how to aim correctly, how to focus and most importantly, how to be a son again."
Lee looked at Jamie with tears in his eyes. "Thank you, Jamie. I appreciate that. I understand why you didn't accept me at first and I was hoping that you would eventually come around. I know that you just needed time to get to know me. That's why your Mother and I held off on telling you about our marriage. I didn't want to step on anyone's toes." Taking a deep breath, he collected his thoughts before addressing the boys again. "I love you two very much," he said with much conviction. "Thank you for making me a parent."
"Lee…buddy, wake up. The rides over." Phillip announced bringing Lee back to the present.
"Sorry, guys. That was an incredible ride." Lee looked over at his wife, who looked shaken up. Putting his arms around her shoulders he asked worriedly, "Are you all right, Amanda?"
Amanda smiled as she took a hold of Lee's hand. "I'll live. I guess I'll just have to wait until later to see how you are going to make this up to me," she whispered in his ear.
"It will definitely be worth the wait," he returned with a mischievous smile as they proceeded to the entrance where Dotty was waiting for them.
It was late afternoon by the time the family had finished going on most of the popular rides. Amanda noticed that Lee was limping as they made their way through Fantasyland.
"Sweetheart, are you okay?" Amanda whispered in Lee's ear.
"I'm fine, Amanda. I just picked the wrong shoes to wear today. Blisters," he pointed to the bottom of his feet.
Amanda smiled devilishly at her husband. "I'm pretty tuckered out myself. What do you say we take the Monorail back to the hotel and meet up with mother and the boys later for dinner?"
"I'd say, what are we waiting for?" Lee replied enthusiastically.
Lee and Amanda spoke to Dotty and the boys, making plans for later that evening before heading towards the monorail.
After an enjoyable dinner in the hotel's restaurant and fireworks back at the Magic Kingdom, Phillip and Jamie went up to their rooms for some much-needed rest after the day's activities. While Dotty was in her room calling Captain Kurt, Lee and Amanda decided to take a walk on the hotel's sandy beach before calling it a night.
The white sand of the beach felt like silk under Amanda's bare feet. The hotel obviously spared no expense when they created the luxurious beach. Looking around, Amanda saw that she and Lee were the only strollers on the beautiful moonlit night. The starry night, coupled with the light wind, made for a romantic setting for the happy couple.
"Amanda?" Lee called out to his wife, who was staring at the water intently.
"Huh? Oh sorry, Sweetheart."
Lee smiled. "I was wondering what you were staring at so intently. You looked like you were deep in thought."
Amanda looked deeply into Lee's eyes. "I was thinking about you with the boys. You're wonderful with them."
Lee softened his statement. "They're great boys, Amanda. You did a wonderful job raising them," he said with admiration towards the beautiful woman who was standing beside him.
Amanda pulled Lee over to her and tenderly kissed him. "I love you so much, Lee. I never thought that I would ever meet anyone who would love me as well as my sons," she admitted as tears welled up in her eyes. "You are one in a million, Lee Stetson!" She turned away from him and looked at the way that the moonlight was casting rays of light on the water.
Turning her face towards him, he wiped the tears away from her face before addressing her. With all of the love he felt for her shining in his eyes, he said what came directly from his heart. "Amanda, you and your family, ah I mean OUR, family are the best things that ever happened to me. I have never felt this complete or loved." Feeling his voice breaking up, he looked away momentarily.
"Oh Lee!" Amanda sighed.
"Shh…!" Lee put his finger on her lips, keeping her from interrupting him further. Taking both of her hands into his, he took a deep breath before speaking again. "Amanda, thank you for giving me the family that I have always wished for. I have so much to live for and I promise you that I will never take you or the boys for granted. I want you to know that you will always come first in my life. No matter what! I love you!!!"
Amanda reached for Lee once more and kissed him deeply. When they parted breathlessly, Amanda spoke again. "Thank you for being the father that Phillip and Jamie never had through Joe. Most men wouldn't have taken on that job."
"This is the most important job that I will ever have, Amanda. No one made me take the job. I chose to take it. I have worked so hard to get to know them, Amanda, because they're important to me. I love Phillip and Jamie very much!" He said with much conviction.
"I thank God every day for bringing you into our lives, Lee Stetson. Thank you for giving me the honeymoon of my dreams!"
"The pleasure was all mine, Mrs. Stetson," Lee said as he pulled Amanda into his arms and kissed her with all of the love in his heart.