Day of Reckoning
While adjusting to family life, Lee and Amanda find that their other "family"
needs a little help of its own.
Author: Michelle Glenn
"Thatíll be $3.25 for the Large Tutti Fruity ice cream, Mr. Aquinas," the boy behind the ice cream store counter said. T. Percival Aquinas handed him the money and cheerfully glided to his customary table. The smile never left his face as he ate the gooey confection and dug through papers in his briefcase at the same time. As he licked the last bit of ice cream from his spoon TP closed his briefcase and stood to throw his bowl and spoon away. As he dumped his trash in the can around the corner he felt someone come up behind him and shove a hard round object in his back.
"Do what I tell you and I wonít need to use this." A man with a harsh voice commanded. He urged TP away from the ice cream store and into his dark brown í86 Chevy. T.P.ís briefcase sat ignored at the table while the rest of the customers ate their ice cream as if they hadnít a care in the world.
"Aaaah!" Lee ran into the bathroom when he heard his wife yell out. He was prepared for the worst with his hand on his gun, but when he opened the door he had to fight hard not to laugh. A smile crept along his face until it turned into a full-toothed grin. He knew it wasn't a funny situation, but the sight of his wife sitting on the bathroom floor surrounded by little pink razors somehow struck his funny bone. Her groans as she tossed them one by one into the trashcan weren't helping matters. He had no idea why it was so amusing to him.
"It is not funny!" Amanda said through gritted teeth as she grabbed a handful of rusty, dull razors and threw them at her husband.
"Hey! You know those could be considered deadly weapons!" Lee ducked as the pink objects with the silver, not so sharp blades hurled past him and landed on the floor with several clunks.
"Now I agree with you there!" Amanda stood up and as she did Lee noticed the Band-Aid that was attached to the back of her calf and another one closer to her ankle. Amanda glared at him with her hands on her hips.
"What happened?" Lee didn't find the situation quite so funny any longer. His concern showed in the wrinkles that appeared on his forehead. He swept his hand through his hair as he moved closer to his wife.
"What happened? He asks what happened?" Amanda bent down and proceeded to deposit the rest of the razors into the trashcan as she ranted. "I'll tell you what happened! What happened is that I thought it was ok to leave these in here. Apparently, I was wrong because someone..." Amanda paused slightly, glared at Lee and waved a razor at him, "decided to smooth his cheeks with no regards to the fact that his face is a lot rougher than my legs. So now I have a whole pack of lovely pink razors that come in little packages that, by the way, say "for women" that are good for nothing except attacking my legs!" Amanda stopped speaking and took a deep breath. She threw the last enemy razor away and stomped off into the bedroom.
"Amanda, I'm sorry. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. You use my razors all the time." Lee followed her into the bedroom and tried to appeal to her senses as she finished dressing for work. Amanda looked at him pointedly. "Ok," he continued, "not a good example." Lee rubbed his cheek as he remembered an encounter with a decidedly dull razor.
Amanda didnít respond to him, she just stood, grabbed her make-up bag and headed for the front door. Lee started to follow her, but stopped when he realized he was wearing nothing but a robe and slippers. He murmured an expletive and headed for his closet as he heard the front door of the apartment slam unceremoniously.
As Lee entered the IFF building he was informed that he was expected in Billyís office right away. He had really wanted to speak to Amanda, but he knew better than to chance Billyís wrath. As he headed for the Agency bullpen he gave a longing glance at the stairs that led to the Q Bureau and wasnít sure if Billyís wrath was as bad as Amandaís.
Leeís already rather unhappy mood wasnít helped when he walked in Billyís office and saw the long faces on the roomís occupants. Amanda was sitting on the couch; she wouldnít even look at him. Surely, using her razor didnít warrant such treatment. Francine was looking at him like he had just lost his best friend. His thoughts were running a mile a second and as Billy began to speak Lee felt sure he knew what his boss was going to say. Leeís shoulders tensed dramatically and he clenched his fists as he expected Billy to tell him Dr. Smyth had found out about the marriage and was separating them. 'He enjoys trying to make my life miserable. He's been after me since...' his thoughts were interrupted when Billy said his name loud enough to make Amanda turn her head and look at him concerned.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, Billy, I wasÖthinking." Lee grit his teeth, waiting for whatever Billy was about to throw his way.
"I see that. Did someone already tell you? Who? If this gets out, we could have a panicÖ" Billyís words trailed off when he noticed the look of pure confusion on Leeís face.
"I donít understand. Amanda?" Lee looked to his wife. She had turned away from him, but at his plea she turned back and the look in her eyes nearly bowled him over. She looked on the verge of tears. Francine was looking at him sympathetically. Something had happened and he was the only one who didnít know what it was.
"There's another disappearance, Lee." Billyís voice was soft and riddled with concern for the agent who he considered to be his best friend.
"NoÖwho?" Lee wasnít sure it was something he really wanted to know. It all began two days ago when Lana, a masseuse that Lee used from time to time for information disappeared. The Agency had been looking into it, but there was no evidence, nothing pointing to foul play. Now, someone else had disappeared.
Amanda stood and put her hands on Leeís chest gently. Forgetting, briefly, Francineís presence in the room she played with the collars of his jacket and spoke softly. "It was TP, Lee. Early this morning."
The room was dark and cold. T.P. shivered involuntarily as he tried to adjust his eyes to the lack of light. He knew he had lost consciousness at some point, he didnít remember anything after being shoved into a rather unkempt Chevy. The soreness and pinhead-sized prick in his arm told him how. Now he just wanted to know why. It couldnít have been anything he was working on. His briefcase had been left on the table at the Ice Cream Parlor. T.P.ís mouth watered as he thought of his favorite dessert. Then he thought of the briefcase and tried to remember if there was anything in there to be concerned about. After all, it wouldnít be couth for some bad guy to find the secrets to the world just because he had been kidnapped. No, that wouldnít be couth at all.
T.P.ís senses alerted him to a movement a few feet away. He sat very still and waited. It had gotten so silent and he was sitting so still that he nearly jumped when he heard a soft voice speak to him. "Whoís there?" The womanís voice questioned.
"Thatís just what I was about to ask you." Both T.P. and the woman turned quickly when a door opened and light flitted into the room too briefly. "Whoís there?" T.P. asked.
The man who had been virtually thrown into the room seemed to shake as he spoke. "AugÖAugieÖAugie, Sw-Swann." he stammered. "Whatís going on?"
"I donít know, but it seems we are in the same predicament, Mr. Swann. My nameís T. Percival Aquinas and this isÖ" T.P. paused allowing the woman to introduce herself.
"Ok, now our job is to see what we all have in common and why that got us thrown in here."
"Damn," Lee muttered as he came into the office and threw papers down on his desk as he sat in his chair. He was too preoccupied to notice that he hadn't closed the door completely. "This is getting us nowhere and now T.P.'s gone too!" Lee sighed in frustration as Amanda watched his rant from her desk across the room.
"No clues in T.P.'s briefcase?" Amanda asked softly. She walked over to Lee's desk and sat on its corner.
"Not a thing. I didn't really expect there to be. Whoever took T.P. would have taken his briefcase too if it had anything important in it." Lee ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. Amanda touched one of his hands as they reached the top of his head. She held on to it as he lowered his hands. Lee looked up into his wife's eyes and she pulled him into a tender embrace. Lee sat her down on his lap and held her tight. "I hate when we fight." He spoke low as if he were afraid to even bring up the morning's argument.
"So do I. It was stupid anyway. Especially when you think that while we were arguing about razors, T.P. was being kidnapped." Amanda played with the collar of Lee's jacket. Suddenly she sat straight up and looked deep into her husband's eyes. She took his face into her hands and said, "We will find them, Lee, we will. Together we can do anything."
"I love you, Mrs. Stetson." Lee said sincerely, unaware of the man standing just outside of the door.
"I love you, Mr. Stetson." Amanda and Lee kissed sweetly. The man tiptoed back down the hall, counted to ten and then headed back for the Q Bureau. This time Lee and Amanda heard him coming and had separated from their embrace just as the door opened.
"Good morning, Leatherneck." Amanda said cheerfully as she worked her way back to her own desk and sat down.
"Good morning, Mrs., uhh, King." Leatherneck grinned nervously, unsure whether he should tell them what he had heard. Deciding they must have their reasons for not telling anyone he chose to remain silent. He tried to stop grinning quickly but both Lee and Amanda had seen it.
"What's up, Leatherneck?" Lee asked, suspiciously.
"Oh, uhh..." He couldn't remember why he had come up to the Q Bureau. He knew it had something to do with the disappearances. "Umm, yeah." Leatherneck snapped his fingers as it all came back to him. "I heard a rumor that I thought you both might like to hear."
Both Amanda and Lee sat up straighter and listened intently. "What is it, Leatherneck?" Amanda asked quietly.
"I was talking with Rhonda and it looks like Augie Swann's disappeared." Lee's eyes widened and he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. Leatherneck continued, "She said some people are beginning to notice a pattern with the people who've disappeared. They think it has to do with you, Lee...and your family."
The captives stood at attention when the door to their prison opened and a tall man with a long beard entered the room.
"I trust all of you are enjoying yourselves?" The man's Bulgarian accent was overpowering and his captives knew it could not mean good things. "Well, no matter. I have brought food. We can't have you dying on us...then you would be useless." The man uncovered a parcel and placed stale bread on the floor at T.P.'s feet. "It's not ice cream, but it is food. Eat up, it's all you'll be getting for awhile." He left the room as the captives did as they were told.
The Bulgarian stomped down a narrow, dark hallway and entered another room. This room was in direct contrast with the prison he had just left. The room was brightly lit and furnished with plush sofas and fancy desks. The bookshelves along the walls were filled with classics and a large white screen was hanging from the ceiling. A film projector was standing idle a few feet in front of it. Two men sat gingerly on the sofas while another worked the projector. "Sit, Dimitri. Are we ready to begin?" The portly man with the baldhead asked from his perch beside the projector.
All three of the room's occupants nodded their heads as the projector roared to life and pictures appeared on the white screen. "Meet Mr. Ken Latherly. He's your next target." As the man spoke his accent became very apparent. The two large men sitting on the sofa studied the picture and nodded. "Gustav, you take care of him. I have another job for Sergei."
Gustav nodded. "What's my job, Ambassador?" Sergei asked the man who was operating the projector.
"Her." The ambassador answered and he flicked the switch, a picture of a woman bending over a car as if repairing it appeared. "She goes by the name of Rhonda. You will bring her directly to me."
"Why do you not want me to take her directly to the others?" Sergei asked.
"Because, she is a traitor. I have bigger plans for her."
Lee and Amanda sat pensively in Billy's underground office, oblivious to the sun setting outside. Billy was sitting behind his desk with a frown on his face and his forehead creasing dramatically. A tape player sat before him. "We got this an hour ago. Crypto can't figure it out."
Lee and Amanda exchanged nervous glances as Billy pushed play on the recorder. A man's voice came out of the little machine and a chill went up the agents' spines as they heard the distinctive Bulgarian accent. "Scarecrow. Diller, Diller Day. Goldberg gets his way. One side up, one side down. All can see clearly now." The tape player made a popping sound as Billy pressed stop. "That's it. Does it make any sense to you?"
Lee's brow furrowed and he looked to Amanda hoping that maybe she had recognized anything from the cryptic message. She shook her head. "Do you think it has to do with the recent disappearances?"
Lee answered before Billy could speak. "The first word he said was Scarecrow, so obviously it was a message for me. But, what does it mean? Diller...Goldberg? Wait..." Lee paused as he began to remember where he had heard those names before.
"Lee." Amanda said. "You don't think?" Lee nodded. Amanda stared into Lee's eyes as if she were mesmerized. "But, he's in prison..."
"And the contacts were destroyed." Lee interjected. He was lost in Amanda's eyes as he spoke. Neither seemed to be aware of Billy sitting only a few feet away from them.
"But, it makes sense. He could have made copies," Amanda supplied.
"My thoughts exactly." Lee stood and held out his hand. Amanda took his hand and stood beside him. They laughed when they saw the look on Billy's face.
"You two should be careful where you do that or your secret will be revealed." Billy smirked knowingly at his friends.
"Do what?" Lee and Amanda asked simultaneously.
"Nothing...just go." Billy laughed as Lee shrugged his shoulders. Amanda gave him a confused look as the partners exited the office.
The gray bars closed loudly as Lee and Amanda sat at an old, dusty table. They watched as Drew Goldberg walked over to where they sat. As they watched him they remembered how they had met the good Dr. Goldberg. Goldberg had tried to sell a list of Lee's "family" members, but had been foiled just in time. His hands and ankles were handcuffed, but Lee held Amanda's hand protectively and sat extremely close to her. Goldberg sat in a rotting chair across for them, but didn't say a word. He stared at Lee unwaveringly.
"Ok, Goldberg. How'd you do it?" Lee asked angrily. Amanda squeezed his hand tightly and looked at him with a look that told him to calm down.
"Iím afraid I donít know what you are talking about, Mr. Stetson." Goldberg squirmed in his seat and looked pleadingly at the guards. The guards turned away from him. "Now, do you mind telling me what all this is about?"
"Thatís what we came here to ask you." Lee said angrily. "We know you had the contacts for a while before you gave one to Brody. What did you do with them while you had them?"
"Contacts? What contacts? Iím sorry I canít help you."
Leeís jaw tensed. "Listen, we know you must have made copies of them or wrote down what you saw on them. What did you do with the information?" He said trying hard to keep his temper in check.
Goldberg laughed. "You are good. Letís just say that I finished what our friend Brody started." At that he stood and headed for the exit. A guard escorted him out of the room and another came to show Lee and Amanda out.
"Did you get what you needed?" the guard asked as he signed them out.
"Iím not sure." Lee admitted as they left the confines of the prison.
Lee and Amanda walked hand in hand to Leeís car. "What do you think he meant by finishing what Brody started?" Amanda asked as they reached the car. Lee let go of her hand and they got into the car.
"I donít know. He was going to sell the lenses to Brody."
"So maybe we should find out who Brody was going to sell the lenses to," Amanda suggested.
"Good idea. Weíll have to go back to the office and look through the old Barnstorm file." Lee put the car into gear and started driving towards D.C.
"Itís getting late. Maybe we should take a break and come back to this in the morning."
Lee looked at Amanda quickly and then turned back to look at the road. "I really want to get this done. Itís my family thatís disappearing, Amanda. I donít think I can sleep until this is over anyway."
Amanda put her hand on Leeís thigh. "I know and theyíre my family now, too, remember? If you donít get any sleep you wonít be any help to them and you know that." Amanda watched as Leeís eyes showed sadness after she finished.
"Maybe I just donít want to go home yet," Lee said wistfully, hoping Amanda would catch his meaning. Amanda nodded. Lee stopped the car at a red light and looked at his wife tenderly. "I hate going home alone all the time. I never want to be apart from you and I really hate waking up without you in my arms." Amanda had tears in her eyes and looked at him tenderly.
"I donít like it either, but Mother is home tonight and I'm out of excuses." Amanda kissed his cheek as the sound of a horn blaring interrupted them. Lee looked in the rearview mirror quickly at the car that emitted the offending sound and drove off as fast as he could get the car in gear.
Leatherneck shut the hood of the car and wiped his greasy hands on a rag. "Thanks for the help. Agent Simmons needed his car back tomorrow morning. Thereís no way I could have finished it by myself." he said to Rhonda who was also cleaning her dirty hands.
"No problem, I should go now. See you later, Ken." Rhonda said as she started to leave the repair shop.
"Hold it right there." Two male voices called from a side door. They each aimed their guns at their targets. "Hands behind your backs." Sergei commanded as Gustav tied Rhonda and Leatherneckís hands together and led them out into the night.
Early the next morning, Amanda told her mother she needed to go to work early, but instead headed to Leeís apartment. She used her key to get in and was surprised to find that he was still asleep. She smiled broadly and slipped quietly into the bedroom. Lee was lying on his stomach and was holding a pillow in his right arm. She carefully slid into bed next to him and moved his arm away from the pillow and over her stomach. Lee noticed the change and began to awaken.
"Amanda?" he asked drowsily as he opened his half-awake eyes.
"Of course, you werenít expecting someone else, were you?" Amanda smiled and slapped his arm playfully when he said "Well..."
"What time is it?" Lee said now fully awake, but not wanting to leave the bed. He pulled Amanda closer to him and held her tighter.
"Around eight. I just didnít want you to have to wake up without me." She grinned and then gasped slightly when she saw the look in Leeís eyes. "I take it youíre happy to see me." She shifted in his embrace and knew that he was definitely happy to see her.
"Always." He said as he leaned in and kissed his wife passionately.
Lee and Amanda walked into the IFF building with determined looks on their faces that were only intensified when they saw Mrs. Marston sitting solemnly at her desk.
"Let me guess, another disappearance?" Lee sighed. Mrs. Marston nodded solemnly as she handed them their ID badges.
They took the elevator to the bullpen floor. Amanda squeezed his hand reassuringly as they exited the elevator. They walked through the bullpen to Billyís office and were vividly aware of the sympathetic stares that greeted them. When they were both in Billyís office Lee closed the door behind them.
Amanda sat down in one of the chairs while Lee stood by the windows as Billy closed the blinds. Francine sat in the chair next to Amanda. "Who is it this time, Billy?" Lee asked.
"Leatherneck and Rhonda. It was some time last night. They were working on Agent Simmonsí car in the shop, but they never went home. When Simmons went to get his car Leatherneck was gone."
"But, Leatherneck is always referred to by a code name, sir. How would anyone know who he was?" Amanda asked.
"His real name was on the lenses from before he became a full-time agent." Lee said softly. "Ken Latherly, but how did they find him? And how did they know he and Rhonda were together?"
"Thereís more, Lee." Francine spoke. She showed them the tape she had been concealing in her lap. "This came in this morning" Francine handed the tape to Billy who put it in his tape player and pushed play. The same voice from the first tape spoke again, this time it said "One, Two, Three, Four, Five. Wonder whoís alive. Once a failure, never again. Keep an eye on the king. Itís the day of reckoning."
"Where are these tapes coming from?" Lee pounded Billyís desk in frustration.
"That much we know. And, it also explains why they knew Rhonda and Leatherneck were working on the car together. It was Simmons, Lee. He was double dealing." Francine said.
"What? He was always such a nice man." Amanda said softly, trying hard not to believe that a man she had considered a friend would do such a thing. "Although, I guess we didnít really know him that well, but still." Amanda sighed. Lee came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.
"Amanda, I think you should lay low for awhile." Lee said, looking at Billy hoping he would agree with him.
"Why? Lee, Iíve been on dangerous cases before. Besides, my name isnít on the lenses."
"I think Lee is referring to the riddle. ĎKeep an eye on the king.í and I think heís right." Billy said. "Why donít you go home. Weíll send some guys with you to watch out for you and your family."
"But sir...I think Iíve proven myself by now." Amanda was becoming very frustrated.
"Yes, you have, but these guys have already taken five of our people. I donít want to give them a chance to get to you too." Billy looked at Amanda and smiled. "We all know that youíve become a first-rate agent, Amanda that doesnít have anything to do with this."
"Amanda, please just do this. I donít want anything to happen to you." Lee gave Amanda a look that melted her heart. She never could say no to him when he looked at her like that.
"Ok, ok, Iíll go, but I will not be happy about going and leaving you to do all the work." Amanda brushed past Lee, touching him briefly, as she exited Billyís office.
"Amanda? What are you doing home so early?" Dotty inquired when her daughter entered the kitchen.
"I wasnít feeling well. I have a headache." She lied, although she was beginning to feel a throbbing in her temples.
"Oh, well, here take some aspirin and go on upstairs to rest. I'm going flying with Captain Kurt in ten minutes, but I can cancel it if you want me to?" Dotty said out of concern for Amanda. She placed her hand on her forehead. "You donít seem to have a fever..."
"Iíll be fine mother, itís just a headache. You go on. Have a good time." Amanda kissed her mother on the cheek, took an aspirin and a glass of water and headed upstairs.
"We havenít been able to figure out what we all have in common, but now that you're here, Iím beginning to wonder..." T.P. said to Leatherneck. "We are all members of a select group arenít we?"
Lana nodded. "Do you think this could have something to do with Barnstorm?"
"Barnstorm? Why would you think of that? Those lenses were destroyed." Leatherneck said. "Werenít they?"
"Maybe someone got the information off of them before they were destroyed." Lana was sure she knew what was going on.
"I think you may be on to something, my dear." T.P. acknowledged. "Now we must find a way to use this to our advantage."
"Filikoff." Lana spoke. "These men, theyíre not American. Filikoff was talking about Barnstorm back when the lenses were missing. What if he managed to get ahold of them?"
"Quite possible. Well, now we at least know who weíre dealing with. If weíve figured all this out Iím sure Lee and Amanda have as well." T.P. said and then mumbled under his breath "I hope."
Amanda stayed upstairs even after she heard the door close behind her mother. She didnít want to stay around the house all day, but she knew sheíd never get past the agents Billy had assigned to her. She opened a file she had sneaked out of the office in her purse. If she couldnít work at work then sheíd work at home.
She was deep into the file when she heard a grumbling coming from her stomach. Glancing at the clock she decided it was probably time to eat some lunch. Amanda put the file down and headed downstairs. Looking in her cupboards and fridge she decided that she didnít want any of the food she had in the house. So, she got her keys and purse and headed outside. She looked at the surveillance van parked across the street. She got into her car and beeped her horn as she passed the van to get their attention. Inside the van, the two agents were slumped down on their seats. Their half-eaten chicken-salad sandwiches lay by their sides.
"So, my dear Nadia, you thought you could just come to America and leave your family, did you?" Ambassador Filikoff stood over Rhonda who was bound and gagged on his sofa. He pulled the gag down. "What do you say for yourself, my dear sister?"
"Please, Victor. Donít do this! What do you want with the others? Let them go." She pleaded, as she looked into the eyes of the man she had hoped she had escaped from long ago.
"Now, now, calm down. This is not all about you, Nadia Filikoff. No, not at all. Oh, it all started because of you. My little sister abandoning her home and her family, yes I wanted revenge. Now, I shall have it on both you and the man who helped you get your new life. The illustrious Scarecrow will pay for what he has done, just as you will. Sergei," the ambassador addressed the man who was standing in the shadows. "Take her down to the others." At that the ambassador left the room while Rhonda cried.
It didnít take Amanda long to realize that she wasnít being followed so she turned her car around and returned to her house, parking in her driveway. She cautiously walked up to the van and gasped when she saw the two agents unconscious inside. She ran to the house to call the Agency. As she reached the front door, however, a man in a black ski mask jumped her and carried her kicking and screaming to his dark brown í86 Chevy.
Leeís silver corvette turned the corner onto Maplewood Drive stealthily. He was anxious to check on his wife and it was his lunch hour so he decided to pop in for a visit. He arrived in time to see a man force Amanda into a car and drive off. Lee made sure to stay at a safe distance while following the car. Every nerve in his body was standing on end.
Lee let out an anguished sigh when the Chevy entered the Bulgarian embassy. The carís driver got out and escorted Amanda inside. Lee could tell she was scared and it was breaking his heart. He took out his cell phone and called the Agency.
"Billy? Itís Lee. They got Amanda."
"What?" Billy yelled into the phone. "What happened to the agents who were supposed to be watching her?"
"I donít know, Billy, I didnít get a look at them. Billy, they took her into the Bulgarian Embassy."
"Ok, donít do anything until backup gets there. Lee, I mean anything!" Billy commanded as he hung up the phone. He had to think of a plan quickly because he was sure Lee wasnít going to listen to him. After all, if it were Jeannie involved he wouldnít sit around and wait for backup either.
Lee parked his car on the street in front of the embassy and sneaked around the back. The embassy was well protected, but he wasnít about to let them keep his wife hostage in there. When he reached the back gate he saw a guard standing at attention in front of it. From the guardís belt hung a ring full of keys. Lee came up behind the guard quietly. He took one swing at him and the guard was on the ground. He dragged the guard into a bush where he proceeded to take his uniform and his keys. It wasnít long before he was walking in the Bulgarian Embassy as if he belonged there.
Gustav pushed Amanda into the dark prison-like room and shut the door behind her with a bang. When her eyes adjusted to the dark she saw that she wasnít alone.
"Mrs. King!" Leatherneck called. "Whatís going on?"
"I donít know, they snatched me from in front of my own house."
"Hola, Mrs. King."
"T.P.! Lana! Augie! Rhonda! I'm so happy to see all of you. Is everyone ok?" Amanda asked as T.P. gave her a quick hug.
"We're fine. I figured that Lee would find us. If I wasn't sure of that before, I am now. He'll find you."
"Thatís right, Lee would never let anything bad happen to you." Leatherneck added.
"So, you are accusing Ambassador Filikoff of kidnapping?" Ambassador Nickaliavich asked Billy and Francine who were standing in his office.
"Yes," Francine answered simply. Billy watched the exchange carefully. It was imperative to their mission to get the Ambassador's help. He knew it would not be an easy task.
"You are aware that he has a diplomatic passport," the Ambassador stated. Francine nodded.
"That's why we need your help." Francine was certain that Nickaliavich was about to call in the guards and have them ushered out of the Embassy.
Nickaliavich nodded. "This will not leave the room. Agreed?" He continued after Billy and Francine nodded and leaned forward in their chairs in anticipation. "We have suspected Ambassador Filikoff has been involved in some things that we do notÖagree with. However, we could not prove his association."
Billy was tempted to smile, but he held it in. "You can prove this."
Nickaliavich picked up the phone sitting on his desk and dialed a number. "Moceanu? I have an assignment for you."
Lee sneaked around the embassy, hiding at any sound. He ducked here and there, and listened for any clue as to where they had taken Amanda. He paused when he reached a door that had a nameplate on it. The nameplate read Ambassador Victor Filikoff. Chills went up Leeís spine. He should have known Filikoff was behind all of this, after all he was behind the Barnstorm incident. The door was opened a crack and Lee strained to hear the voices inside.
"What do you want us to do with them, Ambassador?" Gustav asked.
"Nothing yet, we must wait for the Scarecrow to arrive. Then we will let him see his family fall apart just as mine did after Nadia defected." Filikoff responded.
"Shall I prepare them for his arrival?"
"Yes, take them to the old conference room in the basement. No one uses that room any longer; it should be locked. Use this key." Filikoff handed a key to Gustav. "Now that we have Mrs. King it wonít be long before her partner arrives to save the day. When he finds them, kill them."
Lee hid behind a curtain when he heard Gustav leave the room. He wanted to follow Gustav to Amanda and his friends, but he decided to confront Filikoff first. He threw the door open and was shocked to see no one inside. He searched the room diligently until he found a door, which led to a staircase. He could just barely hear another personís heavy breathing so he descended the stairs quietly. He had his gun drawn and ready, but hoped he wouldnít need to use it. The stairs ended swiftly at a door, which was opened slightly, but not enough for him to see inside. He opened it more, hoping no one was watching the door. When the door was open enough he saw Amanda standing in front of a blank white wall. He could see that she was scared and he wanted to run over to her and embrace her. He forced himself to look past her and when he did he saw Leatherneck, T.P., Augie Swann, Lana and Rhonda all standing in the same position as Amanda.
"Aah, Scarecrow, please come in and join us." Ambassador Filikoff said as he opened the door wider revealing Leeís presence to the rest of the room. Amandaís eyes opened wide when she saw her husband. Her heart sank when Sergei grabbed Leeís gun and pushed him further into the room. Lee could only look at his wife, he felt an extreme pang of helplessness and he didnít like it at all. "Go on, Gustav, follow my orders."
Gustav raised his gun to the captives. "Who should be first?" he asked.
"Letís save Mrs. King for last, we donít want her death to overshadow the others. How about him." Filikoff pointed to T.P. who was standing next to Amanda. Gustav stood at point blank range in front of T.P. As he lowered the gun to aim it he was shocked when Amandaís foot came out of nowhere and knocked the gun out of his hands.
Lee took that moment to knock out Sergei who was trying to help Gustav. Lee grabbed his gun from Sergei just as Gustav was about to reach for the one that Amanda had knocked away. Lee held the gun in Gustavís back. "Hold it." He commanded. Gustav stopped reaching for the gun. Leatherneck, who had managed to get out of his ties and was closest to the fallen gun, picked it up and aimed it on the ambassador.
Lee used his free hand help Amanda get out of her ties, who in turn untied the rest of the captives. As Amanda finished and rushed to her husbandís side Francine and the reinforcements ran into the room and relieved Lee and Leatherneck of the guns. Lee and the others were surprised to see members of the Bulgarian military come in the room with Francine. They were equally shocked when they took Gustav, Sergei, and Victor out of the room in handcuffs. "We found Dimitri upstairs, that should be all of them. I think we may want to get out of here before the Bulgarians come after us for staying too long in their embassy." Francine suggested as she walked out of the room.
"Umm, Francine, how?" Lee began to ask.
"It's a long story, let's just say they aren't too happy with our friend the Ambassador either."
"Great job, my boy, great job!" T.P. greeted Lee with a smile.
"Come on, everyone, letís go home." Leatherneck led Augie, T.P., Lana and Rhonda out of the room. He turned and smiled when he saw Lee and Amanda in a tight embrace. He jumped when he heard T.P. come up behind him. He blocked T.P.ís view of the room and ushered him out of the basement.
"I was so worried." Lee confessed as he held Amanda as close to him as he could.
"I wasnít. I never lost faith in you. Youíre my knight in shining armor." Amanda smiled as she kissed her husband as if it were the last kiss she would ever give him.
"So, Filikoff wanted revenge for the loss of his sister." Amanda said as she sat in Billyís office with Lee and Francine.
"And, Goldberg and Brody played right into his hands when they found the lenses with the names of my family." Lee confirmed.
"The Bulgarians searched Filikoffís office, by the way. They found the list he was using. Apparently Goldberg wrote down the names before giving the lenses to Brody." Billy announced.
"And they actually gave it to us?" Francine was shocked.
"Only because it served their purpose as well. The current administration was looking for a way to get Filikoff out for a while now. This gave them a good reason. Even if normally, they would have applauded his antics."
"Iím just glad no one was hurt." Amanda said.
"Me too, come on. Letís go home." Lee looked at Francineís confused expression and amended. "I mean, let me give you a ride home." Francine harumphed as she stood up and left the office. Lee winked at Billy as he and Amanda followed her out of the office. Billy winked back and laughed as he thought of the look on Francineís face if she ever found out the truth.
"Did you call your mother and tell her where you are?" Lee came into the apartment living room, his hands behind his back.
"Yes, she and the boys want you to come home with me for dinner tonight." Amanda was sitting on the couch and looked at her husband suspiciously. "What are you up to?"
"Nothing...I have a present for you." Lee brought his hands out from behind his back and grinned proudly as he handed her a haphazardly wrapped gift. "Go ahead, open it." he said as Amanda looked at the box.
"Ok." She opened the box and smiled broadly when she saw two brand new, expensive razors lying side by side. One was marked his, the other marked hers.
"Now, we have no excuse for using each others razors." Lee kissed Amanda softly and when their lips parted they both started to laugh.