“Jamie, Phillip, hurry up, Lee will be here any minute to pick us up!” Amanda King shouted from the bottom of the stairs to her sons.
“We'll be right down, Mom!” Jamie yelled back in response. “We're ready, it's just that you and Grandmom were taking so long to get ready we decided to go back up to our room and play some more of that new racing video game you bought us yesterday,” Phillip told his mother as he and his brother descended the stairs.
“Come here and let me have a look at you,” Amanda told them when they reached the bottom. “You two look very handsome,” she said as she straightened Phillip's tie and then brushed a lock of hair back that had fallen over Jamie's forehead.
“You look very nice too mom,” Jamie complimented her. “Yeah really great mom,” Phillip said in agreement with his brother.
“Thanks fellas, now, I want the two of you to go sit in the living room, while I go see if your grandmother is almost ready and guys, don't get your clothes dirty, while I'm upstairs.”
“We won't mom, we promise,” they said.
“Okay then, if Lee arrives before I come back downstairs, let him in and tell him your grandmother and I will be right down.”
“No sweat, Mom,” Phillip replied, “Oh and mom is it okay if I have a snack while we wait?” he asked. “Can I have one too?” Jamie chimed in.
“A snack?” Amanda questioned, “We are on our way to dinner in a few minutes, and besides, you fellas had a snack when you got home from school a couple of hours ago,” Amanda told them.
“Yeah but were starving now mom,” whined Jamie, giving Amanda a pleading look. “Come on mom can't we have just a little snack, we're growing boys,” said Phillip giving her an even more pathetic look than his brother.
Amanda had a hard time saying no when the boys looked at her like this but she decided to try to stand firm, “Come on fellas, can't you please hold out a little while longer, so you don't spoil your dinners?” Amanda asked them.
Before they could respond, the doorbell sounded. “I'll get it,” Dotty called out as she floated down the staircase like royalty. She opened the door and greeted Lee before she invited him in.
“These are for the birthday girl,” Lee said handing her a dozen white roses and kissing her on the cheek.
“Thank you, Lee, they're beautiful.” Dotty gushed while inhaling the roses' fragrance. "I'll let Amanda know you're here."
"No need, Mother, we're right behind you," Amanda replied.
Dotty turned and addressed Amanda, "Amanda darling, Look at the beautiful roses Lee brought me."
"They are lovely indeed, Mother. Why don't you go put them in some water? I think that vase aunt Lillian gave you for Christmas would be perfect for them.”
"You're right of course dear, they'll look marvelous in that vase. I think I’ll place them on the coffee table in the den. That way I can show them off tomorrow when Sally Porter comes over for tea. She's always going on and on about her daughter's new attorney boyfriend. I can't wait to tell her that not only did your boyfriend take me out to dinner for my birthday but he also brought me a dozen roses. He daughter's beau has never taken her anywhere," enthused Dotty as she headed out of the room.
Lee and Amanda finally had a chance to greet each other properly, now that Dotty wasn't in the room talking a mile a minute. Amanda could see Lee was hiding something behind his back, so she asked him,
"Do you have something there you want to give me, big fella?"
"Sure do and I've been trying to get you alone for months, to give it to you," Lee whispered to her, with a wink.
"You know that's not what I was referring to Amanda said, as she lightly slapped him on the arm that he was holding behind his back. "Behave yourself Stetson, the boys are right in the other room,” she reproached him gently.
Lee pulled a single long-stemmed rose from behind his back and presented it to Amanda, saying, "An American beauty, for my American beauty.”
"Thank you sweetheart," Amanda said as she took the rose from him and smelled it. Suddenly the boys entered the room.
“Hi Lee," they said in unison.
“Hey, Phillip, Jamie. How you doing? Lee inquired.
"We'd be doing better if we had something to eat, we got tired of waiting for you guys to come into the den and tell us you were ready to leave, so we came out here to find out what the hold up was," Jaime replied.
"Yeah, Mom, Lee. We're about to die from hunger here. Can we please go already?" Phillip asked.
"We can't have that now can we?" laughed Lee at Phillip's teenage theatrics. "As soon as your grandmother is ready, we can leave," he told them.
"Why don't the two of you go tell your grandmother we're ready to leave," said Amanda. "Never mind,” she told them as Dotty entered the room.
Lee opened the front door for everyone to exit. They were surprised to see Lee had rented a limo for the evening. They had just presumed that they would be using Amanda's Wagoneer, since Lee's Corvette was to small to hold everybody.
"Wow a Limo! Awesome!” Shrieked the boys, who had never ridden in one before. Both boys ran to the vehicle and began to look it over. Amanda's reprimand not to run fell on deaf ears. Her sons were too absorbed in checking out the car to pay their mother any attention.
"Lee this really wasn't necessary, but thank you," said an astonished Dotty as she headed towards the Limo.
"You're welcome,” Lee called after her. It pleased him to see Amanda's family happy.
"Thank you, Lee, for making this birthday so special for her," Amanda told him as he escorted her to the waiting Limo.
"Don't mention it, Amanda," said Lee. "My own mother is not here for me to do little things like this for, so who better for me to live vicariously through than my future mother in law? Besides," said Lee, changing the subject to keep from dwelling on how much he still missed his mother even after thirty years," she only turns 60 once. I want her to enjoy her every second of her special day."
"Oh she's going to enjoy the surprise that is store for her tonight, Lee," Amanda giggled. The limo driver opened the door and Lee assisted Amanda into the car before seating himself beside her.
The ride to the restaurant was a pleasant one. Lee regaled the vehicle's passengers with his tall tales, being careful not to say anything that would allude to the Agency or his being a federal agent.
They arrived at Chez Rousseau just in time to make their 6:30 reservation. Lee informed the Maitre' d, Jacques, that he had a reservation for Stetson, party of five. Jacques led them to a table near the center of the dining room. It was "the best table in the house," as Lee had requested, because it was easy to 'see' and 'be seen'. Lee ordered the blackened swordfish, Amanda went with the Veal Marslleias, Dotty ordered Salmon Almandine, Phillip selected Chicken Florentine and Jamie finally decided he wanted steak. For their beverages the adults agreed on a red wine Lee had preselected when he made the reservations and the boys said they wanted Sprite
. While they waited for their meal to arrive, Lee filled everyone in on some of the plans he and Amanda had made for after dinner. He told they had tickets to the Arlington Performing Arts Center for the 8:00 pm. concert. Philip and Jamie's groans were silenced when he informed them that the program featured movie and TV show theme music including the music from their favorite space movie. That coupled with the fact that it was a two hour concert, meant they would be able to stay up beyond their usual bedtime. Since there was no school tomorrow, this was more than enough of an incentive to get the boys excited about an evening of classical music.
"The evening will conclude with us going back to the house, to give you your big birthday present, mother,” Amanda added. Dotty was about to ask Amanda to give her a hint what her present was, but the food arrived at that moment and the rest of the dinner conversation consisted of small talk.
After everyone was finished eating, Lee paid the check and they left the restaurant. It was a short limo ride to the Performing Arts center.
Lee had picked up the tickets from the will call window earlier that day so they were able to get straight into the admittance line. The line moved quickly, so it wasn't long before they were inside. Their seats were on the main floor in row "T", slightly left of center. Lee chose those particular seats because they were far enough back that the music wouldn't be ”deafening”, yet close enough so you could see the conductor's every move. The concert was wonderful. They had a great time and the boys chattered all the way home about how they never knew classical music could be so fun, instead of that slow, depressing stuff they made them listen to in school. Dotty went on and on about what a great evening she had and how wonderful Lee was to go “all out” for her birthday. Lee and Amanda were quiet for the most part, just enjoying being in love, being able to spend an evening together where work had not entered their minds once, and seeing Dotty so happy. The limo dropped them off back at Amanda's house. Everyone went straight to the living room so Lee and Amanda could give Dotty her final gift for the evening before the boys were to head up to bed. Dotty and the boys sat down on the sofa but Lee and Amanda chose to remain standing.
Amanda asked everyone if they wanted anything out of the kitchen before she and Lee began. They all politely declined.
"Dotty," Lee began, ”Amanda and I hope you will be pleased with this last surprise. We talked about when would be the best time to tell you, Philip and Jamie about this and since you have been dropping those subtle hints about us getting married..."
"OH MY GOSH!!" screamed Dotty, “The two of you are finally engaged!”
"Not exactly, Mother," said Amanda. Seeing the look of confusion on her mother and sons’ faces, Amanda hastened to clarify the situation, “You see Mother, boys, Lee did ask me to marry him and I did say yes but..." Amanda looked at Lee, as a signal that he should explain the rest.
"But it was an unofficial proposal, because I haven't given her the ring yet. I wanted to ask your permission first, and Amanda and I decided that your birthday, Dotty, would be the perfect time to do it." Lee walked over to where Dotty was sitting and squatted down in front of her, so he could look her in the eye as he asked for Amanda's hand in marriage. She enthusiastically gave it, of course. They both stood up so she could hug him and Amanda.
When Philip and Jamie stood up to shake his hand and congratulated them, Lee said to them, "I take it, this means I have your permission also?" When they got over the momentary shock that Lee, an adult, was asking for their blessing in a matter this important, both boys assured him they were all for him marrying their mom.
Lee walked over to Amanda, took her hand in his and led her to an armchair so she could sit down. Dropping down to one knee, Lee reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a black velvet ring box. Amanda gasped as she saw the ring that lay within, for the first time. The diamond was a flawless, one quarter karat marquis.
"It's beautiful, Lee,” Amanda said in a shaky voice.
Lee looked her in the eyes and responded, "A beautiful lady, should have a beautiful ring." He had rehearsed in his head exactly what he wanted to say when he finally asked Amanda to become his wife but at that moment, Scarecrow realized this was one time he wanted-- no--he needed to speak from his heart. Lee took a moment to compose himself before plunging into what would be the most life altering speech he'd ever made.
The only thing he could think of that even came a close second, was the day he walked up to a tall beautiful brunette and said, "Walk with me." Remembering that day brought back fond memories and Lee had begun to get caught up in them until Dotty unceremoniously, cleared her throat. Snapping back to the present, a slightly embarrassed Lee muttered an, "I'm sorry, just thinking about all the wonderful things Amanda has brought into my life."
"Thank you Lee," said Amanda but I think the natives are getting restless for us to get on with it. So with out further adieu, Lee slid the ring on Amanda's finger. Next he kissed the finger his ring now adorned.
"Amanda, my love," he said, "I know that I'm not always the easiest person to get along with. I've been on my own for a long time and since I met you, I've realized that I no longer want that in my life. I never knew what it meant to have someone in my life that I know will be there for me, will believe in me, no matter what others may say. Then you came in my life and taught me how to trust. Now I'm asking you to trust me with your love, your heart, your life and your family. I will do my best to be there for you when you need me. “Now, I might not always get the emotional stuff right, but I want you to know I will spend everyday of my life working on it. I know I can do it because I have you by my side. We make a great team, you and I, Amanda King. Our relationship works because our love is real; it's strong and it's everlasting. When I stand up in front of our family and friends and pledge my love to you, I want you to know it will be forever. You are my reason for living; Amanda and I want you and your family to know I came here today to ask you to marry me, without any reservations. “There are no doubts in my mind. I love you and I want the world to know it. Will you please do me the honor of marrying me and becoming, in both the eyes of God and Man, Mrs. Lee Stetson?" When he finished, Amanda started to laugh. No one in the room was more surprised at Amanda's reaction than Lee, who was so stunned he couldn't speak. She quickly got her emotional outburst under control because she didn't want Lee to think she didn't want to marry him. That was the furthest thing from the truth.
"Lee that was the sweetest proposal, I've ever heard and yes, I will marry you, big fella,” said Amanda as she kissed the still shell shocked Scarecrow on the lips. After he got up and took a seat next to his fiancée.
Lee was now curious as to why Amanda had reacted so strangely, but before he could ask her about it, Phillip beat him to it.
"Um, Mom, there's one thing I don't understand. What was so funny about Lee's proposal?” Dotty, Jamie and Lee all stared at Amanda awaiting her answer.
"Well you know how they say--the longer a couple is married, the more they start to pick up each other's habits?" Four heads nodded as they anxiously awaited Amanda to make her point, “Well that's the most I've ever heard Lee say at one time, so it dawned on me that he and I are already ahead of the game, because he has already picked up my ability to ramble. The King household broke out in guffaws as they all laughed at Amanda's insight. For once, Lee didn't mind being laughed at because he knew it was done in love, and that's what families do.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I don't make any money off of this story.