Title: Open Secrets
Author: Dana (DMBronson@Rochester.rr.com)
Date: June 17, 1999
Synopsis: A man ready for revenge kidnaps Lee and Amanda's baby. They have been married for almost two years and their baby is six months old. Everyone at the agency is still in the dark about their marriage and their child.
" Lee Stetson is a tough nut to crack. This time however I have done my homework." Oleg croaked through yellow teeth and an unkempt beard. "I am the only one who knows of your secret family Scarecrow, and they will be the key to your undoing."
Oleg thumbed through picture of surveillance of the Stetsons. Many were of Amanda and their new baby. On a sheet of paper attached was what he wanted from Scarecrow. A list of classified NATO bomb sites in Kosavo. "I will be a hero in my own country as well as satisfy my desire for revenge," he bellowed out loud. He was still laughing as he pulled a small tape recorder from his pocked and recorded his requests.
"Good morning Shelly! I am running so late". Amanda breezed through the door of the IFF Daycare center hands full with baby gear needed for a full day stay. Jenny was asleep in her carrier; she fussed a little as Amanda set her down on the counter.
"Hi Mrs. King I was wondering where you were." Said a frumpy brunette looking frazzled as three small children hung off her. "We are ready for your niece.
" Thank you so much for doing this, Amanda babbled. " My sister is out of the country for a few days and I needed some where to take Jenny today. I have every thing and a list of instructions is in the diaper bag, I should be back at three"
"Don't worry Mrs,King she will be fine."
" I know." Amanda leans down to give Jenny a kiss. "Mommy loves you" she whispers. Shelly gives Amanda a funny look. "And I'm sure - misses you very much- because she is away- out of the country. Aunt Amanda loves you too!" Feeling awkward, Amanda turns to go.
"See ya later Shelly!" Thanks again!"
On her way to the Q-bureau Amanda didn't notice a man waiting by the bathrooms watching her until she was out of site. Moments later he slithered through the daycare door. Jenny was still on the counter and Shelly was putting her bottles in the refrigerator. In seconds he slipped a chloroformed cloth over Shelly's mouth, and placed his recorded message with a note reading "Play Me" on the desk. He grabbed Jenny in the carrier and slid out the door. It all happened so quickly. No one saw a thing.
Lee was more in a rush than she was when she arrived in the Q-bureau.
"Hey sweetheart" he quickly kissed her cheek as he blew by her from the vault to his desk. "I know you are in the field all day so I decided I would catch us up on some paperwork. One less thing to worry about."
"That's nice of you" She replies as she rubbed his back." I really have to go. I will be back at three. The boys and Mother are out of town so we are alone… Did forget anything?"
"I love you" Lees looked up from his work.
" I love you too." Amanda was already half way down the hall.
Lee made his way down to Billy's office to deliver reports he had just finished. As he steps off the lift in the hallway, he senses something urgent is going on. People asking frantically, "What's going on?" Have they released a name? Was there a target." Lee was taking it all in as Billy approaches.
"What's going on Billy?"
" A child was taken from the daycare. Dr. Smith won't release the name until the parents are notified. Everyone is a little nervous."
"That's terrible." Lee thought of his tiny baby daughter, Jenny. Since she had arrived six months ago his life had a whole new meaning. He lived to see that baby smile, cry, just sleep. He would do anything for her. He thanked god every day for his family. He owed it all to Amanda. Amanda and what she had given him was the reason he existed.
" Listen Billy I would love to help in the Investigation. I am gonna head up to the daycare…"
Just then Francine walks up.
"What a mess." Francine declares. " Shelly, the head of the daycare was taken to Memorial hospital. She has yet to wake up. The problem is we have no way to find out how long she was out and we all know how crucial timing is in kidnapping situations."
"Any news on who the child is?" Billy asks
"That's the strange thing." Francine continues. "All of Shelly's charges are accounted for. This one is an extra, so to speak. They are combing the place now."
Lee took it all in. He was eager to help. "Billy. I'm gonna head up to the daycare and see if I can lend a hand. Thanks for the update Francine. " Lee got back into the lift.
"I'm with you Lee" Billy got on with him.
Billy and Lee enter the daycare careful not to ruin any evidence that may exist. Lee approaches an agent dusting for prints on the phone cradle. " Any more news?" Lee asks.
"Yeah actually," the agent answers in a pre-occupied voice. "We found a tape. We sent it to analysis."
"Billy" Lee jumped in. "I am gonna see if I can track down a copy of that tape. See what I can get." I will meet you back in your office." Before Billy could answer Lee was out the door.
Billy was about to leave to when the other agent stopped him.
"Oh by the way sir, we have a name on the stolen kid. Still not definite, but we are pretty sure."
"So?" Billy asked eagerly.
"Jennifer Lee West. We found a list of feeding instructions on the desk with that name. It didn't match any of the other kids. Process of elimination." The agent said still enthralled with the phone receiver.
"I'll pass it on." Billy answered and left for his office.
Lee and Francine were in the bullpen when Billy appeared. Billy relayed what information he had and Lee told them he was unable to get a copy of the tape because it was still in analysis. Billy turned toward his office when he remembered something.
"Oh by the way we got a name on the child. A little girl. Jennifer Lee West."
" What?" Lee's face goes pale as he places his hand on Francine's desk to steady himself. "Say that name again."
" Jennifer Lee West. "It's a big mystery no one here has that last name so we can't find parents to notify. Its like she was just made up."
Lee felt his clenched fists and his blood begin to boil. He loosens his collar as he can't breathe and he is suddenly aware of the sweat beads forming on his back.
"Lee are you O.K?" Francine asked concerned.
" Billy! He runs to him and grabbed him by the collar. " I need to hear that tape! NOW! I gotta.." Lee was suddenly aware that every eye in the bullpen is on him. He didn't care.
"Do you hear me? Now!"
"What the Hell is wrong with you Lee?" Billy yelled. Billy dragged Lee in his office and slams the door. People were still staring long after the door closes and the blinds are shut.
Billy was furious and confused. 'Lee, do you mind telling what that display was all about? What is wrong with you man?"
Lee is pacing frantically. " I need that tape." Lee's voice was trembling.
"Why is this so important to you?
For a moment he can't speak. He thought of Amanda and how he has failed their family. He vowed to protect them. Now...
"So?" Billy asks waiting for an answer.
Lee swallowed hard. "Billy, Jennifer Lee West is actually Jennifer Lee Stetson."
"What?" Billy asked completely confused.
Lee's eyes are moist now. "Jennifer is my daughter. Jenny is mine and Amanda's daughter." Lee turned toward the couch and collapsed head in his hands.
Billy is speechless, so Lee continues.
"About a year and a half ago Amanda and I were married. Do you remember when Amanda took a leave of absence because her mother was recovering form surgery? She didn't have surgery. Amanda was pregnant and we wanted to keep it a secret. We thought it was for our own family's protection. Now look what's happened."
Billy did not know what to say. "Look you can explain this all to me later. But now we have a baby to find ..and we will. You got to believe that Lee"
"I will try to get that tape as soon as possible." Billy was quiet for a moment. "Lee, your "secret" is going to get out. Handle it how you want. I will keep my mouth shut."
Delicately, Billy continued. "I will call Amanda in from the field."
"Don't say anything" Lee jumped in. Let me tell her when she gets here. I want to be the one to tell her how her husband let her down."
"Can you give me a minute Billy, I need to be alone." Lee says as he buries his head in his hands.
As the door shut Lee sobbed He hadn't cried since like this since his parent's funeral. His body shook and ached as the tears flowed freely down his face. When his parents died he knew it was not his fault. This time he thought, he had only himself to blame. His job was to protect his family. He failed. He failed as a husband and a father. He would die for Amanda and their family. And at this moment he wished that he had.