Two Holts for the Price of Steele
- by Mrs. Peppler
- send feedback to:
- makall5 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces)
- Authors Note: I just borrowed the
characters. I dont make money off of them. All rights,
etc. belong to MTM. No posting without my permission. Occurs
after Season 5.
Many thanks to Victoria and Wilma for beta-reading my first fanfic!
Buried in paperwork, Remington fumed as he signed contracts,
made notes on others and wrote case notes for Mildred to input
into the computer. Five days after returning from Ireland, Laura
was nowhere to be found and Remington was covering for her pretty
little bum in the office.
Last night she was distracted; he could hardly keep her attention
on the dinner he had lovingly prepared for her. This morning
she had rolled out of their bed and was out the door without
a word. What was the problem with her? He arrived at the office
just in time for her to brush a kiss on his cheek and wave on
her way out the door. She mentioned something that sounded like
see you tonight, but the door slammed on the last
He started to go after her, but Mildred reminded him of the ten-thirty
appointment waiting in his office. For the remainder of the day,
each time he hoped to get free, Krebs stuck another file under
his nose or sent a client into his office. He would accuse her
of colluding with his wife, except that he knew that most of
this paperwork and half of these clients were Lauras. He
was merely cleaning up the mess shed left when she bolted
out of there.
At five oclock, Mildred popped into his office with a reminder
about the dinner he was to attend for the Society of the Spotted
Owl. He nearly skipped it before remembering that he was the
keynote speaker. Great. An hour-and-a-half of small talk and
bad chicken Marsala so that he could speak for twenty minutes.
Maybe he could make it make it ten and be out of there by nine-thirty.
At ten-fifteen, he poked his head in his empty flat. No Laura.
He stepped inside and telephoned her loft, but only got a busy
signal. He took three minutes to strip out of his suit and change
into jeans and a sweater before diving into the Auburn parked
in the garage. Where the hell is she? He thought they were past
all this secretive nonsense after they had declared themselves
Twenty minutes later he parked in the street below her loft and
sprinted up the three flights of stairs. He had noticed the lights
blazing from her windows and the sounds of raucous music blasting.
He touched the door, only to have it slide away unhindered.
Whatever Remington was expecting to see, this wasnt it.
He took in the scene with shock.
Remains of champagne and margaritas were everywhere. The empty
bottle of his favorite Dom Perignon he had stashed in Lauras
loft and an equally depleted margarita pitcher sat side-by-side
on the coffee table. Flutes and glasses were strewn around on
tables and tumbled about on the floor.
And dear God, Laura was sprawled half-naked across Murphy on
the sofa. The blond man was shirtless, and she was clad only
in a bra and tiny shorts, with a stunning brilliant-cut engagement
ring adorning her limp hand.
Furious, he nearly shut the door and walked out. First Tony,
now Murphy? Why the hell did he bother staying around at all?
His hand touched the door again when his anger flashed into a
blinding rage. Who was she to push him away, now after all they
had been through? Pivoting, he rounded the coffee table to yank
Laura off Murphy and land a good one on the sleeping man. He
pulled up short when he nearly stepped on . . . Laura? He eyeballed
the woman sleeping on the floor. Her hand was still holding the
receiver of the phone by her side. His eyes nearly crossed as
he took in the lovely lithe brunette curled up in Murphys
lap along with the identical one passed out on the floor. Only,
the one on the floor was wearing her pretty platinum and diamond
wedding band and was fully dressed.
Remington sat down abruptly on the coffee table, staring at his
wife while his thoughts stuttered along in disbelief. Absently,
he picked up a stray margarita glass and downed the remainder.
He grimaced; the stuff was practically pure tequila. If they
had been drinking like this all day, no wonder they were all
three sheets to the wind by ten-thirty. He quirked a brow at
his snoring wife. Good Lord, she had some explaining to do.
He turned off the music and turned down the lights. He pottered
around the loft, washing dishes and tossing out lukewarm foodstuffs
before pouring himself a decent glass of wine and sitting down
to watch the trio sleep. It wasnt long before the twin
on the floor stirred. She stared at the receiver in her hand
for a long time, as if trying to remember what it was for. She
winced as she put it to her ear and punched the buttons.
Answer the phone, Mr. Steele, she mumbled, only to
hear the phone ring again and again. What time is it anyway?
She leveraged herself up on one arm to peer at the clock on the
wall when she saw Remington sitting in the chair, waiting patiently.
She winced again as she dropped the receiver onto the handset
with a clatter. She tried to stagger upright, but settled instead
for crawling to Remington and settling in his lap. Youre
here. Whatever else she muttered was lost as she began
Steele chuckled at his drunken wife while he carried her to her
bed. He kicked off his shoes and pulled his sweater over his
head before crawling in beside her for the night. Tomorrow would
be time enough for answers.
* * * * *
The next morning, Kathleen nearly devoured Murphy on the sofa
before she realized they werent alone. She peered over
the back of the sofa and saw Remington winking at her from Lauras
bed. Good Morning, he called out.
Oh God, what must he be thinking. Kathleen knew that Laura wanted
to have a private reunion before she introduced Steele to her
sister. Or rather, reintroduced them. But Murphy had surprised
them both at the loft and promptly dropped to one knee and proposed
to Kathleen. Of course they had to celebrate with champagne.
And when they ran out of that, Kathleen had mixed a pitcher of
margaritas. She remembered interrupting her sister a half a dozen
times while Laura tried to dial Remingtons number, before
her sister gave up and shimmied with her on the coffee table,
dancing and gyrating about in her inebriation. Murphy called
them the Doublemint twins and appreciatively wolf-whistled
at the show while Kathleen attempted to strip off her clothes.
Kathleen crawled off her fiancé and stumbled to the bathroom
as Steele pretended not to notice. Deprived of her warmth, Murphy
stirred as well, looking about in bleary-eyed confusion.
Laura rolled over to stare at the clock as she took in the noise
of the shower and someone making a pot of coffee. Who was here?
Why was she dressed in yesterdays clothes? Why was her
head screaming for mercy? She collapsed onto her pillow, only
to notice an arm wrapped around her waist. Remington? She rolled
over again, briefly closing her eyes against the throbbing pain,
only to open them to laughing blue ones. Definitely Remington.
Good morning, love. Sleep well? he couldnt
help teasing her as he pressed a kiss to her temple. She winced
and rolled out of bed, looking for the coffee that she could
smell in the kitchen.
Murphy! she stopped abruptly at the sight of her
old partner in her kitchen. He handed her a steaming cup and
a pair of aspirin that he had found in the cabinet, which she
gratefully downed. Kathleen snuck up behind her and hugged her
back, wet hair and all. Laura turned to embrace her sister while
Remington and Murphy looked on from opposite sides of the kitchen.
The girls giggled as they remembered the night before and bumped
hips in memory of their outrageous dance before their sore heads
insisted that additional jarring was not necessary. Giggling
turned into outright laughter and the two men couldnt help
smiling along with the girls in their delight.
Remington hesitated to intrude on the family scene, so he slipped
into the shower while it was free. When he turned the water off,
Laura was brushing her teeth at the tiny sink. She smiled in
the mirror as she tapped out the brush. You look wonderful.
Can I ask you a favor while I get clean and then I promise we
will tell you everything?
What do you want me to do?
Slightly irked, Remington frowned at her. This better be
good. He dropped a kiss on her shoulder anyway. Too many
freckles beckoned to be tasted for him to ignore them.
Laura sighed in relief as he dressed and left her bathroom. All
her careful plans for yesterday were tossed out the window when
Murphy showed. She felt awful that she had forgotten all about
the banquet last night. She had planned to tell Remington before
the dinner and introduce him to her sister afterward.
Seconds after Laura had opened the door to the bathroom, Murphy
ducked in and could be heard complaining loudly about the lack
of hot water. She and Kathleen exchanged identical shrugs. The
poor water heater just wasnt up to four adults in one morning.
Laura made toast and poured orange juice for everyone while her
husband sautéed vegetables for the omelettes he had in
Kathleen set the table and all of them finished their various
tasks as Murphy strolled out of the bathroom.
Nice of you to join us, Steele rumbled.
Hey, I made coffee! Murphy shot back.
Thank God! the girls chorused, collapsing into giggles
I take it breakfast wont be needed then? Remington
sounded like an uptight butler.
Dont threaten us like that! squealed Kathleen.
Your cooking is incredible!
Remington slowly turned around, his face absolutely unreadable.
And how, may I ask, would you know? He set the plates
on the table.
Laura laid a hand on his cheek and looked him straight in the
eyes. Because a year-and-a-half ago, she took my place
at the agency for nearly three months.
It only took him a moment, The agreement at Cannes?
He sat at the table.
The agreement at Cannes, Laura nodded as she sat
next to him. Just after you had joined the agency, the
CIA contacted Murphy and me about a case. It involved one of
the biggest banks in LA and a scheme for enticing young newlyweds
to smuggle counterfeit money into the U.S. It took them years
to collect the evidence that they needed. We were one of several
teams that infiltrated the network and helped break it from the
inside. Laura took a bite of her omelette.
Murphy put down his fork and picked up the story, The CIA
needed more young women capable of going under cover, and they
contacted several detective agencies to find them. Obviously,
Laura was one, and at that time, I was to go under with her whenever
they were ready.
Laura continued explaining, Originally we were going to
have two detectives, friends of ours at Havenhurst, do some moonlighting
to keep the agency covered. But when you and Mildred came along,
we decided that if Kathleen was willing, it was possible we could
pull this off.
I thought it was a lark and a nice break from playing in
the dirt all day, Kathleen put in.
Why didnt you tell me? Remington asked softly.
Laura cocked her head at him, Is there any way you would
have let me go to Rio de Janeiro under cover for three solid
months and not insisted on going with me?
No, he admitted.
And I didnt want the CIA getting too close to your
shady background, nor was I in a position to change partners
at that point in the case anyway.
Besides, Murphy put in, I trusted you to protect
someone else. He shot Steele a hard look.
It was Kathleen I caught you kissing in Lauras office
that day, not Laura, Remington said in surprise.
Yes. We had been testing Kathleen to see if she could pull
off the detective bit, especially with you.
Why did you really leave the agency, Murphy? I always thought
it was because of Laura and me.
No, Kates got a professorship in Denver now. I wanted
a head start on getting my agency up running before she finished
with her dig.
Remington looked at Kathleen, A professor? What do you
Im an archeologist. Ive been working on a dig
in Thailand on and off for the past three years. I was on hiatus
when Laura has asked me to double for her while she went undercover.
I just got back yesterday. We just wrapped up the dig and now
Im home for good. Well, to Denver anyway. She smiled
at Murphy. He waited almost two years for me to finish.
She waggled her ring, I guess its safe to say he
Remington muttered something sarcastic about Holt women leaving
their men hanging about for years on end.
Laura patted his hand and picked up the story again, We
were notified the day that we left for Cannes that it was time
for us to go undercover. I didnt want Kathleen to be put
in a difficult situation with you, so . . .. She hesitated.
You came up with the Cannes agreement so that we wouldnt
mix business with our personal lives.
Yes. And since you two werent dating
much, it gave Murphy and me time to coach Kathleen from the phone
whenever we could. The CIA helped her as well, but honestly,
you and Mildred were much better than any of us could have expected.
Kathleen spoke up, I knew that Laura really liked you,
so I was trying to walk a fine line between not encouraging you
and putting myself in a compromising position, and not discouraging
you so that Laura could have a chance when she got back. You
cooked me dinner a time or two.
But what about the fire in the loft? Malta? And Ireland?
I left the day after the fire. Kate went to Malta both
times and to England. We all held our breath but either Daniel
didnt catch on or he kept his mouth shut. I wouldnt
dare make a guess either way. I did break cover long enough to
fly to Ireland with you. I knew what it meant to you and felt
I had to be there. Murphy told everyone my grandmother was on
her deathbed, Laura admitted.
I had fun in Malta though. I will say, Remington, I was
happy that you and Mildred were there. I couldnt admit
to being completely in over my head at the time, Kathleen
How long were you back at the agency after we had broken
the agreement? Remington asked Laura.
A week? Two, tops. I couldnt keep my hands off you.
Laura admitted. I scared myself when I realized how much
I missed you.
Steele leaned back. So let me get this straight. You,
he jabbed a fork in Murphys direction, You didnt
have a crush on Laura; you loved Kathleen. You really did think
of Laura as a little sister.
You, he jabbed his fork at Laura, You didnt
trust me enough to tell me the truth. Instead you ran this enormous
deception on me for three months.
Love, I trusted you with my agency. Can I say more than
Why didnt you tell me the truth afterwards?
How? I didnt want to make you angry. We were just
getting our footing back when we had the whole mess with losing
the license and you going to England.
Remington stood and paced across the apartment. So you
waited until we were married to fill me in? Does Mildred know?
Yes, I waited and no, Mildred doesnt know. I wanted
to tell you first.
So let me get this straight. You, your sister, Murphy and
even the rest of your family who kept Kathleen a secret, have
scammed me for nearly four years. I cant believe your mother
was in on this, too I remember her commenting once about
you being a middle child, but she never mentioned anyone other
than Frances after that. And you accuse me of being a con artist?
Remington sounded furious and stalked to the front door.
Laura and Kate both ran after him. Kate blocked the door while
Laura ducked between them. They both had tears in their eyes
and Laura threw her arms around him. Please dont
go, Remington. I didnt know how to tell you. Not with everything
else . . . Im sorry. Remington froze and Laura cautiously
peeked up through her lashes to gauge his reaction.
He couldnt help it. A broad grin lit up his face. He shifted
Laura to one side and pulled Kate into their embrace. He kissed
each of them on the forehead and Laura on the lips. I think
Daniel would have been terribly proud of both of you.
* * * * *
Later, after the tears were dried and many kisses exchanged,
Remington dragged the two girls into the morning sunlight by
Laura and Kate were identical in every way. The similarities
didnt stop with their looks. Every gesture, every quirk
of their mouths, even their wry sense of humor was the same.
They both wore their hair long and wavy today. If not for their
rings, an outsider would never tell them apart. But Remington
could. He couldnt explain it, but he knew he could pick
out Laura blindfolded. With a single finger, he brushed her hair
Good Lord, even your freckles are the same. Murphy, we
could have a field day with these ladies in my old line of work.
Kate and Laura laughed. The idle thought crossed Remingtons
mind that he had never seen Laura look quite so . . . free. He
glanced up at Murphy, Whats with these Holt girls
that a pair of nice Irish lads like us cant keep their
hands off them?
Murphy let out a snort and headed for the refrigerator. Despite
the morning hour, he rooted around for a moment before coming
up with two bottles of Guinness that Remington kept in there.
He popped off the tops and handed one over. What I cant
figure is how I ended up with you as a brother-in-law. Or will
Before Steele could think of a retort, the doorbell rang. Laura
opened the door. Abigail and Frances both shrieked and made straight
for Kate, while the children and Donald brought up the rear.
Frances two girls joined in with their own high-pitched
giggles as they oohed and aahed over the twins
Donald sidestepped all of them as he spied the bottles of beer.
Got another one of those? His son shot the girls
a dirty glance, hunkered in a corner with his handheld video
game and ignored the lot.
Murphy passed out another beer, and the three men propped up
the counter companionably in the kitchen while they watched the
show in the living room. Thats a Holt lot of women,
remarked Steele. Then he winced at the identical elbow jabs from
the men beside him.
Abigail fluttered around her three girls, admonishing Kathleen
not to deprive her of a wedding as Laura had. Laura winced and
muttered something about Mom getting her due, anyway,
while Kate rolled her eyes. Frances admired both rings and shot
a raised brow at Donald.
Crap. You two are going to cost me a fortune. Our anniversary
is coming up and now I have to get her something that looks at
least as good as what the twins have. Donald poked at Remingtons
shoulder with a finger.
Perhaps I can get you a good deal somewhere, Steele
said absently. He didnt hear Murphys remark about
making sure they were bought and paid for because a funny warm
feeling was spreading inside him as he realized he was flanked
by his new brothers and surrounded by family. It expanded when
his nieces finally made it to the kitchen and hugged Unca
Murphy and Unca Remy. Lord knew the girls were
the only ones who could get away with that appellation.
He excused himself and rummaged around Lauras nightstand
for a sketchbook he had left there several months ago. The image
of Laura and her twin that he had in his head begged to be put
to paper. He resumed his spot between his brothers. With pencil
in hand, his fingers flew across the notebook and in no time
at all, Remington produced two sketches one of the happy
girl party in the living room and one of Laura and Kate.
Murphy brushed his fingers over the last sketch. I dont
know how you did it. Those girls are perfect twins . . . but,
he pointed to each in turn, thats Kate and thats
Remington tilted the picture to Donald, who agreed.
Steele nodded, How did you know?
Both men shook their heads. Whatever it was, Remington had managed
to capture it on paper, and even he didnt have an answer.
He stared at it for a moment longer and then realized that there
was someone missing from their little celebration.
Remington found the telephone. Mildred? Can you come to
Lauras? Yes, yes, her family is here. Theres someone
she wants you to meet. Can you come?
Thirty minutes later, Mildred shrieked, Twins??
Authors Note: I took a few liberties with
To Stop a Steele. With a little stretch of the imagination,
one can think of Kate & Laura swapping places throughout
the episode and Murphy playing big brother to Laura
as he worried about Remingtons influence. Its not
perfect, but the concept contributed to this short story.
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