- A Cup of
- Between seasons one and two...
- By Gilmoradict
- Send feedback to: 12nostalgia77 @ gmail.com (without the
- "Well, let's see. Ah, we prevented a man from committing
suicide, although trying to commit suicide actually saved his
life." Mr. Steele cocked his head to one side as he thought
about the weekend's events.
"And we broke into a bank," added Laura.
"And we helped to see that nearly two-and-a-half million
dollars was properly destroyed."
"Come on, I'm serious!" Bernice exclaimed.
"Well, I'd like to elaborate, Miss Wolfe but right now,"
Mr. Steele said, placing an arm around Laura, "Miss Holt
and I have a pressing conversation to complete."
"Well, should I even bother to make the coffee?" asked
"Ah, no thanks. We'll be having 'tea'." Laura smiled
up at Mr. Steele as she said this. "Bernice, I'll fill
you in later. I should be back by early afternoon. Can you hold
down the fort until then?"
"I guess I'll manage." Appraising the pair in front
of her, a grin slowly spread over Bernice's face. "Go for
it Laura. Don't worry about me....I've got a conversation to
catch up on myself. It seems it was a productive weekend all
- "Call Fred, if you would please, Miss Wolfe, and ask
him to meet us in front of the Towers." Steele guided Laura
through the office doors with his hand comfortably secured at
her waist. Laura's eyes flirted with Steele's, her smile she
wore the one usually reserved for her more private contemplations
of her enigmatic 'superior'.
- "Good morning Miss Holt, Mr. Steele." If Fred
was surprised to find his employers leaving the office so early
on Monday morning, still wearing what he would have described
as their 'basic black' - and disheveled at that - he kept his
observation to himself. Fred opened the door of the limo for
Mr. Steele and Laura, who settled themselves, and again, not
Fred's to notice, companionably close to one another. Mr. Steele
and Miss Holt seemed in fact, rather oblivious to Fred's presence
behind the wheel. "Excuse me Mr. Steele - where to?"
- "Hi, Bernice," Laura sailed into the office several
hours later. "Sorry to leave you hanging earlier."
- "No skin off my nose, Laura. How was tea?" Bernice
grinned lewdly at Laura.
- Laura looked confused for a minute, then smiled sheepishly.
"We both fell asleep before we got to tea - When Fred dropped
me off at home Mr. Steele was fast asleep in the back of the
limo. I couldn't very well have Fred drag him into my house,
could I? As far as I know he fell into bed at home. Thought
I had better get back to the lost fish."
- "Ah, the distraught Mr. Cutler - he called earlier this
morning to check on your progress. Was there any?"
- "On the fish? No." Laura said laughing. "But
I've got some thoughts. I'll get to work. Is Murphy in yet?"
- "Um, I had the sense we shouldn't expect Murphy back
today. What's with him and the blond? Want to fill me in?"
- "She was something, Bernice - I think she surprised
Murphy. Film student, psychologist, part time construction worker
- you name it! Her name's Sheri - and she was incredible. We
may need to put her on the payroll."
- "Laura, I meant about her and Murph - it's the first
time I've seen that look on his face NOT directed at YOU."
- "Oh, I hope there's something there Bernice. You know
I love Murphy, but...." Laura went to fill a mug with hot
water and grab a tea bag.
- "But it's our Mr. Steele rattles your teeth!" Bernice's
eyes were sparkling.
- "Well, maybe just a little."
- "Common Laura, those eyes, that hair, the smile...not
to mention the killer accent? There was a time I'd have had a
go at him myself, but you're the one he uses all his 'smarm'
- "Yeeaayaah." Laura breathed out slowly. "I'm
pretty sure there's something there, but it seems either he's
deliberately annoying the heck out of me, or I'm pushing him
away, and then this morning - we fall asleep before we can move
past flirting. Every time we get close, something always derails
- "You just need to hold still, Laura, trust me, he'll
come to you. He's as crazy about you as you as you are about
- "I don't know Bernice. Crazy pretty much defines the
whole thing. Anyway, I'd better check into who might want to
snag some golden koi before both the fish and me end up in the
frying pan. I've got to come up with something for Cutler. Call
me if Murphy comes in. "
- "Sounds like a plan. How about over dinner I tell you
about MY weekend." Bernice's deep brown eyes sparkled coyly
at Laura over the mug of coffee she held.
- "Oh Bernice, I'm sorry - didn't even ask. Was the trombone
player a boom or a bust?"
- "Uh uh, I'll give the whole story later - with sound
- "That gives me something to look forward to." Laura
closed the door to her office and picking up the Cutler file,
began examining the possibilities. All business, she disciplined
herself not to pick up the heart stopping photo of Mr. Steele
that was hidden under a file in the top drawer of her desk.
- "Hello!? Laura?" Mr. Steele's elegant voice echoed
through the empty reception area of Remington Steele Investigations.
- "In here Mr. Steele..." Laura hastily smoothed
her cream colored blouse into the pleated trousers she wore,
even as her toes sought the heels that had been kicked under
her desk hours ago. The door swung open.
"I can't believe you're here burning the midnight oil! What
happened to our tea and conversation Miss Holt!?"
- "I think the moment was abandoned in favor of sleep
- and I did need to get back to Mr. Cutler's matter. The missing
- 'Yes, but Laura, what about dinner? Surely even you need
sustenance - come, I have a reservation in 30 minutes at Andres."
- "Sorry, but Bernice brought take-out back here. We caught
up on her weekend while we ate. She met a jazz saxophonist down
the street at the J club Friday night, and went back Saturday
for another set. I think Sunday's was a private performance.
Almost as interesting as Murphy and Sheri - Murphy never made
it back here today either by the way." Steele listened to
this recitation with a bemused expression on his face.
- "Ahh, Miss Holt, Murphy and I find ourselves once more
on the same page, taking a much needed break, while you, conscientious
to a fault, are working as usual. Did you get any sleep this
morning?" Steele walked next to where Laura was putting
papers into a file folder and reaching out to Laura, used a gentle
thumb to caress the smudge under one of her eyes.
- "Just on the limo ride," Laura moved away from
Steele's hand imperceptibly. " But I'm almost done now.
I think I have a couple of leads to pursue tomorrow."
- "Of course you do. And tonight?"
- "I really need to catch up on things at home."
Lack of sleep was beginning to fog Laura's brain, and she felt
entirely unprepared to parry with Mr. Steele.
- "If you won't join me for dinner at least allow Fred
and I to delver you safely home, Miss Holt. I promise to be
a perfect gentleman."
- "I don't want to leave the Rabbit here Mr. Steele -
I'm completely capable of driving home. I'm sorry you came all
this way for nothing. Please don't let me make you miss your
dinner reservation. Maybe you can find someone else to join
you. How about the girl from the parking garage - Karen?"
- "Afraid she's not my type. Tell you what, I'll drive
you home in your car, let Fred go, and take a cab back to my
place. Come now Miss Holt, no arguments for once. Just let me
call Fred..." Taking the file from Laura, and depositing
it into her brief case, Steele dialed the limo before the slightly
flustered Miss Holt could protest. Steering her by her elbow
to the door, Steele turned and locked the agency door behind
them, and hit the button for the elevator.
- "Mr. Steele, not that I don't think your motives are
pure, but do you mind telling me what you're really after here?
You could have called at anytime today to make plans for dinner,
and I don't recall getting that phone call."
- "Ah Miss Holt, perhaps you have forgotten, but our activities
this weekend kept us sleepless for nearly 48 hours. Finding myself
alone this morning, I determined I would continue the pleasant
dreams begun on our shared ride home. I had hoped you were doing
the same in your own bed. I actually did attempt to call, but
you failed to answer at home, and when I called here I got only
the machine." Steele's jaw flexed as he spoke to Laura,
an edge of irritation sneaking into his voice. 'What had happened
to the rapport they had share last night as they sat buried in
millions of shredded dollars? Why did things always seem to be
difficult with this woman?'
- "Oh - it must have been after Bernice left. I guess
I don't even hear the phone when I'm concentrating on work; besides,
it isn't a great idea to let people know I'm here late."
Stepping into the elevator ahead of Steele, Laura held her brief
case in front of her with both arms, closing her eyes for a moment
in an effort to clear her head. 'What had happened to the
pleasant expectations they had left the office with this morning?
Why did things always seem difficult with this man?'
- A glance at the fatigue evident on Laura's face dissipated
Steele's frustration. He softened his voice. "Home it shall
be. I want you to arrive there safely so we can spar another
day. Last night held more than its share of excitement, eh Miss
- "Thank you, Mr. Steele. Home sounds good just now.
We all have limits, and I think I have reached mine."
- "Pursuing fish shouldn't involve dangling from great
heights, or rolling in millions of dollars, but when we work
together we always manage some kind of thrill.. Perhaps you will
give me a rain check on this morning's missed tea and conversation
- "I would like that Mr. Steele." Laura offered with
a tired smile.
"So, about that conversation our schedule didn't allow
time to explore."
- "And that we later fell asleep and missed?" Laura
smiled without looking at Steele, her eyes trained on the back
door of a small light industrial site just off Grand.
- "Hmm." Steele allowed his shoulder to lean into
Laura's, his pulse quickening as he made even this subtle contact.
"Our line of work - if I can be presumptuous enough to include
myself in that - is fraught with risks, never know what moment
might be our last. Each minute we spend together must be lived
to the fullest."
Laura sobered a bit at this line of reasoning, the familiar pucker
appearing above her right brow. "No one said you have to
stick around Mr. Steele. It isn't my intention to place you at
any risk you might prefer not to take."
- "Laura." Steele slipped an arm around her slender
frame. "Surely you remember that I relish a challenge.
Risk has been my middle name whatever the rest of the moniker.
Can't imagine anyone I'd rather take a chance on than a certain
brown eyed, freckle faced, Los Angeles detective! One who happens
to be within kissing distance just about now..."
- Placing his free hand under Laura's lowered chin to turn
her face toward his, Steele bent in to claim the lips that had
tortured his dreams for months. Laura suddenly jerked her head
back toward the door of the building they were watching.
- "Mr. Steele! Look! I think those are fish on the
move." An plain black truck cut it's lights as it drove
into the dark drive. Swinging around to back up to the now open
door, the driver jumped out to help maneuver a low wheeled cargo
cart into place behind the truck's rear doors. On the cart was
a large container, clearly heavy based on the effort it was taking
two men to load it into the truck. A second container laboriously
followed the first, and when the men headed inside once more
Laura sprang to her feet. "Come on, Mr. Steele...let's see
what's in those tubs."
- "But..." Since Laura was already half way to the
truck, Steele sprang to follow. By the time he was able to catch
up to her, Laura had slipped into the truck, just as another
container was pushed to the opening, slid heavily in, and the
doors slammed to.
- "That's it, Mitch. Safely aboard. Drive carefully -
that's a quarter million riding in those tanks. See you in Ventura
later tonight." The driver climbed back into cab of the
truck, while the other man turned to the building to lock the
door. Steele was caught in the open, his only cover the truck
itself. As it began to pull away from the building Steele sprinted
along the far side, and then in a move born of desperation, sprang
cat like to grab the top of the truck, bracing his feet above
the wheel well. Seeing the second man turn to walk around the
corner, Steele worked his way to the rear of the truck, gaining
purchase on the bumper, as he carefully opened the door. With
a final superb effort Steele thrust himself against the momentum
of the vehicle and landed in the back, sprawled on top of one
of the containers that had been stowed inside. He turned to
grab the door and quietly pull it shut, just as the truck began
to gain speed.
- "How nice of you to join me, Mr. Steele. Still in the
mood for risks I see." Laura grinned sheepishly at the
panting Mr. Steele.
- "Couldn't very well leave you alone to face the outcome,
could I?" Mr. Steele hissed with a smile that didn't quite
reach his eyes. "Do you have any idea where we're going?"
- "Help me open one of these containers." Laura whispered
without answering Steele's question.
- "Well, a successful fishing adventure Miss Holt."
Steele acknowledged looking at several large multi colored carp
swimming nervously around the sloshing water. Steele cringed
and drew back as water splashed out on his clothes. "Mr.
Cutler's codfish - if these are indeed his, have no manners whatsoever."
- "Carp, or koi if you prefer, Mr. Steele. I imagine they're
frightened by all the motion. Let's get the lid back on. Come
sit over here where it's dry, and help me come up with a plan
for when the truck stops. I think we're headed to Ventura -
there's an exotic fish breeders convention there this weekend.
If the thieves can sell the fish at the convention, there won't
be any way to trace them back to Mr. Cutler and these two will
have turned a pretty fair profit on some overgrown goldfish."
- "I believe I heard them mention Ventura, Miss Holt."
Steele plucked his wet trousers away from his leg, trying to
ignore the fishy odor he had acquired. "Did you ever consider
following these fish nappers from the safety of the Rabbit? Are
you even certain these are Mr. Cutler's cod?"
- "The man who owns the building where these fish were
stored once worked for Mr. Cutler. Cutler fired him because
of a disagreement over bookkeeping. Mr. Jenkins tried to sue
Cutler for breach of contract, but there wasn't any real basis
for the lawsuit, and it was dismissed. He's out an overpaid
job, a lost bonus, and the money he spent on the law suit. Pretty
good motive for fish theft, considering the value of the cod...I
- "Any idea what sort of fellows we're dealing with? How
are they going to feel about a couple of uninvited guests riding
with the fishes?"
- "I'm counting on the Duke of Deception to come up with
a distraction, so that we can get some proof that these two stole
several dozen carp from our client Mr Cutler. Come up with anything
- "This is definitely not the conversation I had hoped
we'd be having just about now, Miss Holt." Steele said sadly.
"I wish you had been a bit less zealous."
- "Look on the bright side, Mr. Steele. It's at least
an hour until we reach Ventura. We've got plenty of time to come
up with a plan." Laura leaned in to place an apologetic
kiss on Steele's cheek. "Think of yourself as "The
Incredible Mr. Limpet," starring Don Knotts, 1965 or
thereabouts. Maybe you'll be our secret weapon."
- "I don't even want to ask what kind of movies you were
watching in 1965 Laura. I'm feeling slightly queasy just now
as it is."
- "Bear up Mr. Steele. Once we reel in our fish-nappers
there's a cup of tea with your name on it waiting for you. In
the meantime, would you like to hear about Bernice and her saxophone
- "Hey Bernice - where's Laura? I've got some info on
that guy she wanted me to check out - not exactly a model citizen."
Murphy was reading the file as he spoke.
- "She took Skeeziks on a stake out last night - neither
one has come in or called in this morning." Bernice was
tapping out a soulful rhythm with one foot, and crooning a wordless
melody, all while applying deep red polish to her nails. She
glanced up surreptitiously at Murphy to gauge his reaction to
the information she had just shared.
- "She'd tracked this guy to a building on Grand - that
where they went?" Murphy looked worried.
"I seem to remember something like that. You think they
could really be in trouble?"
- "I wouldn't rule it out. Not that I don't have the highest
regards for Laura's abilities, but she takes more chances than
I would, and this guy has a a couple of weapons charges, along
with extortion and petty theft, none of which Laura knows about.
I don't think Steele's charm is going to be much help on this
one. Call Laura's house, and Steele's apartment too - make sure
they're not either place." Murphy's jaw tightened a little
as he made the request, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Bernice.
- "You still care about her, don't you Murph."
- "I'll always care about Laura Bernice. She's very special
to me, even if I don't agree with all of her decisions. She's
got incredible instincts about people too - with a few notable
exceptions. It's what makes her so good at what we do. I'm
just more comfortable when we work as a team - that's all."
- "The team seems to have added some new players lately."
Bernice set her nail polish aside and held both hands aloft as
she waited for Murphy's response.
- "Huh? Uhh, yeah, well, I think I'll try to find Laura
and give her this stuff. Make those calls Bernice, while I grab
- "You know they might not be answering the phone...."
- "Laura's not that irresponsible Bernice - now call!"
Murphy's voice carried from his office as he scrambled through
the yellow pages.
- "So much for my powers of persuasion." Steele said
ruefully, rubbing the knuckles of his right hand. "We don't
appear to have slowed our fish nappers down much, but at least
we're not guests in their rather smelly accommodations any more."
- Laura giggled quietly. "That was an epic blow, Mr. Steele;
it did the job. I can't imagine why they didn't buy your story
about needing a ride to the convention. You sounded like a fish
lover to me. Of course we still don't have any real proof that
the fish are Mr. Cutler's. We're just miles from home, and no
farther along on the case."
- "What do you say to a trip to the beach Miss Holt? Chuck
the case, purchase some beach wear and..."
- "That's it Mr. Steele! Brilliant!"
- "Why do I have the feeling we have different thoughts
- "Come on - we'll become fish aficionados - disguise
our appearance so they won't recognize us, and fly beneath the
radar just like Mr. Limpet! We'll ask for information about their
fish, and gather enough details to trap them in their own fish
- "Oh, back to the fish movie are we? Really Laura, is
that the best you can come up with?" Steele protested as
Laura dragged him away from where they had been watching the
koi's new keepers setting up their display.
- Steele had to admit that Laura made a pretty convincing flower
child. Dampening her hair, and fluffing it dry created a halo
of loose curls. Wire-rim colored glasses, jeans from a resale
shop and a scarf halter top were the perfect finishing details.
He found himself wondering if a free love attitude went along
with the disguise. Glancing down at his own get up his good
humor slipped a bit. "Don't you want me by your side, Laura,
helping to pump these two felons?"
- Laura smiled. "They'd recognize your accent in a second,
Mr. Steele. As a janitor, pushing a broom, you can hover close
by, and keep an ear and an eye on things. This way you'll be
there if I need you, without arousing suspicion. O.K. Show time!
" Laura wandered casually up to where Mitch Jenkins was
displaying Cutler's carp.
- "Wow...those fish are so psychedelic. They'd look great
in my place. Have you raised them since they were little?"
Laura's voice was breathless and slow, she smiled sleepily as
- "I don't think you'd be interested, Doll. These fish
go for more money than you've got beads." Jenkins said derisively.
- "Oh...Daddy will pay for them. He almost always gives
me everything I want - he tries to make up for being gone so
much on his business trips." Laura continued to press Jenkins
for information about the fish as Steele hovered as close as
he could, sweeping the same area of the floor with an exaggerated
attention to detail. "How do you get the pretty colors in
- "These are prize winning koi, Honey. They've been bred
for generations to get these colors."
- "Ohhh - look ! He's swimming up to my fingers! He likes
me! Do these fish have pedigrees like dogs?"
- "Yeah but I don't think you'd be interested in that
kind of information..." Mitch was bored with Laura's questions.
- "Where did they come from?" Laura continued dreamily.
- "These came from Los Angeles...just brought them up
yesterday for the convention."
- "How do they travel?"
- "In buses and they wear seat belts....listen Doll, do
you want the pretty fish or not?" Jenkins was starring at
Steele, and rubbing his bruised chin as he did. "Hey, you..."
- "No comprender..." Steele began to sweep his way
away from Jenkins, who swung his gaze to Laura.
- "You're the other stowaway - what are you two trying
to pull?" Jenkins grabbed Laura's wrist only to have Steele
turn and shove his broom at Jenkins feet, knocking him off balance.
- "Shall we, Miss Holt?" Steele pulled Laura's arm
away from the teetering Jenkins, only to turn and run full tilt
into Mr. Cutler, who was standing with Murphy in the aisle next
to Jenkins' display.
- "Mr. Cutler arrived at the office just when I was leaving
to come check out this fish pow wow...." Murphy relayed
quickly to Laura as she helped Mr. Cutler to his feet, "I
assured him you were hot on the trail."
- "Wonderful work, Steele, you found them!" Culter
exclaimed. "Jenkins, I should have known it was you. This
time you won't get off so easily."
- Murphy grabbed Jenkins and twisted his arm behind his back,
just as Steele spotted his accomplice staring at them from a
short distance away. Steele and Laura sprinted towards the driver
of the fish-napping truck. Steele leaped, tackling him near
a display of aquatic plants. A tank tipped pouring water and
plants over Mr. Steele and the driver. Laura skidded to a stop
at the edge of the puddle.
- "Great work, Mr. Steele - the wet look works for you."
Laura couldn't resist laughing at a sputtering Steele.
- "And I thought finding fish would have fewer thrills
than our last case."
- Murphy came up with Jenkins in tow, observing, "I told
you, Laura, there's something fishy about that guy."
- "Mmmm. That's incredible. I could sit here and listen
to this all day." Laura's eyes were closed, listening to
the taped velvet smooth saxophone tones rolling across her patio.
Bernice sat near her with an even more deeply contented expression
on her face.
- "And the music is only the beginning of his talents."
Bernice grinned as she swallowed a mouthful of ice cold beer.
"Bernice you are sinful." Laura smiled back, without
opening her eyes. She was still catching up after too many missed
nights of sleep over the past several days, but she was relaxed
and content in the warm darkness of the evening and the soothing
sounds of the music. The remains of dinner were on a plate next
to her chair; the scent of the charcoal over which Steele and
Murphy had argued over how to grill chicken and hamburger left
a pleasant tang in the air.
- "He's the real deal, Laura. I don't know how I know
that, but there's no question in my mind. It's the most amazing
feeling I've ever had in my life."
- "Like you almost can't breath when he looks at you?"
Laura sighed serenely, lost in her own thoughts, then shook her
head slightly, and turned to look at her friend. "We've
got it bad, girl. What happened to us?"
- "Whatever it is, I hope it keeps on happening. I would
follow that man anywhere, just to keep hearing that music."
Bernice's eyes smoldered as she looked across the yard at the
tall, slender man whose eyes were locked on her. As he watched
Bernice, the musician exchanged occasional remarks with a petite
blond. "Sheri really is amazing Laura. How could someone
who's so capable be so ordinary, and well, nice?"
- "She is, isn't she? Did you know she skis too? She's
so perfect for Murphy."
- "Is that wishful thinking, Laura?"
- "Well, a girl CAN wish. He seems to like her Bernice.
We haven't exactly had a conversation about it. I want Murphy
to be happy."
- "And to stop following you around with those puppy dog
- "Hush, Bernice...he'll hear you." Murphy and Steele
were glancing over at Laura as they engaged in a somewhat antagonistic
if hushed conversation. "What do you suppose they're arguing
- "You." Bernice laughed, as she rose, and picked
up her own plate as well as Laura's. "I need another beer.
How about you?"
- "Sure, Bernice, thanks." Laura slid further down
in the chaise lounge she was sitting in, and eyes closed, lost
herself in the music. She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.
- "Scoot up, so you can lean back on me." Steele
gracefully slipped a long leg across the chair, sliding in behind
Laura. He pulled her back against his chest, wrapping his arms
loosely around her. Her head rested next to his. "This is
nice, isn't it? Good friends, good music, good food?"
- "It is nice." Those little words didn't begin to
express how good Laura felt at this moment, but perhaps words
weren't all that important just now. When Bernice returned with
two cold beer, she veered toward Chaz, her saxophonist, rather
than intrude on Steele and Laura, but truthfully, Laura wouldn't
have cared. They were all part of this moment: Bernice and her
beau, Murphy and the wonderful Sheri, as well as her Mr. Steele.
An eclectic collection of characters, who had somehow come together
in a perfect night. Wordlessly, Laura loved them all. She shivered.
- "Cold?" Steele pulled her a little closer in his
- "No, just completely happy."
- "Bodes well for our future?"