Friends of Steele
Part Nine

Mildred entered the office to find Laura reading the papers from the envelope that Daniel had left. "What happened, Miss Holt?" she asked, noticing that Mr. Steele had retreated to the window, the way he always did when he was upset about something.

"It seems I've just had a birthday, Mildred," Mr. Steele informed her.

"Then why don't you look happy?" she asked him.

"From what I can tell," Laura said, still skimming through all the documents, "everything appears to be in order. Even this," she said, moving to hold a paper out to him.

"What's that," he asked, looking at it as if it might suddenly grow teeth and bite him.

"Your birth certificate."

Mr. Steele took the paper and looked at it. "Mother's maiden name-Harriet Carney. Father-Daniel Chalmers Marlowe. Married. Child's name-" he glanced at Laura. "Harrison Marlowe." He glanced at the date and handed it back to her. "Well, I suppose that settles why he chose to call me 'Harry', doesn't it?"

Laura placed the papers on his desk. "Winston Marlowe's will is here," she told him, "says exactly what Daniel told us. That he left everything to his brother Daniel's son, Harrison Marlowe, the estate to be held in trust until such time as he can be located. She flipped through the other papers, then paused. "Harry-I think we should call the solicitor who's named here. A- Nigel Haversham."

Mr. Steele laughed softly, shaking his head. "Haversham?"

"You know him, Mr. Steele?" Mildred questioned.

"He's been Daniel's solicitor ever since I've known him. All these years," Mr. Steele mused as he turned back to the window, his hands in his pockets. "All these blasted years and not a word. Not a bloody hint that he knew who I really was. Not to mention the fact that he was my uncle. Damn!"

Mildred moved closer. "You know, you're right. He should have just left you there, in Brixton. He didn't have to drag you out of there. Didn't have to teach you how to be a gentleman. You didn't need him. Didn't need anybody."

"Back then, Mildred, I didn't think I did," he admitted.

"And what would you have done had he told you that first day? Or for the months or years right after he found you?" Mildred saw that Laura was watching her now, the documents on the desk forgotten.

"She has a point, Harry," Laura agreed. "As much as I hate to admit it. From what you've told me, you wouldn't have stayed around if you'd so much as gotten a hint that Daniel was involved in any way with your father." Mr. Steele sucked in his lower lip for a moment, then nodded as he turned to the telephone. "Who are you calling?" Laura asked.

"Haversham. Find out how much of this is bunk and how much is true." As he waited for the call to go through, he looked at Laura, who reached across the desk to take his hand. "Mr. Haversham, please…Remington Steele." He waited again for a moment. "Mr. Haversham…Really? He did…Yes, he's shown me the documents, told me about it, but I wanted your input-…Well, is it legitimate? Not simply another of Daniel's-…I see…Yes, yes, he explained all of that. Most of it..." His fingers tightened on Laura's as his eyes widened at something the solicitor was saying. "As much as that…Then, what's the next move…London? Now? I'm not sure," he began, but Laura got his attention. "Just a moment, please."

"I think we can spare a few days in London, Harry," Laura told him.

He spoke into the telephone again. "We can catch a flight tomorrow morning. Should put us in London tomorrow evening- we can meet the day after that…Good. I'll see you then…Yes. Good-bye." He hung up. "There are some papers that need signed. And there's a little something Daniel didn't include in all of that, I'll wager."

"What's that?" Mildred asked.

"That I have the final say on his trust fund. If I wish, I can cancel it, leaving him without a dime."

Mildred watched him. "You wouldn't do that, would you, Chief? Daniel did the best he could, took you out of Brixton, treated you as his own son. All that was lacking-"

"All that was lacking was the truth," Mr. Steele told her. He took a deep breath. "You do realize, Laura, that this could impact the agency. Once I sign those papers, I'm officially and legally Harrison Marlowe."

"LORD Harrison Marlowe," Laura corrected, and Mildred thought she detected a gleam of amusement in her eyes as Mr. Steele winced at the title. She put her arms around him. "We'll handle it. There isn't any hard and fast rule that Lord Marlowe has to use his given name, is there? With a birth certificate, you could legally change your name- if that's what you want."

"Or," Mildred suggested, "You could simply use the name Remington Steele for business purposes. In this country. And still be Lord Harrison Marlowe in England."

"Either way," Laura said, "You'll still BE Remington Steele."

Mr. Steele pulled her close, then drew Mildred into the circle. "Thank you. Both. For being here." He drew back slightly. "But I think I need some time to- think things through. Try and decide what to do."

Laura looked at him for a long moment. "Okay," she said, and Mildred understood how difficult it was for her to say that. "Just don't forget we're here."

"Not a chance," He assured her, giving her a quick kiss before leaving them.

Laura's attention turned back to the desk and the papers scattered across it, and Mildred decided to take the opportunity to go and try and call Daniel. "I'll be at my desk, Miss Holt," she began, and got as far as the desk before Laura spoke.

"How long have you known, Mildred?"

Mildred turned around slowly. "Known what, Miss Holt?"

"That Harry was Daniel's nephew."

Mildred tried to bluff her way out. "What do you mean? I-" Laura was shaking her head. So much for the bluff. "What gave me away?"

"You were trying just a little TOO hard to take Daniel's side in all of this. How long?"

"For sure just since last night. I suspected it yesterday, though."

Laura studied her. "The computer research that Harry mentioned you were doing."

Mildred's eyes widened. "Oh no."


"Mr. Steele was looking over my shoulder and saw the name 'Lord Marlowe'. When he finally puts two and two together-He's going be furious with me, isn't he?"

"I don't know, Mildred," Laura answered truthfully. "I think it depends on whether he can find a way to forgive Daniel." She touched the roses. "He sent these to you, didn't he?"

Mildred nodded slowly. "Yes. He asked me out while we were still in Aspen, then we had dinner the first night back at his hotel- and he even went bowling with me last night. Can you believe that?"

"Daniel Chalmers?" Laura questioned. "In a BOWLING Alley?" She smiled. "Now that's a picture I couldn't possibly imagine."

"I couldn't either. But when he started hustling the Dragon Ladies for pocket change-"

"He what?"

"Oh, he gave the money back. We all assumed that he didn't' know how to bowl. He proved us wrong." Laura sat back against the edge of the desk in shocked surprise. "Oh, Miss Holt, Daniel's not the enemy. He's just a man who wanted to keep the only family he had left close. Even if that meant not telling him that he WAS family."

Laura took her arm and dragged her over to the couch. "I want the full story, Mildred. Now."

Daniel finished packing the last suitcase, then placed it beside the doorway. He didn't expect Harry to forgive him- anymore than he'd ever been able to forgive his own father for his abandonment. He was going to regret leaving, though. Even if she had forced his hand, he still wanted to further his friendship with Mildred. She wasn't like the other women in his life- women like Charlotte and Felicia. She was real, and honest, and had a heart almost as big as Harry's.

He heard the knock on the door and opened it without checking who was there, thinking it was the bell hop come to take his cases. "Take all of them down," he said, turning to grab his coat. "I'll be right behind-" his voice faltered as he turned to find Harry standing there. "There. Harry."

"Running away, Daniel?" he asked.

"I thought you might need more time," Daniel told him. "Come in." The bellhop appeared as Daniel started to close the door. "I'll call when I'm ready to go," he said. Harry moved to the center of the room, not looking at anything in particular. "Would you care for a drink?"

He turned around. "Not right now, thank you. Why didn't you tell me, Daniel? The truth, please."

"I was afraid. Afraid that you'd take off again. I'd spent too many years looking for you to risk losing you again. And not because of Winston. I had no idea that he was searching as well until just before he died. I'd known what being abandoned by those who should be there for you was like. I never wanted that for you, Harry. I had nightmares for years, worrying about where you were, what was happening to you. The day I finally did find you, I was horrified to realize that you were living on the streets. In Brixton, no less. How you ever managed to survive-"

"Because I had to," Harry told him. "Why didn't you tell me later? When we met in London, at the Earl of Claridge's? You knew I was looking for my father by then."

"I didn't know that you were serious- what your motivation might be. I just knew that you THOUGHT the Earl might be your father. That was my fault, in a way, I suppose. If I hadn't' given that damn watch to Patrick to send to you-"

"Then you did steal it."

"I gave it to Patrick years before found you, when I found out he was going back to Ireland from London. Told him to keep looking for you. And when he found you, give you the watch."

"From my father?" Harry asked.

"Until Winston's death, I always thought of you as MY son. Not his. I was listed as your father on the birth certificate after all. I'm still not sure how Patrick made the connection to you and sent the watch when he did. I know that he left a message for me just before his death, but I was in Hong Kong at the time and by the time I got the message, it was too late."

Harry looked thoughtful. "All those years and never a hint. Never a glimmer that you were anything more than a friend." Daniel searched for something to say. For the words that would make Harry understand. "It must have been hard on you, keeping that secret from me. Hell, I don't know what I would have done back then. Maybe I WOULD have run like hell. Maybe I wasn't ready to claim my inheritance. I don't know. All I know is that I don't want to lose you anymore than you wanted to lose me."

Daniel realized that he'd stopped breathing during Harry's comments, and finally forced his lungs to draw a breath. "Harry?"

"We've been through too much together to just toss it all aside," Harry told him, and the smile that suddenly broke across his face was like the sun coming up in the darkness. "Besides, who else could I get to be best man at mine and Laura's wedding, eh?"

Daniel embraced Harry, and quickly turned away so not to reveal the moisture in his eyes. "How about that drink now?"

Mildred approached Mr. Steele's apartment cautiously. Glancing at Laura, she said. "How did he sound when he called?"

"Perfectly fine," Laura said. "He said that everything was worked out. Whatever that means. He said he would explain when we got here."

"I'd still feel better if I had gotten in touch with Daniel," Mildred worried.

"Well at least they said he hadn't checked out," Laura reminded her, knocking once on the door.

Mr. Steele opened it, giving his partner a strange look. "Laura, you don't have to knock anymore, remember?" he said, giving her a brief kiss before turning to Mildred. "Come in, Mildred. Come in." He took their coats, giving Mildred a chance to exchange surprised looks with Laura. Finding them in the same spots as when he'd left, Mr. Steele took their arms. "Please, ladies. Be seated." He sat on the arm of the sofa beside Laura, having placed Mildred in the chair. "Can I get you something to drink? Wine? Martini? I thought we'd save the champagne for later."

"I'll have some wine," Laura told him.


"The same, Mr. Steele," Mildred said, watching him carefully. "Uh, Chief, are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Mildred," he said. "Just fine. And I'll be even better," he said, handing them each a glass, "Once I tell you that I understand why you didn't tell me about my inheritance. Don't approve, but I understand."

Mildred almost spilled her wine. "Oh, Mr. Steele. I-"

"There, there, Mildred. No need to worry. I'm sure I'll - get over it."

"I wanted to tell you," she insisted. "But I thought it should come from Daniel. That's why I threatened to tell you myself if he didn't."

"And would you have?"

"No. Probably not," she admitted her face downcast. "I would have hunted Daniel down and FORCED him to tell you," she said in a stronger voice.

Mr. Steele looked at his glass. "Did the thought ever occur to you, Mildred, that Daniel might have been using you to find out how I would take the news? To get closer to me and Laura?"

"No. He wouldn't have gone to the trouble of going to the bowling alley if that was the case," Mildred said, and saw Mr. Steele's eyes move behind her in surprise.

"A BOWLING alley, Daniel?"

Mildred turned around in the chair to find Daniel standing there, watching them. "Daniel."

"Laura," Daniel said. "Mildred."

Laura looked at Mr. Steele. "Why didn't you just tell us he was here?" she asked.

"Because I wanted him to do a favor for me," Daniel explained, moving to stand beside Mildred's chair. "I wanted to make absolutely certain that you knew that I didn't come here just to start all of this, Mildred. I came to Los Angeles because of you."


"He's going to London with us tomorrow," Mr. Steele told them. "And then he's coming back to Los Angeles- to retire. Permanently. Isn't that right, Daniel?" he asked pointedly.

Daniel smiled at his nephew, winked at Mildred, and said, "Whatever you say, your Lordship," with a slight bow.

Remington Steele sat back, his arm around Laura. "You know, I think I could get used to that." His smile turned into laughter as the others joined in…

The End- for now

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Original content ©2000 by Nancy Eddy