Regrets of Steele
Part 2
Janice Skyers

"Message?" he said in a barely audible voice, sitting up. And what he saw before him was an image of someone that looked very much like Laura. Thinking that what he was witnessing momentarily was due to all that alcohol he'd just consumed, he shook his head several times hoping that the image before him would fade into thin air, but it didn't.

"You see - had it been left up to me I'd still be here with you. I miss you something awful. And I know how much you're hurting. When I fell off that balcony, all I could think about is how you'd manage if I didn't survive the fall. I was afraid that if I didn't make it that you would spend the rest of your life pining away for me. And if that's what you're doing, I want you to STOP right now. It's best that you try and pick up the pieces and go on with your life. It will be difficult at first but as time goes on, it will get easier. You've come such a long way from the man who walked into my life as Ben Pearson. That former career of yours, you've managed to put it all behind you. And now you're on your way to being one of the finest detectives in Los Angeles."

"Thanks to you Laura," he whispered. And wondered if he was going stark raving mad. The image looked a lot like Laura and even talked like her but how could it possibly be her, unless of course-

"Well, I did have a little something to do with it. But you were a very good pupil," the image of Laura told him.

Although he knew that there was something odd about all this, he went on. "And you were a very good teacher Laura."

"What I'm trying to say is - you've still got so much to live for. Don't spend the rest of your life chained to your desk, burying yourself in work. It would be a shame for you to spend the rest of your life pining away for me. You're such a warm, gentle, and caring man. Don't close yourself off from the world. Maybe in time, you'll find someone who'll love you the way you deserve to be loved-

He interrupted. "If it's not you Laura, then I don't want to-

"You mustn't think that way. Lord knows I wish I could be there with you - but I can't. Well not in the real sense. Try and go on without me. You must go on without me," she advised strongly.

"I'll try Laura but it won't be easy," he admitted truthfully.

"I know - but I think with Mildred's help, you'll get there carry on the work at the agency anyway. She cares about you-

"I know she does," he admitted, smiling sadly. "But she isn't you Laura." He said quietly.

What the bloody hell is the matter with you mate. Laura isn't really here. This is all a figment of your imagination. Stop it right now. Before they carry you off to the asylum in a straight jacket mate. This, he'd be sure to keep a secret to himself. He can just imagine the look of disbelief on Mildred's face if he dared to tell her about this strange occurrence in his bedroom. He's heard of things like this happening to other people, but he wasn't particularly religious or spiritual, so why was this happening to him. Perhaps later when he'd sobered up and was able to think more clearly, he'd be able to make some sense out of this experience that bordered on the supernatural. But right now he found the entire experience comforting. The pain inside had subsided some. And so he went on, "Laura," he whispered. "If you only knew how lonely it's been without you. Not just at the office but here at the apartment as well. The memories of what we shared together, haunts me day and night. We've shared some good times you and I-

"Yes we did - we were a great team," she agreed.

"And truthfully speaking, it's those memories that have kept me going up to this point."
He told her, a fond smile lighting up his handsome features, although not for long.

"I'm glad that you have those memories to fall back on. They'll help you get through this rough period of adjustment in your life. Take care of yourself. And one more thing before I go. I suppose it's too late now to tell you this, but I've loved you ever since the first day you walked into the agency and introduced yourself as Ben Pearson. That sea of blue was pretty hard to resist. You're one of a kind Remington Steele." The image faded away quickly into thin air. What did he really just witness here? Was that really Laura? Or was his imagination working overtime. Well whatever the explanation, it seems to have lifted his spirits a great deal. Life might be worth living after all. But without Laura, how can it? Suddenly, he appeared doubtful. Laura materializing in his bedroom had given him the hope and confidence he needed to go on living but that Laura wasn't real. How will he accomplish that without Laura there to encourage him, applauding his efforts, the way she had when he first assumed the role of Remington Steele?

Walking out of the bedroom, he headed for the living room to pour another drink.

Lord knows he would give anything to have Laura alive, but losing his sanity isn't something that he was planning on. He poured himself another glass of brandy, but paused. Having another drink would be the worse idea yet considering what took place in the bedroom earlier, he realized. Deciding against that, he went over to the sofa and sat down. Now what? He wondered. It's time you pulled yourself together mate. You can't keep going on this way. If Laura were here, well here in the flesh, what do you think she would say about the way in which you've chosen to live your life. It's time to shape up old chap.

His eyes wandered over to the unlit fireplace once more but he erased it quickly from his mind. Another memory struck him hard. In all honesty, the memories were a blessing because they kept him going, and at the same time a curse because in order for him to move forward with his life, he had to find a way to bury them deep inside his brain. And although He was aware that he must move on with his life, he was nowhere willing or ready to give up those wonderful memories that he and Laura shared together. A hard pounding on his front door interrupted his thoughts. Rising from the sofa, he walked over to answer the door.

The last thing that I need right now is company. Unless it's Laura-. He reprimanded himself. You're in sad shape mate. It was Mildred Krebs at the door, threatening to break it down if he didn't open it instantly. But before Mildred had a chance to follow through with her threat, he pulled the door open quickly, moving out of the way to let her inside the apartment. After closing the door, he walked over to the loveseat, plopping himself down in it, looking sad. He watched Mildred pacing back and forth, wondering what hell he was in for now. Suddenly he saw her stop pacing and when she turned to face him, her face was covered in anger. She sat down, gazing at him with angry dark eyes.

"Why did you leave the office without saying a word to me," she finally said, waving a scolding finger at him.

Suddenly he felt like a lad being scolded by his Mother for being up to no good.

He apologized like a good little boy. "I'm sorry Mildred - it's just that I'm-"

The angry woman interrupted the sad and lonely detective. "I understand only too well what you're going through. You were a great team, like Myrna Loy and William Powell." The suave detective was flattered at the compliment and ordinarily it would cause him to preen, but since his Myrna Loy wasn't here beside him, it was all he could do to force himself to smile. Mildred kept rambling on. And he was forced to listen.

"But it's not just the agency is it?"

"What are you getting at Mildred?" he asked, removing an imaginary piece of lint from his trousers after he'd crossed his legs.

"Miss Holt did confide in me about the two of you having something more than work in common," Remington Steele suddenly looked sheepish and was surprised that Laura had confided in their secretary about their romantic relationship.

"She told you Mildred," he asked, his eyes widening in surprise. "Miss Holt told you about us?"

"Yes," she confirmed and smiling for the first time since she walked into his apartment. "You cared deeply for her, didn't you?"

"I still do Mildred, although well never mind-

He did love Laura more than life itself, but could never find the courage to tell her so. "Yes, I really did care deeply for her," he finally admitted to Mildred. "But what difference does it make now. Let this be a lesson to you Mildred, if you care well love someone don't wait for too long to tell that person how he really feel. I think that's part of what's eating me alive - the fact that I loved her but couldn't find the courage to tell her so. Granted, there were plenty of opportunities but I suppose that I was afraid of rejection-"

Her Boss' revelation took her by surprise, "Rejection?" Mildred said looking baffled.
"Miss Holt was crazy about you - couldn't you see that."

Rubbing his jaw quickly, he let out a weary sigh.

"Oh Mildred, we really had some good times together you know. We had our ups and downs like others couples I suppose but despite it all, we were able to weather the storm."

Suddenly Mildred saw Mr. Steele's face lit up with a fond smile, relief washed over her face. For a moment there, she thought he was thinking of doing something crazy like jump off the roof of the Century Plaza building. But now it appears that he's found a reason to live, face life on his own, without Laura. But Mildred was smart enough to know that he had a lot of healing to do before he'd get to that point in his life.

His blue eyes lit up with a smile as he spoke. "Did you know that Laura and I attended church together on Sundays," he didn't require an answer from his secretary, it was more like a statement. Mildred shook her head from side to side. The baffled look on Mildred's face caused him to chuckle softly. "Well - one Sunday while I was having breakfast, Laura surprised me by showing up at my doorstep insisting that I accompany her to church. I was reluctant at first but knew only too well that Laura would not take no for an answer." Mentally, he realized that recanting this story wasn't so bad after all. "You're coming to church with me this morning Mr. Steele and I'm not going to take no for an answer," he said, in a no-nonsense firm tone of voice, just the way Laura would say it.

Mildred smiled, listening to him mimicking Laura's voice.

"So I take it you went with her," she figured.

He nodded. "Yes I did. And you know something Mildred I liked it. I really, really liked it. And do you know that every Sunday after that, well except for the Sundays we had to work on a case, Laura and I attended church services together. It's such a beautiful experience, you know. You know something else Mildred,"

"What?" She asked softly.

"I think that now I can find the strength and the courage to go on with my life."

"And what's change all this if you don't mind me asking?"

"Oh," he began slowly "I guess it's realizing that even though Laura is not here in the flesh, she's still here with me-

"You mean spiritually," Mildred said in understanding.

He nodded thoughtfully. Mildred seemed to understand what he was trying to say.
Maybe if he told her about that strange but comforting experience in his bedroom, she'd understand, instead of getting a great big chuckle out of it. He trusted Mildred, almost as much as he trusted Laura, but he wasn't quite ready to share his experience which he considered very special and private moment.

"With every blessed day that comes, she'll still be a part of my life, protecting me and steering me in the right direction - helping me to pull my face up from off the ground with everyday that the good Lord sends to us. I have to pull myself together and start acting like the head of the agency -not only for myself but for Laura's sake as well. I owe that much to her. It's due to her hard work and determination why the agency is a great success and I'm going to make sure that it stays that way."

"Oh that's good to hear," she said an upbeat tone of voice. "And I know it won't be easy trying to face things on your own."

"It won't," he admitted frankly. "But," he emphasized strongly. "I'm going to try real hard to make a go of it. But Lord how I miss her. She was my whole life Mildred. My whole life," he said, looking sad.

"Hey," Mildred said, now rubbing his right shoulder. "How about some lunch?"

"Well I am hungry." Famished was more like it, he thought mentally.

"Then I'm going to go into that kitchen and whip you up an omelet," she said, pointing.

He turned up blue eyes to her. "What would I do without you Mildred?"

"I could say the same thing to you, you know. I wish I could bring Miss Holt back-

"But you can't," he said kindly. "How about that omelet eh?"

"Be back before you know it," she said with a smiling face, then started off for the kitchen but she paused when he said, "Mildred?"

"Yes Boss,"

"Thanks for caring eh."

She nodded thoughtfully, then turned, heading for the kitchen to make lunch.


After finishing the lunch Mildred prepared for him, he joined her in the living room where he found her with a troubled expression on her face.

"What is it Mildred?"

"I was trying to put this off for as long as possible but I'm afraid it can't wait any longer."

"What is it Mildred?" he asked again.

"It's about Miss Holt's loft on Tenth Street," she began kindly. "Her things have to be packed up and-

"I know Mildred," he said, tapping her shoulder lightly. "It's one of the things I've been avoiding but I promise I'll do it later on."

Mildred smiled sadly. "It isn't easy is it?"

"No it isn't." He admitted, looking sad.

They were both close to tears but fought them back real hard, succeeding.

"I'll go with you if you like," Mildred offered kindly.

He appreciated Mildred's kind gesture, but this was something that he'd rather do himself. Also he was afraid that if his emotions got the better of him and he broke down in tears, he didn't want his secretary to witness it.

"Thanks Mildred - but I'll be able to handle it by myself."

"Okay. But if you need me, you know where to find me," she stressed softly.

"Perhaps one day I'll be able to bring myself to see about her office. But right now, I'm just too-"

Mildred held up a hand to forestall him. "It's okay, I understand what you're going through. Well kind of anyway. Maybe I should go back to the agency and hold down the fort. You've got enough on your mind."

"Thanks for being so understanding and I think it's rather sweet for you to be so concerned about me."

Mildred smiled brightly. "I just want to see you happy again."

He managed to smile. "I know," wondering if he'd ever be happy again or at least have his life back the way it was before Laura left him to face the world on his own.

Mildred rose from the sofa, headed for the door. He accompanied her to the door, giving her a quick peck on the cheek. "Thanks for making lunch."

She smiled, blushing.

He closed the door after she'd left, turned to face his apartment, wondering what was waiting for him over at Laura's loft, certainly not Laura.

The ringing of the telephone startled him. He lifted the receiver to his ear, sighing.

"Steele here-

"Oh darling thank heavens you're there,"

He frowned. "What is it Felicia?" he asked coolly.

"I just wanted to make sure that you're alright. I heard about Lisa I mean Laura and I just want you to know that my sympathies go out to you and-

"Thank you Felicia," he said coolly again. "Now if you'll-

"You really loved her didn't you."

He chose not to answer but then again, he wasn't sure if she was posing a question or stating a fact. With Felicia one can never be too certain.

"And that's what's stopping me from making a mad dash to Los Angeles to comfort you and maybe even-"

"Felicia please," he pleaded. "I really must go."

"I won't be much longer darling," she purred. "You see - I tried convincing myself that with Laura no longer in the picture you'd perhaps have second thoughts about us and give me another chance of trying to win your heart. Then I realized what would be the point. Laura is not here anymore but I'd be a fool to believe that it's going to stop you from falling out of love with her. I know this might sound a bit odd coming from me - but I can see now why you were so smitten with her. She gave you a brand new start in life - gave you a name to call your own, allowing you to put the past behind you. And that's something that no other woman, including myself, could do for you. Well the truth is, you wouldn't allow any of us to get too close to you. Laura seemed to have accomplished that."

"Thanks for your kind words Felicia," he said in an even tone of voice. What else could he say?

"I think I've said quite a mouthful - and if it's any consolation to you eventually it does get better."

"I suppose it does," he said coolly. "And I really must go now Felicia."

"Alright darl- I mean Remington. You don't mind if I call again to see how you're making out from time to time?"

"I don't," he said sincerely in an even tone of voice cutting her off. "And no surprise visits eh Felicia." he warned her.

"Absolutely none," she told him flatly. "Well Goodbye now."

"Goodbye Felicia."

He returned the receiver to the hook, shaking his head. He didn't waste much time thinking about Felicia's surprise telephone call. He had a very important matter to attend to and that's what he did right after he grabbed the keys to the Auburn.


Entering the loft, he wasted no time and immediately started to remove clothing from drawers, throwing them onto the bed, moving about quickly. He was in such a haste to complete the task at hand, that he knocked over the jewelry case on the dresser. It, along with the contents, landed on the floor. Returning the contents to the jewelry case, he paused when he noticed a small stainless steel key, slightly rusty, which he recognized after he'd retrieved it from the floor. The key held special significance for Laura and that's why he supposed she'd keep it among her collection of jewelry.

It wasn't so long ago that Major Descoine made an appearance into their lives with the intent to frame him for murder but was unsuccessful. Not that he's forgiven Descoine mind you, but oddly enough, he can now understand why the man was so full of rage losing the woman that he seemed to love more than life itself. Because now he can truly relate to how Descoine must have felt when his wife committed suicide as a result leaving him alone in the world to fend for himself. The man was evil, yes. But judging from the way he carried on about Lily Martin, his wife, Steele gathered that he must have loved her a whole lot. Although it was very hard for him to picture this deceptive creature as a loving and caring husband and father. And Steele never thought that he'd see the day when he would be empathizing with Descoine. But he suppose that even a cold and vindictive man like Descoine is also capable of having feelings for another human being.

And all that ran through his mind as he held the key in the palm of his hand.

And when that memory left him, another crept inside his brain. What was it that Laura said when I handed her this key that we retrieved from that acid bath. He recalled that moment in an instant. Oh yes, 'The key to your innocence locked in my heart'. Remembering her words warmed his heart tremendously as it did back then. But the only difference is that now is dear, sweet Laura was no longer with him. Who could he blame for taking her away from him so soon? No one, he supposed. It was just one of those things that comes with the job of being a private investigator. But nevertheless, he took very little comfort in that fact.

Making a fist, he grasped the key tightly in the palm of his hand, holding onto it for dear life. Having not slept in days now was taking a toll on him so he decided to stretch out on Laura's bed with the intention of taking a nap. Once rested, he'd continued packing up Laura's belongings. Secretly he made a wish, just before falling off to sleep. That being, when he woke up, Laura would be standing there in front of him, flashing that sweet dimpled smile at him. Not being able to fight it anymore, he drifted off into a peaceful sleep

To Be Continued . . .
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