Mildred dances back toward her desk from the coffee room, humming, apparently in a good mood. She reaches her desk and is surprised as a man asks, "Remington Steele?"
She looks toward the doors to find a man wearing a dark suit. "He's not in yet," she tells him, wondering why he seems familiar.
"Laura Holt?" he asks.
Mildred remembers where she's seen him. He was the psycho Santa, Dancer, who held them hostage on Christmas Eve. She recalls him telling her, "I'm gonna use you for target practice, Brunhilda."
Mildred backs away, keeping the desk between them. "Miss Holt's not here, either. Who is it that wants to see them?"
"The spirit of Christmas past," he tells her. Mildred gasps. He chuckles and leaves the office.
Mildred grabs the telephone and dials a number. "Lt. Benjamin, this is Mildred Krebs Remington Steele Investigations. That nut who held us hostage on Christmas Eve? He just strolled in! Out on bail? That animal is out on bail? No No, he didn't threaten me Oh, yeah, you do that Yeah, you look into it! If there IS another time, I hope I'm alive to call you." She hangs up, worried.
Dancer is waiting in the hallway when the elevator doors open. He turns to enter the lift, and Steele, leaving the elevator, bumps into him. "Oh, sorry," Steele apologizes.
Dancer simply smiles. Steele pauses, also wondering where he's seen the man before as the doors close on Dancer's smiling face.
Steele continues to the office, where a still rattled Mildred (who's holding what looks like a steak knife in her hand) rushes toward him. "Oh, Boss, you won't believe who was just in here. Dancer. The loony tune in the Santa suit?"
Steele glances toward the hallway, sees Dancer in his mind, holding a gun and saying, "Go ahead, pretty boy, take your best shot."
"Boss?" Mildred asks, terrified.
"Uh, I'm sorry, Mildred. The man's made an indelible impression on me."
"You don't see me laughing it off, do you?" Mildred tells him.
"What did he want?"
"He asked for you, then Miss Holt. When I said you weren't here, he left."
"Yeah, well, alert Miss Holt straightaway, will you?" he asks, turning toward his office with a worried frown.
In her loft, Laura is practicing her ballet movements. We hear a clang, and someone say, "Ow! Dammit!"
From behind the kitchen counter, a blonde young man rises to his feet with a sheepish expression. "Sorry, Miss Holt."
"It's alright, Wally," she assures him, not missing a beat on her exercises. "I'm familiar with the expression and the feeling."
"Darn wrench slipped," he explains.
"How's it going?"
He glanced to the counter. "Well, if we could ever get the coupling back on, we oughta be in business. Hope I'm not inconveniencing you too much."
"Nah. Last manager we had never wanted to do ANYthing," she informs him.
"Oh, I enjoy it. It's a real pleasure to work with my hands again. My last situation was a real 'brain-drain'. Think, think, think. If I hadn't left, I think I would have gone nuts." He disappears behind the counter again.
The telephone rings. Laura glances at it with disapproval and goes to answer it. "Hello?" she says, smelling some flowers beside the phone.
"Miss Holt?" Mildred questions. "The Boss wanted me to call you. Dancer just paid us a visit."
"Who?" Laura asks.
"Dancer. The guy who threatened to blow up this building unless he was paid two million dollars?"
"He came to the office?"
"I know I should be an old pro at this, but-I'm still shaking."
"Did he do anything? Make any threats?"
"Being on the same planet with that creep is threat enough," Mildred insists. "Now, the Boss wanted me to warn you, so be on your toes."
"I will, Mildred. Thanks." As she hangs up, the door buzzer rings. Laura looks fearfully toward the door, stops, and looks around. Finally she heads toward where the man is working on the sink and grabs his wrench.
"I'm gonna need that-" he tells her.
"Shh," Laura insists, testing the heft of the makeshift weapon. She carries it to the door and raises it as she pulls the door back.
A delivery man cowers, dropping his receipt book, crying out, "Don't hit me! I'm bonded!"
Laura's remorseful. "Oh. Oh, I'm sorry! Please forgive me. I thought-I thought you were-the plumber. Been waiting for him for him all week. It got so bad I had to try and fix the faucet myself," she adds with a smile.
"Lady, I've been bitten by dogs, chased by monkeys, and mugged by little old ladies. But you're the first person who ever tried to turn out my lights because of a leaky faucet."
"Purely unintentional." She moves closer, but he flinches.
Picking up his book, he asks, "Laura Holt?"
"Yes, that's me."
"Sign here, please." She signs her name, and he hands her a beribboned box.
"Just a minute," she tells him, starting to turn away.
"What for?" he asks, suspicious.
"The tip," she tells him.
"It's okay. I live simply," he insists, running away.
Laura closes the door as Wally packs up his tools. "Do you always answer the door like that?" he asks.
"Only on Tuesdays."
She opens the present to reveal a very nice wrist watch. Wally whistles in appreciation. Smiling, Laura removes the card and reads it. "May the hands of time never dim your loveliness." She sighs. "Hmm."
Wally chuckles. "A little corny," he suggests.
She looks at him. "I kind of like it."
"Secret admirer," she informs him.
"Wow. That's some admiration."
"How's the sink, Wally?" Laura asks.
"OH. It's all fixed."
"Uh-huh. Good. I've gotta get dressed."
"You really liked that, huh? 'The hands of time '"
Laura looks a tad upset by his rattling on, and almost pushes him toward the door. "Have a nice day, Wally. Listen, I'll call you if there's any problems."
"I really appreciate everything you did." She slides the door open.
"Bye bye," she wishes, then closes the door. Leaning against it, she admires the watch again with a smile.
Mildred carries a report into Steele's office. "This is as much as I can get on that hairbag," she tells him.
"Where do you pick up all these expressions, Mildred?" he asks.
"Television, I guess."
"Oh? I thought you only watched PBS?"
"His name is Anthony Delgetti."
Steele opens the folder. "Served in the armed forces. Never made it past Corporal. I don't see any mention of that Silver Star he was so proud of."
"He spent most of his time in the stockade. He was even accused of fragging his own lieutenant. Blew the poor guy to smithereens. Only get this. Another dogface who saw everything suddenly couldn't remember who threw the grenade. Since then, he's been in and out of prison. Mostly for aggravated assault in the commission of a felony."
"Well, Mr. Delgetti seems to be following an established pattern. The chief witness against him mysteriously reneges and the little corporal slithers out from underneath a murder charge."
"You think he's trying to frighten us from testifying?"
"Well, he goes to trial next week. I mean, we're all first hand witnesses to a kidnapping, extortion, assault with a deadly weapon. He might spend the next twenty years making license plates. However, and this is the big however, if he can frighten the professionals like Miss Holt and myself-"
"Need some water, Mildred?"
"Professionals, you were saying?"
"Yes, if Dancer can stop Miss Holt and myself from testifying-" she coughs again. "Something stuck in your throat?"
"Aw, come on, Chief. Don't you consider me a professional?"
"Of course I do, Mildred," he assures her. "Listen, forgive me, it's an oversight." He comes around the desk. "Here you go, darling." He gives her a kiss on the cheek. "There you go." She smiles.
"So, you think Dancer wants to keep us professionals from testifying."
"If he succeeds, the other witnesses might just fall in line."
"And he walks away clean?"
"Considering the alternative, it's worth the risk," he suggests.
"That slimeball!" she declares. Seeing Steele's response, she adds, "Alistair Cook says that a lot."
Steele removes his jacket. "Does he? Call the other witnesses. Try not to alarm them unduly, just tell them that Dancer might be in the neighborhood." He picks up his phone. "In the meantime, I'm going to see can the great Remington Steele can pull any strings and jerk him back behind the bars."
Dressed for the office, Laura straightens her clothing before a mirror and then admires the watch, still smiling. She picks up her purse, then opens the door- only to find Dancer standing there.
"Hello, Pretty Face."
Laura flashes back to Dancer lying on the floor, gun pointed at her. "I'd love to splatter that pretty face all over this room."
"What do you want?" she asks.
"Anything you've got to offer," he tells her, placing a hand to her face. She slaps his hand away. He smiles and leans against the door frame. "Hey, you look all frazzled. You know, what you need is a vacation. A long vacation. Away from everything."
"Sorry," she tells him. "I can't take one right now. I have to testify at your trial."
"Did you ever hear that expression-'back from the grave'? Well, that's the only way you're going to testify, Pretty Face," he informs her with a threatening chuckle.
Steele is in his office, looking at the agency gun on his desk when Mildred comes in. "Okay. I contacted all the potential witnesses, Chief, except for Dr. S. Wilson Scabbard."
"Ah, yes. The 'Podiatrist to the Stars'," he recalls.
"He's on his way to his office in Encino."
"Okay, keep trying." The door opens again and Laura enters.
"That hairbag," she complains. "That slimeball."
"You watch PBS too?" Steele questions.
"He had the nerve, the audacity, the unmitigated gall to show up on my doorstep and threaten me!"
"That's it," Steele says, angry. "I'm calling the police." He picks up the phone.
"I already did that," Laura informs him. "Dancer's story is that he heard there was a loft available in my building. He was looking for the manager, had no idea I lived there. The police WARNED him to stay away from me and the other witnesses."
"That's it!?" Mildred questions in surprised anger.
"The foundation of American jurisprudence is that a man is innocent until proven guilty," Steele reminds them.
"Dirty Harry's getting to look better and better," Mildred declares. "I'll give the Doc another buzz."
"Uh huh," Steele agrees as she leaves. He puts the agency gun into the desk and sits down. "Quite a morning, eh?" he asks.
Laura makes a big show of looking at her watch. "And it isn't even half over yet."
"Oh. New watch?" Steele asks.
She extends her arm. "Yes," she tells him with that smile again.
"And very expensive."
"Well you're entitled to splurging yourself every once in a while, eh? After all, you're worth it." They smile at each other.
"And what makes you think *I* bought this for myself?" she asks.
"Well, nothing. I just assumed "
"As I recall, you told me you were on your way to buy ME a Christmas present when Dancer and his group showed up." She sits on the desk close to him.
"What, perchance, was that present?" she asks.
He rises. "Well, it's a dim memory now, but as I recall, it was a-It was a watch, of sorts." He goes into the bathroom, giving her a glance as she continues the battle.
"Yeah," he says. "Saks had a rather nice collection."
Laura clenches her fists in frustration. She looks at her watch. "Any style in particular?" she asks.
He's brushing his teeth. "Yeah. Gold band with- tiny little diamonds on the face."
Laura joins him, shoving her arm in front of him. "Like this one?"
"Ah, similar," he says, toothbrush in his mouth. He spits.
"It arrived this morning."
"With a note."
"May the hands of time never dim your loveliness."
"Little corny, isn't it?" Steele says with a laugh.
Laura grimaces. "It was signed- 'Your Secret Admirer'."
He puts down the towel he used to wipe his face, and turns toward the office. "Haven't we been through this before?" he asks her.
"It started with flowers," she informs him, following him as he fastens his cuffs.
"A different bouquet every day for a week. And candy. The kind that costs twenty-five dollars a pound."
"Oh, dear me. Lucky you've got a sweet tooth." He puts on his jacket.
"A few of his notes even mentioned you."
"Who, me?" He seems amused.
"And not in a very flattering light, I might add. Something to the effect that I'd be much better off without you." He sits down in his chair, she perches on the desk again. "And my secret admirer hinted that I had to make a choice: you, or him."
Steele laughs. "Oh, dear me. Where do they come from, Laura?"
She's not amused. "Where does WHO come from?"
"Oh, those poor, demented souls running around loose out there. First of all Dancer, now your closet Casanova."
"Any idea who it might be, Mr. Steele?" she asks.
"Someone who cares very deeply for you," he suggests. "Perhaps even loves you, but can't bring himself to express those feelings- directly."
"I wish he'd stop beating around the bush," she says.
"He might," Steele suggests, leaning closer.
Laura leans forward too. "When?"
"When the time is right, no doubt."
"He'd better watch out," she warns. "I might just get tired of waiting."
"His loss, my gain," Steele tells her with a smile.
"Don't be so sure. I might just get tired of waiting for everyone." She gets off of his desk and starts for the door.
"Oh, Laura-" she stops and looks back at him. "About the watch-"
She smiles, thinking he's about to come clean. "Yes?" she asks.
"What time is it?"
Laura's smile vanishes and she slams the door behind her.
Steele smiles, then looks concerned.
Laura approaches Mildred's desk. "He should be drawn and quartered. Tarred and feathered. Diced and sliced."
"You said it!" Mildred agrees. "Hanging's too good for Dancer!"
"Not Dancer, HIM!" she says, pointing toward the door.
"The BOSS?" Mildred questions, standing up.
Laura shoves the watch into her face. "See this watch?"
"Well, it's a little too close to get a good luck, honey," Mildred says, peering.
"He tried this little charade once before. He sent me flowers. Buckets and bunches and bushels of them, every day, for weeks on end with smutty little love poems signed 'Your Secret Admirer'."
"I was there, remember?"
"So that he could become jealous of his competition and fight for me, so that he could -realize how much I meant to him."
"I was there, remember?" Mildred says again.
Laura's not listening. She's pacing the office, ranting. "Hoping I'd be so flattered I'd fall right into his arms, not to mention his BED. Perfect way for that-that-"
"Dirtbag?" Mildred suggests.
Laura snaps her fingers and points, "to have his cake and eat it too."
"Sounds delicious," Mildred sighs, sitting down again.
"IF I remember correctly, the last time he tried this gambit, he charged everything to the Agency. Well, this time, we'll beat him at his own game. Mildred, I want you to cut off his credit. Everywhere. The agency florist, department stores. Report his credit cards stolen."
"Don't you think that's a little severe?" Mildred asks.
"I'll teach him, graphically and irrevocably, that I don't LIKE game playing. That he doesn't need to go through all these elaborate ruses!" She leans over the desk, girl to girl. "All I need- is a little honesty. A little verbal commitment. A gentle touch." Mildred is dreamy. "A soft caress-"
"Stop it, lady, you're turning me on," a man says from the open front doors.
"Remind me to have a bell put on that door, Mildred," Laura sighs.
The man comes in. In the hallway, there are two uniformed police officers. "How nice of you to wander by, Lt. Benjamin," Mildred admonishes, then looks at her watch. "Considering it's been two hours since Dancer came calling." Laura glanced at HER watch as well.
"Yeah, well," Benjamin tells them, "you weren't the only one on his itinerary. Dr. Scabbard was crushed under and x-ray machine about an hour ago. He's in intensive care right now. He's critical, but he's stable."
"What about Dancer?" Steele asks, coming from his office.
"Delgetti was staying with his sister," Benjamin informs them. "She says he took off in the middle of the night- she hasn't heard from him since."
"Any leads where he might be?" Laura asks.
"No, not yet. But we'll find the little weasel," Benjamin assures her.
"Hopefully before he gets us."
"That's why I'm here. The others consented to police protection. So, these two out here, they belong to you."
"We appreciate your offer, Lieutenant," Laura says. Steele turns to look at her as she continues. "But no sale."
"Delgetti is a certified psycho. You know what he's trying to do? He's trying to scare you all into instant amnesia. Since the others heard what happened to Scabbard, they're not too gung-ho about testifying."
Steele winces as Laura confronts Benjamin. "Lieutenant, how is it going to look to potential clients if one man, no matter how psychotic he may be, is able to frighten us into hiding behind the police?"
"You've got to be ALIVE to have clients, Miss Holt," Benjamin reminds her. "Why don't you just forget the PR and be sensible?" He looks at Steele. "Tell her, Steele."
"My subordinate is merely echoing a tenet of mine that I set down when I founded this agency," Steele says, playing along for Laura's sake.
"Miss Krebs?" Benjamin asks.
Mildred hides her fear. "Let the creep come," she says.
Benjamin shakes his head. "I could lock you all up as material witnesses."
"We'd be out before you could finish the paperwork," Laura says.
"Okay. Have it your way. Come on, boys, let's go. The Wild Bunch doesn't need us."
He and his men leave. Laura tells Steele and Mildred, "I'll visit each of the other witnesses, let them know that we're not going to be intimidated by Dancer."
"Perhaps we should regroup at your place?" Steele suggests. "I have this- sudden, uncontrollable urge for- togetherness."
"I'm for that," Mildred agrees quickly.
"I should be home around 6:00," Laura tells them.
Steele hands her the agency gun. "Here, take this. Just in case you bump into any stray x-ray machines."
She takes the gun, puts it into her pocket, and leaves the office. Steele follows her to the door to watch her down the hall. "Feisty piece of baggage, our Miss Holt," he comments.
"A little too feisty for my blood," Mildred tells him.
"Ah, she has a point to prove, Mildred."
"Oh, that a woman with intelligence, determination and a certain amount of training can be as stupidly macho as any man." He smiles, then checks out the hallway.
"Comes down to that, huh? You mean we're playing clay pigeons so she can win the battle of the sexes?"
Steele turns to her with a smile. "Ah, the only battle worth fighting for, Mildred."
"Ah, well, I hate to tell you, Chief, you've lost this round," she informs him as he comes back to her desk. "She's onto you."
"Oh? In what context?"
"Well, this secret admirer stuff. She knows it's you."
"Does she now?"
"Just like before."
"Oh, Mildred. You know me well enough by now to realize that I never repeat myself. Makes one too predictable."
"Are you telling me you AREN'T sending her those gifts?"
"Not a one," he replies. "But don't tell her that."
"I'm lost. There's a nuance here that escapes me."
"She's the one sending the gifts."
"Oh, Mildred, it's so obvious."
"Listen, in my day, when a guy gave you something, he made damn sure you knew about it so as he could-collect, if you know what I mean."
"She wants me to believe that there really IS someone else, to force me into declaring my eternal, undying devotion to her. So, I'm not ruffled by this secret admirer. I'm simply going to wait her out. Driving her sufficiently bananas until she fesses up." He laughs.
"You two do love to play all of these little games, don't you?"
"Adds spice to the relationship, Mildred, yes," he informs her with a devilish grin. He starts toward the door.
"Where are you going?" she asks.
"To buy a new gun for the agency."
"Make it two," she calls out. "And while you're at it, throw in a bazooka."
Later, Laura is preparing dinner at the loft. The table is set for three, the agency gun is on the counter behind her. She tastes something. "Ugh," she says, then picks up the recipe book.
The telephone rings, and she turns down the burner before answering. "Dinner's almost ready," she says, thinking it's Steele. "Hello?"
"Ho, ho, ho," Dancer says in a monotone.
Laura's expression hardens. "Now listen, you slimy-"
Dancer hangs up. Laura goes back to the stove, then hears something on the fire escape. She closes and latches the window over the counter, and then turns out the lights.
Mildred turns out a light in the reception area, then turns toward the doors as one of them opens. She thinks she sees a Santa, and gasps in fright. "Oh."
Another look, and she realizes it's the building's security guard. "Mildred? Everything alright?"
She's relieved, nods. "Fine, Ralph. Everything is fine."
"Night, then," he says, starting to leave.
"Ralph," she calls, stopping him. "Would you wait for me a minute?" She grabs her purse and keys. "I'll ride down with you."
"I can meet Mr. Steele in the lobby." She locks the doors.
Steele leaves his condo and goes to the elevator. He hits the button to summon it, then turns toward the apartment as the phone begins to ring. He takes a few steps in that direction. "Oh, damn it. Forget it." He goes back to the elevator, looking at his watch as the phone continues to ring. He's looking at the apartment, trying to decide what to do when the elevator doors open. Without looking, he steps in- and falls down the empty shaft as the telephone continues to ring.
Wally enters his dark apartment as the phone is ringing. "Hello?"
Laura's still in the darkened apartment. "I hope I'm not disturbing you."
"No, no. As a matter of fact, I just got in."
"Are you busy?"
"Is the sink backed up again?" he asks.
"No. I was just wondering if maybe you wanted to come up for a drink."
"Now?" he asks.
"If If you weren't doing anything."
"No, heck, no. I just got in."
"Well, I'll be here."
"I'll see you in a bit, then," he says, and hangs up, smiling.
Laura dials another number. "Yes, is Lt. Benjamin there, please? Do you know where he went? Well, did it have anything to do with the Delgetti case? I've been trying to reach my associate, Remington Steele. There's no answer at his apartment or the office I was wondering if maybe Lt. Benjamin might have spoken to him Yes. My name is Laura Holt, and I'm very anxious to hear from him My number is 555-6235. Thank you." She hangs up. She goes to the window again, then dials Steele's number again. When it just rings, she says, "Where ARE you?"
The door buzzer rings. Going to the door, she asks, "Who is it?"
"It's Wally. Wally Donovan." Laura opens the door for him. He's carrying a huge box with a bow on top. "What is THIS?" she asks.
"Well, somebody left it at your door this afternoon. I didn't want anybody to steal it, so I took it to my place." He puts it down as Laura closes and latches the door. "Kinda spooky in here," he comments, noting the lights being out.
"I didn't realize how late it was," she tells him with a laugh, turning the light back on and removing her apron. "What can I get you to drink, Wally?"
"Club soda, if you have it. I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs."
Laura smiles at him. "Well, you won't think less of me if I have a drink, will you? It's been a long day."
"Oh, no. Nothing wrong with a drink now and then."
"I'll drink to that."
"You see, I used to be very heavy into drugs. Every controlled substance known to man. And few that haven't been invented yet. You see, it was a crutch. Whenever things started moving in, I'd just- take a trip to happy land. Missed a whole decade that way." Laura starts to take a drink from her glass, then stops. "When it got the better of me, I had to quit."
"You're right, Wally," she agrees, and pours her drink into the sink before reaching for the club soda. "Mustn't let THINGS get the better of us." The phone rings, and she runs to answer. "Hello?" There's no one there, and she slams the phone down.
"Is there something wrong?" Wally asks.
"Just a- creep," Laura tells him. "Nothing for you to worry about."
"You know, I never dreamed we'd be here- like this," Wally says, moving around the room, "sharing a drink-" He sees the table set for three. "You expecting company?"
Laura looks up from the stove. "What? Oh. Just some people from the office."
"Your boss?" Wally asks, looking upset.
Laura looks at her watch. "I don't know what's keeping him."
"Is that why you asked me up here? To- kill time before he came?"
Laura looks at him. "No. Not at all. I was just- I just wanted to thank you for all the nice things you've done for me since you became manager. I really appreciate it, Wally."
"Well, there isn't anybody in this building I'd rather do things for than you, Miss Holt."
"Laura," he repeats, shyly.
"I don't intend this as a put down or anything, but- how did you wind up managing a building?"
"Oh, this is just temporary. I needed a place to mellow out. You know, after my last situation. Those were the worst eight months of my life, Miss Ho-" He pauses, smiles again. "Laura. Locked up in a room all day by myself, no windows." Laura looks at him. "I was an- analyst. I had to separate materials, determine its essential features and their relationship-You know, sometimes, sometimes I think the more you use your mind, the more confused you get."
"I'm beginning to agree with you," Laura tells him, going back to her dinner. "The mind can play terrible tricks if you let it."
"Aren't you going to open your present? I don't know about you, but it's driving me crazy. You know, when I was a kid, I couldn't wait to see what I got for Christmas or my birthday. I'd always sneak into my mother's closet and open the presents right away, but be real careful, so she didn't know I did it." Laura comes toward where he's standing beside the package. "Yeah, I'd slip the scotch tape off and refold the paper back just the way it was. Then I'd act surprised when I'd open it up in front of her. She never did catch on."
Laura grasps the lid of the box. "Here goes." She lifts it, and the sides fall down to reveal a huge teddy bear. She laughs.
"Oh, that's cute," Wally says. "Who's it from?"
Laura grabs the card from the top of the bear's head. "One guess."
"Your secret admirer?"
"Give the man a silver dollar," she calls out.
"He sure knows what you like." Laura picks up the bear. "You know, whoever it is obviously took the time to learn a great deal about you."
Laura carries the bear toward the bedroom. "Well, cards and gifts are one thing. But I wish the guy would get off the dime and say something to me."
"Maybe he can't. Maybe-he's afraid you'll laugh at him."
Laura laughs, putting the bear on the bed. "Believe me, Wally, that's the last thing I'd do."
"What kind of guy do you think he is?"
Laura glances at him, then looks at the bear again. "Warm. Gentle. Very loving. Although I know he'd deny it."
"I hope it doesn't frighten you that he can't come right out and tell you how much he loves you."
"How sweet of you to be so concerned about me," Laura comments as she puts the bear on the bench at the end of the bed. "Sit," she tells it.
"You deserve it, Laura," Wally tells her, coming closer as her back is turned. "There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you if you asked me. I'd be happy to spend the rest of my life with you " She's not listening, and the phone rings.
"Now listen, you-" she says into the phone. Her eyes widen.
" Taking care of you..."
"What?" she asks the person on the phone.
" Loving you," Wally says, his hands hovering near her shoulders.
"I'll be right there," Laura says. She hangs up. "I've got to go, Wally. Thanks for keeping me company. I really appreciate it." She grabs her coat and purse.
"Where are you going?" he asks as she starts out of the loft.
"Mr. Steele's been hurt."
"No, no. You can't go now," he says.
"Lock the door when you leave," she says, still not hearing him.
"No, please," he says. "We were just getting to know one another." As the door closes behind her, Wally looks at the agency gun still on the counter.
Laura exits the elevator outside Steele's condo. A police officer is on duty. "Laura Holt," she tells him. He steps aside and she enters.
Steele, his left leg in a cast, is sitting in a wheelchair as Mildred applies something to abrasions on his face. Lt. Benjamin is also there. "What happened?" Laura asks.
"Somebody rigged the elevator," he tells her.
Mildred glares. "What do you mean 'somebody'? You know damn well who did it. He's lucky to be alive."
"My leg-uh- broke the fall," Steele comments dryly.
"It's the same leg he broke when that guy who was killing all those bachelors ran him down."
"Now I know how Jimmy Stewart felt in 'Rear Window'," Steele complains. "This thing is beginning to itch already."
Laura asks Benjamin, "What about Dancer?"
"He probably thinks he finished Steele off. He won't be back."
"That's not what I mean. What are you doing to find him?"
"We're looking, Miss Holt. We're looking."
"Okay, Chief," Mildred says. "Let me tuck you in." She turns the wheelchair toward the bedroom.
"I don't want to be tucked in, Mildred. I just want to get my hands on that-that-that-"
"Greaseball?" she suggests.
He gives her a look, then nods in agreement.
Laura tells Benjamin, "In light of Mr. Steele's condition, I would be willing to accept police protection for him."
Benjamin smiles. "I don't want to say it, but, this could have been avoided if you hadn't been so stubborn."
"Thanks for NOT saying, it Lieutenant." She turns toward the bedroom.
Mildred is putting another pillow behind Steele. "Will you please stop fussing?" he asks. "Please."
"Mildred, we could use a cup of coffee," Laura says, rescuing him.
"Coming up." She leaves.
Steele sighs. "I hate being like this. Makes me feel so bloody- useless."
"This is my fault," Laura admits. "If I'd taken Benjamin's offer, this probably wouldn't have happened."
"Stupid," Steele mutters.
"Alright, I was stupid. I apologize."
"Not you, ME. The bloody phone was ringing. I thought it was you, calling to see what was keeping me. I was so busy trying to decide whether to answer the phone or get to the loft-I wasn't watching." He makes a falling motion.
Laura sits beside him. "If it's any consolation, your teddy bear was a big hit."
"What teddy bear?"
"Haven't we sufficiently exhausted this secret admirer thing?"
"Yes," he admits. "Yes, I think we have."
"Then you admit it."
"I'll admit I know who's sending you those gifts."
"Care to share that startling revelation?"
"A beautiful young woman who's picked up some of my talents for style and originality but hasn't fully mastered them yet," he says with a smile.
"ME? You think I've been sending those gifts to myself?" she asks.
"What better way to arouse my jealousy?" he asks.
"You wanna be aroused?" she asks, pulling out the card from the teddy bear. "Listen to this: Forget that callous, egotistical show off, Remington Steele and choose a real man."
Steele's shocked. He takes the card. "Callous? Egotistical? Show off? Is that what you really think about me?"
"I didn't write that!" she insists.
"Well, I didn't write it. I mean, why would I write something like that about myself?"
"No doubt so I'd leap to your defense."
"Laura, do you honestly think that I'm the sort of man who would give a woman a *teddy bear*?"
"When you put it that way " she says.
"Good Lord. Then there really IS a secret admirer roaming around out there."
"Yes, but who?" she wonders. "I think I'll help Mildred with that coffee."
She meets Mildred returning. "I've got to go back to the loft."
"Don't tell Mr. Steele, but I left the agency gun on the kitchen counter. Keep an eye on him."
"Nothing gets past Krebs," Mildred says in an uncertain tone. "I hope."
Entering the loft, Laura turns on the lights. The kitchen is spotless. And the gun's gone.
Mildred carries a cup of coffee out to the officer that's stationed in the hall, but he's not there. When she comes back into the condo, Steele calls, "Mildred, where's Miss Holt?"
"She had to go out for awhile," Mildred calls back, and runs to the kitchen.
"Where?" he calls.
"She'll be back, Chief, cool it!" She finds a butcher knife and goes out to the phone. Picking it up, she starts dialing, then hears someone behind her. She drops the phone and turns, knife raised.
Steele nearly falls off his crutches. "Oh. Oh, Mildred. Planning on doing a little carving?" he asks.
"The cop outside?"
"Well, perhaps he had to relieve himself."
"We have facilities in here."
There's a knock on the door. "Who is it?" Steele asks.
"See?" he says, and they go to the door. Mildred opens it, and Hanley falls into the room, either unconscious or dead. "The door, Mildred, the door," Steele reminds her.
As she's closing it, Dancer crashes through the balcony window with a chair. "I hope you don't mind my barging in like this," he says, a gun in his hand, "but I just came to wish everybody a belated Merry Christmas."
Steele and Mildred exchange a worried look.
He's got the butcher knife. "A little early for Thanksgiving, ain't it, Brunhilda? Or was you thinkin' about stickin' a different kind of bird? Park it," he tells Steele. "You too," he says to Mildred. He stands by the fireplace as they sit across from each other. "What happened, pretty boy? You trip over your mirror?"
"Pretty much the same thing that happened to Dr. Scabbard, wouldn't you say?" Steele asks.
"Oh, terrible accident. I'm gonna tell you something, I almost got hurt myself. I mean, those x-ray machines are heavy."
"What's the matter," Mildred asks, "couldn't you find an elevator in his building?"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Why so coy, Dancer?" Steele questions.
"The name is Anthony."
"Oh. Sorry. I thought you'd be proud of your handiwork. Or are you disappointed I'm still relatively in one piece?"
"What are you talking about?" Dancer demands to know.
"Are you trying to tell us that you didn't rig the elevator in this building?" Mildred asks.
"If I had, they'd still be scraping him up."
Steele looks at Mildred. "If he didn't," she wonders, "then who did?"
"Now here's the drill," Dancer is saying.
"The kind of person that would hide behind anonymous gifts?" Steele suggests.
"Miss Holt's secret admirer?"
"Hey! I'm the guy with the gun!" Dancer reminds them. "Will somebody pay attention to me!"
"Obviously considers me a rival. He might just be unbalanced enough to erase me from the picture permanently, Mildred," Steele tells her, grabbing his crutches as Mildred stands up.
"We have to warn Miss Holt," she says.
"You're gonna use the phone, Brunhilda, but not for that."
"Oh, please, she may be in great danger," Mildred insists.
He points the gun at her, forcing her to sit down again. "Really? That's terrific." He goes to the phone. "Another one put out of commission, and I don't have to raise a finger. This thing is goin' good." He hands the phone to Steele. "Now you, you're gonna call those other slugs, and you're gonna convince 'em not to testify."
"Uh huh. What happens after I make these calls?"
"Well, then, the three of us are gonna take a nice little drive out in the country someplace."
"How many will come back?" Mildred asks.
"I got a very small car." He chuckles.
Laura knocks on Wally's door, then opens it. "Wally?" she calls. "It's Laura Holt." She turns on the light and goes into the loft. "Wally? Are you in here?" she calls again, at the steps up to the bedroom.
She opens the curtains to the bedroom and steps up. On the wall is a montage of pictures- all of her. Any with Steele have Steele's face marked out. She's shocked and frightened.
"I should be very angry with you," Wally says. Laura turns to find him holding a bag of groceries.
"Wally, why did you take these pictures of me?"
"So I could have you with me," he tells her, crossing to the bottom of the stairs. "Every night before I went to sleep, I could touch you. But I won't need them anymore, now that I have you."
"Wally, I'm very flattered. But I don't-"
"You were right, you know. About the kind of person I am. Warm, gentle, and very loving." He comes up the steps toward her. He grabs her arm. "Oh, I'm glad you liked the watch. I spent weeks and weeks, looking for just the right one."
"Wally, I came by to thank you for cleaning up my loft. It was very thoughtful."
"I told you, Laura, I like doing things for you. And this is only the beginning."
"Did you happen to find a gun on the kitchen counter?" she asks, her hands still held tightly in his.
"You ran out so fast you forgot it," he tells her.
"It was very careless of me," she admits.
"Don't worry. It's in a safe place," he tells her, looking at her hands in his.
"I really need that gun, Wally," she says.
"How's your boss?"
"He broke his leg," she says.
"Is that all?" Wally asks, upset.
"Wally, you're hurting me," she says.
"Well," he says, smiling, "as my mother used to say, 'If at first you don't succeed "
Steele is on the phone. "Well, it's the better part of valor, mate. No sense risking your life to keep one more- slug off the streets Me? I'm taking an extended holiday Very extended Yes Okay, Jack. Take care of yourself bye-bye." He hangs up.
"He go for it?" Dancer asks.
"He has a heart condition. He says it's going to force him into the hospital the same time he's scheduled to testify."
"The broad's next. Allison Green?"
Steele takes the number and starts dialing. "You know, Antony, I had a chance to peruse your service records, and I couldn't find any reference to that Silver Star you won." He puts the phone to his ear.
"What Silver Star?" Mildred asks. "He spent most of his time in the stockade. Probably too chicken to fight."
Dancer takes offence to her remark. "Now, Mildred," Steele cautions, "Let's not be harsh. I'm sure there were mitigating circumstances in Antony's case."
"What's that mean?" Dancer asks.
"Shh, shh, shh," Steele cautions. We see the phone ringing in Laura's loft. "No answer from the young lady's- loft," he says, looking at Mildred.
"Keep trying, Chief, it's important."
"I don't care what the records say," Dancer insists. "I earned that Silver Star." He's starting to pace. Steele redials. "And they was gonna give it to me, too. Until that big mouth lieutenant said I disobeyed orders. Said I went off on my own. Got the platoon ripped out."
"So you rolled a grenade under his bunk," Mildred points out.
"That's the fortunes of war, Brunhilda. Guys were pickin' bits and pieces of him out of their bedding for weeks. The could have shipped him home in a matchbox."
"Mildred, why don't you get Antony a drink?" Steele suggests. "A man tends to get very thirsty telling all these war stories."
"I never drink when I'm driving. And we've got a long road ahead of us."
"I'll make some coffee, then," Mildred decides, standing up.
"After last time?" Dancer says. "You threw the pot in my face, Brunhilda!"
"So I'll make instant!"
"Shut up and sit down!" She hits a vase on the table as she sits back down.
"Ah, Mildred, please," Steele warns pointedly. "You almost knocked the VASE over."
Dancer goes to Steele. "You know, maybe you been dialin' the wrong number."
Steele hands him the phone. "Here. Why don't you try?" he suggests.
"Yeah. Give it to me," he says, grabbing the number.
Steele looks at Mildred. She pushes the vase from the table, causing Dancer to turn and look. Steele grabs his crutch and hits Dancer in the back with hit, sending him flying over the coffee table and onto the floor. He reaches for his gun, but Mildred steps on his hand with the heel of her shoe. He cries out. Steele grabs the phone and dials Laura's number again.
Mildred grabs the gun as Dancer rises to his knees. "I've got a new hero, Dancer," she tells him. "Dirty Harry. And we know what he's favorite expression is."
Dancer sighs in frustration.
Steele sighs with worry. "Where are you? Where are you? Come on."
In Wally's loft, he hangs up the phone as Laura remains in the bedroom area. "Line's busy. That's a good sign. Means he's home. Are you sure that's all that happened? A broken leg?"
"I'm afraid so," she says regretfully.
"You sound almost disappointed."
"To tell you the truth, Wally, I never liked the man. I know I can confide in you. I was glad he had the accident."
"I was afraid you might be mad at me for what I did," Wally tells her.
"You mean, the elevator in Mr. Steele's building."
"I thought for sure we'd seen the last of him." He gets the gun.
Laura comes down the stairs. "Better not use the gun, Wally. After all it's mine."
"Yeah," he agrees. "Yeah, you're right."
"Why don't you give it to me for safekeeping?" she says, but Wally shakes his head.
"No, no, that's okay. I kinda like the feel of it. I never had a gun before." He moves toward her, pointing the gun at her. "You know, I think what you do is fascinating, Laura. And I wouldn't be one of those husbands who don't let their wives work, no sir. I'd wanna help you with it."
"Oh. What a generous offer, Wally."
"And I wouldn't hog the spotlight like that show off boss yours does. I know how hard you work. I watch you every night in your loft, poring over those papers into the wee small hours that would be another reason why we'd be good together. I can't sleep at night, either." They hear a siren, and Wally turns. "What's that?"
"Probably just fire engines," Laura tells him. "You're a- very good photographer. Those are excellent pictures. Did you study photography?"
"That's what they let me do- when I wasn't answering all those questions. You know, the only thing that kept me sane those eight months was you?"
"Me? But, we didn't know each other then."
"I knew you. I saw your picture in the newspaper, standing behind that peacock, that was the first time I feel in love with you. You had the most beautiful face I had ever seen in my life. It reminded me of my mother."
"What a sweet compliment. Will I get to meet your mother?"
"Oh, no. No, you can't. You see, someone- cut her up into little pieces. And gift wrapped her and sent her to my Uncle Arnold. You see, he liked presents, too. But I guess he didn't like this one, because he sent it to the police. Anyway, when they released me, I found out where you lived, and I applied for the manager's position. So I could be close to you. That was good thinking, huh?" The sirens are louder now, and he turns again. He goes to the window and looks out. "It's the police!" he tells her. "You lied to me! You don't love me!" He grabs the gun. "You're just like my MOTHER!" he screams at her.
Laura grabs the camera that's in front of her and sets off the flash, blinding him as he shoots. The shot misses, as Laura ducks. She swings the heavy camera and hits his chin, sending him flying across the room. Laura picks up the gun and holds it on him as someone pounds at the door.
"Open up! Police!"
"Great timing, guys!" Laura replies.
The next morning, Mildred is taking Steele's pulse and temperature, still playing mother hen. Laura comes up with a folder. "Wally's files. He was in a mental institution for those eight months. After he hacked up his mother."
"Oh," Steele says as Mildred removes the thermometer.
"We've certainly had our share of sickos this trip," Mildred comments.
"The scary part is that they came right to our doorstep," Laura says.
"Yes," Steele agrees, reading a book, "Nothing like bringing one's work home, eh?"
"Fraid you're gonna have to stay in bed at least one more day, Chief," Mildred tells him. "And I'm gonna be here to see to it that you don't cheat."
He grimaces as she leaves the room. Laura hands him the folder, and sits down on the bed. Steele watches Mildred go. "You know, Laura, we've been so-busy lately, exploring and defining our personal relationship that we've taken the professional side for granted. It's not until something like this comes along to force one to re-evaluate."
"What exactly are we re-evaluating?"
"Like, do you intend to pursue this line of work for the rest of your life?"
Laura looks contemplative. "I haven't really given it much thought."
"Supposing you had children? Supposing. Would you intend to continue working? Or would you feed the little tykes breakfast in the morning and then rush off to a nice, juicy murder? I mean, would you call them up at school and apologize because you couldn't pick them up because you were being held hostage?"
"Are you saying a woman's place is in the home?" Laura asks suspiciously and a little confrontationally.
Now it's Steele's turn to look thoughtful. He pulls her closer to him. "Actually, I was thinking of a more specific area." He glances at the bed beside him and lifts his brows suggestively. They both laugh.