The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part 1
by Wolfgang Walter

Author's notes etc.
This is a sequel to "Holt with nerves of Steele". I think it can stand on its own, but it probably helps to know what happened in the predecessors.
I can't say that all ideas I used are my own ones, but who can say that anyway? We're all influenced by things we read, hear and see. But I think I can say that the way I linked these ideas are unique. I took many liberties especially on the medical sector, so if anyone thinks the whole thing is terrible wrong I'm glad to listen and willing to avoid the same mistakes if I'm ever going to write about the same thing, but I won't rewrite it now [;-)], perhaps later. I also never have been to California, so I hope my interpretation of the map was right.
Special thanks are for Susannah who patiently answered my questions as long as I was bombarding her, Nancy for her patience (worthy of an angel) and naturally for my beta reader Jacqui who probably still has to recover from this strenuous work, and those who encouraged me to write it. I also have to thank Adriana for her criticism, both positive and negative, both were constructive.
This story was never intended to be written in parts, so maybe I didn't cut them at the most appropriate places.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Remington Steele and Laura Holt. I just borrowed them for entertainment. Any resemblance to any existing person is purely coincidental.

Part 1
Harry watched as Laura spoke agitatedly on the telephone. On the other end of the line was Frances, and they were discussing several of Laura's ideas concerning their wedding. He and Laura had finally decided that the most appropriate date would be soon after Christmas, business was usually low at this time of year, they wouldn't have to rush things trying to fit in a honeymoon before the festivities - Abigail had made it quite clear that she expected her soon-to-be-son-in-law to join her at Christmas with Laura, and Frances was far too curious to be left behind - and they would have a fair chance of finding enough snow for skiing in Europe.

After a long discussion Laura had finally agreed to spend their honeymoon there. She had been worried about expenses, as Europe during the holiday-times used to be quite expensive, but after revealing his own financial situation she had surrendered. Of course, she hadn't been to happy to get the news, and what she'd considered most humiliating had been the fact that Mildred had known about it.
Harry sighed. He had tried to explain his situation patiently, but it had taken Laura two days until she'd overcome this. Things had begun innocently enough: after his successful involvement with Nadine he had decided that, as much as he'd liked Laura, he hadn't liked her total control of his budget at all, so he had started to retrieve money he had saved during the days of his shady ways, and invested it. It couldn't be helped that many of his investments had been illegal, and he had been fortunate that the IRS personified by Mildred hadn't known anything about it nor found any clue because it was the time when his investments started to pay off. That had been the reason he had been able to afford to buy Laura the piano without her ever finding out where the money had come. She hadn't even bothered to ask.

But it had been a lengthy process due to the installments he had to pay, and his income hadn't been regular. It had become almost disastrous after his invention of a secret admirer, when some of his expected payments had been delayed. Stopping the gifts would have made Laura suspicious, so he had gone on with it silently praying that the cover wouldn't blow, but of course that had happened. Fortunately Laura hadn't found out that the agency had only paid for half of the flowers.
After this he had seriously contemplated confiding in Mildred, but her adoration would certainly have been dimmed especially after her not believing that he was a fraud. So he had dismissed it for the time being and started to save his salary effectively. He no longer had to spend great amounts for his attire after two years, his condo had been furnished to his satisfaction, and the expenses could be kept in check. He also channeled some of his money to his accounts, but he had to admit that he couldn't afford his life-style without his salary.
Shortly after Mildred knew that he wasn't what he seemed to be, he had told her about it and had asked her if she knew of a way to make his additional income appear legal without Laura noticing it. Mildred hadn't been too happy to deceive her boss but finally agreed because of the fact that he was doing a favor for Laura. They opened an account under special conditions where they banked the surplus of his salary. Only Laura or both Harry and Mildred together had access to it. He had also transferred a considerable sum to start the account.
He had been very tempted to confide in Laura while they both had been presumed dead, but he had hoped it wouldn't be necessary although he truthfully admitted that this would have been a good time; she couldn't have been too angry because of their predicament, could she? But this was history.
Now it was the end of October on a Sunday after a beautiful day. After taking care of some case files Laura had insisted on finishing that weekend and an extended lunch Laura had decided to do some jogging. No amount of reasonable argument had been able to prevent her from doing it, and she'd expected him to join her. He reluctantly had gone with her hoping she would slow down, but after six miles jogging along the beaches he had been exhausted and told her, if she planned to run to his condo it would be okay with him, he was going to drive back. After they had returned to his condo he had taken a long shower while Laura had taken possession of his telephone. He had silently hoped she would join him, but it was quite evident that the call hadn't gone the way Laura had planned it. She was still clad in her sweat-soaked shorts and T-shirt, only her feet were bare. It was still very warm, and he thought about airing the condo, but there was no necessity of his neighbors knowing details of his wedding, and they couldn't help but overhear them with Laura's voice rising in synch with her annoyance. The thought crossed his mind that she had needed the physical exercise to exhaust herself so that she could keep a level head - obviously without success.
He started to regret his idea to keep Abigail entirely out of their wedding plans. If he had overheard correctly, Frances was quite indignant to keep her mother out of it. Frances had been willing to advice Laura, but her determination faded with Laura's insistence that she mustn't give anything away and with Abigail's nagging her just give in. She had grown tired of the whole situation. Mildred had been pleased that she had been asked to help during the preparations, but she had made also her point that it was quite unfair to Abigail.
"If you don't want to be asked anymore, we'll make it civil, so you don't have to bother at all!" Laura yelled and slammed the receiver into its cradle.
Harry winced. He had silently come to the conclusion that Laura wanted this wedding terribly, judging by the amount of effort she had already invested. While he didn't care about the formalities it was obvious that Laura did, and he was the last one to spoil it. He prepared himself to suggest including Abigail. This would cause another storm, but they had to start to send invitations, or they would stand alone in front of the altar once they had decided that everything was properly done. They had to settle things ASAP, and if that meant involving Abigail...
There were other things that also started to worry him. "Laura, why don't you take a shower while I am preparing dinner? It will give you some time to calm down."

"I don't..." she started to say, then nodded her head in agreement. "Maybe you're right, I need to calm down. About dinner - I'm not hungry, thank you."
Just as he had expected. "Laura, you need to eat, especially after the running this afternoon. And you will need all your strength until this is over. You've started to miss meals. Is something wrong?"
Laura looked away. "No, I'm simply not hungry."
He didn't buy it and went over to her, laying an arm around her shoulders. "Laura, what's up? Do you think I don't notice when you stand up from breakfast longing for another roll but denying it? I don't think that another pound or so -"
Her head turned sharply and she interrupted him rudely. "That's it, isn't it? I'm not good enough the way I am, you want -"
"Laura!!" His shock was clearly displayed in both his features and his voice.
She looked down. "I - I'm sorry," she whispered.
He pulled her gently closer and laid his other arm around her, placing her head on his shoulder while he started to stroke her back. He could feel how her tension slowly deceased. Finally she laid her arms around his waist. After caressing her for several more minutes he grasped her shoulders and pulled her softly away. She looked up and saw the concern in his eyes. "What is it?" he gently asked.
She sighed. "You know, when you invented that case to lure me to San Francesco, when we're trying to get arrested to escape those corrupt cops, well, you said something like you've seen better bodies in the morgue..." She fell silent.
Now it was Harry's turn to sigh. "Oh Laura." He pulled her close again, this time embracing her with some effort that she immediately returned. "Laura, do you really believe I'd love you more if your... female attributes were more accentuated?"
She took her time to answer this. "No," she finally said, "it's just I don't feel like I am myself anymore. Everyone's telling me what to do and what not to do. It's all so frustrating..." Her voice trailed off.
"Take your shower, and take your time with it," Harry gently advised her. "I'll fix something for dinner, and I promise it will be light."
A slow smile crossed her lips while she broke the embrace. "I love you," she said in a subdued tone and brushed her lips across his intending just a short kiss, but he had other intentions. She could feel his lips slowly wandering over her face leaving a wet trail. "Hey, what's up with you?" she exclaimed struggling to get free from him and starting to giggle when she didn't succeed.
Harry released her finally smiling mischievously. "I just took the opportunity to taste you. You're spiced right now."
"Oh you..." With faked exasperation she finally broke loose and headed for the bathroom shaking her head with an amused grin he couldn't see.
Remington watched her relieved to see that her mood had lightened. Then he opened the windows to air the room before he left for the kitchen to prepare dinner.
He contemplated his options to include Abigail in their preparations for the wedding without causing too much fuss with Laura. He was quite sure that the longer they ignored the problem the more difficult the possible solution would be. And it simply wasn't fair to tear of Frances' head off the way Laura had done. But why was he complaining? He had known for a long time that if there was a way it had to be Laura's way - he had encountered her pig-headedness and head-strong nature countless times. Perhaps it still was the challenge that had kept him with her, and he chuckled about that thought and added some other, more gentle points to the mental list.
After a while he could hear Laura leaving the bathroom and switching on the TV in the living room. He looked at his watch: it had taken her almost an hour, a long-time record. Usually she was faster. 'So it had taken her some time to cool off,' he mused. Preparing something *extra light* for her certainly took some extra time, but some minutes later he finished his task: a salad for her and something much more nourishing for him. He put both on a tray and added two glasses and soda-water. He wanted to keep level-headed, and wine wouldn't do any good in this regard.
He joined her while she was watching the news, and they ate silently for some minutes, Laura not in a very enthusiastic way. Suddenly he asked her casually, keeping his eyes on his plate, not wanting to give her the impression he was challenging her or to make her feel she was on the defensive, "do you think it was fair to get to Frances like that?"
Laura's head snapped up. At first she glared at him, but when he wasn't looking at her and calmly continued to eat she relaxed a bit. "No, I think it wasn't," she finally answered. "I think I have to apologize."
"How do you want to avoid another heated argument with her?" he asked, still concentrated on his plate.
"I don't know," she simply replied and started to poke in her salad.
Now Harry looked up and watched her looking dully at her plate. She looked very tired and he wanted so much to help her, he considered leaving it for now, but then he thought that maybe she would at least listen without arguing immediately. "I know you won't like this idea very much, and I don't either, but we should include Abigail in this." When Laura made effort to protest he added quickly, "yes, I know it was my idea to keep her out of it and you agreed, but look where it took us: Mildred is not too happy helping us, Frances is offended and Abigail probably mad with us. Do you really want to run the wedding under these circumstances?"
"I guess you're right. So what do you want me to do? Blow the whole thing off? Just a civil wedding? Or none at all?"
He stood up sighing and walked over to her, then he gently laid his arm around her. She sighed too and laid her head on his shoulder. He started to gently stroke her head. Her arm wandered around his waist. For some minutes only the subdued voice of a sports commentator was heard.
He then interrupted the comfortable moment with his calm voice, "we know when and where to marry. We also know who we want to invite. We can make sure that these things won't be changed. You have already made some choices about the equipment. I think we can make it quite clear to Abigail that she doesn't have carte blanche in this matter. Maybe I'm wrong but you and Frances were arguing about details, so I'm sure we can keep Abigail in check. While you are apologizing to Frances," Laura shifted in discomfort, "you won't leave this out - you can ask her if she will back you up. I've got the impression that she was most annoyed about the fact that we tried to keep Abigail out of it completely while she was caught up between us. If she sees that we're at least trying to involve Abigail she might even support us wholeheartedly if Abigail continues to obstinate. What do you think?"
"You gave it a lot of thought, didn't you," she stated. "I don't think I'm in the position to argue, am I?" A sad smile played across her lips.
"No, I don't think so," he confirmed, then went to kiss the top of her head relieved that she had given in this easily.
She looked up and embraced him. He instantly followed her example, leaned closer and they kissed. After a few moments he broke away and said with eyes twinkling, "as much as I enjoy that kind of dessert, I still have to finish dinner."
"And what if I only want my dessert?" she asked in her best little-girl manner although her eyes gleamed wickedly.
"You know anticipation is almost as delectable as dessert itself," he grinned back, just to continue the joke, "who am I to spoil you? If I always say yes to your wishes and desires I will be worn out before I know it."
At first Laura pouted, then she hit playfully his shoulder. "Okay, but hurry up. And don't dare to think about sparing me from dessert!"
"Well, if you're still hungry, there's some salad left on your plate. Don't you think you need it for your dessert?" Having said that he stood up and returned to his plate. "And there's still that phone-call to make. I think after this one you're in the right mood to enjoy it."
Laura sighed and finished her salad quickly. She picked up the phone and retreated to a far edge of the room making herself comfortable on the floor and leaned against the wall, crossed her bare legs and dialed.
Harry followed her with his eyes. He hoped he would never tire of watching her graceful movements. Then he concentrated on his meal granting her some privacy, but he would give her some comfort if things didn't go well. He tried not to listen too intently, and in the beginning there wasn't much to listen to. It seemed that Frances was giving Laura an extended piece of her mind, and all that Laura said was, "yes... I know... I'm sorry... no..." with a change of running order all the while.
After finishing his meal he took care of the dishes. He returned after five minutes, and it seemed that Laura had come to the main purpose of her call. Now she had the chance to finish some longer sentences. He sat down and concentrated on the TV. After switching through all available channels he decided to watch a video and he chose Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps".
After a while he heard Laura placing the receiver in the cradle. She returned the phone to its place and sat down beside him. He laid his arm around her and pulled her gently to his side. "How did it go?" he asked her calmly.
"All in all, better than expected," she said enjoying the warmth he was giving her. "You were right about her. She will back me up. She seemed to be very relieved after I had the chance to explain your suggestion to her." With a sarcastic undertone she added, "she was very surprised that I even apologized."
'Oh-oh,' Harry thought and squeezed her gently, but he couldn't resist teasing her a little bit. "Even I have realized after four years that admitting you're wrong is not your strongest point," he said with a humorous undertone hoping she would take it as soft chiding, not as a complaint. When he felt her taking a deep breath to challenge his statement he softly laid his forefinger on her lips. "I'm not complaining. I have learned to live with it. You have other ways to show that you're sorry." He replaced his index finger with his lips and kissed her tenderly.
They focused on the movie, but he felt Laura snuggling closer after some time. After sensing a cold breeze he remembered that he had forgotten to close the windows, but right now he didn't feel inclined to break their closeness.
Towards the end of the film though their closeness became a bit uncomfortable for him. She had almost crawled on top of him, her cool shins placing her full weight on his upper thighs, and he thought with some sarcasm that this would be a very good reason for her to restrain from food. He started to stroke her legs up and down and he could feel her shivering while his warm hand softly glided over her cold skin.
After Laura became accustomed to the tender touch she leaned against him - again. Unfortunately for her the movie ended after a few minutes, and Harry switched off both VCR and TV-set. He had thought about the most gentle way to remove Laura from his predicament when he noticed that Laura was wearing espadrilles. He cautiously removed them and extended his caressing to her feet. He had always loved massaging them, but now he had something completely different - and a bit wicked - in mind. After two more minutes he shifted slightly so she wouldn't become suspicious. His hand was near her feet again, and he knew how ticklish she was on her soles -
"UOAHHHH!!!" In shocked surprise Laura jumped, her upcoming head missed his chin only by inches. In the downward-movement his arms caught her upper torso and pulled her close to him, and before she had her senses together to mouth her protest his lips locked her mouth in a passionate kiss. In a reflexive movement her arms slid around him, and she felt herself laid down very gently on the sofa, her eyes still open wide with surprise. Due to the tension her legs glided from his thighs but were caught by his arm before she could fall from the sofa - without breaking the kiss. He laid them on the sofa and placed himself on top of her, his hand moving behind her head. After what seemed an eternity they broke their kiss, and Laura only managed to whisper breathlessly, "not fair!"
His eyes glowed blue and with a great amount of mischief when he asked hoarsely, "don't you want your dessert anymore?"
With eyes locked his head approached again, she closed her eyes and slightly parted her lips in anticipation when his mouth was merely inches away from hers. It was tantalizing when she could feel his heavy breath but not his lips, and just as she wanted to meet him halfway -
Laura opened her eyes and had a hard time hiding her amusement while she observed Harry swearing although she also was disappointed that the spell had been broken. "Who could that be?" she asked in a neutral voice.
"Mildred! Who else has such an excellent timing?" he grumbled while he was busy rising up.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Laura gave up any effort to conceal her amusement and started to grin.
"Steele here!" His voice made it quite clear that he was none too pleased about this call. "Daniel? Do you know how late it is?"
That got her full attention. Although she couldn't deny that Daniel was quite an important person for Harry, she preferred him staying away as far as possible. True, he was charming, but every time he had appeared they had had more than enough trouble, had been very lucky to stay alive. She wasn't too pleased that he would join their wedding, but she could hardly deny it. After all, Harry wouldn't be Harry or Remington Steele without him. She still wondered why Chalmers had put this urchin up.
"So you're going to visit some friends throughout the states? Do I know them? ... You're going to stay in Frisco next weekend. Why don't you come - ... Ah, I see. ... You want to give me something personal? ... Well, I have to ask her."
Harry turned around and saw Laura curled up on the sofa seeking for some remaining warmth now that the night air definitely had become chilly. She looked at him questioningly. "Daniel wants to meet me in San Francesco next weekend. He says he wanted to give me something personal. He also says it's very important, but he doesn't want to tell details over the phone. Do you think you can spare me the following weekend? Or perhaps even accompany me?"
Laura contemplated that. She wasn't too keen on meeting Daniel again, but it would probably be more than wise to keep an eye on both of them. Something personal he had said. Well, maybe she would be able to get some more information about her fiancé. She was hesitant to ask him directly although he had made it clear she could ask him anything. "Yes, I'm coming with you. Someone has to keep you both out of trouble, and a wedding without a bridegroom doesn't make much sense." She smiled at him.
"Laura!" he exclaimed in mocked exasperation, then returned to the phone. "Yes, we're both coming. Where do you want us to meet? ... Yes, I know it. Don't you think that reservations on such short notice could be a bit tricky? ... "What, you already made reservations for us both? ... Well, then it's agreed. See you next Friday, bye." He returned the receiver, then he walked over to Laura and helped her stand up. "He actually booked a room for us both. He said quote 'Lin- Laura will certainly not be staying behind watching you meeting me. She still doesn't trust me farther than she could throw her Rabbit' unquote."
"He's very astute, wouldn't you agree, Harry?" she commented roguishly. "Why did you say Friday? I thought we were talking about the weekend."
"I'm planning to take a late flight. Daniel has booked us from Friday to Sunday. He even took the liberty to book our flights."
"He's very sure of himself, don't you agree?"
"He certainly knows me. And he knows how curious I can be, especially in terms of personal affairs. And I think you made it quite clear that you are very interested in this field, too."
She sighed. "That's true. Well, it's getting late. We'll be busy tomorrow, even you have to get up early for this meeting. I think we should call it a day."
"Agreed. You as my guest may use the bathroom first. I still have to close the windows, but if you need some help in removing your clothes I'm more than willing to assist."
"I bet you are," she laughed and entered the bathroom. With an audible click that showed she had locked the door she made it more than clear that she didn't want any assistance. Harry shrugged and closed the windows.

To Be Continued...

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