The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part Nine
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 (worth 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.

Harry was at the hospital in time. He met Bowen who had some good news. The British colleagues had questioned Cutter and confronting him with all evidence he had decided to confess after talking with his lawyer. Hoskins on the other hand proved to be much more stubborn, but the questioning was still on. No news about Dupont meant bad news though.
The preparations were almost finished so all Steele could do was wait. So he asked Bowen if he should slip into the second car to make it appear more realistic. Bowen declined immediately. A pro like Dupont was very suspicious, this additional "hint" could be too much. The psychologists themselves were unsure if the faked slip on the wireless wasn't already too much.
"And what if Dupont decided to leave the country and everything behind?"
"We can't discard this possibility completely, but we're pretty sure that that's the last thing Dupont will do. People like him are needed but not loved. As long as they do their job they're tolerated, but one mistake or not executed job, and they're off. We're pretty sure we stripped him of his financial means, but this man is dangerous. You haven't seen the pictures of his passports, only a trained eye will see that this is one and the same person. Changing his appearance seemed to be one of his easiest tasks, and though he prefers working in the background I personally don't think he's behind bank-robbery. The psychos put every piece of information they could get together for a psycho-profile." He sighed tiredly. "God only knows what good it does. They ARE proved wrong frequently, but every time they were able to explain why they had been wrong. Perhaps I should see it as a good sign they disagree on each other..."
They went to Daniel's room. While Harry exchanged some words with Daniel Bowen was talking agitatedly with some men in civil clothing.
Some minutes later everything began. Heavily escorted Daniel was brought out of hospital. Five minutes later his double followed through the back-exit, without stirring up any sensation.
Harry and Bowen went to the hall. A young officer approached Bowen and told him, that everything was done as planned. Bowen was about to take a cigarette when he realized that he was still in the hospital. They went out and Bowen lighted his cigarette. "I'll be glad when this whole circus is over," he commented bitterly. "I wanted to get rid of those," he pointed to his cigarettes, "but in times like these it's hard to stop. I'm still in charge, all those big boys just tell what they would do if they were in my shoes, but if I get this job done it was of course their advice, and I may get a medal, and if it turns sour, I'm the one to blame." Angrily he threw away the glowing butt. "No offense, Steele, but I'll be glad when you're out of town. I hope then everything will return to normal, whatever normal may be, I won't have to kick stupid greenhorns in the ass because of lack of professionality, I won't have to take responsibility for the death of colleagues who were too stupid to watch their backs and follow orders..."
"Lieutenant, I can assure you, I will be equally relieved when everything's over."
"I guess you're right." Bowen held out his hand and Harry shook it. "I'll call when the transport is in LA, or when we've got our man."
They said their good-byes and Harry returned to the hotel. He asked the maitre d' if it was possible to get a take-out supper and told him what was allowed and what not. He had read Laura's diet she was supposed to take for the next few days - she still tended to retch when she became excited. The maitre d' promised him that everything would be ready at 7.30pm.
Harry went up to Laura's room and sneaked in. He had to grin when he saw Abigail absorbed in a book taking now and then a piece of chocolate. He had never expected that all Holts were chocoholics. He walked silently to Laura and looked at her sleeping peacefully. Gently he pulled a strand of hair out of her face. He knew how she hated chewing on her hair. He heard a rasping noise and looked up. Abigail tried discretely to cover the chocolate box, and when she saw him watching her she went crimson red. Harry couldn't help but grin, and Abigail answered with a nervous smile.
Harry joined her, and she whispered, "please don't tell her. I always told them how bad chocolate is -"
"- a fact observed by self-experience now doubt," Harry replied with a twinkle in his eyes.
An uncomfortable silence followed this statement, then Abigail went on, "yes. You know that my marriage didn't go well," Harry laid an arm around her shoulders and squeezed them gently expressing his sympathy, "and after HE left it became worse..."
Harry turned her completely around and hugged her, and she started to cry silently. Harry started to stroke her back like he had done with Laura more than once whispering, "it's okay, Abigail."
After a short Abigail calmed down, and he gave her his tissue. She smiled in gratitude. "You know, Remington, I have never told anyone about it. I couldn't talk about it with my girls, Donald's so down to earth, he wouldn't have understood it and probably just told me that it's not good for my teeth..." She smiled weakly.
"You're welcome, Abigail," he answered, "anytime."
Abigail nodded and went to the bathroom refreshing her make-up. Harry checked his suit to make sure there were no traces left, he then cautiously dabbed some colorful spots. When Abigail returned and saw his trouble she went straight to him and helped him making him feel like a small boy who had to endure the maternal drive for spotless neatness. When she realized Harry's discomfort she blushed again and retreated, after all he was a grown-up man who intended to marry her baby and who was quite capable of taking care of himself. But she did wonder who he was, why Laura had kept him successfully away from her for more than two years. The thought had crossed her mind and somehow saddened her that Laura was afraid that she might destroy any budding romance between them simply by being an awful future mother-in-law, but after watching them from a distance for four years she realized that this couldn't be the reason because nothing really happened.
She remembered the time she had spent with Daniel on the coast of France. While she had told practically everything about Laura - later it had dawned her that Daniel had subtly encouraged her - he had been quite reluctant giving any information about Remington. He deftly had shielded any pokes she made, and she had started to wonder why. She had sensed the deep respect both men had for each other, so why had he been this evasive? What was it that made people shield Remington this way - even her own daughter? Maybe it simply was coincidence, but she had become aware that only shortly before her sudden visit Remington had started to make publicity personally, but then in full scale. She was tempted to ask right away, but she suppressed the desire. His fluency probably matched Daniel's, and his charming abilities would melt her determination away like ice in the hot sunshine. She could only hope that one day this riddle would be solved. It hurt her that Laura didn't trust her about it, she was sure that Laura knew everything about Remington, or Harry, but because of the closeness she had found with her during the last days she had been and still was hesitant to probe. She didn't want to cause Laura to withdraw again, and about one thing she was certain: Remington loved her, his small gesture of pulling away Laura's strand of hair had told her volumes about it - if he she had needed proof. She only hoped that one day they would tell her everything, but for now she had to wait.
She looked at her watch and realized it was time for her to say goodbye if she wanted to catch her flight. Now that she was in California she could also use the time to visit Frances, Donald and her grandchildren. They planned to surprise Laura and Remington on their return, especially after Frances hadn't found the time to spend a short visit on Laura while she was in hospital, but they had to ask Mildred about it. All she knew was that Remington wanted to return tonight.
She went down to the hall and asked at the reception if there had been any calls for Remington Steele. The clerk confirmed that but refused to talk about the nature of them, he didn't even say if one was from the police. So Abigail went up again to inform Harry that there had been calls. Harry asked her to stay until his return and went down to get the messages.
Five minutes later he reappeared and looked like much of the tension had gone. "There was an attack on the second car. They could arrest the hit-man. Now they want to make sure it's Dupont. We will know more in about two hours." He sat down heavily. He didn't know what he felt. There certainly was relief but no joy, sadness that someone they'd never met and whom they never had harmed had wanted to kill them just because of money. 'How much for a life?' he thought bitterly. His gaze wandered to Laura, the proof of their overcome threat clearly visible on her forehead. They had been incredibly lucky again, like the time Laura was shot and saved by a bulletproof vest. He wondered if they were taking too many risks, they certainly had more than their fair share of killers and murders. He remembered one guy of the morgue joking about it, that he was involved with so many customers.
"This is supposed to be good news, isn't it?"
Abigail's question broke his reverie. "Yes, it is. I'm probably just too exhausted to enjoy it." He showed his crooked smile, and Abigail left. He went to the bed, took off his shoes and laid right beside Laura. In both a possessive and protective way he laid his arm around her waist and nuzzled her neck enjoying the fact that she was at his side again. He could feel her reaction to his teasing and ceased, after all the doctors had prescribed her a lot of rest.
He closed his eyes and sighed. Abigail had been right, it had been good news and he was too tired to enjoy it. Last night hadn't had much of a resting effect. And with that thought he fell asleep.
Laura woke up. She needed some moments to remember that she no longer was in hospital. She felt Harry laying beside her and saw his arm on the blanket. The slow rhythm of Harry's breathing at her neck told her that he was asleep. A soft smile crossed her lips. She was feeling rather warm and tried cautiously to remove the blanket, she didn't want to disturb him. It wasn't that easy, her mobility was limited due to the bandage and her second hand was trapped. Harry had meant business when he had tucked her in. Finally she succeeded but felt Harry reacting to her movements. She turned her head and heard him mumble unintelligibly in his sleep. She watched him intently. The last week certainly had left its traces, there seemed to be some new worry lines on his forehead and around his mouth, and he looked exhausted. She took his hand in her and entwined her fingers with his kissing him lightly on the top of his head. A smile appeared on his lips and he opened his eyes.
"So the sleeping beauty has finally awoken," he stated looking in her eyes.
"Are you talking about me? The sleeping and finally woken part are right, but perhaps you should check your eyes about the beauty part. I have seen me in a mirror." She saw him rolling his eyes. "But it's nice to know that you think of me that way." Then she couldn't resist to tease him further, he sometimes had so nice ways to stop her teasing, "or are you talking about yourself?" She faked exasperation. "Sometimes your ego is SO overblown -"
"Laura!" he growled frustrated. When he heard her snicker he pushed his other arm around her and in a swift move he placed her on top of him. He just wanted to stifle her with a kiss when he saw her pained expression. He was puzzled for a brief moment then he realized that her breast was still tender. He immediately rolled her on her back. "I'm sorry, Laura. I should have thought about it."
"It's okay, I shouldn't have teased you that way. Besides I usually like to be on top."
"I know," he grinned and kissed her tenderly. After he'd released her he asked, "are you hungry now? Do you want something special?"
"Now that you mentioned it, I think I could manage an omelet."
He went to the phone and made his order, then he carried the phone to the bedside table. He checked his appearance and decided that the suit was still in state of representing him accordingly. After about 15 minutes he heard a soft knock on the door. He opened it and took the omelet and the water he had ordered, gave the bellhop a tip and carried the tray to Laura who had finally managed to find a comfortable sitting position on the bed thus humoring Harry who didn't want her to stand up. Harry sat down beside her and told her about the last events while Laura was eating. After Laura had finished he phoned again and asked if there had been new calls. The answer was negative. He then told the clerk that the dishes could be fetched and that the bill should be finished. It was unlikely that they would order something else until their departure.
When Laura asked him about the agency he sighed and made her sit on his lap, then laid himself down taking her with him, his arms strategically placed on her tummy. He told her about the situation, and there were more than one moment when Laura was about to jump on her feet, but exerting some pressure on her belly reminded her that she wasn't supposed to do that. She gritted her teeth and created a new headache.
They were interrupted by the phone. Lt. Bowen told them that it was indeed Dupont who had tried to kill them all and that he had started to confess facing the amount of evidence against him. He also told him that Daniel was still on his way to LA, but that the escort had been ordered to leave him. Harry asked him to hold back any announcements to the media until they were on their way to LA. Bowen was reluctant to oblige, after all there had been much pressure on him during the last week. But Harry didn't care. "Look, Lieutenant, you were't there when the bomb was found in the loft. These vultures of the media would simply follow us and ask awkward questions disturbing us. My associate is still recovering and needs rest. I know I can't stop you from it, but I'm only asking for a delay. It will be bad enough at LA, but we certainly don't need an escort of reporters flash-lighting us on our entire way home."
Bowen promised to see that this delay could be arranged, but he made it very clear that his superiors might have other ideas about it. He also promised to inform Gomez about it, perhaps he could arrange something if things went too rough.
After nothing had happened for some days all reporters had left the hotel especially after some had been arrested for harassment. Harry had hoped to avoid any uproar but was honest enough to admit that being the media star Laura had created, it only was natural that he was standing in the spotlight again when something unusual happened. Perhaps they could even use it to restore the faith of their clients, but right now he wished them all far, far away, possibly in Antarctica). He dialed the number of the limousine. Fred immediately answered. He was on his way. Harry told him that he would appreciate it if Fred could make it some time sooner than they had agreed. Fred agreed and ended the call.
True to his word Fred had called when his ETA was only ten more minutes. Harry and Laura made sure that they had packed everything away. Harry had dressed in a more leisurely outfit. Laura didn't look forward to the extended car drive, but Harry had pointed out that it surely beat the alternatives like public transportations. They still didn't know if Daniel had arrived safely in LA, it took his time to arrive there.
Now they were down the hall expecting Fred to arrive. Harry paid the bill and took a package. Laura was quite curious about it, but Harry only said that it was a surprise. Laura decided to go along with it, after all it was a long drive and she surely could use her delicate state for blackmailing.
They put everything in the limousine and started to head home. Traffic was gruesome and it took them some time until they could leave the suburbs behind them. Laura soon realized that Fred wasn't taking the straight way home. She asked Harry about it, and he said that it was part of the surprise. Laura only rolled her eyes and kept silent. After some time she closed her eyes and laid her head on Harry's shoulder listening to the soft music playing on a station and trying to relax. In the process Harry's arm went around her and pulled her as close as possible with the safety belts. About twenty minutes later Fred stopped, telling them they had arrived. Curious, Laura stepped out. It was a clear night. The stars were shining bright and she had a magnificent look on the bay. The smog of San Francisco had disappeared with dropping temperature and she could admire the illuminated city. Suddenly Harry was standing beside her and wrapping her in a cover. She turned around and smiled at him. "It's wonderful. And it's been along time since I've been here."
Harry had wrapped his arms around holding her close. "I know. You once mentioned it, and I thought it was a good idea to rest here and eat something."
She shook her head. "Do you believe that I've forgotten that I told you about it?"
Harry led her to the side where he had already spread a blanket with the packet he had taken from the hotel.
They started to eat. Laura didn't eat much because she wasn't hungry, so she told about her memories of the town. Harry was contend to listen. Some of the things she told him he already knew, others were new to him. He watched her relaxing laughing frequently about funny incidents she remembered. Nothing seemed to matter, there was no tension between them. Harry could have vanished and Laura wouldn't have realized it so lost she was in her memories. After he had finished he settled next to her and gently pulled an arm around her. It didn't break Laura's flux, she continued. Now there were also some sad memories and her face got a concerned expression, but she didn't stop for another ten minutes or so. During her monologue she had laid her head on his shoulder and was staring into the night. Finally she fell silent still oblivious to everything around her. For about 15 minutes neither of them moved, then Harry started to gently caress her side and placed kisses on the top of her head. That broke her reverie.
She looked up and he could see the rosy tone on her face caused by the cold night air deepen in the starlight. "Oh, sorry, I think I must have bored you to death..."
He smiled and bent down to kiss her, then he said, "no way, Laura. This was very stimulating and interesting, a new side to discover." He rose and offered her a hand she gladly accepted. He started to gather their things and when she was about to help him he told her to return to the car and tell Fred that they would go on soon.
Fred had taken the opportunity to nap. He had driven almost the whole day in the sun and had felt a little tired after arriving in San Francisco. The traffic hadn't improved his state, and he was grateful for the rest. Harry had told him to take his time on their way home, they weren't in hurry. He awoke immediately when Laura was shaking his shoulder. "We're driving on?" he asked. Laura confirmed and Fred stretched to awaken full.
After seven hours of driving interrupted by short rests and one time refueling they arrived at Laura's loft. Thanks to the telephone they also knew that Daniel had finally arrived in LA and that he was in a good state.
Sure enough there was a bunch of reporters awaiting them. Harry got out and made his well-prepared announcement: he would give a statement at the bureau that morning at eleven o'clock, right now he wouldn't give any comment but no comment, he asked for their understanding, it was late at night and they were tired. Then he thanked them for their patience.
Of course the reporters weren't content with that after waiting hours for a statement and perhaps even an exclusive, but Harry remained adamant. Meanwhile Fred had called the police. That finally showed some effect, the reporters retreated. Harry unloaded the car and asked Fred to bring everything upstairs before Laura's loft. Fred obliged. After he had returned Harry thanked and asked him to fetch him at 10.30am.
Laura and Harry started to ascend the stairs. After the second flight Laura had to rest exhaustedly. "I'd never thought I would ever agree with you someday that this place needed an elevator.
Harry only laughed about that and took her totally be surprise by sweeping her of her feet. With his precious burden he slowly started to get up the last flight.
"What are you doing?" Laura asked incredulously.
"Practicing... for our... wedding," he managed to pant.
Finally standing in front of their door he asked Laura to open it refusing to let her down. Laura rolled her eyes and obliged. After they entered Laura started to kiss him when they were interrupted by a familiar voice, "there you are finally!"
They broke apart and Harry put Laura on her feet. Mildred had welcome them, and there also were Abigail, Donald, Frances, Danny, Mindy and Laurie-Beth, the children fast asleep on the sofa, but they were woken by the ensuing hubbub. They were talking for some minutes while Donald brought in the baggage. Finally they said their farewells promising to spend some more visits.
When they finally were gone Harry sighed, "Alone, finally." Laura smiled tiredly at him.
They prepared for bed. After they put out the light Harry laid on his side encircling her waist with one arm and nuzzling her shoulder. Laura sighed. "You really spoiled me," she said with mocked discontent.
"In which way?" he asked, curious what she was heading to.
"Well, while I was in hospital I really started to miss your arm laying around me, your caresses and of course your goodnight kisses."
"Laura, I missed that too." Saying that he lifted his head to give her her missed goodnight kiss.
They remained silent for some minutes, then Harry asked, "may I ask you something, Miss Holt?"
That piqued Laura's curiosity. Usually he had only used to address her that way when he hadn't liked her behavior, but this time it had sounded friendly. Returning the formality she replied sweetly, "anything, Mr. Steele."
"Well, one remark made me wonder when you were in hospital," he started.
"And?" She had no clue what he was talking about.
He admired her tiny figure and grinned, "well, what's so bad being someone's little woman?"
The End

BACK Home CaseBook E-Mail