As she drove to the hotel Kate Kelly was staying at Laura wondered if she was crazy, going to confront the 'other woman' in Mr Steele's life. She wasn't often impulsive, hadn't been for a long time - she would normally plan out a strategy, weigh up the options and so forth, but where he was concerned often all her logical thoughts flew out the window and 'crazy Laura' as she'd named that part of her she kept so well hidden, came out. "Hello, she greeted the clerk behind the front desk at the hotel, "Could you please tell me what room one of your guests, Kate Kelly, is staying in?"
"Sorry we don't have a Kate Kelly staying here," the clerk replied, knowing that Kate Kelly the famous rock star had checked in under her real name of Kate O'Casey so as to remain incognito and not be bothered by the press and fans and the like. He stared at the brunette in front of him a little warily - from the look on her face she didn't look like she was in the mood to be messed with. He hoped she wasn't a nosey reporter or a crazy fan who was going to cause trouble.
Of course, Laura thought, she wouldn't check into a hotel under her stage name so she could remain inconspicuous and not have fans or the press harassing her all the time. "Oh sorry, my mistake - try O'Casey, Kate O'Casey," she stated.
"And you are?" the clerk asked.
"My name's Laura Holt - I'm a private investigator."
The clerk checked Kate's room record and saw the note that contained a list of people permitted to be given her room number and Laura Holt wasn't on it. "I'm sorry Miss Holt but you're not on the list of people that I'm allowed to give her room number to - I'm sure you understand," he stated, trying to be polite.
Laura snapped - she was in no mood for this. "Listen buster I don't care about your stupid list! Trust me I'm not here for an autograph. I'm here on business - I'm working on a case that Miss Kelly, I mean O'Casey is.. involved with. There's some things I urgently need to discuss with her," she said in a menacing tone.
"Okay, okay - settle down lady. I'll call her to see if it's okay to send you up, but I can't guarantee she'll talk to you."
"Trust me - she'll talk to me," Laura replied through gritted teeth, if it's the last thing I do, she thought to herself.
Kate was in her hotel room strumming a melancholy sounding tune on her guitar, her thoughts going over the events of the past 24 hours. She'd gone back there after the rehearsal and press interview she'd done that morning, neither of which had gone as well as she had hoped as she was somewhat distracted. The phone interrupted her troubled thoughts . "Hello?' she answered.
"Ah sorry to disturb you Miss Kel.. I mean Miss O'Casey," she heard the front desk clerk say, "but there's a Laura Holt here to see you. Can I send her up? She's very insistent," he added as Laura smiled an overly sweet smile at him.
"Oh I bet she is," Kate sighed. "Send her up," she stated with resignation. She was in no mood for a cat fight but she knew this confrontation was inevitable and there was no use putting it off.
The insistent knock on her door came a few minutes later. "Miss Holt, I didn't expect to see you here," Kate answered the door then leant against it with her arms crossed, her expression mirroring Laura's.
Laura sized up her competition - Kate was definitely not like Mr Steele's other former loves that had reappeared in his life , like Felicia & Anna, both tall, elegant blondes who, when Laura thought about it, had looked very similar. Kate Kelly on the other hand was about her height, dark brown short, spiky hair and bright green eyes. She wore a diamond stud earring in one ear and two gold sleepers in the other, and a studded leather bracelet on one arm. Whilst not classically beautiful she was attractive in an unconventional way. She was dressed casually in jeans, boots and a sleeveless black t-shirt which showed off her toned arms. Laura noticed with a little chagrin that she was curvier than her - her own lack of cleavage had always been a source of insecurity for Laura. Did Mr Steele prefer his women curvy? she found herself thinking.
"I gather you're not here to talk about the case" Kate interrupted her thoughts.
"Not really no," Laura answered, glaring at her.
"He's not here if you're looking for him," Kate informed her in a resigned tone as Laura inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. "I guess you'd better come in - seems we have a bit to talk about," Kate stated as she stood aside to let her in.
Laura thanked her over politely as she pushed past her to enter the room.
"If you've come here looking for a fight Laura - can I call you Laura? - I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you," Kate stated as she looked intently at her. A shocked look crossed Laura's face - she didn't really know what she'd been expecting but it wasn't that. "Would you like a drink?" Kate offered as Laura looked a little taken aback. It was hard to be angry at her when she was being so damn hospitable.
"No thanks - I swore off alcohol a couple of years ago," Laura replied hurriedly.
"Suit yourself. I don't normally drink that much or this early in the day myself but I think I need one," Kate admitted ruefully.
"Oh what the hell - give me one. What do you have?" Laura changed her mind, thinking a bit of 'Dutch courage' probably wouldn't hurt.
Kate went to the mini-bar and opened it "Doesn't look like there's any wine but there's a case of beer. Hmm it's not Guinness but I guess it'll have to do," she commented wryly as she handed a bottle to Laura and opened one for herself.
There was an awkward silence between the two women for a few moments then Kate broke it as she took a seat and gestured for Laura to do the same. "Let me tell you something about myself Laura - I'm not the sort of person who backs down from a fight easily, only when I know it's one I have no chance of winning."
"What do you mean?" Laura asked, the wind taken out of her sails. "I think you know what I mean. You love him don't you?" Kate asked simply.
Laura closed her eyes - she knew Kate's words were true. "Yes.. yes I do," she confessed, her voice quiet . She had never said it out loud before and here she was admitting it to his ex-lover, well not so ex she thought somewhat bitterly.
"Thought as much," Kate stated. "You wouldn't be here otherwise and you wouldn't have reacted the way you did this morning."
"No I guess not," Laura agreed, despite herself. What do you think she's going to do? the little voice in Laura's head said, back off because you admitted you love him?
"Actually Laura I'm glad you're here," Kate went on as Laura looked at her, surprised. "I wanted to apologise to you. If I had known that your relationship with Harry.. I mean Mr Steele, Harry's the name I knew him as, was anything other than a professional one I wouldn't have slept with him last night - for both your sake and mine. I've never really seen myself as the 'other woman' type," she stated sincerely.
Her apology floored Laura - she didn't really know how to respond, it wasn't what she'd expected at all. "You're really making it hard for me to hate you, you know," Laura stated frankly.
Kate laughed wryly at that. "Well I hope you don't hate me - after all we do have something or should I say someone in common, although I guess I understand if you do - I was all geared up to hate you too," she confessed.
"Why would you hate me?" Laura asked both puzzled and a little angry - after all she hadn't done anything to her, she thought to herself.
Kate shook her head ruefully and took a swig of beer to dull her pain. "Because he loves you too," she stated, although admitting it broke her heart.
Laura's head came up at that, a shocked look crossing her face. "He does? Did he tell you that?" she asked hopefully.
"Not in so many words. Harry's never really been that good at voicing his feelings, but he didn't have to - I saw it in the way he looked at you. I know that look - I've seen it myself a few times," Kate admitted as she got up and walked to the other side of the room, turning her back to Laura so she wouldn't see the tears that had sprung to her eyes. Kate felt like she was losing him all over again.
Laura pondered her words. "And yet he slept with you," she pointed out, fighting back her own tears.
"Well I guess you'd have to ask him why he did - maybe he felt like a trip down memory lane or something," Kate replied somewhat bitterly. "If it's any consolation I think he'd rather have been with you", she added, choking on the lump in her throat.
"What makes you say that?" Laura asked, with surprise. Kate sighed. "Laura you need to know something about what happened last night with me & Harry."
"No I really don't," Laura stated adamantly as she put her hand up to stop Kate saying any more.
"Trust me - you do," Kate replied just as adamantly as Laura realised she had met her match when it came to stubborn determination. Laura looked at her expectantly then Kate blurted out," He called me your name," the pain this had caused her clearly showing on her face.
"What?!" Laura asked in disbelief.
"When you were ?" she went on, trying to dispel the mental image that suddenly came into her head of him & Kate making love.
"No.. thank God," Kate shook her head wryly. "Afterwards, when we were asleep - I woke up for a moment and he pulled me to him and ..called me Laura," she said somewhat awkwardly.
Laura sank down in a chair trying to take in this revelation and sort out her conflicting emotions. As she looked at Kate she realised she was hurting as much as she was. She imagined if the situation was reversed how she would have felt - after enjoying the most intimate of moments with him, being called another woman's name. From what he had told her about his & Kate's past she wondered if Kate had had hopes of rekindling their relationship, only to have those hopes very much dashed. She couldn't quite believe the situation she found herself in- Kate Kelly, the famous rock star - one of her own teen idols, was jealous of her?
The conversation was getting a bit intense for both of them, so Laura changed tack. "Can I ask you something Kate that's been bugging me since I met him?" Kate shrugged.
Go for it."
"I notice you call him Harry - is that his real name?" A wry smile crossed Kate's face.
"I don't know," she answered truthfully. "In fact I'm not sure even he knows. That's what he was calling himself when I met him so that's what I've always called him."
"It's funny.. I told him once he looked like a Harry," Laura remembered that night, not long after he'd first come into her life. "There's someone else from his past that I've encountered who called him Harry as well," she went on.
"Really.. who?" Kate asked.
"A man by the name of Daniel Chalmers." By the look that crossed Kate's face Laura gathered she knew him and that her feelings towards Daniel were very much like her own. "Did you know him?" Laura asked.
"Unfortunately yes," Kate replied bitterly. "Harry had met Daniel a couple of years before we met. I guess he was something of a father figure to him - Harry idolised him. Daniel and I on the other hand - well let's just say we had a mutual dislike of each other," Kate stated a little angrily as Laura thought to herself, that sounds familiar. Kate explained further, "Daniel thought I was just a distraction for Harry and I hated how he was always getting Harry involved in his scams and the influence he seemed to have over him. It was more than a young girl could fight against that's for sure, although I gave it my best shot," she remembered. "And then when Harry left me and said in his note that he'd gone to Europe with Daniel, well that certainly didn't endear Daniel to me," she stated bitterly as she took another swig of beer.
"That must have been hard for you when he left," Laura sympathised, suddenly feeling sorry for her and thinking how she would have felt in the same situation - the very thing she feared the most, him leaving her. She also knew what that felt like - being left by someone you thought loved you, thinking both of Wilson and her father.
Kate looked up at the ceiling trying to fight back tears as she nodded. "You don't know the half of it," she stated cryptically, not ready to reveal everything about her past to Laura. Laura looked at her somewhat quizzically but didn't press her further as she sensed that his leaving her was a very sensitive subject.
"So where did you meet - in Ireland?" Laura asked, changing the subject somewhat. There was so much about his past she didn't know and here she thought, was the perfect opportunity to find out some more. That's if Kate wants to tell me she thought.
As if reading her mind Kate looked at her and said "I guess we both have gaps we'd like to fill in regarding Harry - I'll make you a deal Laura. I'll tell you about the time I spent with him, although it was only about a year or so, if you tell me about the time you've spent with him."
"Deal," Laura agreed as they clinked their bottles of beer together in agreement. Kate hesitated then started talking.
"To answer your question, no we didn't meet in Ireland, although that's where we were both born and raised for the most part. Harry grew up in and around Dublin whereas I came from Kilkenny which is a bit further south. We met in London." At this revelation, Laura wondered if Kate's place of origin had had anything to do with Mr Steele adopting the name "The Kilkenny Kid" for his short lived boxing career.
"How did you come to be in London?" Laura asked, curious.
A wry smile crossed Kate's face. "Well to explain that I'll have to tell you a bit of the Kathleen Kelly O'Casey story - that's my real name. I always called myself Kate though and Miles suggested I drop the O'Casey - he thought Kate Kelly sounded better for a stage name and of course it lended itself to be abbreviated to KK. I, a bit like Harry, grew up an orphan. I never knew my real parents, well I did meet my birth mother some years ago, but unlike Harry, at least I knew my real name. I was bounced around as a child between distant relatives, foster families, the occasional stint in orphanages. At one of the orphanages there was a kind nun who I guess saw something in me and taught me how to sing and play the guitar, and that was all I ever wanted to do after that. So as soon as I could I left school and worked a variety of jobs until I could save enough money to make my 'big move' to London. I had this dream of being discovered - well as it turned out, that did happen, but not straight away. I thought I'd meet The Beatles or The Rolling Stones or something," she laughed at her naïve, younger self. "So there I was, just turned sixteen years old with a guitar and barely a hundred quid to my name, alone in London. The dream was one thing - the reality was something quite different. Jobs were few and far between and busking only paid so much. I'd been trying to save up enough to get a demo tape done that I could give to record companies, but it was taking all I could scrape together just to pay for a roof over my head and put food in my mouth. The only place I could afford to live was Brixton - not the nicest part of London, that's for sure. And definitely not the best place for a young girl on her own" she admitted ruefully.
"And that's where you met?" Laura asked, remembering Mr Steele mentioning Brixton once as part of his mysterious past.
Kate nodded and went on. "I'd been there for a couple of months when I was busking one day outside a Tube station as I did to try and make a bit of money. This creep was hassling me, trying to crack onto me, but I wasn't interested. I'd told him to piss off and he started to get physical. Harry happened to be walking past and saw what was happening and came to my defence. Even though the guy was twice his size, Harry took him on. He always was good with his fists and quick, so eventually he knocked the creep out. And then I was sold," she stated with a wistful smile. Laura found herself smiling too - that was so typically him, she thought, being the hero. How many times had he saved her hide? she thought to herself.
"He helped me survive the streets of Brixton. He'd been on his own for quite a while and had become quite proficient at 'making a living' shall we say, so he taught me a thing or two. We did what we had to do to survive - not all of it I'm proud of but we didn't have a lot of choice. What I made from busking and the odd job here and there only went so far." Kate admitted.
Laura could not even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the both of them - struggling to survive, not knowing where your next meal was coming from or where you'd lay your head that night. So different to her own comfortable upbringing - although in some respects it hadn't been ideal, she'd always had a roof over her head and three solid meals a day. This revelation gave her a new understanding of the man she loved and how his early years had shaped who he was today. "That must have been hard - living like that," she remarked as Kate nodded.
"It was. But it wasn't all bad though - we had some fun too. Harry loved movies so we'd always be sneaking into cinemas, trying not to get caught. We had no parents, no responsibilities, we were young and wild and free - God, that sounds like a line from a song," she laughed nostalgically.
Laura listened, fascinated as Kate continued. "We became friends first - always looked out for each other, and then I guess that developed into something more. We were each other's first - if you know what I mean." Laura nodded.
"He told me."
She found herself wondering what it would have been like to lose your virginity to him - and again she felt that pang of jealousy. Laura herself, unlike a lot of her friends who had 'gone all the way' with their high school boyfriends, had waited until her freshman year at college to lose hers with an older man, her calculus professor who she'd developed a huge crush on. Unlike some fumbling teenage boy he had been a twenty something grad student in his first year of lecturing, who'd had a fair bit of experience, so that her first time was not some rushed, unsatisfying event that her friends had often complained about. She tried not to think about what Kate and 'Harry's' first time had been like and thought that was far too personal a question to ask. Instead she asked, "What was he like when he was young?" needing to know and understand more about the man she loved.
A smile crossed Kate's face as the memories came flooding back to her. "A lot like he is now - charming, funny, smart, a heart of gold, and oh so sexy. He was the most gorgeous thing I had ever laid eyes on." Laura smiled - she could certainly relate to that. "Under the tough front he put on though he had this vulnerability that you'd catch glimpses of every now and again, like underneath it all he was still that unwanted, unloved little boy." Laura listed intently - she had often thought that herself about him. "And then he had this other side to him as well, an anger built up inside him that would come out occassionally - I think from his experiences as a kid and never knowing his mother or father or where he came from," Kate stated perceptively. "Ooh we had some fights the two of us," she remembered with a wry laugh as Laura thought to herself, that sounds familiar. "I guess I can have a bit of a temper myself at times," Kate admitted then added with a mischievous grin, "Making up was always fun though."
"You know I really loved that first album of yours," Laura confessed to Kate as they continued drinking and talking.
"Thanks," Kate replied, thinking as she did so who most of the songs on that album had been about - Harry.
"I played it over and over again when I was sixteen - drove my mother mad," Laura remembered with a laugh. "I could really relate to the lyrics I guess - being left by someone you loved," she added, trying to hide the pain that thinking of her father leaving always caused her.
"Did some guy break your heart in high school?" Kate asked.
"In a way," Laura replied with a rueful smile. "Not a boyfriend though - my father left us, my mother, sister and I, when I was sixteen. I'd adored him and I was devastated. I'd just sit in my room listening to music for hours on end after he left."
"That must have been hard," Kate sympathised as Laura nodded, trying to blink back the tears. Even though Kate hadn't known her own parents (until she'd met her mother as an adult), she had always felt the pain of being abandoned by them as an infant.
They were both silent for a few moments then Laura asked, "That song, 'Blue Eyed Boy', that's about him isn't it?" That had always been one of her favourite KK and the Beat songs, a slower ballad full of love & heartbreak. Kate nodded. "Yes it is," she admitted , her gaze focused on the ground as Laura thought how ironic it was that one of her favourite songs from her younger years was actually written about the man she now loved.
"Kate can I ask you something?" Kate nodded as Laura went on. "Why did you stop touring a while back? You kind of dropped out of the spotlight for quite a while - well up until recently anyhow."
Kate hesitated for a moment before replying. "Life on the road can get a bit crazy after a while, living out of a suitcase and everything. Don't get me wrong, I love performing but I needed a break and I needed to focus on other things in my life," she stated and left it at that, not wanting to tell Laura everything about her personal life - not when there were still things she needed to tell Harry.
Laura nodded then went on, her curiosity getting the better of her. Unlike other celebrities, Kate Kelly was hardly ever in the news and that's the way she liked it. "So have there been other men in your life - since Harry I mean?" Kate smiled half-heartedly and took another sip of beer. "Oh there's been a few here & there - nothing really serious though. Well no, actually there was one," she stated a little regretfully, "but it didn't work out - I guess it wasn't the right time for us." Laura was a little surprised at Kate's admission - as well as being extremely talented, Kate had that certain something that made her a star. Men wanted her and women wanted to be like her - heaven knows she had when she was younger. To a teenage Laura Holt, Kate Kelly had seemed to have it all - fame & fortune at a young age, not that much older than herself. And she had achieved the kind of success Laura had aspired to - success in a predominantly male dominated industry. She had always come across in the rare interviews she did as a pretty tough cookie and that nothing much fazed her, so fitting with her 'rock chick' image. But as they sat there baring their souls to each other Laura realised that the image could be very different to reality and that Kate was very much human - a woman, not unlike herself, who had had her heart broken and had her insecurities just like everyone else.
"Surprised?" Kate read Laura's expression with a wry laugh. "I guess you'd think that Kate Kelly the rock star would have men hanging off her," she said a little bitterly. "Well not many that are really interested in me for me, rather than the rock star image. And I guess, after Harry, a lot of them paled in comparison," she confessed. Laura could understand that - since he'd come into her life she knew that no other man could compare, although a few had tried.
As the morning passed into afternoon the two of them drank more & talked more, completely losing track of the time. "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" Laura asked Kate, emboldened by the amount of alcohol she'd consumed, as she finished another bottle of beer. Both of them were quite 'merry' by that stage.
"I guess not - go for it," Kate replied, wondering what she was going to ask.
"Is he as good, in bed I mean, as I imagine he would be?" Laura asked, a trifle embarrassed. Kate looked at her somewhat puzzled - this conversation was taking a very interesting turn.
"What..are we comparing notes now?" she laughed. ""Why ask me - I'm sure you know yourself, don't you?"
"Actually I don't," Laura admitted with a blush as Kate spluttered her beer in shock. "We've never actually crossed that line so to speak," she added ruefully. Kate sat there in stunned silence.
"Are you serious? And you've known him for how long - almost three years?" she asked incredulously. "May I ask you a personal question Laura - why the hell not?"
Laura looked regretfully down at the ground before opening another bottle of beer. "Believe me I've asked myself that same question often enough," she admitted with a rueful smile. "Oh we've come close a few times but there's always been some interruption or worse still my stupid fear has got in the way."
"Fear of what?" Kate asked curiously.
"Fear of losing him,..or losing myself in him. I guess I'm afraid that once we finally do take that step that he'll leave me," Laura stated candidly. Kate nodded understandingly, after all she'd experienced him leaving her and wouldn't wish that pain on anyone.
"Well Laura to answer your question, I don't know what you imagine he'd be like..".
"I can imagine a lot," Laura stated with a cheeky laugh, thinking of all the fantasies she'd had about him.
"Well take that and then some," Kate replied with a mischievous grin, confirming what Laura had always suspected.
"That good huh?" she asked.
"That good," Kate nodded. "Let's just say he's always had a particular flair in that area and I think he's learnt a couple of things along the way," Kate said giving Laura a meaningful look.
"So what would you give him out of ten?" Laura laughed mischievously.
"Hmm out of ten - I'd say about twenty,' Kate stated with a sly grin.
Meanwhile "Sir, can I drive you somewhere?" Fred the chauffeur asked when he saw Mr Steele come out of the building after he'd stormed out of the office.
"No thanks Fred - I'd rather walk. I need to clear my head," Remington replied as he headed down the street. He didn't know where he was headed, he just knew he needed to sort out his conflicting emotions and try and calm himself down. After a while he found himself outside a bar. He didn't normally drink that early in the day, but he thought, "What the hell? I could certainly do with a drink."
He went inside and ordered an Irish whiskey. As he sipped it he looked up at the tv above the bar and almost choked. Kate was on the tv being interviewed for the upcoming concert. As he watched her, her eyes seemed to bore into him. "Kate how's your stay in LA been so far?" one of the reporters asked her. Kate hesitated for a moment then replied,
"Ah it's been interesting to say the least."
Remington sighed and said to the barman "Mate do you mind turning that off?"
"No way buddy, I'm watching that - that Kate Kelly's a babe," the barman remarked as Remington smiled wryly and thought "Don't I know it", as he tossed back the rest of the drink then walked out.
He eventually decided he should go back to the office and apologise to Laura for storming out like that and try and sort things out. He regretted some of the things he'd said in the heat of the moment - things he knew had hurt her. He hated it when they fought and that had been one of their worst fights, if not the worst, so far. "Well sport you've got yourself into a fine mess this time," he thought ruefully as he caught the elevator up to the 11th floor.
"Hi boss - you okay?" Mildred greeted him with concern when he walked back in a few hours after storming out. He was like a son to her as much as Laura was like a daughter and it broke her heart to see the two of them fighting and unhappy. He stopped for a moment and looked at her. The expression on his face made him look so much like a vulnerable little boy that she just felt like hugging him.
"I've been better Mildred," he stated honestly as he sat on the corner of her desk. "Seems I've made a fine mess of things. With one foul swoop I've managed to hurt two women that I care very deeply about," he confessed.
"Oh boss," she said sympathetically as she came around the desk and put a motherly arm around him.
"Oh it's my own fault Mildred - I can't seem to convince Miss Holt of the depth of my feelings for her and then I go getting all nostalgic with my first love, hurting them both in the process."
"Seems like you're a bit confused chief," Mildred observed as he nodded. "First love's a wonderful thing, no doubting it. I remember my first love, Harvey Finkelstein," she reminisced.
"Harvey Finkelstein?" Remington repeated the name quite incredulously.
"Yes Harvey. I'll never forget him. We were sixteen - oh he was such a good kisser," Mildred went on, reliving her younger years as Remington looked decidedly uncomfortable.
"Ah yes well thanks for the trip down memory lane Mildred but I'm afraid that doesn't really help me. Is Laura in her office?" he replied as he went to get up.
Mildred shook her head. "No she's not. Now sit," she ordered in a tone that he knew meant he better not argue with her.
"My point is boss, it's easy to get caught up in memories and what could have beens, as you obviously did last night," she went on, giving him a knowing look. "But time moves on and so do we and sometimes memories are best left in the past where they belong so we can focus on what's in the present," she stated with a pointed look. "Or should I say who" she added as he nodded, knowing what she was getting at. "I don't mean to overstep the mark boss, but I care about you and Miss Holt and despite what you might be thinking at the moment, you two are good together and I don't just mean as detectives."
"I know Mildred, I know," he stated with a frustrated sigh. "But just when I think I'm finally breaking through those defences of hers, that she's finally letting me in, she puts them up again. I feel like I've constantly got to prove myself to her, and quite frankly I'm getting a little tired of it. I mean you're a woman Mildred..," he stated as she looked at him with a fake coy smile and replied with a laugh.
"Oh Mr Steele, I thought you'd never notice, but seriously boss don't you think you've got enough women on your plate at the moment?"
He shot her a wry smile. "What I mean is," he continued, "what do women want? I mean after almost three years of trying to show Laura how much I care about her and that I'm not going to cut & run, she still doesn't trust me. I guess last night didn't help but I did try to explain it to her," he admitted ruefully.
Mildred was silent for a moment. "Sometimes us girls need to hear those three little words, just to confirm what we already know deep down in our hearts."
"Those three little words?" he repeated as she nodded. "You mean tell her I.." he asked a little nervously as Mildred nodded. "But what if she doesn't feel the same way? What if she doesn't say them back?" he voiced his fears.
"That's the risk you've got to take I guess - somehow I think it'll be worth it," she reassured him with a warm smile.
He pondered her words and then gave her a peck on the cheek. "Thanks for the words of wisdom Mildred. Now you said Laura's not here? Where is she?" he asked as Mildred looked a bit sheepish and muttered,
"Trust me, you don't want to know."
"By your very saying that I do want to know. Now I'm starting to worry.. where is she Mildred?" he demanded.
"Alright, alright chief - she went to pay your 'first love ' a visit," Mildred relented.
"She what??!" Remington exclaimed. "How long has she been gone for?"
"She left not long after you did," Mildred replied.
"Oh no, I've got to get over there - heaven knows what they've done to each other," he said in alarm, knowing that both Laura & Kate had tempers and that they both knew how to throw a punch! "They could have killed each other by now!" he added dramatically. "Quick, where's Kate staying?"
"At the Hilton," Mildred replied as he thanked her and dashed out the door again.
Laura and Kate however had not killed each other, in fact they were getting on famously, the case of beer they were rapidly getting through helping that along no end. They talked and laughed and drank some more as the afternoon wore on.
"Hey Laura are you hungry?" Kate asked after a while. "I just realised I never had lunch."
"Famished," Laura replied.
"I'll call room service - what do you feel like?" Kate asked.
"There's only one thing to have with all this beer - pizza!" Laura laughed, remembering back to her college days at Stanford when she & her friends had got drunk on occasion with lots of beer & pizza to go with it.
"Pizza it is then," Kate replied with a grin as she dialled room service with a bit of difficulty. "Hi this is Kate Kelly, I mean O'Casey, oh whatever my bloody name is. I'd like to order a pizza please."
Meanwhile Remington had arrived in the hotel lobby. He walked up to the front desk, a young woman now behind it. "Hello miss," he greeted her with a dazzling smile. "I was wondering if you could tell me what room Kate O'Casey's staying in," he said, thinking she was probably booked in under her real, rather than her stage, name.
The girl smiled back at him. "Are you a fan?" she asked.
"Something like that," he replied with a wry grin.
"I'm not really supposed to give out her room number Mr..?" she went on.
"Steele...Remington Steele. I'm a private detective, perhaps you've heard of me?" he replied, laying on the charm again. "I'm actually working on a case at the moment which I need to talk to Miss O'Casey about."
"Well in that case Mr Steele it's room 702," the girl replied with a smile. He thanked her with a wink and a smile. "Oh to be a rock star and have men like that come up to your room," the girl sighed as she watched him walk towards the elevators.
He got out on the seventh floor and walked down the corridor to room 702 with some trepidation, wondering what he would find. He was not prepared for what greeted him though - as he went to knock on Kate's door he heard not yelling, punches being thrown or furniture being tossed about as he had expected, but laughter. "Oh he did not do that - are you serious?" he heard Kate laugh & Laura giggling in reply.
"I think I would have preferred if they were yelling," he muttered ruefully to himself as he guessed they were talking about him. He took a deep breath then knocked on the door.
"That must be room service - that was quick," Kate announced as she got up to answer the door, stumbling a little a she did so which set her and Laura off into a fit of giggles again.
"Harry?!" she exclaimed with surprise. "Or should I say 'Mr Steele' - what are you doing here? Did you bring pizza?" she added with a giggle as he looked at her quizzically. "Hey Laura, look who's come to join the party," she laughed as Remington looked from her to Laura who was sitting on the floor barefoot surrounded by beer bottles.
With some difficulty Laura got to her feet and tried to walk straight as she came to join Kate by the door. "Mr Steele - how nice of you to join us! Or is it Harry? I don't know, we're confused - care to enlighten us?" she greeted him with a drunken grin on her face. Remington looked back and forth at the two of them and the beer bottles strewn about the room.
"Laura? Kate? Are you two drunk? For God's sake - it's the middle of the afternoon!"
"Just a little tipsy Mr Steele," Laura replied with a mischievous grin as she ran a finger down his cheek.
"See you've driven us to drink," she added as Kate nodded.
Remington remembered the only other time he had seen Laura drunk like this, when they had been investigating a case where someone was trying to kill a divorce attorney. Laura had got drunk with a bunch of divorced women who were suspects in the case, and when she had come back to the office she had gone on a drunken rant about men, while he and Murphy carried her out to the limo as he recalled. He suspected she was about to do so again and for the first time ever he suddenly wished Murphy was there with him. "So are you two friends or something now?" Remington asked incredulously, shaking his head in disbelief.
"Us girls have got to stick together - especially when we have in so much in common Harry," Kate replied, trying not to slur her words.
"That's right. You men have no idea what you put us through!" Laura added as she held onto the door frame to steady herself and poked him in the chest.
He then noticed Kate was staring intently at his ears. "Is there something wrong with my ears Kate?" he asked, feeling a bit perturbed. This situation was becoming more bizarre by the second.
"Nah.. just checking to see if they were burning," she retorted with a cheeky grin as both she & Laura burst out laughing again.
Remington looked decidedly uncomfortable as he realised they'd been sitting there for hours getting drunk together and talking about him - heaven knows what they'd told each other!
"Thanks," he replied dryly, giving Kate a withering look.
"Oh Mr Steele c'mon don't be so serious - here come and sit down and have a drink," Laura said as she pulled him into the room and pushed him into a chair and handed him a beer. "Let's have some fun!" she exclaimed as she plonked herself on his lap, subconsciously trying to 'lay her claim' to him in front of Kate.
Kate put a hand up and said a little awkwardly, "Hey I'm supposed to be the rock star here but even I'm not into that kinky threesome stuff so I'll leave you guys to it," as she went to walk somewhat unsteadily to the door, thinking ruefully, I guess it's payback time for Laura now.
"Laura, this is neither the time nor the place. Let me take you home," Remington stated adamantly as he got up so abruptly that she almost fell off his lap onto the floor.
"Good idea," she replied huskily as she got up and put her arms around him. "Anyway it's your hotel room Kate," she pointed out.
"Oh yeah that's right - why am I leaving?" Kate replied with a laugh.
If the situation wasn't so bizarre it would be funny, Remington thought to himself. "So is it my turn now? Such stamina Mr Steele - two women in less than 24 hours," Laura went on with a seductive smile as she tried to undo his tie.
"Laura please," he protested as he caught her hands in his, very much aware that Kate was still in the room - Laura was too, but part of her didn't care.
"Oh Mr Steele you don't have to beg," she laughed then whispered in his ear, "I'll let you in on a little secret - I'm a bit drunk so you're onto a sure thing," as she winked devilishly at him and begun nibbling on his ear.
"Yes well I can see you are more than a bit drunk Laura. I think I need to get you home to bed," he replied as he tried to extract himself from her.
"Finally!" she exclaimed dramatically as Kate, despite herself, tried not to laugh.
"To sleep it off," he qualified his statement as he shook his head thinking ruefully, why did she have to be drunk to act like this? "C'mon Laura," he added as he picked up her shoes & handbag for her and practically dragged her to the door. "Kate - you should probably sleep it off too," he stated a little awkwardly as she watched him, still trying to wipe a silly grin off her face.
"Since when are you so prim & proper Harry?" she replied, then added with a laugh, "Have fun you two. Hey Laura, just remember - 'twenty'," as she winked conspiratorially at Laura. Laura put a finger to her nose and winked back at Kate as Remington pulled her out the door.
"What did that mean - 'twenty'?" he asked her, somewhat puzzled by her exchange with Kate.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" she replied with a sly grin.
"Yes I would actually," he stated, quite perturbed.
"Take me home and I'll show you," she replied with a promising look. "Or rather you can show me," she added with a giggle. "Rock and roll baby!" she then yelled pumping her fist in the air as he steered her down the corridor to the elevators, shaking his head at her antics.
Once they were in the elevator she started kissing him passionately, pulling him against her and despite himself he found himself responding to her as he always did. "So Mr Steele we're finally going to tumble into bed together," she murmured seductively, running her hands through his hair. With every ounce of self-control he had, Remington pulled away from her and held her at arm's length - he knew he couldn't take advantage of her while she was drunk, even though he was very tempted to take her up on her more than willing offer.
"Laura," he said with a wry smile," the only tumbling you'll be doing today is over your own feet if you don't sober up."
A hurt look crossed Laura's face - she was not so drunk that she wasn't stung by his rejection. Suddenly her mood changed dramatically as she roughly pushed him away. "Oh so you'll fall into bed at the drop of a hat with Kate but I offer it up to you on a plate and you don't want a bar of me! I know I'm no sexy rock star but.." she spat at him angrily as he sighed in frustration.
"Dammit Laura I'm trying to be a gentleman here," he interrupted her before she could say anymore. "You know how much I want you but not like this, not when you're not fully in control of your actions. When we do finally 'tumble into bed' as you put it, I want you to remember it," he stated seriously, his eyes suddenly a dark cobalt blue, seeming to burn into her. "And I don't want you to regret it in the morning," he added sincerely, the vulnerability in his voice touching her.
Any further opportunity for conversation was halted when the elevator doors opened on a lower floor and other people got in. The two of them fell silent, both pondering his words. When the elevator opened in the lobby he handed Laura her shoes." Here - you might want to put these on." After she did so with a bit of effort, he took her by the arm and steered her out the door to the waiting limo. "Fred - take us to Miss Holt's place please," he instructed the chauffeur as he bundled her into the back seat and got in next to her. They both sat silently for a few minutes looking out the windows, not knowing how to finish the conversation they'd been having in the elevator or even knowing if it was the right time and place to, given that Fred was also in the car. After a while Remington thought it was time to bite the bullet. "Laura I.." he started to say and then a noise stopped him. He looked over to find her fast asleep, snoring softly. A wry smile crossed his face as he put an arm around her.
When they got to her apartment building she was still asleep, so with some difficulty he carried her out of the car and up to her loft. "They really need to get a lift in this place" he thought ruefully to himself as he climbed the three flights of stairs with her in his arms. After a few attempts he managed to find her keys in her handbag which he was also juggling and got the door open. He carried her up the steps to the landing where her bed was situated and careful not to disturb her, laid her on it, taking her shoes off and pulling the covers up over her. He switched her bedside lamp on and left a glass of water and two aspirin on her bedside table, thinking she would probably need them when she eventually woke up. "Sweet dreams Laura," he said softly with a wry smile as he watched her sleeping for a few moments. "We've got a lot to sort out you and I," he sighed as he brushed her forehead with a tender kiss then left her.
He walked back down to the waiting limo. "Back to the office Mr Steele?" Fred asked.
"No Fred, I think I'll just head home - it's been a hell of a day." On the way he called Mildred to let her know neither of them would be coming back to the office. "Hi Mildred, ah Miss Holt won't be back in the office today - she's shall we say, indisposed."
"What do you mean 'indisposed' boss? What happened? What did that Kate Kelly do to her?" Mildred demanded angrily, automatically jumping to Laura's defence.
"Calm down Mildred - she didn't do anything to her, except maybe help her get a hangover," he replied.
"What?" Mildred asked in surprise.
"When I got to Kate's hotel room I found the two of them quite drunk and behaving like two naughty, giggling school girls," he explained a little testily.
"They were what?" Mildred replied incredulously. This certainly was a turn of events - when Laura had left the office earlier that day Mildred could have sworn she was going to tear strips off the other woman who had reappeared in Mr Steele's life, not get drunk with her like they were old college buddies.
"Yes my sentiments exactly Mildred," Remington stated. "So I took Miss Holt home to bed," he added then immediately regretted his choice of words as Mildred admonished him.
"Oh you did huh?" she said in an accusing tone. "I never thought you'd be the sort of man who would take advantage of a drunken woman Mr Steele. Quite frankly I 'm very disappointed in you."
"Mildred - I'm not that sort of man," he retorted, a bit taken aback that she would think that of him. "I meant that I took her home and put her in her bed, alone I might add, so she could sleep it off."
"Oh I'm sorry boss," Mildred apologised, a little ashamed that she had jumped to conclusions and thought the worst.
"Anyway I don't think I'll bother coming back in today either unless there's something urgent I need to attend to," Remington stated. "No boss that's fine there's nothing urgent at the moment that I can't take care of."
"Why don't you take the rest of the day off too Mildred? The machine can take any calls. We'll see you in the morning."
"Thanks boss - I'll see you then. I am sorry I jumped to conclusions and thought the worst," she apologised again.
"Don't worry about it Mildred - I'm getting quite used to women thinking the worst of me," Remington sighed as he hung up the car phone.
To Chapter 6