"Steele Stringed Hearts"© 2016
Chapter 7
by NorahBolt56

Miles greeted the two detectives as his secretary ushered them into his office. He then filled them in on what had happened to Johnny Cole. He noticed Laura rubbing her head from time to time. "Are you okay Miss Holt?" he asked.

"Yes, yes I'm fine thanks - just a bit of a headache," she explained hurriedly, not wanting to admit she was suffering from a hangover.

"Hmm," Miles replied, not entirely convinced. "That seems to be going around this morning - Kate appears to have the same ailment. Hope it's not something in the air. There's some coffee in the kitchen down the corridor if you need it," he added with a smile.

"Thanks I might take you up on that," she excused herself.

She found Kate in the kitchen wearing sunglasses and helping herself to a cup of coffee as well.

"Morning Kate," Laura greeted her somewhat sheepishly.

"Morning Laura," Kate replied as she pushed her sunglasses on top of her head, revealing her rather bloodshot eyes, then added with a rueful grin, "You look how I feel."

Laura grinned just as ruefully at her. "I will never touch alcohol again," she vowed as Kate nodded and laughed.

"That was quite a session we had yesterday, I can't remember the last time I got drunk like that," Kate admitted. She was quiet for a moment then not really knowing why, asked seemingly casually, "So um.. how was the rest of your day?", thinking to herself, are you a glutton for punishment or what?

Laura guessed what she was referring to and she laughed a little regretfully. "Rather disappointing I'm afraid. Mr Steele was a perfect gentleman. The only thing I woke up with this morning was a hangover," she sighed, then added as she looked at Kate, "At least one of us got lucky."

"It's not a competition Laura," Kate retorted.

"Isn't it?" Laura asked. At the look that crossed Kate's face which she quickly tried to hide, Laura regretted her words. She realised after their conversation yesterday that this situation wasn't exactly easy for Kate either and that she was hurting too. "Sorry.. that was out of line," Laura apologised. "I guess I'm just .. frustrated," she ran a hand through her hair and then with a half laugh added, "In more ways than one."

"Look Laura I know this isn't exactly the easiest of situations. I meant what I said yesterday though - I'm not going to stand in your way," Kate stated seriously. "I know I'm probably the last person you want relationship advice from but it seems to me your fight isn't with me Laura, it's with yourself." Laura looked at her & realised she was right. "If you want him, you've got to let him know," Kate stated simply as she gave the other woman a meaningful look.

Laura sighed. "You're right. I just don't know if it's too late," she confessed as Kate looked at her somewhat puzzled.

"Why would you think that?"

Laura hesitated for a moment then went on. "Before I fronted up to your hotel room yesterday Mr Steele and I had some words shall we say.. not all of them pleasant." She grimaced at the memory of their furious argument, the things said in the heat of the moment that had wounded them both. "Didn't you wonder why he turned up at your hotel room yesterday?" she asked the question that had been tormenting her since yesterday, which had manifested itself in the first dream she'd had the night before.

Kate stopped at that - she hadn't really given it that much thought. "I just thought he must have found out where you'd gone and was afraid we'd be having an all out cat fight or something and came to stop it," she answered truthfully. Unbeknownst to both of them at that stage, that was exactly the reason.

"Perhaps," Laura acknowledged that that may have been the case. But her mind was working overtime, her old doubts and fears starting to niggle at her again. "But there is another possibility - that he came there to see you," she stated trying to blink back the jealous tears that sprang to her eyes. "After some of the things I said to him yesterday I could hardly blame him," she confessed, her voice cracking a bit as she focused on the floor, unable to look at Kate.

Kate stood there silent for a moment or two - that possibility hadn't entered her head at all. As far as she was concerned she & Harry were over - she had resigned herself to the fact that he had moved on and that it was no use trying to live in the past. But then she thought if he was upset maybe he just needed someone to talk to and that's why he'd turned up there. Despite everything that had happened she still cared about him & she realised she would have offered him an ear if he needed it, but that was all she'd be offering. She doubted he would have turned up with anything else in mind as she had made it very clear to him that that wouldn't happen again." I don't really think he..," Kate went to reply but Laura put a hand up to stop her.

"Looks like he needs to make a choice between his present and his past," she stated seriously.

"Laura - I think he made his choice a long time ago when he left me,' Kate said, the hurt showing in her voice.

"But what if he's changed his mind?" Laura countered.

Kate paused, not allowing herself to get her hopes up and entertain that possibility. "Well there's only one way to find out - why don't you just ask him?" Kate challenged her.

Laura was silent for a moment then looked at the other woman. "Because maybe I'm scared what the answer will be," she admitted.

Just then the man in question walked into the room. "Ah there you two are," Remington greeted them a little awkwardly, as it seemed he'd interrupted their conversation which he suspected was about him again. "Miles thought you might have got lost Laura," he stated with a grin. "Shall we?" he motioned to the door.

"Harry," Kate greeted him a little sheepishly as she grabbed her coffee and went to walk past him.

"Morning Kate - how's the head? As good as Laura's I'm betting. What's with the sunglasses? Going for that real rock star look are we?" he quipped with a grin. He couldn't help having a little fun at their expense, especially considering the fun they'd no doubt had at his expense the day before, but by the filthy look Kate gave him he realised she didn't find his remark very funny.

"Pog moth oin Harry," she swore at him in Gaelic as he looked at her with a mixture of shock and irritation as he immediately understood what she'd said to him - he knew she only reverted to their native tongue (as did he) when she was feeling particularly emotional.

Almost like a reflex action, he muttered "Gabh suas ort fein Kate" a little angrily back at her, also in their native tongue, his voice lapsing back into an Irish brogue, recalling some of the arguments they'd had when they were younger, his eyes flashing blue fire at her as she returned the look and stormed out.

"What was that all about - what did she say to you? I gather that was Gaelic?" Laura asked, somewhat perplexed.

Remington nodded and looked a little uncomfortable as he explained, "She told me in no uncertain terms to kiss a certain part of her anatomy."

Laura looked somewhat shocked, although she had to admit she also found it a little amusing. "And what did you say to her?"

"Trust me you don't want to know. What's got into her anyway?" he asked Laura, shaking his head.

At this a furious look crossed Laura's face. "You're seriously asking me that? Well I could say something crude Mr Steele but I'll let you figure it out," she spat at him as she gave him a meaningful look then she stormed out as well and he suddenly realised what she was getting at.

Good on you sport, you managed to piss off two women in under a minute - that's got to be a record, even for you, he berated himself.

He shook his head and sighed then went to follow them both down the corridor. "Ladies!" he called out to them as both Laura & Kate reluctantly stopped and whirled around to face him.

"What?!" they both demanded angrily.

He put his hands up in mock surrender as the two of them looked ready to wring his neck - he knew better than to mess with two temperamental women who were nursing hangovers. "Look I know this situation isn't ideal.. for any of us," he stated a little uncomfortably. "But if we're going to work together to solve this case we need to put our personal feelings aside for the time being," he went on, amazing himself as he did so. God I sound like Laura, he thought wryly.

Laura looked at him in surprise. She was normally the one putting the case before personal feelings, not him, in fact hadn't he accused her of always doing that just the day before?

Kate also looked at him and relented with a sigh. "You're right. I want to get to the bottom of this as much as you two do - Johnny's a friend of mine, this is personal now," she stated determinedly.

Laura nodded in agreement.

"Good - let's get to work then shall we?" Remington stated as the three of them went back to Miles's office.

Miles explained what had happened to Johnny.

"Did you see anything Kate?" Laura asked.

Kate nodded. "We were due to rehearse after Johnny and his band so a few of us were waiting back stage. A couple of roadies were working the lights."

"Do you remember who?" Remington asked.

"Yeah there was Steve our main lighting guy and a new guy - I think his name's Derek."

"New guy?' Laura asked with interest.

"Yes we've put on some new crew for the festival - Los Angeles locals mainly," Miles explained.

"Can we get a list of them?" Laura asked as he nodded.

"So what happened just before the light fell?' Remington asked.

"Steve came back down, I guess Derek was still up there. Johnny was centre stage doing his encore song and then bang - down came the light. Johnny was lucky it only knocked him out - those things are pretty heavy," Kate explained.

"Did you see Derek afterwards?" Laura asked.

Kate shook her head. "No .. once the light came down we all ran onto the stage to see if Johnny was okay. It was pretty much chaos after that so I don't know where Derek went."

Laura & Remington exchanged a glance. "Looks like we may have a suspect," Laura announced as Remington agreed with a nod.

To Chapter 8

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