The next morning Mildred got to the agency and opened up, picking up the LA Tribune newspaper by the door as she did every morning. She glanced at the headline and accompanying article and photos and almost dropped it in shock and fury.
"Famous LA detective & rock star caught together in secret rendezvous" the headline screamed. She read the article and looked at the photos with increasing anger. She couldn't believe it - after she'd spoken to Mr Steele the other day she thought he'd come to his senses but these photos looked very incriminating and appeared to suggest otherwise. In one he was hugging that Kate Kelly, in another giving her a peck on the cheek and yet another he was tilting her face up to his in an intimate gesture.
"Oh boss," she shook her head with disappointment.
Just then Laura came walking in the door. Mildred quickly stuffed the newspaper into a drawer so Laura wouldn't see it.
"Morning Mildred," Laura greeted her. "Has the paper been delivered yet?" she asked.
Ah no Miss Holt.. must be running late today," Mildred replied hurriedly, glad that Laura hadn't seen a newspaper yet. Just then there was a commotion outside the agency door with a group of reporters & photographers trying to barge their way in.
"What on earth..?!" Laura exclaimed, wondering what was going on, although Mildred had a pretty good idea.
"Is Mr Steele here?" one of the reporters asked.
"No he's not in yet," Laura replied, perplexed. "I'm his associate Laura Holt, perhaps I can help you?" she replied.
"Could you tell us what Mr Steele's relationship with Kate Kelly is?" one of the reporters asked as she stuck a microphone in Laura's face.
"His what..?" Laura retorted more than a little angrily as she pushed the microphone away. "What's all this about?" she demanded.
"You haven't seen this morning's paper?" one of the photographers asked.
"No why?" At that Mildred took the paper out of the drawer and reluctantly handed it to her.
"Oh Miss Holt I didn't want you to see it," she explained, worried how she was going to react.
Laura read the headline & article and looked at the photos with a mixture of hurt and anger, but she wasn't about to show it to a bunch of paparazzi. 'Icy calm', she told herself, willing herself to show a cool, collected front, but Mildred knew that look in her eyes that meant her emotions were simmering dangerously close to the surface. "No comment," she replied firmly, forcing a smile onto her face. "Now if you'll excuse us we have a detective agency to run here," she stated in a no nonsense voice as she began ushering them out the door.
When she had managed to get them all out she slammed the door behind them then turned to Mildred and said between gritted teeth, her emotions finally boiling over, "I'm gonna kill him."
Meanwhile, Kate was finishing off breakfast in her hotel room when there was an urgent knock on her door. "Coming." she called as she went to answer it.
"Miles?" she greeted her manager with some surprise to find him standing there and by the look on his face she could tell something was up.
"We've got a problem," he stated seriously as he walked into the room. Before she had a chance to reply he went on. "Have you seen the newspaper this morning Kate?" as he gestured to the one he held in his hand.
"No - you know I don't read the papers if I can help it Miles," Kate replied. She had avoided newspapers since her early days in the music industry, preferring to avoid reading the tabloid rubbish they sometimes printed about her.
"Well I think you need to see this," he retorted as he threw the newspaper onto the table.
Kate picked it up and looked at the front page and then swore under her breath. "Bloody photographer," she muttered.
"My sentiments exactly," Miles agreed sternly. "Now do you want to tell me what all that's about? Are you & Harry getting back together or something?" he demanded.
Kate sighed. "No . well for a fleeting moment I thought we might, but no we're not. We were just talking Miles," she tried to explain.
"Really? It looks like a whole lot more than that to me. Let me ask you something Kate - where were you the other night when I was trying to get a hold of you, when you said you caught up with an 'old friend'?" Kate looked at him with some surprise - he knew her better than she thought he did. When she didn't answer straight away he guessed the truth. "You were with him weren't you?"
She nodded, tears springing to her eyes. "I needed answers from him Miles," she stated simply.
"Is that all?" he pressed her, remembering how the two of them had been in their younger years - they hadn't been able to keep their hands off each other.
"Okay, okay," she relented. "I spent the night with him - are you happy now?" she said a little defensively.
"No not really, as you obviously aren't. Oh Kate do you think that was such a good idea? You're not kids anymore. I've seen him break your heart once before and I'm getting the feeling he's done it again," Miles stated perceptively.
Kate turned away from him and away from the truth. "In hindsight no, it probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had," she stated ruefully, "but I didn't really go to his place with that intention. We watched a movie and we talked and I guess one thing led to another - I don't know, maybe I needed closure or something. As it turns out he's ..involved for want of a better word with someone else."
Miles looked at her and shook his head, not really knowing what to say.
"Is there any way we can stop this from getting into the papers back home before anyone sees it.. if it isn't already?" Kate asked , rubbing her forehead in frustration.
"I don't know Kate," Miles admitted . "I can try and call in a few favours I suppose". Her question prompted him to ask one of his own. "You still haven't told him yet have you?"
"Not yet," she sighed. "I almost did when we were at the pool but I stopped myself.. we were arguing - I didn't want to tell him like that," she tried to explain. "I will tell him - when the time's right."
"And when's that going to be Kate?" Miles challenged her.
"I don't know Miles," she replied honestly with tears in her eyes.
"I just hope this hasn't jeopardised their investigation - if whoever's behind the sabotage and your death threat thinks Remington Steele's involved in the case it may scare them off and we'll never catch them," Miles added seriously as Kate nodded in agreement. "Although that might not be such a bad thing if it saves your skin," he added.
"Or it could just postpone the threat," Kate pointed out, looking troubled.
"So what do you want me to tell the press about all this? They've been phoning me all morning trying to get answers. I can only keep saying 'No Comment' for so long."
Kate sighed. "Tell them the truth I guess - that we're old friends."
Blissfully unaware of what awaited him, Remington who had not yet seen a newspaper that morning, waltzed into the office some time later. "Morning, morning, morning," he greeted Mildred in his usual manner with a smile, then stopped short when he saw the mutinous look on her face.
"Don't you 'morning' me boss," she snapped at him. "I've got a bone to pick with you," she added as she got up from her desk, wagging a finger at him like he was a naughty schoolboy.
"Take a number Mildred," Laura stated as she flung open her office door after hearing him come in and stormed out, her face boiling with rage. She had been fuming in her office for the past half hour, feeling betrayed not only by him but also by Kate. Despite the situation, Laura had felt like she had found a kindred spirit of sorts in Kate and had believed her when she'd told her she wouldn't get in their way. "Well you sure fooled me good" she thought bitterly. Then she also remembered the other day after they'd discovered the death threat against Kate, when she'd walked in on the two of them holding hands and how they had quickly pulled their hands away when she walked in. It all made sense now - obviously feeling guilty that I'd caught them out, she thought angrily to herself, her insecurities working overtime.
Remington looked back and forth between the two of them, both of whom looked ready to kill him. "What have I done now?" he asked, genuinely puzzled.
"You haven't seen the paper this morning then obviously?" Laura snapped as she threw it at him.
He looked at the headline & accompanying photos with shock. "Oh bloody hell," he muttered.
"Seems like you've got some explaining to do chief," Mildred stated firmly as she came to stand next to Laura, her arms crossed in front of her.
"We were talking that's all," he tried to explain.
"Looks like a whole lot more than that to me," Laura retorted, glaring at him as Mildred nodded and glared at him as well. "You've turned this agency into a media circus - we had a bunch of reporters and photographers here this morning trying to find out what your 'relationship' with Kate Kelly is," Laura threw at him furiously.
"Look, can we please discuss this in my office, in private, Laura? No offence Mildred but this is between me and Miss Holt."
"Fine.. but I'm not finished with you yet," Mildred stated in a warning tone as she sat back down at her desk.
Remington ushered Laura into his office. "You really don't have to explain," she shot at him, the hurt showing in her voice.
"A picture's worth a thousand words as they say." He tried to stay calm and keep his own rising anger under control as he knew that would only inflame hers. "Laura, you know how the tabloid press can be - they get a few photos of a perfectly innocent situation and totally misconstrue it to sell a few papers."
"Perfectly innocent? Really? How come practically every time I see you with Kate Kelly she's in a towel?". She knew it was irrational but her jealousy & anger were clouding her better judgement.
"For God's sake Laura - she'd been swimming!" Remington pointed out in exasperation but she was on a roll now and chose to ignore his comment.
"You couldn't help yourself could you? What - you haven't been seeing enough of her while we investigate the case? You just had to go and see her on your own," she demanded furiously.
He sighed in frustration. "Yes - to talk Laura. I didn't like how we left things the other day. I felt I owed her an explanation."
"Oh really? You owed her an explanation?" Laura snapped, her jealousy getting the better of her again.
"Yes I did.. as to why we couldn't be together again," he stated adamantly. That stopped her in her tracks.
"And why's that?" she asked, her tone somewhat softer, trying to stop herself from hoping. He shook his head and looked at her intently.
"You really don't know?" he asked her, searching her eyes for the answer he needed. "Have a closer look at the photos Laura - are we kissing passionately? No - I'm giving her a peck on the cheek. Are we all over each other? No - we're hugging, just as old friends do," he pointed out. "When are you going to trust me Laura?" he asked simply, the hurt showing in his voice. "I'm telling you the truth. I've apologised for the other night with Kate and I meant it when I said it won't happen again, but if you can't trust me Laura what's the point?" he sighed, running a hand through his hair.
Just then the door opened and Kate walked in. She had borrowed a blonde wig and oversized sunglasses from the concert costume designer and borrowed Miles' car to drive over to the agency incognito when Mildred had refused to put her call through to Harry/Remington. She knew she had to try and sort this out with both him & Laura. She had entered the agency a few minutes before.
"May I help you?" Mildred had asked the blonde woman who had walked into the agency, wondering whether she was another nosey reporter trying to get a story on Mr Steele and that hussy Kate Kelly.
"Yes - you can tell me where Mr Steele and Miss Holt are," Kate said as she took off the wig and sunglasses.
"You!" Mildred exclaimed angrily, recognising her from the photos in the paper and her voice from the phone.
"You've got some gall coming here. Haven't you caused enough trouble? You're persistent, I'll give you that, but as I told you on the phone, the last thing they need is you coming between them."
Kate sighed with frustration. "Look Miss Krebs," she stated as she looked at the nameplate on the older woman's desk, "I'm not in the mood for this. I've almost got myself bloody well killed driving over here just now - I don't know why you Americans can't drive on the right side of the road! Don't worry about telling me where they are - I think I can hear for myself," she added tersely as she heard their raised voices from behind one of the office doors and she went to head towards it.
"Now you listen to me sister," Mildred said sternly as she advanced towards Kate and grabbed her by the arm. "You may as well just walk back out that door because I'm not letting you go in there." Kate glared at her, her green eyes flashing with anger.
"Oh really? Just try and stop me. Get your hand off me," she warned, her voice low and threatening, as she roughly pulled her arm away. "Whether you believe it or not I'm trying to do the same thing you are," she added seriously.
"And what's that?" Mildred demanded skeptically. "Protect them. But it's not me they need protecting from - it's each other," Kate retorted as she strode purposefully into Remington's office.
She opened the door to see Remington and Laura standing there, neither looking very happy. They both looked at her in surprise. "He's telling you the truth Laura," she stated simply, hoping to defuse the situation.
"What are you doing here? Haven't you done enough already? Well you sure had me fooled," Laura demanded, hostility in her voice.
"Kate I don't think you being here is such a good idea," Remington stated seriously.
"Oh shut up the both of you," Kate shot back at them, starting to lose her patience, as both Remington & Laura looked taken aback.
"To answer your question Laura, I'm here to do you probably the biggest favour of your life. Now if you're as smart as I think you are you'll listen to me," she went on, giving Laura a look that dared her to challenge her. "I've been in the music business long enough to know how the tabloids work - they've been after something on me for years. It doesn't take much for them to fabricate a whole story out of a couple of photos. I had no idea that photographer was there," she said honestly. "And I meant what I told you the other day," she added, giving Laura a meaningful look. Remington looked between the two of them, wondering what she was talking about. 'We were just talking Laura. Look, like it or not Harry and I have a history," Kate stated as she shared a look with the man in question," but that's exactly what it is now.. history," she added, trying to hide the pain admitting it caused her. "What would I have to gain by lying about that when part of me wishes it wasn't the case?" she said sincerely.
"What about when I walked in on you two the other day in Miles's office and you were holding hands?" Laura threw back at her.
Kate sighed in exasperation "I just gave Harry's hand a squeeze to let him know I trusted him and that I knew he'd have my back - that's all," as Remington/Harry nodded in agreement. "We pulled our hands away like we did when you walked in because we didn't want you getting the wrong idea." he stated looking intently at Laura. "Which you obviously did," Kate added, starting to get a bit riled up.
Laura pondered her words, knowing they made sense, but her fears were still holding her back."I don't know..," she hesitated, rubbing her forehead in consternation, as both Remington and Kate looked at her.
"What don't you know Laura?" Kate demanded in exasperation, echoing Remington's thoughts. "What.. do you think you're the only one having a tough time of this?" her voice raising as her temper started to get the better of her.
"No of course not.. I just ," Laura tried to explain, suddenly on the back foot. Kate was getting to her, trying to force her to admit things she didn't yet have the courage to. Instead, Laura tried to go on the defensive. "Just who the hell do you think you are anyway to come in here and try to tell me what to do or what to feel?" she threw back at Kate as she jabbed a finger at her.
"I'm trying to help you, you ungrateful little.." Kate went to argue, her hands starting to clench into fists.
Remington could see this was becoming a potentially explosive situation with the two of them squaring off against each other, both of them practically nose to nose, glaring at each other. Knowing the fiery tempers that both women possessed, he feared that what he thought they were going to do to each other the other day when Laura went to Kate's hotel room to confront her, was going to happen right here and now in front of him. He didn't know whether to duck for cover or try to calm them down. He opted for the latter then quickly wished he'd gone for the former.
"Now ladies how about we all calm down a bit," he interjected before Kate could finish her sentence, trying to placate them.
"Shut up!" they both yelled at him, taking him quite aback, but stirring his anger as well.
"If it wasn't for you we wouldn't be in this situation," Laura threw at him furiously.
"She's got a point," Kate stated, her anger at him also starting to build again.
"Just because you couldn't keep it in your pants!" Laura yelled at him with disgust.
At this Remington glared angrily at the both of them. "If it wasn't for me..?? Bloody hell, you two are impossible!" he exploded. "I'll have you know Laura I 'kept it in my pants' as you so crudely put it for almost three years." She looked shocked by his admission. "And you were the one, may I remind you, that just wanted to have a professional relationship," he threw at her, pointing a finger angrily at her. "And may I remind you Kate, that you came to my flat, with a bottle of wine may I mention - it takes two to tango sweetheart," he shot at her.
"Oh no, don't you try pulling me into this fight Harry - I had no idea about you & Laura," Kate shot back at him. "Why did I even bother to come here to help you two out?" she said in exasperation as she shook her head ruefully. "Why can't the two of you see what is bleedingly obvious to everyone else? Quite frankly I've had it - how about you two sort yourselves out and leave me out of it. Anyway, one way or another this case will be over tonight and I'll be out of your hair," Kate stated more than a little angrily as she gave them both a meaningful look. "Final rehearsal's at 3 by the way - don't be late!" she threw at them both as she stormed out, slamming the door behind her.
Just as Kate stormed out of the office she bumped into Mildred who had been standing outside the door trying to eavesdrop on the heated conversation the three of them were having. As she did so her handbag went flying, her purse falling out of it onto the floor, revealing a photo inside. "Sorry", they both apologised.
"Here let me get that for you" Mildred said quickly as she went to pick up Kate's purse. Although she wasn't overly fond of the woman from her boss's past, after what she had just overheard of the conversation she'd been having with Mr Steele and Miss Holt she realised that maybe she wasn't as bad as she had initially thought, and she felt a bit guilty about how she had treated her. As she picked up the purse she caught a glimpse of the photo and stopped short, a look of shock & recognition crossing her face. Kate hurriedly knelt down next to her to grab it, realising she had seen the photo. Mildred caught her eye and the two of them momentarily stared at each other, Mildred starting to put two and two together.
Just then Remington came out of his office. "Kate wait..," he implored her as both she & Mildred looked up at him.
"Thanks I'll take that," Kate said as she grabbed her purse and hurriedly closed it and stuffed it back into her bag before he could see it. "No, I've got to go," she stated adamantly as she practically ran out the door.
Remington ran a hand through his hair in exasperation. "I suppose you want to tell me off too now Mildred," he sighed as Mildred stared at him, a strange expression on her face.
"No I don't actually - I think you've had enough telling off for one day," she replied absently, her mind working overtime, thinking of the photo she had just seen and leaving him quite puzzled at her change of mood towards him.
"Janelle - have you seen this morning's paper?" Derek asked her on the quiet, backstage at the stadium. "I don't like the look of this - if KK and that detective Remington Steele are on together he might start sniffing around and looking into her death threat," he stated worriedly.
"Don't worry - if he does start sniffing around I'll take care of it," Janelle replied in a menacing tone as she grabbed the paper off him and looked at the headline and accompanying photos. As she looked at the photos she suddenly realised where she recognised that new roadie, "Harry" from. "Dammit," she swore under her breath, realising Steele had been right under her nose for the past couple of days.
"What?" Derek asked.
"That new roadie, Harry - he's actually Steele undercover. And if I'm not mistaken that backup singer Kate's got filling in for Judy is actually Laura Holt, his associate," she muttered angrily between gritted teeth, suddenly remembering where she'd seen her before as well. The two detectives' photos were often in the papers when they'd solved a case. Well they weren't going to solve this one, she thought to herself.
Derek looked at her, a little panicked. "Well what are we going to do? We should call the whole thing off. I don't want to take any chances with no private detectives."
"No it's too late to call it off now. I haven't waited this long to get my revenge just to have it all ruined by some too smart for their own good private detectives. You just do your bit and leave them to me"," she replied with an evil gleam in her eye.
To Chapter 11