- Steele Bitter (part 2)
Date: Monday, April 03, 2000
sue hantak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- (Part 2)
"John Devin.....John Devin....D...E...V...I...N?" Steele
repeated and spelled the name to confirm what Mildred just told
"I'm running him through the credit bureau and DMV but so
"You said he wanted to impress her .....and they just met?"
Mildred shrugged her shoulders. He kept asking her the same thing
over and over. Mildred heard her phone ring and left his office.
Steele reclined in his chair and pondered where and when Laura
could have met a John Devin. He began cursing himself for not
doing legwork with Laura. Any number of times Laura left the
office without him. She routinely goes to the hall of records,
newspaper archives, and countless other mundane destinations
that he tries to avoid. Of course, there is also the gym and
the park where she runs...*I guess I should have started training
with her. Oh this is ludicrous. So what, someone sent her some
flowers. It's not like she's dating anyone else?* As much as
he tried to put it out of his mind, it still nagged at him.
Over lunch, he tried to see what he could find out from Laura
herself. Fred dropped them at a cafe they frequent. The hostess
led them to a secluded table. Steele started with a seemingly
harmless question, "So, you've been rather busy lately?"
Laura looked up over the menu wondering where this was going,
"No busier than usual, why?"
"Nothing......Nothing.... It just seems like a long time
since we've done lunch."
"We were together most of the weekend.....you know I don't
like to dawdle over long lunches while I'm working."
"What or should I say who have you been working on?"
She had enough of his cat and mouse game, "Why this sudden
interest in my cases"
"Our cases," he corrected her. " Laura, I thought
we were a team?"
"I never intentionally exclude you. Anytime you want to
do legwork, just say the word."
They were both relieved when the waitress brought their order.
Remington felt he may have pushed too hard and Laura felt like
she was being cornered. To be honest, she like working alone.
He was helpful at times, but when something needed to get done,
he was more of a distraction. All it took sometimes was a smile
or those mesmerizing blues eyes and Laura would easily lose her
A new client was waiting on the outer office when they returned
from lunch. As Laura was showing the client into Mr. Steele's
office. Mildred tugged on Remington's sleeve and pulled him aside
in a conspiratorial manner.
"HE called while you two were at lunch"
"Who called, Mildred?"
"John Devin,.. he asked if Miss Holt was in.....to be exact
he asked if LAURA was in."
"He used her first name?"
Mildred nodded, "I told him she was out, but he wouldn't
leave a number. He said she had his number."
Laura interrupted "Mr. Steele? ......If you have a moment,
we should get started"
Before he joined Laura, he whispered to Mildred, "Get a
number, an address, anything...and I mean pronto!"
Devin was an electronics wizard. Specifically telephones. He
was a silent partner in a scam foiled by Laura. His name never
came up in the original investigation. Like Descoine, he assumed
Steele was behind his downfall. He was purposely recruited by
Descoine. For this to work, they would need to manipulate the
phone system. They would monitor, intercept or alter any necessary
calls to create the illusion that Laura was involved with a man
by the name of John Devin. The simple illusion of a date consisted
of a fabricating or changing an innocuous appointment for Laura.
It wasn't enough however to just have Laura "cheating".
Descoine needed both Laura and Remington suspicious and accusing
each other to drive a damaging and permanent wedge between them.
Unwittingly he chose a tactic that touched the most insecure
aspect of either of their lives. The fact they rarely discussed
their feelings and relationship at all would play right into
Descoine's plan. Laura would never admit an underlying insecurity
when it came to Remington. She felt she was too "ordinary"
at times. She wasn't sure how she measured up to the women of
his past and always anticipated he would desert her for the next
cup-size that came along. Remington, too, walked on eggshells
where Laura was concerned. A true, committed relationship with
a woman was unfamiliar ground for him. His body desired her,
his heart wanted her, it was his autonomous ego that occasionally
told him he didn't need her.
Laura peeked her head into Mr. Steele's office at 5:30 announcing
her departure, "I'm leaving for class ...
Will you put the Chandler contracts on my desk after you sign
"Class? I was hoping we could go ....."
Laura interrupted her before he could finish, "It's Monday....you
know I have class".
She backed into her office. Before she turned off the light she
glanced at the floral arrangement for the countless time. A warm
fluttering sensation churned within Laura. She took a deep breath
briefly contemplated blowing off class, but promised herself
to go see him afterwards.
A pair of binoculars focused on Laura as she got into her car
and left the parking lot. Knowing she was gone, he dialed the
number for the office. Remington heard the phone ring for the
fourth time before he came out of his office searching for Mildred.
Reluctantly, he picked up the phone, "Steele here,"
"Is Laura in?"
"She left for the evening, may I help you?"
"Damn, I was hoping to catch her..." he talked aloud,
but in a manner as if he was talking to himself, " I need
to meet her at a different place than we planned"
Remington slightly off-balanced remained silent. He managed to
squelch his jealous feelings throughout the day, but now on the
other end of the phone was a real person who seemingly had a
date with Laura.
Devin added a bit more fuel to the fire, "I'll just catch
her at home later." He hung up the phone. Remington's heart
nervously raced. His hand covered his mouth as he debated with
himself. *she wouldn't lie to me....if there is another man,
why would she think I sent the flowers? .....she wouldn't hide
anything from me....
Mildred nudged him out of his trance."Boss?........something
"I believe Mr. Devin" Remington spit out his name in
disdain, "just called".
"Oh, that reminds me." The older woman dug into the
bottom drawer and retrieved a file folder. "I found this
when I did my search" A grainy black and white photo revealed
an attractive man. The photo was from a press release. Much to
Remington's dismay, it chronicled Mr. Devin's philanthropic endeavors
and charitable works. John Devin appeared to be everything he
thought Laura found attractive in a man. Of course the press
release was electronically planted in a database just waiting
for Mildred to "find" it.
Remington reluctantly inquired, "Where does Laura have her
- To Be continued---
- To Part