Steele Bitter Part 3
Date: Tuesday, April 04, 2000 4:17 PM
sue hantak <>

(Part 3)

Descoine's daughter managed to cut the power to the community center where Laura attended her class. When Laura arrived and found the doors locked and class cancelled, she headed home. In her car, she reached for her cell phone and dialed Steele's number. No answer, but she left a message that would be conveniently erased by Devin's equipment. Devin was waiting outside Laura's loft when she arrived home. A convincing real estate agent ID combined with a charming lie about car problems got him invited inside. She naturally offered the use of her cell phone first, but not-so-coincidentally it malfunctioned. Not even the mastermind of Descoine could have planned it any better when Steele pulled up to Laura's address only to see the two of them disappearing into her building.

Descoine's daughter watched from an apartment across the street. After Devin appeared to make his call to the auto club, Laura picked up the phone to call Remington again. This time the message was allowed to go through. Laura's original message was,

"Sorry I missed you. Class was cancelled. Call me when you get in. If it's not too late, we can get together. Otherwise, I'll just see you tomorrow."

However, Devin's "magic" omitted everything except, Sorry I missed you... I'll just see you tomorrow. He also overlaid some tormenting background noises of soft music, glasses clanking and his voice suggesting, "Laura, just leave it off the hook, so we won't be disturbed."

Devin graciously left Laura's apartment satisfied that she would stay there and wait for Steele to call back. He however did not leave the building until close to 2:30 am. Strategically, he left with his shirt partially unbuttoned and shirttail hanging out; it was painfully obvious to the watchful eyes of Remington that Laura indeed was involved with another man. When he returned home, he replayed the message and was further sickened by the thoughts that his overactive imagination played in his mind. Scenes of another man touching Laura, kissing her, making love to her ........ In disgust, he ripped out the tape in his machine.

Laura was slightly worried by eight o'clock, perplexed by ten and agitated by midnight. She left him two messages? Where could he be? She swung back to being worried and picked up the phone to make sure he was alright. Again. the call was rerouted. This time to the sweet voice of Descoine's daughter, "Remington's apartment" she announced cheerfully

"Is Mr. Steele home?" Laura gritted through clenched teeth.

"Well, he just left the bedroom to get another bottle of champagne from the kitchen"

A mix of shock and hurt left Laura speechless. She just hung up the phone dejectedly.

Neither of them got any meaningful sleep. *How could he/she*, they both wondered.


Descoine laughed heartily when he heard the news of Remington and Laura's falling out. Video tapes and still photos provided him with corroborating evidence of their misery. Over the next several days, they avoided each other. They both tried to put up a front of not being bothered by the other's suspected affair. Whenever one would leave, the other would assume they were off to see someone else in the romantic sense. In reality, Remington and Laura both would go home at the end of the day sad and confused. Although Descoine completed his original objective, he still wasn't satisfied. He wanted a fiery, brutal break up. He wanted to drive her completely out of Steele's life. Thinking Laura was just an assistant , he decided that Laura needed to lose her job too. This is where hiding her away for a significant amount of time would constitute an unexplained and unacceptable absence.

It was very early Sunday morning when Laura received an alarming call from a doctor telling her of her mother's sudden illness. Laura naturally tried to call Francis, but all circuits were busy. Frustrated, Laura threw together an overnight bag of necessities and headed for the airport. She no longer felt comfortable calling Mr. Steele at home. Part of her was afraid that woman would answer his phone again. While on a layover in Phoenix, . Laura finally got through to Francis from a payphone. Francis informed her that mother was just fine. There was no doctor, there was no illness. Before Laura could turn around and make arrangements to get back home, she was detained by airport security and held in a small office for hours. Despite all her protests, the security guards turned her over to the police along with her bag that contained a felonious amount of cocaine.

By mid afternoon Monday, Mildred dropped yet another hint to Mr. Steele that she was worried about Miss Holt, "I don't think she's ever not come in without calling first".

" Laura is a big girl. She doesn't have to report in"

"Aren't you the least bit worried?"

*Of course I'm worried....... I'm worried she happy with someone else....* that was the first thing that came to mind. Of course, all he could admit was, "I'm concerned that we have work to do."

At four, he announced that he was going to have some suits fitted and drove to Laura's loft. It was locked from the outside. He decided it was safe to go in and look around. It was odd being there without Laura. He surveyed the recently rearranged room and reminisced about their "cleaning" That Sunday he surprised Laura early in the morning. With warm croissants and a carafe of fresh juice, he let himself in. While she was still sleeping, he gently placed breakfast on her nightstand and tenderly rained kisses on her until she woke. Despite his best efforts to persuade her spend the day indulging in irresponsible fun, she stuck to her pledge to clean her loft. Turning the tables, she used her charm and a fleeting glimpse of her very short nightshirt to seduce him to stay and help her. He obligingly help move furniture. He never imagined that stripping her bed and rotating the mattress could give him such a cheap thrill. Once new sheets were on, he mischievously pulled Laura down to the bed with him. He rolled atop her. Propped up on his elbows to lessen his weight on her, he bounced teasingly suggesting they "Give the mattress a workout". She surprised him when she reached up to pull his lips closer. He lowered his body and scooped his arms under her shoulders. Their kiss intensified as they rolled to their sides and ran their hands over each other. Laura rolled on top, then pushed herself off . He could tell she was dazed and flustered. She ran her hands through her hair and smoothed her shirt. She got up from the bed, walked over to the rail and apologized without looking back at him. Remington got up and leaned against the rail next to her. His hand reached out to touch hers. She apologized again, "I'm sorry......I want to....I do...........I just don't know what's wrong with me......."

He came back to the present as he casually checked the kitchen. A half pot of coffee sat on the counter. scribbled on a pad next to the phone was an airline number. The message light blinking on her machine caught his eye. He apprehensively pressed "play". The machine voice announced the time stamp as Saturday 7:00 pm. Devin's voice trailed behind, "Laura, I'll be there in half hour. I hope you opened my present and will put in on... love you, bye". It was surreal for him to hear someone else tell her that. Going up the steps to her bedroom,, he noticed the discarded wrapping paper. On the floor off the other side of the bed was the "gift". He delicately picked up the negligee. Holding it up to the light he cringed at it's translucence and disgustedly dropped it to the bed. The bed itself was tousled. with the pillows and covers strewn about. Descoine and Devin left nothing to the imagination. Left in plain sight, several torn condom packets lay discarded on the nightstand. Remington had seen enough.

To Be Continued---
To Part 4