Collaborating Steele (1/3)
Date: Monday, July 10, 2000
sue hantak <>


Laura was setting the plates down with Remington close behind, "And you have no idea why he called?"

Laura turned around and shot him an irritated look, "I told you at the office, I told you in the car...I tried to return his call, but I got his service instead. I really don't know why he called."

"But...It's been over two years, Laura."

Laura picked up a butter knife and threatened, "Listen buster, not another word about him or I'll be forced to use this."

"Planning on buttering me to death?"

"No I'm afraid you'd enjoy that too much,"

Laura put the utensil back on the table as Remington set the main course down in the center. He pulled a chair out for her before taking his seat across the table. They managed to avoid the subject for the rest of dinner. After clearing the dining room, he blew out the candles and took the last of the dishes into the kitchen. He reemerged, two wine glasses in hand only to find Laura already re-covering the dining table with the contents from her briefcase.

He quickly set down the glasses, "Oh no you don't." He started putting all the paperwork back in her satchel. She tried to squeezed in between him and the table to stop him. "Mr. Steele, hand them over." she protested as she tried in vain to get the files away from him. Laura then decided on another tactic. She darted to the other side of the table, but he read her mind and snatched the entire case out of her reach.

"Ah ah ah, too slow, Miss Holt," he shook his finger at her.

Not to be outdone, and never one to admit defeat, Laura scanned the room for something...anything to help her cause. She spotted it, but quickly returned her eyes to his not to give away her plan. She took two slow casual steps toward the coffee table, then made a mad dash for it. She grabbed the videotape, hurdled the couch and was out on the balcony dangling Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" over the railing. He raced to the doorway. "Laura this isn't funny, you know I had to special order that copy."

She joked, "It would be rather ironic if this were Vertigo instead, wouldn't it?"

He took a few steps toward her. Without a word, he too, held her briefcase over the side daring her to drop the tape since her briefcase would soon follow it to the pavement.

"It appears we have a standoff, Mr. Steele... Might I suggest a trade?"

"Give me the tape," he demanded.

"Give me the case," she countered.

"You first," they said in unison.

Each held out their empty hand as they slowing withdrew the ransom items from their precarious location

He swiftly seized the tape from her hands, then took two steps back and flung her briefcase over the side.

Laura's eyes bulged in horror as she leaned over but could not watch when it hit.

"I've always wanted to do that," he declared with a great deal of satisfaction.

She was furious. "I can't believe you did that!" she shouted at him. "Do you have any idea what was in there?"

"Actually I do." He calmly walked back into the living room. "Just a paperclip or two."


He pointed to the dining table to show her the pile of work that had been in her case just moments before he followed her onto the balcony. He was laughing.

"That was NOT funny."

"You should have seen the look on your face... priceless ...absolutely priceless."

"I'm going home." She stomped over to the table to retrieve her work, still not amused.

"C'mon Laura, it was just a joke...where's your sense of humor?"

She didn't even look at him as she walked to the door. With her hands full, she couldn't turn the knob. He walked over to her, took the paperwork from her hands, set her purse on the table in the foyer, "Wait, I'll buy you a new briefcase..." He put his arms around her and whispered seductively, " grade leather." She tried to wiggle out of his hold. He pinned her against the wall and continued, "Multiple oversize compartments... Monogrammed."

She put her hands against his chest. Clutching his shirt, she pulled him into her, "You know I can't resist when you talk office supplies like that."

They kissed briefly. Remington pulled away to look her in the eyes, "Office supplies? I've wasted all this time buying you flowers, champagne, and candy when I could have seduced you with pens and legal pads?"
Laura feigning arousal played along, "Ooh yes...say that again."

He knew she was putting him on, but wanted to see how far he could take this, "What do the words 'post it notes' do for you?"

She pulled him down into another kiss, this time using her tongue in a highly aggressive manner.

He pulled back again, this time trying "manila folder".

She kissed as before, but this time her right hand reached down to the inside of his thigh and traveled lightly up to his belt, applying subtle pressure along its path. Remington thrust against her hand, loving it when she touched him like that. Soon they were both laughing on their way to the bedroom.

It's funny how people can sleep through the noisiest of storms, doze off with the TV still on, yet the slightest sound can rouse someone from a deep slumber. Laura quietly found sufficient clothing and tiptoed into the other room to change. It wasn't until Laura flipped off the bathroom light that Remington realized she was on her way out.

He squinted in the direction of the clock on the nightstand, "Laura, where are you going?"

She leaned on the bed and kissed him, "Go back to sleep, I'm going home." Laura tried to retreat from the bed. He gently grabbed her arm, "You don't have to leave."

"We have work in the morning, Mr. Steele." she reminded him.

Deciding he was too tired to fight her on this again, he let go and threw the covers aside to get up himself.

"At least let me take you home."

She smoothed the covers back over him, "Don't be silly, I can drive myself."

They had been lovers for several months. Remington always knew Laura was worth the wait. She was passionate and playful. Remington was, however, dismayed at Laura's lack of trust. Although they had taken what they termed "the final step" they were still struggling to find the balance between their personal and professional lives. Laura's ambivalent behavior spoke volumes that she was still uncomfortable with the current arrangement.

"Morning Mildred," Laura greeted pulling her purse strap from her shoulder. Mildred handed Laura a stack of mail then pulled it away just out of her reach.

"How was dinner last night, Miss Holt?" the receptionist asked with an intentional emphasis on the word 'dinner'.

By now it was no secret to Miss Krebs that they had much more than dinner on frequent occasions.

"May I have the mail please?" Laura asked with a sickening sweetness purposely dodging the question yet answering it at the same time. "Oh and I need you to try that number from yesterday for me again."

"What could he possibly want after all this time?"

"I'll be in my office, if you reach him."

Remington came through the door an hour after Laura.

"What's with the briefcase, Chief?... Miss Holt leave it at your place last night?" Mildred's eyes curiously gazed at him, noting that he never carried a briefcase.

He lifted it up, "Ahh how perceptive Miss Krebs, however, this is a new case for Miss Holt. Her old one had a bit of an accident...She in her office?"

Mildred looked to see Laura's extension still lit, "Yes... but she is on the phone." He took a few strides towards his office when Mildred added, "with Butch Beemis."

He spun in his tracks and raced back to Mildred's desk. "Do you know what he wants with Laura?"

"I don't know...Do you want me to listen in?"

"Of course not! Laura will tell me. We have no secrets. The fact that she briefly was attracted to him several years ago isn't bothering me in the least."

Mildred just stared at him with a "yeah-right" look.

Remington turned in the direction of his office and muttered, "not in the least" another time.

He sat behind his desk just watching the light on the phone expecting Laura to hang up any moment. He fidgeted, looked at his watch, reclined, checked his watch again and continued to stare at the phone for what seemed like an eternity. The light finally went off and he heard Laura turn the handle of the connecting door. He hastily straightened up and pretended to be looking through the file on his desk.

"Ah Laura, what's on the agenda today?"

"We have the O'Neill Corp background checks to finalize. After our three o'clock with the perfume executive, I have a personal appointment."

<Personal appointment? Is she meeting Butch?> he wondered trying to keep his jealous impulses from surfacing.

He hardly kept interest in the meeting with Gigi Orleans, the perfume entrepreneur. The rest of the morning, and early afternoon passed without Laura saying a word about her conversation with Butch. Time was also nearing her personal appointment which he was convinced was also Butch-related. It was a good thing that Laura maintained her business focus. Ms. Orleans feared that the formula for her new fragrance would be stolen and be reproduced by a competitor. Laura took copious notes during the meeting and promised to stop by her company first thing the next the morning. Laura escorted their new client to the elevator. Once back in the office, she freshened up in Mr. Steele's washroom. Purse and keys in hand, she poked her head into his office, "I'm leaving, I call you tonight when I get home."

"Tonight?" That sounded so late. I'll call you later... I'll call you this evening...either would have indicated that she intended to have only a brief appointment with Butch. Just the way she said 'tonight' made it sound like she wasn't going to get in until very late. That thought disturbed him enormously.
End Part 1
To Part 2