Collaborating Steele part 2/3
Date: Tuesday, July 11, 2000
sue hantak <>

Part 2

She was indeed meeting with Butch Beemis. When she hung up the phone earlier in the day, she was unsure if she wanted to be involved in his latest project. Butch had done numerous murder mystery novels. His new manuscript, however, would feature a female private detective. She knew Butch's books were very heavy on sex and very light on actual mystery. Laura reasoned that he was going to do it with or without her. She feared if left to his own perverted imagination, he would only further damage the perception of women in the profession. She insisted on having some input and editing controls. Truth be told, she was actually flattered that someone finally respected her as an investigator, even if it was Butch Beemis.

Laura approached his table. He smiled at her as he set his pilsner glass on the table. Without moving a gentlemanly muscle, he merely motioned with a nod for Laura to take a seat in the booth next to him.

Laura realized at that moment the little nuances that she took for granted. Now seated next to her- the antithesis of Remington Steele, Butch Beemis. He was unshaven and slouching. His brash, ill-mannered, and crude conduct had not improved. He wore his shirt opened well below the sternum, and the same pair of faded jeans that he's worn since the last time she saw him.

"I see you've graduated to using a glass for your beer, Mr. Beemis," Laura commented as she sat down.

"Yeah, I even wear shoes on occasion, baby."

"You may call me Laura or Miss Holt. I am not your baby, your sweetheart, or any other condescending pet name you think is charming." Laura set down the law.

Butch merely gave her a smirk. The waitress came by with another beer for Butch, "Would you like a drink?"

"Scotch, rocks"

"Pretty ballsy drink for a chick." Butch remarked. "That's just the sort of drink my character would order."

:Laura rubbed her brow wondering what she was getting herself into.

"Sooooooo Laura, you going to bed with me on this project or not."

"If you mean .....will I allow you to follow me around on a case or two, lend my expertise and insight as a female private investigator, then yes I'm interested in participating."

"Do you have to run this by your boss?"

"That's not necessary. Mr. Steele won't mind." She knew that was a lie.

"You haven't told him, have you?"

"I'll tell him tonight."

In much the same way she said the word, "tonight" earlier to Mr. Steele, Butch also read into her choice of word and the way she said it. It suggested a personal involvement.

"Man, sleeping with your boss, that's so cliche, Holt. I wouldn't even put that in my book."

"Get your mind out of the gutter. I am not the character in your book. This is not about me. You are only allowed to observe, Butch, you may not question, you may not analyze."

"Touchy, touchy...Did I hit a nerve?"

"This meeting is over. I need to have the client sign a waiver if you are going to be privy to her case, If you'll excuse me." Laura scooted out of the booth and headed for Gigi's Boutique on Rodeo Drive.

Ms. Orleans insisted that Laura try every fragrance in her shop. By the time she got home she was nauseous from the mixture of perfumes emanating from her body. She filled her claw footed tub and soaked until she pruned. She finally called Remington at nine fifty.

"Steele here."

"Hi, it's me."

"I was just about to call out a search party."

"I stopped at Gigi's after my meeting."

"Starting a case without me?"

"Well it had to do with my meeting, actually."

"Care to enlighten me about this meeting of yours?"

"I talked to Butch Beemis this morning. He's researching for his new novel with a female lead character. He asked me to meet with him to discuss collaborating." Laura closed her eyes and held her breath waiting for his response.

"You're not going to do it, are you?"

"Actually, I want to."

"Laura, you can't be serious. Butch Beemis writes trash. His books are degrading to women."

"That's precisely why I need to do this. Without my input, his heroine will probably sleep with clients, suspects and do Lord knows what else to solve the mystery. Maybe I can show him that a woman can use more than her body to be successful."

"Laura, that's a noble effort, but need I remind you that you're talking about Butch Beemis?"

"I know he can be despicable at times but..."

"You're not still...even in a small know... attracted to him, are you?"

"How can you even ask me that? This conversation is over. Goodnight Mr. Steele."


The next morning, Laura pounded on Butch's door after pressing on his doorbell repeatedly. She finally heard his gruff voice from the other side of the door, "Yeah, yeah, what is it." He opened the door wearing only leopard boxer shorts scratching his chest like a Neanderthal.

"C'mon get dressed, we're late," she urged. "and try to find something with buttons this time."

"What are you?... my mother?"

"What a scary thought," Laura muttered as he disappeared into his bedroom.

Butch reemerged wearing a pullover shirt and black jeans. "Let's go, PI Girl," he announced once his boots were on. At the curb, he laughed as she approached her Rabbit. "You still drive this?" he asked with distaste.

"Just get in."

"Why would a beautiful and fascinating woman such as yourself drive such a boring and pragmatic car. I tell you, Holt, my character is going to drive something like that." He pointed to a sleek black Porsche.

"That's such a guy car. She should drive something like that." Laura turned his attention to a passing dark green Jaguar convertible. "It's classy, yet sexy. It exudes a certain affluent successfulness."

"Jag? I guess I could see my heroine in a Jag..."

"Driving it or doing other things in it?" Laura asked dryly.

"Now who's mind is in the gutter?"

Ms. Orleans introduced Laura and Butch to Kyle Jennings, who showed them the operation behind Orlean's Fragrances. Laura took notes on the case while Butch took notes on Laura. They left the office with a list of employees; Laura's starting point to investigate who might be behind the corporate spying. Mr. Steele wasn't the only one with an aversion to legwork. While Laura ran the names through the computer, Butch made himself at home on the sofa in Steele's office.

"Have we started taking in stray animals, Miss Holt?" Remington asked from the connecting door referring to a sleeping Butch in his office.

Laura dragged him into her office and closed the door. "You know why he's here."

"Laura what am I supposed to do if he's in my office?"

"You could try working," she handed him a list of employee names.

He put the list down on her desk, "Not until we talk about this Butch thing."

"What Butch thing?"

At the sound of his name Butch rose from the sofa to listen from the other side of the door.

"I don't like the idea of him researching you." Remington admitted.

"Ahhh the truth comes out."

"Didn't you read his last book, The Murdering Mistress. I can only imagine the research that went into those 343 pages of depravity."

"As I recall, you liked the stakeout chapter in that book."

"I just commented that perhaps we should take along a few sex toys with us next time."

"Look you don't have to like the decision I've made ,but I refuse to fight you on this the entire time I'm working on his project."

"Okay then how about fighting about why you never spend the entire night with me?"

"That's not fair, you know I've stayed a lot of times."

"I'm not talking about the weekends, Laura. I'm referring to you slinking off in the wee hours on a weeknight. Dating you is like having custody of Cinderella. Every other weekend, and weeknights but only before midnight."

"I stayed once and remember what happened?" Laura could feel the heat of a blush emerge.

"Of course I remember. Waking up... to you doing that to me...Why do think I want you to stay more often?"

"That's not what I mean."

"So we got to the office a little late. The world didn't end did it?"

"9:15 is a LITTLE late, 11:35 is obscenely late and Mildred couldn't keep a straight face all day."

"Oh you're exaggerating."

"Don't tell me you don't notice that she knocks or buzzes before she comes through the door now."

"She's just being courteous."

"Courteous? My ass, she's afraid of interrupting something much more than a kiss."

"Well then, we'll just tell her about your little rule and how that will never happen."

He smiled at the memory of the time they almost lost control. It was late in the evening, well past the time since Mildred went home. They had stopped by the office after a charity benefit. Laura needed to change out of her skin tight, extremely alluring, but utterly uncomfortable gown. The office was much closer than either apartment. She pulled the pins out of her hair and asked him to unzip it for her. He had been fantasizing about doing just that ever since he saw her put it on. In the small confines of the office bathroom, they were definitely not conducting business. Something about the couch in his office made Laura particularly uneasy. When they hit the cushions, Laura put a stop to the foreplay. That night she came up with her latest ridiculous rule to never make love in the office.

"My little rule! Don't put this all on me. You really think it's a good idea to just give in to every little desire and impulse?...Nevermind, don't answer that...I just think we need to keep a professional atmosphere at the office. That's all."

"Then why can't we give in when we're at home?"

"You're talking about staying over aren't you?"

"Isn't that what we are arguing about?"

"I thought we were arguing about Butch."

Butch was listening to the whole conversation. He was so amused by their exchange that he was reconsidering the sleeping with the boss subplot, afterall.
End Part 2
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