Felony: Steeling 2/3
Date: Friday, April 21, 2000
sue hantak <hantaks@mtco.com>

Laura spent the afternoon talking to a newspaper reporter about the case. His information led her to the victim's place of employment. During an innocuous conversation, with a security desk officer, he also mentioned the shooting of Jacobs from Union Title Company as an oddity. Laura's trained investigative instincts however saw it as more than just a coincidence. When she returned to her mother's that evening, her swollen ankles and aching back told her she overdid it a bit today. Thank God he wasn't there to chastise her for what she was doing.

As soon as she had that thought, he breezed through the door, "Hello? Abigail? ... Laura? Anyone home?"

"Mr. Steele?" Laura cringed; partially from the discomfort of getting up and partially from the fact he was certainly here to put a stop to her investigating. She made her way to the entry to see him with a garment bag slung over his shoulder. "I told you it wasn't necessary to come."

"Really Laura, you don't look the least bit excited to see me." He put down the bag and leaned in for a chaste peck.

"Did my mother call you?"

"No, actually I overheard Mildred on the phone."

*Busted* she thought to herself. "So you thought you would abandon our children and rush right here"

Before he could answer, Abigail came into the foyer as well. Remington and Laura exchanged cold stares as if to silently say "we'll finish this later"

"Remington!" Abigail was decidedly more delighted to see him than Laura. She gave him a hug and took his bag from his shoulder. Remington followed her into the living room. Laura rolled her eyes , shook her head and reluctantly followed. Her mom and Remington were chatting away. Laura hated when the two of them got together. She felt like the uninvited, a third wheel, in their presence. Most mothers would have nothing but contempt for a man who was living with, had children with, but was not married to their daughter. Actually Remington got along better with her mother than she did. Even though they never really told her, Abigail knew it was Laura who was against getting married. As soon as Laura heard the conversation turning again in that direction, she excused herself and went to the bedroom. Remington noticed Laura wince when she got up from her chair, made up a jet lag excuse and went after her. Laura was gathering her things from the dresser to take a shower . Remington came up behind her and tenderly massaged her lower back. "Is that the spot?".

"Mmmm...hum" she leaned forward and shifted from one foot to the other giving into the soothing relief he was providing.

"Why do you always do this?" Remington asked as non-accusing as possible.

" Do what?... Get pregnant?"

"No" he turned her around to face him. " Laura I'm really trying here not to berate you for this latest escapade, I thought we had a deal."

"Speaking of deals, you were supposed to watch Evan and Scot while I visited my mother."

"Our children are in the capable hands of Mindy. Now let's get back to this." he pulled out the printout of Mildred's research.

"Is that from Mildred?" Laura excitedly grabbed for the paper, but Remington held it out of her reach.

"Not so fast..." He walked a few steps away. Tapping the folded paper against his temple he stipulated,

"I'll let you see this under one condition...."

Laura folded her arms and grudgingly responded, "I know what you're going to tell me."

"Good, then we can get on a plane and go home tomorrow."

"You might as well not show it to me if you are going to usher me home. Besides, the police asked me to stay for a possible lineup when they arrest the driver of the car. It's my civic duty."

"You and I both know your so-called civic duty has nothing to do with you staying here."

Abigail gently knocked on the door. She entered under the pretext of bringing extra towels, but everyone knew she was checking on them. Laura grabbed the towels from her mother and also snatched the printout from her distracted partner. She quickly locked herself in the bathroom. Remington and Abigail shared a sympathetic expression. Laura spent the evening alternating the use of the phone line between connecting her laptop and calls to LA. She had a legal pad scribbled with notes.


27th Precinct

Oct 7th 10:30 am

The car information and description of the driver led the police to arrest Joseph Deangelo. Laura couldn't dissuade Remington from coming with her to view a line up. Laura stood behind the one-way glass together with Lt. Van Buren, Claire Kincaid and Marshall Lloyd, the attorney for the defendant. Once Laura made the identification. Van Buren and Mr. Lloyd left the room leaving Laura and Claire. Claire started in a businesslike manner, "Thank you for coming down to do this, not many people are willing to get involved.". Remington was sitting at a nearby desk waiting for Laura. Claire opened the door for Laura and motioned for her to proceed her. Remington casually walked over to meet them, "All ready to go?".

Claire extended her hand to him in a completely professional approach, "Hello, I'm Claire Kincaid, I'm with the DA's office."

Laura was relieved that, for once, a young attractive woman didn't flounce herself at him. Laura made a quick assessment. *confident, smart, successful, professional, ...* She reminded her of herself.

Remington shook her hand, "Remington Steele.... I'm Laura's partner".

Claire was expecting the word, "husband" to come out and was caught slightly off guard. Her gaze shifted to Laura's obvious pregnant condition and made a quick assessment, *She's my idol, my feminist ideal personified. She appears to have it all; a career, a family, and a very handsome man*.

Laura suddenly felt very lightheaded. She grabbed the edge of the desk for support and leaned against it.

"Laura?.... Darling, what is it?..... Are you okay?"

Claire rolled a chair over from a nearby desk, "I'll get her some water."

"I just got a little dizzy, I'll be fine in a minute."

Claire returned with some water. Remington handed it to Laura.

"Thank you," Laura took a sip. "I guess I should have eaten breakfast this morning."

Remington hastily excused himself. Laura took another sip then asked, "What is Mr. Deangelo's connection to the victim? Is he associated with the title companies?"

"How do you know Mr. Deangelo's name?"

"Oh..., well.... I had my office run a check on the plates" Laura reluctantly admitted

Claire glanced around and whispered, "Miss Holt, whatever you do, don't tell anyone that you

investigated this.....If the defense knew, it could taint you as a witness and your testimony might become inadmissible."

Remington reappeared with a package of peanut butter crackers and a can of 7UP he got from a vending machine. He handed them to Laura without saying a word. Laura tried to break the tension, "Does this mean you're not taking me to the Russian Tea Room for lunch?"

He replied with a rather terse, "Let's go"

They got into a cab, Remington avoided any eye contact with Laura. She knew he was angry with her the minute he left to get the crackers. Actually he seemed to be mad at her ever since he arrived. They sat in silence all the way to the train station, and the entire ride back to her mother's house. Laura announced she was going to lie down for a nap. She gave Remington a look as if to say *you see, I'm taking care of our baby*. Remington saw the look as a challenge and followed her to the bedroom. Before he could open his mouth, Laura started, "I have one mother already, I don't need you to tell me how to take care of myself."

"If you're not going to listen to your mother or me, at least listen to your own body"....Laura, do you remember what happened with Evan?......."

"That was different."

"Since you got involved in this case, I have found you doubled over with back pain",... He walked over to the dresser picked up the legal pad. "You spent most of last night compiling this..." He flung her notes across the room. "You haven't even taken a time out to eat this morning.... I bet if we checked your blood pressure right now, it would be through the roof."

"The only thing affecting my blood pressure right now is YOU!" Laura shouted back.

Remington was on a roll, he was saving up for this argument long before Laura even went to visit her mother, "When was the last time you even talked to Evan and Scot....Remember them?... Two little boys about so high (he made a gesture with his hand) dark hair?... brown eyes?..."

"Okay, okay, I get it... I'm a lousy mother... Tell me something I don't already know", Laura stormed out of the room. A myriad of emotions swept over her, anger, guilt, sadness, regret, hurt. Abigail followed her to the back yard and found her curled up on the chaise lounge. For once, she didn't interfere, she just handed Laura a blanket and said, "Here, it's a little chilly out here".

Laura saw the blanket as an olive branch, "I suppose you heard all that?"

Abigail nodded, still showing a great amount of self-control not to add her two cents.

"Mom, I know he's right... Laura conceded, "How the hell did I get myself involved in all of this?"

"Laura, you didn't intentionally try to witness a crime."
"No not that, I mean this" Laura gestured to her expanding waistline.

"Laura, we had that discussion when you were ten."

When she stopped laughing, Laura clarified further, "I've always known that I wasn't exactly the minivan-mom. I should have learned my lesson when I had problems carrying Evan. You know, as much as I hate to admit it, Scot was an accident....and now I'm having my third! I guess becoming a mom really does make you lose your mind. They shouldn't let stubborn, workaholic women have children."

"I'm going to make myself a sandwich, come inside I'll make you one too." Abigail coaxed Laura back into the house.
Remington was already in the kitchen. A pleading look silently asked Abigail to give them some privacy.

Abigail announced, "I think I'll go out and get a sandwich."

As soon as she left, Remington started, "Was Scot really an accident?"

Laura was embarrassed to confess, "Does it matter?"

"Do you regret having children?"

"No, I only regret that I'm not the mother they need"

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have picked a fight with you."
"I deserved it. I'm sorry, this is your baby too, I should be more careful". Laura put her left hand on her belly and raised the other to make an oath. "I will be more careful, I promise"

Remington grabbed her right hand and pulled her into an embrace. She locked her hands around his neck and pulled him into an impassioned kiss. Remington scooped Laura up in his arms and carried her back to the bedroom. "Now my dear, you are going to take that nap."

"First I want to call home."


Office of Jack McCoy

Oct 7 6:30 pm

When Claire saw Jack return to his office, she followed him in. "We might have a problem" Claire started.

"When don't we have a problem?" Jack grumbled

"Our witness on Deangelo.... she has been doing some investigating on her own."

"Why would she do that?"

"She's a private investigator in LA, she just got curious."

"How much does she know?" Jack cautiously inquired as he sorted through his pile of pink message slips.

"She asked me about the title company connection, I'm really not sure what she knows beyond that."

"Have lunch with her tomorrow, remind her that she is our only witness , and tell her to leave the investigating to the police."

"Maybe she has some information that we could use....Our case right now is pretty thin. I'm not sure we even have enough for an indictment."

"What do we have?" Jack started to pack his briefcase to leave for the evening.

Claire reclined on his leather sofa. She slipped off her shoes, put her feet up and relayed what little information she had, "Deangelo was identified as the driver of the car. Both shootings were done with the same gun. but we still don't have a weapon. We think that Newby uncovered the fraud of the title policies, but we still are trying to link him to Jacobs. Deangelo claims to have an alibi for the Jacobs shooting though."

"So all we really have is the identification of an overzealous eyewitness?"

Claire nodded

"I'm not going to the grand jury with just that."

"I'll call Briscoe and Curtis in the morning". Jack stood at his door, motorcycle helmet in hand waiting for Claire to join him. Claire reached down to retrieve her shoes. Jack turned off the light, closed his office door and followed Claire to her desk. With coat and purse in hand, she and Jack left for an evening together.


(Home of Abigail Holt)

Laura slept for a few hours. Remington brought in a dinner tray. He set the tray on the night stand and gently raised the quilt that covered Laura. He pushed up her loose maternity top to expose her rounded midsection. Remington lightly kissed her there and whispered to the baby inside. "Wake up your mommy, it's time for her to feed you." He continued to touch and kiss her and their baby until Laura opened her eyes. Remington peeked up over her. "I brought you some dinner."

"Are you talking to me or Cameron?"

"Why do you call him Cameron?"

"Because that's the case we were working on when we conceived?"

"You've named our children after cases?" Remington exclaimed incredulously.

"The EVAN Museum, the time we were in SCOTland looking for that nobleman that disappeared."

"So if we....you know...way back when we first met, we could have ended up with children named,

Mulch, or Pitkin or Friedlich?"

"Don't be silly."

"I'm being silly?"

"If it were up to you, our children would be James Stewart Steele, Lawrence Olivier Steele or maybe Spencer Tracy Steele"

When Laura was about to rattle off another Hollywood legend, Abigail interrupted, "Laura dear, there is a Norman Maxwell on the phone for you". Laura looked sheepishly at Remington. He shooed her with his hand and conceded, "Go ahead"

Norman Maxwell went on to testify against Perennial years ago and found himself a job with the SEC investigating fraud for the last several years. Norman used his connections to discover that First Community Bank sold a pool of loans to Fidelity Federal. First Community had a company called RAM(Reynolds Asset Management) servicing the loans. It appears that someone at First Community 'added' a few non-existent files to pad the contract with RAM. RAM used Union Title to issue fraudulent policies to fabricate hard files when the pool was sold to Fidelity. It seems there were several benefiting from the scam. First Community sold the paper on mortgages that didn't exist. RAM was being paid a percentage for servicing phantom properties and Union Title, issuing policies, for a large institution might be tempted to go along to preserve a client with many, legitimate mortgages. A deal involving several hundred loans valued at millions of dollars was at stake. In the Dilbert atmosphere of several large institutions, it's painfully easy to computer generate 'extra' loans. Newby and Jacobs were either, grunt processors who discovered the scam or were looking to blackmail themselves a piece of the pie. Now they just needed to connect the shooter, Deangelo to one of the players.
End Part 2
To Part 3