- Humane Steele 2/3
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000
Here it is. Part 2 of "Humane Steele".
Disclaimer: Suitable for kids of any age.
Scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing_pause_scrubbing, scrubbing,
scrubbing_pause. Huffing and puffing_huffing and puffing_blowing
off steam. There she goes taking out her frustration on that
kitchen floor as if it was responsible for throwing that ridiculous
accusation at her- the one about her father. What the hell does
Nero's disappearance have to do with her father anyway? Ridiculous
is what she told him and that's what it was- ridiculous indeed.
The only connection between Nero and her father might possible
have been that they both abandoned her after stealing her heart.
But she forgave her father for tearing her heart into little
pieces- at least she'd like to think so. And she supposed in
time she'd forgive Nero if he did pull a "daddy" on
her, burning his bridges, never looking back since that day he
set foot out the door. And what did he mean by 'this is really
about your father isn't it Laura?' Is He thinking that she didn't
give one fig whether or not Nero comes back into her life? If
that's what was fixated in that mind of his, he's wrong- TOTALLY
and COMPLETELY wrong. The same could be said about her father.
Even now she's still hoping for a father and daughter reunion.
<So there> she thought, <as she continued taking her
frustration out on the floor, you're wrong Remington Steele,
very wrong. I DO care and I wish that Nero would put in an appearance
right about now>. Of course, he might get paw prints all over
her newly scrubbed kitchen floor. But joke aside, she missed
her loyal companion- who'd sit by the window waiting for her
to come home and the moment she walked through the door, he'd
greet her with a series of meow, which was his way of asking
her, "how was your day Laura?" She stopped scrubbing
the floor suddenly, then started to admire her work. Nice work,
if she do say so herself. Easing up from the floor, she snatched
the telephone receiver up with one hand, dialing with the other,
punching down on the buttons a bit too hard, stood there impatiently
waiting for him to pick up at his end.
"Answer the phone damnit," she said into the mouthpiece,
"Hello_Steele residence_" That sweet accented voice
spoke. That voice gets all every time, sending shivers down her
"How did you know?"
"About my father_I don't recall mentioning_"
"Your mother told me_" he put in quickly.
"When?" She asked through clenched teeth.
"When I accompanied her to the airport a few weeks ago,"
"I didn't realize you two got so chummy_"
"She needed to vent and I was willing to listen_" He
said quickly, already resenting this line of questioning.
"And you never thought of mentioning it to me, that you
and her had this little talk_about my father. What other secrets
have you and my mother been keeping from me?"
"Secrets- is that the way you see it?"
"I just needed to know how you found out," She said
stubbornly, refusing to respond to that question.
"No that was it. Goodnight," she said quickly, then
returned the receiver to the hook before he could say another
He was left hanging, literally, staring into the mouthpiece in
wonderment. It would be some time before he returned his receiver
to the hook. Some time she had a way of getting under his skin,
but he'd stick around for the challenge, even if it killed him.
"You mean you still didn't_what went wrong this time?"
"My father," was all she told a curious Berniece.
"Your father_did he show up?"
"I don't get it,"
"He thinks that I ought to get more worked up about Nero_"
"Maybe you should be_"
"Not you too Berniece. Is he in his office?"
"Yep. He's waiting for you,"
"I'm sure. If for nothing else to chew me out about Nero."
She turned away from Berniece and started off for his office.
"No clawing," Berniece joked.
Laura gritted her teeth, while opening his office door, her defenses
on the alert, ready for anything he'd throw her way. When she
entered his office, his head was buried in the morning newspaper.
She purposely slammed the door shut and she heard him let out
a sigh in protest, angry with her for interrupting his morning
routine. He closed up the paper, resting it on his desk.
"Still fuming over last night I see," he said, fidgeting
with his tie, not making eye contact with her, sensing those
brown eyes were filled with anger.
That statement even got her more angry. "Of course I'm still
fuming," she shouted. "You made an accusation last
night that was totally unfair and certainly out of context,"
"Oh so we're off the topic of Nero and now we've moved on
to another- your father," he wondered, finally looking up
"I tried to find him," Laura said, flashing an annoyed
expression in his direction.
"And what happened?"
"Two years after he left- I was eighteen at the time- it
was that summer before I went off to Stanford University. I had
a lot of time on my hands, so I figured it would be the perfect
"Did you find him?"
"Well I thought of hiring a private investigator to help
me locate him. I did have some money put away that I earned from
my part-time jobs_"
"What kind of work did you do?"
"Babysitting, watering lawns, that sort of thing."
"So did you hire the dick to find your father?"
"Oh I managed to make it as far as the door but then_"
"You got cold feet?"
"Well yes_something kept me from walking into his office,"
"What was it?"
"Fear," she told him, smiling sadly, her eyes reflective.
"Obviously you've never mentioned this to Abigail_"
"Well no," she said slowly. "She would never have
approved of my decision so_"
"She's said that you never spoke a word about your father
after he left-"
"Did she!" Laura said, and that wasn't a question.
"But did you ever try to find out how she felt about his
"Did she ever ASK me how I felt!" Laura returned, not
batting an eye. "All I know is that any mention of my father
in that house was taboo ever since that day he walked out on
"You two should talk Laura_"
"What would be the point?" she interrupted. "As
you very well know, mother and I have never seen eye to eye on
anything_well maybe just one thing," And that one thing-
would be him. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have her
line somewhere after all, to reel in a big one, namely Remington
"I think that if you two actually sat down and talked, you'd
both discover that your feelings concerning your father's departure
ran parallel to each other."
"What is it you're not telling me?" She asked, a suspicious
look on her face.
He cleared his throat, straightening his back. "Well Abigail
confided in me, about hiring a private investigator to locate
"She did!" Laura asked, looking very stunned by his
statement. That's one hell of a shock to her system. "She
never said a word. Did she find him?"
"Well like you- fear stopped her,"
"What was she afraid of?"
"That the truth might have been more than she had bargained
"You mean that she was afraid to find out that he'd left
her for another woman_"
"Well yes," he said slowly. "That kind of truth
is not that easy to live with. So she changed her mind and_"
"And like me was still in the dark as to why he upped and
"The truth is, I also was afraid that's why he left_"
"Well_there might have been other reasons,"
"True," she had to admit. "But we'll never know
what those reasons were,"
Seeing a look of sadness and deep longing in those shiny brown
eyes, prompted him to say, "It's still not too late_"
"I've given up on that idea years ago," she said, referring
to locating her father. "Granted if one day he found his
way to my front door, I'll try my best to act civil toward him-
and if he begged me for a second chance, maybe I'd forgive him
and welcome him with open arms_"
"Well what he did was very thoughtless and inconsiderate
but he is flesh and blood and he gave you life," he reasoned.
"Sounds familiar," she said, her face brightening with
a smile, recalling that he'd made almost the speech when she
was complaining about her mother's interference in her personal
"But what I was really hinting at," he said, correcting
her thinking. "Is that it isn't too late for you and Abigail
to sit down and have that very important talk,"
"I suppose you're right."
"It will bring you two closer together," he was almost
Laura suddenly looked frightful. "Perish the thought,"
she said in a jovial tone of voice.
"Why?" He asked, with a smiling face.
"As it is, she never lets up on digging into personal life.
Laura you need to have your line somewhere is what she keeps
drumming in my ear- I even hear it in my sleep. Lord knows I
could do without that and her constant badgering about_"
"Comes with the territory of being a mother I suppose,"
"Hopefully it's not hereditary," Laura joked.
That comment caused him to let out a soft chuckle.
"And I'm sorry," he began apologizing in a soft tone
"It was very unfair of me to_"
"No," she cut in, "If anyone should apologize
it's me. You had every reason to be concerned about Nero and
I should be too. What I said before, about him doing that sort
of thing wasn't entirely correct. Ever so often, he'd slip out
the back door and run around the neighborhood but he always come
back. He's never been away this long. So you're right, there's
good reason to be worried. Nero's somewhat of a loner you know,"
"I suspected that,"
"I thought he was just another stray hanging around the
neighborhood. Then one night when I came home, I found him sitting
on the mat outside my front door. He was cold and hungry. I took
him in and fed him and then gave him this speech about the situation
not being permanent and that I had no time to take care of pets
and offer them TLC because I worked long hours. I put him out
the next morning- hated doing it_"
"But he kept coming back,"
"Yeah- it's like he knew what time I was coming home and
so he sat on that mat patiently waiting for me to show up,"
"And each time you took him in and fed him, stroked his
back, that sort of thing,"
"Did you name him or_"
"That was the name on the collar around his neck. I found
out later on that his previous owner, who was a very rich man,
died, and his relatives didn't want the responsibility of taking
care of a cat so they put him out into the street,"
"Where he had to fend for himself- scrounging around for
food and shelter until some kind stranger took him in and gave
him a place to call home," he figured, having been in almost
the same predicament. "Seems that Nero and I have a lot
in common after all. No wonder he's so attached to me. He's very
lucky to have you. Pets are no different than people- you show
them kindness and give them love and they are forever loyal,
so I think he'll be returning home,"
"I'm hoping. I'd forgotten how sensitive he was- I really
shouldn't have yelled at him like that."
"Well you yell at me all the time and I'm still here,"
Laura giggled. "You're right on that," she said.
"If he doesn't turn up by tonight, we'll start looking for
him in the morning."
"Thanks," she said sincerely.
"You see we do have something in common after all,"
"That's right!" she said in an upbeat tone of voice.
"We're both animal lovers it seems_"
"Hmmm- I'd more like to think of us as humanitarians,"
"I like that," she said, smiling brightly.
"Care to join me for lunch," he ventured.
"Why not," she said cheerfully, rewarding him with
a great big smile, feeling in much better spirits than when she
first stepped into his office.
But underneath that cheerfulness, she was very much concerned
Stay tuned for p. 3 - Nero's homecoming.
- To Part