- More Of A License To Steele/pt
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2001
- By Ilsa Lund <email@example.com>
rating, summary, etc. in part 1.
Secretary/receptionist Bernice Fox ceased her grooming, replaced
her mirror and answered the phone.
"Remington Steele investigations? - I'm afraid Mr Steele's
not here at the moment. May I take a message? - I see. Mr Steele
refuses all press conferences. If you want to deal with us, you
have to deal with his associate Laura Holt. I'll let her know
as soon as she comes in - Thank you."
She hastily scribbled on a notepad and checked her watch. Where
"Hey Bernice!" A loud giggle and rapping on the suite
interrupted her reverie. Grinning at Rebecca Douglas, a secretary
from law firm Leiber & Stollerman, the gregarious Miss Fox
slunk over to the entrance and pulled a door ajar.
"Hi Rebecca. Where're you off to?"
The svelte blonde with a cap of perfectly coifed hair answered
with a wiggle of her eyebrows. "There's a new hunk two floors
up. I'm pretending that we've run out of sugar. Wanna come see?"
Bernice groaned in response. "I can't. We're too busy here."
"Never mind, I'll tell him you said 'hello' okay?"
The response was a sardonic grin. "In my position, you'd
do exactly the same thing. Any more gossip on what's-his-name?
That South African dreamboat?"
"None. You gotta see this guy Rebecca. He says things
like 'delightful' and he pronounces every syllable too. None
of the creeps we know do that."
"Yeah, the only guy I've ever heard say 'delightful' is
She sighed dreamily. "I'd like to hear him say 'breakfast
in bed.' Lunch later?"
"I'll call you Bernice and I'll also let you know what this
hunk upstairs is like."
"Okay. I'll let you know when South Africa returns. Hopefully
he's in the market for a 'delightful' female."
"Does he like blondes?"
"Get to the back of the very long line Rebecca. I think
someone's got her eye on him."
"Oh yeah? Who?"
Bernice smiled enigmatically and waved her friend away. She slowly
walked over to her desk, picked up the report on the Jameson
case and scanned it.
Minutes passed but eventually a jaunty Laura bounced into the
reception area and picked up her messages.
"Cutting it a little close, aren't you?" Bernice admonished
Her beam widened. If she had a pair of wings, she'd have taken
off. "I had the most incredible evening."
Bernice gaped at her employer. She'd seen that expression before.
She'd had it herself. A man usually caused it.
In all the time she'd been at Remington Steele Investigations,
she'd yet to spot it on Laura. Now at last - there it was. What
kind of guy had breached the goddess of ambition? This was practically
anewsworthy event. She should call Elliot Walsh at Spotlight.
One word. No name. It was obvious who'd spun her propeller. Way
to go Laura!
"I wanna hear all the gory details." Bernice ordered
as she trailed behind the brains of the agency.
"First, he bought me a bottle of champagne -"
The normally genial Murphy Michaels emerged from the bathroom,
frowning. He was decked out in the linen company uniform ready
to play his part as the decoy in their covert Royal Lavulite
"Who bought you champagne?" he demanded imperiously.
Some man had bought her champagne? She was seeing someone? Why
didn't he know? Laura didn't even like champagne. And why did
she look so - so - so happy?
Both ladies ignored him.
"Actually, it was a magnum." Laura clarified, pleased
to have something juicy to tell her secretary for a change. Listening
to endless tales of Bernice's sexual exploits had become an all
too familiar occurrence - not that she minded. The attractive,
go-getting brunette was always highly entertaining. But damn,
it felt good for the positions to be reversed. For once.
Murphy stubbornly pressed on. "I thought you didn't like
Both ladies ignored him again.
Bernice scrutinised the face before her. It was glowing. Did
she -? With him? Only one way to find out: "What happened
after the champagne?"
The question sounded innocent but it was loaded with meaning.
Laura retrieved a small stool needed for the climb up to their
storage area. She was oblivious to both her associates as she
recalled the events of only a few hours ago. She'd hardly slept
all night - and when sleep finally came, he'd played a starring
role in her dream. She'd stretched out an arm, puzzled at the
cold, empty space. That's what had finally woken her up.
"We went for a drive and that's when things really got hairy."
"Hairy?" Bernice prompted. Was that a coded message?
Was Laura trying to say she saw hair? That she got it on with
the South African dreamboat? If she did, a girl after her own
heart - straight to the action. Yowza!
By now, Murphy had had enough of being treated like he wasn't
in the room. "Who went for a drive?" he queried, raising
The secretary impatiently turned to him. It was on the tip of
her tongue to sarcastically respond, 'Duh!' but instead, she
answered his question. "Laura and special agent Ben Pearson."
Him! Murphy glanced at his partner as she rummaged around in
their storage space. Was he the reason for Laura's enthusiasm?
What the hell was so special about him? He talked funny. And
besides that, there was something about him, a shiftiness. His
gut instinct said that that South African agent wasn't quite
what he appeared to be. He'd distrusted the fella on sight and
he had a suspicion that the feeling was mutual.
As his associate busied herself with whatever she was looking
for, Murphy took the bull by the horns. "You went joyriding
with a man who could be an international jewel thief? Or for
all we know, a mass murderer? That's not like you Laura."
"Didn't he check out?"
Chagrin flooded through him. He looked at both ladies then grudgingly
admitted the truth. "Yeah, he checked out. I talked to his
supervisor this morning. The only bump is that Pearson wasn't
supposed to arrive until today. So just to be sure I requested
a wire photo."
Laura finally found the item and shot a querying glance at her
secretary. "Where are the bullets?"
Bernice hastily departed.
Murphy gawked at the woman he'd worked with for years, the woman
he'd rarely seen with the agency gun. "What are you doing?"
She matter-of-factly replied, "This isn't going to be the
piece of cake we thought it would be. The men who originally
stole those gems are brutal murderers."
Bernice returned shells in hand. She passed them to her boss
who promptly began loading the weapon.
"They followed us last night. Even though Ben took care
of them brilliantly -"
"Ben?" Murphy echoed, sickened. She was on first name
terms with the creep? What the hell had gone on last night? How
far did he get?
Ben? Bernice thought impishly. She was on first name terms with
the South African dreamboat? What the hell had gone on last night?
How far did he get?
Laura handed the gun to Murphy. "I'd feel better if you
packed a rod."
He was utterly lost. "A rod?" What the hell was she
Mission accomplished, she picked up her purse and quickly headed
for the door. This would be the most crucial day yet. She had
to stay one step ahead of Gordon Hunter and convince him everything
- what was Ben doing today?
"Bernice, page Remington Steele in exactly -" good
lord! Was that the time already? " - twenty-seven minutes
just to keep his presence alive. I'll tell Hunter that Mr. Steele
has already left for the airport."
"Good luck," her secretary called out as Laura cheerfully
strode through the suite doors.
"Sounds like he got a lot for his lousy bottle of champagne!"
Murphy barked bitterly.
Was that jealousy? Bernice smiled mischievously. "It was
a magnum," she reminded him.
They exchanged looks: his said, 'I didn't need to hear that'
- hers said, 'I know.'
He resumed his preparations for the Royal Lavulite and she sat
at her desk singing contentedly to herself. The phone rang.
"Remington Steele investigations? - She's just left Mr Hunter.
She's on her way to - Thank you. You too." Bernice stood
up and dashed to the grandest office in the suite where she found
her colleague pacing.
"You'd better hurry Murphy. That was Hunter on the phone."
"Champagne. Huh! What's so good about champagne? I got her
"Murphy there's -"
He continued wearing down the carpet. "They weren't easy
to get either. I had to pay top dollar for those seats."
Bernice crossed her arms. "You and Laura went to a Raiders
He stopped, shocked. "You didn't know? You work here for
"Laura didn't tell me. How could I know?"
Murphy slapped his thighs in exasperation. "She didn't tell
"No. When was this?"
"A couple of weeks ago."
She shrugged. "First I'm hearing about it."
"I don't believe it. I take her to a Raiders game, a great
game, and you know nothing. Some creep goes for a ride with her
and she can't wait to tell you everything."
"Look on the bright side, the Raiders scored. Ben Pearson
"How do you know?"
Bernice pursed her lips. "Whaddaya mean 'how do I know?'
I know! You're talking to the afterglow expert and Laura didn't
have that one. I'll say this for that South African hunk, he's
got her glowing but not from a hop in the sack."
"She's like that and they didn't -?"
"Yep. Boy, imagine if they did."
"I'd rather not." He checked his pockets. "I don't
like this Bernice. I don't like this one bit. I don't like him
"You don't say," she responded dryly.
"I do say."
"Look, what're you worried about?"
"She'll never see him again after today. After we deliver
the Royal Lavulite. Which reminds me, Gordon Hunter just -"
Murphy brightened. "Bernice, that's the best thing you could've
said to me. We do our job, deliver the Royal Lavulite, he goes
back to South Africa and that's the end of -" he spat out
the name, "Ben Pearson."
"Yeah, life returns to normal. Remington Steele stays non-existent,
Laura's married to her work and you can carry on trying to get
her attention in peace."
She flicked her hair. "After today, you won't have to worry
about a rival."
"God, it'll feel so good to be rid of him and his stupid
accent. Bernice, I love ya!"
"All the guys say that. And then I wake up."
Murphy picked up his keys. "Listen, I want to know as soon
as that wire photo comes through."
"Don't worry. I'm on it. What's the big deal anyway?"
"Something tells me that that guy isn't what he appears
"You don't think he's a South African agent?" She placed
her hands on her hips.
"I can't explain it Bernice but I've got a bad feeling about
him. Let's just say that I'd be very surprised if he's who he
says he is."
She gasped. "But if he isn't Ben Pearson, who is he?"
"If he isn't Ben Pearson, he might be after the jewels."
"You mean, he could be trying to get close to Laura just
to get -"
"Yep," Murphy proclaimed. The dirty, rotten, lousy
"That son of a bitch!"
He nodded. "My thoughts exactly."
"Don't say anything to Laura until we're sure." Bernice's
blood was starting to boil. "If he isn't Ben Pearson - I'll
kill him myself. Did you see the look on her face? She's sold
on the guy."
"I'm disliking the creep more and more."
"You gotta get outta here. Go! I'll take care of things
after I've paged Remington Steele. Go on!"
"This whole thing's crazy but I think Laura might've pulled
the wool over Hunter's eyes. He doesn't know that Remington Steele
is her creation."
"Remington Steele's the least of our worries Murphy."
"Yeah. He sure is. I still say we should've passed on Hunter,
referred him to another agency. If we'd done that, we'd never
have met that agent."
"Suppose he is Ben Pearson?"
"Suppose he isn't? That's the problem Bernice. We can't
be sure until we see that photo. If only Ben Pearson, or whoever
he is, could be just like Remington Steele."
Halfway to her desk, she paused. Stupefied. "Run that by
"Invisible." Murphy supplied, laughing as he strolled
out of the suite doors.
Bernice whiled away the last few minutes listening to the radio
and reading a magazine until the time came to page Remington