Mother of Steele 3/5
Date: Sunday, May 20, 2007
From: "Lori Lanham" <>

Mother of Steele, Part Three
Mildred looked up from her desk as the glass doors opened to find an attractive sandy haired man with a duffle bag over his shoulder and another in his hand.
"May I help you?" she asked.
"I'm here to see Laura," the young man answered.
"Mrs. Steele is in conference," Mildred told him as the door to Mr. Steele's office opened.

"Murphy!" Laura exclaimed as she walked over to her old friend, her husband close behind.
"Hey Partner," Murphy said. Sitting his bag down, he opened his arms to receive Laura into a welcoming hug. When she'd stepped out of his embrace, he offered his hand to Remington.
"Steele," Murphy greeted him.
"Murphy," Remington answered.
"Why didn't you call?" Laura asked, stepping into her place beside her husband.
"We would have picked you up at the airport."
"No problem," Murphy answered. "I know how busy you've been. And I needed to rent a car, anyway-it wasn't a big deal getting here," he said with a wink in Laura's direction. "I still know the way."
Remington noted Murphy's bags and asked, "No time to stop by your hotel on the way?"
Murphy looked at Laura and her eyes grew wide. She turned to Remington.
"I forgot to tell you," she said. "I offered him the condo."
Murphy watched the interaction with interest, and Remington noticed his scrutiny.
"That's a wonderful idea, Darling," Remington said, putting an arm around Laura's waist. "Since Abigail has gotten settled into her own place, it's just been sitting empty. And after all, Murphy is here to lend us a hand, no need to bother with paying for a hotel." He reached into his pocket and took out his keys. He pulled a key off the ring and handed it to Murphy. "I hope you'll be as comfortable there as I was."
"Murph," Laura said, "why don't you go on over there and drop off your things, get settled in. We've got a meeting this afternoon, and then we can get together afterward."
"Why don't we have dinner?" Remington offered. "At our house."
"That's a great idea," Laura agreed, walking with Murphy to the door. "You have the address, say seven o'clock? Call if you need anything."
When Murphy had gone, Laura turned back to Remington and an amused Mildred.
"Laying it on a bit thick weren't you?" she said to her husband.
"I was simply being nice to the man, Laura," he replied. "At your request, I might add."
Laura rolled her eyes in response.
"C'mon," she said. "We have a meeting with Mrs. Hale at the Marina."
Murphy shook his head as he looked at the picture across from him. Laura was sitting on the sofa holding her baby in her lap. Remington Steele sat next to her with his arm around them both. This was something he never thought he'd see. If he were honest with himself, he'd admit that it was his greatest fear when he left a little over five years before. He knew then that Laura was falling for Steele, but he never expected the man to stick around. He looked at them now, they were really a family and it was obvious that Laura was happy.
"This is a great place," he said.
"Thank you," Remington answered. "We're still making it our own, but it's home."
"Mr. Steele is being modest," Laura added. "He's been working on this place for the past year, putting our personal stamp on it, you might say."
"I have to admit," Murphy said, "I'm impressed."
"You should see my studio," Laura told her friend. "Remington had one of the rooms downstairs turned into a dance studio. I was feeling a little blue right before Kate was born… worried that I'd never lose all the weight I gained… typically hormonal stuff," she said with a laugh. "And one day, he brought me down and showed me what he'd done with the room, it was amazing," she said, looking up at her husband with eyes full of love.

"And of course, his screening room is right across the hall," Laura went on.

Once again, Murphy just shook his head. "I never thought I'd see this day."
"Neither did I, Murph," Laura said, lifting the sleeping baby up to kiss her forehead.
"Why don't I take her up to bed?" Remington offered. "Give you and Murphy a chance to catch up."
"Thank you," Laura said, as Remington stood and took Kate from her. She kissed the baby once more, "Sleep well, my angel."
When Remington had gone, Murphy spoke up.
"You're really happy, aren't you?" he asked.
"Yes," Laura answered simply. "I am, Murph. Happier than I ever thought I would be. Our life is good," she said with a laugh before going on. "I mean, we still bicker all the time," she paused and bit her bottom lip. Looking up at Murphy through her eyelashes, she continued, "But making up is so much more fun."
"Laura!" Murphy exclaimed.
"Sorry Murph," she said amid her own laughter.

"Well," he said, "I'm glad I was wrong. I was sure he was gonna break your heart."
"And you'd come in and pick up the pieces?" she asked quietly.
"Something like that," he admitted.
"What about you, Murph?" she asked. "It's been a while since we really got a chance to talk. Have you found someone special?"
He couldn't admit to her his broken engagement or that he'd never been able to fully commit to another woman because deep in his heart, he'd been waiting for her. Now, he knew for certain that she was truly lost to him forever, and what a fool he'd been. Maybe now he was ready to move on.
"No," he answered, "not really. You know how it is, trying to run an agency… working all hours of the day and night. My life isn't really conducive to home and hearth. "He looked at her, and around at the home she'd built. "I guess it can be done, though. You and Steele seemed to have made it work."
"It's hard," Laura admitted. "We have to work at it every day, but it's worth it. He's become everything the public expects from Remington Steele, Murphy," she said, answering the question she knew he wouldn't ask. "And he's even more than I could have asked for…" she paused as Murphy opened his mouth to interrupt, but she held up her hand to stop him. "He's not perfect," she went on, shaking her head. "But neither am I. I know I'm no picnic to live with, but my Mr. Steele-he always tries to make me feel like a queen. He's good for me, Murphy. Good TO me, probably more so than I deserve. I put him through a lot."
"He deserved it," Murphy quipped, as he stood and began walking around the room.
"Maybe," Laura answered. "Maybe not. But in any case, he took it. He stuck around and took everything I dished out. He's pretty good at shoveling it back, but the point is that he's still here. We're making it work, both professionally and personally."
"Kate is really beautiful," Murphy said as he picked up a photo of the baby from a table.
"Thank you," Laura said her smile full of all the pride of a new mother. "She's amazing."
"I can't believe you're a mom," Murphy said.
"I know," she answered, "neither can I sometimes. I have to tell you, my mother is THRILLED. I think she finally understands what Remington and I do; she hasn't suggested I quit work to stay home with the baby once. She does tell me frequently that our work is far too dangerous."
"She's right," he answered. "It was one thing for us to risk life and limb as single people, but you and Steele are married, you've got that beautiful little girl upstairs depending on you."
"Yes, we do," she said. "But if we gave up our work, then we would be giving up a big part of who we are, and wouldn't that be doing her a disservice, too?"
"I guess so," Murphy said with a nod, understanding where she was going with the thought.
"We've just decided to be more careful," Laura stated. "We're taking fewer investigative cases, avoiding the ones that are blatantly dangerous. We're doing a lot more security work, and when we can avoid it, we don't take chances. It's working so far," she said. "But then again, Kate's only four months old."
An idea started to form in Murphy's head. He'd have to take some time to really work it out, to weigh the pros and cons, before he brought it to Laura. But it might just work out for all of them.
"If anyone deserves to have it all Laura," he said, "it's you."
"Thanks, Murph."

Remington Steele paused as he opened the glass doors to Remington Steele Investigations. The office was a flurry of activity. Workmen were busy turning the storage room back into an office in preparation for Mildred's promotion to full operative. Laura was packing up her necessities and taking them into Remington's office. Murphy had wandered out of Laura's office, notebook in hand.
Remington rushed across the office to aide his wife as the stack of files that were piled high in front of her face were about to slide from her grasp.
"Allow me, Mrs. Steele," Remington said, taking the files from her.
"Oh," she replied with a start, "hi." She leaned in for a quick kiss as he took the files from her. "When did you get here?"
"Just now," he answered, ushering her into his office. He walked across the office to set the files on his desk as she closed the door behind them. "What the bloody hell is going on around here?" he asked with a puzzled grin.
"Just a bit of shuffling," she said, moving past him to begin emptying the box that set next to the files.
Remington watched with interest as she continued to answer. She was speaking very quickly and didn't look at him. That was never a good sign.
"The maintenance men came today to convert the storage room back into an office for Mildred," she went on. "Murphy needed a place to work, so he's using my office…" she hedged, as she kept moving.
Realization began to dawn on him.
"So you're moving in here," he said, finishing her statement.
She turned to look at him.
"Just where am I supposed to go?" Remington asked his voice low.
"Nowhere," Laura answered, reaching out to take his hand in hers. "Can't we share?" She took his other hand and stepped closer to him.
"Of course we can, Laura," he said, letting go of her hands and walking to the window. "There's no one I'd rather share space with than you. But I must admit to having a rather nasty feeling of déjà vu lately," he said, looking out the window with his back to her.
"What are you talking about?" Laura asked.
"There has been a sudden shift in the dynamics around here, Laura. I thought we were partners."
"We are," she replied, mild annoyance showing in her voice. What is he getting at?
"Are we really, Mrs. Steele?" he asked, his tone matching hers. "First you send me off to work on a security contract with Mildred. Then you bring Murphy in to work with you in my absence. Now you're taking over my office. Oh yes, and I don't even have a say in hiring Mildred's replacement. Can a return functioning best in an advisory capacity be far behind?" He turned to face her as he spoke, his voice slightly rising with each statement.

"You're being ridiculous!" Laura replied, her own voice raised.
Outside the office, Murphy looked up when he noticed the raised voices. He grinned as he turned to Mildred.
"It's nice to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same," he quipped.
Mildred returned his grin and nodded.
"They haven't gone at it like that in a long time," she told him. "It's probably about time."
"Ridiculous?" he shouted. "I'M being ridiculous? Laura, you've practically shut me out of everything having to do with this case!"
"CASE?" Laura shouted back. "We don't even have a case! I'm just looking out for my mother," she said, her voice softening. "My family."
"That's right, Laura," he said quietly. "OUR family. So why am I running around testing alarms while Murphy is closing in on Abigail's con-man?"
Laura closed her eyes and sighed. He was jealous-but there was more to it. He sounded hurt. Was he right? Had she really been shutting him out? Maybe she had. After all, thinking her mother had fallen for a con-man hit a little too close to home. She liked to forget about that part of her husband's past. And someone had to deal with the actual clients, right? No, she hadn't done anything wrong-had she?
Her silence was all the answer he needed.
"I'm obviously not needed here," he said as he headed toward the door. "I'll be at home if anyone insists on speaking to Remington Steele."
He didn't look back as he walked out of the office, through the outer office and out the door.
"What was that all about, Hon?" Mildred asked.
"I wish I knew," Laura answered quietly.
Remington had calmed down considerably by the time he reached the house. The drive from Century City to Malibu gave him the chance to clear his head.
"Senor Steele!" Maria exclaimed as he walked into the kitchen. The startled housekeeper leaned against the counter. She always reverted to Spanish when she was excited.
"I'm sorry Maria," Remington said. "I didn't mean to frighten you. I decided I'd come home early to spend some time with little Katharine. Where is she?"
"Sleeping," Maria answered. "She will wake soon," she said, looking at the clock. "It's almost time for her bottle."
"I'll take care of her, Maria," Remington told her. "Why don't you take the rest of the day off?"
"Oh, Mr. Steele," Maria began, "I have to…"
Remington held up his hand to stop her.

"Whatever needs to be done around here can wait," he said. "I can take care of the baby, and I'll handle dinner as well."
When she would have protested, he continued.
"Maria, you do such a wonderful job, and we appreciate you very much. But you deserve a break. And to be very honest, I'd like some time to myself."
"Si, Senor Steele," Maria said, nodding. She seemed to understand his need for solitude. She knew from past experience that he often found solace in his kitchen and she didn't want to be under foot. She had wanted to visit her son Hector and his new bride Isabela, anyway. "I will see you tomorrow, Mr. Steele," she said.
"Hasta mañana, Maria," Remington said as she gathered her things and left.
He went about preparing Kate's bottle and took it up to the nursery. The baby was still sleeping, so he set the bottle down and went to the window.
"Oh Little One," he said quietly. "What are we going to do about your mommy?" He knew that he was probably overreacting, but that did nothing to squelch the fear that sank to the bottom of his stomach-the fear that Laura was slipping away from him.
"Okay," Murphy said with a mouth full of Mushu Pork. "What have we got?"
"Roger visited a pawnbroker downtown," Laura said.
"And he stopped off at the track," Murphy continued. "But there's nothing illegal with that. His associations are a little unsavory, but that could be said of a lot of people."
"We need to find out what he was doing when he was out of town last week," Laura told him.
"Did your mother ever say anything about what he does for a living?" he asked.
"Not really," Laura answered. "She's only said that he's in acquisitions. Whatever that means."
"Sounds a little shady to me," Murphy said, offering her a paper carton.
"Thanks," she said, accepting the box. She smiled. "You know who it sounds like?" Her smile quickly faded as she made a realization. "Oh good lord," she said. "What time is it?"
"A little after eight, I think," Murphy answered.

"I have to go!" she exclaimed, jumping up from her seat behind Remington's desk.
"But we're just getting somewhere," Murphy said.

"Sorry Murph," Laura replied, gathering her things. "I've gotta go. Remington and I had a huge fight this morning. I haven't talked to him all day and now I'm late," she told him. "He's gonna kill me," she muttered, more to herself than to Murphy. "What was I thinking?"
"See you tomorrow, Murph," she said on her way out the door. "Wish me luck."
to be continued . . .
To Part 4

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