Steele Untitled part 2/?
Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002
Sinead O'Byrne <>

OK-here's part 2, of I'm hoping to be about 3-4! Enjoy!
Permission to Archive
Raiting-pg, mild language

When I walked in to the office the next morning, I found Laura and Mildred hunched over a computer screen. "Geez! When she said EVERYthing, she meant it!" Laura said, looking at the monitor. "She's written for just about every newspaper in the country! New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time, People, EW, Us, London Times, Newsweek, a slew of local papers, you name it, she's written for it!" I instantly knew what they were talking about. .
"You're forgetting the bunch of gossip rags where all you do is pick up a star and create a scandal about them, and collect thousands of bucks for it!"
"Miss Blaine." Mildred said, not really a greeting. They were slightly at a loss for words, after all they had been looking at my personal profile.
"So what else is there, other than my article-ography?"
"A couple of credit card bills, but nothing else. It all starts in 1970." Mildred pointed out.
"try under Tabitha Catherine O'Sulliva, that's my real name."
"Is that where Mr. Steele got Cat from? Your middle name?"
"No, she used to go by Tabby, I took the initiative and started calling her tabby-cat!" Harry said, breezing through the glass doors. "What's with the soiree, some party that I wasn't invited to?"
"Yeah, Harry, you can say that. Then again, I wasn't invited either."
"Well, when you look up someone's records, it isn't best to have them watching." Laura said, calm and collected.
"Well, what do you want to know? I can tell you, save on your electric bills." I said, smiling.
"And can you prove it?"
"Really, Miss Krebs, I'm nothing like Harry here, you can believe almost every word I say."
"So where were you BEFORE 1970?"
"Why don't we sit down somewhere?"
"Che Rive?" Harry suggested, and I gave him a look.
"Harry," I said in a warning tone.
"This is the second time you'd come in and go straight to lunch. Don't want to have your pity run out."
"Pity?" He asked.
"Yes, why would anyone keep you around, if it wasn't that you're so pathetic!" I said, grinning. I looked over at Laura who was struggling to keep a straight face as we tossed insults back and forth. "Sorry about us Miss Holt, but Harry here is just SO easy to insult, that it's hard not too. I'd suggest that you stay back, if we're not insulting each other, we're either fighting or competing." I said in between insults.
"Reminds me of when he first came here." She said.
"Well, he IS easy to insult, isn't he?"
"Yes, so easy." We were both laughing now. And Harry and Mildred were smiling too.
"I appreciate not being talked to like I wasn't in the room."
"I didn't realize that you had the intelligence to hold up an actual conversation." I grinned triumphantly. He'd run out of comebacks.
"So are we going to hear about your past Miss Blaine, or Miss O'Sullivan, or whatever you're going to be called."
"Tabitha, please. As soon as we figure out if we're leaving or staying or whatever." I looked at Harry and Laura.
"I suppose we could go to Che Rive." Laura said, shrugging.
"We don't have a reservation." Mildred pointed out.
"She has a point." I caught a familiar glint in Harry's eye.
"OK Harry, how much of the place do you own?"
"I only have a couple of shares."
"Knowing you, that's a couple hundred." I said, watching as Laura's face contorted into half shock, half anger.
"So I bought a few shares once I made some money of my own."
"So just how much of the agency's funds DID you use?" I asked him.
"None. The agency only pays for stuff like clothes."
"At four hundred dollars a suit." Laura pointed out.
"So? I like high class."
"Can we go?" Mildred asked.
"Wise idea, Miss Krebs." I said, pushing past Harry to the door, removing the keys to my rental car from my pocket. After a little bit of shifting around and trying to figure out who'd go with who, Laura eventually passed the keys off to Harry, and he and Mildred drove, and I went with Laura, eager to see just how well the car handled, after all, the rental place was just down the road. I watched as Laura ran a hand over the dash as she climbed in.
"Classy car." She pointed out. It was pretty nice. A sleek, lapis-blue Porsche 911 convertible, with black leather interior.
"yeah. The one thing that I've picked up from Harry and Daniel. Danny can fling anything around like a sports car, even a Rolls, but his favorite had always been a Diablo.
"Do you honestly think Danny can FIT in a Diablo?" She laughed.
"He isn't the thinnest man ever, but it's not like he's fat or anything."
"Compared to what I've seen, how he is now is either thin, or fat, compared to how he used to be. I swear the only person that I know that'd be able to FIT into one of those things is Felicia, and then she might break something with one of her bones that sticks out." This got her to laugh a little again.
"you know Felicia?"
"Kinda hard not to. Don't let Harry hear this, but one of the things between us is that he always insists on proving himself right. I had tried to tell him that Felicia was no good, nothing but trouble, but he refused to listen to me. Look what happened. Felicia bruises his ego, and leaves him quite literally hanging, almost caught by the cops."
"What?" Laura asked, almost stunned.
"Felicia ran off with another guy, bruising his ego. After all, he'd been the one who dumped, not the one who got dumped. Then Felicia comes back with this sob story that Danny and I saw right through, convinced Harry to try a heist with her, and when they got there, she tripped an alarm, and left Harry hanging by his repelling harness over some very valuable jewels. He just barely made it out." We'd pulled up in front of Che Rive. Harry and Mildred were just getting out as I skillfully slung the car around into a parking spot.
"Well then, you've arrived." Harry said, waiting for us to get out of the car.
"Yes, we have." I said, a little grin on my face. I knew that he wanted my rental car, I could see it in his eyes. Either the car or Laura, who was getting out of the car. It didn't matter, he wanted something. I knew how to judge Harry's moods by his eyes, they gave him away. That and his voice. He'd worked so hard to try and knock out some of the brogue that he had, make himself sound more refined. But whenever he was mad, or upset, to hell with being refined, he couldn't seem more Irish if his name was St. Patrick! We walked into the nicely decorated restaurant, and Harry waltzed up to the matre'd. They talked in hushed whispers for a few seconds, before the matre'd grabbed for menus and led us to a table. I had to laugh once we were all seated.
"What's so funny?" Mildred asked me.
"Nothing, just that whenever there's a problem, there's logical solution, and Harry's is use money or charm."
"Or just plain common sense." Harry said.
"Well, are going to hear about your childhood?" Mildred asked, eager to find what could be so unknown, not even her computer can find it.
"OK, where to start? Um-.all right." I was slightly nervous, after all, this was part of Harry's past too. And if I screwed up and said something he didn't want known, he'd have my head. "Well, I was born in Jersey, up north, right by New York, lived there for ten years. Then my mom, she gets this wise idea to take a vacation. Now, we hadn't been on a vacation before, my dad ran off before I was born. Well, she decides to take me to see my æuncle' Daniel. He isn't really my uncle, just my moms best friend, they grew up together. Well, we get there without a hitch, all is fine and dandy when we go to meet him. But he has his hands full with Harry here. A twelve year old who insisted on doing everything HIS way." I said, watching Harry squirm in his seat slightly. "Well, it took me besting him at poker to get him to at least sit in the same room as me."
"It was seven-card Cambodian stud! Of course you'd win with ladies first!"
"Seven card Cambodian stud?" Laura asked, vexed.
"Everything's wild! Well, anyway, I was naturally better than him at everything, from riding to gambling. OK, he's the better story-teller, I'll give him that much, and the better private detective. But anyways, Daniel's always been kind, let us stay at his place, hang out, took us on tours of London, the works. Then, the last day of our vacation, en route to the airport, my mom walks out, not knowing that two guys were brawling right there, got caught by a stray knife, took about a week before she died. Well, since Daniel was almost family, and since I was staying with him anyway, he took me in, refined me, sent me to school when Harry here got kicked out."
"I didn't get kicked out, I ran away."
"Daniel didn't like it either way." We paused long enough to place our orders. I had my usual for a fancy place, coq au vin, with Harry, Mildred, and Laura going for more upscale things. "Well, anyway, while Harry spent his days engrossed in his theory that you could find a Bogart or Grant movie on at anytime of day, I was engrossed in finer arts, like music and art."
"If you can call punk rock music." Harry commented dryly.
"First, I don't play punk rock, secondly, I'd like to see YOU play something."
"Harmonica?" he suggested.
"A harmonica pales in comparison to guitar, AND piano."
"And I like art." He pointed out.
"Yes, you kinda have to know WHAT you are lifting off of a museum wall."
"And I'm a good artist too."
"Not as good as I am."
"Let's see you draw something better than I can."
"Let's see you paint something better than I can."
"Let's see you draw."
"Let's see you paint."
"Let's see you draw."
"Let's see you paint." I glanced over at Laura, who was failing at trying to stifle her laughter behind her hand. Even Ms. IRS' shoulders were quivering slightly, and she was smiling.
"Let's see you draw."
"Fine, have a sheet of paper?"
"Not with me."
"If I draw, you gotta paint."
"Well then, after lunch, we'll decide." I looked over at Mildred and Laura again. "Sorry for HIM, but he's always so competitive when it comes too something that I can do better than HE can. He always insists on being right, but could you please help me prove him wrong? You're the most impartial people I can find."
"Well-..OK, just let's finish hearing about your past." Mildred said.
"Fine. OK, now where was I? Oh yeah, school. Well, I finished my education, and picked up doing just about everything. I tried to stay out of cons as much as possible, doing more of the posing as whatever than actually scamming people outta their life savings. But you gotta do what you gotta do. But, I picked up writing and art, and got to freelancing. How'd you guys feel to an interview? I want as many different angles for this as possible, you're almost guaranteed the cover of Time or Newsweek or People!"
"we'll think about it." Laura said quickly.
"OK. Now, what else do you want to know?"
"How about why you're so slippery?" Mildred asked.
"Well, if you suddenly changed your name, your new trail won't have much on it either, would it?" We finished our lunch, and a pulled my wallet out of my purse to pay at least my part of the bill.
"It's all right, I've got the tab, Tab." Harry said, a smile crossing his face.
"Ha-ha. Very funny. Try out for the Friar's Club." I said dryly. I flipped open the wallet, to at least get the tip. I have this thing about paying. I always was rather generous, much like Harry is. "Shit" I mumbled as the grip in my hand went, and the wallet slid across the table to where Laura and Mildred were sitting. Laura went to hand me back my wallet, and then stopped and looked at something again, before almost bursting out laughing. I had a feeling what she was looking at. "Lemme guess, the photo of me, my mom, Harry and Daniel is what you're laughing at?" She handed the wallet back to me, and nodded. I looked over the photo again. It was a photo taken the second day of our vacation. Harry was still somewhat unrefined, and was wearing a pair of torn and tattered old jeans, an old looking white tee-shirt. In additon to this heinous outfit, he had just started to grow a beard, and was so proud ofd it, that he had these streaks of dark stubble across his pale skin, with his hair down to his shoulders, and flopping slightly in his face.
I wasn't much better looking. First of all, I looked ready to kill Daniel, my mother, Harry, and whoever was taking the photo, for not only making me pose, but for being stuck next to Harry. Second of all, I had been trying to grow my hair, and some of it had escaped the ponytail holder that it was in, so I had a few strands of my blonde hair strewn across my face, with my bangs almost obscuring my brown eyes. Daniel and my mother weren't that great looking either, but better than us. I suppose the only reason why I even kept in my wallet was because the sight of harry and I always brings a smile to my face.
"What photo is that?" Harry asked, desperate to know what embarrassing photo eit was of him.
"This one!" I said, showing him the photo. A flash of anger flashed across his face, then embarrassment, then laughter. I passed the photo onto Mildred, and she looked at it, then up at Harry, then back to me and laughed as well. "I do have more of you at different stages, each one uglier than the next!" He just glared back at me. I suppose a woman could consider him handsome. But once they have to put up with him for more than a week, his personality more than ruins his looks. I figured Laura must be a saint for putting up with him, and said as much. I swore she blushed slightly.
"He can be hard to put up with at times." She said, and I watched Harry's reaction. The waiter came to take the check, and Harry wound up paying.
"Well, I came to ask Harry a question, got lunch, told the story of my past, and completely forgot my question!" I said. "Thanks for lunch, But I might as well try and find some star out on Rodeo and try for an interview."
"At the very least, let me drive you there." Harry said, and I can see a familiar glint in his eyes.
"You wanna drive that Porsche, YOU rent it!" Laura and Mildred laughed at this. "But I'll tell ya what, since you got lunch, I'll let you drive it back to your office." This would also give me the chance to ask him the question that had been in the back of my mind for a while.
"You got it!" Harry said, returning the keys of Laura's Rabbit back to her. Once we were safely settled in the car, I looked across at him, and thought of how to broach the subject. I eventually just gave up and decided to be blunt about it.
"OK, Harry, how much do you love her?" I asked, catching him completely off guard.
"You love Laura, you bought a ring for her, how come she isn't wearing it?"
"What!" This time it was more of an expression of shock than a question.
"I saw it, a large diamond surrounded by Royal Lavulite. Now, why haven't you given it to her? And how long have you had it?" He took
a minute, and a deep breath before answering.
"I've been too much of a bloody coward to give it to her, and I've had it for a while. Right after her house got blown up almost three years ago."
"Three years! Harry, what are you waiting for, the apocalypse!?"
"A good sign?" He suggested hopefully, turning off onto a side road.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm extending this conversation, besides this car is great."
"OK, Harry, take your chances. The longer you wait, the more of the chance she'll grow tired of waiting."
"Grow tired of waiting! HER? Hell Tabitha, I'm the one waiting for her."
"In that case--." I said, trying to give him a reason to propose.
"In that case, what?"
"In that case, just try it, and from the looks of it, she's just as taken with you as you are with her."
"Now, can I ask you one question?"
"What?" I said, unsure of what it would be.
"Why the sudden interest in my love life? You and Daniel always seemed to think NO woman was good enough for me."
"You mean you weren't good enough for any woman." I said, and laughed when he glared at me.
"Still, why?"
"Because Laura's perfect for you Harry! I saw it, Daniel saw it, hell, you find me someone who DOESN'T see it, and I'll give you a million bucks!"
"You don't have a million dollars." He pointed out. I gave him a pissed-off look.
"Not the point, Harry. The point is, that you and Laura are the world's best match since Adam and Eve!"
"Adam and Eve didn't fight nearly as much as we do." He said dejectedly.
"But you guys always make up, don't you? Now give me a date."
"Date for what?"
"For when you're gonna propose! I want to know when I can call you at 8 in the morning to find out how great things went."
"You're giving me an ultimatum?"
"Well, since you're to cowardly to suck it up and admit your feelings for it otherwise--."I said, letting it trail off.
"Fine. Tomorrow night, if I can work up the courage."
"OK wimp." Not even my egging him on could do much. He was truly nervous about it, and I considered it to be a good thing. I knew all of Harry's nervous ticks, and he was showing one now. Normally, with manual-shifting cars he was like me, go as fast as you can, with quick racing changes. But when Harry got nervous, he got like a hat-person driver. Hell, we even past a lady who was beyond a hat-person driving better than Harry was. He didn't get reckless, just slow, and if he didn't get it together soon, I was sure he'd strip the gears. After all, you try doing a racing change into 4th going 20 MPH! He didn't notice what he was doing, his thoughts elsewhere. Suddenly, the car gave a lurch as he sped up.
This was the other thing he'd do when he was nervous. He got almost erratic as he drove, flinging the car over a speed bump like the Dukes of Hazard. Finally, after about sixty speed and gear changes he pulled into the underground lot. "Bye!" I said, easily sliding into the other seat.
"Bye Tabby."
"Lady Luck always wins, and you're the luckiest guy I know!" I said, offering him some words of advice.
"But luck doesn't count in love."
"Yes, but do whatever it takes, all's fair!" I laughed, and sped off. It was still pretty early so I decided to stop by a spa for a few hours before heading to Rodeo. While I was there, I realized that I had completely been able to back down out of our bet. Oh well. I came out a hell of a lot more relaxed than when I went in, that was for sure. I parked myself outside Fred Segal, waiting for someone famous to walk through the doors. I checked my bag for the umpteenth time for everything that I needed. Tape recorder, pen and paper, and æpress' badge. I was just about ready to go home, when I spotted none other than Tom Cruise walking down the street!
"Mr. Cruise!" I called, waiting for a reply.
"What do ya want?"
"A few words?"
"Not now."
"can you set up an appointment?"
"No, now if you could please move." He said pushing past me.
"UGH!" I muttered under my breath. "Stars these days. All this fame has gone to their heads!" I drove back to my hotel, and decided to call it an early night. But first, I had a phone call to make. I dialed the familiar number, and waited for it to connect long-distance.
"Hello, Danny." I said, waiting for his reply. I was probably the only person other than my mother who could get away with calling him Danny.
"What do you want Tabitha?" he asked me, sounding somewhat irate.
"How're Shamus and Shannon?" I inquired. I had asked Daniel to watch my two poodles while I went globe trotting.
"The two things that are all fur and mouths?"
"Yes, that would be them."
"You'll never guess where I am."
"Currently being paid for by the great Remington Steele himself, otherwise known as Harry."
"Oh really?"
"Yes. And I can see why you call Laura stubborn."
"She is, isn't she, but she's what Harry needs."
"Yeah, and I finally convinced him to do something he's thought about for years."
"Pack up and leave?"
"No, you asshole, propose!"
"Propose, as in they're going to get married?" Asked a new voice, one that I knew too well.
"Yes, Licia." I knew she hated it when I called her that.
"Michael's marrying HER?" she repeated.
"Yes, that's what I just said. And if you set a foot here in LA sometime in the near future, or on their wedding day, I will personally see to
it that you won't be able to make it to anything else Harry might have in his future."
"Now civil, at the very least, hire a hitman!" I knew Daniel hated Felicia as much as I did. And from the sound of things, she'd done something to REALLY piss him off.
"OK, but-"
"But what, Licia?"
"What makes you so sure that she'll say yes?"
"Why would she say no?" I asked, almost threateningly, making sure Felicia got the point.
"OK, bye." Felicia said, hanging up the extension.
"What did you do to him, hold him at gunpoint?" Daniel asked me.
"No, I found the ring, and asked him about it."
"Well then, when's he proposing?"
"If all goes well, tomorrow night."
"well then, I'll have to call the next morning."
"I'd wait, just not to tempt fate, you know?"
"OK, I'll wait for your sake."
"It's Harry's sake, Daniel. Harry's sake." I said, told him goodbye, and hung up. I fell asleep easily, and woke up early the next morning, ready and raring to go. I looked outside to find a beautiful day in front of me. It was the beginning of November, and it was still up in the 70's. Then again it was SoCal. I took my Porsche out for a spin, completely intending to go back and wish Harry luck, but I found myself distracted by an amusement park. I wound up spending the day there, finally leaving at 7.
I sped back to the hotel, to see if Harry would call me early. Just as I was about to go to bed, the phone rang. Just as I picked it up, I heard a sound, then they hung up. I knew exactly who it was. And he didn't sound to happy either. I pulled out his address, and I was lucky that there were no cops en route, otherwise I'd have been pulled over for sure. I rushed up to 5A and knocked on the door.
"W-who's there?" said a muffled voice that was stiff and brittle.
"Harry it's me." I heard come over to the door, and it opened.
"What happened?" I asked taking a look at him.
"I don't know."
"Yes you do. You're worn ragged, and you've been crying." And I knew Harry didn't cry often. His face was gaunt and white, his bloodshot eyes sticking out noticeably
"S-she turned me down."
To Part 3