Part 5
Date: Sunday, March 10, 2002
Sinead O'Byrne <>

"His? From here?" She said, almost sounding panicked.
"Yes, sadly. Everything's ready for Monday though."
"Simple, you act like you know nothing, I act unsurprised that he's gone, blame everything on Laura." I said with a slight smile.
"Isn't that a little mean to Miss Holt?"
"Have you seen the hoops she's made Harry jump through? Have you seen how many times she's disappointed him? See if she can take it as well as she dishes it." I said, acting as if I felt more strongly than I did on the subject. I admit, Laura may not have been my closest friend at the time, but I have feelings for other people.
"You're right, but what's that got to do with things?"
"Because, as long as Laura believed that SHE pushed Harry to disappear, than if she really does have feelings for him, she'll go after him. If not, I'll call Felicia and tell her she can stick her grubby, long, sharp claws back into him."
"You wouldn't, would you?" She asked, shocked that I would throw him back to Felicia.
"Actually, I would. Felicia at least knows not to hurt him, and he knows that Felicia doesn't care if it's a casual fling, or a committed relationship. They're the same to her. Even if she was married, she'd have more affairs than all of congress and the senate combined!" Mildred laughed at this. Only I wouldn't throw him back immediately. I'd wait around, pray that he'd change his mind. But Harry didn't suddenly change his mind about things, this was probably the quickest change of ideas that I'd ever seen from him. "Hold on a second." I said, as a piece of paper fluttered out of the passport. It was a note. "It's a letterààto Laura." I said, skimming it over.
"What does it say?" She asked, intrigued.
"Well now, it sounds like from one of those sappy b-grade movies that he watches. Probably pieced it together from them."
"I don't care about that, what does it say?"
"All right, all right. OK, it says æDearest Laura'à"
"Dearest Laura?"
"Look, like I said, it belongs in some corny movie. He never was good at writing. Well, anyways. æDearest Laura, I guess I won't be needing this passport anymore. I hope the next man to cross your path has more luck than I have. But they say it is better to love and to have lost than to not have loved at all. Adieu, adieu, may your life only get better. Love, the former Remington Steele." I felt my voice starting to crack as I read it, and I heard a snivel from the other end of the phone.
"Did-did he really say æformer'?" She asked, not wanting to accept the fact that he may be gone for good.
"Yes, he did. As sappy and corny as it is, it's touching. I think Harry's either in serious denial, or seriously gone. And it's going to be hell to convince him to come back."
"I guess you're right. It's late, why don't we discuss this in the morning?"
"OK, call me at his place, I'll stay here to fend off Miss Holt if she shows up."
"OK." She said, hanging up, When I didn't get the dial tone, I remembered the living room extension was off the hook, and went to hang it up. I pulled book off the shelf, books being one of the few things that he left behind, with the exception of a few, and you could see clearly where he'd pulled them out. It was obvious that he left in a very big rush. As was my style, I opened straight to the first page and started to read, jumping into what was what you could call a romantic thriller, that was heavier on the romance than the thrills. After a while, I went out onto the balcony to enjoy the sunset. Despite the smog, it was still beautiful. One of those that almost rivals a Key West sunset. Once the sun finally disappeared, around 7ish, I went back to finish the story. By the time it was done, it was almost 10, and I didn't plan on Laura showing up this late, but I still slept on the couch, just in case she were to arrive.
The next morning, more than slightly stiff, and still pretty groggy, I managed to drag myself up out of the couch long enough to make myself breakfast. Since I'd be trapped here for the day anyway to fend off the force that was Laura, I decided to get some work done. Luckily, I had everything in my purse, which made it a large purse, but that was fine by me. It worked. I pulled out my notes on the recent comings and goings of society that I had been working on for the Times. Which one, I don't know. It took me most of the day to finish a story ready for the presses. By then it was 6:30, and I didn't feel like cooking anything. I found myself in the local Wendy's scarfing down fries and chicken nuggets. I got back to his place around 8-ish, after spending time just driving around. I stayed conscious for another hour before crashing onto his bed, ready for tomorrow.
I got up, showered, and braced myself for the day. I drove back to my hotel to change clothes, and stayed there for the hour that seemed to last forever. I ran through a mental dialogue, and braced myself. I arrived to find Mildred dutifully sitting at her desk, as if nothing was wrong. I was about to ask her if she'd slipped, when Laura walked out of her office. She took one look at me and I noticed her jaw clench, just ever so slightly.
"He isn't in yet." She said tensely.
"Well then, I'm not surprised."
"If you're not surprised, then why don't you go back to your hotel?"
"If you care so much about him why'd you turn him down?" I watched her reaction closely. It wasn't a very good one. She looked ready to punch me.
"Why are you even here?"
"To see if he was still here, still in LA, still in California, still in the US." I said, making sure to plant the seed of doubt in her mind.
"He's just late, as usual." She said before her jaw started grinding again.
"Late? Are you sure you're just not trying to cover for the fact that he's quite possibly gone? For good? Never to return? Are you sure that it's not just some lie made up to tell clients. Because if it didn't bother you, you wouldn't be risking lockjaw by grating your teeth." That did it, she looked ready to pounce. She was gripping the side of Mildred's desk to stop her from leaping out.
"And why does his leaving concern you so much. If you cared about him so much, why aren't you already out there, hopping a flight to god knows where?"
"Because I happen to be nice, and was wondering if you two wanted anything before I left, or for me to fend off the rest of the reporting world, because once this breaks, there won't be very many reporters that don't come knocking down your door. I can't guarantee anything, but I can at least delay them for a while, keep them onto something else. After all, how would it look if word got out that the great Remington Steele was seen hungover boarding a plane to some foreign country on a passport in the name of one of Bogart's roles?" She gave this some thought. While she was thinking I glanced over at Mildred, and she flashed a smile for a split second. It was enough. "Since you don't want me here, obviously, and since Harry's not here, I'm afraid you won't be seeing much of me, not at least, until, I decide to come back and really enjoy LA." I said, backing out of the door. I sped back to my hotel, and packed, before heading out to LAX. I tried all five of the names he used, before finally finding something with Douglas Quintain. England. I should've known. I made a reservation for the night flight, and walked back out to my car. I took a quick lap around the parking lot before I spotted the Auburn in the 24 hour parking, with a ticket on it, ready to be impounded. "Harry boy, I take it you DON'T want to see this car again, but I do." I said to myself, parking my car, and hot-wiring his. I drove it off to a friend of mine, who specialized in getting cars out of the country. It'd be waiting for me pretty soon from now, if all went well. I hailed a cab back to the airport, and took my car back to his apartment. I went over everything one last time, checking back in his closet. I noticed something in the far shadows, and pulled it out. I recognized it instantly. A guitar case. "What's he doing with this? He doesn't play!" I muttered, looking at it. It was a sleek acoustic, perfectly in tune. "For someone who don't play, this thing's mighty fine." I muttered, attempting some sort of an accent, and failing. I tinkered around with a few songs, before I heard the door opening. I knew it was Miss Holt, I just had one of those gut feelings, and I started into a song that I knew would fit.
Once again I just can't get it straight
Wondering if wondering is my fate
But don't lose hope in me quite yet
'Cause help must be on the way, any day

From my head to my heart
Can't seem to find a way they're so far apart
It's not you, it's not your fault
You've got everything I could ever want
And you've always understood my intentions are good
And we've been so close from the start
But the furthest distance I've ever known is
From my head to my heart

I feel the distance standing here next to you
I don't want to keep you waiting, but I've been waiting too
Some day if I get there and you still want me too
We can see it through

From my head to my heart
Can't seem to find a way they're so far apart
It's not you, you've got everything I could ever want
And you've always understood my intentions are good
And we've been so close from the start
But the furthest distance I've ever known is
From my head to my heart

I looked over to where she was for a split second, not enough to give myself away, just to gauge her reaction. She was slightly impressed, slightly shocked, and slightly touched. I broke into a slower, sadder song.
Every body's got something
They've had to leave behind
One regret from yesterday
That just seems to grow with time
There's no use looking back or wondering
How it could be now or might of been
All this I know
But still I can't find ways to let you go
I never had a dream come true
Till the day that I found you
Even though I pretend that I moved on
You'll always be my baby
Never found the words to say
You're the one I think about each day
And no matter where life takes me to
A part of me will always be with you
Somewhere in my memory
I lost all sense of time
And tomorrow can never be
Cause yesterday is all that fills my mind
There's no use looking back or wondering
How it should be now or might of been
All this I know
But still I can't find ways to let you go
I never had a dream come true
Till the day that I found you
Even though I pretend that I moved on
You'll always be my baby
Never found the words to say
You're the one I think about each day
And no matter where life takes me to
A part of me will always be with you
You'll always be the dream that fills my head
Yes you will, say you will, you know you will oh baby
You'll always be the one I know I'll never forget
There's no use looking back or wondering
Because love is a strange and funny thing
All this I know but still I can't find ways to let you go
I never had a dream come true
Till the day that I found you
Even though I pretend that I moved on
You'll always be my baby
Never found the words to say
You're the one I think about each day
And no matter where life takes me to
A part of me will always be with you
She was crying, much like Harry had done not to long ago. It wasn't noisy crying, just the kind when the tears fall, but you're too sad to say anything.
"He's really gone, isn't he?" She said, looking at me.
"Yeah, he is. And I hate to say it, but, you pushed him away, and basically packed his bags and bought his plane ticket for him." I was being cold and cruel, and I knew it, but she needed to be put into place. Needed to be humbled in a sense. She didn't want him to leave her alone, so she pushed him away so that she had controlled it.
"I know. It's just-" the first part shocked me. I expected her to say something to stick up for herself. I quickly regrouped.
"Just what?"
"Just something that's happened since I was a kid." I was intrigued to see if my theory was correct.
"And just what is that?" I asked, sitting down next to her on the bed, handing her my monogrammed handkerchief from my purse.
"I like to control every aspect of my life. And that includes my love life. I learned my lesson with Wilson."
"Have you?" I asked. "If you really did learn your lesson how come you're hurting again? And this time you're not the only one in pain." I said, walking over to the dresser. "I guess this is yours now." I said, tossing her the passport with the note inside. "This place is ready to be sold, my best advice is nothing under a good couple thou." I said, walking out. I knew I had been rather cold and cruel, but I thought she deserved it. Of course, Harry wouldn't like it, but it had to have been done. Laura needed to be showed that she can't just have things her way, especially in love. I looked at my watch, my plane was supposed to leave soon, so I left, leaving the guitar behind. I slept through the plane ride, and quickly found myself at the familiar airport. I quickly caught a cab back to my flat, and heard the familiar yapping of Shamus and Shannon. I smiled, paid the cabby, and walked into my flat to put my stuff down, and change after flying, before heading next door to Daniel's house. I rang the doorbell, to find Daniel struggling with the two familiar black balls of fur. "Shamus! Shannon! Sit!" I said, and they sat right on command.
"Tabitha! How do you do it?" He asked as I walked in.
"Simple, they know not to mess with me!" He laughed as we walked into the kitchen. Dropping into a hushed whisper, I recounted all that had happened with Harry and Laura in detail. "So, is he here?" I asked when I was done.
"Yes, but-"
"But he's a little worse for the wear? Upset, mean, irate? Crying?" I said, coming up with about sixty other ways to say upset.
"To say the least. He's really shaken about Laura turning him down." He said, rubbing the bit of a brown beard that he had. "he's spent the past few days almost permanently in the revival house, and to make things worse, it's sad love story week. Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, the works." He said, frowning.
"Well, at least we know where he is. Look, Danny, give me an hour or two to sleep, I haven't done too much of that recently." I said, calling Shamus and Shannon to my side as I walked out. "Give me a call if he comes in, all right?"
"Sure Tabitha. Now, you look like you need sleep, go on!" He said, closing the door behind me. I walked next door into my flat and crashed onto the bed. The next thing I knew, the phone was ringing in my ear.
"Hello?" I asked groggily.
"He's here." I heard, and then he hung up. I got up and ran over to Daniel's. I found Harry sprawled out across the couch, rather haggard looking. He looked rumpled, he'd probably only changed once, and hadn't shaven either.
"Tabitha." He said dully.
"Yeah. You look worse for the wear there man. Cheer up! What happened to Xenos? If I remember correctly, you were the one that saw the meaning in Marcos' story. Everything is new again Harry. Everything is new." I said, trying to get at least a smile out of him
"Is it? Is it really new? Or is it the same old thing that it had been before?" He said, frowning. I looked at him, matching his sad stare with one of my own.
"Harry, you gotta put this behind you, what's done is done. Grieve if you have to, but remember, you can't change the past, only the future. You can either shut yourself off from the world and be a sad miserable loner, or get over this and make something of your life. You're young, you can do whatever. Just think of the possibilities. And remember, I'm always here for you. Just come down or call, and I'll be here for you. If you want, I can help you start looking for an apartment of your own." I said, watching his face brighten a little.
"Yeah, Tab. You're right, I do need to move on. But it's just so bloody hard!"
"Think of Casablanca, and imagine you're Rick, he moved on, didn't he? He made something of his life, didn't he? So can you. Only thing is, you don't have to worry about a pianist who plays "As Time Goes By" when Ilsa walks in!" He gave a little chuckle. "See! You're doing better already. Now don't worry, be happy, and I'll be back soon, I just have to walk the black holes."
"Black holes?" He asked.
"My nickname for Shamus and Shannon, they're black, and they eat anything in sight!" He laughed again. "Well, I'll be back!" I said, much happier now that I had produce a few laughs from him, and I retreated back to my flat. I grabbed the two leashes from the small peg by the door, and called the two of them to my side. I quickly clipped the leash onto each collar, and walked out the front door and started jogging. This was how I exercised, jogging a mile with the dogs twice a day. Suddenly, about halfway done, Shamus and Shannon both ran off, tugging there leashes out of my hands. "Shamus! Shannon! Get back here NOW! You two little furballs!" I said, sprinting after them. I found them snarling and jumping towards a woman, her face veiled. "Shamus! Shannon! NO! Bad dogs! Get over here NOW!" I said, and the backed up enough for me to grab there leashes. I sharp jerk on each got them to sit, but they were still growling. "I'm so sorry, they've never done this before. I hope-" I was about to see if she was all right until I saw who it was. "Oh, now I see why they were attacking." I said, releasing my grip on there leashes.
"Aren't you going to call them off?" She asked, scared, but trying not to show it.
"No, they're not violent. Whoever heard of being mauled to death by a poodle?" I asked, staring into her eyes.
"If they're not violent, then why were they just attacking me?"
"Because animals have a sixth sense for things that cause pain, or annoyance." I said, still glaring at her.
"Pain or annoyance?"
"Yeah, Harry takes one look at you, the wounds that are just starting to heal are going to be reopened and deeper, causing these two annoyance, because they won't get as much food from him." She raised her eyebrows slightly, in amusement, not wanting to laugh. I kept a firm gaze on her, knowing that it was starting to make her uncomfortable. "Why are you here, anyway? The agency take a case that requires you here? Because you could go to a better tourist trap than London. Besides, you've been here already."
"You know why I'm here."
"Why? To make him jump through more hoops? What do you take him for, a circus animal? He put up with your bullshit for four years, I don't think he deserves to put up with more. I actually think that you did him a favor, cutting him loose. At least now he doesn't have to worry about pleasing you and your stubbornness every day." I said, coldly, cruelly, showing my north-Jersey upbringing.
"What makes you think that all I did was make him jump through hoops?" She said, acting calmly, but I could tell she was looking for a way out.
"Because look at every single day that you spent with him. All-" I paused for a moment for the calculation "All 1425 days that you spent with him. Every single case that you took on, he had to stumble his way through, acting the role of the flashy front man. That first year he was on the phone with me constantly. You know what all he did every phone call? Complain, gripe about how out of the loop he was. But he said it was worth it. He said his pride, his honor, his ego, was worth it to be with you. And he very well risked those every time he spoke to a client without any knowledge whatsoever of who they were. And don't get me started on how many times he told me that you'd back off at the last second on a romantic evening. Tell me, did you ever care for him, feel for him at all? Or were you just stringing him along to keep him as the agency's front man. That's why you're here, isn't it? To drag him back, because once Remington Steele Investigations loses Remington Steele, you're dead in the water. What are you going to do? Go crying back to Murphy? Invent another boss? You already tried that one, you won't be able to again. And as far as I know, you're almost unknown, who's going to hire you? You certainly won't be bringing in the same big bucks that you have been." As I spoke, I knew my voice was like metal, cold, unfeeling, and my eyes were like ice. I had learned to take on this expression long ago. It came from being over-influenced by movies, and the fact that the local mobsters strived to be the next Al Capone. And some of them came close. But I knew all of them, from the guys that would bootleg everything, to the guys who could light 6 cigarettes with a single gunshot. She just stood, stunned by my tirade. I gave the two leashes a short tug and we were off again. I headed right back to my flat, to make sure that Laura wouldn't come by. I had wanted the two of them together, but I wanted Harry to sort out his feelings before he saw her again. I sighed as I sank into the cushions of my sofa. I waited a few minutes before getting up and walking next door.
"Tabitha! What are you doing here?" Daniel asked me, as I walked in.
"I need to talk to you alone."
"Why alone?"
"Because if Harry gets a word of this, he'll either flat out jump off the roof of the nearest high-rise, or wind up doing that after he goes crawling halfway across London."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Just as it sounds Danny boy, just as it sounds." I said, looking at him, my eyes having lost the glint, my voice closer to silk than steel.
"You mean she's here, don't you?" He said, looking at me seriously.
"Yes. And she's after Harry."
"Then why not let her onto him?"
"Because she looked surprised when I said that she was dragging him back to be Remington Steele Investigation's frontman. She didn't try to counter. But I don't know, it might of been the fact that Shamus and Shannon were ready to rip her throat out."
"Whoever heard of being killed by a poodle?" He said, smiling slightly.
"That's what I said. But I just hope that she knows what she's doing, and if she's here because she loves Harry, or if she's here because of the agency."
"I've seen the two of them together, and I don't think even she's sure of her feelings for Harry."
"Well, until SHE'S sure, I'm not letting her in walking distance of Harry." I said, meaning every word.
"And why not?"
"Because until she knows what she wants from herself, she can't know what she wants from him. And that means he's in for a hell of a lot more pain."
"So you're planning on hiding him from life?"
"Not from life, just from her, until she knows what she's doing, and if she still wants to go through with it."
"And she's his life." He pointed out sourly.
"So she is. But I don't want to see Harry hurt any more than he already is, so I'm going to have a little chat with our Miss Holt later."
"How much later?"
"Like, after I shower, feed the dogs, change, and find out where she's staying."
"Well then, good luck to you, you might need it."
"So I will mate, so I will" I said, setting off to take on the wrath of Laura Holt yet again.
OK, hope you enjoyed, and the two songs were Evan And Jaron-From My Head To My Heart, and S Club 7-Never Had A Dream Come True

To Part 6