Steele Giving Thanks 3/6
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
From: "Lori" <>
Murphy, Danny and Mildred were standing at Sharon's desk when the Steeles arrived back at the office.
"How'd the meeting go, Chief?" Mildred asked.
"It was interesting, Mildred," Remington answered. "But not very informative."
"Did you find anything?" Laura asked.
"Maybe," Murphy answered. "Danny and I went over to Ms. Wexler's house. We didn't really find anything out of the ordinary…"
"…but there was a program from Kate's talent show the other night," Danny interrupted as Murphy glared at him.
Laura bit back a grin. She knew that Murphy would make a wonderful mentor for her nephew's apprenticeship and that Danny had the makings of a great detective, but occasionally their rivalry reminded her of the time Remington had hired an intern, much to Mildred's chagrin.
"That could be something," Laura said, turning to her husband. "We need to talk to our client."
Remington turned back to the others and shrugged before following Laura out the door.
"Why the rush?" he asked as they got into the elevator. "And couldn't we use the telephone?"
"I want to see his face," Laura responded.
"Is the program from the talent show that important?" he asked. "After all, Larsen's son was in the show. Is it inconceivable that his business partner would be there?"
"No," Laura admitted. "But it IS unlikely that his lover would be there. And according to our client, Ms. Wexler was already missing when he attended the talent show."
Before Remington could inquire further, she went on.
"When he came to the office the next day, he said that he had wanted to speak to us about the case at the talent show, but the timing wasn't right."
"Lead on, Mrs. Steele."
Murphy looked up as his internal line rang. He picked up the phone.
"Hello," he said.
"Murphy," Mildred said from the other line, "do you still have those contacts in Mexico City?"
"Yeah," he answered. "Why?"
"Well, after Laura acted so strangely about the Academy program this afternoon, I got to thinking. I did some digging and cross referenced the Larsen's information with Libby Wexler's. Get this, BOTH Libby Wexler and Sara Larsen appear to be in Mexico City. At least their credit cards are. I called a couple of the merchants showing up on Ms. Wexler's account and they provided an accurate description."
"What about Mrs. Larsen?" Murphy asked.
"I don't know," Mildred replied. "We don't have a description to go on."
"I think you're on to something, Mildred. Let's meet when Laura and Steele get back."
"I'll admit I don't like the guy," Laura was saying as she and Remington walked into the office. "He's blatantly cheating on his wife---but I believe him. He's telling the truth."
"So where does that leave us?" Remington asked.
"We have to find someone ELSE who may have been both at the Academy talent show and at Libby Wexler's house."
"They're back," Sharon said into the telephone.
"What's going on, Sharon?" Laura asked.
"Miss Krebs and Mr. Michaels think they have a lead on the Larsen case," she answered. "They're waiting in Mr. Steele's office."
"Let's go," Laura said, leading the way for Remington to follow.
"According to Murphy's contact," Laura said as she pored over the file she'd spread out on the dining room table, "both Libby Wexler and Sara Larsen are at the Sierra Del Sol spa in Mexico City. But they haven't been seen together and each is traveling alone."
"It would seem we need to check into their travel arrangements," Remington suggested, leaning on the door jamb. "We need to know who was following whom."
"Right!" Laura replied. "But then… this just doesn't make sense. You don't suppose it could be a coincidence, do you? I mean, they have the same taste in men---maybe they have the same taste in vacations, too."
"Do you believe that?" he asked.
"No," she answered.
"I didn't think so," he replied. "Now, let's put that away for a while. Dinner is almost ready and one of us has to go pick up Kate from dance class."
Laura looked at her watch.
"I'll go," she said, gathering up the contents of her file.
"Mr. Larsen," Laura said, sitting in the chair across from her client's desk. "Where is your wife?"
"Excuse me?"
"Your wife," Laura repeated. "Where is she?"
"Visiting her mother in Ohio," he answered. "Why?"
"Does she know about your… relationship with Ms. Wexler?" Laura asked, ignoring his question.
"No," Larsen replied, a little too quickly.
"Are you sure about that?" she asked.
"Mrs. Steele," he said sternly, "What are you getting at?"
"I think you know, Mr. Larsen," she answered. "Your wife found out about your affair, didn't she?"
Neil Larsen hung his head for a moment and then slowly looked up at Laura.
"Yes," he said with a sigh. "Sara found out. That's why she went to go visit her mother. She left the morning after the talent show."
Once again, Laura believed he was telling the truth. She wasn't sure how much to reveal to him. This definitely confirmed her theory, but without proof she didn't feel comfortable telling her client that his wife had just become her prime suspect.
"Why all these questions, Mrs. Steele?" he asked.
"Just trying to get as much background as possible," she answered. "Mr. Steele and our associate are working on a theory as we speak. I'll let you know as soon as we have something to report. Thank you for your time," she said, standing to shake his hand. "I'll be speaking with you very soon."
On her way out to the parking lot, Laura took out her cell phone. She dialed her husband's number as she climbed into the driver's seat of her Jeep Cherokee. When the Rabbit finally gave up the ghost, she'd agonized over getting a new car. Remington was driving a new BMW and they still had the Auburn, so she opted for the "Mom" SUV.
"Steele here," came the familiar answer from the other line.
"Steele, HERE," she said with a smile. "Any luck?"
"What would you say to a couple of days in Mexico?" he asked.
"We can't go away now," she answered.
"Why not?" he asked. "The case demands it, I'm afraid."
"The case or your penchant for tropical climates?"
"Laura, you wound me," her husband answered, and she could just see the grin on his face. "The case, of course. It seems that Mrs. Larsen followed Ms. Wexler, and I don't think we're going to get any answers unless someone goes down there."
"I agree with you, Mr. Steele," she answered. "I just left Mr. Larsen and he thinks his wife is visiting her mother in Ohio."
"The plot thickens, Mrs. Steele," he said. "I'll call Sharon to make the arrangements."
"I'll meet you at home."
"Why do I have to go to Aunt Frances'?" Kate pouted as she sat on the bed and watched her mother pack.
"Because Daddy and I have to go out of town on a case. It will only be a couple of days; we're very close to wrapping this one up."
"But why can't I just stay here with Maria?"
"Maria is on vacation, Honey. Remember? She's not going to be back until after Thanksgiving." Laura placed the shirt she was folding into the suitcase and sat down next to her daughter. "I'm sorry, sweetie. This just came up at the last minute, and we have to go. It should only take a day or two, and we'll be back. You'll have fun with Aunt Frances and Uncle Donald."
"What about school?"
"Aunt Frances will drive you."
"All the way from Tarzana?"
"It's not that far, Kate. What are you so worried about?"
"I don't know," the little girl said softly. "I just don't like it when you and Daddy go away."
"Oh Honey," Laura said, pulling her baby girl into an embrace. "We'll be back. We'll always come back."
"I know," Kate said against her mother's breast. "But sometimes I get scared. I mean, your work is dangerous."
"Sometimes it is," Laura said honestly. "But not too often. When we were blessed with the most incredible little girl in the world, Daddy and I made a promise. We don't take cases that are obviously dangerous…"
"…and when we can't avoid the danger," Remington added, as he walked into the room, "we're extra careful." He walked over to where they were sitting and leaned over to kiss Laura before sitting down on the other side of their daughter.
"See?" Laura said. "Nothing to worry about."
"What's this all about?" Remington asked, wrapping his arm around both of his girls.
"Kate's a little nervous about us going to Mexico," Laura answered.
Remington rubbed Laura's shoulder before moving his hand to pull Kate close.
"Nothing to fear, luv," he said as he placed a gentle kiss against his daughter's temple. "Two days. We'll be back. We always come back, right?"
Kate looked up at him and smiled.
"That's exactly what Mom said."
Remington and Laura gazed at each other over their daughter's head. He smiled, he didn't think he'd ever get over the feeling of looking into her eyes and knowing that she loved him. She knew what he was thinking and felt the exact same way. She winked at him before speaking to Kate.
"See? Daddy's right. Everything will be fine. You're going to have lots of fun with Aunt Frances and Uncle Donald."
"And LB," Remington added, as Kate's face lit up.
"LB's going to be there?" she asked.
"Yep," her father answered. "I spoke with Uncle Donald on my way home and he told me that Laurie Beth has just started her fall break. She's coming home for the Thanksgiving holiday and will be there tonight."
"Tonight?" Kate asked.
Remington nodded.
"And she said she can't wait to hang out with her favorite cousin," he confirmed.
"Cool!" Kate said, jumping off the bed and running toward the door.
"Where are you going?" Laura asked.
"To finish packing," she answered. "I have to hurry if you're going to take me out there tonight."
Laura laughed and fell into her husband's arms as their little whirlwind ran out of the room.
"You always know just what to say," she said as he wrapped his arms around her.
"I just have a way with Holt women," he replied then kissed her, proving his point. He loved that he could still make her swoon.
Catching her breath she said to him, "Ah, but she's a Steele… and so am I."
"A fact for which I'm eternally grateful," he answered, holding her close. "What's say we drive little Miss Steele out to the Pipers, eh? We can have dinner on the way at that little place she likes in Calabasas. Then we'll come home, we'll have the house all to ourselves…"
"I like the way you think, Mr. Steele," she responded.
to be continued....
To Part 4

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