Steele Giving Thanks 4/6
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
From: "Lori" <>
By the time they arrived at the spa Laura was exhausted from her late night with Mr. Steele and their early morning flight from LAX.
"Let's just check in and take a nap," she said, leaning against her husband as they got out of the taxi.
Remington took their luggage and tipped the driver, guiding his wife into the lobby of the posh hotel.
"Welcome to Sierra Del Sol," said the young woman behind the desk. "May I help you?"
"Yes," Remington paused, reading the clerk's name tag, "Blanca, my wife and I made a reservation yesterday. The name is Blaine, Richard and Tracy Blaine." He held up a finger to excuse himself as Laura jerked him back to whisper in his ear.
"Blaine?" she asked. "Are you CRAZY? This is MEXICO CITY," she said slowly and deliberately. "Do you really think it's wise for Richard Blaine to show his gorgeous face?"
He smiled, loving the fact that she'd compliment him even as she was berating him. That was his Laura.
"No worries, Darling," he said before kissing her gently as the hotel staff looked on. "Captain Rios and I settled that matter long ago, in Acapulco. You remember… a fortune in finder's fees lost---sacrificed in exchange for my freedom?"
"I remember, Richard," she said, more sternly than she'd meant to. "I still think it's a little risky."
"What's life without a little risk," he said, "eh, Mrs. Blaine?"
He winked and raised an eyebrow, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and leading her back to the reception desk. They checked in and were shown to their room.
"Laura darling," he said. "You do seem a bit tired, why don't you go and lie down for a little while? I'll order some lunch and we'll get to work later this afternoon." He sat down at the desk and reached for the phone.
"Sounds like a plan," she said, walking up behind him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned in to kiss him before disappearing into the bedroom.
After lunch, the Blaines ventured out to explore the spa. It was a beautiful place, and Laura found herself wishing they weren't on a case and that they had more than two days. She made a mental note to suggest this place the next time her husband hinted that they needed to get away. They loved their work and they adored their daughter, but he often suggested romantic getaways. She smiled at the thought, remembering how he always used to try to get her to go away with him in the old days before they were together. Not much had changed in that area, except that now she actually accepted his advances.
They went to some of the places that Mildred had found on the credit card receipts. They mixed a little pleasure with business and picked up a couple of things for Kate in the local market. They caught sight of Sara Larsen in a local restaurant. She dined alone and then went back to her room at the hotel. Figuring that she was in for the night, Remington and Laura decided to also retire for the evening and pick up the trail in the morning.
They went to the relaxation center for a couple's massage, and Laura chatted with the young woman who was managing the reception desk there as they waited for their masseurs.
"What brings you to Sierra Del Sol, Mrs. Blaine?" the woman asked.
"We just needed to get away for a few days," Laura answered. "My husband's work is very stressful," she went on with a wink toward Remington. "And we're getting ready to spend the holidays with extended family. This place came highly recommended."
"Oh?" she asked.
"Yes, my friend Elizabeth Wexler raves about it," Laura answered.
The young woman, Marisol, nodded in recognition.
"Ms. Wexler is one of our regular patrons," she said. "In fact, she's in residence right now."
"She is?" Laura replied, feigning surprise. "I had no idea."
"I haven't seen her in quite a while, though. She came in for her regular massage when she first arrived, but she's spent most of this visit in her bungalow," Marisol told her.
"Does she do that often?" Laura asked.
"It's not too unusual," the clerk answered. "Especially when she's working. Sometimes, she comes down here when she's got a big project to finish. She says she can concentrate better here than at her office."
Laura looked up as Remington nodded toward the door. Sara Larsen had just walked into the spa and was walking up to the desk.
"I'll let you get back to work," Laura said, smiling at the young woman behind the desk.
"Thank you, Mrs. Blaine," she answered. "Erik should be with you in just a minute." As Laura walked away, Marisol turned to her next guest. "Mrs. Malloy," she said. "How are you this morning?"
"I'm doing very well, Marisol," the woman answered. "Thank you for asking. This trip has been so much better than I'd imagined."
After they finished their massages, the Blaines waited for Mrs. Malloy to finish hers. Laura casually asked Marisol for the number of her "friend" Libby's bungalow. She told the girl she knew it was against the rules, but what could it hurt for her to just be able to pop in and say hello and thank her friend for suggesting they come to Sierra Del Sol. Marisol agreed there would be no harm and gave Laura the number.
As they were waiting Laura excused herself to go outside and make a call. She dialed Mildred's direct line at the office.
"Remington Steele Investigations," she answered.
"Good Morning, Mildred," Laura replied. "I have another name for you to check out. Sara Larson is using the name Malloy down here. I don't know if it will help, but see if there's any connection."
"Will do, Mrs. Steele," Mildred promised. "How are you two doing?"
"We got a good lay of the land. And we've been keeping an eye on Mrs. Larsen. I'm pretty sure of where our Ms. Wexler IS, but we haven't actually seen her yet. Hopefully we can wrap this up today."
"Me too, Laura. I'll let you know as soon as we find anything."
"Thanks, Mildred. I don't know what we'd do without you."
As she hung up the phone, she went back into the relaxation center where her husband was reading a book on transcendental meditation. She sat down next to him and laid her head on his shoulder. Soon, Mrs. Malloy had finished her massage and they discreetly followed her into town.
On the face of things, she seemed like a typical wealthy housewife on holiday. But the couple following her knew differently. She'd lied to her husband about her whereabouts and she was using an alias. All was definitely not as it seemed, and they were sure that Sara Larsen was the key to unlock their puzzle.
When Remington bumped into a cart in the marketplace, Laura got an idea. She watched as the blonde woman they'd been following looked up at the disturbance created when Remington tripped and bumped a cart. She noticed the woman's reaction to her husband. She was practically drooling. This happened more than she cared to admit, and normally Laura would be annoyed by it. But today, it might serve a purpose.
"You keep Mrs. MALLOY occupied," she said to Remington. "I'm going to go pay a visit to my good friend Libby. Meet me back in our room."
As Laura disappeared into the crowded market, Remington approached Sara Larsen.
"Didn't I see you back at the spa?" he said.
"Yes," she answered. "And didn't I see you with your wife?" she asked, taking his left hand in hers, indicating the ring.
"Paydirt!" Mildred exclaimed as Murphy was walking past her door. She was looking intently at her computer screen when he walked into the office.
"What did you find?" he asked.
"Hopefully, the last piece of the puzzle," Mildred answered. "When Laura called this morning, she said they hadn't actually seen Libby Wexler yet, but they were pretty sure of her location…"
"Right," Murphy agreed, picking up the conversation. "And she gave us the alias that Sara Larsen is using in Mexico…"
"…except that it's not really an alias," Mildred said. "Malloy is Sara Larsen's maiden name. And just over a week ago, a Swiss bank account was opened in the name S.R. Malloy, to the tune of three million dollars."
"Let me guess, it was opened with a wire transfer from Mexico City."
"You got it."
"We need to get this information to Laura and Steele," Murphy said. "You're right; this could be the last piece of the puzzle."
"And Laura and the Chief will have to make them fit."
Laura looked around as she approached Libby Wexler's bungalow. She knocked on the door but got no response, so she pulled out her lock picks and went to work. The outer room was dark and she heard no sound as she entered.
"Ms. Wexler?" she called out. "Libby?"
She made her way through the small dwelling until she ended up in the bedroom where she found Libby Wexler, apparently sleeping. She walked over and checked for a pulse. Finding one, she gently shook the woman.
"Ms. Wexler," she said. "Libby. Wake up."
When she got no response, she looked around for evidence that the woman had been drugged. She went into the bathroom where she found the evidence she had been looking for---a bottle of prescription sleeping pills. The drug was prescribed to Sara Larsen. She took out her phone to call her husband.
Remington looked down at the caller ID as his phone rang.
"Richard Blaine," he said.
"Hello, dear," Laura said with a smile. "I take it you're still with our suspect."
"That's right."
"Well, I've found Ms. Wexler. She's unconscious, apparently dosed on sleeping pills prescribed to Mrs. Larsen. I'm going to try to get her back to our room."
"Do you think that's a good idea?"
"What do you want me to do?" she asked. "I can't leave her here. Keep Mrs. Larsen busy for as long as you can, and meet me in our room."
As he opened his mouth to protest, the line went dead.
"Okay Libby, let's get you out of here."
to be continued...
To Part 5

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