- Steele Something Missing (1/1)
Date: Saturday, December 30, 2006
- "Pat" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- This is all SteeleFan's
fault! Blame her!
- Steele Something Missing
- She was brushing her hair. He was
- He liked watching her in the mornings,
usually. But lately there was
something off about the normal morning ritual. When she stopped
hair out of the bristles of her brush, he realized what it was.
- He was processing the new information
as she resumed jerking the brush
through her hair in short, hard strokes.
- She stopped and came to the doorway
between the bathroom and the bedroom.
- "You're going to be entirely
bald, you know."
- "Yes, if you keep yanking away
like that. Bald as a cueball."
- He stood up from where he'd been
reclining on the bed, leafing through the
morning paper, and crossed to her. Removing the offending brush
her fingers, he tossed it behind him on the bed.
- "Now then, instead of abusing
such a lovely head of hair, why don't you tell
me what's bothering you? Remember, the follicles you save may
be your own."
- She shrugged. "Nothing's wrong.
Not a thing. Everything's just
- "Once more, please? You need
to work that unconvincingly dead tone out of
- She sighed. "Really, everything's
fine. I mean, look at us. We're actually
happy. No fighting, we work well together, we've managed to live
for, what now? Eight months? Not one meltdown."
- "If we don't count your cooking."
- "And we don't!"
- "That's right. We don't. So,
what's the problem? And don't say nothing." He
held up a hand to forestall her. "Because your hairbrush
- "And you trust it more than
- "Of course I do. Your hairbrush
never lies. You, on the other hand, fib like
a three-year-old with cookie crumbs on her nose."
- She laid her head on his chest as
a small burst of giggles overtook her. He
hugged her close for a minute, then gently pushed her back so
he could see
her face again.
- That's when she hit him.
- A fast fist pounded down on his
chest and her face twisted into a grimace.
"See? That's just it! That's what's wrong. It's all wrong!"
- "What's all wrong? And while
we're at it
ow. That hurt!"
- "It's your fault! It's all
- "What did I do?"
- "Not one damn thing! That's
the problem! You haven't done one damned thing.
In months! Nothing!"
- She twisted away from him and sat
heavily on the edge of the bed.
Cautiously, he perched on the other side, ready to move quickly
- "All right, let me take stock
here. We can't be talking about intimacy,
because I think we've got that part fairly worked out. As for
the rest, I've
gone to work with you every day. I've even gotten in on time.
you've made sure I was up every morning, so that's really not
accomplishment, is it?" He paused, brow scrunched in consternation.
done most of the cooking. Admittedly that was in self-defense,
but still, it
has to count for something. I've taken out the garbage, been
nice to your
mother, charming to your sister, and only had to be reminded
twice to pick
up a birthday gift for Mildred this year. I can't see where I've
Honestly, Laura, I've been positively exemplary."
- "I know! Damn you!"
- "For what?"
- "For making me crazy!"
He'd have thought she was joking, but the blazing
light in her eyes said otherwise. "Do you know the strain
I've been under?
You aren't like this! You've never been like this! Ever since
keep waiting and waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never
haven't overspent the agency funds, you haven't gone off on a
police aren't hunting you for some half-forgotten larceny, no
girlfriends have shown up under the bed
you haven't done
anything! I keep
expecting the worst and it never comes! You're going to give
me a heart
attack if this keeps up! For God's sake
DO something already!
is killing me!"
- "Do something?"
- "Do what? What is it that would
make this - better, for lack of another
- She flung her hands up. "I
don't know! That's your department, not mine!
You've never had to be told how to screw up before, I don't see
why I should
have to tell you how to do it now!"
- "Well, given community property
laws in this state, overspending the
agency's funds seems a bit counter-intuitive. I've no idea where
any of my
old girlfriends are at the moment, and I'm not sure, given my
circumstances, that I could convince any of them to hide under
the bed in
- "There's always larceny,"
she said, helpfully grim.
- "Well, I suppose there's always
that, but - "
- "But what?"
- "Well, forgive me, but two
things. First of all, there's nothing in town
right now worth the risk of taking. Good God, the museum has
the damn Monet
exhibit again and I'm so bloody tired of the Impressionists I
There aren't any interesting gem collections in the entire state
moment. Really, Laura, I can't think of a single score worth
- "And the second thing?"
- "Well, now I have a positive
stake in the agency, I wouldn't want to see it
destroyed. And my getting caught in the middle of a robbery,
I'm not interested in doing, would pretty much destroy the agency.
cutting my own throat there, don't you see? Not worth the risk
- "So what's left?"
- He bounced gently on the edge of
the bed, considering. "Well, you could send
anonymous notes to random law enforcement agencies around the
suggesting that they look into the background of a certain high-profile
in Los Angeles if they want to clear up any odd old cases, but
that would be risking the agency's good name. It's entirely up
to you, of
course, but I don't honestly recommend it as a tension-reliever."
- "So there's nothing?"
- He grinned at her. "Well -"
- She balled up her fist and half-rose.
- "There's always sex!"
- Her face cleared as she thought
about this. "An affair? But with who?"
- It was his turn to scowl. "Good
God, no. Honestly, Laura, that's such a
cliché. And devilishly complicated besides. I just figured
sex was a great
tension-reliever so we could work on your problem, um, together,
if you get
- "This tension thing, Mr. Steele?
It's pretty much non-stop at this point.
Even with your stamina, I doubt you'd be able to wipe it all
- "Well," he said with an
unrepentant grin, "I'd certainly be willing to give
it a try."
- She stared into space thoughtfully.
"I suppose I could have the affair. That
- "Really? You think so? But
with who? I mean, you've been awfully busy
lately, Laura. What other man could you see often enough to seduce
my getting wind of it? You know, this sort of thing really is
it seems. And a lot of hard work besides. Any candidates?"
- "Well, Tony hasn't been heard
from since the airport, so he's probably out."
- "I think when you put your
heel practically through his left foot, it might
have discouraged him just a tad. Unless it was the wild screeching
ear. But something seems to have put him off. I agree. He's just
viable candidate anymore."
- "And Murphy's married now.
Wonder if he'd care to fool around?"
- "And which one of you would
be paying the airfare between Denver and LA? I
think you're going to have to limit yourself geographically,
- She sighed. "Well, that boils
it down to just one candidate." She rose and
picked up her hairbrush. "Do you think Fred would be cruel
enough to charge
- "Probably not. He's always
been quite flexible that way. But I think there
might be another solution."
- Laura returned her hairbrush to
the shelf in the bathroom and returned to
the bedroom in time to see him rummaging through the closet.
He turned to
her and tossed something at her. She grabbed it instinctively
realizing it was a shoe.
- "We really need to stay in
shape. What say we jog to work this morning!"
- "Will that take care of my
tension, do you think?"
- He tossed her the other shoe. "I
have no idea, but I think it might help
with mine!" Lacing on his own shoes, he headed for the door.
- "After you, Mr. Steele. After
- The End