And part 7: some good news and a twist (or two).
(still not the end)
Steele Stainless (Part 7)
Friday, December 10
After listening to Miranda gush about her sidesaddle progress Remington
decided that another step was necessary. He called her into his office
after lunch. She arrived with Sean in tow and was ecstatic at the sight of
the sidesaddle awaiting her. During her exuberant thank you Sarah buzzed
in, "Miss Steele, you have a call on line three."
Miranda answered and spoke briefly
to Rob about his plane ride to London and
the view from his hotel balcony. Rob asked why she hadn't ridden back to
the office in the town car and she replied that her father had been in the
area with a client and so they rode together. With each moment they talked,
Sean's demeanor stiffened a little more. After she hung up with Rob and
hugged Remington exuberantly again, Miranda went to her office to prepare
for a meeting.
Remington called to Sean to stay.
"Are you related to the Worlands of
Melbourne, by any chance?"
Sean shoved his hands in his pockets and looked out the window, "There are a lot of Worlands in Australia. Melbourne is no exception."
"I understand from Miranda that you live with your aunt?"
"Yes. My parents were killed
when I was young and my aunt had
"And she lives ?"
"In an apartment in Melbourne. There wasn't enough room for me anymore. So here I am."
The intern Remington remembered as
Jessica popped her head around the open
door, "So sorry for interrupting, Mr. Steele." When Remington waved his
hand she continued, "Sean, do you have time to come with me on
Sean nodded and followed her; a little to quickly, Remington thought.
Remington came home with two shopping bags and three dozen roses. He
dropped his keys on the entryway table and took the bags to the kitchen
counter. When he couldn't find anyone downstairs he climbed the stairs to
Laura's office, flowers in hand. At the top of the stairs he heard voices
coming from the ballroom. He came around the corner to see one of the green curtains pushed back. In the long side room, Sean kneeled as Miranda sprang off his knee and into a sitting position on his shoulders.
"Good. Hold. Ok, now let me down."
Sean braced Miranda's left foot in
both hands as she swung her right leg
back over. She held onto his left shoulder and brought her right leg
parallel to the left one before dropping to the ground. "Yeah, that was
better" he nodded.
"Let's do the standing. Just go slowly and balance. No rush."
Remington leaned against the wall
as Sean lifted Miranda over his head. He
held one foot in each hand. Both faces were masks of concentration. "Down
on three" Miranda never looked down. "One and two and-" Sean bent his knees and tossed her into the air. Miranda twisted onto her side and Sean caught
her at his shoulder level.
Sean looked down at her, "Doesn't that hurt?"
"Yes. The trick is not minding that it hurts."
"Lawrence of Arabia. Peter O'Toole, Columbia, 1962" Remington supplied.
"Hi, Daddy" Miranda smiled as Sean quickly put her down.
Remington continued into the room, "How was your ride this afternoon?"
"Wonderful, the new saddle is
perfect. Thank you again." Miranda sipped
from her water bottle.
"What's all this about?" Remington raised an eyebrow.
"I've been teaching Sean some surveillance techniques."
"I don't remember those" Remington made a gesture to suggest tossing.
"Sometimes you just need a little
boost. I was watching cheerleaders on TV
one day and it seemed like a good idea. Less equipment and hook marks.
Easier to get in and out."
"Oh I'm sure. Speaking of getting in and out, have you seen your mother?"
"I think she went downstairs
to check the mail. Those for her?" Miranda
looked at the roses still in Remington's hand.
"No, in fact. Some of them are yours."
"Thank you. What did you do?" Miranda's tone was playful.
"Sometimes, my dear, a little insurance goes a long way" he winked at her.
"Where is everybody?" Laura called from the hallway.
"We're back here" Miranda shouted back.
"I thought you were going to practice in the pool" Laura's voice was closer.
"You were right. It was too
cold. We need a heated pool" Miranda teased as
she smelled her bouquet.
"Remington Steele Jr.-"
Laura stopped abruptly as she came around the corner
and saw that the man in question was present as well. "Oh. You're, uh,
"And we got flowers" Miranda chimed in a sing-song voice.
"And they'll need water soon"
Remington added, handing the remaining two
bouquets to Laura.
"Thank you. I was just going
to order dinner. Pizza ok for everyone?"
Laura looked at Miranda and Sean.
"Actually," Remington stepped in, "I thought I'd make dinner."
"I don't know what you plan to use-"
"I took the liberty of stopping by the market."
"Oh. All right. I'll just go put these in some water."
"Will you take mine, Mom? We've got a few more things to work on."
"Sure" Laura turned to go.
Miranda widened her eyes and made a shooing
motion at Remington. He quirked his eyebrow at her and followed Laura.
Miranda sighed and shook her head
as she contemplated her "parents" and
Dinner was a superb stuffed quail
with a light garden salad and homemade
chocolate mousse. Miranda commented that she wouldn't mind another dinner
or two like this and Sean was quick to add his appreciation. Laura
pretended to be affronted, but it was clear to those who loved her that she
was having as good a time as anyone. Remington thought to himself that the
weekend was off to a good start.
Saturday, December 11
Miranda teased Remington enough about getting older to persuade him to ride
one of the stable's horses with her on the bridle paths. Miranda smiled at
they groomed the horses and commented that him using her astride saddle left her no other recourse but to ride sidesaddle. Remington smiled, it was nice to give presents to someone who appreciated them. They mounted and rode for some time through the wooded trails.
Remington enjoyed the quiet and the
scenery. He reflected on the events of the last week and a half.
He was deep into his thoughts about Laura when a
shot rang out. Hal was only momentarily startled, but the stable horse was
quite unsettled. Remington and Miranda exchanged a knowing look before
spurring the horses into a gallop as another shot whizzed past them. They
leaped a fence and thundered down a wooded path. They skirted the tree line at the edge of a large clearing before reaching the barn.
After asking around about any strangers
or unfamiliar vehicles seen on the
property and making certain that they were safe again, they got in
Remington's car and drove home. Laura paled when they related their story
and asked all the questions one would expect of an interrogation by Mrs.
Steele. After exhausting every idea and assuring Laura that they were both
unharmed, they all went to bed.
Remington tossed and turned for the
better part of two hours before getting
up to go to the kitchen. He found Laura already sitting at the counter with a small bowl of leftover mousse. "You too, eh?" he flashed his half-smile
and walked to the cabinet. "Would you like a glass of wine?"
He filled two glasses and leaned on the counter across from her.
Knowing what needed to be said and, oddly enough, ready to say it, he took a sip of his wine and began, "My first impulse was to rush back to you--to you both. I got on a bloody airplane, Laura."
"We had a layover in New York.
I was walking through the terminal and it
occurred to me that you wouldn't want to see me. I went to the men's room
to splash some water on my face and I came out and walked right back to the
"And you left again."
He nodded. They both sipped their wine.
"And now?" Laura looked at him.
"I think all the misery piled
up on me at once. Everyday I wondered where
you both were what you were doing if you were happy. And it dawned on me
that I wasn't happy and hadn't been for a very long time. So I took a
nonstop flight from Heathrow to LAX. I was going to just breeze right back
through the door. I'd done it once. I have to confess that I wanted you to have Mildred's reaction."
Laura smiled, "So did I."
"I guess we're both lonely" Remington sighed.
"I guess we are."
"Citizen Kane. Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton. 1941.
It occurred to Laura that no matter
what she learned about her Mr. Steele
and what he did, her opinion of him changed very little. She realized that
he was as stainless to her as when they had been happy for those few years
after Miranda was born; she didn't care what had been between then and now
anymore. She laughed softly and stood up, "You going to sit here for a
"Then try not to make too much
noise when you come to bed" Laura smiled and
patted him on the shoulder as she went back to the bedroom. She had barely
left the kitchen before he put down his wine glass and followed her.
Sunday, December 12
The next morning, Miranda was just going back into her room with a bowl of
cereal as Remington came out. One look at him in his robe and pajama pants
with bare feet was enough to inspire a double-take and a raised eyebrow.
"How long have you been in there?"
Remington smiled, "Since about two."
"You were invited into the inner sanctum?"
"So it seems."
"All right Daddy" Miranda smiled.
"Shh, you'll wake up your mother."
"She's not up yet? It's almost noon" Miranda pretended to be scandalized.
"She's uh tired" Remington pulled his ear.
"Ok. And that was too far. But I guess I asked for it."
"How about a proper breakfast?" Remington rubbed his hands together.
"If it's anything like dinner I'm in."
After a sheepish look from Laura to
Miranda and a marvelous breakfast thanks to Remington, Miranda
announced that she was going to go riding a day early
because Hal was having his shots on Monday. Laura protested, but Remington
made peace by convincing her to take Sean along and stay in the main arena.
After she left he called a favor in and the black sedan always parked within earshot was not lost on Miranda. Sean's frayed nerves were also not lost on Miranda and she didn't ride long.
Remington and Laura spent the day
on the couch in the living room. Laura
read over case files and Remington watched selected movies from his now
At one point, Remington put down the
remote and turned her face toward him,
"Uh, Laura not to sound ungrateful, but why the sudden change?"
Laura blinked and smiled, "I
know it sounds strange, but it just doesn't
seem worth it anymore. I think part of it was the thought that I could have
lost you again today. But, really, I always knew I'd forgive you."
Remington chuckled, "Well you
might have told me sooner, certainly would
have made it a lot easier."
Giving him a taste of his own medicine,
Laura raised an eyebrow, "Now
where's the fun in that?"
They talked over both old cases and
new ones and even spent some time in the Jacuzzi. Laura wasn't
surprised that it felt as though they had never been
apart, and she shook off the feeling that this was the calm before the
Monday, December 13 and Tuesday, December
After a day at the office that felt almost as pleasant as the Sunday
afternoon before it and shortly following another magnificent dinner, Laura
rolled over in the middle of the night and suddenly the key in her desk
drawer at the office popped into her head. She recalled that the envelope
had been addressed to Ms. Steele, also a title Miranda used. Realizing that it must have something to do with Miranda's work on the Richardson family
and resolving to discuss it with her in the morning, Laura rolled back over
and easily fell asleep again.
Miranda didn't ride because of Hal's
shots and Laura seized the opportunity
to discuss the key again.
"So I can only assume it has something to do with you."
Miranda frowned in thought, "I
don't know what. I can't remember the last
time I needed a key to get into anything."
Laura rolled her eyes as she noticed
that Remington smirked a little behind
his newspaper. "Anyway, that's what I've come up with."
"I'll put in a few calls and
see if anybody knows about a key" Miranda
shrugged. When several international calls turned up only a missing mentor
Miranda looked up at her "parents" again: "Granda's gone to ground
apparently. He'll call me when he resurfaces and I'll try again. Until
then I don't think we'll learn much more about this." She picked the key up and turned it in her fingers.
Wednesday, December 15
Wednesday also passed without much excitement. Much to Laura's chagrin,
Miranda insisted on maintaining her riding schedule. She did, however,
agree to take Sean along again. In the evening, Remington carried blankets
and pillows up to the ballroom and made a pallet in front of the fireplace.
He and Laura ate a light dinner in front of the flames and enjoyed each
other's company. Even Laura's feeling that a storm was coming dissolved in
the wine and his voice in her ear.
Thursday, December 16
Three cases came to a head around mid afternoon, so a late day at the office had the Steele's famished when they arrived home. They were just sitting
down to another of Remington's gourmet dinners when the doorbell rang.
Laura had a wine bottle and two glasses in her hands and Remington was
bringing the salad to the table so Miranda offered to go. She looked
through the peephole and then furrowed her brow and looked again. Remington and Laura heard the door open and then promptly slam shut.
"Miranda, darling?" Remington
called into the hallway, "Who is it?" When
there was no answer, he and Laura came around the corner just in time to see
Miranda with her face ashen and her back to the closed door.
"Is everything all right?" Laura took a few steps toward Miranda.
Miranda looked at both of them and
blinked. She took a breath and then
slowly turned around and opened the door again. Remington and Laura saw a
tall young man standing in the doorway. He wore expensive slacks and a
casual sweater. Laura noticed that he gave off an elegance that she
identified the very early Remington Steele with. Haughty. Cocky.
The handsome young man spoke, "Hello,
Vivian darling. Aren't you going to
ask me in?"
Miranda had regained at least the
semblance of her composure, "What do you
"Oh no, I'm sorry. It's Miranda now, isn't it?"
"It is," Miranda's face
was stony but she moved aside and let him step
inside before closing the door. She crossed her arms, "Forgive me, how are
"I'm better than I ever was."
"That was never anything to brag about."
Remington chimed in, "His Girl
Friday. Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell.
Colombia, 1940." Laura elbowed him in the ribs.
"You too, huh?" Kevin looked at Remington.
Miranda felt that she was losing control
of the situation. "What do you
The young man smirked, "What do you think I want?"
"I thought you were dead."
"A popular misconception, it
seems." He looked past Miranda and saw Laura
and Remington, "Aren't you going to introduce me to your parents?" he
smirked again, or more appropriately, still.
"I think you already know who they are. What's the game, Kevin?"
"No game. I was just in the
country and thought I'd stop by and say hello
to an old friend. An old friend who's been spreading rumors about me, I
"What are you talking about?"
Miranda's surprise was peppered with
"You're not the only person I've visited lately who thought I was dead."
"I saw your body. I touched you. You were cold," Miranda's composure began to slip again.
"Technology is an amazing thing.
Make a person look dead for hours and then wake up again good
as new. Bit of a headache, but none the worse for wear,
really." Laura and Remington shared a meaningful glance. When Miranda just blinked at him, Kevin continued, "Well, if you won't introduce me, I'll have to be rude and introduce myself," he strode over to Remington and Laura.
"Mr. and Mrs. Steele, Kevin Martin. I'm an old friend of
your uh daughter's," he glanced back at Miranda.
"What do you want?" her voice was stronger again.
"I just want to talk. To explain some things. Fair enough?"
Miranda nodded, "Ok, but not here. I'll get my coat."
After Miranda disappeared into her
room, Remington looked at Kevin. "If you don't mind, how
do you know my daughter?" he was careful not to mock the
word as Kevin had.
Kevin shrugged nonchalantly, "We used to be in love."
Laura and Remington had just enough time to exchange a glance before Miranda came back into the hallway. "Do you have a car?"
"Of course" Kevin scoffed.
"Good then, you're driving. Let's go."
"Where are we going?" Kevin asked.
"Some place where you can still smoke," Miranda moved toward the door.
"I don't smoke anymore," was the last thing Laura and Remington heard before the door closed.
They looked at each other for a second
before Remington spoke, "Do you know
anything about this?"
"Only a little" Laura responded.
"Miranda loved him, but he hurt
her. They were apart for some time, and
then she found him dead. From what she's told me, it's what made her decide to leave Italy and come to the US."
Remington looked back at the closed door, "Poor Sean."