Part 8. Thanks for all the feedback--I've been carefully considering all of it and I certainly appreciate your time.(not the end yet, by the way)
Steele Stainless (Part 8)
"Nice car. You've moved up in
the world," Miranda commented on Kevin's
"Thanks. A gift from a grateful client" he patted the dash.
"Is that what you're here about? You're on a job?"
"Yes. I'm in the country on
business. But my visit to you is pleasure."
Miranda ignored his statement and directed him to exit the highway. After
ordering at a small sandwich shop, Kevin and Miranda sat across from each
other in a cramped booth near the back. Kevin lit a cigarette, leaving
Miranda to wave smoke away while trying to eat her sandwich. He took a
bite, "Do you ever think about what it would have been like?"
Miranda didn't even look up from her plate, "No."
It was as if Kevin hadn't heard her, "You and me?"
Miranda was persistent, "No."
"Never?" Kevin was a bit incredulous.
Miranda looked him straight in the eye, "Never."
"Awh, c'mon? Not one time?"
"That's what never means."
"Sure, and I bet you've got a
bridge you can sell me, too." Kevin took a
drag of his cigarette.
Miranda couldn't help but smile, "Oh yeah, real cheap."
"You aren't good at lies."
"You don't think so?"
Kevin took another drag, "Neah.
I could always tell." He smirked and took
another bite of sandwich.
Miranda dismissed him with a wave
of her hand, "If that makes you feel
"I bet it's a beauty."
"Are you still on that?"
Kevin smirked again, "No."
"Can I eat now?"
"Sure. Go right ahead. You
eat, I'll talk." Kevin scratched the side of
his nose with his cigarette hand.
"I'm not going to like this." Miranda put her sandwich down.
"You haven't even heard it." Kevin mocked a hurt tone.
"You always scratch your nose like that when you're going to say something I won't like." Miranda regarded him with skepticism.
"You don't know me as well as you think you do."
Now it was Miranda's turn to smirk, "Ditto."
"I hate that word." Kevin
set his cigarette in the ashtray and took a bite
"And so do you, for that matter" he added.
"Hate that word."
Miranda shrugged, "Immaterial."
There was a silence as Miranda took
another bite and sipped her drink until
Kevin felt it was prudent to speak again. "So I've been thinking about it."
"Us." Kevin's tone implied that she could not have possibly understood him.
"Why?" Miranda flopped her sandwich down on the paper.
"I've got a point." Kevin leaned forward.
"I figured you did." Miranda leaned, too.
"Get to it then." Miranda picked her sandwich up again.
"Maybe I don't want to now." Kevin sat back and crossed his arms.
"Fine." Miranda managed through a mouthful of sandwich.
"So what I was thinking-"
"Was that we should try it."
Miranda didn't give him a single beat to consider it again, "No."
"It wouldn't work." Miranda sipped her drink.
"You don't know that."
"I guess I don't know a lot of things."
They chewed for a moment before Kevin began again, "You used to want to."
"Past tense." Miranda emphasized.
"You still do. I can tell." Kevin reached for his cigarette again.
"You don't know me as well as you think you do."
"No fair stealing my lines." Kevin smirked again.
"You used to think so."
Miranda paused, "I got hurt."
"I didn't mean to."
"Neither did I."
"It wasn't a good time then. Now's better."
"I'm single, you're single."
"How do you figure that?"
"Oh he doesn't count."
"He thinks he does-"
"Rich boy? C'mon, Viv, I know
a job when I see one. Besides, you loved me
first. I think it's a great idea."
"And so do I."
"See then?" Kevin brightened.
"I wasn't agreeing."
"Sure you were."
"You interrupted. I was saying
that I think he counts" Miranda bit into her
"So call it a Freudian slip. You want to."
"Why not" Kevin was becoming frustrated.
"You're only ready now because you're lonely."
Kevin bristled and crushed his cigarette
in the ashtray, "I don't get
"Yeah, and you don't smoke anymore either."
"I don't like this."
"Now it's even."
"You know," Kevin was quiet
and honest, "if I could go back and change
anything I'd change it all." When Miranda didn't speak he continued, "I
always loved you."
Miranda didn't look up, "That's not fair."
"All I'm asking for is another chance. I know I blew it."
"Big. I know."
She looked up at him again, "Gargantuan."
"I know. But I've learned a lot from that and I'd like a chance to prove it to you."
"You've had chances, Kevin.
If you couldn't hold it together then, what
makes now different?"
"I missed you."
"Could've fooled me."
"I thought she was the best I could do. I didn't think anybody else was out there for me."
"Let's have the truth for once, huh?"
"All right." He sat up
straight and his tone completely changed, "I didn't
think you'd have me if you knew what I was really like. So I carried on
with her. And I did it in front of you on purpose to run you off. I wanted to hurt you a little because it hurt to have that distance between us.
That's the truth." Miranda just blinked at him. "But I realized that she's the one who didn't know what I'm really like. If anybody knows me it's
you." Miranda still hadn't spoken. "I hurt you. On purpose. And I'm
sorry. And I want you to forgive me. Or at least let's give that a try?"
"I don't know, Kevin."
"I've got an idea. Some of the
old guys have been dieing to see you.
Sorry, no pun intended there. Anyway, let me call them and we'll all get
together. It won't be just you and me. It'll be the whole lot of us back
"I have to be careful who I'm
seen with these days" Miranda expanded the
truth a little.
"Then let's do it at your place."
"I'd have to ask my parents."
"Oh please. What have they got on you?"
"Then you've got to have something
on them. I know the way these things
"C'mon. One more night with
they guys. If you don't have fun all you have
to do is say the word and I'll leave and be gone forever."
"You've done that already."
"You know, he doesn't call you
reckless for nothing," Kevin knew that a
mention of her precious 'Granda' would be enough to turn Miranda into her
She looked across the table at Kevin, "I just hope for your sake you haven't lost your poker face."
Back at the Steele apartment, Miranda introduced a somewhat surprised Laura
and Remington to her 'old chums' as one of the large young men so eloquently put it. "Mom and Daddy, this is Mark, Aaron, Ben, Steve, and Mike. Tommy's the one who works on the cars, but he couldn't make it."
"Pity" Remington replied.
He returned to the kitchen. "Laura, do you know
any of these, uh, gentlemen and I use that term loosely," he glanced over
his shoulder and flicked piece of imaginary lint off his sleeve, "very
"I've met most of them, I think."
"They helped when we moved in and one or two show up now and again."
"Ah, who needs movers?"
"Exactly. It only cost me $300
in pizza and sodas to get everything moved
into this apartment and set up. They really are good guys."
Remington observed the group for half
an hour before speaking to one of the
young men as he came into the kitchen to refill his glass, "Ben is it?"
"Kevin and my daughter, they've known each other for some time?"
The young man snorted, "Kevin
and Viv? We used to call them 'Kevian'
Remington waved his hand, "Yes, yes, I know."
"'Course, when I first met her she was Sammy. She's a heck of a girl."
Remington nodded. When the party
had left and the guests trickled out
Miranda counted her impressive winnings and she and Kevin decided to watch a movie before he went home. Miranda went to the kitchen to pop some popcorn
and found Remington sitting at the table. "I can't help but notice,"
Remington propped his chin in his hand, "that all of your friends seem to be of Sean's stature."
"That's one of the tragedies of this life--that the men who are most in need of beating up are always enormous."
"The Palm Beach Story. Claudette
Colbert, Joel McCrea. Universal, 1942.
So you befriend men who are even bigger?"
"That's the idea. As a girl
in that life, you've got to really watch
yourself. Word gets around that you run with the big boys, literally, and
it certainly helps."
"What about Kevin?"
"Brains vs. brawn."
"Do you have any friends who've got both?"
Miranda smiled, "Just one."
Kevin called for Miranda from her room and she
picked up the popcorn and left.
Friday, December 17
The next day, Miranda was listening to Mildred and Remington talk about old
cases when Sarah buzzed in. "Mr. Steele?"
"Is Miss Steele with you?"
"Yes Miranda's here."
"Her lunch appointment has arrived. Should I show him in?"
When Miranda nodded Remington answered, "Please do."
Mildred looked at Miranda, "Lunch appointment or lunch date?"
Miranda rolled her eyes, "Old friend."
Mildred raised her eyebrows, "That doesn't answer the question."
She was interrupted by Kevin's entrance.
Miranda made the introductions.
Kevin shot Mildred a stellar smile and oozed charm. Remington furrowed his
brow. Miranda turned to Kevin "We just have one more thing to cover and
then I'll be ready. Why don't you wait in my office?"
"You have an office? Must be nice to be the boss's daughter."
Though Remington could recognize female
indignation when he saw it, it
apparently escaped Kevin. That or he didn't care. At any rate, Miranda
continued, "It's down the hall in the next suite. Second door on the right.
Just tell them you're waiting for me."
"Sure thing. Can I use your phone?"
"Don't you have one?" Miranda mocked him.
"I'm over my minutes."
"Of course not."
"You owe me" she pointed her finger at him.
"Certainly" Kevin smiled
at Mildred and Remington before walking back out
into the lobby.
"Well," Mildred smiled knowingly,
"that 'old friend' sure has a lot of
Miranda didn't miss a beat, "He comes by it naturally; his grandfather was a snake. His Girl Friday. Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell. Colombia, 1940."
Remington smiled, "We'll go over
the new publicity photos when you get back
"1:30?" Miranda asked from the doorway.
Just as Kevin was helping her into her coat, Miranda's phone rang. "Are you free for dinner?"
"Hi, Rob. When did you have
in mind?" Miranda shooed Kevin away from the
"We've just landed, so I'm beat.
How about tomorrow night? Mom's been
waiting to meet you. Does dinner at my parents' house sound too dull?"
"Great. I'll send a driver for you around 7?"
"Perfect. See you tomorrow" Miranda hung up.
Kevin smirked, "Was that the mark?"
"You're meeting him?"
"Tomorrow evening. We're having dinner with his family."
"Oh he's a wild one."
"It'll all be over soon,"
Miranda concluded as they crossed the lobby and
walked toward the elevators.
Saturday, December 18
The next evening, Sean followed Miranda and Kevin as they went to dinner at
a small bistro across town. When he arrived back at the Steele apartment
close on their heels, Remington and Laura exchanged a look and Remington
decided it was time to have another chat with Sean.
After Miranda had persuaded Remington
that riding in the Richardson car was
safe, he and Laura found themselves alone. He opened a bottle of wine and
they lounged on the couch.
"I know there's something you're
still worried about. Would you like to
tell me or will I have to pry it out of you. You will recall that I'm very
Laura sighed. "I'm just worried that it can't last."
"What can't last?"
"This. Us again. A family again.
I'm worried that something's going to
come and take it all away again."
"No," Laura sat up and faced
him, "but how many other things that are out of
our control are still lurking out there?"
"I think we've spent enough time
worrying about the things we can't do
anything about. Eh?"
Laura shifted back down into her lounging
position on his chest, but her
eyes clouded over with anxiety again.
Sunday, December 19 and Monday, December 20
For the next two days Miranda and Kevin spent the majority of their time
together. They watched movies, drove to Big Bear and back and lounged
around the apartment. Laura and Remington continued to exchange worried
glances and wondered where Sean was. Remington could sense something still
wasn't right with Laura but he couldn't put his finger on it. And he'd
certainly tried. In more ways than one, he thought to himself.
Tuesday, December 21
It was Tuesday before Remington could negotiate some time alone with Sean.
Laura insisted that he accompany Remington whenever he wasn't in either the
apartment or the office should a gunman decide to take aim again. Sean
argued that Miranda was more vulnerable, but Remington's 'friends' in the
black sedan had her safety well under control. So it happened that Sean
grudgingly accompanied Remington on a number of errands that afternoon.
"Where are we going now?"
Sean was becoming more and more frustrated by the
moment. His mood was dark enough as it was and this recent assignment
"Dress shopping." Remington
said casually as he put his sunglasses on and
gracefully got into the limo. Soon they were in a tiny designer boutique on
Rodeo Drive. Remington breezed over to a mannequin wearing a gray silk
dress. "It's simple. Just put Miranda's face on this mannequin. She would
be lovely in this."
Sean shoved his hands into the pockets
of his slacks and squirmed
uncomfortably, "She'd prefer red."
"Then pick one." Remington's tone was challenging as he gestured to the rest of the store.
"I couldn't ."
"Why not? It's not terribly
difficult; watch." Remington glanced over his
shoulder at the saleswoman who had come up behind them. "Pardon me, I'm
shopping for my wife and daughter " he oozed charm, "Both brunettes. Around 5'3". My wife has exquisite shoulders and my daughter do you have anything
resembling a Franciscan Monk?" The saleswoman smiled and led them to a rack across the store. She held out several dresses and Remington zeroed in
immediately, "I'll take this one," he indicated an almost black blue satin
strapless gown with a good deal of flare at the hem, "in a 6. And this one," he shifted his focus to a blood red gown with black lace overlay and tiny cap sleeves made of strings of jewels and just a hint of a train," in
a Sean, what is Miranda's dress size?"
"How should I-"
Remington's tone was even but more insistent, "What is her dress size?"
"She's an 8."
"Good then," Remington turned
back to the saleswoman, "and this one in an
8." She nodded and moved back to the rear of the store.
Sean stared out the shop-front window, "How'd you know that?"
"I didn't. But when a gentleman
is in love with a women he should know all
her sizes in the event he becomes bored with flowers and jewelry. Keeps a
man's options open."
"How did you know I'd know?"
"You love her, don't you?"
Sean was quiet. "Don't you?" Remington
repeated. Still nothing from Sean. "I usually read the signs pretty well,
"Sir?" the saleswoman returned,
"If you'll just step this way. Would you
like them wrapped?"
"Ah, can you be a dear and have them delivered to the address on the back of my card on Thursday?" he smoothly handed her his business and credit cards.
"Of course, Sir." The saleswoman nodded again and was gone.
Remington turned again to Sean, "And
you do know her dress size. I'll wager you know her shoe size
as well." He admired some of the dresses on a nearby rack.
"Do you love my daughter?" Sean didn't move. "You
see, now I say 'I
asked you a simple question! Do you love her?' and you're supposed to say
'Yes!! But don't hold that against me, I'm a little screwy myself!'"
Remington smiled brightly at Sean, but he continued to stare out onto the
sidewalk. Remington tried again, "It Happened One Night? Clark Gable,
Claudette Colbert, Colombia 1934?" Sean just looked out the window until
the sales clerk returned with the receipt and Remington's credit card. He
signed with a flourish and nodded toward Sean, "Come along, Mate. I'm
famished." Remington strode out of the boutique with Sean in tow.
Soon Remington and Sean were sitting
in a back booth at a chic little
restaurant. "So," Remington began, "does she know?"
"No." Sean was morose.
"I thought not."
As if to one-up the situation, Sean
reached into the pocket of his slacks
and retrieved a red velvet ring box. He sat it on the table between them.
Remington opened it and let out a low whistle. The center diamond was round and easily over three karats and was flanked by equally impressive, if
smaller pear-shaped red diamonds. "Quite a find." he examined the center
stone more closely, "Flawless, colorless. Impressive size." Looking at the incredibly rare red stones he commented, "I see you are a man of funds after all." Remington returned the box, still open, to the tabletop.
Remington raised one eyebrow, "Since birth?"
Sean sighed, "If I tell you something, you can't tell her."
"I can't promise something like that."
"She'd hate me."
"I doubt that. Come out with it."
"I've got a trust fund."
"Good for you." Remington
was only mildly surprised. He recalled Sean's
behavior to this point, his impeccable table manners, and his dancing
ability; a young man didn't get that kind of breeding just anywhere.
"No. She hates trust fund babies.
She's developed such a contempt for
anyone brought up in that life. She says they're inherently soft; all the
guys she runs into at the stable and the country club and all these benefits and dinners and lectures. They take her out in expensive cars to the best
restaurants and bring her rooms full of flowers. She comes and complains to me that they're shallow and soulless and then we go and have an amazing time on maybe 20 bucks. If she knew I had all this she'd hate me."
"Why." Remington wasn't asking a question.
"Because I have a trust fund!" Sean was almost indignant.
Remington was still perfectly cool, "So does she."
"I--I know. But-"
"But what?" Remington was becoming exasperated as well.
"I never slept on the street.
I've never wondered where my next meal was
coming from. I haven't lived that life. Go ahead and tell me you didn't
use to hate anyone with my kind of disposable income."
"I didn't hate them; I used them."
Remington was cool again; he saw the end
point on this.
"Well it's hereditary."
They were both quiet for a moment.
Sean stared into his glass. Remington
looked at the ring. "So as long as you've both known the life of a poor
"Exactly. Rich orphans don't
count." Sean looked at the ring. He rubbed
his eyes and then temples in frustration.
"So why not buy something smaller--more
plausible?" Remington already knew
"She deserves more than this.
Nothing else I looked at fit her. Everything else was for plain
girls. I had this made in Melbourne. I've never been a
jump through hoops kind of guy. But she raises the bar and over I go. And
the craziest part is that I really don't mind" Sean laughed nervously.
"I know the feeling" Remington
smiled at the table. "Just how much money
are we talking about--if you don't mind my asking?"
Sean pulled his checkbook out of his
back pocket and opened it in front of
Remington who's eyes got large and promptly let out another low whistle.
"I know, I know," Sean rolled
his eyes and put the checkbook away. "My
grandmother does live in Melbourne. Actually, she lives on a large estate
just outside the city. We don't get along. I came to California under the
pretenses of going to the Art Institute but I really just wanted to be on my own. She won't live much longer and I'll have to go back and either run the company or sell it."
"You mean "
"Worland Diamonds? Yep, that's
us. That's where those came from, too,"
Sean eyed the ring. "I know I probably shouldn't talk to you about your
daughter this way, but she's amazing. She's been teaching me all this kinda acrobatic stuff; lifting her over things and standing on my shoulders and
stuff like that. Like the other day. We do some surveillance for
Laur uh the agency. She's incredibly talented."
"She's like her mother."
"Laura says that about you."
Remington looked at him questioningly.
"Sometimes Mere'll do or say something and Laura will look at me and say
'Shades of Remington Steele' or 'Remington Steele the Second.'"
"Our kind of childhood will do that to a person."
"I didn't see it before, though."
"She looks like Laura. But she's
you." Neither blinked. "I think that
might be part of it." Sean's voice was low and horse with anxiety.
"Part of ?"
"She's so much like you. And
you left her mother without a trace. What'll
she do to me if she finds out?"
"Laura and I've suffered enough
for the sins of a father. Or maybe two
father's is more appropriate. Don't bring that on Miranda or yourself."
Remington reached out and closed the ring box. He pushed it back across the table to Sean, "I won't tell her. For now. But think about what you really want. There are some things in this world worth the risk."
"You're pretty cool about this.
Considering I'm talking about your
"Let's say I can relate to your
plight. Laura and I danced bloody circles
around each other for five years. All it ever did was make everything
worse. When we finally got on the same page we regretted the five years we
could have spent actually together."
They discussed Laura and Miranda and
women in general through a light lunch
and were feeling fairly chummy as they crossed the sidewalk to the waiting
limo. As he was about to get in the car, something caught Sean's eye.
"What's he doing, now?" Remington turned to follow Sean's gaze and saw
Kevin getting into a car with a gray-haired man. Sean looked at Remington,
"Should we follow him?"
Remington looked skeptical, "A
limousine following a limousine? Through
downtown Los Angeles? Some things are worth the risk and some things
aren't. Let's just keep an eye on him, eh?"
To Part 9