- Three Days
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2007
- From: <neneithel @ aol.com>
- This was originally
so those who are members
there will have seen it before. It was written for the "Overheard
- Three Days
- It was always good to talk to Murphy
and Laura listened happily to news of a
few cases that had come his way. "You're doing well."
- "I get by." he replied,
"How about you? Did you ever get paid by that Garner
- "No, not yet. He still keeps
expecting us to do more work on his case. He
went on for ages last time about how this fraud was two and
a half years of
lies and deceit and he wanted evidence."
- "You can't keep giving him
- "I'm not. I won't put up with
it anymore. I've decided, Murph, he has three
days. After that, he can take his 'two and a half years of lies
and ... well, they'll be someone else's problem, not mine, and
I wish the best
of luck to whatever idiot takes him on."
- "Good for you!" said Murphy.
- "No more excuses. Nothing
is worth this much trouble."
- Steele leant over Mildred's desk.
"Why don't you go home, Mildred? Put your
feet up." he suggested brightly.
- She beamed at him. "Miss Holt's
still here, Boss."
- "I was hoping she would be.
Maybe I'll see if she'd like to go somewhere
- He went to the door of her office
and heard, "I won't put up with it
anymore. I've decided, Murph, he has three days. After that,
he can take his 'two
and a half years of lies and deceit' and ... well, they'll be
problem, not mine, and I wish the best of luck to whatever idiot
takes him on."
- He stepped back, stunned at what
he'd just heard. Mildred was putting on her
coat. "I'll see you tomorrow." she said.
- "Yes." he said, moving
nearer to the door.
- "No more excuses. Nothing
is worth this much trouble." said Laura inside.
- He went to the door of his own
office. "Three days? I get three bloody days!
After three years! Although apparently only two and a half were
enough to register. What does she expect me to do in three days?"
- "Boss?" said Mildred,
- He looked around and said, "Sorry,
Mildred, preoccupied. You hurry off
- "Aren't you gonna ask Miss
- "No, because Miss Holt will
say no. Besides, if I only have three days, I'm
going to need more than dinner and a movie."
- "Three days, Mr Steele?"
- "Apparently, that's all I'm
- "You want me to talk to her?"
- "No. Go home, enjoy your evening.
No point in both of us trying to reason
with the unreasonable."
- When she had gone, he went into
his office, slammed the door behind him and
called the only person he could think of who might have useful
- Laura heard the door slam and went
to see what was wrong. She was about to
knock when she heard him say, "That's right, Daniel, three
days then 'Goodbye,
Remington Steele!' Time for one last, supreme effort."
- She went back to her desk and scowled.
"The rat! The louse! I can't believe
he'd leave now! In three days?" It was obvious to her what
the supreme effort
would be, one last attempt to get her into bed, just before he
flew off to
Europe. "Three days?" she said, sitting on her desk.
- She heard his door open and close
and she went out to meet him. "Going
home?" she said.
- "Yes." he said.
- "Goodnight, then."
- He frowned at her, as if saying
goodnight were a breach of etiquette.
"Goodnight." he said.
- "Is something wrong?"
she asked, "Is there something you want to say?"
- "At this precise moment, nothing
comes to mind. Was there anything you
wanted to mention?"
- "Not that I can think of."
- "Good. That seems to be all,
then." He left.
- Muttering, "Cold-blooded rat!"
Laura went to get her coat.
- The next morning, Laura was just
going into her office when Steele came out
of his. "Good morning!" he said.
- "You're early." she said.
- "I take my responsibilities
here seriously." he said.
- "For how long?"
- He frowned and said, with some
inexplicable bitterness, "Oh, about three
- "Until something more interesting
comes up." she said.
- "Ha!" he said.
- "What does that mean?"
- "It means precisely nothing."
he said, "Like everything else I say and do."
- "What's wrong with you?"
- "I'm sure, if you find time
to consider it, you'll come up with a long
list." he said. He went into his office.
- Laura went into hers and wondered
if she should have just asked directly why
he was leaving.
- "Impossible woman!" said
Steele, "Doesn't even tell me I've only got three
days." He sat behind the desk. What could he do in three
days? He wasn't even
sure what she wanted. A commitment, probably.
- "Why should I allow myself
to be backed into a corner like that?" he said,
"Why should I have to make a commitment I'm not ready for
just to please a
woman who won't even be honest with me about where I stand?"
That little flame
of defiance flickered and died as he thought of losing everything
in a few
- If she wanted promises, he could
give her a dozen and mean none. There had
been times when the words had come so lightly from his lips
women had believed or disbelieved as they saw fit. He'd made
the mistake with
Laura of assuming she'd prefer the truth. He didn't want to
lie to her, he
realised. That worried him. At a time like this, he desperately
needed to be the
one who could say anything he had to say and be believed. If
he wanted to
keep Laura, he would have to convince her he was ready, willing
and able to make
a real commitment. How to wriggle out of it was a worry for
time he thought about it, though, he felt a strong reluctance
to say anything he
didn't mean. He was unarmed in this fight, because the one weapon
he had, he
was choosing not to use.
- "Now is no time to develop
a conscience." he said to himself.
- Laura was going over the events
of the past few weeks in her mind, trying to
work out if she had done something that might have made him
decide to leave.
If the problem could be narrowed down to either her fault or
from his past (and Daniel was clearly a prime suspect there)
she would at
least know how to try to keep hold of him.
- "Maybe I should just let him
go." she said into her coffee cup, "If he
doesn't want to be here, what's the point?" She thought
of him going back to his
old life, probably to Felicia. He'd soon forget boring Laura.
As for her,
she'd survive. She always got left, she always survived.
- Then she got angry. She'd worked
hard. She'd accepted the gaping gaps in his
past, the slow release of information that never quite satisfied
curiosity or her fears. She'd supported him when anyone else
would have just shown
him the door. She'd invested three years of her life in him
and now he planned
to just walk out of it without a backward glance.
- "Not this time, buster!"
- She heard his voice at the door.
It sounded oddly strangled. "Laura, I just
want to say ... I don't really know what I want to say, but
anyway. You and I make a great team. I mean, leaving aside all
the confusion and
the somewhat nebulous nature of our personal relationship, we're
together. Your brilliance, my moments of inspiration, your tenacity,
We've dealt with some demanding cases, over the years. Three
years, by the way."
- She didn't answer. If he thought
he was going to flatter her into his bed
anytime in the next three days, he was wrong.
- He went on, "Laura, I know
I've sometimes been ..." He fell silent. He was
quiet for so long she almost thought he'd gone, then he went
on, "Well, I've
probably been everything you ever accused me of being."
His voice became
quieter, almost plaintive. "I could make excuses, some
of them good ones, but an
apology is probably more important right now. I'm sorry, Laura,
He was quiet again.
- Laura glared at the door. Did he
really think she'd fall for that? She
reluctantly admitted to herself that she might have, had she
not known he planned
- "Laura?" he said.
- The door opened a crack. She tried
to make her face neutral, but there was
no need. He closed it again quickly and went away.
- Steele knew he should have gone
through the door. He could be very
persuasive, face to face and she might have found it hard not
to tell him about the
three days when she was looking into his eyes. If it could be
brought out into
the open, he could find out what it was she wanted.
- He was angry with himself for not
having the courage to face her. As he
opened the door, he had imagined how she would look at him,
with eyes that told
him there was no time left and that she didn't want him around
- It didn't help that his mind kept
replaying the words "two and a half years
of lies". Leaving aside the fact that she'd forgotten half
a year, that
seemed to mean she believed he'd lied about everything. All
those times when he
had taken a chance and told her the truth, she hadn't believed
him, or had, but
- Mildred came over and offered him
a cup of coffee. "You look terrible."
- "It seems I am." he said,
"It's not fair, though, is it, giving me three
days and then hiding from me?"
- "Three days? To do what?"
- "Well, that's the question,
isn't it? What does she want?"
- "It can't be that bad, can
it? You were fine until last night."
- "I thought so, but it sounds
as if I've been letting her down for a very
- "Maybe if you just talked honestly
to each other ..."
- He shook his head. "Miss Holt
thinks I'm incapable of honesty. She thinks
I've been lying to her for two and a half years. That's a difficult
overthrow in three days."
- "But you and she ..."
Mildred began, getting upset.
- He put his arm around her. "Mildred,
don't let this distress you. This was
never going to work. We're too different."
- "Or too alike." she said.
- He frowned, puzzled. "What
do you mean?"
- "Well, if she's hiding, so
are you. Go in there! Use those blue eyes of
- "It's no good." he said.
- "You've never been a coward
before." she said.
- He smiled sadly. "All my life,
Mildred. Every day of it."
- "And she's not worth the effort?"
- "Neither honesty nor courage
will help me now." he said. A thought occurred
and he brightened up. "On the other hand, the kind of underhanded
I'm best at could give me a chance."
- "I really don't think you're
going to convince her she can trust you by
doing something dishonest." said Mildred.
- "I've played by her rules
for three years. Look where it got me. Find me a
client who might conceivably want to see both of us together.
She can't escape
from me in a moving car."
- "Are you sure this is wise?"
- "The wisest thing would be
to forget I ever met her." he said.
- Steele knocked on Laura's door.
"Laura, Mr Harlow wants to see us."
- "What about?"
- "About the case, I assume.
Are you coming, or should I make some excuse for
- She opened the door. He looked
as if he were in pain. She hoped it was a
sign of regret that he was leaving her. "Something wrong?"
- He sighed and shook his head. "Everything's
wonderful, Laura. Why wouldn't
- "Good. Let's go." she
- They reached the car and got in.
As Fred started to drive, Steele turned to
her and said, "Laura, I have been honest with you."
- "Really?" she said. She
felt her anger rising. He dared to say that when he
probably already had an airline ticket in his pocket?
- "More than with anyone else.
I've always tried to be."
- "Why? Did that seem like the
best way to get me into the sack?"
- "Laura, there's more to us
- "Are you going to start making
- "You wouldn't believe me if
I did. Is that what you want? A ring on your
finger? Or just one through my nose?"
- "You don't care what I want."
- "This isn't fair!" he
said, "I know in your mind, it seems fair, but it
isn't. I deserve more than this kangaroo court! Nobody has ever
had three years
of my life, but there are people who, for a month of it, would
give me more
than you have."
- "Then go to them!" she
said, "I certainly have no claim on you."
- He looked out and said, "Go
right, up ahead, Fred."
- "We're going to see Mr Harlow."
- "No, that was a lie. I thought
we should talk."
- "Stop the car, Fred."
- "Keep going." said Steele,
- "Stop." said Laura.
- "Could you toss a coin or something?"
- "Just stop!" said Laura.
- Fred shrugged and pulled over.
"Sorry, Mr Steele, she's the boss."
- Laura turned to Steele. "You
thought we should talk? Why didn't you think
- "Because I didn't think before."
- "And what do you want to talk
- "Us. Isn't that what I'm supposed