Well, after a long absence
including waiting to here from a military
brother overseas, a flying rock, insulin, and a few bumps and
bruises, and teaching summer school, here's the next chapter.
THE TRUTH SHALL STEELE SET YOU FREE
copyright 2004 by Conner MacBride (Lisa)
DISCLAIMER: (but I don't even know her :) See chapter 1....
Kelly slumped on the sofa, wincing
as her head again bumped
the wall the sofa was squeezed between. Samwise's cold, wet nose
nudged her thigh. Unwillingly, she scratched his ears, smiling
slightly at the contented growl that rumbled in the German
Shepherd's throat. Sam was fuzz-therapy. Her eyes were burning
terrifically from something. /At least I haven't screwed up your
She opened her blinds, gazing down on the street. The drag
queens were leaving their apartment to get ready for the show down
at Mary's on Santa Monica. As usual, Stormy Weather was wearing way
too much glitter eye shadow. The lump in her throat was growing by
Kelly got up, restlessly pacing around her small loft. She
finally flopped down at the piano bench, jingling a few keys, trying
to drown out the screaming of her conscience, trying to wipe out the
face of a broken Remington Steele. She rested her head on the ivory
and black keys, ignoring the bleat sharpness of the notes as her
head and arms went down. A wetness began to drip onto her arms and
the piano keys.
/I didn't think. I never think! But she WAS murdered...and
it couldn't have been by Roselli. I just...God, I never meant to
She reached into her pocket, pulling out a worn photograph.
It was the one photo Kelly hadn't stuck in the file, the one she had
found in Laura's trunk of things. Maybe that woman named Mildred
had snapped the photo. Maybe it had been snapped by Laura's
sister. Who cared? Kelly gazed at the photo. Somewhere there had
to be a truth in the photo. Maybe it was best to go on facts, but a
gut feeling could be something too. They had loved each other. Of
that there was no doubt. Somewhere though, and Kelly had a feeling
it had been after Laura's death, somewhere, something had convinced
Steele that his wife had lied to him. /Then why I don't I believe
that? The facts are all there. Even if she and Roselli WERE
murdered by someone else...and they were...why do I KNOW they
weren't having an affair? Why do I know someone else killed
her...that Roselli had nothing to do with it./
/I didn't mean to hurt anybody./ Tentatively she played a
few notes of "Fur Elise."
The tears continued to fall. /God, I really screwed up./
For some reason, a well of despair fell over her and another
apology came into her heart. /I'm sorry Laura./ Why the hell was she
apologizing to a dead woman?
She stood up suddenly, heading toward the bathroom, letting
the photograph slide to the floor. It was enough. She had to pull
herself away from this. Climbing the few steps to the bedroom of
her loft, she took a deep breath and went to rinse out her eyes,
making a mental note to call Jimmy Jarvis tomorrow and thank him for
Remington Steele wanted to scream
at the cab driver to go
faster, drive with less care, anything to get to that girl's home.
The cab turned off Union Ave. and passed what had once been the
Century City Towers, what had once been the sanctuary of Remington
Down the car sped toward States Street. Why was that
address so familiar?
Kelly sat up, hearing the banging
on the loft door. Sam
padded over toward the door, growling. Groggily, she rubbed her
eyes. Her vision focused on a blurry clock reading 3:00 p.m. God,
had she really fallen asleep? She stared at the lone photo on the
night stand, the reason for her sleepless nights over the past few
weeks. The banging became louder, more persistent. /Who's banging
at the door?/
She got up, trying to smooth out her clothes, snatching up
the photo off the night stand. /With the way my luck is going,
that's probably the Angel of Death./ Kelly unlocked the padlock and
rolled the wooden door back. An old man stood there staring at her,
his anguished blue eyes moving to gaze into her small loft.
"M-Mr. Steele. Umm...look, I-I'm not-gonna...gonna...umm,"
Kelly looked up into an elderly countenance, and saw, for the first
time, the face Laura Steele had known and had fallen in love with.
The stress she had been under for the last few weeks started pouring
in saline streams down her face. "I'm s-sorry. I'm so sorry."
The man known as Remington Steele craned his neck this way
and that, his eyes taking in everything in the small loft, going
over the small island near the kitchen, the two steps leading up to
the sleeping area. An icy hand was squeezing his heart, wrenching
all feeling out of it. In the corner of the loft was a small baby
grand, a thing of beauty. His hands tightened around the envelope
clenched in his right hand. This was why he was here. He gazed at
his deceased wife's twin, a mockery to his very existence that had
now become the one chance he had for redemption...the one thing that
would allow him to lay Laura's memory to rest...and to forgive
"How do you know it was lilies?" He held up the battered
manila envelope, pictures and clippings spilling out. "How did you
Kelly backed up, a wave of terror washing over her. /I'm
sorry! Oh my God, has he lost his mind?/ "Mr. Ste-" She cried out
in pain as he grabbed her arm, surprisingly strong for his age.
"HOW DID YOU KNOW?!?" The rage and pain of thirty years
came out, every blind alley, every last hope, every last shred of
any faith that somewhere was the answer that would give Laura back
to him. The tears of despair began to break loose from the anger
which had guarded him against pain. "HOW DID YOU KNOW?!"
Kelly winced as his grip tightened. "I-"
He pulled out the photo, pulling her towards him to gaze
into her frightened brown eyes. He held up the murder scene. "How
did you know?!"
"N-Narcissus-The myth of Narcissus. The picture-ahh."
"Picture? What picture?"
"This!" She wrenched herself free and grabbed the photo,
pointing out a portrait hanging over the bed with the blood splashed
on the lily-carved headboard. "The picture above the bed. It's a
picture of the Greek myth Narcissus. Narcissus was a guy who fell
in love with his own reflection and was changed into a narcissus
"The headboard girl! How did you see it?" His cry was
Kelly swallowed hard. "The headboard pattern matches the
narcissus in the picture. Narcissuses are rice lilies. They're
just another lily plant. Why?"
The folder dropped to the floor. Steele slumped onto the
piano bench, spent from the vicious amount of energy just exhausted,
from the breakdown of his carefully erected defenses. One little
thing, just one little thing. /Could it have really been that
simple? Could I have really missed this? Oh dear God, what am I
doing? But she looks so much like Laura, she...was it all really
that simple? Then again, what does it matter? I can't deny what
I"ve read and found out. It doesn't matter anymore./
A small, tentative hand went on his shoulder. "Mr. Steele?
I'm sorry. I d-didn't mean to-I didn't..." Kelly stopped as the
one-time great detective, now lonely old man, looked up at
her. "Why are you doing this to me? What are you, my guilt
Kelly thought of the photo in her pocket and gazed into the
mirror, seeing herself as he must see her, a thoughtful-looking
young sprite with sad, dark eyes. She leaned on the piano, mumbling
so low, Steele had to strain to hear her.
"I didn't mean to hurt anybody. Honestly I didn't."
Viciously, she yanked at the petals of the cluster of daisies on the
piano. "It-It was just supposed to be a paper, just a stupid paper
for class. We were supposed to pick a really sensational unsolved
murder, and," Kelly turned away as she saw the rage and pain again
fire up in his blue, blue eyes. Such a dark blue. "And I just
wanted an A. I need to keep my grades high and I am struggling so
hard in this class and I just wanted something to knock the
professor dead and-and everybody was going to be doing the usual
unsolved ones, Jack the Ripper and all that and this j-it just
caught my eye, and I guess I just got over involved a-"
"OVER INVOLVED!" Steele stood up and turned on her, the
demons of thirty years of lies, guilt, pain, and regret spewing
forth like a volcano. "Is that what you call it when you hunt down
a detective who helped me thirty years ago, when you go hunt down
Anthony Roselli's past, when you show up on MY doorstep and make me
relive every damned moment of my wife's death? Make me relive the
fact that I couldn't find out why Anthony killed her or why she
didn't love me enough not to betray me, not to leave me? Is this
what you call over involved?" He slammed the vase of daisies off
the piano, the crystal shattering like ice on the wood floor.
Steele angrily gestured around the small loft. "And now you're
here! Where she once stood. You look like her, you sound like
her. Damn you, you little witch, what do you want from me?"
The repentance Kelly had been feeling evaporated like steam
under his barrage of rage and hatred. A rage of her own was
beginning to build up as the last few weeks of sleeplessness and
research began to rupture and rip apart her own emotions. "YOU WERE
WRONG! ROSELLI DIDN'T KILL LAURA! THERE WAS A THIRD PERSON IN THE
Steele's eyes, dead and lifeless, stared through her,
building up Kelly into a swirl of self-righteous anger. "She wasn't
murdered by Roselli! It's impossible and it doesn't fit!
Everything I have read about both of you, everything I've
researched.." She snatched the folder out of his hand, throwing it
onto the floor, letting images of the past scatter across the
"Dammit, I know what logic says, but my gut is telling me
Roselli had nothing to do with it! It's just little things, but
they don't jibe! I know what I read in her diary! Someone wanted
her dead, someone who knew her! My God, are you that stupid? Why do
you hate her so much? Why are you so willing to believe that woman
lied to you? Dammit, you were supposed to be a great detective!
Why can't you see the obvious? She loved you! I have her old
diaries, damn you! That's what-"
Remington Steele slammed the piano lid down. "Great
detective! What great detective? My wife was the great detective!
My God, I was such a great detective, I couldn't even see she wanted
someone else! And that she needed something other than me." This
was spoken so low that Kelly barely heard it. Then she heard
something else, a sound she hadn't heard come out of any man since
Grandpere Jack buried Mamere Ruby. His shoulders shuddered, his
face buried in his hands, what remaining energy he had spent on rage
Kelly stared at him for a few minutes, finally looking away
in shame. /I didn't mean to hurt you. I just-/ Just what? What had
she been just trying to do? Up until this point, she had rushed
blindly, trying to prove a point to man who wouldn't listen. It
never occurred to her to ask what he had known, the secrets that
only husbands and wives can have. She looked up in the mirror.
Another young woman stared back. One who had been obstinate and
headstrong, infatuated and infuriated, strong-willed and doubtful of
why anyone could ever love her the way Remington Steele obviously
once did, not beautiful, but enthrallingly enchanting. Kelly shook
her head. God, even she was starting to see the resemblance. She
shook her head. /I have to pull back. I can't do this anymore./ A
voice from somewhere inside her mocked her. /If you can't hack it
for three weeks, how about thirty years?/
Kelly mechanically walked to the kitchen, pulling out two
cups, filling them with sugar-free strawberry Kool-Aid.
Methodically, she wiped the counter. Picking up a small bottle, she
filled it with water and poured it over her baby hibiscus in the
window, watching the silver ribbon spread over green leaves and
yellow blooms. The liquid spilled over the leaves in fluidity,
calmly and smoothly, with never a break in its rhythm.
Of course. Where else would she have
gone? And now, HE was
up there with her. She was going to tell him. No, that couldn't be
it! Not after all these years...not when the success of breaking
him and destroying her and her precious memory had been there to
savor and watch! Laura Holt was in the window of her loft, watering
a plant. Not anymore! Both of them would be destroyed. It was
time once again to show Remington and Laura Steele that revenge
equaled an elaborate game of death...celebrated in ecstasy with the
brilliance of a genius mind.
"Bitch!" Stormy Weather
screeched, flipping off the
speeding Cadillac that had just splashed mud on her new Prada
dress. Brushing her extensions back, Stormy stalked back to her
loft. God, what a night this was starting out to be.
Remington Steele smelled strawberries
and sugar. A red
color was shoved under his blurred vision. He raised his head to
see a tear-stained face with heartbreakingly beautiful eyes. The
young woman shoved a plastic cup smelling of strawberries at
him. "It's Kool-Aid."
Without waiting for him to take it, she set it on the piano,
along with the other cup. Remington noticed the cups didn't match.
He watched as she bent down cleaning up the broken crystal and water-
logged daisies. He remembered the small bundle of ox-eye daisies
that had been placed on Laura's grave. They had been fresh and
"You put them on her grave, didn't you?"
Kelly Landry's cheeks were flushed and her voice was
strangled. "God, you don't beat around the bush, do you?"
"You're not answering me. " An elderly hand lifted her chin,
forcing her to look him in the eye. She couldn't do it, and quickly
"I-" She pushed the wet daisies into a pile, and started
picking up the bigger pieces of broken glass. "I didn't even think
anybody would notice. It-the grave looked like it hadn't been
touched in years, and...I didn't think anybody would see it." Her
voice grew so low, he could barely hear her; but Remington Steele
did hear her, and her innocent words stabbed at the guilt that had
smoldered in his heart for thirty years. "And it looked like nobody
ever gave a damn about her...like she was an unknown woman. Nobody
Steele bent down, groaning at the merry hell age played with
the body. He handed her some broken pieces. There was nothing left
in him. No anger, no pain, nothing. Laura had been right. Nothing
was worse than anything. The old man's hand trembled as he placed
the broken glass in her young smooth touch. "Sometimes the best way
to live is to forget. I couldn't hold her, and I don't want to
remember that someone else could. I've been trying to get rid of
her memory since the day she died." He looked away. "Since the day
I found out about her and Anthony. I've been trying to forget
since..." Steele smiled wistfully.
"Mr. Steele." There was that lilt to the voice again, a
small hand on his arm. "Mr. Steele, wanting to forget isn't
living. And you were-" Kelly shook her head, standing up. "Never
mind. I can't do this anymore." She picked up the
file. "Apparently I found something you missed. Take it. I won't
bother you anymore."
The great detective Remington Steele stared at her. "After
making my life a living hell, you're bailing out? My God, girl.
You found something I was too wrapped up in grief to notice thirty
years ago. I tried to see if it was Descoine, and we could never
find the connection. He had been dead for a year. And I heard the
tapes, traced the calls. The Immigration Office in San Francisco
had a video of Laura and Anthony on tape." His voice shook.
"I never found a video tape in the evidence files from SFPD."
Steele eyed her, glowering at this new deception. "I have
it. Jarvis and I got the video from them a few weeks after Laura's
Kelly sighed, spent from all the emotional ups and downs she
had just gone through. "Okay. I just..." She shook her
head. "Nothing. I won't bother you again. Look, ah, I got a few
other things I found. Let me get `em." Kelly walked off towards
Remington Steele looked around the small loft, surprised by
how little it had changed in three decades. He shivered as a chill
passed over him. A slight breeze was blowing around the room. The
girl was grunting as she pulled out a large battered trunk.
Kelly dragged over the trunk. "I got this too. I went and
checked out Laura's family. Her niece Laurie Piper still lives in
Tarzana. She said it was a bunch of stuff you had sent to Laura's
sister, photos, diaries, and stuff."
Steele stared at the trunk he had bundled up shortly after
Laura's death. In it was everything he had sent to her family
before he had found out about Anthony. All her diaries she had held
onto, a few pictures of them together, and some odds and ends. He
let out a bitter laugh, causing Kelly to look up. "I don't want
it. It doesn't matter anymore. Descoine was dead, but maybe he
intended that I'd find out about Laura. He'd do that. Don't know
how he got away with it from jail, but he must have recruited his
daughter. We never could find out where she went."
Kelly started to speak, say something to stop his maddening
acceptance of a lost life, but was stopped by a tired hand held up
in defeat. "You say you can't do this anymore. Then please accept
the fact that I've been trying to wipe away my wife's memory for
thirty years, and that all I want to do is forget. Sometimes
forgetfulness is more acceptable than the truth that I couldn't
lover her enough." He choked on his words, looking around as if
listening for a voice only he could hear. The man known as
Remington Steele turned and headed toward the door.
Wearily, he turned around. "What?"
Kelly Landry sighed. "I...have you ever thought you could
be wrong? Jarvis thought you were."
The man who had lived his life looking for a place to belong
locked eyes with this rather grotesque looking young woman who
suddenly didn't look very much like Laura at all. "I wish I was
wrong. I tried to disprove everything, even what I found in her
diaries and on that tape. And we had been fighting when she died.
Happy endings are only in movies, girl."
"But," Kelly turned away. "Never mind. Just..." she
struggled to get out what must have been the stupidest question in
creation. "Was...was Laura beautiful? Like Audrey Hepburn?"
For the first time since she had met Remington Steele, a
gentle smile crossed his face and those icy blue eyes became
brilliant with warmth. "No, she wasn't beautiful, nor was she
glamourous. But then, neither was Audrey Hepburn. Laura was
enchanting, but a lot like-"
"No. Like Holly Golightly...always looking for someone to
love her, and not seeing the man right in front of her." His soft
reminiscence turned bitter. Remington Steele turned and walked
stoically out of the loft into the oblivion of forgetfulness that
had become his life.
Kelly stood there, staring at the door for a long time after
he had gone. A heavy pall settled on her as the shadows closed in.
The trunk sat in the middle of the room, an unopened tomb left to
her by a defeated man.
/Where have you come from? You've
gone to see her, but you
won't believe her. I made sure of that. It's not right! I won!!!
I have done what I was supposed to do. I'm going to make you
suffer. I promised I would./
Through the window, a broken man slumped down in a chair,
old and weary , eaten up by life's regrets. Revenge had been too
sweet to lose now.
In the twilight of evening, Sam Henshaw
wandered in front of
the Chatsworth estate toward the Steele house. /She's not supposed
to be here. She was here earlier./
Kelly pulled open the night stand
drawer and groaned. Thank
God he hadn't taken the trunk. She would have forgotten to put the
final diary in. Kelly flipped to the last page Laura had written in
the blue diary before her death. Her pretty left-hander's script
was in direct contrast to what Steele had said, except for the part
about the fighting.
"I'm leaving for San Francisco in two days, probably for the
best as I'm pissed off with him right now. God Harry, you know I
didn't mean it! You're right, I'm wrong, and I'll apologize when I
get back. If I'm right, I'll also have something else to tell you
when I get
back. No more of this. It can't be Keyes and Tony thinks he knows
something. God, you drive me insane sometimes. If I didn't love
you, I'd probably strangle you right about now."
Chewing her lip, Kelly was once again struck by the gut
feeling that she was looking at the same murder everyone else had
seen, including Steele, but she was seeing something totally
different. This had been a typical married woman's response. /I
love you, I'll never leave you, but you're driving me insane./ What
had Steele gotten out of it?
Remington Steele reached in the safe
of his office, past the
video tape which had been his damnation to the small book which had
unraveled his world so many years ago. He flipped to the last page,
studying her curving left-handed script, that perfect handwriting.
"I've got to see Tony. This was a mistake. He was right
about everything. This whole thing, this "marriage," I can't do it
anymore. I'm leaving tomorrow morning."
Steele closed the book and shoved it back into the safe.
Maybe it had been a mistake, but dammit, he had loved her more than
anyone in the world. Had Laura been so blind that she had to run to
anything. Had he not said enough to keep her here. An old man
stood in his darkened office, running a finger over the hard blue
cover of an old diary.
To Part 13