- Steele in the
- Part 6
- Debra Talley &
(This story is part of the Brendan
- Donald and Frances parked the
limo in front of the house at 6 a.m. sharp. As they walked arm in
arm up the driveway, Donald whispered something in Frances'
- "Oh, Donald!" Frances giggled.
"We're not at the loft anymore, you know. We're standing in our
own driveway and we have to start behaving like parents
- "We should never act *just* like
parents, Frannie," Donald reminded her. "I always appreciated the
fact that my parents weren't embarrassed to show affection in
front of us kids."
- "Well, I certainly can't look to
my own parents as good role models in that department," Frances
admitted. "Guess you'll just have to remind me occasionally. I
stay so busy with the children that sometimes I just don't have
any energy left to remind you how much I still love you."
- "It's okay, Honey Lamb; I know
you love me," Donald explained. "Why else would you put those cute
little love notes in my lunch every day day, or tickle me behind
my ears when I'm in a bad mood? Those are the kinds of things a
woman does only when she's madly in love."
- "Oh, Donald," Frances sighed. "I
love our life together, but I do wish we could have stayed away
longer than one night."
- "Think maybe we can persuade
Laura and Remington to watch the kids this weekend so we can, uh,
finish what we started?"
- "We better not press our luck,"
Frances warned. "After all, we were lucky to get last
- "And what a night. Eh,
- They both giggled again.
- "Besides, I think we'd better get
Laura's bed fixed before we ask her for any more favors," Frances
- As they approached the back door,
they were greeted by an unexpected sight. There was Remington,
fast asleep, propped against the back door with Max stretched
across his lap. An empty box of chocolate bonbons was clutched in
- "My bonbons!" Frances exclaimed,
grabbing the empty box and shaking it. "I don't believe it! He ate
the whole box!"
- "If Laura made him sleep with the
dog, he probably needed something a lot stronger than chocolate,"
Donald noted sympathetically.
- "But I told Mildred there were
fresh sheets on the spare bed! There was no reason for Laura to
make him sleep out here!"
- "I'm sure there's a logical
explanation," Donald rationalized as he bent over Remington and
began shaking his shoulder. "Remington...Remington...Time to wake
- Max awoke with a start and ran
off, startling Remington awake. Looking up, he saw Donald and
Frances looming over him. "Oh, good morning," he said as he
stiffly stood and stretched, scratching several times during the
- "Not even married yet and the
little woman already has you sleeping with the dog," Donald said,
shaking his head in understanding as he gave Remington a slap on
- Remington screamed and grabbed at
- "Oh, I'm sorry!" Donald
apologized. "I didn't mean to..."
- "It's okay, Donald," Remington
explained, scratching his neck. "It's just that I've developed a
rather nasty case of poison ivy,"
- Frances swatted Donald. "I've
told you a dozen times to cut down those bushes in the
- "I know, Frannie! I know!" Donald
exclaimed. "I told you I'd get around to it and I fully intend
- "When?" asked Frances. "If you'd
done it when I first asked you, then poor Remington wouldn't be
sitting here how covered in poison ivy!"
- "Wait a minute," Donald suddenly
said, motioning for Frances to quiet down. Then pointing at
Remington, he asked, "Remington, what were you doing in the
- "Ah...Laura and I were, uh,
trying to get the flea collar on Max," Remington lied.
- "Well, I hope you succeeded,"
Donald said, "because otherwise you'll be needing one as well,
after spending the night with Max! That dog is absolutely covered
- Remington just groaned and
scratched with renewed fervor.
- "And why are you out here
sleeping with the dog?" Donald asked. "Laura didn't *really* kick
you out--did she?"
- "I took a walk and somehow
managed to lock myself out," Remington explained sheepishly. "Now,
if you don't mind, Donald, could you please unlock the door? I
have this uncontrollable urge to cuddle up with a bottle of
- Donald opened the door, allowing
Remington and Frances to enter first. Remington grabbed the bottle
of lotion from the kitchen counter and practically ran down the
hallway, locking himself in the spare room.
- The morning's daily activities
began in earnest with everyone rushing to get dressed before
breakfast was served at 6:30. The children stumbled out of bed and
sleepily began getting ready for school. Frances fetched Donald's
clothes from the master bedroom and he took a shower in the guest
bathroom while Laura and Mildred dressed.
- Laura was disappointed that
Frances had returned in time to cook breakfast. After Remington
played his late night version of the balcony scene from
Juliette, Laura had stayed
awake worrying about what to cook for breakfast. Coming up blank,
she had finally decided to cajole Remington into using his gourmet
skills to whip up some omelets. She knew his 'payment' for that
particular favor would be outrageous, but it would be worth it.
But now Frances was in the kitchen frying bacon and Laura would
never have the pleasure of 'paying back' that particular
- She was still thinking with
regret of missed opportunities when she and Donald collided in the
hallway outside the master bedroom.
- "I'm sorry, honey," Donald
apologized. "It's a madhouse here this morning, isn't it?" Then
noticing Laura scratching her arm vigorously, he asked, "Is
something wrong with your arm?"
- "Oh, it's nothing. Just a slight
case of poison ivy," Laura explained lightly.
- "Exactly what were you doing in
- "Oh...ah...Mr. Steele and I were
playing, uh, Hide-and-Seek-- with the kids," Laura lamely
- "Hide-and-Seek?" Donald said a
laugh. "Laura, even after all these years, you never cease to
- "Ah, excuse me, Donald, but I
better go give Frances a hand with breakfast," Laura said quickly,
running off without a backward glance.
- Donald just shook his head, still
laughing. She and Remington may have been playing Hide-and-Seek,
but he was willing to bet it wasn't with the kids.
- Remington was adamant about
confronting Mr. Pop-Top as soon as possible, so he and Laura
inhaled their breakfasts and quickly said their good byes. By the
time he got behind the wheel of the limo and they were finally on
their way, he was fuming.
- "I'm going to wring his neck," he
- The limo swerved as he tried to
reach a particularly awkward itch. His scratching was even more
frenzied now, as he had fleas to contend with as well as the
- Laura hated to laugh when it was
obvious how uncomfortable Remington was, but she couldn't help it.
"I seriously doubt you'll be able to stop scratching long enough
to wring anything, Mr. Steele. Unless you can do your wringing
with one hand."
- "After all he's subjected us to
these past few days, it's the least he deserves!" Remington
declared, the limo weaving again.
- "And exactly what is it he has
subjected us to?"
- "Well, for starters, I hold him
personally responsible for our poison ivy and for my fleas. Not to
mention the fact that he could have endangered our professional
reputation when he gave us that--that--aphrodisiac cola under
false pretenses. I mean, just think how embarrassing it would have
been if we'd been caught at the office. . . "
- "...or in the limo..."
- "...or at the observatory. . .
- "...or on the ferris
- "...or in the Auburn..."
- "...or in the bushes!"
- "Remind me to take an ax to those
bloody bushes the next time we visit your sister," Remington said,
scratching his head. "And I might just take an ax to Max while I'm
at it. I mean, if word ever gets out that 'the great Remington
Steele' has fleas..."
- Laura just laughed, scratching
her leg. She scooted over beside Remington and began lightly
scratching his back.
- "Ah, Laura; I never realized what
erotic fingernails you have," he sighed contentedly. "If you can
just keep that up, I might actually be able to concentrate on my
- "I suppose that's a small price
to pay for a safe ride," she admitted. "Just don't expect this
kind of treatment every time you get behind the wheel."
- "Forty-eight hours of poison ivy,
fleas and uncontrollable passion!" Remington exclaimed. "Why can't
we break away from all this, just you and I, and lodge with my
fleas in the hills? I mean, flee to my lodge in the hills."
- "I didn't know you had a lodge in
- "Groucho Marx to Thelma Todd,
1931," Remington explained as he pulled to a stop in front of the
- "Why are we stopping here?" Laura
- "We need a nice private spot
where you can apply some calamine lotion to certain parts of my
anatomy. Luckily, I remembered the perfect place."
- "The bus station?" Laura asked in
disbelief. "You *must* be kidding!"
- "Trust me," Remington said as he
opened the door and crawled out of the limo. "Harrison Ford to
Karen Allen, Raiders of the
Lost Ark, Paramount,
- "I thought it was Harrison Ford
to Carrie Fisher, The
Empire Strikes Back, 20th
Century Fox, 1980," she contradicted with a grin as he helped her
out of the car.
- "It was a multiple choice movie
citation," Remington explained, taking Laura's arm to hurry her
along. "Now come along. This is a medical emergency. There's not a
moment to spare."
- Her curiosity aroused, Laura
allowed herself to be hurried along.
- Laura soon found herself sitting
inside a curtained photo booth, the kind that gives you four
pictures for a dollar. It was situated in a secluded corner of the
bus station's waiting area. Remington had quickly discarded the
necessary clothing and was in seventh heaven as Laura rubbed the
soothing lotion over the various afflicted areas of his anatomy.
Luckily, the curtains in the booth were quite long and afforded
them privacy--but that privacy worked both ways.
- The man standing outside the
picture booth couldn't believe his good fortune. This was the
third day he had been following Laura and Remington with his
camera, trying to obtain proof for Mr. Pop-Top that his
aphrodisiac cola really worked. And here they were, obviously
having a romantic interlude in a photo booth! All he had to do was
insert four quarters and he'd have undeniable proof that they had
succumbed to "Temptation, the Cola of Love."
- While searching for the correct
change, he couldn't help but overhear the intriguing conversation
coming from inside the booth.
- "Ah, Laura, that feels absolutely
- "I would have done it sooner, if
you had only asked."
- "I tried to, but Mildred wouldn't
give me a chance. She was all over me every time I turned around.
Oh, yes...Yes...Ahh, Laura! Don't stop!"
- "We can't do this all morning,
Mr. Steele! We have business to conduct, remember? Besides our
confrontation with Mr. Pop-Top, we have that preliminary meeting
with Vigilance Insurance concerning our new consulting
- "Really, Laura. Must you go after
that contract? I'm don't think I can stomach working with Norman
Keyes on a regular basis. He is determined to expose me as a
fraud. Or at the very least, have me deported. Where would your
precious agency be then?"
- "Just calm down, Mr. Steele. I'm
sure you're overreacting. You know this business deal is too good
to pass up. Besides, I can handle Norman Keyes."
- "I hope you're right. Ah, a
little more pressure, Laura. If you're going to do it, you might
as well do it right."
- "How did you manage to get it
- "It wasn't easy, believe me! Now
would you please just keep rubbing? I can't stay in this position
forever, you know. Ahh,ahh... that's perfect, Laura! You know,
you're very good at this."
- "So I've been told. Now hold
still; I know that's an awkward position, but I'm hurrying as fast
as I can."
- Obviously the desired results
were achieved, because at that moment the conversation ceased and
was replaced by a series of impassioned sighs.
- Mr. Pop-Top's spy smiled to
himself. This was turning out even better than he had imagined. He
quickly deposited his four quarters in the slot and settled back
for things to develop. He had a feeling these pictures would prove
to be most revealing.
- "What the...?" Laura and
Remington both exclaimed as a series of bright flashes blinded
- Before either of them could move,
a hand reached inside the booth and grabbed the pictures as they
began sliding through the slot.
- "Hey!" Laura yelled, throwing
aside the curtains.
"Laura! Wait!" Remington
exclaimed, frantically grabbing both at his discarded clothing and
- "But they'll get away!" she
- "In case you haven't noticed,
Laura, I'm not exactly dressed for a chase!"
- "Well, then hurry up, Mr.
- Unfortunately, she said it loudly
enough for the entire bus station to hear. Curious about the
disruption, the majority of the crowd turned their attention to
the photo booth.
- Laura and a pulled-together
Remington emerged from the booth just moments later. Laura was
still tightening the lid on the bottle of lotion as they began
sprinting in the direction of the entrance.
- "That's them," an elderly woman
whispered to a friend as Remington and Laura hurried past.
- Laura looked at Remington
questioningly when they heard the remark.
- "Must have read about us in the
papers," he responded with a touch of pride, never breaking his
- "Yeah, but *which* paper?" Laura
- They ran out of the bus station
but saw no sign of anyone suspicious who might have swiped the
- "Come on," Laura said, heading
for the limo. "Obviously whoever it was is long gone. Any idea
what someone would want with those pictures?"
- "I shudder to think," Remington
replied. "Do you realize the compromising positions those photos
- Ignoring his question, Laura
asked instead, "Do you think they knew who they were taking photos
- "Probably," he replied with no
- "But why would they want photos
- "I don't know, but I'd wager Mr.
Pop-Top can give us some answers," Remington said, crawling behind
the wheel of the limo.
- Laura nodded in agreement. "We
might as well go confront him. There's nothing more we can do
- Two hours later, a furious Laura
and Remington emerged from Mr. Pop-Top's Bel Air home.
- "I still can't believe it!!"
Laura exclaimed again.
- "Imagine him using us as guinea
pigs!" Remington declared indignantly.
- "The nerve of that man, putting
our professional reputation on the line like that!" Laura
sputtered. "He didn't hire us to provide security for his new
product; he only wanted us to try out his cola and see if its
advertised benefits worked! Even that broken leg was just part of
his perverted plan!"
- "But you do have to admire
someone who would purposely break his leg, Laura--no matter what
the cause," Remington interjected.
- "To think he gave us those free
samples just so his spies could follow us around to get proof the
cola was performing as expected!"
- "Or rather, that *we* were
performing as expected," Remington darkly uttered. "I shudder to
think what proof they might have obtained."
- "Well, they certainly had plenty
of opportunity!" Laura said angrily, crossing her arms across her
"Obviously, whoever used that
photo booth to take our pictures was one of Mr. Pop-Top's spies
gathering evidence," Remington deducted.
- "Well, he couldn't have gotten
much," Laura rationalized. "Certainly not what he expected to get,
- "But he could have *thought* he
got the proof he was after," Remington stated. "I mean, I was in
what could be construed as a compromising position!"
- "The only things those picture
will reveal is me rubbing calamine lotion on your poison ivy
exposed flesh," Laura said, trying to reassure him.
- "Yes, but..."
- "Look, there's really nothing
more we can do. Mr. Pop-Top is in possession of those pictures by
now--or he soon will be. Whatever he makes of them, he makes of
them. If he thinks they are the proof he needs, fine. Then maybe
he'll leave us alone."
- "Remind me to have Mildred dump
the rest of that cola at the office. I don't want a single drop of
that stuff around. I don't even want to *see* another bottle of
- "That may be easier said than
done, Mr. Steele," Laura pointed out. "If that cola is placed on
the market, we'll see it every time we go shopping."
- "Well, I absolutely refuse to be
a spokesman for it," Remington insisted.
- "That was never Mr. Top-Top's
intention, Mr. Steele. Didn't you listen to his proposed ad
- "As distasteful as the product
itself," Remington stated.
- "Actually, I kind of liked the
jingle," Laura admitted. "I always did like that song."
- To prove her point, Laura began
- "You came; I was alone.
- I should have known you were
- You sailed, luring me on.
- My heart was gone; you were
- It would be thrilling if you were
- If it can never be, pity
- For you were born to be kissed. I
- You are Temptation, and I am
- Here is my heart.
- Take it and say we'll never
- I'm just a slave,
- Only a slave to you.
- Temptation, the Cola of
- "Going Hollywood, MGM, 1933," Remington added. "See, he
couldn't even come up with something original."
- "Well, as much as I hate to admit
it, I think it's kind of cute," Laura said again, humming the
- "Laura, please. I have a
- "No need to be so testy, Mr.
- "I am not testy. I'm just
enraged, humiliated, and embarrassed about being used. My
professional reputation has been scathed." Remington said,
scratching harder with each word.
- "Mr. Steele, please. Try to get a
hold of yourself!" Laura said, grabbing at his hands to stop him
from scratching. Looking at his fingernails, she shook her head.
"I guess it's a good thing you don't have any nails, because if
you did you wouldn't have any skin left."
- "Laura, really!"
- "Let's be reasonable. We'll just
put the whole miserable thing behind us and hope nothing more
comes of it. Agreed?"
- "Well, I suppose *all* of it
wasn't a miserable an experience," Remington conceded with a
- "No. Not all of it," Laura
confessed with a smile of her own as she put her arms around his
- "Ah, Laura. Careful. Not in Mr.
Pop-Top's driveway," Remington warned her. "He might send his
spies out to take more pictures."
Laura quickly removed her arms and
stepped back. "We certainly can't have that. Especially since we
haven't even touched a drop of the stuff since last night."
"It certainly would have saved me a
lot of heartache if he had discovered his secret formula a couple of
years ago," Remington said wistfully.
Laura hit him.
- "Really, Laura," he said as he
rubbed his arm. "If you can't keep your hands off me, you could at
least put them to better use."
- "Can't," she reminded him. "We're
still standing in Mr. Pop-Top's driveway."
- "That's not quite what I meant. I
was hoping you could put those erotic fingernails of yours to good
use scratching my back."
- "I scratch your back and you
scratch mine," Laura replied with a grin. "Isn't that how it
works, Mr. Steele?"
- "Only too happy to oblige, Miss
Holt, but only if you'll do the honors first."
- "Get in the car, then," she
- He did and she followed.
- "Let's go to my loft and I'll
scratch all you want. How does that sound, Mr. Steele?"
- "Heavenly," Remington said as he
backed out of the driveway, grateful to be leaving Bel Air far
behind. Glancing at her, he added, "You know, Laura, I don't
believe the cola was entirely to blame for our reactions."
- "What do you mean? Of course it
was," Laura contradicted. "We've certainly never been that
uninhibited and spontaneous before." Seeing him scratch again, she
suddenly grabbed his hand and said, "Mr. Steele, please! You know
you shouldn't scratch; it will only make things worse."
- "Laura, please don't nag."
- "Why? Because it makes me sound
like a wife?" she snapped.
- Remington stared at her.
Now, his mind told him. Laura had opened the
marriage door again... created a small opening, so to speak. But
instead of following his heart, he once again took the easy way
out. "What I can't understand is why you have such a mild case of
poison ivy and I seem to have borne the brunt of it," he said,
mentally kicking himself.
- "Mine is in places you'll never
see," Laura said teasingly.
- "Ah-ha! You're wrong there, my
dear. I *have* seen those places."
- "Just shut up and drive!" she
ordered. Her poison ivy was starting to make her testy, also--
mainly because she had a burning desire to scratch but she didn't
dare. She wouldn't give Remington the satisfaction.
- "Maybe the flea collar had
something to do with it," Remington speculated.
- "You were wearing the flea
collar. Maybe somehow that protected you from the poison ivy. I
mean, it's possible, isn't it?"
- "Mr. Steele, I really don't think
Max's collar had anything to do with it. But if it'll make you
feel better, I'll let *you* wear the flea collar the next time we
play Hide-and-Seek in the bushes."
- Remington just grunted and gave
Laura a scowl. "You can make all the jokes you like, Laura, but if
I don't get some relief soon, we're going to have to stop
somewhere so you can apply another coat of lotion."
- "Just don't make it another photo
booth," Laura requested.
- Luckily, they made it to the loft
without any emergency stops. After hastily parking the limo,
Remington bolted through the main entrance and headed quickly for
the first floor landing. To Laura's total surprise, Remington
practically raced up the stairs. She just stood there
open-mouthed, watching him in total amazement.
- "Hurry up with that lotion!" he
yelled down at her from the second landing.
- "Coming, Mr. Steele!" she
hollered as she began her climb.
- Remington was standing by her
door scratching his chest when Laura caught up to him. Shaking her
head and laughing, she fumbled for her key and turned the
- "Mr. Steele, I had no idea you
could run like that," she teased as he slid the door open.
- "Apparently pursuing you has some
beneficial side effects," he said, following Laura into the loft
and sliding the bolt back in place. "But I wouldn't want to make a
habit of it."
- "Of pursuing me?" Laura
- "My dear Miss Holt," Remington
declared. "Not only have I made a habit of pursuing you, I've
become absolutely addicted to it."
- Laura was cautiously looking
around, fearful of what condition Frances and Donald might have
left things in after their impromptu romantic evening the night
- "It appears Donald and Frances
left things in pretty good shape," Remington remarked, following
her into the kitchen.
- "I know it's in here somewhere,"
Laura explained as she began rummaging through the
- "What are you doing? I thought
you were going to rub some more lotion on my rash."
- She set a box of tea bags on the
counter and then continued her frantic search.
- Picking up the box of tea,
Remington said, "Tea? That sounds delightful, Laura, but I'd
really rather wait until after you've..."
"I'm not making tea," she snapped.
"It was just in the way. Ah ha! Here's what I'm looking for," she
explained, holding up a box of baking soda.
"Baking soda?" he questioned.
"Really, Laura; this is hardly the time to be baking
- "Don't be ridiculous! It's for a
soothing soda bath. I've heard it does wonders to relieve an
- Remington eyed her and then the
baking soda box. "Alright," he finally said, "but only if you'll
- "Can't," she replied.
- "Why not?"
- "My tub is too small," she
stated, ever practical.
- "Well, then we can just go over
to my apartment. Mine tub is big enough for two."
- Laura just smiled and shook her
head as she headed to her sleeping platform. "Take off your
clothes, Mr. Steele," she instructed.
- "Ah, Laura, you don't know how
those words thrill me," Remington said as he shrugged out of his
jacket and began unbuttoning his shirt.
- "I'm not interested in thrilling
you at the moment; I just want you to stop scratching so both of
us can have some peace and... ARRGH!"
- "What?!" Remington asked
fearfully, running up the steps leading to her sleeping
- "My bed!" she sobbed, pointing to
the crumpled heap on the floor.
- "Well, it is a trifle lopsided,
- "I'll kill them!" Laura insisted
angrily. "They actually broke my bed!"
- "That cola must have had quite an
effect on them!" Remington said, getting down on his hands and
knees to take a closer look at the damage. "Perhaps Mr. Pop-Top
should have been spying on them instead of us."
- "Well, what's your verdict, Mr.
"It's really not damaged that badly,"
Remington informed her as he stood up and dusted himself off, though
there was not a speck of dust to be seen. "With the right tools, a
good handyman can probably repair it in about an hour."
"Fine. I'll arrange for someone to
come fix it right away... and then I'll send Frances the bill!" Laura
exclaimed, grabbing the phone book and angrily thumbing through
- "Laura, what's the rush? Can't it
wait until after..?"
- "The rush, Mr. Steele?" she
asked. "The rush is, where am I going to sleep tonight if I can't
get my bed repaired?"
- "My place?" Remington hopefully
- Fortunately for Remington, the
phone rang and Laura answered it before she had a chance to
- "Hello? Oh, Mildred... The
meeting with Vigilance Insurance? No, we haven't forgotten. Are
they there yet?... Well, stall them when they do get there. Mr.
Steele and I will be there as soon as we can... Mr. Pop-Top? Yes,
we confronted him... Yes, it's the cola, Mildred. He actually
admitted it when we confronted him... Afraid so... Look, it's a
long story and I promise we'll fill you in when we get to the
agency. Needless to say, I've never felt so used in all my
- Remington grabbed the phone.
"Mildred, it's me... Yes, I'm fine...No, the rash is no worse, but
it would be *better* if Miss Holt would administer some
- Remington suddenly screamed into
- "Sorry, Mildred; I didn't mean to
scream in your ear... It was nothing; Miss Holt just stepped on my
foot. Must have been a careless accident," he said, turning to
glare at Laura. "Yes, Mildred, I'll tell her....Oh, and Mildred,
would you be a love and dump the cola we stashed at the office?...
Yes, every bottle... every drop. I don't want to see a single drop
when we get there...That's the spirit, Mildred. Talk to you later,
- Remington replaced the receiver
and turned back to Laura. "She's going to pour it all out. She
just hopes it doesn't clog the pipes."
- "As long as she doesn't give it
out to any clients," Laura remarked.
- "She could serve the whole batch
to Keyes and it wouldn't matter," Remington predicted. "I'd be
willing to bet the cola would have no effect on him
- "I wouldn't want to press my
luck," Laura said as she reached for the phone. "I have to wait
here for the handyman, but you go on ahead to the agency. You can
start the meeting without me and I'll get there as soon as I
- "Oh, Laura," he protested, "Don't
make me face Norman Keyes by myself!"
- "You're a big boy, Mr. Steele,"
she reminded him, patting his shoulder consolingly. "He's not
going to bite you."
- "I wouldn't be too sure of that,
Laura," Remington groaned, buttoning his shirt with one hand and
scratching his arm with the other.
- "Hold it, Mr. Steele," Laura said
as she removed his shirt and pulled the bottle of lotion from her
purse. "You may not have time for that soak, but I can at least
apply some more lotion."
- "Bless you, Laura," he said as he
closed his eyes, reveling in her tender touch.
- He was quiet for so long, Laura
wondered if he had dozed off. She was on the verge of waking him
when he suddenly spoke again.
- "I still don't see why you're so
insistent we take this contract, Laura" he said again. "Are you
sure I can't convince you to reconsider?"
- Laura really didn't want to get
into another argument about it.
- "We'll talk about it later, Mr.
Steele," she said, helping him into his shirt and buttoning it for
him. Then handing him his jacket, she practically pushed him out
- Seeing that he was about to make
another protest, Laura put her finger to his lips and said,
"Later, Mr. Steele."
- "Of course... later," he said,
pausing long enough at the door to give Laura a hasty kiss.
- Remington scratched vigorously
down all three flights of stairs. He wasn't sure how he could get
through the meeting without scratching, but he had no intention of
letting Keyes know the real reason for his discomfort. Whereas the
medication provided him with a measure of relief from his
relentless itch, no medication on earth could protect him from
Keyes' grating laugh.
- He desperately tried to think of
some way out of the Vigilance contract. He even considered using
the old standby excuse about being summoned to an urgent meeting
with the police commissioner. Laura could do damage control when
she arrived, he rationalized. It would serve her right. After all,
wasn't she was the one who had instigated the bizarre arrangement
in the first place?
- Remington was abruptly brought
back to reality as he collided with one of Laura's neighbors at
the foot of the stairs.
- "Pardon me, madam," he
apologized. "I'm so sorry."
- The woman frowned as her dog
sniffed at Remington and then growled. Remington suddenly realized
the reason for that look: he was scratching, frantically.
- "Terrible allergy... to, uh,
fleas!" he explained quickly, saying the first thing which popped
into his head.
- "My dog doesn't have fleas," the
lady said, offended.
- "Of course not, madam. What I
meant was I have fleas. I mean, I..."
- "Perhaps you should get a flea
collar, like my Trixie. Come along, Trixie," the woman said,
leading her dog around Remington and then up the stairs.
- "Yes, perhaps I should,"
Remington called behind her. "You're absolutely right. Thank you.
I'll wear one to bed tonight. My associate wore one last night
- The woman vanished from view,
leaving Remington standing at the foot of stairs looking and
feeling foolish. He closed his eyes tightly, shook his head in
disbelief and considered himself lucky that the limo was outside
the door waiting to whisk him away.
- Laura had almost finished
cleaning up the handyman's mess when her phone rang. She answered
it on the second ring.
- The male voice on the other end
of the line asked, "Is your bed ready to accommodate two
- "Who is this?" she demanded,
knowing full well who it was.
- "Laura, really," Remington said.
"Who else would ask you such a question? And if you dare say
someone else's name, I'll be forced to administer a tongue
- "I'd rather you administer some
- "You, too, eh?" Remington asked
- "How's the meeting going?"
- "It's not," he explained.
- "What?" Laura asked in
- "I've been waiting here at the
office for over two hours now and Keyes has yet to show
- "Well, did he call? Did you try
to call him?"
- "No, he didn't and yes, I did,
but he wasn't in."
- "I'm on my way," Laura assured
him. "Just sit tight."
- "Laura, I don't think I can do
that. Sit tight, I mean. I've been in near agony the last couple
- "Well, get Mildred to put on
another coat of lotion for you."
- "She already did that," Remington
explained. "But it's those, ah...other areas...that are driving me
mad...The ones I'd rather not have her see, if you know what I
- "I get the picture, Mr. Steele.
Just try to hold on a little longer. I'll be there to offer you
some TLC as soon as I can."
- Smiling to herself as she hung up
the phone, she grabbed her purse and keys and hurried out the
- A half hour later, Remington was
standing in his office bathroom being tenderly administered to by
Laura and a bottle of calamine lotion.
- "Oh, Laura. I could swear you've
got magic fingers!"
"Steady, Mr. Steele. How does that
"Ah, it's truly a heavenly
experience," Remington sighed.
"Now do me," Laura whispered.
"My pleasure. I'll be delighted to
use my magic fingers on you."
- "Oh, you sweet talker."
- "You wear too many clothes
though, woman. I'll never be able to get at you unless you take
- "Mr. Steele? Miss Holt?" Mildred
asked as she knocked timidly, hesitant to interrupt whatever was
going on behind the closed door. Her imagination was working
overtime conjuring up possible scenarios from the brief bits of
conversation she had just overheard.
- "What is it?" Remington asked
with a note of exasperation.
- "Mr. Steele, Miss Holt, I hate to
disturb you, but the president of Vigilance Insurance is on the
phone. He insists on speaking with one of you."
- Mildred thought she could hear
- Laura quickly spoke up. "That's
quite alright, Mildred. Just a minute." Turning to Remington, she
said, "I'll speak to him. In the meantime, you better get
- Mildred put a hand to her mouth.
She hadn't meant to hear that, but she had.
- Laura emerged from the bathroom
to find Mildred standing outside the door in a dazed state. After
starting to say something several times, the befuddled secretary
finally just pointed to the phone.
- When Remington walked out of the
bathroom a few moments later, Laura was hanging up the
- "That was Vigilance insurance,"
she told him. "According to them, Keyes was unexpectedly detained
and they want to reschedule the meeting for sometime next week.
Mildred is setting it up."
- "'Unexpectedly detained', eh?"
Remington asked."Then why didn't he or someone else at Vigilance
at least call to let us know? I don't know what he's got up his
sleeve, Laura, but I'm willing to bet he stood us up on
- "I agree that Keyes' behavior is
unprofessionally, but we no proof his intentions are criminal,"
Laura pointed out. "Let's just forget about it for the time
being." Moving closer to Remington's side, she seductively said,
"Besides, you have yet to use those magic fingers of yours on me,
"And you have yet to give me that
soda bath," he replied.
"In due time, Mr. Steele," Laura
promised with a grin. "But first, why don't we do something this
evening to take our mind off our various irritations?"
- "And what sort of distraction did
you have in mind, Miss Holt?" Remington asked, nuzzling Laura's
- She pushed him away, laughing.
"Not that kind of distraction. Well, not exactly," she admitted,
blushing. "I was thinking more along the lines of dinner and a
movie. A nice long movie-- maybe even a double feature."
- He nodded. "Sounds good to me.
But what if the movie doesn't work as a distraction? I mean, what
if I get an uncontrollable urge to scratch during the
- "It's a dark theater, Mr.
Steele," Laura reminded him.
- After applying another coat of
calamine lotion to each other, Fred drove them to a small, quiet
French restaurant where they enjoyed a romantic dinner.
Afterwards, he drove them to a theater which was showing a double
bill of Casablanca and It Happened One
Night. Before the previews
were even over, Laura felt something heavy on her shoulder. It was
Remington's head. Completely exhausted, he was fast asleep.
- Laura smiled to herself. The poor
man was obviously worn out from the activities of the past few
days. Laura gently shifted him more comfortably against her and
settled back with every intention of watching the movie. Recent
activities, however, were beginning to take their toll on her as
well. Resting her head against Remington's, she closed her eyes
for a moment. She just needed a brief kidnap-- or was it a cat
nap? She was too tired to remember.
- When she pried open her eyes some
time later, the ending credits to the second feature were playing
on the screen. She couldn't believe she'd slept through two entire
movies! Yawning, she glanced at Remington. He was still leaning
against her, sleeping like a baby .
- "Mr. Steele?" Laura said
- Receiving no response, she
lightly stroked his cheek and called his name once more. He
twitched but didn't awaken, so she gently nudged him. Remington
mumbled something incoherent and snuggled back against Laura's
shoulder, burying his face against her neck.
- "Mr. Steele. Time to wake up. The
movies are over," she explained.
- "Wake Up, Little Susie," he suddenly mumbled. "The Every
- Laura chuckled. "You do old
movies, Mr. Steele; not old songs."
- Disoriented, Remington sat up and
looked around the darkened theater.
- "You fell asleep," Laura
explained. "Actually, we both fell asleep."
- "You fell asleep, too,
- She nodded. "I guess we were both
- "Yes, the last three days have
been rather exhausting," he agreed as he yawned and shrugged his
shoulders, trying to restore his circulation.
Laura could only nod in
With the exception of a lone usher
who was busy cleaning, they were the only ones in the deserted
- "Perhaps we'd better leave before
the manager comes to bodily throw us out," Remington suggested,
placing a hand on Laura's elbow to usher her down the
- "I'm sure it wouldn't be the
first time, would it, Mr. Steele?" Laura teased.
- "I've slept in my share of flea
pits," Remington admitted. "Sometimes I was lucky and the usher
didn't mind letting a dirty little street urchin sneak in through
the side door and kip for the night. But on the nights I wasn't so
lucky, I was usually thrown out on my ear. I can't begin to guess
how many times I fell asleep with my ear pressed to the emergency
exit; that way, even though I couldn't see the movie, I could at
least hear it."
- Shuddering at the mental image,
Laura tenderly reached for Remington's arm. "Come along, Mr.
Steele. Let's get you home so you can sleep in a proper bed
- "With you?" he whispered.
- "I assure you, tonight you won't
be sleeping in a dark alley," she said as they left the theater,
quickly locating the limo at the curb.
- Fred was reading The Tribune. He handed it to Remington, saying,
"There's an article in here about that Pop-Top case you should
- "Oh?" Remington asked, taking the
paper and climbing into the limo after Laura.
- With Laura leaning over his
shoulder, they read the article together.
- "Apparently it's hard to get
dependable help in any profession," Remington declared when they
finished the article.
- "Indeed, Mr. Steele," Laura
agreed. "If only Mr. Pop-Tart had hired an *honest* spy to take
pictures of us 'performing', you could have avoided that clonk on
- "Somehow, that's hollow
consolation, Miss Holt," Remington said as he winced and touched
his sore head.
- "So Mr. Pop-Top was serious after
all when he said someone was out to steal his secret formula,"
Laura remarked. "It's reassuring to know we weren't hired only as
- "You know, Laura, this reminds me
of that no-calorie cookie case," he said. "Remember how everyone
was trying to get their hands on the cookies and have them
analyzed so they could obtain the secret formula?"
- "One difference, though, Mr.
Steele," Laura pointed out.
- "Oh? And what is that?"
- "We didn't eat the cookies and
then reap the benefits," she explained with a grin. Before she
could say more, however, she suddenly jumped, startled. "What was
that?" she asked. "Something just rolled over my foot."
- Remington leaned over and laughed
as he picked up the bottle of cola which had been rolling around
on the floor. "Looks like Mr. Pop-Top's spy overlooked this one,"
- "Get rid of it," Laura said with
a laugh. "Just throw it out the window or something."
- "Why, Miss Holt, that could be
construed as littering. You wouldn't want me to be arrested for
littering, would you?" Remington asked. Tossing the bottle into
the front seat, he said, "Fred, dispose of this as soon as
possible. Okay, Mate?"
- "Certainly, Mr. Steele."
- Remington leaned back into the
plush seat, picked up the paper and began thumbing through the
pages. "Well, I see that Detroit beat Dallas," he finally
- "Since when do you read the
sports page?" Laura retorted.
- "Since there's an ad for a poison
ivy remedy on it," he explained, showing her the ad for Aveeno.
"And there's even a coupon!! That should appeal to your sense of
- Laura grabbed the paper out of
Remington's hands and quickly tore out the coupon. Then clutching
the precious coupon in her hand, she leaned forward and said,
"Fred, stop at that big market up ahead; Mr. Steele and I need to
pick up a few things."
- "Laura, do you want me to check
through the paper for any more coupons?" Remington asked, a
teasing lilt in his voice.
- "My compulsions are an endless
source of amusement for you, aren't they, Mr. Steele?"
- "Certainly not. It's just
- Remington paused in mid-sentence
and just stared at Laura, his mouth still open.
- "It's just what?" Laura
- Not wanting to insert his foot
any farther into his mouth than he already had, he decided silence
was his best bet. "Nothing, Miss Holt."
- Crossing his arms in an exact
imitation of Laura, he looked at her looking at him and then
quickly turned to look out the window.
- "Ah, Laura," Remington began
conversationally, "notice that the article on Mr. Pop-Top's spy
made no mention of the pictures he took of us in the photo booth?
They must not have been on him. Do you suppose his pockets were
stuffed so full of cola bottles that maybe there wasn't room for
- "He had probably already turned
them over to Mr. Pop-Top," she rationalized. "What else would he
have done with them?"
- "Yes, what else, indeed?"
- As the limo pulled to a stop,
Fred announced, "The supermarket."
- "Come along, Mr. Steele," Laura
- As she and Remington got out of
the limo, Remington pointed to the cola bottle on the front seat.
"Don't forget to get rid of the cola, Fred."
- Fred nodded, saying, "I'll take
care of it, Sir."
- "You know, Laura," Remington said
as they entered the market, "The size of the markets in this
country never fails to astound me. One can buy almost anything
- As they walked down the aisles,
he couldn't help commenting on the items on the shelves.
- "Boxed breakfast cereal...
packaged cookies... granola bars..."
- "Come along, Mr. Steele," Laura
instructed. "Don't dawdle."
- They turned into another
- "Pet foods and products... Ah!
Flea collars!" he exclaimed, picking one up and tossing one to
- She tossed it back onto the shelf
with a frown and continued down the aisle.
- Remington continued commenting on
various items as they walked along.
- "No," she responded
- "Jalapeno cheese..."
- "Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies...
- "No. This is worse than shopping
with a child!" Laura finally muttered under her breath.
- "No; I have several pairs, thank
- "Paper towels... breath spray...
razor blades... shampoo..."
- Laura sighed.
- "Toothbrushes... vitamins...
pregnancy home testing kits..."
"Ah, here we are--Aveeno!" Laura
exclaimed with great relief as she grabbed the box. Turning, she
began a restrained sprint to the checkout counter.
- "Are you sure we don't need
anything else while we're here?" Remington asked as he hurried to
catch up with her.
- "I'm sure!" she insisted as they
took their place in the Express Lane checkout line.
As Laura began digging through her
purse for her billfold, Remington entertained himself by looking at
the magazines displayed near the register. The cover of the new
L.A. Inquirer caught his eye, so he picked it up and
"Oh, good Lord," he suddenly
muttered, grabbing Laura's arm. "Laura, look at this."
- "Mr. Steele, really! Now
what!?"she exclaimed, turning around to face him just as he
pressed the cover to her face.
- "Oh, good Lord!" she exclaimed,
not believing what she was seeing.
- There on the cover was a large
picture of a bare chested Remington. The headline read:
Remington Steele and
Secretary Mix Business With Pleasure in Photo Booth. To see what
develops, turn to p. 20.
- Remington quickly turned to page
20. Both he and Laura gasped when they saw the rest of the photo
booth photos. Even though they were in reality quite innocent,
they looked extremely suggestive, displayed as they were on the
pages of Los Angeles' sleaziest tabloid.
- "Hey, isn't that you?" the gum
chewing clerk asked as she leaned over to see what had caught
Laura and Remington's attention.
- "Ah, no," Laura quickly answered,
grabbing the paper and hiding it behind her back.
- "Remarkable likeness, though,
eh?" Remington asked with a nervous laugh. "Perhaps our family
would like to see just how remarkable this likeness is. If you'll
just give us a minute..."
- Laura watched stupefied as
Remington began running from counter to counter, scooping up each
and every copy of the offending rag.
- "We'll take them all," he said
breathlessly, plopping the entire stack down on the conveyor belt
behind the Aveeno.
- "We have a large family," Laura
explained lamely, giving the cashier a weak smile.
- "Whatever you say," the girl said
as she shrugged and she began to total their purchases. "We just
got them in a few minutes ago. You know, I really ought to send
you to another line. You've got more than 15 items now."
- "For heaven's sake!" Laura
declared in frustration. "We're the only ones checking
"Well, I guess it'll be okay, then.
Let's see--the papers, plus the Aveeno, minus the 15 cent
coupon...That comes to a total of $55."
"Pay the woman," Remington ordered
- She glared at him, saying, "I'll
have to write a check."
- "Personal checks require two
forms of I.D.," the clerk automatically responded.
- Laura quickly wrote the check and
dutifully presented her driver's license and a bank card. Then as
quickly as she could, she stuffed her wallet and checkbook back
into her purse and snatched the Aveeno.
- "Come along, Mr. Steele," she
demanded, grabbing Remington's arm and pulling him towards the
door. "You can finish reading your papers when we get
- She marched him outside, but
couldn't get him to take his nose out of the tabloid. Exasperated,
she opened the door of the limo and was just about to push him
inside when he suddenly began to groan.
- "Now what?" she barked.
- "Oh, Laura; it just keeps getting
worse," Remington said, showing her the blurb on the next page:
Remington Steele Co-workers
Wear Flea Collars to Bed."
- "Oh, my," Laura uttered, frozen
- Remington pushed her into the
limo's darkness and quickly followed her in. Sinking into the
plush seat beside Laura, he sighed loudly and rubbed his
- "Who do you suppose gave out this
story?" Laura asked.
- "I bet it was that neighbor of
yours--the one who keeps her dog on a leash," Remington suggested.
"Perhaps we should give her a muzzle."
- "Mr. Steele, please," she
groaned, retreating to the far corner and leaning against the
door. "I'm getting a headache."
- "Do you want me to run back
inside and get you some aspirin?" he asked brightly.
- Even though it was as dark as
Egypt in the limo, Remington could feel Laura glaring at
- "Just trying to be helpful,
Laura," he said defensively.
- "Where to, Mr. Steele?" Fred
- "My apartment, Fred," Remington
instructed. "Oh, and Fred, did you dispose of the cola?"
- "Yes, Sir. I poured it down the
drain at the car wash next door."
- "Fine, Fred. Thank you. Now I
have something else for you do to do. After you drop Miss Holt and
me off, drive around the city and gather up every one of these
rags you can find."
- "Rags, Sir?" Fred asked.
- "Yes, these rags," Remington said, throwing the entire pile
of tabloids onto the front seat. "And then burn the whole bloody
batch of them."
- Remington leaned back and took a
deep breath, suddenly asking, "Laura, just how much do you know
about that neighbor of yours with the white poodle named
- When Laura didn't answer, he
leaned over and peered closely at her through the darkness.
Realizing she was asleep, he smiled and pulled her into his
- To be continued...
This story copyrighted 1982-2002 by
Debra Talley. The characters of Remington
- are used without
permission. It is purely for entertainment purposes.