- Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division
Never Too Young to Steele
Kurth and Debra Talley
story is set in the Brendan Universe and the first part of the
- Story begins
in November, 1994
- "What do you mean
you're going to help me steal the Marchessa Collection?!"
Remington declared, not believing what he had just heard. "Have
you forgotten you're over six months pregnant?"
- "I'm well aware
of that fact, Mr. Steele," Laura explained, awkwardly tying her
dark sneakers. "A little exercise will do me a world of good."
- "Laura, we're not
talking about a nice little jaunt through the park. We're talking
about stealing a priceless collection of jewels."
- "Just the tonic I
need. You know the skin-tingling, blood-coursing, heart-pounding,
head-swimming effect purloining has on me!" Laura said excitedly
as she stood up and stretched.
- "Please, Laura,"
Remington complained. "You're making me ill."
- "In that case,
perhaps I should steal the jewels and you should stay home," she
suggested. Then seeing his frustrated look, she gently patted his
cheek. "Relax, Mr. Steele. I've never felt better," she assured
him. "And besides, you need me."
- "Laura, I do not
need you. Wait; let me rephrase that. I do not need your help on
this particular case. I've already lined up some backup."
- "Who?" Laura
asked, standing toe-to-toe with her husband.
- "An old...friend.
But that's not the point, Laura. "
- "Is that so, Mr.
Steele?" she asked, hands on her hips.
- "The point, Mrs.
Steele, is that you are in no condition to be breaking into the
- "And I suppose
Felicia is?" Laura asked angrily.
- "Yes!... I mean,
no! I mean...How did you know about Felicia?" Remington asked,
- Laura, arms
crossed, just stared at him in angry silence, tapping her fingers
on her forearms.
- Then realization
dawned on him and he declared, "Mildred. It was Mildred, wasn't
it? l knew I should have bought that woman a muzzle!"
- "Why are you
stealing the Marchessa Collection with Felicia?" Laura demanded
pushing Remington backwards against the wall. "And this time I
want the truth, buster!"
- Remington thought
a moment, debating whether to give Laura the truth or a
fabrication. But seeing the determined look on her face, he
quickly decided on the former.
- "Everything I
told you is the truth," he explained quickly. Taking a deep
breath, he continued. "An old friend appeared at the agency and
said word on the street was that someone was going to swipe the
jewels. So, after careful consideration, I decided the best course
of action was to take the jewels into protective custody, so to
speak. My friend convinced me I couldn't do the job alone and
graciously offered to help. I just failed to mention that Felicia
was the old friend. And now, I really need to get going, Luv..."
- Laura hated it
when Remington talked fast like that. It didn't give her much of a
chance to get a word in edgewise. But it also made her more
determined to have her say.
- "No dice," she
stubbornly declared. "There is no way I'm letting you pull off
this little heist with
- "You almost act
as though you don't trust me," Remington said, genuinely hurt.
- "Oh, I trust you;
it's Felicia I don't trust."
- "But--but what
about the children?" Remington asked, desperately trying to think
of some way to deter Laura.
- "It's all taken
care of. Brendan and Rory are spending the night with Frances,
Mildred can't wait to keep the twins, and Abby has the privilege
of staying with Rocky."
- "Rocky! You'd
leave Abby with a woman who uses Who Sorry
Now? as a
- "The baby's crazy
about her," Laura reminded him, slowly putting her arms around
Remington and taking a different tactic. "Think about it, darling.
After we steal the jewels, we'll have the whole house to
ourselves. Maybe we can even steal a little time for romance."
- To further prove
her point, Laura engaged her husband in a kiss which was full of
- "Hmh-your plan
does have its compensations," Remington conceded as they drew even
closer for another kiss.
- Right on cue, the
- As Laura reached
around him for the phone, she and Remington became acutely aware
of a clinking, scraping sound which was accompanied by muffled
giggling and whispering. The phone rang twice more, but they
didn't even notice. All of their attention was now focused on
their bedroom door.
- "I thought you
locked the door," Laura mumbled under her breath.
- "I did,"
- They just sighed
and shook their heads.
Remington said loudly, using his most authoritarian voice.
- The sound of
giggling and the shuffling of feet was the only reply from the now
deserted hallway.Remington shot Laura a stern look as she
unsuccessfully tried to stifle a snicker.
- "Brendan, you've
got to the count of three, mate. One... two.."
- Brendan, almost
8, guiltily appeared in the open doorway, followed by six and a
half year old Rory, twins Laura and Remy, age 4 and a half, and
Bogart, the family's English sheepdog.
- "What have I told
you about picking Mummy and Daddy's lock?" Remington asked his
- "That if I valued
my life, I wouldn't do it again," Brendan answered.
- "Obviously, you
didn't believe me," Remington pointed out.
- "I didn't want to
do it, but I just had to know if I *could* do it," Brendan
explained. "This lock was a lot harder than the other three."
- "That was the
idea, but obviously it wasn't hard enough," Remington explained.
"I'm afraid this behavior calls for drastic action. I'm afraid
you're banished from the video room for one week."
- "Yes, sir,"
Brendan mumbled, shuffling his feet and lowering his eyes. "I'm
sorry. I won't do it again."
- "Well, now,"
Laura chirped, trying to lighten the mood. "Uncle Fred will be
here any minute and you'd all better finish gathering up your
things. I'll be there in a minute to check things out."
- The kids
scampered to their respective rooms, leaving Laura and Remington
alone once more.
- "Don't you think
you were a little hard on him?" Laura inquired.
- "This will be the
fourth time I've had to change the bloody lock! I'd like to feel
we could share a few kisses without the threat of an unexpected
- "I agree, but
Brendan did admit he did it for the challenge."
- "So?" Remington
asked, puzzled by Laura's train of thought.
- "Didn't the man I
married once tell me he also enjoyed impossible challenges?"
- Remington paused
for a few seconds as enlightenment set in. "I, uh, see your
point," he finally said. "Like father, like son, eh? Okay, perhaps
a week was a bit harsh. I'll tell him his sentence has been
- The doorbell
- "That's probably
Fred. You get Abby's bag packed while I check on the kids," Laura
instructed, hurrying to let in their chauffeur and friend.
- Laura and
Remington were soon surrounded by children and overnight bags in
the cozy interior of the family-friendly limo. Remy, Laurie and
Rory were enjoying the seat of honor beside Fred. Laurie, sitting
beside Fred, was feeding chocolate chip cookies to herself, Fred
and her Cabbage Patch doll. Remy was wearing Fred's hat and busily
studying one of the maps with a flashlight. When not shoving maps
out of his way, Rory was examining his thumb print under a
magnifying glass with the help of Remy's flashlight.
- Laura and
Remington shared the back seat with Brendan and Abby. Brendan was
looking out the window and Abby was sleeping soundly in her car
seat. Remington took advantage of the momentary lull and slipped
his arm about Laura, gratefully snuggling against him.
- The silence
didn't last long, however; it never did. Amidst sudden shouts of
"Mummy!" and "Daddy!", Laura and Remy clamored over the back of
the front seat, crunching Fred's maps In the process and making
quite a racket. They crawled into their parents' laps, jostling
Abby and causing her to cry. Not to be outdone by her sister,
Laurie began whining for a cookie. In an effort to be helpful,
Rory hurled the cookie package over the seat, sending cookies and
- Bedlam reigned
- "Ms. Krebs'
apartment, Mr. Steele," Fred announced.
- Laura and
Remington both breathed a sigh of relief as Fred stopped the limo.
Remington gathered the appropriate overnight bags and escorted
Remy and Laurie to Mildred's door.
- Brendan and Rory
were soon deposited at the Piper's house. And shortly thereafter,
Fred pulled up at Rocky Sullivan's apartment building. Remington
gathered up the peacefully sleeping Abby and her bag and
disappeared into the building.
- Laura was
surprised, however, to see him return with Abby just moments
later. He handed his wife a piece of paper as he settled Abby into
her car seat and then took his place beside her.
- "An emergency
concert?!" Laura read in disbelief.
- "I never realized
in such demand," Remington said.
- "This doesn't
make any sense," Laura said, crinkling her forehead in confusion.
"Rocky says she tried to call us earlier and got no answer. But we
were home all afternoon."
- "Yes, but we
didn't answer the phone, remember?" Remington reminded her. Then
leaning forward, he said, "Fred, better swing by the house next."
- "What do you
mean, 'Swing by the house'?" Laura demanded, sitting up straight.
- "We'll drop off
you and Abby, and then I'll have Fred take me on to the museum,"
- "Oh, no, you
don't!" Laura exclaimed, punching Remington's shoulder. "We are
both going to the museum!"
- "Well, we can't
exactly take the baby with us!" Remington pointed out, rubbing his
- "And why not?!"
Laura declared in a very determined tone of voice. "Her backpack
is In the trunk. She'll sleep through the whole thing. You know
how sleepy her cold medication has made her today."
- "Laura, be
reasonable," Remington pleaded. "We can't take a baby along on a
closed, Mr. Steele. Abby and l are going with you to steal the
Marchessa Collection and that's that. What could possibly go
groaned. What could go wrong, indeed? This was one instance when
he would rather not think of the possibilities.
- Reluctantly, he
ordered Fred to drive on to the art museum. With any luck, Felicia
would be waiting for him there and *she* could watch Abby. There
was no way he was going to let Laura win this argument, but
because he knew arguing would only make her more unreasonable, he
momentarily withdrew from their "discussion."
- Fred soon arrived
at the museum and parked the limo a discreet distance away. While
Remington removed Abby's backpack from the trunk, Laura released
Abby from her car seat and waited in the crisp night air. As she
breathed deeply, she couldn't help smiling in anticipation of the
events that lay ahead. Her pulse was already racing. It had been
too long since she had been purloining with Remington, and she was
already well on her way to a high, in spite of her husband's
- Laura suddenly
became aware of a foul smell. It was probably someone's cheap
cologne, but for some reason the odor made her think of a rat.
Scanning the surrounding darkness and seeing nothing, though, she
quickly dismissed it as unimportant. Nothing was going to spoil
her stimulating and thrilling romp through the art museum with
Remington and Abby. After all, there were too few forms of true
intimacy left; she was going to enjoy this one to the fullest.
- What could
possibly go wrong?
strapped on the baby's backpack and Laura settled Abby into it. He
then extracted the other backpack from the trunk, which was full
of equipment they'd need for the heist, and handed it to Laura.
- As she put it on,
Remington tried to reason with her one more time, saying, "This
isn't a good idea. Why don't you just wait here in the car with
Abby? You'll be much more comfortable."
- "Nonsense, Mr.
Steele. Besides, you know you can't do this alone."
- "Yes, I can," he
argued. "It will just take a little longer."
- "There's no use
trying to talk me out of this. Now quit the small talk and let's
go," Laura ordered as she started walking down the street in the
direction of the museum.
- "Stealing the
Marchessa Collection was never this complicated the first time,"
Remington mumbled under his breath.
- "Ah, yes, in
Mexico City, as Richard Blaine," Laura said as she kept pace
beside him. "Pining for the good old days, are we?"
- "Things were
easier then," he remarked. On her look, he added, "Easier, Luv,
but definitely less interesting."
- Stopping briefly,
he gave her a quick kiss before they continued on.
- Laura nibbled on
the chocolate chip cookies she had picked up from the back seat
and stuffed into her jacket pockets. Remington glanced at her as
they walked along.
- "A little pick me
up," she tried to explain, even though she always ate when she was
nervous and Remington knew it. "Besides, I have a perfect excuse
now; I'm eating for two."
- He frowned,
reminding her, "You'll just have to a lose it later."
- "I will," she
assured him. "I always do, you know."
- When they reached
the museum, Laura looked around and asked, "Which will it be this
time? The roof? A window? The sub basement?"
- "Actually, the
service entrance is much more feasible. Don't you agree?"
Remington answered as he went to work, first on the outside alarm
system, then at picking the lock on the door.
- When it took him
a bit longer than usual, he commented, "Lock seems to be a trifle
- "Maybe we should
have brought Brendan along," Laura dryly said.
- "Oh, no. One
child--um, one and a half," he quickly amended, "is more than
enough on this case."
- Before Laura
could comment, a voice in the darkness startled them both.
darling! I had no idea you were planning on turning this into a
- Laura whirled
around quickly to find Felicia standing there, elegantly decked
out in her own black break-in outfit.
- "Damn. I knew
there was something I forgot," Remington said as he straightened
up, prepared to quickly step between his wife and his ex-lover if
the need arose. "Felicia, I meant to give you a ring and tell you
there'd been a slight change in plans. As you can see, I won't be
needing your assistance tonight."
- "On the contrary,
darling. From the look of things here, I'd say you're going to be
needing it more than ever," Felicia coolly replied. "Isn't taking
a baby along to rob a museum contributing to the delinquency of a
minor or something?"
- Laura sniffed.
No, the wearer of the foul cologne she had smelled earlier was not
Felicia. She estimated Felicia's perfume, which was probably
shoplifted, at no less than $100 per ounce.
- "We have
everything under control here," Remington replied, not at all
- He turned back to
work on the lock, but Felicia made no move to leave. Instead, she
was staring at Remington's back where Abby was sleeping peacefully
In her backpack.
- "She looks like
you," Felicia said, addressing Laura.
- "Thank you."
- "It wasn't a
compliment," Felicia cattily asked.
- Remington hastily
stepped in. "Actually, we think she looks like her grandmother,
whom she was named after."
- Felicia chuckled.
"The great Remington Steele, whoever would have thought? You were
certainly smitten, or should I say caught?"
- "Felicia," he
- But she didn't
heed him. "Of course, I never had to get myself pregnant to catch
- Laura reacted to
the dig meant for her. "But you couldn't keep him after you caught
him, could you, Felicia? And for the record, Brendan was born
early, as were all our children."
- Laura wondered if
she'd get arrested on assault charges for scratching Felicia's
Remington chastised, gesturing toward the door he had just opened.
"Shall we forgo the cat fight for the time being? We do have a
jewel collection to protect."
- Laura and Felicia
glared at each other, but both remained silent.
- "That's better,"
Remington said in relief. Then turning his back to Felicia, he
said, "Now, Felicia, make yourself useful and take the baby."
darling, I don't do babies."
- "You do tonight."
- "Now wait just a
minute," Laura hissed. "If you think I'm going to leave Abby with
this-this-this BIMBO, you're crazy!"
- "It makes a lot
more sense than taking her with us during a robbery!" Remington
shot back under his breath. "What If she cries? What if we're
- "But we won't
be," Laura Insisted.
you're right," Remington conceded. "But do you want to take the
chance that Abby could have a police record before she's even a
- "Don't be
ridiculous! They wouldn't arrest a baby!"
- Felicia merely
shook her head, sighed, and gently took Abby from the backpack on
- "Will you two be
quiet and get on with it?" she asked, rocking Abby in her arms in
a surprisingly familiar manner.
- Laura and
Remington stopped arguing and stared at her in amazement.
- "Hurry up, before
I have to change her!" Felicia urged.
- She walked away,
but then turned around and seductively walked back over to
Remington. With a sly smile, she eased her hand into Remington's
- "Felicia..." he
- Felicia calmly
removed Abby's pacifier from the pocket and held it up for him to
see. "Just in case," she said coolly.
- "Ah, yes...Good
idea," Remington stammered.
- After watching
Felicia disappear back into the shadows, he finally turned his
attention back to Laura."Yes, well, where were we?"
- "The jewels..."
Laura muttered in a daze.
- "Ah, yes! The
wonderfully illusive Marchessa Collection!" Remington said,
removing the empty backpack and replaced it with the equipment
pack Laura had been wearing.
- Motioning for her
to enter the museum ahead of him, he asked, "Shall we?"
- "But the baby..."
Laura protested mildly.
- "...will be
fine," Remington reassured her. "Believe me, there's more to
Felicia than meets the eye."
- Laura glared at
- "Forget I said
that," he said quickly, ushering her inside the building.
- Neither one
noticed Felicia as she silently followed them through the door,
still holding a sleeping Abby. Baby or no baby, wife or no wife,
she had come to steal the jewels with Michael's help and that was
exactly what she intended to do.
- Remington and
Laura surveyed the empty corridor and took note of the alarm
system. There was only one way to make it across--by swinging.
Remington took the necessary equipment out of his backpack, fired
the line and fed it through until it caught firmly on the vent.
After testing it, he quickly whisked across, with Laura following
him. Unfortunately, she landed heavily in his arms and almost
knocked them both over.
- "All those
chocolate chip cookies. Eh, Luv?" Remington remarked.
- Laura threw him a
- Moments later
they were huddling behind a statue.
- "The Marchessa
Collection is housed in that room over there," Remington
explained, gesturing with his hand. "But first, we have to
disconnect the alarm system."
- He proceeded to
pull out and assemble an elaborate device on wheels powered by a
remote control box, similar to a toy car. He guided it over to the
alarm controls where the car fired a shot and, in a shower of
sparks, blew out the alarm.
- They cautiously
edged their way into the room. When a guard making his rounds
approached them, Remington and Laura quickly hid behind a statue.
Unfortunately, Laura's pregnant belly was still in full view.
Remington gasped when he realized the predicament they were in and
tried to pull Laura back farther. Luckily, the guard was lax or
lazy and never noticed. In fact, he never even bothered to check
the alarm as he went on his way.
- Remington sighed.
"That was close. *Too* close. I told you this wasn't a good
idea--you coming along."
- "Oh, come on;
we're already here," Laura snapped. "Let's just get this over
with." Her mood had been getting progressively worse since
- They cautiously
entered the room where the jewels were on display. After careful
scrutiny, Remington deduced that the only way to get the jewels
out of their glass case without tripping the alarm was through the
bottom. Collecting the necessary equipment, he laid on his back
under the case.
- Laura handed him
the needed tools, taking great delight in doing so. "Just like the
old days, Mr. Steele," she commented
please..." was his only response.
- He made fast work
of the display case and soon the jewels dropped into his gloved
- "Ah, my
beauties," he sighed. "We meet again."
- He then slid
himself out from beneath the case, where Laura offered a hand to
help him up.
- The whole
experience was giving Laura a definite feeling of deja vu. Her
skin was tingling, her blood was coursing, her heart was pounding
and her head was swimming. Therefore, she missed the faint scuffle
of footsteps, the low murmur of voices and the disturbing scent
from somewhere down the corridor.
- "May I?" Laura
dreamily asked as she eyed the jewels and held out her hand.
- Remington held
them away from her. "Now, Laura, you know the agreement--the
jewels have to remain in the museum for insurance purposes."
- "But, of course,
dear," she assured him.
- Remington didn't
look convinced by Laura's words. Instead, he hefted the jewels in
his hands and said, "Laura, Luv, reach in the pack and find me the
- "I've got it
right here," she said as she retrieved it from her backpack and
handed it to him.
- He deposited the
jewels in the pouch with a flair which made Laura laugh. Then
cautiously they walked down the corridor, around the bend, and
began expertly searching for a safe spot in which to hide the
- "How about here?"
Remington asked, indicating an antique desk shoved against a wall.
- "Don't you think
that's a little obvious, to just put them in a drawer?"
- "Who said
anything about putting them in a drawer?"
- He pulled out the
center drawer, reached into the abyss and felt around. There was a
- and the bottom
dropped a couple of inches.
- "Just as I
thought," he said. "A lot of these antique pieces have false
- Remington placed
the jewels in the hidden drawer and the returned it to its
original state. "All done, Luv. Shall we leave now?"
- In reply, Laura
wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a kiss.
- Remington parted
them. "I must say your enthusiasm Is commendable. But really,
Laura, you pick the oddest times and places to get romantic. Not
that I have anything against stealing a little tete-a-tete in an
art museum, but we are on a rather tight schedule, mind you."
- "Later, then,"
Laura promised with a quick kiss.
- "I will be
looking forward to it," Remington assured her as he took her hand
in his and they started their retreat.
- Once again, they
were startled by a voice behind them--but this time it wasn't
- "Well, well,
well. If it's not my old friends, the Steeles."
- Laura and
Remington turned to find their old adversary Tony Roselli.
- They didn't even
try to hide their disgust.
- "Last time we saw
you, Anthony, you were rotting away In an Irish jail," Remington
- "Yeah, well,
maybe l can finally return the favor," Tony said with a sneer. "As
a representative of Vigilance Insurance, I'd love to hear your
explanation of this. You did know that Vigilance Insurance was
carrying the insurance on the Marchessa Collection, didn't you?"
- Remington was
well aware of that fact, but he didn't let on that he did. He was
surprised, however, to learn that Tony was now working for
- "Don't tell me
that Vigilance has stooped to hiring the likes of you. I would
think they'd be more careful with their employees since Keyes."
- Tony ignored
Remington's cut. "We got a tip that someone was going to try to
steal the Marchessa Collection tonight. And now here we catch you
two in the act. Really, Laura...Oh, excuse me--Mrs.Steele--I
always thought you were too smart to get duped into something like
- Laura frowned. No
wonder the odor of dime store cologne had made her think of a rat.
What else would come to mind when faced with a vague, unpleasant
memory of Tony? She now knew how to explain what a human rat
smelled like. Tony's obnoxious smell--in fact, his very presence
was actually making her sick and she found herself wishing she and
Remington had thrown him onto the train tracks when they had the
chance years ago on their honeymoon.
- Before Laura
could say anything, two breathless guards came running out of the
room where the Marchessa Collection had been housed. Joining the
four guards who were already with Tony, one of them shouted, "It's
gone! The case has been broken into!"
- "We've searched
the museum and the grounds," another guard explained. "There are
no signs of any more perpetrators. These two must be all."
- Stealing a look
at Remington, Laura could see her own questions echoed in his
eyes: Where was Felicia and what she had done with Abby?
- "I'll search them
myself," Tony commanded. "They've no doubt got the jewels on
them." Leering at Laura, he added, "From the look of things, she's
probably hiding them under her sweater."
- When he took a
step toward her, Laura gave him the iciest look possible.
- "You put one
finger on her, mate," Remington warned in a soft but deadly voice,
"and so help me, you're carne morte."
- "You're in no
position to make threats, 'mate'," Tony shot back. After a moment,
though, he gestured to the guards, saying, "Search them."
- Both Remington
and Laura were searched. The guards, for obvious reasons, quickly
and hesitantly searched Laura.
- Nothing was
- "They must have
an accomplice," Tony reasoned, puzzled. "That's it, isn't it,
- Remington refused
to answer. He merely glanced at Laura, who was nervously adjusting
her cap. He knew Laura was worried about Abby and Felicia's
whereabouts, but to his relief she was hiding it well.
- "Okay, arrest
them," Tony ordered. "We've at least got them on breaking and
whispered to Laura, "Think Mildred can scrape up the bail?"
- Laura whispered
back, "Don't worry. Leave it to me."
- Just as the
guards came to handcuff them, Laura clutched her abdomen. "Oh, my
God. I think I'm in labor."
- Remington rolled
his eyes upward and mumbled under his breath, "What could possibly
go wrong, eh?"
- "No dice, Laura,"
Tony said, shaking his head. "There's no way you'd be here pulling
off a jewel heist if it were anywhere near your time."
- "That shows what
you know," Remington said.
- Laura groaned and
doubled over. Remington put his arm around her for support.
- "I suggest we get
to the hospital quickly. Are you willing to take the chance she's
*not* faking it?"
- Under his breath,
though, Remington asked Laura, "You are faking, aren't you?"
- Before she could
reply, Tony grabbed the handcuffs from the guard. "Give me those,"
he demanded impatiently.
- Roughly cuffing
Remington's left wrist to Laura's right, he said, "Baby or no
baby, I've finally got you right where I want you. You want to
give birth in jail, go right ahead."
- Remington took a
deep breath and gritted his teeth. Laura could tell his anger was
about to get the better of him, and gently put her free arm on his
shoulder in an effort to calm him. She soon felt the tension
flowing out of him.
- "Need I remind
you, Tony, we've got every right to be here! Our agency was hired
to protect the jewels and that's exactly what we're doing," Laura
- "Don't tell me;
let me guess. You broke into the museum to protect the jewels. And
then, just to be on the safe side, you stole them before they
could be stolen-- sort of took them into protective custody."
- Tony's laugh was
making even Remington nauseous now.
- "Take them away!"
Tony instructed the guards.
- Remington and
Laura were marched away as Tony's laugh echoed through the large
halfway. Trying to jerk her arm out of the guard's grasp, Laura
angrily turned around and faced Tony.
- "You can forget
about being godfather!" she spat out.
- "Wouldn't have
you on a silver platter!" Remington declared loudly as he, also,
turned to glare at Tony.
- "I'm crushed,"
Tony exclaimed, louder than necessary.
- Anthony Roselli
had been waiting years for the chance to get even with the
Steeles. When he had learned that the Remington Steele Agency was
involved in this case, he had begged his superiors to put him in
charge. He had forgotten how the Steeles had come to his aid and
saved his worthless hide in London and in Ireland. All he could
remember was that Laura had rejected him. She'd told him to get
lost. She'd never given him a chance. She'd chosen her husband
over him-- and Steele wasn't even really her husband! Tony still
believed that. He didn't know how they had pulled their marriage
charade off for this long.
- Tony glared at
Remington's retreating form, not just envying him, but hating him.
And without even knowing why, Remington suddenly felt the hairs on
his neck stand straight up.
- When his arm was
violently jerked moments later and Laura clutched her abdomen,
Remington looked at her with genuine concern.
- "That was real,"
- "Icy calm, Mr.
Steele. The baby just doesn't like Tony any better than we do,"
- Remington grinned
and affectionately patted Laura's protruding belly. "A good judge
of character, this one."
- "Where do you
suppose Felicia went?" Laura asked, her voice barely a whisper.
- "I expect that at
the first sign of trouble, she made herself scarce."
- "With our baby?"
- "Abby will be all
- "She better be."
- When Remington
smiled, she relaxed a bit.
- "What say we sit
in the patrol car and neck?" Laura suggested. "It'll drive them
- "I like your
style, Mrs. Steele," Remington said as they were pushed into the
back seat of the patrol car and the door was closed behind them.
- He and Laura lost
no time in driving the guards crazy. After all, it was better than
worrying about Abby.
- The events that
followed flashed by in a blur--fingerprintings, strip searches,
questionings. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, Laura and
Remington were locked in a jail cell together and left alone.
- "This has
undoubtedly been one of the worst nights of my life! " Remington
exclaimed as he slammed his hand against the bars in frustration.
- "I admit things
didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped," Laura conceded.
- "Good grief,
woman! We've just been arrested for stealing a priceless jewel
collection, Abby is missing, and our unborn child already has a
- "Mr. Steele..."
- "I *knew* I
should have physically carried you back into the house, kicking
and screaming if necessary. *Then* I should have locked you in a
closet! I should never, NEVER have let you talk me into such a
- "Mr. Steele,
after all these years, why do you still feel the need to dominate
me physically?" Laura demanded angrily, standing beside her
husband with her hands on her hips and fire in her eyes.
- "I have never
dominated you physically! Not that there haven't been times I
wouldn't have liked to, mind you, but..."
- "Hah!" Laura
yelled, practically in Remington's ear.
- "What do you
mean, 'Hah!'?" Remington asked, his hands on his hips, also.
- "You're a
detective! Figure it out for yourself!" Laura responded, giving
him a shove.
- They stood
glaring at each other for several seconds. Finally, Remington
gentled put his arms around Laura's shoulders, pulled her close
and gave her a kiss. Their anger gone, they settled into a
- "I'm sorry, Luv,"
he said quietly. "The last thing we should be doing right now is
- He led Laura to
the cot, where they sat down.
- "We're both
jumpy," she admitted. "And you're absolutely right. You *should*
have hog tied me and locked me in a closet. Going along with you
on this heist was a foolish, unprofessional thing to do. I owe you
accepted," Remington said. "Truth is, I guess part of me really
wanted you with me on this. It would have been like the good ole
- "Are you saying
you prefer the good ole days to our life together now?" Laura
- "Certainly not,"
Remington assured her. "But it's nice to finally have a past that
*includes* some good ole days."
- "You really think
Abby's okay?" Laura asked, finally able to express her greatest
- "Felicia has her
faults, but she won't let anything happen to Abby. I'm sure of
that," Remington said reassuringly.
- "I hope you're
right," Laura said with a sigh.
- "It'll be a while
before Mildred can scrape up bail. Why don't you get some rest?"
- "There you go
again," Laura said, "trying to dominate my physically." Then in a
surprise move, she smiled and patted Remington's arm. "But I'll
overlook it this time if you'll join me."
- "An offer I can't
refuse," he said, giving her a quick kiss.
- They wearily
stretched out on the lumpy cot. It proved to be a very tight
squeeze, with Laura taking up most of the available space.
- "It's a good
thing I prefer the lean look," Remington dryly remarked as he
fought to remain on the cot. Then in an effort to hang on, he put
both arms around Laura.
- "Is that your
foot on my leg?" she asked warily.
Remington cozily replied, snuggling even closer to Laura.
- Suddenly the baby
kicked. Laura abruptly changed position with a slight gasp and
Remington found himself sprawled on the floor.
- "Icy calm, Mr.
Steele," Laura reminded him in a soothing voice as he wearily
pulled himself up into a sitting position. "Just remember, there's
at least one good thing about all this."
- "And that is...?"
- "Things can't
possibly get any worse."
- "How comforting,"
- He got up and lay
back down on the cot. Once again, he embraced Laura In an effort
to stabilize himself.
- Both tried to
sleep, but found their concern over Abby wouldn't let them relax.
They could almost even hear the faint familiar cry of a baby, but
quickly dismissed it as nerves. But gradually, the familiar cry
grew louder. Laura and Remington lay staring at each other until
at last the cry filled the entire cell block.
- Convinced it
wasn't their imagination after all, they jumped up and rushed to
the cell door just in time to see Tony approaching their cell. And
following close behind him was a female guard holding a screaming,
red faced Abby.
- The guard began
opening the door.
- "I believe she
belongs to you," Tony said with a sneer as the guard handed Laura
her baby. "We found her under a display case in the museum."
- Laura held Abby
tightly and murmured comforting words as she turned and sat down
on the cot. Soon Abby's screams began to subside.
- The guard handed
Abby's bag to Remington and once again locked the cell door.
- "We confiscated
any and all suspicious items, so forget about using anything in
there to escape," Tony continued.
- "Afraid we'd
whittle down the bars with a diaper pin? Or assault the guard with
a teddy bear?" Remington asked.
- Tony's laugh
caused him to grimace.
- "Got to hand it
to you, Steele. You gotta lot of nerve, taking a pregnant wife and
a baby along on a jewel heist. This case is a real prize. I can't
wait to write it up."
forgetting one slight detail, Anthony. You haven't linked us with
the jewels. No jewels, no case."
- "I admit I was
surprised when neither strip search showed up the jewels. But
they'll turn up, with your prints all over them. I can wait. Who
knows? Your baby just may be born in jail. It'll be a real family
affair!" Tony said with a snicker as he left.
- Remington spun
around and glared at Laura, who was still sitting on the cot with
Abby. "You were strip searched? Why didn't you tell me?"
- "What was I
supposed to do?! We're not exactly guests here! All I could do was
grin and bare it."
- Remington walked
over to the cot, put down the bag and sat down beside Laura. He
then gently took Abby into his arms.
- "Come here, Luv,"
he sold soothingly as he softly patted Abby's back. "It's been a
rough night, hasn't it? Yes, it has. I know exactly how you feel."
- Kissing the top
of his daughter's dark downy curls, he added, "Laura, hand me a
diaper and I'll change her."
- Placing Abby on
the cot beside him, he unsnapped her pink sleeper and expertly
began removing the old diaper while Laura, curious as to what had
been taken into custody, rummaged through Abby's bag and warned
him about what she would do to Felicia if the two ever crossed
Remington mumbled above the diaper pins in his mouth.
- Puzzled by his
tone of voice, Laura looked his way. She followed his gaze down to
Abby and gasped. There, inside Abby's diaper, was the leather
pouch containing the Marchessa Collection.
- "Well, we know
one thing," Remington said.
- "What's that?"
Laura asked, still in shock.
- "At least Abby
wasn't strip searched."
- Laura picked up
the pouch and looked inside while Remington pinned on Abby's fresh
diaper and snapped her sleeper. He then handed her to Laura and
took the pouch.
- "They're all
here," Remington said as he checked inside. "And we're dead ducks
if Anthony finds them on us. He'll never believe the truth."
- "Well, you're the
Duke of Deception! Think of something!!"
- "Think of
something... Think of something..." he muttered to himself.
- Suddenly the
three inmates were peppered with falling specks of dirt and dust.
Abby sneezed while Laura and Remington, puzzled, looked up. More
dust and dirt assaulted them. They looked questions at each other
and quickly jumped to their feet, staring at the air vent directly
above the cot. Momentarily, the screen slowly slid to one side and
disappeared from sight and Brendan's smudgy face stared down at
- "I'm Brendan
Steele--I'm here to rescue you!" Brendan declared, somehow
managing to keep a straight face. Then breaking into a lopsided
grin that looked exactly like his father's, he added, "I've always
wanted to say that!"
- "Just exactly
what do you think you're doing?" Remington demanded angrily as he
watched Brendan dangle his legs over the edge of the opening and
quietly drop onto the cot, then jump to the floor. "Haven't you
been in enough trouble for one night, mate?!"
- "I was worried
about Mummy. I heard Aunt Frances say Aunt Mildred was having
trouble raising bail and I thought I could break you out," Brendan
explained. "I had to try, anyway."
- "The challenge,
eh?" Remington asked, raising an eyebrow at Laura. "Listen, mate,
picking the lock on our bedroom door is one thing, but breaking
into the Los Angeles County Jail is another thing entirely! Now
climb right back up there and get of here before you get caught!"
- "But I *won't*
get caught. Rory's keeping them busy out front until we have a
chance to make our getaway," Brendan said.
- "You dragged Rory
to this Great Escape? How about the twins? Are they also acting as
- "Of course not!
And I didn't drag Rory along," Brendan said defensively. "He
wanted to come."
- "We'll discuss
this later," Laura informed them. "But right now, the best way you
can help is by staying with Aunt Frances and doing exactly as she
says. Daddy and I will be fine."
- "Your mother's
right," Remington said as he grabbed the blanket out of Abby's
bag. "You and Rory get back to Aunt Frances, and I want you to
take Abby with you." Using the blanket, he quickly fashioned a
baby sling by wrapping and tying it around Brendan.
- "What's she doing
here, anyway?" Brendan asked as Remington took Abby back to the
cot and gently set her down.
- "Rocky wasn't
home," Laura explained. "Tell me, Brendan. How did you get here?"
- "We rode our
skateboards to the mall. Then I picked the lock on the Coke
machine and got some change so we could take a bus," Brendan
- "Why did I have
to ask?" Laura groaned.
- Remington quickly
returned the leather jewel pouch to Abby's diaper. Thankfully, she
was sleeping peacefully after her harrowing adventures. Gently but
securely, he then strapped her into the sling and secured her to
her big brother's chest.
- "I need something
to write on," Remington told Laura as he pulled a pen from his
- Laura searched
vainly through Abby's bag.
- "Here," Brendan
said, pulling a folded piece of paper out of his black leather
jacket. "I used it to write down the address of the jail."
- "Good boy,"
Remington said as he turned Laura around to use her back to write
- When he finished,
he folded the paper and put it in Brendan's pocket.
- "Now, listen very
carefully," he instructed, sitting down on the cot and placing his
hands on Brendan's shoulders. "You and Rory get to a phone and
call Uncle Monroe without delay. Give him the note. He'll take the
three of you back to your Aunt Frances." He put his hands on
Brendan's shoulders. "From now on, mate, you walk the straight and
narrow. No more of your stunts. Do I make myself clear?"
- "Yes, Sir. The
straight and narrow... even if it kills me," Brendan promised.
- "That's my boy,"
Remington said as he tousled Brendan's hair and gave him a tight
hug. Then standing up, he added, "Now, up you get."
- Laura quickly
gave Abby and Brendan a kiss. "Be careful," she pleaded. "And take
care of your brother and sister."
- Remington removed
the mattress, stood the cot up on one end and propped it against
the wall. Brendan climbed up the cot springs with a boost from
Remington and carefully hoisted himself through the opening. With
a final wave, he disappeared from view and slid the screen back in
- Laura and
Remington breathed a sigh of relief.
- Laura couldn't
help noticing the slight smile on Remington's face. "You'll have
to do better than that, Mr. Steele," she warned.
- "What do you
mean?" he asked.
- "Your fatherly
pride," Laura explained.
- "It's showing?"
- "It's showing,"
Laura admitted. "Better get it out of your system now so we can
lay down the law to him later."
- "Sometimes being
a father can be very difficult, Laura," Remington said with a
sigh. "Very difficult indeed."
- "But I do believe
it's helped make an honest man of you, Mr. Steele," Laura noted.
- "Hmh. Then why am
I sitting in jail?"
- "A temporary
setback, I'm sure," Laura assured him with a kiss.
- A little while
later, Brendan and Rory regrouped a block away from the jail. They
called Monroe but received no answer, so Brendan decided to read
the note himself with the aid of his small pocket flashlight. He
carefully read it three times before coming to a decision.
- Then shining the
light in Rory's face, he said, "I think we'd better call Uncle
- Twenty minutes
later, Brendan and Rory were sharing the back seat of the limo
with Abby and their skateboards. Brendan was snapping Abby's
sleeper after finally locating the leather jewel pouch.
- "Who'd have
thought of hiding something in a baby's diaper?" Rory asked in
with the Wind. Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable, Selznick Pictures,
1939. Scarlett hides the murdered Yankee's wallet in Melanie's
baby's diaper when the Yankee soldiers come to burn Tara," Brendan
- "I don't remember
that scene and we just watched it again last week," Rory
- "That scene
wasn't in the movie; it was in the book," Brendan said as he
opened the pouch and emptied the entire Marchessa Collection into
the plush seat.
- "Wow!" Rory
exclaimed in awe. "That must be worth a fortune!"
- "I'll say! And if
we don't hurry and put them back in the museum, Mummy and Daddy
- "When did you
read a big book like Gone with the Wind?" Rory asked, backtracking
to the previous subject.
- "I didn't,"
Brendan admitted as he examined the Marchessa Collection. "Daddy
read some of it to me last month when I was home with the flu. He
told me to always read the book a movie's made from, because
usually the book is better."
- Rory sniffed. "It
sounds like Daddy is just trying to get you to read more," he
pointed out as he reached out to pick up one of the pieces.
- "Don't," Brendan
- "Oh, yeah;
fingerprints!" Rory remembered. "But you touched them! Your prints
are all over them!"
- "How could I be
so stupid?" Brendan groaned, hitting his forehead with the palm of
his hand. "Uncle Fred," he said, leaning over the front seat. "Can
I please borrow your handkerchief and gloves?"
- Fred handed them
to him without comment.
- Brendan put on
the oversized gloves and carefully wiped the stone with the
handkerchief, then returned the gems to the pouch. Turning the
soft leather pouch over, he pointed to the wet spot. Both he and
- "I guess we
should be glad that's all Abby did, eh?" Rory commented.
- "Since Uncle
Monroe isn't home, we're gonna hafta put the gems back ourselves,"
Brendan whispered to his brother.
- Rory's eyes grew
wide in disbelief and he started to protest, but Brendan quickly
covered his mouth with his hand.
Brendan warned, leaning into Rory's ear. "We can't let Uncle Fred
hear us; he'll never let us do it."
- "We can't break
into the museum--we're just two little kids!" Rory protested. "And
besides, Daddy told us to stay with Aunt Frances!"
- "Daddy didn't
know Uncle Monroe wouldn't be home," Brendan explained. "And we
- with Aunt
Frances--right after we return the jewels."
- "But, Brendan..."
- "Listen, I know I
can do it; I can get us into the museum. And then we'll just leave
the gems and run,"Brendan explained. "Besides, it wouldn't be
right to keep the jewels. What if we get caught with them?"
- "Well..." Rory
said, still not convinced.
- "Come on, Rory;
we're a team. If you don't help me, I'll just hafta do it by
- After a few
moments of silence, Rory shrugged his shoulders and grinned.
"Okay, but what are we going to tell Uncle Fred?"
- They thought a
minute and then Rory grinned, saying, "Uncle Fred, Brendan and I
were just wondering where the museum is. If you could just tell us
where it is and hand us the map, we'll look it up."
- Always eager to
further the boys' thirst for knowledge, Fred played right into
their hands. With the aid of Brendan's flashlight, they located
the museum on the map in no time at all.
- "Now what?" Rory
asked in hushed tones.. "He's not going to just drop us off there,
- Brendan thought a
moment, whispered something in Rory's ear, and then picked up a
- "I wouldn't do
this, Abby," he whispered into her ear, "except Mummy and Daddy
need our help."
- After a quick
kiss, he began tickling her awake. Abby expressed her displeasure
by crying, loudly.
- "She's probably
wet," Rory said, quickly getting into the act.
- "Yeah, hand me a
diaper, Rory," Brendan said.
- Rory rummaged
through the diaper bag, then sat up and said, "We're out of
- "Uncle Fred,
could you stop and get us an emergency pack of diapers out of the
trunk?" Brendan asked.
- "Coming right
up," Fred said, finding a place to pull off the road and then
getting out of the limo.
- Brendan quickly
put the gem pouch in his pocket. Then giving Abby a quick kiss,
both he and Rory grabbed their skateboards, opened the door on the
passengers' side, and took off running down the sidewalk. Thanks
to their sneakers, their escape was noiseless.
- Thanks to Abby's
cries, Fred never even knew they were gone until it was too late.
As soon as he closed the trunk, however, he noticed the
passengers' door was standing wide open. Diapers in hand, he
rushed to the door and looked inside.
- As soon as he
noticed the boys' skateboards were gone, Fred realized he had been
had. Without a doubt, they were on their way to the museum. He
wasn't sure what they were planning to do there, but he was sure
it wasn't good.
- Fred glanced at
Abby lying on the plush back seat, still crying. Sitting down
beside her, he started to open the newly retrieved package of
diapers, but out of curiosity decided instead to check out the
diaper bag first. Just as he figured, the bag contained plenty of
fresh diapers. Shaking his head at Brendan and Rory's
resourcefulness, he quickly changed Abby's diaper and then rocked
her in his arms for a few moments. When she was once again asleep,
he strapped her into her car seat.
- As he sat there
trying to decide what he should do next, he noticed Remington's
note lying on the floorboard. He picked it up and quickly read it.
Surprised by its contents, he read it a second time.
- "Just like his
father," he murmured, climbing out of the back seat and looking in
the direction of the museum. Picking up the limo's phone, dialed
and waited patiently through several rings. He was just about to
hang up when a breathless voice answered, "Hello?"
- "Mr. Henderson?
Fred Smith, the Steele's chauffeur. I think you'd better get over
to the art museum as soon as possible. I'll explain everything
when you arrive."
- "Sure, okay. On
my way," Monroe answered.
- Fred then climbed
back behind the wheel and headed in the direction of the museum.
- Brendan and Rory
had reached the museum's back door. Brendan tried the knob.
- "Locked," he
- "Then how are we
supposed to get in?" Rory asked.
- "Good thing I
brought my lock picks along, eh?" Brendan replied as he pulled the
small case from his jacket and set to work on the door.
- Rory looked
around nervously. "Are you sure this is the right thing to do?"
- Brendan turned to
him. "I told you, we have to put the jewels back in the museum or
Mummy and Daddy are dead ducks."
- "Then why did
they steal the jewels in the first place?"
- "To protect them.
But they never meant for the jewels to leave the museum. They were
just going to hide them there and then take them out later."
- "Well, then how
did they end up in Abby's diaper?"
- "I don't know!"
Brendan exclaimed testily, quickly becoming exasperated with his
younger brother's endless questions. Besides, the bloody lock was
not cooperating. "Look, it's a long story," he said
apologetically. "Now shut up and let me work."
- Rory was quiet
all of three seconds before asking, "If we don't get the jewels
put back, will Mummy and Daddy rot in jail?"
- "Then we'll never
see them again," Rory's said, his lip quivering. "And Mummy will
have our new baby in jail and we'll never see it, either."
- "Rory..." Brendan
warned, but before he could finish, the lock clicked open. "Come
on," he urged, his frustration forgotten for the moment as he
slipped through the door.
- Rory followed and
they stood just inside the door, looking around the dark, empty
- "Okay, where do
we put them?" Rory asked.
- "Shh, not so
loud," Brendan cautioned. Whispering, he said, "I don't know. l
guess where they were taken from. Some display case in a special
room would be my guess."
- Brendan started
down the corridor, with Rory following closely.
- "Guess we'll have
to check every room until we find the right one," Brendan said,
more or less talking to himself.
- Halfway down the
long corridor, he stopped suddenly and Rory bumped into him.
- "Alarms!" Brendan
exclaimed. "There are probably alarm systems all over. So how come
haven't we set any off yet?"
- He poked his head
in the nearest doorway. Nothing happened, so he boldly stepped
inside. And sure enough, as soon as one foot crossed the
threshold, alarms sounded all over the place.
- "Oh, no!" Rory
screamed above the clanking as he turned to flee.
- But Brendan
grabbed him and pulled him into the room with him. We hit the
right room--and on the first try, too!"
- Brendan was
delighted with himself, despite the ringing alarms. After a quick
scan of the room, he
- pointed and said,
"See, there's the case for the jewels."
- Rory's eyes
followed Brendan's finger to the empty display case with the sign
above it saying Marchessa Collection and providing a brief
description of it. The two brothers just looked at each other and
- Monroe got to the
museum quicker than Fred expected. Fortunately he was already
dressed, having just come in from a late date. And breaking every
speeding record on the way didn't hurt any, either. He parked his
car around the block from the museum, closer than where the limo
was waiting, so he had to walk back to the limo and Fred.
- "Okay, what's
this all about?" he asked Fred as he walked up.
- Seeing Abby
sitting in her car seat, Monroe leaned in through the open window.
"Hello there, darling," he said as he chucked her under the chin.
- Abby moved around
in her sleep, but didn't wake up.
- "Poor little
thing," Fred commented. "She's had a rough night; she must be
- He then handed
Monroe the note he'd found on the floor of the limo and explained
the situation to him--at least as well as he knew it.
- At the
conclusion, Monroe let out a huge sigh, saying, "What Mick won't
get himself into next."
- "Pardon?" Fred
- "Oh, never mind,"
Monroe said as he glanced again at Abby. "If she's had a rough
night, what the others are going through must be worse. Well,
first things first. I'll get the boys out of the museum and bring
them back here; then you can deliver them to Frances. Tell her it
wouldn't hurt if she'd lock them in a room." Monroe chuckled, but
then quickly sobered. "After I capture the boys, I'll go over to
the jail and see what I can do for Mick. Maybe we can at least get
Laura out of there."
- He made no
mention of the jewels, but in his mind he was already trying to
work through how he
- was going to
return them to their rightful place unscathed.
- Monroe retraced
his steps back to the museum and beyond to the back door, his mind
whirling with this bizarre turn of events. There had been times he
had envied Mick, but this was definitely not one of those times he
longed to be in Mick's shoes. Mick had at last found what he had
been looking for, what made him truly happy, and had settled down
to a relatively peaceful life--a life that Monroe wished he could
get a handle on.
- Monroe studied
the neat lock picking job on the back door of the museum. Shaking
his head, he couldn't help smiling. "I never should have given
that kid a lock pick set for his birthday," he admitted to
- Brendan was just
like his father. Monroe could only hope the other kids would take
more after their mother. Not that he didn't take almost as much
pride in Brendan as Remington did. But one like Mick was enough.
More than enough.
- Monroe turned the
door knob as every alarm in the place seemed to go off.
- "We're going to
get caught, and then we'll be dead ducks, too!" Rory whimpered as
he and Brendan stood in the middle of the room that had housed the
- "You're driving
me crazy!" Brendan yelled at his brother. Then smiling a lopsided
grin, he said, "The Thin Man. Myrna Loy, William Powell,
- "This is no time
to be quoting from old movies!" Rory scolded in a quiet shriek.
"Just put the jewels back and let's get out of here!"
- "Okay, okay,"
Brendan said as he reluctantly set the jewel pouch on top of the
display case. Patting the pouch one final time, he couldn't help
saying, "Farewell, my lovelies."
- He and Rory beat
a hasty retreat from the room, running for all they were worth
down the corridor. Behind them they could hear the sound of
running feet, but neither of them dared to look back. They reached
the back door just as it opened and tumbled straight into the arms
of a surprised Monroe.
- "Uncle Monroe!"
an equally surprised Brendan and Rory said in unison.
- The words tumbled
out as both tried to explain at the same time.
- "We broke in and
put the jewels back..."
- "...but we set
off the alarm when we did... "
- "...we could hear
them running after us!"
- "Good Lord," was
all Monroe said.
- He scooped them
up, half dragging, half carrying them as he high tailed it down
the street. Fortunately, his car wasn't too far away. He deposited
the boys in the car, shoving them over on the front seat, and
quickly jumped behind the steering wheel. They roared off to the
sound of fast approaching sirens.
- "Where are we
going, Uncle Monroe?" Rory asked.
- "Hopefully, not
to jail," Monroe replied under his breath. Then louder, in an
authoritarian tone, he said, "Brendan and Rory Steele, consider
yourselves busted. I'm taking both of you into protective
- Despite Brendan's
earlier mood of near giddy elation, he was unusually silent and
withdrawn on the ride to Monroe's apartment. This was just as well
for Monroe as he drove casually but quickly on the nearly deserted
early morning streets. Taking a roundabout way to his apartment
building, he kept glancing nervously at the rear view mirror.
- They made it
there safety, though. Monroe offered a silent prayer as he parked
his car in the underground parking garage and then ushered his two
charges out of the car and into the elevator.
- Rory's mind was
set at ease almost as soon as they entered Monroe's apartment.
Assured that his Uncle Monroe would take care of everything and
his parents wouldn't rot in jail, he quickly curled up on Monroe's
bed and fell asleep.
- Brendan, on the
other hand, spent a lot of time wandering about looking at this
and touching that as he struggled with his conscience.
- "Hungry?" Monroe
- "Um ... not
really. Well, yeah, I guess so," he finally admitted.
- "Be right back
then," Monroe said as he walked into the kitchen.
- He returned a
little while later with a cup of coffee for himself and a glass of
milk and some cookies for Brendan.
- Brendan was busy
examining his video equipment.
Monroe started, not wanting him to mess with it. Then noticing the
boy's sullen mood, he asked, "What's the trouble, mate?"
- Brendan turned
his blue eyes on Monroe, wearing an expression he had seen many
times on Mick's face as well.
- "I don't really
know," Brendan admitted. "A little while ago, breaking into the
museum... Well, it felt good. I guess I should feel guilty about
those kinds of things--breaking in, stealing, you know. But I
don't... and I don't think Daddy and Mummy do, either."
- Shuffling his
feet, he went on. "But they want me to be good--to walk the
straight and narrow. And I try; I really do. How am l ever going
to explain to them what I did? And that I liked doing it? Is that
why Mummy and Daddy do it? Because they like it, too?"
- Back at the jail,
dawn was just beginning to break. Remington and Laura, thinking
everything was finally under control--the jewels in Monroe's
capable hands and the children all where they should be--had
settled down again on the lumpy cot. After much shifting, they'd
finally each found a semi-comfortable spot and had drifted off
into an exhausted sleep.
- Sometime later,
they both jumped at the sound of a key grating in the lock.
- "You're free to
go," a guard said gruffly as he held open the cell door for them.
- Remington and
Laura threw puzzled looks at each other, but gratefully climbed
out of bed and followed him.
- "Where's the
kid?" the guard asked.
- Remington smiled
innocently. "Our 6 year old son climbed in through the vent and
broke her out."
- "Sure he did,"
the guard said, shaking his head. "I hate to admit that Roselli
was right about anything, but I guess he was right about you two."
- After they signed
for and were given their personal belongings, Remington and Laura
were met by a detective who explained the circumstances to them.
- "Seems there was
another break-in at the museum last night," he began.
- Remington and
Laura exchanged surreptitious glances.
- "Well, at least
we think it was a break-in. The alarm system was triggered and the
back door jimmied."
- "But you didn't
catch anyone?" Remington asked.
- "No. Funny thing,
though. The Marchessa Collection turned up sitting on top of its
- safely inside a
- "The entire
collection?" Laura asked.
- "Yep. And we
dusted every piece for prints. Nothing; wiped clean."
- He waited for one
of them to respond. When neither said a word, he continued. "We
called the museum manager and he got on the phone with
representatives of the insurance company. They figure maybe you
had a right to be there since you'd warned them the jewels were in
danger and they were under your protection. Seems they're used to
your unorthodox measures, Mr. Steele, and didn't see anything
wrong with you letting yourself into the museum. So, it appears we
really don't have anything to hold you on."
- Remington and
Laura sighed and headed out.
whispered to Laura, "If Monroe didn't even bother putting the
jewels back in their display case--only left them lying on top
still in the pouch-- and he managed to set off every alarm in the
place, he must really be losing it."
- "Well, let's just
be grateful he did get them back, no matter how he did it, and
that he thought to wipe everything clean," Laura said.
- "It wasn't
necessary. We wore gloves," Remington reminded her.
- On their way out
they passed Tony. Remington and Laura never imagined they'd
actually see Anthony Roselli cry, but his head was in his hands,
bowed over a counter.
- Looking up as
they walked by, he said, "I'll get you, Steele. And you, too,
Laura. One of these days you'll realize that your biggest mistake
was walking away from me that night on the beach."
- "No, Tony," Laura
corrected. "My biggest mistake was letting you drag yourself along
on my honeymoon. Honeymoons are for two; three's a crowd--an
- "You *invited*
me, lady," Tony corrected. "You were stringing me along and you
- "Come along,
dear," Laura said as she grabbed her husband's arm. "We certainly
have more important things things to do than talk about old times
- "Of course,
dear," Remington agreed.
- "Laura, all you
hafta do to find me is turn around," Tony called after them. "I'll
always be right behind you."
- Under his breath,
Remington muttered, "Somehow that thought is not comforting."
Louder, however, he said, "That's right, Anthony. You'll always be
one step behind us."
- "And I wouldn't
hold my breath waiting for the day when you catch up with us!"
Laura shot back.
- Remington put his
arm around his wife and led her away from Tony's ugly presence.
- As they stepped
into the foyer, Laura asked, "Should we call Fred to take us
- But Fred was
already there with Abby in his arms.
- Laura quickly
took Abby from him and smothered her with kisses
- "Mr. Steele, Mrs.
Steele. I'm sorry to tell you this, but I'm afraid we have a
problem," Fred began. Remington put his hand on Fred's shoulder,
saying, "Why don't you explain everything in the car, mate?"
- After they got
into the limo, Fred turned around to face his employers. He told
them about how Brendan and Rory had tricked him and made a clean
getaway, more than likely riding their skateboards to the museum.
He then highlighted his conversations with Monroe, both when he
had called for help initially and then later near the museum. He
assured them Monroe had gone after the boys, but unfortunately
they had returned when the alarms and sirens sounded. He had
waited near the museum for them as long as he dared, but had
finally driven away just before the police arrived.
- "I've called Mr.
Henderson's apartment several times, but there's been no answer,"
Fred explained, filling them in on the latest development. "So I
came here hoping to see you and Mrs. Steele. I got here just as
you were being released."
- Remington turned
to Laura and said, "Well, this certainly explains the
unprofessional return of the jewels. It wasn't Monroe at all; it
- Laura touched her
husband's arm. "When we find Brendan, be gentle with him. He was
only doing what he thought would help us."
- Remington exhaled
and grinned. "Well, at least he's started in a grand manner. When
I was his age, I was still picking pockets."
- Laura looked
disapprovingly at him. "For God's sake, don't tell him that. And
wipe that grin off your face before you even speak to him."
sobered. "Yes, of course, dear."
- "Were you really
picking pockets at Brendan's age?" Laura asked as she strapped
Abby into her car seat.
Remington noncommittally answered. "But the story of my meager
beginnings in the trade will have to wait for another time. Right
now our top priority is locating Brendan and Rory."
- Laura nodded in
agreement as Remington picked up the phone and dialed Monroe's
number. After a few seconds, however, he hung up.
- "No answer?"
Laura asked anxiously, chewing her thumbnail.
- "No, but if you'd
just retrieved two children who were breaking into a museum and
setting off every alarm in the place, would you answer the phone?"
- Laura was not
reassured. She continued to bite her thumbnail, saying, "But
they're just babies!"
- Remington took
Laura's hand from her mouth and softly kissed it. It always amused
him how she bit her thumbnail whenever she was pregnant and
worried--a habit she had gotten from him.
- He smiled and
gently patted her hand. "Don't worry. I'll go to Monroe's and see
if they're there. And if they're not, I'll wait for them," he
promised. With his free hand, he lightly touched Laura's chin and
turned her face towards him. "Laura, I'm sure they're both fine.
Monroe won't let anything happen to them."
- "I know," she
conceded. "I just hate not knowing where they are. First Abby, and
now Brendan and Rory."
- Remington leaned
over and gave her a comforting kiss on the lips. She surprised him
by pulling him closer and giving him a deeper kiss, as though she
desperately needed the reassurance the kiss offered.
- At that moment
Abby began to cry. Somehow, Remington managed to reach around
Laura without breaking their embrace and remove the baby from her
- "I'll change
her," he offered as he finally broke the kiss.
- With great
expertise he grabbed a fresh diaper and began his task. "Home,
Fred," he mumbled around the diaper pin in his mouth.
- "Home?" Laura
said, her mood changing instantly.
- "Yes, home,"
Remington repeated loudly in an effort to be heard over Abby's
angry cries. "I'll take the Rabbit and go to Monroe's while you
and Abby get some rest."
- "But we're not
all that far from Monroe's neighborhood. And besides, I want to go
with you," Laura complained.
- Remington just
sighed as he continued to work on Abby. "Laura, be reasonable.
You've had a rough night and you need your rest. I'm merely
thinking of what's best for you and the baby. If they're not there
yet, I may have a long wait. Humor me, please; I'll feel better
knowing you're safely tucked away at home."
- "I can't possibly
sleep with the boys missing!" Laura insisted.
- "Don't you trust
me to bring them home safety?"
- The racket Abby
was making wasn't the only reason Remington's voice was getting
- "That's not the
point!" Laura said angrily. "But then, you're not their mother;
you wouldn't understand!"
- "No, but I'm
their father! And I'm just as concerned about them as you are. But
I'm also concerned about Abby and the baby... and yes, you!"
- "Fred, stop the
car!" Laura ordered.
- "What?" Remington
was so surprised he momentarily stopped trying to comfort Abby.
She responded by crying louder and he resumed bouncing her on his
- As soon as the
car stopped, Laura opened the door and started to climb out.
- "Where are you
going?" Remington asked.
- "I'm going to
find my children!" Laura declared. "If you won't take me, I'll
just go by myself!"
- She tried to make
a graceful exit, but failed miserably.
- "Laura! Laura,
wait!" Remington called.
- Laura slammed the
door and stomped off down the street. Remington wanted to go after
her, but he had his hands full with a crying, squirming Abby.
- He merely sighed
deeply, saying, "Take it from me, Fred. Living with a pregnant
woman isn't easy."
- "I'll keep that
in mind, sir," Fred promised. "Want me to follow her?"
- "Yes. Follow her.
And if I can keep Abby quiet for ten seconds, I'll call Monroe
again. With a little luck, we may all get home by dark."
- It took Laura all
of five minutes to regret her impulsive exit from the limo. Not
only had she jeopardized her own safety by wandering off alone in
such a run down neighborhood, but she had taken too great a risk
with her unborn baby's safety as well. She realized she should
have listened to Remington and just waited at home. At least there
she could have made herself comfortable while waiting to hear
about Brendan and Rory.
- A clap of thunder
brought her out of her revere. Great! All she needed now was a
good soaking! She hurried toward a building with an awning. The
baby kicked and she admonished it to keep still. The farther she
walked, the more she began to realize the futility of it. She was
miles from home, miles from Monroe's and miles from the agency,
and she knew she couldn't walk far in her condition.
- The baby kicked
again, but this time Laura didn't admonish it. After all, didn't
she deserve to be kicked for behaving so childishly? In a small
way, the kick made her feel less guilty.
- She reached cover
as the first drops of rain started to fall. A search of her
pockets produced only cookie crumbs. So much for calling a cab.
Now what? She could call the limo and reverse the charges, but she
wasn't ready to put up with a smug husband just yet. Still, she
couldn't stay where she was all night.
- Surveying her
surroundings, Laura noticed a drunk sprawled In the gutter. Two
more were sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against a boarded up
building. When she realized they were studying her, she decided to
look for another shelter as soon as the rain eased.
- Across the street
was a run down theater, its marquee boasting a triple X-rated
movie. The sight of that brought back memories of another time she
and Remington had been forced to survive on the street. Well, she
resolved, if she could do it then, she could do it again. Of
course, she had not been pregnant then, nor had she been entirely
alone, but no matter...
- A bum staggered
up to her.
- "Hey, honey," he
whispered. "How about a quick one? I can pay."
- He held out a
fistful of crinkled, filthy dollar bills mixed with coins of
- Laura cringed.
"Ah-uh--maybe some other time," she sputtered as she quickly
turned to leave.
- The bum grabbed
her arm and whirled her around. "Aw, come on. I don't mind a
- Laura had finally
had it. The hours of frustration and despair had taken their toll.
She balled her hand into a fist, drew back her arm and threw a
hard right that knocked the surprised bum to the ground. Checking
to be sure no one was watching, she then grabbed the bum's money
and took off running.
- In a dark corner
she huddled and counted her plunder. "Eight dollars and thirty-two
cents? Even in my condition, I'm worth more than that!" she
complained in outrage.
- She decided it
would suffice, however. At least she could call a cab. Only one
phone cubicle was in sight, so she ran to it. She knew she must be
quite a sight: a figure in black running in the rain with her
hands clasped beneath her very pregnant belly. Well, let them run
this late in term and see how they liked it!
- After losing four
quarters, Laura decided the phone was broken. Hitting it did no
good, but it did relieve some of her frustration. Realizing she
couldn't spend the rest of her life standing in a downpour on a
street lined with winos, Laura squared her shoulders and hurried
across the street to the theater. As discreetly as possible, she
paid her $5 and entered the sleazy lobby.
- A strange man was
using the only phone, so Laura stood near the door to wait. Two
other creatures of indeterminate gender were leaning on the wall
beside the phone. In fact, there was an array of odd looking
persons in the lobby, and all of them were leering at her.
- On second
thought, she'd be better off waiting inside the theater. If she
was lucky, no one would notice her in the dark, and she'd still be
close enough to the lobby to regularly check on the phone. She
quickly purchased a large chocolate bar, some popcorn and a soda.
Eating was one way Laura dealt with being nervous, and even the
disgusting way the grimy little man behind the counter handled her
popcorn wasn't enough to curb her appetite.
- If only the food
could take away the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach caused
by the disappearance of Brendan and Rory.
- She entered the
darkened theater and found a seat near the back. Cold, hungry and
miserable, she settled into the broken seat and began nibbling her
- In spite of
herself, she was soon mesmerized by the actions on the screen. One
of the couples was in an acrobatic position she didn't think she
and Remington could even obtain, much less maintain. It didn't
look humanly possible! She could feel her face growing hotter and
realized she was blushing.
- Suddenly a tall,
dark form loomed over her. She was so engrossed in the movie she
didn't even notice his presence at first.
- But then a low,
sexy voice shattered the silence, asking, "Mind if I join you?"
- Laura screamed.
She couldn't help it.
- Remington calmly
sat beside her and brushed the spilled popcorn off her lap. He
made himself comfortable and settled back to watch the movie,
munching on his own popcorn.
- Laura fought the
impulse to throw her arms around him and cry in relief. Instead,
she became defensive. "I've told you before; I'm perfectly capable
of taking care of myself!" she said under her breath.
- She hadn't meant
to say that; it had just came out.
- "Of course you
are," Remington agreed, borrowing her drink for a sip. He had
ordered one, but refused to drink it when the man put his fingers
in it. Since he was greatly outnumbered in the lobby by regulars
who might resent his actions, he had given the man a withering
look, paid for it and then set it on the floor near the doorway.
- "I suppose you're
going to tell me you were just dying to see this movie," Laura
- She hadn't meant
to say that, either; she had *meant* to ask about the children.
- "Surely you
couldn't expect me to pass up The 39 Steps to
Judging from your crimson coloring, I'd say it's a real rip
snorter. What did I miss?"
- "Nothing," Laura
said as she finished off her chocolate bar and reclaimed her
drink. "Where's Abby?"
- "Fred took her to
Frances," he replied.
- "What about
Brendan and Rory? Are they all right?"
- "They're in
protective custody at Monroe's. He called right after you leaped
from the limo."
- "How'd you get in
here? I know you never carry cash," Laura accused.
- "I opened a
parking meter," Remington muttered, matter-of-factly.
- "I might have
- "And what's that
supposed to mean? If you hadn't lost your bloody temper and
stormed off, there wouldn't have been a need for me to borrow from
the city! " Remington bellowed as quietly as he could. "Don't put
a guilt trip on me!"
- "If you'd carry
cash, you wouldn't have to resort to crime," she argued. "I think
you go around with empty pockets on purpose, just so you'll have
an excuse to keep in practice!"
- "Is that a fact?
And just how did you get in here, missy? I happen to know your
pockets were as bare as mine."
- "That's a
professional secret," she insisted.
- "Really, Laura.
Decking a guy with a right and then taking his money is not
exactly what I would call professional. I believe it's called
'rolling a drunk.'"
- "You mean you saw
the whole thing--and you didn't lift a finger to help me?!" she
protested quite loudly, forgetting where they were.
- "You can take
care of yourself, remember?"
- "That bum tried
to buy my bod for $8.32!"
- "Considering the
circumstances, I'd say he was being more than generous."
- "Oh, you would,
- "Yes, l would."
borrowed her drink again and was sipping when Laura calmly stood
up and dumped her entire box of popcorn over his head.
- "Really, Laura,"
Remington quietly admonished as he brushed the kernels from his
hair, thankful that none had fallen into the drink. "You're not
setting a very good example for the baby."
- "*I'm* not
setting a good example?" Laura declared.
- "SIT DOWN AND
SHUT UP!" yelled several movie patrons.
- Laura quickly did
so and folded her arms.
- She and Remington
sat in silence for a few moments.
- "Feel better?"
Remington finally asked.
- Several more
moments of silence passed before Laura finally spoke, asking, "Is
Abby really with Frances?"
- "Safe as a bug In
a rug," Remington assured her, his choice of words influenced by
the plush white throw rug currently serving as the scene of
romance on the screen.
- "And Brendan and
Rory are really at Monroe's?"
- "I'd wager that
at this very minute, Rory is in an exhausted sleep and Brendan is
struggling with his conscience."
- Laura began
munching on Remington's popcorn and nestled as close to him as she
could. He tenderly placed his arm around her shoulder. Balancing
the popcorn box on the armrest between them, they leaned in close
for a kiss. In contrast to the antics on the screen, their kiss
was not passionate or electrifying. Rather, it was gentle and
loving and reassuring. Afterwards, they embraced each other.
- Remington felt a
tear fall on his neck and responded by kissing Laura's hair.
- "Let's leave,"
she whispered in his ear.
- "But wouldn't
that be considered rude, Mrs. Steele?"
- "Maybe," Laura
answered. "But we have children to tuck in, Mr. Steele."
- The lights in the
theater came up. The few patrons glanced over where the noisy and
rather amorous couple had been seated. All that was left of them
was a half filled popcorn box on the arm rest.
- The End
- Revised 1988, and
The characters of Remington Steele are used without
story copyrighted 1986 by Debra Talley. It is purely for