BY: Vic Lynn
DISCLAIMER: This story is not for profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with Remington Steele, the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, NBC or PAX Television Network, or any other stations carrying the show in syndication.
The sound of rapidly approaching shoes against the marble hall leading to the hospital waiting room startled Laura from the nightmare spinning in her head. A tall woman in her mid-sixties stopped and glared at the cast of characters assembled in the brightly lit room. The elegantly dressed woman cleared her throat and spoke "Laura-Mrs. Steele, do you remember me?" The dazed expression on Laura's face quickly softens transforming into a slight grin as she realizes the woman before her was no aberration. "Claire Cutter what on earth are you doing here?-I mean how? -Good Lord! you must have been on the plane all day.' " How is our Harry, --I mean Remington doing?" she nervously asked. "Calm down Claire and sit down before you fall down." Donald and Frances both smiled at Laura's rather unique phrasing. Claire had at least managed for a brief moment to get their minds off the dark haired blue-eyed man down the hall in ICU.
"Claire, how did you hear about Mr. Steele all the way in England?"
Claire looked into Laura's tired face and smiled "Harry always said you were a detective first and foremost." Realizing her slip Claire quickly announced that she had always referred to Remington as "Little Harry" because he resembled her favorite nephew Harry Alexander Cutter.
Laura gave Claire a big hug whispering "good save old bean."
"Thanks, but you would never have caught Harry or Daniel making such a stupid mistake," Claire retorted.
"You still have not answered my question Claire," stammered Laura in a tired voice.
"Laura, where are your manners", interrupted Abigail Holt. "I am sorry Claire I really taught her much better etiquette than that currently on display.
"I am Laura's mother Abigail and I am so glad to meet you."
Looking at Laura then Abigail, Claire could swear she saw daggers floating in the air.
"Abigail, you know how impatient young people can be" reaching to give her a hug, "and is this the rest of your lovely family?" Claire looking at Frances could see the family resemblance.
"This is my son-in-law, the dentist, Dr. Donald Piper and my daughter Frances," Abigail said proudly.
"I am Mildred Krebbs and I work "...Claire interrupted Mildred giving her a hard hug..."You do more than work for Remington Steele Investigations." "According to Harry you are like a mother to him." Mildred's demeanor soften she had been crying for the biggest part of three days; so what the hell she might as well let a few more tears fall.
"I'm sorry luv I didn't mean to make you cry it's just that whenever he phones or writes he always comments on how much you have done for him." Claire's voice got very low and soft " as you know his life has been filled with people who have been kind to him only because they wanted to use his talents or because of his good looks.
"You have not attached any strings or conditions to the feelings you have for him
"That means more to him than you will ever know.
"In truth, I should really be jealous of you and Laura because prior to your entrance into his life I was the only woman he totally trusted."
The nurse entered the waiting room obviously apprehensive due to the scene of crying people. " Mrs. Steele, Dr. Striker would like to speak to you in the conference room in twenty minutes".
"Is it ok if Mildred and Claire come also?" asked Laura?
"Are they relatives?" questioned the nurse.
"No, but they are family" Laura said hoping the nurse would get her full meaning.
"I'll check, but due to the personal nature and circumstances of Mr. Steele's injuries we would not want anyone that he did not trust to be privy to sensitive personal information." Laura about to press the nurse for an explanation was interrupted. "Oh, and Mrs. Steele the media is already baying at the doors
"Security is trying to keep them off the floor but please confine your visitors to waiting room C, we will have a guard posted here shortly to keep everyone else out"
"Thank you very much nurse Parker," sighed Laura.
"Could you please tell me what exactly happened?" asked Claire taking Laura's hand and patting it softly.
"I really don't know any details myself ---the one time when I actually want to talk to Lt. Jarvis - and he plays the invisible man---MGM 19-never mind".
"Is this Jarvis a competent bobbie?" asked Claire trying to ease the despair caused by the memories conjured by Laura's movie reference.
"He's slow --- but competent," answered Laura. Mildred made a face, which indicated that she might get sick at another mention of Jarvis' name. "Come ladies, lets go to the conference room so we can talk alone for a few minutes before the Doctor"-----
"Mrs. Holt", stammered a short plump nurse who appeared from no where, I can let you see Mr. Steele for a minute if you will follow me."
"Tell my family where I've gone " mumbled Laura as she looked back at Claire and Mildred before entering the ICU complex. She reminded both women of a scared little girl.
"I am so glad that those kids found each other," whispered Claire.
"You don't know the half of it," winked Mildred.
The room was large and brightly lit with two sides being made totally of glass. In the middle a long bed with gadgets attached to its head and base. The bed's railings came up so high that Remington looked like a small little boy in a crib. His ego would be so wounded if he knew how helpless and young he looked with beautiful black hair dipping down concealing the forehead thought Laura. She had never seen him helpless or noticed before how his thick long black eyelashes seemed to reach all the way to his cheeks. The high fever had rendered his cheeks a soft pink; his normally tan skin was pale and flawless. His hypnotic features resembled those of a painted porcelain doll. "Hello brave soul," she whispered kissing his soft lips. "Remington if you knew what was going through my mind now I'd never be able to face you or look again into those blue eyes" she continued. Tears fell from her eyes to his left cheek.
"Are you alright Hon?" came a familiar voice from behind.
"Yes, Mildred It's just"...
"That you have never encountered this side of him before," interrupted Claire softly. "I wish I could say I had never seen him hurt, helpless, afraid or alone", responded Claire caressing Harry's hand, bending down to plant it with a soft kiss. "He was just eleven when Daniel found him - Still just a baby really-- Harry viewed himself as tough and street smart" She stopped mesmerized by his innocent face.
"Please don't stop" begged Laura.
"Harry I hope you won't hate me for talking, but they love you so," Claire said swallowing hard. "Your husband would inform people he was thirteen-years-old" "A height of 5'9" made this exaggeration believable.
"At night when asleep, stripped of those emotional walls he erects for self preservation amazing insight is accessed.
"With out those protective walls surrounding him a glimpse of the true person is possible.
"I would sit by his bed in awe of the beautiful, shy, gallant, and intelligent child who had for his entire childhood been forced into paying for the mistakes of others." Reminiscing, Claire told of the juvenile whom for two years had lived on the streets trying to survive from one day to the next.
"When Daniel appeared with our petrified leery youngster he wouldn't let anyone touch him or give him advise.
"We walked on bloody eggshells in unbridled fear that we would wake up and discover him gone."
Talk about your deja vu feigned Laura.
Claire continued, "Harry never had the vaguest idea that his leaving would have killed Daniel and I.
"Daniel faced everyday the trepidation of his son being denied a normal childhood.
"During the first year Harry had nightmares two or three times a week.
"My heart broke watching the shaking as his long elegant fingers curled into tight fists.
"We would try to scoop up his thin body; holding tight until his breathing returned to normal.
"No easy feat considering Harry was all legs.
"We knew that if he awoke he would be embarrassed and there would be hell to pay.
"Daniel paid a famous child psychologist to view the nightmares first hand.
"Based on this surveillance Janice explained that as Harry's feelings of safety, security, and confidences increased the nightmares would decrease". 'She instructed us to protect him at all cost from any additional feelings of shame and loneliness.
"This doctor had been an unwanted child.
"She took the breath out of Daniel as surely as hitting him with a truck when talking of the deep and painful hurt to children forced to carry shame and guilt.
"Very few manage to make it through that sort of hell able to be kind loving productive adults capable of real intimacy.
"Hell, the bloody Catholic Church's orphanages did their best to berate Harry with feelings of guilt and shame.
"While in their custody the meaning of the phrase unwanted bastard became etched in his mind.
"One nun at the County Cork Parish school made a six-year-old Henry write one hundred times God will love and forgive even a child conceived in sin if he is truly repentant.
"I went to church almost everyday, especially when my husband was ill, but I had no problem in turning my back on the Catholic Church.
"We were told by our investigator in Ireland of this and other abuses inflicted on our gallant sweet Harry.
"A reporter friend of Daniel's investigated stories involving children placed in these orphanages wrote a damaging exposé which lead to important legislative changes in Ireland and Scotland.
"Daniel had also been told by conniving officials in Dublin that his son had been adopted by wonderful people.
"It was a such a crock.
"I know in my mind you do not get rid of the tree because of a few bad apples, but my heart wanted justice for Harry.
"One sister did realize the extraordinary abilities of a six-year-old male child called Michael." She described him as shy, quite, intelligent with big blue eyes.
"She wrote the child functioned on a third grade level recommending he quickly be placed in a nurturing environment to develop his mind and talents.
"She placed artwork in his school folder as proof of the child's advanced intelligence.
"That drawing was the only connection Daniel had to Harry, until he found him three years later.
"How many children can say one of their watercolors sits displayed in an $9,000 dollar 18KT gold frame.
"How Harry was able to see such beauty in a world that had only shown him cruelty and ugliness was beyond my and Daniel's comprehension.
"That sentimental watercolor got Daniel through some rough emotional times.
"We were warned against pushing him too fast into accepting our love and devotion.
"Children who have endured abandonment trauma hesitate in accepting love and approval even though it's what they want and need above all else. " Claire caressed his head fighting back her tears, "Can you imagine the waste if this beautiful man had chosen a life of isolation.
"Children like Harry often find it easier living a lonely life rather than risking being again rejected.
"Our instructions were to make clear fair rules, to explain in advance the punishment, to always follow through with the consequences and above all let him know we would never leave him no matter how hard he tried to push us away.
"You can imagine the exasperation of trying to punish a twelve-year-old who looks at you with the most beautiful innocent blue eyes in the world." "It was especially hard for Daniel, every time he looked in those eyes he saw the lad's mother.
"By rights he should have grown up to be a spoiled, miserable bitter, cruel person.
"Frequently Daniel turned the discipline over to me convinced Harry could detect the inability in his heart to be hard." "Well lad, puberty graced you with a lean athletic body which is enhanced by that gorgeous face creating the perfect weapon to inflict pain on a world that had tormented you as a child.
"But revenge was never a part of your temperament.
"Remember Katharine Ramsey?' asked Claire almost expecting Remington to answer. "Every year a polo match is held in Highgrove the proceeds going to the group of charities know as Her Majesty's Trusts. "Men ages fifteen to sixty are selected to compose six teams." Each team contains royal blue bloods, celebrities, captains of industry, politicians, and young men chosen because of their skill with a chucker. Harry being a member of the latter group was selected to play twice. The first year selected he had just turned fifteen. Harry had a bad polo experience in France and was not keen on playing. Daniel being proud of his son's selection and wanting Harry to overcome his negative feelings for the game insisted he play. This tournament is an important social event and is shown on the telly". "Harry was placed on the team with Prince Charles, which meant his match would get the lion's share of the publicity". "Our phone rang off the wall with offers and advice as to the identity of the young lady Harrison Daniel Chalmers should escort to the match and the gala that followed later that evening
"Harry's intent was to escort a beautiful blonde named Carrie.
"A beautiful shy girl called Shelby hung around the practice field volunteering to help cool down the horses and clean equipment.
"When Harry was anywhere around she got absolutely tongue tied.
"Our young man overheard several girls (his intended date being one of them) making fun of Shelly as she followed him to the stable to help stow the equipment.
"We guess it was reminiscent of an experience at the orphanage because after chastising the girls he proceeded to ask Shelby to be his date.
"We were so proud that his beauty was not just skin deep."
Laura futility trying to keep calm snidely asked "You mean he really has played polo with Prince Charles?'
Claire, somewhat surprised said, "Yes, several times."
Laura dauntingly mumbled, "Charles and I use to have a go of it whenever I was in London of course, we don't get to play as often as we like to now that he is married.
"The Dillon Electronics' case; that incredulously calculating man of mine-he let me sweat fearing that the agency was doomed to lose fifth thousand dollars in a polo match when all the time he knew the reverse was true."
I am sorry to interrupt," said the nurse again appearing out of the blue, "you can only stay for a few minutes more because Dr. Striker will have my job for letting all three of you in at the same time."
Laura was the first to gain enough composure to mutter "Ok, thank you."
The nurse took her hand and spoke " your friends just looked so scared standing by the ICU door that I wanted them to see first hand Mr. Steele was comfortable and being taken good care of.
"You see the entrance wall and right wall are glass; that is so we can always view your husband.
"The table outside his door is where I sit, each nurse is assigned two adjoining rooms to watch; we go in every half hour to do a close check on the patient and the equipment
"The room next door is vacant so in reality I am Mr. Steele's private nurse.
"I don't mind telling you that I am the envy of the entire ICU nursing staff.
"Rank does have its privileges she said smiling.
"If someone is placed in the next room tonight the glass walls allow me observation of Mr. Steele even when with the other patient.
"Oh, a police officer has been posted outside the ICU door, they are not allowed to stand outside Mr. Steele's room because the glass walls could allow the invasion of privacy of the other patients," she explained softly.
"I thought we planned to talk in the conference room, but since all of the interested parties seem to be present we can confer here," said Dr. Striker directing her puzzled glance toward the now flustered nurse. Two more doctors followed Dr. Striker into Harry's room.
Laura began to feel self-conscious as the tall thin blonde doctor asked the nurse to get some chairs so she, Mildred, and Claire could sit. Dr. Striker pushed her long hair back bending down to listen at Harry's heart. He moved his head just a little as the doctor pushed the sheet to his waist revealing a bare chest with wires attached on both sides. "He's reacting to the coolness of the instrument Mrs. Steele" assured Dr. Striker. " Mrs. Steele, this is Dr. Liston a urologist and Dr. Moot a psychiatrist." Mildred and Laura both stared at each other in amazement Claire looked up at the ceiling as if to be praying to heaven.
"Why...a, Laura stopped in mid word...maybe you need to start with an explanation of just what has happened to Remington."
"I'm sorry, didn't Lt. James Jarvis or Detective Judy Peters of Vice talk to you yet Mrs. Steele?" inquired Dr. Striker. The blank stunned look on Laura's face told all in the room that there had been no contact by L.A.'s finest. "No need to answer Mrs. Steele, I will tell you what we know.
"First, your husband was in great condition prior to his abduction on Friday and there is every reason to believe that after a brief period of convalescents his physical health will once again be excellent." Laura and Mildred let out the breath they had been holding.
Claire looking deep into Dr. Kay Moot's eyes softly asking "What about his mental health?"
Dr. Moot an attractive lady in her late fifties finally spoke, "I have yet to talk to Mr. Steele but he has been through an ordeal which can present serious problems down road
"His ability to cope will depend on his past experiences, the conditions of present relationships, and how much support and comfort he gets from family and friends in the immediate future" voiced Dr. Moot using a very business like tone.
"Remington is accustomed to danger and fear," explained Laura hoping to ease the pain in Claire's eyes.
"Your right kiddo the two of you eat fear for breakfast" Mildred added trying to sound confident.
Claire moved to Harry's side and brushed his lower lip, which slightly stuck out forming a seductive pout. "It's hard for me to decide, she said, which I find the most enduring his big wide grin, that lopsided half grin, or the little boy pout that only appears when he's asleep." Claire looked up at Laura's tear filled eyes realizing they both felt the same way and were both members of a very small select group. Harry had let them in entrusting them with power that could be used to destroy him. So many people had hurt him letting him down that Harry had made a science of keeping people at a distance.
Many a lonely night had been spent by both Laura and Remington because of their fears of getting too close, each not sure that it was worth the risk of increased venerability. Laura realizing as Claire spoke that it was this element of venerability that made up a large part of their mutual attraction.
Dr. Rene Liston was next moving to Harry's side for a look, "Ladies would you mind moving to the foot of the bed?" The nurse discretely raised the sheet enough so that she could view his genital area. After placing gloves on she softly pressed on his abdomen moving down to the area between his legs. Upon touching the head of his penis to check the catheter the rails of the bed shook as Harry tried to rise to escape the pain.
"No -you don't have the right-No more-No more"--- he screamed shaking his from side to side in an agitated manor. His eyes opened for a second but it was clear that he was still sedated.
"Come Mrs. Steele use your voice and calm him." Dr. Liston said handing Laura Remington's hand-"I really don't want more restraints!" -"We have arms and ankles lashed down already I don't want to strap his chest and abdomen." "We do not want to do anything that might increase the already high level of trauma he has been forced to endure," advised Dr. Liston.
Laura still in shock took Remington's hand chocking on her own words. "Remington it Laura--- I am here--- you are safe and I love you so much.
"You're the bravest of hearts and the strongest of souls-you're the light in my life and the one who fills my life with warmth.
"I ought to be mad -- you stole my heart that first night when you called me a dick and we drank that very expensive magnum of Champaign you ordered.
"You're the light in my dark and the only one who can help me through this misery and darkness.
"We were so scared and unprepared for the emotions which we evoked in each other, but you didn't leave you helped me accept my feelings.
"I need the strength that your love gives me.
"I would give anything to hear your rendition of McNamara's Band right now." With every word his erratic breathing slowed but his hands remained tightly fisted around the rail of the bed.
"Very good Mrs.Steele your husband obviously likes the tone of your voice" smiled Dr. Liston.
Laura had to smile remembering his many comments on the subject of her lilting voice. The smile was short lived when she looking down at the chest and lower abdomen, now very exposed due to his attempt at freeing himself from the restraints, noticing the marks present on his body. "Are those"---stopping unable to find a delicate way to phase the question.
"Yes Mrs. Steele those are what we children of the 70s call passion marks; hickeys to the less articulate" replied Dr. Liston.
Dr. Moot stood up placing her hand on Laura's shoulder speaking very slowly and softly " I have been asked here to help your husband deal with the pain and shock of being raped." Laura's knees gave a little and Dr. Moot motioned for a chair. "Mrs. Steele we do not have all the facts and all elements of the rape kit have not been analyzed."
"What is a rape kit?" asked Mildred as the tears flowed from her eyes."
"Anytime a rape victim is brought in samples are collected and logged following strict legal guidelines.
"Hair, salvia, blood, teeth marks, semen, vaginal fluids, skin from fingernails and the pictures that were taken before the cleaning or treating of your husband.
"Vice Detective Peters, LAPD's expert in rape cases came herself to supervise the collecting and securing of the evidence.
"It is very evident your husband is greatly admired by the L.A. Police Department.
"They even guarded the examining room not allowing hospital staff not cleared by Dr. Striker and Detective Peters.
"I have never seen a security screen placed around a hospital so quickly and we always have some sort of celebrity in resident."
Laura really only heard a little of what Dr. Moot said she just kept hearing the words rape and victim ringing in her ears.
Dr. Liston aware of Laura's state asked if she was ready to hear what information they had collected thus far. Seeing her nod yes, Dr. Liston began. "Your husband had almost no fluids or food during the three days he was abducted.
"He is very dehydrated, weak, and in shock a condition, which helped to create the problem we face now with his kidneys". "Mr. Steele is passing blood from his right kidney and we are concerned that the damage may be sever enough to warrant the removal of the kidney." She brushed the hair from his right temple revealing a nasty blue bump. "We have done a complete skull series and minor brain swelling exist but the test show, at this point, that there is no real reason for concern." "We know that he put up a hell of a fight due to the large bruise on his back." She gently moved Harry on his side with the aid of the nurse and Dr. Striker.
Once on his side they pulled the sheets down revealing the top half of what Laura regarded as the best looking male backside in California. She closed her eyes overwhelmed by the sick feeling that someone else may have touched him.
Dr. Liston continued, pointing to the ugly bruise, which covered most of the lower half of his back. "This wound is responsible for most of the damage to the kidney."
Laura closed her eyes trying to focus on the wording of her next question. She had to ask; Remington referred to this aspect of her personality as the bull terrier syndrome, "You said teeth marks earlier -I mean when you were explaining the rape kit---were there teeth marks on Remington?"
Dr. Striker hung her head and whispered yes. "Where?" asked Laura now crying. "Four, one on each lower hip cheek, one on the inside right thigh and one on his scrotum.
"The police have determined they were made by three different women each also wearing a different shade of lipstick---DNA evidence just provided the sex and number shortly before we came."
Laura looked at Dr. Striker; "you mean you waited for the results before facing me don't you Doc."
"Never try and hide anything from a P.I. especially one with the bull terrier syndrome," smiled Dr. Striker.
"You dated my husband didn't you Victoria" asked Laura looking down at his handsome peaceful face.
Dr. Striker smiled touching Remington's cheek. "Yes, three years ago; he broke more dates with me --- the unpredictability of your profession ---it was a real change of pace; in most of my relationships I am the unreliable one.
"I could tell even then that you two would end up together; it was the way he talked about you.
"You have yourself a really great man who is going to need your love, strength, and support."
"I feel better knowing that someone is treating Remington who understands that in this bed is one of the most wonderful men in the world. " Laura hugged Dr. Striker, "Please call me Laura."
"Only if you continue to call me Victoria," interjected Dr. Striker. "Laura, in truth Remington may want another doctor and I will certainly understand - he was unconscious when brought in.
"Jarvis, looking for clues, found my business card in his glove box with the vehicular registration and emergency information.
"The card could have been placed there three years ago.
"Remington may not feel comfortable right now with a single women whom he also happen to have dated treating him for injuries resulting from rape.
"This is why I brought Dr. Liston into the picture -she is older--sorry Rene ---married - has a son the same age as Remington--and is the top in her field.
"I really gave serious thought to Dr. Moot-she is a woman -but she is one of the few rape trauma specialist who has crossed the gender line.
"Most rapes occur to women and children so most doctors who specialize are female.
"Kay Moot has treated male rape victims and was also recommended by Detectives Jarvis and Peters." The hair stood up on Laura's neck. . " Oh, there is one more element that renders Kay and Rene well qualified they both have been victims of rape.
"These two ladies understand better than the rest of us present the shock and pain Remington will face.
"Laura let me finish with Remington's physical injuries and then if you three are up to it Dr. Moot would like to ask some questions." We have some of the first results on your husband's blood work.
"He was given at least eleven different drugs two of the medications have never been seen by our labs before. We have currently sent samples of his blood to New York and the FBI lab in Virginia.
"Their labs were very interested in these new drugs."
Mildred still in a daze spoke " What do you mean by new."
"That is a good question Mildred -A drug can be deemed new because it is a different mixture of already known ingredients. You can change the process by which a drug is extracted, heated, cooled, or given and call it new." The drugs given to your husband were made from ingredients which have never been seen in any form until now.
"If these new drugs are found in nature it is a good bet that they came from Africa or South America.
"If the ingredients are man-made it could have originated from a 1000 different labs.
"Korea, Hong Kong, and India are the areas where I would look first.
"These drugs could also be part of the problem causing the kidney to bleed.
"Two of the drugs given to him were to keep Remington in a sort of dream state.
"One of the drugs used is not usually produce in the outdated form we found in Remington."
Laura, switching to detective mode asked, "What's the basic difference between the old and new versions of these drugs."
Kay and Victoria looking through the massive lab report stopped when they came to the same line. "Well the difference that applies to Remington is while the older version is hard on the heart and kidneys it also causes the male to produce a larger than normal amount of a hormone which - can cause or increase a male erection". "It can also cause strokes, heart failure and complete urinal shut down.
"That is why it is no longer produced except for animal breeding programs.
"Not many of them use it after some famous racehorse died after being given the drug for two days." 'They figured Remington was young, healthy and in good shape.
"This may also explain the tenderness and excessive swelling of his entire genital area."
"Laura that's the other thing I want to explained' said Victoria. "They got rough with him his wrist and ankles were bolted down with some kind of mental restraints.
"He pulled so hard against them that his wrist and ankles are badly bruised and cut.
"You cannot see it due to his current restraints but there is a small cast on his left ankle - he pulled so hard trying to free himself that he broke a small bone."
"Any idea how my husband escaped?"
"No, all we know is that he was found by a group of Ornithologist up somewhere near Big Sur.
"No clothes save a sweatshirt probably found on the trail or road which he had tied around his waist in an effort at modesty.
"Some woman in the group called 911 and said, "that good looking L.A. detective is up here seriously injured.
"The interesting part is that the 911 operator said, "You mean Remington Steele.
"No one at the station knew he had been kidnapped except select detectives on Jarvis'team and the FBI who were brought in at noon yesterday.
"The call was directed to Jarvis automatically when she typed Remington Steele on the computer screen.
"He sent the helicopter and your husband was here in forty minutes.
"You are so lucky that women memorize that gorgeous face, Victoria explained, as she took his hand to read his pulse, you could have died of exposure shortly after sunset."
"What else do I need to know about his injuries.?" asked Laura now growing worried about Claire whose pale face was buried in her arm in an effort to conceal her sobs. Laura motioned to Mildred who taking the hint went and placed her arm around the distraught woman.
Victoria cleared her throat, "as I stated earlier they gave him a rough time.
"We figure around eight people were involved by the marks on Remington's body.
"The three women worked him over using their tongues, mouths, and fingers there is a small cut in his rectum probably made by the fingernails of one of the women.
"We think that three men were used to restrain Remington.
"Bruises on the insides of both of his thighs indicate that two men held his legs apart while the women went to work.
"The hand marks on his thighs are much too large for a woman to make.
"A third man was used to hold his head and shoulders
"Laura if you are up to it you may want to see these injuries now so that the shock has gone from you face and eyes when Remington looks to you for support."
Victoria was right her eyes would betray her - he needs to see love and support -not shock and pity." Laura held her breath as she watched Victoria raise the sheet." She could not bear seeing all of those bruises and marks on his body.
"Laura everything below his waist is going to be tender for a least the next three weeks."
Laura could feel the heat coming off of Remington's body. "Just how high is his fever" Laura asked running her hands over his arms and chest.
"Around a 104-I know that sounds high-it is high but it will go down as we get more fluids and antibiotics into him-if his fever doesn't respond to the medication soon we will have to go in to repair or take the kidney-but I promise you that will be a last resort." Dr. Liston finally looked up from Remington's blood report. "That's strange-all of the drugs found in his blood minus the two we've yet to identify either kept him sedated or got him hot-sorry Laura --- You'll talk this way to after raising teenagers--- but this drug just increases male sperm count---it does nothing for the libido.
" Wow, looking at this list of drugs we are talking about one serious date rape cocktail," said Dr. Liston.
"Hello, Mrs. Steele" came a familiar voice.
"Well if it isn't Detective James Jarvis or should I call you Jimmy," smirked Laura.
"Hi Mildred, how is Mr. Steele doing? asked Jarvis.
"It so kind of you to drop by---What happen Tom Sawyer couldn't come play with Huck Finn?" retorted Laura.
"Geez, I'm sorry I didn't return your calls Mrs.Holt stammered Jarvis.
"It's Mrs. Steele, and you have spent the last two days purposely not telling me anything."
"Well, you see Mrs. Steele I really didn't have any real solid information to share," he continued.
"And now you do?" glared Laura. "No, not exactly we are following some leads." he said trying to avoid her stare.
"Well then maybe I should fill you in----This was no simple revenge abduction was it? - No kidnapping gone array---Nor was it carried out by women who upon seeing my husband just couldn't control their hormones so they decided to bag a hunk of hot meat and party -It was carried out by a well financed and informed group---I also suspect that Remington was not the first victim-Someone with a great deal of medical knowledge was involved-with enough money to either develop or buy special drugs created especially for this type of crime--- Why the FBI? --- Has this happened in other states? -If there are more victims that rules out revenge, jealousy, and passion as motives --- As they say in detective class 101 that leaves money---So who stands to make a profit from the rape of my husband?"
Jarvis had to sit to keep from falling down when Laura finally stopped long enough to take a breath.
"And last but not least, why the hell does Dr. Moot knows more about this situation than the other two doctors?"
"Geez, Mrs. Holt, eh Steele I'm not sure what you mean?"
"Excuse me could everybody allow Jimbo and I a few minutes alone," said Laura not taking her eyes off of Jarvis. As the door shut Jarvis knew the reprieve was over. "Let's talk baseball.
"You do like baseball?' "Oh yeah, you and Tommy Lasorda in a picture wasn't it Jimmy?
"You almost got that man in the bed killed because you thought Remington purposely ran down a client with his car: strike one.
"Then we both were almost killed by a loan shark because you got the wild idea that Mildred was a cold-blooded murderer strike two-" "Here comes my favorite the Atomic man case--strike three.
"Remington and I have never used our connections for revenge but I will go to whom ever it takes to get you thrown off this case.
"I mean Police Commissioner Holmes we love that wedding gift you sent us and by the way doesn't it appear that Jarvis is always barking up the wrong tree, and I just don't know what to tell the press when they ask me if the police are doing a good job in handling Mr. Steele's case," mocked Laura wearing her most innocent smile. "So Jarvis what's it going to be?
"I have gone the best part of three days with no sleep so I'm in no mood to waltz around with Huck Finn."
"Alright, Mrs. Steele, No! your husband is not the first.
"There are five confirmed victims, two in New York, one in Texas, two in Washington D.C. and your husband in California.
"The reason I have been out of touch is that last night we had another possible abduction in Malibu."
Laura took a breath before speaking, "Ok, first question what is the common link between the victims?"
"Male, good looking, Caucasian, at the top of their chosen professions, powerful, believed to have high IQs, get a lot of press based on their careers and charitable exploits, over 6 feet, well built, married, all have children but Mr. Steele, and are ages twenty-nine to thirty-six.' "Your husband at thirty-one is the second youngest.
"Their professions are as varied as flavored ice cream," Jarvis continued in a very annoyed tone,
"One is a politician, one a CEO of a large oil company, one has a software company which netted over 20 million dollars in its' last quarter, one is a major television news anchor, and one is a doctor who has developed a procedure which is changing heart surgery.
"Non of the men have met, non practice the same religion, went to the same schools, clubs, political groups, give to the same charity, use the same investment firms or even play the same sport in their free time. Two of the men are blonde, two brunettes and there's Mr. Steele with black hair.
"All were abducted for five days then abandoned at a local hospital.
"Mr. Steele escaped early the third day."
"Did the other victims have the same drugs in their blood?"
"We have no way of knowing", nodded Jarvis.
That's why Mr. Steele's blood results are so important." shouted Laura thinking out loud.
"I see, she continued, because the other victims were given intravenous fluids to flush the drugs out during the last three days of their abduction."
"Mr. Steele also had not been cleaned by the abductors getting rid of most the DNA evidence, as had the other victims," added Jarvis
"No wonder the FBI came and Remington's examining room and the entire ER were sealed off so quickly." And why I was not informed he was here for almost two hours," stated Laura eyeing Jarvis. "But how did you know that Remington's case fit the M.O. of the other abductions?" asked Laura
"Laura!! No! Countesses get off! No! Who the bloody hell do you buggers think you are, eh?
"Daniel! Claire! Don't cry Claire! I won't- I won't cry -you can't make me," screamed Remington. Before Jarvis or Laura could respond all three doctors a nurse Mildred and Clair rushed through the glass door and were at Remington's side. Victoria was shouting at the nurse to hurry with the shot of succinylcholine. "Just leave me the bloody hell alone - no more doctors or bloody examinations--I don't want to talk -I'm fourteen not a bloody baby" winced Remington as five pairs of arms were trying to hold him down.
Claire pushing the doctors aside went to his ear and began to speak very softly-"shush, it all right we are all here-- it's not your fault- we left you with that monster-you just never understood about your looks--you just were never brought up to be vain-
"The world has some pretty sick people," Claire cried softly, she's gone where she can get help; Daniel has seen to it that she will never touch you again."
"Why? Why? I don't unders---" Harry whispered. The shot given by Victoria into the IV tube finally relaxes his muscles and subdues the nightmare.
Laura's glare at Claire needed no explanation.
"What just happened," asked Mildred somewhat dazed?
Dr. Moot looked at Jarvis and nodded, " Laura, "I feel that the four of us needs to go to my office."
Victoria touching Laura's arm beckoned, " Go! He'll not wake-up for at least four hours,
" I promise I will fill you in on any new developments".
"Here is my cell number, Mrs. Steele, truce-- remember we want the same thing," scoffed Jarvis.
"Well, it will certainly be novel having you protect a member of Remington Steele Investigations rather than trying to push one of us into a 5 by 5 cell.
"You sure you don't want DNA samples from Mildred and I," mocked Laura
"You, just remember our conversation," warned Laura as she left the room.
Dr. Moot's office was small but tastefully decorated; her assistant appeared with their coffee and one tea for Claire. "If it is ok with all present I would like you to call me Kay and I will call you by your first names.
"Having said that and having received an ok nod from Jarvis I can tell you what I know.
"I also need to prepare you for when Remington becomes fully conscious.
"Laura, I have been dealing with the last victim in New York under rather unique circumstances.
"He is my daughter Sarah's patient.
"Sarah, like her old lady choose rape trauma as her area of medical expertise.
"Until I get clearance from my daughter I can only say her patient revealed while under hypnosis that the next victim would be thirty-one years old and live in L.A.
"He was being dropped off at the hospital when he overheard the abductors' plans to take their show on the road to L.A." "Sorry, Laura, that was their wording according to Sarah's victim.
"Her patient, heavily sedated, didn't realize what he had heard until it was revealed by hypnosis.
"So, naturally my daughter called to warn me and the LAPD." So, LAPD and the FBI had four clues to the identity of the next victim.
"The man would be thirty-one, live in L.A., have no proof of potency, and could be dangerous.
"I'm sorry to say that we all misinterpreted the meaning of the clue dangerous.
"The police thought the next victim would be well protected thus making it hard or dangerous for him to be snatched." "We now know dangerous referred to your husband's publicized skills in self-defense, weapons, and his ability to remain cool under pressure.
"The police had placed some of our well known celebrities under surveillance.
"They put a 24 hour guard on that 007 actor Pierce Brosnan.
"I'm afraid we all missed the boat when it came to the protection of your husband.
"So, when witnesses reported seeing Remington abducted and no ransom was requested," Kay Moot knew she did not have to complete her statement.
"No wonder Jarvis didn't want to talk to me," Laura mumbled.
"You have no children, but you have only been married for ten months -so these animals were not really concerned with his potency.
"This is legally all I can tell you". "It may comfort you to know that my daughter called while we were down in your husband's room and the man in New York, who is suffering from shock has improved; benefiting from the knowledge of the drugs he had been exposed to.
"Now to the real reason we are here, Remington's state of mind.
"The episode you witnessed was a repeat of an earlier one which took place as they brought him from the helicopter and placed him in the examining room.
"At first, we thought he was reliving the rape; we had to let him go on talking and fighting until we got preliminary blood results, we can't sedate a patient until we know what other drugs are in the blood.
"Laura, he was actually reliving a trauma that occurred when he was thirteen or fourteen.
"We could only gets bits of what he was saying, because that man of yours may not look strong but he is all muscle--I have never seen someone fight that hard ---it took seven of us just to keep him and his legs on the table."
Laura didn't know how to respond ---I not sure I understand."
Claire stood up and looked at Dr. Moot, "Can I have a few moments alone with Laura and Mildred, please?" As the door shut Claire completely broke down, looking into Laura's brown eyes she cried, "Oh Henry I don't know what to do ---I would rather die than betray you."
"Laura, Mildred, I'm so bloody washed out from the flight from London that maybe sleeping and clearing my mind would be a wise course of action before speaking," Claire declared suddenly losing her nerve.
"Courage can be very fleeting at times," suggested Laura. "Do you really feel that our love for Harry is so fragile that anything you say could cause it to change?"
"No!" Claire interjected giving Laura an icy stare.
"Laura, you don't understand how dicey this situation is; I could lose Harry's love and trust forever if I don't do the right thing."
"And we could lose Harry or at least part of him if we don't do everything possible; are you prepared to face that chance?" inquired Laura. "Ok! Said Laura holding up both hands as if in surrender, if leaving us in the dark is what you feel is best, then you protect that precious key you hold to his past and not let us in."
Claire sat down and cried as she pondered Laura's words. "Ok, but I have to do this my way no interruptions or questions." Both ladies nodded yes and sat down.
"I know that you don't share my or Harry's love or respect for Daniel but the man was incredible at finding ways of making right the wrongs Harry suffered during childhood. We had to go through the back door sort of speak to get Harry to do what we felt was best. Harry reminded me of a beautiful wild colt that needed to be tamed. But just like with most abused children or animals the first thing that goes is trust. Daniel had expensive tutors brought in to engage Harry's very clever bright mind. Daniel contrived clever cons to get Harry interested in academics. He wanted Harry to learn French. Daniel set up a con in Monaco in which Harry was required to play polo and speak perfect French to befriend a member on his team whose father just happen to be one of the riches and most crooked men in the country. He would do the same later with Spanish and Italian. Harry spent almost a month studying in the Louvre with tutors who made history come alive. He thought it merely a prelude to his becoming a renowned art thief. Some cons were made up and carried out by Daniel and his friends to fool Harry into learning a new subject or skill. By the time he was thirteen it was clear that for social reasons Harry needed to be around boys and girls his own age. Devising a con to get Harry interested in developing social skills with people his own age gave Daniel his biggest challenge. Harry, at thirteen could already charm the socks off of any adult especially female but Daniel knew the importance of getting along with people of your own age. Harry had seen and experienced more than most adults so he felt that made him more mature. People his own age he considered to be spoiled babies. A good excuse for not letting anyone get close. We began to notice signs indicating the difficulty Harry faced in relating to people his age. He had such an innocent vulnerable side that in reality made him emotionally younger than others his age. For his thirteenth birthday we went on holiday to the French Riviera and noticed girls running into each other as they stared at the dark haired dimpled adolescent on the beach. Daniel approached the subject at dinner and was a little vexed when Harry scoffed and grinned saying he didn't notice. Several boys tried, in vain, to strike up a conversation with our loner. Their efforts rewarded only by the return of a few polite comments and Harry quickly departing. When we got back to London Daniel invited Janice, the adolescent psychologist I mentioned earlier, for the purpose of engaging our reluctant Harry in conversation. Her evaluation of Harry was totally in line with that of other children sharing the same profile. How can you expect a child raised with shame most of his life and led to believe that he is no more than an unwanted bastard to now accept himself at face value she asked. She was right; in the space of a little over two years we had expected Harry to go from considering himself a zero to the realization that he was instead a ten. The human psychic cannot be expected to accept such a dramatic change. He really didn't see the staring girls or consider it unusual that women ages twenty-five to twelve were asking for directions, for help in locating lost dogs or for help in looking for dropped items. Daniel attributed it to Harry's inherited charm commenting it was kind of cute and funny. Then we noticed the serious look on Janice's face. According to Janice, a warped self-perception heightened by Harry's being clueless to the feelings he invokes in others could be dangerous. Where do we go from here Daniel and I wondered? Janice observed Harry letting us touch him, which meant subconsciously he understood we loved him. According to Janice, Harry would consider our views as tainted and bias. Harry's best bet was to associate and form bonds with people his own age. Friends his age could be the most influential in the formulation of a realistic self-image.
So where does one go to get peers for a thirteen- year old loner? Harry unknowingly supplied the answer to our dilemma. Still desperately trying to remain aloof and independent, Harry failed to illuminate the fact that he was ill. Going for two days to his tutors, art class, the cinema, and the polo field while running a fever of 103 was not one of his most ingenious decisions. About 2 a.m. I heard him shouting, Daniel had placed Harry's room between ours with the intent of keeping the little escape artist from sneaking out or running away. We both had a sick feeling that his nightmares had started again. He was pale and drench in sweat, seeing him in ICU rekindled the memory of the fear felt that night. We called the doctor who insisted we take his temperature and examine him for other evidence that might suggest the origin of his illness. Smiling Claire shook her head; Harry will remember that night, though I wouldn't advise bringing it up. We could feel the heat as we tried getting him conscious and still; finally Daniel turned him over on his stomach pulling his pajama bottoms off. I proceeded to take his temperature. Well, of course Harry woke up calling us every bloody name in his extensive slang vocabulary trying the entire time to escape Daniel's grip. He refused to calm down to allow the removal and reading of the thermometer. Daniel fearing Harry would hurt himself gave each of his bottom cheeks a hard slap. Shocked by Daniels actions, he froze just laying there mortified and shaking. To this day mentioning the only spanking ever received from Daniel generates immense embarrassment. Daniel was so shaken he could hardly drive. No matter how justified the spanking, Daniel had hit Harriet's baby. His fever was over a 104 causing the pediatrician to meet us at the hospital. Luckily Harry was too weak to run. The poor child laid his wet head in my lap refusing to make any eye contact. Our hardheaded young man walked around for two days with an extremely bad case of the mumps. Making matters worse for the shy lad, the mumps had moved to a very private area of his body. We muffled our laughter at the dialog we heard coming from the examining room. Harry was arguing with the doctor and nurse as they tried to sway him into removing his knickers. Daniel composing himself went into the room to calm the child down. Forcing Harry to make eye contact he explained why the doctor needed to take a look and the seriousness of Orchetis. (Swelling of the testicles) Harry next demanded a male doctor. "Doctor Harris has taken care of you for two years, she has your records, the quicker we get done, the faster you will be back in bed, and I am here to hold your hand," explained Daniel hoping logic would prevail. Even besieged with high fever, Harry balked, determined to show he was in control. "You better take my offer to hold your hand or face the chance my hand may find the way to your backside for a repeat performance," Daniel whispered looking deep into Harry's feverish big blue eyes. Daniel's smile was returned by the faint angry curve of Harry's upper right lip; with that the doctors were finally allowed to proceed. They kept Harry overnight allowing him home shortly after lunch. Poor kid was not allowed to stand or sit up. With each breath his expression told us of the pronounced pain. To complicate matters farther the swelling made placing his legs together an impossibility.
A strong storm appeared later that afternoon and I fixed Harry a tray of juice and soup. Comfort was a real problem for our sweet boy, at the hospital he had received several shots in the backside eliminating sleeping on his back, on his side the legs were painfully forced together and sleeping on his stomach was out due to the swollen testicles. Turning Harry tried to find a comfortable position as Daniel adjusted the pillows. During the commotion the tray fell to the floor with soup and juice going everywhere. Harry started to leap out of bed to clean the spill but Daniel quickly shouted at him to stay put. Busy cleaning the mess, we noticed Harry sobbing and shaking. He had never cried before; at least not while awake. Stunned Daniel and I slowly placed our arms around the sick child feeling those hot tear soaked cheeks press against ours. Feeling long thin arms wrap around our necks and the sensation of his beautiful face buried deep in our shoulders sobbing evoked overwhelming feelings of love and gratitude for those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect this brave dear child. It took two years for him to let his guard down. The combination of the storm, spilled tray, medication, fever, and spanking, allowed for the realization that belonging and trusting others is neither painful nor unnatural. Later, Daniel inquired as to the cause of his sadness suggesting we were all ears if he cared to talk. To our surprise tears again began to fall as he explained the plight of being placed in a foster home near Brighton at age five or six. The couple called him Michael the man using him to help clean fish. The Millers fought a great deal. Their own son Freddy, around twelve, also stepped in adding to the circus of shouting. Upset his parents were fighting, Freddy would lash out at Harry beating and knocking him around. Harry learned to hide in the hall cabinet until the shouting was over. Making matters worse, if that's possible, the man drank hitting the nearest thing around when annoyed. A bad storm came in from the coast. A bolt of lightening and a clap of thunder hit scaring the poor child causing him to knock over a glass of milk. The fighting began, the woman telling her husband to leave Michael alone because he was a baby of five and the government might take the extra money away. Logic not deterring the drunken ass he began beating on Harry. The half conscious child hid in the hall cabinet until the social planner took him away the next afternoon. The Millers calling social placement depicted Harry as a child too hard for them to handle. Even when enlighten by a neighbor's testimony witnessing the hitting of Harry for not wrapping a fish in newspaper correctly nor the fresh wounds on his body sway social services from placing another boy in that home. The only fact made clear to the tiny five-year-old was that the blame for not fitting in, being accepted, or loved by the upstanding Miller family was solely his fault. He looked up with tear-filled eyes explaining that for a split second he was overcome by the memory fearing we were also going to send him away. He admitted being difficult at the hospital and clumsy with the food tray. As punishment he volunteered to go without dinner. We both hugged him; praying he could feel and maybe someday accept our love.
Most of the following morning Daniel was on the phone. He was so agitated and mad that I suggested calming down before looking in on Harry or his son might think the anger his fault. He spent the early part of the afternoon sitting in Harry's room, watching him sleep; again lending moral support when Dr. Harris and her nurse came to check on Harry's progress, announcing much to his displeasure, that the swelling needed checking and two more injections needed to be administered. After the shots the nurse and I sponged Harry down hoping to lower the fever. He didn't same to care I was in the room helping. He allowed me for the first time to rub his back until he fell asleep. Winning the trust of that child made you more ecstatic than hitting the damm Irish Sweepstakes. I secretly thanked the mumps for extricating us from some of the walls holding Daniel and I so long at bay. Laura, as a fellow warrior I can share the emotional scars I've received trying to beat down and scale those bloody walls. But luv, he's worth the fight - worth the drudgery of taking one step forward only to realize he has pushed you back two."
Laura realized that their marriage had indeed been a miracle considering they both had put up stupid obstacles for the sole purpose of challenging the other.
"The doctor gave strict instructions for Harry to stay in bed. She warned albeit he was just starting down the road to puberty complications could exist if he did not completely stay off his feet for the next three days. Three days of keeping Harry still and using a bedpan required me to use of some of Daniel's strongest brandy."
Mildred smiled, she could identify with that statement after trying to keep the chief still the both times he broke his legs.
"Daniel got off the phone shortly after the doctor left announcing he was leaving and would be returning late the next day. Gary his solicitor would have the list of emergency numbers in case I needed to get in touch. His eyes encompassed a hardness and determination I had never encountered before. Daniel's eyes only soften as he bent down to kiss the sleeping Harry on the forehead tossing the lad's hair as he picked up his suitcase. Reaching the bedroom door he smiled looking once more at the peaceful scene of his sleeping son".
"His hair has the same scent and feel of his mother's," sighed Daniel.
I told him that Harry had already informed me to never again buy that smelly shampoo.
"No, it's good it's just that Harriet's hair was identical to Harry's and it had the same fresh scent.
"Watch over him Claire," he said as he walked out the door.
"Harry slept most of the day and night due to one of the injections that the Doc. had given him. I really wanted to sleep in my bed because two days with little sleep worrying about an overly active and overly independent thirteen-year old was starting to take its toll. But an inner voice told me to make the loveseat in Harry's room my bed for the night. I heard the rustling of sheets as he was positioning himself to get out of bed and go into the bathroom. Harry Brendan Chalmers do not let me see your backside out of that bed.
"Lor, all I wanted to do is go to the bathroom.' he shouted back in a tone that made it clear that I was babying him and he didn't care for it one bit.
Claire's face had a certain glow when she imitated and quoted Harry.
"I handed him the bedpan. Here you go little Prince you set on this throne and I'll be back in a flash with some cold cherry ale. Oh...Doc. told us to call if you got out of bed even once because she would have to come check on you and possibly give you another shot. The shot will no doubt be to cure that rather bad case of stubbornness. He got so mad that I was ignoring and making fun of his anger. After telling him to use the damp rags that were placed on his nightstand I told him to call when he was finished. A few minutes later a more civil sounding Harry reported that he was finished. I gave him the drink and took the used items to his bathroom and readied them for the next time. After feeling his head, telling him to put the drink down long enough so I could take his temperature, I noticed that far away look which always warned that unpleasant memories were spinning in his mind. When I handed back the drink he came to earth but the memory whatever it was had done its damage. The spark of contentment was gone and sadness was left in its place. He had hardly eaten all day so I practically force-fed him some sherbet. As I helped him slid very slowly back into a sleeping position I asked if he would like to talk. His blue eyes looked up and saw my concern and in true Harry fashion he joked that the doctor was going to bring me a shot to cure that overprotective mother hen Nurse Ratchet illness that I had contracted. It's ok for him to eat his heart out but he won't allow anyone he cares about to be upset."
Claire had to stop for a minute because the tears were coming down too fast. Laura didn't think it was possible to love Remington anymore than she already did -she knew now that was wrong, very wrong. She closed her eyes taking a silent oath to bring the heads of the monsters responsible for causing Remington this pain to Jarvis on a silver platter. She only hoped one might try to escape so that the anger she felt inside could be put to good use. Would revenge, she wondered, be enough to get rid of the intense hate, anger, and hurt that were torturing her?
Mildred handed Claire the tea trying to subdue her over whelming desire to run and put her protective arms around the man she lovingly called chief. She had always known he had a heart of gold but had never stopped to consider what a miracle that was in light of what could lamely be called his childhood.
"Remind me to have fresh flowers placed on Daniel's grave," shuttered Laura.
"Stand in line" added Mildred.
Claire placed her teacup on the saucer and began again. "Well, sitting on Harry as we waited for his father to return was no picnic He never had anyone to fuss over him or even care if he had eaten in the last 48 hours. He just wanted me to leave him alone-he hates to take pills---but I knew the moment I took my eyes off him he'd get his own drink, or get up and go to the restroom. He didn't expect anything from anybody and he certainly didn't think anyone owed him anything."
Laura remembered her conversation with Remington in the back of the cab as they were fleeing form Major Descoine when he referred to himself as "the wanderer entitled to nothing not even parents being pleasantly surprised when someone patted him on the back rather than kicking him in the teeth."
"I had to invite him to eat with Daniel and I three times a day for the first month he lived with us. We had to explain that he could go to the refrigerator anytime, meals were cooked for him, and he could go in any room in the house but Daniel's office. It was getting late so I bathed him made him take his medicine and watched as he slowly fell asleep. He tried to stay awake; I think he hoped Daniel had gone to put the final touches on plans for a new con. Daniel showed up at 10 o'clock with a surprise all right---two teenagers; a very beautiful fifteen-year old girl and a sixteen-year-old boy. It appears Daniel had gone to Brighton to confront the Millers about the mistreatment of Harry. He found out that the British government still allowed them to have older foster children. He had a well-placed friend open an investigation of the couple and Daniel goateed Mr. Miller into swinging first so he could proceed to properly bet the hell out of the man. No charges were filed since another of Daniel's friends stood ready to be the investigating officer. He arranged to get temporary custody of the Miller's current foster children Felicia and Monroe. Both were older than Harry but here was a temporary solution to our peer problem. Felicia quickly went and sat on Harry's bed to get a closer look at that Michael kid all the fuss was about. She just starred at the sleeping Harry with her big blue-gray eyes. Monroe came in and upon seeing the expression on Felicia's face warned her not to drool on the defenseless kid."
"Well it's nice to see that some things never change," scowled Laura.
Claire smiled, "Yes your right; Daniel and I often thought she made a promise right there and then that someday Harry would be hers. Lucky for Harry, promises are made to be broken. Don't be too hard on her; if it had not been for Monroe, drunken Miller would have raped her. Their rooms were next to each other; if Miller came into her room she would hit the wall and Monroe would run toward her room making noises in an effort to wake up Mrs. Miller. She was so beautiful and innocent that Daniel could not take a chance she and Monroe might end up in a worse home."
Laura couldn't picture Felicia as ever being innocent.
"Daniel knelt down and woke Harry who pretended to be annoyed at being disturbed.
"So who are we going to sting now partner," he said rubbing his eyes.
"Daniel cleared his throat and pointed to Monroe. I swear looking at the glare in the eyes of Monroe and Harry reminded me of two young roosters getting ready to square off. Harry nearly jumped out of bed when the unseen Felicia reached over and pecked him on the cheek.
"My name is Felicia, blue eyes," she said giving Harry another peck on the cheek.
'How you doing kid, call me Monroe mate.
"Harry had that tight-jawed slow burning angry look that makes his eyes turn a darker blue that both of you know all too well."
"The names Harry not kid, mate," he replied through clenched teeth."
"Daniel realizing this meeting was headed down hill fast indicated for Monroe to place his gear in the third floor room and Felicia to put hers in the first room on second floor. I went to help them get settled in their rooms. The whole night I was plagued by the sad look on Harry's face. Daniel sat down on the bed with the intent of talking but Harry turned his back to him saying he was tired. The next day was to be Harry's last day in bed, but he had tossed and turned all night. He ate about two bits of food and looked so pale. Felicia stayed in his room all morning trying to strike up a conversation. Monroe came in talking about the neat up-stairs room saying all you needed was a pool table and you could open your own pub. Harry lost it, he told Monroe that while his room was small it was his and he wanted privacy. Shortly the doctor came and this really put him in a dark mood. The doctor wanted to check him before she let him get up and walk. He got up but quickly sank to his knees. The nurse and I supervised his first bath in the tub. I could tell that the doctor had a worried look on her face. I let the nurse finish dressing him so I could find out what the hell was wrong with our young man. They were in the kitchen and I could tell that the news wasn't good by the expression on Daniel's face."
"This next year your son is going to go through so many physical changes that it is imperative he gain 10 to 15 pounds and takes the vitamins and minerals that I wrote down for you," I heard the doctor tell him. "I want you to bring him to the hospital at 7 o'clock Wednesday morning. Give this pill an hour before you come; it will calm him and this liquid to drink about 8 o'clock the night before. The liquid will clean him out; someone needs to be in his room to help him get to the bathroom. I know that this will not be pleasant for him but it will let us rule out problems and maybe locate the reason his appetite has disappeared and why we can't put weight on him.
"Daniel didn't know how he was going to tell Harry about Wednesday. They basically wanted to check every thing from the waist down which means prostrate gland testicles etc.. We went in later that night and tried to get Harry to touch his dinner and to break the news. He just looked right past us with those piercing blue eyes. He looked up at Daniel and asked if that was all-if so he wanted to go to sleep. This was the same child who just weeks earlier had giving me a fight when I tried to get him in bed by 11 o'clock. Daniel called Janice who said he was detaching and we were losing him. She added it would not be surprising if he tried to run. She volunteered to come over and help but we knew Harry would probably clam up even tighter with a stranger around. Daniel and I took surveillance shifts checking every half hour on our ersatz runaway. Around 4 a.m. we heard a noise; Harry and one suitcase were gone. He had packed earlier hiding the case under the bed. Writing us a note he explained his wanderlust and the need to move on. We knew he only had a ten-minute lead but we really panicked. We found him at the station ready to catch the five o'clock train to Dover. We knew he might run when he saw us so we had Monroe hiding in the opposite direction. He ran and Monroe tackled; together they rolled on the ground Harry yelling at him to get the bloody hell off. It would have been funny if we weren't so bloody scared of loosing him. Even in Harry's weaken condition it took the three of us plus the train station manager to subdue and get him in the car. When we got home Daniel was so upset that I feared his mind might be too rattled to handle our cleaver escapee. He pushed Harry on the bed and asks what in the hell was going down. He just stared at us with those big moist blue eyes. Harry spoke so softly controlling every aspect of his body. He did not want anything to give away his true emotions.
"I have been around enough to know when things are changing or need to change."
"He told us that he only hung around because Daniel needed him to help with the cons. But now Daniel had Monroe, who according to Henry was not as smart, or strong, but you can teach dogs tricks therefore Monroe could be trained What are you talking about we asked?
"Come on mate, the cons over-you found a great looking chick to use as a shield and Monroe with a great deal training may someday be almost as good as me.
"I had no keeper when you met me so why two years later shouldn't I decide when it's time to come or go.
"I'm no lackey you can check my case I didn't pinch anything.
"I only took some of my clothes and the money in my sock from the racetrack con last month.
"You made me put most of it in the bank, remember.
"I guess that yours now but you taught me a lot and I owed you 1600 pounds.
"I'll survive I not stupid, you know," smirked Harry with righteous indignation "Just wish I had negotiated with you better so that I could have been living in the room on the third floor."
"Harry's words cut Daniel to the quick." Daniel took Harry by the shoulders when he tried to get off the bed and pushed him back down. We had forgotten the many hints Harry had dropped, when he arrived two years ago, for the third floor room. Daniel was cursing himself under his breath for his stupid lapse of memory. We didn't give that room to him because a large oak tree stands right outside the window; a perfect escape route for an eleven year old street urchin. We wanted him where we could hear, see, and comfort him. How were we going to explain this to a hostile thirteen-year old without him feeling that we we're being over protective and smothering? That type of sentimental goop would send him running even quicker for the door".
He finally looked up fighting back the sadness in his eyes. "You know you ain't got no right to keep me here". "We both knew that this was just a temporary partnership."
Daniel finally told Harry although he knew everything there was some additional information that might be of interest. He told Harry about the Millers and that Monroe and Felicia were temporary. He had a line on Felicia's mother and Monroe would be with Steve Henderson a friend of Daniel and Harry's who would be returning from the Grand Cayman Islands early next month. Daniel red faced with anger, told him the only ones who had a permanent room in his house were he, a certain ungrateful thirteen-year old, and I."
"What are you playing at now eh Daniel," inquired Harry not sure he was willing to accept this last revelation.
"He grabbed Harry's arm and pulled him to the second floor office and unlocked the desk drawer and pulled out a document about fifty pages long. Ok, ol' wise one read the first couple of lines. Harry read and Daniel snatched the document and turned to about the fourth page asking him to read that part also. I guess it was a couple of minutes before Harry looked up with a few tears flowing down his cheek.
"Why mate, I don't understand," he asked.
"Daniel told him that like the rest of the information in that document it was his business. He had shown Harry his Will and the section, which gave him the house with the provision that I be allowed to live there for the rest of my life. Daniel pushed Harry's hair out of his face and held that dimpled chin until those blue eyes were willing to meet his."
"So, no more talk about leaving or about whom belongs where and for what reasons". "The important issue here is where does you heart say you belong?"
"In my room down stairs I guess."
"You guess," said Daniel a little hurt.
"Unless your willing to let me roll dice with Monroe to see who gets the big room," winked Harry.
"I cried as they hugged each other. Now, down stairs and get ready for bed your suppose to be ill, I said through my tears.
"Women," Harry scoffed as he marched down the stairs.
"As they passed Felicia's room Daniel teasingly commented to Harry that he didn't know the half of it. I brought some breakfast because his supper had gone untouched. Daniel came in the room and felt his head for fever. Harry sat up in bed with a mischievous grin on his face.
"Answer one question, I could see Daniel tense, did you really knock old Miller on his ass?"
"Daniel's intuition had been right Harry, Felicia, and Monroe had become very close. Monroe's personality blended well with Harry's. Harry and Monroe would walk in a store, restaurant, or business then quiz each other to see who had memorized the most details. Dr.Harris had a death in the family so Harry got a three-month reprieve. Felicia's mother could not believe that she had been united with the daughter she had lost nine years earlier. Her father' a prominent married member of Parliament, had paid to have Felicia abducted when her mother threatened to blackmail the bastard if he did not pay child support. Her father turned the tables on Felicia's mother by telling her that the child had been placed with a very wealthy established family and as long as she remained silent her daughter would grow to be the toast of English society instead of being just another bastard or love child. The boys helped Daniel to set the man up. When Daniel showed the man the pictures, Felicia's mother was able to buy a beautiful house just two blocks over from us and try to undo the damage done to her daughter during the separation. Daniel would not allow Harry to see the pictures or tell Felicia what they had done. Monroe played a great pimp and Harry played the pissed off wealthy brother, using his best English Boarding School accent, as he told the lurch that his sister was only sixteen. She was really twenty and the man had been drugged the poor bugger never knew what hit him. Daniel represented the girl's family who demanded money as compensation for the girl's tarnished virtue. Sadly Felicia's mother died four years later of cancer, which used all the money taken in the con. Monroe got on pretty well with Steve but I think he always admired Daniel more. He envied the love that Daniel had for Harry. To this day Monroe cannot understand how his friend did not see that it was the love of a father for a son. Monroe would always pop up to bring Harry home when Daniel felt he had been gone too long or had failed to contact us. More often than not Harry would convince Monroe to stay and join him, when they both got seriously hurt in Barbados Daniel had to pull a lot of strings to get them home safely. Even with Harry being three years younger Monroe would follow his lead. Your husband never suspected that Daniel knew just about every move he made. He had you checked out soon after Harry phoned to say he was not going to follow the gems to San Francisco, but hang in L.A".
"Harry never hung around in one spot for more than a few months.
"I don't like the sound of his voice when he says Laura.
"Every place we go women are all over him strutting their voluminous proportions encouraging him to sample," retorted an exasperated Daniel.
"Monroe moves to L.A. six months later with orders to bring twenty six year old Harry home. Monroe's story to the now famous Remington Steele was that he had developed a sudden passion to go legit. Money in hand from Daniel and Harry, Monroe set up his electronic business. Monroe, unsuccessful in getting our errant lad back to England was enjoying success as an entrepreneur. So when Daniel got into trouble with that low life Hoskins-he kills two birds with one stone-he gets Harry involved. Daniel could have received help from any number of people from any corner in the world. He returned from the states angry and empty handed. He had promised me to bring our adventurous young man home."
"Claire, not only have we lost Harry; I fear we've lost Monroe too.
"I have lost my boy and his shadow."
"I guess it never really dawned on us that he was a grown man. Monroe told us the look in Harry's eyes, when those Perennial Insurance creeps threatened your safety, indicated a man who was deeply devoted and in love with that "often obstinate, and utterly charming creator of Remington Steele." Monroe told us when he first cast eyes on that runt of a child that he never dreamt running after and keeping him out of trouble would be his career. He made the mistake of confessing when all he saw was a runt kid's face and the top of its' sleeping head he had deduced that Harry was a girl. They broke a vase and picture fighting. Harry didn't speak to him for a week".
Laura, I 'm sure you have deduced by now that Monroe called telling me Harry was in trouble and that I might be needed. I'm not sure Monroe would take kindly to this revelation. I know he would not want Harry to find out.
"I won't tell- after all shadows are only effective if they are unseen and unknown," Laura said giving Claire an understanding hug and smile.
Harry had gained almost six pounds and the huge chip he wore on his shoulder was now a splinter. Daniel knew Harry's low self-esteem would prevent him from bonding with people he felt were superior---he would charm them -con them-but not allow them to get close. Harry viewed Monroe and Felicia as fellow misfits; falling angles sort of speak. We hoped Harry now saw that it added something to life to have mates. It worked to a degree; several boys who lived in the area began to be permanent fixtures on the couches, and in our refrigerator. The infamous third floor room now had loud music coming from it at all hours. We still made Harry sleep in his room. Laura, you have seen the house with its expensive antiques and rugs; Daniel didn't mind young people in the house. He only lost his composure when art work, valued in excess of a quarter of a million dollars was taken off the wall so a sheet could be hung to project movies. Girls were everywhere; they would even wait outside by the corner to pounce on the unsuspecting lad. Harry was forced to leave by the garden and that old Oak tree."
"The dreaded day came, Harry angrily arguing he had gained weight and taking off his knickers in front of strangers was not an option. The liquid we finally convinced Harry to take induced such horrible cramps that serious consideration was given to calling off the examination. Daniel told me he had arranged a blood test for himself in order to establish paternity in case he ever needed legal proof. I knew something felt strange but attributed it to my concern over Harry. I knew that they would be getting samples of the lad's blood and I guess it made sense to have the results for use as a trump card if Harry ever decided to leave. But something didn't fit. About 6 o'clock, the next morning we helped a weak and sedated Harry to the car. The morning was cold so Harry was laid in the back seat with me placing his head on my lap. After covering him, Daniel went back into the house to get the samples of urine, stool, and the forms that the hospital had requested. A car pulled behind and blocked the driveway. I would have normally shouted at them to move but as Harry was asleep, due to the sedation and the cramps, I did not want to awaken him. A tall well-built man practically ran to the car. Laura, I still reconstruct this scene in my head daily. He was the mirror image of Harry, tall with a little gray on the sides. His eyes were just like Harry's only they were the most beautiful shade of brown. Hand me my purse Mildred. Claire opened the leather case with such reverence you'd have sworn it was a Bible. The picture produced cold chills in both women. The picture looked like Remington wearing an old suit with a high collared over starched shirt."
"My God, the smile is even the same," exclaimed Laura.
"The man tapped on my window -
"All I want is a look, -- Please! I won't hurt him."
"When I saw the tears and the sadness on that handsome face it was like seeing Harry. I open the door and he softly mumbled,
'Bless you -Bless you Mrs. Cutter"- "It seems that I am always in debt to a Cutter."
" He looked down at my lap. His trembling long slim fingers slowly removed the blanket, which had completely covered the lad's head. He stared in awe at the sleeping boy softly pushing back the silken black locks of hair obstructing the view of Harry's angelic face.
"Oh, Elizabeth, our Harriet's child is so beautiful,"-"He looks just like our Pierce"---"He still has those blue eyes?"
They are as blue as the sky -I assured him.
"He has his grandmother and mother's eyes and I guess it's clear the rest comes from me."
"Not his heart and soul, thank God!" said Daniel. "What are you doing here you bastard?
"I won't let you hurt him again."-"He's not a defenseless two year old this time"-"And I'm not in an Irish prison!
"We both know I will not hesitate in killing you," Daniel said as he pushed the man from the door of the car.
"Yeah, I guess you feel pretty tough after beating up that drunken sack of lard Miller, eh Chalmers,"-- "Nicky and France"-"You are a sadistic ass," the stranger said with ice in his eyes.
"I told both men to shut-up unless they wanted Harry to witness their cockfight. Daniel stopped never having seen me that mad or using strong language before. He closed the door and instructed Brendan O'Rielly to move the car unless he wanted to buy a new one." All I could say to Daniel was that Brendan was just as I had imagined. Daniel remained silent during the 35-minute drive to the hospital."
"Laura could not take her eyes off the picture. 'Talk about your Obsession --Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, Columbia 1976," she said in a haggard voice.
"More like Invasion of the Body Snatchers' Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Allied Artists 1956," winked Mildred knowing she had eased some of Laura's tension by quoting the Boss' favorite movies.
"Doctor Harris was very good with Harry. She could see he was shy and scared. Daniel enlightened her about Harry about a week after he came to live with us. Daniel was pretty clever telling the lad he was working on a con that required good physical stamina on the part of his partner. So eleven year old Henry begrudgingly consented to go to the doctor and dentists. His first visit to any kind of doctor in almost three years. But on this day there was no con just a scared thirteen-year-old boy. We helped the sedated young man into the hospital. The worst part for him was going behind the screen and coming out with that little gown wide open in the back. He stayed behind the screen until we went and walked him to the table. I was literally rear guard; he begging me to walk close behind so the nurses wouldn't see anything. I did feel sorry for the lad; there were six hospital staff members in that small room. They placed a sheet over him for modesty and warmth.
"Doctor Harris took a light and looked in those blue eyes that were as big as saucers due to the sedation.
"That pill has really knocked you for a loop hasn't it lad?"
"He gave one of his full grins saying he hated pills. The maternal look on the faces of the nurses and Doctor made me dread the day when women would look instead with lust. I had seen his grandfather who at sixty looked to be in his late forties. Harry's mother had been a local beauty Queen as well as intelligent. She had the choice after school of modeling for Harrods or going to Cambridge. She took the best from both her parents -- mother's eyes and lips -father's hair, tall lean build. long neck, perfect skin and general face structure. Everyone in County Meath Ireland kidded Brendan about putting his mark on Harriet. She was his twin, his shadow at work, and constant companion at home. Harry would be even more gorgeous because of the big blue eyes and perfect full mouth; gifts from his mother and grandmothers. Daniel always said that God's greatest gift to him was a son who had the physical beauty and mental alertness of his mother, and the charm and veracity of his father. Harry never flinched when a man drew blood. Daniel whispered to Harry that he would be right back. He was going to the lab to get the blood work done but Daniel could never stand to see anyone touch Harry it forced too many memories to the surface. Next they pulled the sheet and gown down to his waist to listen to lungs and heart. They turned him on his side and listened to his heart and lungs from the back. Harry kept trying to pull the sheet up in the back, one of the nurses smiled telling him only his dimples were showing."
Laura shutting her eyes remembered their first night in Ireland. On the rug in front of the fireplace, she placed her head on his lower back and became intently drawn to the two deep dimples positioned just above his nicely formed ass. Jokingly she remarked that considerable investigation would be necessary before a proper opinion could be rendered as to which of his dimples were the sexists.
"Harry blushing decided it was better just to be still. As the doctor and one of the nurses placed gloves on I knew the real fun was about to start. I whispered that I would stay only as long as it was ok with him. Doctor Harris had indicated they usually preferred that a parent or guardian stay with an adolescent as young a Harry. By placing our little tough guy in control I knew my chances were better of getting to stay so I could offer my hand for squeezing if the pain got bad. The gown and sheet were now moved to cover his torso but his legs were placed in an upright bent position with the sheet brought down as far as his knees. He was told to relax and let his legs fall apart. The doctor explained that inserting the instrument in his rectum would cause him to feel a large amount of pressure. Turning his head he bit his lip as the discomfort of inserting the instrument increased. Grabbing his hand I ordered him to squeeze hard. I was relieved he didn't jerk his hand back. The Harry of a year ago would have died rather than admit he needed comforting. Being soothed was for mere mortals; he had to maintain that damm independents.
Dr. Harris told Harry to relax and let his abdomen muscles go soft. Pushing all around the abdomen and genitals while moving the instrument deeper caused his facial expression to flinch. Harry had to turn on his stomach rising up on the examining table with both knees placing his head on a pillow. You can image how difficult it must have been for a shy boy of barely thirteen to lay with your bottom up in the air. The cold liquid applied for lubrication caught him by surprise. Even under the influence of sedation the look in Harry's eyes told me he had enough. The nurse brought around more lights and the doctor first probed with her fingers and then with an instrument with a tiny camera and light at the end. All of us in the room could see the T.V.screen that displayed the inside lower colon, prostrate and other things whose names are too hard or long to say. I could see a tear rolling down his cheek I knew that this was both very painful and embarrassing. A male nurse handed me a tissue. I didn't even realize that I was crying. I looked up to say thanks and realized that the man was Harry's grandfather! Even in a hospital mask there was no mistake. My first reaction was to scream but looking down at Harry seeing the trauma evident in his face I decided against adding any extra complications. Looking I realized he was rubbing Harry's upper back in an effort at comforting him. Brendan also had tears running down onto his mask.
Daniel came into the room and touched Harry's cheek. "How's he doing Doc?"
"Fine, she said looking up, Harry is a real brave kid".
"Kid? Harry questioned in a weak hoarse voice.
"You're right, my apologies -young man-winked Dr. Harris. "Harry, hold on to Claire and Daniel's hands because I am getting ready to remove the probe and it is going to hurt a bit". Daniel moved to Harry's left side with his back to Brendan who was pretending to arrange instruments."
"Ok, partner squeeze hard now," encouraged Daniel.
"Harry closed both eyes and bit down on both lips at the pain of the extraction.
"Hand me a # 2 pad we have a little bleeding here.
"Ok, Harry, listen when I say three I want you to bear down like you are going to the bathroom.
"One, two, three, good bear down again -good - we need a few more pads here--- just a few more seconds and I want you to lay flat on your right side." Harry's hands were shaking and his face was pale. "Let's move on your side now". "You did great you are a real little prince Harry Brendan Chalmers.
"I want you to just rest we are going to turn off those strong lights and get you warm.
"You are going to have to lay here for an hour so close your eyes and get some sleep."
"In no time Harry's deep breathing and pouting lip told us he was asleep."
Doctor Harris smiled, "you two had better be prepared to handle a lot of women around your house.
"Oh, I almost forgot, Doctor Harris said searching the pockets of her white coat, have you ever heard of Charlotte Ford?
"She says that she runs one of the largest model agencies in the United States.' "She is here in London with a large group of her models who are doing some big fashion gig". "One of her male models pulled a hamstring and she saw Harry as you entered the lobby." "She gave me this card and asked if you would give her a call." He plays polo right-did his team play in Gloucestershire night before last ---I thought so--- Mrs. Ford went to the match to look at the field because they are going to do some kind of photo shoot.
"She spotted Harry there but could not get to him before a tall blonde girl and a black male took off with him right after his match."
"That would be Felicia and Monroe," said Daniel.
"Mrs. Ford could not believe the luck of running into him twice.
"I told her that it had to be our Harry because sadly there aren't many who look like him.
"Oh she is also interested in the blonde girl he was with."
"Now about Harry-everything looks great he has some swelling in the prostrate gland but that is pretty common for a boy heading into some heavy-duty puberty." "We could not find any thing that would tell us why he has a hard time gaining weight - but his hormone levels are excellent -it is probably his metabolism." I will know more when I get all of the blood results.
"He has zero body fat, which means you have to be careful if he gets ill". There is no excess fat for his body to metabolize so it starts on the good fat-like that around and in the joints.
"We did rule out any kind of parasite that he could have contracted while living on the streets." Daniel sighed a breath of relief. "From what I could see today every thirteen-year-old boy should be this healthy.
"You both better take a good long look because next year the boy you see now will be deep into manhood.
"He will be tall dark and handsome with matinee idol looks." We all slowly walked out of the room into the hall. "He is young and very tight so when extracting the instrument it nicked some tissue causing him to bleed.
"There should be no future problems but if he continues to bleed or have pain while having bowel movements beyond tomorrow I want to know.
"He will be sore for the next two days." Let Harry sleep for at least another forty minutes, the sedation will have worn off." As soon as she walked out of hearing range I told Daniel about seeing Brendan."
"You mean we left Harry alone with him," shouted Daniel. He ran back to the examining room and Brendan was standing over the sleeping Harry stroking his hair".
Brendan didn't even look up when he asks Daniel what took so long. "You always have been sloppy with the safety of those whom according to you, are your most precious possessions," gritted Brendan.
I had never seen Daniel's violent side but it lies just below that charming gentleman surface.
"That the difference between you and I said Daniel, I don't consider people to be possessions." Daniel lunged for his arm.
"Not here I told them; do you want him to witness this after what he has endured?" Brendan indicated that it was fine with him - - a child needs to know. Seeing Daniel's face Brendan grabbed his earlobe-the same thing Harry does when tired or nervous-kissed Harry on the cheek and walked out of the room. Daniel turned giving me instructing to wipe that scum's kiss off his son's cheek. He left and was quickly on Brendan's heels. Harry's hand moved and I grabbed it hoping he had not heard anything and would sleep a little longer. Laura I guess you are wondering why I'm telling you all of this."
"Claire, in the thirty minutes you have been talking I have come to understand my husband more clearly," stammered Laura.
Claire took a deep breath and looked down at the floor.
"After getting a very sore Harry to sleep I told Daniel we had to talk. He made a few calls and then sat down and reluctantly began talking. Laura, didn't you ever wonder why Daniel was posthumously knighted for just one heroic deed? I'm sorry lass but we don't award the "Order of Knighthood" that easily. When the constabulary took the five passports, why wasn't your Remington Steele arrested? At the very least why wasn't a trace run on any of the names? Do you think they say--Oh hell, we have a man who has entered our country with false passports-an Irishman -we will just forget it--Just a year after the bombing of Harrods--by a branch of the IRA-- The Loyal Terrorist Organization, known for recruiting men Harry's age? Mildred, weren't you just a little surprised when the man you had befriended at the hotel, having tea with him on two occasions, just happened to know where to get a top-notch fake passport? I'm sorry, but why do you think Daniel was involved with a group of miners who were planning to kill the Earl of Claridge? Remember Harry and Daniel robbed a bank for those radical miners; so why was nothing ever made of it? Laura looked at Mildred she had commented on the plane that they should all been grateful for the inefficiency of Scotland Yard. Laura, not that you don't have justification in light of The Five Nudes of Cairo incident, but for the record Felicia called Scotland Yard to get Harry away from the serious game in which she and Daniel were involved. Felicia knew her loft was under surveillance and that Daniel would rather have his son safe in jail for a couple of days rather than anywhere near Hawkins and Armstrong. Daniel never got the straight skinny on what caused your unexpected visit but he was shaken at how close Harry came to harm. Felicia's encounter with you at the wedding reception was for the same reason. Daniel hoped she would anger you enough to drive you away. If something happen to you Harry would have never recovered. Daniel wasn't sure he could protect both of you if things went sour. Felicia was crushed when telling me of Harry's agonized expression when faced with the uncertainty of your safety after your hasty departure among gunshots. She made a final play for him and lost. Felicia said it was funny; she had never come in second to any woman in her life and now that the prize meant more than anything else in the world -she had lost. So if you cross paths again understand your marriage devastated her."
Laura knew she had not been a gracious winner. How could I have been so wrong and judgmental anguished Laura? She should have realized Felicia's intent. She always jumped to the worst possible scenario when it came to that woman. In truth, she was also guilty of the same crime with Remington. Laura wondered whom she really was learning more about Harry or herself.
Claire cleared her throat and began again. "Daniel worked for military intelligent. He was recruited after his third year at Oxford. The British had sent Daniel to Ireland in 1951. The peace after the partition of Ireland in 1920 was rocky at best; but internal problems were put on the back burner for both World Wars. After the wars hate and violence again reared its' ugly head. In 1951 unemployment was high in Northern Ireland; especially among Catholics who were already complaining of discrimination by the British Government in favor of the Protestants. Daniel was part Irish and had a gift for languages and dialects. London assigned Daniel to investigate the rumor of weapons being sent into Northern Ireland by a group located near Dublin. The can of worms he uncovered was dangerous and tricky. Molatov Cocktails pitched into windows were an item of the past. In their place was to be a very deadly group of explosives developed courtesy of the Korean War. The explosives, developed by Russia, somehow ended up in Libyan hands, and stood ready to be purchased by a radical IRA faction. While in Dublin he met what he always described as the most exquisite creature to ever grace his life, Harriet Rose O'Rielly. She had come to Dublin with her mother to compete in a beauty pageant. It took Daniel about one hour to find out about the tall dark haired beauty with huge blue sapphire eyes. Her father Brendan was big in local politics, proud, and liked to feel important. He was always being kidded that he won elections due to the female vote. On the dark side it was commonly known that a girl of nineteen killed herself when he refused to leave college to marry her. Ironically he had to quit college a year later when his father died. He was married two years later to Elizabeth Rose. Their one son Pierce, died at age twenty in a car accident, the second child Sarah got married right out of school, the baby and the apple of her father's eye was Harriet. Harriet was just eight when her brother died but they both had their father's brains and looks. Daniel's cover was that of a dockworker named Michael O'Shay. The cover gave him the ability to detect the time and manor of the delivery of explosives. His second task was to befriend a rough dockhand named Shane Brady who was very high in this radical fragment of the IRA organization. Daniel and Harriet fell in love; he could not understand how this beautiful lady would pick an average looking dockworker over her many suitors. Daniel knew that her father was totally possessive but he could not restrain his heart. After Brendan's son's death he pinned all of his hopes and dreams on his youngest child. Daniel would visit Harriet as often as possible. Claire stopped and looked Laura in the eye, Daniel felt so guilty about his part in her death that telling Harry about his mother is something he could never have done. He knew that his mind was not on his job; he was preoccupied by love. One night Daniel left Harriet on the dance floor saying he needed air she followed rather than go to the table to visit her girlfriends, as was her habit. She hid in the shadows hearing Daniel receive a real dressing down by another agent, "Chalmers you show up waltzing around with the most beautiful girl in the damm country when you are supposed to be assuming a low profile and incurring the trust of Shane. "MI6 has a lot of money invested in this Mate and you have devoted over a year of your life. Think of the lives that will be lost if we don't stop this bloody shipment?
"Her father has been asking all over the docks about you." Daniel told Jack that he most assuredly didn't need a nagging mother. It was the last statement that Jack made which always haunted Daniel. "Do you know the danger your putting her in you bloody fool?" Instead of heeding the advice he proposed to Harriet and called his favorite jeweler at Harrods and ordered a rather unique engagement ring. I believe you are familiar with the ring said Claire grabbing Laura's ring finger.
"What?" asked a confused Laura?
"Royal Lavulite, surrounded by diamonds, Harriet had read an article on the recent discovery in South Africa of beautiful blue stones-she placed a picture of the blue gem on her dressing table. Daniel said it reminded him of the color of Harriet's eyes when she got excited. When the British Government denied the South African Government's request for help in the recovery of their stolen gems; Daniel, for semimetal reasons, asked Harry to help, for a modest finder's fee of course. What Daniel didn't bargain on was his son meeting the love of his life. Daniel gave Harry the ring almost two years ago after the Duke of Rutherford affair when it became apparent Remington Steele was in love with his associate. He told Harry it was just a meaningless bobble his friend at Harrods had given him in return for a favor that Daniel had preformed. The whole original reason for the Duke of Rutherford scam was to give Daniel one last ploy to test Harry's resolve in his commitment to you. He never figured on a crowd, you, Mildred and a psycho nanny. Daniel asked Harry not to tell the ring was his design knowing your disapprove of him."
Laura looked down at the ring and felt tremendous pride that Harry had chosen her and that he was Daniel's son.
Claire began her story again. 'They would tell her father in a month. Daniel's case would be finished and he would get that house next to Oxford University so both could finish college. The case concluded with several thousands pounds of dangerous explosives being seized 40 miles off the Irish Coast. Daniel had also managed to compile quite a list of names involved with the radical faction via Shane. But Harriet was caught in a different kind of explosion. Brendan found her application to Oxford along with a letter from Daniel talking about their pending marriage and the wonder of the afternoon they spent alone on a friend's boat. Brendan got angry and slapped Harriet. In an attempt to appease her father's anger it slipped that Daniel was not merely a dockworker but in reality a British government agent. Daniel didn't even know Harriet was wise to his job or name. Brendan went to the docks to look for Daniel and found him talking to Shane trying to pump him for final information before it became clear that no precious cargo would be hitting the docks. Brendan walked up angry but Daniel was able to get him out of the proximity of Shane's ears. Brendan revealed his discoveries to Daniel. He barely had time for the realization that Harriet knew everything to hit when Brendan told him that his daughter would never marry a Brit especially a Protestant one who could put his girl in danger. One insult led to another and the two men fought each trying to inflict serious harm on the other. They were finally pulled apart and Brendan left. Despite Harriet's explanation of the danger of Daniel's mission; Brendan went to Shane and attacked his loyalty questioning his membership in the Sinn Fien Organization, Gaelic for "We Ourselves", a group dedicated to non acceptance of the 1920 division of Ireland, by befriending a Protestant British Agent. He knew he was setting Daniel up to be killed. Shane did come after him but Daniel got lucky killing the radical in a very public fight. If MI6 came in and rescued Daniel the IRA would know he was an agent. The list of names, which Daniel gave them, would be useless; they would simply reorganize and go deeper underground. If the fight was viewed as minuscule, nothing more than two hotheaded males fighting over a woman in a bar; and Daniel sent to prison for involuntary man slaughter; then those radicals who knew Shane had nothing to fear and the list would still be of great value. Daniel had no choice he went to Marze prison for the minimum sentence of two years giving MI6 time to round up most of the people on the list. He would be protected while in prison be separated from the general population and then return to England with his cover in tact. The only kink in the plan was Harriet. She understood what had happen and her father's part in the drama. She felt so guilty about her slip and deception. She told her father that she never wanted to hear his name again. Daniel had made arrangements for her to go ahead to his house at Oxford. Brendan had Harriet abducted taking her to an estate in the French countryside very near the Alps. She and her mother were to stay until Harriet returned to her senses and Brendan was sure the "Pandora's Box" he had opened would not spill on his daughter. Daniel was told via Brendan's solicitor that Harriet never wanted to see him again. Daniel oblivious to the truth fell prey to the treacherous lie. Devastated he clung to the hope that once free he could change her mind. The rest of the story you sort of know. She realized that she was pregnant with Harry. Brendan's revenge on Daniel had now placed his beloved daughter in a horrible fix. Harriet and her mother came back to Ireland to live with a Great Aunt. She did not try to see Daniel because it could place her unborn child in danger and times being what they were it would bring shame to her mother and sister. Even pregnant she was beautiful and Harriet managed to charm the handyman into mailing a letter to Daniel. After feeling dead for seven months, Daniel came alive, repetitively reading the line that told him of the baby. Harriet wrote she was convinced the child was a boy saying the little bugger moved so much that she could hardly sleep.
Harrison Brendan Chalmers' was born on a beautiful spring day May 16, 1953. The nurse said he was just a hank of hair and a piece of bone. He had a full head of beautiful black hair and weighed a mere 5 pounds and 1 ounce. The labor was hard and long due in part to Harriet's slim build. She was weak but needed to nurse Harry due to his small size. The next twenty months mother and child did well. Brendan swore that he would never lay eyes on Daniel's little bastard. But after only three weeks he shows up and according to the Great Aunt, walked in on his beautiful child nursing Harry. He was taken back by her glow and the tenderness that lit her face as she looked at the tiny bundle with its little pink fist resting on her breast. He just sat there watching; perhaps realizing for the first time the damage caused by his treachery. Upon being informed that she had given Harry the middle name of Brendan to honor her father and dead brother all of the pain of the last two years vanished. Her journal told of her father's smiles as he held Harry amazed that something so small could captivate his attention for such a long time. But life and joy can be fleeting. Daniel's house near Oxford had been broken into and burned. This incident was followed by two attempts on his life. All of this occurred in 48 hours. When the explosives didn't appear and members of their organization began disappearing it became clear they had betrayed. MI6 had tracked down, arrested, imprisoned, or eliminated almost 70% of the names on Daniel's list. One thug, Thomas Harrington, was considered the most important and dangerous. When MI6 hit Thomas' house he escaped but his wife and two sons were killed. The evidence from the house at Oxford proved Daniel Chalmers and dockworker Michael O'Shay were one and the same. Thomas swore to kill the man and anyone close to him. MI6 found a prison guard had blabbed about letters Daniel received from a woman. Harriet had put no return address but Daniel knew it wouldn't take long for them to track the author of the letters and his son. He told Brendan to take his wife, Harry and Harriet to a new safe house established by the agency. MI6 had already sent protection but it would not be enough. Brendan felt they had more time and that Daniel exaggerated the danger. He took two days to pack and set his business affairs to run in his absents.
Just months before his second birthday and the release of Daniel; some thugs came hitting the garden where Harriet was painting and her mother was watching Harry. Both women dove grabbing him trying to protect the toddler from the flying bullets. Brendan in route to relocate the family was too late. He came just moments after, almost being run over by the killer's cars as they sped down the road. Three MI6 agents, two members of the house staff, three assassins, Elizabeth, and Harriet lay dead. When Brendan ran to the garden still cradled between his mother and grandmother laid Harry covered with blood. Grabbing the child he found Harry scratched but unharmed. As tears mixed with Harriet and Elizabeth's blood on Harry's sweet face he knew justice and goodness were just figments of the mind. In one instant Brendan and Daniel lost everything they held most dear; except a black haired sapphire-eyed twenty-month-old child. The only MI6 agent to survive was a handsome blonde headed man called Jackson Cutter. Laura and Mildred gasp --Yes, my late husband. Hit in the arm while killing one of the monster walking to the pile of bodies to ensure the demise of the baby. Jack and I always considered Harry as partly ours.
Jack would be proud of the virtuous man that baby has become. My husband let Brendan talk him into a dangerous plan. Getting a baby's body and placing it in the family plot alongside Harriet, Elizabeth, and Pierce with the hope that Thomas would buy it. Jack broke the news to Daniel that both mother and child were gone. The cry Daniel released was more befitting a wounded beast than a man. My husband heard that cry in his dreams every night. My husband felt the best way to protect Daniel and Harry was to keep them apart. Thomas' plan was to murder Harry in front of Daniel. Daniel would watch his child die just like Thomas had been forced to do. Part of Daniel died that day. Several months passed and Daniel returned to London a broken man. Brendan took Harry and a nurse to the Island of Erris Head. Brendan began making more excuses to be gone from business. People assumed it was grief sending him to a seaside island. They were partly correct; with the child alive a part of Elizabeth, Pierce, and Harriet were by his side. When Brendan was warned by the man who ran the ferry, that two strangers had asked if anyone with a two year old male child had come to live on the island six months earlier he knew their rouses had not worked and it was time to run. Harry was taken to Wexford to live with his Aunt Sarah. Brendan, planning ahead, gave her a house in the county just weeks earlier with instruction for Sarah to tell new neighbors she had four children, her youngest, a blue-eyed boy, was visiting relatives. Now finding the backup location necessary Harry was taken to see his cousins. Brendan had no idea the damage done by his favoritism of Pierce and Harriet. Here again Harry pays for the sins of others. At first when Brendan visited his daughter he notice nothing more than Harry's tiny hands grabbing him and not letting go when the weekend ended and he needed to return home. But then came the other signs--he was too quite--sad eyes--he was getting thinner--only good clothes in which he could find to dress Harry were those he purchased. These signs were followed by unexplained bruises and hair that was long and unkempt. Brendan walking out of church with Harry partially covered by a blanket, was stopped by a woman who commented 'what a beautiful little girl he had in his arms. Dylan teased Harry from that moment on calling him pretty boy. Brendan came for a visit and discovered Harry sick running a high fever with labored breathing. The only doctor in the small town had never seen the child before but Sarah's other children had all been for regular visits. The doctor questioned why Harry's cold had been allowed to advance into the beginnings of pneumonia. After a stern talk to Sarah and her husband matters only got worse. Christmas was the last straw; first Harry's small bed had been placed in a storage room just large enough for a 20-inch clearance on each side of the bed. Sarah said it was because he kept her son Dylan awake. At the end of the room was a cardboard box with his few clothes and toys. The next morning he spilled his juice. Harry held his hands up automatically to protect his face from being hit. Sarah's husband stood up with the back of his hand stopping inches from Harry's face when the realization of Brendan's presents dawned. Brendan stood up throwing coffee in his son-in-law's face asking the swine if he wanted to try slapping someone his own size. Later that night Tess, Sarah oldest daughter, sat on her grandfather's lap explaining that making her father angry just made life harder on Harry. He asked about the bed knowing Harry was as quite as a mouse. She replied that Harry incessantly cried one night because of an earache and her father placed him in the storage room so the crying would not disturbed anyone. No medicine or comfort of any kind was given to the lad. Christmas morning came and all the kids were excited but Harry. Brendan grabbed Harry saying lets see what Santa's brought you lad but he jumped down running into Tess' room using his tiny hands to pick clothes off the floor. Brendan stood amazed that a child of three and half could manage such a grown up task. He told the child chores could wait but the Christmas tree couldn't. Harry looked down at the floor saying he had been bad and Santa was angry; there would be no gifts. Brendan couldn't believe his ears he left Harry racing to the fireplace. His eyes could not believe it; the child didn't even have a stocking hanging. Brendan had brought toys for all of his grandchildren but he had given Sarah money along with ideas of possible gifts for Harry that were to be from Santa. Even on Christmas Sarah insisted that the children recite scripture before eating breakfast. Harry in his small voice quoted his scripture letter perfect. How did he do that asked Brendan? Tess proudly spoke up saying that he liked memorizing things. "I have even taught him letters he can read a few words," she added. "It's what he does when he gets locked in the storage room for being bad," Dylan chided realizing too late his mistake. Amy snickered and said "that all the time". Harry hung his head and said nothing. Brendan was determined to keep his temper in check being it was Christmas. But he did remark in the voice that told Sarah that the storm had come "well at least he is let out to do his chores." Harry sat in his grandfather's lap and watched the other kids opening gifts and dumping out their stockings. Not one cousin came forward to offer the child as much as a piece of candy. As Brendan's gifts were about to be distributed he announced that Harry had a decision to make. Confused he looked up as his grandfather spoke "Harry all of those gifts are yours, do you want to keep them all, taking them to your new home or do you want to share?" Looking at the faces of his cousins he asked, "
Share means all get some?"
"Yes" came Brendan's soft voice.
"Even Tubs," he asked?
"The dog would probably prefer some of the Christmas roast," exclaimed Brendan smiling.
"Share," Harry said guardedly hoping he had given the right answer.
"Brendan had used Harry's kind nature to shame his daughter while teaching the rest of the children a lesson in generosity they would never forget. Brendan told everyone that Santa left Harry's toys including a red tricycle and a stocking full of candy at his new house.
"Santa told me you are one of his favorites."
"Me?" asked Harry, "Is there a car and a book with a Tiger in it he questioned"?
"Is that what you ask Santa for" Brendan quizzed?
"Tess told me to - so I drew pictures".
"After dinner the older two kids were playing Harry and Amy were sleeping in Brendan's lap. He told Sarah the blame and responsibility for her cruel nature rested on his shoulders but taking revenge on a defenseless child was unforgivable - Harriet loved you she always looked up to her big sister-This child is the mirror image of your sister and you denied him even a kind word-Both your sister and mother died protecting Harry. He would not continue to pay for the house or send any money. Brendan hoped he would be allowed to have access to his grandchildren but that was Sarah's decision. The next day after Brendan made a few phone calls Harry kissed everyone good-bye and hugged Tess until being picked up and placed in the car. Harry was next taken to a friend of Brendan's from college. Merick Haspfield was a wealthy woman who lived near London. She had lost a husband and son to World War II. She was taken by Harry's sweet face and the resemblance to his grandfather whom Merick had fallen madly in love with while at Cambridge. Harry could not say Merick or Haspfield so it was decided that he would call her Mime. She had purchased Brendan's requested gifts and Harry had the only real Christmas of his childhood. Future Christmases were nothing more than reminders that he was unloved, alone and poor. Daniel found him at age eleven, replacing the lost magic and enchantment children feel for Christmas at ages three to eight was impossible. The next ten months were perhaps the best since his mother's death. Harry charmed the complete household staff that at first did not want a child under foot, especially an active little boy. Mime hired a governess and doted on the long legged beautiful boy. Harry went to the zoo and used paint, chalks, and charcoal to exhibit his growing art talent. Mime admitted to Brendan that initially her acceptance of the child was based on hope the two might rekindle lost feelings. It took only a couple of months for Harry to become the center of her life. Mime told Brendan his grandson had forced her back into the land of the living after eight years of existing as a hermit mourning the loss of her family. The ironic element in this saga was that during this time Harry lived a mere twenty-two miles from Daniel. Do to the danger surrounding Harry the household was told that Brendan's name was Clark and the child was a distant relative from Ireland. There was no way of knowing that the lies told to protect Harry would tear him away from those dedicated to his safety. When Brendan told Harry that his new name was Michael all he wanted to know was how to make an M. Mime went to the opera after talking on the phone to Brendan. Two strangers had followed him all week. Jack had confirmed these men were dangerous, he told her to kiss Michael, inform him he would not be coming to visit for awhile, and relay how much Brendan missed his big smile. He could not chance leading them to the child. That night on the way backs from the opera a drunk driver hit Mime's limo killing both her and the driver. Two days after the burial her greedy nephew established from talking to the staff that Harry was Irish. He turned Harry over to the English government. At the tender age of four he entered the first of what was to be a long series of orphanages and foster homes both in England and Ireland. At age nine he and an older boy ran away after almost being killed in a Mayfair orphanage by a group of fifteen year olds. Brendan's anger at losing Harry caused him to almost kill Mime's nephew. Jack had to get him out of jail so they could continue looking for the child. The trick was how do you search for a child secretly? If they were not careful those creeps could end up with Harry. Three years later Jack got cancer of the colon and decided to come clean with Daniel especially since he and Brendan failed in locating the child. Everything we had went to cover Jack's medical bills; I lost the antique shop -Daniel took me in despite the hurt Jack's deception had caused. Armed with the knowledge of Harry's existence he became obsessed. The paper trail traveled between the countries of Ireland and England, between state and Catholic orphanages, and industry schools. Harry was abandoned, sort of speak, in England but his accent, looks, and the testimony of Mime's staff placed him as Irish. When one country got tired they would shift responsibly to the other and up rooting the tiny tike as if he was some sort of inanimate object. To make matters worse Harry continued to run away and change names. The shy boy decided at some point in all of this hell to stand up and fight even if it met he would get beat up. We hired investigators both in England and in Ireland to help. Before my husband's death he gave Daniel Harriet's Journal. Jack managed to locate it before Brendan that horrible day under the garden bench. Inside were loving passages containing a day-by-day description of Harry's every move. He also located Harriet's art portfolio case; contained inside were the most beautiful paintings, charcoals, and pastels of Harry. There were also some black and white photographs documenting the first two years of the man we all love. You Americans have a song which I believe goes "You must have been a beautiful baby cause baby just look at you now.' I'm sure the lyricist of that song must have known our Harry. We finally got wind of a male child in Brixton that fit the description of how an eleven-year-old Harry might look, from one of our investigators. Irony here is that pictures of an eleven-year-old Brendan and Harriet were used in the designing of the composite depicting the possible features of our eleven-year-old Harry. Brendan had supplied my late husband with the pictures when they had searched for Harry together. I told Daniel that no one would believe that he just ran into his son---but you all did -even Harry.
We tried to contain our excitement but we could not believe he could be so close. After three days of no Harry sightings Daniel was ready to give up. The fourth morning he spotted Brendan who had been directed to Brixton by his investigators. He'd be damned if that son of a bitch would get hold of Harry again. The fifth afternoon he spotted a child picking pockets who from a distance seemed to have Harriet's features. Daniel stopped on the corner took a wad of money from of his pocket counted it then replaced it. He had been in some tight situations with MI6 but as he stood near the boy that might be Harry his hands and knees began shaking. The dirty little street urchin notices the wad and position himself ready to relieve the mark of that extra weight. As Daniel crossed the street the boy moved in front and bumped the mark only to find strong hands griped around his thin wrists. Daniel spun him around for a good look, it had to be Harry; Harriet's eyes were looking back at him. Let me go bellowed the kid and with a jerk he kicked Daniel in the shin. Daniel held on for dear life; he would not loose him now. "Easy mate you don't want to attract un due attention?" Daniel said trying to steady himself. "Let go of me you bloody oft," barked Harry. As people were beginning to look; Daniel cajolingly said allowance negotiations were getting far too violent. As he pushed Harry into the nearest ally he pushed the child's hair out of his face reveling the beauty of this wild creature. "What you want with me you stupid bloke?
"What's your name my boy?" Daniel asked. "Humphrey Bogart" but you can bugger off because I'm not signing autographs today," snapped Harry looking for an escape route. "Like the movies I see-good well lets pretend that you are the good fairy and you are going to grant me three wishes-tell me your name-Mick---How old are you? -What is with you mister you work for one of those tabloids? ---I 'm asking the questions? --- Thirteen -You look more like eleven to me---Have it your way. -Where are your parents? -At home mending my knickers and fixing me tree house you nosey ass."Lets try again asked Daniel trying to wipe the amusement at the expressive lingo off his face.
"Mothers dead and me old man had better things to do than wet nurse me," snapped Harry. Daniel could see the sadness and rejection in those incredible eyes. "Blimey, if this interview is over you can let go and allow the blood back into my arm," squirmed Harry. Tell you what Mick-I'm in need of a dinner companion and since you have an opening---Sorry, but me Tux is being cleaned now let me go! "When was the last time you ate?" Daniel questioned. "When's the last time you went over a minutes without asking something stupid?" retorted Harry. Daniel escorted the angry boy into a little eight-table pastry shop. "What you got hearty enough for two men," asked Daniel smiling hoping that the proprietor would not notice a squirming Harry. "I just made some roast with potatoes and carrots for my own growing boys," she said tossing Harry's hair. "I ain't his growing anything," Harry said with a great amount of indignity "I would not rule out pain in the ass.," whispered Daniel through clenched teeth. As the meal came Harry famished settled down for the moment his hunger pains were more important than the need to shake Daniel. He watched the child eat trying to memorize everything about him ---his long elegant hands-long thick lashes - and that beautiful smile he flashed the lady returning with more roast, Harriet's smile. " Mick is that short for Michael,"-- No you stupid sod I'm Irish-Look Mick, if I wanted to hurt you I could have by now". Why no authorities?" Harry asked putting yet another bite in his mouth. "Because I need-----the next thing Daniel felt was a knife under the table pointed at his stomach. "I aint for sale mate ---no one touches my knickers," Daniel chocking on the wine, looked in horror at the child's expression. Harry's beautiful skin, dimpled chin, and eyes would of course have made him a target for passes from all sorts of creeps-it just never crossed Daniel's mind that the blessing of inheriting Harriet's traits could put him in danger. Why hadn't he been there to protect him, hold him when he was sick or afraid. Before Daniel could explain; Harry was gone. Daniel felt that his heart had also taken flight. He reached to pay for the meal and realized that Harry had made off with part of the money. The next day Daniel was told to take the name Mick to a local thug who ran that section of Brixton. Daniel offered a creep named Johnny Todd a fairly large number of quids for information on the cheeky boy called Mick. "That mother's boy, flea pit boy, he's too high and mighty to run for me, he won't let you touch him, thinks his knickers are just too good for the likes of most, --he's got Will watching his back-but they'll get sloppy Nicky have him singing a different note soon governor, he's just waiting for him to get a little more ripe and hungry then he'll get top dollar for that precious little cherry. Daniel looked at the scum standing before him wondering how long it took living on the streets before you became such a monster. Just get me the information and reach me at this number. Daniel sat in the best hotel in Brixton; but that's wasn't saying much. He had phoned telling me the idea of Harry spending another night on that street made his blood run cold. No more that twenty minutes later, the phone rang and the voice on the other end indicated that they had Daniel's package, telling him to bring money to a certain address. Daniel entered a huge run down warehouse where a greasy man with the worst teeth he had ever seen approached. 'Hey governor this is your lucky day--- look what I got" There stood Harry pale with blood coming out of the side of his mouth, his legs and hands tied. "This was one tough package to get-but he's a sweet little thing -he pulls Harry's hair forcing his head back- look at that mouth-and the eyes". Daniel in shock just wanted to puck at the sight of Harriet's son being treated like a piece of prize meat. "I'm afraid that this one will cost a pretty quid governor - the little guttersnipe - hurt two of my best mates-but he's worth it -with that they pushed Harry's torso face down on a dirty table and pulled his pants down to his knees-Harry was fighting back with all he had -one of the men was about to hit Harry in the head when Daniel told them he did not pay for damaged goods. Nicky continued, "see that pretty little tight ass- he walked around patting and squeezing both cheeks-this sweet little bird ain't got no feathers-- smooth like a baby he is--I knew when I laid me eyes on him that one day this fine cherry would make me a pretty quid --it ain't never been touched he said running his finger up and down Harry's crack-he then places his finger in his mouth -sweet like honey he is. You see governor what we have here is a bidding war---and we got them elements of supply and demand working here-there's only one tender little Mick -and there's two man begging for his little cherry-He grabs Mick's hair and turns his face to the side-Sticking his mouth in Mick's ear-Hear that-- you're the belle of the ball pretty boy". That bastard Brendan, thought Daniel. "Well let's get on with it at this rate the lad will be collecting a pension before the deal is done," Daniel said trying keep the fear and disgust out of his voice. He would give anything to get his son out of this mess; including his life. "Look I'm tired what's your price?
"1,600 pounds" smiled Nicky. Daniel handed the man what would be around $800.00 U.S. He patted Harry one more time before looking at Daniel "gov he's pretty but he bites-- I'd leave him tied up till your done if I was you." Daniel pulled Harry's pants up as Nicky, thrilled by his bounty, took his five thugs and left. Daniel took Harry's shaking head in his hands and brushed the hair from his moist eyes. The next few moments would be the most important in his life. He had only seconds to win the trust of this hurt scared eleven-year-old child. "Look, you crazy kid why didn't you listen to me in the café? " It would have saved you a lot of bruises and me a hell of a lot of money.
"I'm taking that money out of your share of the con." Harry looked up and the trembling eased a little. "Look no offense I'm sure your quite presentable underneath all that dirt-But I like women and I need a cool headed partner to work as a shield; now I'm not too sure you can handle it.
"If it is ok I'm going to remove those ropes." Harry's wrists were cut from the ropes and his lip was split but other wise he was fine. Emotionally Harry was very close to being in shock. Daniel explained if he wanted to hear more they could go to his room, otherwise he could go on picking pockets paying Daniel a part each week until he replaced the $800.00 dollars. Daniel held his breath, if his acting was not convincing then Harry would run and be on the streets, and Nicky's next customer would want to sample the merchandise. Harry was so shaken that Daniel hailed a cab even though the Hotel was just four blocks away. He got nervous and on edge when Daniel suggested a bath. Look Mick, I am going to get us some food, here is a robe, and the door has a lock. I must admit you held it together, those slim balls scared me, Daniel said trying to make Harry relax.
"Why did you sic them on me eh, Harry asked with big leery eyes."
"I asked some creep called Johnny Todd for information about you-I check out my potential partners," exclaimed Daniel calmly. "I don't know who this Nicky creep is.
"I pulled out a wad of money and watched how you set up your mark and later when I realized you made away with some of the cash."
"I needed a place for Will and I to kip for the night," justified Harry.
"Sorry lad, I was just impressed by your skill-your innocent and young enough to be a shield but wise enough to be more than window dressing.
"I am going to get food if your not here when I get back then I will add your part of the food bill to your debt."
"Can I call Will to tell him I'm ok?
"He might hear that Nicky came around and be worried," explained Harry softly.
"Sure there is the phone I will get enough food for the three of us."
"Harry went into the bathroom shutting and locking the door. A few minutes later through the vent on the door he could hear Harry sobbing. As Daniel looked through the vent he saw Harry's head cradled in his arm on the side of the tub crying. Daniel quietly left the room and placed his crying face against the wall in the hall. Separated by only a thin wall both father and son's hearts felt as if they had been shattered. We had our boy but how long would it take to make the pain in those blue eyes disappear. When Daniel saw the now clean Harry in his robe he had to look away to keep from staring and crying. After eating Daniel gave Harry a sack with underwear, toothbrush, jeans, sweatshirt, and pajama bottoms. Harry still extremely leery, put on the pajamas, brushed his teeth, and got in bed. Still weary of Daniel, he was worn-out and sore. He instantly fell asleep with both hands curled under his dimpled chin. Daniel called saying he was looking down at one of the most angelic sights in the world and that he would find some way to convince Harry that he needed to move in with us. About an hour later a knock came at the door and Will a tall thin boy of fourteen charged in with knife in tow."
Daniel pointed to the bed.
"Have you touched him you bloody pervert?"
"No, he's just been through a horrifying experience" Daniel said trying to calm Will down.
" After looking over the sleeping Harry assured that he had not been touched; Will agreed to eat and talk. He talked of the horrors of the orphanages and industry schools and how Harry had jumped on the back of much larger older boy keeping Will from being knifed. Two days later both boys ran away together. Then he asked Daniel what was he trying to pull? A man had come to Will asking the whereabouts of Mick. He knew that this stranger was on the level because he looked identical to Mick-so naturally he wanted to know Daniel's intentions. Daniel showed Will the picture of Harriet and explained the story minus the part about Thomas."
"If you went to prisons then wouldn't Mick be better off with the older guy-he looks rich," questioned Will.
Daniel felt somehow it was important that he make Will understand that Mick needed to be with him. Daniel sensed that this kid may indeed be the only person in the world Harry trusted and he desperately needed Will on his side. His thoughts were interrupted by Harry's nightmare. Daniel quickly sat on the bed pushing Harry's hair off his forehead trying to comfort him. Soon Harry's breathing and hands became relaxed.
"Your crying mate" whispered Will.
Daniel was not aware of the tears; he was just wrapped in the sensation of being able to touch for the first time in his life Harrison Brendan Chalmers. After such a display Will knew that Daniel's story was true and that Mick was going to be in good hands. Together the next day Will and Daniel tackled the task of trying to convince Harry that Nicky would be back.
"Hell Mick, he's already spread the word that he has the goose that laid the golden egg-you made him more than the top two boys in his stable put together," Stammered Will. "You got to leave kid I mean I will miss your stupid face and dumb film quotes but we both know that Nicky has wanted you for sometime". "I would change my name and pretend to be this guy's son to throw Nicky's hounds off the trail.
"He ain't going to take lightly to losing his bank roll."
"Will, don't you think he looks like a Harry," Daniel questioned enthusiastically.
"Harry?" sneered Mick.
"Maybe Sherman or Alistair would be more appropriate,"teased Daniel.
"The fastest talker in Brixton sat silent looking at Daniel then Will and reluctantly agreed. Daniel finally took a breath and stood back letting the two boys say good-bye in private. Will shook Daniel's hand and told him he would help him with that other little problem. Daniel had given Will money and a phone number of a friend whom he agreed to call as soon as Brendan was taken care of. Daniel wanted Will off the streets. Will went to Brendan convincing him with the aid of fake tears that Nicky had sold Harry to a man who had drugged him and taking him to France. Daniel planted people who gave accounts of seeing Harry placed on a boat. Other false clues were also planted to keep Brendan busy. Now, it was Brendan's turn to live in hell. Nicky disappeared from Brixton two days later never to be heard from again. The rest you know.
It took Brendan over a year to figure he was setup. We had not seen or heard from him until the day we took Harry to the hospital. Daniel had been notified two days earlier that Brendan was petitioning the English Courts to return Harry to Ireland for custody hearings. Daniel felt that with time his solicitors could handle the problem but to make sure we needed to get Harry out of the country. He was also worried that Brendan's actions may have attracted the interest of Thomas.
Daniel told Harry this was the con that could set them up for life but like all good things in life it would take time, around two years. A very rich Englishman living in France named Lloyd Hart had a Faberge Egg collection second only to the Moscow Museum. Two of the eggs in his collection had been stolen from the Russian Museum. The Museum offered to pay one and half million dollars for their return. The catch was that Hart never display the stolen eggs or show them to anyone for obvious reasons. He kept his stolen eggs at his French villa. Hart never entertained at the villa or invited friends to visit. He used his Paris flat, a modest 8 million dollar structure, to wine and dine his friends. State of the art security existed for the grounds and villa exterior but very little was present in the interior of the house. Guards were not even placed inside the house-seems it upsets his fourteen year old daughter Trisha to have strange men roaming underfoot. The only person allowed to have friends at the villa was also Trisha. So enter handsome Harold Vanderhost. The only hic up was daddy's rule allowing her to only date boys attending her exclusive prep school. Daniel had secured a beautiful villa, proof he and Harry were true bluebloods, and a membership in the polo club where Hart belonged. A disturbance outside would distract the exterior guards. Hart would figure that during the distraction someone breeched his wonderful security. Hart would never suspect an inside job. Trisha's boyfriend Harold would be visiting during the distraction. But of course since he had been a guest on so many pervious occasions he would be above suspicion. Hart couldn't even report the theft to the French authorities. The key was Harry; he had to pass the entrance exams both written and oral to be admitted to this posh school. This played right to Daniel's concern of Harry's academic growth. It also gave our young man the chance to interface with people his own age Daniel's other obsession. Harry was fanatic, he knew the plan was simple, foolproof, and could set them up for a long time; he just had to get into that bloody school. Dr. Amos and Dr. Franks were hired for that purpose. I had never seen a child work so hard. He would be with one of his tutors from 7:45 till 12:00, lunch was even a lesson-he had to practice manners, pronouncing exotic dishes, and learning which wine were correct for certain foods. At one o'clock it was fencing, two o'clock polo lesson and at four o'clock he was back with his teachers until supper at seven. Then the poor chap would shower and study until I would scream at him around one-thirty in the morning. Harry referred to Daniel as Harry Higgins during his transformation. He kept this schedule for almost three months. Thirteen-year-old Harry sailed through his exams, even Daniel was a little taken back- glad that he would not have to use the devised back-up plan of blackmailing the headmaster. The formal mixer pairing parents of new students with those of the older students would be Harry and Trisha's first meeting. Harry looked so grown-up and handsome in his prep school blazer and new hair cut courtesy of one of the most expensive salon in France. He pretended to hate his preppy look calling himself a Wally. We watch full of pride as he stood by the serving table. Daniel was so nervous knowing Harry's shy and insecure nature. Harry stood there all alone wearing that famous grin; a girl came up introducing herself then a boy, followed by three more girls. Harry without moving an inch had attracted a group of about fifteen people in a space of forty minutes. How does he do that I whispered to Daniel. He's Harriet's son he professed proudly grinning.
A man taped Daniel on the shoulder "Your son's dance card should be pretty full-that blonde is my daughter Trisha," said Hart.
We looked over and saw Trisha placing a strawberry in Harry's mouth.
On the way home Daniel glowed with pride; "within thirty-minutes of meeting his mark she was eating out of his hand-or was it the other way around," he laughed. "Your mother would be so proud," he said. When Daniel realized what happened he panicked "I'm sorry Harry, I just meant that you looked so grown up".
Harry uttered thanks-"I know one thing my mother would demand---therapy for my face it hurts from all that smiling -and they say being charming isn't hard or dangerous."
"Later I asked Daniel where Harry got that talent for using humor to make situations better."
He looked down "I think it's called survival."
"The next eight months were blissful, Harry was happier than I had ever seen him. He had gained, height, weight and confidence. By the end of his thirteen-year he was almost 6 feet tall. We celebrated his fourteenth birthday on the French Riviera. And boy what a difference a year makes- this time girls weren't running just into each other they were literally running after him. Harry had begun to fill out in all the right places; the fencing, rowing, and polo had given our once skinny boy a manly chest and arms. Harry only allowed us to take him away for a two-night celebration because final exams were only two weeks away. When an uninvited twenty-year-old woman surprised Harry by following him up to the room I was glad it was a short holiday. I hearing a female voice opened my door and questioned why a woman was standing in the hall kissing a stunned fourteen-years-old. Of course Harry, having really been caught off guard by the woman's actions collected himself smilingly asking "Wasn't she his birthday present?" I decided two could play this game, "Sorry, dear I'm Reginald's nanny and it's his naptime come along now snookie". Harry wore the most shocked expression as I pulled him into the room. He fell on the bed holding his side and laughing commenting that he didn't know nurse Ratchet had a sense of humor. I began to pray for pimples. Hell he was a teenager wasn't he suppose to have bad skin or at least an ingrown toenail? When I told Daniel he laughed and winked at Harry. I pulled Daniel into my room; I will always regret the words spoken that evening. I told Daniel that he should not have made light of what happened in front of Harry. Telling him I had seen Harry's scared confused expression, not him, and that I didn't want that child pushed into any situation for which he was not yet prepared. I went on to explain that his son's childhood had been stolen and if we weren't careful Harry's innocents would be next. I reprimanded Daniel farther by reminding that the luck of protecting his son once did not insure him of success the next time."
As school ended we were all ready to return to London for six weeks Harry and Trisha had become an item. I urged Daniel to make sure Harry could emotionally handle using a girl who had obviously fallen hard for his son. Harry explained at times he was bothered but then he encounters her father and realizes that the egotistical pig needed to be taken down a peg. We all felt Hart did not deserve a daughter like Trisha.
Latin and Harry were not getting along so as school started back in the fall, Daniel got Harry a tutor. Sherry was a mousy thirty something spinster who really took a liking to Harry. She invited him to go to a Latin Society meeting at the home of Countess Liza, arranging for Harry to get extra credit at school for attendance. At the meeting, presiding over the festivities as if she were holding court was the Countess. She was beautiful around thirty-three and a piranha with a full set of teeth. She took an instant interest in our Harry. Every time she came to visit my hair stood on edge but Daniel and Harry liked her. I never trusted her interest in our boy. One afternoon while she was visiting I noticed from the hall she was staring at Harry and Trisha. Harry had gotten out of the pool and I swear she smacked her lips while viewing him with that wet clinging suit revealing his numerous assets. Later that night I tried to warn Daniel but was dismissed as being overprotective.
The great event took place just as planned. Harry walked out after kissing Trisha good night with over a million in eggs in his hidden coat liner. Daniel went to Russia to make the deal. After cost, the villa, payoffs to Russian middlemen, and Harry's school the con netted Daniel a million dollars. Both Daniel and Harry wanted to buy this beautiful villa in the South of France that supposedly was a bargain. This way there were no large cash accounts to explain. The plan was that Harry would complete the year to not incur Hart's suspicions. After Christmas, Harry went skiing with the Harts; it was the first time I had spent a night away from him since the day Daniel brought him home from Brixton. When Harry came home he told me he had a great time. He and Trisha had their first argument because he went skiing one morning with the Countess who was also there. "Small world eh", he said again asking me why I looked so tired. He went on explaining that breaking it off with Trisha might be easier than expected. Two days later he came in mad stating that they were going to date other people. The phone rang off the wall -he quit answering his line so that meant they called our line. He was staying out late with different girls each weekend and when he came in drunken Daniel hit the roof. As we were taking his clothes off he was babbling about women and how truly wonderful they are. We noticed lipstick and those marks-what did you call them? - Hickeys---on his neck. The next morning, Harry hung over received a stern lecture about liquor and women. After Daniel finished what he thought was a great father lecture - Harry simply smiled saying "so many women and so little time." We had done a good job with his self-confidence all right; now how do you control a young man who has just noticed the opposite sex. Later that day the Countess came over for lunch. Harry being a little turned off by food was upstairs asleep. The Countess was very attentive to Daniel's story of the wild Harry. Then she asked what I felt was a strange question----"Your Harold still a virgin, yes Mr. Vanderholt?" Later I scolded Daniel about the inappropriateness of such a question. Daniel admitted it caught him off guard but was more concerned that the Countess might let slip his admission of Harry's virginity. Three days later I got a call that my sister was dying. We had not been close for the ten years and I wanted to make things right. Daniel had to go back to London to make a preliminary court appearance regarding Brendan's petition. Daniel didn't want Harry anywhere near Brendan and that presented a problem. Harry thought we were both being silly - after all he had been on his own when eleven. To leave Harry alone, the parties and the women was not an option. The Countess hearing Daniel on the phone trying to rearrange his plans insisted Harry stays with her. They all went out to a charity gala and Harry's date infatuated with him, tried to undress him tearing his tux shirt in the process. He grabbed both her hands angrily saying no. It was clear to both the Countess and Daniel, viewing the encounter from the stairs above, that Harry was upset. Daniel told the Countess of my conversation with him on the Riviera and how he would hurt anyone who touched Harry before he was ready. Harry sulked for a week at the prospect of having what he considered a baby sitter. He told Daniel that as long as we were going to treat him like a baby, he demanded to be breast-fed. He wanted to go home with Daniel for a few days to see Monroe and Felicia. He would not get in the way of Daniel's business meetings and his damm Latin lessons could wait a few days. Matters got better just before Daniel left when the Countess told Harry that Brady McDowell, the famous polo player from Ireland, her great friend, was visiting and would give him lessons if he liked. To think, Daniel thought that this famous polo player's interest in Harry was a blessing. Claire began to really sob. It was our fault we left him. Laura placed her arm sympathetically around the shaking woman. I talked to Harry about the second day he was at the Countess' house and he sounded great. Daniel had called also telling Harry that he should be there in a couple of days. As Daniel and Brendan left the courthouse a messenger handed both of them a note. The note just said "Payment due Harry's innocents and death." Daniel didn't quite understand but he knew that for the first time in almost four years Harry was alone and vulnerable."
"Claire are you ok?" interrupted Laura.
"Claire closed her eyes, Brady McDowell had lured Harry to the stables for another lesson-he worked for Thomas -his tournaments all around the world allowed him to make deals for the IRA undetected. Harry showed up and was knocked unconscious stripped and placed in a specially prepared room at the stables. There at our villa was a tape. On film for Daniel's benefit a partially drugged Harry was sexually assaulted by several women-wearing mask. They did every horrible thing you could think of to that beautiful child. The more he struggled the more enjoyment and the rougher those animals got. Daniel called me in route to an agency plane and told me what he and Brendan feared. I had just gotten back to my sister's house after the funeral. Two agency men took me to a private airfield. I just kept seeing his dead lifeless body in my mind. When I got to the Countess' house, two agents were holding Daniel down as a doctor was trying to sedate him. Brendan sat across the room in shock. Daniel broke away grabbing me saying that they raped and killed our Harry. I, against much protest, demanded to see the video. That sweet child struggled and pleaded for them to explain why, asking what had he done, as they touched, prodded, and tortured him. Then they placed a gun to his head -Harry just screamed your going to bloody kill me anyway so just the hell do it-you hear the shot and see Harry's head jerk to the left then the video goes blank. One of the agents called and said that something had indeed gone down at the stables. They tried to talk us out of going because they didn't expect the news to be good. But when we got to the stables the backroom was empty save a lot of blood. It was clear that someone had died. A piece of black hair was found stuck in the blood. I tried to reach that piece of hair as if by touching it I would be comforting him. Two men grabbed me saying something about evidence. I sank to my knees saying that Harry had never hurt anyone and all the bad that had happened to him he blamed on himself. He accosted himself for the death of his mother during childbirth-this was just one of many lies spun for his benefit. His father left because he wasn't good enough-I'm sure the four year old taken out of Mime's house and placed in an orphanage took the blame for losing his grandfather. When foster parents abused him, it was his fault He subconsciously felt even Nicky had a right to try and use him-because he was nothing and deserved nothing. He did not even have the right to decide who could touch him, how, and when. I had no idea what my words were doing to Daniel until everyone started running toward me-he had collapsed. Brendan just stared saying we never even gave his grandson the privilege of honesty. On an unused section of land about a mile from the stable they found his clothes buried in shallow grave. While Daniel was sedated Brendan held the blue polo shirt, worn by Harry the day before he disappeared, inhaling the scent of his grandson. Interpol wanted a shirt and photos to aid in the searching of the stables. The photo album laid open as Brendan looked at pictures of Harry's first shave, his grinning face wearing his prep school blazer, and the picture of Harry with bear chest staring into the fireplace, head resting on his knees. He personified innocents in that picture. Viewing that picture made you want to wrap protective arms around him. When Daniel woke up Brendan was sitting on his bed. He explained to Daniel the guilt and pain felt when faced with the realization that his legal actions had made Harry an unsuspecting target. He revealed that if Harry were dead Harriet, Elizabeth, Pierce, Jack and Mime would be holding and comforting him. Looking at Daniel's tragic expressions Brendan continued to explain that when he opened Harry's room at the Countess' and saw the art case and a painting the lad worked on before going to the stables he knew the child was alive."
"My grandson painting consisted of trees with sunlight burning through the limbs with the rays coming to rest on a colorful patch of wildflowers.
"It was drying on an easel next to the window".
Daniel under great emotion stress simply asked, "why?"
"Harriet was painting in the garden the day it happened, as you know-her last painting was almost identical," he whispered showing Daniel the still damp painting.
Daniel looked confused, "If she was painting the same scene doesn't that mean...."
"No," interrupted Brendan. "She had completed the painting just moments before-- you know she only signed the canvas when finished-her life here on earth done-look Harry's isn't finished and he does the same thing no signature only the finished ones are signed -She telling you and I to go get her baby, his life isn't complete.
"Hell, he's still damp behind the ears he grinned showing Daniel the wet paint"
"Daniel smiled even if he had been wrong I would be thankful to Brendan for helping Daniel find a reason to go on living."
Daniel looked up, "Ok, Harriet help me, where is our son?"
"A thought hit Daniel, Sherry; she was always at the Countess' elbow so maybe she knows something. After talking to Sherry, we learned that the Countess" had been busy the last two weeks and her car, a vintage Rolls Royce, usually immaculate was covered in mud. Daniel sent agents to the Countess' driveway to get samples. Reports came within an hour that the soil came from a vineyard. The sample had a fungicide used to fight a type of mold that attacks grapes. The closest vineyard was forty-nine miles away. In route the call came to go another twenty miles to the next vineyard; records showed that they had just purchased and distributed the fungicide during the last couple of days. We drove through the vineyard after finding the main house vacant. There in the middle of nothing was a small cottage with lights on-cutting off the car lights we drove down the dirt road closer-Daniel proving the house ordered me to stay put as he and Brendan piled out.
"Blimey, he's mine too, I snapped back, and if he is in there---"
"Ok! "Just be quite," said Daniel.
"We all held our breath as we looked in the window. There moving his head back and forth in anger as the Countess tried to feed him was Harry. He was tied with restraints arm; legs, midsection and neck were disabled. Paraphernalia on the table suggested drugs were being injected into him. Two woman and a man came and held Harry as an injection was given somewhere in the lower abdomen area our vision being blocked by the four of them holding him down. The expression on Harry's face was a mixture of fatigue and terror. The driver of the car had already called on the radio for help."
Brendan grabbed Daniel's shoulder, "Easy lad I know that's our boy in there but he is an O'Rielly and a Chalmers he's tough."
"It seemed like hours but in truth it was just minutes before help came and the three of us were unstrapping our beloved boy who was shaking, drugged and burning with fever. We covered that lean body and held him until the ambulance came. Brendan and I wanted to ride with him but we knew that since only one could go Daniel's love was more than enough to surround Harry with comfort. The next two days they kept Harry sedated and the three of us consulted with Janice who flew in to help. She suggested that it was not the right time to spring anything new on Harry. Brendan, the truth about his parents, and Thomas were too much for him to handle. The truth about the Countess and McDowell should be reveled. Right now, Harry needed to understand what happened to him, why, and his total innocents in the matter. We were not to sugar coat what happened or act embarrassed as we used the words rape, pornography, pedophile, and oral sex. If we were embarrassed at saying these words he would sense it and feel even more lost. The third day we all felt so bloody helpless when he woke not allowing himself to make eye contact. Brendan dressed as a hospital employee complete with glasses and wig especially took Harry's pain to heart. Daniel had agreed to the charade sensing Brendan's pain and guilt at what was happening to his grandson. He wouldn't let any of us touch him; not even his hand. Daniel told him that it was his entire fault for not checking things out before he went to England. Daniel explained that a man from his past blamed him when authorities stormed his house killing his wife and children. The man somehow found out that Daniel cared very much for Harry deciding to kill him as revenge. The Countess living way above her means doubled crossed McDowell placing blanks in the gun to be used to kill Harry. The women covered Harry's eyes as she killed McDowell. She took Harry to the vineyard waxing the hair off of his genital area in prep for a photo session. Harry's young innocent face had captured the attention of one of her wealthy friends who wanted to see more of this raven-haired virgin. She offered over a million dollars for photographs, video, and a night with what she called "that young Roman God."
Harry staring at his pillow reacted by saying, "She obviously hasn't heard my Latin."
"The woman, is a sick pedophile, used her money to prey on young boys" Daniel said not allowing Harry's flip remark to ease or change the subject. McDowell told the Countess that someone powerful wanted the child raped and killed on film. Taking the half-million McDowell had given her she granted her rich kinky sick friend her request for that beautiful man-child she had spied at the Latin Society meeting. Harry was forced to record two phone messages. The first to the Countess explaining he had linked up with some friends after his lesson and was going to a party, clearing her of suspicion The second one to Daniel and Claire saying he was mad that they had left him behind and being bored at the Countess' he was going with friends on a small trip up the coast. Even scared too death Harry had the presents of mind to end the message with "I love you both and kiss baby Monroe for me. He never ended conversations with 'I love you" and the obvious wrong reference to Monroe would clue Daniel that something was wrong. She did not know that Thomas was going to have notes delivered to Daniel and Brendan in England. The Countess felt that she had at least twenty-four hours to get the tapes back into the answering machines.
Janice was deeply concerned about the fact that he had not cried or reacted at all to what had happen. He was building walls around his emotions again and detaching. We were back to being little more than strangers. He would not allow us to stay in the room while the nurse or doctors were there or stay at night. Ironically he allowed Brendan to be present during examininations thinking he was just a male nurse. Harry was not eating, talking or making eye contact at all. Finally, he informs us of his intent to leave school and not return home to London. He appreciated everything but he wanted to meet this bugger on his own. Laura had heard him say those exact words. Janice had a possible approach that was very new and controversial. They took Harry into the area of the hospital for spinal injuries and he was placed on the table for what he expected to be the taking out of the catheter. Brendan, two nurses, his urologist, pushed his gurney in; waiting in the room was Janice, Daniel and I."
"Harry surprised at seeing us, commented, "He didn't remember sending out invitations."
"Janice spoke very slowly we feel that it is time you see yourself. Harry looking mad and puzzled stating through clenched jaws that he was in no mood for games. Just because Janice had come clean about her occupation did not mean he would tolerate her psycho- babble. Saying they were bathing him, the nurse and doctor proceeded to remove the sheet from the table. Water sponges and towels were placed on the tray beside the bed. As the doctor and Janice removed the top of his gown Harry grabbed it asking what the hell were we up to. I had promised Janice that I was strong enough but I crumbled. I started crying as I saw the terror in Harry's face. Just relax Harry Janice said-taking back the top gown they began to wash his face, arms, and chest. "What do you see Harry?" Janice asked very softly. What? He asked looking up at the mirror running the length and width of the table. "What do you see, said Janice a little more stern---- I see me--- Your what? -My chest you stupid sod-Is that all? ----Look, let's stop this stupid game before-- Before what? - I get angry-Aren't you allowed to get mad? ---That a ludicrous question-- Are you mad about this; pointing to a mark made on his chest by one of the women? ---It's no big deal I will live, Ok----Harry responded now shouting---What about this she said grabbing the gown and pointing to his hairless privates-What? You Bitch-Harry shocked tried to come off the table-Brendan holding him as tight as possible was completely shaken---Look what they did to you Harry, Michael, Mick, or should I call you Harold--- He looked up at Daniel with such hurt in his eyes. ---Answer me is this OK---Let me alone-They wanted you to look even younger is that Ok? ---Why are you doing this I've never hurt you---How did you feel when they were touching you exploring every intimate orifice of your body---How do you think I felt? ---Harry, that is not an answer-Horrible! Ok? -Did they tell you how good you tasted? -- Please don't-- You really feel that you deserved to --- No, nobody deserves to be treated li...--- Like what? -Dirt! OK? Let me off of this damn table-They touched you, sucked you, probed you, until you were bruised didn't they? ---You're the wiseass shrink you tell me---What does the word unwanted mean, Harry? ---Unlucky I guess -Unlucky? Doesn't it really mean that you don't deserve to be loved, respected, or given any rights? --- No! No! Even animals have rights-Do they? -- Don't animals get their self-image from treatment by their masters? You treat a dog kindly he will go up to the next human expecting the same treatment: treat a dog badly and he'll expect the same - Harry aren't you tired of letting your childhood be your master? --No! No! Please! Take me back to the room I will do whatever you want-- Just cover me up and take me back! -said Harry crying trying to free himself from their grip---Why? Isn't your credo lick the wound and hide the scar? -Like to go back so you can shut everyone else out, eh. Janice signaled for us to surround him and touch him -Janice now spoke in a soft voice -Here is what I want you to do-Look in the mirror-I know it was a shock for us to take off your gown when we knew you hadn't yet seen what they did to you. Look at your face, I brushed the strands of hair back off his forehead, Janice wiped the tears from his eyes, Do you think this is a normal face? Harry, confused and shaking, replied "yes." Harry, look again-----My face is Ok----No darling it is exceptional-you have got to get a real grip on who and what you are-It won't be easy it took me twenty years. Harry looked up wiping his tears with his arm. You? I also was an abandoned child told over and over I was useless and deserved nothing. Now look in the mirror again and describe what you see, be realistic. Black hair, blue eyes, long neck and...Stop! Listen! You have thick black hair, thick long black eyelashes, full lips, flawless skin, about a dozen freckles lay across your small nose and a dimple on your forehead and chin and big white teeth which your face will soon grow to fit. Now you---I know this is hard. Doc. you said it took you twenty years so can I come back when I am thirty-four he said still crying. Harry don't always hide behind humor when you are uncomfortable. It is all right to feel bad. It is even Ok to sometimes make others feel unhappy. It will rain tomorrow and it won't be your fault. If Claire were mugged would it be her fault? --- Of course not-She was in the wrong place at the wrong time carrying a Chanel purse-so--, Why shouldn't she be able to it's a free country isn't it? You mean it didn't happen because she didn't go to church or give to the poor---That's stupid! ---Ok! Who is at fault? ---You went to college? ---The stupid bastard that mugged her? Harry, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, you had no way of knowing that the Countess took you skiing so that some sick pathetic lonely rich woman could get a closer look. You have a right to that handsome aristocratic face it is a gift from your parents. So who is at fault here? The sick bastards th...he could not go any farther he just started sobbing -Why? I still don't understand why? Because just like the mugger wants what he doesn't have-money -they wanted what they no longer had beauty, innocents, and a pure soul.
"You know what most impressed me about you when Daniel first introduced us?
"Here was a kid who had lived on the streets for two years taking what little beauty and kindness he could find using it to forged armor as protection from the human decay he lived among". "That's why you like movies especially old movies void of violence with plenty of happy endings.
"Violence and pain have been your partners since you were around four. It's time you accept the other side of the coin. The happiness, safety, love and security you viewed on the big screen exist in the real world.
"I wouldn't be too sure about that Doc, maybe some people are just destined to never fit in or be loved."
"What we have here is a case of self-fulfilling prophesy," quipped Janice.
"You can't actually mean that you believe I enjoy not being wanted or having a parent to love."
"As intelligent as you are Harry, you would not know love if it bit you in the butt," laughed Janice. "The problem with armor lad is that when you want to get really close to someone you have to do what Harry? "Take it off. "
"I know that is painful to face the world naked and vulnerable.
"Bad choice of words, Doc.
" So, Harry my pet unless your planning to be a lonely man be brave and open up
"Some people may hurt and disappoint, but those whom you choose to hold and love for a lifetime will wash away your pain with love and joy." Harry let Janice give him a hug and they both laughed as they wiped each other tears.
"Back on task young man, describe your body.
"Why did you get the easy part?
"Ok, no more jokes.
"Long neck, broad chest, compared to last year anyway, flat stomach-- I don't know how to"--- "Yes, you do." interrupted Janice. "Ok! I have a penis, which is good because I am a guy, blushed Harry. I usually have hair but.... a tear came down his cheek and I have long kind of bird legs."
"Lets finish your bath and get you warm," whispered Janice hoping she had not pushed Harry to hard. He was after all just a fourteen-year-old adolescent. While the nurses carefully washed Harry, Janice guided his eyes to hers. "Harry you are a wonderful, kind, intelligent, and handsome young man". "You had the bad luck to have a shitty childhood.
"You have spent your early life paying for things that were not your fault". "You're not the mistake; you're the greatest thing that your parents ever did." I grabbed Daniel's hand and could not believe how hard it trembled. "If you accept the crap you heard before you came to live with Daniel then you will always measure yourself by it.
"You will never be able to truly accept yourself and reach your potential.
"It is allowed for you to accept a compliment without turning it into a joke." It is Ok to need people and use them when you need t strength". "These monsters used you not because they thought you were nothing; they wanted to make a profit off your looks and innocent sexuality.
"In this room are probably the only two people you have dared to let near you look at Claire and Daniel's eyes.
"They know the real you.
"What do you see?
" Why are they sad?
"Because of me." No! Because of what happen to you
"There is a difference Harry.
"They hurt because something bad happened to someone they love and respect.
"You must be very important to them to cause them this much pain and tears.
"So don't punish them by shutting them out.
"It took eleven years for you to find each other.
"Just bask in their love; you earned the right to be selfish.
"Return their love on your own terms when you're ready". "They have placed no limits or strings on their love."
"That night we were allowed in his room. He was very quite thinking about what Janice had said, Brendan came in with the nurse who brought his tray of food. Harry never even noticed them or the tray. I walked over and told him he had two choices he could feed himself or I could; either way he was going to eat. He sat up and took about two bites of food. After watching him move the food around on his plate I took over. After getting him settled the doctor came in and removed his catheter. We went outside to talk to the doctor and when we returned there were tears in his eyes. We looked at Brendan who shrugged his shoulders indicating that he had no clue as to the reason. We each went to opposite sides of the bed."
He looked up, pulling at his earlobe; Brendan smiled seeing that trait evident in his grandson. He finally looked up speaking in a weak childlike voice, Do either of you believed in reincarnation?
"I guess I must have been bloody awful in another life, eh." He placed both hands on his face trying to hide his tears. "I can't think of anything that I have done to deserve...maybe it was because my mother died giving birth."
"Brendan and Daniel looked at each other both feeling his tears were their fault. He finally dozed off and the three of us hurt from our heads to our toes."
About three o'clock he sat up screaming "No and he just wanted to know why, then crying Harry said, "He was trying to be brave and that she should have been the one to live". Just before the shot the nurse brought took effect Harry said "grandma tell mom not to cry."
"Brendan standing back until he was sure Harry was again asleep took off his disguise and laid his head on Harry's chest crying as if his heart had been ripped out. Daniel and I went into the hall to try and make sense of what we just heard. Brendan crawled into Harry's bed and held his beautiful sleeping grandson. He thought about the last time at Mimes' the thin tiny child which fit so easily in his long arms and the delightful scent of his hair. His little Harry had grown but the innocents of the face and scent of the hair were just as he had remembered. The sight of the two of them; Harry's sweet head buried under Brendan's dimpled chin each with the same pout was testimony to the way things should have been had fate been kinder.
We had the nurse post a sign saying no entrance until nine o'clock. As Harry started moving Brendan got up and kissed his forehead whispering never could he image loving a child so much and how sorry he was for ruining the lad's life.
He looked at Daniel and whispered "things will be fine.
"Now it was time to make things right for Harry." He took a final look and placed his pinky ring on Harry's little finger.
"When Harry woke moments after Brendan left he was very quite; he finally told us he had a dream-when Harry opens a door no matter how small the crack -you rush in----please tell us I begged-"My mother was next to me holding me, saying it will be Ok because I was the perfect blend of my parent's love-I know pretty dumb eh," he said blushing.
"I hugged him because Daniel was frozen---"You were being held by her and baby you sure are", I said assuring him through my tears. He looked down and saw the ring and looked at Daniel-It belonged to someone very special-- I promise to tell you about when the time is right-Just promise me that you will never take it off or lose it. "Sure," said Harry with a puzzled expression on his face. Three days later a messenger brought two letters addressed to Daniel and Harry. He wrote that he was going after Thomas; he trusted Daniel to see that the Countess confessed so Harry would be spared the pain of a trial, he apologized for how wrong he had been, and that it was up to his grandson's father to give Harriet, Elizabeth, and his love everyday to the most amazing young man in the world. He ended the letter with the request to give Harry his letter when he's strong enough. Daniel warned MI6 and told them to protect Brendan. Three weeks later we were informed that Brendan was dead; he died after placing a knife in Thomas' heart. Brendan died trying to undo the damage done to Harriet, Daniel and Harry. Harry and Daniel were now safe. He gave half of his wealth to one of the orphanages Harry had been placed in with the stipulation that certain changes be made. A man, Daniel Chalmers, would examine, at his discretion, the facility making sure that all stipulations were carried out and enforced. The Harriet Chalmers' section for children ages 3 to 5 was Daniel's favorite part of the orphanage. However, The Harry Chalmers' Art Lab ran a close second. The rest he left to Harry giving Daniel powers of attorney incase he should need money for the raising of "his sapphire eyed grandson". During the months that followed, Harry had a tough time but Janice convinced him to go back and finish the spring semester where he had friends and would be forced to face his ghosts. We took him back to the stable and cottage; it hurt but he kept the walls down and let Daniel and I share some of the pain. Laura and Mildred felt for the first time that some of the precarious pieces finally fit and the partially unmasked Remington Steele was truly amazing and incredible. Laura knew without a doubt that the real Remington Steele far exceeded the one envisioned that day she combined the name of a typewriter with that of a football team."
Separating the three women desperately sought space contemplating their pain hoping to regain some semblance of calm. Outside of Dr. Moot's office window Laura watched as darkness draped over Los Angels like a cape ensconced over a woman's fair shoulders. Laura chuckled raising a bowed head, her eyes still wet with shed tears. "What a stupid fool I have been." "You've known all along haven't you Claire."
Claire's expression of satisfaction was clearly palatable. looking upward toward the heavens Claire whispered, "Daniel you were right our beautiful intrepid detective has solved perhaps the most important mystery of her life."
Mildred's sad expression mollified to that of confusion. "There's a nuance here which escapes me." "Care to let a worn out bureaucrat in on the joke?"
Laura gripped the window ledge with both hands and cleared her voice gripped with emotion. "Mildred I didn't really invent Remington Steele."
"Come again Mrs. Steele," questioned a stunned Mildred.
Laura knelt before the seated woman placing both hands on her trembling shoulders.
"Kind, handsome, intuitive, great instincts, sophisticated, charming, wonderful sense of humor, virtuous, intelligent, gallant, brave, sensuous, with a hint of mystery; do these alluring adjectives describes anyone you know?" "The Boss!" answered Mildred.
"Yes," sighed Laura. "These bevy of traits are the attributes which I gave Remington Steele but, the jokes on me. These traits already existed full blown in a tall thin cheeky orphan born on the Emerald Isles named Harrison Brendan Chalmers. I felt a wonderful strange tinge race up my spine as I gazed into Special Agent Ben Pearson's blue eyes. Now I realize it was the reality of confronting my own vision." Laura shuddered, as she spoke looking Mildred in the eyes, "Each day the sensation was stronger until it became all-consuming." "My worst fear had stepped forth from the shadows." "The extraordinary undaunted Miss Laura Holt Private Investigator finding herself struggling for control of her own emotions. "Fighting hard and nasty never considering the pain being inflicted on my phantom enemy." Funny, suddenly I don't feel so gallant about trying to control a man whose life has been marred by manipulations." "Harry was left to atone for the sins of the very people whose duty it was to protect and nurture him. Laura stood up seeking Claire's face, why didn't Daniel stop me or signal an alert to the pain I was inducing?"
"Oh, there were times when one or both of us itched to take a crack at that stubborn controlling streak," Claire explained smiling. "Harry would call and we'd detect the hurt and confusion in his voice." "It tore at Daniel's heart knowing how difficult it was for his son to crawl on that limb exposing himself to possible rejection." "But there were also those occasions when Harry called totally perplexed, recanting tales of you standing protectively by his side." "There are even moments when you were prepared to challenge the world on his behalf." " Daniel deduced that you'd realize the connection to his son was far more than physical." "Laura, do you finally understand the importance of surrendering your heart giving him total unconditional love?"
"Yes, maybe for the first time"..... Laura began sinking to her knees sobbing uncontrollably. Both women place their arms around her each not sure who was supporting whom.
"Laura, confessing your thoughts might dissipate some of the pain," whispered Claire. " Or again it could just be the Catholic in me," smiled Claire, "It's worth a try."
Laura could almost hear Remington making such a statement. Laura wiped her eyes on her jacket sleeve. Stopping in mid-wipe she smiled, "If Remington were here he probably quote Rhett Butler, "In all of the crises of your life I have never known you to have a handkerchief." "The premise behind Gone With the Wind of strong willed people finding themselves at cross purposes is a theme too familiar to Harry and I." "Oh Claire what if he turns away and shuts me out." " You must admit it would certainly be deserved" " I stupidly consumed with forcing him into reinforcing my doubts that I gave his insecurities little consideration." "My expressions of love could have given him such strength." "Strength that may prove crucial when he regains consciousness." "Oh Harry please tell me that unlike Scarlet I'm not too late." "Some great detective... there were so many clues but being too selfish I held back...always needing to know where we were heading with our dizzying relationship." "Hiding in the trunk of a cab alluding Descoine, lives in danger, we talked of life's little regrets." "His only regret was that at times he'd failed to live up to my vision of Remington Steele." "I more or less gave him absolution for his occasional shortcomings" "Face fixed with a forced smile he replied, "Your suppose to say I have lived up to your expectation and more." " I retorted with some stupid statement that if I complimented him it would go to his head and he would cease to emulate the wonderful attribute associated with Mr. Steele." "I couldn't bring myself to grant him that small satisfaction in what could have been our last breathing hour." "Remember Mildred; he saved my life less than an hour later, preventing death by halting the licking of that letter laced with a toxic poison known as the "Destroying Angle." "He's always unselfishly directed glowing accolades in my direction." He heralded my intelligence when I heated Discoine's lemon treated scarf with a lighter revealing its manufacture." "I should have buried him with thanks and adoration for saving my life." "To my shame and discredit he never even received a thank you." "All he sought was some well deserved and long over due reassurance and praise." "Now, after your revelations Claire, I understand his very willingness to accept praise is in itself a sign of tremendous progress." " He broke through those childhood traumas which forced his emotions into seclusion and put aside the habit of not bestowing trust in anyone." He finally decides to give someone the key to his soul and I treat it as if it's made of indestructible steel." Laura grimaced, " Sorry poor choice of words."
Claire and Mildred listening to the young woman felt such empathy for the misery reveled by this tortured confession. Laura was displaying a part of her nature to which none had ever been privy. Mildred wished her beloved boss were awake to witness these revelations.
"Laura drift back and focus on feelings encounter the first time the two of you were alone," pleaded Claire. "Two years ago Harry came to terms with his feelings." "He was not happy at first, mind you, with his new domesticated persona." "After a lot of internal turmoil he finally surrendered and began embracing domesticity." "Daniel advised Harry to give his heart and confusion a healthy go of it." You Americans would say, "Shit or get off the pot."
Hearing such a word spew forth from such a refined elegant lady caused Laura to smile in spite of herself. "Ok, gazing into those blue eyes ensconced on that chiseled face I realized here was my inner most erotic fantasy." "The reality that I could willingly surrender my complete soul and heart to this man scared the hell out of me." "Damn! Didn't he understand fantasies were meant to remain the private property of the mind to be brought forth only when convenient?' "But there he was in the flesh twenty-four seven." "We worked together, played together, the only vision in my head was his face; the only sound I heard was a soft Irish lilt." "I became addicted to that concoction of anticipation, elation, and loneliness that our relationship brewed." "As he consumed every waking and sleeping hour, the identity of my true demon became clearer."
"Ah, come on Mrs. Steele you know the chief loves you," interrupted Mildred.
"Does he love me or just appreciate what he thinks I've done for him?"
"Come again hon."
"Mildred could those feelings of love in fact be nothing more than gratitude?" Feelings stemming from an introduction to a stable respectable life which provided the necessary confidence to settle and build something he could truly call his own." "The obvious realization is that I've merely been the catalyst providing consistency allowing for the emergence of the real man." " My fictions Remington Steele pales in comparison?" My so called expert tutelage was nothing more than directing his immense talents and intellect toward detective work." He already possessed a kind virtuous heart and soul." "Gifts he inherited no doubt from his mother."
"A fact that often worried Daniel," echoed Claire. Both Laura and Mildred eyes were fixed on the elegant older woman.
"Most jobs pulled by Harry and Daniel were those tainted with too much political controversy for the British Government to handle." "The government owed Daniel a huge debt for wasting two years of his life in an Irish Prison and for letting Thomas slip through their bloody fingers." "Daniel consumed by anger and lose refused to return to work." "Jack and the agency, motivated by guilt, negotiated an arrangement making Daniel a free agent who would supply his immense talents to cases too politically hot to be handled through normal channels." "This arrangement became particularly handy when Daniel learned of Harry's existence and weeks at a time were needed to check out leads found by our investigators." "To the agency's credit, they did help to run down some of the leads gathered on four-year-old male children placed in orphanages both in England and Ireland." "Remember my question earlier regarding Detective Lombard?" "He was under orders to drop the investigation of the passports and bank robbery." If you remember all he asked was to meet the famous Remington Steele." "No doubt to look into the face of the young man with the formable reputation and high political connections." "The passport given to Mildred by an agent was in fact real." "If Harry had informed Daniel of your immigration problems prior to your hasty marriage and Mexican honeymoon there would have been no need to fear Norman Keys."
Claire stopped taking a breath. "That was such a horrible time for Daniel coming as it did on the heels of devastating news from the doctors." "It would have meant a lot to Daniel to have been able to help his son one last time." " We did not blame you we understood too well Harry's damn independents." " I always have to remind myself that his independence, though irritating, was crucial to surviving the horrors of childhood." "As long as Harry remained close to Daniel's watchful eyes he had a safety net." "Daniel and the agency would offer protection." "Harry complicated matters by leaving unannounced whenever he became angry or gripped by wanderlust." "He would be alone, endowed with a face reminiscence of Prince Charming, and a heart determined in its protection of the weak or forgotten." "We visualized impending danger around each corner." "We reluctantly granted you the title of protector." "At least we were assured of his location and of your immense capability in providing a safety net should his gentle nature find itself in the company of danger." "Daniel had been forwarding most agency assignments to his son for about three years prior to the two of you linking up." "This helped Daniel to keep a leash on his energetic puppy." "Harry was so young and innocent." "He'd call from some exotic location and Daniel would relay information about this gem or that painting on which he just happened to have complete background and surveillance information" "Harry never questioned how Daniel managed to have floor plans, security codes, or surveillance timetables." "Having data covering all the possible angles of an assignment taught Harry the importance of doing your homework." "A courier would appear with the information and Harry's skills and imagination would do the rest." "Felicia worked a few times in the same capacity when Harry was busy or when a woman's touch was necessary." "This way Daniel could shadow and protect them." "When Daniel needed to get Harry out of England and away from his grandfather it was the agency, that provided information on Hart, the exterior security system, and the names of the Russian contacts."
"So Felicia was helping Daniel when Harry appeared trying to trace his past," questioned Laura.
"You've hit the nail on the proverbial head," answered Claire.
"I wondered how such a detailed copy of the departure and arrival times of the Royal Lavulite turned up when Murphy and I searched his room," exclaimed Laura.
"As pieces of the puzzle fall into place I realize how insignificant my tutelage." "I've done little to make present life easy and now Harry might decide I'm not important to his future." "Can either one of you tell me why he should want me around at all?" "Daniels' immense inherence compounded by Remington's investment skills negates the necessity for working? "Why face the danger and stress of running a detective agency?" "He as accomplished of a detective as I am." "In truth he may be better."
The reality of hearing these words caused Laura demeanor to crumble. "There I said it." "Unspoken fear can eat away at the very fiber of your sanity." "What will transpire upon discovery that he's the teacher and I've been relegated to the station of pupil?" "He can have any woman he wants." "What makes me so special?" "What can I possibly offer him now?" As years progressed he became the sun and I like a flower found him necessary to my existence." "In return I have become the albatross sent to remind of his shortcomings, past sins, and tortured childhood." "In short I've become my mother."
A loud knock interrupted Laura's imagery of despair as Dr. Moot's office assistant entered the room. "Mrs. Steele, there is a call for you on line two."
"Thank you," Laura said hoping her voice was void of emotion. "Hello, Yes, Jarvis go on...no not that I'm aware of.... wait...placing her hand over the receiver she looked up. "Claire, did Harry pursue that modeling agency's offer?" "Heavens no he was only thirteen and intently shy," retorted Claire. "Laura placed the phone to her ear, "No, he had an offer when thirteen but never pursued it... Ford, I think...Why? Laura handed Claire the phone. "They have established a link between three of the victims, they all modeled, one in high school and two in college.
Claire slowly taking the phone spoke, "Yes Lieutenant, how may I be of service? "No, his father and I would have never allowed it besides Remington was painfully shy...let me think ...well we spent the next two years mostly in France...wait... when we came home in June there was a package with about fifteen pictures mostly in black and white." "The letter inside reaffirmed their interest stating the photos were a gift and that Remington was incredibly photogenic." " No, he just commented on being unaware that anyone was taking pictures." "Daniel and I were glad to have the photos because Harry...I mean Remington, never took kindly to being photographed." "Those pictures are the only ones in existence of the lad with his favorite polo pony Larceny." "Laura and Mildred stifled snickers upon hearing the horse's name." "I don't know... I could get the cleaning lady to look if you feel it's that important." Claire said good-bye and placed the phone back on the desk. Turning her confused expression toward Laura she asked, "Why would he want to see the photos and letter?" "I'm not even sure the letter still exist." "Laura would you like me to call Janice?" "She is retired content in giving the occasional lecture at Oxford and in rendering second opinions on difficult cases." "She has kept abreast of Harry's international exploits." We had tea a year ago, she knew everything about the Hapsburg's dagger incident and the rescue of the Earl from those disgruntle miners."
Yes, if you are unable to convince her to come see if she is willing to confer with Dr. Moot" "Mildred will make the arrangements upon confirmation of when she can depart England." "Now, I need advise as to the amount of our conversation to relay to Dr. Moot." "Courage can be so fleeting,' mocked a smiling Claire. "Touché! Claire, Touché!"
TO BE CONTINUED...
Coming soon Chapter 11: The Conclusion of Steeling Innocents.