STEELE THE SAME OLD STORY
By: Lisa Ann Richardson
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #11
Summary: Does history repeat itself? With Remington and Laura, it could.
Disclaimer: This “Remington Steele” 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, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
Disclaimer from the author: Certain passages belong to MTM Productions, TV Guide, as well as a few others sources that did reviews for RS. I just borrowed them, but they are not my words...those passages should be easily recognizable.
The young woman sat alone at her table, silently watching the activity around her. Impatiently, she glanced at her watch, jumping sky-high as a waiter interrupted her reverie by placing a bucket of ice with a magnum of champagne in it. Surprised, she started to protest as the waiter struggled to uncork the magnum. "Excuse me, but I didn't order this--"
The waiter said, "The gentleman wishes to buy you a drink."
He gestured to a handsome man over in the corner, who merely raised his glass in acknowledgment, the ghost of an amorous smile on his face. Annoyed, the young woman told the waiter, "Tell the gentleman I appreciate the gesture, but I'm--" she jumped slightly as the cork finally popped. The man came walking over. Actually, slinked would have been a better word, thought the young woman. He moved with the sensual energy and control of a panther. She looked up into the most incredible pair of blue eyes she had ever seen. She smirked slightly. "A magnum of champagne?"
"You looked thirsty."
"Do you always do things on such a grand scale?"
"Only when I'm aroused." Seeing one corner of her mouth raise, he added, "With curiosity. May I?" He gestured to the empty seat beside her. She nodded her head in permission. Her brown eyes stared warily at him over her champagne glass.
More than slightly amused at her suspiciousness, he sipped his martini. "Tell me, why is it that a lovely young woman is sitting alone in a crowded restaurant?"
The young woman's brown eyes kindled. "And what is a Limey doing in Los Angeles?"
"Touche. But surely you're not sitting here to people-watch. You don't seem the type."
She laughed then, her smile and dimples turning her into a schoolgirl. The mystery man with the blue eyes of steel was startled to find himself more than slightly enchanted. She spoke, her lilting voice adding to his enchantment. "I'm not. I'm waiting for someone."
"You look too young to be married."
"I'm twenty-six and I'm not. I'm waiting for my brother." She smiled slightly. "This is rather surreal. Must be history repeatingitself that you came over here. Either that or fate."
The man's brows raised in surprised amusement. "Fate? Ah, it does my romantic heart good to hear a modern woman speak of fate. So we were fated to meet then, eh?"
She sipped her champagne slowly, letting the bittersweet flavor melt down her throat before answering. "I don't know. Maybe. In 1982, my mother was sitting here and my father had a magnum delivered and came over here because he was, in his words, aroused...with curiosity, of course." Her brown eyes crackled with wicked humor.
The man couldn't help but laugh at her jab. She was good. He found himself rather interested. "And what did your mother say? Yes would be my guess."
The woman tossed her dark hair back as she laughed. "She saidyes. You see, my father had already met my mother once before when he stopped in at her agency--"
"Yeah. My mother was a detective and the agency had been hired to protect some gems--Royal Lavulite. My father came into the Agency claiming to be--"
"Claiming to be?"
She rolled her eyes and laughed exasperatedly. "Maybe I'd better start at the beginning."
"Please do, by all means."
The man settled back into his chair, intrigued by this odd young woman. She was beautiful, but in a fresh-scrubbed, coltish sort of way; not in the elegant, glamorous way he loved in most women--except this one. Her appearance suited her personality. She looked a fragile doll, so slender and petite it looked as if he could break her in half. Her delicate face had freckles splashed across her cheeks and snubbed nose,visible even under her light makeup. Her thick brown hair hung past her shoulders in soft waves. It was her eyes, though, that gave her face its elfish charm. Her eyes were absolutely exquisite; almond-shaped and dark, they brimmed over with the willful, roughish turbulence of a sprite. The mystery man smiled. This one would look eternally young, even when she reached forty-five. The dashing foreigner was pulled out of his reverie by her voice.
"Okay. My mother and father came together quite by accident. My mother was smart, brassy, and attractive. My father was cultured, handsome, and extremely charming. Together, they had best and most famous detective agency in California, possible in the country." She grinned. "At least, that's what it felt like to my brother and I. We always felt like millions of people had their eyes turned on our parents. It's funny what kids think. Anyway, there was just one problem with their association."
Those incredible blue eyes bade her to continue.
"My mother was a cop and my father was...a crook." She shruggedagain.
She laughed. "Well, you asked."
The mystery man decided to forge ahead. "And how did your mother, probably a witty, charming, intelligent woman--if you're any indication--get hooked up with a con artist?"
His question only produced an amused smirk. "Well, this is where is gets complicated. You see, my mother was a private investigator... the best." Her eyes nailed him with a glance. "Anyway, after leaving another agency, she opened her own. But absolutely no one knocked on her door. A female private investigator seemed so..." she paused, searching for the right word, "feminine. So my mother... invented a superior. A decidedly masculine superior. Shocked yet?" The look in his blue eyes more than amused her. Her smiled was contagious. The man sipped his martini, smirking.
"Not at all. Just rather amazed at your mother's response to chauvinism. Rather impressed as well. Very creative." He didn't miss the pride in her eyes. "Tell me, did her ruse work?"
"For a while. Then one day, a man named Gordon Hunter hired the Agency to protect the Royal Lavulite jewels he was borrowing for a publicity stunt. It was a lot of publicity for the agency, so my mother took the job. The only problem was that Hunter wanted Remington Steele--"
The young woman smiled, looking down at the table before explaining the strange name she carried on with pride. "My mothernamed her non-existent boss Remington Steele. She took the name from a Remington typewriter and the Pittsburgh Steelers football team. She thought it sounded unusual enough that people would remember and masculine enough that people would hire her."
He refilled her glass as he smiled a slightly crooked grin which warmed her heart, reckless and uncaring though it was. "It's a mouthful at any rate. Please continue."
She was immediately suspicious. "I'm going to ask a question of my own. Why are you so interested in my parents?"
His blue eyes ran over her face, locking on her lips for a long moment. His cultured voice was serious as his gaze locked with hers. "It is, without a doubt, the most unusual story I've ever heard." He added teasingly, "Told by a very lovely storyteller."
She blushed, her eyes sparking with a dangerous glint. "My fatheralways did tell me to watch out for men like himself."
"And what would your mother say?"
A shy smile crossed her lips. "Like mother, like daughter."
To his own bemusement, he found himself returning it. Not like he usually did, with seduction, but in sincerity. Beautiful women he had met (and bedded) aplenty, but never had he met any like this one. Temperamental, shy, intelligent, sarcastic, outgoing, sensual, arrogant pride and independence. She was unique; a living bundle ofcontradictions. "Please continue."
"Well, since you seemed to be so enthralled," she said tartly, "here's the rest of it."
The dapper foreigner listened to a story like none he had ever heard in all of his activities and travels. He was pulled into the story of the quirky, impetuous, independent young woman who had pulled the ultimate con. And of the mysterious blue-eyes conman who had come around to steal the gems she had been hired to protect; not a thief, but an artist, he had called himself. The same man who had put two and twotogether and figured out the name of her mother's superior was just that--a name.
The petite young woman told the rest of it, her face full of the emotions she felt. Of her nameless, orphaned father who assumed her mother's creation of Remington Steele and Hunter's belief that her father was really Remington Steele.
Of their first dance at Hunter's banquet when her father prevented her mother from storming out after she found out about his trick. She told of his confrontation of her mother. The murder of the real Ben Pearson and her mother's belief in her father's innocence.
The man listened intently as she spoke quietly of her father's love of impossible challenges and his leaving. She told of her mother's surprise to find him behind Remington Steele's desk. Of the instant attraction and business arrangement for her mother to do the work and her father to take the bows which ended up in a marriage to help her father avoid deportation and of the deep love and commitment that would turn that shaky beginning into a rockhard foundation of love and partnership. Of her parents' success in pulling off the ultimate con: a respected private investigative service run by a world-class thief who was taught in the ways of the law by the best private investigator in the state; the one who was never given a chance because she happened to be female. She spoke shyly of her wonderful father's transformation into a detective with abilities rivaling those of her beloved mother.
He listened with wonder as she spoke of the mistrust of her mother that would turn into a protection of her father that was almost fierce in its devotion; and of his arms, the ones her mother would run to when no one else seemed to be there for her. He heard the story of the young, headstrong, impetuous woman whose passions and love of excitement would send one man running away from her, but would thoroughly enchant her father. Of the girl whose mother loved her because she was her child, never because she could understand or be proud of her. She told of the abandonment of both by their fathers and that fear which would make them tentative to take a step forward. Of the devotion and love which finally overcame that barrier.
Katie Scarlett Steele stopped breathlessly as she realized how longshe had been talking. As she began to apologize, the mystery man cut her off. "No. I asked to hear the whole story and that's what you gave me." He realized the amazing qualities of the two unusual people had melded together to create the unique young woman in front of him. He wanted no apologies. He smiled. "Just one more question."
Her eyes met his. "What?"
"And how does this end, eh? And they lived happily ever after?"
She studied her champagne glass for a second, her brow creased in thought. Looking up, she smiled softly. "Something like that."
He didn't miss the sudden wetness in those clear, beautiful eyes.
Katie spotted someone behind him and smiled, waving him over. A handsome young man came up, offering the young woman his arm. Black-haired and blue-eyed, he and his petite sister looked as different as night and day, except for the roughish expression in each of their eyes. The brother also regarded him with a certain amount of suspicion, the man noticed.
The young man offered his sister his arm. "Ready, Scarlett?"
She stood up, hugging her brother. "Yes." Turning to gentleman unknown, she gave a worldly smile, openly appraising his handsome features and meeting his wondrous blue eyes. "Thanks for the champagne...and the curiosity, Mr.--"
"Bond. James Bond." He lifted her small hand to his lips. "You have been most enchanting company Miss Steele. A pity I cannot stay. I too enjoy impossible challenges."
Those dimples appeared again. "Then hang on. It's going to be a bumpy ride."
She and her brother shared a secret laugh. At his confused stare, they looked at each other and grinned, speaking simultaneously. "All About Eve. Bette Davis, Warner Brothers, 1938."
Still confused he shook his head as she threw another grin at him. "Nice to meet you Mr. Bond. Ready, Remi?"
Her brother threw him another suspicious glance as he led his sister out the restaurant.
James Bond watched as they exited, unable to tear his eyes off ofher. He smiled in appreciation. She was smart, witty, intelligent, and attractive. She was also irrepressible, impetuous, and unique. For one brief moment, he had been able to see the part of her that must have been her mother, the part which had bewitched a world-class thief to take on an impossible challenge. Bond grinned. He was very tempted to stick around and attempt to try an impossible challenge of his own. Leaving his money on the table, he quickly exited, following the brother and sister as they left the building.
Unnoticed by either Bond or the two Steeles, a young reporter sat at a dark corner table near the one they had occupied.
Grinning, she chewed thoughtfully on the tip of her pen as she stared at the words she had just written.
"Try this for a deep, dark secret. The great detective Remington Steele? He doesn't exist. I invented him."
She stood in front of the headstone, biting her lip to fight back the tears. It was okay. They were together and that was all that mattered. Katie and Remi would never know who had betrayed their parent's trust and committed the act that would bring about their deaths, but they would find that person and bring whomever it might be to justice—for Remington and Laura Steele's sake.
Katie smiled. It was fitting that they should be buried by Aunt Mildred, the one person who had loved them both, without reservation or question. It was also fitting that there be only one headstone for both of them. The reasoning was simple: Laura couldn't live without Remington and Remington couldn't have survived without his beloved Laura.
Her tears now starting to fall, Katie studied the inscription on the headstone. She and Remi had written what they had thought summed up the whole of their parents' unusual relationship.
LAURA ELIZABETH HOLT STEELE, January 28, 1956-October 1, 2012
REMINGTON STEELE, May 16, 1953-October 1, 2012
"She created a name. He needed a name. She saw the man beneath. He loved her for what she was. She found his heart. He stole hers."
Katie Scarlett put her hand on the knob of what had once been her father's office. It was time for her and her brother to assume the job her parents had done so well. Opening the door, she jumped back as she saw him sitting there, elegant, debonair, and handsome. Sitting in the chair once occupied by her father as if he belonged there.
Blue eyes locked with brown as he spoke. "I told you I, too, am a man who enjoys impossible challenges."
In the back of their minds, both wondered if it really was possible for history to repeat itself.